Joseph Biersner married Hattie Johnson 13 August 1917

Joseph L Biersner was born 19 December 1883, in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Thomas Biersner, a Civil War veteran of German descent, and his wife Mary.  They were in the census in St. Louis, where Joseph’s father worked as a janitor.  Joseph at 16, and his sister Katherine, 14, were already in the work force as shoe stitchers. 

Thomas Biersner moved his family west, and by 1910, the family lived at 115 West Elm in Walla Walla, WA.  Thomas was a stationery engineer.  Joseph was a bookkeeper in a hardware store. 

Hattie Quintilla Johnson was born 12 April 1898 in Coloma Township in Rock Falls, Illinois, the last of nine children (eight daughters) of Thomas Merrill Johnson and Hattie Ellen Duggan.  In 1900, the family lived on Ninth Street in Coloma, and Thomas was a carpenter.  Hattie’s parents divorced in 1901, and her mother married Fredrick Newell Golden in Rathdrum ID, in 1905.  In 1910 Hattie lived with her mother and step-father in Ione, Washington.  The family included her older sister Anne Marie, and her three Golden step-siblings, Fredrick, Floyd, and Florence.  A neighbor, Noah Ferguson, married Anne Marie a few years later. 

Hattie moved to Walla Walla, perhaps because her older sister Eugenia lived there.  On 13 August, 1917, she married Joseph Biersner.  Joseph registered for the WW1 draft, and at the time, was working as a machinist’s helper for the Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company.  Hattie was listed as his contact person. 

Hattie was expecting her first baby when she died on 22 December 1918 of influenza during the epidemic.  She is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Walla Walla.  Her obituary appeared in the Walla Walla Union newspaper, 24 December 1918. “Mrs. Biersner Passes Away. “Mrs. Hattie Biersner, aged 20, died at a local hospital, Sunday forenoon of bronchial pneumonia, after an illness of four weeks.  She leaves her husband, Joe Biersner and six sisters and three brothers in the east.  She was a member of the Adventist church here and had been a resident of Walla Walla about a year and a half.  The funeral will be held from the Hennessey & Calloway chapel at 2:00 o’clock today, Rev. Breed, of the Adventist church, officiating. Interment will be in the I.O.O.F. cemetery.

In 1920, Joseph was living with his parents at 115 W Elm.  His father listed his occupation as stationery engineer, not working.  At 73, hopefully he had retired.  Joseph was a general machinist. 

The 1930 census shows the famiy at the same address.  Joseph’s occupation was laborer, doing odd jobs.  Joseph and his parents could read and write.  They owned their home, which was valued at $3000, and they owned a radio. 

On 26 May 1934, Joseph married Annie Jilg, in Yakima.  She was born 2 March 1913 in Washington.  Her parents, Rudolph and Marie Jilg, had come from Austria, and Anne was the first child born in the US.  They lived at Prospect Park, in Walla Walla County. 

When Joseph registered for the WWII draft, he still lived at the family home at  115 West Elm, probably buying it or inheriting it from his parents.  He was employed as a custodian at the IOOF Enterprise Lodge #2 at Walla Walla, and he listed as his nearest relative his employer, rather than his wife.  He was described as 5’11”, 183, brown hair, brown eyes, and ruddy complexion. 

Joseph died 20 May 1962 in Walla Walla, and was buried at Mountain View Cemetery next to Hattie.  Anna died 24 October 2001 in Walla Walla, and is buried next to Joseph. 



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