We Remember Laura Allen Hall Hering

June 1, 2022 will be the 50th anniversary of the passing of this well loved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother.

And so the story goes… written by Lisa Hering with research and stories by Lee Hering

Laura Hall, about 18 months, 1896

 Post 1: Laura Allen Hall Hering

    I want to honor my grandmother, Laura Allen Hall Hering, by posting a photo and tribute to her each day until her birthday. If anyone else wants to help contribute, please feel free. On May 10, 2022 she would have been 127. On June 1, 2022, she will have been gone for 50 years (1895-1972). I still remember the day she left us. Funny thing is, I didn’t live near her, and only saw her a few times a year. Why I felt so strongly about her, I don’t know. But I did. There was something magical about her, comforting, caring, grandmotherly but just good human being, mother, and wife. I have so many stories about her through my dad. But none of them convey the feeling I have about her knowing her personally. Maybe it’s a false feeling because I didn’t see her that much, I didn’t grow up with her right next door. But my love for her is fixed in my memory, and that will never change. She had a younger brother and an older sister both who died as small children. She was raised as an only child. She lost her father at age 4 to tuberculosis. She was born in McGregor, TX. Her mother and grandmother moved there in 1884 when the town was 2 years old.  Laura Hall at about 18 months. *BTW, my dad just told me this… the reason this photograph was made was because she was ill and her parents were afraid she wasn’t going to live. Wow.

Wedding Photo of Warren J Hall and Augustine Meier, 1892

Post 2: Laura Allen Hall Hering

    The marriage of Laura’s parents, Warren J Hall and Augustine Meier in 1892, was not to be long nor happy. Their first child, a daughter, died before Laura was born and is buried in the McGregor cemetery. Laura was born in 1895 at 707 W 2nd St. in McGregor. Warren contracted tuberculosis and the family moved to San Antonio for the beneficial climate. While there, they had a son who died at 7 months. He is buried in San Antonio. Warren’s illness did not improve, and the family of three moved further west to Junction, Texas where Warren eventually died and is buried there. Laura remembers the silver dollars on his eyes.

     Their money was used up. Augustine, or Gustine for short, and Laura headed back to McGregor taking a stage coach from Junction to San Antonio and then the train to McGregor to live with the older Augustine on the corner of Adams and W 2nd St. Gustine didn’t have a dime to tip the porter, and so kicked the suitcase from the carriage to the train, with Laura on her hip in one hand and a bag in the other hand. Laura was 4. Gustine was just 23, a widow with two lost children. Gustine became a dressmaker, and Laura was raised primarily by her grandmother, Augustine Jahnke Hayes, between whom there was mutual adoration.
Laura Hall, about 4
Laura Hall, about 4
Post 3: Laura Allen Hall Hering
 
     Remember how you could get in a photo booth and take 4 silly poses straight in a row? Well, these 4 photos were in a long strip less than an inch wide. Isn’t she adorable? I can definitely see a family resemblence in her sweet face. She was a happy girl with a positive attitude.
After Laura and Gustine returned from west Texas, Laura shared a room and a bed with her mother in Gustine’s mom’s house for 3 years. For a little girl, that’s pretty comforting having mommy always there, especially when you’ve lost daddy.
 
     But her dream spot came to an end when a very nice man by the name of Jacob Smith fell in love with Gussy, and… they got married! For Laura, that meant someone else was taking her place in the bedroom, and she was out! I don’t know where she went, (possibly her own room in the new house Jacob built) but she threw a fit. She wanted her spot in the bed, and she wasn’t going to give it up without a fight. No wonder step parents have it so hard sometimes, new dynamics at home where it’s supposed to be safe. Apparently, she said some harsh words and made “Daddy Jake” cry. But once she got to know him, he was the nicest, gentlest, good man to both her and her mom, and she loved him dearly. For the rest of her life, she regretted those words. They became very close. It was really the only father she knew. And he loved her very much. My dad also knew him as the only grandfather he had, and called him Daddy Jake since it wasn’t a real grandfather. And to him, Gustine became “Mama Jake”.
Augustine Jahnke Meier Hayes

Post 4: Augustine Jahnke Hayes, grandmother to Laura Allen Hall

 
     This is a photo of Augustine Jahnke, Gustine’s mother, Laura’s grandmother, who immigrated from Posen, Germany. Family lore goes that Augustine’s father died young leaving the mother and about 5 children very poor. In about 1869, a local doctor who had emigrated to New Jersey came back for a visit. He and his wife fell in love with Augustine who was 13 at the time. She didn’t have much of a future in Germany, and the doctor and his wife couldn’t have any children, so asked to bring Augustine back to the USA with them. What a decision for a mother to make, knowing she would likely never see her daughter again! So they say Augustine boarded a ship to America with them and came to New Jersey to begin a new life.
 
     In 1875, she married a Mr. Jacob Meier who had emigrated to New Jersey from Switzerland. They had a daughter they named Augustine in 1876. In 1878, they had a second daughter, Huldah.
 
     The next thing we know, from the 1880 census, the two Augustines are in Throckmorton, Texas working on a sheep ranch. Mr. Meier appears to no longer be with them. Here, tragedy has touched their lives. Huldah, less than two years old, dies. Family legend says she choked on her food, turned blue, and was gone within a couple of hours.
 
Augustine was our “marrying” ancestor. She married twice more before her 4th and last husband, Frank Hayes in 1896. He was the grandfather Laura knew and loved. But not before we have some interesting romances (plural) in the family. Mr. Warren Washington Joseph Hall and his brother had a second hand shop of some type in McGregor. Warren’s age was half way between the two Augustines. Hmm, which one is a man supposed to date? Family legend says he dated mom first, and then, the younger Gussy, whom he married. Their first child was born 8 months after the 1892 wedding. The child, a girl, Leafy Ione Hall, sadly died in childhood and is buried in McGregor. Their next child, a girl, was our Laura.
Frank turned out to be a very good man whom Laura adored. Augustine (now Hayes) never wanted her age known and listed it differently in each census. She told Laura she was about ten years older than Frank and didn’t want him to think she was an old woman, so she always said yes to going out dancing even if she was really too tired. She died in 1920 claiming she was 63. You can find her grave in the McGregor cemetery next to her daughter whose headstone reads: “Gustine”.
 
     Incidentally, Augustine probably couldn’t write because we know she asked someone to write a letter for her to her sister, Paulina, in Germany, asking her to come over and immigrate. That is another great story for later, all about the Great Galveston storm of 1900.
 
     I believe Laura’s grandmother Augustine must have been a charming, lovable person, a lot like Laura, because they were very devoted to one another. I don’t really know, but it makes sense to me.
 
Laura Hall about 10 years old
Post 5 Laura Allen Hall
 
   This is Laura, age unknown, but probably about 10 years old. When Gustine married Jacob Smith in 1901, they built a new house at 715 W 3rd St. and moved into it. Here, Laura certainly would have had her own room.
 
     She attended McGregor Grammar School which was just about a half a block away at the end of W 3rd St. The street was affectionately called “College Avenue” because it dead ended into the school. There were 11 grades all in the same building. Grammar school was grades 1-7, and high school was 8-11. There was no 12th grade. The building wasn’t very old, having been built the same year she was born, 1895. Each grade level had a separate room. The ceilings were high and the windows were big, so it was easy to cool in the summer. But winter wasn’t quite as comfortable. They had a gas stove against the wall which had a one gallon water humidifier. If you were close to the stove, you got hot. If you were far away from the stove, you stayed cold. My dad says they were miserable but that they didn’t know it. And he would know because he attended the same school many years later. That one is no longer standing.
Laura Hall Age 14, 1909
Laura Hall Age 14, 1909

Post 6: Laura Allen Hall Hering

     Life settled down for a while after Laura’s mother remarried. The town, McGregor, was growing and new buildings and invetions were coming along. They had electricity (a drop cord in the middle of usually only one room in the house, with one receptacle on it) and running water fairly early on, as well as a flour mill, a school and a post office (no home delivery except to rural areas). Around the turn of the century, they had two hotels, a national bank, a tannery, and a cottonseed oil mill. Daddy Jake was a good businessman with many interests. He was a good provider and eventually had numerous buildings and acreage. He owned a paint store, a lumber yard, a steam laundry, and a wood lot. Laura’s step-grandfather, Frank Hayes, was a blacksmith and did repairs and made many things out of steel for the townspeople. What the town did not have was indoor bathrooms. Only outhouses and chamber pots!
 
     Laura learned how to sew from her mother who was a dressmaker and Laura would have been making some of her own clothes, maybe even her own hats (how do you like this one?). They had one of those treadle sewing machines that you pump your foot on to make it go. And it was black with that pretty shape that old machines have, but it wasn’t old back then … it was the newest thing! They didn’t have closets or clothes hangers. Laura said she made her own clothes hangers by rolling up a magazine, tying it with a cord and then making a loop in the cord. She’d hang the dress on the rolled magazine and hook the loop on a nail hammered into the wall. Voila, closet. She was very creative and could crochet and make roses out of ribbon.
 
     I think she is very pretty in this photo. She is about 14 years old. She would have been in high school by this time, in the same building as the grammar school, as the new high school wasn’t built until 1916.

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Laura Hall, Age 16, 1911

Post 7: Laura Allen Hall Hering

 

     There were no telephones until about 1914, and so the townspeople of McGregor would send a written letter that had to be delivered to the post office. If the note was to someone local, often parents would send a child to hand deliver it to the recipient. Although the streets had names, there were no street signs as of yet, and so you just had landmarks and verbal directions based on people or buildings you knew. We have little notes that were shared between some of our ancestors, just nice anecdotes saying if they were sick and wanting to visit and such. Laura often walked to Main Street to do errands like getting the mail and picking up groceries. There was a little girl about 5 named Katherine Perkins who lived along the way, and the little girl’s mother always told her to wait for Laura to pass by the house so she could walk with an older girl. If you had to go any distance, you took a horse and buggy, but that took a lot of time to get set up, so if you could walk or ride a bike, so much the better. But most of the streets were dirt. And that made it hard to ride a bike sometimes.

     One day, when Laura was 16, she rode her bicycle to town. She slipped and fell off the bike. Standing nearby was a quiet young fellow named Albert Hering, son of the German farmer Charles Gustav Hering. Albert too was in town doing errands. This 17 year old worked on his father’s farm which was situated some 5 miles northwest of town on the Crawford Highway (now known as the “Old” Crawford Highway, but it wasn’t old back then). He was a farm boy with only a 4th grade education, tall, slender, and broad shoulders used daily for lifting and plowing. Laura was a city girl who was already in 10th grade. He didn’t say anything, but he remembered that day and the pretty city girl.

     Today, May 10, 2022, Laura would have been 127. Happy Birthday Grandmother Hering! A lot of people still love and miss you. The legacy you left is in the faces of many a bright young child.

Laura Hall, Age 17, High School Graduation, 1912

Post 8: Laura Allen Hall Hering

Photo at age 17, 1912, High School Graduation
High School Diploma
 
     In the first couple of decades of the 1900’s, McGregor did not have a theater for entertainment. Movies were silent at the time, but not yet available in McGregor. Laura’s step father, “Daddy Jake” loved stage plays and short skits. He rented the upstairs of one of the buildings downtown and produced performances. He convinced Laura to be in some of the plays, and for him, she accepted, but, she was not altogether comfortable doing so. Some of them were quite silly, she thought.
Laura graduated from high school in 1912. She was a grown lady now, and it was time to decide her future. In truth, she wanted to live on a farm and be a farm wife. But as a city girl, there was not much possibility of that. She really knew nothing of farming. But she wanted to live in the wide open spaces. For now, however, she would learn to be a teacher. And Baylor University, established long ago in 1845 while Texas was still an independent nation, was just 20 miles away in Waco.
Laura Allen Hall High School Graduation Diploma 1912 from 11th grade, McGregor HS
Baylor Days, Laura Allen Hall and Friends, 1912-14
Baylor Days, Laura Allen Hall and Friends, 1912-14
Baylor Days - Chorus Girls
Baylor Days - Chorus Girls

Post 9: Laura Allen Hall Hering

   Life for Laura at Baylor University. At that time, not many women were lucky enough to get to go to a university. Women were not even allowed to vote. They were barely allowed to work and only in certain fields. So it was a very serious thing to go to college. Now, what type of a student do you think Laura was? 

     I cannot tell you what kind of grades she made, but I can tell you that she was a woman of … fun. Laura and her camera captured just about everything, silly times, goofey times, memorable times. If there is one thing she did, she made a lot of friends. She’s the middle one in white on this train made of young women. Names of the engine and caboose are unknown. But there is a likely chance that this was a dignified, serious, and instructional purpose for this unlady like behavior. On second thought, no there wasn’t. No supervision, no watchful eyes of mother or grandmother, her first time away from home was simply fun. Not so different from modern day kids! Except I don’t think there was sex, violence, alcohol, or drugs. Laughter was about the extent of it, and Laura loved laughter. I think that’s what I loved about her so much. She was simply a happy person. You could see that in her. It was genuine. 

Fun Times at Baylor University

Post 10, Laura Allen Hall Hering

     Laura spent the 1912 and 1913 school years at Baylor University in Waco. Apparently she had her own personal camera, undoubtedly a rarity. This enabled her to produce even more silly things. She always had a good sense of humor and sillyness fits her personality. I know because my dad still repeats a lot of her “phrases”, for example, “He who tooteth not his own horn geteth his own horn not tooteth.”

     Laura most definitely had fun at Baylor. She was good at making friends and she made a lot of them those two years she spent at Baylor.  Look at this series of 5 staged photos.  What an actress! She must have gotten her training with Daddy Jake back in McGregor as we do see a number of photos of her in costume, so she must have liked it some.  Something tells me she instigated this crime scene, seeing as how she was the designated “Victor!”  (She is the one in the sailor type collar. One thing I have noticed about old photos is you so often can’t see faces. ) Click on the photos below to see them in detail with captions.

We found a hat.
We found a hat.
We wondered what we'd do with it.
We wondered what we'd do with it.
Lenore is bashful.
Lenore is bashful.
So We Fought
So We Fought
I Got It, The Victor
I Got It, The Victor

Post 11, Laura Allen Hall Hering

Here are a few Interesting local sites, photographs taken by Laura about this time -1912-ish. Laura had decided to become a school teacher. Although Baylor was a four year college, she didn’t need 4 years to become a school Ma’am or “marm” in the rural areas around McGregor. She only needed two. So, at the end of the second school year, she was ready to go back home. A four year degree would have been nice, but expensive and it really didn’t warrant the time or expense. In fact, she would end up only teaching one year, so she made a good decision.

Country School Ma'am
First Lesson in School
First Lesson in School
Wasp Creek School
Wasp Creek School
School Bus to Wasp Creek
School Bus to Wasp Creek

Post 12: Laura Allen Hall Hering – Back Home

     When Laura returned from Baylor as a school teacher, she didn’t waste much time starting to work. That same year, 1914, probably that fall, she became the School “Marm” or School Ma’am at the Wasp Creek School in the country five miles northwest of town. It was a one room school house with six grades, and not many more children than that.

     Being five miles away from town, it was a bit cumbersome to live at home. She’d have to hitch up the horse twice a day to a buggy, and ride for about an hour depending on the horses pace, and could be problems if it rained and the unpaved roads got muddy. So she rented a room at the home of one place, but had meals at another place.

     Laura would go home to visit her family each weekend. And that did require getting the horse and buggy ready. One week end, as she was crossing Wasp Creek, something spooked the horse, and it reared up and was completely out of control. Laura didn’t know how to handle it and she was in danger of the buggy tipping over. She said, out of nowhere, came a gentle man. He took the reins of the horse and calmed it down. Once all was well, he handed the reins back to Laura, and said, “You’ll be OK now, ma’am.” Then he walked away back to wherever he’d come from.

     The kids at Wasp Creek rode in on horses or walked. There may have been a few automobiles, but not too many. Laura did not have one.  They had stalls at the school for the horses, and hay to feed them and a water trough.

Gustine Smith, Laura Hall, and Jacob Smith in California in 1915

Post 13: Laura Allen Hall Hering – The Trip to Meet the Relative in California, 1915

     Although Gustine had met her first husband, Laura’s father, Warren Hall, in McGregor, his parents and much of his family lived in Oakland, California just outside Los Angeles. Laura had never had a chance to meet any of her relatives on his side, and both his father, Joseph Johnson Hall, and his mother, Hannah Billing Hall, had died in 1904 and 1902 respectively. Gustine also wanted to visit these in-laws whom she’d also never met, and they decided to take a trip to visit them. 

     In 1915, train was the main form of travel and McGregor certainly had the trains being at the intersection of two major railroads. They would have most likely taken a train out to California. Joseph and Hannah had 15 children, 12 of which lived to adulthood. So, there was a lot of name learning on her father’s side of the family. Needless to say, they had no lack of company. Laura made some very good and long lasting relationships.

Post 14: Laura Allen Hall Hering – Joseph Johnson Hall and Hannah Billing Hall

 

 Joseph Johnson Hall was born in Ramsey, England just north of London. He is a very interesting character. He was an inventor, builder and architect. Not only is his life work interesting, but his love story is a great one as well. Gustine, the widow of his son, Warren, who died of tuburculosis in 1899, received a letter from him in 1902 upon the death of his wife, Hannah. JJ wrote about his memories of the ringlets in her hair when they were just children in grade school (you can see she still had them in the photo below). He was in love with her then, and remained so throughout their life. Gustine, who never met either of her in-laws, carried that letter in her apron pocket for many years. He died two years later in 1904. He was described as an affable fellow by a reporter discussing one of his inventions. 

 

Joseph Johnson Hall, 1833-1904

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     At age 18, Joseph traveled to the west coast of England, boarding a ship in Liverpool bound for America. immigrated from Ramsey, England to the United States in 1851 through the port of New York. Of note: 1851 is prior to the opening of both the Ellis Island Immigration port, 1892, and the Castle Garden entry, 1855, as well. Upon entering the US prior to 1855, quote “there was no immigrant processing center. The shipping company presented a passenger list to the Collector of Customs, and the immigrants made whatever Customs declaration was necessary and went on their way.” Can you imageine?

       If you ask me, I think we get that recognizable “Hering” look not from the Albert’s side of the family, whose facial features were long and rectangular, but from Laura’s. And I believe Laura got it from her paternal grandmother, Hanah Billing. Seen in this photo here with her ringlets, Hannah shows a very round face and smallish nose. I think she looks very related.   

 

Hannah Billing Hall 1832 -1902

    With only a 4th grade education, Joseph went to Cleveland to study and work as a carpenter master apprentice. Six years later, after completing his apprenticeship, he returned to England to marry the woman who had waited on him. Joseph’s ship arrived in England on June 9th, 1857, and on June 10th, he and Hannah Billing were married. They remained married for 45 years until her death.

   

  Joseph and Hannah moved to London where he worked for several years as they waited for the end of the American Civil War to return. Their son, Warren, was born in London during this time. They returned to the US when the war ended. The voyage was difficult for Hannah and she lost a pregnancy upon soon after arriving. During Joseph’s lifetime, he filed at least six patents we know of for his inventions. He invented a washing machine that was operated by a boiler, the sales model of which we purchased at an auction of the patent office, a steam engine, and numerous others. His architectural drawings were highly detailed and works of art. After a fire in Woodland, California, he designed the new bank building, several offices and shops, and a variety of residences. One of them in particular was restored in the 1990’s to it’s original condidtion, painstakingly rebuilding it after a fire down to removing multiple layers of wall paper to find the original pattern and having that reproduced. It is a 5000 sq foot house and is said to have cost $500,000 to restore. It won the first prize by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the early part of the 2000’s. My father and I went on the homes tour there in 2006 and were acknowledged as his descendants. 

 Sadly, the bank building was torn down in the 1970’s, only a few years before preservation became  big deal. However, many of the shops and other homes were saved. An artist painted renditions of his bank building and the train station, both of which were up for sale when we were there, the proceeds of which would go towards their new community center. As the purchaser of the painting of his building, I was allowed to hang it in the community center with a plaque dedicated not only to JJ Johnson, but also to Laura Hering and my father, Lee Hering. It hangs there today.

I don’t have many stories about Albert. He was a reserved, quiet, but well respected man. When he was young, with so many siblings in the house, he and one of his older brothers, Luther, would get together and go sleep out in the bunk house or barn that was normally saved for the hired help during harvest season. From what I understand, they were pretty good pals. Uncle Luther lived to be 104, and when he was just 100, he continued his routine of buying a 5 year subscription to the McGregor Mirror newspaper. I am so glad it is still in business. It closed briefly during Covid when the owner died of the virus. Anyway, one year, Luther and Albert got a job hauling gravel for the county to pave the highway. They loaded up their own wagon and took it to the work site with a team of horses. To unload, they had a trick. The floor boards in the trailer were not nailed down. So they would get on either side of the wagon and each grab an end of a board and twist it from the horizonal position to the vertical position, thereby allow the gravel to simply spill out onto the road. Not a bad idea, eh? I wonder, is a gravel road considered paved or dirt? If I was driving on a gravel road, I don’t think I’d consider it paved, but back then, it was probably a raceway!

Post 15: Laura Allen Hall Hering – Laura meets Albert

   In the 1890’s, a man by the name of Heinrich Hering, son of Heinrich Wilhelm Hering and Bertha Stern Hering, moved to McGregor in its early days and started a cotton mill and a compress. He was from a smaller German community near Brenham called Welcome. His grandparents had settled in the nearby Berlin community after immigrating from Oberkaufungen, Germany in 1846, the year after Texas became a state in the union. They came in through the port of Galveston and headed towards central Texas after purchasing oxen, wagon wheels, and building a wagon in Houston. Many Germans were settling in Texas at that time, so many of the women never had to learn English, although the men did for business. Heinrich, anglicized to Henry, convinced his brother, Charles Gustav to come take a look at McGregor and join him. Charles was ready for a larger town and thought McGregor had good potential, so he brought his wife, Louisa, and several children, one of which was Albert, age 2. They moved into a rental house along the Crawford Highway in 1896 only a mile out of town (Boyd and Debbie I believe own that land now) and began farming. By 1902 the Herings were doing well enough they could afford to build a new home of their own. They purchased land a few miles further on down the highway where it took an abrupt right turn. Albert, age six now, was charged with bringing the men water each day while they were digging the well, a horseback ride of about 4 miles, – by himself. That house and land were inherited by the Witte’s, one of Albert’s sisters.

     Albert grew up on the farm and learned to farm from an early age. By 1914, Albert had become a tall and handsome young man of 20, and hard labor on the farm had rendered him lean and muscular. His shoulders were so broad compared to his narrow hips that his suits had to be custom made. It was at this country farm of Charles, Louisa, and their ten children, including Albert, that Laura ate her meals. She noticed the young Albert, and he noticed her. 

 

Of note: The above photo of Heinrich Wilhelm Hering was owned by one of the many cousins. One of Heinrich Wilhelm’s sons was Otto. Otto got the photo. His children moved to Mart, Texas and still live there (not the same ones). Grandson Edmund moved back to McGregor and lived right across the street from Laura and Albert many years later. Laura told Lee he needed to go meet his cousin. So, my dad did, and this cousin showed him this photography. My father asked if he could take it and make a copy, which he did, and returned the original. This is during the time that my dad got hooked on genealogy. Don’t the two have a strong family resemblence? It’s a very tall, long faced, and slender look. Why didn’t I get that ?? Anyway, when my dad brought the photo back to the house, he showed it to Albert, and said, “Do you know who this is?” Albert looked at the photo and immediately said, “Oh, that’s granddaddy.” Confirmation on validity of photo.

 

     I also have to say that we have no photos of Albert any earlier than this. His family had 12 kids and probably no extra money for photos or a camera, in stark contrast to Laura. Albert’s family was probably not the fun loving kind to be in photos. They were a more serious bunch. There isn’t even a wedding photo of Albert and Laura. Even my dad says he’s never seen a photo of Albert prior to this one. If anyone knows of one, please speak up!, 

Dirt Road Being Graveled
Heinrich Wilhelm Hering
Heinrich Wilhelm Hering, grandfather of Albert William. Heinrich immigrated to America as a 12 year old boy with his parents from Germany

     So it goes Albert William (1894-1974), Charles Gustav (1878-1919), Heinrich Wilhelm (1834-1921), Johann Heinrich (1804-1892) son, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and all common family names. Just for fun, let’s keep going … Christoph Hering (1742-?), Johann Henrich (1702-?), Hans Ludwig (1671-?), Christoffell (1630-1700). That’s pretty far back. And by the way, Christoph’s wife, Sophie Willon, married 1790, was a French Hugenot and her great great grandfather’s generation fled France in 1685 when the king made it illegal to be protestant and over 200,000 French protestants fled France to neighboring countries including Germany.  Heinrich Wilhelm, or Henry, retired at the age of 51, and so did Charles. After Henry retired, each summer he and his wife, Bertha Mathilda Stern, (her father’s name was Charles Gustav Stern, so you can see where the name came from) would load up 2 barrels, one with clothes and one with beer bottles, get on the train, and ride to McGregor for about 6 weeks during harvest season to help Charles. Being a farmer himself, Henry knew exactly what to do. Now he was German, born in Germany, and sailed to Galveston harbor with his parents, Johann Heinrich (John Henry) Hering and Maria Schroeder, and siblings when he was 12. His father bought two oxen and two wheels in Houston and built a wagon they used to carry them further. They migrated to the Berlin community just one mile west of present day Brenham, and Henry took up farming in this new land. But in Germany, he wasn’t a farmer. Oh no. He had a much different profession, one that was as common in Germany as a smith in America. He was a beer brewer. And he liked his product. Well, at least, I mean, he had to taste the product before selling it, right? It was a dirty job, but someone had to do it, as do all good Germans, for business and medicinal purposes. In truth, that’s what Germans drink like Americans drink milk. It’s such a family drink, Germany is the only place in the world where McDonald’s actually sells beer! Otherwise, they’d go out of business.  Also, of some potential interest, as a farmer, they had farm animals, including milk cows. Living near Brenham, the cows were quite contented with all that lush green grass. And while we have no proof they sold cream to the creamery, you would think they might have been the original “contented cows” that supplied the Brenham Creamery, which opened in 1907 and later became Blue Bell ice cream, with their original contented milk. Henry William later became a county commissioner in Austin County and would have been one of the voters on building the origianl Austin county courthouse.

Of note: The above photo of Heinrich Wilhelm Hering was owned by one of the many cousins. One of Heinrich Wilhelm’s sons was Otto. Otto got the photo. His children moved to Mart, Texas and still live there (not the same ones). Grandson Edmund moved back to McGregor and lived right across the street from Laura and Albert many years later. Laura told Lee he needed to go meet his cousin. So, my dad did, and this cousin showed him this photography. My father asked if he could take it and make a copy, which he did, and returned the original. This is during the time that my dad got hooked on genealogy. Don’t the two have a strong family resemblence? It’s a very tall, long faced, and slender look. Why didn’t I get that ?? Anyway, when my dad brought the photo back to the house, he showed it to Albert, and said, “Do you know who this is?” Albert looked at the photo and immediately said, “Oh, that’s granddaddy.” Confirmation on validity of photo.

 

 

Birth Certificate Albert

I don’t have many stories about Albert. He was a reserved, quiet, but well respected man. When he was young, with so many siblings in the house, he and one of his older brothers, Luther, would get together and go sleep out in the bunk house or barn that was normally saved for the hired help during harvest season. From what I understand, they were pretty good pals. Uncle Luther lived to be 104, and when he was just 100, he continued his routine of buying a 5 year subscription to the McGregor Mirror newspaper. I am so glad it is still in business. It closed briefly during Covid when the owner died of the virus. Anyway, one year, Luther and Albert got a job hauling gravel for the county to pave the highway. They loaded up their own wagon and took it to the work site with a team of horses. To unload, they had a trick. The floor boards in the trailer were not nailed down. So they would get on either side of the wagon and each grab an end of a board and twist it from the horizonal position to the vertical position, thereby allow the gravel to simply spill out onto the road. Not a bad idea, eh? I wonder, is a gravel road considered paved or dirt? If I was driving on a gravel road, I don’t think I’d consider it paved, but back then, it was probably a raceway!

     Heinrich and Bertha had 10 children. One was Henry, one was Albert, one was Otto, one was Andrew. Andrew moved to west Texas with his handicapped son. Henry was the one who first moved to McGregor and convinced Charles Gustav to move there. Albert is where Albert got his name, and Otto is the one who had the photograph of Heinrich Wilhelm (I know, which one?)

Albert was very tired of the name Heinrich aka Henry and didn’t want any of his children to be named such. The family names were very repetitive. Look at this: 

Hans Ludwig had a Johann Heinrich, Johann Heinrich the elder had two Johann Heinrichs, Christoph had a Johann Heinrich, that Johan Heinrich, the younger we’ll say, had a Heinrich Wilhelm, and his wife, Maria Schroeder, had a father named Johann Christian, and that Johann had a son named Johan Heinrich, Heinrich Wilhelm had a Robert Heinrich and a Henry William and a Johann Herman, and even a daughter named Louise Heinriette. Charles Gustav, the younger, had a Heinrich Andrew, Robert Henry, Herbert Henry, and a daughter named Louise Henrietta. And in addition, Albert and all of his brothers received the name Henry either on their birth certificate as an additional name, or as a name at their baptism. Albert did not want any Henry’s. When my dad was born, Laura had a senior moment and named their third child Henry. She didn’t tell him. Albert had said he wanted to name the kid Lee. Absolutely no one in the family had that name. They called him Lee. That was his middle name though. And that’s why he goes by his middle name. He eventually found out. Laura, what were you thinking when you got mad at 7 year old Lee and yelled, “Henry Lee Hering, you come here right now!” and Albert happened to over hear. He stopped, looked at Laura, and said, “What did you call that boy?” Cat was out of the bag. 

Post 9: Henry “Lee” Hering, Youngset son of Laura Allen Hall Hering

     Just thought it might be good timing to give credit for much of this information to my father, Lee Hering, who has been researching his genealogy for about 60 years. His interest began when his mother, Laura Hall Hering, showed him a list of all her in-laws which she had made when she got married in order to keep them straight. When Laura and Albert married, he didn’t have much to learn in the way of in-laws since she had been raised an only child. But Albert, on the other hand, was one of 12 children, 10 of which grew to adulthood. And they were all married with children. And both his parents were still living and both his grandfathers. Lee loved puzzles, and when she showed him the list back in the 1960’s, he was hooked.

     Lee has a database with about 4000 names, most with copies of public records, headstones, photographs, paintings, and personal letters. He is dedicated to accuracy and only lists those people he feels are certain.  His information on the Hering/Hall ancestry goes back to the mid 1600’s in Germany and on my mother’s side it goes all the way back to King Edward I of England.

     The greatest genealogical library in the world is in Salt Lake City at the Mormon library. Several times, Lee moved there, renting an apartment for about 3 months at a time, in order to do research. He claimed that “ancestors were falling off the book shelves!” He has gone to many a cemetary on his travels looking for ancestral headstones. He has been to Junction, TX and seen Warren Hall’s headstone, to the Berlin community near New Braunfels to see some of Albert’s ancestors, and even to London and Germany to see where ancestors lived and perhaps to find their homes still standing. Many of the Hering ancestors have their roots in a small town in Germany called Oberkaufungen. We have been to the church where our ancestors were married, and seen the parsonage with the name “Christoph Hering” inscribed in stone above the door, and in 1984, because of his research, I was baptized there at the Stiftskirche which is over a thousand years old. The community did a newpaper article about me on an American finding her “roots” and at the ceremony they played Home on the Range because I was from the wild west! In that same town, Lee found the home of one of our ancestors and was taking a photo of it when an angry German woman came out and asked him what he was doing. In his broken German, he said, Ich bin Hering. And her whole attitude changed. She said “Ich bin auch Hering!” I am also Hering! She invited him in and showed him all sorts of photos. He has dozens of 3 ring binders full of data, and now helps others with their family history. At the time of this writing, he is 96 and still sharp as a tack.

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