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Founded in 1989 by Lynn Peters Adler, J.D.
Centenarian Expert and Older Adults Advocate

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The Early Dealers — My Parents
The Drews remained in Massachusetts, although my great-grandfather, Benjamin Drew, somehow became the first Superintendent of Schools in St. Paul, Minnesota. I still haven’t figured out how that happened. Anyway he wound up in Washington, D.C., with the Government Printing Office, writing a little book in 1870 entitled Pens and Types. At the end of his life he published a survey of Burial Hill in Ply­mouth. He had two sons. One, Charles Acton Drew, a graduate of the Boston Latin School, and Harvard, class of 1870, was my grandfather. He played on his senior class baseball nine against Yale. Four years later in 1874 grandfather graduated from the first class of the new Boston University Law School. He then moved to Newton, and built a home on Mt. Ida, where my mother was born in 1876.

By 1835 the Hartzells had moved to Mount Pleasant in western Pennsylvania. Deciding to go still further west, my great-grandfather went down the Ohio on a flatboat and up the Mississippi to Moline, Illinois. Two of the family legends are that he built the first two-story house in Moline, and that he was offered six ponies for his white squaw by the local Indian chief. He did not sell. One of his twelve children was Joseph Crane Hartzell, my grandfather.

Grandfather graduated from Illinois Wesleyan, where his geology teacher was John Wesley Powell, the first white man down the Colorado River, and later the first Head of the U.S. Geological Survey. Powell took a group for two summers to explore the headwaters of the Colorado River, the Wind and Snake Rivers. Grandfather went with each group. From Illinois Wesleyan he went to Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. In the spring of 1864 a storm grounded the lumber schooner Storm off the shore at Evanston. The waves were so high the lifeboats could not be launched. Grandfather, who was a strong swimmer, volunteered to swim out to the ship with a rope tied around his waist. He reached the schooner successfully, and using his rope, those on the ship pulled out the breaches buoy. One at a time the men were returned safely to shore. There is a Hartzell Street in Evanston named for him, and a poem about the rescue from the schooner Storm.

In 1870, after the Civil War, the Methodist bishop sent grandfather south to take a white church in New Orleans. There is a Ph.D. thesis about his work in the South entitled The Lord’s Carpetbagger. He became interested in the plight of the blacks in the South, lectured and raised money in the North for their colleges, and was one of the founders of Dillard College in New Orleans. Elected Bishop for Africa at the General Conference of the Methodist Church in 1896, he persuaded Cecil Rhodes, for whom Rhodesia was named, to give him 3,000 acres for a mission. This is now the University supported by the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. Grandfather had three sons; the middle son was my father.

In 1876, my father was born in New Orleans in February and my mother in Newton, Massachusetts in July. Father graduated from high school at fifteen, and started college at the University of Cincinnati. The seniors put up a sign on the bulletin board saying, “Hartzell must put on long pants.” After breaking a collarbone at football, and graduating from college at nineteen, he got his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey. Mother went to Newton High School, graduated in 1898 from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, and worked for the Bureau of University Travel in Newton.

By 1900, it was customary for some Americans to consider doing graduate work in Europe. Father’s older brother had taken a Ph.D. in Biology from Munich. Mother was studying music in Berlin with a Radcliffe classmate, and father was studying theology under Adolph Harnak, a famous theologian at the University of Berlin. These two representatives of American families went to the American Church in Berlin. Father was an usher at the church. Mother and her friend went to church there, and she and father met. Father went on to the University of Edinburgh, going to Palestine for a month with George Adam Smith, geographer of the Holy Land. Mother stayed in Berlin acquiring a love of Wagner’s music and German mythology. She also found someone who became her, and the family’s, lifelong friend.

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