Jennie Entel, 1893–
Jennie Entel was born on her parents farm at Lacrosse, Washington, U.S.A. in the year of 1893. Her parents were, John and Adeline Entel.
Her father, John Entel, was a tyrant of a man, he had stolen his seven young children from his wife Adeline and he brought his children to Australia leaving Adeline stranded, alone and with no means of support.
Jennie told her story to a reporter from the 'Henty Observer', it went to print on- Friday 20th of February 1959.
This is Jennies story..
He stood over them with a Stockwhip.
There are people living in our midst who can tell stories - true stories, of their lives which have the ring of the novel about them, yet are stranger than fiction. Here in Henty there is such a person. Her's surely is the saddest, most poignant of any story which could be told. It is an unbelievable tale of brutality, of the kidnapping from a mother of a family of seven children and their forced passage over thousands of miles of ocean to a new land.
It is the tale of seven children cowering before a brute of a man, who stood over them with a stockwhip in hand and did not hesitate to use it. Until an Australian warned him of the consequences of that continued behaviour of that sort in this country.
One of the actors in this true story was Mrs Jennie Holder, of South Street Henty. She was one of the seven children in this unbelievably tragic occurrence. Today she and her husband live happily in their unpretentious, but neat and tidy home. They haven't much money, they are pensioners, but they are inseparable and they find their common interest in love of home and in fighting for a better deal for pensioners.
The story starts in Germany, the Germany many years before the turn of the century. John Entel, then aged 14, and two sisters decided to flee the country and seek their fortunes in America. Visions of being absorbed into the German Army may have hastened a decision to quit the Fatherland.
But Entel's sisters both died within 12 months. He was left alone in vast America, then in the throes of development on an unprecedented scale.
He was allotted a 640 acre farm for nothing, provided he worked it in the way laid down by the Government.
He must have succeeded because he was later able to sell the farm and seek a larger property. He was quite a well to do farmer. In the meantime he had married at the age of 21. His wife's name was Addie.
It was in 1907 that Addie and John Entel and their family, ranging from two year old Evalina to 15 year old Frances, sold their farm in Lacrosse, Washington, and went to Oregon. They planned to buy another ranch near Eugene.
The children remained in Portland while the parents went on to Eugene. Entel later went back to Portland to get the children, then he wrote his wife instructing her to go on to California, where, he said, he would meet her there with the children.
He did nothing of the kind, instead, and the plan must have been carefully worked out beforehand, he booked passages on the 'Sonoma' for himself and the seven children and set sail for New Zealand.
Not a thing about this was known by his wife, or was to be known by her for many years. Stranded and penniless, she found work which supported her while she sought vainly to trace her husband, but husband and children had vanished completely.
Surely what had happened to Addie Entel was the saddest, cruellest blow that could ever happen to any woman. In 1912 she divorced Entel and remarried, taking the name of Hart.
It was 38 years later that Addie Hart had tidings of her long lost children. Five years previously she had sought help from the Catholic Truth Society and for five years that organisation worked quietly, but tenaciously.
Then one day Addie Hart was called before the Vicar-General of the Oregon Archdiocese. He told her that the Society had located her youngest daughter, Evalina. She was then Sister Mary Cletus. Since 1921 Evalina had been in the Convert of the Sisters of Charity in Brisbane, where she had been deposited by her father.
All this time Evalina, and the other children too, believed that their mother was dead. They had been told that by Entel. The Vicar-General also told Addie that Emmie (Amy) was dead. She had died at Morven.
Her two sons, she was told, had married sisters and were living in the Argentine. Two other daughters, Frances, of Wagga Wagga, and Jennie (Mrs R.J. Holder, of Henty had married brothers. Three grandsons were at that time in the Australian Forces.
This news was conveyed to the woman who had suffered so much, in 1945. Her family had been traced, never, said a contemporary account in an American Newspaper, had there been a Mother's Day celebration quite the same as was held that day.
Not that Mrs Hart had any of her children there. None of them was physically present with her, there was only a bundle of letters written by them in the months immediately before from the far corners of the earth. But they were precious documents. They pieced together the lives of seven children kidnapped by their father way back in 1907.
One of the daughters, Lena, was living on the same Continent as her mother. She was living in Idaho. But although the closest, she was the only one from whom Addie had not received any direct word.
Horror of Father
Mrs Holder speaks of her father with horror. He was the brutal type who strutted around with a stockwhip, which he used savagely and often on his children, even at their tender age. In the states they lived on an isolated farm and there Entel was a law unto himself, and nobody interfered.
When Entel and his seven children reached New Zealand, he decided to go on to Australia. Thus it was that the family came to live in this region, no doubt because of the substantial proportion of people of German stock. Entel acquired a wine salon, cum-boarding house, cum-mixed farm, now demolished, and situated 27 miles out of Wagga, between Book Book and Kyeamba Stations.
He ruled his family harshly. For them it was a case of up at 4am to face the hard tasks of the farm in those days, including harvesting and haymaking. Entel stood over them with his whip. They were like so much cattle, surprise it is that he allowed them some schooling. That at least was some respite from his cruelty.
After school it was the same hard round for the children. And that was not all. Travellers called at the boarding house round the clock. No matter what time it was, Entel pulled his children out of bed to prepare hot meals, which he sold at one shilling. Board also was one shilling for the night.
Died on visit
Entel died in 1927 whilst on a visit to Germany. Addie died some nine years ago. He had one good trait in his character, black as it was. He was scrupulously honest.
When at the age of 13, and Jennie announced, kidlike, that she was going to marry Holder, her father stockwhipped her for her frankness. But six years later she carried out her intention.
That is the heart rending story as told by Mrs Holder. At least her harsh upbringing has taught her to be careful, to avoid waste. She will proudly show the visitor the fruits of her enterprise. On the table in the lounge is a miniature sportsground. There must be from two to three hundred pieces, making up this unique exhibit. It was made up of tiny toys and other objects which other people had discarded.
We waste nothing, said Mrs Holder. A lot of the furniture and furnishings have been made by us, even the rugs on the floor and settees. Wool scraps have featured largely in these items.
There is an aboriginal school made up entirely of match-boxes and cupboards jammed tight with row upon row of birds, animals and other objects deftly made from moulds and all gaily painted. There are light shades made from milk tins. Nothing in the Holder household is wasted.
The Henty Observer, Friday 20th February 1959.
Reuben John Holder met Jennie Entel when he was boarding at her father's wine saloon. It was while he was living there that he applied for his Crown Lease at Morven. The shanty, south of Book Book on the Tumbarumba road, doubled as a Cobb and Co inn and had a small farm attached. It was known as 'Sunny Springs'. It was here on a hot day in February 1914, that Reuben's family and friends along with the Entel's gathered to witness the marriage of Jennie and Reuben.
Reuben's 16 acre block of land at Morven was situated between his parents, Henry and Eliza Holder's block and his brother, Albert Harold's block.
Reuben, with help from his brothers built a small house clad in ripple iron. His older brother Ernest planted a row of pine trees on the western fence line.
As these trees grew they gave the Holders small home welcome shade and cool during the hot summer months.
Reuben and Jennie had five children they were Ted, Annie, Norman, and Valentine, in April 1923 their youngest child Edna Rose died during a difficult birth. With no time for a Catholic baptism Edna Rose was not eligible for burial in consecrated ground. Little Edna Rose was laid to rest later that day on their property at Morven, she was placed in a small grave surrounded by a wrought iron fence under the cool wide spreading branches of the pine trees that her uncle Ernest had planted years before.
Ted, Annie, Norman and Valentine all attended the Morven School.
Jennie was a tiger of a woman, but loved by all who knew her, her name was pronounced with a German inflection as 'Jinny'. She was nicknamed 'Cussin Jinny', not because she used bad language but she had the habit of saying, I'll cussin well be there when I'm good and ready' or I'll cussin well do it when I feel like it.
The Babington children loved to call into their aunty Jennie's house on the way home from school, my mother, Judy Babington said her aunty Jennie made the nicest American pancakes she had ever tasted.
Reuben and Jennie retired at Henty where they lived in South Street, right across from the bowling green. Reuben passed away in 1960 and Jennie a few years later, both Reuben and Jennie are buried in the Henty cemetery.
Jennie's sister Amy Catherine Entel was born in 1901, she was seven years old when she arrived in Australia. Amy married Ernest Henry Holder (brother to Reuben John Holder) in 1919. Ernest had a block of 9 acres at Morven. He built a small cottage and he and Amy were living there when four of their children were born by August 1930, Eliza Adeline Amy (Liza), Henry Charles, Albert Harold and Sylvia Kathleen.
Amy suffered with severe arthritis, from a very young age. Ernest and Amy struggled with their young family so in 1931 they sold their block of land to Ernestine Wallace for sixty eight pounds and Ernest built their second home which was connected to his parents Henry and Eliza's home by a twelve foot breezeway.
The breezeway was covered by a long skillion roof which ran from Henry and Eliza's mud brick cottage and over the new house, this formed an L. shaped structure. Three water tanks stood on the western side which was shaded by two kurrajong trees. Three more children were born, John Jacob, Evelyn Mary Frances and James Francis (Jimmy). Sadly Evelyn died in 1935, she was only 23 months old.
By the 1940's Amy was almost bed ridden she was often in excruciating pain, she would have Ernest carry her and seat her in front of the laundry tub. Here she would toil away for hours before her husband carried her back to bed. This amazing lady passed away in the mid 1940's after her arthritis had turned septic, she was 48 years old. Amy was buried in the Culcairn cemetery. Ernest died at Tumbarumba in 1959, he was 77 years old. He was buried in the Tumbarumba cemetery.