Do you know: the Grein and Knoop families?
By Richard Karns
Special to the Herald Review
The Grein Family
Dorothy and Aloma Grein gave the information for this article on the Grein and Knoop families. There were a lot of smiles and laughter that came along with reminiscing for this article.
They told me the story about Aloma's great-grandfather, Daniel Grein. This story has been passed down fro generation to generation, and although neither Dorothy or Aloma knew Daniel's mother's name, her determination and love to save her son could not be denied. When Daniel was 11 years old, Germany was at war; a war in which his father and two uncles were killed. Because she was afraid the German government would start taking the young boys to serve in the war effort, she developed an unthinkable plan. She needed to know her son would be safe, but her options were limited. She didn't have a lot of resources, but gathered what she had and used it to smuggle Daniel out of the country. She must have felt it would bring too much attention and be difficult with such limited resources for her to go along. She must have known she would never see him again.
She bribed some friends to smuggle Daniel to the border where he could get on a ship to England. Daniel was nailed in a potato crate surrounded with potatoes, and the remaining money his mother had she put in his pocket. The journey to the border took seven days, and once in England it can only be speculated how Daniel was able to get passage to London, Canada. We know Daniel married and had three sons, Dan, Bill and Otto.
When Daniel was 18, he and his sons moved from Canada to Michigan and settled in the Reed City area. His son, Daniel Jr., married Bertha Franke and started a blacksmith and delivery stable business on the north side of Reed City, in back of what is now Bill Yost's gun shop and warehouse. Bertha Grein was widowed and needed to become self-sufficient in running the day-to-day managing of the delivery stable and the boarding house. She became quite skilled in taking care of the construction needs as well.
The boarding house was essential for the family as well as the passengers coming to Reed City by train that couldn't afford the price of a hotel. That small brick building is still standing. The big white house on Chestnut Street, where the Crow's Nest is today, was the Grein home where Minnie, Dorrie, Anne, Walter, Leona, Leota and the youngest, Donald, were born and raised.
The Knoop Family
Erwin Knoop, known as Slim, was born in 1901 and died in 1986. He and his two brothers, Clem and Arnold, were farmers from Owosso and moved to the Evart area because of the good farming land for raising potatoes, and they loved hunting.
In 1920, Erwin married Erma May Snider, who was born in 1903 and died in 2005. Because Erma wanted to be in her own home, Erwin, Clem and Arnold built a log cabin for them to start a new life together. Dorothy and her siblings, Doris, Pat, Noni and Dale all started their lives in that cabin.
In 1921, Dorothy was born in Evart and attended Evart High School, graduating in 1938. Although she wasn't a cheerleader, she always hung out with them and attended the ball games with them. At one of the games she first caught the eye of one of the Reed City High School basketball players, Don Grein.
Dorothy said that Don told his friend Ray Kent, "I'm going to marry that girl," and he did in 1939.
She stated, "I couldn't believe I was going to marry a boy from Reed City (Evart and Reed City were rivals in sports)."
When Don and Dorothy started their life together, Don's mother converted two large upstairs bedrooms in their home into an apartment for them to live. This is where Aloma was born and where they lived until Bertha's brother, Ruben Franke, sold Don and Dorothy the land on 4 Mile Road west of Reed City, where Dorothy still lives today.
Don and Dorothy had five children, Aloma, Karen, Kay, Jeff and Dan. Don worked as a farmer at the Pure Oil Camp and at Miller Industry. Don was the Osceola County Sheriff from 1953 to 1977. Dorothy was the "chief cook and bottle washer," doing everything like cooking for the jail inmates and the family.
Aloma said, "I learned to cook at the jail," and said Don would cook on Sundays, always making the same meal of bean soup.
Both Don and Dorothy liked to give back and be involved with the family. When the children were in scouts, Dorothy served as leader to both the girls and Boy Scout troops. Dorothy was all smiles when describing field trips she took with her scout troops to Jim and Gertie Millers' place. Don, Dorothy and the three girls would go to Rose Lake Camp and help get it ready for the opening season.
Dorothy and Don also played Santa and Mrs. Claus for different events put on by the city, the hospital and AARP, to name a few.
Don Grein died in 2008 and Dorothy told me, "I can hardly believe it's been that long. I still think sometimes he is going to walk through that door."