One Sunday afternoon when I was about 14 and Lolly was about 16, Lolly decided to drive the car. Mother and daddy were asleep (Sunday afternoon nap) and it was pretty safe to do this at this time, knowing that we would not get permission to do it. So we did, and everything went along fine. She was driving real well until we hit the sharp curve past Hammond’s farm. The road was gravel and we slid over onto the bank. She backed it out and we got home safe with no further problems.
I had the most exciting life because of my wonderful siblings. When Mahlon was home, he always created fun for us. One Sunday afternoon he hitched Black Beauty up to the surrey with a fringe on top. He got this from Uncle Herbert. (Uncle Herbert lived with us for a short time when I was little. He was paralyzed on one side because he had a stroke when he was 40 years old). Mahlon took me for a ride in the surrey in the southwest woods. The surrey was jerking and bouncing so bad I almost fell off many times. It was the most wonderful “roller coaster” ride a kid could ask for. I felt safe, but I think it was very dangerous. At least, I wouldn’t want my children to have done that.
You’ve heard parts of this story before from other people, but I’m going to publish everything, because I think it’s important to hear how different people remember things. –Lloyd
The first seven children were born at the first place where Daddy was born and raised. Mom’s first child was born in August of 1917 and her last child was born in May of 1943 –that’s twenty-six years of child bearing. He purchased it from his dad. The condition of the sale from Grandpa to Daddy was that he, grandpa, had a room in the house for as long as he lived. As the family grew, Daddy and Mom needed more room, so an additional room was added. While times were good, Mom and Daddy also had electricity put into the place (gas driven generator).
They then lost it [the house] when the depression hit. Uncle Bill Meyer and Aunt Yetta took it over when Daddy lost it. Grandpa Sommerer stayed in the house with the Meyer family, but later he came to live with us at Schubert. Later he moved to Aunt Margaret’s house where he died.
Since uncle Herbert Sommerer was crippled, grandpa Sommerer gave him a college education and he had a good job after graduating, but he had farming in his blood, so grandpa Sommerer again helped him [.This time by helping him to] buy the Ivan place which he walked away from when the depression hit. And [he] got lost from the family until about some time in the early forties the Jefferson City Sommerer’s got word that he was in a hospital in St. Louis. So he was bought to Aunt Dora’s who took care of him except for a short time when he lived with us on the seventh place.
My mom emailed this photo to me. She said that it was from Aunt Cleo and that I had seen the photo before, because it sets in their living room, but she doubted that many people had seen it. Well, I don’t remember it, so I guess that makes one more person who hasn’t seen it.
Here’s what she sent about who’s who (I think from left to right): Johann Mathias Sommerer, Jr (Great grandpa), his children: Margarett (Maggy), Dorothea (Dora), Adolph (Grandpa) and Herbert (aka uncle Herbert).
It’s a problem figuring out how to label people in these pictures. Any generation that I pick to give relationships (Great grandpa for instance) is wrong for at least half of the people who are reading this. So I’ve been just giving the relationships from the “cousins” standpoint (sorry aunts, sorry second cousins). You’ll have to do your own translating. But it didn’t seem right to call “Great Uncle Herbert” that, when all I’ve ever heard him called in my life was “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
Then somewhere along this period (second World War) Dad and I was over south of the house, across the creek, up on that ridge. The first ridge. We was building a turkey house. We had turkeys and he wanted to keep them away from the chickens so they wouldn’t get infected. You couldn’t raise chickens and turkeys together. While we were there and a phone call came in and Mom hollered at us to come over real quick that Uncle Herbert was found. He was in a hospital in St. Louis with a stroke. So I remember we came back and Dad and Aunt Dora and a bunch of them got together and they decided that they had to go down. So each one of them had to put in to get enough gas rationing stamps to drive to St. Louis to see their brother that they hadn’t seen for upteen years. he had disappeared from home. So they had quite a deal to get enough gas to get there.