Friday, December 11, 2015

Ernie Margheim: An Interesting Twist to Uncle Alex's Fatal Accident

 An excerpt from an email Dad wrote to me in Oct 2008, with expanded information that I've added.
Alexander and Bertha (Schneider) Margheim,
married 2 Sep 1916, Milberger, Kansas
In 1927 my dad's brother, Alex Margheim, living up near Galatia or Milberger, KS, was killed on a Sunday morning while driving to church. His wife, Bertha survived. 

I was age 5 at the time, but I vividly remember looking at their wrecked Apperson Roadster that was sitting in their yard, when we came from WaKeeney to Milberger to attend the funeral. What impressed me was the colored enameled nameplate on the front of the hood of the car. It was multicolored, green, black or something along that line. I thought to myself, "What a shame for such a pretty car to be wrecked". Uncle Alex liked fast cars. He also drove a race car in car races in those days. 

As I related to you before, later in Great Bend, Kansas, Leo Steinert had a furniture store and on occasion I told him about Uncle Alex's wreck. He said "You know we were on our way to church that morning and we were the first on the scene at that collision at the intersection of north/south road near Milberger, coming in north of Milberger." 

I never did ask who the people were in the other car for that collision.
Notes from Ernie's daughter Becky:

As I reviewed the obituary for Alex, I saw that the driver of the car that hit Uncle Alex was a Willie Karst. Here's the obituary from Find-A-Grave.
Margheim Killed in Wreck Near Milberger
Death Almost Instantaneous From Triple Fracture 
at Back of Brain
Wife and Five Children Not Injured
Alex Margheim, of the Milberger community was instantly killed Sunday morning about 10 o'clock from a triple fracture at the base of his brain, when his car crashed into the Hudson sedan of Willie Karst just as the latter was driving away from the filing station in front of the Milberger store. Margheim, his wife and five children, were on their way to Great Bend, going south on the highway and did not see the Karst car which was pulling away from the filling station headed west. The Margheim car, which was an Apperson roadster, was completely wrecked and the front of the Karst car was damaged considerably. Except for a few bruises sustained by the Margheim children no one else was injured. Karst was traveling alone. Margheim is a brother of Fred Margheim of this city. He also has another brother living in Galatia. Funeral services will be held in Milberger Wednesday morning. January 3, 1927 issue of the Russell Record

This is a map of that area:
From Google Images I found these photos of the Apperson Roadster.

This may be the hood ornament that Dad retained in his memory for 81 years. It fits his description. 
In the 1920s in the Milberger, Russell, Galatia, Hoisington, and Great Bend areas of Kansas, the residents were largely acquainted with each other as they were descendants of the Volga Germans who settled there at the turn of the century. Most were also members of the Lutheran Church. So I wondered if the Willie Karst who was driving the car that hit Uncle Alex might have been acquainted with him.

As I searched on Family Tree for Willie Karst, I found information on William Frederick Karst, who was verified by one of my Volga German friends to be the driver of the other car. The chart below shows how that William Karst is related to the Margheim family! 
This chart shows "Willie Karst" at the bottom left, with his wife Lydia Templing. Lydia and her sister Hannah are the daughters of Henry Templing and Elisabeth Maier. Hannah is married to Jacob Margheim, brother of Alex Margheim, the victim in the car accident. Alex and Jacob have another brother John, whose son is Ernest, my father, shown at bottom right.

In determining the correct identity of the driver of the car that hit Alex, the tale of Alex's death includes another element that adds to its great tragedy and sorrow. In this case, Willie was the driver of the car that hit the Apperson Roadster that was driven by his brother-in-law's brother. Such a tragedy for so many families who were "related" to each other. Perhaps this is why my dad was not told who the driver of the other car was. But then Dad was just a 5 year old boy.

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