David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - August Hellmund - Answers Found!

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my husband's great great uncle, August Hellmund explaining how I had discovered that he had suffered an accidental electrocution and subsequently was institutionalized and listed as insane.  It was known that he had been at one point released from the institution and in 1930 he was living with his daughter, Evaline and her family.  After his death, he was buried with his wife, Matilda White Hellmund in Elmwood Cemetery, Waterloo, Iowa.   What I had been unable to discover was the circumstances under which August had ended up in the asylum, or what year he had actually passed away.  Contact with Elmwood Cemetery failed to produce any results as they had no actual date of burial listed for August.  It looked as though I had reached the end of the line in terms of what further information I would discover about August Ernst Hellmund.    Until yesterday.

As luck would have it, I received my membership packet from the Ohio Genealogical Society in the mail.  One of the many benefits of membership in the OGS includes access to NewspaperArchive.com and it was the first resource I decided to browse.  My first search request was simply the name "Hellmund" just to see how many "hits" I would receive.  I wasn't disappointed! The list seemed to be full of possibilites.

  One of the newspapers included was The Waterloo Courier in Waterloo, Iowa.  This is the newspaper that had provided so many answers to me previously about the electrocution incident, so I was very encouraged that there might be some further morsels of new information about August.  I wasn't disappointed!
The first article I discovered told me the details of what happened on the night of Tuesday, 23 October, 1914 when August was taken into custody.  Reading it was heartbreaking.  After suffering the agony of the horrendous burns he had received in the initial accident and enduring the skin grafting surgery and 3 month hospitalization afterwards, August began suffering extreme pains in the back of his head.  This surely must have been a sign of severe brain injury. He had lost all use of his arm and he began to have fits of uncontrollable anger and violence, until finally it reached the level where his family and his neighbors had to call the police for help when one night he attacked them with a baseball bat in hand.  How terrible this must have been for him and for the entire family as well.   I take comfort in the fact that he eventually was released from the institution and by 1920 he was again living at home with his family. 

But, this still didn't answer the question regarding his date of death.  As I continued to scan the list of given articles, I discovered what I had been looking for. 

There were actually two accounts of August's death.  The first appeared on Monday, 26 October,  1942, the actual day of his death.  The article explained how he had died as a result of carcinoma and told of how he had been living with his daughter, Stella for the past few years.  It also confirmed the fact that he had been born at sea while his parents were emigrating from Germany, however, the birthdate was slightly different than the one we had believed. 

The second article appeared on Wednesday, 28 October, 1942, and is more of an actual obituary, giving funeral  and family information.
After discovering these articles, I also found information about several of August's children, as well as numerous articles regarding August's sister, Caroline, which appeared in the Piqua Daily Call in Piqua, Miami County, Ohio.  As a matter of fact, in only one day's time, I have created a very large stack of papers that will now need to be sorted and filed accordingly.  But, I'm certainly not complaining.  I love it when I have knocked down another one of those pesky little "brick walls"!

9 comments:

  1. Way to go! Don't you love it when that happens ;)

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  2. Congratulations on breaking through this wall! What a sad tough life it must have been for poor August. Sad.

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  3. Oh wow! What a sad story, but fortunate finds that tell it. How productive and thrilling!

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  4. How awful it must have been for August and his family - what a horible accident. I'm sure you're glad to know the rest of the story though.

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  5. This is such a sad story...it makes me cry when I think about it. I'm glad you were able to find out the entire story on him...may he rest in peace.

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  6. This is a very interesting story. Glad that you saw to find additional facts for August's story.

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  7. Very sad story. Glad you were able to find so much information!

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  8. Lori, What a sad story for August and a wonderful find for you! Congratulations on furthering your search!!

    Regina

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  9. Newspaper Archive is a great benefit of OGS membership! Glad you were able to tear down this brickwall.

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