Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Birthday to Grandpa Herman August Ludwig Weber

Herman August Ludwig Weber, my paternal grandfather; photo taken around 1912 or so .
Large baptism certificate for Herman.
  I was delighted to come across in paperwork from the family, the baptismal certificate of my grandfather Herman August Ludwig Weber.  He was born on the 25th of November, 1879.  His father was 48 years old when he was born.  Herman's father was Philip Weber -- but here on this certificate his name is spelled Phillipp.  If only there was a photo in the space provided!
Close-up of baptismal certificate of Herman.
(Aside) Philip was born in 1831in Darmstadt, Hesse, Prussia  and came to the US in 1853 when he was 22 years old.   Philip was first married to Alberdian Doerning on October 24, 1862 with whom he had a four children,  Elizabeth, Anna, John and Emma.  Both Elizabeth and John passed away in 1880 from some infectious disease (I can't remember now although I once heard, something like measles).  She was 16 and he was 12.  Alberdian died in November of 1869 after only 7 years of marriage, but gave birth to four children.  Philip then married Louisa Retzlaff on the 10th of June 1870.  The fact that Philip's next child, Mary, was born the end of November 1870 -- would indicate that they maybe got a bit of a head start on that little addition.  They had three more, George, Julius and Gustav before Herman, third from the end, showed up. Henrietta and Philip, born in 1882 and 1884 respectively) were the last two children of Philip and Louisa. .  
  This is the only photo I am aware of taken of Philip Weber and Louisa Retzloff Weber.  This may have been a wedding picture.  He would have been 39 when they were married and she would have been 27. 
 This is Louisa Retzlaff Weber
This is Philip Weber, born in 1831. 
 This is Philip in his later years
This photo was taken with his daughter Anna Goodyear. Philip passed away on January 6, 1926 when he was 94.  His second wife Louisa had passed away over forty years before on the 4th of November 1885 when she was only 42. When they were married he was twelve years older than she was and  they were only married for 15 years. Out of his 94 years he was only married for 22 of them. 
Herman and Susan Weber
(Now back to Herman.)  This is a photo of Herman Weber, son of Philip Weber, along with his wife Susan Rosina Sherwood.  They were married in 1918.  She looks like she could be in her 40s in this photo, so he likely was in his mid to late 50s.  Herman Weber had been hired to help William Sherwood at Spring Brook Farm which had been owned by the Sherwood family since 1886. Herman's father had fought in the Civil War and Susan's Grandfather had fought in the Civil War -- such was the differences in the times to which they were born and the age each had attained at the time.  See former blog post on Civil War veterans.
The Weber children -- William, Mary, Robert and Carl
Herman and Susan had four children who all grew up on the family dairy farm in Kendall, Wisconsin. The land, like the Wisconsin Dells, is beautiful with large rolling hills, fields, forest and amazing rock outcroppings. My dad shared memories of his childhood on the farm.  
"On Sunday afternoons Dad always washed the milking machines.  One time when I was probably five or six years old, Dad was down in the milk house doing this weekly chore when I decided to go down and join him.  The town road ran between the farm buildings, the house was on one side and the cow barn, and the granary and the milk house were on the other.  
Spring Brook Farm
Being a playful five-year-old, I picked up several pieces of gravel and one at a time threw them up on the roof of the granary, which was above the milk house.  My father was very displeased with this.  He came up from the milk house and over to where I was standing with my pocket full of stones, “Robert,” he said.  (Dad always called me Robert, never Bob), "Robert, every time one of those stones hits the roof it chips off the galvanized coating, leaving it so that the roof can rust and eventually start to leak.  I don’t want you to do that any more.'  And father returned to his job in the milk-house.  Well, being a somewhat obedient child, and fearing the wrath of my father, I decided to quit throwing stones on the roof, but thought it wouldn’t hurt to throw just one over the roof.  With all my might, I heaved the biggest one that I had in my pocket over the roof. 

"Except that it didn’t go over the roof.  It hit right on the peak and came -- boink, boink, boink, -- down to the ground.  The stone hit the ground about the same time my father hit me.  He flew up out of that milk-house, which, by the way, was in the basement, took me across his knee, and commenced to whale the whoopies out of me.  It was a good lesson.  Never again during the time when I was at home did I ever cross my father.  That was the only time I ever remember getting spanked. 
            "When we were little, Dad had us boys take turns
following the mower that was cutting the hay to pick the weeds out and stack them in piles.  This was to prevent the weed seeds from going into the barn and the hayloft.  I remember how hot it used to be and how far it was around the field even though we took turns and only had to each do one out of every three turns around the field.  I didn’t see why we had to pick the weeds out of our hay and the neighbors didn’t.  We used to burn the weeds after they dried out. I realize now that Dad was a very good farmer."

"One of the tasks on the farm that I enjoyed quite a bit was haying.  We usually put up quite a bit of hay.  We had two barns, a cow barn and a horse barn.  Both had large hay lofts.  And we almost always filled both lofts with hay.  I usually got the job in the field of mauwing  (his  spelling) the hay back.  My oldest brother and my dad would throw the hay on the wagon and I would distribute the hay around.  I used to pride myself that I could load a load of hay so that it could be taken up into the haymow in four dump forks full and leave a perfectly clean wagon.  "
This photo of Herman and the family was taken in 1950 with the advent of his first grandson!
"Well, another interesting part of my youth was that in Wisconsin we have many maple trees and perfect spring weather for maple sugaring.  Almost no one in my neighborhood did any maple tree tapping or sugaring, but I decided that I wanted to.  I acquired a bunch of metal cans, and made some spouts from elderberry stems.  I built a stone-boat type sled, and added a couple of anchors for ten gallon cans on the sled and every spring I would tap the maple trees.  I couldn’t get any of my siblings interested in my project so I had to pretty much do it all alone.  I’d tap the trees, hang the buckets, empty them every morning or night, haul the sap down to the house , about a quarter of a mile, on the sled that I had built.  Mother did help with the project in that she helped me boil the sap down into syrup and sugar.  
William and Ella Jane Sherwood with Herman Weber sugaring maple trees.  Photo likely taken by Susan Sherwood Weber, probably around 1920 or so, years before this story.
"Although the whole family seemed disinterested in the project, one really happy memory occurred as a result of it.  It was toward the end of the sugaring season.  We had had a cold night the night before and the sap was running pretty heavy.  When I finished gathering the sap and started home, I had two full ten gallon cans of sap on the sled which is about 160-180 pounds of sap.  Because it was late in the spring, the snow was still only patchy and there was lots of bare ground.  I did pretty well coming from the woods until I got to the flat of the valley.  The snow was all melted in the open areas as I approached the buildings. 
Far acreage facing the maple trees across the valley.
And with about 170 pounds of sap on the sled it didn’t move very easy on the muddy grass.  I was able to only move it 10-15 feet at a time and I would have to stop and rest.  I had made it about a third of the way across the open area when Dad saw my predicament and walked over to meet me.  What a proud day it was to have my Dad pulling that sled with me the rest of the way to the house.  I get all choked up today, thinking about it. "
I never knew my Grandfather Herman as he passed away before I was old enough to have any memory of him.  He passed away on September 28, 1952.  He had a heart attack and left his family at 72 years of age.
Happy 137th birthday today Grandpa Herman.  You are gone from us, but not forgotten.