Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sibling Saturday - Henry Menke Jr

Several of my direct ancestors' siblings never married or some did but didn't have children.  They have no direct descendants.  I want to give them their 15 minutes here once in a while on Sibling Saturdays.  

First Henry Menke Jr.  Actually he was a half brother to my Great Grandfather Charles Albert Menke.  Henry's mother died near Portsmouth, Ohio when he was about 4.  I knew that Henry became a preacher, but I didn't know where he had gone after 1880 when he was 18 and still living in Clatonia.  

I thank Ancestry for having the Portsmouth Daily Times included in their newspaper database.  I also curse Ancestry for not having that database accessible through the Library Edition.  I’m not a subscriber, just a registered user at Ancestry.  Searching that database at home for the name MENKE gave me a few hits, but all I could see was a few lines of text and the date.  The date!  

The Portsmouth Public library, for a reasonable fee, was kind enough to send me the articles I was able to request because I had the date.  That’s how I found out what happened to Henry Menke, Jr.  (His brother, John Frederick, also had his name in the paper often and I also got a few articles about him!)

Learning that he died in Cassopolis, Michigan, I contacted the Cass District Library.  They sent me his obituary and 2 clippings from 3 different newspapers.  They also sent me a copy of the death register listing and small copy of a photo of the Presbyterian Church in Cassopolis.  Kudos to the people at the Cass District Library in Cassopolis! 

From the Cassopolis Vigilant, Sept. 5, 1912:  "He had been pastor of the Presbyterian church here for more than a year past, and was highly esteemed, not only by the members of his congregation but by the public generally for his scholarly attainments and earnest Christian character."

Census records show him in Carter County, Missouri in 1900 and Cherokee County, Iowa in 1910.  Has anyone else noticed that the celebrities on "Who Do You Think You Are?" all seem to follow the same script?  I mean every one of them says "I've learned that my X Great...", and "I'm curious to know..." and "I want to find out..." and "I'm hoping to...".  Of course the details change.  Well, here I go.  I'm curious to know where Henry went to school or seminary.  I want to find out where all he preached.  I'm hoping to score a photo of him! 

Henry never married.  He died unexpectedly September 2, 1912 at age 50 in his room in the Hotel Goodwin.  Official cause of death was peritonitis from gall bladder infection. Some time before that he had had surgery in the Presbyterian hospital in Chicago for appendicitis.  He had lived in Ohio, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa and Michigan.  A preacher, not real estate novelist, who never had time for a wife --- (freely stolen from Billy Joel's Piano Man if it sounds familiar.)

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