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


Monday, July 15, 2013

MONDAY'S MOTHER - Louisa Elizabeth Waetcher Horst (1838-1933)

Louisa Waetcher Horst
ca. 1900
Louisa Elizabeth Waetcher was born September 14, 1838, in Schildesche, Bielefeld, Westfalan, Prussia, a town that was formed in the year 939. [Schildesche is now a part of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany]. Her parents were Johann Frederich Waetcher (1807-1883) and Anna Catherina Illsibien Horenberg (1813-UNK). Louisa had a twin sister, Hanne Friederieke. They are two of the ten siblings that immigrated with their father and step-mother, Hanne Friederiecke Luise Hartman, to the United States, arriving on November 9, 1852, in the Port of New Orleans. Louisa was just 14 years old. [NOTE: Louisa's step-mother gave birth while on the ship.]

The Waetcher family settled in Massac County, Illinois. On October 19, 1856, Louisa married Charles Horst (1836-1900), an immigrant from Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany. She just turned 18; Charles was 21. Charles was the youngest brother of Martin Horst (1830-1878), my 3x-great-grandfather. Charles, who changed his name from Carl after arriving in America, had arrived with his father and siblings and step-mother in August 1846 when he was just 11.

Charles and Louisa Horst are my 4x-great-aunt and uncle.

Charles and Louisa set up their home in Metropolis in Massac County. Charles was working in 1860 as a Cabinet Maker. After the Civil War was over he wrote his brother Martin, now living in Mobile, Alabama, to ask for a loan to help him purchase a mill in Metropolis. Martin wasn't able to help him at this time but by 1870 Charles listed his occupation as a "Flour Miller" according to the U.S. Census. He remained a miller throughout his lifetime.

Charles and Louisa had their first of twelve children in early 1856. [NOTE: This date is before the known date of their marriage but this may be an error in the transcription of the old records.] Over the next 26 years Louisa would give birth to eight more daughters and two sons; the name and sex of their twelfth child is not known. Their children were:
  • Kunigunde Elizabeth Horst (female), called Gundy, was born in March 1856. She married Frederick William Rieke (1854-1922) in 1880. Together they had five children: Gertrude Augusta (1881-1970); twins Bertha Wilhelmina (1883-1953) and Maude L. (1883-1963); Charles Grover (1885-1969); and Romona (1890-1986).
  • Bell Horst (female) was born in 1858. She died before 1880.
  • Tell Horst (male) was born January 28, 1861. He died before 1880.
  • Eleanora Horst was born 1866. She died before 1880.
  • Fannie Caroline Horst, born March 1869. She married George Mehaffey (1864-1957) in 1901. Fannie died during childbirth, giving birth to twins Francis Carl Mehaffey (1908-2003) and George James Mehaffey (1908-1994). [NOTE: older sister Gundy helped care for the infants boys for a time immediately after their birth.]
  • Twin Nellie Horst was born in 1871. She died before 1880.
  • Twin Nettie Horst was born in 1871. She died before 1895.
  • Lillie Dale Horst was born January 1, 1875. She married Morton Burnette Card (1878-1950) in 1914. They had one daughter, Flora Louise Card (1914-1996). Lillie died January 20, 1972.
    Cassie Horst
    ca. 1900
  • Twin Callie Emma Horst was born August 16, 1877. Callie never married; she died March 11, 1964.
  • Twin Cassie Anna Horst married Elwin Arba Magill (1874-1947) in 1902. They had two children Calina Magill (1903-1989) and Elwin Arba Magill, Jr. (1914-2001). Cassie died June 10, 1956. 
  • Walter Earnest Horst was born July 12, 1882. In 1910 he married Anna J. Murray (1880-1953). Walter died November 1, 1959. They had no children.
Callie Horst
ca. 1900

Louisa's twin sister, Rieke, as she was called, also had twelve children with her husband William Frederick Rixie (1836-1888).

In 1895, Charles and Louisa left Illinois with their surviving children and moved to Pomona, in Los Angeles County, California. Charles died in 1900. Louisa lived with her unmarried children in Pomona, supported by their various incomes. One by one they married and moved away. All but daughter Callie. Callie worked as a Bookkeeper at a Laundry in town. Their last residence was at 678 Gordon Street in Pomona, which Louisa owned.

from Los Angeles Times
May 6, 1933; page A-6
On May 5, 1933, Louisa died in her home. She was 94 years old. She is buried at Pomona Cemetery.

In her 94 years Louisa had lived quite a lifetime.  Born in Prussia, she lost her mother as a young girl. She traveled to America at the age of 14, in steerage class. Speaking only German she settled with her family in the town of Metropolis, Illinois. She married at the age of eighteen and bore twelve children over twenty-six years. She was the wife of a flour mill owner. She buried four young children while living in Illinois. At the age of 56 she packed up her home and her family and traveled across country by train to California before the turn of the century. She left behind her home of forty-three years, her friends, and her family - including her twin sister.

In California she lost her husband of forty-four years and saw at least four of her children marry, leave home and have children of their own. She buried four more of her children before she herself died. She was survived by four children, ten grandchildren and at least thirteen great-grandchildren. What kind of mother was she? I don't know for sure, but there's no doubt that she was a hardworking mother, a supportive wife and a woman devoted to the well-being of her family.

TWINS MUST RUN IN THE FAMILY: Louisa was born a twin (1838). She gave birth to two sets of twins, in 1871 and 1877. Her oldest daughter gave birth to one set of twins in 1883, and another daughter died giving birth to her own set of twins in 1908. In a time when there were no fertility specialists, this is quite a legacy.

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