Sunday, November 1, 2015

John & Matilda Gies

November 10th marks 116 years since the death of Matilda (Warren) Gies.
May she rest in peace
Matilda was born on October 29, 1827 in Pennsylvania, the daughter of James and Catharine Warren.  By the 1850 census, they had moved south to Baltimore County.  James was a blacksmith, owning $4,000 worth of real estate.
John Gies was born on May 23, 1809 in Hesse-Darmstadt, the son of Herman and Mary Gies, and the father of Henry Lewis Gies from the October 2013 blog post.  John came to the U.S. in 1841 with his parents, wife Anna, and four young children.

In the 1850 census, the Gies family had settled in Baltimore County, with John working as a shoemaker.  He and Anna now had seven children total, the three youngest having been born in the U.S.
In 1853, John Gies began renting two adjacent lots of land along the east side of Main Street from John T. Johns for $40.50 each year.  As part of the agreement, John Gies was required to "enclose the said lots with one or more good and substantial fences" and to "thoroughly repair the dwelling house and buildings on the lot" within two years.
However, the 1850s were a rough decade for the family.  Illness likely struck the family in November of 1852, when sons George and William died within a week of each other.  In October of 1855, his father Herman passed away, one month before John became a naturalized U.S. citizen.  In early 1859, John also lost his wife, Anna.
Though hard to part with one so dear
The trial great, the loss severe
Yet faith points upward to the throne
Where parting will no more be known
Sometime after 1860, Matilda Warren married John Gies.  Matilda would have been in her thirties, and no doubt John needed help raising his younger children after Anna's death.  By the 1870 census, however, John and Matilda had no children living in their household.  Matilda was keeping house, and John was still working as a shoemaker.  The same would remain true even until the 1880 census.

John Gies passed away suddenly on August 14, 1886, at the age of 77.
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord,
yea saith the spirit,
they shall rest from their labors
In his will, John appointed his wife Matilda and son James as his executors.  He directed that $1,000 be invested for Matilda "for her sole use and benefit during her natural life or as long as she remains my widow," and granted her their house and property.  He was a careful planner:  "in case the house should be consumed by fire I direct that another be built on the site of the present house out of the insurance funds as far as the money will reach."  If Matilda remarried or passed away, John's estate would be equally distributed among his remaining children, Christiana, Henry, Christian, Catharine, and James, and his grandsons John and James.
Furthermore, John ordered that "in case any one or more of these my heirs should be dissatisfied with this my last will and testament, I hereby positively direct that in each and every case of dissatisfaction my executor or executors shall grant only the sum of fifty dollars and no more."  In other words, take it or leave it!

Matilda survived her husband by twelve years, passing away on November 10, 1898 in Baltimore City, though for some reason, her gravestone gives the wrong year of 1899.  For her funeral, her remains were transported from the city up to Reisterstown via an Emory Grove trolley car.  The Baltimore Sun noted that as such trolley journeys were becoming more common, the Baltimore and Northern Railway Company was planning to construct a trolley car to be used solely for funerals, to better accommodate the mourners.
John Gies' shoe store at 143 Main Street remained in the family until his son Christian's death in 1903.  It changed hands a bit after that, but mostly still used as a shoe shop until the 1960s.  Today, the building is occupied by Unlimited Services Available.
John Gies' children with his first wife Anna were:
  • Christiana Gies, 1833-1892, wife of John W. Hitshue
  • Henry Lewis Gies, 1834-1911, husband of (1) Margaret Ann Uhler & (2) Rosa L. Gore
  • John Gies, 1836-1874, husband of Ophelia L. Ensminger
  • George Konrad Gies, 1841-1852
  • Christian Gies, 1843-1903, unmarried
  • Catharine Elizabeth Gies, c1846-????, wife of ? Groff
  • William H. Gies, 1848-1852
  • James Kraft Gies, 1850-1932, husband of Annie Elizabeth Groff

Sources: (census & naturalization records)
  • National Archives and Records Administration; Indexes to Naturalization petitions to the U.S. Circuit and District Courts for Maryland, 1797-1951; Microfilm Serial: M1168; Microfilm Roll: 6.
  • Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M432_280; Page: 221B.
  • Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M432_280; Page: 222B.
  • Year: 1860; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M653_468; Page: 45.
  • Year: 1860; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M653_468; Page: 42.
  • Year: 1870; Census Place: Reisterstown, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M593_569; Page: 280B.
  • Year: 1880; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 495; Page: 570D.
Baltimore Sun
  • "Items From Reisterstown." Date: 16 August 1886; Page: 4.
  • "A Trolley Car Funeral." Date: 14 November 1898; Page: 7. (immigration record)

Maryland Archives (Death records, Historic Sites Inventory Survey)

West Virginia Division of Culture and History

Cemetery Photos © AgateGS

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