My second great-grandmother, Henrietta (Munson) Woodington died on this day, September 8, in 1882 at the age of 39. According to the 1870 U.S. Census information*, Henrietta was born in Ohio, maybe in Trumbull County where her parents, Amos Munson and Mary Ann Kearney, had married.
According to her gravestone, Henrietta was born in 1843. At some point, she had moved to Grant County, Wisconsin and, on December 16, 1859, when she was about 16 years old, she married** Moses Woodington. The couple had six known children: Furman Clarke (1860 – 1946), Lily Bell (1862 – 1872), George Franklin (1864 – 1926), Mary Ella (1867 – 1882), Virginia “Jennie” Lee (1871 – 1928), and Walter (b. 1877, death date unknown).
Henrietta died at a young age and their daughter, Mary Ella, died just four weeks later at the age of 15. Unfortunately, neither of their death certificates in Grant County, Wisconsin list a cause of death, so we will not know with certainty.
I wondered if there were any epidemics going through at that point in history that may have taken both women. According to the Report of the State Board of Health for the State of Wisconsin in 1882 (which can be found in Google Books), there was a milder smallpox epidemic that year even though a more primitive version of the vaccine was available.
Mike Nichols, in a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, wrote of a diphtheria epidemic that killed five young daughters in the spring of 1882. Diphtheria was terrifically contagious and dangerous. Nichols wrote that sometimes even the undertaker would not handle the bodies.
Another curiosity: the death certificates were recorded several years after their deaths, in 1896. I do not know what this all means except that I am left with questions.
* Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Cassville, Grant, Wisconsin; Roll: M593_1716; Page: 87A; Image: 178; Family History Library Film: 553215.
**Source Information: Ancestry.com. Wisconsin Marriages, pre-1907 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000. Original data: Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. Wisconsin Vital Record Index, pre-1907. Madison, WI, USA: Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services Vital Records Division.
Oda Bates Fulscher, my great grand aunt, died on this day, September 7, in 1928 at the age of 29. According to her death certificate, she died of “Nephritis–Uremia.” Interestingly, her father had died of “Chronic Nephrides” [sic] just two years earlier.
Oda was born August 31, 1899 in Logan County, IL, the daughter of Robert Josiah Bates and Marga Anna Radley. She was the youngest of their five children and was born several years after her next oldest sibling, my great-grandmother Floy, who was ten years old at Oda’s birth.
Oda had given birth to her only child, Harold Fulscher, in 1927 so he was just shy of 15 months old at her death. Besides her son and his descendents, one of the ways her legacy has continued is through one of our family stories.
Oda was only seven years old when her sister, Floy Bates Aderman, gave birth to her first son. Oda was insistent that Floy name the boy “Oda” and no matter how hard she tried, Floy was not able to convince the young girl that “Oda” was not a boy’s name. Then, loving her little sister as she did, Floy came up with the alternative–she named her son “Oscar Dearyl Aderman” so his initials would spell out “ODA.” Oscar honored that tradition again by naming his oldest son with the same initials.
My maternal 5th great grandfather, Azer Amos Reed died on this day, August 25, 1795, in the town of Hardwick, Warren County, New Jersey. Amos was born in Tranquility NJ sometime in 1730 to Azner Reed and Mary (or Martha) Youngs. He fought in the Revolutionary War 1776 – 1777 as a private, serving in Captain Jonathan Philips Company in the 2nd New Jersey Regiment.
Amos married Sarah Sutton, possibly in 1758, and they had two known children. Sarah, my 4th great grandmother, was born on Christmas Day in 1760 and Nathaniel was born five years later in 1765. At his death, Amos left the following will:
* Source Information: Fold 3
**Source Information: Ancestry.com. New Jersey, Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: New Jersey State Archives. New Jersey, Published Archives Series, First Series. Trenton, New Jersey: John L Murphy Publishing Company.
Helena Baum, my 7th great grandmother, died on this day (August 10) in 1687, just a few days shy of her 33rd birthday. The cause of death is unknown, but her daughter, Anna, was born just two weeks earlier on July 26, 1687. It suggests the possibility of Helena either being ill when she was pregnant with Anna or maybe dying of complications from the pregnancy or birth.
Helena was christened in Lieser, Rheinland, Prussia, Germany on August 16, 1654 so was likely born within a day or two of that event, possibly even on that day. She was the daughter of Alexander and Margaretha Baum and the younger sister of Johannes Richardi Baum. She married Michael Barthen on November 21, 1684, so the couple had less than three years together before her death. She died in the same town in which she was christened and married.
Source: Barthen Pedigree Chart
I have written of Ensign Samuel Munson (1643 – 1693) and mentioned that he was the drummer for the Wallingford community in the New Haven Colony. Given that this job is no longer in use in our communities, I wondered what his responsibilities entailed. Here is a description of the drummer’s task in colonial English colonies:
“We do know that the drum came over to the areas of English Settlements with some of the very earliest colonists. Considered a most necessary adjunct to the art of war, the drum was also used for calling the people together for church services and town meetings. Some of the early churches were known to have been constructed so as to include a platform on which the drummer beat his “calls,” and records of many of these early communities indicate that tax assessments were often adjusted to meet the expense of hiring and maintaining a Town Drummer.”*
*Source: Ed Olson, Archivist-for-Life and Curator, The Museum of Fife and Drum.
On August 1st, 1719, my 6th great grandparents on the Barthen/Sturmer branch of my family tree were married. Joannes Hugon Zirbus and Susanna Rapp were married in the Roemisch-Katholische church in Leirsberg, Rheinland, Prussia.(1) Joannes was the son of Mathiae Zirbus; Susanna, the daughter of Phillippi Rapp. The couple had at least one child, a daughter Catharina Margaretha, who was baptized in the same parish on 17 Nov 1721. (2)
(1) Family Search Batch Number M99106-1, Source Film number 585903.
(2) Family Search Batch Number M99106-1, Source Film number 585903.
Today is the birthday of Olive Meach Hope, my maternal grand aunt. She was born in Little Grant, Grant County, WI in 1879 and was the oldest of the four children of Michael William and Mary Ellen (Fralick) Hope.
Olive never married and spent most of her adult life in Salem, Kenosha County, Wisconsin where she was a teacher. My mother remembers she and her sister visiting their aunt in Salem during the summers between school years. Aunt Olive was very generous with Christmas gifts for her two nieces and bought Mom a trombone so she could play in the band.
Olive died on March 14, 1958 and was buried back in Little Grant Union Cemetery.
Mrs. June Aderman, wife of Arnold Aderman went into labor on the night of the tragic fire that burned St. Anthony Hospital in Effingham, IL. The Titusville Herald included this front page story, written by June, telling of her harrowing experience:
Woman Tells of Escape, Baby’s Birth
Mrs. June Aderman, 24, wife of Arnold Aderman, Effingham filling station worker, escaped from the maternity ward delivery room early today in the fire that destroyed St. Anthony’s hospital. Here is her story of her escape and the birth of her son later, as given to The Associated Press.
By MRS. JUNE ADERMAN
EFFINGHAM, Ill., April 5 –(AP)–
I think our family was the only lucky one in the fire.
About 8:30 last night I was taken to the hospital. I was put in the labor room with another girl.
About 11:30 a nurse took me to the delivery room.
In about 30 minutes I began to smell smoke. The nurse said she thought rubber gloves were being burned.
She went to investigate. But she came back and said nothing seemed wrong. But a minute later she went back into the hall.
It was filled with flames then.
The nurse slammed some double doors. Then she and another girl who was in the hall helped me to a window. We broke through.
Someone said the other girl in the labor room had jumped from the second floor. But later I heard she broke her back and lost her baby.
The three of us climbed out onto a roof. All we could see was straight walls down.
People seemed to be jumping from other parts of the building.
Some of them were sprawled on the ground.
Just then my husband and two other men ran up to the building with a ladder.
By then I was in labor on the roof. But the nurse, the other girl and I were able to climb down the ladder.
My husband rushed me home. We live about three blocks away. A short time later the baby was born.
My husband has named him Charles Lee, but everybody already is calling him “Lucky.”
My older boy, Tommy–he’s in the second grade–likes the name “Toughy” better.
But I guess time will tell whether he will be called Charley or Lucky.
June’s experience was also mentioned in the Miami (FL) Daily News:
Arnold Aderman* told the story a little bit differently in his interview with the United Press, as written on the front page of the Harrisburg (IL) Daily Register, April 5, 1949:
Baby Arrives After Mother’s Escape from Fire
(Editor’s Note: Arnold Aderman, a truck driver, watched his wife escape early today from the delivery room of St. Anthony’s hospital as flames enveloped the building. She was uninjured and gave birth to a son an hour after she was removed to her home. In the follow dispatch, Aderman tells of her escape.)
By ARNOLD ADERMAN
As Told to the United Press
EFFINGHAM, Ill, April 5–(U.P.)–My wife was in labor in the delivery room at St. Anthony’s hospital when it caught fire. She kicked the screen out of the window and climbed down a ladder against a roof off the second floor. I watched her come down.
Then we took her home. At 1:30 a.m. today, she had a boy. He’s our third child. We have Tom, 7, and Janet, 5. My wife’s a blue-eyed blonde. She’s 25.
She told me we ought to name the new baby “Lucky.” She’s the bravest thing I ever saw.
I was home asleep about midnight when I heard the hospital was on fire. I ran the three blocks to the hospital. I knew she was in there.
Baby Born at Home
When I arrived someone was pushing at the screen on the delivery room window, just above a roof. It was June. Flames and smoke were shooting all around. The firemen put the ladder up there. June knocked the screen out and crawled onto the roof. Then she started down the ladder.
I didn’t dare try to go up after her. I was afraid for her. I didn’t know what was going to happen. But she got down. I was there waiting for her. I took her to someone’s house across the street. Then we took her home. The boy was born about an hour after we got her.
Doc Westine–(Dr. J.C. Westine)–came over to see her. He was there when the baby was born. My father-in-law said it’s a miracle that everything tuned out okay. He said we’ve had the best luck in the world. He and my wife are right. We ought to name the kid “Lucky.”
*I believe Arnold Aderman, June’s husband, was the son of Adolph Aderman, who was the son of Gustav Aderman.
One of the worst hospital fires in US history took place in Effingham, IL on April 5, 1949. The city is the county seat of Effingham County where many of the Adermans and Heidens settled and had the only hospital in the county. In fact, Mrs. June Aderman was in the hospital when it caught fire and was fortunate to escape. Her story is referred to briefly in the news article below.
The United Press, a precursor to today’s UPI newswire, first reported the news of the fire this way:
57 DIE IN FIRE; EFFINGHAM HOSPITAL DESTROYED
BY: Hayden Bradford, UP Staff Correspondent Effingham, HI [sic]., April 5–A fire flashed through the 80 year-old St. Anthony’s hospital early today, trapping scores of helpless patients, and authorities feared that at least 57 persons perished. [Note: later, the Fire Marshall's report raised the number to 74 plus one who died at another hospital later.]
Ten newborn babies died in the disaster, one of the worst hospital fires in the nation’s history. Another baby was born dead after its mother was injured critically in jumping out of a window. Shortly before 1 p.m., CST 34 bodies had been counted, 31 of them in the temporary morgue and three at other points. Of these, 26 were identified. The fire started shortly before midnight in the basement of the three-story building, which supposedly was fire-proof and had its own fire extinguishing system. The cause of the fire was not known. The flames shot up a laundry chute and swept through all floors.
Patients died in attempts to crawl through thick smoke and flames that filled the corridors. Others died in their beds, some with their limbs in casts or suspension slings. Fireman Charles Jaycee said about 12 patients jumped from windows, killing at least one and injuring several. Others were helped from first floor windows.
At least 15 persons were injured in escaping from the flames, police said.
Mrs. Wenton Sidney, 22, who was in a delivery room annex waiting to have a baby, jumped screaming from a second floor window, she suffered a broken back and right arm. Her baby was born dead an hour later. The bodies of nine other babies were recovered from the ruins and taken to an improvised morgue in a hall near the hospital.
Authorities said that another newborn child of Mrs. C.J. Springer died in the flames. Mrs. Springer escaped by jumping from a window. Much of the interior of the building collapsed. Floors and ceilings were piled on the bodies and authorities said the exact death toll might never be known, the hospital records were destroyed. Hours after the flames were put out firemen were digging through the debris and carrying bodies to an improvised morgue. The Rev. John J. Goff, pastor of St. Anthony’s church connected with the hospital, said the best estimate of the number of persons in the building at the time the fire started was 134.
These included, he said, 108 patients, three non-patients, a Miss Mary Kessler, and 22 nuns. Rescuers’ check lists showed that 57 patients and 20 nuns escaped. Miss Kessler died in the flames. The dead included Miss Fern Riley, 21, a nurse who refused to leave the babies and died a heroine apparently trying to save them, firemen said. Ben Bidenhorn was an ambulance attendant who helped victims from first floor windows. He received burns on his face and hands. He said he was asleep on the top floor when he was awakened by one of the sisters. “I saw smoke and opened the laundry chute, but I saw no flames and I hollered, ‘It’s downstairs.’ I ran to the elevator and when I got there I found the whole place was on fire, both the first and second floors.”
Frank Reis was the hospital engineer who lived next door. He dashed into the flaming building in an attempt to save his wife, a patient on the second floor. [Note: LIFE magazine of April 18, 1949 reported that Mrs. Reis jumped out of a window and, while badly injured, she did survive.] Some of the patients escaped by jumping from windows. One good story is about Mrs. Arnold Aderman who was having labor pains when the fire started. She climbed down a ladder from her second story room and was taken home and gave birth to a son. She and the baby were reported in good condition. [Mrs. Aderman's story will be shared tomorrow.]
The Illinois State Fire Marshall investigated the blaze and offered a report of the scenario, witness statements, and possible causes for the fire and high death rate. Among his statements, he wrote:
Reconstruction of events in the early stages of the fire prior to and after arrival of the fire department force the conclusion that there was no effective organized rescue work and that those who escaped did so without assistance or with the assistance of nurses, nuns, and a few members of the Volunteer Fire Department. There is no evidence that the fire escapes were used to any extent or that the few ladders brought by the fire department were successfully used, excepting where some few people were taken from the roof of the one-story surgery section of the building by use of a fireman’s ladder.
The Effingham Volunteer Fire Department had 23 men respond to the alarm of fire, but most of these came sometime after the apparatus arrived on the scene. In view of this and of the attempted rescue work, the pumpers were not promptly put into action, but all three eventually delivered water on the fire.
In addition, and in response to a call for help over the Illinois State Police Radio Station at Effingham, paid and volunteer firemen came from the following named towns with their pumpers: Neoga, Teutopolis, Olney, Altamont, St. Elmo, Flora, Salem, Centralis, Sigel, Newton, and Matton. Some of these pumpers were put into service so that eventually eight pumpers were delivering water on the fire. However, the building was practically consumed by that time.
F. Delaine Donaldson, author of Effingham County: Transforming the Illinois Prairie (2010) wrote:
To understand the depth of emotion, one has to travel backward in time to the night of April 4, 1949, a night in which there was an overwhelming sense of surrealism. The sky over the city of Effingham was a strange pink with ornage color as a result of the fire that burned at the seventy-four-year-old building known as St. Anthony’s Hospital. Sirens screamed during the night as fire departments from throughout the area rushed into the town to the scene of great disaster.
The destruction did not take long–only about ten minutes, in fact–as fire quickly spread through the hallways of the building that held 120 beds. Firemen from Effingham and surrounding communities fought the blaze for about three hours before they brought it under control; then came the task of searching for the dead.
That tragic evening there were 128 patients, staff and visitors in the building; 77 of them died in the fire [Note: There may have been two deaths reported later as a result of the fire]. Temporary housing for rescued patients was quickly established, as was a morgue. There was also a headquarters for gathering information about the survivors and the deceased. Such headquarters, of course, was needed due to the confusion of the evening and the fact that many survivors were taken to other hospitals miles distant from Effingham County.
The emotion of the evening left its mark on the psyche of the area. The piteous screams of those who were burning or leaping from windows left a mark on the minds of people nearby, memories that could not be forgotten.
. . . The gruesome removal of bodies from the burned out building continued in the days following the fire. But a spirit of renewal and hope swept throughout the county as people began to talk about the need to rebuild the hospital . . . [and eventually enough money was raised to do just that.]
Today is the birthday of Marianne “Mina” (Allwardt) Heiden, my third great grandmother on my father’s side of the family. Mina was born in Germany on 12 Jul 1829. She married Fredrick Carl August Heiden, likely sometime around or before 1853 when their son, Theodore Frederick, was born. When she was 27 years old, she boarded the Charles Fowler ship with her husband and son, and immigrated to Illinois. The family arrived on 20 Jun 1857.
Mina and her family lived in New York for a period of time, then moved to Effingham County, IL. She gave birth to ten children, three of whom died in infancy. My great-great-grandmother, Mary Albertine Heiden Aderman was her sixth-born.
Mina lived a long life of 77 years and died of tuberculosis on 31 Jan 1907.
As we take time today to celebrate the grand experiment of our democracy and the 237 years of freedom we have lived and died for, enjoy this old postcard of someone’s Independence Day parade float.
I have written of my ninth great-grandfather, Captain Thomas Munson. The captain and his wife, Joanna Mew, had three children: Elizabeth, Samuel, and Hannah. Our family descends directly from Samuel, who is the focus of today’s post. Part of Samuel’s task as an adult was to help found the town of Wallingford in the New Haven Colony. He lived there for 11 years, raising his family and contributing to the life of the fledgling community before returning to New Haven. He and his wife, Martha Bradley, had ten children. Martha Bradley has her own rich heritage which will be fodder for future posts.
The following brief biography of Samuel Munson comes from the Historical address of the first Munson family reunion held in the city of New Haven, Wednesday, August 17, 1887. This material was written by Rev. Myron Andrews Munson and published by Tuttle, Morehouse, & Taylor, New Haven, 1887.
The scope of this discourse includes a few glimpses of Thomas Munson’s posterity.
His only son Samuel was by trade a shoemaker, with which that of a tanner was probably combined. He also owned and cultivated farming lands. His military rank was that of Ensign. Early in 1670 he joined with John Mosse, John Brockitt, Nathaniel Merriman, and twenty-two other New Haveners, in the founding of Wallingford, ten miles north-north-easterly. He was nearly twenty-seven, the age at which his father settled in New Haven. His daughter and eldest son had been born before his removal; the next five sons were born during the eleven years of his residence in Wallingford, nothwithstanding which the elder three were born in New Haven, and only Joseph and Stephen in Wallingford; Caleb, and two youngers sons who have no posterity, were born after the return to New Haven in 1681. Ens. Samuel, if we may trust the records, was the first schoolmaster at Wallingford; he was for a time the public drummer; his residence during the early years was the place of public worship, for which some compensation was rendered. He was on the important committee to determine the rules for the allotment of the lands, which were at first all common. At the age of thirty he was elected one of the Townsmen, and he was chosen to the same office the following year and also the last two years he was in Wallingford [1673,1674,1680,1681]. One year he was chosen leather-sealer , another treasurer , two years auditor [1676? 1679], two years recorder of lands [1679, 1681], and five years assessor [1677-1681]. In 1681, at the age of thirty-eight, he was chosen recorder, assessor and townsman, indicating that had he remained in Wallingford he would have been employed very extensively in public service. The first year of Philips’s war , he was commissioned Ensign of the Wallingford Trained Band; next month the colonial council appointed him and another ‘to sign bills;’ and in March following, he and another wrote a letter to the Council in respect to ‘garrison-houses, and watches and wardes.’ In 1679 ‘The Towne made Choyce of En Sam Munson & Eliasaph Preston to goe up to the Hon Gourner . . . to inquire ye Reason why they are deprived of Comission maiestraycy among them.’ After his return to New Haven, he was chosen fence-viewer, constable, and assessor; and during five years, probably ten, beginning with 1683, he and his brother-in-law, Josheph Tuttle, were elected searchers and sealers of leather. For one year, and apparently longer–not unlikely three years, our Ensign was Rector of the Hopkins Grammar School. He died before he was fifty, surviving his father less than eight years. (The Captain’s age was seventy-three.) We may well lament the premature decease of our second ancestor, whose promise and whose performance also had been so admirable. Let it be distinctly recognized, cousins, recognized with veneration, that Ensign Samuel was the common ancestor of all the descendants of Capt. Thomas who bear the Munson name.
Anna Marie Boerner, my paternal grandmother, was born on this day in 1910, in Niagara, WI. She was the youngest of Martin and Katharine (Storch) Boerner‘s seven children (one of whom died a decade before Anna was born). When Anna was six years old, her mother died during a routine appendectomy. The surgeon accidentally cut Katharina’s liver and she bled to death on the operating table.
Young Ann was then raised by her father and older siblings. She married Oscar Aderman on 9 Jun 1930 and they bought her father’s house. Oscar and Ann insisted that they live upstairs with their young children and that Martin continue to live on the main floor.
As a young mother of four sons, she managed her house with vigor and compassion. She was trained in the old pioneer system of “Wash on Mondays, Iron on Tuesday, Mend on Wednesday, Churn (butter) on Thursday, Clean on Friday, Bake on Saturday, and Rest on Sunday.” I do not remember her churning butter, but the rest were a good routine for her.
One of my favorite memories of Grandma Aderman was her fascination with new ways. Even though she was a first generation German-American, her parents having immigrated from Germany, she learned to make raviolis and pizzelles from her Italian in-laws and pasties from the local English miners. She wore the most modern clothes and loved bowling and playing cards and board games. She enjoyed a glass of beer, socializing with her friends and family, and supporting her grandchildren in every way she could. And, of course, she had a grandmother’s hospitality: “Would you like another helping? Say yes.”
I am blessed to have had such a terrific grandmother!