Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kinzie Genealogy

Was visiting with my nephew, Larry Erbaugh, at the Flory reunion several weeks ago and the now interesting topic of family genealogy came up. Both of us admitted that several decades ago we had little interest in the subject, but that both of us now dabbled in it on occasion. I discovered that his wife was related to the Funkhouser family of Singers Glenn. It was their decendants that influenced the development of Shenandoah University. I had attended Shenandoah when it was Shenandoah Conservatory in Dayton, Virginia from 1955-57.

My missionary father, William (Bill) Kinzie, was a good transmitter of family lore. On our walks to the local stores or post office he would regale me with his story. When his father died while we were yet on the other side of the world this activity became pronounced. This was the way I learned who I was and the values by which we lived. My mother was Pauline Garst Kinzie.

When I married Elizabeth (Lib) Flory in December of 1956 we brought together strands of Church of the Brethren families that might be of interest to some. My father’s father was Letcher Kinzie. He married Mary Eliza Fellers. Her brother, Stamford Fellers, was judge of the Chaucery Court in Roanoke for a number years. When we came back from India in 1945 I learned to know my great grandfather Fellers for just a few years. His claim to fame was that he had lived through the “War between the States”. My mother’s father was Levi Garst, a preacher-pastor in the Roanoke area. My mother’s mother was Margie John Garst. She was well known to past generations of 9th Street Church of the Brethren members in Roanoke, Va.

Lib’s father, Walter Flory, was a stalwart member of the Dayton Church of the Brethren and operated a profitable dairy farm in Rockingham county. Walter’s mother was a Garber, a large family with numerous branches. Lib’s mother was Emma Landis Flory. Her mother's mother was a Branner.

This blog just offers a very brief overview of my branch of the Kinzies. The book that traces the family back to Thun Switzerland is:

Compiled by Catherine E. Smith 1981
Oliver Lake, R R 1 Box 423
Wolcotville, Indiana 46795

“Christian Kuntzli was born near Thun, Switzerland. The family emigrated to Berks County, PA., where three more children were born. Christian became a member of the Oley Congregation of the German Baptist Church in Berks County, PA."

The surname Kinzie is believed to be associated with the English
meaning "decendant of royal victory”

"Many spellings of this name are found in the 1790 census:
Kinsey,Kense, Kensy, Kincy, Kinzie, Kinsee, Kinsey, and Kintzi.
Some of the Kinzies came directly from Germany while others came
through England and so the spelling became Anglicized to Kinsey and
Kinzie. Changes in the spelling took place at different times for
unexplained reasons.”

As a child I heard the names “Uncle Charlie” (the orchardist in Daleville, Va) and “Uncle George”. I came to know two of my father’s cousins Bob and Harold Kinzie. I was better acquainted with Bob as he and his wife attended Green Hill Church of the Brethren in Roanoke County. My father was pastor there for three years between stints in India.

Stories my father told were often about hunting, fishing, and the hard working life on the family farm. This was standard fare for rural southern American life.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Flory Reunion

A well represented Flory family enjoyed renewing ties with each other this past Saturday at Bridgewater. Every family had at least a few there. And what a spectrum from those in their 80's to one just a few weeks old. Among us were the hail and hearty to those quite frail. Yet, what joy as we picnicked and swapped memories.

We were blessed by the presence of some of Ruth’s children (she passed away last year) who came from Charlotte, NC and from the Athens, GA area. That’s a long drive just to be with family a few hours! Thanks, David, Jack and Donna for making a huge effort.

Some of the family brought Carson from the Bridgewater home. They also brought over his tractor that another member of the family had entered in a recent “tractor-pull” contest. Carson’s wife, Lucille, gamely climbed into the driver’s seat for a picture shoot.

Evelyn and Gene who had both recently been in the hospital were there and blessed us with their presence.

The little park, down by the river that flows by Bridgewater was the perfect place for the family.We met with mixed emotions of joy and sorrow as we realize there is a real possibility some of us will not see each other again.

I particularly relished the long chats with Larry, Jeff and Dorothy. There were equally fun but brief visits with Keith, Jodie, Ruthie and Elaine.

Monday, May 25, 2009


For each named person there are many unnamed who represent similar blessings and gifts of grace.


Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and a time to express gratitude. I’m thankful for a daughter whose suggestion we move to Richmond caused us to reinvent our lives and added a whole new layer of friends. A grateful thanks to Christina, Lani, and Francis who have been recently instrumental in that reinvention.

Am grateful to Oak Grove CoB, it’s pastor Ed, and special friends Linda, Buddy, and Sam who ministered to us in unique ways. Many others there are also dear to our hearts. This congregation with its many friends will always be “home” for us.

We remember HT and Ruth who opened the door to square dancing and invited us into their hearts and home. With them came a constellation of “dance” friends with whom we shared many happy memories.

There are Roanoke music friends CC, Carol, Joyce, and Annamarie, who shared time and skill, but most of all their Christian faith as they expressed it in their daily lives. They were/are such inspiring teachers inviting those around to join them in fellowship with the Teacher.

I’m so grateful to Verda, a Woodstock classmate, whose dedication to her school and class mates revived that interest and link for me. Verda invited me to join her “writer’s “ club and this has been a fun discipline. It has also revealed in depth the many facets of our friends’ concerns and interests.

My Aunt Dottie wrote a book a number of years ago about Anna Mow, a woman far ahead of her time, whose life impacted the lives of world leaders, especially those of India. She was also a mystic, whose personal encounter with the Teacher was the compelling force in her life. I recently reread it shortly after reading the novel “The Shack”. If you’ve followed me this far I invite you to click on my top link “Beyond the Walls” and learn from another mystic concerning her personal journey. Look back especially into Jill’s India/Himalaya experience. She is now in Africa for a brief time bringing her special gifts to those in great need.

Finally I’m grateful for missionary parents whose faith was immense...puts mine to shame. But, even those of us at a mature age may learn lessons about “walking on water” from those who preceded us and some who journey ahead. We are not finished products until our last breath. We need to be open to the “still small voice “ within. To put out the fleece ( a Biblical reference) and wait for guidance from wherever it comes. Life is to be lived courageously, in joy and in gratitude.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A concentration of coincidences

It was an amazing weekend. We’ve now lived in the Richmond area almost two years. From my affiliation with The Richmond Philharmonic I am now playing in two quartets. Sandy, a violinist in the second quartet invited me to be part of a chamber music event this past weekend. One of the accompanists, Joyce, was from Roanoke, our former home city. Turns out she was a close friend of Judy, a musical (guitarist) friend of mine, from our home church Oak Grove Church of the Brethren.

Sunday morning Lib and I went to our present church, West Richmond Church of the Brethren. Our pastor David’s uncle, Carson, is Lib’s brother. It was special this Sunday as the Bridgewater College Choir would be the morning worship service. The director of the choir, Dr. Hopkins, is my cousin by marriage. As we pulled into the parking lot, who did we see but Buddy and Linda, dear Roanoke friends from Oak Grove,they were returning from the beach and just decided to stop by, on the chance they might see us.

After the service someone pecked me on the shoulder. I turned around and there was my dead brother’s ex, Denny. It had been a number of years since we had last seen her and it was quite a surprise! We had pretty much lost touch. Seems there was a connection with the parent of one of the chorus members and she had come to hear the good music and visit with her friend.

If one is an active string musician in Richmond and belongs to West Richmond, the odds increase significantly for running across someone who is/has been kin, or knows someone well that you know. It is the disparateness of the contacts that makes it so amazing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Old Folks....Talk Around a Table...

We met for lunch together recently...four and half couples. We are part of an old family that is valiantly trying to maintain a sense of togetherness. Three and a half all live within a few miles of each other, Lib and I drive over a two hundred miles round trip for these meetings. We gather for a restaurant meal to chit chat and exchange news about our families and the lives we are living. We also inquire and want details about each other’s health. Sometimes we get more than we asked for, but that is part of the exercise, to listen, listen, and let each other know we care and that their lives have meaning and value for us.

The oldest couple, Weldon and Catherine, are pushing ninety but are relatively healthy. Lib was a little girl when he was dating her oldest sister. She would plop herself up on his lap and try to get his attention away from her sister. He would bribe her with a stick of gum to leave the room so the adults could have some privacy. This oldest couple has a large and successful family of their own with many grandchildren and a few great grandchildren. They’ve had a long and loving life together. Just recently they have started to slow down. He doesn’t walk as far as he used to and she has an eye going bad. They don’t travel to visit family or attend sports events with quite the old frequency.

The next family member is the half couple. They were the ones that had to grow their own farm operation because he was the second son and traditionally the oldest son had first call on buying the family farm. By being frugal and hard working Carson and Lucille reared a small but successful family. Some years ago he slowly became incapacitated by arthritis and relied on a walker to get around. Then several years ago he had a viral infection that damaged his brain and she shortly developed heart issues. Both have been in and out of the hospital several times and finally she could no longer safely care for the both of them and he is now in a nearby assisted care facility. Their lives the last few years have been tenuous and difficult. Now the separation and his confusion make the pain even more acute. Lucille doesn’t complain but we imagine how lonely she must be and we anguish at his not understanding quite where he is or why.

The sister and husband of the next pair resemble in many ways the eldest couple. In fact Weldon introduced Gene to his wife’s sister, Margaret. He was from Ohio so was not a local person. Because his church background was Brethren this gave him the initial approval necessary for entry into the family. He worked his way up in a trucking business from driving to scheduling and managing in the local office. Their four sons all graduated from college and they have a moderate size family of children and grandchildren. Gene’s had several health scares over the last decade but seems to be in fair condition now. His wife is suffering some memory loss, but both have an up beat attitude about their remaining years. He still sings in the Rockingham Male Chorus and does a fair amount of volunteer work.

The pair ahead of us are still nearly a decade older. Her first husband, a cousin of mine, died from a heart attack a number of years ago. A few years later Evelyn married Lowell and most of the years with him were good. I remember how much fun they seemed to be to each other in those years. Last year she developed a pulmonary condition that requires oxygen maintenance and has suffered bouts of depression. Her husband, an affable and caring person has had some problems with “dizziness" and forgetfulness. Of all the sisters she was probably the most vivacious. Now she just survives the best she can. It’s scary when one becomes breathless at the slightest exertion. The picture I took at the restaurant shows a glimmer of that ability to have a good laugh.

Then there is us. I’m the oldest son from my family and Lib is the last one in hers. I, too, was the outsider, but Lib’s mom knew a little about my family (church of the Brethren missionaries) and her sister had been married to that cousin of mine. That helped! To her siblings she is still the baby. They laugh when we remind them we are in our 70's. We’re just young folk compared to them and they are right. There are a sister and a brother and his wife who have already passed on.

As we look up the family tree from our vantage point we see how our later years may play out. We envy some of our contemporaries who can still walk three miles or dance the night away. How wonderful to be arthritis and pain free. On the other hand, we are most grateful to be able to reinvent ourselves in a new place and be so near, at least, one of our children. We don’t plan five or ten years in the future, but rather live as best we can in the near present. Sudden death by heart attack or accident looks a lot more attractive than the slow debilitating downward and inevitable spiral we are witnessing. It is not a frequent topic of discussion between Lib and I. (Women are life givers and maintainers, death and dying seems sort of an unpleasant subject to be avoided in polite conversation at all costs). I do ponder, because we are statistically at that point in our lives when either the sudden exit or the slow spiral down is imminent. There is much to weigh and consider.

What a blessing to be part of a family even the remnants! This family (originally Flory) still convenes a family reunion each summer in the Harrisonburg/Bridgewater area . There the next generation, now in their early 50's and 60's, mixes and learns from those of us at the next stage. They’re beginning to see life more from our perspective and less from their children’s. We sort of become living parables to each other, to learn how to deal with both the richness and the pain that living brings. I learn from my Flory side in-laws how love between man and wife is expressed in gentleness, patience, and tolerance, helping each other bear and manage their infirmities rather than complaining or blaiming. Another ten years and most of the original Flory brother and sisters will likely be gone. Here’s hoping that the future of the next generation will be as kind to them as ours was to us. And that they, too, will live long enough to understand and benefit from this later chapter in life.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Sometimes a time and place in life is so unique that one is loathe to lose it. Life moves on...and should. Happily for some there are memory tools now available to retrace at least a portion. That I spent twelve years in India changed my outlook profoundly. A significant part of that outlook has to be attributed to the three plus years at Woodstock. Bits and pieces of this are strewn through past postings...this apologia puts it all in one recent place.

Imagine that in your most impressionable teen years you suddenly found yourself half way round the globe at a spot in the foothills of the great Himalayas. It was a place you had visited just slightly as a young child several times, enough that certain pleasurable impressions had imprinted themselves in the mind. Now you were going to school there. You went for three years and then just as suddenly were uprooted from this Shangri-la like spot and all its associations back to your
“real” world. Suppose a class mate from that time and place tracked you down and invited you to join others who had this experience in a round-robin letter. Later you would attend annual meetings of alumni, sing the school songs, see familiar faces now older, participate in the hearing/retelling the lore of this special institution. All this would tend to expand the importance of this place in the mind, would it not? And because you were retired and used computers it became possible to vicariously revisit this wondrous place. If there were people blogging about their experiences there, it might be tempting to make contact. And I did.

Woodstockers tend to experience some things in common. First and foremost are the mountains. One exists among mountains in Mussoorie. The Woodstock campus is spread along the flanks of a ridge and the dorms, especially Midlands rests on a diminutive hill. The cottages where parents stayed during their vacation times dotted the mountainside. Ours ( Prospect Point) had one of the finest views from the front and side yards. From the side yard we could often see the great ice covered peaks of the greater Himalayas. The front yard presented a great vista of the Dune valley in the distance and the roofs of Ridgewood and Midlands in the foreground valley below.

Seasons were more pronounced or so it seemed. When I first arrived at Prospect Point in early March it was possible to see a snow fall. Mornings were definitely chilly and the smell of oak wood burning in the fireplace was an every day and ordinary sensory experience. Spring followed shortly with the fragrance of Mock Orange and other flowers coupled with the pungent aroma of deodar when the wind blew through their boughs. These were the days when the air was crystal clean and filled with a mysterious expectancy.

Next would come the monsoons. This meant spectacular thunderstorms, the proliferation of insects and ferns, and a pervasive “stickiness” from the high humidity. It was a season of some danger. There were landslides when too much rain separated the layers of soil from their anchors in the rocks. Small earthquakes in an earthquake prone zone also caused landslides. I was there when Parker Hall had a big one right across from the front porch. One of my school mates lost part of his family when part of the mountain slid into their cottage a few years previous. Though never stung by one,I found a small scorpion one morning clinging to a sock
I was about to pull over my foot.

Finally the monsoons drifted away and fall crept slowly down the great crags. This was a season of great beauty. It was a time to hike and to enjoy outdoor sports. All the while, Woodstock was working its magic into the core of one's being.It was a also a time of deepening melancholy as the days shortened. We would soon be separating from our pals and girl friends over the winter break.

We were there from all over the world. We heard English with numerous accents. Some of us even affected “Babu” English that was spoken by our Indian friends. If we had strong religious convictions, we at least encountered others of different ersuasions and so learned to entertain other possibilities. American culture prevailed at that time, but British and Indian were surely next in line. Woodstock saw itself as a “world” institution where people came together to learn of each other and develop a great respect for the environment. We were all students, whether we occupied the role of administrator, mentor, auxiliary, or pupil. Among the students were often outstanding musicians, potential scientists, or world rulers in the making. Personalities were encouraged to think freely yet learned not to be totally abrasive. Young males were given an astonishing amount of freedom to explore the environs.

Meals, worship experiences, sports events, walks to the bazaars, dorm life, special days and celebrations, the shared music both performed and heard, all served to intensify this unique time in one’s existence. Because it was a boarding school and there was no family to return to each day, faculty became almost surrogate parents. Dorm room mates became strong friends or sometimes not. There was often intense competition, especially in the sports venues. Friends tended to remain friends for a lifetime.

Woodstock capitalized on this experience. It opened itself to the world by making good use of the Net. It has encouraged the community to blog. Jeanne, Jennie, James and Nate are teachers and blog regularly. Through them I’m able to reconstruct for myself a Woodstock and Mussoorie in real time. Though it is not possible for me to hop on a plane and be there, I can participate in imagination by reading their posted activitiies and impressions. Now when I see their names associated with campus activities and community projects in the school paper, The Quadrangle, I feel as if I know them. When they first arrived it took a season to become accustomed to India, Woodstock, and Mussoorie. Each is at a predictable stage and is being shaped by the “Woodstock” experience. It is so unique that it would take a very hard heart not to be seduced by it. My grateful thanks to them for sharing their lives so eloquently with those who have already been or may be induced to go there.

Others arrive in Mussorie as tourists or NGO’s, or come to learn Hindi at the Landour Language School. The NGO’s often do both, learn Hindi and then assist with community projects in the mountain villages that abound in the valleys. That's how I found Jill and David, two who were working in education and architecture. Though both are now in the US, their blogs still speak to me. Google also has amazing maps of the Mussoorie area and it is possible to see most of the Woodstock buildings and many of the hillside cottages, even Prospect Point, if one knows where to look.

My love of mountains, interest in things Indian and international, joy in music making, tendency to look deeper and be more than casually reflective must certainly derive from those unique years.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Richmond Snow!

For two winters we have wished for enough snow to measure. Each season we would be teased by forecasts followed by just a few flurries. So when they said we could get as much as 8 inches I was a bit dubious . The temperature was about 32-34 Sunday morning when we went to church. As we came home from service there was a grey overcast sky and rain mixed with sleet.

That’s what it did most of Sunday afternoon. I went on Facebook and sister Mary, who lives near Crozet, was excited about a forecast of 10 + inches. Based on past experiences I dissd the notion, hated to disillusion her.

Around 5:30 it started to snow very large flakes. Yes the “web” forecasts were pretty sure we would get significant amounts. The temperature dropped a little and the snow lost its “flurry” pattern and settled into a steady beat that began to stick to surfaces,

We ate leftovers for supper and watched with increasing happiness as the storm began to paint a winter evening landscape. It was a wet and heavy event and clung beautifully to tree limbs and branches. Facebook traffic between a small Kinzie set suddenly burgeoned. Mary reminded me of my negative prediction!

Around 8:00 pm Cathy called and said that she had lost power. Our own lights flickered several times but never died completely. Around 11:30 we went to bed uneasy about how Cathy’s family would cope the night. The flakes were coming down fast and furious..probably 4 inches on the deck.

This morning it was still snowing lightly when we ate breakfast. Could not reach Cathy by either cell or land line. Lib got the itch to get out in it and took a broom to the walk. I took photos and movies of her enjoying her activity. I used some down time to begin work on my taxes and to find out about Richmond Philharmonic rehearsal cancellation. We tried to reach Cathy several times but the circuits were down.

Around two or so after lunch we heard the doorbell. Wondered who it could be..and there was Cathy and family. Her husband and young son spent much of the afternoon widening the path to the road and clearing the driveway. That was hard work as none had melted and there was probably 8-10 inches. Devin watched a little TV, climbed up on his daddy’s lap and promptly dropped into a deep sleep. Little feller was “jus’ plumb wore out” from all the shoveling.

Had a wonderful visit with our young family! They went home and soon called to let us know they had electricity. It is now near 10:00 pm and very little has melted and it will be even colder tonight. Winter has a grip on us. Sometimes the snow brings more than just beautiful cold....warm and thoughtful hearts!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I Believe...

Beliefs are important because they are what steer us through life. Since we age and since we are human, beliefs often change. We acquire our beliefs through experience, education, and psychological predisposition. In our youth we are apt to be quite sure about our limited belief system. For many, who are not disposed for further critical thought or analysis, this is where an atrophy may set in. As we age and life has presented us with its challenges and conundrums we tend to be less sure about core beliefs. That is the wisdom presented in biblical Job.

Now that I’ve arrived at a ripe and reflective age here are a few of my beliefs...

I believe that “reality” as we experience it is real...that we are not just a “dream” in the mind of the Creator. (Not sure we can prove that ...but beliefs should be rational!)

I believe in a Creator. I believe that human life is one of God’s most interesting experiments and that each of us was brought into being for the working out of that vast enterprise.

I assent to the tenants expressed in “The Apostle’s Creed”. It encompasses in a few words concepts that continue to be studied and interpreted.

I believe that love is stronger than hate, though “the wrong seems oft so strong”.

Science is incapable of solving “our problems”. There is always an equality equation. What is solved at one end begets another at the other.

Though I subscribe to “the sanctity of all life” I believe that human life takes precedence over other forms. That said, we’re still required to steward the earth on which we live.

I believe in a sort of “karma”. We shall reap what we sow if not in this life then
in the next.

I believe we will recognize each other in the next mode and that implies some memory of our present earthly existence.

Though I use scientific logic as much as possible...I believe there are either things we don’t understand , or that current knowledge is not capable of explaining. (mental telepathy, prophesy, the meaning of sets of "order" or laws
in the universe we barely know.)

At the end, and there will be an end, something new and different will be. The experiment will continue only in a new mode. A part of us will continue into that new mode.