Meet Herman Wild (1876 – 1928)

I spent Thanksgiving at my Aunt Dorrie’s house. My bed was next to a bookcase filled with many family photos. There I saw a photo I barely recognized from when it sat in my grandma’s apartment. I never realized who it was when I was little, but my aunt confirmed that it was my great-grandfather, Herman Wild. Fortunately, I had brought my Flip-Pal scanner with me and scanned the above along with several other photos.

Herman, about whom I have blogged before, was the son of Fridolin Wild (of Germany) and Lena Hoyer. The family lived in San Antonio, Texas. He married Susan Campbell Bennett and their son Herman Bennett Wild was my grandfather.

Another genealogical discovery (for me) over the holiday was that I got to see a stein my aunt has that is engraved with Herman’s sister’s name, Josefa Wild. My aunt didn’t even realize that it was a family heirloom until several years after she received it from my grandmother.

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Treasure Chest Thursday: Becker Bier Artifacts

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My aunt very generously shared many items with me over the holiday weekend and I’m thrilled to have acquired a few items related to Bierbrauerei Becker in St. Ingbert. I am somehow related to this brewery and am getting closer to figuring out the connection thanks to some photos we scanned this weekend.

German Wild cousins of mine married into the Becker family. When my grandfather was stationed in Germany, he took his wife and kids to the brewery and there they collected several souvenirs, including postcards and the ashtray below.

An ashtray bearing the Becker Bier insignia.

Bierbrauerei Becker postcard

The same view, in a color image, on the cover of a booklet about the brewery.

My understanding is that the brewery no longer makes beer. I had hoped to try it someday, but instead settle for asking anyone I know who’s been to Germany if they tried it and what did they think.

Grandma Was a Census Enumerator

Gold star for my cousin Daniel, who made an exciting discovery when studying the 1940 census page showing our great-grandparents and fam in Carter County, Tennessee (click on the images for larger versions):

The Hayeses in the 1940 census (image from Ancestry.com).

Nothing too unusual in the crop above — the census page lists my great-grandparents William E. and Della (Crow) Hayes, along with their children including my grandma, G. Alma.

Actually, one discovery does reveal itself in the information listed above — I never knew that my great aunt Ruth was born in Colorado until I saw this page — this was confirmed by relatives at a recent family gathering. There will be another blog post on that story later.

BUT, the really super-huge-big-deal discovery was made by Daniel at the top of the page. Check out the name of the enumerator:

Enumerator: Alma Hayes (image from Ancestry.com).

The enumerator was Alma Hayes a.k.a. Grandma! You think I would have recognized the handwriting. Kudos, cousin Daniel!

Heaven Has Gained One Hell of a Gardener

Yesterday, my family celebrated the life of my Aunt Teri, whom we lost in May after a long battle with cancer. She planned the event herself, down to the menu, and couldn’t have done so more perfectly. Several folks stood up and said beautiful words about Teri. I didn’t — I knew I would lose it if I tried. I think most folks who’ve met me know I’m more of a writer than a speaker anyhow.

Teri and I had become very close over the past several years. I made it a point to visit her in Winchester at least twice a year. I learned so much from her and I miss her terribly.

Not only was she my aunt, she was my godmother, drinking buddy, “big sister,” gardening/cooking inspiration, shopping pal, fellow daytrip explorer, crossword puzzle clue helper, backgammon instructor, music/movie sharer, family-secret spiller and kindred spirit.

Aunt Teri had a wicked grin and catching laugh that matched her sense of humor. She used to entertain all of us cousins when we were little by flaring her nostrils. She could curse like a sailor and inspired me in that regard too.

Aunt Teri (the Indian princess) and Me

As a youngster, I thought Aunt Teri was an Indian princess. She always tanned so dark and had such long, dark hair. I have so many fond memories of hanging with her on our family beach trips and visiting her out in the mountains of western Virginia.

One of Teri’s favorite photos, taken in her backyard in 2010.

Visiting Aunt Teri was always special — she had the most beautiful and productive garden. In recent years at her house in Winchester, I spent hours with her in the backyard, photographing bees among the lavender, picking raspberries and tomatoes, taunting birds who tried to do the same. We’d grill, drink more beer than probably is advisable, and chat for hours on end.

One of my favorite memories of hanging out with Aunt Teri was shortly after her divorce. She had just bought a house and had a ton of things to hang on the walls, but had never used a drill before. She had my grandfather’s old drill — the thing is entirely made out of metal and weighs about 10 pounds. I was cowed by it too, but I took her out back and had her practice drilling holes in the stump of an old tree. She was giddy with excitement over conquering the intimidating power tool.

The next time I came to visit her, her walls were full of prints, pictures and even a pot rack in her kitchen that she had installed herself.

Aunt Teri was an awe-inspiring cook. Her homemade pickles and brandied peaches couldn’t be beat. I still have one last jar of her canned green beans left. It will be a very special occasion when I decide to serve those.

The last time I saw Aunt Teri was on Mother’s Day. I had spent the weekend with her, helping her out around the house and garden. She was having trouble talking, but we still had a really great visit and I’m so thankful I got to see her then.

She was gone three days later. As is so often the case, we all thought we had more time…

I think of Aunt Teri every time I set foot in my own garden now. I so wish she were still here to quiz on how to take care of this plant and when to harvest that vegetable.

Heaven has gained one hell of a gardener.

Lina Hoyer

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Today is the anniversary of the death of my 2nd great-grandmother, Lina Hoyer, who passed away in 1915. She was the daughter of Julius Hoyer and Sophia Heimel, both German immigrants who raised her in San Antonio, Texas. She married Fridolin Wild and together they raised seven children, including my great-grandfather Herman Wild Sr.

In prepping for this blog post, I was reminded that photos of her gravesite have been added to FindaGrave. The memorial there also includes text from her obituary in the San Antonio Light, which includes her last street address, 206 Lavaca Street. Here is a Google Street View image of that address (apparently taken on trash day):

206 Lavaca Street, San Antonio

Dr. Moody’s Sanitarium, San Antonio, Texas

October 29 is the birthday of my great-grand aunt Josefa Wild (b. 1873). In searching for her in various records, I found her in a sanitarium in 1930 on the U.S. Census.

The name of the facility was Dr. Moody’s Sanitarium (I know, what a name!). I’ve always been kind of fascinated by older mental health facilities. Such facilities often developed quite a reputation over time. Check out the documentary “Cropsey” to see what I mean.

I wanted to find out more about the sanitarium where my relative stayed. I found several resources via Google. This Texas State Historical Society article described the sanitarium as a 75-bed facility founded by two brothers. I found this ad for the facility in an issue of the Texas State Journal of Medicine on Google Books.

This find on Google Images shows a treatment room at the sanitarium with lots of interesting looking paraphernalia.

I found another article that gave the address of the facility. When I looked up the address on Google Maps, Street View was available (see below). I wonder if those buildings are the old sanitarium? They kind of look like the buildings in the ad above…

The sanitarium even got a mention in this article on haunted sites in San Antonio.

I haven’t found out why Josefa was in the sanitarium or how long she stayed there, but it’s been neat to learn more about the facility.

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Happy Birthday, Herman Wild (Sr.)

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My great-grandfather Herman Wild’s birthday was only two days after his father’s. Herman Wild was born in San Antonio, Texas, 8 Mar 1877, to Fridolin Wild and Lena Hoyer. Like his father, Herman went into sales and worked at a department store named Wolff and Marx for almost 30 years.

Herman married Susan Campbell Bennett 15 Jan 1908.

There is no photo of his grave on FindaGrave (yet, I requested one), but there is text from his obituary, which provides a wealth of information. He apparently died of pneumonia on 20 Mar 1928.

Google Street View of 232 Lotus Ave. in San Antonio, Texas.

His obit and other records list his address as 232 East Lotus Ave in San Antonio, Texas. There is a neat old house at that address on Google Maps Street View (if Street View can be trusted–I find it to be often inaccurate).