Volume 2, Number 9, Fall 1966
Grandfather-Matthias Gerten was born April 19, 1808 in Treir in the Rhineland of Germany, and died August 20, 1887 in Princeton, Illinois. His wife, Anna Marie Baumgarten, also born in Treir, on May 31, 1818, died in Fulton, Illinois on March 15, 1870. They and most of their descendants were buried here in Calvary Cemetery, in Fulton.
Ten children had been born to them in the village of Rohl, which is near Treir, and in the Moselle valley, famous for its vineyards which cover its sloping sides. Grandfather was a cooper by trade, as Father grew up he also learned that trade, later on going to the village of Spicher, where he also took up the clay-pipe trade, staying with friends who had the Pipe Shop.
As his older brother, Peter, was the age when he would soon be taken by the Army, and since the family were all thinking of going to America, theyPeter and fatherdecided to go ahead then bring the remainder of the family over later. This was in 1867, just a few years after the Civil War ended in the United States.
At first the brothers went to a small German settlement near Dubuque, Iowa, where boys they grew up with were in the brewery business. Father went to work at the coopers trade, as barrels were in demand. Later he also taught in a small German school.
In 1869 he returned to Germany to bring his parents, four sisters, and four remaining brothers to the United States.
Shortly before leaving for America, Father had made a trip to a neighboring village, Neurberg. A friend told him of a young woman, who had lost both her parents, wanted to go to America where she had cousins, if she could travel with a family, as she did not want to go as a lone woman. A meeting was arranged and she accompanied the family to Antwerp. After a stormy three-weeks crossing the Atlantic by steam propelled vessel, they arrived in the port of New York. After a long, tiresome journey by rail on a west bound emigrant train, the party arrived safely in Fulton, Illinois. Father and several brothers opened a pipe shop here as fine white clay was found nearby. This was in the days when clay pipes were in great demand. For, except on special occasions, the cigars were for the banker and businessmen; the laboring men smoked clay pipes. Cigarettes were not even thought of!
After a year Father and the young woman who had joined their party for the trip to the United States, Eva Faber, of Neurberg, were married in Fulton, and though they lived in several locations in the mid-west, spent most of the years in Illinois. After some years their first child, Anna was born on September 2, 1881; Henry was born on July 16, 1883; I, Margaret, on February 27, 1885; and John on March 9, 1888. John was born in Chicago, the other three in Fulton.
All of us attended school in Fulton, until we left for Missouri, in 1897. Anna was 16Henry 14I was just 12and John, 9 years of age.
Father was born on January 7, 1842, and died September 25, 1902 at the home of his brother, Matthias, in Ivy, Cedar Co., Mo. and was buried there.
Mother was born on June 9, 1844. She died January 28, 1920, at Raymond, Washington, was buried at Doty, Washington.
Anna Swearingen lives at Doty, Washington; Henry Gerten in Raymond; I (Margaret G. Hoten) in Seattle; and John Gerten in Spokane, Washington. We are, at present, all up and about! This is probably due to the plain food and rugged life we led in our "growing years" in the Ozarks.
Henry and John Gerten are the last to carry on the family name of Gerten, as the only two cousins died without male children, and neither Henry or John have any offspring, so the name will die with them. We have never known of any others of our line.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
Next Article | Table of Contents | Other Issues
Local History Home