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


Sunday, April 28, 2013

SUNDAY'S OBITUARY - Edward Martin Horst (1882-1916)

Death Notice - Edward Martin Horst
from Birmingham Age-Herald, Nov. 5, 1916
       "The remains of Edward M. Horst, who died at Asheville, N.C., Thursday afternoon, were received Saturday morning by Lige Loy. Funeral services will be held Sunday afternoon at St. Paul's Catholic Church at 3 p.m. and internment will be in Elmwood Cemetery. The deceased is survived by his mother, Mrs. C. F. Horst, Sr., two brothers, C. F. Horst, Jr., and O. L. Horst, and two sisters, Mrs. H. C. Flemming, and Miss Odalie Horst.
     The following will act as pallbearers: W. W. Thomas, M. R. Mullane, P. H. Anderson, D. F. Achor, C. C. Flemming, Jr., and Stanley Atkins." [from Birmingham Age-Herald, November 5, 1916]

Pearl and Ed Horst
Birmingham, AL (ca. 1896)
Edward Martin Horst was born May 5, 1882, in Mobile, Alabama. His parents, my great-great-grandparents, were Charles Frederick Horst (1856-1912) and Odalie Felice Fortier (1857-1920). He was their second child of five - older brother Charles Frederick (1880-1964); Pearl Alphonsine (1884-1961), my great-grandmother; Omer Leo (1887-1945); and Odalie "Dolly" Marie (1896-1990). The family - he, his parents, and brother Charles - moved to Cincinnati soon after he was born, for his father's health. Here his sister Pearl and brother Omer were born. Soon the family moved back to Alabama, this time to the city of Birmingham, not yet 25 years old. Father Charles' younger brother Edward (1858-1901) had already relocated here and bought a local bar - the Palace Royale.  Charles came to Birmingham to help him run it.

When Ed was 18, the 1900 U.S. Census listed his occupation as "General Plumbing". The city directory listed him in 1905 as a "Steamfitter" at the Alabama Supply Company; in 1909 the directory listed him as a "Helper" at Monarch Plumbing, Steam Heating and Supply Company. As a steamfitter he would be responsible for installing, maintaining and/or repairing pipes and piping systems for ventilation or heating systems. He remained in this profession throughout his life. He never married.

Around 1914, when Ed was about thirty-two, he was diagnosed with Tuberculosis, a contagious pulmonary disease that was 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.

North Carolina Death Certificate
[click to enlarge]
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. In January 1915 Edward was sent to Asheville, North Carolina, to the St. Joseph Sanatorium run by the Sisters of Mercy. Asheville, the county seat of Buncombe County, is situated in western North Carolina.

Ed stayed at St. Joseph's for 1 year and 10 months, according to his North Carolina Death Certificate. He died on November 2nd of 1916 at 1:15 in the afternoon. The official cause of death was "Hemorrhage from lung"; the secondary cause was listed as "Tuberculosis of lungs".  The death certificate stated he had suffered from TB for "about 3 years".  He was just 34 and a half when he died.

The following day, Friday, Ed's body was put on the train and taken to Birmingham. It arrived the next morning, Saturday, and he was buried Sunday, November 5th after services were held at St. Paul's Catholic Church. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery next to his mother and father.

Headstone - Elmwood Cemetery
Birmingham, Alabama

Asheville as a Health Retreat
[taken in part from the National Park Service 'National Register of Historic Places' website]
"As far back as 1795 records show that the Asheville area was regarded as a place to come heal oneself of ills. The climate was regarded to be optimal--the components (temperature, barometric pressure, etc.) were actually measured by physicians who wanted to determine the best place for patients to recuperate. A long line of physicians came to Asheville, some to convalesce themselves, and ended up staying, building practices and promoting Asheville as a health retreat. From the late 1880s to the 1930s Asheville rose in prominence as a curative place for tuberculosis. 

Biltmore House postcard
[click to enlarge]
One of Asheville's greatest promoters was Dr. S. Westray Battle who came to Asheville in 1885 and turned out to be, perhaps, the most influential doctor to come to the area. Through his connections and reputation, many wealthy individuals and families came and ended up staying in Asheville. Among them was George Vanderbilt, who accompanied his ailing mother. While in Asheville, Vanderbilt fell in love with the area and returned to build his now famed Biltmore Estates. Edwin W. Grove also came to Asheville as one of Battle's patients and stayed on to build Grove Park Inn.

Grove Park Inn postcard
[click to enlarge]
In 1900, there was only one sanitarium available, the Winyah, with 60 beds. The rest of the patients that came to Asheville stayed in boarding houses that had open air sleeping porches, thought to be necessary for recovery. Between 1900 and 1910, the number of sanitaria and boarding houses greatly increased. These sanitaria and boarding houses were usually on the outskirts of town, but as Asheville grew, they came to be within the city limits.

By 1930, Asheville bragged 20 tuberculosis specialists and 25 sanitaria with a total of 900 beds. But with the rise of state care and the depressed economy, the market for the private sanitaria had dwindled. During the 1930s and 1940s the sanitaria and boarding houses for tuberculosis patients closed with just a few remaining into the 1950s. As antibiotic treatment was introduced in the late 1950s, sanitariums were rarely needed.

Asheville is still a health center where people come for specialized treatment. Mission-St. Joseph's Hospital and the many specialists located nearby have made Asheville the prime medical center for Western North Carolina."

Sisters of Mercy and St. Joseph Sanatorium
St. Joseph Sanatorium
Asheville, North Carolina (ca. 1920s)
The Sisters of Mercy was founded in Dublin, Ireland, by Catherine McAuley in 1831. Unlike other orders of religious women, McAuley didn't want her community to be cloistered; she wanted her order to work among the poor. Members of her order came to America in 1841 to continue the mission. The Sisters of Mercy arrived in Asheville in the mid-1800s, at the request of the local Bishop, to establish a boarding school. With poor enrollment the school building became the site of a hospital to serve tuberculosis patients, at the urging of the Sisters. In November 1900 the Sisters of Mercy opened St. Joseph Sanatorium.
 Over the years the Sisters had to relocate the hospital to meet the needs of the growing number of patients coming into Asheville. From 1900-1905 the hospital was located at 40 French Broad Avenue. The facility had 18 beds. From 1906-1909 the hospital was moved to a larger home on Starnes Avenue, a building with many open porches - a characteristic common among facilities serving tuberculosis patients. In 1909 the hospital moved to a twenty-two acre parcel located on Biltmore Avenue. There were objections from neighbors who thought the sanatorium would lower property values and they obtained a court injunction to keep them from operating. The judge ruled in favor of the Sisters, stating that the benefit to the community far outweighed the fear of contagion.

St. Joseph Sanatorium postcard
[click to enlarge]
 The Biltmore Avenue location underwent changes. The building was able to house 20 patients in the main house and more in the two out-buildings which were used as patients prepared for discharge. The facility expanded twice more before 1938. These additions increased the size of the building to now accommodate 95 patients, and added an administrative wing.

In 2000 the Sisters of Mercy sold the hospital to Memorial Mission Hospital, forming Mission Hospital Systems. Both hospitals had been run by women during a time when that was very rare. Doctors had been hired to work at the hospital but the mission was always to service the sick, the poor, those in need. That mission continues today.


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