Uncle Herbert

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

5 thoughts on “Uncle Herbert

  1. I am glad to know this about Uncle Herbert. I remember being mean to him when I was little, but I don’t remember why. I think it was because Mother was upset with him about something. I think Lloyd and I invented “mooning.” Poor Uncle Herbert! It’s bad enough to be crippled but to then have your snotty neice and nephew “moon” you and running away….and he couldn’t run fast enough to catch us… bad, bad kids we were. BUT it makes memories..and I had to share this with everyone! I imagine he can run just fine now, and I’m in for it when I see him in Heaven (if I do)…ha ha

  2. I thought Uncle Herbert lived with Grandma and Grandpa for a while but not when he was very very old. I hope someone who knows this story can fill in the blanks.

    • When uncle Herbert was found in the St Louis Hospital he had been very sick. I believe that the thought was that he would die soon. His sister Aunt Dora and her family took Uncle Herbert to their home and took care of him. He got well, but he was still a hunchback who had had a stroke. One arm and one leg were no good. He had to drag one leg, it worked well enough that he could walk. All the neighblrs got to know Uncle Herbert through his walks. One arm just hung. With his good hand he would reach over and pull the paralyzed arm into his lap When he sat down. If that wasn’t bad enough he lost part of his memory. He had trouble talking. He would try to tell something and the word he wanted to say wouldn’t come to his memory. Did you ever brush you dentures with one hand. When Uncle Herbert got into it with Aunt Dora he came to our house. I believe that Bea was home then , also Vernon , Mahlon , myself , Lolly, Naomi, Lloyd, Mother and father. It was a full house.

  3. I don’t think Uncle Herbert lived with us more than a couple of years, I can remember him going on a walk every day, coming back with ticks all over him (in the summer) and him deticking himself out in the yard. I was probably 8-10 years old. He got in trouble with mother, when he started butting into Mother and Dady’s business about how to raise their kids. Mother put her foot down, and Daddy had to take him to Aunt Dora’s. I can remember that real well. I was proud of Mother. I always felt sorry for him, and loved him anyway. Uncle Herbert was around 55 years old I think when he lived with us.

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