m. 14 Mar 1852
m. 8 Feb 1894
Facts and Events
Fred Hitzemann was born on his parents' Indiana farm (on the Illinois state line near Dyer), the eighth child (and fourth son) of Carl and Maria Hitzemann. In 1894 he married Sophia Seegers, the girl next door; her parents owned an adjacent farm. Fred took up farming on the Seegers farm, probably shortly after the wedding. The 1900 census shows Fred and Sophia living on the farm with sons Alvin, Edwin, and Walter (and also with Sophia's widowed mother). Diptheria struck the family that summer, including all three sons, and baby Walter died of it. Three daughters were then born, Dora, Bernice, and Alice, followed by another son, Bill.
When World War I came, the oldest two sons were drafted into the army. After the war, they settled in Nebraska and in South Dakota to farm. Fred and Sophia sold the farm in 1920 and moved with the younger children to a house on Carroll Street in Hammond, Indiana. Fred took up work with the railroad. When Edwin's wife died after childbirth in 1922, Edwin and his two young children returned from South Dakota and moved in with them. Sophia died in 1928 following surgery, and Bill in 1929 of spinal meningitis.
Bernice's husband Ed Helmer died in 1941, and sometime after this, Bernice bought the Carroll Street house. Fred then went to live with daughter Alice Beckwith, who also lived in Hammond, and stayed with her family for the remainder of his life. He had problems with alcoholism, which was the cause of his final illness and death.
Fred is remembered for his sense of humor. His grandson Gene once recalled a typical example:
Grandpa was sitting in church waiting for the service to begin, with two of his young grandsons, Gene and Dale, on either side of him. Bored, he reached into a pocket, pulled out a cigar, and began slowly to unwrap it. The boys looked at him in horror. Was Grandpa really going to smoke in church? "Well," he told them, "I don't see any 'No Smoking' signs in here." But he immediately put the cigar back in his pocket.