My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Saturday, July 9, 2011


"Saturday's Structures" will show photographs and tell the stories of the homes, businesses, churches and cemeteries that played an important role in the lives of our family. These will run the gamut from New Orleans Plantations, to homes our ancestors were born in and raised; from awe-inspiring Cathedrals from around the country, and world, to quaint country churches; from historic cemeteries to businesses that are now parking lots.

Palace Royal Saloon
Charles Horst, Proprietor (in front of bar with moustache)

Palace Royal Saloon, Birmingham, Alabama

Edward Horst (1858-1901), second son of Martin Horst (1830-1878) and Apollonia Weinschenk (1829-1908), left Mobile during the late 1880's and moved to Birmingham. The city was founded in 1871, so the prospects of new opportunities were endless. In 1891 Edward was working as a barkeeper at the Palace Royal Saloon, owned by William Wigginton. By 1895, Edward was the Proprietor. This was not his first experience managing a bar. He and his older brother Charles Horst (1856-1912), my great-great-Grandfather, had owned and operated the City Exchange Saloon in Mobile, after their father's death.

The Palace Royal Saloon was located at 2100 2nd Avenue in downtown Birmingham. The building was razed and is now a parking lot with Birmingham's Central Parking System.

Edward died on Sunday, May 19, 1901, after suffering a stroke while behind the bar on the previous afternoon. News of his falling ill was reported in the newspaper. He never married, and was just 42 when he died. The following day's newspaper reported his death, and told about the man himself. Of the saloon it was written:
"His saloon was noted for the quiet that prevailed there day in and day out, and for the absence of rowdyism, which was not tolerated either by the proprietor or his brother. Deceased was a strict observer of the law, and his saloon, for that reason, was never one that was watched over by the police."   [From The Birmingham News; May 20, 1901]
Edward was buried at the Catholic Cemetery in Mobile, next to his father.

2100 2nd Avenue, Birmingham, Alabama
site of Palace Royal Saloon, ca. 1935
After Edward's death Charles ran the saloon. He had worked with his father and brother at the City Exchange Saloon, and had been the proprietor of the Big Six Saloon in Mobile, until  he and his wife Odalie Fortier (1857-1920) and their two young children left the city and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Here Charles worked as a barkeeper, while living with his family at the home of his aunt, Elizabeth Horst Ginter's (1827-1877) family. By 1895 Charles, Odalie and their growing family of six moved to Birmingham. Charles was now listed in the Birmingham City Directory as the "Mixologist" for the Palace Royal Saloon. Charles continued to run the saloon after his brother's sudden death, but by 1910 Charles was retired.

He died on August 30, 1912 at the age of 55. He was survived by his wife, five children and five grandchildren. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery, along side his wife Odalie.

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