This good looking chap happens to be my great great grandfather, Anton Plattner.
He was born about 1846 in either Austria or Germany, depending on when you asked him. The borders were a bit fluid at the time, and his English was never very good. When speaking to my grandmother, he always said “The Black Forrest”. He came to the United States in 1869, and came alone. He didn’t talk at all about his family or childhood, though when asked about his limp he said he’d been “shot in the war”. Timing would suggest that it would have been the Austro-Prussian War.
Yes, Grandpop Plattner is a member of The Brick Wall Gang. I’ll forgive him though, because he’s such a handsome devil.
He married my great great grandmother, Catherine Neusslein, in 1877 in Philadelphia, and they cranked out nine little rugrats, though only five lived to adulthood. Catherine herself was born to immigrant parents from Germany, George and Mary (Grasser or Groesser) Neusslein.
Sadly, in 1886, a pair of fraternal twins, Frank and Lizzie, died in or shortly after childbirth. I haven’t yet found the birth or death records for the other two children who died in infancy. My grandmother told me that Catherine had been permanently crippled while giving birth to the twins. She assumed that was Frank and Lizzie, but it’s possible that the incident occurred during the birth of the other two children, which may have been later.
Grandpop Plattner’s story is continued below the fold…
I bump into a lot of infant and child mortality while doing the family tree, and it always touches me. I can’t help but wonder how parents can manage to pull it together and go on after the death of a child.
In 1887, Grandpop Plattner became a Naturalized U.S. Citizen in Philadelphia.
The last of the surviving children, my Great Grandmother Louisa, was born in 1896.
Catherine went to California in 1918, during the big influenza epidemic, though my grandmother said she didn’t die of the flu. Because of her crippling childbirth years before, he back had to be broken to be put inside her coffin. Just to make the situation as horrible as it could possibly get, there were no grave diggers available because of the epidemic, and her sons Harry and Joe had to dig their mother’s grave. She’s buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, just outside Philly.
Grandpop Plattner lived another ten years in Philadelphia before he joined his late wife in California. In one last kick in the shin from this world, he was barred from being buried beside his wife at Holy Cross Cemetery. He’s buried in an unmarked grave in Northwood Cemetery next to his daughter Christina and her fist husband, where they don’t mind if you’re an atheist.