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, June 13, 2012

HOMETOWN TUESDAY - Flörsheim, Germany

Phillip Huber, my great-great-grandfather, was born on December 17, 1847 in the town of Flörsheim to Georg Huber (1809-1900) and Eva Katherina Fauth (1807-1875). About 1868 he arrived in America, just 21 years old, and settled in Woodburn, Warren County, Kentucky. On April 25, 1871, he married Barbara Brunett (1852-1896), born in Jennings County, Indiana. They settled in Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky and had six children, John William "Willie" (born February 8, 1872), Mary Bertha "Mayme" (born August 8, 1873), Ida Catherine (born February 28, 1875), Philomena Barbara "Minnie" (born September 20, 1876), Clarence Joseph (born January 17, 1879), Magdelena "Lena" (born April 18, 1881) and Charles Thomas (born March 11, 1883). After the death of his wife and three of their children, Phillip moved his family to Birmingham, Alabama, where he died on April 4, 1901. Their daughter Mayme, my great-grandmother, married John Martin O'Donnell on February 11, 1904, in Birmingham. Their oldest child, John Huber O'Donnell (1905-1964) is my grandfather.

Flörsheim am Main, Hesse, Germany

Flörsheim, also known as Flörsheim/Main, is located in the Main-Taunus-Kreis district of Hesse, Germany. The city is situated on the right side of the Main River. The following information was taken from the german website:
Coat of Arms
"Flörsheim/Main was first mentioned in documents dating back to 828, however, the municipal laws and the additional name “am Main“ were only bestowed upon the town in 1953. In 1972 Flörsheim, Weilbach and Wicker formed the town of Flörsheim/Main.
The historic centre of Flörsheim – with the spa park Bad Weilbach and the remains of the Linear Pottery settlement were included in the UNESCO list of protected cultural goods in 2008 – was surrounded from the middle of the 16th century onwards by a drystone wall whose preserved remnant is the Main Tower.
St. Gall's Church
St. Gallusgemeinde
The impressive outline of St. Gall's Church as a typical example of the rural late baroque art of church construction, characterises the town. The famous Gall’s Concerts (“Gallus Konzerte”) have been taken place in the baroque chancel for more than 25 years. In the historic centre and communal district of Flörsheim numerous wayside crosses and chapels from the 17th to the 19th centuries can be found, which are partly stations during the great procession called “Prozessionsweg am Verlobten Tag“. This day has been celebrated for more than three hundred years annually on the last Monday of August in remembrance of the fact that the town had overcome the plague epidemic of 1666.
With the signature “FFF“ the Faience Factory of Flörsheim is still present in the town’s coat of arms. The prince-elector from Mainz established the manufactory in Flörsheim in 1765. Numerous jugs, vases and objects manufactured in the faience factory are on display in the Museum of local history, as well as a considerable number of paintings by Christian Georg Schütz Sen. born in Flörsheim in 1718 and his entourage.
Flörsheim Watchtower
The Flörsheim Watchtower (“Flörsheimer Warte”), once erected as a watchtower of the territorial army of Kastel, is not only the distinctive landmark on the Wicker high ground (“Wickerer Anhöhe”). While drinking a nice glass of wine visitors can enjoy a spectacular view over the vineyard site "Herrnberg" down into the Main valley and across the Forest of Odes. The second vineyard site in Flörsheim, "St.-Anna-Kapelle" is located in the area of the Wiesenmühle. St Anne’s Chapel built in 1715 is located there, which is dedicated to St Anna Selbdritt who gave the vineyard site its name. Flörsheim has its own wine tasting stand since August 2010. The wine growers from Flörsheim and Wicker offer their wines from the end of April to the beginning of October, from Fridays to Sundays in a pavilion on the Main dam and guarantee visitors and guests an enjoyable and good time.
The town’s offer as for culture, free time and relaxation is written in large capitals, additionally festivals and markets characterise the lively town of Flörsheim/Main in the course of the year. Numerous hikers and pilgrims pass through Flörsheim-Weilbach on their hike along Bonifatiusroute from Mainz to Fulda. Visitors can take the Main Bicycle Route (“Main-Radweg”) R3, one of Germany’s most famous long-distance cycling trails on Flörsheim’s side of the Main.
Flörsheim - on the River Main
Under the motto “Give the Landscape Meaning – a Landscape for the Senses“ the regional Park Rhine-Main aims at protecting open spaces between the settlements in the conurbation of Rhein Main and at developing them as habitat and people’s place for relaxation. Numerous ways and itineraries, squares and observation points designed by horticulture and architecture as well as artistically designed objects and installations offer famlies with children attractive destinations in Flörsheim and its vicinity: the “Poet’s House” (“Haus des Dichters“) in Weilbach as well as the “stones along the panoramic path”, (“Steine am Panoramaweg“), the former territorial army of Kastel (“Kasteler Landwehr“), the Flörsheim Watchtower or the iron tree in ”Flörsheimer Schweiz“."
Map of Flörsheim (inset Germany)

The Mainstein is a sculpture in Flörsheim depicting some of the history of the town. The lower part depicts the Mainz Cathedral, the 1000 year old center of the Archbishopric of Mainz, the former principality of the Holy Roman Empire of which Flörsheim, Wicker and Weilbach were ruled. The geese in the center section depict the geese-breeding industry in the town; the wheat carving represents the history of cultivation of grain in the area.

"Der Mainstein"
Collage from

Monday, June 4, 2012

SUNDAY'S OBITUARY - Thomas Joseph Flemming (1896-1918)

Thomas Joseph Flemming
Thomas Joseph Flemming is my great-great-uncle. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, on January 3, 1896, Tom was the youngest son of my great-great-great-grandparents Charles Clinton Flemming (1854-1932) and Elizabeth Agnes McCaffrey (1858-1922); my great-grandfather Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955) was their oldest child of eleven.

On September 12, 1916, Tom married Eleanor Catherine Smith (1896-1989). They lived in Birmingham and he worked for his father's business "Charlie's Transfer Company". No doubt they thought they had the whole world ahead of them.

In April 1917 Tom was required to sign up for the draft for World War I, along with all young American men between the ages of 21 and 31. He described himself on his registration card as "Short", "Stout" with "Dark" hair and eyes. There's so much more to Thomas Joseph Flemming, than this brief description, but most of the details have been lost to the ages.

What is known is that late in November 1918, Tom caught the flu. Normally, a young 22-year-old healthy man would feel bad for several days but would bounce back as good as new. But this wasn't the typical bout of influenza. This was the 1918 Global Flu Pandemic - also known as "The Spanish Flu". This was a variant form of the H1N1 Virus, the same type of flu as the 2009 "Swine Flu" pandemic.

Tom was sick with the flu for three days before he developed pneumonia - a characteristic of this kind of flu. He was staying at his parents' home during his illness. He suffered four more days with pneumonia before finally succumbing to the deadly virus on November 30, 1918. The notice of his death in the paper read:

T. J. FLEMINGS (sic)
Funeral services for Thomas J. Flemings, who died at the home of his father, Saturday afternoon at 2 o'clock, will be held from the residence, 1115 St. Charles Street, South, Sunday 3 o'clock. Internment at Elmwood with Father J. E. Coyle officiating. He is survived by his father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Flemings, and three brothers A. C. Flemings,  Jr. and J. B. Flemings; two sisters Mrs. J. B. Thomas of Birmingham, and Mrs. D. R. Thompson, of Baltimore.
[December 1, 1918; Birmingham News]

World wide the "Spanish Flu" killed at least 3% of the world's population - that's at least 50 million people! Over 500 million people, or 27% of the world's population, were infected. Influenza usually kills the elderly, infants less than 2 years old, and those with compromised immune systems. But the Spanish flu's main victims were the young. Research  using historic samples found in a victim preserved in Alaska's frozen environments in 2005 has revealed that the virus causes an over-stimulation of the immune system. This may be why young people, with a very healthy immune system were more likely to die. [Another odd fact about the pandemic is that flu typically is the worst during the winter, but the Spanish flu hit worst in summer and fall. . . just like the Swine flu.]

Tom was buried in Birmingham's Elmwood Cemetery. His wife Catherine moved to Ohio soon after her young husband's death where she met her future husband.

What kind of man was he? What did he enjoy doing in his free time? What would his children have looked like? None of this is known, or will ever be known, because he died so young. But now he hasn't been completely forgotten.