An American Family History

Frances M. Bertrand Metela Johnson


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

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

World War II was a global conflict that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The Allies (United States, British Commonwealth countries, and the Soviet Union) fought against the Axis (Germany, Japan and Italy).

Frances M. Bertrand Metela Johnson was born in October, 1895 in Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa. She was the daughter of Gilles Joseph Bertrand and Viola Belle Long.

October 8, 1903, the Democrat reported

Little Miss Frances Bertrand daughter of J. Bertrand scalded her left arm quite severely last Saturday. She was pouring a cup of hot coffee for her father, when he accidently struck the coffee pot with his elbow, spilling the contents on her arm. She is compelled to carry the injured member in a sling.

She married Jerry Metela on May 13, 1915. Jerry was born on July 14, 1893 in Iowa. His parents were Frantisek (Frank) Metela and Francis Jasa. His father commited suicide and murdered his baby brother in 1899. His step-father was Joseph Dostal.

From The Homestead, published at Napoleon, [Logan County] North Dakota, we take the following mention of the marriage of former Chariton young lady, Miss Frances Bertrand, daughter of Mrs. James (sic) Bertrand:

At the home of the bride's mother in this city on April 28, 1915 occurred the marriage of Miss Frances Bertrand and Mr. Jerry Matela, Rev. S. A. Hamond, pastor of the Presbyterian church at Kintyre performing the ceremony.

The bride is the graddaughter of Thos. Long of this city, and has resided in Napoleon with her mother during the past two years, and has many friends who will extend congratulations.

The groom has resided here and at Kintyre for some time past and has been employed as a carpenter. He is a promising young man and well liked by his many acquaintances both here and at Kintyre. We understand the newlyweds will make their home here for the time being.

Frances and Jerry had four children:
Paul L. Metela (1918),
Viola Fern Metela Olmstead Gartner ( February 22, 1919, married Donald J. Gartner),
Marvin Eugene Metela (December 21, 1921), and
Dorothy M. Metela Hansen (1923).

Frances and Viola
Frances and Viola

At the time of her father's death in 1910, they were living in Chariton, Iowa. They lived in Bismarck, North Dakota at the time of her mother's death in 1919. 

The family (Gerry Metela) appeared in the 1920 census in Braddock, Emmons County, North Dakota and consisted of Jerry age 26, Francis M. age 22, Paul L. age two and Viola F. age one.

They appeared in  the 1930 census in Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa. The family consisted of Jerry who was 35, Frances who was 33, Paul L age 12, Viola F. age 10, Marrino E. age 8 and Dorothy M. age 7. Jerry was a millwright and Frances was working as a waitress in a hotel.

During World War II, both sons served. Marven was a pilot and Paul was a sergeant in the army.

Jerry and Frances divorced and she married Ralph Johnson.

In 1957, when her sister Blanch died, she was living in Cedar Rapids.

Frances died in March, 1959 in Linn County, Iowa.

Jerry died in April, 1987 in Golden, Jefferson County, Colorado.

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
  • Presbyterians are Protestant Christians. The denomination originated in Scotland and congregations are ruled by elected elders. Presbyterian theology follows the Calvanist tradition and emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures, and grace through faith in Christ.

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




    Gartner, Viola Fern, 89, of Lincoln, went to be with her Lord on Friday (4-4-08). She was born to Jerry & Frances (Bertrand) Metela on February 22, 1919 in Bismarck, North Dakota. Viola retired from Russell Stover's Candies after many years of service.

    She was an avid quilter & gardener. Viola always enjoyed hosting the perfect holidays & sharing stories of her grandchildren's activities. She had a love of pets- whether they were her own cats & dogs or others stopping by from the neighborhood.


    Killed Child and Self.
    CEDAR RAPIDS, March 3, 1899- Despondent over his hopeless case of consumption and the sickness of a year-and-a-half-old child, Frank Metela, a Bohemian saloonkeeper, fired two bullets into the body of the child and then shot himself through the heart. They were alone in the house at the time and when discovered Metela's body was found in a sitting posture in a chair with the clothing almost burned off. The baby was lying on the bed a few feet away, and both were dead. Metela left a letter explaining why he committed the deed.

    The Nashua Reporter, Nashua, Iowa
    Kills His Baby and Himself – While laboring under a spell of despondency, super induced by illness, Frank Metela of Cedar Rapids shot and killed his baby boy and then killed himself. Metela had been ill for two years of consumption and there was no hope of his recovery.

    Tuberculosis (TB) is a common and often deadly infectious disease. It was called consumption. It usually attacks the lungs and the symptoms are coughing blood, fever, night sweats, and weight loss.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
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