Great Grandpa’s Beer Wagon

My Great Grandpa, George Mangen,  was listed as a peddler in the 1900 census. He was born in 1868 in Luxembourg and immigrated in 1889 with one sister. They settled in Chicago, Illinois. George married my great grandmother Eva Guill in 1896. ( I wrote about Eva’s confectionary store in an earlier Sepia post here). They had 4 children, the youngest passed 2 months after birth. George worked for Tosetti Brewing Company and drove a wagon in the streets of Chicago. Below is a photo of him in his wagon.


There were several newspaper articles regarding George and his beer wagon. On the morning of May 7, 1903, George was delivering bottles of beer when his damaged wagon and horses were found several blocks from George who was lying on the Calumet Car company tracks. He died in an ambulance on his way to the hospital. There were three theories regarding his death. The police said he died from heart disease. Because of the damage to the wagon and he was found on the tracks, some thought he had an accident with an electric car. The last is that he was murdered as there were two men standing over him and ran off when another man came along who subsequently got help. My great grandma had his body exhumed and another autopsy performed. The second doctor found there was evidence of violence that the first doctor did not report. A special inquest was convened and the jury concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to determine how George died. There is one other photo of him. I am not sure of the date but it was taken by a Chicago photographer.


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9 thoughts on “Great Grandpa’s Beer Wagon

  1. Great photo, but Poor George!!! And to go through all of that, and exhume the body and still have no definitive answers. That is so sad! Did they take note of any beer missing from his wagon?


    1. I have not read anything about that but it is an interesting theory. He still had money ($5.70), his pocket watch, pocket knife and finger ring on his body when he was found.


  2. How sad, that a young man died and then the family didn’t know how it happened. I’m glad that you’ve got the 2 photos of him to remember his life (probably as well as news articles)


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