revised September 8 2016
Now revised with December 1913 detail and wedding photos of Fred and Amy.
Also added is a segment about Sigvarda Hanson who died in childbirth on Feb 9 1913.
Medical care of 100 years ago was primitive and inadequate. Remember that Penicillin was not available until 1944. This article is a bit sad and remembers family and Lake Lillian people who died from Septicemia, Diphtheria, Bronchitis, Pneumonia, Influenza, and Appendicitis.
Matt and Lena Gauer had 13 children and 5 died early in life. Four died as babies or toddlers but (my uncle) Fred was six when he died in 1911. The following story was lost with that generation and re-learned by my generation in 2008.
We have no pictures of Fred so we show his marker which was placed in 2010
Uncle Fred was brother of Rose, Elizabeth, Clarence, Lillian, Leo, Glen, Otto, and Eleanor, His death certificate notes that he died of septicemia 7 days after injuring his knee in a fall on the ice.
These notes were in The Bird Island Union issue of Dec 7 1911 under the local news section heading of Osceola Blizzards and The Atwater Republican Press issued on Friday Dec 15 1911 in the Country Correspondence East Lake Lillian section dated Dec 12:
(Read that last one again if you must.)
The church of Hope was in Section 15, Osceola Township, Renville County and exactly 6 miles south (by helicopter) of the Gauer place on Section 15, East Lake Lillian Township, Kandiyohi County. The church building was built in 1910 and the last service there was in 1990. The building is gone but the cemetery at the site is well maintained by an association of former members. The church was affiliated initially with the Evangelical Association, later with the Evangelical United Brethren and eventually became the United Methodist Church of Hope.
The Church of Hope is pictured as it was in 1984. The site is located on the SW corner of section 15 Osceola Township.
Fred was the 4th person buried at the cemetery. The plot map shows the Gauer grave at plot #14 grave location #1; but there was no marker there until when we and my cousins placed it in 2010.
Matt and Lena lived in East Lake Lillian Township at the time of Fred's death. My dad, Otto was less than 3 at the time and Eleanor was 7 months old. The family had moved up from Iowa to East LL in 1900 and purchased 80 acres in the S 1/2 of the NW 1/4 of Section 23. They kept that 80 and in 1906 rented land nearby in the SE 1/4 of section 14. In 1907 or 1908 they rented a farm in Osceola Township. We do not know where but it may have been near a town called Cream City which was located in section 14. It had a creamery, a school, District #90, and a general store with a lean to addition for a recreation center and hall. The general store burned down on July 5, 1907 and it was not rebuilt. My dad was born Jan 2, 1909 in Osceola Township. Baby girl, Frances, died at 2 months and 25 days on 24 June 1910 of capillary bronchitis. The 120 acre place on section 15, East Lake Lillian was purchased on 28 September 1910. Matt moved his house from the old farm to the new place as noted in the Republican Press issues of Feb 10 and Mar 3, 1911.
Matt and Lena had 2 babies die before Fred was born and 2 after. Lena had a stroke in 1920 and died 3 years later in 1923 at the age of 54. Matt was 59 when he died in 1923. The family had been Presbyterian in Iowa and attended the East LL Norwegian Baptist church less than 2 miles from the farm sometime after Fred died and after English services became common.
Fred's generation is now all gone and we can not ask if anyone ever visited the gravesite. Aunt Lillian wrote of Freddie in her memoirs that he liked to sing. My brothers and cousins remember nothing of the Church of Hope and its cemetery. St John's Lutheran Church is located 2 miles South of The Church of Hope. Services at both churches were in the German language in the early 1900s.
Sigvarda was Mrs Nicholas Hanson from Tromso Norway and a sister to my grandmother Halfrida. Note that the country correspondents did not publish the fact that Sigvarda's fourth child was born the day that his mother died.
Fred and Amy were married on Tuesday, Dec 9 1913. We think that the attendants were Amy's brother Allie and sister Ella. The license witness was her sister Hilda.
Amy went on to a long life as a widow and midwife to many in East LL. She married a widower named Hans Erickson in 1943. Hans died in 1959 and he is buried next to his first wife at Green Lake Lutheran cemetery. Amy was almost 100 years old when she died in 1993 and is buried at the East LL Baptist cemetery next to Fred. Fred's monument is incorrect as it shows 1913 and it should be 1914. I did not know Amy but many of my older cousins speak fondly of her. Amy was sibling to Allie Anderstrom who married my aunt Lillian and Esther Anderstrom who married Uncle Glen Gauer..
Eleanor's sister Elizabeth went out to Meadow SD to help the family that was left after their cousin Mabel died in 1916. Mabel was 22 and left two young children, Alvin and Neoma, and a husband, Roy Watson a widower. Neoma and Eleanor were the same age.Elizabeth brought Neoma home to East Lake Lillian with her one summer and Neoma came down with the small pox which she must have picked up on the train. I don't remember being very sick but some of the family were very sick and it was harvest time. We were quarantined for many weeks. Groceries had to be delivered and dropped out by a tree. There was no way we could let Roy know. So after several weeks we drove miles to mail a letter in a country mail box after steaming it to sterilize it. Later, in 1919, Elizabeth and Roy were married.
Irene Alice Erickson 5 yrs old and sister of my mother Jeanette died May 8 1921 of appendicitis after 4 days in the Willmar Hospital. Irene's marker is in the northwest corner of the Christina Cemetery and does not show her family name. Her sister Dolores Erickson Kienholz Behrendt was buried next to her in 2007.
Today, we are thankful that modern medicine has achieved a measure of control over many of the dread diseases of the past.
Perhaps a future article will chronicle some of the better times of the past.