17 January 2010

Treasures from the To-File Pile

Ah, the things I find: a 30-year-old photocopy of an 1918 letter from Andrew W. HEGWER of Lincolnville, Kansas, to his first cousin, Ray D. Hegwer of Grand Junction, Colorado. I remember my thoughts when I first read this letter a few years ago: an OK letter but it doesn't give my line any new names. But now, re-reading it as I work my way through the bottomless To-File pile, I see what a treasure it really is!


The letter documents the handwriting and style of Andrew. While the main topic of the letter was possible litigation over land from the 1873 estate of their grandmother Maria Rosina (Ilgner) Hegwer, general family connections were also very important to Andrew as he gave addresses and invited visits. Andrew died in 1919, just the year after this letter was written. He left a wife and two very young children.

His mom & siblings

Andrew documented the whereabouts of all 4 of his surviving siblings on page 3. I had no idea that his mother and sister Dewia were ever in Nebraska.

Great Uncle Henry

There are numerous, historical, online newspaper articles about Henry testifying before congress. Very recently, I found a Washington DC directory giving Henry a residency there, too, but I assumed it was just a fluke of his being in town when the directory was prepared. But the one brief mention in this letter makes it clear that Henry actually did live in DC.

Grandfather Ben

This is the real treasure for me: proven connection between Ben and his father's death. It appeared from Charles' obituary that Ben had not attended the funeral and I had wondered it there had been a falling out. But with Andrew's letter, I think that while Ben couldn't easily get from McGill, Nevada to Chase County, Kansas, he did participate by assuming the responsibility of paying for it, which was probably a significant expense for a 26-year-old who worked for the
Steptoe Valley Smelting & Mining Company.

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3

I think this letter is significant enough to include all of it here, especially for Andrew's descendants. And, I'll go back to my To-File pile....

Andrew's Line of Descent

Carl Benjamin Hegwer = Maria Rosina Ilgner
Ernest Gothelf Hegwer = Maria Charlotte Frey
Andrew William Hegwer = Lula Hoffman

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