38th Arty. C.A.C.

H.C. Thielking

Harold Christian Thielking was born 6 Jan 1894 in Amsterdam, Montgomery County, NY, one of 3 children of Christian Ludwig Thielking and Caroline Marie Gerling. At the age of 18 he became an apprentice plumber with Lindsey and Dodds in Amsterdam. He achieved journeyman status at the age of 22.

At 24 Harold enlisted as a private, 38th Arty. C.A.C. in World War I and served between 15 Jul 1918 and 23 Nov 1918. He is described as 24 and 6 mos. at time of enlistment and by occupation, a plumber, light brown eyes, black hair, fair complexion, and 5 ft, 5 inches in height, single and of excellent character in his honorable discharge papers. As part of his Army training he attended the Mechanics Institute at Rochester, NY, later to become Rochester Institute of Technology. From a "War Department - Army Training School Certificate", Harold was stated as being an apprentice in sheet metal work and a Journeyman plumber. His training lasted from 15 Jul 1918 to 13 Sep 1918 and his permanent address was his parents address in Amsterdam, NY.

Harold married Nettie Laura Carrie Horstman on 12 Aug 1919 at the Methodist Episcopal church in Amsterdam and they took a Honeymoon trip through the Adirondacks, by auto, a wonderous novelty at the time! Nettie was born 19 Feb 1894 in Fort Hunter, NY, one of two children of Henry August Horstman and Anna Catharine Minch. She was left an orphan at the age of 4 after her father died, her mother having died of child birth complications shortly after Nettie's birth. Her father had remarried to Emma Louise VanBuren in 1896, but the step-mother apparently did not want, or could not afford, to keep either Nettie or her older brother, Fred, who was then 8, as soon after their father's death they were placed with other family members. A half sister of Nettie and Fred's, Irene Augusta Horstman, a daughter of Henry and Emma, was raised by her mother and resided in Amsterdam.

After Harold's service in WWI, he continued with the plumbing trade, becoming a master plumber in 1926 at S. Sanford & Sons, Amsterdam. He was then a supervisor for Ft. Schuyler Construction Co., Utica, in 1928, where in his own words his duties were: "Devoted entire time to supervise construction of village water system in Broadalbin, NY". At some time during these intervening years Harold won a scholarship to Buffalo State Teacher's College, although at that time he did not have a high school diploma, having left high school after 3-1/2 years to apprentice as a plumber. He left Amsterdam and his family behind while attending the school. In 1929, after finding a job at the Trott Vocational School in Niagara Falls, Harold and his family moved from Amsterdam to Niagara Falls. About this time the stock market crashed and the depression hit, however, Niagara Falls was relatively prosperous for the depression and his school did not cut back in teachers. Thus, he had work and a decent wage during these years. He taught Drafting and Blueprint Reading and retired from this job many years later, having permanently resided in Niagara Falls the rest of his life. On the side, Harold was a paid soloist in a choir in a downtown Episcopal Church, while Nettie played the organ (volunteer) in the little corner church which the family attended, Riverside Presbyterian Church.

When Harold later went to Oswego State Teachers College for some summer courses, the family rented a camp at Dempster Grove from a Methodist minister which was located between New Haven and Dempster, near Mexico, NY. They later purchased this property and found a deck of playing cards which were not conventional in the sense that they were of a type that poker could not be played with. The camp had no electricity, and the lamps and cooking stove were Kerosene (which their son, Roger, describes as 'smelly, dirty, horrible things'). The Kerosene lamps were so dim that Harold purchased a gasoline mantel lantern to study by. Improvements were later added to the camp including a chemical toilet, which resembled a pit toilet since it was enclosed in a little shack away from the house.

H.C. Thielking, Nettie and children

Nettie died of cancer on 10 Nov 1944 in Niagara Falls. They had two children, Roger Christian and David Harold. About 1953 Harold married Henrietta Fetzer Grimmer, a daughter of J. Frederick Fetzer and Emma Schumacher. Henrietta was married previously to Martin Grimmer and had a son James Grimmer. Before her marriage to Harold, she was employed by the New York Central Railroad and lived in Tonawanda, near Niagara Falls, NY. Her son James was a drill instructor in the Marine Corp and later found a job outside the military in Memphis, TN. In later years Harold and Henrietta enjoyed the winter weather in Florida and would return in the spring to Niagara Falls. He died in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, on 10 Apr 1969 and is buried in Pine Grove cemetery in Tribe's Hill, Montgomery county, alongside his first wife and her parents. Henrietta enjoyed bingo and bowling and continued to live in Niagara Falls after Harold's death. Later she moved to a Lutheran Home in Tonawanda and then to a nursing home near her son in Memphis, where she died 16 Jan 1988. She was a loving grandmother to all her grandchildren, including her step-grandchildren.

Lisa Slaski
Asst. County Coordinator
Herkimer/Montgomery Counties NYGenWeb
Granddaughter of Harold Christian Thielking
May 2000

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