Thursday, September 07, 2006

More on "Peg Leg" Helmig

While doing geneology research, I kept finding articles about "Peg Leg" Helmig. He was arrested several times for fighting and intoxication.
My grandmother's mother was a Helmig. I asked my grandma several times just who was this "Peg Leg". Her response was always "I don't know." My grandma was very young when "Peg Leg" was shot. Years ago the families did not talk about "black sheep" within their families. Very few Helmigs lived in Peru and I was sure there was some connection. When I found the article about John Henry's death the pieces of the puzzle fit together. John Henry Helmig was my great-grandmothers brother.When I told my grandma the events of the story she said,"you can't put that in the book". My mother said the same thing. I told them "It's part of the history of our family-good or bad".
He was portrayed in the newspaper as a worthless character always in trouble. Who knows what gave him the attitude he had-- Maybe losing his leg at the age ten--or alcohol could have been a contributing factor. It is very sad that he was only twenty-eight when he he met his fate from five bullets at an East eighth street saloon.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

John Henry Helmig Shot

Jan. 12, 1902--John H. Helmig, who was in a partially intoxicated condition was in the saloon owned by Charles Neathery across the track from the depot on East Eighth Street. Helmig asked for a drink and his request was granted. He asked for another drink and upon being refused opened the beer faucet and let the liquor run onto the floor. He was then ejected from the saloon and this made him violent. He broke the back door glass with a cane, and walking around to the front of the building, commenced breaking the front door glass with the same instrument, demanding admittance. After Helmig had again walked back to the saloon front Neathery pulled a revolver and shot Helmig five times killing him instantly. He then went to the officers and surrendered himself.
J.H.Helmig had fallen under a freight train on which he was riding when he was about 10 years old. His left leg was cut off above the knee and had become known as "Peg Leg" Helmig. He would go on occasional sprees at which time he would grow sullen and vicious. His name appeared on court records a number of times. His attitude caused his death at an early age of twenty-seven. This story was of great interest to me-will explain more tomorrow---

Erie Township

Erie Twp. is the smallest township in the county. The first white man who trod her dense forests was Samuel McClure. He came in the fall of 1827, and established an Indian trading post on Abraham Dingman farm. His business was that of trader exclusively and consequently he made no attempt at improvements at any time. So far as can be ascertained no white man entered the township for the purpose of bringing the forests into a state of cultivation until 1835. In that year quite a number, being encouraged by the flattering prospects which were offered by the opening of the Wabash and Erie Canal, entered the township, purchasing land immediately adjoining thereto and known as "Canal Land."
My Grandpa had a farm in Erie Twp. when my mother was quite small. Very few remnants of the farm exist today but after some exploration I was amazed at how much wilderness still exists in certain areas of Erie Twp. My mother went to Erie Consolidated school and had to walk quite a distance to get to the unheated school bus to catch her ride. She told me that certain times of the year she had to be carried across a creek when the water was high so she could get to school. The kids of today would moan if they had to walk that far just to go to school.