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Henry Aderman’s Short Life and Tragic Death

October 2, 2011
Henry Aderman
Henry C. Aderman

Henry Aderman, son of Ferdinand and Mary (Heiden) Adermann, died at the young age of 23 when there was an explosion at the coal mine at which he worked. The Altamont News reported “he was helping to remove slack when an explosion took place, causing him and two other workmen to fall into the crater of a small volcoma.”

Following is a news article about the tragedy and some of the published obituaries at his death. This information comes from Our Family Genealogies.

Small hope was held forth late last night for the recovery of H. F. Aderman, Lincoln man, who with two others was injured yesterday morning by a terrific explosion of the refuse pile at the Peerless Coal company mine, two miles northeast of the city. Spontaneous combustion is believed to have caused the blast.
Badly burned on the body and his lungs weakened by gas, Aderman’s condition was termed as critical by physicians at St. John’s hospital.
Aderman and J. F. Ingram, also of Lincoln, were probably saved from instant death by the action of the foreman, Fred Bane, Rural Route No. 8. Himself blinded and almost suffocated by the gas, Bane ran to their assistance and aided them in getting away from the miniature crater that was shooting flames to a great height.
Ingram, whose home address is 322 North Sherman street, Lincoln, was burned on his face and suffered from the gas. Bane was gassed while rescuing his two companions. Both Ingram and Bane were taken with Aderman to the hospital where they are receiving treatment. Their condition is not dangerous.
The Lincoln men were employed with the steam shovel crew at the mine, until recently known as the Jones & Adams and were temporarily residing in this city. Their wives were notified of the accident and came to their bedsides in the afternoon. Aderman’s home in Lincoln is at 1106 Sixth street.
Following the blast, the entire refuse pile became a mass of flames and a shovel outfit valued at $7,000 was completely destroyed.
The explosion was of peculiar origin Foreman Bane, of the crew, stated that he had never known of such an accident before. The men were working on top of the pile of shale and the shovel sank into the smoking interior. There was a puff of gas and flames arose, the action resembling a volcano.
Rain and change of weather is supposed to have caused combustion. The dampness of the pile is believed to have acted on the sulphur and other minerals until when air reached the smouldering mass it broke into fire. Few men were at the mine at the time of the accident, because no work underground was scheduled for the day.

(Previous article from Illinois State Journal, 21 May 1919, p.13, Springfield, Sangamon, Illinois, USA)

Notice of Death: HENRY A. ADERMAN
Aderman, Henry A. at 2:40 a.m. Wednesday, May 21, 1919, at St. John’s hospital of accidental injuries, at the age of 23 years. Remains removed to Bisch’s, and last night taken to the home at Lincoln where funeral services will be held and interment made.
Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Leatta Aderman; two sons, Raymond and Virgil; one daughter, Marie; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Aderman; four brothers and five sisters.

(Previous obituary: Illinois State Journal, 22 May 1919, p. 7, Springfield, Sangamon, Illinois, USA)

Henry Adermann, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ferdinand Adermann, was born at Altamont on April 21, 1886 and died as a result of an accident which occurred at a mine near Springfield on May 21, 1919, his age being thirty three years and one month. He was helping to remove slack, when an explosion took place, causing him and two fellow workmen to fall into the crater of a small volcano. His burns, severe indeed, caused his death after several hours of agony.
He was married to Miss Lotta Cross and to this union two sons and a daughter were born. In addition to the sorrowing wife and children, Mr. Adermann leaves his parents, five sisters and four brothers to mourn his sad and unexpected departure.
Mr. Adermann was confirmed in the church of his parents, the Lutheran Church, when a young man and he was honest, industrious citizen, a good husband and a loving father. His wife, children, parents and brothers and sisters are in deep sorrow over his tragic end. They need and have our sympathy.
Funeral services were conducted from the residence of the parents on Friday afternoon last by Rev. W. H. Day, pastor of the Presbyterian Church. Burial was at Union Cemetery.

(Previous obituary: Altamont News, 4 Jun 1919, Altamont, Effingham, Illinois, USA

 His Family Adjusts

Henry had married Lotta Cross in 1913 and they had three children at the time of his death. They were pregnant with their fourth child, Lawrence, who was born and died on January 11, 1920. According to the Illinois Death and Stillbirth records, Henry had been a fireman.

Soon after his death, Lotta and her children moved to Kincaid, Jackson County, IL. According to the 1920 U.S. Census, she was living with her mother, Samantha Asbury, age 61. Samantha was the grandmother of the three children and had another grandson, Milton Cross, living with her as well. Samantha was also a widow at that time.

1920 US Census showing Lotta and children living with her mother.


By the time of the 1930 U.S. Census, Lotta had married Harry LeRoy Gregg and moved to Redondo Beach, Los Angeles County, CA. She and the children lived the rest of their lives in California.*

*California Death Index, 1940 – 1997; files.

From → Aderman/Bates

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