Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Murder of Margaret Weismantel

My paternal grandmother once mentioned that prior to her birth, her mother Frances' sister, Margaret, was killed. I did little more with the information than scribble a note which ended up shoved in a binder. One day, while I was going through the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections (a great resource by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), I stumbled across an article using the keyword "Weismantel" - it was about Margaret's death. As I searched further, I began to uncover the horrible story of her untimely death - she was murdered by a spiteful lover. I'm working on developing a timeline of the crime, and obtaining the court records from DuPage county. However, I have finished transcribing the newspaper articles that I found pertaining to the murder and trial. They are sorted below in order of publication. Also included at the bottom are present-day photos of the crime scene, 14 South Mill Street, Naperville, IL, from Google Street View.

The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, Volume 29, Number 85, 21 March 1929
Front Page

Kills Girl Who Rejected Plea For Her Heart
Naperville, Ill., March 21.-(U.P.)-
In dying whispers, 22-year-old Margaret Weismantel last night forgave her jealous sweetheart who fatally wounded her and then began a race with death to a hospital.

A weak “I do.” in answer to a plea for forgiveness brought little relief to Theodore Freeman, 23, who shot Margaret because she refused to say those same words a few hours earlier when he proposed marriage.

Freeman accosted his sweetheart as she returned from a dance with Dean Perry. He fired several shots into her body and then turned on Perry. Perry fell seriously wounded.

Freeman picked up Margaret’s body and ordered an autoist to drive him to an Aurora hospital. Margaret died before reaching the hospital but not until she had forgiven her lover.

Freeman then drove to Naperville police station and confessed.

The Southeast Missourian - Mar 22, 1929
Page 8

[By The Associated Press]
Naperville, Ill., March 22.-

Pleading for a speedy trial and execution, Theodore Freeman, 23, is in jail here accused of killing his sweetheart and seriously wounding the rival who had won her affections.

Freeman, a truck driver who said he came here from Cape Girardeau, Mo., three years ago, shot the couple Wednesday night while in a jealous rage. The girl, Margaret Weismantle, was killed almost instantly. The man Dean Perry, is in a critical condition.

The couple had returned from a movie and was sitting in an automobile in front of the girl's home when Freeman crept upon them and opened fire from a pistol he had taken from a policeman, a friend of his.

The young man pleaded with authorities to let him have one look at his sweetheart. His request was denied. He then pleaded that they try him at once and sentence him to death.

No action has been taken pending an inquest.
Inquiry today failed to reveal that Freeman is known here, although police consider it possible that he worked here for a short time.

The Southeast Missourian - Mar 23, 1929
Front Page

Ted Freeman, held in Naperville, Ill., as the slayer of his sweetheart of three years, formerly lived at Chaffee, where he is well known, according to officers today. Freeman left Chaffee three years ago and for a time lived in Cape Girardeau where he drove a motor truck.

Freeman, according to press reports, shot and killed Margaret Weismantel, 22, after he caught her and another man, Dean Perry, sitting in an automobile in from of the girl's home. Freeman expressed sorrow at his act and asked an immediate trial. Perry, the third angle of the triangle, was wounded but will live. Officers said the girl had spurned Freeman's attentions after being his "steady" for three years.

True Republican, 27 March 1929
Page 6

Man Who Murdered Girl In Jealous Rage Makes a Confession
Miss Margaret Weismantle [sic], 22, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Weismantle, of 14 Mill street, Naperville, was shot and killed at 1 o’clock Thursday morning in front of her home by a jilted suitor, Theodore Freeman, 24. Dean Perry, 23, also of Naperville, was probably fatally wounded when he threw himself in front of the jealous lover’s gun in an effort to shield the girl from the bullets. He is in St. Charles hospital in Aurora.

The girl was killed in a jealous rage because she had accompanied Dean Perry to a picture theater in Joliet.

“Ted” Freeman made a complete confession to State’s Attorney Chauncey Reed and Assitsant [sic] State’s Attorney Win Koch late Thursday afternoon and was held to the grand jury on a charge of first degree murder.

The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, Volume 29, Number 229, 9 September 1929
Page 3

Slayer of His Fiancee Has Prison Hitch
Wheaton, Ill., Sept. 9-(U.P.)-

Theodore Freeman, 24, who confessed he killed his sweetheart, Margaret Weismantel, Naperville, because he found her in another man's arms, must serve 35 years in Joliet penitentiary for his crime.

Judge Frederick B. Shepherd meted out the sentence yesterday noon after a Du Page county circuit court jury returned a verdict of guilty of second degree murder. The jury deliberated eleven hours.

The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, Volume 29, Number 233, 13 September 1929
Page 3

Slayer of Sweetheart Starts Serving Time
Joliet, Ill., Sept. 13-(U.P.)-

Theodore Freeman, 22, who killed Margaret Weismantle, Naperville, his sweetheart, because he “found her in another man’s arms,” started service of a 35-year term in the state penitentiary here today. Freeman, a resident of Naperville, was convicted and sentenced at Wheaton.

Chicago Tribune Sept. 13, 1929
Page 8

Naperville Youth Sentenced for Slaying Sweetheart

Theodore Freeman, 24 years old, of Naperville, was sentenced to 35 years in Joliet penitentiary yesterday for the murder of his sweetheart, Miss Margaret Weismantel. Freeman was convicted by a jury in the Du Page county Circuit court at Wheaton last Sunday. In addition he was given a 14 year sentence for wounding Dean Perry, an automobile salesman, who was in an automobile with Miss Weismantel at the time she was slain.

True Republican, 14 September 1929
Front Page

Two Young Murderers Receive Long Sentences
Two young murderers were sentenced to long terms in Joliet prison from two adjoining counties, DuPage and McHenry, Saturday afternoon and night.

Ralph “Red” Haupris, confessed slayer of Henry Mengs, aged Woodstock bachelor, was given a sentence of 75 years in prison by Judge E. D. Shurtleff Saturday afternoon at the conclusion of arguments of the attorneys. He received his sentence calmly, unaffected by the ordeal of his plea for mercy.

Theodore Freeman, 24 years old Naperville young man, who shot and killed his sweetheart because she was out with another man, was sentenced to 35 years in prison, by Judge Frank W. Shepherd, at Wheaton, after he had been found guilty of second degree murder by a jury Sunday morning.

14 South Mill Street, facing East 

 14 South Mill Street, facing South

 14 South Mill Street, facing North

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All content © 2016 Thomas Greve (except where otherwise noted).

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Short Biography of James Todd

Last night I stumbled across another great find. I was exploring a site called Linkpendium and found some biographies of Bristol County residents. To my surprise, my third-great-grandfather was on the list!

It was a transcription from a book published in 1899, titled Our County and Its People. I was fortunate enough to find the book in its entirety on Archive.org.

Todd, James, was born in Ireland, on the 21st day of October, 1831. He was of Scotch descent and came to this country in 1853, settling in Pawtucket, R. I. , where he worked at gardening for seven years. Returning to his former home he married, June 12, 1860, Miss Elizabeth Giles, who was born in Ireland, February 14, 1836, of English descent, and with his wife came to the United States on their wedding tour, traveling through Washington, Philadelphia and cities in New York State. Leaving his wife in Saugerties, N. Y., with relatives, he spent the next two years in traveling through the Western and Southern States and Cuba, and finally returning, with his wife made his home in Pawtucket, R. I., and was connected with the Green & Daniels Co. ; the J. Dunnell Co., and Union Wadding Co., large manufacturing plants of that city, at different times for several years. In the fall of 1872, he, with his brother William, purchased a farm of forty-five acres in Oldtown, North Attleborough, Mass., and moved his family there. They were successful, increasing their property from forty-five to nearly 300 acres, including several houses, out-buildings, and numerous stock, and are the most prominent farmers in that section. In the year 1894, with their farming they engaged in the ice business under the name of Oldtown Ice Co., which business is also increasing every year. Mr. Todd was fond of music and favored every opportunity of educational advantages for his children, they having received their education from the public schools of North Attleborough and business colleges of nearby cities. He was a firm believer in the public school system, and "the little Red School House." He was a member of the Episcopal church of Pawtucket, R. I. , where his family attend. A family of eight children were born to them: the eldest, Margaret Ann, born in Pawtucket, R. I., April 5, 1864, died August 21, 1864; Ellen Elizabeth, born in Pawtucket, R. I.. September 15, 1865, died October 25, 1866; William E., born in Pawtucket, March 6, 1867, married Miss Julia May Buttrick of Boston, December 6, 189a, and has two children, Harvey Buttrick, born in Oldtown, Mass., July 7, 1895, and William Henry, born in Oldtown, November 3, 1898; James A., born in Pawtucket, June 22, 1868, a graduate of Schofield's Commercial College, Providence; Lizzie E., born in Pawtucket, November 22, 1870, a graduate of North Attleborough High School, class of '90, and Rhode Island Normal School, class of January, 1893, married James Adams of Providence, October 30, 1894, and has two children, Annie Alvira, born December 7, 1895, and Olive Beatrice, born February 1, 1897; George W., born in Oldtown, December 7, 1873, a graduate of North Attleborough Grammar School, attended a business college in Providence; Henry G., born in Oldtown, June 4, 1875, a graduate of North Attleborough High School, class of '93; and Annie M., born in Oldtown, May 26, 1880, died December 22, 1884. William Todd, a brother of James, was born in Ireland, December 25, 1834, and came to the United States March 13, 1854. After a brief illness of a few days Mr. Todd died of gangrene erysipelas of the hand, July 3, 1897, at his home, leaving a widow, four sons and one daughter. His business enterprises are still carried on by his brother William, and his sons, William E., James A., George W. and Henry G. Todd, at the present time.

All content © 2016 Thomas Greve (except where otherwise noted).

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

First Congregational Church

In my last post, A Small 'Genealogy Field Trip', I briefly discussed a historical photo of the Oldtown Ice Co. at Todd's Pond.:

Google Books

The four Todds mentioned are the brothers of my great-great-grandmother Elizabeth (Todd) Adams.

Still fondly known as "Oldtown Church" to locals, The First Congregational Church shown in the background of this photo is an important landmark in my family's history.

Elizabeth’s son, David Adams, married my great-grandmother Ruth Barrett at the church. Their daughter, Patricia Adams, was married to my grandfather Thomas Gaudette there as well. In 1993, my parents were wed in the same sanctuary. I was baptized at First Congregational Church in 1994 with water brought from the Jordan River. There are countless other weddings and baptisms in my family that have occurred there as well. I endeavor to reach out to the church (I’m acquainted with the current pastor, Kelly) and see what records have been retained throughout the years.

I hope to add to this post in the future with more background and history of the church.

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A Small 'Genealogy Field Trip'

I recently made a great discovery using some of Lisa Louise Cooke’s tips in her Google Earth for Genealogy video tutorial. I practiced overlaying a historic map over the North Attleboro area, where my Todd and Adams ancestors resided. I was exploring the area they lived in, “Oldtown”, near the First Congregational Church on Old Post Road. I took note of a body of water which Google Earth had labeled as Todd’s Pond. I knew it couldn’t be a coincidence!

My immediate instinct was to conduct a Google search. I queried “todds pond north attleboro” and was stunned. The first result was a book digitized by Google, titled North Attleborough (Images of America). It brought me right to page 79, where I found the following images:

Google Books

The Oldtown Ice Co. was operated by the Todd brothers – George, Henry, James, and William. Their sister, Elizabeth E. (Todd) Adams, is my great-great-grandmother.

Click here to read more about the Oldtown Church

Google Books

These photos were a great discovery and add some color to the story of the Todd family (despite being in black and white!). However, my curiosity wasn’t satisfied. I took note that the book was compiled by members of the Falls Fire Barn Preservation Society in North Attleboro. They operate a local history museum in a converted fire station, open Saturdays from 9 to noon.

I made the drive out there (about 45 minutes) last weekend, and was greeted by museum director Nancy Campbell. I began explaining my situation, and asked if she knew which photos I was referring to. She pointed to the wall above her, and said “you mean these ones?” Right there, accompanied by a variety of ice harvesting equipment, were the photos of the Todd farm and Oldtown Ice wagon. I was stunned to find some of my own family history in a museum!

It gets better though – one photo did not make it into the book. My attention was drawn to a frame on the wall, which contained a snapshot of a man standing with two horses, accompanied a receipt written for "Mr. Todd," who paid $9.50 for horseshoeing.

Nancy was kind enough to take the frame off the wall and open it up. Below is the back side of that photograph:

It tells us that the man is Henry Todd, and the two horses were named Dapple and Chimes. Though Henry isn't my direct ancestor, this discovery was exciting because it was so unexpected!

Further Reading:

Coming Soon:
  • How I helped another researcher with these resources!

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All content © 2016 Thomas Greve (except where otherwise noted).

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Carrie Wilkins

Starting a post on Carrie Wilkins because the connections are getting more complicated. Carrie is my great-great-great grandmother.

Information so far:

  • Marriage for Henry J Freeman, age 30, & Carrie A Wilkins, age 22, recorded in Webster, Worcester, Massachusetts, 28 Mar 1880. This puts her birth date at about 1858. Her birthplace is listed as Nova Scotia. At the time of their marriage, she lived in Southbridge, Worcester, Mass.
  • Her parents are listed as Thomas C. Wilkins & Asenath Crocker.
Preliminary research:
  • Birth record (index) for a Daniel Wilkins born 30 Sep 1866 in Aylesford, Kings, Nova Scotia to Thomas Wilkins and Arcana Crocker
    "Nova Scotia Births and Baptisms, 1702-1896," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XLR4-V6K : accessed 6 September 2015), Arcana Crocker in entry for Daniel Wilkins, 30 Sep 1866; citing Aylesford, Kings, Nova Scotia; FHL microfilm 1,298,810.
  • Enumerated in the 1861 Census of Canada is a Thomas C Wilkins in Kings County, Polling District No. 10, Abstract No. 3. His household was comprised of 2 males and 5 females. Ancestry
  • Also in the 1861 Census of Canada is a Thomas Wilkins in Annapolis County, Polling District No. 1, Abstract No. 4. His household was comprised of 3 males and 5 females. Ancestry
  • There is a Thomas Wilkins in the 1891 Census of Canada, age 71, a domestic worker in the household of Hiram Fales in Margaretsville, Annapolis, Nova Scotia. Born in Nova Scotia (about 1820). Ancestry
Found in the 1871 Census of Canada in Kings County, Nova Scotia is a Danial Bruce, age 41, with wife Arsenath, 38 b.~1833. It indicates that they were married in April of that year. Arsenath is of English origin. Also in the household are a number of children with the surname Wilkins: Amanda, age 18; James, 15; Ermina, 12; Caroline, 14 b.~1857; [next page] Anna, 10; Elixa [Eliza?], 6; Thomas, 3.

This record suggests that Thomas Wilkins predeceased his wife Arsenath, and that she remarried. Since Thomas' son Thomas was born about 1868, we can guess that he died between then and 1871.

This would rule out the Thomas Wilkins in the 1891 census. Nothing yet has helped to determine which of the men named Thomas Wilkins in the 1861 census is correct.

I found a brief genealogy of this Wilkins family in [author]'s History of the County of Annapolis.

WILKINS. This family is probably of Welsh origin. It is supposed
that Walter Wilkins, who was born in 1702, and died at Halifax, January
7, 1792, came to Halifax with Lord Cornwallis, and was engaged in
trade there, and acquired the land on which his son settled in Wilmot,
in payment of a debt, and that the son, Walter Wilkins, was born in
Halifax, and came here about 1780. His sister Mary had, in 1765,
married Alexander McKenzie. It was probably the name of his father
which appears in a list of non-resident tax-payers in 1770. He married
in 1781, probably Sarah White. Children:
i. Walter, b. 1782, m. Ruth, dau. of John Foster: Ch.: 1, Anthony,
m. Maria Nichols ; 2, William, d. 1885, m. Isabel Reals ; 3,
Eliza, m. Maynard Wheelock ; 4, Mary, m. William Brown;
5, Sarah, d. unm. ; 6, Caroline, unm. ; 7, Louisa, unm. ; 8,
Amanda, m. John L. Morse ; 9, Walter, m. Sarah Lavinia Bent;
10, Ruth, m. Adelbert Ryder ; 11, Adelbert, m. Bessie A. Gates.
ii. Mary, b. 1784, m. Samuel Wheelock.
iii. Anthony, b. 1786, m. (Ist) Cornelia Durland, (2nd) Abigail Armstrong
: Ch. : 1, Walter, m. Leonora Marshall ; 2, Daniel, in.
Louisa Brown ; 3, Thomas Cambia, m. Asenath Crocker ; 4,
Sarah Ann, m. Wentworth Elliott ; 5, Mary Eliza, m. Israel
Marshall ; 6, Caroline, m. William Slocomb ; 7, Benjamin, d.
unm. ; 8, Lavinia, m. Samuel Elliott ; 9, Rebecca, m. Daniel
Bruce ; 10, Louisa Jane, m. William Spicer.

All content © 2015 Thomas Greve (except where otherwise noted).

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"The name's the same"

After reading my new copy of Elements of Genealogical Analysis by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, I decided that it would be a useful exercise to start my pedigree from scratch. Since I've been working in the same GEDCOM file since 2008, I realized that there are probably numerous linkage bundles that I have made without undergoing proper linkage analysis.

Accordingly, I began a fresh GEDCOM in RootsMagic, starting with myself. I got to adding my great-grandparents, and started with Clarence Gaudette first, since I recently began writing a post about him. His birthplace has been unclear, to date, with a myriad of sources presenting conflicting information. I began to review the sources I had already compiled. As I looked at the SSDI record, which I had previously attributed to being the same Clarence, I paused for a moment, and noticed that the death date was listed as 2000. I had this date listed in my files for years. I presented numerous trees and pedigree charts to family members over the years, and nobody ever noticed that this date couldn't have been correct. It would mean that he died after I was born - which is not the case. Immediately curious, I dialed my mom, and asked if she could give me a rough estimate as to when Clarence died. She guessed that it was around the 1980's, but certainly no later than her marriage in 1993.

Also found in the SSDI is a Clarence A Gaudette who was born in 1908 and died in 1988. This seems like a more likely candidate, given the inconsistency noted above. An excellent example of assuming that "the name's the same" is evidence enough to link to records, when in fact they refer to two entirely different people.

All content © 2015 Thomas Greve (except where otherwise noted).

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Clarence Gaudette (1913 - 2000)

I've decided to create my first ancestor page for my great-grandfather, Clarence Augustus Justin Gaudette. One of the reasons I'm choosing him is that I'm still uncertain about a lot of information, and hope that a discussion of the sources will help to identify and reconcile some discrepancies. At the time of writing this, I'm not certain if Justin was even part of his name. If my memory serves me correctly, I have never seen it in a record. My grandfather has told me (on more than one occasion) that is his full name though, and I've always had it in my tree that way. This is a great example of an instance where I've included an assumption in my tree as a fact. So that's one problem to address - his name.

Another one - my grandfather told me Clarence was born in Prince Edward Island, Canada. I believe every piece of evidence I've found refutes this.

Clarence's father - Phillip - is where the Gaudette line ends in my tree. I hope that by uncovering further information about Clarence, I might get a better picture of Phillip.

Thomas Greve
Anonymous Gaudette: Born 1960s.
Anonymous Gaudette: Born 1940s.
Clarence Gaudette: Born abt 1913. Died Providence, Providence, Rhode Island 10 Jan 2000.


Ancestry.com, 1920 United States Federal Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Cumberland, Providence, Rhode Island; Roll: T625_1672; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 103; Image: 326.



From this source, the following assumptions can be made:
  • Name: Clarence Gaudette
  • Birth: around 1914 in Rhode Island
  • Residence: Mendon Road in Lonsdale, Cumberland Town, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Occupation: none (at school)

Ancestry.com, Rhode Island, State Censuses, 1865-1935.



County: Providence
Town of City of: Cumberland
Page: 40
Enumeration District: 108
Date of Enumeration: May 5th [??]
1. Street, avenue, road, etc. 2. House Number 3. Number of dwelling house in order of visitation 4. Number of family in order of visitation 5. NAME of each person whose place of abode on April 15, 1925, was in this family. 6. RELATION Relationship of this person to the head of the family. 7. Sex 8. Color or race. 9. Age at last birthday. 10. NATIVITY Place of birth. 11. CITIZENSHIP
Lonsdale Avenue X 228 282 Gaudette Philip Head M W 39 Canada Al
---- Isabell Wife F W 33 Mass
---- Marie Daughter F W 12 Rhode Island
---- Clarence Son M W 11 Rhode Island
---- Francis Son M W 7 Rhode Island
---- Vincent Son M W 5 3/12 Rhode Island
---- Edward Son M W 2 6/12 Rhode Island

From this source, the following assumptions can be made:

  • Name: Clarence Gaudette
  • Birth: around 1914 in Rhode Island
  • Residence: Lonsdale Avenue in Cumberland, Providence, Rhode Island

Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Cumberland, Providence, Rhode Island; Roll: 2171; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0203; Image: 1007.0; FHL microfilm: 2341905.



From this source, the following assumptions can be made:
  • Name: Clarence Gaudette
  • Birth: around 1914 in Connecticut
  • Residence: 2 Mendon Road (I forgot the street name in the transcription) in Lonsdale, Cumberland Township, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Occupation: employed at cotton mill

Summary of Assumptions


Clarence Gaudette (1920, 1930 Census)


around 1914 in Rhode Island (1920 Census)
around 1914 in Connecticut (1930 Census)

© 2015 Thomas Greve