DEATH AT LAFAYETTE
Mrs. Mary Grasz, widow of Henry Grasz, and a former resident of Nappanee, died Tuesday, March 28, at the Lafayette soldiers' home, aged 78 years. Funeral services were held on Thursday and interment was in the soldiers home cemetery. Mrs. Grasz is survived by two sons, William H. of Akron, and Floyd M. of Nappanee. Both were in attendance at the funeral. Mr. Grasz died several years ago.
Nappanee Advance News April 6, 1922
From a letter to Miriam Elaine Grasz Field from Evelyn (Culp?). The letter contained a typed copy of the obituaries of Henry Grass and his wife Mary Grasz. The letter is dated Sept. 15, 1967. This letter is in the possession of Lucie and Eugene Field.
Mary Dorcas Irwin was born 31 October 1846, Hancock County, Indiana, She was one of ten children born to Richard Irwin and Leodica Stafford. She Married Henry Grass on 28 March 1869, in Bourbon, Marshall County, Indiana. They had four children, Winnie, William, Hugh and Floyd.
Stories come down from various family members and one never knows how true these are. One rumor has it that Mary became blind in her old age. She was also reported to be of an unpleasant temperament. However, in reading through several letters between various members of Mary's family she is often revered to as Aunt Mollie and Henry as Uncle Hank. It is mentioned in some letters that their visits were memorable and enjoyable.
When Mary was 57 and Henry was 61 they moved into the Indiana State Soldier's Home, Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Indiana. For years this was referred to by the family as the "Poor Farm" with the connotation of a less than desirable place to live. Lucie and I visited the facility in 1998. Today it is a Veteran's Hospital. We were given information on the facilities during the time that Mary and Henry lived there. There are photographs that show very nice living areas and other amenities for the residences. It was definitely not a "Poor Farm."
The various spellings of the family name--Gross/Grass/Grasz--derive from the fact that each member or the family used a different spelling. The immigrant ancestor John Henry Gross, born in Germany 14 January 1779, spelled his name Gross. All of his children went by Grass. His son Lewis Grass had seven children and they all used the Grass spelling except for Christena who used Gross. Henry Grass, Mary's husband and a son of Lewis, used Grass consistently as it appears on all of his official documents. Henry had four children and they used two spellings. The two eldest used Grass and the two youngest used Grasz.