Letter from America

Letter from America.................

My cousins Pat & Tony gave me the key to the researching the Ient family in the USA. Pat’s daughter, Margaret had undertaken extensive family history research, probably starting with information collected together by her grandfather, my Uncle Tom. Also, Tony, with his wife Tess, had been on a trip to the USA and discovered Ient relations back in the 1970s. As a result of this I contacted Cousin Ellen, granddaughter of our common ancestor, Johann Philip JENT (from the state of Württemberg, Germany).

This is a copy of a letter from her giving the history of the family in the USA (as it was in 1990).

The letter gives a potted history of the 5 Jent (named Yent here) girls who were taken to the USA in the 19th century:







October 16, 1990

Dear Victor,

There is no need whatsoever for apologizing for writing to me.  I am glad to hear from you and would like to know all our English cousins.  No doubt you know that Margaret Risley corresponded with me for some time and I sent her quite a bit of information, some of which I will repeat here since she is flying high and may not know where any of that information is located now.  However, if you are really interested in birth and death dates, I expect Pat could find the material.

I suppose you know vaguely that your grandfather and his sister were the older half sister and brother of my mother and her sisters.  I don’t know how old they were when they last saw the two older ones.  They lived in Stuttgart, Germany until the death of their parents.  My daughter Connie and her husband were in Germany in May and they found the name Jent in the Stuttgart phone book but didn’t have the time to look them up.

My grandfather Phillip Yent (spelled Jent in Germany) was a tax collector, who walked around the city in all weather, and he died from pneumonia.  I assume he was a man of some education but I don’t know.  My grandmother, (your great grandmother) was Carolina I think, and she died within a year after her husband.  The girls then were aged from 19 to 11.  They were Pauline, Mary, Caroline, Anna and Mathilda.  My mother was Anna.  A state guardian was appointed for them supposedly to guard their estate, which he later claimed was non existent except for enough money to send them to their cousins in Ohio.  The cousins were Keyerlebers, and I think they were on the mother’s side of the family.  In Euclid, Ohio they lived on a grape vineyard farm and were hard working German people.  The three older girls immediately got housework jobs, and Mathilda was sent at the end of the summer to their aunt, Mrs Ott, who lived about a hundred miles away, and my mother was also placed in a housework job.  She still didn’t speak any English and was only fourteen, but she survived until she married at the age of 30.


Pauline married one of her Keyerleber cousins, Paul.  They had seven children: Herman, Paul, Lina, Martha, Ernie, Anna, and Frederick, called Sunny Jim.  The only one still living is Ernie, and he lives alone but is no longer competent mentally.  Since he never married, just who is responsible for him is uncertain.  Philip and Barbara, who are the children of Jimmy, are assumed to be the ones who should take the responsibility, but they live 30 miles away and have their own families.  

Herman married Ruth Stevenson and had three children Arnold, Bobby, and Laverne.  Laverne is the only one of the three living.  She has children and grandchildren, but I don’t know them well enough to tell you much about them.  The same is true of Bobby’s children, but I have met them all and they are good folks.

Lina died at 16 of the flu, Martha and Anna never married but were working girls in a bank.  Martha died at 27, Anna in old age.  I thought my aunt Pauline was a dear and I loved to visit in her home.  It was a big old farmhouse with a tremendous kitchen, by today’s standards, and a dining room to match.  Many times the five sisters and their children assembled there and enjoyed being together and having lots of food.  Those Yent girls were great cooks.  It was not what anyone would call a happy marriage, but when I asked Aunt Pauline about it when she was quite old, she said, ‘It would have been so nice to have a husband who would talk to me’.

Well, it was a stable marriage.  One could depend on Aunt Pauline to take care of her family, keep a pleasant home and welcome her relatives.  You could also depend on Uncle Paul to sit around after the day’s work was done, his heavy beard hiding his face, and his vocal expressions mostly grunts.  

All the children turned out all right except Herman, who came back from the First World War quite a mess, surly, lazy, and undependable.   I was especially fond of my cousin Anna.  She was a very mild girl and was considered to be a follower of her sister Martha.  After Martha died, Anna picked up speed, learned to drive, and became just about as capable as Martha had been.

Paul Jr had three daughters: Betty Jean, who is Mrs Jack Weber, Marjorie, and Martha Sue.  Betty and Jack had five children, and now have seven granddaughters, including one set of twins.  The Webers live on Long Island, New York.  Jack is a retired dentist.  Jack is Jewish and Betty Jean converted.  Their daughter Barbara followed her mother’s example of bravely and happily marrying out of the ordinary, a black man.

Marjorie is semi-retired from her career of school psychologist and is Mrs Bernie Kahn.  They have three brilliant sons, two of whom are psychiatrists.  Marjorie and Bernie live in Canton, Ohio.

The youngest daughter of Paul is Martha Sue, married to Bill Gent, also of German descent, but although the name is similar to Jent, no one has found a direct connection. They live in Tulsa, Oklahoma where Bill has his own tool supply business and Marsue is a nurse.  Their three sons and one daughter are all married, and there are three grandsons, a step granddaughter, and another child soon to be born.  I know this family best of that generation, have visited  several times and I am very much impressed by all of them.  Each time I’ve been there, the whole family came to dinner.

Two of the grandchildren, Mathew and Steven, are three year old twins whose mother is Japanese, and the boys look nothing alike.  Mathew looks Japanese and Steven has entirely different appearance and personality.  Mathew is all business, and his play is very purposeful, such as moving a pile of bricks to the other side of the yard where he stacks them neatly.  Steven is a dreamy, sweet child whose thoughts, I gather, are not utilitarian.  The other grandson is Trevor, Paula’s child.  Paula lost the sight of one eye when she was a child, and was very shy and lacking in confidence until her marriage, and sheseems very outgoing and confident now.

Jimmy’s two children, by Peggy? are Phillip and Barbara, as I said.  I think Phillip has three children and so does Barbara, including twins.  The last I heard they all live in Painesville, Ohio.  Jim and Peggy died before they reached old age, Jimmy from leukaemia and Peggy from a heart attack.

Aunt Pauline cared more for her daughter-in-law Ruth than for the others, but with Ruth she was uneasy because it was her son who was leading Ruth and the children such a precarious existence.  Paul’s wife Anna Hackney (always referred to as Anna-Paul’s-wife) hated Aunt Pauline.  I heard her talk about it when she was about 88, the year before she died.  Anna was no housekeeper and she didn’t take care of her babies very well, and Aunt Pauline couldn’t overlook the fact that her grandchildren didn’t have proper meals and were often wet and dirty while their mother played the piano.  Anna didn’t endear herself to her daughters either.  They thought she was a pain in the neck.  Marsue told me that she learned after she was grown up that her mother had forged her own birth certificate because she knew someone in the courthouse who helped on it to conceal the fact that she was ten years older than the man she decided to marry.  The last few years of their marriage, she had to be a mother to Paul because he suffered from and died because of Alzheimer’s disease and had to be cared for like a toddler.


Aunt Mary was probably the least attractive physically of the five girls, but she was outstanding in her kindness and devotion to her sisters and in her ability to laugh her way through a life that was not very funny. According to my mother, it was Mary who kept them all alive on shipboard, by blithely making friends with upper class passengers so that she could sneak good food they gave her to her seasick sisters.  The Koester children were Anna, (each sister named one daughter for my mother) Helen, Florence, Willie and Walter.  I think there were also two others who died as babies.  Uncle Will was a bricklayer, which was considered a good trade in those days, but they were always poor.  Florence, Willie and Walter were full of the dickens, always doing something for a laugh.  Helen and Anna were more serious.  Helen was the only one who went to college.  She married rather late in life, taught school, and had no children.

Anna married Will Finkemeir and their children were Arlene and Henry William, now called Bill.  Emil became an alcoholic and their family life was very dismal.  Anna had a secret child by another man, boarded her out somewhere until she was six months old, and then brought her home, saying she was boarding her for a family in which the mother had died.  When the child named Dorothy was six, Anna died, and her sister Helen found Dorothy’s birth certificate.  The marvel of all this was that Arlene said her mother had never been away from home one night during what must have been her dreadful pregnancy, Arlene had always slept with her mother and never suspected she was pregnant.  Arlene married quite young and had one child who lived only two months.  Arlene died suddenly at about 50.  

Florence married Clyde Walls, who was responsible for finding the English cousins when he was in England during the war.  They had no children but adopted Dorothy.  Dorothy has had a rocky marital career, and I don’t know where she is now or how many children she had, but she was the mainstay of Florence and Clyde in their old age.

Willie married when he was very young, had two sons, and no job; so he took work in a junk yard, where he was injured, developed blood poisoning and died as a very young man.  His wife and small sons disappeared into the wild blue yonder and we have no idea what happened to them.

Walter married Esther?, had two sons, Dana and Bill.  His wife became very unstable because of a brain condition, Walter took to heavy drinking, Dana was not very responsible, and Bill at fourteen took over the family problems, doing his best to reform his father, watch over his mother and hold down an after school job. He writes to me now and then, is married, has one little boy and seems to be still a pretty fine young fellow.  His parents are both dead.  Dana is married and had three children, (so far as I know) twin girls and a boy named Paul.  There seem to be a lot of twins among the Yent offspring.  Bill and Dana live in California.  Their cousin Bill Finkemeier lives there too, is a well off business man with two grown children.  I think Bill F and his cousins are not friends, no doubt the Koesters having too many problems.


Aunt Lina married her cousin August Keyerleber.  He was a house builder and Aunt Lina helped him with that, doing all the painting of the houses.  She was also an accomplished dressmaker, and her daughters Mathilda and Frieda were always well dressed.  Their first child, Anna, died soon after birth.  Mathilda had no children but in one of her three marriages, she adopted a daughter, Mary Lou, who now has a married daughter, Cindy.  Mathilda, known as Mitzie, has been in a nursing home now for several years.  She is very old and no longer competent.  Frieda died in her forties.  She was never married.  Karl, the only son, was a journalist.  He married Genie?, and their three children are Gail, Joe and Kathy.

After retirement Karl studied earnestly the subject of alternative energy systems and wrote a book about it.  I thought it was an excellent book but he said that by the time he travelled all over studying geothermal and wave movement sites and then wrote it, it was already out of date; so it was never published.

Gail lives in California, has been famous as a sailor on small boats, has been a teacher, and is recently remarried, but she is fighting cancer and is said to be seriously ill.  She is about 50.  Joe is a marine photographer and film maker.  He and his wife live in Washington DC where Meredith (my daughter) sometimes sees him.  He made a videotape of Meredith at work that has been used in management conferences.  Kathy is one I have never seen.  Karl died maybe ten years ago.  His wife Genie lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

This was a family in which style and being up to date on prestigious things were stressed by the girls.  Not by the parents.  Aunt Lina was too busy to bother and Uncle Gust was another dour non-conversational German.  Mitzie was one to the first to have a permanent wave and was snippily proud of her fuzzy curls, although it took 8 hours to have it done, and she fainted at the end of the ordeal.  Poor Mitzie.  Her last years before she was too incapable to live at home, she was a farmer’s wife and she helped pick and sell the vegetables.  They lived in Saybrook, Ohio.


There were four of us in the family, but only my sister Margaret and I are living.  My brother Milton died about 25 years ago of cancer.  His son Philip with his wife Irene and son Pierre live in Sedalia, Missouri.  Milton’s daughter Susan lives in California with her 18 year old son Don Kine, and I think with her second family, but the last I heard there was marital trouble there.  Margaret married late in life and didn’t have children, but she helped vastly in bringing up my two, Meredith and Connie.  For nearly two years now Margaret has lived with Connie, her husband Don Emmerling and Connie’s 11 year old daughter Megan Tracy.  Margaret is very handicapped, is mostly in a wheel chair, and has poor vision, but she still tries to write letters and read.  Actually she knows more about the family than I do, and she did try to get together as much information on the Keyerlebers than anyone else did, but I don’t know how much she has.  She attended a Keyerleber reunion a few years ago and met many relatives, some of whom we had known years ago and hadn’t seen since.  Margaret has been a great letter writer.

Meredith, Connie and I all struggled through graduate school to earn Master’s Degrees, for what that is worth.  Such degrees are a big help in getting jobs, but one doesn’t necessarily use the information.  Meredith’s is in counseling.  She is married to Tom Hargrave and they have a ten year old daughter Anna, who is a real gem.  Also in their home is Tom’s 97 year old father.  Tom is the director of the Metropolitan YMCA in Washington DC, and Meredith is Director of Member Services for Group Health Association in Washington.  They are very busy people but they manage somehow. 

Connie is research librarian for the teachers in the public schools in Richmond, Virginia. I think she has some new title now and is training school librarians in modern methods. 

Our brother Ben, the youngest in the family, died in January of this year of cancer.  Ben was married but never had children.  He was a puzzling character and I seldom saw him since he grew up because he was ultra conservative and religious, which I am not, but I was with him for a week in his last month and enjoyed finding that we still liked to sing and reminisce.  He could play the organ better than I can play the piano, which isn’t saying much but we both liked it.  I am sending you a book I wrote in 1977 which might tell you more about the whole family.


Aunt Mathilda and Uncle Ed lived on Chardon Road in Euclid, Ohio about a quarter mile from Aunt Pauline.  They had a chicken farm, plus other crops and Uncle Ed was a very hard working man who expected the whole family to work just as hard, without stopping for such foolishness as reading the mail.  He drank quite a lot and then a lot more until he eventually drank himself to death.  The family tried all kinds of inducements, bribes, pleading and threats but nothing helped.

The three children are Edna, who is about 85, Hilda, known as Billie, who is 80, and Ed who is about 77.  Billie never married.  She is in poor health and poor wealth, mostly because she lavished her money on her relatives, especially the sons of her niece Sally.  She worked in a factory office until retirement and then she took in a cat, which has had numerous kittens, and they had kittens as well; so she now had a cat dominated house and lives alone with lots of anger and frustration.

Edna married Jack whom she had known for many years, but they put off marriage until they were in their late thirties because of the depression and then they had one child, Alice.   Alice has always known her own mind and didn’t care much whether ‘they’, that is, the community gossips, thought she was awful.  She married Bill Channel with no wedding fuss, became a cosmetologist, then a restaurant owner and manager and now is a deputy sheriff.  After all, she is a very young and able grandmother and thought she might as well do something different.  Of all the relatives around Connie’s age, she likes Alice best because she is not so traditional.  Alice’s children are Cindy, now a mother of two, and Jimmy, who has been working for the last few years in a factory, one that pays very high wages, so that he can start college without money worries.  Edna has always been gentle and sweet.  She is forgetful now and often repeats herself but knows what she is doing.  Although depending on Alice in many ways Edna lives alone in a fine apartment that Alice and Bill own.  My sister and Edna have always been close friends.

My cousin Ed fell in love with a very shy girl that he saw at a skating pond, married her about 55 years back, and they are still firmly together.  Ed has always been a factory worker and farmer.  They live on their 50 acre farm still but are not able to do much work there now.
Their three children are Sally, Tim and Lindy.  Sally is married to Leonard Coe, and the mother of four sons.  The oldest boy is a geologist married to another geologist.  They live and work in Colorado.  That young man, Jeff, broke the family hold on its members and got away, much to the dismay of his parents and his doting aunt Billie.  The second son Chris didn’t do so well.  He became intensely religious (fundamentally) and sees sin everywhere.  Married and the father of a six year old girl, he is said to pay little attention to either wife or child.  The third son Scott is almost totally deaf from birth, but he works at a cement plant, drives a car and has journeyed across country to see America.  The fourth son is 12 year old Danny, a very special joy to his parents.

The second child of Ed and Arlene is Tim, a big blonde man, whose ambition was to be a dairy farmer, and he was that for as much as 20 years.  His wife Helen was a widow with two sons, who helped Tim until they married and left home; then he had 100 cows and a huge barn with a huge mortgage.  The dairy business is now a cutthroat operation, and two years ago Tim and Helen lost their home and business.   Tim now works in a lumber yard and lives with his parents.  Helen is there too on weekends because she has some kind of job too far away to allow commuting.

The third child of that family is Lindy, a nurse, the mother of Raymond and Tracy, who are young adults.  They all live in rural Ohio, close together except for Jeff in Colorado.  The Ed Scheuring family is fond of saying in one way or another ‘In our family, we always (or we never) do this or that’.  This is an aspersion on how others live, Alice for example, and certainly my daughters, who have been divorced.  (Heavens!) and my Meredith is married to a black man.  They no longer say much about that and they treat our beloved Anna all right when they see her, but that is seldom.

I don’t know if this is the kind of information you wanted.  Other addresses or facts are available if you want them.  I tried to give you personal ideas instead of mere facts.  This may be far more than you bargained for, but if you find it interesting, how about telling me about the Ients?

Our family was closer to the Scheurings than to any of the others.  After Uncle Ed died, Aunt Mathilda  sold the farm and moved to Painesville where we lived and we saw her a lot and always enjoyed her.  We also loved to go to their farm when we were young.  Billie and Edna played the piano and we sang our heads off while Mom and Aunt Mathilda fixed cakes and pies and ham sandwiches and potato salad.

The address you had was where I’ve been working summers for the last 3 years.  I am 75, how old are you? 

Sincerely yours,
Ellen Crawford Moore

132N Washington, Prescott, Arizona 86301

Other than Ellen's, addresses have been removed. Otherwise this letter is complete as Ellen had written it,

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