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Monday, September 24, 2012

Peter Paul and Mary - (Klager and Fah)

So, we found the birthplace of Joseph Magnus Kleger in Kaltbrunn, St. Gallen, Switzerland.

The good news is that the church records of the Catholic Church of Kaltbrunn (Katholische Kirche Klatbrunn, Sankt Gallen) are on microfilm at the Family History Library near where I live, in Salt Lake City, Utah.  That means I don't have to go to Switzerland (though I still want to some day) to look at them.

The bad news is that these microfilms are a pain to work with.  The only way to read them is on a microfilm reader.  To do so the film has to be rolled one page at a time between the reel and the take-up reel below a light that projects the image of one page on a tabletop screen in a darkened room.

It is hunt and peck to find the name Kleger. When the name is found, then the old German script has to be deciphered, and I really struggle with that.  Also, there are many Klegers (also spelled Kläger even on the same record) in Kaltbrunn and it takes some detective work to figure out how each are related.

Bless the priests that had nice handwriting and knew how to dip their pens in the ink so as not to get ink blots.  One can tell by looking at the records that the same priest was the scribe for many years.  Then wham, the handwriting changes.  Darn the priests who had sloppy handwriting with blotches and spots!

It is possible to get an image of the microfilm page at the library, but that involves taking the film off of the reader on two reels, taking it to a microfilm scanner, threading the film between the two reels onto the scanner, finding the image, enlarging it on the attached computer, and taking the image.

It will take a while, and several trips to the Family History Library to start to put together the different families! On this film there are baptism, confirmation, marriage and burial records.

Following is a page I scanned from the end of one of the two microfilm rolls (#949823).  This is a unique record, called "Familienbucher, 1846".  It is a "family book", kind of like a census taken in 1846 of families in the parish.  There are only 2 years of these census; 1846 and 1866.

It seems the person recorded (with the exception of parents) had to be alive at the time of the census, as not all of the children I know of are listed here.  However, there are death dates listed that are much past 1846, so apparently the priest went back at the time of the death and entered the death date.

This is the record of Peter Paul Kleger as head of household in 1846.

It says, from top to bottom:

Parents: Kläger, Johann George and Theresa Stoop

Head of Household: Kleger, Peter Paul, day laborer, born 1785 June 29, died 1849 January 31

Spouse: Maria Barbara Fäh

                Joseph Mang, born 1816 January 23
                Catharina Aloisia, born 1818 October 16, died 1859 April 19
                Catharina Barbara, born 1821 Dec. 14, died 1851 April 22
                Johannes Vincentius, born 1823 October 20, died 1881 Nov 18

You read those names with ease, right?  

Fortunately, the Peter Paul is easy.  I had to have help with his mother's name, it looks like "Yerefia Nooz" to me.  In fact, the experts I consulted at the help desk disagreed - not on Theresa, but on the surname - and "Stoop" seems to be the consensus. 

I don't think I would have ever concluded "Vincentius" for the second name of the last child listed!  Old German script is very different from what we are used to reading!

The oldest child is Joseph Mangus Kleger, who is my great great grandfather.  So Peter Paul Kleger and Maria Barbara Fah are my great great great grandparents, with Johann George Kläger and Theresa Stoop being my great times 4 grandparents.

Very faintly, on the far right side of this page (I didn't get that part on this image), it says next to Joseph Mangus' and Johannes Vincentius' a penciled-in word: "Amerika".  We know Joseph immigrated, to St. Louis in 1846.  But apparently a brother of his also immigrated.  He is not listed on the same passenger list as Joseph, and I have not run across a Johan or John or Vincent Kleger in my Franklin County, Missouri research.

So a brother of Joseph's immigrated too!!  I would like to find out more about where he went and what happened to him.  I also wonder - what name did he go by in "Amerika"?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Joseph Magnus Kleger

   When Joseph Kleger appeared in the St. Louis Court of Common Pleas on November 13th, 1846 to declare his intention to become a citizen of the United States, he declared that he was 26 years old (he was really 30), and that he was a native of Switzerland.

   As part of the process to file papers of intention, an immigrant has to "renounce, forever, all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Power, Prince, State and Sovereignty whatsoever, and particularly to:__________________".  The blank is filled in with the particular political entity to which the immigrant had previously had allegiance.

               The blank in Joseph's case says something that looks like "the Canton of Clarns".

   In Switzerland, cantons are the equivalent of U.S. states.  "In true federal style, the canton is both the basic building block of the country and a balance against the centre having too much power.  And for the Swiss, the canton is emotionally as important as the country, if not more so ... The cantons are so independently minded that it can sometimes seem as if there isn't one Switzerland but 26 mini ones, all going in roughly the same direction but each doing their own thing.  This is such a part of Swiss life that they have a word for it, Kantonligeist.  The polite translation is that each canton has it's own identity, culture and history ..." (Diccon Bewes; "Swiss Watching, Inside Europe's Landlocked Island" pages 21 & 22).

   However, there never has been a Canton "Clarns".  That fact confused the genealogists I have hired and consulted in the past, until this spring one (whom I would pay for a couple of hours a month to work with me at the Family History Library here in Salt Lake City) decided the closest to what was written was "Glarus".  There IS a Canton Glarus.

   This summer, all of the Kleger/Klager/Kläger/Kleager/Klaeger research came together in happy "genealogy serendipity", and it proved the Canton Glarus theory wrong, and proved that Joseph Magnus really did have baptism record, somewhere!

   First, my brother, Louis Kleager, his wife, Carmen Kleager and his son, Brian Kleager went on a 3 day whirlwind research trip to Switzerland!   What's more, they kept detailed notes of where they went and what they found.  It is so wonderful and helpful that they went, and that they documented what they did, and took the time to write it up.  I know from experience that one gets swept up in discovery, and tends not to document what is being done.  Thank you Lou and Carm and Brian!!

   They visited the town of Glarus, which has the Canton Glarus archives and found some Klegers, but not a Joseph Magnus Kleger in the time frame that would match the one we know to be our ancestor.  They also learned, from a janitor at the Glarus church, that every building in the town of Glarus was destroyed in a fire in 1860 - which would have wiped out records of Joseph M.'s birth that was assumed to be between 1814 to 1824.

   Then they visited the town of Benken in the Canton of St. Gallen.  Canton St. Gallen and Canton Glarus are adjacent.  We have known for a year or so there was a Joseph Kleger born in Benken and died in Franklin County, Missouri.  His baptism record is in the Catholic church records of Benken, as are his children, but he and his wife are not the right age to be parents of Joseph M. born between 1814-1824 (dates derived from the various ages he declared in U.S. documents).

   My brother and family visited the Catholic church and cemetery in Benken, but didn't find anything significant.   They noted cemetery hunting in Switzerland was rather pointless, as graves get re-used after a few years!  Therefore, most of the head stones are much more recent.

   Lou, Carmen, and Brian went on to the town of St. Gallen (in the Canton of St. Gallen), where they learned in the "Rat Haus" (City Hall) that there are presently Kleagers living there, but they would not release any information on them.

   Next up, they found the Stadtarchiv (City Archive) in the town of St. Gallen, and found some more Klager's but not really a match.  So, they proceeded to the Staatarchiv (State Archive) of the Canton of St. Gallen.  They were limited in time before closing, but found a fair number of things, including five Klager families from Benken, on which they took notes.

   Lou also found an index mentioning three biographies for Kleger, including one he was able to locate and photocopy - in German - of course.  One of these biographies was about "Die Kleger [von Kaltbrunn]".  Kaltbrunn is a town or parish that is just a  couple of kilometers from the town of Benken in Canton St. Gallen.

   At about the same time, e-mails (about 15 requests) I had sent out to Swiss archives and genealogists were finally answered, and two different women in Switzerland responded that they would be willing to be hired to look for Joseph Magnus Kleger, born between 1814-1824.

   I figured it had been so hard to this point, I might as well encourage both of them to look.  Maybe between the two of them, one would find it.  I sent money, and about 200 pages of photocopied information I have found about 'ol Joseph Magnus to each of them.

   Well, what they found was each other!  I kind of got bawled out via e-mail for sending the two off after the same thing.  So, one quit (and fortunately sent her remaining fee to the other!), and the other researcher kept looking.

   Then, on Friday the 13th (of July, 2012) I got the following e-mail from Suzanne Peter-Kubli titled "Trip to Kaltbrunn":

"Dear Clytee,
   I think, I've got him!
   In the baptism records of Kaltbrunn (Canton St. Gallen) I found this entry:
   Josef Magnus Kläger, born January 23d 1816, confirmed 22. 9. 1819
   Son of Petrus Paulus Kläger and Maria Barbara Fäh
   Godparents: Joseph Anton Magnus Kläger and Elisabeth (?).  So, Josef Magnus was named after his godfather rather than his father, which was pretty common ...
    The family Kläger lived in Freigaden, which belonged to the hamlet Rieden.  Reiden belongs to the parish of Kaltbrunn.  If you look it up in the internet, you'll find several newer houses, but in the early 19th century there were probably just a couple of small farms there.
   I was not able to find out the profession of Josef's father (I have since found that he was a 'day laborer' - no skill or regular job).  But, since Josef was not able to read or write, could mean, that he did not go to school at all but started working at an early age, maybe in one of the numerous textile factories in the lower part of the Canton Glarus.
   In any case, not having any kind of schooling means, that he came from a poor background.  When he emigrated to the U.S., he was 30 years old.  He could have been working for over 15 years.  If my assumption is correct, Josef Kläger worked and lived in Näfels, Niederurnen or Oberurnen for a long time and therefore mentioned Canton Glarus rather than Kaltbrunn as his origin".

   So, did you catch it?

   My great-great grandfather, Joseph Magnus Kläger was born January 23rd, 1816 in Freigaden, Rieden, Kaltbrunn, Canton St. Gallen, Switzerland.
   My great-great-great grandfather's name is Peter Paul Kläger.
   My great-great-great grandmother's name is Maria Barbara Fäh.

   Pretty exciting stuff.  I have more, but that's another post for another day.

   A big thank you to my brother, Lou Kleager, for helping to fund this professional research, and to him and his wife Carmen and son Brian for the research they did in Switzerland.   Love you guys!!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Joseph Magnus Kleger's Birthplace is Found!!

     But I'm not going to tell you where just yet, I'm going to make you hungry for it. I have been looking for his birthplace and parents for 35 years - off and on of course - but 35 years, so I'm going to make you wait just a little bit longer too!

     First I want to explore some ideas of why Joseph M.'s history was so hard for me to find.

One -
     My grandfather, Frank August Kleager, died in 1929 at age 33, when my father, Clyde Louis Kleager, was only 11.  At the time of Frank's death, he and his wife Sophie were living in Havelock, Lancaster County, Nebraska.  In the same county were two other Kleager families - Frank's brothers Joseph William Kleager and Edward Louis Kleager.  All 3 families had moved to Nebraska from their birthplace in  Franklin County, Missouri in the previous decade.
     In addition to two Kleager families, living in the same county were Sophie's parents; Louis Henry and Minnie Drewel, and her youngest brother Elmer Drewel.  She had family near by.
     But, within two years of my grandfather's death, my grandmother, Sophie (who later called herself "Eleanor") Kleager moved with her five young boys 100 miles farther west of Havelock to a farm near Alda, in Hall County, Nebraska.  She distanced herself farther from family.
     Over the years I have tried to ask my father why he thinks his mother moved away from both her own family, and her dead husband's family.  Clyde wrote in 1997: "A major part of mother's thought was a passion to keep her family together.  Her fear was that someone or group would decide that she couldn't cope with doing this financially or otherwise.  She felt that the first cue of failure would be to ask for assistance from anyone, and relatives seemed to be the most suspect in this regard."
   My dad, Clyde, only remembers meeting his grandmother Lesetta Mincemeyer Kleager a few times when she came to Nebraska.  Sophie and her boys were too poor to do anything as extravagant as going back to Missouri - where she grew up also - and visit family.  His grandfather, Joseph Kleager, died before my father was born, a year before Frank and Sophie married and moved to Nebraska. So, just by moving to Nebraska they were distanced from the Kleager family in Missouri, and after Frank's death, Sophie moved herself farther, from even the Nebraska part of the Kleager family.
   As a result, the stories and history and ancestry of the Kleagers just didn't get passed on.  My father, a great story teller with a brilliant mind that can recall details well, knows very little of his father's life, let alone of his grand parents Kleager's lives.

Two -
   My great great grandfather, Joseph Magnus Kleger/Klager/Kleager/Kleager (yes, it was spelled that many ways in documents relating just to him) could not read or write.
   That had to be a handicap all his life.  He was the son of a "day laborer", and man who had no skill or occupation, who just worked where and when he could get it.  Joseph M. immigrated from Switzerland at the age of 30, alone, as far as I can tell.  He landed in New Orleans in October 1846, and was in St. Louis by November.  Perhaps he had distant relatives near Washington, Missouri where he first lived after arriving.
   He was poor, he was illiterate, and he was alone.
   Any document had to be written by some one else, the name "Joseph Kleger" written, and then around the "Joseph Kleger" was an "X his mark".  He left no records that he himself wrote.  He never read anything.  This was not the middle ages, this was between 1816 - 1885, and there were great thinkers and writers all over the world, and in Missouri - but he was left out of that world.
   I'm not certain he knew when his birthday was.   From what he said on the ship's manifest;  he was born in 1816.  From his U. S. Army enlistment; 1817.  His declaration to become a citizen of the U.S.; 1820.  From the 1850 and 1860 census; 1823.  Maybe he never learned to do math either.  Perhaps he was so impoverished as a child he had no access to education.
   I wonder if he ever even picked up any English, surrounded as he was by German speakers Missouri.
   He did not leave much of a trail.  Certainly no letters, journal entries or written documents.  Part of why he was so hard to find because he left nothing behind.
   When he died, without a will, in 1884, his processions (from probate packet) consisted of: "1 Ward robe, 1 Bed Stead, 1 feather bed and 1 lot of clothing".  He was owed a note for $200, but owed someone else $300.  $46.45 was owed for his medical bills, $20.00 for his coffin, $6.65 for a bill to L. H. Himburg General Merchandise and Agricultural Implements, and another bill for $1500.  He lies in an unmarked grave, and there seems to be no record of what cemetery.
   In his lifetime of 68 years he had 2 wives and 7 children, he owned and sold land, he was always listed as "farmer" in the census records.  He accomplished things.  He just did not pass down any legacy that I can find of his childhood, or even his adult life.

   So, it's been hard to learn much about Joseph Magnus Kleger's origins.  Now that you appreciate that ... there is more coming soon!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Charlene Elsie Kleager Foreman - the answer

Last post I asked who was Charlene Kleager Foreman?

Well, she is related to Joseph William Kleager (my great uncle, brother of my grandfather Frank August Kleager), the oldest son of Joseph and Lesetta Mincemeyer Kleager.

Joseph William married Halle Ellen Renick in Missouri in 1906, and they had 3 children: James Joseph "Jim", Clara Lisetta and Bertha Josephine. (Notice we are keeping with the "Joseph" theme there!).

Unfortunately, the mother Halle died a few months after Bertha's birth in 1911 of valvular insufficiency. That left Joseph a widower with three children under the age of three.  I don't know who helped with the children, though I am sure Joseph's family did.  Lesetta Mincemeyer Kleager raised a lot of children!

Joseph married and Iva E. Ernie in 1914.  I only know that because of a marriage license, I have no idea what happened to her; if she died, or they were divorced. No one in the family has talked about it.

Joseph married again in, 1917 to Josephine Jost in Missouri.  About 1921, they moved to Lancaster County, Nebraska near where his brothers Frank and Edward had already located, to farm.

There still seems to be some mystery here.  Is she a child of Joseph William Kleager with his second wife Josephine - Joseph was been 56 at the time of her birth and Josephine 45, not impossible but tricky.  Or, was she a grand daughter of Joseph, the daughter of one of his daughters, Clara or Bertha?

I sent to Nebraska Vital Records for a birth certificate, and none could be found!  That is curious.  Why is there no birth certificate?

JoAnn Munden (who is a Drewel, not a Kleager, but grew up in the same area around Lincoln) said her sister Virginia remembers when she was small going to visit Kleagers, (not sure which ones), and there was a little girl a few years younger than her.  She told that the girl (not sure it was Charlene, but the timing fits) "sang like Texas Mary, a famous singer".

Then Virginia said I should ask my Dad, as Virginia seems to remember that it was my Dad (a M.D.) may have been one of the first to say that Charlene had cancer.  Virginia seemed to think Charlene was the girl with the beautiful voice who died of cancer.

My Dad, who would be Charlene's first cousin, told me in a phone conversation that he remembers that Josephine was step-mother to Jim, Clara and Bertha, and maybe there were some issues with that in terms of how she treated those kids. He then said "but later there was a baby and Joe and Josephine went ga-ga over that little baby".  He thought he remembered the she was a grand daughter that they raised as their own.

He also remembers that Charlene went to a one room school near Lincoln, and for a while the teacher at the school was Kenny Kleager (my Dad's brother), and the only student was Charlene!

LaRue Kleager Bryant had a picture of Lesetta Kleager with a child, Lesetta's great-grand daughter Charlene, the grand child of Joseph Kleager.

I wrote Ron Bryant to ask his mother, LaRue Kleager Bryant (also a first cousin), if she remembered who Charlene was.  LaRue wrote back that Charlene was a grand daughter of Joseph's, and that Charlene was the daughter of Bertha.

However, the plot thickens.  There was no birth certificate, right?  But, there IS a death certificate which I received from Nebraska Vital Records:

The death certificate says she is the daughter of Joseph William Kleager and Josephine Jost!   Did they legally adopt her, or did they just raise her as their own?

Now the 1940 Census for Nebraska has been indexed, and I think the census confirmed the theory (opposite of the death certificate) that Charlene was a grand daughter.

I know this is hard to read, but the second entry is down is:
Kleager, Joseph, Head, age 61
(--------), Josephine, Wife, age 50
Jewitt, Bercha, Daughter, age 29
(--------), Charlene, Grand Daughter, age 4

The last name for Bertha (which was misspelled Bercha), is hard to read, it was indexed as Jewitt, but it could also look like Jewell.

But there is Charlene, as Bertha's daughter, with Bertha and Charlene living with Bertha's father and step-mother, Joseph and Josephine Kleager in North Bluff Election Precinct, Lancaster County, Nebraska.

Charlene's life is a sad tale all around.  She married Wayne Foreman, had a infant son, Kenneth Wayne Foreman, who was born and died in 1953, when Charlene was 18.  Charlene developed a "choriocarcinoma", which is a cancer originating from a fetus or pregnancy (so possibly from pregnancy of the baby that died), and then 9 months later died, at age 19, from the choriocarcinoma.

The baby is buried in the same cemetery as Charlene, Lincoln Memorial Park.  That is the same cemetery where my grandparents, Frank August Kleager and "Eleanor" Sophie Drewel Kleager Weise are buried.  It was the headstone for Charlene that set me on this quest to discover who she was, and how she was related!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Who is Charlene Kleager Foreman?

 I have a favorite website;  Find A Grave .com. It is an interesting, great, free website in which anyone can take a picture of a tombstone, and enter the picture (and what ever else they know about the person buried there) into the database.  Then, anyone search the database by a variety of means to see tombstones of their ancestors, or anyone else for that matter!  It's a wonderful "crowd sourced" website that is growing all the time.

If you type in the surname "Kleager",  one of the cemeteries with multiple listings is the Lincoln Memorial Park in Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska.

                                                                                                                          photo courtesy of Chris Kleager Nervig
           Grave stones of Frank A. Kleager (1896-1929) and Sophia S. Kleager Wiese (1894-1987)

Lincoln Memorial Park is where my Grandfather, Frank August Kleager, was buried in 1929.  Almost 60 years later, my Grandmother, Ella Elizabeth Sophia "Eleanor" Drewel Kleager Wiese was buried next to him.

There are two other "Kleagers" in that cemetery on the Find A Grave website that I recognize:  Joseph W Kleager (28 Nov 1878 - 28 Jan 1963).  He is my great uncle, Frank's brother, who also moved from Missouri to Lancaster County, Nebraska shortly after my grandparents moved to Nebraska. There is also Josephine Kleager (4 June 1889 - 10 Aug 1971), who is Joseph's wife. 

But there is also a picture of a grave stone and entry of a person I cannot place:
Charlene Kleager Foreman
Born Aug. 7, 1934
Died Apr. 14, 1954

She was only 20 when she died, and was married.  Who is she?

Charlene <i>Kleager</i> Foreman
Added by: Jenny Watton

I have contacted the person who put this entry on the find a grave website (Jenny Watton): she is unrelated, and just a nice person who takes pictures of gravestones in that cemetery when she goes to see her grandparent's graves, and adds them to Find A Grave.  She doesn't know who Charlene is.

To try to figure out who she is, I started with the Kleager brothers who moved from Franklin County, Missouri to Lancaster County, Nebraska around 1917 to 192: Frank (my Grandfather), Edward, and Joseph.  

I know this girl is not a granddaughter of my grandfather Frank.  

Joseph, had only one son, James Joseph Kleager, born 1908.  So far, I have discovered James in the 1930 census, at age 22, living with his 17 year old wife, Bertha and his in-laws, Harry and Pauline Densmore (they were 38 and 36) in Omaha, Nebraska.  James' wife Bertha Densmore Kleager died later that year, in 1930, at age 18.  I don't know any details of her death. James eventually he remarried a Mary.  But I haven't been able to find out if he had children.

Edward's boys were Fred, Lawrence and George.  Charlene could be the daughter of Fred, who was born in 1910, he could have had her when he was 24, but Lawrence (born 1918) and George (born 1921) would probably both be too young to have had her in 1934.

So, she could be the daughter of Fred Kleager OR James Kleager.  

Does anyone out there in Kleager-blog land know who Charlene Kleager Foreman was? 

I am going to keep hunting!  Let me know if you have any ideas!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Christ Muengemeyer (MIncemeyer) in the Civil War

   My great grandmother, Lesetta Mincemeyer Kleager, told a story she remembered even into old age.  She was about 5, outside the family farm house with some brothers and sisters, and saw a man who was dirty and scruffy coming across the field towards them. The children were scared, and "ran to Mama", trying to hide because they did not recognize him.  Turns out it was their father, Christ Mincemeyer, returning home from serving during the Civil War.

   LaRue Kleager Bryant, who grew up with her grandmother Lesetta living in their home, told me that story in July, 2011.

   My great-great grandfather, Christian "Christ" John Muengemeyer (Mincemeyer), served in Company C of the 54th Enrolled Missouri Militia from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15, 1864.  His commander was Lt. Col John T. Vitt.

   What does that mean, and what did he probably do in the war?

   What he may have done,  around October 1st, 1864, was to hastily enroll, and eventually get on a boat  and cross the Missouri River in retreat.  Well, not maybe exactly retreat, more like evasion of engagement.  Let me explain.

   The town of Washington, Missouri and the surrounding Franklin County, was a divided community as was the State of Missouri during the "War Between the States".  Missouri was the only slave state that remained in the Union.  Early settlers to the area had come from southern states, and several were slaveholders.  Later settlers included a large influx of German immigrants, (defined as German speaking, from several areas) - like all my ancestors.

   Many of the Germans immigrated to escape tyranny and seek freedoms that didn't exist in their home lands, and they had no sympathy for slaveholders or the cause of succession from the Union.  According to Ralph Gregory: "Some persons were biased against them as foreigners and some were jealous of their practical success.  The Germans risked much by their unconditional stand for the Union...." As a result, there were neighbors of competing loyalties, and at times that difference was very damaging and dangerous.

   During the conflict, Missouri was terrorized by guerrilla bands loosely associated with the Confederate cause who roved all over the state killing, destroying homes and crops, and robbing.  There were also some Confederate groups trying to recruit (force) soldiers for the southern cause and to harass and damage Union positions.  There were some Unionists also roaming in bands seeking revenge on southern sympathizers.  It was a terrible time of not knowing who to trust, fear, and panic on both sides.

   The Enrolled Missouri Militia (E.M.M.), of which Christ was enrolled, was organized partly in response to these "bushwackers", guerrilla groups, and Confederates who were so feared in the area.  The E.M.M. was a state paid and state serving militia.  The 54th and 55th Regiments of E.M.M. were organized in Franklin County.  Much of their duty was to guard the railroad and bridges.

   There was an actual invasion of Washington, Missouri in the fall of 1864.  The invaders were a Confederate army led by General Sterling Price.  The city of Washington was notified by telegraph of the approach of the army of about 10,000 men.  Panic ensued.  At first,  the 600 poorly trained Enrolled Missouri Militia were instructed to put up breastworks, and all able men in the city and area were to prepare to defend the city.
   In the end, the local commanders decided the number of the enemy was much too large to engage, and troops and civilians ferried across the Missouri River to the north.  Townspeople hid food and precious things, or took them with them across the river.

  There were 2 ferries operating out of Washington; the "Bright Star" and the "Evening Star." They were steamboats, that the Confederates wanted to capture for their own use.  The steamboats, plus little skiffs, were used to carry the E. M. M. and citizens across the river to Augusta.  Some went farther down the river to St. Charles.  The thought was, that without resistance, the city could avoid shelling, the outnumbered militia would be safe, and the ferry and other boats would be secure from the Confederates stealing them.

   By the time Price's Army got to Washington, the defending militia was gone, but many townspeople remained.  According to Ralph Gregory: "Washington's small military force returned to the town October 5.  The town was not greatly damaged, but almost every sound horse had been taken, much food carried off and a lot destroyed.  The railroad depot was burned an the track torn up for a short distance."

   I can't find what the 54th Enrolled Missouri Militia did for the rest of October, and the first part of November, the rest of the time Christ was enrolled.  But, apparently, he spent time away in his service, long enough for his children to not recognize him when he came home!


 Bibliography for this post:
Gregory, Ralph. Washington, Missouri--The Civil War Years.  1962.
Siddali, Silvana R (editor). Missouri's War The Civil War in Documents.  Athens: Ohio University Press, 2009.
Kiel, H. G.  The Kiel Files.  Washington, Mo.:  Four River Genealogical Society Library.  Binders of files compiled from various sources, from the Civil War binder under surnames beginning with letter "M".

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Anna Kubli Mincemeyer

   My great-great grandmother, the mother of Lesetta Mincemeyer Kleager (who married Joseph Kleager), was Anna Kubli.  She was born in Switzerland, and was 15 when she married her 41 year old widower husband, who brought at least one child (about age 3) into the marriage.

   Her husband, John Christian Mincemeyer, who sometimes went by "Christ" and in other sources "John", was a farmer, who had to spend at least a few months involved in the Civil War.

    Anna bore 10 children between 1855 and 1877.

    Anna and Christ's oldest daughter, Caroline Mincemeyer Brune, died in 1878 at age 23, leaving a 4 year old daughter, Annie Brune.  It is believed that Annie Brune's father left his child with Anna and Christ, and moved on, descendants are not sure to where.

    The grandmother Anna raised the grandchild Annie Brune.  The grandchild, Annie Brune, was older than her uncle (Anna's youngest) Herman.  So Anna bore 10 children and raised 12, counting her step-son and her grand daughter.

   She was  widowed in 1888, when she was only 50, and her youngest was only 11.  She lived 37 years as a widow.

   She looks pretty calm for all she's been through.

   I have never seen a picture of her before, and found one on recently.  I don't know the year of the picture, but she was born in 1838 in Switzerland and died in 1925 in Franklin County, Missouri.

   I can't make out what is on the table, I'm guessing a "still life" of fruit maybe.  Since she seems to be sitting in front of a curtain, I assume it was taken in a photo studio.  I find her hands interesting.  Are they arthritic?  Is she nervous?  Do they hurt?  They seem quite twisted.

   Anyway, it's always a thrill to see a picture of an ancestor that one had not seen a picture of before!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The many children of Friedrich Wilhelm Drewel

My great-great grandfather, Freidrich (Fredrick) Wilhelm Drewel had a lot of children!!

        His first wife was Maria Louisa Dierking, whom he married in 1863.
        They had:
            Fredrich Ernst Drewel in 1864
            Louisa Maria "Mary" Drewel in 1866
            Emilie Dorothea Caroline "Lena" Drewel in 1868
            Louis Henry Drewel in 1870 (my great grandfather)
            Edward Drewel in 1872
            Louise K. Drewel in 1875

        Maria died in May, 1875, only 8 days after Louise was born, so it had to be from some sort of complications of childbirth.  The 37-year-old widower, Freidrich, with 6 young children under the age of 10 must have looked around quickly for a new wife.  He found a neighbor and fellow church member.

        So on August 2nd, 1875, just 3 months after his wife's death, he married 19-year-old Catharina Wilhelmine "Mina" Rosendahl.  Shortly after their marriage, in December of 1875, baby Louise died at the age of 7-months-old.  Mina and Fred started having children less than a year after the baby's death.  
         They had:
             Ida Wilhelmine Drewel in 1876
             Heinrich Wilhelm "Billie" Drewel in 1879
             Dorothea Henrietta Sophie "Dora" Drewel in 1884
             Wilhelmine Caroline Hulda "Minnie" Drewel in 1887

          Tragedy struck again.

          Less than a month after baby Minnie's birth, his second wife died.  Now he was a widower with 9 living children, though the oldest was 23.  His wife Mina died in August, and by December 1887 he had found another neighbor and fellow church member.  This time he married a widow who was only 4 years younger than him, Charlotte Cathrine Wilhelmine Hotmar Knehans.

          However, she had 8 children of her own, plus at least 2 step-children from her now dead husband's first marriage!!
          Her children were:
             Maria Louisa Knehans born 1863
             Heinrich Wilhelm "Henry Knehans born 1865
             William Freidrich Knehans born 1867
             Louisa Sophia Knehans born 1869
             Wilhelmina Kathrine "Minnie" Knehans born 1871 (my great grandmother)
             Elizabeth "Lizzy" Knehans born 1872
             Caroline Elise Knehans born 1867
             Franz Louis Knehans born 1880

          I don't know how many of the 19 living children and step children that they had between them were combined into the same household.  I assume perhaps some of the older ones had moved out.  I'm also not sure about which house they moved into, if she got to keep her husband's house and farm.  Who knows, maybe they maintained 2 households and had older kids living in one.  If we had the 1890 Census (it was burned), it would help with sorting that out.

         BUT ...... the plot thickens!

         In 1891, just four years after Fred married Minnie, two of Fred's sons married two of Minnie's daughters:
              Louis Henry Drewel married Wilhelmina Kathrine "Minnie" Knehans on June 11th.
              Edward Drewel married Elizabeth "Lizzy" Knehans on February 6th.

         Louis Drewel and Minnie Knehans eventually had 9 children, including my grandmother Ella Elisabeth Sophia "Eleanor" Drewel (Kleager Wiese).

         Louis and Minnie's 9 children would have been "double cousins" to Edward and Lizzy's 8 children, and for any of them, visiting the grandparents would involve only going to one house!