29 January 1857 – 10 July 1920
Sophie Fahs Gehrt
17 December 1863 – 18 May 1940
I absolutely love this headstone and had not seen one like it prior to the Gehrts but have since seen similar examples in others’ photos. It seems odd that such grand headstones could be catalog options, but it seems they were. There always seem to be some variations, so I expect the designs were choices but the execution would be custom and hand-done. Still it’s quite lovely and actas as a stately centerpiece to this little family plot.
Herman and Sophie Gehrt were both immigrants from Germany, but Sophie arrived in 1870 with her family when she was only thirteen years old and Herman arrived in 1881 when he was 25. The two married in 1884 and their oldest daughter Ida was born two years later. Sadly, Ida died in childhood, living only to six years old.
Herman was a brick layer for most of his life and the family lived on Winchester St in a house they owned and in which they raised their children. That stretch of Winchester is now entirely industrial with no trace of any 1900s residential buildings.
Sometime between 1910 and 1920, they’d moved to N. Laramie and I believe the house is still there. It looks to be the right style to have perhaps been one they bought new-built or had built. They also owned that one free and clear. At the time of that census, Herman was no longer as a bricklayer but as a packer for a wholesale grocer. As the family seemed to be doing well, perhaps this was easier work for his later years, but sadly he passed away only a few months after the census at the age of 63.
The couple had six other children, five daughters and one son, Alton, who died in his first year. His headstone stands near his parents’ and is shared with his oldest sister Ida. I believe their headstone was added later, perhaps after their father’s death or whenever the family monument was erected. It seems unlikely Ida’s would’ve been engraved in expectation of another sibling joining her and Alton was born well after his sisters and when his mother was 52 years old.
Their daughters Ella (1887), Alma (1892), Sophie Jr. (1895), and Anna (1897) all lived to old age, but Louise (b. 19 April 1890) died in the Great Influenza on 11 October 1918. She had married only three years before but had no children. On findagrave.com, her headstone has her maiden name on it which seems odd. I did not see it near her family plot but perhaps she is there and the family wanted to reclaim her in death.
Their youngest daughter Anna married in 1920, only two months after her father’s passing, and had a daughter, Florence, who died in her second year and was buried with her mother’s family.
After Herman’s death, with her daughters all married, by 1930 Sophie moved in with her daughter Sophie Jr. (who was married with an infant son at the time). Ella whose husband passed away in 1927, is also living with Sophie’s family in 1930, along with her three teenaged children.
In 1940, Sophie was still living with Sophie Jr. and family which now included a daughter. Ella, whose children would all be adults by now, had moved elsewhere in the intervening years.
The family seems to have been tight-knit, but some time after the death of their mother in 1940, caretaker Sophie Jr and her husband John moved to Minnesota where he died in 1966. Sophie then moved to Washington State, apparently to be close to her daughter, and that is where she died in 1986 at the ripe old age of 91, outliving all of her sisters.
RIP Gehrt Family
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