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Willie Wurth
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WILLIAM HENRY (WILLIE) WURTH

Willie Wurth was born in Prussia on October 4, 1868. He went with his parents to Switzerland at age six. He came to the United States when he was 16 years old, settling in Enterprise, Kansas. I am not sure when he came to Kansas City.

He married my great-grandmother, Amelia Henrietta Schwendener, in 1900. She had three children from a previous marriage. Then they had two children of their own, my grandmother and her older brother, Werner.

When he died on March 7, 1906, the Enterprise, Kansas, newspaper reported that he had worked for Ehrsam shops in Enterprise. Then, in the Kansas City area, he worked in a smelting company in Argentine, Kansas. He was only 37 when he died. No cause of death is listed in the newspaper's death notice, but it does say that he had been sick since the previous fall and that he died in a hospital.

While surfing the internet, I found a digitalized record of Willie's death from the Missouri Secretary of State's web site. That record adds information that he died of cancer of the pancreas in Red Cross Hospital and the attending doctor was Dr. Hetherington. You can view that record by clicking here. I do not know anything about the hospital, where it was or what happened to it. I am not aware of a Red Cross Hospital currently in the Kansas City area.

I had earlier speculated that, given Willie's line of work and that he died of a lingering type illness, his death may have been due to some sort of metallic intoxication, perhaps even lead. Unless the etiology of pancreatic cancer can include metallic poisoning, my earlier speculation was incorrect.

He was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Enterprise, Kansas. The local Enterprise newspaper noted that in addition to my great-grandmother and five children, he was survived by his mother, five sisters and one brother. That obituary also said that he was born in Persia, but, since that is Iran, there is an obvious mistake as we are not Iranian.

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