April 6, 2013

Bertha May Hollabaugh Baker Bridges - Second Child of William Levi and Mary Hollabaugh

The Children of William Levi Hollabaugh 
and Mary Lucetta Case
- Harriet (1872-1950)
-Bertha ( 1874-1964)
-Ernest ( 1875-1955
-Geneva (1878-1968) *grandmother
-Clarence (1881-1887)
-Esther (1887-1958)
-Sylvia (1888-1968)
-Stanley (1890-1967)

William and Mary Hollabaugh welcomed their second daughter, Bertha May, on March 21, 1874. As a young woman, Bertha was a well-respected teacher in Dekalb County.

She married at the age of 36 to Oliver Bridges of St. Joe, Indiana.  The marriage is recorded in Dekalb County for November 19, 1910.  Apparently, the couple moved to Mishawaka, Indiana where they appear in the city's business directory in 1914.  Oliver, or Ollie, worked at the M. W. Manufacturing Company and they lived at 216 West Grove Street.

I am not sure of the date of Ollie's death, but by the 1940 census, Bertha Bridges was living alone, widowed, in Mishawaka.  She gave her age as 59, which was a bit of an untruth (or maybe a neighbor reported that) and she owned her own home, valued at $2100.  

On September 24, 1946, a Dekalb County marriage record may be found for Bertha Bridges and Harry W. Baker.  In one of her sibling's obituaries in 1950, she was also referred to as Bertha Baker.
I really have not been able to find death (or divorce?) dates for either husband, and Bertha is referred to as Bertha Bridges, even in her obituary.  So more research is needed here.

On November 13, 1964, she was in Mishawaka when she wrote this 
somewhat melancholy and desperate letter to her sister, Sylvia, who lived near Spencerville, Indiana.  Her niece, Violette, wrote that Bertha suffered from some dementia in her later years.

"Dear Sylvia and the rest,
You beat me to it this time - I had not heard from you and I had my tablet ready to write to you.  Then I went to the mail box and I found your "Thot's of you" letter in my box.  I was glad to hear from you.  I knew someone was wanted to speak to me for all the pins in my clothes kept standing out strate.  I have to pin up all the holes.  My Singer sewing machine was ruined in the fire.
The wheat you sent me has done me a lot of good - helped me wonderful - you did not tell me how much I owe for it.
Is Lavern going to bring me some more?  I did not know Lavern had a farm.  This wheat is almost all gone and I am still starved and skinny.
You have three homes and the folks here are trying to take the only one I have from me.
Do you stay in Uncle Mill's house alone?  You never told me.  When you go away do you leave the house with no one in it?  You do not have chickens or a garden, etc.
I have never forgotten Dorthy cried when she saw that Aunt Bertha was not going with her when you left Mishawaka. 
You better come with LaVern when he brings the wheat to me.  And if you know any one who has small potatoes that they will sell reasonable, bring them to - about the size of a hen's egg, you know.
I do not care for big potatoes.
After you are 65, you can't work for pay.  I'll tell you about it - too much to write.  It's too rotten - would stink the post office.  I'll tell you when I see you - if you don't know.
So long - best wishes to all - Bertha"

(*Dorothy - Sylvia's daughter.  LaVern - her brother-in-law.  Uncle Mill - Emillius Case - her uncle)

Sadly, almost exactly a week later, Bertha was in a tragic accident.  The Mishawaka Times ran this article on the front page on Tuesday, December 1, 1964:  

"Pedestrian Critical After Truck Accident
An 80 year old Mishawaka woman was reported in critical condition Monday night at St. Joseph's Hospital after she was struck earlier by a skidding truck near her home in the 4000 block of Lincoln Way E.
Mrs. Bertha Baker Bridges, 4021 Lincoln Way E., whose actual age was not known to officials, was rushed to the hospital by police ambulance after the sliding semi-trailer hit her and banged into two automobiles in the driveway of Prickett's Foodliner, 4001 Lincoln Way E.

The truck, owned by Tucker Freight Lines, 1415 S. Olive St., South Bend, was driven by Norbert Watkins, 28, 56547 Pine Rd., South Bend.  Police ticketed Watkins for failure to have his vehicle under control.
Watkins told authorities he was driving west on Lincoln Way and that two cars ahead of him in the line of traffic were signaling for left turns.  He said he braked his vehicle to pull out and pass the cars on the right side.
Watkins told police he began to skid, and authorities said his vehicle turned around and began a slide toward the Prickett parking lot.

In addition to striking Mrs. Bridges, who was walking across the driveway, the runaway truck struck a parked car owned by Mary Tuminski, 120 Virginia St., and one of the cars that had signaled for a turn.  It was driven by Dixie L. Fries, 25, 14251 Eureka St.
Authorities said that Mrs. Bridges apparently was struck by the 'saddle' gasoline tanks on the side of the truck.  The Tuminski car was struck by the front of the truck, and the Fries vehicle was hit by the rear of the sliding semi."  

Bertha died a few weeks later and her obituary appeared in the South Bend Tribune on December 14, 1964:

"Truck Victim Dies of Head Injuries
Mrs. Bertha May Bridges, 90, of 4021 Lincoln Way W., injured Nov. 30 when she was struck by a skidding truck, Saturday night became Mishawaka's seventh traffic fatality of the year when she succumbed to head injuries suffered in the accident.
She had been in critical condition in St. Joseph's Hospital from the time of the accident, although officials saidshe had shown some signs of improvement.
(*recount of accident as described above...)

Mrs. Bridges was born in St. Joseph, Ind. and had lived here since 1910. Her husband preceded her in death.
Surviving are one brother, Stanley Hollabaugh, St. Joseph, Ind., and two sisters, Mrs. Sylvia Ginther, Indianapolis, and Mrs. Eva Pflaumer, Spencerville, Ind.
Friends may call in the Thallemer-Goethals Funeral Home after 6 p.m. today and until memorial services which will be conducted there at 7:30 today.  Rev. Byran Jones, pastor of the Twin Branch Bible Church, will officiate.  The body will be taken Tuesday morning to the Baidinger-Walter Funeral Home, Spencerville, where funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.  Burial will be in the Riverside Cemetery, St. Joseph, Ind."

Bertha had no children.

No comments:

Post a Comment