Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Philip Getz

  • Name: Philip Getz
  • Born: May 19, 1868 Tremont, Illinois
  • Died: February 23, 1950 Tremonton, Utah
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Melva Castleton

Philip Getz was born May 19, 1868 to Henry and Hannah Wenger Getz, in Tremont, Illinois. There were four daughters and seven sons, Louis, Peter, Sophie, George, Philip, Henry, Elizabeth, Daniel, Katherine, William and Emma.

His father, Henry Getz was born to Georg Peter Getz and Eva Katharina Kress in Bonfeld, Necker, Wurtemburg, Germany where his occupation was dying materials. Many problems arose with the government as their family tried to pull away from the state church and follow a religious group known as the "Baptizing Congregation," later known as the Apostolic Christian Church. He came to America at age 19 in 1894 with the George Wenger family.

His mother, Hannah Wenger was born September 21, 1840 in Helmhoff, Hesson, Germany to George Wenger and Eva Katherine Hagner. She also came to America with her family in 1854. They married in 1858.

Philip was reared and schooled in Tremont, Illinois until he was nine years old when the family moved to Greenwood County, Kansas, where they lived for five years. They returned to Tremont and lived on the farm later owned by J. C. Schweigert.

As a boy, Philip worked hard on his father's farm. Each Sunday they traveled by horse and buggy to the little wood frame Apostolic Christian church house. In this church he was baptized by immersion and truly dedicated his life to Christ.

A young girl, Bertha Isch came to work in the Getz home. She was a good hard worker, had a happy disposition and loved the Lord. They became acquainted and as was their custom Philip talked to his minister who spoke with Bertha and her parents. Arrangements were made and they were married January 1, 1893 in Tremont, Illinois, in the Apostolic Church.

They made their first home on a farm in Tremont, Illinois, where three sons were born, Samuel Gottlieb, Fredrick William and Elmer Nicholas (Ike). In 1901 they bought land in Utah. With a few families from their church they ventured west. They arrived in Deweyville in a boxcar. It was cold and raining, mud came to the hobs of the wagon that came to pick them up at the train. They had many hard times ahead, but were welcomed in the Gene Brenkman home until they had their own home built.

They built their home in Utah on 40 acres four miles west and one mile south of what is now Tremonton, on what is now called Rocket Road. They built a nice two story, six-room frame house. In 1902 soon after they moved into this home Ruth was born. Henry, Mary and Ervin were also born here.

The land where Tremonton now exists was covered with sagebrush and called Sagebrush Flats. About 100 German families came from Tremont, Illinois and wanted it named for their home, our family included. In 1803, Jacob Hoerr (Hare) met with the settlers and our town was named Tremont after Tremont, Illinois. For four years there was confusion with the mail being sent to Fremont in Wayne County Utah, so the name was changed to Tremonton.

Until that time their mailing address was Point Lookout. The post office was located two miles north of their home where Bothwell is now. After 1903, their mail was delivered on rural route out of Tremonton by a cart and team of horses.

The land they lived on was alkali and very poor for farming. This same land is very good farm land now that they have modern equipment and have drained it. In 1910 they moved to the Matthew Baer Place which they rented for 10 years. It was two miles west of Tremonton and was called Sommer Sommer Place, because it had been built by Grandpa Sommer and Uncle P. J. Sommer.

Here they went through the hardship of having two baby boys that died: Rueben and a stillborn boy who wasn't named. Grandma always remembered those little babies and talked of them often. They were buried at Salt Creek Cemetery just east of their first home. The land for this cemetery was donated by Grandpa Sommer, it's known as the German Cemetery and is still owned by the Apostolic Christian Church. In later years it wasn't well cared for so each spring we would weed and clean off their graves for Decoration Day. There is now a sign naming it the Apostolic Christian Cemetery.

In 1919 Phlip moved his family to a farm called the Reese Place in Elwood. They lived there one year. When I (Melva) was growing up the McMurdy family lived there.

In 1920 they moved into town. They lived in a little house in the back of the lot while their home was being built on the south-east corner on 4th north Tremont St. They had four lots so they had a barn and corral, chicken coops, pig pen and a big garden.

Grandpa was very proud of his fine team and wagon. He built up a good business as a drayer. Soon he was outdated by a younger man with a truck. They had a couple of cows to milk, pigs to butcher, and a lot of chickens which provided eggs to the poultry plant and lots of fried chicken and chicken noodle soup.

The great depression hit hard but they stuck together as a family and were able to make house payments and pay their bills. Grandma cooked for men working out on farms and construction and took in boarders and roomers. Many lost their homes at this time.

Grandpa was a soft spoken, kind, white-haired old gentleman. My sister and I followed him around, watching him feed the animals, work in his yard and garden and he let us help him gather and clean eggs. We played in the wheat bin, on the hay rack, in the barn, climbed trees and each spring we helped plant their huge garden from which many flowers and vegetables were shared with friends and neighbors.

Each spring I remember looking forward to Uncle Ike getting baby chicks. We would go to the train station and pick them up in cardboard boxes, I believe like a 1,000 or more. The fluffy little things made such a racket with their tiny little "peeps." We were so excited standing next to the wall in the chicken coop so we wouldn't step on one, watching Grandpa and Uncle Ike unpacking them. They put them in incubator trays warmed with light bulbs and water to drink.

Grandpa never said much, at mealtime we would bow our heads in silent prayer. I never ever heard him offer a prayer aloud, I had wondered if it was hard for him to pray in English.

I remember when we had a church just west of town across the canal. It was a white frame building. The sermons were always preached in German. The meetings seemed so long, probably because we couldn't understand. I'll always remember church in Grandma's living room when ministers came to Utah, after the church was gone. Maxine and I often hid as we were always asked to sing our German song, "Esgipt ein wunders shane as landt."

Grandpa always read the scriptures, I often think of him when I read in St. John. I believe it may have been his favorite as I remember him reading it a lot. I believe it is my favorite, probably because of this.

On Christmas Eve in 1945 Grandma passed away in her bedroom at their home. Grandpa seemed so quiet and lonesome after that. Aunt Mary came home from Peoria to live with Grandpa and Uncle Ike. On February 23, 1950, five years later Grandpa joined Grandma in death.

One of my greatest blessings has been the privilege of knowing each of my Grandparents very well. I remember the long quiet evenings in their home. Grandma would be sewing or doing some kind of handwork. Grandpa would read and take out his watch and look at it often. We just always felt loved and cared for.

Thanks to Grandma Melva for writing this history and sharing it with us.

1 comment:

  1. Nice posting!

    Helmhof is actually in Baden, about 11 kilometers as the crow flies, northwest of Bonfeld, which is in Wuerttemberg. They are both close to Bad Rappenau and the Neckar river.

    Eva Katharina Hagner was born in 1809 in Berwangen, just about 10 km south, southwest of Bonfeld.