20 October 2014

Mystery Monday Solved: Charles Eckman

Charles Eckman has been found!

Years ago shortly after we married, I attended a genealogy fair and saw a book titled "Genealogical Record of Rev. Hans Herr and His Direct Lineal Descendants" by Theodore Herr. I glanced through it and saw several names I recognized as being in my husband's family. I found my husband's grandfather, John C Eckman (b. 25 April 1883). John was listed as #10577. He was the son of Charles Eckman (6867) and Rosa T Kerchner. That entry led me to Charles and a mystery I have been searching for the last 20 years.

His entry showed he is the son of Catherine K Cresswell (2949) and John Eckman. The numbers, by the way, were assigned to the descendants, with the first of course being the Rev. Hans Herr. Charles entry read:

6867. Charles, Lancaster, Pa., b. Feb. 1, 1860; d. Aug. 26, 1888; m. Aug. 24, 1881, Rosa T. Kerchner, b. Sept. 4, 1859; dau. John Kerchner and Barbara Kuhn.

Since then I have been trying to find out where he was buried. After 20 years, I am excited to say, I finally confirmed where Charles was laid to rest.

While at the Lancaster Historical Society last Thursday the historian there helped me immensely. I explained that Charles was born in 1860 in Strasburg Township to John and Catherine Cresswell Eckman and that the Eckman family attended the Zion Reformed Church in New Providence. In fact, the family lived across the street and was quite active in the church. I knew Charles was a clerk with the Telegraph Co. and that he married Rosa Kirchner in 1881. From City Directories I knew he lived on Manor Street in Lancaster City. I knew Rosa and her family were Roman Catholic and attended St. Joseph and lived up Cabbage Hill. Rosa had remarried after Charles' death.

He (the historian) found Charles. He was listed in "Burial Records of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Lancaster PA 1850-1899." Charles did die on 26 August; however, he died in 1887!

Going back through the old microfilm newspapers again I did not find an actual obituary but I did find a front page news article. (An aside: as exciting as "front page news article" sounds, it was not. The paper was only a few pages at that time although those few pages held more relevant and truthfully reported news that the current Lancaster newspaper.)

So the article - dated Monday, 29 August 1887 - reads:

Double Funeral at St. Josephs
For the first time in the history of St Joseph's Catholic Church there was a double funeral. This unusual occurrence happened this morning when the bodies of Lucas Fritz and Charles Eckman were taken into the church at 9 o'clock. Both were members of St Patrick's society and in addition Eckman was a member of St. Michael's. Both these organizations were present in a body. Father Koch celebrated the requiem mass and delivered a short sermon. The internments were made at St. Joseph's Catholic cemetery.

So the new mystery ... how did Charles, a clerk, who was only 27 years old at the time, die? Was it medical? Was it an accident? Was he killed? If so, why? One answer and so many more mysteries!

Mystery Monday is a daily genealogy prompt of GeneaBloggers. The prompts are concerned with anything in your genealogy and family history research which is currently unsolved.
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.