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The Julius Fredrick and
Elise Durtschi Gertsch Story

HISTORY OF JULIUS FREDRICK AND ELISE DURTSCHI GERTSCH
Written and Copyright by Alma Gertsch

        Jusius Fredrick Gertsch was born January 12, 1880 in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland to Julius Gertsch and Anna Rosina Nussbaumer.
        Father worked for the railroad as a maintance man. President Joseph F. Smith called father to a mission to Switzerland and Germany July, 1904. Some of his mission time was in Wimmis and he became acquainted with the Edward Durtschi family, other missionaries were Alma Burgener, Conrad Weber, David Hirschi. Father returning from his mission learned that the Durtschi family had come to America, now living in Midway by Heber Utah. Father taking the train to visit the Durtschi family. He began a courtship with Elise and they were married March 23, 1908 in the Salt Lake Temple.
        Children born to them, Lydia, Alma, Ida, Phil, Lena and Carl.
        Father employed with Walgreen Drug Stores as a night man, janitor. We lived with a family Kratzer sharing part of the house for about 7 years. One day father went looking for a piece of ground and found what suited him. So he with the children began to clear it of weeds. He made an agreement with Ernest Durtschi, Ernest also built a house for Grandfather Durtschi in Driggs, Idaho.
        It is a nice house. Ida is living there now she has made some changes, like the front windows, has gas heat, a wire fence. Father while working for Walgreen dismantled wooden boxes, in those days people shipped this way. (Now shipping is in cardboard boxes.) He would save the boards and when he thought he had a load for a small red wagon he would have Alma go to town load up and bring home. He had some break downs. Father built a walk in front and down one side of the house with these boards, latter this was replaced by cememt walks. We had two milk goats. Father planted alfalfa around the house for summer feed. We also would go out to fields and cut thistle weeds for additional feed. Hay was purchased and layed in the barn, for winter feed. The hay needed to be tromped for packing. Latter we had a holstein cow I think it was the largest cow then, I have seen some big ones in my day in Idaho. People spoke about her size. Later a small Jersey was purchased Carl could milk her.
        Father was a Home missionary for many years. He saw some people baptized. Again he changed employment this time to a grocery store. Worked nights and in the morning he would go to the temple He did many names. He rode a bicycle.
        Father and his sister Lydia sang duets at funerals, in those days they were held on Sunday. Fahter directed the German Singing Choir in Salt Lake. At one time we just about sold the property to go to Idaho. I have forgotten why we didn't sell. I have wondered how this would have been for us. As a missionary Alma visited Lauterbrunnen where Father was born. Beautiful surrounded by mountains. Here was a cave the water flowing down and lighted with different colors. (From a book A PLEASURE BOOK OF GRINDWALD BY Rodes.) Lauterbrunnen ("nothing but springs") is the name of the valley and of the little village situated at the entrance to a narrower and less regular part of the valley, which is not visible from the railway line.
        A visit to Wimmis and the home where our famly Durtschi lived. A large Chelet. That day a wagon was coming down the mountain road. Elder LeRoy Blaser stopped it and said this is a missionary from America. One lady spoke up, he looks like Elise Durtschi, my Mother, was that a surprise to me. Briggens was their name. They invited me to stay with them that night. I accepted, we talked and I told them of the message I had. They were very polite, never heard if they bacame interested, maby Uncle Alfred visited there when he was on his mission. The Briggens spoke of America and wished they could come here.
        We didn't have an automoblile. Alma wanted to buy one from a young man who was going on a mission. Nash. Father advised hom not to, he really would have had a hard time to pay for it $700.00 he was delivering evening papers about 100 to homes. Our first auto came into our home in 1934 it was a two door Pontiac. We went to Driggs visited with Uncle Alfred, John and children of Uncle Edward. Went to Elkhorn Wyoming and visited with Aunt Carolina Feuz, Aunt Rosa Kaufman and families. We went to Yellowstone our first. On another time we visited Aunt Emma Lundin in Midway. As we were preparing to leave Aunt Emma wanted Mother to have some apples. The trees were up the mountain side and off on a run she went, I remember Mother saying see how fast she can go up the mountain. Aunt Clara lived in Provo now, on Labor Day the 1st monday in September we would drive down and buy Pears to bottle. Aunt Clara had rows of grapes. These visits were very interesting. Uncle Fred I would see him in town, if he was in a hurry he would be bent over and the one hand swinging. We went to Driggs again in 1947 our car konked out. Our oldest daughter was 8 at this time and I took the baptism recommend along and I (Alma) baptized her in Driggs, and confirmed her a member in Salt Lake the next week. We went back home on the train, this was the first ride for the children. Next week I went up with a afriend who had a large truck and took the car to Salt Lake. I had another motor put in, and drove the car for 2 years or more, another Pontiac.
        Father changed employment, he went with the Utah Fire Clay brick and pipe making. I worked there during a summer. Work was warm and hard. Father became ill and couldn't work for a time. He made a recovery and a short time latter was taken ill again. He died April 23, 1931 at age 51. He was a good provider. Mother was a Relief Society visiting teacher. A member in the ward passed away and an assignment came to her to contact some families to take up a collection for flowers. The sister in charge called Mother and asked her if she could bring the money to her house early the next morning. During the night it had rained and the water in places froze, a slick spot was under foot and she fell causing a separation to her hip. The hip was pinned together but Mother never was able to walk only from room to room with help. She was happy enjoyed visits from her grand children and great grand children, she appreciated visits. Mother died December 2, 1962 Sunday at age 82. She was a good Mother.
        The Rudolph Kaufman history mentioned that Uncle Rudy came to our home, after leaving the hospital, and I recall this. One of us children was home from school and the visiting nurse called to check on us. One of the children had Smallpox according to her. Father couldn't stay with us, he had to live uptown for a week. Maybe the children can recall the out come of this experience. Did they have Smallpox?
        At the time Ernest Durtschi was building our house he was driving an Electric auto, styled after the Jeep of today. No gas no air pollution.

Written by Alma Gertsch


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Page Updated: 11 Feb 01