Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mathias Brucken (1857-1935) "52 Ancestors"

It is now week 37 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I am hoping that I am back on schedule (except for the couple weeks that I missed because of technical difficulties related to our recent move.) In a previous post I mentioned that I was going to try to do a focus on the Brucken family so here is my attempt at that.

I began researching this family because of an e-mail that I received a few weeks ago. The person e-mailed me because of a story that I had written in this blog back in February 2013. We happened to have the same ancestor in common on the Rieger line (Joseph Rieger 1832-1916) and she was wondering if I had any information on the Brucken family. I hadn't done much research on them but I knew the name. There was a bar in my home town named Bruckens that I visited fairly often in my younger days. It was close to the place I worked and they had good lunches. So I figured maybe I would be able to find out which of the Brucken family started the bar. 

I had one Brucken tied to my tree. That one was Mathias Brucken (1857-1935) who married Cecilia Reiger, my 1st cousin 3 times removed, the daughter of Joseph Rieger and grand daughter of Justus Weise. So, I figured that would be as good a place as any to start my research. Mathias was born on 12 October 1857 in a log house on south Main street in Minster, Auglaize County, Ohio. His parents were immigrants from Germany. They were Conrad Hubert Brucken (1819-1879) and Maria Christina Romboy (1829-1878). Mathias was the fourth child of eight that I have found. The first three children were born in Germany before the family immigrated. Mathias was the first child in this family born in the United States.  Soon after his birth, the family moved from Minster to Ft. Loramie.

In 1870 the family consisted of Conrad (age 51), his wife Christina (age 42) and seven children; Peter (age 19), Mathias (age 17), John (age 13), August (age 10), Joseph (age 8), Mary (age 5), and Anthony (age 1). Conrad owned a farm with real estate valued at $2,500 and a personal value of $776 at the time. They were living in McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio. Mathias is listed as working on the farm, while his younger siblings, John, August and Joseph are attending school. Sometime during the 1870s, Conrad started a saw mill in Ft. Loramie in which several of his sons worked.

After Conrad's death, his son Anton took over the saw mill for a short period before selling it to the Wise family in the early 1880s. I have already written about the Wise family and the saw mill in previous stories. The 1880 census lists Anton Brucken (age 27), his wife Regina Siegel another of my 1st cousins 4 times removed (age 27), their children Christina (age 2) and Catherina (age 8 months), his brothers Mathias (age 22) and August (age 18), his sister Mary (age 12) and three boarders, William Pretzman (age 22), Henry Menten (age 25) and Anton Luckman (age 30). Anton, Mathias, August and the three boarders are all listed as working in the saw mill at this time. Anton eventually moved to Evansville, Indiana where he was the proprietor of another saw mill in the early 1900s. Also during the 1880s, Mathias married Cecilia Rieger (1863-1887) and had two children, Joseph Mathias (1882-1953) and Louis (1885-1957). Cecilia died on 13 October 1887 and was buried in St. Michaels Cemetery in Ft. Loramie. On 23 April 1888, Mathias married Mary Kathryn Hilgefort (1865-1950). Mary was the daughter of Johann Heinrich Hilgefort (1834-1916) and Maria Kathrina Meyer (1838-1912). Mathias maintained his position in the saw mill and was the head sawyer for several years, even after it was sold to the Wise family.

In the 1890s, Mathias started a new business endeavor at 10 Elm Street in Ft. Loramie. As his obituary put it, he "prosecuted a private business that was popular with local people and with scores of citizens in neighboring localities." What was his popular business? Well, it was a saloon. After more than a century, this saloon still exists today and is commonly known as Bruckens. The 1900 census lists the family as Mat (age 42), his wife Mary (age 35) and their children; Harry (age 8), Francis (age 7), Lizzie (age 3), Joseph (age 16) and Louie (age 14). Mathias' occupation is listed as saloon keeper.

On 28 April 1906, Mathias bought the property at 37 North Main Street in Ft. Loramie from Barney Gerling. This parcel is located near the corner of Elm and Main just around the block from his home and saloon. He didn't hold on to the property for very long and sold it two years later to Clara Pauwell on 18 August 1908. This property is the current location for the Ft. Loramie Wilderness Trail Museum.

In 1910, the Brucken household consisted of Mathias (age 52), Mary (age 45) and their children; Henry M (age 19), Frances M (age 17), Elizabeth C (age 14), Albert A (age 8) and Urban H (age 2). Mary had had seven children but two had died. My research indicates that the two deceased children were John and Adeline Regina. The family was still living on Elm Street. Mathias' occupation is listed as saloon keeper. 

In 1920, Mathias (age 62), his wife Mary (age 55), and their children Frances (age 27), Elizabeth (age 24), Albert (age 18) and Urban (age 12) were still living at their home on Elm Street in Ft. Loramie. Mathias lists his occupation as pool room manager. You may be wondering why his occupation had changed from saloon keeper to pool room manager. Well, if you think back to your American History class, there was something happening during the 1920s and early 1930s. If you guessed Prohibition you would be correct. So, I am sure that Mathias was no longer selling alcohol and had a dry pool hall (yeah, right).

By 1930, Mathias had retired from active business and was living with his wife and daughter Elizabeth. Elizabeth was working as a sales lady in a nearby department store. 

On 4 February 1933, Urban Brucken, the son of Mathias, was killed in an automobile accident. He was 25 years old. The accident occurred shortly after midnight when his car had a head-on collision with another car on Highway 119, about a mile east of Minster, a short distance west of a newly constructed bridge over Hoffhaus ditch. Urban was headed to McCartyille with Elmer Holtvogt, on their way to a dance. Wilbur Poeppelman, who was driving the other car, was on his way home from the dance in McCartyville. Urban's car was thrown into the ditch and both occupants were thrown from the vehicle. Urban was thrown about 20 feet and landed face down in the ditch. He had suffered a punctured lung, internal injuries, and numerous lacerations and contusions. His passenger suffered a broken nose and lost several teeth in the accident. Occupants in the Poeppelman vehicle were Herman Poeppelman, Irene Brandewie, and Mildred Brandewie. All suffered minor injuries and were treated by doctors before being released to return home. Urban and his brother Henry, operated a cigar store and lunch room in Ft. Loramie. My guess is that this is the same location that Bruckens was located.

Mathias died two years later on 11 November 1935, at the age of 78. Throughout his life he was active in the civic concerns of the town and served as a member of the village council and on the board of education. He actively promoted the village to outside businesses and argued that because of the geographic location it ought to be a magnet for people in every section of Ohio. He was one of the early movers and shakers in the Ft. Loramie community and played an important part in the history of the town. He is buried in St. Michaels Cemetery.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

August D Wise (1834-1902) "52 Ancestors"

Hi everyone, this is week 36 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I have been pretty busy working on the Westerheide and Brucken lines since my computer was fixed last week. This bit of work is mostly due to two people who e-mailed me recently asking questions about my research. Both of them were told about my blog by their relatives and wrote to tell me they appreciated someone writing about their ancestors. So, as I began sending each of them information on their families I realized that they were both related (3rd cousins). Then as I began researching a little more into individuals I realized that there were more ties. So, over the next couple weeks I plan on writing stories about Wise, Westerheide and Brucken research. This week I will starte with my great-great grandfather August D Wise (1834-1902) and his connection to my 2nd cousin 4 times removed, Conrad Brucken (1819-1879). The reason that I chose these two will become apparent as you read the stories (or if you have read some of my previous stories). Enough of that, now let's get on with the history lesson.

August D Wise was the son of Justus Weise (1808-1884) and Margaretha Wilken (1798-1874). The first records I have for August are from the 1851-1853 Netherlands Population Register listing his birth date as 19 September 1834 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. There are two records, indicating his residence was 7 Haarlemmerdijk and 28 Bethanienstraat in Amsterdam. The residence at 28 Bethanienstraat was also the home of his parents. He is listed as a single man in these records. During his early years, August was employed as a baker.

August immigrated with his parents and siblings to the United States in 1854. There is a little confusion on the specifics of his immigration. One set of records show that he arrived in New York on 1 May 1854 aboard the ship Franklin in steerage class after departing from Hamburg, Germany. However, another set of records for him and his family state that they departed from Liverpool, England aboard the William Tapscott and arrived in New York one month earlier on 5 April 1854. Maybe one day I will find a definitive record for his immigration.

So far I haven't found the 1860 census for August Wise but I am still looking. I am assuming that he was living near Ft. Loramie, Shelby County, Ohio by that time since his father's naturalization papers in 1856 were in Shelby County. August married Theresia Terling (1839-1926) on 30 October 1860 in Shelby County. Theresia was born in Germany on 26 January 1839 and immigrated to the U.S. around 1859-1860. He registered for the Civil War draft on 29 June 1863. He listed his age as 27 years old. I have found a record for Pvt. August Wise in Co. F, 101 Ohio Infantry but I don't think this is him. We know that August was involved in farming during this time and sold his farm to B. Bourdell and John Puthoff before moving into town in 1870.

In 1870, August is living in Berlin (Ft. Loramie), Shelby County, Ohio and is listed as a day laborer with a personal value of $2150 and real estate worth $500. That equates to about $39,000 in personal value and $9,000 in real estate value today. We know that August was attending the Catholic church in town because he is listed in the St. Michael's parish census. There is also a stained glass window in the church that was donated by the Wise family.

August and Theresia waited about 14 years after their marriage before they had their first child. Records state that they had two children, August Jacob (1874-1946) and Mariam Louisa (1876-1926). The 1900 census has two children born and Theresia's obituary states that there were two children born. However, I have found a Shelby County birth record for Ann Wyse, born 9 March 1870 in McLean Township with August Wyse and Theresia Wyse listed as parents. I haven't found any other records for this child besides this one. Maybe Ann died early and no one spoke of her later in their life.

By 1880, August is listed as a teamster. Teamsters were the people who drove the horses carrying cargo. I am assuming that he worked for the Brucken family saw mill which was started by Conrad Brucken and purchased by the Wise family around 1881 or 1882. He had two lodgers in his home who were also teamsters. They were Robert and William Davis. His two children are listed as August (age 6) and Louwisa (age 4). His father Justus (age 70) is also living at the home. August operated the Wise sawmill, which was purchased from the Brucken family for many years. In the early part of the 1890s, around 1894, he moved the sawmill into town.

In 1900, August (age 64) is listed as a saw miller and his son August J (age 26) is the head sawyer. Charles Bernholt is listed as a lodger in the home and is employed as a teamster. The family, August, Tracy and their son August J, are listed as living on Farmers Pike Road. August died on Sunday, 16 March 1902 at 4:00 pm and was buried in St. Michaels Cemetery on March 19.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Norbert John Vagedes (1918-1932) "52 Ancestors"

Well, it is now week 35 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge and I guess
that some of you are wondering what happened to me after my last post on week 20. It is a long story. Basically, my job was eliminated during sequestration last year. I applied to a new position as Supervisor of the Central Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Program in November and began working in that position at the end of February. The only problem was that it entailed a move to a new office 3 hours south of where I was living. I found a new house in May and we moved in June. Since it was a business move we were provided with movers to pack everything. This is where most of the problems started. They packed things in some sort of random order that only movers are able to understand. During the move they lost parts of many items but the one that impacted me most was the power converter for my computer. It took several more months before they settled our damage claims and I just received a replacement power converter a couple days ago. This is the first time I have been able to use my computer since mid-May. But now that I am up and running I will get back on schedule with my posts.

As is my usual research methodology, I chose a random person in my family tree to start researching tonight. This person turned out to be Norbert John Vagedes. Norbert is my 1st cousin 1 time removed. He was the son of my grand aunt Frances Theresa Garman (1889-1949) and her husband Henry John Vagedes (1884-1962). He was the 7th child of 14 in this family. His father, Henry, was born in Philothea, Mercer County, Ohio on 5 October 1884 to John George Vagedes and Mary Catherine Windker. His mother, Frances, was born in Maria Stein, Mercer County, Ohio on 15 January 1889 to Bernard Emmanuel Garman and Mary Angela Mescher.

Vagedes house today
Source: Google Maps
Norbert was born 5 October 1918 in Coldwater, Mercer County, Ohio. His father was a drill press operator in the local spreader factory at the time. The household was very busy. For example, the
1920 census lists eleven people, six adults and 5 children living in the house at 431 East Walnut Street in Coldwater. The house was built in 1910 and is currently 1,679 square feet with 3 bedrooms. So, who were all the people in the house? Well, Henry (age 35) and his wife Frances (age 30), their children Leonard (age 9), Clarence (age 8), Helen (age 5), Justina (age 3 years 7 months), and Norbert (age 1 year 2 months). Additionally, there was Aloys Garman (age 21), Marie Garman (age 24), Bertha Garman (age 23), Edward Garman (age 23) and Anthony Techleiter (age 24). The Garmans are siblings of Frances except for Marie who was a cousin who had immigrated from Germany in 1913. Aloys and Edward Garman, and Anthony Techleiter worked with Henry in the spreader factory. Marie and Bertha Garman worked in the local overall factory. Norbert's sister Helen had contracted infantile paralysis and as a result the use of one hand and foot were severely affected. Two of Norbert's sisters had died within days of their births, Mary died at 1 day old on 28 June 1911 and Clara died at 2 days old on 25 November 1913.

In the 1930s the family moved to Shelby County, somewhere between Newport and Houston where they took up farming. The family would make regular trips on their horse dawn wagon between Houston, Newport and Ft. Loramie. The route then, as it is today, was by State Route 66. If you drive this route today you will notice the turns and hills that make it somewhat dangerous to travel at high speed. On 7 May 1932 the sun had set around 8:00 pm and Henry was returning from Ft. Loramie at about 8:30 pm after buying Norbert new shoes and Justina a new dress. Norbert (age 13) and daughter Justine (age 16) were sitting up front in the buggy with their father and Norbert was handling the reins. Also travelling in the same direction on their way to Covington were Charles Abbott and Frederick Anthony. Fred was a southpaw pitcher for the Ft. Loramie baseball team. As the car driven by Charles Abbott approached the buggy he was blinded by the lights of an approaching vehicle and struck the buggy from behind. The buggy was dragged 50 feet down the road before it came to a stop. Charles escaped the accident with minor cuts. Fred sustained severe lacerations to his left arm and hand, ending his season as a pitcher. The car was partially demolished. Henry, Norbert and Justina were thrown from the buggy. The horse's neck was penetrated several inches deep with parts of the buggy but it was treated and survived the accident. Henry received cuts and bruises along with two fractured ribs while Justina had cuts and bruises and a part of the buggy penetrated her side. Both were taken to the office of Dr. F. J. Raterman in Ft. Loramie for treatment and Dr. H. J. Gudenkauf was also called to treat them. Later that evening, Justina was taken to the home of Albert Francis, near Newport, so she could rest. Her father was taken home after he was treated. It was about 6 months before Justina and her father recovered enough to do their regular duties around the farm. However, Norbert was not as lucky. He suffered a broken neck and fractured skull. He held on for several minutes while the local priest, Rev. Fr. Rufin Baranski administered the last sacraments and then past away. His body was transported to the home of Philip Sayder, in Newport, and then moved to the Heinl funeral home in preparation for the burial. The funeral was held at 9 am on Tuesday, 10 May 1932, in Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church and the burial followed in the church cemetery.

Norbert Vagedes headstone, Sts. Peter & Paul Cemetery
Source: Findagrave.com
An investigation into the cause of the accident was performed and it was determined that the combination of driving the buggy after dark without a taillight and the blinding light from the oncoming vehicle were the causes of the accident. The death was determined to be accidental.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Alfred T Wesner (1882-1939) "52 Ancestors"

 Hi again everyone. This is week 20 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I am trying to get a little ahead in my stories since we are now in the middle of our move and I am getting real busy with the packing and all the decorating. So because of all that is going on I am trying to work on the low hanging fruit and write about those people that have more information instead of the mysteries. Looking back on the statistics of web views I can see that my weekly viewership has stayed pretty consistent. I am glad that I have some loyal viewers who want to read about our ancestors.

Alfred T Wesner
This week I will be writing about my wife's great grandfather, Alfred T Wesner (1882-1939). Alfred was the son of Christian T Wesner (1851-1835) and Mary Jane Smith (1850-1932). Look at that, Mary Jane Smith - see I do have some common names in my file, luckily they get married quickly and then change their name to something more unique, like Wesner. Christian Wesner was born in Germany and immigrated to the US in 1853. He worked as a sawyer at a sawmill. Alfred was the fourth of seven children. His siblings were Rebecca (1874-1942), Maggie Myrtle (1846-1933), Cora May (1879-1958), Christian Earl (1886-1957), Ethel (1888-1983), and Raymond (1891-1961). All of the children were born near St. Marys, Auglaize County, Ohio.

In 1900 Alfred (age 18) was living with his parents, Christian (age 49) and Mary (age 49), and four siblings, Cora (age 21), Earl (age 13), Ethel (age 10) and Ray (age 9). Alfred was employed as a farm laborer. On 26 October 1905, Alfred married Josephine Katrina Bielefeld (1880-1967), the daughter of Henry Wilhelm Bielefeld (1852-1925) and Margeurite Geyer (1852-1914). Josephine had grown up in New Knoxville, Auglaize County, Ohio. The 1910 census states that Alfred (age 27) and Josephine (age 29) were living at 224 South Ash Street in St. Marys, Auglaize County, Ohio. They had their first child, Merwyn O (age 2), listed in that census also. Alfred's occupation was listed as an express driver. By 1914, his wife Josephine, had given birth to four children, two of which had died in infancy. His children were Merwyn Olin (1907-1974), Moxlee Eugene (1910-1954), a female infant (19 April 1912 - 19 April 1912), and Alfretta Katherine (15 June 1914 - 3 July 1914).

Alfred and Josephine divorced and by the time Alfred registered for the WW I draft he had remarried to Sophia Blanche Folk (1887-1951). Alfred's occupation is listed as carpenter and he is working for Bates-Rogers in Toledo, Ohio. However, his residence is listed as St. Marys. He is described as as tall and stout with green eyes and dark brown hair. Josephine and the two sons were living at 625 Hendricks Avenue in St. Marys. By 1930 Josephine and the boys had relocated to Jacksonville, Florida.

In 1920, Alfred (age 37) and his second wife Blanche (age 32) are living at 226 North Fruit Street in St. Marys, Ohio. Alfred's occupation is listed as driver for transfer company. Blanche was pregnant at the time the census was taken and their son Alfred William Wesner was born on 17 November 1920. Alfred Jr. died on 29 November 2004 and is buried along with his wife and next to his mother in Elmgrove Cemetery in St. Marys.

By 1927 this marriage was on the rocks and Alfred was living at the Hotel Norval in Lima, Allen County, Ohio. We know he was living there because of an accident he had between his automobile and a motorcycle driven by Joseph Penn on the evening of 23 April 1927. In the 1930 census Alfred is divorced and listed as a renter on King Street in St. Marys, Ohio. His rent was $10 per month and he was employed as a proprietor of a truck or taxi. After two failed marriages Alfred tried a third and final time. Sometime around 1930 he married Winona Webb. By 1935 his troubles had increased. He was taken to court by the First National Bank under foreclosure in the amount of $1,668.98. He lost this case and the bank was awarded $1,208.64.

Alfred Wesner died 29 January 1939, at Gibbons Hospital in Celina, Mercer County, Ohio due to complications from an operation. He was 59 years old. He was survived by his wife Winona and three sons, Merwyn, Moxlee, and Alfred Jr. Alfred is buried in Elmgrove Cemetery in St. Marys.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Estill Bowen "Doc" Walker (1909-1994) "52 Ancestors"

Hi again, this is week 19 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. This last week has been very productive in my research. I have met several people online and received a pile of information that I need to begin adding to my Bruns, Schulze, and Schwartz lines. I received nearly 300 pages of information, several dozen photographs and scans of original land grants from the 1830s. Between all that and the upcoming move it has been a real busy time.

This week I decided to write a story about my wife's grandfather Estill Bowen "Doc" Walker (1909-1994). Why did I decide to write about him? I don't know, it just seemed to be the thing to do and I guess that is the only reason that I need. Before I start to write I figured I would explain how I do these blogs. After many years of research I have built up a database of over 42,000 names. Many of these have pages of transcribed records that I have found to describe the life of the individual. By reading through these records in chronological order I can build a profile of the person's life. My favorite records are newspaper articles because they usually provide some interesting facts that are not included in the vital records. Once I choose an individual to focus on I then make sure that I have all the necessary records to fill in the details and then I start writing. All of my writing is done in one sitting and usually in about two hours. I have noticed that my stories are averaging around 1,000 words per post. Then I proof read the post several times hoping to find any errors. I don't know if everyone writes the way I do but it seems to work for me. If you have read my first blog post, way back on 29 November 2009, you would see that I was originally inspired to write because of a poem titled "The Dash" by Linda Ellis. After reading that poem I decided that it was my responsibility to fill in the details symbolized by the dash between the birth and death dates. Occasionally I get lucky and will have someone read one of my blogs and discover that they are related. If you are one of those people please feel free to contact me and I will see what I can do to help you in your research.

Estill Bowen Walker
Now, on to the story of Estill Bowen Walker. Estill was born on 13 June 1909 in Jacksonville, Florida and was the son of Ernest Albert Walker (1886-1966) and Minnie Lacy Hall (1886-1967). Ernest and Minnie were married on 6 November 1905 in St. Mathews Methodist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Estill had three sisters; Viloet Alberta (1906-2001), Dorothy Louise (1912-1999), and Marjorie Elizabeth (1916-1974) and one brother; William Maurice (1913-1915). His father was born in Leesburg, Florida (the son of James Albert Walker) and his mother was born in Paris, Kentucky. The family lived in Jacksonville, Florida. Estill first shows up in the 1910 census for Jacksonville, Florida. The family consisted of Ernest A (age 24), Minnie L (age 24), Violet (age 3) and Estill (age 11  months). His father Ernest was employed as a plumber.

In 1920, the family is living at 137 West 21st in Jacksonville and consisted of Ernest A (age 34), Minnie (age 33), Violet (age 13), Estill (age 10), Louisa (age 7) and Marjorie (age 3). Estill's name is incorrect on this census. He is listed as Estell and as a daughter. I wonder if he got teased in school because of his name.

Estill married Alita Lexow, the daughter of Frederick Henry Lexow and Mary A Truesdale, about 1926. They had two sons, Estill Herbert (1927-1972) and John Norwood (1934-1991). In 1930 he was living at 1837 Clarkson Street with his wife Alita (age 23) and son Estill Herbert (age 3). The location of their home was only two houses down from Frederick Lexow and today is located within a warehouse area near the Tallyrand shipyards in Jacksonville. Estill was renting this house for $18/month and was employed as a laborer at the Ford Motor Company. One of his first jobs at the Ford plant was in the first aid unit where he acquired the nickname "Doc".

The Ford Motor Company assembly plant was constructed near the shipyards in 1923 and was designed so that Ford's fleet of oceangoing ships could dock nearby and railcars could enter on one side with parts to unload and would leave on the other side with finished vehicles.

In 1931, the family was living at 901 Parker and Estill was employed as an inspector at the Ford Motor Company. The assembly plant was operational until 1932 and was then converted to a parts warehouse that was used until 1968. By 1935 Estill had been promoted to the position of foreman at the plant and was now living at 1930 Wambolt, apartment 1. This apartment is located one block north of his previous location on Clarkson Street and still near the Tallyrand shipyards. The family consisted of Estill B (age 26), Alita (age 26), Estill H (age 8), John N (infant), and Mary Lexow (age 53) his mother-in-law. In 1940 the apartment on Wambolt Street was renting for $16/month and Estill had an annual income of $2200 working as the foreman in the auto parts warehouse.

Lt. E B Walker
Estill served with the Army during WW II where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant. After returning from service he again went to work for the Ford Company. The family is listed as living at 241 East 2nd in the 1944 Jacksonville city directory. His career with Ford continued to improve and he was promoted to district zone manager and service manager. In 1954 he and Alita were divorced and Estill remarried Ruth Hamm (1927-2008). Estill and Ruth were living at 2224 Southhampton Road in Jacksonville in 1954 and Estill was employed as a field manager for Ford. In December 1957 he was given a Ford franchise dealership in Treasure Island, Florida. This location was not the best and he would comment that customers had to seek them out and cross a toll bridge to get to it. His Ford dealership was moved 25 miles to Clearwater a decade later. He was able to expand his dealership at this location and was repeatedly honored with achievement awards. In 1981, the St. Petersburg Motor Club selected Walker Ford as their first approved repair shop.

Estill died of congestive heart failure at the age of 85 in St. Petersburg on 9 August 1994. He had been a nursing home resident for eight years prior to his death. He was buried on 12 August 1994 in Woodlawn Memory Gardens in St. Petersburg

Friday, May 2, 2014

Herman Heinrich Bruns (1840-1913) "52 Ancestors"

Week 18 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge and still going strong. We had our move inventory earlier this week in preparation for our upcoming relocation. We also have been doing some furniture shopping. My wife had originally decided on a Key West style with lots of beachy themes and light colors. She has now switched to a more Victorian look with bold colors. Good thing I hadn't started buying paint yet. While we were doing all of that I tried to do a little family history research. I was all over the board. I did a little on the following families: Bruns, Kaiser, Dues, Hilgefort, LeBoeuf, and some others but really didn't concentrate on any of them too much. Must be the ADD in me - SQUIRREL!!

Ok, now that I have a few minutes to sit and concentrate, I decided to focus in on my great-great grandfather, Herman Heinrich Bruns (1840-1913). I was looking through the names I had already done for my blog and realized that I had not written any stories on the Bruns family.

Herman was born in Minster, Auglaize County, Ohio. His exact birth date is in question. The St. Augustine Church archivist in Minster says he was born on 15 February 1839. The 1900 census has his birth date as April 1840. His death certificate says he was born on 3 January 1840. His parents were Joseph Heinrich Johann Bruns (1805-1878) and Maria Antonetta Schunck (1805-1887), both of whom were born in Germany. His father was born in Oldenburg, Germany and acquired land in Stallostown (Minster) in 1833 after he immigrated. On 9 October 1835 he received a land grant for 80 acres located in the east 1/2 of the north 1/2 of the southeast quarter of Section 4, Township 8, Range 4. That land is now located at 11765 Bruns Road. Stallowstown was founded in 1832 by Francis Stallo and changed its name to Minster in 1836 in remembrance of the Roman Catholic region of Munster in Westphalia where many of the early settlers originated. Many of the early settlers arrived in the United States through the port of Baltimore and then made their way down the Ohio River to Cincinnati. From there they followed the Miami-Erie Canal to Minster. There is some confusion as to how many siblings Herman had. My research has the following siblings; Johan Heinrich Frederich (1835-1907), John Bernard (1842-1882), Elisabeth (abt 1843-??), and John (abt 1846-??). Part of this confusion is the result of the 1850 census which lists Joseph (age 46), Antonate (age 44) and their children Frederic (age 16), Henry (age 14), Bernard (age 10), Eliza (age 6) and John (age 4). The ages for Frederic, Henry and Bernard don't quite match up with the birthdates for Johan Heinrich Frederich, Herman Heinrich, and John Bernard. In 1850 the family is living in McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio and Joseph has $400 worth of property.

On 15 October 1863, Herman married Maria Anna "Mary" Kuether (1845-1924). Mary was the daughter of Johann Joseph Kuether (1913-1857) and Maria Elisabeth Drees (1809-1863), both German immigrants from Hanover, Germany. Mary lived her entire life on the family farm two miles south of Egypt in Shelby County, Ohio. When Herman and Mary married they took over the operations of the Kuether family farm and lived there the remainder of their lives.

The 1870 census for McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio lists the family as Herm (age 30), Mary A (age 25), and their children Catherine (age 6), Elizabeth (age 4), and Anna (age 9 moths). The farm is valued at $2300 and Herman's personal value is $715.

The 1880 census has Herman (age 40), Mary (age 34), Catherine (age 15), Elizabeth (age 13), Anna (age 10), Josephina (age 8), Mary Anna (age 8), Rosa (age 3), and Ferdinand (age 8 months). All of the children, except Rosa and Ferdinand, are listed as attending school.

There are a couple things that I have found interesting in the 1900 census. Herman (age 60) is listed as not being able to read, write or speak English. This is followed up in the 1910 census which states that Herman speaks German. This area of Ohio was heavily German and for many, it was their first language and the local newspapers continued to be written in German up until about 1920. It strikes me as odd though that all the other members of the family were speaking English and only Herman was not. Additionally, there is a new name in the family that I am not able to track. There is a daughter named Jennie (age 25) born July 1874. I don't see her listed in the 1880 census and the closest child to this age is Mary Anna who was born September 1875. The remainder of the family in this census are Fred (age 19), Joseph (age 17) and Mary (age 14). Herman had been married for 30 years at the time of the 1900 census and they are listed as having 9 children, all of whom are still living.

By the 1910 census, their son Fred (age 30) has taken over the family farm and is taking care of Herman (age 71) and Mary (age 65). Joseph (age 28), another of their sons, is also working on the farm. A niece, Caroline Winner (age 21), is also living at the home. Fred (Ferdinand) (1879-1951) married Katherine Poeppelman (1878-1957) on 8 June 1910. Fred and Katherine had five children; Robert (1911-1971), Clarence (1912-1959), Raymond (abt 1915-??), Marie (1915-2007), and Edward (1918-1999).

Herman died at 11:30 p.m. on 13 January 1913 at the farm. He had been ill for some weeks, suffering from uremia and chronic nephritis. Herman was 72 years and 11 months old at the time of his death and only 9 months shy of celebrating his golden wedding anniversary. His funeral was held on 16 January 1913 and he was buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery.

Mary continued to live on the farm with Fred's family and Joseph who never married. The 1920 census lists Fred (age 41), Kathie (age 41), Robert (age 8), Clarence (age 7), Raymond (age 5), Mary (age 4), and Edward (age 1 year 8 months). Also in the home are his mother Maria Anna (age 74) and his brother Joseph (age 37).

Mary died at the age of 79 on 28 November 1924 on the farm hat she had spent her entire life caring for. She was still very active, taking care of the household work and caring for her family and the grandchildren. She woke that morning feeling a little under the weather and asked the other family members to help her with the chores. Later that day she suffered a stroke. She was one of the oldest residents in the area of Egypt and was well respected in the community. The funeral on 2 December 1924 was well attended by many friends and family. Mary had a large number of family members including forty grandchildren in the Egypt area.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Bernard Leugers (1845-1935) "52 Ancestors"

Hi there, can you believe this is week 17 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge? I guess I can believe that but I can't believe that I am still on schedule with my posts. Actually, I am falling behind and will continue to fall behind until we get this move finished. I will have to keep finding times between the packing, cleaning and getting ready where I can get a story in.

This week I decided to try what I thought would be an easy story. That means I am back on my relatives and will be writing about another farmer from Ohio. I decided to work on my great-great-grand uncle, Bernard Leugers. Bernard was born on 15 July 1845 in St. Rose, Mercer County, Ohio. His parents were George Bernard Leugers (1809-1880) and Maria Katherina Herkenhoff (1809-1881).

The 1850 census for Marion Township, Mercer County, Ohio lists George (age 41) and his wife Catherine (age 41) with their children Henry (age 11), George (age 9), Catherine (age 7), Bernard (age 5), and Sophia (age 3).  George is a farmer. He and his wife were both born in Germany and George had immigrated to the United States, arriving in Baltimore in 1835. He was granted his citizenship on 15 May 1854.

The 1870 census lists Bernard (age 23) as living at and working on his father's farm. His father George (age 60) has a property value of $3,000 and personal value of $500. His mother Catherine (age 60) is also living at the home.

Bernard was married three times. His first wife was Caroline Ording (1849-1880). He had five children by this marriage; Catherina (1872-1880), George Henry (1873-1965), John Henry (1876-1966), Mary Agnes (1878-1973), and August (1880-1880). The years 1880-1881 were not good years for the Leugers family. The 1880 census has Bernard (age 35), a widower, living with his parents George (age 71) and Catherina (age 71), with his children Catharina (age 7), George (age 6), Henry (age 5), Mary (age 2) and August (age 6 months). They are living on a farm in Marion Township, Mercer County, Ohio. August Leugers was born 2 January 1880 and died on 27 May 1880. Caroline, the mother died on 4 January 1880, just two days after August's birth. Bernard's father George died on 14 August 1880. Catherina, a daughter, died on 29 December 1880. His mother died the next year on 28 November 1881.

Soon afterward Bernard married his second wife, Catherine Laux. They had six children by this marriage; Catherine (1881-1949), Bernard Joseph (1883-1958), John B (1885-1974), Gerhard Edward (1886-1932), Gerhard Henry (1887-1932), and Herman H (1889-1983). Actually, there may only be five children. I am pretty sure, based on census records that Gerhard Edward and Gerhard Henry are the same person but I have not been able to determine if he should be Gerhard Edward or Gerhard Henry. I have a birth record for Gerhard Henry that has a birth date of 22 August 1887. Gerhard Edward lists his birth date as 22 August 1886 on his WW I Draft Registration. Gerhard Edward's death date is either 3 September 1932 (based on death certificate) or 1 September 1932 (based on his obituary). His burial date was listed as 3 September 1932. I guess more work needs to be done on this set of children. Bernard's wife Catherine died on 21 July 1890, leaving Bernard to care for the children.

By the 1900 census Bernard had again remarried. This wife was Elizabeth Sturwold (1853-1925) and they had been married for one year. Elizabeth emmigrated from Germany around 1870. It appears that this was also Elizabeth's third marriage. She had previously been married to John Clemens Heckman (1831-1885), a German immigrant and farmer in Auglaize County, Ohio. Elizabeth and John had at least one child, Elizabeth (1882-1959), before John died. There is another child, Anton Eyink (1887-??), who is listed as a step-son for Bernard and Elizabeth in the 1900 census. This leads me to believe that Elizabeth may have been married to an Eyink between her marriages to John Heckman and Bernard Leugers but that would require me to look in the 1890 census. Oh yeah, that one doesn't exist anymore. Elizabeth is listed as having four children with three living in the 1900 census. So, I am missing two children for her at this point.

The 1900 census lists the family as Bernard (age 54) and Elizabeth (age 43), John H (age 24), John B (age 17), Gerhard (age 13), Herman (age 10), and Anton Eyink (age 13). The family is living on a farm in Marion Township, Mercer County, Ohio.

I have not yet found the 1910 or 1920 census for Bernard's family.

During the 1930 census Bernard (age 84) is living with his son John's family at 521 West Wayne, Celina, Mercer, Ohio. The family consisted of John (age 45), his wife Mary (age 48), children Hilda (age 16), Ludwina (age 15), Agatha (age 14), Othmar (age 11), and Marcella (age 9). Additionally, Mary's sister Eleanor Uhlenhake (age 37) is living in the house. John and Eleanor both are working at the furniture factory. John is a packer while Eleanor is a finisher.

Bernard died in Celina, Ohio on 20 May 1935 from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 89 years, 10 months, and 5 days. He was buried in St. Rose on 23 May 1935. He had lived most of his life in St. Rose, Mercer County, Ohio except for the last few years when he was living with his son, John in Celina.