Pop Kramer Lani and Cheri
Mike Wilson and "Patches"
Frederick was born in Hess Darmstrat Germany in 1831. He traveled to America and settled in Alexandria, Virginia. He purchased 60 acres of land near the Potomac River. He became a farmer and started a Floral businesses. His wife was Johanna Faulwatter, from Saxony Germany. Fred and Anna spoke fluent German. Both were well educated. Anna had been a nurse in Germany. They had eight children who were all born at home on North Fayette St. The Kramer family had several other businesses, Cigar Shops, Bicycle Shops and one brother of Fred's was a Jeweler. The Kramer children married into the Wolfe and Dunbar families of Alexandria. In 1959, their daughter Anna Dunbar left the Kramer Estate to the renowned Christ Church, located next door to her home. The Kramer's are buried in the Ivy Hills Cemetery, on King St.
Harry Henry Kramer was born on New Years Day, 1875. As a child, his mother would tell him 'Henry, they are celebrating your birthday!' This impressed Henry and perhaps enticed him to want to perform for crowds of people. Henry loved going to the circus. At the age of thirteen, he was given an old bicycle. He hid the bike in the corn field and practiced until he was quite good. He earned a $40 gold piece for a performance at the Veterans Home. This only made him work harder to be the best trick bicycle rider in the area. He opened a bike repair shop. President McKinley watched Henry practice and invited him to perform. However, Henry got a ticket for practicing on the steps of the Capital Building, in Washington D.C. Henry married Jenny Toye. She went on stage with Henry and they began to tour theaters and State Fairs along the east coast. They once were on stage with Lillian Russell and Helen Hayes. This was published in the Alexandria Gazette.
Harry Grant was the oldest son of H.H. Kramer and Jenny Toye. Harry worked with his dad in Henry Ford's Auto Co. All of the Kramers took great interest in auto repair. After the death of Jenny, the family moved to North Carolina. H.H. Kramer set up an auto repair shop. His son, Elmer was ill with asthma and the mountain air was recommended by the Virginia doctors. His other son Maxwell, with brother Harry, moved to St. Petersburg Florida, and became renowned race car drivers in Clearwater Florida area.
My father had arrived by train in Asheville, which was 22 miles north of his final destination. It was here that he met Wallace Redden, who moved his possessions by wagon to his new home. By being related to my mother, Wallace Redden later became my Uncle.
On the 3rd of January, 1917, Adell Thompson and Harry Kramer were married in Hendersonville, N.C., and within the next few years became the proud parents of Katherine (4 Oct 1917), Frederick (9 Jun 1920), William (27 Jan 1922), and Leona (7 Jun 1923).
The Kramer family lived on Church Street, which is very near where the present county court house stands. One relative informed me that my parents also lived for a short period in the vicinity of the old railroad depot.
The main source of income for our family was earned during the spring, summer and fall seasons. It was during these months that we traveled by house-car, usually north into New York and the New England states.
Mr. Kramer had traveled from his birth place of Alexandria, Virginia where his family owned and operated a floral shop and maintained several acres of Green Houses on their family farm. Ironically Mr. Kramer lost his own Mother a few days after the birth of his daughter Katherine who was born near the Kramer home on North Fayette Street in Alexandria, Virginia. Burial of Johanna Kramer was beside her deceased husband, Fred in the Old Methodist Cemetery. Mr. Kramer with young wife Adell and new baby Katherine returned to Hendersonville, North Carolina. Mr. Kramer owned and operated a garage where he trained his older sons to be auto mechanics.
Addle loved flowers and she and Harry had this in common. Addle and all the children spent many happy hours creating flower beds for the collection of flowers that grew everywhere on the property. The Kramer estate covered 18 acres of land. Mr. Kramer had many talents and crafts. He built what he called flower boxes that he attached to hang below windows of their home. He painted them bright colors. This idea came from his German heritage. He was also able to sell many of these to local families. Addle loved Candle lilies and grew them in many colors.
Mr. Kramer traveled all over the United States, Canada, and even Mexico City to earn extra money performing his extraordinary tricks on his collection of bicycles. He built all of his bikes. Several times through out the years he owned and operated bike repair shops. Traveling made it necessary to have a place to sleep, so he invented the first travel car. He bought an old school bus and a logging truck. He attached the bus body onto the truck bed and "walla" he invented his famous "House Car". Each summer the family loaded up and traveled to fair grounds, theaters and small towns all over the northern and southern states where" Pop" Kramer entertained the crowds of people who followed his show as though he were the pied piper. His picture has been on the front page of news papers all over the United States. He received payment for his performances by passing the hat. "Pop" was an amusing sight all by his self.
"Pop" got his nickname because he was only able to quit smoking his pipe by replacing the habit with chewing bubble gum. He lost his teeth and refused to wear a partial. He grew a beard and kept his thick graying hair, ear lobe length. To us kids, it was like having Santa living with us all year long. His blue eyes sparkled and he was always in a cheerful mood. He could tell "Paul Bunyan" tells for hours(this is probably a Kramer genetic trait) He kept his pockets full of gum balls and bubble gum to pass out to children. He had a heart full of compassion and love for all his family and friends. He was always willing to lend a helping hand to strangers. There was not a lazy bone in his body. "Pop" made the old saying "Jack of all Trades" his motto to live by.
"Pop" made friends with the other
travelers on the road, the most interesting were the Gypsies who
traveled regular routes each year. Mr. Kramer allowed them to
camp on his property in South Carolina in exchange for his family camping on their sites while he traveled north. This was for safety reasons. These people were friendly and were expert craftsman.
Their wagons were carefully designed for their long journey over rough trails and everything had its reason for its location on the wagon. Wagons were painted with special designs and colors to represent each family, sort of like a family crest. Families were close, their children were educated by family members.
Everyone learned a trade. Men were blacksmiths and carpenters.
Women made beautiful quilts to sell. In the evenings they would
gather around a warm fire tell stories, someone would play fiddle
music and shake a tambourine. All would join in and sing songs.
When traveling threw small towns they would set up a tent to sell
their wares, have a fortune-telling booth, and earn money doing
odd jobs. Mr. Kramer was well liked by the gypsies.
Independence Day Collage
The 4th of July
Marvelous Independence Day
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