Mildred Evila Braucht Gerber

Honored by:Dorothy Gerber
Brick location:A:3  map

Mildred Evila Braucht was born on January 11, 1903 in the rural village of Joy, Illinois. Her parents were landowners and her father ran the village store. She was the youngest child with two older brothers and a sister. She lived a joyful like as a child - not at all interested in housework she was a self-professed tomboy. She climbed trees waded in the creek explored the area and when she could talk her father into it - helped her brothers in the store. She especially enjoyed making deliveries. She could handle the horses as well as 'the men'. Whenever she got into trouble a frequent occurrence she ran off to 'Gramma Reed's' to hide out until the fuss died down. Gramma Reed was a relative but everyone's "Gramma".

She enjoyed children and was especially fond of 'fiesty ones'. From Gramma she learned some of the quiet skills she had no patience for at home. Mildred adored her family all her life and was beloved in turn. Mildred was a good student. On graduation from high school Mildred asked for a second new Ford automobile - she had 'totaled' the first one! With her sister and another young lady the three girls set off to explore America. They changed tires and patched them as necessary.

America's highway system consisted mostly of rough muddy paths in those days. They camped out all the way west to the Pacific Ocean. The ladies' journals of their adventure make fascinating reading even today. They kept in touch with home by phone whenever possible. The telephone system wasn't much to brag about at that time either. Mildred graduated from Millikin University with a degree in- of all things- Home Economics.

There weren't too many options for women in those days. She was given a World Tour as her graduation present. She and three other young ladies set off to see the world before settling down to teaching careers or marriage. The ladies' trunks were sent ahead and awaited their arrival at various locations ringing in changes as necessary for different climates. They also had financial arrangements made ahead in the major cities. Mildred bought and brought home souveniers that she kept near her all the rest of her days.

On December 15, 1930 with her parents' blessing she married a student from her school. Women teachers were not allowed to be married so the wedding was kept secret while she finished out her contract. After a family conference it was decided the couple should be given a family farm in Ohio and the very young groom should learn to be a farmer. The farm was to be kept in Mildred's name. So the newlyweds traveled to Ohio to set up housekeeping.

They became very successful farmers their farm was a County showplace - with the cleanest fencerows around. They raised two sons were very active in School Administration and lived happy and productive lives. Mildred always preferred being outside. She was an active partner in the production of livestock and drove wagonloads of grain to market. She raised a garden canning and later freezing produce. She was famous for her Virginia Sweets pickles. She used all her college training passing on skills to the following generations.

At the age of 58 Mildred decided to take a ride on a horse although it had been many years since she rode and since she was tiny -4'11" tall - the stirrups were too long for her. The horse went racing down the lane and became frightened by a passing automobile. She kept control and managed to get the horse turned around. He came racing back home. At the opened farm gate the horse slid losing his footing and throwing the rider. Mildred was taken to the hospital with seven cracked ribs and a broken collarbone. The Doctor berated her family for allowing such a dangerous stunt. He soon learned good advice didn't keep Mildred from doing exactly what she wanted to do! The bones eventually healed and she was back at work on the farm moving pregnant sows and rounding up sheep even in blizzard weather.

On the family farm there is a small plot seven acres or so that to this day has never been plowed. This is referred to as the 'virgin timber'. In succeeding generations family youngsters have wonderful memories of exploring this area. It is very easy to dig up Indian arrowheads. The soil is wonderful for use in houseplants. In recent years Mildred's great grandson made yet another generation to be fascinated by this special land.