One hundred years ago, June 1915, Florence Wilma Huber was a six-year-old living on a farm in the Swiss Colony of Elberta and Josephine, Baldwin County, Alabama. Her father, John, and her mother Bertha (Trumpi) moved the family to Alabama from Wisconsin when Florence was a baby. Her five-year-old brother, Clarence, had been born in Alabama.
John was a farmer, but I suspect that farming was difficult for the young man from Switzerland. The land was much different from his native land and different from Wisconsin where he farmed for seven years.
Baldwin County School Building, c. 1913
Courtesy: Alabama Dept. of Archives and History
Both of Florence’s parents could read and write, so I suspect that Florence probably began school about that time. Certainly, she could read and write by the time they moved to Michigan and were enumerated in the 1920 census.
Family history says, “Bertha didn’t care much for Alabama, too hot and lots of bugs.” Also, we don’t know exactly when, possibly in 1915 or 1916, but according to family legend, John became a hobo, “riding the rails” for some time. After a bit, he came back to Bertha and said Michigan was the place they would move sometime between 1916 and 1919.
Nationally, June 1915 was an exciting time. Certainly, the war in Europe was taking central stage in the news. There was a major German offensive in Argonnes. Nationally, The League to Enforce Peace was organized in Philadelphia, with former United States President, William Howard Taft, as the League’s president. Meanwhile, President Wilson was demanding reparations for the German sinking of the Lusitania.
Locally, the sale and regulation of alcohol was a bitter issue in Alabama politics. In 1915, Gov. Henderson vetoed a ban on the sale of alcohol; however, the legislature overrode his veto. Despite prohibition, 386 illegal stills were seized in Alabama in 1915.