A look back to the Hormel sisters

Published 7:01 am Sunday, March 1, 2015

HHHI have written about several of George Hormel’s siblings. Two of his sisters had late February birthdays, so I thought I would tell you about them.

The namesake of her mother, Susanna Hormel was born Feb. 20, 1868, in Toledo, Ohio. In possession of her family’s musical talent, Susanna was known to play the guitar. She studied to be a teacher and worked at the St. Clair School in Toledo up until her marriage to Frank E. Wells. It is noted that the couple was married in Austin at the Hormel family home on Feb. 23, 1896. The couple had two sons: Willet Hormel born Oct. 12, 1897, and Elwood Decker born in 1901. They raised their family in Columbus, Ohio, where Frank worked as a mechanical/chemical engineer.

The couple spent a portion of their retirement years visiting Hormel family members in California. According to an obituary in the Toledo Blade newspaper dated Jan. 14, 1943, she died on Jan. 12 at the home of friends in Cleveland, Ohio. Susanna is buried in Memorial Burial Park, now known as Sunset Cemetery.

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George’s youngest sister was known by many names. Born Helen Ann, she was also known as Emilie or sometimes Nellie, and she came to Austin in May of 1899, after requesting a leave from her job due to throat trouble. She was born on Feb. 23, 1874, in Toledo, and like her sister Susanna, she trained as a teacher. She is listed as a teacher at the Broadway School in Toledo in 1895 and the Newberry School in 1898. Her obituary described her as one with “indefatigable ambition to please and to excel which made her greatly esteemed in her chosen profession. She laid down her work with great reluctance and all through her sickness enjoyed the many cheerful letters written to her by her school children and fellow teachers.”

Helen (Emilie or Nellie) died on Nov. 5, just six months after arriving in Austin, and was laid to rest at Oakwood Cemetery on Nov. 10, 1899, at the age of 25.

Both February born sisters valued music and education — values that the Hormel Historic Home carries on in its mission today.

 History Happy Hour

March 9

Social time is at 5:30 p.m., presentation at 6 p.m.

Living the Mayberry Life, presented by Gary Schindler. Free to members of the MCHS, HHH, or Friends of the Library. $5 for non-members.

 Art For Autism Night

7 p.m., March 13

Attendees will enjoy creating a painting that represents Autism. These works of art will then be displayed and sold at the Austin ArtWorks Center for the month of April. Cost is $35 per person. Go to www.hormelhistorichome.org to view paintings.

 Social Concerns

March 17

Emigration During the Depression, presented by John Haymond of the Mower County Historical Society.

Free program but please call to let us know you are coming. Coffee and snack provided.