Treasure Chest Thursday: Roberta P. Beerbower Wertz

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Roberta Pearl Beerbower, c 1920?
Roberta Pearl Beerbower, c1920? Posted with permission.

 

Beerbower Family, Helbling Family

Roberta Pearl Beerbower was the only child of Robert Warson Beerbower (1874-1900) and Anna Josephine Reiffel (1876-1965) who married 23 August 1898. Roberta was born 16 October 1900 in Indiana (likely Indianapolis) less than a month after her father died at age 26 in Colorado. Robert had gone to Denver for health reasons, and died of consumption there.

“Cousin Roberta” was a beloved older cousin of Mary Theresa Helbling. Mary looked up to her beautiful cousin and wanted to be like her. Roberta would have been 25 when Mary was born, which surprised me as I always thought they were closer in age, maybe just 5-10 years difference.

Recently I received a note from a Find A Grave member requesting I change Roberta’s middle name to Pauline on her memorial, as that was what Roberta’s daughter-in-law thought the name was. The family bible owned by her aunt, Anna May Beerbower Helbling, lists Roberta’s middle name as ‘Pearl’ so I am using that name here, but it needs further research. The new collaboration is wonderful though, as this researcher was able to provide the above beautiful portrait, and more information about Roberta and her marriage and family that I did not know.

 

Following are some photographs that Mary Helbling McMurray thought would be Roberta, or that were labeled with her name, and some of my notes. Please let us know if you have additional information or corrections.

May or Viola Helbling, possibly with Cousin Roberta Beerbower, Helbling home in St. Louis, Missouri, 06 June 1915.
May (age 4) or Viola Helbling (age 2), possibly with Cousin Roberta Beerbower, Helbling home in St. Louis, Missouri, 06 June 1915.

This is Roberta per Mary Helbling; Roberta would have been 15 in 1915 so this is likely correct. (Note ‘G.W. Helbling Undertaker’ sign in front of the Helbling home in St. Louis, Missouri.)

Possibly Roberta Beerbower with her mother Josephine Reiffel Beerbower? October 1910
Possibly Roberta Beerbower with her mother Josephine Reiffel Beerbower? October 1910
From left: Viola Helbling, Edgar Helbling, May Helbling, and possibly Roberta P. Beerbower? October 1910
From left: Viola Helbling, Edgar Helbling, May Helbling, and possibly Roberta P. Beerbower? October 1910

The above two photos could be Roberta, as she would have been 10 in 1910. Not sure about the date though, as Edgar was born in 1908 so 1910 for the photo cannot be correct if that is him with his younger sisters in the image. Will need to review photo album again. Maybe the girl on the right is another cousin? Maybe these are not Helbling children, though they do look like Edgar, May, and Vi, and were identified as such by their youngest sister Mary (but she wasn’t there as she was not yet born).

Roberta P. Beerbower with her cousin Edgar Helbling. August 1920
Roberta P. Beerbower with her cousin Edgar Helbling. August 1920

Edgar would have been 12 in 1920 and Roberta 20, plus these people were positively identified in photo album, so this identification should be accurate.

Roberta P. Beerbower with her paternal uncle Edgar Springsteen Beerbower. August 1920.
Roberta P. Beerbower with her paternal uncle Edgar Springsteen Beerbower. August 1920.

This photo was a game changer when I realized the date and the identification of the man with Roberta. The man was “Ed” per the caption in the album. Mary Helbling did not know if the man was her uncle, Edgar Springsteen Beerbower (1876-1940) or her grandfather, Edgar Peter “E. P.” Beerbower (1849-1916), both with the same nickname. Looking at the dates though, and the age of the man, lets us know it must be Edgar S. Beerbower, since  his father (E.P.) died in 1916 and had been born 71 years before the photo was taken. So now we can use this positive identification for other images of this man. (Sadly, though, it means we do not have a picture of Edgar Peter Beerbower.)

Roberta P. Beerbower with her paternal grandmother, Anna Missouri Springsteen. Summer 1927
Roberta P. Beerbower with her paternal grandmother, Anna Missouri Springsteen. Summer 1927

The photo album belonged to Anna May Beerbower Helbling, and her mother lived with Anna and her family in her later years. Love how cute ‘flapper girl’ Roberta is! No wonder that Mary Helbling, born in 1925, looked up to her glamorous cousin.

About 1930- May Helbling on left with her sister Mary Theresa Helbling in front. It was thought the girl in the picture was Roberta P. Beerbower but the age is not right- Roberta would have been 30 when this photo was taken.
About 1930- May Helbling on left with her sister Mary Theresa Helbling in front. Unknown girl on right.

It was thought the girl on the right in the picture was Roberta P. Beerbower but the age is not right- Roberta would have been 30 when this photo was taken because of the approximate age of Mary. Maybe it is the same girl as above that we are not sure about?

Robert Eldon Wertz, son of Roberta P. Beerbower and James I. Wertz. August 1935, age 3 yrs 1 mo.
Robert Eldon Wertz, son of Roberta P. Beerbower and James I. Wertz. August 1935, age 3 yrs 1 mo.

Robert Eldon Wertz was born 30 July 1932 in Indiana to Roberta and James F. Wertz (1895-1979). He was their only son, and he had no children with his wife, Halina Ulrych. He is such a cutie with that smile!

 

A special thanks to Shelley for sharing what she has to help us extend our tree.

Please do let us know in the comment section if there are any correction or if you have more information about these folks.

➡ Beerbower Family, Helbling Family

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Family treasure chest of photos.

 

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