Monday, September 1, 2014

Norbert John Vagedes (1918-1932) "52 Ancestors"

Well, it is now week 35 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge and I guess
that some of you are wondering what happened to me after my last post on week 20. It is a long story. Basically, my job was eliminated during sequestration last year. I applied to a new position as Supervisor of the Central Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Program in November and began working in that position at the end of February. The only problem was that it entailed a move to a new office 3 hours south of where I was living. I found a new house in May and we moved in June. Since it was a business move we were provided with movers to pack everything. This is where most of the problems started. They packed things in some sort of random order that only movers are able to understand. During the move they lost parts of many items but the one that impacted me most was the power converter for my computer. It took several more months before they settled our damage claims and I just received a replacement power converter a couple days ago. This is the first time I have been able to use my computer since mid-May. But now that I am up and running I will get back on schedule with my posts.

As is my usual research methodology, I chose a random person in my family tree to start researching tonight. This person turned out to be Norbert John Vagedes. Norbert is my 1st cousin 1 time removed. He was the son of my grand aunt Frances Theresa Garman (1889-1949) and her husband Henry John Vagedes (1884-1962). He was the 7th child of 14 in this family. His father, Henry, was born in Philothea, Mercer County, Ohio on 5 October 1884 to John George Vagedes and Mary Catherine Windker. His mother, Frances, was born in Maria Stein, Mercer County, Ohio on 15 January 1889 to Bernard Emmanuel Garman and Mary Angela Mescher.

Vagedes house today
Source: Google Maps
Norbert was born 5 October 1918 in Coldwater, Mercer County, Ohio. His father was a drill press operator in the local spreader factory at the time. The household was very busy. For example, the
1920 census lists eleven people, six adults and 5 children living in the house at 431 East Walnut Street in Coldwater. The house was built in 1910 and is currently 1,679 square feet with 3 bedrooms. So, who were all the people in the house? Well, Henry (age 35) and his wife Frances (age 30), their children Leonard (age 9), Clarence (age 8), Helen (age 5), Justina (age 3 years 7 months), and Norbert (age 1 year 2 months). Additionally, there was Aloys Garman (age 21), Marie Garman (age 24), Bertha Garman (age 23), Edward Garman (age 23) and Anthony Techleiter (age 24). The Garmans are siblings of Frances except for Marie who was a cousin who had immigrated from Germany in 1913. Aloys and Edward Garman, and Anthony Techleiter worked with Henry in the spreader factory. Marie and Bertha Garman worked in the local overall factory. Norbert's sister Helen had contracted infantile paralysis and as a result the use of one hand and foot were severely affected. Two of Norbert's sisters had died within days of their births, Mary died at 1 day old on 28 June 1911 and Clara died at 2 days old on 25 November 1913.

In the 1930s the family moved to Shelby County, somewhere between Newport and Houston where they took up farming. The family would make regular trips on their horse dawn wagon between Houston, Newport and Ft. Loramie. The route then, as it is today, was by State Route 66. If you drive this route today you will notice the turns and hills that make it somewhat dangerous to travel at high speed. On 7 May 1932 the sun had set around 8:00 pm and Henry was returning from Ft. Loramie at about 8:30 pm after buying Norbert new shoes and Justina a new dress. Norbert (age 13) and daughter Justine (age 16) were sitting up front in the buggy with their father and Norbert was handling the reins. Also travelling in the same direction on their way to Covington were Charles Abbott and Frederick Anthony. Fred was a southpaw pitcher for the Ft. Loramie baseball team. As the car driven by Charles Abbott approached the buggy he was blinded by the lights of an approaching vehicle and struck the buggy from behind. The buggy was dragged 50 feet down the road before it came to a stop. Charles escaped the accident with minor cuts. Fred sustained severe lacerations to his left arm and hand, ending his season as a pitcher. The car was partially demolished. Henry, Norbert and Justina were thrown from the buggy. The horse's neck was penetrated several inches deep with parts of the buggy but it was treated and survived the accident. Henry received cuts and bruises along with two fractured ribs while Justina had cuts and bruises and a part of the buggy penetrated her side. Both were taken to the office of Dr. F. J. Raterman in Ft. Loramie for treatment and Dr. H. J. Gudenkauf was also called to treat them. Later that evening, Justina was taken to the home of Albert Francis, near Newport, so she could rest. Her father was taken home after he was treated. It was about 6 months before Justina and her father recovered enough to do their regular duties around the farm. However, Norbert was not as lucky. He suffered a broken neck and fractured skull. He held on for several minutes while the local priest, Rev. Fr. Rufin Baranski administered the last sacraments and then past away. His body was transported to the home of Philip Sayder, in Newport, and then moved to the Heinl funeral home in preparation for the burial. The funeral was held at 9 am on Tuesday, 10 May 1932, in Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church and the burial followed in the church cemetery.

Norbert Vagedes headstone, Sts. Peter & Paul Cemetery
An investigation into the cause of the accident was performed and it was determined that the combination of driving the buggy after dark without a taillight and the blinding light from the oncoming vehicle were the causes of the accident. The death was determined to be accidental.

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