Monday, April 6, 2020

Pandemic of 1918

   In week three of the President's  "guidelines" and week two of the county's "Stay at Home" order what is a genealogist to do? I decided to see how my ancestors were impacted by the other great pandemic. 
   First of all, I have a first hand account of what my grandfather experienced.  He was in the Army stationed in Vermont while undergoing Signal Corps training.  He writes:

"It was the first of October I got a Special Delivery letter from Dr. Peter Berns stating that if I wanted to see my Grandmother Tendick alive I would have to come home at once. I took the letter to the Commandant and he informed me we were scheduled to leave soon but he did give me a 72 hour leave – If I made all connections on time, I would have but 6 hours after arriving at Terre Haute until I had to catch a return train there. I decided to try it, caught a train at 11 pm at Burlington and before the train pulled out an orderly was calling my name out. The commandant decided to give me 24 hours longer leave. Spent most of my leave with my grandmother and Mom of course. The stay was short and Grandmother died before I got back to camp.

On arrival back at camp the Flu had invaded it. They used our floor for an emergency hospital. I saw several of my buddies die. After about a week I took it too. It got to be a problem to handle the sick. I was taken to an emergency hospital set up in the basement of a Methodist Church. Evidently we had good care there for all 24 of us survived. The latter part of October we got orders to be shipped to the Signal Corp Embarkation Camp – Camp Alfred Vail, Little Silver, N.J. so we got our last look at Mount Mansfield and The Camels Hump already covered with snow, at beautiful Lake Champlain and Plattsburg, N.J. direct across the lake and far to southwest, Fort Ticonderoga."

  He didn't go into a lot of detail, but it did show how quickly the flue had spread through the camp. He had been gone just four days and returned to camp full of flu victims. And since they were using his floor as a ward, he also caught it. Luckily within a couple of weeks he was well enough to be shipped to New Jersey.

Burlington Daily News,
01 October 1918, page 2
Burlington, VT

Alfred W. Moehlmann, Oct 1918, Linton, IN
Home on leave
from Moehlmann Family Collection

Burlington Free Press,  07 Oct 1918, pg 8
Burlington, Vermont

There were 20 men with influenza in the first article and six days later there were 126.  Here is the paragraph from the above article about the service men:
There are now 126 men under treatment at the Mechanic' and Signal Corps' schools according to the report given out by the university authorities yesterday. During the last two days there have been nine new cases of pneumonia, eleven Saturday and five yesterday. There have been three deaths bringing the total up to eleven."

 This is the only direct ancestor that I found that contracted the Spanish influenza. However, there were many cousins. The next posting will be about a cousin of Alfred's.  

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Where Were They 100 Years Ago? part 3

Where Were They 100 Years Ago?

This week Randy Seaver's SATURDAY NIGHT GENEALOGY FUN  challenge is: Where were they 100 Years Ago? 

1)  Determine where your ancestral families were on 18 May 1919 – 100 years ago.

2)  List them, their family members, their birth years, and their residence location (as close as possible).  Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

I have accounted for seven of my maternal ancestors in 1919.  I had miscounted in my last post.  So to clarify, my Great-great grandmother Margaret Schmidt Bovenschen, her son William and his wife Sena (Heitman) Bovenschen and their daughter Helen were in one household.  The my great grandfather Fredrick Moehlmann, his ex-wife Mathilda Tendick and their son Alfred Moehlmann were also living in 1919. That is a total of seven.   In 1919 there were four ancestors in my father's line that were living in Indiana.

My great grandmother Mary Elizabeth (Adkins) Sargent  in June of 1918 was living in Linton, Greene, Indiana according to her son Hobart's WWI registration. Hobert was married in January of 1919 in Vanderburg County and living in Evansville, Indiana. In the 1920 census Mary is living with her son and daughter-in-law in Evansville.  So it not certain at what point she joined them, but I think she was probably at 1124 S. 8th Sreet in Evansville.  That home no longer exists.

Martha Emmaline (Davis) Houchin (1854-19440), my great grandmother, married her second husband on May 29, 1919 in Pike County, Indiana. Since the death of her first husband in 1911 until her second marriage she lived in this house in Glezan, Pike, Indiana.

Adding my two paternal great grandmothers brings the total to nine ancestors living in 1919.  The next post will include the final two ancestors.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Where Were They 100 Years Ago? part 2

Where Were They 100 Years Ago?

This week Randy Seaver's SATURDAY NIGHT GENEALOGY FUN  challenge is: Where were they 100 Years Ago? 

1)  Determine where your ancestral families were on 18 May 1919 – 100 years ago.

2)  List them, their family members, their birth years, and their residence location (as close as possible).  Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

My last post had my Bovenschen ancestors and this post will my Grandfather Moehlmann's side.  This line had three ancestors living in 1919.  My Great great grandfather, Frederick August Henry Moehlmann, 1868-1941, was living at 526 E Sanders Street in Indianapolis, Indiana according to the 1919 Indianapolis phone directory:

According the  1920 census, Fred is a boarder in the home of Henry and Elizabeth Hemmelgern and their three teenage sons.  As far as i know there is no relationship between the two families and Henry works in a saw mill while Fred works for the railroad.  In fact Fred had lived at three different addresses since the death of his father in 1911.  After his divorce in 1907 he had lived in the home of his parents.

Fred's ex-wife, Mathilda Tendick 1872- 1970, my great grandmother, was living in 1919 on the family farm in Greene County, Indiana.  In the household was her son Alfred (1894-1974) who had just been discharged from the Army in January and her brother Dedrick.  Mathilda's mother had just died in October 1918.  This is the only picture I have of the small wood frame house, taken in 1918.

So far I have accounted for six ancestors on my maternal side that were living in 1919. In the next post I will look at the ancestors on my paternal side.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Where Were They 100 Years Ago?

This week Randy Seaver's SATURDAY NIGHT GENEALOGY FUN  challenge is: Where were they 100 Years Ago? 

1)  Determine where your ancestral families were on 18 May 1919 – 100 years ago.

2)  List them, their family members, their birth years, and their residence location (as close as possible).  Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

I always enjoy these challenges.  However, while I usually try to answer them, I haven't done it in a post.  I was surprised to find that I had 11 ancestors living in 1919 and all of them were in Indiana. 

On my maternal side, there were three generations, with four of my ancestors, living in this home farm of William Bovenschen in Greene County, Indiana.

My oldest ancestor living in 1919 was my Great-great grandmother Margaret (Schmidt) Bovenschen.  She was born in Germany in 1842 and immigrated about 1850 with her parents, settling in Greene County, Indiana.  She married Dedrick Bovenschen in 1862.  In 1911 Dedrick died and she moved in with her son William, my great grandfather (1866-1947). 

In the 1919 household were William, age 52 and his wife Gesena (Heitman), 52, and their children: Grace age 25, Helen age 23 - my grandmother, Tressa age 20, Bernice age 18, Ruth age 15 and Wayne age 11 and William's mother Margaret, age 77. Anna their oldest daughter had already married.

The Bovenschen farm was 272 acres with a large brick house.  These are the only pictures I have and they were taken at family events in 1920 and 1921. The house is no longer standing. In his later years William leased the land for coal mining and then after his death the family sold the land.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Marriage of Thomas McDonald Sargent and Berha Lee Houchin

Bertha Lee Houchin was born in  Martin County, Indiana.  Thomas McDonald Sargent was born in Pike County, Indiana.  They met in Greene County, Indiana.  The Sargent's had moved to Greene County after the death of the father in 1898.  Bertha's oldest sister, 15 years older, was living in Linton with her husband and five children. Bertha had gone to visit her and met her future husband.

 Petersburg Pike County Democrat, September 6, 1907, Petersburg, IN,

I don't know if they met on this particular occasion, but it sounds like she was doing more than just helping her sister with five small children.

Berha Lee Houchin

This postcard was sent to Donald in November of 1909 just a few weeks before they were married.

Mr Donal Sargent
Linton, Ind.
      How are you by this time. I am OK. Would like to see you. Will close From
                          nihcuoH arhtreB

The backwards writing on the mirror on the front says "I wish you were with me"  and she signed her name backwards as well.

Donald Sargent

Bertha and Donald were married on December 13, 1909 in Petersburg, Pike, Indiana.
They are my paternal grandparents.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Weddings of My Great Great Grandparents in Germany

Two sets of my great great grandparents had marriages that occurred in Germany.

 Ida Sophia Mathilda Krentler was 26 years old in 1867. She was the eighth of fourteen children. Her mother had died the year before. Also in 1866 two of her brothers had immigrated to the United States.  She had a big decision to make. Frederick Henry Wilhelm Moehlmann had asked her to marry him. Little is know about his family but both of his parents had died, his mother 10 years prior and his father six year before. He had only one full brother and three half brothers. But I think her decision was more than just getting married. Frederick also wanted to goes to the United States.

So on August 16, 1867, in Meisen, Schaumburg, Germany the two were married.  But the parish record sheds light on how difficult the decision must have been, for there was a notation "Very short notice/time given for the intention of marriage. They married at 7 in the evening because their ship is going to America."  Just how long they had to get to Bremen and set sail is not known but just 17 days later, on September 2, 1867, Ida and her new husband arrived in New York to start their new life.

They lived in Indianapolis and raised a family of nine children during their 42 year marriage.
Fredrick Henry Wilhelm and Ida Sopia Matilda (Krentler) Moehlmann

The other set of great great grandparents that were married in Germany followed a much different path.  Peter Tendick and Katrina Kukes were married in Neukirchen, Rhineland, German on January 14, 1858.  Katrina was 20 and Peter was 21. Katrina's mother had died shortly after Katrina's birth. Katrina's only brother, six years older, had immigrated to the United states four years earlier.

Katrina and Peter raised a family of 10 children before they came to the United States.  In 1889 they made the long journey with their four youngest children. They came to rural Greene County, Indiana where Katrina's brother and his family lived. Their oldest daughter had immigrated two years prior. Their two oldest boys who were already married remained in Germany.

Katrina (Kukes) and Peter Tendick

Katrina and Peter lived to celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary.

Katrina and Peter's daughter Matilda Tendick married Fredrick and Ida's son Fredrick Moehlmann.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Marriage of Mathilda Tendick and Frederick Moehlmann 1893

There isn't much documentation for the marriage of my great grandparents.  Mathilda had gone to the big city of Indianapolis leaving the home farm of her parents shortly after her immigration to the States from Germany in 1889.

It's not really known how she met her future husband, but there is a picture of her with her future sister-in-law. So it may have been through that relationship. Both ladies were name Mathilda.

Mathilda Moehlmann & Matilda Tendick

Just two weeks before their wedding, Fred purchased a home. 

The Indianapolis Journal, 07 Nov 1893, Tue, Page 7

The notice in the paper for the couple getting there marriage license is the only mention of them in the paper.  Fred was 25 and Matilda was 22. No  wedding announcement was made. They were married in Indianapolis, not Greene county where her parents lived.  I don't even know if other family members attended.

The Indianapolis Journal, 19 Nov 1893, pg 2

Matilda (Tendick) and Frederick Moehlmann
Wedding 1893

The Moehlmann Home at 1611 Spann Ave, Indianapolis, IN c. 1905
Matilda Tendick Moehlmann and son Alfred.