This site is dedicated to sharing information and memories about the family of Henry and Maria Smarcz Merzke and their collateral relatives. Henry, Maria and their parents were all born in Stolp in the Pomeranian region of what was then Prussia. They were married, settled in Rochester, New York and eventually had sixteen children. This is the story of those people, their ancestors, descendants and the families of the people they married.
Henry & Maria Merzke Family Circa 1925 - (front) Maria, Henry, Marjorie & Floyd. (rear) Lillian, Rose, Erwin, William, Marian, Charles, Albert, Walter, Henry, Jr., & Ella
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Frieda Henrietta Albertina Merzke
Frieda Henrietta Albertina Merzke, Maria and Henry's fifth child, was born at home at 26 Alphonse Street on November 20, 1894. She was baptized December 8, 1894 at Concordia Lutheran Church. Her sponsors were Albertina Merzke, Henriett Holinke and Frieda's maternal grandfather, Julius Smarcz. Frieda and her younger sister Ella were both November babies. They were similar in temperament and particularly close friends growing up.
from left - Norm Tallman, Frieda, Ella and Gus Keller
Frieda marriedGustov Richard Keller of Rochester, New York on November 23, 1915 in Concordia Lutheran Church. Attending the couple were her sister Luella (Ella) Merzke and Norman Tallman. Gus and Norm Tallman had met in Rochester where they worked as streetcar conductors after serving in the First World War. Gus met Frieda and wanted to date her, but Papa Merzke would not let her go out with Gus alone. The resourceful couple solved that problem by fixing up Ella with Norm so they could double date and appease Papa. This plan worked so well that Ella and Norm also married.
Sadly, Frieda and Gus had only ninety-four short days of married life together. Frieda died at her parents' home at 181 Weaver St. on February 25, 1916. She died of diabetes in the arms of her mother. Frieda is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery.
At the time of Frieda’s death, doctors knew what diabetes was, but did not know how to treat it. How helpless and terribly sad Maria must have felt. Frieda was the fourth and last child that Maria and Henry would out live. The next seventeen years would be filled with weddings and many grandchildren.
Gus Keller remarried later that year, had four daughters and become a chiropractor. By all accounts, he lived a happy and comfortable life.