Sunday, January 10, 2010

Black Sheep Sunday - January 10, 2010

In a family that has stayed close to their Louisville, Kentucky roots, I don’t know that I’d call this gentleman a “Black Sheep”, but the family did look down on his actions. Seems he disappeared and was last seen heading off to “ports unknown”, and sailed out of family site. He left behind a young daughter.

Frank Henry Dreher – about 1912

It wasn’t for many years that anyone even heard from him. And then when they did, they found out that he had remarried. Eventually, of course, all was forgiven, and he was graciously allowed back into the “fold”.

I am talking about my great-uncle, Frank Henry Dreher.

First off, Frank’s German family had a rather peculiar sense of needing to carry on the patriarch name, Henry [they all pronounced Heintz, or Heinrich, depending upon the individual to whom you were speaking]. You see, old Henry Condar Dreher, Sr. [and yes, that middle name was Condar, not Conrad, although many records have mistakenly recorded Conrad], had not one son with the name Henry, but, in fact, three!

Frank Henry Dreher was the first son to be “blessed” with the moniker. He was born 06 December 1887 [he was the second born child of Henry Condar Dreher and Josephine Benzel.]. Then on 26 December 1889 came the third child, Henry Edward Dreher. Several years went by, with several other children born, and then on 31 December 1902 came the eighth born child, Henry Condar Dreher, Jr. [There were ten children born, with the last one coming along in 1910.]

Frank was known simply as “Frank”. Henry Edward as “Heinrich”. And Henry Condar as “Heintz”, to their siblings and parents. To the outside world, the two Henry’s were simply Henry, and were distinguishable by the descriptive use of “elder” or “younger”.

Frank was married on 26 October 1911 to Bertha Butler, in Madison County, Tennessee.

They soon had a daughter, Evelyn Louise.

Frank disappeared when Evelyn was a baby.

It wasn’t until the late 1940’s that Frank’s family heard from him again. Some had even speculated that he had died.

In attempting to locate Frank’s history, I followed him to Birmingham, Alabama where he lived in 1917. Here he was married to a Lillian G. Unknown [b. 1890, Georgia]. Here Frank registered for the WWI Draft. While the birth year differs on his Draft registration from his birth registration in Kentucky, I feel the compelling evidence that follows does indeed make this one and the same individual. He is listed as a mechanical engineer for the Southern Railroad.

Frank Henry Dreher

WWI Draft Registration

In 1920, we find Frank and Lillian are now in Waco, McLennan County, Texas on the Census that year. They are living in rooming house located at 611 North Street. Frank is now 37 years of age and Lillian is 30. A machinist by trade from his youth, Frank is still one, working for the railroad.

1920 Census

Lines 7 & 8

I do not know what happened to Lillian, I have been unable to locate a divorce or death record for her. So, her status is undetermined. However, I do know that on 20 January 1932 in Waco, Frank married for a third time to Florence Lacy Allen [b.06 Aug 1889, Waco, McLennan, Texas – d. 30 Mar 1984, Dallas, Dallas, Texas].

Evelyn Louise Dreher is believed to have been Frank’s only child.

Frank lived until 18 May 1955 and died in Waco. He is buried in Waco Memorial Park.

Frank Henry Dreher’s Death Certificate
Waco, McLennan, Texas

1 comment:

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Great story! Thanks for sharing!

Keep these ancestor stories coming!

Bill ;-)
Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"