Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Durtschi. I'm a great-grandson of Edward Durtschi, Sr. I grew up in Teton Valley, Idaho. This place is a valley, perhaps 15 miles wide by 30 miles long, encased on three sides by mountains. The Idaho and Wyoming border slices through the eastern corner of this basin. Our family home is on the state line about 60 feet on the Wyoming side, 50 yards to the south of "Ski Hill Road".
About a year ago I decided to build a biographic sketch on my dad. I thought it would be more interesting if I included a short section about his ancestors. So I dug out what old life stories I had picked up at the family reunions (which I had never read), hoping to find a anecdote here or there I could use in my story. As I read through the few stories I had, I became more and more amazed with the fascinating and incredible experiences different members of that first Durtschi family encountered. Before long, I found myself writing and phoning different uncles, aunts, and cousins, trying to compile copies of all the family stories.
As I read and contemplated those stories, I became increasingly astonished with the heritage which was mine, of that original Durtschi family who emigrated from Switzerland. I was thrilled to read of the varied experiences they had. It seemed as though I was, for the first time, coming in touch with who I was. Alex Haley's grandmother, in her old age, said it one way, "You got to be what you got to be. You got to know where you come from. But there ain't nobody can tell you where you be going."* I realized that learning about my ancestry helped me to understand my own potential, and how it would strongly impact the manner in which I lived my life. I thought about my brothers, sisters, and cousins, and the other members of the third and fourth generations. Could it be possible that this story would have an effect in their lives also? It is with this intent I have spent a goodly portion of my spare time during the past year in compiling this story. The first Durtschi family went through some extremely difficult, yet exciting and faith promoting times. Our roots are in each of them. They were truly great and noble people. If you are a descendant of Edward and Rosina Durtschi, this story is especially for you. May it give you the strength and hope it has given me.
Up to this time (1987), each member of the Edward Durtschi, Sr. family had his or her own life story written. This book is a compilation of those stories. Even though it has gone through four major rewrites, and at least as many minor ones, I have taken great care not to alter any of the facts of the original stories. I have also been careful not to make up incidents to try and tie the loose ends together, of which there are many. However, we do occasionally leave the original stories for added information. Somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of the information in this book is new. But when new information is added, it is to a reliable source. I do not mean to imply, however, that some of the styles of the different life stories have not changed. For example, Fred Durtschi's story does not read at all like the original. And at times, I have blended my personal experiences about this man with that of the story which his son wrote about him. And Fred's story now is in a completely different format than the original story. If there are errors in this book, as I suppose some have crept through, I acknowledge them as my own. A great amount of effort has been expended to prevent it, however, but those things happen.
After long and careful thought about what format the story should take, it was finally decided that Edward Durtschi, Sr. should narrate the story about his family, with a generous supply of quotes by his children. Some of the original stories were written in the first person; some were not. To help make the story flow more smoothly, I took the liberty to rewrite those stories into the first person. Then I took all the stories, sifted through them carefully, and tried to chronologically merge them into one story. Incidentally, this story really isn't intended to replace the individual stories. Indeed, there are incidents in each story which are not included in this one. Some of the children of each original family member who helped me proofread this story expressed the thought that integrating the stories made each story lose some of its individuality and spirit which it had. Perhaps this is true, but I felt it was more important that we understand what was happening to different members of the family during the same period of time. And let me emphasize the fact that this story does not intend to replace the original stories. If you do not yet have them, I heartily encourage you to acquire your own set of original stories.
The original authors of the stories are as follows:
Story Author Relation of Author This Story Proofread by Edward Sr & Rosina Clara Burgener Daughter Rosina (Daughter) Lee J. Bybee Son in Law Lee J. Bybee Elise (Daughter) Alma Gertsch Son Alma Gertsch Edward Jr. (Son) LaVerne Darrington Daughter LaVerne Darrington Caroline (Daughter) Caroline Oliver Daughter Caroline Oliver Clara (Daughter) Herself Bill Burgener Alfred (Son) Isabel Walker Daughter Isabel Walker Emma (Daughter) Lucinda Jensen Daughter Lucinda Jensen Fred (Son) Belden Durtschi Son Belden Durtschi John (Son) Himself J. Ray Durtschi
It should be understood that in most of the cases, the authors did not write the stories by themselves, but had generous help from other family members. For example Josephine, J. Ray Durtschi's wife, did a lot if not all of the typing for John's history. And LaVerne Darrington gives much of the credit for the story she wrote to her sisters. These people are the true authors of this account you have in your hands. Though I did some writing, I consider myself a compiler and editor, rather than a writer.
There were times when many of the stories discussed the same incidents. Therefore, I took the story with the most detailed account and deleted the others. Often, the stories complemented each other regarding a particular incident. Although a sincere effort was made to avoid repetition, do not be surprised if you still find some!
I would like to thank all of you who have been so helpful in giving me additional information. You have helped bring the story to this stage. As long as I am thanking people, I ought to thank my wife, Brenda. She has to sacrifice much around the house while I have been working on this story. And added to that, she has helped a great deal in proofreading the final draft. She has a knack for words, and is much better at spelling than me! She is also very competent at editing a story without leaving out any of the important details. (She ought to be working for Reader's Digest.) As an example, one day I had been striving with a 15-word sentence, trying to get it just right. After much time, when I thought I had it just the way I wanted it, she changed it into a three-word sentence with the same meaning. Of course, for me, that was quite disenchanting. But because of her, this story is a much better product.
I would also like to give a generous thanks to Carol Curtis. She is a professional editor and friend who offered her assistance. She has spent many hours of her time making countless corrections.
The following list entails some of the statistics for the first family:
PARENTS Edward Durtschi, Sr. : Born July 31, 1849, Faulensee, Switzerland Died 20 July 1923, Driggs, Idaho Rosina Katharina Hiltbrand : Born November 1st, 1850, Wimmis, Switzerland. Died 25 December 1923, Driggs, Idaho They were married 24 August 1877. Their posterity as of 1987 is about 1043. Children born to them were: CHILDREN Rosina Katharina: Born 30 August 1878, Wimmis, Switzerland Died 14 June 1944, Driggs, Idaho Married Rudolph Kaufman in Bern, Switzerland on 17 February 1900. Posterity: about 230. Children born to them were: Rudolph, Rosa, Martha, Arnold, Ida, Frieda, Emma, Lena, Elizabeth , Alfred, Isabel Nora, and Ella Flora. Elise : Born 11 July 1879, Wimmis, Switzerland Died 2 December 1962, Salt Lake City, Utah Married Julius Frederick Gertsch, Salt Lake City, Utah, on 27 March 1907. Posterity: about 67. Children born to them were: Lydia, J. Alma, Ida, Lena, Phillip, and B. Carl. Edward, Jr. : Born 3 December 1880, Wimmis, Switzerland Died 16 March 1922, Driggs, Idaho Married Elizabeth Muetzenberg at Salt Lake City, on 8 Apr 1909. Posterity: 122. Children born to them were: Bertha, Flora, Hilda, Armin, Arthur, and R. LaVerne Alfred, called Emil : Born 1 July 1882, Wimmis, Switzerland Died 2 1/2 months later, 17 Sep 1882, Wimmis, Switzerland Caroline : Born 25 September 1883, Wimmis, Switzerland Died 31 August 1963, Heber City, Utah Married Gottfried (Fred) Feuz, Grindelwald, Switzerland, on 23 October 1905. Posterity: 40. Children born to them were: Caroline (Lena), Emma, Emil, Walter, Albert, Anna, Gertrude Trudy , Martha Rose, Edward, and Hilda Clara : Born 8 February 1885, Wimmis Switzerland Died 27 November 1969, Lindon, Utah Married John Jacob Burgener in Salt Lake City, 5 April 1905. Posterity: about 250. Children born to them were: Clara, William (Bill), Joseph, Alice, Emma, Edward, David, Mary, Nephi, Lily, and Melvin Alfred : Born 2 October 1886, Wimmis, Switzerland Died 8 March 1980, Sugar City, Idaho Married Ida Aeschbacher on 7 October 1915, Salt Lake City, Utah. Posterity: 116. Children born to them were: Arnold, Isabel, Lucille, Lucy, and Walter Emma : Born 11 July 1888, Wimmis, Switzerland Died 18 March 1940, Midway, Utah Married John Nicholas Lundin on 11 May 1909, Midway, Utah. Posterity: about 150. Children born to them were: John, Emma Betsy, Anton, Anna, Lucinda, Laura, Vera, Julia, Andrew, and Mayme. Mary : Mary was stillborn in March of 1890 at Wimmis, Switzerland. Frederick Furchtegott, or Fred : Born 7 August 1891, Wimmis, Switzerland Died 24 December 1974, Shreveport, Louisiana Married Ruth Emma Lougy on 30 June 1933, Salt Lake City, Utah. Posterity: 20. Children born to them were: Aman Arnold, Belden, Cleon, and D. David. John Jacob: Born 17 May 1894, Wimmis Switzerland Died 17 June 1985, Logan, Utah Married Luella Dalley on 5 Feb 1919, Salt Lake City, Utah. Posterity 38. Children born to them were: John Ray, Reed, Grant, Garth, and Don.
Names could very easily make this story very confusing. There are several people who share the same names. As an example, below you will find a listing of 12 names which refer to people who share the same name. To help you sort out who's who, the following list may help you as a ready reference in keeping everyone straight.
5 Emmas: Emma Durtschi Lundin, a main character, and daughter of Edward and Rosina. Emma, daughter of Rosina and Rudolph. Emma, daughter of Caroline and Fred Feuz. Emma, daughter of Clara and John Burgener. Emma, daughter of John and Emma Lundin. 5 Freds: Fred Durtschi, another main character and son of Edward and Rosina Fred Feuz, a main character, and husband of Caroline Durtschi. Fred Duersch, married Alfred Durtschi's wife's sister, Lena Fred Durtschi, brother of Edward Durtschi, Sr. Fred Weston, married Hilda, Edward, Jr., and Elizabeth's daughter 5 Johns: John Durtschi, a main character, and the youngest son of Edward and Rosina. John Burgener, a main character, who married Clara Durtschi. John Lundin, a main character, who married Emma Durtschi. John Lundin, son of John and Emma Lundin. John Ray Durtschi, son of John and Luella Durtschi. 4 Edwards: Edward Durtschi, Sr., the main character, and father of our great extended family. Edward Durtschi, Jr. another main character, and son of Edward and Rosina. He is usually, but not always referred to as Ed in the story. Edward Feuz, son of Fred and Caroline. Edward Burgener, son of John and Clara Burgener. 3 Alfreds: Alfred Durtschi, a main character and son of Edward and Rosina. Alfred Durtschi, son of Fred Durtschi, Edward Durtschi, Sr.'s brother. Alfred Kaufman, son of Rudolph and Rosa Kaufman. 3 Elizabeths: Elizabeth Muetzenberg, a main character who married Edward Jr. Elizabeth, mother of Fred Feuz. Elizabeth, daughter of Rudolph and Rosa. 3 Idas: Ida Aeschbacher, married Alfred Durtschi. Ida, daughter of Rudolph and Rosa. Ida, daughter of Julius and Elise. 3 Lenas: Lena, daughter of Fred and Caroline Feuz. Lena, daughter of Rudolph and Rosa. Lena, Alfred's wife, Ida's sister. 3 Rudolphs: Rudolph Kaufman, Sr. Rudolph Kaufman, a main character, and son of the previous Rudolph, who married Rosa Durtschi. Rudolph Kaufman, Jr., son of Rudolph and Rosa. 2 Arnolds: Arnold Kaufman, son of Rudolph and Rosa. Arnold Durtschi, son of Alfred and Ida. 2 Hildas: Hilda, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth. Hilda, daughter of Fred and Caroline. 2 Peters: Peter Feuz, brother to Fred Feuz. Peter Kaufman, brother to Rudolph Kaufman.
All of Edward and Rosina's children are deceased. If it were not for them and their children's efforts, we would not have this story today. This brings us to a ponderous thought: Who is going to write the story of the next generation? As far as I know, those biographical stories have not been written yet. Edward and Rosina's grandchildren, our parents and grandparents are now growing older. Indeed, some of the third generation have already died. If we do not immediately start work on recording the stories of this generation, we will procrastinate our time away, and they will eventually be lost to us. I know that one of my next projects will be to gather the histories of the children of my grandfather and grandmother, Alfred and Ida Durtschi. That will become a companion volume to this one for their descendants. And I hope in years to come, my immediate family's story will also be added to this set. Wouldn't it be beautiful for future generations to have a running history of their forefathers? Therefore, I encourage you, the Kaufmans, the Gertschs, the Feuzs, the Burgeners, the Lundins, and the families of Edward, Jr., Alfred, Fred, and John Durtschi, to write your stories and do likewise. These stories, now mostly yet to be written, will mean as much to a posterity yet unborn as I hope this story means to you. They will be considered of great worth.
This work Copyright 1987 for the Durtschi Family by Mark Durtschi.
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