|Birth: ||Mar. 16, 1870|
|Death: ||May 6, 1960|
Abridged from The Gross Family by Evelyn Potter Park:
Lissie Drusilla Gross who was born March 16,1870, near Eliza , Mercer County, Illinois , the daughter of Theobald and Margaret (Morehead) Gross, both of them school teachers with a small homestead. Margaret Ann’s father James Morehead wrote them from Paradise, Wise County, Texas, where he was then living, and offered to give them his farm there if they would come settle on it. Thinking a warmer climate might be more healthful, they sold their farm, chartered a railroad car, and shipped livestock, machinery and household goods to Ft. Worth, Texas. James met them at the train and took them to the farm. His uncle Jimmy Morehead was visiting there at the time. After the Gross family was settled in, James and Jimmy left them with the farm and traveled to Jimmy’s farm in Defiance, Ohio, where James is said to have died.
The farm in Texas was located near the Trinity River and the climate proved to be anything but healthful. Both sons died there. Luther died of meningitis and little Theobald died of diphtheria. The heat and malarial infection caused Theobald to suffer a recurrence of the dysentery he had contracted during his war service. Needing hospitalization and medical care, it was decided he should enter a veteran's hospital. He took Margaret Ann and their two daughters, Lissie and Clemmie, to Sherman, Texas so that the girls could attend school [then traveled to the National Home for Disabled Veterans in Dayton, Ohio, where he was admitted on December 8, 1880]. While living in Sherman, Margaret Ann took pneumonia and died March 1, 1881. It is not known where she was buried, or what happened to her property.
A Presbyterian minister and his wife took the little girls into their home and made arrangements to send them by train to their grandmother, Drusilla Witherspoon Morehead, in Clay County, Kansas. When they arrived in Clay Center Lissie had the mumps. Word had not reached their grandmother and Uncle Wash about when they would arrive, so no one met them at the train. The conductor made arrangements with a lady who had a boarding house to take care of them until word could be sent to their grandmother. Lissie remembered the long cold trip in a wagon to the farm some 20 miles north of Clay Center.
Note by Darrell Brown
Evidently she was called “Lizzie” by her parents. In the 1870 census she is listed as “Lizzie D. Gross,” and when her grandmother sent photos from Washington state, she addressed them to “Lizzie.” But she preferred the name “Lissie,” which was briefly popular in the 1880s, and it’s the name she used on her marriage certificate in 1889.
When their mother died in Sherman, Texas, on March 1, 1881, Lissie and Clementine were sent to Kansas to live with their grandmother Drusilla Witherspoon Morehead and her son Washington. They they did not resume schooling, and it is not clear how long they lived with their grandmother. Her son Washington was the head of household, and the girls seem to have left the house ahead of his marriage in March of 1883. In January of 1883, Clemmie several miles north of the farm, evidently as a domestic servant, and in the 1885 census they are both living as servants or nannies in other households. Clemmie was living with a family named Adams. Lissie was living with the Hammel family, who were neighbors of the Moreheads. They had six children and Lissie presumably helped with the children in return for room, lodging, and expense money. The mother was from Germany, and that was probably the language in which Lissie worked. Lissie attended the German-speaking Goshen Congregational Church, perhaps with the Hamnels, and that church was attended by Edward Gerardy as well, to whom she became engaged.
Excerpts from The Pierre Gerardy Family in America, by Evelyn Potter Park, 1979, p. 41-43:
It was there [they] were married by their pastor, Rev. Harvey Knight of the Congregational Church. A delicious and bountiful wedding dinner was prepared by Ed's mother, Caroline, for relatives and friends of the young couple. They lived there for three years and during that time their first child, Grace, was born.
Ed longed, though, for land of his own to farm so when Indian lands in Oklahoma Territory began to open for settlement, he and his brother William made the trip down to Oklahoma with a team and wagon, or they may each have had a team and wagon. They arrived in Lincoln County too late for the "land run" but Ed traded a wagon, set of harness and three horses to two rival claimants who divided the property in exchange for their headright to a farm in the Forest Community. Ed went back to Kansas on the train from Guthrie and then returned in a covered wagon loaded with household goods and supplies. Upon his return, Ed built a substantial log cabin near a good spring of water. It was a little more up-to-date than most other cabins then as it had glass in the windows and door.
After the log cabin was completed, Lissie came with their baby, Grace, by train to Guthrie and from there to Lincoln County by stagecoach. This funny little incident happened on the way when the driver mistook Ed for a stagecoach robber. The Green family (who had come from Clay County, Kansas, too) lived north of Chandler, and although they were not directly on the stagecoach road they lived near it. Since the drive to the farm at Forest would take so long, the Greens invited Ed to bring his family to their home for the night. In those days stagecoach robberies were not -uncommon, so when Ed stopped the stagecoach on a lonely country road, the driver was very suspicious. In a very gruff voice he asked Ed what he wanted and he replied he wanted his wife and baby. The driver would not let her off the stagecoach, though, until Lissie convinced him the man was her husband.
The Indian trail from the Kickapoo reservation went right by the Gerardy home. Lissie and the children often watched the Indians riding by on their way to the Sac and Fox Indian Agency at Stroud for their government allotments. Though they were never harmed by Indians, they were always somewhat frightened. Sometimes Indians would stop to ask for water. Doors had to be kept locked because they paid no attention to doors and would walk right into the house. One day two Indian men stopped for water and saw Lissie sewing on her sewing machine. It must have been the first one they had seen as they came right back with their women and children. Lissie showed the women how the machine worked. They wanted her to make a dress for one of them, but Lissie said she was much too frightened to sew.
[From a 1957 newspaper article: In those days there were few neighbors and they all lived a long ways apart because of the country being so sparsely settled. Mrs. Gerardy got lonely at times and longed for a close neighbor. She was delighted when Will Gerardy and wife came to live on the adjoining farm [in 1894]. They spent a great deal of time together and everything seemed to be going along fine when on June 1 of that same year, Mrs. Will Gerardy died. She was the third person to be buried in the Forest cemetery.]
[From a 1960 newspaper article: Her pioneering experiences taught her to love her neighbors and appreciate the values of life. "Back in those days we had to ride in a wagon to the nearest neighbor's home and we were always glad to see each other," Mrs. Gerardy said.]
[Continuing from Evelyn Park’s book: In 1897 Lissie and her children saw a tornado coming.] Though they were not directly in the path of the storm, they took refuge in the cellar as the storm passed by, and then they stood outside as they watched the tornado that destroyed Chandler on March 30, 1897. Ed had gone to Shawnee to trade that day, but when he saw the dark storm approaching he hurried back to the farm as quickly as he could.
All of the farm was cleared and put into production except a strip along the west side where there was a deep ravine which the family called "The Canyon". Big oak trees and sandstone boulders lined the sides of the canyon not too far from the house. Located at the head of the canyon was the spring from which they carried their water in the early years. Water from the spring ran in a small stream along the canyon floor providing water for the farm animals and an excellent wading place for children. It was a fun place to roam, have a picnic lunch, carve initials on the sandstone (still visible today) and a favorite place to play when friends came to visit.
They lived in the cabin until 1899 when they built the main part of the big house. It included two rooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs. In the summer of 1903 the large west wing was added and during that time the family again lived in the log house. The new wing made the house into a large and comfortable home. In early years it was painted a pretty shade of yellow with lots of white gingerbread trim, which was very popular around the turn of the century. The south porch was used for rocking and visiting, and the north porch led to the back yard and also contained the well. No longer did they have to carry water from the spring. Two small rooms built at opposite ends of the north porch opened into the kitchen. One was a pantry and the other was a bathroom. The bathroom had no modern plumbing, but it did afford ' a place to take baths in privacy.
Lissie was an excellent cook and gave credit to her mother-in-law, Caroline, for teaching her to cook. Two family favorites were German Cheese and Chicken and Noodles. The cheese was made from dry (homemade) cottage cheese, which was allowed to cure for about a week, after which it was mixed with butter and good thick cream and cooked over a low heat until it melted. It was then poured into a mold or pan to harden. It had a distinctive and unusual flavor, and was very good. Lissie always tried to have chickens big enough to fry and fresh peas and new potatoes from the garden as a treat for Ed on his May 22nd birthday each spring.
Ed and Lissie were charter members and organizers of the first church in that part of the county in 1893. It was called the Forest Congregational Church. From 1893 until 1899 the congregation met in the homes of the members. Ed gave lumber from his farm and labor to help build the church. Sadly, the first funeral held in the new church was for their second daughter, Pearlie, who died of membranous croup (diphtheria) on November 3, 1899. Another daughter, Goldie May, died September 15, 1911. These two daughters were buried in the Forest Cemetery near the church and less than a mile from their home.
The church was the center of community activity. In the summertime picnic dinners were spread on long tables under the big oak trees surrounding the church. The dinner followed the Sunday School and church services in the morning. Another service usually followed the dinner. At other times families took turns going home with another family after church for dinner and visiting until time to go home for evening chores. Revivals were well-attended and baptisms were held in someone's pond or at a creek.
Church records show Ed served as Sunday School Superintendent, Church Treasurer, and was on the Church Board almost continuously. Lissie taught Sunday School classes and sometimes attended district and state meetings as a delegate. She and Ed always had family Bible reading and prayers in the home and taught their children to be industrious, thrifty, honest and loyal to each other.
After the death of her husband Edward in 1942, Lissie made her home with her youngest daughter, Christel, in Oklahoma City. In 1953 she returned to Chandler to live with another daughter, Grace, until her death on May 6, 1960. Services were held at the Methodist Church on Mother's Day, which seemed very appropriate for this loving and dedicated mother.
Tribute to Lissie from Gerardy Family History, by Evelyn (Potter) Park, 1995, p. 65:
Lissie was the perfect example of a loving and dedicated wife and mother, always busy making a comfortable home, making garden, raising chickens, sewing, taking the family to Sunday School and Church services. encouraging them to become as well-educated as they possibly could and teaching them virtues and principles of good living and good citizenship. She made beautiful quilts and was expert at crocheting and embroidery. One of the family treasures is the baby dress she made for her first daughter, Grace. It was long in the style then worn by babies and had a very wide crocheted band on the bottom which she crocheted out of sewing thread. It was worn by Grace, Evelyn, Margaret and Marilyn for a christening dress and probably was also worn by all of Lissie's daughters.
Further notes by Darrell Brown:
Lissie’s father Theobald lived in veteran’s homes until 1883, then settled in Philadelphia, where he subsequently remarried. He never traveled back to the Midwest.
The 1885 Kansas State Census shows that Lissie, age 15, was living near her grandmother but in the home of the William Hammel family, perhaps to help with their six children. Her sister Clemmie was living with a family named Adams.
Lissie attended the Goshen Congregational Church, as did her future husband Edward Gerardy. This was a German-speaking church, so most likely Lissie learned to speak German from her father. Lissie and Edward were married by the church pastor on January 28, 1889, at the Gerardy home near Fact, Clay County, Kansas. On November 11, 1891, they had their first child, Grace Clementine Gerardy.
They wanted a farm of their own, so Ed and his brother Will went to newly opened lands in Oklahoma and traded their horses and wagons for adjoining homesteads. Ed brought supplies and built a cabin, then sent word for Lissie and the baby to come.
According to her death certificate, Lissie died of a coronary thrombosis. As I recollect the story, she was eating breakfast with her daughter when suddenly she passed away.
Excerpt from a sympathy letter written by Lissie
On January 10, 1904, Lissie wrote a sympathy letter regarding the death of her mother-in-law, Caroline Christel Gerardy, who had died four days earlier in Kansas. Her daughter Christel treasured a particular statement in that card:
“It seems every time we are called on to give up a loved one, they take a part of our very life with them, so gradually our ties on earth are weakened and heavenly ties strengthened.”
Theobald T. Gross (1840 - 1913)
Margaret Ann Morehead Gross (1842 - 1881)
Edward Gerardy (1865 - 1942)*
Grace Clementine Gerardy Potter (1891 - 1966)*
Pearlie Christine Gerardy (1897 - 1899)*
Myrtle Lena Gerardy Pinkston (1899 - 1984)*
Golda May Gerardy (1903 - 1911)*
Edward Loren Gerardy (1905 - 1994)*
Lissie Christel Gerardy Brown (1909 - 1999)*
Luther Theobald Gross (1865 - 1878)*
Hannah Clementine Gross Winsworth (1867 - 1934)*
Lissie Drusilla Gross Gerardy (1870 - 1960)
Mary Adriana Gross (1873 - 1874)*
Henry Theobald Gross (1879 - 1880)*
Oak Park Cemetery
Maintained by: Darrell Brown
Originally Created by: Janey Clark
Record added: Sep 25, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 5066721