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Ezra Charles August WICKEMEYER  1893 - 1956   arrowarrow PIONEER    PARENTS    LIFE    NOTES    LABELS    PHOTOS    THANK YOU


Ezra Charles August WICKEMEYER  1893 - 1956

aka Ezra Charles A. Wickemeyer, Ezra C. A. Wickemeyer, E. C. A. Wickemeyer, Ezra Charles Wickemeyer, Ezra C. Wickemeyer, Ezra Wickemeyer, E. Wickemeyer
birth 25 March 1893, Richmond, Indiana
death 24 Aug 1956, Reading, Cincinnati, Ohio
burial on Lutherania Cemetery, Richmond, Indiana
marriage married on 29 September 1920, Wayne, to:
Catherine/Katharine/Katy M. HELMICH

b. 9 March 1890, Richmond, Wayne, Indiana
d. 11 July 1981, Norwood, Norfolk, MA (Ohio before 1951

(In 1900 was living in Richmond, Wayne, Indiana)
buried on Lutherania Cemetery, Richmond, Indiana


father William Henry WICKEMEYER

b. 21 Dec 1862, Bennien, Hanover, GERMANY
d. .... 1937, ..........) cabinetmaker Casket Co. (emigrated in 1878 to USA

mother Ida Katherine RAUKOPF

b. 27 Mar 1866, Richmond, Indiana
d. .... 1950, .........

marriage (they got married on 30 Aug 1888, ....., Wayne, IN)
  • died of diphtheria
  • died of diphtheria
  • Ezra Charles August

    b. 25 March 1893, Richmond, Indiana
    d. 24 Aug 1956, Reading, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Martin John

    b. 26 Feb 1896, Belleville, St Clair, Illinois
    d. 18 June 1970, Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio

  • Edwin Albert

    b. 13 April 1898, ....., Wayne, Indiana
    d. ............

  • Edith E. L.

    b. .... 1900, ...........
    d. .... 1982, ............

  • Alma H. B.

    b. .... <1903>, ......
    d. ..........

remark On 20 June 1878 a Wilh[elm] WICKEMEYER (16y from Hannover) arrives in Baltimore, Maryland on board of SS "LEIPZIG" (departure Bremen)
Also on passenger list (same page, but apart from Wilhelm) : Agathe (<1875>), Helene (<1843>) and Edmund (<1869>)
Found a scribbled personal note saying:
1878 William H. Wickemeyer, GERMANY
Kingswear/Kingsway, Church Lane, London NW9
Did he first go to England?


1900 CENSUS (13 June 1900, Richmond, Wayne, Indiana):
Wm. H. WICKEMEYER (b. Dec 1862) wood worker
Ida WICKEMEYER (b. Mar 1865)
- Ezra C. A. WICKEMEYER (b. Mar 1893)
- Martin John WICKEMEYER (b. Feb 1896)
- Edwin Albert WICKEMEYER (b. Apr 1898)

1910 CENSUS (28 April 1910, Richmond, Wayne, Indiana):
William WICKMEYER (sic!) (47y; b. GERMANY) casket maker // casket company
Ida (45y; b. Indiana)
- Ezra WICKMEYER (17y) (b. <1893>, [Richmond, Wayne], Indiana) sales man // grocery
- Martin (14y)
- Edwin (12y)
- Edith (9y)
- Alma (7y)
= Mary RAUKOPF (90)

1920 CENSUS (5 Jan 1920, Richmond City, Wayne, Indiana):
William H. (57y) cabinet maker // Casket Co.
Ida K. (54y)
- Erva (sic! = Ezra) C. A. WICKEMEYER (26y) bookkeeper Piano factory
- Martin John WICKEMEYER (23y)

- Edwin Albert WICKEMEYER (21y)
- Edith E. L. (19y) stenographer Piano factory
- Alma H. B. (17y)

1930 CENSUS (8 April 1930, Richmond, Wayne, Indiana):
William WICKEMEYER (67y) year of immigration: 1878
- Alma WICKEMEYER (26y)

American recorder
Recorder Phonograph Records for The Starr Piano Co. (Draft Cards 1917-1918)
July 1923; 1924-1926 GENNETT RECORDING COMPANY (South 1st and A Streets, Richmond, Indiana

Harold Soule started working for Gennett in 1926 (MacKenzie)
According to Kennedy Harold Soule replaced Wickemeyer in early 1927 (p. 131)

In 1930 CENSUS (11 April 1930, Chicago, Cook, Illinois:
Ezra Wickoneyer (sic!) (37y) recording engineer // Moving Pictures
Katheryn W. (40y)

Ca. 1942 he moved to Reading, Ohio (near Cincinnati)
warehouseman for the Drackett Chemical Company

Catherine/Katharine/Katy M. HELMICH - WICKEMEYER died on 11 July 1981, Norwood, Norfolk, MA (Ohio before 1951). According to Carolyn KUNDE she went north with a sister (or to live with her sister).
Perhaps this was Hilda HELMICH, who if married may be found under her husband's name.
There also was a Jacqueline J. WICKEMEYER living in MA (Fairhaven/Fall River), MI (East Lansing) & NJ (Summit, Bayonne).
(Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003: Katherin M. Wickemeyer)

Picture of Ezra(?) with members of Wolverine Orchestra
(PHOTO GALLERY - bixology; type: Ezra Wickemeyer)
(info: Sam Meier, Richmond, Indiana)


Home of Henry W. Wickemeyer Almost Completely Destroyed This Morning and Three Persons Were Injured as a Result.

Employes of Company Went to House to Investigate and Both Were Slightly Injured
The brick residence of Henry W. Wickemeyer, 300 South Third street, was almost completely demolished by a natural gas explosion at 7:50 o’clock this morning, and three people were injured. The injured were:
EZRA WICKEMEYER, aged 12; face, hands and arms seriously burned.
THOMAS SHIGLER, 410 North D street, employe of Richmond Natural Gas company; slightly burned
BARTLEY GORDON, 512 Sheridan street, superintendent Richmond Natural Gas company; slightly burned
With a report resembling the explosion of a large boiler, natural gas which had escaped from a leak in the cellar exploded, and the brick walls on two sides of the house fell outward. The front wall, 96 feet long and 20 feet high, was cut as clean from the balance of the house as though it had been done by workmen. Half of the east wall of the house, fronting on South C street, fell in the same manner, and the entire west wall was thrown out of position, but did not fall.
The floors of the house did not fall and the wreck presented a strange appearance. The walls which did not fall are in a dangerous condition and will have to be torn down. The house was probably worth from $2,000 to $2,500 and the loss, including the damage to contents of the house, is estimated at at least $2,500. The house was owned by Mrs. Katherine M. Raukopf, mother of Mrs. Wickemeyer.
Shortly after Mr. Wickemeyer, who is employed at the plant of the J. M. Hutton company, left home at 6 o’clock this morning, Mrs. Wickemeyer discovered the odor of gas. Going to the cellar way, she found that a strong odor was issuing from the cellar. She went to a telephone nearby and telephoned to her husband, asking him to send a plumber. She then telephoned to the natural gas company’s office and informed them of the leak. Supt. Bartley Gordon and Thomas Shigler, an employe, drove to the house to locate the leak and make the necessary repairs.
On there arrival Mrs. Wickemeyer told them that there was a good deal of gas in the cellar, and says that she warned them against lighting a match.
As the cellar has several compartments, Ezra, the 12-year-old son of Mr and Mrs. Wickemeyer, was told to go to the cellar with the men and show them where the pipes were located.
Only a slight odor of gas was noticed by the men as they entered the cellar. The boy and Mr. Shigler went ahead, Mr. Gordon following. Apparently the gas had accumulated between the joist of the floor above, as, according to the statement of the men, the odor was not sufficient to indicate any danger. One of the men struck a match to locate the leak, and in an instant the explosion occurred.

The two men and the boy were engulfed in the flame which followed the explosion. Gordon, being in another compartment of the cellar from that in which the gas escaped, received only slighty burns. His hair was singed badly, but the burns he received required no medical attention.
Ezra Wickemeyer wore a cap, but it was blown from his head by the force of the explosion. His face and hands were badly burned, but he was able to make his way out of the basement, and was taken to a neighbor’s where his injuries were attended by Dr. S. C. Markley. While the boy suffered much pain, it is believed that the burns are not a of a dangerous nature. His eyesight was apparently not injured. The most serious burns were about his hands.
Thomas Shigler was compelled to pass through the flames to reach the stairway, and in doing so received painful burns. He hurried to the office of Dr. Zimmerman, where his injuries were dressed. His burns are painful, but are not of a serious nature.
The fire department was called out immediately after the explosion occurred and arrived in time to prevent a conflagration. The east wall had fallen over the gas cut off, but the bricks were cleared away and after the gas had been shut off a further examination of the damage was made.
Mrs. Wickemeyer and four children escaped from the house in a remarkable way. Ezra, the injured boy, is the oldest of the five children, and Mrs. Wickemeyer and the other children, one of whom is only two years old, were in the kitchen, the room immediately over the compartment in the basement where the explosion occurred. The east wall fell immediately after the explosion, and Mrs. Wickemeyer, taking the baby in her arms, and telling the other children to follow her, ran from the building through the space where the wall had formerly been.
As soon as the four children were safely outside, Mrs. Wickemeyer returned to look after the missing boy, and found him as he was leaving the cellar. Although suffering intensely the boy displayed nerve and presence of mind.
Mrs. Raukopf, who makes her home with Mr. and Mrs. Wickemeyer, was in the yard when the explosion occurred. She is quite old and the shock almost overcame her. She went to the home of a neighbor, where she is being cared for.
Mr. Wickemeyer left his work soon after learning of the leak in the gas pipes, and before he had learned of the explosion. When near the Pennsylvania station the fire alarm was sounded, and as it came from the box only a block from his home, he at once suspected that trouble had resulted from the escaping gas. He hurried home but did not know how serious the accident was until he arrived. He paid no attention to the house, but went at once to his suffering boy, and it was half an hour after his arrival before he even looked at the wrecked house.
The house wrecked by the explosion was a substantial nine room two-story brick house. It was built about fifty year ago, but within the past few years had been extensively repaired, a brick addition being built on the west side. It was the wall of the new addition that was thrown out of place, but did not fall. It is thought that the wall will fall before the work of tearing down the building will begin. It will be necessary to tear down the entire house, as the rear wall was the only one not badly damaged and it was cracked in several places.
There were many pecullar incidents in connection with the explosion. In the north front room down-stairs the mantle was torn from the wall and thrown across the room. In the same room the glass globe on a hanging lamp was not broken. In the south front room one of the legs of the square piano was torn off, allowing the instrument to fall to the floor, but in the same room the windows glass on the south side were not ever [=even?] cracked and the glass in picture frames were not damaged. The front walls of both of these rooms were blown out.
The force of the explosion is shown by the fact that a piece of window curtain was flung in a tree fifty feet away from the house. The window from which the curtain came was completely shattered.
(from: Evening Item (Richmond, Indiana of 24 Feb 1905, pp. 1 & 5)

- Picture of Ezra's house after the explosion of 24 Feb 1905

- see original article at the bottom of the page:
Richmond, Ind. - 24 Feb 1905. An explosion of natural gas today wrecked the residence of Henry W. Wickemeyer, and injured Ezra Wickemeyer, aged 12. Thomas Shingler a plumber and Bartley Gordon, an employee of the gas company. The two men struck a match to look for a gas leak.
(THE FORT WAYNE WEEKLY SENTINEL, Wednesday 1 March 1905, p. 11, 3rd column) )

- Picture of grave Ezra/Katherine by: Kathy Nixon

* Interview with Ezra Wickemeyer in Down Beat or Billboard (1940s?)?

For information on Wickemeyer as inventor click on this item


  • THE FORT WAYNE WEEKLY SENTINEL, Wednesday 1 March 1905
  • The Evening Item (Richmond, Indiana of 24 Feb 1905
  • Jelly Roll, Bix and Hoagy. Gennett Studios and the Birth of Recorded Jazz by Rick Kennedy
  • Talking Machine World of 15 June 1926
  • A trumpet around the corner: the story of New Orleans jazz by Samuel Barclay Charters (p. 179)
  • Bix: the definitive biography of a jazz legend : Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke ... by Jean Pierre Lion
  • Bix: man & legend by Richard M. Sudhalter, Philip R. Evans
  • Lost chords: white musicians and their contribution to jazz, 1915-1945 by Richard M. Sudhalter
  • Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael by Richard M. Sudhalter
  • Down Beat ???
  • Cincinnati Enquirer of 26 Aug 1956 (death notice)
  • ......... (obituary)
  • website:
  • Ezra C. A. Wickemeyer by Brian Goggin (online article)


Article in Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel
Original article


Rick Kennedy
Tad Dickerson
Carolyn Kunde
Kathy Nixon
Linda Barsalou