Showing posts with label Behrndt Granparents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Behrndt Granparents. Show all posts

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sepia Saturday "Week 41 Grandparents of the other half

After  an absence dealing with all sorts of family company and issues, I can return to Sepia Saturday posts.  Jerry's cousin just sent us a succinct family history written by her mother, Aunt Ruth, when she was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer.  It tells of the early settler days, their family of pioneers who made it across the Atlantic Ocean from Prussia aka Germany in 1850, with infants, how they journeyed across rugged country through New York, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa  and  ultimately bought land along the Mississippi in Minnesota, land that they would farm after they cleared the trees and harvested and sold lumber.  It has been so interesting to tie the individuals to census records and recorded deeds and amass the data in one place. I marvel considering their  rugged hard lives, building log cabins for shelter in the wilderness against the harsh winters, living away from all civilization, frightened of Indians in new territory, man and wife and  four small children.  I wonder how they did that, I who bundle up securely and live with all modern conveniences in winter.  I wonder who had the hardest lives, my Polish coal mining ancestors or these rugged Prussian/Germans.  We are learning more about Jerry's maternal ancestors than he ever knew, whatever else we may learn they were hearty brave individuals. 

This  first photo which his cousin sent is Jerry's maternal grandmother, Esther Wetchen Behrndt (1883-1950); my last sepia post showed her with her "brood" of grandkids on the farm.  He had never before seen this photo so it was a treat.  We know this photo was taken before she married Jerry's grandpa Charlie Behrndt May, 1908.  There is some scandal attached to her younger years before she met Charlie because "she gave birth out of wedlock to her first daughter, Myrtle Louise in 1906."  That's what Aunt Ruth wrote . Charlie raised Myrtle as his own daughter and he and Esther had  four more girls, Jerry's mother being the  last and youngest. It is likely that Esther was so concerned about Jerry and Diane when their mother divorced their father and that was why she took such good care of those two children who lived with her and Charlie; that would have been  1938, still a time when single mothers were not in favor.    Esther died in 1950 at 66 years of age, which is young for this family marked by rugged individuals most of whom lived well into their 80's and 90's back then.  The hardships seemed to make them all stronger.  By 1949, the family had moved from the farm on the hill to town. Jerry tells that his sister, Diane, 12, could not wake up Grandma one morning and then awakened Jerry who was 13 and who determined that Grandma was dead.  With no one else at home, the two children went to find their Grandfather who was also at work in town and then their mother.   Grandma Esther was the literate half of the partnership, as her husband Charlie could only sign his name.  She also was the one who drove their vehicle, as Jerry recalls and Grandpa Charlie handled  the horses, wagons and later a tractor.



This photo, another Jerry did not recall,   is of Esther's parents, Dietrich Wetchen (1856-1925)and Louisa Leidel (1857-1943), and Jerry's great grandparents.  This is one of the smallest families as they had only two children.   We were surprised to see how much Jerry resembles this great grandfather, except as he has said, he wished he'd  inherited Dietrich's hair, and Jerry has no moustache.  The  printing is what the cousin had on the copy of the photo.    As we looked over the Wetchen and Leidel photos we decided that they brought the good looks into the lineage.  Louisa's  parents Henry Leidel (he's a  distinguished pioneer of this area)  and Johanna Guenther  left Prussia with a  one year old and a  four year old in 1849.  I found it interesting that they sailed  from Hamburg Germany as did some of  my ancestors


Charlie Gustof Behrndt, (1884-1964) Esther's husband, and Jerry's grandfather was the 7th child of 9  born to Adelbert (Albert) Behrndt and Sophia Roth.  Adelbert immigrated from  Germany as did Sophia's parents. Sophia's parents Jacob Roth and Maria Mary Frei married in Germany but he came to America first; she followed  several months later.  They settled first in New York,  and eventually worked their way across the wilderness of the country settling in Minnesota, however when they were 50 and 49 years old, they moved  to homestead sections of land in South Dakota, living there until their late 80's.   Jerry said this is the only photo he has ever seen of his grandfather dressed up; that all he can remember is Grandpa wearing his  bib coveralls.  It is a good thing this cousin had a few photos as many were not taken in this family and now there are some of these younger images to preserve along with their stories.  Jerry absolutely idolized his Grandpa Charlie.  Charlie was a farmer and a hard worker, after moving into town, Charlie worked at the lakes and skinned fish that were commercially caught; he also hauled lumber and cut and sold firewood.  Jerry says he was a short guy, maybe  5' 3" tall but strong as three horses and that  Grandma Esther towered over him.  He smoked a pipe all his life. 

Behrndt's farm house on the ridge of La Crescent
This was the family farmhouse which no longer stands today.  Jerry slept upstairs in the bedroom which shows to the right.  The last Sepia Saturday I posted had the grandchildren gathered with Charlie and Esther for their anniversary.  In 1949 Aunt Marie and Uncle Tommy took over the farming and Charlie and Esther moved to town sharing a  house with Aunt Myrtle and then Uncle Joe.  As I have shared, Jerry, his sister and his mother lived with them, first on the farm and then in town until they left for CA. 



Adelbert (Albert) and Sophia Behrndt

One last photo shows Jerry's Behrndt great grandparents, Albert (1841-1928)and Sophia (1851-1941).  Notice that Albert is small and Sophia is large, so it must have seemed natural to Charlie to marry a woman bigger than him, as that's the way his parents were.  Albert also smoked a pipe all his life.  This is the couple who ended up moving even farther west to South Dakota and continuing to live a hard lifestyle up until they died.  Jerry faintly recalls going to South Dakota to visit some of Grandpa Charlie's family on the land that had been homesteaded. 


To see  others Sepia posts click on the title to this to get to the main Sepia host blog, then select any and all.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Continued-other half early episodes Sepia Saturday Week 38 (Click here to go to the Sepia Site)

May 1941 Jerry (held by Grandma) cousins gather at the farm
This week I'll share a few more photos of husband's early days starting with this first photo taken May 1941 with cousins and his  maternal grandparents farm on one of their anniversaries.  This is his beloved Grampa Charlie and Grandma Esther Behrndt who were farmers and who actually raised him and his sister,Dianne, while his mother who was then divorced, worked and socialized, ahem.  Jerry's Aunt Marie gave me this photo several years ago and I framed it for Jerry's anniversary present on our anniversary that year; he loves it because he had no other photo of both grandparents.  The two boys on either side on the bikes are Alden on left  and Clifford (on right) Cook, Aunt Marie & Uncle Tommy's sons.  Aunt Marie said, when the Ender cousins, (children of Aunt Ruth and Uncle Leonard) Don and Lavonne seated on the ground with LaVonne holding Dianne, came they brought their bicycles.  Well her boys, who didn't have such expensive conveniences, always commandeered their  cousins' bikes and would not give them up until it was time to leave.  Notice the difference in the dress between Don and Lavonne, the city kids, and their country cousins in dungarees and hand me downs.  Marie also laughed saying, "see Jerry with Grandma hugging him, he really was her favorite child."  He is almost four years old in this photo.  The oldest cousin, the girl standing next to Grandma is Jeanette Wuest, Aunt Myrtle's daughter from her first marriage.  Jerry and Jeanette were very close and over the years when we came to MN to visit, that closeness was evident; she was kind of  like his big sis.  I liked her a lot too and through Jeanette, I learned a lot about the family and his mother's insanity.  We both still miss Jeanette who died in 1991.  Whenever we have visitors either family of friends now in MN, Jerry takes them up the hill to where the  farm was; all that acreage was sold off long ago and the old home gone, but a windmill still stands that his Granpa Charlie built and used.  When the grandparents first moved to town, Aunt Marie and Uncle Tommy took over the farming, but when it became too much for them the land was sold.  Jerry has lots of roots there where he had many happy days. 

As usual click on the title to get to the  hosted Sepia Saturday site.  Once there you can click on any of the individual posts.