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


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY'S PHOTO - Grandmother Odalie Horst with Granddaughters 1910

Grandmother Horst with Susie and Pearl Flemming
Birmingham, Alabama  ca.1910
This photograph of my great-great-Grandmother Odalie Fortier Horst (1857-1920) was taken in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1910. She was 53 years old. In her lap is my grandmother Susan Elizabeth Flemming. Susie, as she was always called, was born on August 23, 1909. Standing next to her grandmother is Pearl Alphonsine Flemming, Susie's older sister. Pearl, born March 11, 1907, was just 3 years old. Pearl and Susie were the first children, of eight, born to Odalie's daughter Pearl Alphonsine Horst (1884-1961) and Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955).

Odalie, born in New Orleans, Louisiana, met her husband Charles Frederick Horst (1856-1912) in Mobile, where they were married on January 10, 1879. The couple moved first to Cincinnati, Ohio, for Charles' health before settling in Birmingham around 1890. Birmingham was a newly established city in north Alabama, founded in 1871. Charles worked with his brother Edward Horst (1858-1901) at his saloon, Palace Royale. Charles and Odalie had five children together. Pearl was their third child.

In the back of the picture, behind Odalie and her granddaughters, a horse and buggy are riding along on the dirt road. The three may have been sitting out front of the home of Pearl and Harry, at 17th Street South. Or they may have been sitting in the front of Odalie and Charles' home at 2330 8th Avenue North. The Flemmings' home still stands on Birmingham's Southside and remains in the family. The Horsts's home is no longer there. It was located across the street from Powell Elementary School, built in 1888; the school building is still there but was closed about ten years ago.

It is also interesting to me to see what a 53-year old woman typically looked like just a hundred years ago. I'm just a few years away from  that myself. It's hard to imagine how very much harder her life was than my own, and everything that she had been through in her fifty-three years. She lost her father when she was ten and her mother at 15. She had to leave her home and her friends in New Orleans to move in, along with her five siblings, with her aunt Elodie DeGruy Mendoza (1828-1914) in Mobile. She followed her husband to Ohio to live with his aunt and her family for his health. Then she followed him to the newly established city of Birmingham. She cared for her five children, raised them to be strong, successful, faithful adults, then helped them as they started their own families. She lost her husband in 1912 and her second child Edward in 1916.

No electrical conveniences, no automobiles until she was much older, no air conditioning, coal furnaces that had to be filled every morning, phones only late in life, and health and medical services without antibiotics or any of the other thousands of advances that have been made in 100 years. Odalie lived to the age of 63, dying on November 14, 1920. The cause of her death was listed as "Arteriosclerosis" - hardening of the arteries. She is buried next to her husband Charles at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

SUNDAY'S OBITUARY - Martin Horst (1830-1878)

Martin Horst
 My 3rd great-Grandfather Martin Horst died at his home in Mobile, Alabama, on October 7, 1878. He had suffered from Bright's disease, and this was listed as the cause of his death. He was only 48 years old at the time of his death.

Bright's Disease was described in the 11th Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1911):
"BRIGHT'S DISEASE, a term in medicine applied to a class of diseases of the kidneys (acute and chronic nephritis) which have as their most prominent symptom the presence of albumin in the urine, and frequently the coexistence of dropsy [edema or fluid retention].
These associated symptoms in connection to kidney disease were first described in 1827 by Dr. Richard Bright (1789-1858)....
The symptoms are usually of a severe character. Pain in the back, vomiting and febrile disturbance commonly usher in the attack. Dropsy, varying in degree from slight puffiness of the face to an accumulation of fluid sufficient to distend the whole body, and to occasion serious embarrassment to respiration, is a very common accompaniment. The urine is reduced in quantity, is of dark, smoky or bloody colour, and exhibits to chemical reaction the presence of a large amount of albumen, while, under the microscope, blood corpuscles and casts, as mentioned, are in abundance.
This state of acute inflammation may by its severity destroy life, or, short of this, may by continuance result in the establishment of one of the chronic forms of Bright's Disease. On the other hand an arrest of the inflammatory action frequently occurs, and this is marked by the increased amount of the urine, and the gradual disappearance of the albumen and other abnormal constituents; as also by the subsidence of the dropsy and the rapid recovery of strength.
In the treatment of acute Bright's disease, good results are often obtained from local depletion [bleeding or blood-letting to reduce pressure], warm baths and from the careful employment of diuretics and purgatives [laxatives]. Chronic Bright's disease is much less amenable to treatment, but by efforts to maintain the strength and improve the quality of the blood by strong nourishment, and at the same time guarding against the risk of complications, life may be prolonged in comparative comfort, and even a certain measure of improvement be experienced."

Some notable sufferers of Bright's Disease include Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States; Alexander Romanov III, Tsar of Russia; Emily Dickinson, 19th century U.S. poet; Ty Cobb, hall of fame baseball player; Bram Stoker, author of Dracula; H.P. Lovecraft, science fiction writer; and Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel laureate.

On October 8, 1878, his funeral began at 3 PM from his home and moved to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a block away, at 4 PM. Members of the Board of Aldermen, the Common Council of the city, the Mayor, the Board of County Commissioners, the Turn Verein (German Club), Neptune Fire Company Number 2 and members representing the other volunteer fire companies, other city officials, members of the police department, and the Sisters of Charity attended, each group joining before the service in order to attend as a group. All classes of citizens came and the Cathedral was filled. He was buried in the Catholic Cemetery.

His obituary in the Mobile Daily Register praised him highly as did an editorial in the same newspaper printed October 9, 1878.

Death of Martin Horst
"About half past 1 o'clock yesterday evening the spirit of Martin Horst winged its flight from earth, and Mobile now mourns the loss of one of her best citizens. For some time past Mr. Horst had been in ill health, caused by Bright's disease which yesterday ended in his death. He came to Mobile in 1855 (sic) and was first engaged as a barkeeper in a saloon in the vicinity of the river front. He afterward obtained employment as a barkeeper in a bar at the corner of Conti and St. Emanuel at that time owned by Mrs. Berg, whom he afterward married. By energy, industry and integrity Mr. Horst became one of our leading business men and was noted for liberality, energy and perseverance. In December 1870 he was elected to the Mayoralty and served in that capacity during the year 1871-1872. At the time of his death he was about 49 years of age, although from ill health, he appeared to be a much older man. He leaves a wife and eight children to mourn him, and in his death the community has lost a good citizen, and his family a loving husband and kind father.
To the youth Mr. Horst's career furnishes an example of what may be accomplished by close attention to business, integrity and perseverance. He leaves a large circle of friends who mourn his loss and to his afflicted family we extend our heartfelt sympathy. His funeral will take place from his late residence at 3 o'clock and the Cathedral at 4 o'clock." (from Daily Register, Mobile, Alabama, October 7, 1878)

Funeral of Martin Horst
"Rarely has a citizen of our community passed away from the scenes of life, whose loss has been more truly regretted by our people than has been the case in the death of Martin Horst. A merchant of uprightness and integrity, a Chief Executive who had the interests of our city ever in view, and a citizen who was ever devoted to the prosperity of our community, the memory of Martin Horst will not soon be forgotten by those who have admired his public spirit, his generosity and his liberality. It was not surprising, therefore, that his funeral was so largely attended yesterday evening by all classes of our citizens, and that the tribute and respect was heartfelt and spontaneous. The Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council, with the city officials, and police force attended his funeral in a body, to do honor to the memory of a Chief Magistrate of the City. The Board of County Commissioners was also present, of which body Mr. Horst was a member at the time of his death. In addition to these were the Sisters of Charity, Neptune Fire Department Company No. 2, delegations from the different companies of the Mobile Fire Department and the Mobile Turn Verein. The religious service took place in the Cathedral, which was densely packed by a large concourse of our citizens and was conducted by the Rev. Father J. J. Browne. At the conclusion of these services the casket was borne to the hearse of Messrs. C.J. Leonard, Jno. Vinas, J.K. Renaud, C. Weinaker, B.R. Studevant, E.D. Ricker, Jno. Norville and C.J. Burns and conveyed in sad and solemn procession to the Catholic Cemetery where all that is earthly of our lamented townsman was committed to dust." (The Daily Register, Mobile, Alabama - Wednesday morning, October 9, 1878 - Editorial page)
Gravestone of Martin Horst
Catholic Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama

Saturday, August 27, 2011

SATURDAY'S STRUCTURE - The Martin Horst House - Mobile, Alabama

Martin Horst House
407 Conti Street, Mobile, Alabama
Martin Horst (1830-1878), my 3rd great-Grandfather, commissioned George Woodward Cox to build his family home in Mobile, Alabama, in 1867. The house was built on the corner of Conti and Hamilton, at 407 Conti Street, for $26,000.

In a letter dated January 12, 1868, to his brother Charles (Carl) in Metropolis, Illinois, Martin wrote:
"I am just now finishing up my new dwelling I have been building which cost me twenty-six thousand dolls. Seven thousand more than I calculated on, and when I began last Spring I had only twelve Thousand Cash hoping at that time to collect by Jan. 1st at least six or seven Thousand dolls. that I could draw out of my business but so far I have not been able to collect one dolls. of this money and probable never will; as most people who owe any money are taking the benefit of the Bankrupt Law and than them is a very poor showing. At present I am paying one or two per. pr. for money I had to borrow as I could not collect what is due me four & five months ago. People are very indifferent about it whether they pay you or not the only Satisfaction they give you is; wait until I have some money then I will pay you. This are trying times down here. No money and no Business and none in Prospect. But had I known Six months ago that such time was in Store for us I would have kept my twelve Thousand dolls. in hand and could buy this day a house for it equally as good as the one I have paid 26,000. Nobody knew such things would come to pass. Houses do not bring the value of the Bricks this day, not one half of what they cost to build in 1860 or even two years ago. Such is the State of affairs all over the Southern States; and will remain so as long as radical Thiefs rule this once happy Country...."

Builder George Woodward Cox was born in London in 1814. An orphan, he was sent in 1828 by two sisters to live with his half-brother, William Cox, who was an established builder and contractor in Mobile. George Cox was an apprentice to his brother until William's death in 1832. In spite of this, Cox prospered; at the age of twenty-one he was a successful bidder for the United States Arsenal at Mount Vernon, near Mobile. He built other residences in the city. He died in Mobile in 1869.

from Historic American Building Survey
ca. 1971

Robert E. Lee bust in Parlor Archway
The house is a two-story, Italianate style home, L-shaped home, with a large courtyard and Carriage House. Wrought iron, original to the home, frames the front balcony and the fence surrounding the residence. The first floor of the home has a central hall, flanked by two rooms on the right, and a double parlor on the left. In the archway between the two parlors, Martin Horst had placed a bust in bas-relief of Robert E. Lee on one side, and Stonewall Jackson on the other. Upstairs there are two rooms on either side of the house. In the back of the home, in the service wing, there are two rooms separated by a stairwell on the first floor, and four rooms upstairs on the second floor. A large wine cellar is located below the service wing. Four fireplaces grace the first floor of the main house.

Front Gate of Home
Martin and his wife Apollonia (1829-1908) raised their six surviving children in the home, including my great-great-Grandfather Charles Frederick (1856-1912). They were well known for hosting impressive dinners, especially for their German friends, and celebrating holidays with their family in the home. Apollonia also supplied flowers from her garden to the Cathedral located nearby. Martin died in his home in October 1878. Apollonia continued living here, first with her adult children, later with their spouses. By the time of the 1900 U.S. Census, along with her young widowed daughter, Apollonia was taking in borders to help defray expenses. On April 24, 1908 Apollonia also died in her home, at the age of 80. Daughter Apollonia "Appie" Manson (1870-1942) continued living here, with her own young daughter Apollonia Manson (1894-1972) before remarrying and moving out. By 1920, the house was used only for borders - Jeanette Ellsworth, a 54-year single woman was the landlady, along with 20 borders from all over the country.

Bernard's Restaurant Menu

from Mobile Press-Register
July 11, 1965
In 1923 the house was sold to the Zougby family. Eventually the home came under extreme disrepair and it was set to be bulldozed in 1965 to make room for parking for the adjacent building. At this time the Mobile Historic Commission bought the building, then sold it in 1971 to Carl Brady, who agreed to restore and maintain it. During the mid-70's and 80's the building became Moongate Restaurant. Later the home became the site of Bernard's Restaurant, including outdoor dining in the courtyard.

The house has been called "The Martin Horst House," "The Horst-Zoughby House," "Moongate Restaurant" and "Bernard's Restaurant". It is now called The Ezell House, and is the site of weddings, receptions and parties. Their website has a "virtual tour" of the interior of the home -  The space is available for rent - I hope one day to rent the house for a "Horst Family Reunion" (hint, hint). My parents took me to Bernard's for lunch back in the '80's. I wish I would have paid more attention at the time.

The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 21, 1971.

The house also has a Facebook page - Martin Horst House - which you can check out and "Like".

Friday, August 26, 2011

FRIDAY'S FAMOUS - Martin Horst - Mayor of Mobile, Alabama 1871

Martin Horst

Martin Horst, my 3rd great-Grandfather, was born in the town of Ober-Ohmen, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, on January 12, 1830. His parents, my 4th great-grandparents, were John (Johann) Eckhard Horst (1802-1852) and Elizabeth Martin (UNK-before 1842). He was the second child of four, and the oldest son. His mother died before 1842 and his father remarried. His second wife was Elisa Geiss (1817-1852); together they had two daughters.
District of New York - Port of New York Passenger List (August 7, 1846 - Ship Gladiator)
from New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

In early 1846 Martin, just 16, boarded the ship Gladiator with his father, stepmother, older sister Elizabeth, 19, younger brother Carl, 12, and two step-sisters Wilhemina "Mina", 3 and baby Maria, headed for America. [Younger brother Conrad and Martin's grandfather Johann Conrad Horst (1780-UNK) came later to America, in 1860.] They rode in steerage, along with 209 other passengers, below decks. Eleven passengers stayed in cabins, including three whose occupation was listed as "gent". Those in steerage had to bring not only their possessions to start a new life with, but also all of their own food for the trip, mattresses and pillows to use on their bunk bed - each platform large enough for the whole family to share - and the family's eating and cooking supplies Six passengers died on the trip, which was common due to the unhealthy conditions those in steerage endured. Those who died were given a brief service before their bodies were dropped overboard.

Martin and his family arrived in New York Harbor on August 7, 1846. The family soon settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, a favorite choice for German immigrants. In 1852 Martin's father and step-mother contracted Cholera, a bacterial infection of the lower intestine caused by contaminated food and water. At the time they came down with it, the cause and treatment of the illness was still unknown. What was known that when someone got it, it was often a death-sentence for the individual, as well as those who lived with them. Because of this, on the night they got sick, the children were sent outside to sleep in a wagon during the night. Unfortunately, both John Eckhard and Eliza died during the night, within an hour of each other. The date of their death is unknown.

Soon after the death of his father and step-mother, Martin left Ohio and travelled to Mobile, Alabama. There he began working at The City Exchange, a saloon owned and operated by Tobias Berg and his wife Apollonia Weinschenk (1829-1908). In 1853 Tobias died, at the age of 34, leaving his wife and two small daughters. On December 15, 1854, Martin married his boss's widow Apollonia, also a German immigrant, and took over the business. Together they had eight children, including their oldest Charles Frederick (1856-1912), my great-great-Grandfather.

1878 Mobile City Directory
Martin continued to run the City Exchange, as well as Horst Wholesale Grocer. He had at least four slaves in 1860, including two inherited from Tobias Berg's estate. The business was a huge success and soon Martin commissioned a large house to be built, down the road from Mobile's Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception where they had been married. [FYI-The house still stands - check out tomorrow's post for more information.] In a letter to his brother, Martin said the house was costing him $26,000, seven thousand more than he had planned. The house was completed in 1868. At the time of the 1870 U.S. Census, Martin reported that his real estate was worth $100,000 and his personal property totalled $50,000. He was doing very well in his business and was well respected in the city.

Mobile had come under federal control at the end of the Civil War and the northerners had taken over the running of the city. This obviously did not sit well with the citizens of Mobile. A number of Mobile citizens, Democrats, decided to rid the city of its radical government in the 1870 election for Mayor and Alderman. A convention of Democrats was called to nominate candidates in November 1870. It was difficult to name candidates who would be allowed by the Federal government to take office. It was also decided that the candidate for May must win 2/3 of the convention delegates in order to be nominated. After a meeting that lasted  from noon until midnight on the second day of the convention, Martin Horst won the nomination for Mayor. His name was considered to be the only one of the thirty or forty names mentioned who could capture the two-thirds vote necessary.

After his  nomination he said: "I am conscious of my shortcomings and I pray you elect honest boards to sustain me in administering your government."

The Mobile Daily-Register said of Horst: "A quite, firm, reticent man, attending to his own business well and never meddling with the affairs of his neighbors, he has by his own energies been the artificer of  his own fortune. He is a plain, straightforward, honest, self-made man.... It detracts nothing from his character or qualifications that he would not wear the wig and trappings and regalia of office with as much ease as the Lord Mayor of London.... We Democrats care not a button whether or not he (can dance a minuet or a round dance). But if  he cannot point the 'Light fantastic toe,' he can put his honest foot down at the door of the treasury and bid ring-ers and leaches and speculators 'stand back.' He is honest and will have honesty stand about him...."

From the soon to be published Horst Family History:
"On December 6, 1870, the election took place. It was quiet and peaceful. The Republican sheriff did not allow fraudulent voters to vote. Horst won by a majority of 1,646 votes. On the night of the election a huge crowd had gathered in front of Horst's home, fireworks were displayed, and Horst made a short speech, followed by more fireworks. After that the crowd went home.
Martin Horst entered his office with the Daily Register stating: "His integrity is beyond all question, and the public treasury will be as safe in his hands as if it were still in the pockets of the people."
The term of office of Mayor of Mobile was one year. Martin Horst served the year 1871. He presided over the Mayor's Court and apparently served as Mayor well. There was a controversial signing of railroad bonds but Horst, in a statement to the newspaper, reported why he signed the bonds (he had no choice under the law) and the newspaper applauded his act. He did not run for a second term."

Martin Horst contracted Brights' Disease, a debilitating disease that attacks the kidneys. The disease caused him to look much older than his age. He was only 48 when he died at 1:30 PM on October 7, 1878, at his home on Conti Street.  He was survived by his wife, one brother, six children, two step-children and three grandchildren. He was buried at Mobile's Catholic Cemetery.    

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY'S PHOTOS - 1906 Honeymoon Sightseeing

Harry & Pearl Flemming (3rd row from right, first two in seat)
Honeymoon in Washington, D.C.
April 1906
My great-Grandfather, Harry Clinton Flemming, married my great-Grandmother, Pearl Alphonsine Horst, at St. Paul's Cathedral in Birmingham, Alabama, on April 6, 1906. She was 21 and he was 28. For their honeymoon, the couple went to Washington, D.C.. As seen in this photograph, they took a sightseeing tour of the city - the United States Capitol building can be seen in the background (right).

When they returned from their honeymoon, the couple settled in Birmingham. Harry was Trainmaster at the Alabama Great Southern Railroad and worked with his family at the moving company his father Charles Flemming (1854-1932) had started in the city - Charlie's Transfer Company. The couple went on to have eight children.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

MONDAY'S MOTHERS - Annie Taylor Boulo (1891-1918)

Annie Randall Taylor was born on January 15, 1891, in Mobile, Alabama. She was the middle child of 9 born to Hiram Columbus Taylor (1857-1943) and Mary J. Dillon (1863-1945). On June 1, 1914, Annie married my 1st cousin 3x removed, Paul Augustus Boulo.

Paul Boulo, born July 15, 1889, was the oldest of four children born to my 2nd great-grand Aunt (3rd great-aunt) Luciana "Lucy" Fortier (1861-1942) and Paul Augustus Boulo (1842-1909). [Lucy was the younger sister of my 2nd great-Grandmother Odalie Fortier Horst (1857-1920).] Paul's father was a Civil War veteran, wounded in the Battle of Shiloh (Tennessee). He came back to Mobile after he was wounded, married Lucy Fortier and started a ship chandlery business in the port city.

Annie and Paul started their family right away, having their first child nine and a half months after they were married. Paul Augustus Boulo, Jr. was born on April 15, 1915. By 1918, they were again expecting. This time they were having twins - whether they knew it during her pregnancy isn't known. But no doubt they were excitedly looking forward to the arrival of their new addition, along with 3 year-old Paul. But it wasn't meant to be.

About October 14, 1918, Annie came down with Influenza. This was less than 3 weeks since the first case was reported in Alabama. The Spanish flu, as it was known, was sweeping across the globe, on its second wave of the year - a much deadlier wave than the first. Unlike typical influenza which effects the old, the young, and those with weak immune systems, the Spanish flu struck young, healthy individuals. Ninety-nine percent of pandemic deaths occurred in people under 65 years old; more than half of the deaths were in people 20 to 40 years old. Also unlike typical flu which strikes during the winter, summer and autumn were the primary months of the Spanish flu. Spread initially by soldiers in camp during WWI, more U.S. soldiers died from influenza than from the enemy.

Estimates of deaths in the U.S. from Spanish flu run between 500,000 and 650,000. Between 20 and 40 million people worldwide died from this incredibly virulent form of influenza - a strain of the H1N1 virus. Other estimations put the death toll as 100 million. One-fifth of the world's population were infected. More people died in one year of the influenza pandemic than in the 4 years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague of 1347-1351. [NOTE: The 2009 Swine Flu Pandemic was also a strain of the H1N1 virus with many similarities. My middle son and I contracted the Swine Flu in June 2009 - one of 61 million estimated people worldwide who were infected. Of those over 14,000 died.]

Those that caught the virus suffered greatly."Within hours of feeling the first symptoms of extreme fatigue, fever, and headache, victims would start turning blue. Sometimes the blue color became so pronounced that it was difficult to determine a patient's original skin color. The patients would cough with such force that some even tore their abdominal muscles. Foamy blood exited from their mouths and noses. A few bled from their ears. Some vomited; others became incontinent." [from] Deaths most often occurred from pneumonia; bacterial pneumonia effected those with slower-progressing flu.

That is exactly what happened to young Annie Boulo, only 27 at the time she became ill. Two days after first contracting the flu she came down with "Broncho-Pneumonia (Septic)". While suffering the painful effects of the virus, Annie went in to premature labor sometime after 6 a.m. on the 18th. She delivered two boys, who soon died. On the death certificate of one son, it was written the baby lived less than 2 hours. Still fighting to live, Annie survived the births and deaths of her much anticipated babies. Unfortunately the next day Annie, too, died at the home she shared with her husband and 3-year-old son - 853 Dauphin Street. October 1918 was the deadliest month in U.S. history - during the month there were 195,000 fatalities from the flu. Annie was one of 11,000 Alabamians to die during the global pandemic.

Annie was buried at Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile in her parents' plot. It is said she was buried with each of her babies placed in her arms. Paul Boulo remarried in 1919 to Lois Hudson (1899-1981) and had three more children. He served as Vice Consul to the Netherlands, was a foreign freight broker and forwarding agent, and owner of Cottage Hill Nursery in Mobile. He died on January 12, 1953. Annie's only child, Paul, Jr., married Beryl Josephine Morgan (1920-1968); they had no children. He died October 8, 1973.

For more reading on the 1918 Influenza Pandemic check out:

Monday, August 22, 2011

SUNDAY'S OBITUARY - Charlotte McCluskey McCaffrey (1838-1917)

Charlotte Elizabeth McCluskey McCaffrey
Charlotte Elizabeth McCluskey, my 3rd great-Grandmother, was the second of five children born to Patrick McCluskey (1810-UNK) and Mary (1805-UNK), Irish immigrants. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 15, 1838. Her father Patrick, my 4th great-Grandfather, was a milkman at the time of the 1850 U.S. Census. On August 15, 1853, when Charlotte was just 15 years old, she married Thomas Joseph McCaffrey (1832-1896), a 21 year-old pattern maker (at a foundry) from Boston, Massachusetts. They were married at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Philadelphia.

Almost exactly 9 months to the day after their wedding Charlotte gave birth, at 16, to the first of thirteen children - 7 girls and 6 boys. Four of her children died before their 6th birthday - Susie, at age 5; Mary Frances, not quite 6 months old; John Beauregard, 7 months old; and Marie, just one day old. My great-great-Grandmother, Elizabeth Agnes "Lizzie" (1858-1922), was their third child. When the Civil War began, Thomas moved to Shelby County, south of Birmingham, in Alabama, to work at the foundries there, as a pattern maker, creating the "pattern" in which the cannon to be formed. At this time Charlotte stayed with her young children at their home in Washington, DC, until, according to her husband's obituary, Confederate wives were forced to leave Maryland, some time after 1863. By 1865 they were again together, living in Selma, Alabama. By 1872 the family had relocated permanently to Rome, Georgia.

While her husband became involved in the building of the Water Works in Rome, as well as local politics - including serving 2 terms as the Mayor of South Rome, Charlotte raised her family, kept her home and, no doubt, was involved with St. Mary's Catholic Church. In 1896, Charlotte's husband died. Charlotte eventually moved to Birmingham, the home of her daughter (my great-great-Grandmother) Lizzie and her husband Charles "Charlie" Flemming (1854-1932) and their eight children, including by great-Grandfather Harry Flemming (1878-1955). By 1910 Charlotte was living with her youngest child Agnes Gertrude O'Brien (1879-1919) and Agnes' husband and five children.

At 3:30 AM on June 12, 1917, Charlotte died at her daughter Agnes' home at 1021 N. Central Street in Birmingham. The cause of death was listed as "mitral insufficiency" - where the mitral valve in the heart doesn't close all the way causing blood to regurgitate back into the left atrium. It is one of the two most common forms of vascular heart diseases in the elderly. By the time of her death, Charlotte had buried 4 of her children before the age of 6 and four more children as adults, as well as her husband. She was survived by five children and twenty-nine grandchildren.

Former Citizen Passes Away in B'ham
 "Mrs. Charlotte McCaffrey, age 79, a former resident of this city, died shortly after 3:00 this morning in Birmingham.
The news of the death of Mrs. McCaffrey will be learned with regret by scores of her friends and neighbors in Anniston.
She is survived by four daughters and one son. Her daughters are Mrs. E.J. O'Brien, Mrs. C.C. Fleming (sic), Mrs. W.F. Morris of Birmingham, and Mrs. Reese Miller of Rome, Ga. Her surviving son is  J. W. McCaffrey of this city. The body will be taken from Birmingham to Rome, Ga., Wednesday, for internment." (from Anniston Star )

Died at Birmingham -
"While visiting at the home of her daughter, Mrs. E.J. O'Brien, yesterday, Mrs. Thomas J. McCaffrey, long a resident of Rome, died in the Alabama city. She was 79 years of age and had lived here many years, one of the city's highly esteemed women. The body will reach Rome today and funeral arrangements will be announced." (from Rome Tribune)

Charlotte McCaffrey
Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 15, 1838
Died Birmingham, Alabama
June 12, 1917
Aged 79 Years
(Myrtle Hill Cemetery)
"The body of Mrs Charlotte McCaffrey, well known and beloved former Roman died Monday, in Birmingham, reached here yesterday and was carried to the home of her daughter, Mrs. H.R. Miller on Third Avenue. A number of sorrowing friends and relatives accompanied the body here and will attend the funeral, which will be held this morning at 9 o'clock from St. Mary's Catholic church. The services will be conducted by Rev. Father Marren of Atlanta, the pastor, interment will be in Myrtle Hill Cemetery where decedent's husband Thomas J. McCaffrey rests.
The honorary pall-bearers will be Messrs. J P Byars, S N Kuttner, James D'Arcy, F J Kane, W F Miller, Richard Harris, Thomas Fahy and Dr. R M Harbin. The active pall-bearers will be the six grandsons of Mrs. McCaffrey who are Harry C Flemming, W J McCaffrey, H B Amberson, J W Roser, T J McCaffrey and A A Perry. They are requested to meet at the residence at 3:30 o'clock." (from Rome Tribune)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

SATURDAY'S STRUCTURE - Destrehan Plantation, Louisiana

Destrehan PlantationDestrehan, St. Charles Parish, Louisiana

Destrahan Plantation was established in 1787 and is the oldest documented plantation in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Robin de Logney contracted with a free man of color, Charles Paquet, to build the plantation and the outbuildings to support his indigo plantation. Paquet was given the use of 6 slaves to build the home. Upon its completion in 1790 he was paid with "one brute negro", a cow and a calf, 100 bushels of both corn and rice, and $100 in cash. The contract is still on file at the St. Charles Parish courthouse in Hahnville, Louisiana. The plantation grew to include 1,050 acres of land stretching from the Mississippi River to Lake Ponchatrain. There are 10,000 square feet of actual living space in the home. The plantation is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
"Erected in 1787 by Charles Paquet, Destrehan Plantation was purchased by indigo planter Robert Antointe Robin DeLogny and his family. Besides his profitable indigo cash crop, DeLogny's local claim to fame was his famous son-in-law, Jean Noel Destrehan, who married his daughter Marie-Claude in 1786. Destrehan was the son of Jean Baptiste Destrehan de Tours, royal treasurer of the French colony of Louisiana, and it is from him that both the name of the plantation and the name of the town are derived. After DeLogny's death in 1792, the Destrehans inherited the plantation and house. While under the ownership of the Destrehan family, both the house and grounds went through considerable periods of change. In the 19th century the major cash crop at Destrehan became sugarcane rather than indigo and the house went through two further phases of construction. The original gallery columns were replaced in the 1830s or 40s with massive Greek Revival Doric columns of plastered brick and the cornice was altered accordingly. Its original colonial appearance was altered with the post-colonial addition of semi-detached wings.
In the 20th century, the use of the grounds and house underwent yet another change. The house served as a facility of a major oil company, when Louisiana made the transition from an agricultural to an industrial economy. Destrehan Plantation House consists of a central, two-story house with open galleries on three sides and flanking two-story wings separated from the main body of the house by the side galleries. The central unit, the oldest part of the house, is composed of masonry columns on the ground floor and wood columns on the upper. At one time a colonnade had surrounded the central unit. The roof is double- pitched all around. " [From the National Park Service website]

Nicolas Noel Destrehan

Destrehan Plantation and My Family
Nicolas Noel Destrehan, born April 13, 1793, was the fourth child of Jean Noel and Marie-Claude. He married my 4th great-grand Aunt Victoire Victorine Fortier on May 17, 1814. Victorine, born April 30, 1799, was the sixth of ten children born to my 5th great-grandparents Jacques Omer Fortier (1759-1820) and Aimee Marie Victoire Felicite Durel (1768-1843). She was also the younger sister of my 4th great-grandfather Jacques Omer Fortier (1792-1823). The Destrehan and Fortier families were neighbors and friends.

Victorine, married at just 15 years of age to a successful and attractive man of 21, no doubt thought she would have a "happily ever after" life. That was not to be. On December 24, 1819, Christmas Eve, her lawyer filed a civil suit with the District Court of Orleans Parrish, Louisiana, to be granted legal separation. The petition stated in part, that from the time of their marriage Victorine "never ceased to behave herself as an honest and dutiful wife - That she has always done everything in her power to preserve between her and her Said husband that love, friendship, Confidence, and good harmony, without which there can be no happiness in matrimony - That notwithstanding all her efforts to please the temper of her Said husband and pursue with him a comfortable life, She has repeatedly and almost constantly been the object of the most cruel and outrageous treatment from him."

Petition for Separation
December 24, 1819
The petition goes on to state that her husband Nicolas left on a ship bound for Europe in April of 1818 and told his wife to stay with her father during the time he was gone. When he returned home eighteen months later, on November 27, 1819, Victorine was "taken by him from her father's house to his own, where, after but very few days, the Said Nicolas Noel Destrehan yielding to his Violent and unruly temper, begun to make her experience anew the most undeserved ill treatment, particularly on the eighth of December instant, when the Said Nicolas Noel Destrehan, without any just cause, motive or reason did abuse, insult and beat your petitioner in the most offensive and cruel manner, and afterwards turn her mercifully out of their Common Domicil and Sent her back to her father's house, to whom, in the rage of his inconceivable passion, he wrote on her account a defamatory letter. And your petitioner Sheweth further that not contented with having So ill treated her, her Said husband has Since that moment publicly and repeatedly, in the presence of Several credible and respectable Citizens,  defamed your Petitioner, telling them falsely & maliciously that She had been guilty of adultery and giving to understand that She was a prostitute."

The petition requested that she (1) be allowed to sue her husband for separation from "bed and board"; (2) that he must appear before the court and answer to the charges; (3) that they be separated; (4) that she be allowed to move back home with her father; (5) that an inventory of all of his goods be made and that he not be allowed to dispose of any of these; (6) that she be awarded $200 a month since he had all their possessions at home and she had no income. The petition noted that her husband could easily afford this sum since his annual income from his sugar plantation was "fifteen thousand dollars." The petition was granted.

[In 1807 the Territorial Legislature of Louisiana established grounds for divorce and separation from bed and board. Divorce could be granted for impotence at the time of marriage, adultery, bigamy, or desertion without reasonable cause for a minimum of four years. Separation from bed and board could be granted if a husband maliciously abandoned his family, turned his wife out of door, or treated her in such a "barbarous"  manner as to endanger her life. (from Laws of a Public Nature, of the District of Louisiana...1824)]

Grave of Nicolas Noel Destrehan
& Victorine Fortier Destrehan
St. Charles Borromeo Cemetery
Destrehan, Louisiana
Victorine died on May 8, 1825, at the young age of 26. She was buried in the cemetery of the "Little Red Church", Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, down the road from Destrehan Plantation. Many of the old graves have been washed away over the years but her grave, an impressive vault bordered by a black wrought-iron fence, still stands. She is buried in the same grave as her husband. French writing covers the sides of her grave - I have not yet been able to fully translate it.

Nicolas Noel Destrehan married Marie Louise Eleanore Adele de Navarre (1810-1836) on November 12, 1826. She was 16 and he was 33. The couple had five children, at least two dying as infants, before she too died young, at only 26 years of age. At some point Nicolas lost his right arm in a machinery accident on his plantation. After that he always signed his name, poorly, with his left hand - "Destrehan, Manchot" - meaning armless. He died at the age of 55, twice widowed, on June 16, 1848.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY'S PHOTO - Mom and Daughter at Work

Elizabeth "Lizzie" McCaffrey Flemming (1858-1922), my great-great-Grandmother, and her seventh child (of ten), daughter Charlotte Teresa "Lottie" (1891-1937), are seen in this photograph darning stockings in the front yard of their home in Birmingham. Taken about 1903, the photograph shows young Lottie practicing a necessary skill that young girls often learned to do to help out their mothers. And with a family of eight children at home, ages 4-22, there were no doubt always socks in need of darning. Her mother Lizzie, sits next to her in her rocking chair with her sewing box in hand. (Their home at 2500 1st Avenue has since been demolished.)

Lizzie's father was Charles Flemming (1854-1932), my great-great-Grandfather; her older brother Harry (1878-1955), is my great-Grandfather. Lizzie is my great-grand Aunt.

Lizzie and Lottie Flemming
ca. 1903
From the picture it's easy to assume that the hot months in Birmingham are in full swing. First of all the two are sitting outside to darn the socks - with no air conditioning available inside the house was the hottest place to be on an Alabama summer day. Second, Lottie is wearing a crisp white dress with sleeves only down to her elbows. Unfortunately for her mother, adult women - even in the hot, humid South - wore long sleeves, high collars, long skirts with petticoats throughout the year. There are also flowers on the bush to their left.

The Lost Art of Darning gives some background of darning: "Not too long ago, a pair of hand-knitted socks was considered a valuable Christmas or birthday present. Why? Before our industrial age, a lot of work, know-how and considerable time had to be employed to care for a sheep, to shear it, to wash the wool and to spin it until finally a pair of socks could be knitted which in itself is more complicated than knitting other garments. And wool wasn't as hard wearing as modern materials are, so women had baskets full of items to darn. And any luxury thin cotton or silk stocking that could be saved by mending, would also have found its way into the darning basket, because to acquire new socks or stockings was either more time intensive or more expensive than darning it. So a small piece of wood in the shape of an egg or a mushroom to help support the task, a pair of scissors, a thick darning needle and thin darning wool in the most popular colors could be found in any household's sewing box."
from The Book of Knowledge, Volume XI
published 1910 has this to say about the skill: "Darning is done by hand and is, to a degree, a lost art in today's throw-away society. Vintage sewing machines often have settings for darning socks and table linens, reflecting the importance of it in times when clothing was either homemade or very expensive. A mending basket full of stockings, yarn and darning needles was a common sight in homes of the past.
Sock and Darning Egg
Darning of knitted socks and other knitted garments involves inserting a round, hard object, such as a darning egg, to create a solid working surface. The repair begins with a needle and matching yarn, which is sewn through the edges of the hole. Once these stitches are anchored, a criss-cross pattern is created over the hole, which creates a patch."

I remember my Mom darning socks when I was young in the '60's. She used the Fisher Price Snap-n-Lock connecting toy for babies that was my little sister's. It was one of the few times I ever saw my Mom sitting down during the day. Maybe that was an added bonus to the hard-working moms in the past. Yesterday I bought socks for my oldest son to send in a care package to Auburn but I've got more socks to buy for him before I mail them. With three boys in my family I can only imagine how much money I would have saved if I would have learned and practiced this lost skill that all the ladies in my tree no doubt could have done in their sleep.
Snap-n-Lock beads

Sunday, August 14, 2011

SUNDAY'S OBITUARY - Harry Cinton Flemming (1878-1955)

Harry Clinton Flemming, my great-grandfather, was born on January 12, 1878, in Rome, Floyd County, Georgia. He was the oldest of ten children born to Charles Clinton "Charlie" Flemming (1854-1932) and Elizabeth Agnes "Lizzie" McCaffrey (1858-1922).

May 25, 1955

Harry Clinton Flemming, Sr.,
retired railroad engineer, dies
"Harry Clinton Flemming, Sr., 77,  a retired railroad engineer, died this morning at his home, 1402 17th st., s., after a long illness.
Born in Rome, Ga., he came to Birmingham to make his home in 1894. He served as a locomotive engineer with the AGS Railroad 42 years before his retirement in 1941. He was also employed by this railroad as trainmaster, master mechanic and assistant superintendent.
Mr. Flemming also was associated with his father and two brothers in Charlie's Transfer Co., one of the city's oldest transfer concerns.
A LIFE MEMBER of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Division 436, he was a member of St. Paul's Catholic Church, Holy Name Society, and Knights of Columbus Council No. 635.
Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Pearl Horst Flemming; three sons, Harry G. (sic) Flemming, Jr., and Charles F. Flemming of Birmingham, and John K. Flemming, of Enterprise; five daughters, Mrs. E.W. Barriger, Mrs. J. Huber O'Donnell, Mrs. F.J. Selman, Mrs. A.F. Pilkerton, all of Birmingham, and Mrs. George B. Daly of New Orleans; 27 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren; a sister, Mrs. J.B. Thomas, and several nieces and nephews. 
Gravestone at Elmwood Cemetery
Birmingham, Alabama
Rosary will be said at 8 p.m. tonight at Johns-Ridout's Chapel, with the Rev. Fr. Mundy officiating.
Funeral services will be held at 9 a.m. tomorrow at Johns-Ridout's and at 9:30 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. Burial will be in Elmwood Cemetery. " (The Birmingham News, May 25, 1955, p. 33)

Harry would drive his locomotive with the Alabama Great Southern Railroad, #6690, each morning from Birmingham to Meridian, Mississippi, where he then got off and spent the night. The next engineer would then take the locomotive on to New Orleans. The next morning the train left New Orleans back to Meridian where Harry took over and brought the train in to Birmingham (where another engineer would take it to it's next location east). Each morning when he left the Birmingham station he would blow the train whistle in a special way to let his wife know he was leaving the city. Each afternoon when the train returned he blew the whistle again in his special way to let her know he was back and would soon be home. This continued every day of the week throughout each year accept for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - Harry always took these days off because his children and their families would come home to visit for the holidays.

Southern Steam Locomotive #6690
January 1940

I never knew my great-grandfather but in my mother's family he was legendary. My grandmother, Susie Flemming O'Donnell (1909-1999) adored her father and held him in the greatest esteem. He was married 49 years to his wife, Pearl Horst Flemming (1884-1961), whom he always treasured. He was a highly respected employee with the railroad, an involved Catholic, and a devoted husband and father. In our family his legend lives on.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY'S PHOTO - John Martin "Pop" O'Donnell and His 3 Boys

John Martin O'Donnell, with his 3 sons
Ed, Charles and Huber
ca. 1916
John Martin O'Donnell, my great-grandfather, was born in Jericho, Henry County, Kentucky, on November 7, 1865. He was the 6th child and only son of seven children born to Patrick O'Donnell (1823-1911) and Bridget Kennedy (1838-1883), immigrants from Ireland. He attended Emminence College in Kentucky, and became a Civil Engineer with the L&N Railroad in Louisville. He was transferred to Birmingham to work on the new L&N Railroad being developed there in the late 1890's.

On February 11, 1904, John married Mary Huber at St. Paul's Catholic Church. Mayme, as she was called, was born August 8, 1873 in  Bowling Green, Kentucky. She was the second child of seven born to parents, Phillip Huber (1847-1901), an immigrant from Florsheim, Hessen, Germany, and Barbara Brunett (1852-1896), from Jennings County, Indiana. Mayme had moved with her father and three younger siblings to Bessemer, Alabama, outside Birmingham, after her mother's death. She worked, as she had in Kentucky, as a school teacher.

Huber, Ed, Charles
John and Mayme started their family right away. John Huber, their oldest, was born May 6, 1905. Huber, as he was called, is my grandfather. Three more children soon followed - Charles Patrick, born October 18, 1906, Edward Joseph Kennedy, born January 18, 1908, and Barbara Lena, born December 7, 1909. The family lived in Owenton (Bessemer) while "Pop", as his children called him, continued working for the railroad.. Unfortunately, their happiness together was short lived.

Early after the birth of their daughter, Mayme was stricken with Tuberculosis, a contagious pulmonary disease that is often fatal. It was one of the leading causes of death in the early twentieth century. An estimated 110,000 Americans died each year in the early 1900's from TB.

Because tuberculosis was thought of as a death sentence, those infected were isolated from society and sent off to sanatoriums - hospitals designed to care specifically for tuberculosis sufferers. Before antibiotic treatments existed, a regiment of rest and good nutrition offered the best chances that a sufferer's immune system would "wall off" pockets of the TB infection and be cured.

Tuberculosis, known as consumption in the 19th century because it seemed to consume the patient's body, is evidenced by chronic cough, blood-tinged sputum, fever, night sweats and weight loss. Mayme was sent to Albuquerque, New Mexico after she was diagnosed with the hopes of a recovery.

New Mexico was definitely one of the country's prime destinations for tuberculosis sufferers. "In the early 1900s Arizona's sunshine and dry desert air drew many people (lungers) suffering from tuberculosis, rheumatism, asthma and various other diseases. Wealthier people chose to recuperate in exclusive TB resorts, while others used their savings to make the journey to Arizona and arrived penniless. TB camps in the desert were formed by pitching tents and building cabins. During the tuberculosis epidemic, cities in Arizona advertised the state as an ideal place for treatment of TB. There were many sanitariums in the state of Arizona modeled after European away-from-city resorts of the time, boasting courtyards and individual rooms. Each sanitarium was equipped to take care of about 120 people. The greatest area for sanitariums was in Tucson, with over 12 hotel-style facilities in the city. So many people came to the West that there was not enough housing for them all. In 1910, tent cities began to pop up in different areas; one of which was described as a place of squalor and shunned by most citizens. Many of the infected slept in the open desert." (from

St. Joseph Sanatorium Cottage
ca. 1921

In 1909 TB was the leading cause of death in the United States. By 1910, "Lungers", as the local population called those guests of the city inflicted with the disease, numbered 3,000 in the city - a city of 13,000 total inhabitants. St. Joseph Sanatorium opened in 1902 by the Sisters of Charity to care for TB sufferers; it was the first of its kind in the city. Soon the town had eight sanatoria, along with convalescent homes. The less fortunate stayed in tent houses. There was little actual treatment for TB. Rest, fresh air, nutritious food and sunshine were the main prescription of the day.

Mayme left her family and traveled with her sister Philomena (1876-1937), a nurse, to Albuquerque by train. Minnie, as she was called, stayed with her older sister and took care of her during this time. It's unclear if Mayme stayed at any time in one of the sanatoria or if they stayed together in a private residence. While his wife was convalescing, John had to continue to work for the railroad. There were no day care centers in 1910 to care for their four small children under 5 years old so John placed the children in the Atheneum Orphan's Home run by the Daughters of Charity, located in the East Lake section of Birmingham. He would leave them in the home during the week while he worked, then pick them up and bring them home for the weekend. He did his best to keep his family together during this very difficult time.

Ed, Charles, Barbara & Huber O'Donnell
Albuquerque, New Mexico
unknown woman c. 1911

At least once John visited Mayme with the children while she was in Albuquerque.

In February 1913 John checked the boys out of the orphanage and they went to New Mexico to bring Mayme home. On March 30, 1913, Mayme, just 39 years old and the mother of four children ages 3 to 7, died in their home in Birmingham at 10:20 PM. She was buried in the Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetery. On April 2, the day after their mother's funeral, John re-enrolled his three sons at the Orphan's Home, where they would live during the week, until they left for good on September 6, 1920. Little Barbara, only 3 years old, was sent to Albuquerque to live with her aunt Minnie. She came home to Birmingham by 1926 and was working as a nurse at St. Vincent's Hospital.

The three boys, growing up between a Catholic orphanage and a widowed father, all recalled their years at the Orphan's Home as years of happiness and love. Each boy got married, each had families and were devoted fathers. The nuns were given much of the credit for raising them with great love. Huber married Susie Flemming (1909-1999) and they had eight children, including my mother Barbara who had been named for his much loved little sister. Charles married Helen Hoehn (1907-1966) and together they had four sons. Ed married Mary Waters (1908-1996) and they had three sons. Barbara married Howard Nelson (1908-UNK) and they had three children.

Minnie lived the remainder of her life in Albuquerque, working as a private nurse. John died on December 6, 1937, at the age of 72 while back home in Kentucky, attending the funeral of his brother-in-law. He was buried in Birmingham next to his wife. Huber died in 1964 at the age of 59. Charles died on May 14, 1987 in Atlanta; he was 80. Ed lived to the age of 81; he died in Los Angeles on February 15, 1989. Barbara died in Biloxi, Mississippi on September 29, 1996; she was 86 at the time of her death.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

SUNDAY'S OBITUARY - Edward P. Horst (1858-1901)

Edward P. Horst is my 3rd great uncle, the younger brother of my 3rd great grandfather, Charles Frederick Horst (1856-1912). Their parents were Martin Horst (1830-1878) and Apollonia Weinschenk (1829-1908). Edward was born in Mobile, Alabama on November 3, 1858. He was the second of 8 children born to his immigrant parents.

Edward was educated at Spring Hill High School and College, where the sons of the city's established families - Catholic and non-Catholic - attended starting at the age of nine. After his education was complete he worked in the family's businesses. In 1869 he was a clerk at M Horst & Company, liquor dealers on the corner of Conti and Commerce. After his father's death in 1878, Edward became the proprietor of The City Exchange Saloon, originally owned by his mother's first husband before his death. He also managed Frascati Park, owned by his father; it was the city's premier amusement area, located off Old Shell Road.

Charles Horst, Proprietor, Palace Royal Saloon
(front of bar with moustache)
By 1890 Edward had joined older brother Charles and his young family when they settled in Birmingham. In the 1891 City Directory Edward was listed in the city directory as a barkeeper at the Palace Royal Saloon, owned by William Wigginton. By 1895 he was the saloon's "proprietor", located at 2100 2nd Avenue. Edward was listed in the 1900 Birmingham City Directory as "saloon keeper". He lived in the room above the bar, a common practice of the time.

On Saturday, May 18, 1901, The Birmingham News reported in the paper:

Struck Down Mr. Edwin Horst this Morning;
He is Now in Critical Condition - His Father Was at One Time Mayor of Mobile
"About 11:15 o'clock today Mr. Edwin (sic) Horst, proprietor of the Palace royal Saloon received a stroke of apoplexy. At the time he was behind the bar, serving a customer. He was removed to his rooms in the adjoining flat and Drs. Rosser and Brown were summoned. At this hour they are still at his bedside and hold out very few hopes for his recovery."

Edward died on the following day, May 19th. His obituary was published in The Birmingham News on May 20, 1901:

from The Birmingham News
March 20, 1901
Good Citizen Passes Away, Remains Taken to Mobile

"Yesterday morning at 6 o'clock, Edward P. Horst, proprietor of the Palais Royal Saloon, Twenty-first street and Second avenue, notice of whose being stricken with apoplexy on Saturday morning was given in the News of that afternoon, passed away. He never regained consciousness and died without pain.

His mother was summoned from Mobile, and arrived a little while before he passed away. The remains were taken to Mobile, his former home, for internment, last night and were accompanied thither by his mother and brother Charles Horst. The deceased was about 45 years of age. He was a genial, clever man, as straight as a shingle, honest in his dealings with the public and absolutely true to the men whom he accepted and classed as his friends. His saloon was noted for the quiet which prevailed there day in and day out, and for the absence of rowdyism, which was not tolerated either by the proprietor of his brother. Deceased was a strict observer of the law, and his saloon for that reason, was one of those never watched by the police.

Mr. Horst was a bachelor. He had never married, but was very fond of his nieces and nephews and his aged mother, who reside in Mobile. Every spring he visited his former home, spending several days there and showering gifts the while upon his young kinsmen. The rest of the time he spent either at his business or in his room on Second avenue. He led a quiet, unobtrusive, but a very manly life, and had many warm friends, who regret his departure.

Deceased was the son of the late Jacob Horst (sic), who was the first Democratic Mayor of Mobile after reconstruction. The elder Horst was a prosperous wholesale liquor merchant and a leading citizen. The deceased, after his father's death, was promoter of public amusements in Mobile, and spent a fortune entertaining the public at Frascati Gardens. He was known and loved by every one in that city, and his death will be sad news indeed to them, for he was a man of fine heart, of excellent sense and high character for integrity and faithfulness."

Edward was buried in Mobile's Catholic Cemetery, next to his parents.

Friday, August 5, 2011

FRIDAY'S FORGOTTEN - Elodie deGruy Gagnet Mendoza (1828-1914)

Julia Elodie deGruy Gagnet Mendoza
(wearing cameo of her mother)

Julia Elodie deGruy was born January 22, 1828 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was baptized at the St. Louis Cathedral on March 5th. She is my 3rd great-grand aunt. She was one of seven children born to Jean Baptiste Valentin deFouchard deGruy (1751-1838) and Melanie Gaudin (1786-1853), both from New Orleans - my 4th great grandparents. Elodie, as she was called, was the younger sister of my 3rd great-grandmother Augustine Melanie Laperle deGruy Fortier (1822-1872).

Some time in the mid-1840's Elodie married Alphonse Gagnet. Alphonse was born in Alabama in 1822. Their only child, daughter Alphonsine Gagnet was born September 1844. Tragedy struck early in their marriage when Alphonse, only 24, drowned on November 11, 1846. His obituary in the New Orleans Bee newspaper on November 16, 1846, page 1, tells the story (translated):
"Alphonse Gagnet a young man of twenty-four years, has succumbed to one of these bad times which sometimes strikes us like lightning. Last Wednesday at Mr. Hewitt's house, he drowned in the river, by one of those inexplicable accidents. He leaves an inconsolable widow, which he was the sole support, a grieving mother that he was always the charm and glory, and many friends who know the magnitude of the loss to experience what they feel, and mingle their tears to all her were fortunate enough to know him. Good father, good husband, good son. May his soul rest in peace in the Lord, whom he liked to remind him. A FRIEND"

By 1850 "Widow Gagnet" was living with her widowed mother-in-law, daughter Alphonsine, 5, and F. Mendoza, a 29-year-old male clerk from Florida. On March 10, 1855, Elodie, age 28, was married by the Justice of the Peace to Ferdinand "Frank" Mendoza in New Orleans. By 1860 Elodie, Frank and Alphonsine had moved to Mobile, Alabama. In 1863 Frank enlisted, at the age of 42, with the Mobile Volunteers, a local militia assigned to protect the city during the Civil War. What happened to him after this time is unknown. By 1880, Elodie was once again widowed. But she's wasn't alone.

My 3rd-great-grandparents Jacques Omer and Laperle Fortier, Elodie's brother-in-law and sister, both died relatively young - Jacques in 1867 at age 54 and Laperle in 1872 at age 50. At the time of her death, she had six young children still at home and in need of a caretaker - Omer Auguste, 17; Odalie Felice, 15 (my great-great grandmother); Gaston James, 12; twins Lucian and Luciana "Lucy", 11; and Jeanette, 4 (born six months after the death of her father). The six orphaned children were sent to Mobile to live with their aunt Elodie. By this time she was 45 years-old and twice widowed. Her daughter Alphonsine was 28. Alphonsine would later marry James Southworth (1844-1899) and have one child that died before 1900.

The six Fortier children called Elodie "Tante Grandma" - 'tante' is French for 'aunt'. By 1880 the four youngest children were still living with their beloved aunt - Odalie had married Charles Horst (my great-great-grandfather) in 1879 and eventually moved to Birmingham; Omer married in 1880 and moved home to New Orleans.

At 2:30 in the morning on March 10, 1914, Elodie died at the home of her niece Lucy Fortier Boulo. The cause of death was listed as "Senility". She was 84. The Mobile Register published her obituary:

Julia Elodie deGruy Gagnet Mendoza by all accounts was a good daughter, wife and mother. She was also a good and caring sister and aunt, taking in her sister's six orphaned children after having been widowed twice. She was buried at Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile, with her daughter Alphonsine after her own death in 1922. With no grandchildren and no descendants she has been virtually forgotten. But her life's circumstances and her willingness to take care of my great-great-grandmother made it possible for me to even exist. Here's why:
    Grave at Magnolia Cemetery
    Mobile, Alabama
  • If Elodie's first husband Alphonse hadn't have died tragically, leaving her a widow at 19 years old she wouldn't have married Frank;
  • By marrying Frank she left New Orleans and moved with him to Mobile;
  • When her sister died young she accepted her six orphaned nieces and nephews to care for, making them move to Mobile to live with her;
  • While living in Mobile with her aunt, my great-great-grandmother Odalie met Mobile resident Charles Horst, my great-great-grandfather, eventually having five children including my great-grandmother  - Pearl Alphonsine Horst (Flemming), named for her maternal grandmother Laperle deGruy Fortier and her mother's cousin Alphonsine Gagnet Southworth.
So thank you Tante Grandma. You are no longer forgotten.