10. Germann Road

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    Germann Road is named after a family from the Queen Creek/Higley Area. John and Mathilda Germann arrived from the East Coast in the early 1910s. In 1914, they purchased 480 acres from a discouraged homesteader (an act the family would repeat) and established a home and a pumping plant. After setting up a well on the property, Germann fenced it off and he and his sons began studying agriculture as it was practiced in the Southwest.


    Mathilda Germann actually had her own plot of land in the Higley area that became very fruitful. In 1913, the land consisted of dirt, greasewood and sagebrush. But with the introduction of a pumping plant that delivered 100 miner’s inches of water, the land changed dramatically. She had ten acres of alfalfa hay that yielded an average of 21.2 tons of hay per acre, twenty acres of peach trees, twenty acres of long staple cotton and a family garden. Mrs. Germann not only supplied food for her own family, but to the hotels in Phoenix as well. In 1915, a Phoenix wholesale produce house was in talks with her to make a deal for her potato crop.


    Her barn was considered a “back East” building, because of its size, and because it had a cement floor. Cement floors in barns out in Arizona were very uncommon in the 1910s. Inside the barn, there was room for farming implements, buggies, horse, grain and hay. She later devoted some of her acreage to olive trees. Perhaps the best part of Mathilda’s operation was that the boys in her family merely assisted her and she ran everything.


    Both Walter and Edmund served in the military during World War I. While Edmund did not receive most of the letters his family back home sent him, Walter did receive his mail. Walter fought under the 340th Field Artillery.


    As of 1924, Walter Germann had one hundred acres in cultivation, fifty of which was cotton, and fifty of which was divided between alfalfa and fruits, including peaches. Walter Germann married Elsie Owens from Higley. Elsie was what was then considered an old maid, and a teacher. Her certificate from the Arizona Teacher’s College was actually signed by O.S. Stapley, a familiar name to any long-time resident of the East Valley. However, when Ms. Owens married, she could not teach anymore, because of the values at the time. Women were supposed to stay home and rear children, take care of the house, and have dinner on the table for their husbands when they came home.


    The Germanns had land all over the place in what is now Queen Creek. A map at the San Tan Historical Society shows the various plots they had. At the time, a family could get 180 acres for each child above the age of eighteen. And on this acreage, all one had to do was put a house and some sort of crop. John and Mathilda had three sons: Paul, Walter and Edmund. Only two of the sons married, and none of the three boys had children.


    No one seems to know what happened to the Germanns. The latest known date the Germanns were in Queen Creek was April of 1941, as this was the date a lease on state-owned land expired. It is not known where they are buried. A volunteer at the San Tan Historical Society said that they get people from all over who were related to families like the Powers, Combs, Johnsons, etc. However, no one has yet arrived at the museum who worked for the Germanns; none of the old-timers from Queen Creek talk about the Germanns either.


    What about the pronunciation? It is widely pronounced “Jur-maine” today, but various sources say it was pronounced “Har-mahn,” or “Grr-mun.” Perhaps the mystery of why the pronunciation is so different will never be solved.

    By Melanie Hartmann

     

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