Grandparents Herman and Annie experienced a most unusual courtship. Little did they know where life planned to take them in the years to come.
Herman was born in 1890 in Brainerd, Minnesota. He moved to North Dakota in 1911, then to Forsyth in eastern Montana. In 1916, as Europe filled with the winds of war, he arrived in Billings, Montana. He had been hired to be a mail carrier.
Annie was born in 1895 on a small farm in Harlon County, Nebraska. Not even a blizzard dared to delay her birth. Her early schooling was spent in a sod school house. In 1915, her family moved to Leavenworth, Washington where she finished high school, worked in a photo shop, and was employed as a staff operator by the Great Northern Railroad.
Both of their unassuming lives intersected along the railroad tracks of the Great Northern. Herman was traveling to Fort Lewis outside of Seattle on a troop train. He was being trained to serve in the American army which was shipping troops to Europe during World War I.
Along the rail line, many young ladies passed out slips of paper with their name and address. Herman received one from Annie. Later, he sent her a card, and thus began a courtship by correspondence.
The two of them met briefly at Fort Lewis before Herman shipped out to France. Upon returning safely from the war, Herman met up with Annie to be married in 1919.
They moved to Billings where Herman still found his mail carrier job waiting. Together they raised a large family of six sons and two daughters. Ultimately, the siblings witnessed the blessing of 32 grandchildren.
This story recalled the start of my father’s family. Being the youngest child (born in 1935), Jim started a family of his own with the birth of his first child in 1956 (Richard). Eventually the family would number five sons and one daughter. My youngest brother became the final grandchild when he was born in 1967.