Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sepia Saturday: The Marriage of Adam & Anna Hertle

The Wedding of Adam & Anna Hertle, Louisville, Kentucky, 1904

On April 19, 1904, Miss Anna Dick arrived at New York's Ellis Island. She had crossed the Atlantic Ocean aboard the liner, Zeeland. She had come from her native Germany to care for her ill elder brother, Carl Dick, who lived in Louisville, Kentucky.

Miss Dick brought with her a steamer trunk filled with her clothing and enough money to pay for her return trip to Germany after her brother regained his health. As was the way in those days, Miss Dick's brother lived in the section of Louisville called Germantown and was a part of the German-American community.

Shortly after her arrival, Anna was invited to spend an evening playing cards (no TVs in those days) with other young Germans. Among the the card playerswas a 28-year-old German immigrant named Adam Hertle. There ensued a wirlwind romance and before 1904 ended, Anna and Adam were wed. With her family's blessings, Anna spent the money reserved for her return trip home to Germany as a dowry to purchase furniture for the the couple's first home.

Adam and Anna Hertle were married for twenty years. They worked hard, opening and operating a small grocery store which was expanding by 1920. They had eight children who lived to adulthood; my mother was the youngest of those children.

About a year after my mother's birth, Adam Hertle drove his grocery truck to LaGrange, Kentucky, to purchase fresh produce. His truck stalled on a railroad crossing. As he was attempting to push the truck off of the railroad tracks, a Louisville & Nashville train came around a bend, hit the truck, and killed my grandfather.

The RR crossing near LaGrange, KY, where Adam Hertle was killed. The was no waring signal at this crossing in 1924.

My grandmother never remarried. She raised her two sons and six daiughters alone and became known and respected in the German-American community as the Widow Hertle. To me, however, she was simply Nana.


  1. It is good to know these stories about our ancestry. It is surprising how many people don't have that.

    My maternal great-grandfather left Kansas to go to California to find gold and was never returned. We have no idea whether he chose to be incognito or whether he died somewhere along the way. My great-grandmother raised the children alone. My own gramma was the youngest of, I think, 7 or 8 children.

    Strong women in both our families, I would say.

  2. Anna was strong woman, raising ten children alone in those days. She must have been an inspiration.

  3. What a wonderful love story and they made such a handsome couple! So tragic about your grandfather. Your grandmother was a remarkable woman to bring up 8 children alone.

  4. Lynilu : I agree with you on the importance of learning the stories of our ancestors. That has been difficult for me, since all of my grandparents were deceased by the time I was eight-years-old. One often learns pieces of the stories and must put them together like a jigsaw puzzle, as I have done with the story of Adam and Anna Hertle and the stores of my paternal grandfather, .
    Terrible Nick Temple.

  5. Martin H.: Thanks for dropping by Nick's Bytes. Anna was remarkable in many ways. Not only was she widowed at thre relatively young age of 38 with children ages 1 to 19 years, but in 1939 she returned alone to Germany to visit her family; she told her children that she perceived a war coming and that she didn't think any of her family in Germany would survive it.I did not understand the significance of that visit until about 55 years after Nana died.

  6. Akelamalu: Yes, it is a love story, isn't it? I don't believe I realized that it was a love story for many years after I first heard it.

    I have often wondered about Adam Hertle and how his death affected not only Anna and his children, but also my generation and my sons. There is something incomplete about not having known one's grandparents.

  7. A wise person once told me that people we love never really pass from us, so long as we hold them in our hearts and minds and they are talked about.
    This is so very true of this post.

    Much love

  8. Nick, not only did I read and enjoy the stories about TNT, but I noticed and followed another link to "History Detectives," in which you recount the finding of that picture above of your grandparents! Thank you! Much enjoyed family history!

  9. Such a grand photograph and sad, lovely love story. Thank you.

  10. A definite shame, that's for sure. But twenty years together was a pretty good run, although I'm sure your entire family would have liked a whole lot more, for the sakes of all concerned.

  11. That was a very bittersweet story. It can only be celebrated that they spent 20 wonderfully happy years together and brought many amazing children into the world.

    CJ xx

  12. Wonderful picture and a wonderful story, Nick. What an amazing woman she must have been.

  13. I've always cherished the stories I've been able to gather about my family history. Even stories about people who passed on long before I was born. Having pictures like you have make it even better. Always nice to put a face with the name.

    I wonder sometimes, if my Wife and I will be a "story" some day for a great-great grandchild somewhere far in the future? I'd like to think so...

  14. @Paladin: When I got the email with your comment on this blog (I usually sign up for follow-ups when I leave a comment on someone's site.), I said, "I have to check out this 'Paladin's' icon." Love it! Great icon, and a great TV show!!!

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  16. Excellent, Rev. Saint. Excellent!