Pearl Alphonsine Horst Flemming was born. She was the middle of five children, and the oldest daughter, born to Charles Frederick Horst (1856-1912) and Felicite Odalie Fortier (1857-1920). Her father was born in Mobile, Alabama, and her mother in New Orleans, Louisiana, but about 1883 they moved, along with their two sons Charles Frederick Horst, Jr. (1880-1864) and Edward Martin Horst (1882-1812) to Cincinnati, Ohio, because of Charles, Sr.'s health. It was here that Pearl was born, most likely in the home of Charles' paternal aunt, Elizabeth Horst Ginter (1827-1877) at 30 Rittenhouse. Her father worked in a saloon, as he had in Mobile. It was also in Cincinnati that her younger brother Omer Leo Horst (1887-1945) was born.
|(clockwise from top left) Charles, Edward, Pearl |
and Omer in Cincinnati, Ohio (ca. 1892)
The family lived in Cincinnati until the early 1890's when they moved and settled permanently in Birmingham, Alabama. Charles went into business with his brother Edward P. Horst (1858-1901) who was owner and saloon keeper of the Palace Royal Saloon, serving as the "Mixologist" at the bar. It was in Birmingham that Pearl and her brothers went to public school at the Powell School on 6th Avenue North and 24th Street. In 1896 her younger sister Odalie Marie Horst, later Wittges, (1896-1990) was born.
On April 18, 1906, Pearl married Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955), who had moved with his family to Birmingham from his birthplace of Rome, Georgia. They were married at St. Paul's Cathedral; Harry was 28 and Pearl was 21. Harry bought their first and only home that year, in Birmingham's new Southside neighborhood at 1402 N. 17th Street. Harry was an Engineer on the Great Alabama Southern Railroad, taking him out of town every other night. Because of this Pearl was too afraid to live in the house for the first year as she felt it was "too far out" from the city, so she continued living with her parents, who lived at 2430 4th Avenue North.
|Pearl (standing) with (l to r) daughter Susie, Harry,|
and son Harry, Jr. - Birmingham, Alabama (1914)
Lots of stories have been told about Pearl through the years - of her dedication to the Catholic Church and the Cathedral where she and her family attended; of her big holiday gatherings of family every year for holiday dinners that she prepared; of her marriage and the love of her husband. There are other stories I have heard, most from my grandmother Susie, who "never let the truth get in the way of a good story." So I won't repeat them. But her life and accomplishments prove that she was quite a remarkable woman.
She raised eight children, all to adulthood. She remained married to her husband for 49 years, until his death. She received the proEcclesia et Pontifica medal from Pope Pius XXIII the year before her death for her work within the Catholic Church. She sent two sons off to war during WWII. She was the grandmother of twenty-five. At the time of her death she was also the great-grandmother of thirteen, with many more to come. She died on September 25, 1961, less than one month before I was born.
|49th Wedding Anniversary Party - with Children (1955)|