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


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

MONDAY'S MOTHER - Odalie Felicite Fortier Horst (1857-1920)

Odalie Felicite Fortier Horst
taken in Cincinnati, Ohio
One hundred and fifty-five years ago this Friday  my great-grandmother Odalie Fortier Horst was born. The day was Monday, August 31, 1857, when Odalie Felicite Fortier was born to Jacques Omer Fortier (1813-1867) and Augustine Melanie Laperle Degruy (1822-1872) in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. She was my great-great-grandparents' seventh child - they would go on to have twelve children in total. Her parents had three daughters who had died before Odalie was born, including their fourth child, named Odalie, too. [See "Friday's Forgotten - Odalie Fortier"] The first Odalie daughter had been born on August 31, 1846, and had died at the age of 2 on the same day that the next Fortier daughter was born - Adele Augustine Philomene, born January 2, 1849.  It was customary at that time for the same name to be given to a child if another earlier child with the name had died. In fact sister Adele was given the same name as Laperle and Omer's first child - Adele Augustine Philomene, born June 1841 and died August 17, 1841.

Laperle and her family lived in their home at 256 Bourbon Street. [NOTE: The house is still there but the numbering system within the city has changed. The house appears to be 1120 Bourbon Street.] According to the 1860 U.S. Census, Omer worked as a Clerk; his real estate holdings were worth $4000, and his personal worth was $1000. This was at the start of the war - no doubt by the time the war was over he and his family were facing much harder times. In December 1867, Omer died; he was 54. Laperle, just 45, was left with six children under the age of 18, and expecting their last. Less than five years later, Laperle, too, was dead. She was just 50 at the time of her death, having given birth to twelve children, buried four of them, as well as her husband, then raised 8 more alone in post-war New Orleans. She and her husband are buried in the family tomb at St. Louis Cemetery #1.

Odalie, along with her siblings Omer Auguste (1855-1897), Gaston James (1860-1917), twins Lucian (1861-1884) and Lucianna (1861-1942) and Jeanette (1866-1941) went to live with their mother's sister Julia Elodie Degruy Mendoza (1828-1914) in Mobile, Alabama. Odalie's only living older sister Adele had married before their mother's death and remained in New Orleans.

While living in Mobile, Odalie met Charles Frederick Horst (1856-1912), son of former Mobile Mayor and successful businessman Martin Horst (1830-1878) and Apollonia Weinschenk (1829-1908), both German immigrants.They were married on January 10, 1879, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Mobile.

By the time they had married Charles' father had already died and he was helping to run his father's many businesses, along with his younger brothers. He and his new wife moved in with his mother and siblings at his parents' house on Conti Street that Martin had built after the Civil War. While they were living here Odalie gave birth to the couple's first child - Charles Frederick, born November 15, 1880. The couple's second child was also born in Mobile - Edward Martin, born May 5, 1882.It was at some point after this that the family packed up their bags and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, for Charles' health, including breathing difficulties.
Horst Children
(standing) Charles, Edward; (seated) Omer, Pearl

Years earlier, Charles' father Martin had settled in Cincinnati along with his father and siblings, after arriving in America in 1846. Martin had left Ohio soon after his father and step-mother had died from cholera in 1852 and resettled in Mobile. Martin's older sister Anna Elizabeth Horst Ginter (1827-1877) had remained in Cincinnati with her husband and five children, running a grocery store. So when Charles and Odalie arrived with their two small sons, they moved in with Elizabeth's widowed husband John Ginter (1818-1906) and their children. Charles worked as a saloon keeper in the city - a job he had had much practice doing at his father's establishment growing up.

On November 19, 1884, Odalie gave birth to a daughter, Pearl Alphonsine, my great-grandmother. A third son, Omer Leo, soon joined the family, born May 5, 1887. Odalie must have really been resilient - first losing both her parents and having to leave her home and relocate to a new city to live with her aunt. Then after getting married, living with her German mother-in-law and a house full of her husband's younger siblings, and later adding two of her own to the mix. Then she followed him to Cincinnati, where his relatives lived, moving in with her German brother-in-law and his children, plus her two - and adding two more babies to the home. And when it was time for Charles to leave Cincinnati for their new home in Birmingham, Odalie and their four young children followed him again.

Charles & Odalie Horst, with daughter Dolly
Birmingham, Alabama
Here in Birmingham, Charles joined his younger brother Edward Horst (1858-1901), already relocated, at his establishment in the new city - The Palace Royale Saloon. Here, the two managed the successful bar, while Odalie settled in to her home across from Powell Elementary (the house no longer exists). On February 24, 1890, Odalie gave birth to the couple's youngest - Odalie Marie, called Dolly. Odalie was 43.

They had settled happily in Birmingham - Odalie raising their five children and Charles managing a successful bar. They were also active in their church, St. Paul Catholic Church (later Cathedral) in town. In 1901, Charles' brother and partner Edward had a stroke while at work and died the following day. Charles was now the sole proprietor of the Palace Royale Saloon. On August 30, 1912 [100 years ago this Thursday!], after being ill for a while with liver problems, Charles died. He was just 55 at the time of his death. By this time, two of their children - Charles and Pearl - had married and had children of their own.

Sometime in 1915-1916, second son Edward came down with Tuberculosis. There was no known cure, and many people - but not all - died. It was also highly contagious so those with the illness were kept away from everyone, often times sent far away to "better climate" where it was thought that the dry air was better for the sufferer's lungs. Edward was sent to St. Joseph's Sanatorium in Asheville, North Carolina, run by the Sisters of Mercy for TB patients. Unfortunately Edward did not recover. He died at the age of 34, on November 2, 1916. His brother Charles went to North Carolina to bring him home to be buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham, next to his father.

from Birmingham Age-Herald, p.2
November 15, 1920

Gravestone at Elmswood Cemetery
Birmingham, Alabama
On November 14, 1920, Odalie died at the age of 63. The cause of death was listed as Arteriosclerosis - "hardening of the arteries". She was buried next to her husband. Odalie was survived by her four children and fifteen (eventual) grandchildren. She and her husband would one day be able to count forty-six great-grandchildren, at least 76 great-great-grandchildren, and many more great-great-great-grandchildren.

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous, fabulous. Is the house on 15th street Margaret & Frank's? Wish Mama had named me Odalie Alphonsine...