26 August 2013

Mystery Monday: Theodore Hruszczak

I am still trying to find information on my Uncle Theodore.

Theodore's brother - and my grandfather Joseph - had told me that there was a horrible accident at home one day and Theodore died. According to him, young Theodore was just starting to crawl and burned himself fatally in the kitchen. He also said it happened around Pascha (Easter). My grandfather was born in 1917 and young Theodore the year prior. A cousin recalls being told that the child died as a result of a miscarriage.

His death would have been 1918 most likely as my great grandmother Bessie had a third child in 1919 and they named him Theodore as well.

I recently asked my Aunt Katie - his sister - about young Theodore. She is the only sibling still living. Being of that particular generation, I thought she might recall a mention on him even though he would have been passed for many years before she had even been born. Sure enough, she recalled that her mother would have her drive "up the Polish Cemetery to visit his grave" on occasions. The Polish Cemetery is St Stanislaus Kostas just outside Coatesville in Chester County.

Last week I sent away for his death certificate. It asks for the funeral home and of course I had to put "unknown" but it got me thinking. My great grandparent - Bessie and Panko - had been buried through what is now Harris Mountain Funeral Home. Their website however states that they were founded in 1919. I called down and the receptionist/secretary was helpful. Their records only date back to December of 1919 but she knew my family (seriously though how many Ruczhaks can there possibly be in Coatesville, right?)! She had gone to school with my cousins and then worked at Lukens Steel with them as well. But that is a whole different story!

The woman at the funeral home made mention that in 1918 - mostly due to the flu epidemic - there were often six or seven burials a day up at Fairview Cemetery (she helped there at one point so she knew the figures well). Fairview is the public cemetery - that is not church related. Now there are several cemeteries in the Coatesville area - can you imagine six or seven burials a day per cemetery???

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