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


Thursday, March 28, 2013

WEDNESDAY'S WEDDING - Horst - Dilworth Wedding, June 1904

On June 29, 1904, Eliza Loy Dilworth married Charles Frederick Horst in Birmingham, Alabama. She was 19. He was 23. Here is their story.
Eliza Loy Dilworth

Eliza was born February 18, 1885, in Jamestown, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of coal mine owner John Edmond Dilworth (1858-1930) and his wife Mary Eliza Loy (1862-1933). John was born in New Jersey; Mary was born in New York City, New York. They had settled first in Damascus, Pennsylvania, where they started their family of four children. The family had relocated to Alabama by the turn of the century.

Charles was born in Mobile, Alabama, on November 15, 1880. He was the oldest son of five children born to my great-great-grandparents Charles Frederick Horst (1856-1912) and Odalie Felice Fortier (1857-1920). Charles was the older brother of my great-grandmother Pearl Alphonsine  Horst Flemming (1884-1961). Charles and Odalie had first moved from Mobile to Cincinnati, Ohio, for health reasons, and lived with his paternal aunt's family for a while. The family then settled for good in Birmingham.

By the late 1880's Birmingham was the primary site of coal mining in the state of Alabama. Walker County, located northwest of Birmingham, was second. This may have been where Eliza and Charles first met. The 1900 U.S. Census shows that Charles was living in a boarding house in the mining town of Corona in Walker County, working as a stenographer for a coal mining company. The same census shows that Eliza was also living in Corona with her parents and three siblings; her father listed his occupation as "Superintendent - Coal".

Wedding Photo of Eliza Dilworth
June 1904

This wedding picture (left) was one of several family photos that my father had, that were left by Grider Horst (1908-1995), their daughter and oldest of their two children. I searched the local papers for a write-up that would describe their wedding but found nothing. Most personal or social events, even most obituaries, weren't published in our city's newspapers in 1904, but there were some. Unfortunately, in the case of the Horst-Dilworth wedding I could find none.

Charles and Eliza settled in Birmingham, living first in the Highlands section of town, along with her brother John Fulton Dilworth (1888-1942) at 2930 Pawnee Avenue. Later they moved to the Hollywood section of Homewood, a suburb outside of the city, on the English side of Poinciana Drive. Charles continued working in coal sales, first with Grider Coal Sales Company (after which he named his daughter) and later owned his own company, C. F. Horst & Company, where he was quite successful. He and Eliza had two children - Frances Grider (b. Dec. 23, 1908) and Charles Frederick Jr. (b. Nov. 10, 1911). The Horsts were lifelong members of Highland Methodist Church.

Charles and Eliza Horst - Still in Love (ca. 1935)
At Home on Their Front Porch Swing - Pawnee Avenue

Charles retired in 1945 and he and his wife, along with daughter Grider, moved to Tampa, Florida. After 56-years of marriage, Eliza passed away on September 17, 1960. She had been visiting her son and his wife in Birmingham when she died. She was 75 years old. Eliza was buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham.

Day after Eliza's Funeral
September 18, 1960 - Elmwood Cemetery
On September 2, 1964, Charles died at his home in Tampa. He was eighty-three. He was buried next to his beloved wife in Elmwood. Charles died at age 72, on April 29, 1984. His wife Kathryn Olsafski (b. December 30, 1917) died June 2, 1999, at the age of 81. Having returned to Birmingham after the death of her father, Grider passed away on April 1, 1995. She was eighty-six. No grandchildren were born. Charles, wife Kathryn, and his sister Grider are buried at Elmwood Cemetery, next to their parents.


  1. Eliza's wedding dress is amazing. A lot of work went into the detail on that dress. Thanks for sharing.

  2. My great-great grandmother, Sarah "Babe" Atkins, owned a boarding house in Corona, Alabama in the early 1900's. My great grandmother, Fannie Pate, met her coal miner husband there. Would like to know if it is the same boarding house.