In reading the Aunt and Uncle’s stories, a number of them mentioned Uncle Herbert and the fact that he was gone for a number of years. My Dad told me this story one night when we were both up with Brittney when she was little.
Uncle Herbert was Grandpa Adolph’s younger brother. When Uncle Herbert was a boy a barn door fell on him and injured his back, so he was somewhat stooped over (of course he was an old man when my Dad knew him, so this could have been part of the stoop.) Grandpa Adolph, being the oldest boy would inherit the farm from his father, so because Uncle Herbert was injured he was sent to school to become a banker. The family could afford to send him to school. They were rather well off. Grandpa Adolph was the first person in Cole County to own a tractor and they owned all of their own farm equipment. They were even able to afford farm hands.
A few years before the Great Depression hit, Great Grandpa Sommerer decided that Uncle Herbert should have a farm of his own. They mortgaged the homestead farm that would belong to Adolph to purchase Uncle Herbert’s farm. Life went on as it typically does on a farm until the depression came to the area. Uncle Herbert’s crops didn’t bring in enough money to pay the mortgage payment and he decided he had had enough of farming and took off. That left the mortage payment to be made and the homestead farm connected to it. Grandma and Grandpa didn’t have the cash to make the payment either and were forced to sell off their farm equipment to try to raise the money. They were not able to save the homestead, but moved to Uncle Herbert’s farm to try to make a go of it. This was how Grandma and Grandpa lost the old homestead.
This would have been in the 1920’s. Uncle Herbert was not heard from again until after my dad was born in 1943. When he was finally able to speak again after his stroke, they found his family and his brother and sisters went to St. Louis and brought him home. I don’t think he originally lived with Grandma and Grandpa, but that is where he spent his final years. Most of us remember the rope swing on the tree in front of Grandma’s house, well I guess Uncle Herbert liked to sit on the swing in the shade in the afternoons. My dad and Aunt Naomi would