Edmund Leon Vadnais (part 2)

Continued from Edmund Leon Vadnais (part 1) – I made a correction near the end of part 1. Edmund and Olga’s house is still standing (Thanks Pat!). I added some text before their marriage certificate and a picture of the house right after it. Click here to go back and look at the end of that post.

Edmund and Olga’s first son Harold Edmund was born later that year on October 28, 1913 at White Bear Lake.  On the birth register index his father is listed as a fireman for the railroad (Northern Pacific).6

Olga with young Harold Edmund             
1915 – Harold Edmund at 16 months old

So exactly when did Edmund go to work for the Northern Pacific Railway (NPRR)?  He started with the NPRR on May 14, 1907, just 2 years after his brother Harvey.  He, like his brother Harvey, was employed by the NPRR in the same starting position as a wiper, at the same pay scale of $45 per month and at the same location, the White Bear Lake roundhouse. 

1910 Northern Pacific Railroad form for Employes (sic) in service on or prior to July 1st, 19097

As seen on the form, his mother was dependent on him for support.  I also have a better image of him in my mind with the visual details given on the form: Edmund is 5 foot 6 ½ inches tall, weighs 153 pounds, has black hair, brown eyes, no peculiar marks.   He has signed the document. 

The record also shows that on August 27, 1907 Edmund was promoted to fireman and transferred to the Minneapolis yards (Northtown); the same job his brother Harvey once held and at the same location.  I guess they both climbed the same ladder!

From what I’ve found in Edmund’s NPRR records, he took the engineman (engineer) examinations on February 19, 1915 and received excellent scores.8  However, there are other railroad records that show he had been an engineer since September 21, 1907.9

Engineer Edmund Vadnais on the right, Northtown rail yard, Minneapolis
Edmund is shown 3rd from the right in this railroad picture at White Bear
Harold, Olga & Edmund, about 1917

Edmund registered to fight in World War I, but was never drafted.  I assume it was because of his having a young family to support.

WWI Draft Registration Card for Edmund Vadnais dated June 5, 191710
(The same day his brother Harvey registered)

April 3, 1918 Edmund and Olga lost their young son Harold Edmund.  He was only 4 years, 5 months, 6 days old.  The death certificate gives the cause of death as an “intestinal obstruction (cause unknown)”.  It also states that he was buried at White Bear Union Cemetery on April 6, 1918. 11

Minnesota death certificate #28625 for Harold Edmund Vadnais
Harold’s monument showing birth date, section 14, lot 5, grave 4, Union Cemetery, White Bear Lake, Minnesota

With very little time to mourn the loss of Harold, Olga gave birth a few months later on July 24, 1918 to their next child Ione “Toby” Louise.

Edmund continued as a railroad engineer at the Northtown rail yards in Northeast Minneapolis.  I only came across 2 accident reports during his career: one in 1916 that caused $45 in damage to a caboose12 and the other in 1937 where a brakeman was thrown from the caboose as he tried to jump onto the moving train.13  Neither resulted in any action being taken against Edmund, nor was the brakeman seriously injured.

Edmund and Olga had 2 more children after Ione: Howard Warren born on January 22, 1920 and Allen Thomas born on February 5, 1925.  Ione, Howard and Allen all lived well into adulthood.

A few interesting facts cropped up in the 1930 and 1940 U. S. census records.  The 1930 U. S. census shows their home on Clark Avenue having a value of $4,00014 and the 1940 U. S. census gives Edmund’s yearly income as $2,845 (about $237 a month) as a locomotive engineer (the record was incorrectly transcribed as lubricating engineer).15  Both of those numbers are hard to conceive in this day and age.

1940s – Edmund and Olga

After World War II broke out, Edmund was a part of the fourth registration, for those men whose year of birth was from April 28, 1877 to February 16, 1897.  It was generally referred to as the “Old Man’s Registration” or the “Old Man’s Draft”.  He, like his brother Harvey, was not drafted to fight.

World War II Selective Service Draft Card16
1950 U. S. census record for Edmund Vadnais and family

As of April 1, 2022 the 1950 U. S. census was released; one more place to look for information.  There are a few things contained in it that I didn’t know about Edmund and his family at that time.  Edmund and Olga’s children Howard and Ione are still at home; their brother Allen is not.  Ione is married to Mark Schmitz and they have a 3 year old daughter, Patricia, all of whom are living in the household.  Edmund had additional questions to answer because of his name being recorded on one of the sample lines on the census page.  In the answers to those questions it shows that Edmund’s highest grade of education was the 6th grade and that he earned $4,600 in 1949 (about $383/mo or about $88/wk) as a locomotive engineer.17

Edmund was still employed with the NPRR when he passed away on Sunday, December 10, 1950, where he worked for over 43 years.  He had been sick with mouth cancer for about 22 months and spent the last 25 days of his life in the N. P. B. A. (Northern Pacific Beneficial Association) Hospital located at 1515 Charles Avenue in St. Paul.  His death certificate states that the cancer had metastasized.  He was 64 years, 1 month and 7 days old at the time of his death.18

N. P. B. A. Hospital, St. Paul
Edmund Leon Vadnais Minnesota death certificate

Edmund was laid to rest near his son Harold on Wednesday, December 13, 1950 at the White Bear Lake Union Cemetery.

Grave marker for Edmund, section 14, lot 3, grave 2, Union Cemetery, White Bear Lake

Olga passed away at 82 years of age on Saturday, November 13, 1971 in St. Paul, Minnesota, over 20 years after Edmund’s passing.  Olga was laid to rest next to Edmund on Tuesday November 16, 1971 at Union Cemetery in White Bear Lake.19

1971 White Bear Press Obituary for Olga Vadnais
Grave marker for Olga, section 14, lot 5, grave 1, Union Cemetery, White Bear Lake
The Kleidon family gravestone is shown in the center with Harold Vadnais’ marker to the right.  Edmund’s and Olga’s grave markers are in the foreground, Union Cemetery, White Bear Lake

Thanks for visiting, come back soon,

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