Samuel Albert Yegerlehner was my grandfather’s oldest brother. Samuel was the son of John Henry and his first wife Emma Harden. I don’t really know much about Emma Harden or why she died. She was the daughter of Henry and Melinda (Boleck) Harden. Emma and John Henry were married in Clay County on April 6, 1890. Samuel was born almost exactly one year later. Two years passed and then in 1893, at age 21, Emma died. I can only imagine the heartache experienced by my 26 year old great grandfather John Henry. Since John took over his father’s farm and his mother continued to live on the farm until she died, I can imagine that John had the support of his family to help take care of young Samuel. Three years following in 1896, John Henry remarried. John’s new wife, Lovina Schiele, by all accounts treated Samuel as one of her own. John and Lovina had six additional children, including my grandfather.
Samuel received an 8th grade education in one of the small rural county schools. He was married on January 31, 1915 to Esther Zurcher. The Zurchers were another Swiss German family that lived in Harrison Township who were also members of St. Peters German Reformed Church. In 1917, Samuel signed up for the World War I draft. I don’t think he actually served during the war. According to the 1930 census, Samuel was not a veteran so he most likely did not. Samuel and Esther had three sons, the oldest of which died in infancy.
Samuel was a farmer, like his father. He had his own farm nearby his father’s land. I do not know if this was land he purchased himself, or a parcel his father had given him, or even perhaps something he might have inherited from his maternal grandfather Henry Harden. Samuel’s family did not inherit the Yegerlehner farm which went to his brother Clarence and his descendants.
Samuel was also active in his church, serving as a Trustee, Deacon and an Elder. According to his biography in the Centennial booklet of St. Peter’s Church, Samuel also helped take care of the church property, due in part to its proximity to Samuel’s farm.
Samuel died suddenly in 1944 while my grandfather was stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Base. I have not read ahead in the letters of my grandparents during this time so it is possible that there is mention of Samuel’s death. In fact, as I look through the letters there seems to be a gap for this period. There is a letter postmarked May 2, 1944 (the date of Samuel’s death) and then nothing for almost a month. I feel like I am jumping ahead in the story, and I don’t want to disturb the narrative. To quote one of the sayings of a favorite science fiction character, she would at this point say “Spoilers!”
Samuel, his wife Esther, and two of their sons are buried at St. Peter’s Reformed Church Cemetery on the Owen county line.
Thur P.M. 1715 (postmarked June 25, 1942 8:30 PM)
Just got home and have had a chat with Mrs. E. Dr. Lentz didn’t bring me home-he called and informed me he had other arrangements. Don’t know what’s cookin. He got a telephone call Tue Eve. Don’t know which one it was from.
The mail enclosed will probably be the last maybe some tomorrow-That makes $18⁰⁰ that has gone thru the mail this week.
I got your letter last night (wed) Glad to hear you made it OK and in such good time. I have the duty tomorrow and may not get a chance to write. I could
(page 2) write OK but the mail isn’t taken from the base after 1500 so that makes it the same if I write the next day.
Guess I’ll have to eat at Pearl Harbor this Eve. because its too far to walk any farther and I don’t want to spend .20 to ride the cars to + from eating.
I got three telephone calls this P.M. and on each of the three I expected orders, but nothing happened. One was about the allotment. They had made a mistake and they couldn’t make corrections so had to fill out another card. After one or two of those calls one get the jitters wondering where he’s going to land.
Well, so long until tomorrow