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 21, 2013

SUNDAY'S OBITUARY - Jacob H. Fermier (1881-1932)

The Birmingham News; Feb. 5, 1932
Fall Proves Fatal
Jacob Fermier, Prominent in Mobile Carnival, Succumbs to Injuries
"Jacob H. Fermier, 45, engaged in the real estate business and prominent in the Infant Mystic, a Mardi gras carnival society, died at a hospital Thursday from injuries received in a fall down an elevator shaft Thursday night. Fermier was engaged in the work of sending out tickets to the annual ball of the society and went to the rear of the building and in the darkness stumbled into the elevator shaft which had been left open." [The Birmingham News; February 5, 1932]

Mobile Register, Feb. 5, 1932
Jacob Fermier Dies from Fall in Building Here
Mobile Real Estate Firm Employee Fatally Injured in Plunge Down Shaft
"Jacob H. Fermier, about 45 years of age, an employe (sic) of Hermann & Hynde real estate firm, died at City hospital early this morning from head injuries received when he fell one floor down an elevator shaft of a building on Exchange alley, located off Water, between St. Michael and St. Francis streets, used as headquarters for the Infant Mystics. The accident occurred about 7 o'clock Thursday night.
     Mr. Fermier, with three other members of the ticket committee of the society, was preparing tickets for their Mardi Gras dance Monday night. He left his duties to retire to the rear part of the headquarters.
     Other members of the committee, alerted when Mr. Fermier did not return within a reasonable time, began an investigation. Their attention was attracted by groans, and further investigation revealed Mr. Fermier lying on the concrete floor below at the foot of the shaft.
     He was taken to the hospital, where he died within a few hours." [Mobile Register; February 5, 1932]

Mobile Register, Feb. 6, 1932
Rites for Mr. Fermier
Mobilian Killed in Fall Thursday Night to be Buried Today
     "Funeral services for Jacob H. Fermier, lifelong resident of Mobile who died early yesterday morning from injuries in a fall down an elevator shaft in the Infant Mystic headquarters on Exchange alley, will be held at 9 o'clock this morning at Roche mortuary and at 9:30 o'clock at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception with mass. Internment will be in Magnolia cemetery.
     Mr. Fermier is survived by a sister, Mrs. B.J. Echenrode, (sic) of Emmitsburg, Md, an aunt, Mrs. R.A. Sands, of Mobile, an uncle, Victor Fermier, of Texas, and other relatives." [Mobile Register, February 6, 1932]

Jacob Henry Fermier was born August 11, 1881, in Mobile, Alabama. His parents were Jacob Fermier (1852-1889), a plumber and gas-fitter, originally from Bavaria, and Anna Berg (1851-1907). Anna, my great-great-great aunt, was the daughter of Tobias Berg (1819-1853) and Apollonia Weinschenk (1829-1908), both immigrants from Germany. Apollonia is my 3x-great-grandmother. [Tobias was her first husband with whom she had four children, including Anna; her second husband was Martin Horst (1830-1878), my 3x-great-grandfather, with whom she had 8 children including my great-great-grandfather Charles F. Horst.]

J. Fermier (ca. 1905)
from Erik Overby collection
University of South Alabama Collection
Young Jacob, known as 'Jack', was the oldest of the two children of Jacob and Anna. His younger sister, Annie, was born October 13, 1887. Jack and Annie lost their father when they were very young - Jack was just 8 years old, Annie was not yet two. To help support the family their mother opened her home to boarders, housing men, as many as 7-8 at their home at 209 Conti Street. Anna died in 1907 after suffering a stroke. [Annie J. Fermier, Jack's younger sister, married Bernard Eckenrode, a professor at Spring Hill College, in 1914 and moved with him to Emmitsburg, Maryland. Here they had one daughter, Anna Eckenrode (1918-2002). In 1937 Annie died at her home in Maryland; she was just 49 at the time of her death.]

Jack never married. He was employed with Hermann & Hynde Real Estate in Mobile. He also was involved in the Infant Mystics. The Infant Mystics is the second oldest of the numerous mystic societies that celebrate Mardi Gras each year in Mobile (much like krewes in New Orleans). The Infant Mystics dates back to 1868, at which time they held their parade on Mardi Gras (fat Tuesday) night. They have since changed the date of their parade to Mundi Gras (fat Monday).

Original emblem of Infant Mystics
Membership in the mystic societies is secret. Each year during Carnival Season, the mystic societies parade in costumes on their individual floats through downtown Mobile, tossing small gifts to spectators along the parade route. Each society also holds its own masquerade ball each year. These balls are almost always by invitation only, and attendees must abide by the strict dress code - usually elegant evening gowns for ladies and white-tie and tails for men. The ball usually continues the theme of the year, which is also depicted on their floats.

Jack was buried with his mother and father at Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile. It's interesting to note that the newspaper gives his age as 45. He was actually 50 years old at the time of his death.
Grave of Fermier Family
Magnolia Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama

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