Frank Goelz had no idea of the family tree he was planting when he emigrated from Germany in 1882. The 17-year-old arrived in New York City then moved to Chicago, where he became part owner of a bakery, before relocating to the Minnesota River Valley in 1892. His son, John Lawrence Goelz, was born in 1893 on the farmstead north of Franklin. Young John left the farm for a time to fight for his father’s adopted country. “He was in World War I,” his grandson explained, adding that grandpa had fought in the Battle of the Argonne Forest. “Then he came home, got married and farmed.” John Goelz would have 13 children, all told, but decided early on that his first born son would have the name that had served him so well. John Lawrence Goelz II was born in 1924; for simplicity’s sake, the family called him Lawrence. He, too, farmed – but times were tough when Lawrence’s first born came along in 1944. “They paid for me with eggs,” John Lawrence Goelz III, said. “Every time they went to town, they gave old Doc Billings a dozen eggs.” Goelz III who, like his grandfather, goes by John became the fourth generation of Goelz’s to farm in Minnesota’s Franklin/Morton area. “I thought that I wanted to farm, but thought I had to auctioneer so I could farm,” John quipped. “So now I’ve got to farm so I can auctioneer.” Early in his farming/auctioneering career, John met Alice Wertish – a native of the Bechyn/Danube area – at a wedding dance in Gibbon. They soon decided to have their own wedding dance and – a couple years later – their son John Lawrence Goelz IV was born. “When he was born I said I knew I couldn’t fight tradition, but I’d sure like it if we could call him Larry,” Alice explained. And so, they did – after his grandfather John Lawrence II. “Larry was the first of the John Lawrence line to be born in a hospital,” Alice said. “And there was running water at home,” John quipped. Times had, indeed, gotten better. “I’ve always gone by Larry,” the younger Goelz said. “At college they’d say ‘John’ and I wouldn’t even react.” Professionally, Larry – a veterinarian in Pipestone – is Dr. J.L. Goelz. Larry is married to the former Lori Hanna, who hails from rural Morton. They have two daughters, Brooklyn, age five, and Kaitlyn, 3-1/2. Recently, on August 10, 2010, they were blessed with a son, John Lawrence V. “Because we’re a non-creative family, that’s why,” Larry joked when asked why they decided to continue the family moniker. Seriously though, “All my life, I always thought that if I had a boy, I’d name him John Lawrence V. “We’re actually going to call him Jack,” he added. “I’ve been told that my great-grandfather went by Jack to his friends.” Like her mother-in-law, Lori Goelz was slightly hesitant about giving her son a name that came with a number. “Larry reminded me that his mom wasn’t super-excited either,” Lori said, “but she loves her husband.” Jack’s grandparents didn’t know that the fifth in the line was even a possibility. “When they told us it was a boy and what his name was, it was exciting,” Grandma Alice said. In fact, Grandpa John admitted, learning of the baby’s name made his buttons pop with pride. Later, John Lawrence V’s big sisters took it upon themselves to explain the whole naming thing to Grandpa and Grandma. “The five-year-old says we have to call him Jack so Grandpa John doesn’t get mixed up,” Alice related as she shared a grin with her husband, John III.
Goelz family tradition continues