Henrietta was called “Tina” by her brothers and sisters. She was born in Hamburg, Germany, on the 31 May, 1844. She was the second daughter and fourth child of Johann Martin Jochim Theodor Germer and Maria Catharina Elsabe Faasch.
One of her earliest memories is of the missionaries in Germany who converted her family to the Church. They were in prison and she stood on a bridge and waved at them [missionaries] through the prison window. Her mother carried food to the window for them.
The family left Germany to come to Utah, when she was eleven years old. They came with George Christian Riser who had been one of the missionaries.
A rather interesting fact was told by Aunt Mary Wright. She said there was quite a variety in this family. Mary, the oldest girl, had beautiful golden hair. One brother, John, had red hair. The other brother had white hair. The other sister, Hannah, had auburn hair, very beautiful, and Grandmother Tina’s hair was a beautiful dark brown, very glossy and abundant.
Years later, they all laughed at what a time they had trying to drive an ox team across the plains. They learned the words, “Gee, haw, and whoa,” but they said them all together and the oxen were bewildered. So they tied ropes to their horns and walked in front leading them.
On the way, they encountered a herd of buffalo, and one of them jumped between the oxen and the wagon, and the oxen stampeded with the buffalo. Grandmother Tina, who was sick, was in the wagon. Mother said, “What a fright that must have been!” All the rest were out of the wagon walking.
When the family arrived in Utah, Tina got a job working for a Mrs. Nail. One time, she made some biscuits and got too much soda in them. So the lady told her to eat them all. She wouldn't let her have anything else. But her brother Louis came and helped her eat them.
Also, while she was working for Mrs. Nail, her mother was very sick and felt that she needed some coffee. So Tina took some from Mrs. Nail. Later the Church had a reformation and Tina was honest enough to confess that she had taken this coffee, so she had to pay for it.
Mother had a sweetheart, a soldier, who she must have thought a lot of. But we never heard much of it. Question: “When was this?” Answer: “When she was fifteen.”
She was married three months before she was sixteen on 9 Feb, 1860. Mother said, “My father had been engaged to another girl and it played out. He married Mother on the rebound. Afterward, some of his friends told him that the other girl was pining away. So, he went and asked her to be his second wife, but she refused him.”
“They lived in Plain City until I was four, and then moved to Marsh Valley, Idaho. Their farm was located where the freight wagons came by their place.” Mother sold butter and eggs and grain to the freighters who passed. The railroad came through when I was thirteen.”
“My father went away to find work and left us alone. It was during the Indian troubles. We were very much afraid, just four families in the valley.” “Pa used to send money home to provide for us. The neighbors knew of it. One night someone came to the house, and started to raise the window. He had a blanket over his head to make us think he was an Indian. Mother held a butcher knife in her hand and said, ‘Just stick your head through that window, and I’ll cut it off for you!!’ He took it out quick and let the window down. We felt sure he had come to rob us. Mother was sick the next day from fright. A day or so later a man went to a store in Malad and said, ‘You can talk about brave women, but I’ll bet on Tina Hawkins.”‘
“My mother was the best cook in America, I believe. When she came to America, she didn't have a chance to go to school, so she couldn't write in English. And after I was married and moved away, she wanted to write to me. So she got a dictionary and all the words she didn't know, she looked up in the dictionary. And she never misspelled a word.”
“Mother didn't have good health until after middle life. It was getting her teeth out that helped her. She got them out when I was about seventeen.”
“My father and mother separated when Gussie was eleven. Mother made her own living. She was a midwife. When she was called out in confinement cases, she always prayed for help and guidance and almost without exception, about the time the patient took sick, she would wake up with the feeling that she was wanted and would be ready when someone came for her. She never lost a mother or a baby.”
She lived in Marsh Valley until 1902 when she moved to La Grande, Oregon. She and her son, William Martin, who was unmarried at the time, bought a place together, quite close to our home.
The following is a bit of the memories I, her granddaughter Jennie, have of her. I remember a little of her home in Marsh Valley. It was a log house. I remember the corral where I sat on the fence and drank fresh milk and the hills nearby. But I remember her home in Oregon very well. Uncle Will was a lover of horses like his father was. And I remember his horses and how he petted them and how they enjoyed it.
There was a wonderful spring on their place with a springhouse next to it. The spring had a fifty gallon barrel sunk in the ground. The bottom was removed from the barrel and the water from the spring came in at the bottom. So there was always a barrel of lovely cold water. The overflow from the barrel went into the spring house where there was a wooden box where Grandmother kept her butter and milk which were always cold and nice. The water was carried in buckets for use in the house. We didn't have bathrooms in those days, not in the country anyway. They did have them in the city. But what we never had we didn't miss.
When I was a little girl I used to go and stay nights with Grandmother when Uncle Will was working nights at the railroad yards. And oh! I thought it was a treat. Her bed was so soft and warm. And she made such nice lunches for me to take to school. Her cookies were so delicious.
She had a little brown dog with long curly hair, named Gypsy. They called it Gyp. One day Grandmother was sitting on the back porch cleaning her teeth. After she cleaned the upper ones she couldn't find the lower ones and looked all over for them and was terribly upset. She called to Aunt Gussie to help her find her teeth. Aunt Gussie came to help and discovered Gyp sitting there so smart with Grandmother’s teeth in her mouth. Aunt Gussie had quite a sense of humor and had a good laugh. I don’t remember whether Grandmother thought it was funny or not.
“One time,” said Mother, “My mother was going across the fields to Aunt Mary’s place, their fields joined. Some men were taking a cow to the slaughter pen. The cow jumped over the fence and went right toward Mother. She was stooped over climbing through the fence when it hit her. I think it would have broken her back if she hadn't been stooped over. Grandmother was quite crippled for some time after that experience.”
“When Mother passed away,” said Mother, “they had services in La Grande. They wired Marsh Valley that they were bringing her to rest by her children. But the people in Marsh Valley wanted to have services there, too. All her friends came. Babies she had brought into the world, married and with families of their own. A big crowd came to pay respect to her. They opened the casket at the graveside. It had been a rainy day, but as they opened the casket so people could see her, the clouds broke, and a ray of sunshine played on her face. Everyone noticed it.” Mother’s eyes filled with tears as she said, “It seemed like sort of a Benediction to her good life.”
She was laid to rest on the 24 of November, 1927.
Distant cousins must have more stories to share.