Frank Martin Troge and Ruth Emma Seitz                 




                                                          Click to enlarge pictures


My grandfather was Frank Martin Troge, son of August Karl Troge and Martha Maria Kratzke. ( See a link to their story on the Troge Ancestor page).

Frank was born on a Saturday, January 12, 1895, in West Prussia, Germany. We believe his birth was a short distance outside of the towns of Rederitz or Stabitz.

Three days later he was taken to  a church in Freudenfier to be christened. His godparents were Emil Boch and Mrs. Maria Manz, believed to be friends of the family.

 Frank was the first of 8 children born to August and Martha.

As a young boy, he went to school and played with his friends and siblings in Stabitz.  After hearing his parents talk incessantly about going to America and finding a better life, the little family’s dream finally came true. Frank was just six and a half years old when his family came to the United States. They arrived in New York at Elllis Island on July 11, 1901.

The Troge family first lived in Omaha, Nebraska, and later moved to Saginaw, Michigan. Frank started school in a Catholic school in Omaha, and then attended Wadsworth School in Saginaw from about 1903 - 1905. When the family moved into Carrollton, Michigan, Frank went to Mershon School from about 1905 – 1909. His siblings Anna and Ben also attended school there.

When Frank was about 14 years old, (probably after 8th grade), he left school. He then went to work at the Mershon Lumber Company located on N. Michigan Avenue in Saginaw.

When his father, August, bought a farm in Standish, Michigan, Frank went along and  helped run the farm for a while. They soon had a few clashes about the daily operation, and Frank eventually left. He returned to Saginaw, and probably went back to work at the Mershon Lumber Company.

Sometime later, it is believed that Frank went out to the Reese area to work on a farm there. That is where he met my grandmother, Ruth Emma Seitz.

Ruth Emma was born November 1, 1899 in Sebewaing, Michigan. She was the second of five children born to Emich Seitz and Emma M. Krebs. She was christened on May 20, 1900 in Sebewaing, Huron County, Michigan.

Sometime between 1900 and 1905, Ruth Emma’s family moved to Blumfield Township. They lived on a farm at what is now 2670 Harnish Road. Uncle Fred remembers the farm included the usual farm animals along with guinea pigs, silver and Chinese ringneck pheasants, Shetland ponies, and bantam chickens. Emich even experimented with grafting trees to produce a variety of apples, as well as cherries, peaches, and plums all on the same tree! What a fantastic place for a young child to grow up.

Ruth Emma’s father enjoyed working the farm, but he also found it necessary to bring in some extra money by working for Uncle Henry’s Coal mine, just a short distance away.

One of Gramma Ruth’s favorite memories was going with her mother to get her father at the coal mine with a horse and buggy at midnight. They had to take a mud road with nothing but a lantern to light the way.

It isn’t clear where exactly Frank met Ruth Emma. I’d like to believe it was at a church picnic, or a farming social event. But meet they did and soon fell in love. The two were married November 20, 1918 in Huron County.

                                                                                 Their wedding photo

About this same time, Frank went to work for the Pere Marquette Railroad. He became a boilermaker, working on steam locomotives. In 1946 the Pere Marquette and Chesapeake and Ohio railroads merged, and then Frank worked for a time rebuilding and refurbishing passenger cars. Later he took the state exam and became a licensed steam engineer. He continued working for C & O until he retired about 1976.

                                                                                          Frank is 3rd from the left                                                                                                                                     Click to enlarge 

Frank and Ruth had two beautiful children, my father – Frank Emick August, and his sister, Eleanore Mae. Gramma was a devoted mother who gave her children a warm and comfortable home, and a childhood filled with love with a generous dose of humor.

                                                                     Dad (Frank Jr) and Eleanore

Frank and Ruth Emma’s residences in Saginaw included a house on 5th Street, and at 923 S. Warren. Their last home was at 3380 Ernest in Carrrollton, Michigan. When Grampa passed away, Gramma sold the house and moved into an apartment.


As a kid growing up, I have such fond memories of Grampa and Gramma Troge. There were not only my godparents, but also two of the most special people I have ever known.

When Gramma and Grampa lived on Warren Street, we only lived two blocks away. How convenient it was for visiting!

                                                                     Their house on the corner of S. Warren and Simoneau St.

As a young girl, I spent many a weekend with them. They always made sure I had a good time. Once we went to McDonald’s, where I had my first chocolate milkshake and then spilled it in their new car on the way home. I don’t recall Gramma getting upset with me however, we just mopped it up when we got home.

 Gramma also loved to make us orange floats – vanilla ice cream in a tall glass filled with orange soda pop – complete with a straw and a spoon. Sometimes we even mixed it up and had rootbeer floats. Yum! I don't know who enjoyed them more - the kids or the grandparents.

                                       This orange soda was made in Saginaw and came in skinny little bottles.

On Saturday morning we would catch the city bus right on the corner in front of their house. We would ride downtown and spend the day “shopping” in all the stores, like Bazley’s Meat Market, Cunningham’s Drug Store, Kresge’s, and Woolworth’s. We often ate lunch at the Home Dairy. I can still remember climbing up on those red stools, and spinning while I ate. Sometimes we even ate at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, and afterwards would go downstairs to visit the toy department. I always returned with a small treasure that I never had to beg too hard for. But unfortunately, Gramma always saw to that it was left in the “toy drawer” when I returned home on Sunday. She would always explain, that this way, I would have stuff to play with when I came over to visit.

                                                                        The Home Dairy

The Toy Drawer was the bottom drawer of Gramma’s built in buffet in the dining room. The bottom drawer was special because it was a treasure trove of toys, puzzles, and games. Gramma often bought Grampa “kid’s” cereal (she called it breakfast-food). Back then most boxes of kids’ cereal contained a surprise toy of some sort. She would carefully remove the little trinket in its wrapping, and add it to the toy drawer. She did the same thing with Cracker-Jacks. This little act of love always created so much excitement and anticipation when I came to visit, never knowing what I might find. Even though it might not seem like much, I loved her for doing that, and Grampa never complained about eating Corn Pops!

 One of my favorite things in that drawer was the Chinese Checkers game. Gramma would sprawl out on the dining room floor with me, and there we would sit, for what seemed like hours, playing checkers. I can still remember the feel of those cool marbles and the vibrant colors of the gameboard. I don’t think Gramma ever “let” me win…we just had fun together, enjoying each others company. Do kids today have memories like this?


We also played countless games of Old Maid, Go Fish, War and Gin Rummy. She even taught me how to play Euchre and poker. We would talk and laugh and have a great time. To this day, I still enjoy a good game of cards.

Grampa liked to get in the act too. After his retirement, he would often sit at his little desk in the dining room and play solitaire. When I would come over, usually on a Friday night, I would go to his desk, and see a partially completed game of Solitaire, all laid out. Naturally, I could never resist, and would finish the game for him. A little later, when he would walk by, he would always act so surprised that someone had “tampered” with his game. I think we both knew that he had it all set up for me, but we never talked about it. Again, we just enjoyed each other, connecting one generation to another.

My hope for the future has always been that when the time comes, I want to be one of those special grammas too; and be able to leave delightful lasting memories with my grandchildren.

I’m waiting patiently.

                                                                         One of my favorite pictures of Gramma and Grampa