Featured Post

The Beginning

So, this is Dad and Mom. Ray is the son of Conrad Herrmann and Kate Bundock. He is the step-son of Edith Armstrong and Wally Hewitt. ...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Grandma Herrmann aka Edith Rozella Armstrong

Edith was my grandmother. She may have been my Dad's step-mother, but I didn't know that until I was about 11 years old. 
Our family often took summer vacations to Northern California (where my Dad's parents lived) from Southern California (where we lived). Conrad and Edith were known as Grandpa and Grandma Herrmann to me, just as my Mom's parents were Grandpa and Grandma Bjorkman. When I learned about my Dad's birth mother and step-father, they were known to me as Grandpa and Grandma Hewitt. So, I will often refer to Edith as Grandma Herrmann.
Grandma Herrmann was born in Kansas in 1909 to William C. Armstrong and Margurette (Maggie) Mae Morris. Grandma's parents divorced when she was quite young and, in 1917, her mother married Arthur Guy Wine. Whenever Dad talked about them, he would refer to them as Grandpa and Grandma Wine.
Grandma Herrmann's father was William Cornelius Armstrong. He was born in Iowa, 1867,  to William and Annie Bell (Marchael) Armstrong.Together, they had 3 children - Frank, Harry and William. Annie died sometime prior to  1888, when William married her sister, Ida Mary,  Together, William and Ida had nine children - Anna Belle, Fredrick, Clarence, Virgil, twins Bert and Bertha (Bertha died in infancy), Margaret, Lloyd, and Thelma Rozella.
After his divorce from Grandma Wine, William married Vinez Palmer and together they had  a boy and two girls. Whether Grandma Herrmann knew of her half siblings, I do not know.  She nor Dad never mentioned them.
Grandma Herrmann's father died in Kansas. Her half-sister, Barbara Ann, died in 2000. Vinez died in 1944.
I remember Grandma Herrmann as being a strong, independent woman. I have a couple of pictures where Grandma Wine had dressed her in "ribbons and bows", other pictures show her as being more of a tomboy, running around the farm barefoot and free.
At the age of fifteen, Grandma Herrmann had a picture made with aspirations of sending it to Hoot Gibson, possibly hoping it would lead to movie roles. Whether or not she succeeded in this endeavor is unclear, but my Aunt did tell me she had a choice to join Hoot Gibson in Chicago or marry a man by the name of Copper. She chose the latter.
Not much is known about Harvey/Harry "Bob" Copper. Dad once referred to him as "Bob Copper", whereas, the marriage card from Colorado reports him as "Harry L Copper". The 1925 Denver City Directory lists him as "Harvey L. Copper". However, Grandma Wine's Bible had recorded him as Robert Copper in the Vital Register pages. Really, this guy is a wiley fella in the research records online. I believe Grandma Herrmann left Mr. Copper and moved to California sometime around 1930. 
During the marriage, however, Grandma Herrmann became "lonesome" staying at home and doing housework. so she began riding along with her husband, Bob, on his dump truck. Bob was a driver running dirt, rocks, and debris from various excavation sites around the city. It didn't take Grandma long to begin helping her husband in the various duties of the job, including behind the wheel. Eventually, she obtained her own license to drive (the news article states she was nineteen, but in reality she was only sixteen years old at the time) and began working her own truck along side her husband. An internet search about women in trucking revealed that Grandma Herrmann may have been the second woman in the country to drive a truck for wages. The first was reported in Wisconsin in 1918 and the other was reported in Texas in 1929. She drove for a few years before the marriage collapsed and she moved to California. 

Grandma in her bows and dress frills.....and bare feet.
Grandma all gussied up for a photograph.

The tomboy in her.

Grandma is standing on the top front of this wagon with Grandpa Wine. I never saw Grandma Herrmann as an "indoor" type of woman. Her and Grandpa were always out and about - camping and such.

Grandma Herrmann. I'm not sure of her age here, but I would speculate around 13 or 14 years old.

The photograph Grandma was going to send to Hoot Gibson.

The marriage record card of Grandma's first marriage to Harry/Harvey L. Copper. Also, Maggie's Bible recording his name as Robert Copper.

The article of Granma driving a truck. The year: 1925. Although she told the licensing board that she was  nineteen years old......she was actually sixteen years old.

Grandma Herrmann on the left, with her parents, Grandpa and Grandma Wine.

Grandma Herrmann's Social Security Application.