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A Tragic Double Murder and Suicide

June 2, 2013

Fredericke (Bergemann) Adermann has been written about earlier. Her three younger children (and possibly their older stepbrother, Ferdinand) are assumed to have immigrated with her to Illinois, the best records indicating they sailed over on the S.S. Klopstock, arriving on August 25, 1875.*

Her oldest son, Ferdinand (my second great grandfather), was born of Fredericke and Christian Adermann. After arriving in the U.S., Ferdinand remained in Effingham County, Illinois and worked on the railroad throughout his adult life. Fredericke’s second son, August Frederick, born through her marriage to William Adermann, lived in Effingham County, Illinois as a boy, but by 1900 had moved to Martin County, MN, where he made his living as a farmer. He and his wife, Martha (Bolter), had a daughter and four sons.

Their third oldest son, Herman Erwin, was born July 15, 1910. He married Marian Laura Becker on March 27, 1937 in Minneapolis, MN. In 1954, they adopted 8-year old Charles and in 1955 they gave birth to a daughter, Joyce Colleen.

Herman Aderman

Herman Aderman

Marian Aderman

Marian Aderman

Charles Aderman

Charles Aderman

Herman and Marian’s lives came to a tragic end on June 2, 1980 when Charles shot them in their home and then killed himself. Here is the news report from The Amboy Herald, dated June 12, 1980:


The neighboring communities of Amboy and Vernon Center were still in a state of shock this week following the tragic shooting deaths of Herman Aderman, age 69, his wife Marian, age 66, and their 32 year old son Charles Aderman, of Brooklyn Park, at the elder Aderman’s farm south of Vernon Center last Monday.

According to the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Department, Herman and Marian Aderman were apparently each shot once in the head with a 22 caliber rifle, by their son who then took his own life with the same rifle. Following an investigation, Blue Earth County Sheriff LaRoy Wiebold said his office did not have the evidence to make a judgement about motivation for the shootings, and indicated that the question would not be pursued.  “Speculation is useless,” Wiebold said.

The victims of the shooting were discovered Tuesday night by Steve Spence, Vernon Center, who rents part of the Aderman farmland. County Sheriff deputies were immediately dispatched to the farm and sealed off the area during their investigation. Residents of the area around the Aderman farm were involved in the investigation as officials attempted to determine both the time of the shootings and reasons for it happening.

People who knew the Aderman family are trying to pinpoint the reason for the shootings, but come up with no clues as to why the shootings occurred. “They loved Chuck from the day that he came to live with them,” said one neighbor of the Adermans and their adopted son. “Who can ever guess why it happened, but we know Chuck couldn’t do it in his right mind.”

It is known that Charles Aderman was scheduled to appear in Hennepin County District Court for sentencing on two counts of assault in connection with an April 9 incident in Brooklyn Park in which he threatened his wife and a male friend of hers with a 22 caliber rifle. Aderman had pleaded guilty to the assault charge and was staying temporarily at his parents’ farm home awaiting his court appearance.

Friends of the family say it is difficult to isolate what factors were instrumental in the tragic shooting and suicide. “There were an awfully lot of things going against Chuck,” explained a former classmate, “dating back years and years. Herman and Marian never stopped loving Chuck though.” A poem read at the funeral services Saturday, taken from a book of Marian’s favorite poetry, expressed what family members and friends say portrayed their feelings about their adopted son.

Mother’s Tribute to My Son

Wilted flowers in a bunch,
A very hungry, “What’s for lunch?”
Untied shoes and dirty hands,
His pockets filled with rubber bands.

Birthday parties, baseball games,
Teddy bears with silly names,
Cowboy hats and fishing trips,
Discovering gold on pirate ships.

Santa Claus, electric trains,
Finding puddles when it rains,
Skinned up knees and broken toys
Fill the world of little boys.

But just as part of Nature’s plan,
My little boy is now a man,
And I no longer dry the tears
That filled my life for all those years.
My world of noise and hurried hugs,
Of worms and frogs and ladybugs–is gone.

But I cherish special times,
Bedtime stories, our made-up rhymes,
Chocolate cakes, the games we’d play,
And how we’d chase bad dreams away.

We had songs to sing, secrets to keep,
Prayers to be said before falling asleep,
A kiss goodnight, Now a day’s play done,
Thank you, God, for my wonderful son,     –Leslie Petty, Liberty, MO.

One family member struggled with the fact that Chuck’s personality was one factor that would probably never be fully understood. “Chuck’s first seven years of life were terribly traumatic and we’ll never know how much damage was done before he was adopted by Herman and Marian. Before being adopted, Chuck was a victim of a foster home shuffle and also suffered physical abuse that surely had a serious effect on him.”

In his eulogy at services last Saturday, Rev. Clifford Rogers stressed the importance of a child’s early years and the long-lasting impacting of those years. “The family realizes that Chuck is not to blame for everything that happened,” a close friend said Monday.

*Source Citation: Year: 1875; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237; Microfilm Roll: 399; Line: 9; List Number: 785.

From → Aderman/Bates

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