09 September 2010

Obituary--Unknown Stranger

In this age of fingerprinting and DNA testing, it seems hard to realize that a couple weeks after a body was found, that the name was still missing. Especially when it was determined where he worked, and who he worked for.
I love these old mysteries.

From the 30 August 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Ashland Farmer Finds Body of Chicago Man Missing Several Days

Some excitement was caused in Ashland last Friday, August 17, when the body of a man was found floating in the Muskegon river just north of that place, near what is known as the Wheeler rollway. The Body, which had evidently been in the water about ten days, was found by Frank Bickle, who notified Coroner A. J. McKinley and an investigation was begun at once. From papers found on the dead man's clothing, it was first supposed that his name was Jogodzinski, but this was later disproved, and though his name has not as yet been ascertained, Mr. McKinley and Prosecuting Attorney Wm. J. Branstrom succeeded in establishing his identity.
Their investigation revealed that J. Jogodzinski, a saloon keeper of Chicago, recently purchased a tract of 200 acres of land near Wooster, placing his brother in charge and sending him a helper, the man who later drowned. The helper had been employed in Jogodzinski's saloon for several years past and was, according to reports, a heavy drinker and wholly irresponsible. About two weeks ago he left the farm, wearing Jogodzinski's coat, containing papers belonging to the latter. This lead to the early belief that the body was that of Jogodzinski. From facts at hand it is evident he walked due south from Wooster, striking the river at a point near where his body was later found. he had no money, and it was so clearly a case of accidental death that it was decided no inquest was necessary. The body was temporarily interred in Ashland cemetery Saturday to await instructions from Chicago.

I am sure Mr Jogodzinski was thrilled to have a helper sent to him by his brother, who was "a heavy drinker and wholly irresponsible." And Wooster is 8 to 10 miles from the Muskegon River, with several lakes in between. This victim was either lucky to get where he did, or else a determined drunk who want to float down the river to get to Lake Michigan and Chicago. But quite the mystery for a while.
I wonder if the body was ever moved to Chicago?

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