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Gerolamy Family
of Linn Co., IA
Photos and family information submitted by Robert Harvey


Louis Arthur Gerolamy

Although a native of Iowa City, Iowa, born in 1867, Louis Arthur Gerolamy was only six months old when brought to Cedar Rapids and during much of his life remained a resident here, always maintaining the deepest interest in the city and her welfare.  He was one of her representatives who have gained wide distinction in the field of art, his name becoming known and honored.  He was a son of William Gerolamy, who was born in Canada in 1824 and was there educated.  Early in life he learned photography and after living for a time at Iowa City, IA, removed with his family to Cedar Rapids in 1867.  Here he opened the first dewing machine establishment and sold the first machine in the city.  He met with substantial success in the undertaking, enjoying an extensive and growing patronage up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1869.  While in Canada in 188? He had married Harriett Seymour Thorp and unto them were born eight children of whom only two, however, are now living:  Alfred, a resident of Texas; and Mrs. Stella Defenbaugh of Cedar Rapids, who occupies the old home with her mother.

Louis A Gerolamy acquired his education in the schools of Cedar Rapids and went as a young man to Chicago where he entered the Mandel Brothers leading merchants of that city.  However, as his ability and talent for drawing became known and recognized, his skill being especially marked in portrait work, he was induced to study along that line in Chicago.  His uncle, Francis L Thorp of that city assisted him as he pursued his course and at length he opened a studio in Chicago but later returned to Cedar Rapids.  He afterward traveled in Montana where he did much work in copying and enlarging portraits, his superior skill in that field winning a reputation that made him known through the country.  He afterward spent several years in Old Mexico where he sketched pictures of the governor and other famous men of that country.  His patronage was extensive and came to him from the old and Prominent Mexican families.  In 1904, returning to Cedar Rapids, he opened a studio which he conducted to the time of his demise.  Having prospered in his undertaking, he erected the fines apartment house in this city, at No. 616 Fourth Avenue, it proving thereafter profitable source of income.  Mrs. Gerolamy, the mother, always accompanied her son on his travels and was his constant companion. There was an unusually strong tie of comradeship between them for their tastes and interests were much in harmony.

Mr. Gerolamy not only possessed marked artistic ability but also considerable talent as a singer and always sang in the choir of the Episcopal Church of which he was a communicant.  He died May 27, 1909.  He possessed the nature that commonly accompanies artistic talent and a keen appreciation of the beautiful in nature as well as art, a repulsion for all that was low or degrading and continually reached out for all that was uplifting.  The best in music and art, therefore made a strong appeal to him and his life, moreover, was an expression of those higher sentiments which are manifest in filial devotion and a generous response to the obligations and claims of friendship.

Photo & Bio Source: L.A. Brewer, History of Linn County, Iowa.., The Pioneer Publishing Co, Chicago, 1911, pages  174-177.

L.A. Gerolamy Very Low
L. A. Gerolamy, who left this city about three months ago and went to El Paso, Tex on account ofill health, is reported very low and his mother has been sent for.  Mr. Gerolamy is well known in Cedar Rapids where for the past few years he has been devoting his time to portrait painting.
Obituary of Louis Gerolamy
By the death of Louis A Gerolamy, which occurred May 27 in El Paso, Tex, to which place he had gone three months ago in the hope of finding relief from his serious illness, a great loss has been sustained, not only by his mother to whom he was singularly devoted, but by his relatives and all friends, who knew him for his kindly and lovable disposition.  A rare talent as an artist has also been buried all too soon, as those who have his work will feel.  But an all-wise Providence has seen fit to call him and it is not for mortals to question why.  Hoping to meet him in the great hereafter, as expressed in his last words, is the only consolation and prayer of his grieved relatives and friends.

Son of A. William & Harriett Seymour Gerolamy
B: 1867 Iowa City, Iowa
D: May 27, 1909 El Paso, Texas
Buried: Oak Hill Cemetery, Cedar Rapids - Block 66 Lot 73
GEROLAMY - Mrs. A. W. Gerolamy, for fifty years a resident of Cedar Rapids at 319 South Seventh street, died at Perry, Iowa, at the home of her daughter, according to a telephone message received by friends Tuesday. Mrs. Gerolamy was born Nov 6, 1823.
Funeral services will be held from the Turner chapel. Further details will be given in a later edition.
Source: The Republican and Times, Cedar Rapids, Nov 22, 1921

Harriett Seymour Gerolamy (nee Thorpe)
B: Nov 6, 1823, Fredericksburgh, Addington Co, Upper Canada (Ontario)
D: Nov 21, 1921, Perry, Dallas, Iowa
Buried: Oak Hill Cemetery, Cedar Rapids, Block 66, Lot 73
Louis A. Gerolamy, Portrait Artist, No 205 West Madison Street - A prominent branch of artistic industry is that so ably represented by Mr. Louis A. Gerolamy, located at No. 205 west Madison Street.  Mr. Gerolamy's business embraces portraits copied and enlarged from family pictures to crayon, ink, pastel and water colors to any desired size and the taking of portraits from life by the same methods.  The studio is spacious and admirably arranged.  The immense patronage is from among the best city people.  Mr. Gerolamy has been engaged in this line of business for the past three years, and the superiority of the work produced at his establishment has become well known in the trade, and the popularity thus acquired results in a large and ever increasing patronage.  Mr. Gerolamy is thoroughly versed in all pertaining to his art, and his taste and skill are proverbial in this line.  He is prepared to furnish all styles of frames for portraits in the latest patterns and best quality of gold leaf, bronze and gilt.
Source: The Origin, Growth and Usefulness of the Chicago Board of Trade, Historical Publishing Company, New York, 1885-1886, page 268

Robert Harvey notes: "Along with studios in Chicago and Cedar Rapids, Louis also had a studio in Denver (opened about 1890) which was managed by his brother Alfred William Gerolamy."

Robert Harvey welcomes anyone who is interested in knowing more about this Gerolamy family, to let him know and he will send them an invitation to view the family tree at Ancestry.  

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