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Emanuel Emerick
(1830-1920)

 

Emanuel Emerick was born in Oct. 1830 in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA, the son of Jonathan and Rachel (Sturtz) Emerick Sr.

In about 1856, at the age of 26, he married Elizabeth Boderfield (1837- ? ), also spelled "Bodifield." A profile of Emanuel in the 1911 book History of Poweshiek County, Iowa says that they were "natives of Somerset county, Pennsylvania, but of German descent."

They together bore a family of three known children: Josephine Whelan, Margaret "Maggie" Baxter Rugh and Daniel Franklin "Frank" Emerick.

Within a year of their marriage, in about 1857, the couple migrated to Iowa. They settled in Warren Township where the future village of Carnforth would be established. Said the Marshalltown (IA) Evening Times Republican, "He operated a blacksmith shop there for a number of years and shod horses for the old stage coach line which plied its way across the prairies in those early days." In 1886 they relocated to Ida County, IA and later migrated to Hartwick, Poweshiek County, IA, where he continued his working as a smith.

 

Tornado damage in Grinnell, Iowa, where Emanuel Emerick lived in his final years. Harper's Weekly, July 8, 1882

 

 

Marshalltown Evening Times-Republican
Library of Congress

The federal census of 1870 shows the couple and their family dwelling in Jefferson Township, Poweshiek County, and in 1880 they were in Brooklyn, Poweshiek County, where Emanuel labored as a blacksmith.

As Elizabeth's health was in a long decline, rendering her an invalid, her unmarried daughter Josephine provided for her care. Sadly, Elizabeth passed away on Sept. 8, 1882.

Widowed at  the age of 52, Emanuel survived his wife by 38 years. He moved into the home of his married daughter Josephine Whelan even as they moved from Brooklyn to Galva, Ida County, IA and later to Grinnell, IA. In about 1908, he became blind and for the final three and a half years of his life "has been practically confined to his room," reported the Republican.

The 1911 History of Poweshiek County said that "Mr. Emerick belongs to a long-lived family. He had twelve brothers and sisters and in 1907 ten of the thirteen members of their family were living at an average age of seventy-three years; nine are now surviving at an average age of seventy-seven years."

Emanuel died 22 days after his 90th birthday on Nov. 12, 1920. In an obituary, the Republican said he was "old of the oldest citizens in Poweshiek county and a man who was one of the real pioneers of this section of Iowa."

 

~ Daughter Josephine (Emerick) Whelan ~

 

Josephine and John L. Whelan
History of Poweshiek County, Iowa

Daughter Josephine Emerick (1856-1924) was born on Nov. 13, 1856 in Somerset County. She traveled as an infant to Iowa with her parents, and she grew there to womanhood.

As a young lady she joined the Episcopal Church. In 1880, unmarried at age 24, she lived with her parents in Brooklyn Township, Poweshiek County. When she was age 25, she traveled to visit her grandparents in Somerset County, and kept a diary of her experiences.

On Sept. 29, 1886, when she would have been 30 years of age, she was united in matrimony with 33-year-old John L. Whelan (March 2, 1853-1933), also spelled "Whelen." He was a native of Walworth County, WI and the son of Joseph P. and Catharine (Fuller) Whelan, and had come to Iowa in a covered wagon.

Four known offspring were born into this family -- Dr. Ralph S. Whelan, John Eri Whelan and Mary Whelan.

The family was plunged into grief when son John died at the age of two and his twin brother in infancy, prior to 1900. Daughter Mary Eva passed away at the age of seven in 1906.

Early in the marriage, the Whelans dwelled in Brooklyn, Poweshiek County, IA. The federal census enumeration of 1900 lists the family in Eureka, Sac County, IA and in 1902 they were in Galva, Ida County, IA before moving that year back to Brooklyn.

By 1910, census records show the family making a home in Madison Township, Poweshiek County, with John and their son working on the home farm, and Josephine's aged father living under their roof. They migrated once more in 1911 to Grinnell, Poweshiek County.

 

John's profile in the 1911 History of Poweshiek County book

 

Josephine and John held memberships in the Methodist Episcopal Church of Brooklyn, IA as well as the Order of Eastern Star in Brooklyn, IA. Josephine is known to have been "a most faithful and consistent Christian." John also belonged to the Masons lodge in Brooklyn, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Schaller, IA and the Modern Woodmen of America lodge in Brooklyn. John was profiled over the span of three pages in the 1911 book History of Poweshiek County, Iowa, authored by Leonard Fletcher Parker. The profile read that John was an:

...agriculturalist whose capably directed efforts have won him recognition as one of the affluent citizens of Madison Township... whose beautiful homestead, "Four Elms," is one of the most valuable properties of the county.... After the completion of his education, which was acquired in the district schools, John L. Whelan remained at home assisting his father in the cultivation of his farm until the latter's demise. Two years thereafter he returned to Iowa, locating in Ida county, where he farmed as a renter for eleven years, then bought a quarter section which he operated for nine years. Disposing of his land at the end of that time he came to Poweshiek county, buying two hundred and forty acres of land in Madison township. He has since sold eighty acres of this but still remains the remainder of his original purchase, which is located on section 26. Mr. Whelan calls his homestead "Four Elms" from four large elms which stand in his front yard. The idea of so calling it occurred to him after he had read J.G. Holland's story of "Seven Oaks." He and his son cooperate in the work of the farm. The latter also breeds and raises registered Shropshire sheep, while the father makes a specialty of feeding cattle and hogs for the market. His farm is one of the very valuable properties of the township, the land all being under cultivation, thoroughly tiled and capably supervised, while the improvements are all good and substantially constructed.

His political support Mr. Whelan accords the republican party, his views coinciding with the more progressive faction of that body. he served for four terms as school director and was twice elected township trustee but never qualified for that office, as he has never aspired to public honors or the emoluments of office. One of the most interesting occurrences in the life of Mr. Whelan was a visit to Nashville, Tennessee, with his father and brother, Leslie, when a lad of eleven years [in 1864]. They were in the city at the time General Hood attempted to drive General Thomas from his position and were most interested witnesses of the battle. Mr. Whelan has ever worked earnestly and persistently, which fact has made him one of the successful agricultural representatives of Poweshiek county.

The 1920 census shows the family in Grinnell, with 30-year-old niece Ella Canon in the household.

Sadly, at the age of 67, Josephine was stricken with pneumonia and died at their home on Fourth Avenue in Grinnell on Jan. 23, 1924. Burial of the remains was in the old section of the Brooklyn Memorial Cemetery, following a funeral service held in their home. Rev. W.J. Todd officiated.

John outlived his bride by nine years and resided for a time with his son Ralph in Belle Plaine, IA. In 1927, after three years as a widower, he married a second time to his wife's cousin, widow Emma M. (Troutman) Powers (1866-1939), daughter of Daniel Benjamin and Catherine (Emerick) Troutman.

Their final years were spent in Emma's home region of the Pacific Northwest in Tacoma, Pierce County, WA. There, burdened with hardening of the arteries, he succumbed to death at the age of 80 on Aug. 7, 1933. His remains were transported back to Iowa. Following a funeral preached by Rev. W.J. Fowler, burial was made next to Josephine. An obituary was printed in the Grinnell (IA) Herald. Now widowed for a second time, Emma lived for another six years. The grim reaper of death claimed her away at the age of 73 in Tacoma on June 24, 1939. She sleeps for all time beside her first husband in Tacoma Cemetery.

 

The John and Josephine Whelan family. History of Poweshiek County, Iowa, 1911.

 

Son Dr. Ralph Lewis "R.L." Whelan (1890-1991) was born in 1890 in Galva, Ida County, IA. He was first married on June 1, 1915, in Harlan, IA, to Alice Horton Chambers (April 30, 1890-1918), a Wisconsin native and the daughter of Rev. George Robert and Nellie (Horton) Chambers. One daughter born to this union, Chambers Whelan, died at birth on June 9, 1916. Reported the Chariton (IA) Leader, Alice "was a sweet, charming young lady, and during her residence here made warm friends of all with whom she came in contact." Their marriage was short lived, as Alice became seriously ill and was treated in Bishop Clarkson Hospital in Omaha. After three weeks of suffering, she passed away on April 13, 1918. Her remains were taken to her parents' home for funeral services at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, led by her uncles, Rev. Henry F. Horton and Rev. Thomas Horton. The remains were buried in Chariton Cemetery. In an obituary, the Leader said that "Her sudden passing away when life seemed full of promise, has brought sadness to many hearts, and the sympathy of the community will go out to the greif-stricken relatives." Ralph became a chiropractor. Circa 1920, a widower and living with his parents, he operated his own practice in Grinnell, Poweshiek County, IA. Then in about 1923, at age 33, he wedded 30-year-old Gertrude ((1892-1980). The couple established a home in Vinton, Benton County, IA. There, in 1930, Ralph was now working in a completely different field of endeavor -- as sheriff at the local jail. By 1933, Ralph was in Cedar Rapids, IA. Ralph passed away in Belle Plaine, Benton County on Jan. 2, 1991. Burial was in Oak Hill Cemetery in Belle Plaine.

 

~ Daughter Margaret Ann (Emerick) Baxter Rugh ~

Daughter Margaret Ann "Maggie" Emerick (1861-1927) was born in 1861 in Poweshiek County, IA. She appears to have been married twice.

Her first spouse was (?) Baxter ( ? - ? ). The Baxters made a home in Kansas and were the parents of at least one son, Earl E. Baxter.

On Jan. 31, 1895, Margaret wedded a second time to Civil War veteran William Oregon Rugh (1847-1935) -- possibly pronounced "Rue." Their nuptials were held in his home on 16th Street in Rock Island, Rock Island County, IL. Reported the Moline Dispatch, "William O. Rugh invited about thirty friends to dine with him yesterday, and when all had assembled he sprung a surprise on them, calling on the Rev. T.W. Grafton to do a certain duty assigned him. The bride was Mrs. Maggie Baxter, who quickly became Mrs. Rugh. A sumptuous spread was done justice to, and congratulations were profuse." The bride was 14 years younger than the groom.

During the Civil War, William had served in the 126th Illinois Infantry, Company H. He had been married previously, to Henrietta Glenn (1849-1883), and brought five known sons into the second union -- Jacob H. Rugh, William Arthur "Billy" Rugh, Charles Rugh, Glenn Rugh and Harry Rugh Stearns.

Later in the year of his marriage to Margaret, he applied for and began receiving a military pension as compensation for his wartime service. [Invalid App. #1.169.938 - Cert. #913.822]

Margaret and William together produced two additional children -- Mildred Rugh and Genevieve Rugh.

Their home in 1900 was in Rock Island, where William earned a living as a railroad switchman. But within the year, they relocated to Portland, Multnomah County, OR. William joined the Portland chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans organization.

Margaret died in Portland on Nov. 17, 1927. Her remains were laid to rest in Lincoln Memorial Park in Portland.

William lived for another eight years as a widower. Sadly, on June 8, 1935, William surrendered to the spirit of death at the age of 89 in Pendleton, OR. A notice of his death was printed in his old hometown newspaper, the Rock Island Argus. An obituary in the Salem (OR) Statesman Journal said that he had died "after a short illness" and the Rock Island Argus noted his Civil War service. Burial of the remains was in Echo Memorial Cemetery in Echo, Umatilla County, OR.

Son Earl E. Baxter (1890- ? ) was born in about 1890 in Kansas. In 1920, he lived with his mother and stepfather in Portland, Multnomah County, OR, and earned a living as a meat cutter in a butcher shop.

Daughter Mildred Rugh (1898- ? ) was born in May 1898 in Illinois. At the age of two she migrated with her parents to Oregon. She appears to have been twice-married. Circa 1935, her married name was "Hickson," and she lived in Portland. In time her second married name was " Worden." Neither marriage resulted in children. Mildred died in Willamina, OR at the age of 89 on Jan. 3, 1988. Burial was in Lincoln Memorial Park in Portland. An obituary listed her surviving nephews and nieces as Elmer Andre of Portland, Howard Andre of Oregon City, Melvin Andre of Forest Grove, Blanche Tissue of Arlington, WA and Rosemary Giercis of Illinois.

Daughter Genevieve Rugh (1900- ? ) was born in April 1900 in Rock Island, IL. She was joined in wedlock with (?) Andre ( ? - ? ). Her residence circa 1935 was in Gresham, OR.

Stepson Jacob H. Rugh (1869- ? ) was born in about 1869. He is believed to have entered into marriage in 1892 with Bertha G. Downes ( ? - ? ) in Rock Island. He was the father of Ruth Shafer. Jacob resided in Pendleton, OR in 1935-1954.

 

William "Billy" Rugh
Library of Congress

Stepson William Arthur "Billy" Rugh (1872-1912) was born on March 8, 1872 on the Jacob Glenn farm about one-and-three quarter miles north of the town of Sunny Hill near Moline, IL. In infancy his left leg became paralyzed, an issue which shaped his life and ultimely his death. He was 10 years of age when his mother died, and he appears to have been raised by foster parents who were cousins, H.C. and Ida McCabe. From Sunny Hill, he relocated to Rock Island, IL and made a home there until about 1910, when he moved to Gary, IN. In Gary, he made a living selling newspapers, referred to as a "newsboy." In the fateful year of 1912, he learned of the story of 18-year-old Ethel Smith, a young woman who had suffered horrible burns in a gasoline explosion while riding a motorcycle. Doctors said she might die unless they could find enough skin to graft over the burns. Her father, brother and boyfriend all donated skin. Billy thought that he could sacrifice his useless leg for this purpose, and went to Gary General Hospital to make the offer. At first it was declined. The news of his intention became public, and offers of encouragement and support rolled in. The hospital finally relented and agreed to the surgery. Said the Chicago Tribune, "he has received $600 in money, a free life insurance, offers of enough artificial limbs to supply a centiped, and felicitations from all parts of the country." Citizens of Gary nominated him to receive a Carnegie Medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission. After the amputation, as he sat in his hospital bed, he received an envelope from the Tribune containing $62 received at the office. Local women athletes organized an indoor baseball game for his benefit. "I can't understand it," he remarked to a reporter. "Why are people so good to me? There isn't a man who has had the heart to send these gifts but would have done just as I did, had he been placed in the same position." He said he planned to use his newfound money to open a newspaper stand where he would be protected from inclement weather. Newspapers across the country voiced their support. One, the Pittsburgh Press, wrote this in an editorial.

When we come to think of it, Mr. William Rugh, you are not only a hero but you are also a gentleman. In the exclusive homes of the West End, London; of Fifth ave., New York, and of the aristocratic quarters of our own city of Pittsburg, there are many carefully nurtured and expensively "educated" and elegantly attired claimants to that latter title who are not capable of such gallantry as that shown by your offer. With all their advantages of ball-rooms and drawing-rooms, you are their superior in manners.

While 160 square inches of skin was taken from his removed leg, and grafted to Miss Smith, a recovery was not to be. The stump began to heal. But his lungs and bronchial passage, damaged by the ether inhaled just prior to the surgery, became infected with pneumonia. And on Oct. 18, just 15 days after his surgery, he died. His final words, said the Moline Dispatch, were "Guess I'm some good -- after all." As the news of his passing became known, Gary's Mayor Thomas Knotts named a committee to consider how best to memorialize his name and legacy, including the possibility of a statue. A wreath was placed at Sixth Avenue and Broadway where he once had hustled to sell papers. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported that "for the first time in their history the steel mills of Gary will be idle to-morrow. All stores will be closed. There will be no crowds in the theaters and concert halls. In every church there will be said a prayer for the soul of a crippled newsboy. Every minister will speak of the city's greatest deed of heroism. Thousands of people will try to catch a last glimpse of the face of the man who had died with a happy smile on his lips..." Honorary pallbearers included Mayor Knotts, Capt. H.S. Norton, president of the Gary Commercial Club; W.P. Gleasson, general superintendent of Illinois Steel Company; George M. Hunter, general manager of the American Bridge Company; John A. Gross, general manager of American Sheet and Tinplate Company; A.B. Keller, president of the YMCA of Gary; W.A. Wert, superintendent of schools in Gary; banker William Feder; and H.H. Molyneaux, commander of the Knights Templar. The cortege to the cemetery was a mile long. The funeral was so widely attended -- by 15,000 people, according to estimates -- that it was held out of doors, with Rev. J.M. Avann preaching the service standing on the seat of a fire vehicle. His remains were lowered into eternal sleep next to his mother's at Briar Cliffs Cemetery in Rock Island. In death, he was dubbed widely as the "newsboy hero who sacrificed a leg and his life that a young woman might live." Inscribed on his grave marker was the scripture verse from John 15:12 -- "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Many years later, in April 1954, he was pictured in a Moline Dispatch story about the incident.

Ethel Smith, whose life was saved by William's self-sacrifice, suffered greatly as not all the grafts took. From her home in Gary, she eloped in January 1914 to Chicago to marry 21-year-old clerk Leon/Edward Cline. Leon faced more controversy within a few months of their wedding when he was accused of embezzlement and grand larceny in Lake County, IN. Circa 1915, living in Lima, OH, she contracted typhoid fever, and was thought to be near death. More will be added about her when learned.

Stepson Charles L. Rugh (1874- ? ) was born in about 1874. He made his home in Oregon in 1912, possibly near his father and stepmother in the Portland area. His home in 1935 was in Arlington, OR.

Stepson Glenn Rugh (1876- ? ) was born in about 1986. He dwelled in Denver in 1912.

Stepson Harry Rugh ( ? - ? ) was likely an infant at the death of his mother. He was raised by an uncle and aunt, John William and Louisa (Glenn) Stearns and took their surname as his own. He lived in Orion, IL, using the name "Harry Rugh Stearns." Harry wedded Ellen Brodine ( ? - ? ). The couple's seven offspring were Warren Stearns, Glenn Stearns, John Stearns, Harry Stearns, Robert Stearns, Louise Carriere and Rosemary Davidson.

  • Step-grandson Warren Stearns lived with his brothers Glenn and John on the Stearns homestead farm near Orion in 1954.
  • Step-grandson Glenn Stearns made his home on the old family farm near Orion.
  • Step-grandson John Stearns dwelled on the old Stearns farmstead near Orion with his brothers Warren and Glenn.
  • Step-grandson Harry Stearns moved to Davenport, IA, and was employed across the Mississippi River at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.
  • Step-grandson Robert Stearns relocated to Andover and in 1954 worked at the Rock Island Arsenal.
  • Step-granddaughter Louise Stearns married lawyer Leonard Carriere. Their home was in Blue Island. In 1939, she became an attorney when admitted to the bar. She also was an artist.
  • Step-granddaughter Rosemary Stearns wedded (?) Davidson. She was in Chicago in 1954.

 

~ Son Daniel Franklin "Frank" Emerick ~

Son Daniel Franklin "Frank" Emerick (1863-1935) was born on July 29, 1863 in Pennsylvania (or Iowa).

On April 26, 1887, when he was 24 years of age, he wedded 19-year-old Michigan native Margaret McNally (Feb. 26, 1866-1954), daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth McNally of Niles, MI. The ceremony was held in Malcolm, Brooklyn Township, Poweshiek County, IA.

Their offspring were Edna Mae Stineburg, Lester Emerick, Kathryn Johnson, Clara Crider, Earl Emerick, Joseph Emerick and Genevieve Wiese.

The Emericks made their home in Rock Island, IL at some point and by 1920 were in Orion, Henry County, IL, where Frank was employed as a clerk in an gasoline filling station. They relocated to Geneseo, Il in about 1920, where they were members of Grace Evangelical United Brethren Church. Their postal address was 115 South Williams Street.

In September 1935, the 72-year-old Frank complained that he did not feel well, but went to work anyway on the fateful day of Sept. 28, 1935. He suffered a massive heart attack and fell to the floor of the gasoline station, dead. An ice delivery man discovered the body and notified authorities. An inquest was held lby deputy coroner Dr. J.H. Ellingsworth. Margaret outlived her spouse by many years.

For decades, Margaret believed that her actual birthdate was Feb. 22, but at age 77 she received a copy of her birth certificate showing the correct date. The human interest story was covered in the Moline (IL) Dispatch. In February 1943, for her 77th birthday, she was profiled in the Dispatch, which noted that she was "in good health; arising at 4 a.m. every morning, she does all of her own work. Her hobbies are raising chicks and growing flowers. This spring she plans to plant her own garden."

She was seriously ill for the last six months of her life and died in Gradert Nursing Home in Geneseo at the age of 90 on Dec. 9, 1954. An obituary in the Dispatch said she was survived by 10 grandchildren, a dozen great-grandchildren and sisters Mrs. Charles Chapman and Mrs. Tress Collum. Funeral services were led by Rev. E.A. Schmidt of the family church, with interment in Western Cemetery in Orion. Clyde Walter performed a song, with Mrs. Dale Sieben accompanying him. Pallbearers included William Armstrong, Edward Biddison, Eugene Whitmyer, D.S. Nicely, William Durack and Jay Durack.

Daughter Edna Mae Emerick (1888-1933) was born on May 30, 1888 in Belle Plaine, IA. She married Edgar "Ed" Stineburg ( ? - ? ). The couple did not reproduce. In about 1919, the Stineburgs relocated to Bartlett, near Chicago, IL. Sadly, at the age of 45, Edna Mae died at home on Nov. 22, 1933. An obituary in the Moline Dispatch ntoed that funeral services were officiated by Rev. F.F. Gordon, and burial was in Lake Street Cemetery. Edwin survived his bride, and in February 1942 attended a birthday party for his mother-in-law.

Son Lester Emerick ( ? -1918) died on Dec. 15, 1918.

Daughter Kathryn Emerick was joined in marriage with Lester Johnson. In 1935-1943, their home was in Geneseo, IL. Their daughter Rosalie Johnson worked as an airline stewardess with United Airlines in Chicago in 1942.

Daughter Hazel Clara Emerick ( ? - ? ) married Clair Crider (or "Krider"). In 1935-1942, their home was in Brooklyn, IA and by 1954, she had relocated to San Diego, CA.

Son Earl Emerick (1899- ? ) was born in about 1899 in Illinois. He was single and lived at home in 1935. By 1942, he was married and had sons. In 1943, they dwelled in Annawan, IL.

Son Joseph F. "Joe" Emerick (1904- ? ) was born in about 1904 in Illinois. When he was about age 30, he was employed with the Rock Island Railway at Green River as a foreman. On Nov. 21, 1934, he was joined in matrimony with Alice May Wahlheim ( ? - ? ), daughter of Charles Wahlheim of Geneseo. The ceremony was held in the parsonage of Grace Evangelical church, with Rev. E.G. Vaubel officiating. Their initial address was with Alice's father at 322 North Vail Street. They lived in Geneseo, IL in 1943.

Daughter Genevieve Emerick (1908-1960) was born in about 1908 in Illinois. On June 27, 1927, in nuptials held in Geneva near Chicago, IL, Genevieve married Lysle Wiese (July 7, 1902-1988), son of William Wiese of Geneseo. The couple did not reproduce. Their first home was on East Exchange Street in Geneseo, where Lyle worked at the Tracy Garage. Later, they made a residence in Sterling, IL. Lysle earned a living for many years as a meter reader with Commonwealth Edison in Sterling, IL, followed by work at Sauk Valley College in Dixon as a maintenance man. Genevieve passed into eternity on March 28, 1960. Lysle maintained a home as a widower in Geneseo and survived his wife by more than a quarter of a century. He died at the age of 85 on March 22, 1988, while a patient in Hillcrest Nursing Center in Geneseo. An obituary was printed in the Moline Dispatc.

 

Copyright 2000, 2011, 2015-2017, 2021 Mark A. Miner

Minerd.com thanks to the late Gilbert R. Gaumer for his contributions to this biography.