Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ferdinand Gaier (1809-1902)

I can't believe I have been able to write for six consecutive days. Hopefully I will be able to keep this up until the end of the month. Today's post is my 3rd great-grandfather Ferdinand Gaier.

Ferdinand Gaier was born 18 October 1809 in Neudorf, Baden, Germany. His parents were George Adam (1778-1818) and Maria Josephine (Ochsler) Gaier (1785-1839). Ferdinand married Eva Katherine Siegel (1821-1844) on 10 May 1838. This union resulted in the following children: Gertrude (1838-1911), Jacob (1841-1906), Caroline (1843-1907), and Valentine (1844-1915). On 4 June 1846, two years after Eva's death, he married Eva's sister Appolonia Siegel (1826-1880). Ferdinand and Apolonia had two children in Germany, Charles (1848-1921) and Magdalena (1852-1929). Magdalena Gaier is my great-great-grandmother.

Berlin (Ft. Loramie), Ohio
I don't have any more information on his life in Germany prior to the time of his immigration to the United States. The New York Passenger List for the ship Carolus Magnus lists the family as Ferdinand Geiger (age 43), his wife Apolonia (age 27), and children Gertrude (age 13), Jacob (age 9), Caroline (age 8), Valentine (age 7), Carl (age 3), and Magdalena (age 3 months). They arrived in New York on 13 January 1854. Ferdinand lists his occupation as farmer and his place of birth as Baden on the ship's list. They originally settled in Troy, Miami County, Ohio but then moved to McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio by 1860 where he purchased 85 acres of land to start farming. The land in the area was characterized as swamp and marsh and required much work to make it farmable. At this time Berlin, later known as Fort Loramie, was the largest town in McLean Township. The German immigration had increased during the late 1830s associated with the construction of the Miami-Erie Canal. St. Michael's church was completed in 1851. Willman's general store and the first flour mill had opened in 1858. Soon afterward Bruckens and Vogelsang's cafe opened. Both of these establishments are still located in Ft. Loramie.

Apolonia & Ferdinand Gaier
In the 1860 US Census, Ferdinand Gaier (spelled Gayer in census) is listed as a farmer owning $1,500 in land and $200 in personal property. He is 48 years old, his wife Apolonia is 34 years old. Their household consists of 8 children; Jacob (age 18), Caroline (age 16) and Valentine (age 14) from his first marriage, and Charles (age 9), Magdalena (age 7), Catherine (age 5), Elizabeth (age 3) and Ferdinand (age 1) from his second marriage. Catherine, Elizabeth, and Ferdinand were born in Ohio. The census states that Magdalena was born in Ohio but the immigration records indicate that she was 3 months old when they arrived in the United States from Germany. In 1860 the area where the family lived was listed as Sidney Post Office, McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio.

The 1870 US Census was a little creative with the names of individuals in the family so I will include the correct names as well as what the census listed. This census states the location of the family as Loramie Post Office, McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio. Ferdinand is continuing as a farmer and now has $2,000 in land and $685 in personal property. He is listed as 59 years old. His wife, Apolonia is listed as Abbslam. She is 40 years old. Their children are listed as Charles (age 21) working on the farm, Mag (age 18) helping her mother, Cathrin (age 13) attending school, Elizabeth (age 12) attending school, Ferdinand (age 10) attending school, John (age 7) attending school, George (age 5) and Zibidu (age 3). I believe Zibidu is actually Joseph who was born on 24 January 1868.

In the 1880 US Census, Ferdinand in 70 years old. He is continuing with his farming. The family consists of his wife Appalonia (age 54), and children Eliza (age 22), Ferdinand (age 20), Catherin (age 24), John (age 18), George (age 14), Joseph (age 13), and Herman (age 10). Herman and Joseph are attending school. Ferdinand, John and George are helping on the farm while Eliza and Catherine are helping their mother keep the house. Catherine is a recent widow, her husband Francois Carity had died on 18 April 1880, leaving her to take care of their 9 month old son Philip. In addition to that loss, Apolonia also dies soon after the 1880 Census.

By the 1900 US Census, Ferdinand (age 90) is living with his daughter Magdalena, her husband Joseph Reiss (spelled Rice in the census), and their children John (age 22), Katherine (age 20), Edward (age 12) and Leo (age 7). Joseph Reiss is employed as a fireman at the Wise Sawmill and his son John is a teamster for the mill. Katherine is employed as a servant.

Headstone, St. Michael's cemetery, Ft. Loramie
Ferdinand Gaier died on 17 January 1902 at the age of 92 years and 3 months. His obituary in The Minster Post was written in German and has been translated by Google Translator as follows: "On Saturday here Ferdinand Geyer died at the age of 92 years and 3 months. He was one of the oldest settlers of this whole neighborhood, and he was generally respected and loved by his fellow citizens. Few people are granted to live nearly a century in this world and few have the luck to see four generations grow up around them. It means the number of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren amounted to 180. The funeral took place on Monday morning from the funeral home and gave him a large crowd of relatives and friends, the last honor escort to the grave. May he rest in peace. The bereaved our sincere condolences." Ferdinand is buried in the old St. Michael's Cemetery in Ft. Loramie, Shelby County. Ohio.


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