3107    FREDERICK8     (Albin7Parker6, Asahel5, Benjamin4, George3, John2, Johannes1), son of Albin and Louisa (Van Meer) Oatman, was born in Greenwood Township, St. Clair County, Michigan, 17 March 1876, and died 26 June 1929 when a bulk gasoline tank exploded. 


He married Edith Ulrich, born 1880 and died 1962.


Fred purchased property in Avoca, St. Clair County, Michigan, in 1901, and in 1907, with his brother Guy as partner, built a gas station.  For a time he did well drilling work in the area and later worked with Frank Reeves in his auto repair shop.  After a falling out between the two, however, Fred and his brother Guy built Oatman's Garage (what is today the Avoca Party store).  At this time, the old barns from Charles Streval's Livery, which had been in operation before the turn of the century, were torn down.  At the garage, Texaco, Marlin and, finally, Shell brands of gasoline were sold and autos repaired.  In addition, from about 1917 through the early 1920's, Fred was Avoca's car dealer, selling Dort and Elgin cars.  Fred's son, Harold, recalls how he and his dad, along with five other fellows, would go over to Flint, Michigan, pick up the cars, five at a time, and drive them back to Avoca for sale.  The first garage burned in the early 1920's, and a second one was built in the same location. 


In addition to the gas station, Fred also was a Shell Oil distributor, picking up the gas and oil in Port Huron, Michigan.  He began with a Model T truck with a tank on the back which could be removed, a rack put on, and milk cans picked up at farms and delivered to Roy Martin's Milk Station.  Later, Shell Oil installed bulk tanks in the location of the County Warehouse (1983), and the gas and oil were shipped in on railroad cars.  Fred burned to death when he was involved in a gasoline explosion in 1929.  At this time, his son Harold took over the business. 


Children of Frederick and Edith (Ulrich) Oatman:


5788    Lucille, m. Harmon "Blondie" Range.  No children.


5789    Arthur, b. 22 Nov 1906, MI; d. Oct 1964; m. Joyce      .


5790    Harold, b. 31 Oct 1904, MI; d. Feb 1987, MI; m. Laetta Jones



Sources:           Vesper, Coleeta, Memory Trail: An Early History of Kenockee, Acorn

Press, 1976, p. 27-8

Family records

Marjorie Schumacher, Avoca, MI (#1332)

Social Security Death Index

Research by Barbara Hawthorne


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