Born: Alfred Gehrcke, august 8. 1890, Vor Frelsers Parish, Nim District, Skanderborg County as Son of Johan Gehrcke and Hansine Gehrcke
Baptised: november 9. 1890, Horsens
Godfathers: Bødker Christian Hallager, gårdmand Søren Hansen, jomfru Karen Jensen (el. Jenson)
Deciesed: april 21. 1973, Sidney, Montana
Married 03-26-1912 to Marthea Gierke, Gayville, South Dakota
Alfred and Marthea (Danielsen) met on the Hellig Olav coming from
Denmark, arriving in New York at Ellis Island on November 29, 1910.
Alfred and Marthea made several stops before settling in northeastern Montana.
Marthea went to Nebraska to be with her brother Dan Danielsen. Alfred went to South Dakota and stayed with his Uncle and sister Anna working on different farms in the area. He couldn’t speak any English so stayed with people who could speak Danish. Anna worked in a restaurant so she learned to speak English more quickly. Alfred had had little chance to learn the English language and travel was hard for him so he wrote to Marthea and asked her to come see him. Which she did, arriving in South Dakota for the 4th of July in 1911.
She decided to stay and got a job cooking in a hotel. At Christmas time Alfred had a chance to go to Nebraska to work with Dan Danielsen on the railroad but plans were made for a wedding in March. Alfred arrived back in South Dakota just in time to get the wedding license and they were married on March 26th, 1912 in Gayville, South Dakota. Dan Danielsen, Marthea’s brother and Anna Gierke, Alfred’s sister were witnesses.
The newlyweds had a surrey waiting outside the minister’s house to take them to the train before any of their friends found out they were married. But luck was against them. When they came outside their friends were already waiting for them with the surrey all decked out with bottles, cans, baby shoes and so on. It cost Alfred a keg of beer to get rid of everyone.
Alfred and Marthea started their married life in Arlington, Nebraska where Alfred was working on the railroad. They lived there for three years and it was while they were there their first son Henry was born.
In May 1915 they decided to move to North Dakota, and started their long trip by covered wagon. Money was short and the going rough so Alfred stopped and worked for several farmers on the way to make enough money to buy food and the necessary things they needed. It was July before they reached their destination. They stayed with Dan Danielsen and Alfred went out threshing that fall. When threshing was over they took over the management of the hotel in Derrick, North Dakota. It was while there William was born. Marthea cooked for the boarders and during the dinner hours Alfred would sit in a rocker, holding William, singing to him. Marthea always swears that one of the boarders wanted to know who was sick.
In 1917 they started farming for themselves, first on a small farm and a year later moved to a bigger farm near Edmore. It was while they were here Alfred, Jr and Earl were born.
North Dakota never appealed to either one of them so in 1923 they decided to move to Montana. They left by train arriving in Fairview the day before Thanksgiving with a roll of bedding, a trunk, four boys and only a few dollars.
They rented a farm complete with machinery and livestock. The first crop turned out to be a good one. That fall Alfred picked his fine crop of corn and bought their first car, an Overland. Two more boys Darrell and Kenneth were born. That made six boys to feed, clothe and keep in shoes. Those were busy days but they were happy ones too.
In 1929 the Gierke family moved to a different rental farm where they stayed until 1942.
On Sundays when there was a picnic, all the boys would ride their horses. After a big dinner they would race their horses. Each boy in the neighborhood thought he had the best horse. They used these horses in another way one Halloween night. It seems the Gierke boys used their horses to pull the neighbors machinery into the creek. The machinery froze into the water and it didn’t take long for the neighbor to find out who the guilty ones were. The next day found the four older Gierke boys and a few others down at the creek with the same horses pulling the machinery out of the water.
In March 1937 Alfred and Marthea celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in Fairview, Montana. A large group of friends gathered to help them celebrate. There was a program honoring them, an evening of playing cards and lots of dancing. It was a night long remembered.
Time passes quickly, boys grow up and soon Henry was married and the older boys out working. Before long the lives of many of the people in the neighborhood had changed. For one Sunday in December when the neighbors had gathered the news came over the radio that Pearl Harbor had been bombed and war had been declared.
Alfred, Jr. joined the Army, Earl and William entered the Air Force, and Henry worked in the shipyards in San Diego. This only left Darrell and Kenny at home.
In spring, 1942 Alfred and Marthea bought their own farm and were busy building their own home and out buildings while farming. One winter found Alfred going to Portland, Oregon to work in the shipyards.
At last the war was over and all the boys came home, William bringing with him an English bride. Once more the family was able to be together again. By this time Kenny and Darrell were through school and before long all the boys were married except Kenney who had entered the Navy.
Alfred and Marthea continued to live on the farm. Alfred continued to work for various construction companies. In the fall of 1952 they sold their farm and moved to Sidney where they continued to live until their deaths.