Events Leading To Geo Steinbrecher's Death

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

Newspapers are such a valuable resource for discovering information about our ancestors and their communities during their lives. Especially to help us uncover events that we may never have realized happened in their lives without them being published. Thanks to the Grand Rapids Press newspaper in Grand Rapids, Michigan I was able to learn a lot about what happened prior to my 2nd great-grandfather, George "Geo" Steinbrecher's death. I still would love to be able to look at the court records for the case linked to his death, but for now, this is what I learned from the local newspapers that reported about his story.


On the evening of May 15, 1915, my 2nd great grandparents, Geo and Dora Steinbrecher had been visiting Dora's sister. It began raining during their visit and Geo decided that he was going to run home to secure an umbrella for their walk home in the rain. Dora stayed at her sister's house at 30 Coldbrook Street NW while Geo would run the six blocks to their home at 1343 Monroe Aven NW. At the intersection of Coldbrook Street and Ottawa Avenue NW his head had been down due to the rain as he was struck by the automobile driven by Claude Rudy. Rudy was driving 15 miles an hour but due to the rain did not notice Geo until it was too late.


An ambulance took him to Butterworth hospital where it was discovered that he had a fractured skull and other serious injuries.


As time passed that evening Dora did not know what happened to Geo and after waiting some time for him to return with the umbrella she finally decided to heading home by herself. She did not find out until Sunday that he was in the hospital fighting for his life.


By Tuesday, May 18 the attendants at Butterworth hospital stated to the Grand Rapids Press that as of Tuesday afternoon that my 2nd great-grandfather was growing weaker due to his injuries.

He passed away on Wednesday, May 19 due to the fracture of his skull. Geo was survived by his wife, Dora, my great-grandfather, George Steinbrecher, and his daughters, Carrie & Elizabeth.


On May 26, 1914, the courts ruled that George Steinbrecher's death was an accident and Mr Rudy was relieved of any blame. Witnesses and Mr Rudy had testified that his vehicle was not going more than fifteen miles an hour. The rain had made it difficult for Rudy to notice my Geo until it was too late.


I was able to learn all of this from articles published in the Grand Rapids newspaper. Newspapers hold treasures that can help us learn about our ancestors. While newspapers are a great source you still need to be careful because there are times when information is not accurate. For example, one of the articles had stated that George had been visiting his sister, but Barbara was actually his sister-in-law. I'm looking forward to eventually looking at the court case in order to try an verify what information I have already learned and what new information I may find.


Until next time, take care!