Friday, April 18, 2014

Willis Barnum Coker (1867-1956) "52 Ancestors"

My son and I spent the four days last week walking around Jacksonville, Florida taking part in the One Spark celebration. This celebration is a crowd source funded celebration for Creators. These creators are from a variety of fields including science, technology, arts, music and social good. So, after seeing all these great ideas being presented around the city, I decided to write about my wife's great-great-grandfather Willis Barnum Coker. He was a local businessman, carpenter, printer and entrepreneur.

Willis Barnum Coker
Willis Barnum Coker was born on 9 January 1867 in Americus, Plains, Georgia. His parents were James Franklin Coker (1836-1899) and Saran Ann Jane Walters (1836-1883). James Franklin Coker was married three times. He had one child, James Anderson Coker (1859-1860) by his first wife Martha A Butler (died 1859, two weeks after giving birth). His second wife was Sarah Ann Jane Walters. Willis was the oldest of seven children born to this marriage. His siblings included William Bartow (1868-1889), Dora Joline (1870-??), James Thaddeus Beta (1871-1956), Belle Boyd (1874-1938), Maggie Louise (1876-1956), and Effie Dessolee (1878-1905). After Sarah's death, James married Mary Emma Bellew and they had four children, Ethel Velona (1889-1916), Janie Mabel (1891-1919), James Bradford (1894-1961), and Mary Ida (1897-1898).

Jessie Clara and Willis Barnum Coker
Willis moved to Jacksonville, Florida from his home in Georgia in 1886. The 1888 Jacksonville Florida City Directory lists Barnum Coker as a carpenter. Willis Coker married Jessie Clara LeBoeuf (1857-1929), daughter of James LeBoeuf and Mary Ann Vickery, on 25 December 1887. If you have read the story I wrote about James LeBoeuf, you may remember that Jessie Clara was born on board his ship off the coast of Australia. He continued working as a carpenter until 1895, when he went to work for the James Douglas Book and Picture Framing business where he did picture framing and other general work. The 1900 census indicates that Willis B Coker was living with his wife Jessie (age 43) and children Frank V (age 9), Lula B (age 5), and Nellie M (age 1), and his mother-in-law Mary A LeBoeuf (age 75) at 1016 Church Street in Jacksonville. Willis' occupation is listed as clerk. In 1907, after the company added a printing office, Willis became half owner of the company which was then known as the James Douglas Company.

The 1910 census lists Willis Coker (age 43) as a frame maker. His family consisted of his wife, Jessie (age 50), and children Frank (age 19), Lura (age 15), Nellie (age 10), and Willis Jr. (age 6). Frank is employed as a printer and Lura is a dry goods saleslady. The other two children are attending school.

During the 1920 census the family is living at 912 Ashley Street in Jacksonville. is wife Jessie C (age 55), and children Nellie (age 28) and Willie Jr. (age 12) are living in the house. Willis is listed as a cabinet maker. Nellie is listed as being employed as a cashier at a department store and Willis Jr. is listed as a bell clerk at a department store.

In 1922, Mr. Douglas died and Willis became the sole owner of the James Douglas Company which he eventually sold to E. A. Koester and P. M. Ulsch who changed the name of the company to the Douglas Printing Company.

Sometime before 1935 he moved in with his daughter Nellie and her husband Harvey P McCarty at 1026 East Church Street. The 1940 census states that Willis was working 60 hour weeks as a picture framer in the printing office. He was 73 years old at the time. The 1945 Florida census also states that he was working as a picture framer. Willis continued his picture framing until 1946 when he retired.

Willis was a life member of the Knights of Pythias and Dramatic Order Knights of Khorassan and was the oldest member in Jacksonville at the time of his death. He was also a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Arlington. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage on 31 May 1956, at the age of 89 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville.

Friday, April 11, 2014

John Heinrich Vagedes-Tervort (1832-1876) "52 Ancestors"

Hi again everyone. This is week 15 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I almost didn't get to this one. I have been travelling a lot with work and closing on a new house but here it is. I decided to go for a real story of intrigue this time and went a little off the main branch of the tree. This story is about my grandmother's sister's husband's uncle, John Heinrich Vagedes-Tervort.

John Heinrich Vagedes-Tervort went by Henry Vagedes in his early years and then changed his name to John Tervort a little later in life in order to hide from the officials. But that is later in the story and we do have to start at the beginning.

Henry was born on 18 September 1832 in Westphalia, Prussia. He was the first child of Franz Anton Vagedes (1805-1863) and Anna Maria Gertrude Tervort (1803-1849). He was christened on 20 September 1832 with Anne Marie Weisman Leufle and Heinrich Vagedes as his god parents. His siblings were Anna Elisabeth (1834-1837), Johan Anton (1837-1837), Franz (1838-1838), Anton Bernard (1839-1881), and Frank Anton (1842-1908). Johan and Franz died at birth or 1 day of age. The family, consisting of his parents and two brothers, Anton and Frank, immigrated to the United States in 1845. They initially settled in Cincinnati, Ohio where Franz found work as a laborer and eventually as a shoemaker to support his family. Their first home was located at the northeast corner of Clinton and Linn Streets (currently the 400 block of Clinton). His mother died on 17 May 1849, just four years after they immigrated.

Soon afterward, on 28 July 1849, Franz remarried to Elizabeth Catherina Sager (1827-1879) at St. Joseph's church. The 1849-1850 Cincinnati City Directory lists the family as living on the south side of Hopkins Street between John and Cutter Streets. This area is near St. Joseph's church and Union Station. The family then moved a little further north to Chickasaw in Mercer County, Ohio. There were four more children born to this marriage. They were Bernard (1850-1879), Maria Elizabeth (1852-1885), John George (1858-1927), and Onna or Anna (1863-1881).

Family stories state that Henry and his step-mother did not get along. Henry was 17 years old when his father remarried and was only 5 years younger than his new step-mother. Henry moved to Indianapolis to attend school but was not enthusiastic about school so on 8 May 1855 he enlisted in the US Army. He served with the 10th Indiana Infantry for five years. During this time President Buchanan sent the unit west to the Utah Territory in order to settle what was expected to be a civilian uprising. On 8 March 1860 he re-enlisted at Camp Floyd in Utah and received a re-enlistment bonus equal to three months pay -  $33. The units stationed at Camp Floyd were a mix of northern and southern regiments. However, the civilian uprising never occurred and Henry found himself stationed at Camp Floyd near Payson, Utah at the beginning of the Civil War. His enrollment was almost up and he was serving under General Johnston who decided to join the Confederate Army. During this time of confusion Henry made the acquaintance of a local merchant, George Washington Hancock. Mr. Hancock helped Henry sneak out of the camp in a wooden packing box and he is listed as deserting on 3 May 1861. In order to avoid arrest, he changed his last name to Tervort, his mother's maiden name and went by John Tervort for the remainder of his life.

On 4 September 1862, John married Sarah Rosina Savage (1844-1920) in Payson, Utah. Sarah Rosina Savage went by Rosina and was born in Middlesex, England to Henry Savage (1810-1884) and Sarah Powers (1821-1881). She immigrated with her family on the ship John M. Wood from Liverpool, England on 12 March 1854 and arrived in New Orleans. Her brother John Ebenezer Savage (1841-1854) died of cholera in New Orleans on 3 May 1854, soon after they arrived. Several other siblings died prior to leaving England. They were Virginia (1843-1843) and her twin Paul (1843-1843), and Hyrum (1846-1849).  Sarah's family migrated westward with 393 Latter Day Saints with the Robert L. Campbell Emigration Company from New Orleans through Nebraska, Wyoming and then to Salt Lake City. They arrived in Salt Lake City on 28 October 1854. During the migration the family consisted of her parents Henry and Sarah, along with her siblings Kizziah (1848-1933), Moroni (1850-1930), and Jemima (1852-1933). Her mother Sarah was pregnant during this migration and gave birth to a daughter, Rachel Savage (1854-1919), at the foot of Little Mountain in the Salt Lake Valley two days before the end of the trek on 26 October. Several additional children were born after their arrival in Utah. They were Ebenezer (1857-1898), Alma (1859-1943), Cornelius (1861-1941), and Nephi Miles (1864-1934). The 1856 Utah Census lists the Savage family as members of the Salt Lake 6th Ward. Her parents were silk weavers and were noted for the fine quality of work they produced. The family moved to Payson, Utah in 1858.

After their marriage in 1862, John and Rosina Tervort had at least eight children. They were Henry Anthony (1863-1904), John Franklin (1864-1839), Sarah Arminnie (1866-1934), Rosina Gertrude (1868-1912), Annie Jemima (1870-1941), Moroni Eben (1871-1958), Rachel Lillian (1873-1874), and Mary Victoria (1875-1959).

The 1870 census for Payson, Utah lists John Tervort as a shoemaker with a personal value of $150 and real estate valued at $100. John Henry Vagedes-Tervort died on 11 October 1876 in Payson, Utah and is buried in the cemetery there. His widow remarried to John Ferrington Manwill (1832-1922) on 15 December 1881 in the Salt Lake Endowment House. Rosina had 5 children by this marriage, William Riley (1882-1959), Daisy (1883-1977), Myrtle (1885-1975), Rosina Savage (1887-1903), and Nephi (1889-1891). This family moved from Payson to Box Creek and then to Greenwich, Utah. Rosina and John divorced in 1895. Rosina died on 4 February 1920 in Payson and is buried in the local cemetery.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Joseph Reiss (1844-1924) "52 Ancestors"

Greetings everyone. This is week 14 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I decided to head back to my side of the family for a little while this week. This story is about Joseph Reiss, my great great grandfather.

Joseph Reiss was born 19 June 1844 in Shelby County, Ohio, the son of George Reiss (1817-1879) and Seraphine Lump (1825-??). George immigrated from Germany about 1842 and Sarah immigrated with her parents when she was two years old. George filed a certificate of intention for citizenship in Shelby County, Ohio on 10 December 1852. Joseph's siblings were William Leonard (1847-1941), Mary Catherine (1853-1933), and Josephine (1862-??). Josephine was an adopted child according to the 1870 census.

The first record that I have found for the family is the 1860 census. This census has George (age 43), Sarah (age 35), Joseph (age 15), William (age 13), and Mary (age 7). The family was living in McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio. George's real estate is valued at $300.

George and Joseph both fought in the Civil War as part of Company C, 118th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Joseph worked in the hospitals and was also an ambulance driver during the war. After the war, Joseph learned to operate steam engines and went to work for August Wise in the saw mill. The 1870 census has Joseph (age 24) listed as an engineer living in the home of Louis Morman and family. Louis Morman is employed as a miller and I am assuming that he worked for the Wise Sawmill also.

Magdalena and Joseph Reiss
On 12 November 1876, Joseph married Magdalena Gaier, the daughter of Ferdinand and Appolonia Siegel Gaier. The witnesses for the wedding were Leonard Reiss, Joseph's brother, and Catherine Gaier, Magdalena's sister. Joseph and Magdalena had the following children; John Ferdinand (1877-1945), Catherine (1879-1960), Edward Leonard (1884-1955), and Leo Bernard (1891-1959).

The 1880 census lists the family as living in Berlin (Ft. Loramie), McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio. Joseph (age 33) is employed as a laborer. His wife is listed as Madline (age 24) and their children are John (age 2) and Catherina (age 8 months).

The 1900 census has the family listed as living on Main Street, Loramie Village, McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio. Joseph (age 54) is working as a fireman at the sawmill. His family consisted of his wife Magdalena (age 45), and children; John (age 22) employed as a teamster for the sawmill, Katherine (age 20) employed as a servant, Edward (age 12) and Leo (age 7) both attending school. In addition, Magdalena's father, Ferdinand Gaier (age 90), is living with the family.

On 23 July 1901, John Reiss married Anna Mary Pieper and on 16 June 1903, Catherine Reiss married August Jacob Wise. Catherine and August were my great-grandparents. The other two sons, Edward and Leo never married. Leo had a birth defect that left him partially crippled and Edward took care of him.

Ed, John, Joseph, Magdalena, Catherine, and Leo Reiss.
Joseph's occupation in the 1910 census is listed as engineer at the sawmill. He is 65 years old by this time. His wife Magdalena (age 55) and two sons, Edward (age 21) and Leo (age 17) are living in the home. Edward has taken up the trade as a carpenter by this time.

Joseph is still working at the sawmill as an engineer in the 1920 census when he was 74 years old. He continued working in the sawmill until near the time of his death in 1924. Magdalena, his wife is listed as being 64 years old. Edward (age 26) and Leo (age 21) are still living at home. Edward is working as a carpenter and Leo is listed as a laborer in the sawmill. Notice the ages of the family members during this census compared to the 1910 census. Edward and Leo only age 4 to 5 years during this time frame.

In June 1923, Joseph was stricken with an illness but was still able to get around and continued to work for a while. In November the illness became more sever and he was forced to remain in bed. He died at home on the morning of 18 February 1924. The cause of death was listed as epithelioma of the face which he had for 1 year and 4 months. His funeral was held on 21 February and he was buried in St. Michael's Cemetery in Ft. Loramie. He was survived by his wife, four children, nine grandchildren, two great grandchildren, one brother and one sister. His wife, Magdalena, died five years later, at the age of 76, on 25 August 1929. Her cause of death is listed as myocarditis.

Friday, March 28, 2014

George Vickery (1824-1874) "52 Ancestors"

This is week 13 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I am working ahead to try to have a few posts ready in reserve just in case. It seems like I am focusing on my wife's line again, especially her ancestors from the Channel Islands. This story is about her 3rd great-grand uncle George Vickery.

George Vickery was born on 8 September 1824 in St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands. He was the second of at least ten children. His parents were Thomas Vickery (1798-1863) and Mary Coutanche (1807-1853), my wife's 4th great-grandparents. George was baptised on 22 September 1824.

I haven't yet found many records for George between his birth and the 1851 Census, so we will start just before that. In about 1845, George married Louisa LeBoeuf (1823-??), the sister of James and Frederick LeBoeuf, whom I have written about previously. George and Louisa's first child was Raimond George Vickery. Raimond was born on 28 June 1846 but died about two years later on 12 April 1848. A few months prior to Raimond's death, on 25 January 1848, their second child, James Frederick Vickery, was born. On 1 January 1850, their third child, William de Perval Vickery was born. William died three months later on 8 April 1850. The 1851 census lists the family as George (age 26), Louisa (age 26), and James F (age 3). Additionally, the following people were also living in the home: Mary Ann Leboeuf - sister-in-law (age 20), Ann Coutanche - aunt (age 70), James LeBoeuf - brother-in-law (age 25), and Frederick LeBoeuf - brother-in-law (age 19). The home was located at 22 Royal Square, St. Helier. George's occupation is listed as Soliciter. I looked up Royal Square on Google Maps and saw that it is located adajcent to the Royal Courthouse and just up the road from the Parish Church of St. Helier.

As a soliciter, George wrote several books, including Verite ou mensonge loi ou violence in 1855 and Des privileges de l'ile ou de la resurrection de Stuarts et de la chambre toilee a Jersey in 1856. These titles are in Jersiais, the language of the Channel Islands and can roughly be translates as Truth of falsehood, law or violence and Privileges of the island or the resurrection of the Stuarts and the draped chamber in Jersey. Notice, I said roughly translated since Google Translate does not have a Jersiais translation and I had to use the next best thing, which was French.

In the 1850s, during the reign of Napoleon III, there was much political repression happening in neighboring France. Many critics of the emperor fled for refuge to Jersey. One family who were exiled in Jersey was Victor, Charles and Francois-Victor Hugo. You may already know who Victor Hugo was since he wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables. Francois-Victor Hugo wrote for a newspaper in Jersey known as L'Homme. In 1855 the Hugo family was expelled from Jersey because of a story in the newspaper criticizing Queen Victoria. During their time in Jersey, George Vickery became a friend of the Hugo family and in 1855 organized a petition of notable people in Jersey against the expulsion order.

George was an active member of the States of Jersey, the island's legislature. On 6 November 1856, the States' legislature adopted a new law to add Parish Deputies to the Assembly. Deputies would have the same rights and functions as the existing twelve Jurats, twelve Constables and twelve Rectors. Jurats were elected for life and Rectors were chosen by the Crown; Deputies were to be elected by their parish, as were the Constables, for three years. Each parish of St. Helier chose three Deputies and the other eleven parishes each chose one Deputy. They took their seats for the first time on 29 January 1857. George was among the first Deputies elected to the Assembly. On July 1859 the States Assembly passed a law increasing the number of Barristers, which had been a maximum of six prior to this time. George was appointed a Barrister in 1860.

During the 1861 census, the family is living at 203 Famworth Ter Cottage Street in St. Helier. The family consisted of George (age 35), Louisa (age 32), and George (age 3). George's occupation is listed as Barrister of the Royal Court. In addition to his immediate family, the following people are living in the house; Marian LeBoeuf - sister-in-law (age 23), Eliza Quirot - servant, cook (age 21), and Eleanore Quirot - servant, housemaid (age 16). I am not sure what happened to James since he would have been around 16 years old during this census. There are also several other children "missing" in this census. They include three daughters; Adala, Augusta, and Leonida Maude. Adala was born 28 April 1851. Augusta was born 31 March 1853. Leonida Maude was born 6 May 1855. I previously wrote a post about Leonida Maude and her adventures in Australian theater.

In 1871 the family was living at 11 St. Marks Road, St. Helier. The family in the 1871 census included George (age 46), Louisa (age 46), Adala (age 19), Maud (age 15), and George (age 13). There was also a servant, Mary Fitzgibbon (age 21) living in the house. Two of the children, Maude and George, are listed as scholars, meaning they are attending school. It appears that George was still serving as a representative since his occupation is listed as Deputy Barrister and he wrote the following letter to his constituency in 1870:

At the expiration of Fourteen Year's Service in the States as one of your Representatives, I wish to thank you for the confidence you have so warmly and repeatedly shewn me, and to solicit for another triennial term a renewal of your kind support.
Without presumption on one hand and without false modesty on the other, I think I may to-day conscientiously affirm that, during these Fourteen years, my chief ambition has been to labour diligently and to the best of my humble ability for the Public good; and that 1857, when I first entered the States, no Member of the Legislative body has taken a more active part than I have done in initiating and, so far as possible, carrying out whatever both you and I considered conducive to the general interest of the Island.
I have no wish to detail in this brief address what I have succeeded in effecting in the Legislative Assembly and States' Committees; what I have projected; and what is au Greffe in my name for early discussion. Before the General Election takes place I shall probably have fitting opportunity to do so.
For the moment, after thanking you for the trust you have, during such a comparative length of time, reposed in me, and soliciting, if you think me worthy of it, a renewal of your confidence (the last time I am likely to do so) I merely desire to state, and most distinctly, that my sole reason for wishing to be re-elected is this:--I wish to complete the States' work I had imposed on myself, I wish to carry out the important Bills I have prepared, and which stand for discussion during the next Session of our Local Parliament.
It will be physically impossible for me, Gentlemen, to canvass you personally. You know the reason, impaired health. This of course will not militate against me with honorable and intelligent men. Those who think that I have done my utmost to serve the public faithfully will not wait to be canvassed; but will, I trust, volunteer me their kind support through Members of my Committee.
I hope to be favoured with the personal attendance of my friends at the Meetings that will be announced in conjunction with my re-election.

I remain, Gentlemen, truly yours,

We found this letter sewn into the cover of a family album maybe 10 years ago but we do not know where that album is today. Luckily we had the foresight to copy the text and save it for the future.

George Vickery died on 16 November 1874 in St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands. We have found several poems written about George Vickery but since they are in Jersiais it is difficult to translate them. Maybe someone reading this blog in the future will be able to help us with the translation.


by : Augustus Asplet Le Gros

Le k'min est court du ber jusqu'au tomb;
La vie, au pus, n'est qu'un rêve et une ombre;
Et ben souvent nou-s-a du desteurbé,
Et ben souvent la querière en est sombre.

I faut muorir, ch'est ben là notre sort,
Q'nou-s-ait grandeur, richèsse, ou ben piéssance;
Car i faut tous payir rente à la mort,
Q'nou seit utile ou q'nou seit en nisance.

" Vick'ry n' est pus," l'êfant de not' Jèrry,
Qui tant de feis ichin se fît entendre.
Nou l'dit partout, à la Cour, au Marchi:
" Vick'ry n'est pus," i faut ben le comprendre.

J'avions perdu le Sueux, Duprè, Godfray.
Il' 'taient nuos grands, et leux île en 'tait fière.
Iun et pis iun s'en va, que nou viyait:
I' sont tuos morts, et Vick'ry veint de les sière.

Oubliéra-nou leux travas et leux faits?
Chein qu'il' ont fait pour le ben sus la terre?
Laissons leux d'fauts! je sommes-t-i parfaits?
Qu'est qui gin'ra, dites-le-mei, la pierre?

Vere, i vivront! en ermerquant leux pas,
Au coin du feu, nuos êfants puorront lière
que nou deit tous s'entr'aidjir ichin-bas,
Se rendre utile et pon s'entre-nière.

Eune Caricatuthe d'la "Voix des Iles" 1873 - 1874

Le Député Vickery

by: L'Anmin Flippe

Le Devoir

Duty! Devoir! grand mot qui donne
Le vrai couozage au vertueux,
Duty! Devoir! doux mot qui sonne
Comme la musique des cieux,
Combain de la famille humaine,
Ne te porte honneur ni respé,
Jersey expects that every man
This day will do his duty.

Et dans chute terrible épreuve,
Que je subissons, mes anmins,
Faut-ti laissi sa femme veuve,
Et ses chiers êfants orphelins;
Raidissons nous contre la gène,
Comme Nelson y faut c ri,
Jersey expects that every man
This day will do his duty.

Comment! dans un jour de souffrance
Njou restezait les bras croizis,
Si nou veut trouvé l'espézance,
Y ne faut pas resté assis.
Vickery nos môtre sans peine,
Comment nou peut sen dêhalé.
Jersey expects that every man
This day will do his duty.

Quicun nos dit, la chose est belle
D'assisté tout homme ichin bas,
Mais mé, je donne a ma chapelle,
Donné ailleurs je ne peux pas.
Hypocrite a la douche haleine,
Ne vain don pue nos êlourdé.
Jersey expects that every man
This day will do his duty.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Charles Frederick Bielefeld (1803-1864) "52 Ancestors"

Week number 12 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is now here and I am still on track. Actually I wrote this one two weeks ago just to make sure I could keep on track in case something came up (like my impending move). I decided to focus on an artistic ancestor this week. Because of the artistic manner of this story I had to include many more images than usual. 

The subjet of this story is not a direct line but no one said we had to stick to direct lines now did they? This story is about Charles Frederick Bielefeld from Middlesex, England. Charles is my wife's 3rd cousin 5 times removed. The Bielefeld family originated in Germany and then spread around the globe. Charles' line settled in England. My wife's family immigrated to Ohio. Another line settled in Australia.

Charles Frederick Bielefeld was born on 24 February 1803 in St. Marylebone, London, England to John Henry Bielefeld (1771-1848) and Mary Record (1780-1820). According to The London Book of Trades (1775-1800), his father, John, was a toy dealer and had a shop on Oxford Street. I have a record of residence stating that John lived at 14 Claremont Place, St. Pancras, Middlesex, England at the time of his death. Many members of the extended Bielefeld family were active in the trades around London. One member sold music for guitars, another was a book binder, and Charles was no different. He was a world famous papier mache artist.

Charles married Elizabeth Phillips (1811-??) around 1828. Elizabeth was born in a home on Oxford Street, the same street as Charles' father's toy store. I know of at least 10 children from this marriage. They included: Charles Edward (1829-??), Julius Martin (1832-1919), Albert (1834-??), Sydney K (1836-??), Francis (1837-??), Julia (1839-??), Clara (1842-??), Emily (1844-??), Ellen (1846-??), and Louis (1847-??).

In 1839, when his daughter Julia was born, Charles was living at 32 Albany Street, St. Pancras, London.

The 1841 census states that the family had moved to Wellington Street, Westminster, Middlesex. The family consisted of Charles (age 35), Elizabeth (age 35), Charles (age 12), Julius (age 9), Sydney (age 5), and Julia (age 20 months). In addition to the family members there are three individuals listed as family servants. Charles is listed as a papier mache manufacturer. His papier mache factory was located at 15 Wellington Street North. Charles rented the factory space for £33 19s 7d per quarter. In 1860 he had to expand the factory space by renting a warehouse, office space and storage area nearby for £140 per year.

Bielefeld Papier Mache Works, (c. 1840)
The work that Charles did was not your typical papier mache. He elevated it to an art form and had several patents for the manufacturing process. His business quickly expanded and he had agents throughout the country selling his products. In 1846 Charles had to file suit against two brothers whom he had hired as sales agents for the area around Glasgow. The brothers were given £300 of materials to use as samples but those items "disappeared" and no money was returned to the company. 

A news article written in The Courier from Hobart, Tasmania on 25 February 1848, talks about renovations to the Drury Lane Theatre in London. This was one of many locations that Charles Bielefeld designed the decorations for. The article reads as follows:

Drury Theatre today
The Builder thus describes the present appearance of the house, the pit being boarded over for "promenade concerts," with which the theatre will open tomorrow. The decorations are simple, although exceedingly effective, and may be described in a few words. 

The fluted Corinthian columns which form the proscenium, two on each side, have their caps and bases gilt; the flutes are real apertures, to assist the view from the private boxes between them, and are entwined by a continuous wreath of flowers gilt, as are also the small columns which support the boxes throughout the house. The whole of the ornaments, fruit and flower work, are of papier mâché, the ornamented moulding which forms the trellis being of a new patent machine made kind, and were made, gilt, and fixed, in five weeks, by Mr. Bielefeld.

Papier mache mirror c. 1840
There may have been changes to the work that Charles did in this theater over the last 165 years but just looking at the decorations there today can give you an idea of how elaborate his work was. In addition to the Drury Theatre, his work was included in many other buildings including the Reading Room of the British Museum and Parliament. Examples of his work can be found in a catalog he produced in 1842, On the use of improved papier-meche in furniture, in the interior decoration of buildings, and in works of art. A copy of this catalog recently sold for £1100. Occasionally you can find some of his actual works that still exist. For example, in 2012 Christy's Auction House sold a papier mache mirror that he produced for £6,060.

The 1851 census lists the family's residence as 15 Wellington Street North, St. Paul Court Garden, Westminster, the same location as the papier mache factory. The family consists of Charles (age 48), his wife (age 40) - listed as Mrs Bielefeld, Julius (age 19), Sydney K (age 15), Julia (age 11), Clara (age 9), Ellen (age 5), and Louis (age 3). There are also two servants listed in the household. Julius is working in the papier mache factory. The rest of the children, including 3 year old Louis, are listed as scholars. 

In 1852 Charles submitted a patent for improvements in the manufacture of sheets of papier mache. The patent is described as:

An example of Charles' papier mache work.
These improved processes are for the manufacture of pressed articles from pressured sheets instead of pulp, and for the production of such prepared sheets. The apparatus which the patentee uses in this manufacture consists of a table, having a rack on either side, by which it is traversed backwards and forwards under a roller, so supported as to give the required degree of pressure to the material, and at the same time capable of being varied in its elevation, in order to reduce or increase the amount of pressure; or it may be a weighted roller for the purpose. The material which the patentee prefers for the manufacture of sheets of papier mache, suitable for panels for cabins of steam-vessels and other like purposes, is given in the following proportions : — Mix with thirty parts of flour eighty parts of water, thoroughly incorporating the flour, so as to reduce the mixture to the consistency of paste, adding, at the same time, nine parts of alum and one of copperas. With this paste is then mixed fifteen parts of resin, previously dissolved by heat, adding, also, ten parts of boiled linseed oil and one of litharge. These ingredients having been mixed in the above order, are then mixed with about sixty parts of rag-dust, which the patentee finds the most economical, but other matters may be used, such as paper-makers half-stuff or pulp deprived of its moisture to such an extent as to be no longer fluid.

The panels that are discussed in the patent had several purposes. First of all was the construction of cabins in ships. Charles thought that his material was an improvement over other materials used inside ships because it was able to withstand the moist sea air better. He also found that he could use these panels to construct homes. This is an early example of prefabricated homes. In 1853 Charles published a book titled Portable Buildings which included plates illustrating the various home designs he had available. Some of the designs were vary elaborate and also included interior decorations made of papier mache. He would construct all of the materials and deliver them to his clients throughout England. The durability of these papier mache homes was tested and proven in the moist English landscape. He was even asked to fabricate several buildings to be exported to Melbourne, Australia.

After many years of innovative and creative work, elevating papier mache to an artform, Charles died about a month short of his 61st birthday on 10 January 1864.

Friday, March 14, 2014

James LeBoeuf (1825-183) "52 Ancestors"

I am now on week 11 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I amaze myself. In all of 2013 I only wrote 12 posts to this blog and between 2009-2012 I only wrote 5 posts. So this is pretty good. This week my wife and I had to give talks at church. It was our farewell talk since we will be moving soon. My wife focused her talk on how our ancestors give us perspective for the changes we experience in our lives. My talk was about change and service. In my talk I used the following quote, "We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ~ Joseph Campbell

I decided that this quote would be the inspiration for my blog post this week. The subject of this week's post is James LeBoeuf, my wife's 3rd great grandfather. James is the brother of Frederick LeBoeuf who I wrote about previously.

James LeBouef was born around 1825 to Philippe LeBoeuf (1790-1835) and Jeanne Ann LeGeyt (1790-1840). He was christened on 21 August 1825 and was the 11th of 15 children. His siblings included Jane (1812-??), Eliza (1813-??), Philippe (1814-??), George (1815-??), Jean (1816-1904), Elias (1818-1890), Elizabeth (1819-??), Anne (1821-??), Charles (1822-??), Louisa (1823-??), Susanna (1827-??), Mary Ann (1829-1904), William (1830-??), and Frederick (1832-??). His family lived in St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands.

James grew up in an area known for its mariners and many members of his family took to the sea at an early age. In 1851, James, his sister Mary Ann, and brother Frederick were living in the home of George Vickery. George Vickery had married Louisa LeBoeuf, James' sister, a couple years earlier. James (age 25) and Frederick (age 19) are listed as Seamen in this census.

Hindostan (1857)
A news article from The South Australia Register (25 May 1854) announced the arrival of the Hindostan with J. le Boeuf as Captain. James was 28 in 1854, that seems a little young to be a captain of a transoceanic voyage. These voyages lasted months. The ship left London on 2 February 1854 and arrive in Port Adelaide on 23 May 1854. According to newspaper records, the Hindostan was still in port through at least 12 July 1854. The Hindostan was a 708 ton, 65-meter long, 3-mast ship. It was built in 1840 at Greencock, England and was owned by Hammond and registered at London. The ship made several voyages between England and Australia carrying immigrants.

James married Mary Ann Vickery (1826-1904) around 1855. The Vickery and LeBoeuf families were very close. As I stated earlier, the 1851 census lists James living with George Vickery, Mary Ann's brother. James and Mary Ann's first child, James Vickery LeBoeuf was born in St. Helier on 1 March 1856.

The ship was refitted in 1856 with felt and yellow-metal on the hull to add strength and stop marine organisms from growing on or burrowing into the wood. On 27 October 1856, the Hindostan left Southampton, England bound for Sydney, Australia carrying 278 passengers consisting of 109 male adults, 106 female adults, 25 male children and 37 female children. There were 52 married couples and 16 infants on board. Two male children died during the voyage. They arrived in Sydney 109 days later on 12 February 1857. Tickets for the voyage were £13 17s per adult. At least one child was born during the voyage. Henry and Mary Bellchambers' son George, was born one week before they arrived in Australia. However, George Bellchambers died four weeks later on 8 March 1857. One of the crew members was Alfred Vickery (age 21). Alfred is listed as a 2nd mate and is the younger brother of James' wife Mary Ann. We have found an interesting newspaper post concerning this voyage. The passengers wrote the following:

The Empire, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Saturday, 14 February 1857, p. 4

Sir- At the termination of our anxious and prosperous voyage, we, the emigrants on board the ship Hindostan, desire to convey to you our best thanks for your courteous and gentlemanly demeanour towards us, and further to express to you the satisfaction we have enjoyed and the pleasure we still feel in having made the voyage with so skillful a commander; and, Sir, in separating from each other, you have all our best wishes for your prosperity and happiness and that of your family.

Believe us to be, Sir, your grateful and obedient servants,
Thomas J. Douglas
R. Haswell
Joseph Newman
John Badcock.
[On behalf of the emigrants at large.]
Sydney Harbour, Friday Morning, February 13, 1857.

Even though the voyage seems to have been enjoyable for many of the passengers, the time in port and the voyage home seems to have been a little more eventful. On 25 February 1857, twelve of the crew from the Hindostan were convicted of continued disobedience and sentenced to six weeks in prison. On 3 March 1857, James Muric, a baker on the ship, sued James for wages in the amount of £8 11s but failed to convince the court and the case was dismissed. On 22 March 1857, the Hindostan left Australia for Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia) with one passenger, Mrs. LeBouef, and presumably 12 less crew members. Mrs. LeBoeuf was over eight months pregnant at the time and gave birth to their second child, Jessie Clara LeBoeuf, two weeks later off the coast of Australia on 4 April 1857. Jessie Clara is listed as having been born at sea, Latitude 38S, Longitude 142E. Imagine spending the last 4 months of your pregnancy travelling on a ship during this era. There were no luxury suites and I can imagine the combination of morning sickness and the typical effects of ship travel. The ship arrived at the Port of Calcutta on 23 April 1857.

James LeBoeuf returned to Australia again in February 1858 with more immigrants. This time he made port in Hobson's Bay. The 1 March 1858 edition of The Argus in Melbourne, Australia had a small post in it that read "Should this meet the eye of JOHN or ELIAS LE BOEUF they will find their brother on board the Hindostan, Hobson's Bay." This voyage was also a little more eventful, at least his time in port was eventful. James was arrested on immigration charges. He was caught bringing in Chinese passengers beyond the number allowed to the tonnage of his vessel. It appears that he made a stop in Hong Kong on the way and picked up at least 84 additional passengers. He claimed ignorance of the law and was fined £2 per passenger in excess for a total fine of £168. He departed from Australia on 26 March 1858 on the way to Christmas Island.

James and Mary Ann had their third child, Horace Frederick LeBoeuf, on 23 July 1860. He was born in St. Helier. According to the 1861 census, the family was living at 2 Fair View Place, Gorey, Grouville, Jersey, Channel Island. The family consisted of James (age 35) a master mariner, his wife Mary Ann (age 34), their children James (age 5), Jessie Clara (age 4), and Horace (age 8 months). In addition to the family, the following people were in the house: Louisa Laurens (age 16), Margaret Walsh (age 17), Clara Vickery - sister of Mary Ann (age 15), and John Tepier (age 32).

The Hindostan was wrecked during a cyclone at Calcutta in 1864. I am not sure if James was still the captain of the ship at this time. In 1869, the Hindostan was rebuilt and was later lost in another cyclone in 1879 near Bombay.

The 1871 census lists James LeBoeuf (age 45) as a farmer. He and his family were living at Anneville Farm, Vingtaine de Faldouet North, St. Martin, Jersey, Channel Island. The family consisted of his wife Mary Ann (age 44), their children James V. (age 15), Jessie C. (age 13), and Horace F. (age 10). All of the children are attending school. Additionally, their niece Amelia L. Peter (age 13) and farm hand, John Bedel (age 33), are living in the home.

James appears to have been a real family man. He took his wife on the ship, even when she was pregnant. James may have taken up farming to be closer to his family as the children grew up. But the stationary life may not have been for James since he returned to the sea for at least one more voyage. This is where the quote comes into play - "We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." This final voyage did not end as expected. James departed England with his entire family on board. We have not found the name of this ship yet but we are lead to understand that it was wrecked and James and the family never returned to their home in the Channel Islands.

The story does not end tragically though. The entire family survived the accident and made it to land. They decided that this place would be where they spend the rest of their lives and settled there. On 5 October 1883, James died of typhoid fever at the age of  58 in Fernandina Beach, Nassau County, Florida. His wife Mary Ann Vickery LeBouef died on 18 January 1904. I guess Florida wasn't such a bad place to retire after a long life on the ocean.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Charles Joseph Meyer, Sr. (1840-1904) "52 Ancestors"

We are now on week 10 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I hope everyone has been enjoying the stories. This week I decided to expand on a story I wrote about Charles Joseph Meyer, Jr. during week two. This one is about his father, my great-great-grandfather Charles Joseph Meyer, Sr.

Charles Joseph Meyer, Sr. was born on 15 July 1840 in the area of Minster, Auglaize County, Ohio. He is the son of Johann Joseph Meyer (1806-1882) and Elisabeth Bocklage (1812-1897). His parents were born in Oldenburg, Germany. So far, it appears that Charles was one of eight children. His siblings, as far as I have been able to determine so far, were Francis, Elizabeth, Henry, Joseph, August, Benjamin and Catherine.

The 1850 census lists the family as Joseph (age 44) and Elizabeth (age 38), with their children Francis (age 15), Elizabeth (age 13), Cordell (Charles) (age 10), Henry (age 8), Joseph (age 6), August (age 4) and Benjamin (age 3 months). Joseph is listed as a farmer with real estate valued at $1000. All of the children except August and Benjamin are listed as attending school. The family is living in German Township in Auglaize County.

In 1860, Charles (age 19) is listed as a farm laborer living at home with his parents in Minster, Jackson Township, Auglaize, Ohio. His father's land is now valued at $1800. His brothers, Henry (age 18) and Joseph (age 15), are also working as farm laborers. The remaining children, August (age 13) and Catherine (age 6), are attending school. His older sister Elizabeth (age 22) is working in the home. On 16 October 1866, Charles married Mary Katherine Wehrman (1847-1916) in Auglaize County, Ohio. Mary was born in Egypt, Auglaize County, Ohio and was the daughter of Johann Heinrich Wehrman and Maria Catherina Bernadina Winner, both immigrants from Germany. After their marriage they can be found living near Egypt in McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio where Charles continued farming.

Their first two children, Charles Joseph and Herman were born on 28 September 1867 and 15 May 1869. Herman died at the age of 3 months. By the time of the 1870 census Mary was pregnant with her third son Henry August who was born on 15 July 1870. Charles' farm is valued at $3600 in the 1870 census. In addition to his wife Mary (age 20) and their son Joseph (age 2), there is a servant girl named Little Magdaleen (age 15) living with the family. As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't know who this Little Magdaleen is yet but I hope to someday find out.

On 15 October 1872, their first daughter, Mary Catherine Meyer was born, however she died on 8 August 1879, at the age of 6 years old. Their next child, August Meyer, was born on 7 January 1875. He died two weeks after Mary Catherine, on 22 August 1879, at the age of 4. On 10 February 1877, Charles and Mary had their sixth child, Bernard Meyer and then on 11 January 1880, Anton Meyer was born. So, by the 1880 census the family consisted of Charles (age 39), Mary (age 29) and their children Joseph (age 12), Henry (age 9), Bernard (age 3) and Anton (age 5 months). Joseph and Henry are attending school.

Charles and Mary eventually had a total of ten children (I only have the names for nine). The remaining two children that I know of were Mary Bernadine, born 1 September 1882, and Elizabeth, born and died 23 February 1884. By the 1900 census all of the children except Anton (age 21) have either died or moved away. Only five of the children are still living. Anton is living at home and is employed as a carpenter.

Charles Joseph Meyer, Sr. died on 11 July 1904, just 4 days short of his 64th birthday. He had been ill for a long period of time and his death was not unexpected. The family, including his wife and five remaining children; Joseph, Henry, Bernard, Anton and Bernadina, were all gathered by his side when he died. His funeral was held on 13 July and he was buried in the St. Joseph Cemetery in Egypt, Auglaize, Ohio.