Daniel Hertzler, A Vintage Vignette
A Vintage Vignette by John P. Rankin
August 27, 2011
Daniel Hertzler was the youngest of the seven known children of Dr. John Hertzler and his wife Anna Garber. Daniel was born in Ohio in 1868, coming with his family about 1869 to Madison County, where he married Ida Walker in 1914. Daniel lived on Madison's Arnett Street but farmed land that is now part of the northwestern portion of Redstone Arsenal, where Test Area 3 is located along Anderson Road. Indian Creek runs through it. In 1870 local land was purchased by Daniel's grandfather, Jacob Hertzler, who still lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1894 at the age of 86. Jacob's will is on file in the Madison County Records Center because his estate involved his descendants living in this county. Jacob sold his Madison County land to his son (Daniel's father, Dr. John Hertzler) within a year of purchasing it. It would appear that John scouted out the land and got his father to buy it, then John purchased it as soon as he was financially able to do so for the same price paid by Jacob. The lands were later owned by Daniel and his siblings, along with their father. The aggregate of the Hertzler lands purchased by Jacob covered 1475 acres, costing $26,511. Additional land was purchased by John from Thomas Jamar and others in the same area. Daniel's siblings in ownership of the land were his brothers Jacob, John Jr., and Frank, as well as Daniel's sisters Mary J. Hertzler and Annie Rachael Hertzler Anderson.
Daniel's other sister, Frances (“Fannie”) Ella Hertzler, was born in Ohio in 1866. Fannie was not the owner of record of any of the pre-arsenal lands. She died unmarried at age 34 on December 10, 1900, in Madison from a gunshot wound. The story as told in the book “Jacob Hertzler and his Descendants” by Katharine D. Anderson (a Hertzler descendant) is: “While dusting in her brother's room, Miss Hertzler accidentally knocked a pistol off a dresser, causing a bullet to go through her heart and killing her instantly. There was some suspicion that her death might have been suicide, but it was listed as an accident.” In the book it is further reported that Fannie and her parents (who both died in 1916) are buried in Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, even though they lived and died in Madison.
Daniel Hertzler is also buried in Maple Hill Cemetery, according to sexton's records. His life was summarized in the Hertzler book by noting that he “...was born 16 December 1868, Mansfield, Ohio. He married Ida Walker 14 Jan. 1914. She was born 30 Aug. 1881, Lynnville, Tennesse, and died 14 March 1956, Huntsville, Alabama. Mr. Hertzler received his education from a tutor who lived with the family and taught the children still living at home. Mr. Hertzler was associated with his brother Frank and his brother-in-law Matthew Harvey Anderson in the Anderson-Hertzler General Store of Madison, Alabama. He also farmed. Mr. Hertzler was quite a hunter of wild turkeys and other wild game and loved the out-of-doors. Although he was not affiliated with any church, he attended the Methodist Church with his wife. He actually preferred the Presbyterian faith, and when the little church in Madison had a minister, they worshiped there, according to his daughter, Mary Daniel. He died 8 July 1917 in Madison, Alabama.” Mary Daniel, born in June 1915, was Daniel's only child. Mary's daughter, Ida Margaret Sides, married Terence Neville Thompson in Madison County in 1970. Margaret was raised in the Hertzler-Sides house on Arnett Street in Madison. She recalls her grandfather Daniel's house and that of his brother Frank at 25 Front Street. Dr. John's house was on the south side of College Street at its intersection with Church Street. It was already gone, but Margaret recalls the iron fence and empty lot. Margaret lives in Tucson, Arizona, now, and she provided information from the Hertzler book by Katharine Anderson to me for my research into the family history. Hertzler is one of the pioneering reconstruction era families of this area, and more of their story will be told in later Vintage Vignettes.