From Â“The Cedarburg Weekly NewsÂ” (Ozaukee County)
Wednesday, February 16, 1887
It is with feelings of unmingled sorrow and grief, that we must record today the sudden death of one of CedarburgÂ’s most popular men, in the person of Mr. J. Fred. Hilgen, which occurred on Tuesday, Feb. 8. The deceased was the elder of two brothers, the sons of the late F. Hilgen of this place. For several years past, he in company with his younger brother James had been the proprietor and manager of HilgenÂ’s Spring Park.
Although of apparently robust health, yet he was of late occasionally heard to remark to his friends, that he felt within himself the germ of some bodily trouble which would ere long, be fatal to him. Only the day before his death he had made a trip on business to Milwaukee, from which he returned cheerful and in excellent spirits, in anticipation of the pleasures of an intended trip northward to Depere, on the following day. All the greater was the consternation of our community, when early the next morning the news spread through the place, that Fred. Hilgen was dangerously sick and probably could not recover. A severe hemorrhage of the lungs had prostrated him, while making preparations to start on his trip, and although the most skillful medical aid was summoned to his bedside, there was no relief for him and he quietly breathed his last, about 8 P.M.
The deceased was within a few days of reaching the 41 years of his age. In him Cedarburg loses one of her whole-souled citizens who was ever foremost in rank, when the promotion of the public welfare was at stake. His happy disposition of character had made him a favorite with old and young and gained him the fond epithet of Â“Uncle FritzÂ” under which he was known far and wide, and by which appellation he good-naturedly permitted himself to be addressed by everyone who chose to do so. We are convinced that knowingly and willingly he could do a wrong to nobody; and notwithstanding a certain sturdiness or bluntness in his ways and manners, he was a truly good and kind hearted man, never giving a lasting offence to any one. His genial face and stately figure will for a long time be sadly missed in our community.
The funeral took place on Friday afternoon, Feb. 11. Despite the severity and inclemency of the weather, a large number of sympathizing friends had gathered from far and near, to pay their last respects and honors to the deceased. The impressive funeral oration, delivered by Mr. Chas. L. Wilke over the deceased, while lying in state at his residence, was listened to with great appreciation by the assemblage, all feeling that the speaker in his remarks did do but full justice to the memory of the dead friend.
The large funeral procession moved from HilgenÂ’s Spring through the principal street of our city to the cemetery; headed by WeberÂ’s Music Band and the Cedarburg Music Society of which the deceased was an active member. Under the strains of a mourning hymn, the remains were then committed to their last resting place in the family burial grounds. May he rest in peace!
The bereaved, mourning widow and the large circle of relations of the deceased have our most heartfelt sympathy.