In the fall of 2011, a 13 page, typewritten ‘autobiography of Simon Ghertner’ was found in his son’s (Alven Simon Ghertner) papers. Here are some interesting highlights. It was apparently written shortly before his death on 5 Feb 1945.
“In the summer of 1903 I arrived, together with one hundred other young men between the ages of 14 and 16 from Romania on the boat Lake Ontario to Winnipeg, Canada” (Winnipeg was handwritten)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, due North of Minnesota, is land locked (see map) so if he arrived by boat in that city, it was a river boat!
Here is our first clue as to why he “choose”Nashville, Tennessee.
“and after thorough physical examinations by the authorities, we were sent to New York, arriving on a Friday afternoon. We were all sent to the headquarters of an Removal Aid Society where we were given hair cuts, baths and clothes. On the following Sunday the 100 young men were divided into several groups to be sent to different parts of the United States. Ten of us were sent to Nashville, Tenneessee and I was among that ten, arriving on Wednesday”
In August 1903, Simon turned 21 years old. I discovered a passenger list for the Lake Ontario which landed in Montreal, Canada on 20 July 1900, having sailed from Liverpool, England . Aboard was a Simon Gertner who was a printer born in Romania in 1882, the same year as Simon Ghertner (The spelling difference is only minor). A number of 18-25 year old Romanians were also on the July 1900 ship’s manifest; and there were a group of Italians too.It’s possible he misspoke about Winnipeg and 1903.(there is more to come as I’ve only pulled information from page 1 of 11)
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