Saturday, March 2, 2013

Elizabeth Weber Weerts... a life cut short

81 years ago today, my Great-Grandmother, Elizabeth Weerts, passed away from complications of influenza and childbirth. She was only thirty-six years old, and left a husband and seven young children.

Elizabeth Weber Weerts (right) and her sister & brother
Anna & Joe
Elizabeth Frances Weber was born December 2, 1895, near Fairbury, Illinois, the first child of William & Jacobina (Krumholz) Weber. She grew up in Avoca Township and attended school there as well.  She moved with her family to Martin County, Minnesota around 1904, and they settled in Silver Lake Township, near East Chain.

Elizabeth was working in Fairmont in 1916, when she met Herman "Harm" Weerts, while he was delivery milk for the dairy his family operated. They would be married on November 27, 1917 at the Catholic Church in Fairmont.

Herman was born in Germany and immigrated with his parents as a child in 1892. A Lutheran, he converted to Catholicism, to marry into the devote Catholic Weber family.

This foray into the Catholic faith lasted until about 1924, when Herman left the church and took his young family with. A lifelong "religious drifter" Herman caused a great rift with the Weber family, when he & Elizabeth became Seventh Day Adventists (eventually leaving that faith for the Free Methodists).

Engagement Photo
I can't imagine Elizabeth was very pleased with the notion of leaving her Church, and it must have been a strain on her and her family for the 7-8 years, until her death.

Elizabeth would give birth to 8 children: Gerald William, Willard Joseph (my Grandfather), James Louis, Mary Ann Elizabeth, Eleanor Irene, Lawrence Donald, Donavon Raymond, and Martha, who was born prematurely and died shortly after birth and is buried with her Mother.

On January 31, 1932, Elizabeth's father William Weber, died suddenly on the way to church. While traveling home from his funeral, the Weerts family car became stuck in the snow. It appears both the strain of this on the very pregnant Elizabeth, and the subsequent cold that developed weakend her greatly.  The household was full of illness the following month, with the children battling the mumps, that Elizabeth in turn contracted herself.

On February 24th, Elizabeth gave premature birth to a daughter- Martha, who died. Bedridden, she was cared for at home by her sisters... four days later, she developed influenza and passed away on the evening of March 2, 1932.

Her funeral was held March 5, 1932, at the Gospel Tabernacle in Granada, MN. She was survived by her Husband, 7 children, her Mother, 7 brothers and sisters

Had she lived through her illness, it likely that Elizbeth would have made it to a ripe old age... She had 4 siblings who lived into their 90s, with sister Anna being 100! Sadly, her large family of descendants would never know her.

I look at the many photos I have of my Great-Grandma, and I wonder what she would have been like... I see a beautiful woman... who went on to have a rather hard life... that was cut short....

And for that, I am sad.

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