JT's Blog

Things that interest me, things that happened to me, things that I like, even some things that I don't like...

Mary and Paul Addendum

Just wanted to add a correction and a few additional thoughts to my previous post.

Aaron and Mary Haak’s gravestone

First of all, Aaron’s last name was not misspelled on his and Mary’s marriage application. His last name really was originally spelled Haag, as his parents were Moses and Catharine (Knoll) Haag, and all of his siblings (six, apparently) retained that spelling. Only Aaron revised it to Haak.

Why? I can only speculate, but possibly to bring the spelling more in line with the way the name was actually pronounced. It was a fairly common practice in times past to revise the spelling of names especially for new immigrants to match the spelling with the newfound land’s language.

Actually my grandfather Harry Zellers added the “S” to his last name, which in previous generations had been essless. Why? I don’t know, but perhaps because others were incorrectly adding the “S” and he wanted to avoid confusion.

So why did only Aaron among all his siblings revise the spelling of his name? Again, I don’t know, but I can say with some assurance that only he was married to Mary Elizabeth Troutman, who apparently adopted the Haak spelling exclusively. Aaron, on the other hand, vacillated a bit. His funeral notice in the newspaper uses the Haag spelling, but his gravestone uses Haak. Then again, it was presumably Mary who ordered the gravestone.

Notice in the January 16, 1942, edition of the Lebanon Daily News

As I was getting ready to write this I wondered how I knew to spell Mary Haak’s name with two A’s rather than like the bird that makes lazy circles in the sky. As far as I knew, before I started researching her the other day, I had never seen her name in print. Then I realized it was probably an unconscious analogy with the Haak Brothers department store in Lebanon, PA. I wonder if Aaron was related to those brothers? I wonder if they really were brothers?

Also, while researching Aaron and Mary, I came across an interesting little tidbit. In the January 16, 1942, edition of the Lebanon Daily News a notice was published regarding the estate of one Isaac Killmer. It’s difficult to read and I don’t understand all the legalese, but the upshot is that Aaron and Mary Haak, along with Lee Eck and five others became the owners of two tracts of land of two acres each between the railroad tracks and our old house on West Main Street. That area had always been fenced off to allow Lee Eck’s sheep to safely graze. I had thought it was solely the property of Lee Eck, but apparently not, but perhaps he eventually bought out the others.

Anyway Lee Eck was the principal at the Richland school and later at the combined Elco district. He and his wife lived just a few doors up the street from us on West Main, and I honestly can’t recall ever seeing him anywhere but at school. On second thought, I think I did see him out back wrangling his sheep a couple times. Does one wrangle sheep?

He always seemed to me to be one of those people who got into education without having any affection whatsoever for children, regarding them as merely a necessary evil part of the process. But perhaps I’m doing him an injustice.