Monday, February 11, 2013

Joseph Matthias Meyer (1895-1988)

I missed my post yesterday. There are just too many things going on right now so I wasn't able to concentrate on writing a post. Luckily I did one post at the end of January just in case I missed a day of writing. This post will be on my 2nd cousin 3 times removed, Joseph Matthias Meyer. The interesting thing here is that he is not related to me on the Meyer line, like most people would assume (or at least I have not found a link there yet). He is actually related on my Westerheide line. We share the same ancestors, my 4th great grandparents, Johann Heinrich Poppelman and Maria Adelheid Arkenberg, back in Germany. I chose to write about him because of the great tragedies that he had to endure during his life.

Joseph Matthias Meyer was born on 5 November 1895 to John Herman (1857-1935) and Catherine Baumer Meyer (1862-1934) near McCartyville, Van Buren Township, Shelby County, Ohio. His father owned a farm where Joseph grew up along with his 15 siblings. Joseph's siblings were Anthony J (b. 1881), Elizabeth Catherine (1883-1917), Louis D (b. 1884), Cecelia Josephine (1886-1978), George H (b. 1887),  John R (b. 1888), Rosa M (b. 1890), Kittie E (b. 1892), Rosa (b. 1892), Frank Christopher (1893-1966), Dorothy C (1898-1986), Charles G (1899-2001), Adolph V (1901-1988), Anna (1903-1985), and Veronica (1906-1973). Joseph finished 8th grade, which was customary for the children of farmers during this period. Joseph was still living on the family farm and working as a farm hand at the time he registered for the World War I draft.

On 11 February 1919, Joseph married Henrietta E Altermatt (1896-1986). He continued the family practice of farming on his own land in Turtle Creek Township, Shelby County, Ohio. In the 1920 US Census, he is listed as owning a farm with a mortgage and having a 1 month old son, Vernon.

The 1930 US Census lists Joseph (age 34), his wife Henrietta (age 34), and seven children; Vernon (age 10), Cleona (age 9), Kenneth (age 7), Wilma (age 5), Lawrence (age 3), Irene (age 2), and Viola (age 5 months). Additionally, his mother-in-law, Mary Carroll (age 69) is living with the family.

Children of Joseph Meyer
The family suffered a streak of tragedy in 1935. In January, five of the younger children contracted the whooping cough and a short time later, ten of the eleven children contracted the measles. The children appeared to be recovering from these illnesses when those that had whooping cough developed pneumonia. Mary Louise, their youngest daughter, born 25 September 1934, was the first to die. She had been ill with pneumonia for a week and died on 24 January 1935. She was buried in St. Patricks Cemetery on 26 January. I can't imagine having a 4 month old child suffering with pneumonia. That must have been hard on the family. The second death occurred ten days later on 3 February when Alberta Jean succumbed to pneumonia. Alberta was 2 1/2 years old. Of the nine surviving children in the family, two more were ill with pneumonia. Alberta's funeral was held on 5 February. The next to succumb was Carl. Carl died on 6 February 1935 at the age of 1 year and 4 months. The fourth child, Margaret, age 4 years 2 months, died on 7 February. The funerals for Carl and Margaret were held on 9 February. To add to the loss, Joseph's father, John Herman Meyer, died from pneumonia a little over a month later, on 31 March 1935, at the age of 77. Joseph's mother had died a year earlier, on 26 July 1934, at the age of 71.

In 1940, the family farm is valued at $2,500. Joseph (age 44), his wife Henrietta (age 44) and nine remaining children Vernon (age 20), Cleona (age 19), Kenneth (age 18), Wilma (age 15), Lawrence (age 14), Irene (age 12), Viola (age 10), John (age 4) and Joseph (age 1) are living in the home. Kenneth is working on the farm. His brother Vernon is employed as a machinist with an income of $1350/year. Joseph registered for the draft for World War II at the age of 46. He lists his employer as Monarch Machine Tool Company, in Sidney, Ohio. One thing I like about the 1940s time frame is the phone numbers. His phone number was Circle 224 (just in case you wanted to call).

At least two of his sons were veterans of World War II. Vernon was an Army veteran and Kenneth was a Navy veteran. Kenneth died on 7 February 1962 at the age of 39 from injuries caused by an automobile accident on Interstate 70. Joseph's wife Henrietta died on 10 February 1986 at a long term care facility in Minster, Ohio. She was 89 years old at the time. Two years later, on 5 December 1988, Joseph died at Joint Township Hospital in St. Marys, Ohio at the age of 93.

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