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.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a few years on the down side of 53 and my first thought was that I thought she looked older than I am. But then like you said, I realized life back then was way different than it is today. What stories she could have told with all of the children, moves, and inventions in her lifetime.

    Your photo is a gem!