Monday, October 13, 2014

Birthdays - Happy Birthday, George John Roehm (October 16th)

George John Roehm (10/16/1893 - 10/18/1948)
My Maternal Great Grandfather
He would be 121 years old

George was born in Green Lake, Wisconsin, shortly before his father moved the family to North Dakota. He was the sixth child out of ten children of Karl (often referred to as Charles or Carl) Roehm and Rebecca Stegemann Roehm. He was a middle child of sorts but appeared to be the most handsome of the sons. Unfortunately, the two eldest siblings passed away during an influenza epidemic in the late 1890s, which left him to be the 4th eldest of the Roehm children. He was friends with the Herr family, and eventually took a liking to the Herr's eldest daughter, Lydia. They married on December 25th, 1914. Most of the pictures below are from around that time of their marriage. 

Over the course of his life, he had many friends who were also hunting buddies. Many of these friends were local doctors, politicians, business owners and farmers. George seemed to attract intellectuals, even though he likely did not go past the 8th grade in education. He seemed to be a charming man and sure to have wit. He was once urged by these fellow men to become mayor of Wishek, but I think George liked his privacy, and did not go for it. During the Great Depression, he worked under the WPA as a superintendent, and built the Civic Auditorium in Wishek, N.D.

When the Great Depression got the best of the family, and with George still having children to take care of in the early 1940's, he and the family took the bold move to California, gathering all they could in their car and traveling out west. Many of his children had already headed west, and that's where it seemed jobs were more plentiful. He decided to work for the Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond, CA. This allowed the family to move into a new home in Richmond and rebuild their life. Lydia was likely never without want, as she came from a wealthier family and was sure to have gathered some kind of inheritance to possibly help the family get through the worst of the Depression. Her father was part owner of the Herr Mercantile Store, which stayed in business throughout the Great Depression.

George worked hard throughout the war years on the war ships that his sons likely were using to go and fight in. Shortly after the war, in 1948, George suffered a heart attack which killed him. He seemed to live a short life compared to most people, but he fit a lot in that life and built a family and took care of them. Happy Birthday, Great Grandpa George!


 A nice candid shot of George, circa 1914-1915. He stood quite tall, somewhere around 6'1'' or 6'2''.

 George with his first born daughter, Doris Roehm, born September 1915.She had an eye patch on due to a vision problem she had during birth. She had to go to the doctor in Bismarck, N.D. to have it monitored and mostly wore glasses her whole life.
 I think there are several Roehm brothers in this photo, but they have not been clearly identified. I believe the one laying down in the middle, smiling, looks to be George Roehm. The one left to him, I believe is either Charles or Wilhelm (Will) Roehm. The man to the far right, also looks like a Roehm son, but I am unsure of which, since most of the other sons would be very young around the time this picture was taken, which I am gathering it was taken around 1915-1916.
 George Roehm, on the right, with possibly a brother of his, working inside a home, which could have been the home he was building for he and Lydia. I think Lydia took this photo, as she did most of the photography in the family.
 I believe George Roehm is the one in the middle, with the hat on in the boat. These could be his hunting buddies and possibly some of his brothers, circa late 1910's.

George Roehm with his rifle, circa 1915.

George Roehm on his wedding day to Lydia Herr, December 1914.

George Roehm (far right) with his hunted ducks and buddies, 1922.

 More of George Roehm with his brother Fred on the far left, two friends in the middle, and George on the far right, September 1929.

 George Roehm, in Wishek, still handsome, but showing some age, circa early 1930s.

George Roehm, on the far right, kneeling, in Los Angeles, CA, circa 1944-1945. His youngest daugther, Annette is in the middle with the arrow towards her. She said he was very protective of her. He treated her differently than the others because she was the only daughter that took after him. When she was born, he was hoping for a little girl with dark hair like his own, and he got exactly that.