About the Author, Donald Ash:
|Author Donald Ash|
Near Christmas 1994 my mother (Marjorie Findahl Stoscup) received a document in the mail from her cousin Donald. It was called "The Family Tree" and in it Donald had compiled information on his family tree, this being the first volume entitled "Ash, Nickels or Nichols and Kulick".
Of this work Cousin Donald stated that "Some members of the families have been asking for something like this for a long time. I hope you will enjoy reading about the families. I just wish I had not waited so long to write this paper and had listened a little harder when my parents were telling me about the family."
Bernice (wife) & Don Ash
|Cousin Donald was the son of Clarence Ash & Emma (Nichels) Ash|
(Emma preferred the Nichels spelling over Nichols)
I can relate to cousin Donald, except in my case the family didn't pass on a lot information about their history, I believe simply because they were so used to "living in the now".
As a child I still recall the reaction I got when asking my Grandmother what her name was. I knew it wasn't just "Grandma" and I can still see her eyes looking back at me in a pause perhaps wondering why I would be so curious as she quietly replied, "Martha".
The photographs I have been recreating digitally come from her collection of family images I've been aquainted with all my life. This has been since the days we would visit Grandma as children and I would spend a lot of time pouring through her albums up in her attic wondering, just who are all these people and how do I fit into their story?
|Don Ash (Dearborn, MI - July 1943)|
For decades I've had this dream of connecting all the dots between these images and my life. Finally, with the advent of the internet along with the pioneering work of Cousin Donald and others before me, I can put together some of the pieces of the puzzle and come to know some of the characters within these images.
Along with this work, my mother Marjorie has a lot of memories which, when I can, I use to help set the mood of the times and humanize the characters. After all, this is where we came from and this is what colorizes what we are.
Donald goes on to write "We have only compiled the 'Ash, Nichels or Nichols and Kulick' families at this time. ...I would appreciate it very much if you would send me...information that is missing, like maiden names, names of children, dates of any kind pertaining to the family or any interesting happenings...what our parents did before they were married, stuff like that."
I do not know if any more information was collected or compiled or if Donald was ever able to finish the work he began, but it is to my endless gratitude that I have what he started in my hands today which forms the foundation of this series on what I am calling "The Nichols-Kulick Family".
While my Grandfather Gordon Findahl left us with a pretty good selection of photographs which tell a rich visual story of his family, photos of my Grandmother Martha Kulick's very early family life are scarce.
Where the visual does not exist, Cousin Donald has enriched us with his written work about those early days and tells us just who the Nichols-Kulick Family were and what they may have been like.
Donald Ash recently passed away, April 29, 2009 at the age of 89.
|Caroline (Rienas) Nichols-Kulick & My Grandma Martha Kulick|
Donald refers to the family as "Nichels or Nichols-Kulick" and for simplicity and based off of the spelling that my Grandmother Martha used I am making the preference to Nichols. As for the Nichols-Kulick connection, this woman shown, my Great-Grandmother Caroline Rienas is the common denominator between both families.
Caroline Rienas' mother's maiden name was Pilkie. Caroline was born in Germany 1862 (exact date not known at this time.)
According to Cousin Donald, Caroline had sisters named Laura & Tinna and brothers named Carl, Fred & Gust.
Caroline married Gustiv Nichols in Germany and they had their first child there, a daughter named Mary in 1883.
From Donald Ash: (Gustiv Nichols) came to the United States first leaving (Caroline Rienas) and (their daughter) Mary in Germany (this was after the German Empire was formed in 1871) until he could find a job to earn enough money to send for them.
He settled in Detroit because some of his relatives had come over earlier and had taken up residence in and around the Detroit area. ...Caroline also had relatives in this area before she came to the United States (which may have helped influence the decision to move here.) I figure (he) arrived in 1881 or 1882 and then (Caroline) arrived in the Summer of 1883 because Mary was about five months old at the time.
|Unidentified woman with my Great-Grandmother Caroline visiting the cemetery|
Donald continues: I do not know much about (Gustiv) Nichols except that he was an ordinary laborer and was working as a grave digger when he died. I was told that he died from heat prostration after a days work. (Note, this is what my mother Marjorie has told me as well.)
The exact date I do not know but it had to be between 1890-1895 based on the birth dates of the children. Where (Gustiv) Nichols is buried I do not know. I understand that (Caroline) did not have too much money at the time of his death and the cemetery where he was working donated a plot for his burial.
Caroline Nichols had five children with Gustiv Nichols. They are Mary, Herman, Emma, Richard & Alma.
She died September 25, 1922 at the age of 60 and is buried in Gethsemane Cemetery in Detroit, MI (which is off of Gratiot & Conner St. very close to the City Airport.) She is located in Section D Lot #414 in a plot purchased by Uncle Frank Temme.
My mother Marjorie remembers: Grandma Martha learned about her mother's death when she was called home from work on that day.
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