Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fathers of Mine: Francis Grant Geyer

This is the third of a series on the men who make up my paternal line, the first was about my father Harlan Martin Geyer Jr, the second was about my grandfather Harlan Martin Geyer Sr.

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Francis Grant Geyer
1897-1951
Francis Grant Geyer was born on July 14, 1897 in Wellman, Washington, Iowa. He was the third of six sons born to Frank and Lucinda (Griffith) Geyer. I don't know a great deal about Grant Geyer. It seems that he is one of those "skeletons" that many family members prefer to keep in the closet. He was a heavy drinker and was apparently not the nicest guy around. My grandfather, Harlan Geyer Sr., Grant's oldest child, moved away from home at the age of 12 because he and his father did not get along. My grandfather hardly ever spoke of him.
Grant and Grace (McGimpsey) Geyer, 30 April 1944
According to the 1915 Iowa State Census, Grant could read and write, had attended nine years of common schooling, and was working as a farmhand. On his World War I Draft Registration Card, recorded on August 24, 1918, Grant is listed as being of medium height and build, with brown hair and eyes and no disabilities.
On May 14, 1919, he married Grace Edith McGimpsey in Thornburg, Keokuk, Iowa. The ceremony was witnessed by Mr. and Mrs. John W. Geyer, Grant's younger brother by two years, and was performed by Rev. F. Butterfield.
In the 1920 US Federal Census, the newlyweds are living on Grant's father Frank's farm, where Grant is working as a farm laborer. In the 1930 US Federal Census, the family is renting a home in Fairfield, Jefferson, Iowa, and Grant's occupation is listed as a molder in an ironwork. My grandfather confirmed this, telling me that his father was a molder at Malleable Iron Ironworks until 1932 or 1933 when he lost his job because of the Depression. He then worked for awhile in a junk yard, was a farmhand, and finally moved back with his parents, Frank and Lucinda Geyer, to work the farm.
Grant and Grace Geyer's house
Grant and Grace had twelve kids total: my grandfather, Harlan Martin (1920-2006), Doris, Dorothy, Donald Leroy (1924-1979), Calvin, Max H. (1927-1928), Niva Mae, Frances Jean, Lois I. (1933-1956), Larry Dale, LaVerne Everett, and Floyd Eugene (1946-1977). Grant died at the age of 54 on September 19, 1951, at the State University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City.
According to my grandfather, he died of stomach cancer. But on Grant's death certificate, the condition directly leading to death is listed as myocardial infarction (onset: 3 weeks, 8 days), with the added complication of an embolism in his left femoral artery (onset: 3 days).

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Wellman - Francis Grant Geyer, 54, died Wednesday at University Hospital in Iowa City following a short illness. He was born July 4, 1897 in Washington county, the son of Frank and Lucinda Geyer. He was married to Grace McGimpsey, May 14 1919.
He is survived by his widow, four daughters, Mrs. John Allard, Harman Village, Guam, Lois of Wellman, Niva, of Wellman, and WAC Pvt. Dorothy Geyer, of Ft. Lee, Va., and six sons, Harlan, Oceanside, Calif., Donald, Wellman, Calvin, Iowa City, Larry, Wellman, Laverne, Wellman and Francis.
Also surviving are his mother, Mrs. Lucinda Geyer, and three brothers, George, Boone, John, of Thornburg, and Wilbur of Oxford. Service will be at the Methodist church in Wellman at 2 p.m. Saturday with the Rev. D. C. Bissinger officiating. Burial will be near Thornburg. The body is at Powell funeral home in Wellman."
Source: "Francis Geyer, 54, Dies at U-Hospital After Short Illness," Iowa City Press Citizen 21 Sep 1951, page 11, column 6.

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It seems relations were so poor between my grandfather Harlan and his parents that it was not until he met the then almost five year old Floyd at his father's funeral that he was even aware that he had a new kid brother.
Grant and Grace Geyer's Gravestone
Sixteen Cemetery Sec 5 Row 14, Thornburg, Keokuk, Iowa



3 comments:

Melissa 11/11/2007 6:50 AM  

Christina, just one correction... Aunt DOris' middle initial is E. for Ellen and she is still alive. (There is a year of death behind her name, which I believe belongs to Aunt Frances Jean)
your cousin, Melissa

Melissa 11/11/2007 6:51 AM  

P.S. I love reading your blogs! It is very interesting and I have shared them with my family! :)

Mac Cameron 3/10/2008 5:17 PM  

Great to see more pictures! Thanks! Weird I was named after Francis Grant.

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