Search This Blog

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!