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A Most Improbable Union

The DAR & the Coal Dealer

FROM THE BOOK: "Carolyn had taken to boasting of her DAR membership ... Abigail had issued a warning ... 'Just you remember who you are and are not, young lady! Better climb down from that high horse of yours before you fall off! That man Allen may have been at Valley Forge with General Washington, but he was not George Washington ... Honey, you’re not going to have or keep many friends if you act so superior because you had an ancestor in the American Revolution ... You are not that poor young soldier! You had nothing to do with our independence. The DAR has worthy causes. Occupy yourself with those.'"

book cover

FROM THE BOOK: "Anna Maria Bauer extended her arms toward the boy. In one hand she clutched a bowl from which a spoon threatened to topple as the S.S. Belgenland corkscrewed through the North Atlantic swells, its steel-plated sides groaning in protest. Those moans became a chorus of misery when echoed by the steerage passengers, as though the two, flesh and steel, were one. Occasionally, the swell was steep enough to lift the propellers clear of the water, vibrating the entire vessel as though God had reached down and given it a good shake."


A Most Improbable Union is the story of two people at the dawn of the 20th century, opposite in class and culture, one from western New York and the other Germany, one a Daughter of the American Revolution, the other an immigrant ‘coal dealer.’

Carolyn, the daughter of a wealthy manufacturer, marinated in a world of conservative economic theory and practice, and matching politics.

Conrad, the second son of a shoemaker with little or no interest in politics. His ancestors, ground up by endless cycles of poverty, the pawns of endless European wars and resultant migrations, were never the ‘sons’ or ‘daughters’ of anything so grand as a revolution.

Those who knew the pair scratched their heads in amazement at their merger. All agreed it was most improbable ...


FROM THE BOOK: “Carolyn, did you know that Conrad here loves you? Said he does.”

“Yes, Father.”

“‘Yes,’ he said it, or ‘yes,’ you know?”

“I know … now.”

“What do you plan to do with this knowledge?”

She looked at Conrad for help. He screwed up his courage.

“If I may, Mr. Profit, I intend to ask for her hand.”

“Son, it seems you just did.”

“Oh, Father, now you’ve gone and ruined everything! No girl wants to receive a proposal in front of her father!”

Cimbria steamship
Ford Model T3

FROM THE BOOK: "He knew what had gone unsaid. Carolyn just didn’t think the Bauers were good enough for her or her children. He didn’t like it. He resented it. It confirmed the void in their marriage that he suspected. ‘We have nothing in common.’ The echo of her words shattered him. The Bauers, none of them, were good enough for Carolyn and his children? The implication was obvious, but he said nothing … each time.

So, Conrad Bauer packed his carpet bag of a predominately red, paisley design and took the train to Griggs—again and alone."

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