Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Edwin Allen Rodeheffer (1923-1945) - "52 Ancestors"

52d Bomb Sq, 29th Bomb Gp, WWII
I decided to add one more story today. This one is in remembrance of the veterans who have fought and died to keep our country free.

The picture to the left is of the 52nd Bomber Squadron, Group 29, US Army Air Force during WW II. The man standing in the center of the photo is 2nd Lt. Edwin Allen Rodeheffer, Jr., my wife's second cousin 2 times removed. Edwin was born on 7 April 1922, the son of Rev. Edwin Allen Rodeheffer and Edna M Knierem. His father was a methodist preacher. Edwin had three siblings, Twila, Calvin and James. Since he was the son of a preacher he moved fairly frequently. He was born in Monroe, Ohio. In 1935 he was living in Toledo, Ohio and in 1940 he was living in Paulding, Ohio.

Edwin attended college and in 1942, after three years of school, he enlisted in the military to serve his country during WW II. Edwin was assigned to the 52nd Bomber Squadron and served in the Pacific theater. He served as a 2nd Lieutenant and Navigator on a B-29 bomber. On the evening of 19 June 1945, his plane, along with 122 other B-29s took off from Guam air field on a mission to bomb the city of Shizuoka, Japan. It was a clear night and visibility was perfect for their flight. This was to be a nighttime incendiary raid. As the 123 B-29s approached the city and began dropping their bombs, the city below began to glow with fires and the heat caused turbulence in the air along with blocking visibility due to the amount of smoke. During the confusion, Edwin's plane (#44-69881) collided with another B-29 (#42-65373). Both planes went down near the city and all 23 airmen were killed in the crash. The remaining 121 B-29s returned to their base after a successful mission.

A resident of the town, Fukumatsu Ito, found the wreckage of the bombers and buried the US airmen and built two monuments at the location. One of the monuments was a memorial to the more than 2,000 residents of the city that were killed that night. The other was a monument to the 23 airmen that lost their lives. Since 1972, there has been an annual memorial service at the site to remember the victims of this event. In 2008, the ceremony was attended by members of the Bomber Squadron who placed a headstone with the names of the fallen airmen at the site.

In 1949 the airmen were repatriated to the US and buried in Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky.

Elizabeth Bruns (1860-1916) - "52 Ancestors"

Hello again. Somewhere along the line I missed another week of writing. This is week 46 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. The last week has been interesting. I have started trying to find the right person to write about several times. Saturday morning I started working on the Brucken family again only to end up in the Koverman family. So I took a break and went on an airboat ride with the family. It was a beautiful day, sunny and in the 70s. When I got back home I tried again. This time I ended up in the Hilgefort family. I found a young man who died in an accident in August Wise's sawmill. The newspaper article was pretty graphic:

While Henry Hilgefort was in the act of mending a fly wheel belt in a saw mill near Berlin, 6 miles south of here, he was caught in some way and hurled with tremendous force around the machinery, mangling him in such a way as to produce instant death. He was picked up in pieces, and could not be recognized.

Joseph Farno and Elizabeth Bruns Farno
On Sunday, I tried to focus my research again and started in my Bruns and Hilgefort line but ended up in the Mescher and Dahlinghaus lines. I did get a lot of research done and found several new families to add to my research but I just couldn't find the right person to write about. I blame it on my ADD. For some reason I kept coming back to the Bruns line as I was doing my research and then I found this wonderful photograph of Elizabeth Bruns and her husband Joseph Farno. So I decided to work on her story. She is my 1st cousin 3 times removed.

Elizabeth Bruns was the daughter of Johann Heinrich Frederich "Frederick" Bruns (1835-1907) and Anna Mary Buschman (1838-1868). She was born 16 November 1860 near Ft. Loramie, Shelby County, Ohio. She was the second of five children born to this marriage. Her siblings were Joseph (~1859-?), Herman (1863-1867), John (1865-1938) and Bernard (1867-1941). Herman died on 14 July 1867, four months after Bernard was born. Her mother died a little more than a year later at the age of 30, on 9 November 1868, one week before Elizabeth's eighth birthday.

Elizabeth's father, Frederick Bruns remarried about two years later to Maria Engel Speller (1843-1914), a German immigrant. They had three more children, Henry (1871-1959), Herman (~1874-??), and Frederic William (1880-1937).

Elizabeth grew up on the family farm near Ft. Loramie and married Peter Brucken on 25 October 1881 in St. Michael's Church in Ft. Loramie. This marriage did not last very long since Peter died about seven months later on 15 May 1882. Elizabeth then married Joseph Farno (Varno) (1858-1920). Joseph was the son of Bernard Farno and Catherine Cemont, both immigrants from Germany. Joseph grew up on his family's farm in Cranberry Prairie, Mercer County, Ohio and decided to make farming his career also. In 1900, he and Elizabeth, along with their seven children, Frederick John, William Henry, Julius John, Ferdinand Louis, Mary Sophia, Rosa Clara and Antonio Henry were living on a rented farm in Butler Township, Mercer County, Ohio.  Two of the children, Frederick and William, were working on the farm while most of the other children, except Antonio who was too young, were attending school. By 1910, the family had moved to another rented farm. This one was located in Granville Township, Mercer County, Ohio. Two of their children, Rose and Anthony, were living at the home. The next year was a busy one for the family. Their son, Louis Ferdinand, married Mayme Ahrns on 8 February 1911. Their daughter, Rose Clara, married Bernard John Schwieterman three months later on 10 May 1911. John Julius married Frances Louise Quinter on 6 September 1911.

About 1913, Joseph and Elizabeth moved to Minster and lived on N. Frankfort Street.  Elizabeth died on 19 April 1916, at the age of 55. After her death, Joseph moved to Frenchtown, Darke County, Ohio where he died on 22 July 1920.

Exactly two years after Elizabeth died, her son Louis Ferdinand died on 19 April 1918. Louis had been married to Mayme Ahrns for seven years and they had three children, Anna Maria (age 5), Bernard (age 2), and William Louis (2 weeks old). They were living in Deshler, Ohio at the time and Louis was working for the Wells Fargo Express Company traveling between Pittsburgh and Chicago transporting packages. On Friday the 19th of April at 3:20 a.m. he was carrying packages to the B&O RR car to prepare for the early morning departure from Defiance, Ohio. As he approached the train, it moved and he fell. His legs were instantly severed by the rail wheels. He died at the Defiance hospital five hours later.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lawrence Ferdinand Lochtefeld (1891-1968) - "52 Ancestors"

Hi everyone. Did you miss me? I had to take the last couple weeks off from my blog. I was at training up in West Virginia for a week and then my parents came by for a few days visit. So, now I am trying to get back to writing. Welcome to week 44 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.

The fall is a time when we notice the leaves changing color (unless you live in Florida, like me) and we get ready for several big holidays. We just had our Fall Festival and Chili Cookoff at church yesterday. I was inspired to try my hand at chili this time. I have never made chili before so this was an opportunity to try a recipe I picked up at the store. My wife likes to joke that I don't know how to follow recipes. I use them as guidelines and often change them. So to make it more challenging, I decided to change the recipe to a vegan dish. The end result - I won the competition. I guess enough people liked my recipe to beat out the other ten or so entries.

Another thing with the fall is the time change. So what do you do with that extra hour? I decided to take advantage of the extra hour to research a family in my tree. I ended up choosing Lawrence Ferdinand Lochtefeld. As I researched him I realized that this was going to be an interesting family to research but that it would probably be a short story. He was a farmer who experienced many tragedies during his life. Lawrence was my 1st cousin 3 times removed on my father's side and 3rd cousin 3 times removed on my mother's side.

Lawrence Ferdinand Lochtefeld was born on 2 April 1891, in St. Rose, Mercer County, Ohio. His parents were John Bernard Lochtefeld (1862-1932) and Catherine Hoying (1864-1948). Lawrence had at least 11 brothers and sisters and was the fourth born child. Several of his siblings joined the Catholic clergy, including his sister, Sis. Mary Emma Lochtefeld (1894-1928) and brother, Rev. Melchior Joseph Lochtefeld (1905-1984). Two of Lawrence's siblings died at birth. They were Catherine, born/died 10 March 1886, and Joseph, born/died 10 February 1899.

Lawrence married Maria Agnes Hausfeld prior to 1917. At the time he registered for the WW I draft on 5 June 1917, he listed her as his wife and he listed his occupation as a self employed farmer living in Chickasaw, Mercer County, Ohio. Maria Agnes Hausfeld was the daughter of Frederick Clemens Hausfeld and Mary Elizabeth Boeke. She was born two months after Lawrence, on 15 June 1891 in St. Johns, Mercer County, Ohio and she preferred to be called Agnes.

Lawrence and Agnes had their first child, Julitta, on 27 October 1918. Julitta had some serious problems and was institutionalized at the Institute for Feeble-Minded Youth in Columbus, Ohio. She only lived to the age of 8 and died at the Institute due to bronchopneumonia with a contributory illness of Furunculosis or chronic boils. Their second child was Omer. He was born on 8 December 1921 and died at the age of 78, on 8 August 2000. Their third child, Cletus, was born on 31 August 1925. Cletus' birth was very difficult on Agnes and she died from eclampsia on the day Cletus was born. This probably contributed to Cletus' poor health and mental handicap. He too was institutionalized at the Institute for Feeble-Minded Youth but he went to a location outside Columbus in Orient, Pickaway County, Ohio. Cletus died at the Institute on Christmas Day, 1933, at the age of 8. The cause of his death was Pellagra. This disease is caused by the lack of vitamin B3 or niacin usually due to the body's inability to produce tryptophan, an essential amino acid. The symptoms can be severe sensitivity to sun, peeling or scaling of the skin, and aggressive behavior.

On 22 February 1927, Lawrence married Elizabeth Luebke. Elizabeth was the daughter of Frederick Luebke (1846-1929) and Elizabeth Kohr (1854-1950), both of whom were immigrants from Germany. Elizabeth was born on 9 October 1891. Lawrence and Elizabeth had three children. Their first child was Gregor who was born 7 December 1927. Their second child was Mary Ann, born about 1929, and their third was Hugo who was born on 29 September 1931.

Lawrence lived on his farm near Chickasaw, Mercer County, Ohio for his entire life. Sometime during his life he must have had an accident because his WW II draft registration points out a scar on his nose and forehead. I do not know the cause of this scar but I can take a guess of a few ways that it could have happened on the farm. In addition to farming, Lawrence served on the Chickasaw School Board for several years.

His son Omer, left the farm but remained near the family farm in Chickasaw. He became a rubber worker. He married Marietta Rindler on 3 July 1948. Lawrence's brother, the Rev. Melchior Lochtefeld performed their marriage ceremony. His son Gregor, was a veteran of the US Army during the Korean War and worked at New Idea where he built farm machinery but continued to live on the family farm. Gregor died on 14 December 2002. On 24 May 1950, Mary Ann married Paul Edgar Kremer and left the farm. Lawrence's youngest son Hugo also remained on the farm until his death and never married.

Lawrence's health began to decline after he turned 70. He had been experiencing heart problems for at least four years prior to his death on 16 January 1968. He had been in Joint Township Hospital in St. Marys for ten days before his death. He was 76 years old. His death was hard on the family but his son Hugo took it the hardest and became despondent. Hugo was found a day later hanging from the rafters of the barn of an apparent suicide. Hugo and his father were buried in the cemetery at the Precious Blood Church on the same day. The funeral was officiated by Rev. Melchior Lochtefeld, Lawrence's brother.

Monday, October 13, 2014

August Henry Poeppelman (1881-1960) "52 Ancestors"

Ready for week 41 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge? This has been another busy week and I just about missed getting a story out this time. I went to a German Genealogy Interest Group meeting last Thursday. One of the things they talked about was a service called Ancestor Seekers that you can contract with to do research. The person who tried them said she had spent 35 years looking for an immigration record and that only a few hours after she sent her request they had found the elusive document. I thought it was worth a shot to see if they could find any information on James A Walker. So I sent them a copy of all the research that I have on him. A few hours later they replied back that the likelihood of them finding his birth, death or information on his parents was "Poor". Ok, that makes me feel better since I haven't been able to find anything about him beyond the 1870s-1880s.

Lorikeets from the zoo.
So after all that, I started to think about who I would write about this week. I decided to write about August Henry Poeppelman (1881-1960). He is my 2nd cousin 3 times removed. Why did I choose him? Well, for the same reason I select most of my subjects, random chance. As I started looking at what I have on the Poeppelman line I realized that there was a lot of information missing and many many people that were not included in my file yet. So I spent the last couple days doing research to try to fill in the gaps. And since today was a holiday I figured I would spend more time getting things in order for this story. But we went to the zoo instead (see the pretty birds to the right). So now I am going to write about what I already have. Hope you enjoy.

August Henry Poeppelman was born 23 December 1881 near Ft. Loramie in McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio. He was the fourth child of Clemens (1848-1911) and Bernadine Berning Poeppelman (1856-1939). His siblings were Mary (1876-1940), Katherine (1878-1957), Anna (1880-??), Anton (1883-1949), Agnes (1885-1927), Rosa (1887-1978), Bernard (1889-1971), Fred (1892-??), Bernadine (1895-1979), Clemens Bernard (1898-198), Cecelia (1900-1969), and Margaret (1902-1925).

In 1880, Clemens (age 32), his wife Bernadina (age 23), and their three daughters, Mary (age 3), Catherine (age 2), and Anna (age 5 months) are living on the farm of his father and mother, Henry and Catherina Baumer Poeppelman. Henry was 73 years old and had immigrated from Oldenburg, Germany. Catherina was 65 years old and had also immigrated from Oldenburg. Since August was born in 1881, it can probably be assumed that after he was born he lived with his grandparents also. His grandmother, Catherine, died on 11 August 1884 and his grandfather Henry died on 3 December 1889.

I am not sure where August was living in 1900. The 1900 census lists Clemence (age 62), his wife Bernadina (age 53), and their children Catherine (age 31), Anthony (age 26), Rosa (age 22), Bernard (age 20), Bernadina (age 15), Clemence (age 12), Cecelia (age 10) and Margaret (age 8). I know August married Mary Ann Lehmkuhl in 1907, so he wasn't married at the time. Maybe he did what many young men did during this time, he could have moved to Dayton, Ohio for employment and stayed with relatives there. I will have to keep searching to see where he disappears to for these few years.

In 1910, August (age 27) has been married to Mary (age 24) for 2 years and has his first daughter, Helen (age 1). August is renting a farm in Van Buren Township, Shelby County, Ohio. But by 1920 he has his own farm which he owns free of a mortgage. His family has also grown by the 1920 census. It now consists of himself (age 38), his wife Mary (age 32), and their children Hellen (age 10), Adella (age 8), Viola (age 6), Varona (age 4) and Clarans (age 16 months). Adella and Hellen are attending school.

It appears that his dominant crop on this farm was corn. That is based on two newspaper articles from the 1920s and 1930s. In March 1923 a storm hit the farm and took part of the roof off his tool shed and scattered corn fodder all over the fields. Then in 1934 there is a short sentence which states "The D-L and P-L shredder company (whatever that is) started to shred corn at the August Poeppelman place Wednesday morning." I like this short sentence, especially the part about "whatever that is".

By the 1930 census, August and Mary state they had been married for 23 years. August is 48 years old and Mary is 43 years old. Their family consist of seven of their children, Adele (age 18), Viola (age 16), Verona (age 14), Clarence (age 11), Alma (age 8), Wilber (age 5) and Orville (age 2). I am assuming that Wilber and Orville were named after the Wright brothers. All of the children, except Wilber and Orville, are attending school.

In 1940, August (age 58) and Mary (age 53) are living on the farm with their children Alma (age 18), Wilbur (age 15), Orville (age 12), and Donald (age 9). August had an 8th grade education, which was typical of the farmers at this time. His son Clarence also had an 8th grade education. His wife Mary had a 7th grade education. However, his daughter Alma was finishing her fourth year of high school. Wilbur, Orville and Donald were in the 8th, 5th and 3rd grades, respectively. Clarence was helping out on the farm and was working 40 hours each week. August reported that he was working 45 hours per week on the farm.

August signed up for the WW II draft registration at the age of 60. He wasn't selected but at least he registered. He lists his employment as a self employed farmer and lists the location of his farm as RR#2, Anna, Shelby County, Ohio.

August retired from farming in 1955 at the age of 73. Near the end of 1958 or the beginning on 1959, August, his wife and their daughter Viola moved into a new house that they had built in McCartyville. August died at his home at 9 p.m. on 19 July 1960. He was 78 years old. He had been suffering from an illness for three years. He was a member of the St. Joseph Society of Sacred Heart Church and was a charter member of the Knights of Columbus in Minster. By the time of his death, his family was spread out across the area. His daughter Helen was married to Ray Hoying and living in St. Patrick. Adele had married Arthur Huecker and was living in Anna. Viona had married Carl Flaute and moved to Dayton. Alma was living in McCartyville with her husband Ray Heilers. Clarence had married Martha Ahrns and was living in St. Patrick. Wilbur married Virginia Dietz. Orville married Dorothy Mae Johnson and Donald married Verona Otting. Wilbur, Orville and Donald were all living in McCartyville. He also had 43 grandchildren and a great-grandchild at the time of his death. He was buried in the Sacred Heart Cemetery in McCartyville.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Joseph Henke (1876-1955) "52 Ancestors"

Hi everyone. This is week 40 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.  As I get further into the year it gets more difficult to figure out who I will be writing about. I started out wanting to write about one of my wife's Bielefeld relatives from New Knoxville, Ohio. But after searching for a few hours and pulling in lots of trivial newspaper articles on Vernon Bielefeld and his family. I decided it wasn't what I wanted to do. So I took a break and went to a genealogy fair for a couple hours. I talked to a few people there about the problems that I have had searching for James Albert Walker and Corydon Bloomfield Reeder, both of whom I have previously written about. One of the people I talked to was a Bauer from Dayton, Ohio. Her husband is Thomas Bauer. We talked about the possibility that maybe my Bauers and her husband's line may have some connection, so I decided that I would work on that line. I didn't find any connections last night but I didn't search for very long, so there still may be something there to look for. So then this morning I woke up and chose another random person to begin with. It ended up being Joseph Henke, my 1st cousin 3 times removed. So, here is his story.

Wedding photo for Joseph Henke
and Bernadine Drees (1901)
Joseph Henke was born on 9 February 1876 on his father's farm two and a half miles southwest of Ft. Loramie, Shelby County, Ohio. His parents were Heinrich "Henry" Christopher Henge (1833-1897) and Anna Weise (1839-1909). Anna is the daughter of Justus Weise (1808-1884) whom I wrote of previously. Henry immigrated to the US from Germany around 1838 and Anna immigrated from Holland in 1852 or 1854. The couple married on 29 April 1857 in St. Michael's Church in Ft. Loramie. They had a total of 15 children with Joseph being number 11 or 12. Joseph's siblings were Henry August (1858-1858), Frederick (1861-1940), August (1862-1879), Wilhelmina Regina (1865-1865), Anna Theresia (1866-1950), twins Christina (1867-1867) and Inocentia (1867-1867), Maria Josephine (1870-1871), Magdelina Theresia (1872-1894), Anna Mariam Margaretha (1874-1966), John Frank (1877-1958), Margaret Cecilia (1879-1960) and Rosa W (1883-1968). I am missing one child but haven't yet found out who that is.

The first census that I find Joseph in is the 1880 census. His father Henry (age 47) is listed as a farmer. His mother Anna (age 41) is keeping house. His siblings were listed as Henry (age 22), Frederick (age 20), Anna (age 14), Madeline (age 8), Mary (age 6), Joseph (age 4), John (age 3) and Maggie (age 9 months). Additionally, Joseph Larshe (age 27) is working at the home as a servant. The two oldest siblings, Henry and Frederick are working on the farm. Anna, Madeline and Mary are attending school.

When Joseph's father died on 5 January 1897 at the age of 63, the farm went to his mother Anna, who at 61 years old was not able to care for it without the help of her sons Joseph and John. In 1900 the census records the family as Anna (age 61), Mary (age 26), Joseph (age 24), John (age 21), Margaret (age 20) and Rosa (age 17). Joseph married Bernadine Drees on 16 October 1901. The wedding was held in St. Michael's Church in Ft. Loramie. Interestingly enough, Bernadine Drees is also related to me on her own. She is my 2nd cousin 3 times removed. In 1909, needing more care than she was able to give herself, Anna moved in with her daughter Anna Henke Hilgefort's family after suffering a lengthy illness. Anna died of pneumonia on 2 March 1909 leaving the farm to Joseph. Her funeral was attended by a large number of family and friends from the area.

In 1910, the census records Joseph's family as himself (age 34), his wife Bernadine (age 28) and their children Anna E (age 7), Agnes (age 6), Christian H (age 4), August F (age 2) and William J (age 10 months). Also living in the house was Anthony Wenning (age 25) who was a farm laborer.

At the age of 42 Joseph registered for the draft for WW I. His physical description is listed as medium height, slender build, grey eyes and dark hair. He is living and working on the family farm.

By the time of the 1920 census, Joseph's family had grown considerably. Joseph (age 43) and his wife Bernadine (age 38) have nine children; Anna (age 17), Agnes (age 15), Christ (age 13), August (age 12), William (age 11), Julius (age 8), Bernard (age 7), Leo (age 3) and Bernadine (age 1 year 6  months). All of the children except Leo and Bernadine are attending school.

In 1930, Joseph (age 54) is still working on the farm. His son William (age 20) is listed as a farm laborer. August (age 22) is working as an auto repairman at the Westerheide Motor Sales Company which was run by Ed Westerheide. His wife Bernadine (age 48) and the other children, Julius (age 18), Bernard (age 16), Leo (age 13), Bernadine (age 11) and Helen (age 9) are also living on the farm. Leo, Bernadine and Helen are attending school. According to the census, the family owned a radio so they would have been able to listen in on the broadcasts of the day.

The 1940 census lists Joseph (age 64) as a farmer who owns his own farm, He is working about 50 hours per week. The farm is valued at $1600. His wife Bernadine (age 58) and children Julius (age 28), Bernard (age 26), Leo (age 23), and Helen (age 19) are all living at the home. Julius had finished one year of high school and is working 50 hours per week on the farm. Bernard had finished two years of high school and is working 60 hours per week as a waiter in a restaurant. Leo finished one year of high school and is working and Helen had finished three years of high school.

Anna, his oldest daughter, married Lawrence Joseph Mescher on 18 June 1924. They had six children. Agnes married Arthur Knapke on 16 October 1928. They had three children. His son Christian married Ruth Esther Setsor on 20 September 1947. They had one son. August married Jessica Eischer and had one daughter. William married Leona Hilgefort. Julius married Adella Schmidt. Leo was a WW II veteran who fought in Italy. He married Rita Goubeaux on 24 August 1948. Bernadine married Adrian Gariety and had seven children. Helen married Delbert Barhorst and had two children. Bernard, a veteran of WW II, never married.

On 3 December 1955, at the age of 79, Joseph died at the family farm on which he had lived his entire life. He had been ill for three years and confined to his bed for the last 10 weeks. He was survived by 10 children, 21 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. His burial was in St. Michael's cemetery in Ft. Loramie.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bernard Bruns (1880-1968) "52 Ancestors"

If I am counting correctly, this would be week 39 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I was out camping with our Boy Scouts this weekend, so I didn't have much time to think about writing - other than I need to make sure I get an article done before the week starts. As is my typical method of writing, I chose a random relative to focus on. This time I selected Bernard Bruns (1880-1968) as my focus. He is my 1st cousin 3 times removed. Bernard was the son of my 2nd great grand uncle and aunt, John Bernard Bruns (1842-1882) and Maria Anna Budde (1849-1909). John Bernard was commonly known as Bernard, so this may get a little confusing, especially since Bernard, the subject of this story had a son Bernard also.

Bernard was born on 14 January 1880 in McLean Township, Shelby County, Ohio. This information is based on various birth records that I have found. However, his obituary states that he was born 13 January 1880 in Minster, Auglaize County, Ohio. Since McLean Township is fairly rural, and parts of it are within the area serviced by the Minster post office, I can see how the location may be considered either one. I grew up in McLean Township, went to Fort Loramie schools but had a Minster address when I was a child.

Bernard was the sixth of seven children. His siblings were Joseph (1868-1956), Anna M (1870-1931), Henry (1873-??), Maria Anna (1875-1975), Josephina (1878-??) and John A (1882-1962). The family lived in a log house at 11425 Bruns Road on a 40-acre farm.

The 1880 census lists the family as Bernard (John Bernard) (age 37), his wife Mary (age 30), and their children Joseph (age 12), Anna (age 9), Henry (age 7), Mary (age 4), Josephina (age 2) and Bernard (age 5 months). Also living in the home were John Bernard's mother, Nancy Bruns (age 72) and Mary Horstman (age 23), a servant. Nancy Bruns was born in Oldenburg, Germany, is listed as a widow and is designated as being insane. I believe that Nancy is actually Maria Antonetta Schunck, John's mother.

John Bernard Bruns, Bernard's father, died on 15 November 1882 when Bernard was 2 years old. In 1882, just prior to his death, John Bernard Bruns purchased another 40 acres just to the north of the farm making the farm at least 80 acres is size. After John's death, his wife Maria Anna inherited the farm and lived there with the seven children aged 9 months to 14 years old. Maria Anna then married Fred Friemering who took over managing the farm. The house was expanded in 1891 to include seven rooms on a one and one-half story design, with a summer kitchen. In 1892 a 52'x80' barn was built on the property.

Anna Margaretha Hilgefort Bruns
On 27 June 1906, Bernard married Anna Margaretha Hilgefort (1879-1949). Anna was the daughter of Henry Hilgefort (1834-1916) and Maria Katherina Meyer (1838-1912). Her sister Mary Kathryn Hilgefort (1865-1950), married Mathias Brucken (1857-1935) whom I wrote about previously. Anna was born 4 February 1879 in Ft. Loramie, Ohio. Bernard and Anna's first child, Adella K. Bruns was born on 9 February 1907 in Ft. Loramie. Their second child, Raymond Frederick Bruns was born on 21 January 1909.

Bernard's mother, Maria Anna Budde Bruns (age 60), died on 9 October 1909 and the family farm was then inherited by her second husband, Fred Friemering. Bernard would have been 29 years old then.

During the 1910 census, the family is listed as Bernard (age 30), Anna (age 31) and their children, Adela (age 3) and Raymond (age 1 year 2 months). Bernard owns his farm near Yorkshire in Patterson Township, Darke County, Ohio, free of a mortgage.

In 1920, the family is living on Bruns Road near Yorkshire in Patterson Township, Darke County, Ohio. The family has grown by this time and now consists of Bernard (age 40), his wife Anna (age 40), and their children, Adella K (age 12), Raymond F (age 10), Harold J (age 9), Alma A (age 7), Norbert H (age 6) and Paul F (age 3 1/2 years). All of the children, except Paul are attending school. Bernard is working on his farm.

On 28 February 1926, the original farm that Bernard grew up on near Minster was destroyed by fire. It was still owned by Fred Friemering, his step father, but was rented out to Joseph Langenkamp and his family. Fred Friemering had moved to Minster since he could no longer manage the farm. The house and barn were totally destroyed by the fire. They were able to save the hog house, wood shed, chicken house, machine shed and the corn crib. The Langenkamp family lost all their belongings and soon thereafter moved into the renovated wood shed for shelter during the remainder of the winter. Eventually a house was transported by logs and steam engine from Chickasaw and a barn was brought in from Minster to replace the destroyed structures.

In 1930, Bernard (age 50) and Anna (age 51), along with their seven children, Adella (age 23), Raymond (age 21), Harold (age 19), Alma (age 17), Norbert (age 16), Paul (age 13) and Bernard Jr. (age 10) are living on the farm on Bruns Road in Patterson Township, Darke County, Ohio. Alma, Norbert, Paul and Bernard Jr are attending school. Adella is working as a clerk in a local dry goods store and Raymond and Harold are working as farm laborers on the family farm.

Bernard Bruns
Bernard is still living on the farm in 1940. He is 60 years old and works 60 hours per week on the farm. His wife Anna is 61 years old and the following children are also living at home: Raymond (age 31), Harold (age 29), Norbert (age 26), Paul (age 23) and Bernard Jr (age 20). Raymond's occupation is listed as farmer. Harold is employed as a mechanic in a machine shop. Norbert is a master electrician. Paul is employed as an assembler in a machine shop and Bernard Jr is working on the family farm. The highest paid individual was Paul, who worked 52 weeks and earned $1400 in 1939. Harold, who worked 49 weeks, earned $1200 in 1939 and was the second highest paid individual. Norbert who worked 27 weeks in 1939 only earned $370. While Bernard Jr worked 13 weeks in 1939 and earned $250.

Bernard's wife, Anna, died at the home on 26 March 1949 at the age of 70. She had been in reasonably good health at the time of her death. A few months earlier she had experienced heart troubles but the family believed that she had recovered from that. Her funeral was held at St. Nicholas Church in Osgood and her burial was in St. Martin's Cemetery on 30 March 1949.

On 7 November 1968, Bernard died of heart failure in his home. He was 88 years old and had been seriously ill for the prior two months. He was survived by all seven of his children as well as 18 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. His three brothers and two of his sisters preceded him in death. His funeral was held in St. Nicholas Church and he was buried in St. Martin's Cemetery on 11 November 1968.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

William Hall (1810-1878) "52 Ancestors"

Week 38 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is upon us. I have been trying to prepare a couple presentations for an upcoming genealogy conference. Every year I pick a different set of topics for the conference. This year I decided that I would do two talks titled "Mining the Census Records to Write Your Family Story" and "Finding Your Family in the Second Hand Store". Now I just have to do the research and prepare the slides and handouts. Looks like I will be busy for the next couple weeks/months on that. I just have to make sure that I take a break each week to prepare my blog posts.

This week I decided to write about William Hall (1810-1878), my wife's 4th great grandfather. William was born in Aberdeen, Brown County, Ohio around 1810. Aberdeen is a small town located on the Ohio River across from Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky and along Zanes's Trace. Zane's Trace was the frontier road that went from Wheeling, West Virginia to Maysville, Kentucky. The road was constructed in the late 1790s, opening up the frontier of the Northwest Territory. William's father, William Hall, immigrated from Scotland and traveled along Zane's Trace and settled at the terminus in Aberdeen.

View of Maysville, Kentucky from Aberdeen, Ohio.
On 16 June 1835, William married Jane Ann Lee (1813-1856). Their first child, Alexander William Hall, my wife's 3rd great grandfather, was born less than a year later in Aberdeen, Ohio on 25 March 1836. William and Jane had at least 10 children that we have been able to find. The children are Alexander (1836-1911), Mary (~1838-??), William (1840-1922), Luther Leach (1842-1918), Francis "Frank" (~1843-??), George (~1845-??), Lucy (~1847-??), Anna (~1850-1918), Rachel (~1852-??), and Martha (~1856-??).

The 1850 census lists the family as William (age 38), Jane (age 37), Alexander (age 13), Mary (age 12), William (age 10), Luther (age 9), Francis (age 6), George (age 4), and Lucy (age 2). William is employed as a shoemaker. Jane died after the birth of Martha and soon afterward, William remarried to Rose Ellen Love Degman on 21 February 1857 across the river in Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky.

In the 1860 census, the family had moved about a mile to the west to Ripley, Ohio, where William was employed as a boat builder. My wife has many ancestors who were involved in shipping, so this is just one more, even though William was on the Ohio River and not the oceans. William (age 50) and his wife Rosella (age 41) had a merged family. Rosella had at least five children by a previous marriage. Her children are listed in the 1860 census as Julia (age 18), Laura (age 16), James H (age 14), John P (age 12) and Sylvester (age 9). Her children were all born in Maysville, Kentucky. In addition to Rosella's children, William still had Alexander (age 25), George (age 14), Lucy (age 12), Ann (age 9), Rachel (age 7) and Martha (age 3) living in the home. That makes 11 children all at home. Alexander's occupation is listed as engineer.

William and several of his sons (William, Alex, George, and Frank), as well as Rosella's son James Degman, were serving in the Union infantry. James was serving with Co. I, 16th Reg't Kentucky Infantry. While the Halls were serving in Co. H, 12th Reg't Ohio Infantry.

Bridge connecting Maysville and Aberdeen.
During the 1870 census William is listed as "on the river". So I am guessing that he worked on the boats traveling up and down the Ohio River carrying goods. Most of the children had moved out of the house by this census. The remaining family consisted of William (age 62), Rosellen (age 52), Rachel (age 17), Martha (age 13), and Thomas (age 10).

William died on 5 April 1878 near Aberdeen, Ohio at the age of 68.

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.

The saw mill was a dangerous place. There were large belt driven machines run on steam power. An example of how dangerous it was to work in the saw mill can be found in a description of an accident that occurred in the saw mill on 10 July 1888. A local newspaper, the New Bremen Sun reported the following on 13 July 1888.

While Henry Hilgefort was in the act of mending a fly wheel belt in a saw mill near Berlin, 6 miles south of here, he was caught in some way and hurled with tremendous force around the machinery, mangling him in such a way as to produce instant death. He was picked up in pieces, and could not be recognized.

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.