At this time it appears the research needs to concentrate in the Westfalen, Preußen, area of Germany, and that is the same as the Westphalin, Prussia, Germany listings.
In 1802 the Prussians had occupied Münster.
Then for 1803 the area was given to the Duke of Arensberg.
1806/07 found the French in control of this region, Napolean's brother ruled between 1807 and 1813.
By 1815 the Prussians were encroaching into the area again, however the northern region of Münsterland became a part of the Hanover Kingdom.
Throughout the 1830s the Prussian state and the Catholic Church fought over this area.
For 1848/49 there was something of a revolution to liberate the area from Prussian control.
In 1862 the Pruessen King appointed an new Prime Minister here.
Then in 1870/71 there was war between France and Germany. Apparently it wasn't until after this conflict the German States formed the German Nation.
In the modern world Nordrhein-Westfalen is the most industrialized area in Europe. Yet, nearly half of the land is commercial farms.
Gertrud Maria Gerding, and Johann Heinrich Herwing would be the German version of their names.
There is a Johann Gerard Gerding married to a Gertrude Schulz that could be Gertrude's parents.
Family tradition states that Gerdings were the wealthy family and when Johann Heinrich Herwing married in, he assumed the name Gerding. However, I recieved an e-mail from a fellow descendant, that may change that opinion. He still lives in Germany and his mothers maiden name was Herwing. He stated that for his grand fathers obituary they wrote "Heinrich Herwing genannt (named) Gerding". The locals of Epe, refered to them as Gerdings. He also refered to Herwing marrying into the Gerding family/farm. There is also a street named Gerdingseite meaning Gerding Side.
While doing a bit of follow up research I noticed a listing for Herving mixed in with the Herwing. These Herwing/Herving people lived in Westphalia, Prussia.I suppose we will need to look into some geography and these other people. How do the Germans pronounce Wagner? Vognur rather than Wagnur? I should have realized that before.
John Henry Herwing and his wife, Gertrude, received a medal from Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary. It has a inscription on the medal in German.
Left, Ben Gerding and Mary Weigert. Right, Ben Gerding.
Bernard Gerding / Herwing was born in Epe, April 17, 1860, which is a village near the Dutch border close to the Dutch City of Enschede. It is in the German land "Nordrhein-Westfalen", the region is called "Münsterland".
There is still a minor mystery as to why Bernard chose to come to America. He was the oldest son, and was in line to receive the family farm (holdings)?
The brief history above shows a community that went through a fair amount of difficulties. Perhaps Bernard's early life was filled with stories of strife and struggle, maybe he just wanted less tumultuous life. Mary Weigert was originally married to William Frantone and had 2 children with him. The 1900 census shows Joseph was born in New York, 1887, and the second Anne was born in Washington, 1888. That same census gives a year of 1883 for Bernard's immigration to the United States. Bernard and Mary's first, Mary, was born 1890, ID.
There is an old letter that states Bernard Gerding immigrated to Minnesota. He supposedly met Mary Weigert/Frantone there. There is a Bernard Gerding in Melrose, Stearns, MN for 1880. This Bernard is 15 years too old, and here at least 3 years before my Bernard. He is born in Prussia and his wife was born in Oldenberg, both are acceptable . At one point Epe was in Prussia and Oldenberg is right next door.
Pioneer Days in Idaho County, published in 1947 has a few words about Ben Gerding.
Frank M. Bieker was the first white resident of the area. It was his goal to form a German Catholic settlement.
Bishop Glorieux paid a visit to the area in the fall of 1900, staying overnight in the Bieker home. His Excellency granted permission to build a church, but strictly forbade the people to go into debt. The chruch was built in 1901, with Adam Kammers, a Catholic settler fron near by Westlake as architect and chief carpenter for $2.00 per day and board.
Ben Gerding is listed with the seventeen Catholic families who helped build the church.
Ben Gerding, a former Cottonwood saloon man, was the first to build in Ferdinand. He put up a two-story saloon and hall building, and also a dwelling, the present Bryant home. Later on, he erected a two-story hotel.
Ben later moved his business across the tracks to Steunenberg.
A 1908 newspaper clipping says this.
Stuennenberg had its first blaze Tuesday morning when the hotel and building formerly used as a saloon burned to the ground. The fire was started early Tuesday and very little of the furniture was saved. Every effort was made to save the contents, but the blaze proved too warm. The hotel lbuilding is a two-story structure, well built, and was moved over to the new town from Ferdinand. The loss is perhaps $4,000 with very little insurance and falls pretty heavy on Mr. Gerding, of this city, who owns the building. Just what started the fire is unknown.
After his business burned Ben Gerding followed Mary Weigert's son Joseph to Canada.