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Growing Up Quickly

February 16, 2013

After Christian Adermann’s death, Fredericke Bergemann married William Adermann while they were both still living in Germany. Frederike had three known children with William: August Frederich (1867 – 1915), Fredericke (1870 – 1932) and Anna (1875 – 1949).

August Frederich was born 31 Dec 1867 in Prussia (1) and immigrated as a child with his mother and sisters (the year uncertain). He lived in Illinois with them for some years but then moved to southern Minnesota. He married Martha Bolter in Truman, Martin County, Minnesota when he was 35 years old, on 15 Jan 1903. (2)

August and Martha had five children with the oldest, their daughter Meta, being born in about 1903. The twins, William G. and Carl Otto were born in 1905, followed by Herman in 1910 and Herbert in 1914.

August died in 1915 when he was only 47 (3). Martha died three years later, in 1918, at the age of 40 (4). That left Meta at the age of 15 or so to raise her brothers. Martha’s parents and siblings had immigrated to the U.S. in 1900, so her parents, both in their 60s at this point, stepped in to live with Meta and her brothers. According to the 1920 U.S. Census, Meta as a 16-year young woman was the Head of the house, the house being owned at that point, free of a mortgage. Meta was no longer in school and one of the twins, 14-year old Otto, had quit school to be a farm laborer. According to the same census, Otto’s twin, William, had attended school that year and did not list an occupation. The youngest boys, Herman and Herbert were both at home.

What was life like for these orphaned teenagers? It surely must have helped to have their maternal grandparents living with them but there was still much work to do to fend and care for the younger siblings. Even though they had a home to live in, there was still the matter of providing food and clothing; the little boys needed to be raised. Meta and her brothers must have had to work hard and grow quickly, missing some of the activities enjoyed by their friends.

Interestingly, it seems that both Meta and Otto died at relatively young ages. Otto died in 1957 at the age of 51 when he tripped while carrying a gun and accidentally shot himself in the head. According to his obituary, Meta must have already died by then because she was not listed as one of the family members surviving him, although the three brothers were all mentioned.

(1) 1880 and 1900 U.S. Census, 1905 Minnesota Census
(2) Birth Certificate from Martin County, MN. Filed 26 Jan, 1903, Book E, p 299.
(3) Ancestry.com. Minnesota, Death Index, 1908-2002 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2001. Original data: State of Minnesota. Minnesota Death Index, 1908-2002. Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Department of Health. State File Number; 001320, Certificate Number 001320, Certificate Year 1915, Record Number 170586
(4) Ancestry.com. Minnesota, Death Index, 1908-2002 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2001. Original data: State of Minnesota. Minnesota Death Index, 1908-2002. Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Department of Health. Certificate #001793, Record #248845.

From → Aderman/Bates

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