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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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).

Happy Birthday, Fridolin Wild

Depiction of Aibling (Wikimedia Commons)

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My great-great grandfather Fridolin Wild was born on 6 Mar 1844 in Aibling, Germany. He arrived in the United States in 1868, via Buenos Aires, and lived in San Antonio, Texas, until he died in 1919.

Fridolin held various positions in sales throughout his life. He was a traveling salesman and returned to Germany briefly in 1889 according to a passport application and ship passenger list. The 1910 census appears to show that he was a partner in the wholesale liquor business. I hope it wasn’t Prohibition that did him in.

Fridolin married Lina Hoyer in 21 Sep 1872. Her parents were from Germany as well.

His grave can be viewed on FindaGrave.

Tombstone Tuesday: Ebenezer Wild (No Relation)

Here’s another photo I snapped at Copps Hill Burying Ground in Boston, mostly because of the Wild surname, though I’m relatively certain he’s not an ancestor of mine (my Wilds are German, not English, in origin).

The stone reads:

In Memory of
Mr. EBENEZER WILD
who departed this Life
Decr. 4th 1794
in the 37th Year
of his Age
He was a kind Husband,
tender Parent & Sincere friend

I added a photo to this individual’s FindaGrave page and requested that the page owner update the birth/death year information.