Category Archives: Fairbury

Sympathy Saturday – Mrs. Samuel Slagel

My great-great-grandmother, Mary (Demler) Slagel, has appeared in a number of posts here, but I had not yet posted her obituary:

MRS. SAMUEL SLAGEL.

Mrs. Samuel Slagel passed away at her home in this city [Fairbury, Illinois] last Friday morning [3 February, 1928] at 11:30 o’clock at the age of 73 years and 16 days.

Mary Demler was born in Baden, Germany, January 17, 1855. When nine years of age she came to this country, locating at Washington [Illinois]. In 1868 the family moved from Washington to Fairbury, and here on November 24, 1875, she was united in marriage to Samuel Slagel, who together with two children, Daniel and Mrs. Paul Hoffman, of near Fairbury, survive. There also survives one brother, August Demler, who lives in the state of Kansas.

The deceased was an excellent wife and mother and will be missed not only in the home but by many friends.

The funeral services were held at the Christian Apostolic church in this city Monday and interment was in Graceland Cemetery.

Mary SlagelOther information about Mary’s death can be found on her death certificate. Signed by Dr. Henry C. Sauer, the certificate notes her cause of death as carcinoma of the stomach, from which she had suffered for two months. Myocarditis was a contributing factor as well.

Mary’s “home in this city,” according to her death certificate, was at 107 East Walnut Street. This 2075-square-foot home was built in 1895 and still stands.

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Sunday’s Obituary – A Grandma by Any Other Name

Lena and Albert Swing

Lena and Albert Swing

Last night Mom and I were discussing family names, and how when she was a child she was grateful that she hadn’t been named after either of her grandmothers because she found their names very old-fashioned.

Lena Agnes Hunkler was born 22 December 1892 in Washington, Illinois (hit by the recent devastating tornado). At 20 years of age she married Albert Carl Swing, and they had three children. After living mainly in Illinois and Indiana, they eventually moved to Texas for Lena’s health. Lena died in Harlingen, Texas, on 13 June 1964 and was buried in Restlawn Cemetery in LaFeria. Apparently this newspaper needed to hire a new editor.

Mrs. Lena Swing

Forrest (PNS)–Mrs. Lena Swing, 71, died at 5 a.m. Saturday in Harlingen, Tex.

The Cox Funeral Home is in charge of services, which will be at 2 p.m. Monday in Harlingen. She was the former Lena Hunkler, and was born Dec. 22, 1892, in Washington, Ill. She married Albert Swing June 18, 1913, in Washington. Surviving are her husband; one son, Roy, Harlingen; two daughters, Mrs. Marilyn DuRuary [sic], Harlingen, and Mrs. Thelma Hoffman [sic], Boise, Idaho [sic]; two sisters, Hilda of Missouri [sic], and Bertha of Texas, and a brother, John Hunkler, who lives near Peoria. She and her husband operated the Swing Transfer Co. in Forrest. They left here 18 years ago to move to Texas.

Emma Alice Slagel was born 5 March 1880 in Fairbury, Illinois. She married Paul Hoffmann on 7 December 1902 in Fairbury, and she gave birth to 10 children. Paul died in a tragic railroad accident four days after their youngest child, Clyde’s, seventh birthday. Emma remained in Fairbury, dying on Christmas Day 1961. She is buried in Fairbury’s Graceland Cemetery.

Services for Emma Hoffman Thursday

Mrs. Emma Hoffman, 81, died at her home, 505 S Fourth, at 11:45 a.m. Monday. She had been ill three years.

Her funeral will be at the Cook Funeral Home at 2 p.m. Thursday, Rev. Peter Schaffer officiating. Burial will be in Graceland Cemetery.

Visitation begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

She was born in Fairbury, March 5, 1880, the daughter of Sam and Mary Demler Slagel. She was married to Paul Hoffman in 1902. He passed away in 1933. She lived on a farm south of Fairbury until moving to town in 1943.

Surviving are three daughters, Mrs. Marie Kilgus, Fairbury; Mrs. Alice Himelick, Kokomo, Ind.; Miss Leona Hoffman, at home; five sons, Joe, Caldwell, Idaho; Sam, Paul, Clyde and Ralph, all of Fairbury; one brother, Dan Slagel, Fairbury; 36 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, a son and a daughter.

She was a member of the Apostolic Church Fairbury.

The family suggests that any tangible expressions of sympathy be in the form of donations to the Cancer Society.

I actually like both “Lena” and “Emma,” but then I tend to like the old-fashioned names best.  Well, usually.  My own grandmothers take the cake in the old-fashioned name department, even if Blanche and Velma were the sweetest grandmas ever.

Blanche Wilson 1926 Confirmation

Grandma Montgomery

Velma Swing Graduation Photo

Grandma Hoffmann

Funeral Card Friday – Burial Arrangements for Paul Hoffmann

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So I’ve defined “funeral card” pretty loosely today – this is the receipt for the funeral arrangements for my great-grandfather, Paul Hoffmann, eighty years ago this week (and reblogged on Sunday). Peter Schaeffer, a fellow church member riding in the first car when Paul Hoffmann drove into the path of an oncoming train in Bucyrus, Ohio, seems to have made the necessary arrangements to have the bodies returned to Fairbury for burial.

Interestingly, Wise Funeral Home is still in operation in Bucyrus and has been since 1845. According to the online Inflation Calculator, the $125 paid to Wise in 1933 is equivalent to $2187.50 today. It is difficult to make comparisons with Wise’s current price list, since I’m not sure what would constitute “crepe cloth casket full trimmed; outside box and personal service.”

I’ve uploaded images of newspaper accounts of the train accident from the Bucyrus News-Journal on my vital statistics page. These accounts can never capture the sorrow that befell the family, however, when 55-year-old Paul was killed so unexpectedly.

Sunday’s Obituary – Marie Hoffmann Bauer

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Marie Hoffmann was the ninth child of Jacob Hoffmann and his first wife, Annette Meyer. She was born in Renaucourt, France on February 11, 1870. At age 13 she made the trip from France to America, and on her 22nd birthday she married George Bauer in Pontiac, Illinois. She and George had a family of nine children: Alline E., Ernest E., Elmer Ernest (who lived only 7 months), Charles George, Edna, Esther Matilda, Leona, Harry William, and Arthur E. The first three children were born in Gridley in McLean County; the remaining children were born in Cissna Park. In 1922 George and Marie moved to 324 W Garfield in Cissna Park; George died on August 25, 1924 at age 61. Marie and her two youngest sons continued to live in the house on Garfield, and it was there that she died (also at age 61) on May 24, 1933. She was buried four days later in the Cissna Park Apostolic Christian Cemetery.

MRS. MARY BAUER

DIED SUDDENLY

AT HOME HERE LATE WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON

HAD BEEN IN GOOD HEALTH ALL DAY

“DEATH NATURAL CAUSES UNKNOWN” STATES CORONER

Mrs. Mary Bauer, 63, fell to the floor in the basement of her home Wednesday afternoon probably stricken with a heart attack, died within a few minutes. She was discovered by her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Mattie (Harry) Bauer, who immediately summoned her own mother, Anna Beer, and sister, Miss Lucille (next door neighbors) and Dr. W. R. Roberts. Although Mrs. Bauer drew a few breaths after being found, life had flickered away before the doctor arrived.

At Coroner W. C. Hotaling’s inquiry that evening testimony was heard that the deceased had been in usual good health that day. She had spent the day canning pineapples. At about 5:05 P.M. she went to the basement to refuel the boiler that was furnishing the hot water for the canning, her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Mattie Bauer, following her to the basement. Mrs. Bauer was in the third room (furthest from the stairs) the daughter-in-law in the second, when she heard the older woman breathing heavily in the other room. Going there she saw her lying on the floor. Mattie immediately called her mother, Mrs. Anna Beer, who lives next door, saw that the doctor was called, and returned to the stricken woman, saw her breathe her last. Dr. Roberts, who arrived within a few minutes, testified to the coroner that night as follows:

“On May 24, 1933, at about 5:15 P.M. I was called to the resident of Mrs. Geo. Bauer, on arrival found her dead, features livid, no heart beat or respiration. I have known the deceased and her family intimately for thirty years. Mrs. Bauer was in good health so far as known. In my opinion, from appearances, death was due to natural causes, either cardiac infarct or cerebal hemmorhage [sic]….”

Mary Bauer, daughter of Jacob and Lizzie Witterich [sic] Hoffman, was born in Alsace Lorraine, February 11, 1870 and died in Cissna Park, Illinois, May 24, 1933, at the age of 63 years, 3 months and 13 days.

The family of Jacob Hoffman lived in the old country until 1883 prior to which time the mother died, and when Mary was 14 years old, emigrated to America where they settled in Fairbury, Illinois. Here, Mary continued her schooling, grew to womanhood, met and married, at Pontiac, on her birthday in 1892, George Bauer. They set up housekeeping in the Fairbury neighboorhood on a farm, and lived there until 1896. In that year Mr. Bauer purchased the farm west of here, known now as the Bauer homestead, and moved onto it. Here the couple raised their family of nine children, lived for over a quarter of a century. In 1922 they moved to town, retired.

In 1924, on the 25th of August, Mr. Bauer died.

The deceased was a long time member of the Apostolic Christian church.
Surviving are eight children, four boys, four girls, who are: Mrs. John Otto (Alline) of southeast of here; Mrs. Sam Yergler (Edna); Mrs. Fred Knapp, Jr. (Leona); Mrs. Wm. Yergler, Jr., (Esther), and Ernest, Charles, Harry and Arthur, all of this locality. Surviving also are twenty-nine grand children and the following brothers and sisters: John Hoffman of France; Joe of Roanoke; Mrs. Phillip Yost (Lena) of Fairbury; Mrs. Sam Stoller, (Carrie) of Peoria; and by the following half-brothers and sisters: Paul Hoffman of Fairbury; Andy and Sam of this vicinity; Mrs. Joe Swing (Lydia) of San Pierre, Indiana; Mrs. Jeff Springer (Maggie) of Danvers, Illinois; Mrs. Orville Farney (Lucia) of south of here. Four other brothers and sisters and one son, Elmer, preceded her in death.

Funeral services will be held on Sunday afternoon leaving the house at 1:00 and later at the Country Apostolic Christian church, where the services proper will be held. Interment will be in the church cemetery.

Sympathy Saturday – Annette Meyer Hoffmann

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Annette Meyer, my great-great-great-grandmother, was born December 13, 1827 in Grostenquin, France. According to her death record, it appears that her mother was named Barbe and was unmarried at the time of Annette’s birth. Annette was Jacob Hoffmann’s first wife and the mother of ten children: Lisa, Anna, John, Catherine Marie (my great-great-grandmother), Magdalena, Sophie, Eugenie B., Caroline E., Marie, and Joseph. Jacob and Annette’s children were born between 1853 and 1872. Two years after the birth of her last child, Annette died on June 26, 1874 in Renaucourt, France at age 46.

Additional details regarding Annette’s life can be found in the “green pamphlet,” which for years represented the totality of my knowledge of our Hoffmann ancestry prior to their arrival in America. This pamphlet was written by Annette’s youngest son, Joseph, in 1952. Joseph describes how his father joined the Apostolic Christian Church in 1855 at age 19, then two years later married Annette. It wasn’t until acquiring copies of the original death records that I learned Annette’s name was officially Anna (thanks again go out to Cousin Daniel!). Joseph further explains that the family lived in Romacourt (apparently “Remicourt“) until 1869, while Jacob worked as a farm hand. The family then moved farther south to Renaucourt, where Jacob intended to lease a farm of his own. As Joseph states in his history of the family, “In June of 1874 father had a very hard blow for mother passed away, leaving him with a large family of children.”

After Anna’s death Jacob remarried, but his plans to stay and farm were unsuccessful after the harsh winter of 1879-1880. Between the weather conditions and an epidemic among his stock, Jacob could no longer afford to stay, and the family decided they would move to America. As has been detailed here in other posts, the majority of the family arrived in Philadelphia on May 16, 1883 and left that same night for Fairbury, Illinois, where Jacob would eventually die and be buried, thousands of miles from his first wife’s resting place.

Family Recipe Friday – Aunt Leona’s Rhubarb Dessert

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Tucked inside Grandma Hoffmann’s recipe binder, amidst all the booklets from Kraft, Good Housekeeping, and Better Homes and Gardens, are a few hand-written recipes. One is for a recipe famous within the family: Aunt Leona’s Rhubarb Dessert. This particular recipe card was written out by Grandma Hoffmann and credited to her sister-in-law. I can imagine Grandma requesting the recipe and writing it out on one of many trips back to Fairbury, Illinois, from Idaho.

Not being a fan of rhubarb, I’ve never had this particular dessert, but I do know from two trips to Fairbury as a child that Aunt Leona was a marvelous cook.  I remember the smell of yeasty, warm buttered rolls in particular, as well as a particular smell Aunt Leona’s house itself had. I’m not the only one to remember that smell, either – the house at 505 S. 4th Street was the scene of many childhood memories for my mother as well, as my great-grandmother and Aunt Leona, who never married, had lived there beginning around 1943. On occasion my own front door here in Virginia has given off that same distinctive odor – is it something about all the woodwork Aunt Leona had in her house? I have also learned that the family who lived in my house from about 1930-1960 had a large rhubarb patch in their backyard garden. Perhaps I ought to plant some…

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Wednesday’s Child – Swing Children

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Today’s “Wednesday’s Children” were the offspring of my great-great-granduncle, Joseph Gilbert Swing and his third wife, my great-grandaunt, Lydia (Hoffmann) Swing. Born August 10, 1861 in Akron, Ohio, he was the youngest child of Karl and Saloma (Bollinger) Schwing. His older brother Albert Carl was my great-great-grandfather. About 1877 he moved with his parents to Livingston County, Illinois. As we have seen, he married Annie Schippee about 1885-1886 and had two children, Walter and Anna. Annie died June 19, 1888, and Joseph married Eugenie Hoffmann (sister of my great-great-grandmother Catherine) on February 23, 1890. Joseph and Eugenie had four children: Joseph John, Mary S., William J. and Jacob G. Eugenie died June 12, 1900 at age 35. Joseph then married Eugenie’s half-sister, Lydia (sister of my great-grandfather Paul) on September 1, 1901.

Joseph and Lydia had a total of eleven children: Eugenie C., Elizabeth S., Harvey A., Christine A., Phillip L., Gilbert L., Caroline L., Edna May, Marjory, Jessie Edward, and Ruth Evelyn. Around 1913-14 the family moved from Fairbury, Illinois, to Stillwell, Indiana. It is at Oak Grove Cemetery in La Crosse, Indiana, that three of the eleven children lie buried.

Joseph and Lydia lost two of their children within little more than two months; Edna May died first, on May 17, 1916, one day after her second birthday, and Phillip on July 24, 1916 at age 8. Five years later, on March 13, 1921, the youngest child, Ruth Evelyn, also died. Joseph himself died July 29, 1949 at age 87; Lydia lived another eight years, dying September 21, 1957.