Trefzger Families: BG_George

    George Martin Berger
born 1871, died 1953
   


George Berger was the 2nd son of John and Mary Metz Berger. He was born on 4/5/1871 in the old homestead on Berger Hill in Cincinnnati. On October 10, 1997 he married 'Nellie' Rose Petronella Trefzger in Peoria, IL.

"Other than scratching his and his sister's name in the bedroom window at Berger Hill I do not know much about young George's life.
His young life ended abruptly in the summer of 1894. At 23 he was faced with his father's death. Of Marys six living children George was the only one prepared to take on the tobacco leaf business. John had not been too sucessful at it. George's older brother Leander had died 13 years before.
Mary his mother needed some income. George had to buy the business to provide the family income. The amount was $40,000 paid over time to Mary. A monthly payment can concentrate the mind.
George with John Eckerle took that business and ran with it. John married Amanda the next year. George married Nellie two years later. By that time the tobacco business was really producing. Between then and the first world war the partners sold thousands of cases of tobacco. Both John and George bought, then completly renovated their respective houses in Lick Run and Clifton. About 1910 John took a contingent of Dycels and Wemmers from DWG cigar co. on a grand tour of Europe. He told George that he was going to take $10,000 out of the company to go to Europe. George said "I am not going to Europe but I am going to take $10,000 also out of the company. John was a great salesman. George was a great buyer. Together they made a great partnership. But the seeds of the dissolution were in this combination. John was always selling himself most of the time. He was what was called at the time, a rounder, and he was married to George's sister. In time the money that George made was used to buy John out. John went on to do other things and George bought his family's respect and peace of mind.
George loved to sing. He loved to invest in people. He built Medor Motors building (the former J B &S office) for his barber who was handy fixing things. He sent his other barber to medical school because the man could handle the razor so well. That man went on to deliver some of George's children. He founded the orginazation that brought the first movie theater to Clifton so the kids would have something to do.
As you can see George has a very special place in my heart and even though I was young when he died, he has effected my life greatly." by Fred Berger

Petronella Rose (Nellie) Trefzger and George Berger were engaged June 6,1896

"The Trefzger and Berger families became closely associated. Grandpa (Simon) Trefzger was a great friend of Papa's (John Berger) for many years before he moved to Peoria , Ill. Where he became a successful baker. When he (Simon) decided to take his wife and his two unmarried daughters to Europe, he urged Papa and Mama to join them. Papa declined because of business pressure and ill health, but invited them to visit here on their way east. Petronella, or Nellie as she was known to us, the baby of their large family, was then 16, her sister Anna, eight years older. When they came, Papa sent George to the depot to meet them. Right then and there, fate stepped in and George decided that Nellie was intended for him. It was a long courtship, but six years later, in 1897, we all went to Peoria for the wedding which was celebrated in their old homestead. The nuptial mass was entoned in St. Boniface, their parish church. Anna Trefzger, Ottilia Berger, and Frances Meyer from Pekin, Ill., and Fred and Rudy Trefzger, Allie and Tony Metz, were the attendants." by Teresa Berger Sheblessy

"My memories of my Grandfather make me immediately look up. I don't know how tall he was, certainly over six feet and to a little girl, he was big! I remember him always dressed formally with vest and suit coat. He carried a pocket watch with a chain that caught your eye but I don't ever remember playing with it. Grandfather was soft spoken and talked mostly to the adults of the family. Children mostly had their head's patted. I do remember his smile, though. It was wide and framed with a strong chin. His blue eyes would sparkle with laughter.
Grandpa liked to have children around, but they were expected to be good. To entertain ourselves at Grandma and Grandpa's house, we often went out to the porch swing, a large rattan swing suspended from the porch ceiling. It was not long before the swing was no longer swinging gently and was banging the front wall of the house. This immediately brought adults out to put a brake on the goings on. Little persons had a hard time touching the porch floor with their toes and pushing SLOWLY! I remember Grandpa trying to entertain us by balancing his cane on his middle finger. He would laugh as we too tried to do this.
Since we lived out on a farm, we never had a neighborhood to go trick or treating at Halloween. One Halloween we came in to Grandma's house so that we could trick or treat. I must have been about six. I wanted to be a nurse at this time and we had heard about Clara Barton. Costumes were "creatively" designed and mine was especially so. My Mother had me wear my white cotton petticoat with a ruffle around the bottom edge as my skirt, and a white blouse. We made a white pointy nurses hat and I wore a little navy blue cape. I was very shy and nervous to wear my petticoat in public but Mother assured me that no one would notice. Sure enough, as soon as we piled out of the car, Grandpa started laughing. He looked right me and said to my parents, "She looks so cute in her petticoat!" That was it! Trick or treating was ruined and I was a goner! Poor Grandpa.
Grandpa had a friend, Charlie Young, who was the organist at St. George Church where he sang. The house next door to 218 Hosea became available and Grandpa bought it for Charlie. They must have spent great times singing in that house too because Grandpa still owned it when he died. I don't know what happened to Charlie Young.
As Grandpa aged, he became somewhat of a hyperchondriac. He and Grandma went to spas and evidently had come across a plant called sage grass. It was a very primitive looking scaly plant that grew around springs. Daddy found it growing on Rapid Run Rd where there was a spring. Each spring we all went there with our bags to fill them up with sage grass for Grandpa. I think that he used it dried throughout the year but we thought it pretty funny to put grass in your bath. Of course, we never saw him do it!
Grandpa had problems with his lower back. In the breakfast room, his chair had its back to the window and on the chair was a funny red rubber pillow that no one was to try out. He liked to sit there but long time sitting was not easy for him and he would get up and move about. Once, when my sister Mary and I were about fourteen and twelve, we came to stay for a week with Grandma and Grandpa. It was summer and Mildred had a week off to visit her family. Mary and I were supposed to take Mildred's place and cook. We must have known the basics or Mother and Daddy wouldn't have sent us, but we certainly didn't take the place of Mildred! We couldn't find any lettuce for salad and finally made lettuce leaves out of cabbage. We all had a laugh over that but no one ate much of it. Then, we didn't know how to make Mildred's wonderful cookies. We survived and Grandma and Grandpa didn't starve.
Grandpa was very generous with his wealth. Years before he died, he gave his children both money and an oportunity to take over businesses. His sons were underwritten in many ventures and we grandchildren were given money. I was very proud that my parents didn't have to pay for my college because I could pay my room and board with money that he had left me. I always was so greatful for his trust in our futures." by Ann Berger Frutkin

"My recollection of my grandfather, George Berger, and grandmother, Petronella Berger, is all based upon Christmas. The whole family would gather at their Victorian house on Hosea Avenue each year to celebrate. The Christmas tree seemed huge to me. Along the base was a lighted village with a train running through. The ornaments were made in Germany. My favorites were the ones shaped like musical horns which you could blow into and make noise. I still have several of the ornaments from their tree which I hang on my tree each Christmas. There were many presents, abundant libations for the adults, and punch for the children, all under the watchful eyes of my loving grandparents. The house was very large with a wonderful front porch. Upon entering the house, the parlor, with electric player grand piano, was located to the left, to the right was the living room and Christmas tree, and in the center was a hallway ending with a grandfather clock and a large staircase with a landing leading to the upper floor. In the middle of the house to the right was the dining room with a table seating twelve and accompanying sideboard. In the back to the right was an early version of a family room-library, in the center there was a breakfast room with bay window overlooking the formal garden with sunfish pools, and the kitchen and pantry to the left. The second floor consisted of four bedrooms and two bathrooms. There was a third floor that had a back bedroom and bath for the servants, and a large sunny front room used as a studio for my aunt Marcia who was a water color artist. All of the original gas light fixtures had been converted to electricity. In the basement there was a room with a bar, game table, pool table and cuckoo clock. The bird was missing from the clock as he (or she) had been shot with a rifle by my Uncle Rick one New Year’s eve. The basement also had a large indoor pool which was the first in Cincinnati." by Jack Berger

'Nellie' Rose Petronella Trefzger
"She was the baby of the family. She accompanied her parents and sister, Anna, on a trip to Europe in 1892. She kept a complete diary of this trip. This diary is now in the possession of her son, Alfred. In it she tells about stopping in Cincinnati and staying with the Berger's on the way to the coast and on her return. A son of John Berger, George by name, took a liking to her. In 1895 she was in the bridal party of the wedding of a daughter of John Berger, Amanda, to Jonh Eckerle. George was also a member of the wedding party. He made several trips to Peoria to press his suit and suggested they get married. "Nellie" as she was called, was but 20 years old at the time. She suggested they wait until she was 22 years old. When she was 22 years and 9 days old, she married George in Sacred Heart Church in Peoria." by Paul Bourscheidt

"After George and Nellie were married they lived on Richmond street for 4 1/2 years in 1902 they moved to Clifton, at 250 Hosea Ave. In 1910 they moved to 218 Hosea Ave." by Fred Berger


Note:
George was born April5,1871 on Berger Hill.He died March 18,1954.
Nellie was born October 3,1875 in Peoria, IL. She died April 28,1956 in Cincinnati, OH.
George and Nellie were married October 10,1897 in Sacred Heart Church in Peoria, IL.


Comment:
“My grandfather George M. Berger was always proudly wearing a pocket watch. George gave this watch to my father (John Norbert) who gave this watch to me (John Robert) and I have given it to my son (John Christopher). It has a photograph of his wife Petronella and my infant dad inside. We cherish this watch.” By Jack Berger


Fred's 'Stories'
Fred Berger has written an excellent book 'Stories from The Berger History'.
For information about 'the Bergers and the Trefzgers join hands again' see the link to "Fred's 'Stories'p.53".
For information about 'George Berger's renovate a grand house' see the link to "Fred's 'Stories'p.59".



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