1917: For many years the northeast corner of the intersection of Texas and San Jacinto was Houston's Fire Station with its multiple bay doors and ample accommodation for horses and those caring for them. The residential structure to the right at 1211 Texas was a series of boarding houses, Mrs. D. E. Morgan in 1913, and the Wright Hotel in 1917.
3 March 2012: The corner where the fire once sat is now the John S Dunn Outreach Cneter for the Homeless, a charitable agency of. the Episcopal Christ Church Cathedral one block to the west. The domed building that now recapitulates the vanished dome of the Fire Station is The Harris County Civil Justice Center at 201 Caroline, an 18 story public courts building built in 2005.
To: Mrs Elenor Baur
Postmarked: Nov 18 [year to faint to read; 1917 from the message]
Logan Branch Flag Cancel
Stamp: 2c Carmine George Washington
Message: Camp Logan, Nov 7-17
Dear Hilda, I am feeling fine and dandy, and chuming around with your hubby, he’s tickled to be near me, too, we certainly have glorious weather down here and feel much better than I did in Grant. will write you a letter shortly, so dont think your forotten girlie - have not heard from anybody in 2 weeks, so dont forget to write,
S. E. W.
Although the author of the postcard does not sign his full name or relation to the recipient, a comparison of "S.E.W." initials on the postcard with Sigurd Westman's signatures on WWI and WWII draft registrations show a marked similarity, especially with regard to the "E" drawn with great precision, and the flag on the capital "W" in 1917 carried out with flourish. It would be highly improbable that "S.E.W" is not Sigurd Emanuel Westman.
“S.E.W.” he signs himself, knowing that Mrs. Eleanor Bauer will know who is writing. He was Sigurd Emanuel Westman, her older brother, soldiering with her husband at Camp Logan just outside Houston. The Westman Family had come from Kumla Municipality, Örebro County, Sweden fourteen years , their father Alfred preceding the family in 1903, followed in 1904 by Anna and the children: Eres (13), Sigurd (11), Hilda (9), Thor Fabian (7), Alfred (4), Carrie (3), Lilly (1). They settled in Chicago, taking up residence at 1713 Farragut where Alfred worked as a stone cutter. Soon two more children were added to the family, Essie (1904) and Elvira (1906) making a total of 9 children. It was a big family, and as oldest boy, Sigurd went to work early as an office boy, and soon thereafter a draftsman.
Martin Anthony Bauer had a less secure family history. His father, William Albert Bauer died in 1896 when Martin was barely three years old. His mother, Josephine Sackstedder Bauer married within a year of being widowed, mother of four orphans: Anna (b. 1889), Martha (1891), Martin (1893), and Juanetta “Nettie” (1895). Her second husband was Charles Marvel, and by 1900 they had moved to Chippewa County, WS, then by 1902 to Jennings, Crawford County, IN a few miles from where Martin Bauer was born at Milltown, IN. Their family was increased by then with the addition of Dorsey (1898), Emerson (1901), Celia (1903), Elizabeth (1904), Charles (1907) and Louisa (1909), but diminished by all but Nettie from the family home. Martin, age 17, had returned to Downers Grove, living with his Uncle Martin A. Sackstedder (who may well have been his namesake), a farmer there.
From 1910 until the advent of World War I, Martin may have been a bit footloose, and could have wandered into the next county, a big one full of opportunities, Cook County, with Chicago as the powerhouse of the Midwest. It was there that he may have encountered the Westerman Family, either Sigurd or Hilda. He signed his daft record on June 5, 1917 as a single man, and not quite three months later he married Elenora Westman on 2 September 1917 in Chicago, IL.
After registering for the draft in 1917, Martin and Sigurd joined the 108th Engineers, 33D Division, Sigurd Westman as a Corporal in Company C, and Martin Bauer as a wagoneer in Company B. They must have gone to Fort Grant near Rockford, Winnebago County, IL before proceeding to Camp Logan in Houston to train for war. Both shipped out to Europe from Hoboken, NJ aboard the George Washington May 8, 1918. Sigurd returned to the US on the S. S. Harrisburg 23 May 1919 to Hoboken, N.J. and Martin must have come back about the same time. Both picked up their lives where they left off, lives of fairly ordinary pleasures.
Martin and Hilda lived in Downers Grove through 1920, 1930, 1940, as a railroad freight hauler, Plasterer, and Interior Decorator, respectively. The had only a single child, Virginia, born in 1913; given that this is some four years before their legal marriage, it is possible that Virginia was not Martin’s child.
Sigurd never married, living generally in the Andersonville District of Northern Chicago, a largely Swedish enclave in a city known for its ethnic neighborhoods. There he lived in the Westerman family home in 1920 at 1413 Farragut, then at Hotel Leland on Leland near Racine in 1930, then in a boarding house on Berwyn not far from his childhood address on Farragut in 1940, always working as a draftsman or building materials estimator. He died in February 1964 in Chicago.
Martin Bauer died November 1968 in Joliet, Will County, IL. Hilda died 11 September 1976 in Miles City, Custer County, Montana just a few months after her widowed sister, Carrie Mathilda Bergerson, wife of Bror Bergerson a Montana farmer from the same community as the Westman family, had died there 26 June 1976.