|George John Adelhardt, Sr|
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|Birth: ||Jan. 6, 1894|
Old Town (Baltimore City County)
|Death: ||Apr. 26, 1979|
Hamilton (Baltimore City County)
George was the third child of German immigrants John and Anna Fielder Adelhardt in the Old Town neighborhood of Baltimore City in Maryland. He was born on January 6, 1894. Father Paul Holz at St. James Church baptized baby George on January 13th. According to the baptismal register, his godfather was George Schwindel. Baby George had dark blonde curly hair. He always hated his curly hair.
The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904
In 1904 Theodore Roosevelt, the youngest person to every become U. S. President was championing the strenuous life. Young George Adelhardt had great memories of the Great Baltimore Fire from that same year when he was nine years old. He heard the bells and sirens of the horse-drawn engines racing across North Avenue. He chased the engine over to Bond Street and then ran down Bond Street until the engines turned down Gay Street towards downtown Baltimore. George went back to his house were he watched outside the windows of his house all day long. He remembered seeing the ash and burnt wood cinders that had floated up to St. Joseph's Street all the way from downtown. A man came to the Adelhardt home to find George's parents who were out shopping in the Highlandtown neighborhood of East Baltimore. He told George that his father John must report to the United Railway right away. This fire destroyed much of Baltimore City's downtown area and became such an historical event that its story has been retold for decades and decades later.
George remembered that the fire destroyed just about every building from Liberty Street east to the Joans Falls. But when the fire got to the Joans Falls it could not cross the water and saved East Baltimore from a similar tragedy. George's interest in fire fighting continued throughout his life and he still was chasing fire engines by foot when he was in his seventies.
On June 23, 1907 George received the sacrament of Holy Communion for the first time in a ceremony performed by the rector, Father J. G. Schneider at St. James. He remembered being taught his favorite subjects like cathechism and history by such teachers as Sister Delarosa in the third grade and Brother Leonard in the fourth grade. St. James School was the only parochial grammar school in Baltimore at that time that separated the children into same sex classes with girls being taught by nuns and the boys being taught by the Christian Brothers.
George always talked about the colorful characters that made up his German immigrant neighborhood as a boy. One school friend was nicknamed "Sissy" Fladem. Sometimes he was called "Pressy Hard" Fladem. The boy would laugh at himself when he thought he was being funny with the silliest sounding laugh that the other children ridiculed. Two other boys were sons of the Bittner family whose father was a tailor. George would call these boys - Joe and Frank "Buntz." In fact, he used to tease Frank and call him "Franzianhosen" because his father was a tailor ("hosen" means trousers in German). Frank "Buntz" would always respond with something that was funny but always too vulgar for George to repeat.
One day George was kicking a ball in the middle of Chase Street between Eden and Caroline Streets (Madison Square) when he missed the ball and fell on the curb and cut open the skin above his eye. He went into school that day but a neighbor of St. James sent him home to Washington and Eager Streets and his mother took him to St. Joseph's Hospital for stitches.
George injured his other eye a few years later. A man down the street owned a coal yard near the railroad tracks and owned a stable in the back with his own horse and two others. George said that one of those "Arabs" or wagon-pulling hucksters kept his "skinny boned horse" there. A group of men would hang out frequently in the alley behind the stable and talk. One of the older men was teasing George one day and tossed his cap into the stable. George went into the stable to get the cap and the Arab's mule kicked him in the eye and knocked him against the stable fence. The men picked George up and took him around the corner to Dr. Simms on Wolfe Street for stitches. The men told his mother that the accident was George's fault for going into the stable. George was very angry with them.
George also started working his first job at nine years old. He worked in the nearby coalyard selling ice and watermelons to the workers while the owners were away. Then he worked stocking merchandise in a neighborhood grocery store called Shupner's Market on Bond and Middle Streets; three blocks away from the St. Joseph's Street house. He worked there for so many years that the owner Pete Shupner and his wife considered him part of their family. Their youngest daughter Margaret was born during this time and she grew up to have a crush on him. When George would leave at 11 o'clock to go home for lunch little Margaret would always ask, "Is George gonna stay for lunch?" George worked hard every Saturday at the market. Many times he would threaten to quit and get a higher paying job but the storekeeper's wife begged him to stay.
George got his next job at a lamp chimney store down on Liberty Street above Lexington Street. Mr. Wood, the man who hired him, said "I'd like to have you, but I can't pay you until Saturday." Young George enthusiastically came up with a strategic sales idea and went down to Alesand Street near the tracks to sell to the stores near the railroad. The workers along the railroad and the wharves used these lantern globes often. On his first day, he tried to sell them to the area stores. When asked how much, he had to respond, " I'm a dummy. I came away without a price list. But that guy who sent me out is even a bigger dummy." Between phoning potential customers and the streetcar fare, he made no commission. But each day he became more and more successful with orders. But after a few days he started to slow down the amount of orders that he turned in. Once again he asked about his salary. Mr. Wood responded "We won't have any trouble about that." So George then went downtown to sell to Backrack Raisin, an athletic store. Because of a new law that had required all vehicles, bicycles, wagons, carriages, and automobiles have a side light and a little red light in the back, he was able to sell an order of 3 dozen to Backrack Raisin and to a few other bicycle stores. Shrewdly he held back the orders until Saturday. When he collected his pay, the clerk told him that Mr. Wood is very satisfied and hopes he would continue. George looked at the small amount and quit by saying that they must be looking for a younger boy than he to work for so little pay. Later George found out that he had been hired to replace an elderly man that Mr. Wood wanted to fire. George refused to go back to work for Mr. Wood no matter what, because he didn't want to take away another man's job.
Next George worked in the shipping department at Rice's Wholesale Bakery for about five years. In 1917 he quit his job at Rice's and went to work down to the National Biscuit Company in a one-story building near the Pennsylvania Railroad off of Atholton Street to apply for a job.
George was working for the shipping department of Rice's Bakery until he quit in 1917. He was unemployed and searched for a new job. He first tried to get a job at the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company. The man who interviewed him was concerned about the country being at war with Germany and the possibility of George being drafted within a few months. George was asked to bring back a letter from the U. S. Army stating how long it would be before he was "called up" for service. Each city precinct had a quota of men to draft. George went down to the Patterson Park office to inquire about his chances of being drafted but was told that he could not be given this information. George then wanted to volunteer to enlist but the man would not hear of it. George found out later that this was because this draft administrator would receive a dollar for every man that he drafted into the army. The seventh ward had reached its quota. Unable to get the job at the gas company, George went and applied for a job at the National Biscuit Company, a maker and packaging house for cookies such as Uneeda Biscuits, Lorna Doons, and Premium Saltine crackers and was later known as Nabisco. He told them that he knew how to drive a horse drawn wagon and he was taken to meet the shipping clerk. He began training the next week and rode around with one of the experienced drivers who taught George how to work the manifest and how to deliver the boxes of cookies. The second week he trained with another driver. His first route was out to the "rough" neighborhood of Woodberry. George first loaded the wagon with cookie boxes with the help of another shipping worker. Then he led the horse out to Woodberry and without knowing the directions was able to make all deliveries before noon. George would rest in the shade and feed his horse before returning back to the warehouse. His boss Charlie Kagel was very impressed with his efficient use of time. Many times other drivers with ten years experience would take more than one day to deliver to this area.
But finally George was drafted into the army in 1918. was sent to Camp Meade, south of Baltimore in Anne Arundel County for basic training. Each soldier was given $30 per month salary and had to pay for monthly life insurance, laundry charges, and contributions to war savings bonds. His good friend Nick, a Greek-American from Philadelphia was in charge of the kitchen and urged George to apply for a cook position. The cooks had to be at work at 5:30 in the morning but did not have to attend the morning roll call at the same time or to attend drilling practice. George worked as a cook for a month and a half. Then he was offered the job of Mess Sergeant but turned it down. The Cook Supply Company of the 33rd Field Artillery at Camp Meade was only allowed 47 cents per soldier to feed 102 men three meals per day. It was a difficult task. They would get pieces of beef from commissary meat that did not include any steaks. George would save a roast for the Mess Sergeant and the other cooks. George would return home on weekends and traveled back and forth on the Washington, Baltimore, and Annapolis Railroad. He would meet Barbara dressed in his green wool uniform and wide brimmed hat at the U.S.F.& G. office and her boss would give her the rest of the day off. Barbara would travel to Camp Meade to visit George on the weekends he could not make it home. The 33rd Field Artillery was packed twice to be deployed overseas. The first time it was stopped due to a national epidemic of influenza. And something else prevented them from going the second time. A French commander returned from overseas and told the troops of his good regiment of soldiers - although none had returned from battle alive. George remembered that every member of the 33rd Field Artillery was scared into silence. Finally the Allied Powers of France, Great Britain, Russia, the United States and others defeated the Central Powers of Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire. On November 11, 1918 – the eleventh day of the eleventh month and tens months after George was drafted, the Armistice was signed and the "war to end all wars" – the Great War had come to an end. George received a letter from the National Biscuit Company begging his commander for an early release because they really needed him. But George tore up the letter wanting the military to provide his transportation home. George received an honorable discharge on December 12th but had to pay his own train fare home anyway.
When George returned to Baltimore he discussed marriage plans with his Irish American girlfriend Barbara McCart. "This is what I got to offer you," he said. "I'm a poor man, I ain't got a fortune, only this here. If you want to go along with that - alright. But I tell you one thing, when we get married, you're not going to go to work no more. Because I don't want to be one (a couple) that the first one home gets to put on the potatoes." They were married the following April 23, 1919 at St. James Catholic Church At the same time George and Barbara were renting an apartment at 2118 Hoffman Street and George was working at the National Biscuit Company as a wholesale commercial salesman (as confirmed by the 1920 U.S. Census records). It was here that they began their family. On November 30, 1923 they had their first-born child which they named Mary Margaret So, in 1926, George got a loan from his father and bought a brick row home with marble steps at 1419 Federal Street across the street from P.S. #20, a large public high school. Here they lived there for the next several decades. Their second child George John, Junior was born on October 30, 1929 The Adelhardts thought it was a better time to have another child and on May 5, 1935 welcomed their daughter Carlita Barbara. The Adelhardt children loved to talk their father into singing some of his old songs like "Yee-Ei-Oh, Miss Annie."
Yee-Ei-Oh, Miss Annie
Come and play with me.
If I go to the butcher shop
And there I stay too long.
If I do my mama will say
"Play with the boys in the yonder."
Yee-Ei-Oh, Miss Annie
Come and play with me.
George would entertain children by dancing the "shuffle footstep" or tap his fingers on the table as he sang in a voice that reminded people of the vaudeville and radio comedian - George Burns. He also would squeeze up his face and make silly expressions that would make all his children laugh. George would also collect a penny or nickel or dime that he found on the streets of the Jewish neighborhood along Park Heights Avenue as he visited cookie customers in his sales territory and bring them home to the children. He would also find the most mangled coins along the streetcar tracks.
George and Barbara got an idea early on from their dentist to donate can goods to the Brothers of Mary or Marianists at Saint James School as a way of charity. In later years the Adelhardts invited the Marianist brothers at St. Michael's parish to come to their home on Saturday evenings for a dinner of sandwiches, potato chips, pickles, and bottles of beer. Many times Brother Joe Weber, Brother Robert Pint, Brother Joe McCloskey and others came to dinner and fetched another donation of canned goods. For many years George (and sometimes Junie) helped out every Saturday at the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, an independent grocery store that grew into the A & P chain. The storeowner Stanley Lezon would give him free groceries as payment. George would collect the baked goods that would not keep over the weekend and give to both the brothers and the School Sisters of Notre Dame that taught at his daughters' school. Later George worked for his friend Mickey O'Donnell at the Mars Grocery Store on Holabird Avenue and stacked the shelves with cookies and crackers in exchange for free groceries. After retirement the Adelhardts would collect cash donations from many of their friends and in July would buy groceries for the monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Cloistered nuns on Dulaney Valley Road in Baltimore County. George would fill up the back of his son's or his son-in-law's station wagon and delivered groceries to the sisters for ten years.George retired in 1962 from what had become Nabisco, Inc. after many years of taking sales orders from grocery stores and displaying the cookies at each location. He continued to visit his old office and former co-workers for years after he stopped working and would always come away with boxes of Oreo sandwich cookies, Ritz Crackers (first marketed in Baltimore during the Great Depression), Fig Newtons, Chips Ahoy!, Triscuit crackers, and Planters peanuts for his children and their families.
George and Barbara were better known by their grandchildren as Pop-Pop and Grandma A. or Mema – the name given to her by her first grandchild Billy. Pop continued his close relationships with children. He would cross his legs and sit babies over his foot and bounce them singing "Hupty, Hupty Rider, Morgan former rider." Most of the other words in the song were German. When his grandchildren were older he would take them on long walks up to Harford Road to visit the fire station and look at the fire engines, to see a movie at the Arcade theater, go to the Acme grocery store or attend the Columbus Day Parade each year in Hamilton. Pop would always give the children a piece of candy or money.
Of course as George and Barbara aged their hair had turned gray and they wore eyeglasses. They always would visit Dr. White when they had a health problem. In the late 1960's George fell from a tree in the back yard while sawing branches and broke his shoulder. He was hospitalized and had a long recovery. George also suffered hearing loss in his seventies and eighties. Barbara would be very frustrated that she had to yell to be heard and at other times she would make fun of him. Although there seemed to be concern about his heart, his main ongoing problem was his prostate gland. He underwent surgery to crush the prostate in order to help the swelling subside. The enlarged prostate condition never really disappeared and he constantly had to deal with urinary tract infections.
Just as the couple was celebrating their sixtieth wedding anniversary in 1979, George was admitted to the hospital with another urinary infection. The doctors tried to treat him with drugs to reduce the enlargement and clear up his infection. George died in his sleep on April 26th at the age of 84 due to a cardiac arrest and not his prostate condition. His funeral Mass was held at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fullerton and celebrated by Father Raymond Gribbin. His grandsons and nephews were pallbearers. He was buried at Gardens of Faith Memorial Cemetery.
John Joseph Adelhardt (1858 - 1928)
Anna Dorothy Fiedler Adelhardt (1861 - 1943)
Barbara Ann McCart Adelhardt (1897 - 1988)
Mary Margaret Adelhardt Stass (1923 - 1978)*
George John Adelhardt (1929 - 1972)*
Carlita Barbara Adelhardt Horten (1935 - 2007)*
Gardens of Faith Cemetery
Plot: Garden of the Good Shepherd, Block 14A, Lot 129, grave 3
Created by: Bill Horten
Record added: Jan 08, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 46467888