Saturday, May 25, 2013

Robbed in Elevator!

Joseph E. Spanheimer was born in Germany on 16 Mar 1876. His twin sister, Rosa, older sister Martha, and his parents George and Margaret Spanheimer arrived from Germany by way of Rotterdam to New York aboard the P Caland on 9 Nov 1885. 

Scant records have been located of the family's movement in the intervening six years, but at some point before 1891 he and his family move to Chicago, Illinois. His older sister, Martha marries that year to John Peter Schmidt. Around that time that he files for naturalization, his twin sister, Rosa,  enters the the St Francis Convent and becomes Sister Mary Edmund. 

Perhaps the not biggest even in his life but definitely newsworthy, while working as a payclerk for the Central Steam and Laundry Company, he is robbed in an elevator in Chicago in Dec 1896. It made the front page, likely because it was involved the payroll of  so many workers and it was in broad daylight.

  Found on

On the next page, we are greeted with an artist's rendering of the event.

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The accompanying text:
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We can also find, only three month's later, that the criminals have been brought to trial. Morris Winters pleads guilty. Interesting that Morris Winters isn't mentioned in the original robbery story. Justice was sure swifter then.

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Later that same year of 1897,  he is granted naturalization and marries a fellow German immigrant, Frances Marie Scock. They go on to have nine children. They loose Louise at age 2 1/2 to a household drowning accident in 1910. Six years later, Joe Spanheimer has to bury his wife and his twin infants, George and Helen, in 1916. His wife, Frances, languished two months after her two-week old infants perished before she succumbs to her ailments. In 1917, Joe sells their home:

In their new home, his eldest daughter, Delores (and my husband's grandmother), ends up mothering her remaining siblings. Joe remarries a widow, Anna. Joe's children, perhaps not enjoying the new arrangement seem to leave the home and emancipate early. 

Sources: Source Citation: Year: 1885; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237; Microfilm Roll: 491; Line: 50; List Number: 1388.
Source Citation: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950 (M1285); Microfilm Serial: M1285; Microfilm Roll: 151.
Source Information: Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: "Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916–1947." Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010. Index entries derived from digital copies of original records.

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