|Marguerite Nicola Gerardy|
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|Death: ||Sep. 25, 1855|
From "The Pierre Gerardy Family in America" by Evelyn Potter Park, 1979:
Pierre was 38 and Marguerite was 34 when their eldest son, Peter, was born. Marguerite had been married previously to Matthias Zwible. It is not yet known whether she had any children by that marriage. Pierre and Marguerite had three sons. Peter and Gabriel's births are recorded in the city office at Waldwisse, France. Sometime before 1840 the family moved to Hestroff, in the canton of Bouzonville, where their third son Jean (John) was born. Hestroff is a small village about halfway between Waldwisse and Metz and about 10 km. southwest of Bouzonville.
1. Pierre (Peter) Nicolas Gerardy b. Apr. 25, 1831
2. Gabriel Nicolas Gerardy b. Sept. 21, 1832
3. Jean (John) Nicolas Gerardy b. May 3, 1840
Waldwisse is located in the canton (county) of Sierck-les-Bains, in the historic region of Alsace-Lorraine (now called Moselle Departement), an area just below the southern tip of Luxembourg. Waldwisse is located just inside the German-French border about 7 or 8 km. below the southeastern tip of Luxembourg where it touches the French and German borders or about 50 km. northeast of Metz, France. The Moselle region is famous for its Moselle wine.
Living so near the French-German border, they learned to speak both French and German fluently. This area of France was frequently a battleground between the two countries. Not being in sympathy with the political group then in power and with another war between France and Germany clearly possible, the family chose to seek freedom in a new land . Neither Pierre nor Marguerite were very young when they made that momentous decision. Pierre was 61 and Marguerite was at least 57. Probably they were more concerned about the future of their sons than their own.
If it is true they were on the ocean forty-seven days, then they left the port of Havre on February 10, 1854. It must have been very crowded and uncomfortable on board the ship, and since they left in February (not March) the first part of their trip must also have been very cold.
They reached New Orleans only to learn the city was in the midst of an epidemic of yellow fever, so they booked passage as quickly as possible on a boat going up the Mississippi River to St. Louis. From there they went on up the river to Hannibal, Missouri, where they remained for several weeks to allow the mother to recuperate from the long and very tiring journey.
If the voyage to the "promised land" was hard, there were still more disappointments, heartaches and hardships in store for this brave family who had set out so hopefully toward their new home. The men worked that first winter of 1854 and 1855 on a railroad which was under construction across the state of Missouri from Hannibal to St. Joseph.
St. Joseph at that time was an outpost on the frontier of American settlement and civilization. Located on the Missouri River, it was a landing point for emigrants from Europe by way of the port of New Orleans. It was also a staging area for settlers and emigrants moving into the western fringe of settlement, as well as those going by wagon train across the country to California and Oregon. It must have seemed like quite a rough place to Pierre, Marguerite, and their sons, who had so recently come from a country that had been settled for centuries, where they had good schools, churches, and many relatives living nearby.
One story handed down through the Peter Gerardy family states the primitive living conditions in the railroad construction camps proved too much for Marguerite and that she died and was buried near the railroad tracks about thirty miles east of St. Joseph, Missouri. Gabriel Gerardy's family believe she died at St. Joseph.
There is little likelihood we will be able to prove and document the exact place of her death. No death records were kept at that early date, and it is extremely doubtful her grave was marked by a tombstone. The date of her death was recorded by her son Peter in his family Bible. It does seem probable that she reached St. Joseph at some time before her death, since we know Pierre applied for citizenship at St. Joseph on April 10, 1855, and Marguerite did not die until the following fall, on September 25, 1855.
Pierre Gerardy (1792 - 1860)*
Peter Nicolas Gerardy (1831 - 1911)*
Gabriel Gerardy (1832 - 1916)*
John Gerardy (1841 - 1907)*
Specifically: Frontier burial during migration west.
Created by: Darrell Brown
Record added: Jul 19, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 93908124
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