Some hard earned findings pertaining to my Shegitz relatives and their arrival in the United States of America.
The Heberling immigrations as far as I know, were begun by Petar Heberling, thirty eight, who arrived on August twenty seventh nineteen hundred and one aboard the ship Southwark sailing from Antwerp, Belgium. As with all the Heberlings I will be discussing here he came from Kukujevci, Hungary, now Serbia.
I believe the original Shegitz were from Apatin, Hungary, (now Yugoslavia), now Serbia. The passenger manifest lists them as Segetz. They were; Istvan, fifteen and Sandor, forty-two, and they arrived aboard the SS Slavonia, April twentieth nineteen hundred and four. Their port of departure was Camero, Trieste Austria (Now Italy). Then known as Fiume Austria. Their nationality is given as Serbian and they are visiting a friend at the Prairie Farm, as are most of the passengers on this sheet of the manifest. Apatin is in Serbia today. I believe their passage was paid by the Prairie Farm.
Heberling family arrives on January twenty fifth nineteen hundred and six aboard the SS Slavonia. Petar's wife Maria arrives with Erzabet, fourteen and Eva six.
Stephen and Elizabeth have a daughter Annie on April fifth nineteen hundred and seven. According to my info Erzabet would have just turned sixteen. Ann appears to have been born in Detroit. This tells us that Stephen was not a year-around-employee of the Prairie Farm at this time. Alicia was listed as the place of birth for Alexander and Joseph so Stephen worked year around at that time as they were born in the winter. As of April fifth nineteen hundred and seven Elizabeth would have been just ten days over sixteen when Annie was born. She arrived here January twenty fifth, nineteen hundred and six, about fourteen months and ten days before Annie was born.
Since Stephen arrived April twentieth nineteen hundred and four and went to the Prairie Farm for everything but the winter seasons, we can speculate that they met sometime after the summer of nineteen hundred and five A wedding date will tell me if Elizabeth married Stephen and went to the Prairie Farm that year. I think this was the case but it seems so early for people to marry. Stephen would be about seventeen years old and Elizabeth about fifteen.
Istvan and Sandor were followed on September nineteenth nineteen hundred and seven by twenty-nine year-old Josef Segetz who was headed for Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. I have no idea if he really went there and I have no idea what happened to Sandor, but I do know that Stephen named his two sons Alexander and Joseph.
Stephen and Elizabeth have a son, Alexander born February twenty first nineteen hundred and nine in Alicia. This gets interesting as Alicia was the company town for the Prairie Farm owned by the Owosso Sugar Company. Anyone who lived here worked here. The Prairie Farm was a huge drained marsh of around ten thousand acres or fifteen square miles. It was protected by twelve-to-twenty- foot dikes and two steam powered pumps to pump the water from all the ditches into the Flint River. The river bank was five feet above the farm.
Joseph was also born at the farm on February twenty fourth nineteen hundred and eleven. While they lived at the farm, Stephen is said to have worked at the Koenig Coal Company in Detroit. The nineteen hundred and sixteen city directory for Detroit shows them as having one main office on Gratiot and two branches, both near railroads. The seasonal workers at the farm were free to leave for the winter season but housing was provided for them if they didn't. I assume the housing was free for the entire year. The Prairie Farm is still famous among draft-horse circles for the descendants of their pure-bred-Belgian horses. This program didn't take off until nineteen hundred and thirteen with the importation of the stallion Rubis and twenty fine mares.
Maria Heger, nee Heberling, came over at the age of twenty one with four-year-old Kata and eleven month Franjo. She was from Erdenik, Hungary, about five miles from Kukujevci. She sailed on the Carpathia which departed from Fiume, Austria. It was the law that the emigrants had to leave from Fiume Austria on a Cunard Line ship. I think the law was passed about nineteen hundred and four. Apparently too many people were going through Hamburg and Brussels and Austria was getting beat up on port fees. If the Carpathia sounds familiar it is. It was the first ship on the scene at the Titanic disaster and if it had been capable of more than six knots a lot more people would have been saved. Talk about a slow boat. They had to carry two to three times as many provisions as most ships of the era because of the length of time involved.
Joseph Shegitz was born at the farm on February twenty fourth nineteen hundred and eleven.
Saginaw Courier Herald, Tuesday, May sixteenth nineteen hundred and sixteen. An article appears about the death of Stephen "Schottz" on the fourteenth at Saginaw General Hospital from being kicked by a horse. He is survived by a widow and three children. The funeral is at the farm home in Fairgrove/Watrousville, Tuscola County, where my mother was born. I know the spelling is off but seriously, how many people died of being kicked by a horse a few weeks before my motherís birth and in the right location? Oh yes, and leaving behind the correct number of children? I am confident that this was Stevenís death notice.
Annie Shegitz' Confirmation is at Holy Trinity on May ninth nineteen hundred and eighteen. Bishop Calia and Father Carry officiating. Of note also is the fact that her address is given as one hundred eighty five Porter Street, Detroit. I believe this would have been right by the bridge and Mexican Town today. There is no such address today but this may be good spot to look for the nineteen hundred and twenty census as Shegitz can't be found on the soundex index. Maybe I should look under Schottz! Most Holy Trinity was the first Irish Catholic Church in Detroit but when first opened was turned into a hospital for some epidemic. Either Flu of Cholera, anyway, many people died.
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