August Gartman Biography
August Gartman & Family

This Biography was written and Submitted by  Don Gartman

Here is a synopsis of my Gartman family with emphasis on my grandfather,
August Gartman:

     August Gartman was born in 1891 in what is today Plock, Poland
(formerly Prussia).  At the time,  there were German-speaking colonies in
this area around the Vistula River. August's mother, Wilhelmina Vetter was
born in 1866 in the village of Powsino.  Her father and mother had migrated
to this region sometime in the 1850's when German settlement was encouraged
by Russia.  August's father, Johann, was born in an adjacent village,
Lwowek, also known to the German settlers as "Leonberg".  Johann's father,
Leopold was killed in a fall from a windmill when Johann was a young boy.
After this tragedy, Johann and his siblings were sent to live with
relatives in the area.
     Johann became a road contractor, dredging cobblestones from the
Vistula River for building roads around Plock.  Johann and Wilhelmina had 8
children :  Josef (1887-1957).  First to immigrate to USA in 1905.  Started
bakery with August in Rypian, then migrated with August to USA permanently
in 1909.     Amanda (1886-1915)  Died in Saratov, Russia after German
settlers were sent to camps by the Russians in WW 1.  Amanda's daughter
Martha Mietz lives in Cleveland, Ohio and is a great source of information
on family history.     Frederick (1892-??)  Remained in Europe.  Became a
teacher in Poland and later a commissioner of collective farms in Russia.
Information is sketchy, but may have become a political prisoner.  He was
last heard from in 1927.     Malita (1895-1980)  Married in Vetter family
and was also involved in bakery business with her husband Fred.     Johann
(1897-??)  Stayed in Europe and may have been killed in a revolution.  Had
worked as a telegraph operator in Russia.     Robert (1899-1983)  Born on
the last day of the 19th century.  Served in the Polish cavalry and was in
Moscow at the time Rasputin was having such great influence on Russian
politics.  Came to the USA by way of Canada.     Arthur (1904-1962)
Migrated to USA with Johann (father) and Wilhelmina (mother).  Also
operated bakeries in Cleveland and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.     Anna
(1906-1993)  Anna was the last child of Johann and Wilhelmina and was a
storehouse of family history.  She and her husband John Endress operated
the HiWay Nursery in Westlake, Ohio.

     August and several of his brothers learned the bakery trade through
the guild system after completing apprenticeships.  August and his older
brother Josef started a bakery in the village of Rypian outside of Plock.
This venture was not successful  The economy was falling apart as was the
political structure.  There was talk of impending war and enticing stories
of the successful immigrants in America.  Joe  came to the USA first and
returned to Plock with stories of opportunity and challenge.  Josef and
August came to the USA in 1909 and Josef established a bakery in
Painesville, Ohio.  August went to work with Star Bakery in Cleveland, Ohio
and established his own bakery .  He also became involved in real estate,
but the Depression took its toll on this pursuit.  August went back into
the bakery business and began Gartman's Bakery on Broadview Road in
Cleveland.  The bakery was typical of a small neighborhood business, next
to the butcher shop, candy store, and fruit/vegetable store.  The bakery
was a one-story structure with a large gas-fired hearth oven and a huge
workbench.  The bakery catered to the local neighborhood residents.  The
goods were baked during the night and ready for sale early in the morning.
August operated the bakery until about 1945.  In 1942 his sons Robert and
Norbert entered the Army in WW 2 while son Wilbert stayed on at the
homefront to take over the bakery business.  August died in 1948 and
Wilbert continued working in the bakery until the mid-1950's.
     As society became more and more automobile-and-shopping mall oriented,
the neighborhood bakery business faded.  The sons and daughters of the
European immigrants moved to the suburbs to find a "better life", much like
the search of our ancestors to find the same thing.  August's bakery
represents the story of so many of our relatives- coming to America to get
a new start.  A closely knit family with culture and tradition brought from
Europe gradually gave way as the new generations were absorbed into the
fast-paced, mobile American lifestyle.  A look at the old black and white
photographs of August's bakery with the family members at work at the bench
highlights the memories of the efforts and dreams of our grandparents in
their new country.

Don Gartman
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