Napoleonic influence in Dreiling family

Fr. Kilian’s grandmother on his father’s side was Barbara (Prevo) Dreiling and of French ancestry.  One story has it that a soldier was left behind during Napoleon’s ill-fated attack on Moscow.  I have also heard that she traced back to Alsace-Lorraine on the German border.  Her ancestors might have been part of the immigration to Russia.  She and her husband Michael came to the U.S. in 1875.  I do not know much about her background.

She had mental problems.  I have heard that she tried to commit suicide at home and that she tried to set fire to Fr. Kilian and maybe others of the children.  She was committed to the state mental institution where she died.  Someone once told me she had succeeded.  Her problem may have been related to the difficult life of the early settlers.  There were cases of frontier wives breaking under the strain.

Some of my aunts were convinced that there was a crazy streak in the family and that it was due to that “French blood.”  Other misbehaviors in the family sometimes got the same assignment.  Considering the large size of the family, I thought the number of cases of nervous problems were normal.Â

Author : Mark Dreiling

“French Blood”

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