Thursday, February 2, 2017

Edwin James OTWELL, Jr. (1905-1915)

Edwin Otwell
Photo courtesy of
Aunt Pat H.
Edna OTWELL's twin brother
Edwin, Edna
Tin type photo of the twins
Photo courtesy of Aunt Pat H.

Edwin and Edna were born on 23 May 1905 in Buffalo, Erie County, NY. As children, Edna was taller and had olive skin, brown eyes and dark hair. Edwin was shorter and of fair complexion with blue eyes and blonde hair.

On 28 September 1915, 10 year old Edwin was walking to the candy store when he was struck and killed by an automobile. Cause of death was a fractured skull.  His death was devastating to the family. Verbal family history says that the driver was drunk at the time of the accident. The newspaper article portrays the driver as a hero.

Buffalo Courier, 9/29/1915
(Found on Old Fulton NY Postcards)
Father KELLY continued on as a Catholic priest, but had been relocated from the Buffalo parish soon after the accident.
Edwin's Obit
Buffalo Courier, 1915

(Old Fulton NY Postcards)
Edwin's gravestone
Gravestone, Photo courtesy cousin Tracy O.
Cousin Tracy O. contacted the Ridgelawn Cemetery to locate Edwin’s grave. The cemetery documents indicated that Edwin was first buried in one plot on 1 October 1915, but a few months after, the “family came into some money” and decided to purchase plots so that the family could be near each other. Edwin was moved to the new location along with baby Dorothy on 16 May 1916. Gravestones were purchased for each. The other two plots were reserved for Edwin and Mary Jane. Son Harry bought the 3 remaining plots and these were eventually used for his sister Irene MCMAHON, brother-in-law George W. SIM and himself. (Yes, George rests with the OTWELLs while his wife Edna rests with the nearby SIMs.)

The family gathered during the exhumation of Edwin’s coffin. As the coffin was moved, it fell and the lid opened. Gramma Edna said that she saw his “little blue shoe”.
This sad poem was published by the family one year after his death:
Buffalo Evening News, 28 September 1915
(Old Fulton NY Postcards)
The phrase “family came into some money” could be explained by a document found in Bill SIM’s photo album. It is a life insurance policy taken out for Edna by her mother in 1910. It is likely that Edwin had a similar policy. 

 We recently found probate records for Edwin dated 27 October 1915 (case #51897), but have not found the files on-line, yet. This file should confirm if the money was obtained through the life insurance policy or through a lawsuit.
Probate records index, Buffalo 1915
Edwin, Harry and Edna
Edwin, Harry and Edna, circa 1915, Buffalo

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