Saturday, April 23, 2011

Moritz & Marie Beyer: After the War

Rudolph came home from the Army and adjustments needed to be made. The Veterans Bureau gave him the choice of learning sign language or lip reading. Since none of his family knew sign language and would have to be trained, he chose to read lips. That way, he could communicate with his family and nearly anyone else without having to teach them a new skill.

More than 600,000 veterans suffered hearing loss by the end of World War I, many due to damage suffered in combat and military operations. Others, such as my grandfather, lost their hearing due to illness. Nationwide, about 100,000 received training in lip-reading.

In the 1920 census, Rudolph was not listed with his parents and family on the Beyersville, Texas, farm. Instead, the twenty-six year old farmer's son was lodging in a Y.M.C.A. in Dallas while attending lip reading school.  He was listed on the census for that location. Also among the benefits provided, he was offered vocational rehabilitation, which may be why the census schedule listed his vocation as "bookkeeper."

Moritz and Marie's family was growing again.  Their oldest child, Olga, had married Fritz Becker on November 15, 1910.  Rudolph and Ella would soon follow her example and find spouses.  Before the war, Rudolph was introduced to Augusta Mary Mager who lived near Thrall, Texas, about twelve miles away. After the war she was undetered by his hearing loss and learned to communicate with him.  Ella had become acquainted with Sam Hardi at a dance at the old Coupland Sons of Hermann Lodge Hall.

Ella Beyer Hardi wrote:
In early Spring 1920, my dad harvested two acres of Oats after it was hauled off.  The Stubble was planted in Cotton, which came up sparingly with grass to chop. The Cotton grew and it produced two bales. The two acres were promised to me. When the cotton were sold the price for the pound was 40 cents. The two bales paid for my furniture. I got married in Dec. & I was lucky since I had sold my two bales.

In Moritz and Marie's home on December 21, 1920, a double wedding ceremony united Ella with Sam Hardi, and her brother Rudolph with his bride Augusta Mager. 

Rudolph Ernest Beyer and Augusta Mary Mager wedding portrait, 1920
On September 9, 1921, reminents of a hurricane came up from the Gulf and stalled out over Williamson County.  The skies openned up and by the next morning, 39.7 inches of rain had fallen, as recorded at Thrall.  This remains the official national record for a twenty-four hour period.  The San Gabriel River crested at 39.5 feet at Georgetown and 39.6 feet at Laneport.  This flood caused 215 fatalities across Texas, including 87 deaths in and around Taylor.  Although neither Rudolph nor Ella mention this event in their writings, it must have had a devistating impact on everyone in the area.

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