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Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’

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Our last full day in Anderson was filled with emotion and fun. If you have read this blog for awhile, then you might remember my post – Independent From Birth – about my maternal grandfather’s foster sister, Eva – specifically the following paragrah:

She and her husband split up and divorced, and when Eva was in her early 40s, she discovered that she was pregnant.  The specter of what lay ahead of her would surely be weighing on her mind: an older mother, a single mother, a mother of a grown son, a woman who had limited income.  Any number of reasons would have aided her in her decision to give up her daughter – just as she had been given up.  It was only many years later before Eva died, that she would be reunited with her grown daughter.

I have also written a series of articles concerning the Clues to the Mystery of Clara (Eva’s biological mother). All of the research stemmed from a comment I received on my genealogy web site many, many years ago from a woman telling me she was Eva’s biological daughter. Ever since Lynn and I began communicating way back then, she’s given me what little information she was told. I’ve used that and gone on to find documents and news articles to help her find out more about her biological family. When I knew that I was definitely going to be in Anderson, I made sure Lynn knew our schedule in order for us to finally meet face to face. Little did I know that she had a surprise of her own for me!

When Lynn and her husband pulled in to the motel parking lot to pick us up, I could hardly contain my excitement! As soon as we could, we hugged and laughed. It was as if we had known each other forever. Originally, we had planned to get a pizza and go to one of the parks, but the pizza place wasn’t going to be open for awhile. That’s when she told me that Eva’s daughter-in-law and granddaughter were also going to be with us for the day! I had never met them. The granddaughter (Lynn’s niece) had plenty of questions about Eva as well. We met up with them and they followed us to Culvers for an early lunch. Immediately, we all began pouring over the information about Eva and Clara as well as my grandparents (Eva’s foster parents).

That’s when I told my cousin and her mother that they were about to have their mind blown. We did share a family connection via the foster parent to child connection. BUT – further back – one of Clara’s direct ancestors was the brother of my direct ancestor – on my grandmother’s side. There was a blood connection! It was so thrilling to provide this information that it was hard to eat!

Soon, lunch was over, and we drove over to Mounds State Park and grabbed a picnic table to sit and enjoy the cool day. There was plenty of conversation. Lynn recounted to us how she finally found Eva and was able to talk with her. Her niece recounted meeting Lynn and also talked about her dad – Lynn’s older half-brother. While we were engaged in family history talk, Lynn’s husband and my grandson went to explore the Great Mound. The sky was beginning to turn and threaten rain. Lynn’s niece and sister-in-law had to leave. We took some nice photos before we parted ways.

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Left to right: Wendy, Lynn (seated), cousin “B” and her mom “J”

Lynn, her husband and I drove through Anderson and happened to pass a cemetery. I saw the sign that said “West Maplewood” and then both my grandson and I exclaimed “There it is!” It was the gravestone that had been so elusive to us the last two days! I didn’t realize that West Maplewood Cemetery was off another road than East Maplewood – no wonder I could never find it. So Lynn’s husband pulled in to the cemetery. We all got out and set about exploring.

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The photo above shows the very tall grave marker in the Hawkins family plot. At the upper right is the stone for Coleman Hawkins and below that is for his wife (and my great-great-grandfather’s sister) Elizabeth Blazer Hawkins. For more on their story, please read Mingling of Families and Murder.

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This collage above shows the stones in the Hawkins family plot. Then from bottom left across and then up to top right: Ida E Hawkins (b. 1873 d. 1898); Silas Hawkins (b. 1870 d. 1901); Rufus Hawkins (b. 1866 d. 1896); stone hard to read;  and George G Hawkins (b. 1860 d. 1885).

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In another section of West Maplewood, I found my great-great-grandfather’s (Frank Blazer) and Elizabeth’s other sister, Mary Jane Blazer Webb. She was next to her husband, Marian Webb, and sons: Rufus V Webb and Wilson S Webb. There were several interesting gravestones we saw as we explored the cemetery. From there we went to Frisch’s to eat. Once again, I had the Swiss Miss! We topped off our day at Shadyside Memorial Park in Anderson. Here is a photo I have of my grandfather, Glen R Johnson, as a young boy with sheep at Shadyside in the early 1900s.

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The Terraced Gardens at the park were beautiful. There is also a memorial dedicated to all veterans from Madison county.

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Below are photos of the Veterans Memorial.

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We had spent quite a bit of time at the park when it started to sprinkle. The day was growing late and Lynn and her husband had another couple of hours on the road to get back to their home. Reluctantly, we piled back in to their vehicle so they could drop my grandson and me off at our motel. We said our good-byes, and they left for home. It was time to start packing up to leave the next morning and finish our journey home.

Next: Finding Lincoln

The previous installments of our genealogy road trip can be found here:  Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part FourPart Five, Part Six, Part Seven and Part Eight.

If you would like to read more about Lynn’s biological maternal grandmother, please go to: Clara – the News Article, Who Is Clara Badger?, and  Update and Summary.

(All photos copyright Wendy Littrell, address for private use)

 

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(Links to previous installments are at the bottom of this article.) The morning of July 15 found us leaving Coshocton before 6 a.m. headed south west. I wanted to get to Anderson, Indiana before the afternoon but planned a stop before leaving Ohio. My four times great-grandparents, Adam Goul and Elizabeth (Lutz) Goul, settled in Champaign county by 1817. They were buried at Treacles Creek Cemetery in Goshen township off of South Parkview Road. By the time we arrived at the cemetery, my grandson had gone back to asleep. The only parking was off the shoulder of the road so I woke him just enough to tell him I was going into the cemetery. Luckily, the photos I have seen of the headstones gave me an indication as to the area I should look.

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I found them pretty quickly and took some photos. As I had done in many of the other cemeteries, I talked to them for a few moments before heading back to the car. We drove on toward Anderson, Indiana.

My mom, her older two siblings, and my grandfather had all been born in Anderson. When my mom was just a few years old, the family moved to present day Fairborn, Ohio. Ancestors on my grandmother’s side had lived in Henry county – very close to Madison county so I hoped that I could also visit where they were buried.

When we arrived in Anderson, I realized too late that the hotel sat off the road to the right of the highway, and I was in the left lane. Having lived in the Dallas area for so long, I was used to driving a bit and going around the block to my destination. That is not so in Anderson! I drove a very long way and kept thinking that surely this road will intersect with the highway again – nope, it went right over it without an exit to the highway! Even with that bit of trouble, we arrived at the hotel about 11 a.m. I knew check-in wasn’t until 3 p.m. but I had hoped that they (like the hotel in Coshocton) might let us check in early. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. I was told that it “might” be ready by 2. The first thing we did was find a place to eat – Pizza Hut. Then we drove out to Maplewood Cemetery near the college in Anderson. My grandfather’s parents and siblings are buried there – along with many of my grandfather’s cousins.

With the size of the cemetery, I stopped at the office. I explained to the lady that we were from out of state, and I had hoped to see some of my family member’s graves during the short time I was in town, but I needed to know exactly where they were buried or I would never find them. Her comment: “We really don’t do that.” Before I could pick my jaw up off of the floor, she sighed and asked me “just how many people are we talking about?” Well I knew that anything over 4 was just going to shut her down so I gave my great-grandmother’s name as I knew that some of the others were buried right next to her. The lady made the look up on the computer, retrieved a book from an inner room, and marked down her plot on a map she gave me. I also got the location for my grandfather’s foster sister, Eva’s grave. I thanked her profusely, and then we left the office to follow the map.

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Top Left to Right: Letis W Johnson, Mary A Johnson, Eva L (Johnson) Skinner (my great-uncle & great-aunts)
Bottom: John L Johnson and Katie J (Blazer) Johnson – my great-grandparents

As we were driving through the cemetery looking for other graves, we saw a father and his son crisscrossing many of the roads. I stopped to ask if they were playing “Pokemon Go” – sure enough, they were but had also been visiting his parents’ graves. We thought it was humorous because many of the college students were also wandering through campus and nearby streets playing the game. Needless to say, even though one of the gravestones I was looking for was rather large and next to the road, we never found it. We did stop at the Veterans area and take pictures.

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Finally, we were able to check in at the hotel. I saw several families staying there – so that always makes me feel better about safety. I had booked this place on the advice of my cousin – who I would finally get to meet in person on July 17.

Realizing just how difficult it was obtaining grave location information at Maplewood, I contacted the other cemetery – Grove Lawn – in Pendleton (a few miles down the road). I reached the Town Hall so I explained the reason for my call and was passed off to another woman. She was very helpful and told me she would call me back and email me a map once she had the graves located. It wasn’t too long when she called to apologize that the area I needed to search was the older section and those records had burned in a fire long ago. She told me to check my email for her advice along with the map.

My grandson and I headed off to Pendleton and passed Fall Creek park. I turned into one of the small lanes of the cemetery and stopped. Based on what the lady at the Town Hall told me, I suggested that my grandson head off to the section on his side of the car to start looking for gravestones. As I stepped a few feet back and looked down, there they were! As I believed on Tuesday in Coshocton, it appeared the ancestors wanted to be found!

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Left side – top: Franklin Blazer & bottom: Melissa (Goul) Blazer
Right side: John & Martha Goul (Melissa’s parents)

Over a bit from Franklin and Melissa’s graves were the stones of Franklin’s brother’s family. George and Amanda Blazer are buried near three of their four children: Estella (Blazer) Dilts, John W Blazer, and James Albert Blazer.

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Also, close by were two other members of the family – John F Blazer, son of Franklin and Melissa (my great-grandmother Katie’s brother), and Franklin’s father, John Blazer. There is an area without a gravestone next to the elder John Blazer, and I believe my three times great-grandmother, Mary Ann (Nelson) Blazer, is buried there.

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Left: John Blazer b 1810 d 1873 / Right: John F Blazer b 1859 d 1897

Further back in the cemetery is where I located Melissa’s parents grave – John and Martha Goul. Then I saw John Goul’s brother’s gravestone. It looks like a carved tree trunk.

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Above: Side of headstone for Henry Goul and Bottom: Sarah Shaul Goul

By the time we were finished at Grove Lawn, we headed back to Anderson and the hotel. After a bit of rest and relaxation, the grandson and I went down the street to eat at Cracker Barrel. After supper, the rest of the evening was spent back at the hotel in anticipation of another busy day.

Next: Day Two in Anderson and Vicinity

(Please visit the previous installments for the story up to now! Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, and Part Six.

(All photos copyright Wendy Littrell, address for private use.)

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Pendleton 16 July 2016 Falls Park Monarch Butterfly Garden flowers

Readers may notice that there has been a lull in recent blog posts. This is in part to several things but the most important was a road trip I took in the early part of July. The main purpose for my trip was to fulfill my dad’s wishes to have his ashes interred beside his second wife, Dottie, at Royal Oak Memorial Gardens in Brookville, Ohio – just outside of Dayton.

Once my time in the Dayton area was complete, my 15 year old grandson and I traveled further northeast to my dad’s hometown. I hadn’t visited Coshocton, Ohio since I was a child so it was a joy to be able to see it as an adult especially after extensive genealogical research on the paternal side of my family. After spending a week in Coshocton, I headed west toward home with a three day stop in Anderson, Indiana – my mom’s hometown as well as her dad’s.

Following our twelve day vacation, we began our journey home – stopping in Springfield, Illinois to visit President Lincoln’s home and his tomb.

It was a welcome break for me and even though he wasn’t too thrilled with spending seven hours at the library on one day and two hours another, my grandson enjoyed some perks.

There will be more blog posts to come with details of the what, who, where, why, and how! It was a trip filled with many blessings!

(Digital Photo: Monarch Butterfly Garden at Falls Park, Pendleton, Indiana; 16 July 2016; photographer: Wendy Littrell; copyright 2016. No unauthorized use of photo. Original digital photo in possession of Wendy Littrell – Address for private use.)

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baby mary

By the time I was born, the only set of grandparents still living were my mom’s parents – Glen R and Vesta (Wilt) Johnson. Forget about great-grandparents. My grandmother had four siblings still living: John and Clifford lived in Oregon, Nellie lived in Washington, and Clarence lived in Indiana. John Wilt died before I was old enough to meet him. As far as Clifford, I don’t remember meeting him but I may have as a small child. I knew Nellie from staying at her home in Washington when my parents and I toured the western states and because Aunt Nellie and her husband John Lilly visited Dayton many times. I also remember visiting Uncle Clarence in Indiana almost every year.

It wasn’t until I was almost a teen, that I even learned that my grandfather had an older brother who had died young as well as a younger foster sister, Eva. Apparently, everyone thought Eva had died as well (later I found out that Eva outlived my grandfather). But it never dawned on me until many years ago, even when I had seen her gravestone, that my grandfather had a baby sister named Mary who died before she celebrated her first birthday.

Several days ago, Ancestry published three new databases – Indiana marriage, birth and death records. I immediately began going through them for any new or correct information. Mary appeared on the 1910 census and the Indiana death index (no images) listed her date of death as July 1910. The search term of Mary Johnson 1910 did not bring her up. I tried various ways to find her until I gave up and just entered the month and year of death. Finally, her death certificate was located under Marry L Johnson (her gravestone reads: Mary A Johnson). She is buried at Maplewood Cemetery in Anderson.

Mary died at home – 432 W. 17th street – in Anderson, Indiana at the age of 8 months and 14 days on July 17, 1910. The cause of death was listed as brain tumor and contributory cause was cholera infantum. I had to look that up. Merriam-Webster online defines it as “an acute noncontagious intestinal disturbance of infants formerly common in congested areas of high humidity and temperature.” I am left wondering if the brain tumor killed her or if she had become so dehydrated that her condition deteriorated rapidly.

An interesting thing to note is that my mother’s sister, Genevieve, died from a benign brain tumor. My aunt’s tumor was not cancerous but it was inoperable and 48 years after her baby aunt breathed her last, so did my Aunt Genevieve.

I am also left to wonder if my mother was named after my grandfather’s baby sister. I never heard him speak about his sister or how he felt at her death. He had just turned 11 when Mary was born so he was old enough to remember her short life.

Years ago, I found a crate of large pictures. One of them was of a baby that my mom thought was baby Mary. I don’t know if it is but I have included it above. It seemed that for so many years, she wasn’t talked about. Perhaps my Grandad thought about her when he lost his own daughter, Lois Evelyn, at just six weeks old or when Aunt Genevieve was so ill. But documents pertaining to Mary’s short life have been found – she did live, she did breathe, and she was loved.

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Thanks to a Facebook post on the Indiana Genealogy page yesterday, I learned that three new databases were added to Ancestry.com – Indiana Birth Certificates (1907-1940), Indiana Marriage Certificates (1958-2005), and Indiana Death Certificates (1899-2011). At first, I figured it was just transcriptions of these documents (and we all know that there can be errors in transcribing documents!). Imagine how thrilled I was to find out that these three databases all included scanned images of the records!

After spending almost an hour going through some of the records pertaining to my family and ancestors, I realized that if I didn’t set a time limit for myself, I would be up all night! I found the birth certificates for my mom, aunt and uncle! I found death certificates for some of my extended Wilt relatives. And even though I had said that I had found the last piece of the Johnson/Kirkpatrick puzzle, I was wrong! On Ellen Ora Johnson Moffitt’s death certificate, her mother’s name was listed . . . (drum roll please) . . . Nancy J Kirkpatrick!!! Oh, happy, happy dance!!!

I’m sure I will find even more details that I’ve missed when I go through these documents and some are even sad. I decided to look for the death certificate for Albert Wilt. He was my maternal grandmother’s younger half-brother, son of Joseph Napolean Wilt and Anna Park. Albert’s gravestone bears the years 1917-1933. I did find his death certificate and the cause of death listed was horrible: head crushed by railway tram as he walked along the tracks. His death was ruled an accident. My great-grandfather Joe was the informant but he listed his birth date as August 1, 1914. So was Joe correct and the incorrect birth year was put on the head stone? Whatever the case, Albert was too young and his death was tragic.

So if you have family and ancestors from Indiana, please go check out these three new databases. Perhaps you’ll find some information that can help break down some brick walls.

(Image: Indiana Flag 1903 from Wikimedia Commons; public domain)

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In the past, I have written several articles about Ellen Ora Johnson, her family with Christopher Columbus Moffitt, and how I believed she was the daughter of Jacob M Johnson and Nancy Kirkpatrick. Those articles can be found here: Moffitt Mystery, Moffitt Mystery Part 2, Moffitt Mystery Part 3, Update on Part 3 – Moffitt Mystery, and Mystery Monday – Jacob M Johnson and Nancy Kirkpatrick.

Several months ago, I ran across a news article on Newspapers.com from The Daily Republican (Rushville, Indiana) on page 3 of the January 25, 1908 edition. It read: “Mrs. Nancy Cook of Knightstown visited Earl Atkins and family part of last week.” That one sentence was exciting because it showed a connection between Nancy Kirkpatrick Johnson Cook and the daughter of Ellen Ora Johnson Moffitt. Mrs. Earl Atkins was Lena Moffitt, the second oldest daughter of C.C. Moffitt and Ellen Ora Johnson.

I also located a memorial on Find a Grave for Elva Moffitt Griffith (third oldest daughter of C.C. and Ellen) that included her obituary which referenced Elva as the daughter of “Christopher Columbus and Ellen Cook Moffitt.” There’s that “Cook” name again. I returned once more to what I had found about Nancy Kirkpatrick.

Nancy was reportedly born on July 10, 1844 in Indiana. That birth date is listed on her gravestone located in Center Church Cemetery in Mays, Rush county, Indiana. The marriage record for her and Jacob M Johnson gives a marriage date of January 21, 1858. If both of those dates are correct, Nancy was 13 1/2 years old when she married. That wasn’t unheard of during that era, but it does create reasonable doubt. I believe Nancy was at least 2 years older when she married. People did lie about their ages – or not really know what year they were born so it is possible. In the 1860 US Census of Union twp in Howard county, Indiana, the household included: Jacob Johnson age 26 (putting his birth year at 1833-1834), Nancy Johnson age 23 (putting her birth year at 1836-1837), and Mary age 1 (birth year of 1858-1859). My belief is the name “Mary” was verbalized as “Orey” but the enumerator heard “Mary” or the girl did not have a real name yet so she was listed as Mary. (Many times children of a year or younger may not have been given their life-long name just in case they didn’t survive infancy.)

I couldn’t locate either Jacob or Nancy in the 1870 census but by 1880, Nancy is married to Allison Cook (married in 1865) and living in Center twp of Rush county, Indiana. Nancy’s age is listed as 36 (putting birth year as 1843-1844). There are two daughters and one son in the household: daughter Ollie B Cook is age 13 (birth year about 1867); daughter Martha A Cook is 11 (birth year about 1868-1869), and son Joseph R Cook is 8 (birth year 1871-1872).

By March 1, 1885 the family had moved to Osage county, Kansas and are shown on the Kansas State Census. Nancy is age 40, Allie (Ollie?) B Cook is 18, Martha A Cook is 15, and Joseph R Cook is 12.

In the 1900 US Census of Wayne twp, Henry county, Indiana, the household only includes Allison and Nancy, ages 66 and 46 respectively. It looks like Nancy has not aged very much since the 1885 Kansas census! The information shows that the couple have been married 35 years and that Nancy had 5 children but only 3 were living.

In the 1910 US Census, Nancy is living with her son, Joseph R Cook, and his family on Jefferson Street in Knightstown, Indiana. She is listed as widowed, mother of 4 children but only 3 living. Somehow one child was forgotten in ten years.

Nancy Jane Kirkpatrick Johnson Cook died in Knightstown on September 23, 1914. The death record in the Henry county Health office in New Castle records her as 71 years old.

As for her first husband, and brother to my second great-grandfather, Jacob M Johnson, he disappears after the 1860 census. I did locate his death date as May 26, 1864. So Nancy was a widow when she married Allison Cook – as opposed to a dissolution of marriage.

That is quite a bit of information but there is still nothing that ties Ellen Ora as the daughter of Nancy and Jacob. Luckily, I came across someone who had posted that she was their daughter so I contacted them. I wanted to know if they assumed the relationship based on circumstantial evidence just as I did.

Recently, this person contacted me and said they did have the evidence and would snail mail it to me. Monday, it arrived and was a type written sheet of genealogy information. The person who it originated from was none other than Ellen Ora’s daughter, Bessie Pearl Moffitt Lukens Tanner. The same daughter who had corresponded with my grandparents!

Jacob Marion Johnson has a birth date of May 20, 1833 and a death date of May 25, 1864. Nancy Jane Kirkpatrick was born July 10, 1843 (again, I think Nancy’s birth date is a bit off) and died the day that I have listed. They married on January 21, 1858 and two daughters were born to them: Ellen Ory Johnson and Lucretia Ann Johnson. Lucretia was born December 27, 1861 and died May 8, 1863. She was named after Nancy’s mother, Lucretia Zion.

Nancy married Allison Cook on November 16, 1865 and had three children: Ollie Bell (born November 3, 1866 and died March 22, 1952), Martha Ann (born July 24, 1871 and died August 3, 1887 after marrying William Moffitt in July 1887), and Joseph Rankin Cook – named after Nancy’s father, Joseph Kirkpatrick (born August 24, 1871 and died March 17, 1957).

Publicly, I want to thank Virginia Moffitt for providing the much needed last piece of the puzzle!

(Image: Wikimedia Commons, used under Creative Commons)

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PostcardWinchesterINBigFourRailroadDepotCirca1919

The life of William Blazer began in fraud. His biological father, Albert Hercules, allegedly seduced Blazer’s mother, Estella Blazer, with the promise of marriage – a marriage that never happened. (For the previous installments, please read When He Stood Her Up, Common Sense Prevails for Estella Blazer, and A New Blazer) Yet, the child was born, and then had his mother taken from him probably due to illness just a short time after she wed John T Dilts. Willie was only two years old. His grandparents, George W and Amanda Blazer, raised him to adulthood.

When William was just 19, his grandfather drank carbolic acid and died. A local newspaper (unknown) reported that George Blazer had an argument with his son. That person was his grandson, William (as George’s two sons had died as very young children). George died on Sep 24, 1903 and was laid to rest close to his sons and daughter, Estella, in Grovelawn Cemetery in Pendleton, Indiana. William’s grandmother, Amanda, lived another three years before passing away at the age of 61.

On Jan 4, 1910, William married Nellie Spaulding who had already been married and divorced. William raised her son, Samuel Thomas, as his own. The couple went on to have three more sons: William K Blazer, Raymond Blazer, and Rolla Burnsey Blazer. (Editor’s note: on more than one occasion, the surname is spelled Blazier).

By 1922, William was a detective with the Big Four Railroad (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway). On Dec 3, 1922 Blazer tried to arrest two men who were “train riding” – they had hopped aboard without paying for a fare. The confrontation turned deadly as the men stabbed him and threw him from the train as it went through Farmland, Indiana.

William Blazer headline

When he was found, he was taken to a physician in town before an ambulance was called to take him to Home Hospital in Muncie. It was there that 38 year old William Blazer died from his wounds – never regaining consciousness.

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He left a widow, Nellie, and sons: 10 year old William; almost 7 year old Rayond; and 2 year old Rolla.  He was buried at Maplewood Cemetery in Anderson, Indiana. Thirty one years later, Nellie, would join him in eternal rest.

Though born and died in tragedy, William probably had a good life after he was married and became a father. It is unfortunate that he didn’t live long enough to watch his sons grow to manhood.

(Postcard image of Big Four Railroad, Winchester, Indiana: Wikimedia Commons)
(Headlines: Indianapolis New (Indianapolis, Indiana), “Detective is Stabbed and Thrown Off Train,” 5 Sep 1922, pg 19, Newspapers.com, accessed 3 Feb 2016)

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