The Gift That Keeps on Giving
In 1999, stuck for thinking of a Christmas present for my father, I sent him a letter, a tape recorder and some blank tapes. The letter contained, among other things, a list of questions I wanted to know about his childhood, family, education and more. (Who exactly was this present for?? I was putting him to work, filling cassettes with stories he could send back to me!) But Dad filled several tapes with stories and I transcribed them. From time to time, I’ll share some of these stories. My siblings have the book I transcribed of all these stories, but perhaps my cousins and others would enjoy reading them.
It seems appropriate to share this story today, 6 March. My grandfather, Charles Arthur Kircher, passed away on 8 March 1952.
In Tom Kircher’s words…
“In Tiburon, Bobby Williamson always had a slogan for anything – “a stitch in time saves nine,” “a job begun is half-way done” and all that kind of stuff so now we’re into the business of a job begun.
It’s hard to figure out just exactly where to start, but one of the things about the questions you asked about my childhood and growing up and stuff, it has to start in, say, three different places – one of them, I think, is in Webster, New York, and you have to kind of understand what kind of a guy Charlie Kircher was.
He was a farm boy. His father was a farmer and they had orchards and they did their chores before going to school and I think he was probably one of the few guys at his age that was able to finish high school and he was bright enough to do that. He had one brother and two sisters and I think they were smart enough, too, but Daddy got out of high school in Webster, New York in 1898, I think, and went on to Dartmouth and graduated from there in 1902.
He was able, because of his grades to obtain a scholarship to Dartmouth. I don’t know whether it was a full scholarship or a partial. Among other things, he had a job to do on the campus, and that was to ring the bell for chapel in the morning to wake everybody else up to go to chapel, and he had to do the ringing. He then lived. He then lived off campus, I think, in a house that was a…that had a woman by the name of Emma Hahn, and she was his “other mother” and he spoke of what a lovely lady she was. And there are pictures in the album of Emma Hahn.
I’m sure as we continue on from time to time, I’ll b referring to what kind of a guy Daddy was, and how he did different things. I know that in later years when I spoke with Mary Frances, she sure had a good memory of the quirkiness and the clever wit and the twinkly eyes that Daddy had on certain occasions.
But being a farm boy, you had to be everybody, you had to do every single thing. You didn’t call the plumber. You didn’t call the electrician. As a matter of fact, when you were a farm boy, there was no electrician, you were still living with oil lamps, and he didn’t learn electricity until he came to San Francisco, to Marin County, probably, and became a homeowner and had to learn electricity. But when he was doing those things, he did it in the way a farm person would. You’d do it yourself, get your friends to help you, or your parents and get it done. So that’s the kind of guy he was.
He was, as you know, a pretty strict Methodist, that’s the way he was brought up. Said his prayers and sang the hymns. Years later he knew all the words to every hymn that I ever heard – most of them I didn’t hear either.”
I will share more of my father’s stories about his family in the coming months.
 I believe this to be Robert L. Williamson, son of Richard and Adna Williamson. The Williamson family was enumerated two households after the Kircher family in the 1930 US Federal census at Year: 1930; Census Place: Sausalito, Marin, California; Roll: 177; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0044; Image: 352.0; FHL microfilm: 2339912
 Charlie Kircher was my father’s father, Charles Arthur Kircher, born in Webster, Monroe, New York in 1879 to Charles Conrad Kircher and Frances Abelone Springer.
 Irving Henry Kircher (1882-1974), Helen Louisa Kircher (1888-1970) and Stella Mae Kircher (1889-1958)
 I have Charlie’s diplomas and he graduated in 1897 from Webster Union High School, and from Dartmouth in 1902
 Out of curiosity on 27 February 2016 I looked on the 1900 census for an Emma Hahn in Hanover, Grafton, New Hampshire. I could not find any Emma Hahn. I could not find anyone by the name of Hahn that seemed to fit, living in Hanover. I did find an Emma Barnes who was a 42 year old widow in 1900 and ran a boarding house (Year: 1900; Census Place: Hanover, Grafton, New Hampshire; Roll: 946; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 0060; FHL microfilm: 1240946) and also ran a boarding house in 1910 (Year: 1910; Census Place: Hanover, Grafton, New Hampshire; Roll: T624_861; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0087; FHL microfilm: 1374874) so perhaps my father was mistaken in his memory that her name was Emma Hahn.
 Mary Frances Kircher was my father’s oldest sister, born in 1909.
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.