Herpel, Julia Ann; Day County - 1882

Written by Mrs. Daisy Potter 1950

A South Dakota Pioneer woman Mrs. John C.Herpel, Andover S.D.

Nee Julia Ann Ellis

Born Aug 29, 1859 at Bridgeport Mich. Saginaw Mich

one of a family of 15 children

Her father Daniel Hiram Ellis of pioneer New England stock who came to Mich. by ox team from Barnard Vermont with his parents and several brothers about 1840.

Her mother Josephine Leasia native of Mich. French parents who came to Mich. from near Quebec.

She Julia Ann was only 2 years old when her mother died shortly after the birth of another baby. Her French grandmother took care of the family until and even after her father married a young widow with two children of her own. This step mother was a native of Switzerland a good woman adept in all the arts of homemaking. She had six more children.

When Julia Ann was six years old the family came down with smallpox a very severe form of which swept through Mich. at that time. A brother who had been working away from home not knowing he had been exposed - and broke out 24 hours after arriving home to spend Christmas. Then the entire family was exposed and were obliged to remain in quarantine for nearly three months - requiring the services of two nurses besides the grandmother. One brother died and one lost the sight of one eye and the rest were more or less pock marked among them Julia Ann who felt it rather badly, tho it was not so noticeable as she grew older.

She went to the Bridgeport School and later to the Saginaw High School.

After finishing school she taught the country school in Taymouth township near Saginaw. Here she met John C. Herpel whom she later married. The wedding took place July 3, 1879 in the orchard of the family home at Bridgeport. It was largely attended by relatives and friends. Tables were set under the trees for nearly one hundred.

The young couple moved at once to the log cabin her husband had built on his wooded farm in Taymouth township. Here they were busy clearing land and making a home in a near wilderness. And here the following year their daughter Katha was born.

In the meantime her husbandís health had begun to fail and after months of illness and a consultation of Drs. he was advised to go west and seek a drier climate, as his trouble was lung fever (T.B)

So they sold out and came to South Dakota in hopes of a home and a cure. After looking over several locations they decided on Andover, S.D. and took up a homestead and tree claim in Union Twp. Tho Mr. Herpel was sick and unable to leave his room in the Hotel for some time and was obliged to drive by horse and buggy to Watertown a distance of over 80 miles to file on his land in Nov 1882.

He was unable also to live continuously and spent part of the time in their small house in Andover. However they were able to prove up on their land and also acquired a relinquishment on the edge of town. This had a sod house on it and they lived in it till 1888 - when they moved the house they had in town out and fixed it up into a fairly comfortable home and tore the sod house down.

In the meantime Mr. Herpel had recovered sufficiently to be able to conduct a hardware and implement business in town 1\4 mile distant.

In 1883 - Feb 20 - a second daughter Daisy was born the first white child in Andover - and in 1885 - the third daughter was born Julia Eva.

Mrs. Herpel took a very active part in all worthwhile community activities such as Ladies Aid - W.C.T.U. and Sunday School in which she taught a class for many years.

Her pioneer home was the scene of many gatherings such as prayer meetings and choir practice, ice cream socials etc. She also extended a helping hand to many who were lonesome unfortunate or discouraged.

In 1889 or 90 her husband due to poor crops and low prices and many who owed him money leaving the country - was unable to continue his business.

He helped take the census of 1890 and later was able to get a job as a salesman for Bradley Clark & Co. to whom he was indebted. in 1893 - the family moved to Owatonna, Minn - in 1895 they moved to Fondu Lac Wis - after which they lived until 1900 when Bradley Clark transferred him to the S.D. Territory. So the family went back to the farm adjoining Andover while he stayed on the XXXXX.

Again Mrs. Herpel resumed her interest and activities in the social & religious life of the community. All three of her daughters were married during this time with beautiful church weddings.

In 1906 due to the death of Mr. Herpelís mother and the failing health of his father, Mr. and Mrs. Herpel moved back to Saginaw Mich. Mr. Herpel was the only and adopted son. They made a home for the aging father until he died at the age of 94.

In 1916 the oldest daughter who lived in Georgia died during the first flu epidemic that hit Georgia. She left besides her husband one son 10 years of age and a baby son of three weeks.

Mrs. Herpel took these children into her home and raised them. Their father who was a maintenance foreman for the Georgia Power Co. so was obliged to be away from home a good part of his time. So she felt in this way they could be better cared for.

She sent them to school in Saginaw and when the oldest was through H. School she sent him to Mercer College and Georgia Tech. in Georgia - where he graduated in Elec Engineering and took a position with the Georgia Power Co. as a designing engineer. During summer vacations he went to Officerís Training School in Georgia. When the war came he went into the service in the signal Corps and served on Eichelbergerís staff in Indonesia and came out with the rank of Lt. Colonel. and now holds a responsible position in the War Dept. - Washington D.C.

The other boy she sent through school in Saginaw and later to Medical College - at Ann Arbor where he graduated and was connected with the Herman Keifer Hospital in Detroit. After serving in the war in Hawaii in medical work he returned when the war was over and is practicing his profession in a Hospital in Joplin Mo.

During the years Mr. and Mrs. Herpel lived in Saginaw besides raising these boys - she took an active part in the Saginaw Womenís Club one of the pioneer federated club of Mich. A number of her writings were made a part of the permanent record of the club. She was also honored as a 25 yr member at their silver anniversary banquet and asked to give the toast "to Our Husbands".

She enjoyed writing and wrote many interesting stories most of which had to do with the history of the places where she had lived.

She often said what she really would have enjoyed was to have gone on in chemistry which she got in H.S.

She lived to see two of her grandsons get their P.H. Degrees in Biochemistry one of whom was awarded one of the ten outstanding young men of U.S. in 1946 for distinguished work in cancer research.

During the last years she spent in Saginaw she was also active in a business way buying and selling a good many pieces of property renting six or seven houses and several farms.

She was a little woman modest, quiet and unassuming who gave one very little idea of the many qualities she possessed.

So after spending a busy and useful life she passed away in 1936 of cancer at the age of 77. Her husband had died five years earlier of cancer of the lung.

Written by her daughter Mrs. Daisy Potter Andover, S.D.