January 27, 1933: Tragedy Strikes the Weinsteiger Family in Loss of Two-year-old


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

January 27, 1933: Little Jimmy Weinsteiger, age 2, slipped unnoticed from the family farmhouse to find his daddy Benno, who had gone to Grofe’s Store near their house in Engelsville around 6 PM. When the family discovered the front door standing open and Jimmy could not be found, a frantic search was immediately begun in the cold, wintry night.

A number of neighbors started looking for the toddler along the road between the home and the store, and Boy Scouts from Boyertown and Pottstown were brought to the scene to help. The search party soon numbered about 50 people working through the night, including State Troopers from the West Reading barracks. The hunt was greatly aided by powerful search lights supplied by the Metropolitan Edison Company and the Goodwill Fire Company in Pottstown.

Hour after hour passed with no trace of the lad, and at daylight the frantic searchers formed in a line, ten feet apart, moving in all directions from the house. About three quarters of a mile away, Scout James Waters suddenly glimpsed a form huddled under a bush and began waving his hands and shouting. Jimmy was found stretched out on his stomach with an arm doubled up under his head as a pillow.

The suffering that he had endured in the freezing weather was etched on his little face, and his body was deeply scratched from the briars. He was clad in only a diaper, flannel nightgown, tan stockings and brown shoes. Becoming hopelessly lost in his search for his daddy and exhausted from his trek, he apparently had sought protection from the cold winds under the sprawling branches of the bush and had frozen to death from exposure to the elements.

Following funeral services at the boy’s home, the cortege proceeded to the Church of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Bally, where a solemn requiem mass was said by Father Bernard Creamers. The tiny body was then interred in the church’s cemetery. Jimmy is survived by his parents, siblings Florence, Paul and William, and grandmother Frieda Hensel.

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