Friday, June 22, 2018

John Kuck Dies At May Hospital

I took a brief trip up to our urban jungle which has a historical center that carries thousand of newspapers on microfilm from across our state. According to its records, it had the newspaper where my three times great grandparents lived from the early 1860's onward. I had hoped to search the paper during the time of the diphtheria epidemic that killed my three times great grandmother Mary and five of her seven children in the space of three months. I have copies of the death notices already, but wanted to read the "around town" section to see who was coming and going in hopes that it might mention Mary's parents visiting. This is important because I don't know the names of Mary's parents. It was a long shot but it became a much longer shot when I got there and they were missing the decade of microfilm that covered that period of time.

I started reading the microfilm from 15 years earlier when they just arrived in town but at that period of time, there was very little written about the comings and goings of its residents. I did find that John took an add in the newspaper for a month advertising his new saddle and harness shop so that was sort of interesting. But I knew I probably wasn't going to find anything else of use to me so I skipped onto later decades which were also hit or miss if they were there. In the end, I did find an obituary for John Kuck which is unusual in itself. Very few people had as large of a write-up as he received which shows his stature and wealth in the community.

The one clue that it did offer about my three times great grandmother Mary is that it stated she immigrated "some time after her husband". I've never been able to track down an immigration record for her because Mary Meyer was a somewhat common name so perhaps I might be able to use this information to my advantage someday. For now however, I can cross this exercise off my to-do list at least until someday when I can get up to northeast Iowa and spend some time.

It also said that my three times great grandfather had married a third time which was news to me. This might explain why precious few photographs or relics of my three times great grandfather exists among those who descended from his first two wives.

To create something google searchable, here is the transcript of the above article.

John Kuck Dies At May Hospital

John Kuck was born near the city of Bremen, in the Kingdom of Prussia, Germany, December 5th, 1836, and died at Charles City, November 1st, 1916, hence was 79 years, 10 months and 26 days old at the time of death.

Deceased was the son of Henry and Anna (Gerken) Kuck and was one of a family of eight children of which he was the third son. He attended school in his native land until he was sixteen years old and then sailed for America alone. Landing at Baltimore after having been at sea eight weeks, he went to Wheeling, West Virginia, and a few weeks later to Marietta, Ohio, where he apprenticed himself to a harness maker which trade he learned thoroughly. After completing his trade he went to Le Sure, Minn., where he engaged in merchandising for a year and then went to Galena, Ill., where he worked at his trade until 1860, when he moved to Lansing, Iowa, and engaged in the saddlery business until 1864, when he came to Charles City and established a harness and saddlery business. He was very successful and accumulated quite a fortune which he later invested in the Charles City Water Power Co., then operating the old mill which was destroyed by fire in about 1905.

June 1rst, 1860, Mr. Kuck was united in marriage with Miss Mary Meyer of Galena, Ill. The latter was a native of Switzerland and had come to this country some time after her husband. The surviving children of the seven born to them are Henry L. of The Dalles, Oregon and George W. of Rockford, Iowa. May 30, 1879, Mrs. Kuck died and April 22, 1880, Mr Kuck was wed to Miss Lizzie Brandon of this city to which union three children were born, namely Clara, now a teacher in the schools at Great Falls, Mont., Bertha, the wife of Frank Nash of Montrose, Montana, and Paul, a resident of Osage. Mrs. Kuck died some four years ago, and July 1911, Mr. Kuck wed Mrs. Blank who survives.

John Kuck was one of the best of citizens and during his active business life took a leading part in city affairs. He was one of the organizers of the German Methodist church in this city and always active in denominational affairs. In the death of Mr. Kuck the city loses one of its oldest and most highly respected citizens. Death was due to the ravishes of old age, no pronounced disease having developed. The funeral date has not yet been fixed but will probably not be until Saturday.


Bob said...

I love the editorial commentary on John Kuck - “one of the best of citizens.” High praise.

Kelly said...

I imagine this would be interesting, though quite tedious, research. So much "ordinary" history. (yet not so ordinary to the right person looking for it) Scanning microfilm can be grueling!

Susan said...

That's one way of putting it - the ravages of old age. I would bet that, having made it to age 79, living through the diphtheria outbreak and who know what else, he was ravaged all right. You are the most tenacious person I know! I would have given up after hitting the first brick wall. This is a very interesting process.

Ed said...

Bob - He seemed like a great man. If I had to pick two relatives to go back into time to meet, he would be one of them along with my Chicken ancestor who changed his name to Baker.

Kelly - It was hard on the eyes for sure. After about three hours, I moved on.

Susan - I don't think you can call it tenacious when one is an addict. I've been hooked for years now and I don't see me having enough willpower to ever stop looking into my past.