Finding Finding Kline

When I first started this blog, I dove in so deep that I almost forgot to come back up for air. My desk was filled with scraps of paper that identified ways that might lead me to more answers to my questions. I searched and searched until I hit every virtual brick wall in the Internet.

Then I stopped. For two years, actually. I had exhausted my resources and was feeling defeated. So I gave it a rest. And a few days ago, something awesome happened.

On August 14th, 2013—a little over two years to the date of my last post, I received an email with the subject line “My Sister.” From a google search of her name, Linda’s brother had found Finding Kline and contacted me. I’m going to meet him in October. He tells me he has plenty of stories, pictures and artifacts that will fill in more gaps. And I’m sure I’ll have plenty to tell him, too.

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The Fate of Thomas Kaylor

I’m sorry for the delay in updates…I haven’t had much to say up until recently!

Now, through my Ancestry.com account, I’ve made a huge breakthrough in several questions.

I decided to do a search on one of the passengers in Thomas Kaylor’s car. In the newspapers and court documents, he’s listed as James Hamilton. I put in his approximate birth date and death and instantly, a Jimmie B. Hamilton appeared. Imagine my surprise when one lone member tree included Hamilton’s name. I contacted the tree owner, Barbara, and she graciously agreed to answer my questions about Hamilton and Kaylor.

Jimmie Hamilton was her aunt’s young husband. His brother-in-law, Larry, was also in Kaylor’s car and managed to survive. The two worked in the oil business just like my grandfather. Kaylor and Jimmie were friends from high school, Barbara said, and they had been bar hopping the night of the accident. Driving along the hilly Avenal roads was difficult, especially since the three were intoxicated.

As we know, the accident took the lives of Jimmie, my grandparents and their infant daughter. Larry suffered severe head injuries and was near death. He managed to pull through after having two metal plates screwed into his head.

And Thomas Kaylor? After his divorce he decided to visit his children, who were living with their mother and her new boyfriend. Once there, a fight occurred between the three adults and Thomas was shot by his ex-wife’s boyfriend. This explains the short three-month gap between Kaylor’s divorce and death. He is buried in Lemoore Cemetery, California under a cemetery marker.

I haven’t found any information or news articles about this event but I’m searching. Barbara was in contact with Kaylor’s niece, who provided the information about his death. I’m hoping to contact her and find out more about her family. I want to thank Barbara and her aunt for providing me with answers. It’s so appreciated!

Questions:

  • Did Gerald work with Jimmie and Larry?
  • Who killed Thomas Kaylor?
  • Where are Thomas Kaylor’s children?
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Thank You, Roots & Branches!

Jim Beidler, author of “Roots & Branches” and genealogy researcher, published his weekly column this morning in newspapers across Pennsylvania – and guess who’s featured!

Jim was so gracious as to give me a quote last week and his column provides a lot of great tips for researchers like myself. I appreciate his interest and am grateful for his thoughtful viewpoint on my story.

If you’re visiting as a result of Jim’s column, welcome! I’m glad you’re here. I hope you stay tuned and, as always, if you have information that may help, feel free to contact me!

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Frequently Asked Questions

I may make this its own page, but until then, here are a few answers to some frequently asked questions!

Who raised Jerry and Paul after their parents were killed?
My dad and uncle’s legal guardians were Gerald’s parents, Bertha and Daniel Kline. Jerry was sent to Milton Hershey School for Boys almost immediately. Paul wasn’t eligible until he turned four the following year. I’m currently investigating some information I found that seems to suggest that Linda’s father attended Milton Hershey as well. Her brother, LeRoy, even offhandly mentioned, “they went to Milton Hershey because our father did, of course.” My dad was never told or aware of this, so I’m trying to do a bit more research on that!

Where were their family? Did any of Gerald’s brothers or sisters try to raise them?
Jerry and Paul’s grandparents took care of them on weekends and holidays and they were very close. My father (Jerry) stayed with his Aunt Jill for a few summers as he got older, as well. His Aunt Emma told us that she had wanted to adopt both of them but already had her hands full with her own children and decided against it.

Where are his parents and the baby girl buried?
All three are buried together in a cemetary within Annville, PA.

Did the boys see both sets of grandparents?
For reasons unknown, my dad wasn’t in contact with the Seiberts. LeRoy told me that he saw the boys when they were younger (they are all around the same age, coincidentally) but hasn’t seen them in probably 40 years. Linda’s father died around 10 years after the accident but her mother was alive until well into 2009.

Where are Gerald’s 10 brothers and sisters?
Nancy and Daniel both died young. Only 3 sisters and 1 brother of Gerald’s are alive today.

Do you plan to write a book about this?
I’ve tossed around the idea but I wouldn’t be able to do so until I’ve answered all the questions I have floating around in my head. I have a lot more research to do!

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What Do You Think?

Since the discovery of Thomas Kaylor’s sentence, I’m wondering:

Do you think justice was served?

I’ve corresponded with Jim Beidler, genealogic researcher and author of Roots and Branches, the only syndicated genealogy column in Pennsylvania. He reveals, “For the time period, probation was often the outcome in DUI cases – they often weren’t taken very seriously even when they resulted in deaths!”

Times have certainly changed and we know now that Thomas Kaylor died at a young age, which seems fitting. But do you think the Avenal Judicial Court should have given him a harsher sentence – even for the time  period?

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The Thomas Kaylor Court Documents

A few days ago I finally received the Thomas Kaylor court documents. You can view them as you’d like, but I’ve also written up a brief synopsis.

Count I reads as follows:

“The said defendant, THOMAS LEON KAYLOR, on or about the 6th day of November, 1965, at Avenal Cutoff, Avenal Judicial District, County of Kings, State of California, did unlawfully kill, without malice, Gerald Eugene Kline while driving a vehicle and in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, with gross negligence.

Counts II, III and IV are “for a further and separate cause of action, being a different offense of the same class of crimes and offenses as the charge set forth above” with regards to Linda Kline, Robbin Kline and James Hamilton (a passenger in Kaylor’s car).

Count V reads as follows:

“FOR A FURTHER AND SEPARATE CAUSE OF ACTION, BEING A DIFFERENT OFFENSE FROM, BUT CONNECTED IN ITS COMMISSION WITH THE CHARGE SET FORTH ABOVE, the said defendant, at the time and place aforesaid, did willfully, unlawfully and feloniously drive a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, and in so driving did an act forbidden by law, which act proximately caused bodily injury to Larry Junior Jones [the second passenger in Kaylor's car].”

Counts VI and VII are also “for a further and separate cause of action, being a different offense from, but connected in its commission with the charge set forth above” with regards to Jerry Lynn Kline and Paul Kline.

In later documents, dated March 2nd, 1967, it is revealed that:

“On May 9, 1966 Counts II, III, IV, V, VI and VII were dismissed in the interest of justice and Count I was reduced to misdemeanor manslaughter, Viol. Sec. 192.3(b) P. C.”

So, Kaylor plead guilty and was granted probation “on June 20, 1966 for five years with certain terms and conditions.”

In the same documents, we find that Kaylor violated his probation under the following circumstances:

“…it now appearing that this probation has been violated, the matter was duly set this date for hearing the evidence regarding violation of probation and the defendant appeared in person and with counsel A. Hugo Pearson, and after hearing the evidence the court finds that the terms and conditions of probation have been violated to wit: he drove an automobile while his license was suspended and used intoxicating beverages and therefore probation is hereby revoked. The defendant Thomas Leon Kaylor was then asked if he had any legal cause to show why judgement should be pronounced against him to which defendant replied he had none.”

As a result:

“It is therefore ordered, adjudged and decreed that the said Thomas Leon Kaylor be punished by imprisonment in the count jail of the County of Kings in the State of California, for the term of one year.

So for ending the lives of three young, healthy people – while killing a child and orphaning two – Thomas Kaylor sat in county jail for one year. And only after making the same stupid decision twice.

I’m not quite sure I can say justice was served.

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Fern Achenbach Seibert

Throughout my searches of the Lebanon Daily News, I’ve been somewhat amused by the constant appearance of Linda’s mother, Fern Seibert. From what I can tell, she spent time working at different hospitals in the housekeeping department. Unfortunately, this often left her with different ailments and injuries. From these articles I managed to find churches and clubs Fern was a member of, her and her husband’s occupation and more. I’ve bolded these finds below!

Union Sunday School Picnic at Hershey Park [August 1940]
In August of 1940, at the age of 17, Fern participated in a 100 yard dash at the Union Sunday School’s annual picnic at Hershey Park. No word on whether or not she won!

Hit, Run Driver Injures Mrs. Fern Seibert, 32 [February 1955]

City police today were seeking the driver of an automobile which struck and injured Mrs. Fern Seibert, 32, wife of Franklin B. Seibert, 26 Hoffman St. near her home last night and sped away. The car is believed to be a cream-colored late model Ford.
Mrs. Seibert was struck down in the first block of East Cumberland Street, according to the report of Patrolmen Warren C. Frey and Clifford A. Roland and was found by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sullivan of 431 Guilford Street, who drove by apparently just after the accident occurred.
Mrs. Seibert was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital, where she was admitted and treated for possible injuries of the neck and left hip. Her condition was called good at the hospital today.
A man suspected of being the driver of the car which struck Mrs. Seibert was picked up and questioned by police, but a film of dust on the car was undisturbed and he was quickly released by police.

Birth of Son [June 1956]

A son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Seibert, 26 Hoffman St., in the Good Samaritan Hospital at 1:15 a.m. today. Mrs. Seibert was formerly Fern Auchenbach. The father is employed by the Hershey Chocolate Corporation.

Note: This boy is most likely LeRoy.

Boy, 7, Struck By Car On East Cumberland St. [October 1963]

Seven-year-old LeRoy C. Seibert, 26. N. Hoffman St., was admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital Friday night after he was struck and knocked down by a car in front of the Food Fair Store on East Cumberland Street.
Ammon Gibble Jr., 28, of 1108 Guilford St., was identified as the driver of the car.
The Seibert boy is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Seibert.
Young Seibert underwent an X-ray examination for possible injuries of the right elbow, pelvis and right leg after treatment in the hospital’s emergency room. He was scheduled for a further examination today.
Gibble told Patrolman Carl R. Potocny he was traveling west on East Cumberland Street when the boy ran out from between parked cars on the south side of the highway. He said he applied his brakes and swerved to avoid hitting the child.
Traffic was described as very heavy at the time of the incident.

Struck by Car [February 1969]

A local woman was treated in the Good Samaritan Hospital after she was struck by a car at 12:30 p.m. Monday.
Patrolman Warren C. Frey said the accident occurred at Ninth and Guilford Streets. According to the report, Mrs. Fern Seibert, 604 N. Tenth St. was struck by the rear of the car as she was stepping off the curb on Ninth Street.
The car, driven by Samuel Vazquez Vazquez, 30, 937 Mifflin St., was making a right turn from Ninth Street onto Guilford.
Mrs. Seibert was treated for a sprain of the left shoulder. She was released after treatment.

Treated at Good Samaritan Hospital [September 1959]

Fern Seibert, 47, 604 N. Tenth St., was treated in the Good Samaritan Hospital on Thursday after suffering a small contusion of the forehead. She sustained the injury when she hit a table at work. She is employed at the Hospital.

Burned By Acid [March 1970]

Mrs. Fern Seibert, 47, 604 N. Tenth St., was treated at the Good Samaritan Hospital Sunday for a burned right hand. She was burned when she went to clean up what she thought was spilled water, and it turned out to be spilled acid. Mrs. Seibert is employed in the housekeeping department at the Good Samaritan Hospital.

Chemical In Eye [June 1970]

Mrs. Fern Seibert, 48, 604 N. Tenth St., who got a strong chemical in her left eye while at work at the hospital.

Cut On Glass [September 1970]

Fern A. Seibert, 48, 604 N. Tenth St., was treated Thursday at the Good Samaritan Hospital for a cut on the right hand suffered on broken glass.

Parked Car Causes Accident [November 1973]

A car parked with the engine running caused an accident involving a truck at Tenth and Water Streets Monday noon, according to a city police report.
The report of Patrolman George Gruber said the car is registered in the names of Franklin B. and Fern A. Seibert, 621 N. Tenth St., and the truck was driven by Charles W. Clay, 31, Newport, Pa. Seibert died suddenly Sunday morning.
According to the police report the Seibert car was parked on Water Street when it moved backward onto Tenth Street and made contact with the truck which was traveling south on Thenth. Clay, the report added, swerved his truck in an unsuccessful effort to avoid a crash. The car then spun around and traveled approximately 30 feet, mounted a curb and smashed into a rail fence at a city playground. The car then halted. Damage to the car was estimated at $375, to the truck at $40 and to the fence at $20.

Appointed to Job [December 1970]

Fern A. Seibert, 604 N. Tenth St., was appointed to a Cedar Haven job.

Appointments Made; One Person Resigns [November 1971]

Personnel actions taken Wednesday by the county commissioners during their weekly session included these:
Mrs. Dorotea Balmer, 998 E. Maple St., Palmyra, a clerk in the office of the prothonotary, submitted her resignation.
Also resigning was Fern A. Seibert, 621 N. Tenth St., a Cedar Haven employee.

Burglarized [October 1974]

A report by Patrolman Grant Switzer said someone entered a storage room at the apartment of Fern Seibert, also 621 N. 10th St., and stole Indian head pennies valued at $15 and two green Marine fatigue jackets. Entrance was made through an unlocked window.

CB League Holds Party [December 1974]

The Citizens Band Radio League of Lebanon held its annual Christmas party Sunday with 108 members attending.
[...]
Prizes were awarded to Fern Seibert, Marlin Tittle, Preston Pyles, Harold Umberger, Betty McKinney and Andora Hower.

Signs Citizens for Brightbill Movement [1977]

The last mention of Fern I could find was a list of supporters for District Attorney Candidate Brightbill.

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The Family Plot

Back in October I took a trip to Lebanon to visit the Historical Society. Since Annville is just five minutes away, I decided to see Gerald’s childhood home and visit his and Linda’s graves.

What I found was interesting. There are several generations of Klines buried together in the same plot, including Gerald and Linda. Oddly enough, Theresa Robin doesn’t have her own marker. My dad knows she is buried there, but there is nothing to show for it. Some day I’ll have to fix that.

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Convicted!

Last week, I sent in for court documents relating to Thomas Kaylor’s case. I got a call a few days ago letting me know that my request had been received – and that they had found significant documents.

My first thought? “Was he convicted?”

“Yes, he was convicted.”

Thank God.

I have some paperwork to fix before they’ll send me the documents but I’m anxious to see what his sentence was. And I’m still curious how he ended up Stanislaus, California three years later.

This also proves to me that this is the same Thomas Kaylor that I found all the marriage, divorce and death information on. I used the SSN on his death index record to obtain the court documents so they have to be the same person.

Can’t wait to get those documents!

Questions:

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Linda Seibert Kline

A few months ago, my dad showed me a picture of his mother, Linda, that he keeps in his wallet. It was pretty tattered and rough around the edges. For his birthday, I fixed up the photo and made it into a 5×7.

There are several things I love about this photo. For one thing, if you look closely, you can see that her nail polish is chipped. I don’t wear nail polish often, but when I do I wear it until it is chipped and awful looking. Now I know where I get that from!

I also noticed that she’s wearing her engagement ring on her finger. Gerald and Linda were married when she was about 16. I’m not sure how long they were engaged before that so she could be as young as 15 in this photo. On the other hand, I have no idea if she wore a wedding band, so this could be after she was married. I’d say she’s somewhere between 15 and 18.

She’s also wearing what looks like my grandfather’s class or Navy ring around her neck. I wonder what happened to all these items. More questions!

We don’t look strikingly alike, but there are definitely similarities. The wavy hair, the unruly eyebrows and, of course, the chipped nail polish. I’ve definitely got a little Linda in me!

Questions

  • What happened to Linda’s engagement ring?
  • Whose ring did she wear around her neck?
    • What happened to it?
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