An American Family History

Gilles Joseph Bertrand

JOseph Bertrand

Seraing is French speaking town in the Liêge Province of Belgium on the Meuse River. It is in the Wallonia region. It is a center for iron and crystal manufacturing.

Joseph Bertrand

Chariton is the county seat of Lucas County, Iowa and is in Lincoln Township.

The 1890 census materials was lost in a 1921 fire.

Gilles Joseph (Joe) Bertrand was born in Seraing, Liège Province, Belgium on October 10, 1863. His parents were Francois Bertrand and Catherine Hocquette

He came to the United States in 1870 when he was seven years old. He lived in Illinois for a few years and later moved to Chariton.

Joseph Burtram (sic) appears in the 1880 census in White Breast Township, Warren County, Iowa. He was age 16 and was working on the L. H. Rice Farm.

He married Viola Belle Long in 1887 in Des Moines, Iowa when he was 23 years old. Their children and life together are described in detail in the section on Joseph and Viola Bertrand.

Work Crew

He is listed in the 1889-1890 Des Moines Iowa Directory as a plumber for Laing & Scoville and in 1891 as a plumber for Scoville Plumbing Company. He was a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. 

Joseph's daughter, Emma Bertrand Smith, kept a postcard collection which includes cards from Joe. The online collection includes both the messages and the pictures from these cards.

He died on April 18, 1910 in Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa of organic heart disease when he was 46. He was buried in the Chariton Cemetery after a service at the United Brethren Church. He is buried with his brother Henry, his sister-in-law, Flora, his nephew Robert Frances and Izetta F., 1902-1903.

Modern Woodmen of America (MWA) and Woodmen of the World were fraternal organizations that offered insurance.

In the 1830s settlers began arriving in Iowa from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. Iowa became a state in 1846.

Bertrand Headstone
Bertrand Headstone
in Chariton Cemetery
Children of Francois Bertrand and
Catherine Josephine Hocquette
  • Henri Joseph Bertrand
  • Samuel Francis Bertrand
  • Gilles Joseph Bertrand
  • Children of Joseph Bertrand
    and Viola Long
  • Marie Louisa Bertrand Shimp
  • Emma Ethel Bertrand Smith
  • Blanch Pauline Bertrand Higgins
  • Frances M. Bertrand Metela Johnson
  • Lura Bertrand Bechtel Jones
  • Franklin Merl Bertrand
  • Izetta Fern Bertrand
  • Joseph's Footstone


    Warren County, Iowa was formed in 1846. The county seat is Indianola.

    Giles Joseph Bertrand
    The many friends of the family will learn with sorrow of the death of Joseph Bertrand, which occurred at his home in this city on Monday morning, April 18, 1910, after an illness of four months with organic heart trouble. Largely attended funeral services, conducted by Rev. Bonsell, pastor of the United Brethren church were held at the family residence, 628 South 7th St. on Tuesday afternoon at three o'clock, and other services were conducted at the grave in the Chariton cemetery under the auspices of the M.W.A., of which deceased was a member.

    Giles Joseph Bertrand was born in Seraing, Belgium on October 10, 1863.  He came to this county in 1870, living in Illinois for some time and about twelve years ago came to Chariton where he  has since resided. He was married in Des Moines, Iowa on August 25, 1887 to Miss Viola Long. To this union eight children were born, six daughters and two sons. One daughter and one son preceded him to the better land. Those who survive are Mrs. Emma Smith of Stanton, Iowa; Mrs. Marie Shimp, Blanche, Francis, Lura and Merle, of this city, who with his dearly beloved companion are left to mourn the loss of a true and loving father and husband. 

    He is also survived by two brothers, Henry J., of this city and Samuel of Des Moines, both of whom were present at the funeral services. Deceased was a man of strict integrity and during his residence here had won the high regard of all with whom he came in contact. His demise will be mourned by a host of friends who will extend sincere sympathy to the sorrowing relatives.

    Those in attendance at the funeral services from out of town were Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Long, of Napoleon, North Dakota, parents of Mrs. Bertrand; Mrs. Emma Smith, of Stanton, daughter of the deceased; Samuel Bertrand, of Des Moines, his brother; Mr. and Mrs. James Hamilton of Valley Junction, a nephew and niece; and Mr. David Higgins of Ottumwa.

    Lucas County is in south central Iowa. It was founded in 1846 and the county seat is Chariton.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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