Several weeks ago I received a document from W. Wingard “Bill” Rahn asking if there is any way to find out who wrote the account of his Great Grandfather Edwin Valentine Arnsdorff’s death. The document was signed Dandy.
James Edwin Arnsdorff (1838-1913) married Harriett Matilda Wilson (Arnsdorff ) (1859-1942) and had three children Edwin Valentine Arnsdorff (1860-1905), Julia Ellen Arnsdorff (Hinely) (1864-1935) and a child Harriett that died at one year of age. I discovered Edwin Valentine Arnsdorff’s only sibling to reach adulthood, Julia Ellen A. Hinely, is my Paternal Great Grandmother who married Joshua Horace Hinely.
Edwin V. Arnsdorff married Lydia Talula Usher at the home of the bride’s father near Springfield on July 21, 1885. The wedding was officiated by Rev. H. S. Wingard according to the Lutheran Visitor 8-28-1885, p. 8. The bride was the daughter of Jeremiah J. and Sarah L. (Seckinger) Usher. To this Arnsdorff union were born: Cecil (1887-1888), Uldric Jeremiah (1890-1948 m. Maude Mallard), Fannie Matilda (1892-1968 m. Edward Judson Pace) and Carl William (1894-1976 m. Mary Catherine “m. Mary Catherine “Mamie” Seckinger).
Edwin V. Arnsdorff died at the age of 45 in a tragic accident. Mr. Arnsdorff is buried in the Bethel Lutheran Cemetery and the marker is inscribed, “Killed by a falling Limb”.
At the time of Edwin Arnsdorff’s death, N. Hinton Morgan (1868-1954) was 37 years of age. Mr. Hinton wrote many accounts of history including that of Turkey Branch Methodist Church and the history of Effingham County Methodist Camp meeting. I have included an illustration of the handwritten title of the written account of the death of Edwin Arnsdorff and an excerpt from a journal of Hinton Morgan of names recorded in the “beef club”. I see a distinctive signature in the first F of Arnsdorff in both accounts. Although no one knew of Hinton Morgan as Dandy, it is possible he had a nickname among friends. Draw your own conclusion as you read the account below originally written in neat cursive penmanship:
Death of Edwin Valentine Arnsdorff, Sept. 14, 1905
A very sad accident happened last Thursday morning about 11 o’clock to Mr. Edwin V. Arnsdorff who was cutting mill logs. He cut a pine and a limb weighing about 20 lbs. lodged in a pine about 75 feet in height, fell and struck him on the head, crushed his skull and killed him instantly. Drs. Tarver and Smith were sent for immediately, but for no use for he never moved an inch, spoke a word, and drew but one breath after the limb fell. He was a consistent member of Bethel Church, and lived the faith, was always in his place, ready and willing to do good at all times. To know him was to love and respect him very highly. He leaves a father, one sister, a wife and three children, and a great host of friends to mourn his untimely death. He was a man of sterling worth, was about 46 years of age and had bid fair to live to an old age when this grim monster aimed his deathly shaft at the shining mark & took him to live in that beautiful where there is no sorrow, pain or death. We extend our most heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved family and point them to the lamb of God who hath power to comfort and heal all the sorrow and pain.
Perhaps we will never know if this was a eulogy read at the funeral or just a document written by a friend he may have called Dandy. It leaves us knowing that a good man was gone way too soon and someone (I believe it was Nathaniel Hinton Morgan) documented it for generations to come.
Document provided by W. Wingard Rahn and Journal note provided by Buddy Burns.