Frank G. Hertzler, A Vintage Vignette

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Frank G. Hertzler
A Vintage Vignette by John P. Rankin
September 12, 2011

Frank Garber Hertzler was a son of Dr. John Hertzler and Anna Garber. He was also a brother of Daniel and of Annie Rachael, who married Matthew Harvey Anderson. They were all born elsewhere but became long-time Madison residents of note after the Civil War. Annie and Harvey's son, Harvey Gordon Anderson, married Mildred Louise Steele. Their son, William Steele Anderson, married Katharine Eugenia Demrod and lived in Greensboro, North Carolina. Katharine researched the Anderson and Hertzler family lines for her daughter Patricia Ann Anderson. In 1975 Katharine produced a book entitled “JACOB HERTZLER AND HIS DESCENDANTS”. Portions of the book were provided to me by another Hertzler descendant, former Madison resident Ida Margaret Sides Thompson of Tucson, Arizona. The book traces the lineage back to immigrant Jacob Hertzler, who is thought to have Swiss heritage but came from Holland to America. The family tradition is that he sailed on the same ship as one of the Rockefellers and was offered a chance to go into business with the man. However, he declined and settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He must have succeeded in whatever enterprise he undertook, because his descendants were apparently well off financially for generations. The immigrant Jacob was a great-grandfather of a later Jacob Hertzler of the same county. The later Jacob was father of Dr. John H. Hertzler, who lived in Ohio for a time and then brought his family to Madison.

Frank Hertzler built the house at 25 Front Street in Madison. That house is now owned and occupied by Dennis and Joyce Vaughn. Frank was the third of seven children of Dr. John and Anna Hertzler. All seven grew to adulthood. He was born in Ohio on December 24, 1858. In Madison County he owned over 300 acres of land that became Redstone Arsenal. In 1877 Frank married Marietta Sullivan, a daughter of Dr. George Sullivan of Madison. Her name was recorded in the book by Katharine Anderson as “Mary Etta”. It is “Henrietta” on the marriage license and in old newspapers, but she consistently signed as “Marietta” in the probate files when Frank died in 1944. Frank had made out his last will and testament in 1922, leaving all of his estate to her and naming her as Executor. While living in Madison, Frank had begun to accumulate wealth through general mercantile partnerships with Madison merchants George Washington Wise, his brother Daniel Hertzler, and his brother-in-law Matthew Harvey Anderson. Frank later sold those interests and moved to Athens, Alabama. There he entered into a farming partnership in Limestone County with Harvey. Upon retiring from farming he moved to Huntsville, living at 509 Franklin Street until his passing. He is buried in Athens, as is Marietta, who outlived him by only six years.

Frank and Marietta Hertzler had four children: John Richard (born in 1889), daughter Frankie (1895), Anne (1902), and Jewell (1907). When Marietta died, John Richard was living in Athens, Alabama. He had married Lucile C. Anderson in 1915 in Madison County. His sister Frankie had married Harry E. Parker in 1915, and they lived in Coral Gables, Florida. Anne Hertzler married a Jervis and lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jewell Hertzler married David Lee Rosenau Jr. of Limestone County. Jewell's husband became Judge of the Limestone County Superior Court. His grandfather William Graves Lewis in 1868 purchased the house built by Levi Cummings, who is believed to have settled on Limestone Creek in 1807 while it was still Chickasaw Indian land. Levi's son Joseph inherited the property, but he moved to Arkansas. William Lewis' father drowned in the Elk River when William was young. William's grandfather, Francis Lewis (1765-1835), came to Limestone County before 1830. William's daughter Alice married the senior David Lee Rosenau. William's son Alexander married Margaret Donelson Horton, daughter of James Horton and Emily Donelson. Emily was a direct descendant of Colonel John Donelson (1718-1785), father of Rachel (wife of President Andrew Jackson) and co-founder in 1780 of the town of Fort Nashborough, known today as Nashville, Tennessee. The Donelson china ended up being split between Emily and Rachel, whose portion is now in the Hermitage in Nashville.

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