Last but not least is my paternal grandmother Flora A. Nantz Frueh. I’ve mentioned before that all my grandparents had passed while I was still very young. So my memories are few and hazy but I have none at all for Flora. None of us do.
My grandmother died when she was only 44 years old. My dad was her second oldest child. He was 21 and not married at the time. He had one older sibling and seven younger. Flora’s death left a huge void in the family’s life.
I remember one unusually revealing moment when my dad mentioned how old (young actually) he was when his mom died and how it was something he’d never forget. His few words and soft tone spoke of the great loss he still felt and he was well into his 60s at the time.
So who is this woman my dad remembered with a child’s love? The woman I call Grandma Frueh? Her name was Flora Alice Nantz and she was born 23 May 1888 in Van Wert County, Ohio.
Her parents were Irene Louisa Waller and William Albert Nantz. Flora was the oldest of the four Nantz children and was only four when her two younger sisters, Rosa and Flosey died within a week of each other. Rosa was just 2-1/2 years old and Flosey was 3 weeks old. What pain that household must have endured with their deaths.
So Flora grew up with her younger brother, Ira. Some of her youth was spent in Van Wert County but by 1900 at 12 years old, she and her family were living in Hardin County, Ohio. Her father was farming.
On 28 April 1909, a 21 year old Flora married Camillus V. Frueh. I wish I knew more details about their meeting, their courtship and marriage. Flora and Cam were opposites. He was a fiery immigrant who spoke German in his home and among his extended family and friends. Flora’s family reaches back to colonial Virginia. She seems to be the quiet to Cam’s boisterousness.
Cam and Flora have nine children over 21 years. As I mentioned my dad is the second oldest of the five boys and four girls. Flora’s death on 18 October 1932 sent a deep sadness through this family that I felt growing up. Each of her children seemed to guard their precious memories of Flora. It wasn’t often my aunts or uncles shared a tidbit about her. Of course the younger ones were so small when she died their memories were few.
Yet I do have a treasure. My genea-buddy sister wrote one of our aunts (approx. 1990) and asked about her mother Flora. This is an excerpt of how she described her mom:
“She was a loving mother, a fantastic cook, good sewer but not a very good housekeeper.
Each child had a special birthday dinner, cooked in his or her honor, mostly fried chicken or sometimes stewing chicken (to get rid of the old hens) which made delicious chicken and noodles! Continue reading