Click the date range for writings of that era
John and Mary Lorang saved all of their love letters, telling of the preparations, earning enough to move West from Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. Idaho Humanities Council provide a grant to translate many of these and Horst Reil of Kendrick was able to translate about 1/2 of the early German letters. Mary Gesellchen also had cousins arriving in America in the 1880's. Some of their letters have been preserved. In 1962, Barney Lorang gathered all of the family information possible from all relatives about the early days of John Lorang, Mary Gesellchen and their parents, the immigrants: Bernard Lorang and Angela Hermann, Peter Gesellchen and Gertrude Mertes.
John Lorang's journaling began in German in 1897 and thanks to a grant from Idaho Humanities Council, Horst Reil of Kendrick, Idaho was able to translate the entire early German book, which included the process of building the barn in 1898. Genesee News excerpts and other documents tell the earlier 1890's stories. In 1902, Mary Lorang taught her husband John how to write in English and John began his daily English language journals.
John Lorang journaled his entire daily process of building the historical farmhouse 1904 addition, along with other carpenters. Henry Lorang also began journaling during this time at age of 18 and then for the rest of his life. Early letters were also preserved from this era.
John and Mary Lorang took a trip to Europe and the Middle East in 1910, with a church group on Cook's Tours. Both of them journaled their own view of the entire trip. While they were gone, the children at home journaled their own lives and wrote letters back and forth to their parents. Henry also journaled his daily life in WWI and his new family after returning home and marrying Marguerite Tobin. Over 250 letters were saved between Henry and his fiancé Marguerite, his parents and his brothers and sisters. Later letters and journals were also found of the early and mid 1920's.
Several letters and journals have been found covering the Great Depression and WWII. A letter had been received and kept, stating that if the taxes weren't paid, then property would be taken. Henry sold his father's horses and some of his father John's taxidermy items to help pay the taxes on the farm. His sons Bob, Jim and John served in WWII. Bob did not return and all letters home to Henry were preserved. Joan Lorang also acted as a penpal to WWII soldiers and their letters were saved. Henry Lorang journaled his daily life at home with the younger children during the Great Depression and WWII.
Henry Lorang journaled describing his life with the younger children and the olders boys after the War. Letters to and from the children, as they started off on their new lives after leaving home, were kept. Dan Lorang joined the Navy after highschool in 1948 and all letters were preserved between him and his friends, parents and brothers and sisters. Dan Lorang also journaled his time dealing with the blacksmith shop, woodshed and cellar which were deteriorating. Daily ledgers were kept by both Dan and his wife Janet Lorang. Janet preserved hundreds of letters written between herself and her mother Lois Shollenberger which described her new life on the farm. And in 1985, Martha Lorang, one of the youngest of John and Mary, wrote a journal of her time growing up in the early 1900's at the Ranch. It is a delightful description of early days as a child on the Ranch and has been updated with corresponding photos. "The Legacy of John Lorang" by Kurtis Zenner in 1986 was also updated with digital photographs, thanks to a grant from Idaho Humanities Council. These books are now available at local libraries.
Janet Lorang continued to preserve letters and ledgers of her time alone at the Ranch. In 2003 Restoration began and a National Registry nomination application was written. Several letters were preserved discussing the process of gathering students, grants and volunteers. Thanks to Idaho Humanities Council, Idaho State Historical Society and student volunteers; 10 books have been printed: "Genesee Pioneers", "Genesee During the Great Depression", "Soldier's Letters to the Genesee News, WWI & II", "Women's History" "Soldier's Letters to the Genesee News, Korea & Vietnam", "Younger People's Contribution to History", "Children of White Spring Ranch" and "White Spring Ranch, an overview". These are available at local libraries, as well as the 2 books "Martha's Journal" and "Legacy of John Lorang".
White Spring Ranch
1004 Lorang Road
Genesee, Idaho 83832
Open Sundays and Tuesdays 1:00 PM-Sunset and also by appointment
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