Esther Myra Hertz, Ritchey’s grandmother, led a tragic, short life. She was the daughter of George Edwin Hertz and Rosa Leuenberger of Solon, Johnson County, Iowa. Her paternal grandparents were Henry Hertz and Amelia Florentina Probst; and maternal grandparents were Jacob Leuenberger and Margarite Streich.
George Hertz and Rosa Leuenberger were married September 28, 1898, in Iowa. A son, Harold, was born a year later – October 1, 1899. Daughter Esther was born October 22, 1901. It was a very happy family until Rosa became quite ill with consumption. The family moved to Grainfield, Kansas, thinking the climate would help Rosa. Unfortunately it did not; she died March 1, 1907. Her body was brought back to Solon, Iowa for burial in Oakland Cemetery. Esther was five years old. She and Harold lived with her grandmother Florentina until their father settled in Butler, Bates County, Missouri.
From the above photo you can see that Esther attended Butler High School – she is the third from the right in the second row. The photo was taken in 1917. I just happened upon this photo on ancestry.com – was thrilled to find one of a young Esther! Unfortunately George Hertz married again in November 1916. Harold and Esther were told in no uncertain terms they were unwelcome in the home of their stepmother. Harold moved to Kansas City, Missouri; Esther moved back to Solon, Iowa, with her grandmother. She lived there until 1920 when Florentina died. Since Harold was her only strong tie she moved to Kansas City to be near him.
In 1921 Esther met and fell in love with James Jolly. They married September 28th of that year – in Kansas City, Kansas, but continued to live in Kansas City, Missouri. For an unknown reason James left Esther and his son, Rex. I’m not sure if he left before or after the baby was born. Esther contracted tuberculosis and the last few days of her life were spent at her father’s home in Butler. She died May 25, 1924, leaving her 20 month-old son. Esther’s body was brought back to Solon and buried in the cemetery with her grandmother and other Hertz family members. Rex was adopted and given a good home by the Brown’s, but grew up with no memory of either parent. I think it is such a sad story. But I am thrilled to have found a small memory of Esther to preserve in our family history!