Blacksmith’s Dream: Daniel Grosz family heritage of Kulm, Bessarabia and Parkston, South Dakota

Kulm, Bessarabia and Parkston, South Dakota

Poem and photographs are courtesy of Adeline Kusler McCloy, a native of Kulm, North Dakota who now lives in Cambridge, Minnesota.

Last evening I was walking
With a blacksmith old and gray
When he told me of a dream he had;
I think it ‘twas Christmas day.
While snoozing in his chair,
This vision cam to view,
For he saw an angel enter
Dressed in garments white and new.
Said the Angel: “I’m from Heaven,
The Lord just sent me down
To bring you up to glory,
And put on your golden crown.
You’ve been a friend to everyone
And worked hard night and day.
You supported many thousands,
And from few received you pay.
So we want you up in glory,
For you have labored hard,
And the good Lord is preparing
Your eternal, just reward.”
But when passing close to hades,
Then the Angel murmured, Wait.”
“I’ve a place I wish to show you,
It’s the hottest place in hell,
Where the ones who never paid you,
In torment forever dwell.”
And behold, the blacksmith saw there
His old patrons by the score,
And, grabbing up a chair and a fan,
He wished for nothing more.
He desired to sit and watch them,
As they sizzle, singe and burn,
And his eyes would rest on debtors,
Whichever way they’d turn.
Said the Angel, “Come on Blacksmith,”
“There are pearly gates to see.”
But the blacksmith only muttered,
“Here is Heaven enough for me.”
In 1940, Carl P. Grosz’s obtuse humor towards debtor’s neglect is satirized on his business card at Ethan, South Dakota. Carl Grosz’s business flyer advertised him as a blacksmith and engine mechanic. Perhaps Carl composed this poem himself!
Nathaniel “Dan” Grosz operated a butcher shop in Parkston. This circa 1905 photo show business interior with Dan at round butcher-block table and young son, Carl, a future blacksmith. Edward Grosz, Carl’s older brother is not included in this photo. The small lad is Emil Grosz.
Parkston’s village blacksmith, Gottfried Grosz, with sons, Cornelius and Conrad.
Gottfried’s wife, Marie Grosz, with infant son, John.
This photo of four grandsons of Daniel Grosz, circa 1905: (left to right) Edward and Carl, sons of Nathaniel “Dan” Grosz; and Edmund and Albert, sons of Solomon “John” Grosz.
Wedding photo of Carl P. Grosz with his bride, Nora. Edward Grosz with his wife, Hilda of Parkston, South Dakota, is on the left. Circa 1921-1923.
Wedding photo of Edward Grosz with his bride, Hilda. Carl Grosz at left; Emil Grosz with his wife, Dora, at right. Notice the identical twin flower girls. Matron of honor, Dora Grosz (right) has trendy hairstyle “puffs” worn during 1920-1924.


Magdalena Grosz (Mrs. Johann Kusler, Junior), Gottfried’s and Dan’s sister, homesteaded in Antelope Township in McIntosh County, south of Kulm, North Dakota, near the Gnadenfeld German Congregational Church. Her youngest Kusler daughters, Alitha and Adeline, gathered and preserved these historic family photos.

Our appreciation is extended to Adeline Kusler McCloy for use of these photographs.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller