Father Vattmann Dies; Veteran Army Chaplain
- Chicago Tribune, 30 Sep 1919, p. 21
- Full Text
FATHER VATTMAN DIES; VETERAN ARMY CHAPLAIN
Indians' "Large Pine Tree" Was Friend of Presidents
"The Large Pine Tree" has fallen. Father Edward J. Vattman [sic] is dead. "Father Vattman" --everybody called him that, though he was a chaplain in the army with the rank of major, and the pope four years ago conferred upon him the title of Monsignor--died in St. Francis' hospital yesterday [29 September 1919], after an illness that had lasted a year. The doctors said he was suffering from a complication of cystitis and pneumonia.
It was an Indian who gave him the name of the "The Large Pine Tree"; an Indian who had known him well. He had served in the army during the Indian campaigns. He served during the railroad strike in Chicago and during the Spanish-American war.
Was Friend of Roosevelt
He was on the retired list when the United States declared a state of war with Germany. He was born in Germany seventy-eight years ago, but he didn't hesitate. He went to Washington and asked to be reinstated. His plea was granted, and he served at Fort Sheridan throughout the war.
"You will find the German born citizens of this country serving America as I do," he said. "We regard Germany as our mother. But America is to us a beloved wife."
It was while he was chaplain of the 29th Indiana regiment during the Spanish-American war that he met Col. Theodore Roosevelt, and a friendship developed between them that was never broken. Rosevelt never passed through Chicago without paying a visit to Father Vattman, in Wilmette.
Adored by the Sioux
Five other presidents of the United States, Hayes, Garfield, Cleveland, Taft, and Wilson were close friends of his. The men of the regiments in which he served were his children. The Sioux were his adorers. He learned their language, and taught them.
He served at Fort Sheridan for years before and after his retirement, and in the Philippines and Porto [Puerto] Rico. What did he think of the army? He told it in a few words on the eve of his retirement:
"I can say from the bottom of my heart that I consider it a great privilege to have been a chaplain."
He rounded out his fiftieth year of the priesthood--a servant of God and country--in May, 1915. President Wilson, Ex-presidents Taft and Roosevelt, Pope Benedict, and numerous cardinals and archbishops sent congratulations. It was in recognition of these fifty years he was made monsignor.
Father Vattman knew he was going to die, and shortly before the end he called his niece, Miss Theresa Stenau, to him and gave instructions for his funeral. The Knights of Columbus are to have charge of it. No flowers are to be sent to his home or placed on his grave. He is to be buried from the Fort Sheridan chapel.
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- Father Edward J. Vattman [sic] died in St. Francis' hospital yesterday [29 September 1919], after an illness that had lasted a year.
- Date of Publication:
- 30 Sep 1919
- Personal Name(s):
- Vattmann, Edward
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