what does a blogger do without a computer: oh my…

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What does a blogger do without a computer?  Cease blogging while she makes up for her blogging silence with a major step-up in her Facebook posts; a virtual love affair with Instagram; and, non-stop talking to all who come in contact with her?

In my case, Pretty much, yep.  😀

Some of you may have noticed I’ve been “gone.”  To those of you who haven’t, well gosh.  I hereby vow to become more miss-able in the future.

Reasons for my absence:  computer issues, plus a little R & R.

I can Facebook and, Instagram on my cellphone — yes, I just used “Facebook,” and, “Instagram” as verbs… 😮 — the evolution of language today, huh?! — and, one can, technically, also blog on one’s cell, BUT:  my cellphone’s relatively minuscule size makes that a less than even reasonably pleasant venture?

But I am now, baaack! 🙂  (I have missed YOU all, tremendously.  Kiss kiss.  Big hug. 😉 )

Thank You, Feedspot!

And while I was away, what should land in my email Inbox but, a correspondence from Feedspot founder Anuj Agarwal telling me that, TheMixThatMakesUpMe was selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 100 Genealogy Blogs on the web.1 😮

I’m feeling pretty humbled.  Thank you, Anuj.

Look for my next g.-post, peeps! 🙂
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ENDOTE
1 Feedspot’sTop 100 Genealogy Blogs and Websites in 2018 for Genealogists and Family History Researchers:  https://blog.feedspot.com/genealogy_blogs/ ; accessed July, 2018.
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the first house i lived in: the old homestead…

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52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, 2018; week 13 prompt:  The Old Homestead.
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Six-fifty-one Knickerbocker Street.  The old homestead.  Sigh.  The first place in which I have recollections of being.  In my mind it’s a grand place, that grandness only slightly diminished by seeing it in recent decades and realizing its smallness and complete lack of grandeur.

Below, how it was in 1948:  barely visible, really, my tiny summer-born self the center of attention in this particular photo, but unfortunately this pic is all I have to remember the old homestead by photograph-wise.

1948: Me & my mum in front of the old homestead — 651 Knickerbocker Street.1

And, how the old homestead looked more than six decades later, in 2015:

A 2015 Google Earth image of the old homestead1

Initially I feel sobered by the 2015 image.  Confused.  My mouth opening in that “O.”  This isn’t 651 Knickerbocker, my mind protests.  Except it is.

But childhood memories win out:  as the image above fades from my head, 1948-through-early-1950s ones rise to the surface triumphantly, too strong to be vanquished by a little reality.

See those four windows across the front of the 2015 pic?  They didn’t used to be there.  Behind them is a huge porch that for us was open wide.  It contains my very earliest memory, in fact:  “Why do I have this faint memory of sleeping in a baby stroller on the Knickerbocker front porch in the dead of winter?” I asked my father one day as an adult.

“Because you did,” he laughed.  “Your Norwegian grandmother Rosalie was convinced it made babies hardy.  No-one could talk her out of it.  All you kids were set out on the porch for an hour or two for winter naps.”  Talk about one’s mouth falling open in that “O.”  (This is an actual custom in Scandinavian countries, I later learned.2)

The old homestead was the greatest place to play.  See those three windows above the four lower, in the 2015 image?  That was my and my two sisters’ bedroom.  A vast, long room with sun streaming in from near all along the front and, one side.  A play heaven.

Our yard out back of the old homestead was fenced in, our wonderful collie Mitzi always up for some playing; concord grapes for snacks climbing all over a wooden grape arbor with a bench to sit on underneath; an old-fashioned clothesline:  the yard seemed to go on & on.  Flowers dotted it, my mom being the gardener.  Lots of old-fashioned types flourished, peonies and hollyhocks and such.

And right down the street from 651 Knickerbocker?!  Oh my:  a whole lake.  A park to go along with it and, one edge of the university arboretum adjacent, where faeries were alleged to live in trees and, actual deer ran & grazed.  A “wild place.”  (What child doesn’t love, wild places?  Especially a child whose first playmate is an older brother…)

Adorable, teeny tree frogs were abundant in those days right in one’s front yard, and, take a hike with an older brother into the swampy depths of the arboretum and there were BIG frogs, turtles — all sorts of interesting creatures, bugs and wonders.

Stroll UP Knickerbocker and, there were railroad tracks running behind the houses on Gregory Street.  TRAINS — which I love to this day — made their wonderfully noisy way along the tracks several times daily.  (These days, it’s a hiking path.)

To the west, maybe six short blocks away, sat the imposing building I would go to kindergarten in:  Dudgeon Elementary School.  The older kids called it “Dungeon,” but I thought it looked like a castle.

Dudgeon Elementary School, Madison, Dane, Wisconsin.3

The world was different then, so I walked alone, to and from Dudgeon each day.  (My brother now an attendee of Blessed Sacrament, my own next stop after kindergarten.)

In the wintertime, the Dudgeon School hill was the best sledding.  Launching from off the small hill way top, we’d often be carried by the momentum clear to the bottom.  The whole neighborhood came to sled there:  big kids, little kids, grown-ups.

Nothing measuring up to fond memories, there will simply never be as grand a place to grow up in as, that old homestead… 😉
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SOURCES
1 Family photos of the author’s.
2 “Why Norwegian Parents Let Their Kids Nap In Below-Freezing Temperatures,” at https://www.fatherly.com/health-science/why-norwegian-babies-sleep-outside/ , accessed Apr., 2018.
3 Dudgeon Elementary School, Madison, Dane, Wisconsin, USA:  photo source, year taken, unknown.
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remembering annie etter: april, sexual assault awareness month

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“MURDER IN READING  Annie ETTER, a fifteen-year-old girl of Reading was found on Sunday morning bruised and bleeding in a wood shed.  She was found in an unconscious condition and was removed to a hospital where she died on Sunday.  George Gantz, a 21 year old man of Reading, was arrested on Saturday evening for disorderly conduct.  It was ascertained that he had blood stains on his hands and chin and after being closely questioned he made a partial confession to the crime.  He admitted that he met the girl on Saturday evening and said they took a trolley ride.  He then pretended to see her safely home but in stead took her into an alley, through an open lot into a shedding where the deed was committed.  The young girl resisted his advancements and it appears a violent struggle was the result in which the young man struck the girl upon the head with either a board or bottle as numerous broken bottles lay close by.  The girls skull was fractured which caused her death.  The young man has a reputation for being of intemperate habits and he must have been under the influence of liquor when the deed was committed.”1

2

Annie L. ETTER (born September 6, 1888 Pennsylvania, United States of America, died October 26, 1901 Reading, Berks, Pennsylvania; buried Charles Evans Cemetery, Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania)2, was the daughter of David ETTER (1866–1940) & Kate A. FISHER (1866–1954).  Annie is a 3rd cousin twice removed from me via her great-grandmother Susanna (Anna) (FESSIG/FASIG) ETTER (1803-After Sept. 3, 1850), who is a 3rd great-grandaunt (some say, “4th great-aunt”) of mine.

At the time of her death Annie was the oldest of her parents’ five living children; an older sibling, born sometime after David & Kate’s 1885 marriage, had died before the 1900 U.S. Federal Census.  Remaining were Annie, Paul D., age 10; Ruth, age eight; Esther E., age five; &, toddler Mary ETTER.3  Annie’s dad David was employed as a hatter pouncer for the John Hendel Hat Company.4

GEORGE GANTZ PAYS THE FULL PENALTY
Hanged for the Murder of Annie Etter
He Makes a Statement in Which He Declares He Was Not in a Responsible Condition When He Committed the Crime.5

      “George Gantz, the slayer of Annie Etter, was hanged in the Berks county prison yard yesterday morning.

      “He was deeply penitent, but went to his death calmly, walking to the gallows apparently unmoved. The drop fell at 10.15. The execution differed from all others so far as the attendance was concerned. There was [can’t read] solemnity inside the prison walls but without there were eager crowds, scurrying here and there to different spots of vantage; some as close to the prison yard gate as the police would allow; others along the driveways and seated as close to the jail as possible. Men, women and children to the number of at least 500, congregated outside. Some were discussing the murder, various opinions being given. There was general expectancy. among the crowd that something might happen inside the prison yard that might be heard on the outside. Some thought that Gantz might break into a fury on the scaffold.

      “But nothing of the kind occurred and the crowd saw or heard nothing until seven minutes after eleven when the prison doors were opened and the dead body of Gantz resting in a closed coffin was carried out and placed in the undertakers wagon.

ARRIVAL OF THE SHERIFF.
      “Sheriff Mogel, accompanied by Coroner Moyer and the jury arrived at the prison at 9.45 o’clock. A short time before that hour Sergeant Edwards and Officers Auchter, Rothermel, Kirschman, Miller, Ludwig, Hintz, Grimmer, Lewis and Bowman marched up in a body and were stationed at different points outside of the prison to keep the crowd in order. Sheriff Mogel ushered the jurymen into the Inspectors room where they remained until a short time before the execution. The jurors were as follows: Frank B. Brown of Leesport; James M. Yeager, Sixth ward; Calvin A. Miller, Fleetwood; C. R. Grim, Maxatawny; Edward Elbert, Third ward; Charles J. Lesher, Twelfth ward; George G. Baker Cumru; David H. Baird, Hamburg; Dr. C. M. Bachman, Eighth ward; Aug. Bartels, Ninth ward; Irwin F. Maurer, Sixth ward; Jonathan Lutz, Twelfth ward.

      “County Commissioner Gunkel was accompanied1 by Sheriff Milnor, of Lycoming county, from whom the gallows was secured for the execution. Sheriff Thomas L. McMichael of Lancaster county, and Sheriff Weiderlick, of Lehigh county, also were present.

      “Some of the prison inspectors, a number of the county authorities, Rev. Dr. Brownmiller, Garrett Stevens, Jr., and four reporters constituted the balance of the spectators.

GANTZ’S PREPARATIONS.
      “Monday night the condemned man was in a disturbed frame of mind. He did not retire to his cot until 1.30 Tuesday morning. By his request, Rev. Dr. Brownmiller remained with him all evening, leaving at twelve o’clock. The fact is that Gantz almost broke down yesterday afternoon, but mastered himself and regained the courage which stood him in good stead until the last breath of life was taken. He was considerably more cheerful after his spiritual adviser’s visit, and chatted a little with his death watch, Moses Hoffert, who had been on guard in front of the cell door for 26 days. Watchman Jacob Becker also spoke to him for a little while. Then, as at many other times, Gantz expressed his sorrow that his young life should be cut short in so ignominous a manner.

PITY FOR THE GIRL.
      “Whenever any reference was made by Gantz to the deed charged against him, he expressed great pity for the girl, saying that had he been in his right mind he would not have touched a hair of her head to injure her. He greatly deplored that he had allowed drink to overpower his better judgment.

RECONCILED TO FATE.
      “He heard with interest of the efforts his counsel, Garrett Stevens, Jr., had made to secure a reprieve from Governor Stone. He was very grateful to his attorney for the trip taken to Harrisburg yesterday, and the parting between Mr. Stevens and the condemned man was quite affecting. Gantz expressed sincere gratitude for all that his attorney had done for him. Early Tuesday morning, at about 5 o’clock, the condemned man awoke and dressed. He noticed later in the morning that the sun was shining brightly without and commented: ‘Well, I see my last day on earth is a fine one.’ A cool statement, but nothing toward the cool and unfaltering manner in which the young man passed through the ordeal yet to come. At eight o’clock a fine breakfast was brought to Gantz, consisting of oatmeal, squab, cake and bread.

      “He looked at it disinterestedly. Not a bite would he take, simply drank a little coffee and resumed that contemplative demeanor which has caused him to become known among the prison officials as a model prisoner. After breakfast he was shaved by one of the prisoners, Elwood Schlaub.

LAST STATEMENT.
    “Rev. Dr. Brownmiller arrived early and by Gantz’s request took a statement for publication. It is as follows, as dictated by the condemed man: ‘Tell them that my last words were that I positively know nothing how it happened (the crime), and knew not that it happened until they (the officers) told me. It wouldn’t have happened if I wouldn’t have been drunk. I am very sorry for the deed and heartily repent, and face death with bright hopes of a better life.’ Some other private statements were made and it is said that Gantz believed that some other verdict should have been made, claiming that he did not commit the deed from malice or that it was premeditated. Furthermore, he did not believe that he had outraged [raped] the girl. For this reason his one wish was that the girl might have regained consciousness and told the real story of the occurrence. After Gantz had attired himself in his best suit, with laydown collar, link cuffs and a generally spruce appearance, he awaited’ the coming of the sheriff.

MARCH TO GALLOWS.
    “At ten minutes past ten the cell door was opened and he stepped out, with Sheriff Mogel on one side of him and Rev. Dr. Brownmiller on the other. The jurymen brought up the rear. Gantz marched forward with a steady step, Rev. Brownmiller by his side reading aloud a prayer. He briskly ascended the steps to the gallows and found the proper place to stand over the trap door without hesitation. Dr. Brownmiller followed, robed in the vestments of the Lutheran clergy. On the steps Gantz had smiled a little to himself. Sheriff Mogel’s deputies, John C. Bradley and Jacob H. Sassaman then adjusted the handcuffs, Gantz’s arms being pinioned behind him. They were carefully strapped, as were his lower limbs. Then before the black cap was placed over his head, Dr. Brownmiller read a prayer for the dead, which the condemned man repeated after him. A benediction was then pronounced, God’s mercy being pleaded for in behalf ot the unfortunate young man.

HIS LAST GOOD–BYE.
    “Dr. Brownmiller then in a tremulous voice said ‘Well, good-bye, George,’ and kissed him upon the cheek. There was gratefulness in the young man’s voice and face as he answered in a whisper ‘Good-bye.’ He had winced a little when the rope was tightened, but said not a word. He did not even tremble at the last moment, but stood erect and in this position continued with wonderful grit until the sheriff at 10.15 o’clock pressed the lever. It was noticed at once when the body dropped that the rope had slipped and that instead of its lodging under the left ear, It had caught him at the base of the skull. There was therefore some apprehension lest the execution would not be a success. The body gave several convulsive twitches and then was quiet. But the heart beat on. The physicians set the spectators at their ease by reporting at 10.26 that the pulse had ceased to beat. At 10.34 they announced that life was extinct. Deputy Sassaman then remounted the gallow steps and with a sharp knife cut the rope, attendants having hold of the body. Then it was placed upon a stretcher and carried into the rear prison corridor, where the handcuffs and straps were removed and lastly the black cap. The appearance of the dead man was not much changed. There was no expression of pain and it is believed that he suffered little. Drs. Schmehl and Wagner made an examination and Dr. Bachman, one of the Jury, joined them at their invitation.

NECK NOT BROKEN.
    “It was then discovered, as It had been feared, that the murderer was strangled to death. If the rope had not slipped, the doctors said, the neck would have been broken and death would have resulted quicker. There were no abrasions upon the neck, the skin being only slightly discolored. Sheriff Milnor, who has operated the gallows himself in Lycoming county, said that the execution was very creditably done and that the slipping of a rope was an unavoidable occurrence. The authorities from other counties also assured the Berks officials that the hanging was in every way well conducted. The jurymen then signed the papers of the coroner and he then left with his report which is to be presented to court. In the meantime Undertaker Seidel brought a coffin and the body was delivered to him. It was carried out to the wagon in waiting in front of the prison. Dr. Brownmiller was not for a moment absent, having promised the young man that be would stay by his side until deposited in the undertaker’s wagon. The body was removed at 7 minutes after 11 to the home of his.brother-in-law, Harry D. Miller, [number jumbled] Mulberry street, from which place the funeral will take place in several days. The exact time will not be made public, so as to avoid a crowd. While in prison Gantz became friendly with the watchman and attendants. Those whom he caught sight of while going from his cell to. the gallows were greeted with ’good-byes.’ Warden Newcomet received a farewell in which Gantz expressed his appreciation of the kind treatment accorded him. …

GANTZ’S SIGNED STATEMENT.
    “Last Sunday, Garrett Stevens his counsel, spent some time in the [can’t read]. For two years he was struck[?], Gantz is said to have told condemned man’s cell. This statement was then dictated and signed by him: ‘At the trial I heard for the first time a full account of what I had done on the night of Saturday, the 26th of October last. I have always said, and still say, that I did not kill Annie Etter purposely, and until I was told by the chief of police, I did not even know that she had been hurt by me. Everybody was down on me at the time of my trial, and nobody would believe me when I said that I did not remember anything that took place on that night after we got on the car to come in from Stony Creek. I have tried to think what took place that night, but I can’t do it. Since I have been here I have realized what an awful thing it must have been, and I have been very, very sorry that things went the way they did, for I never thought even for an instant of doing anything to injure the poor girl. That was the first time we had ever been out together. I forgive everyone for the parts they have had to take in this case, and hope that I may be forgiven. The only place where I think a mistake was made was in the chief of police’s testimony. I never knew what took place and I can’t believe that I told him what he said I did. I have been kindly treated while here in prison and have nothing to complain of. Of course, no one wants to die in this manner, yet it is the punishment which the law makes for a thing of this kind.’

GANTZ’S CRIME.
    “The murderous assault for which George Gantz paid the death penalty, occurred on Saturday night, October 26, 1901. The unfortunate young girl whom he fatally wounded while in a drunken rage, was Annie Etter, 15-year-old daughter of David Etter, at 428 Pearl street. She had left home that afternoon at 6.30 o’clock to visit relatives at 135 Poplar street. Shortly before 8 o’clock she left the latter place and was thought to have returned home, but she subsequently met Gantz by appointment and they went together to Stony Creek. About 11 p. m. the couple returned to town, walked down Sixth street and then down Franklin to Pearl. Their actions were noticed by a number of people who testified at the trial that the girl seemed to want to escape from Gantz, but that by pulling her by the arm and coaxing her, she finally accompanied him. She wanted to walk down Sixth street to Bingaman, but Gantz finally got her started down Franklin street, then compelled her to turn into Pearl street with him. He had been drinking heavily and several times had almost fallen while walking by the girl’s side.

      “About 100 feet from Franklin street, on Pearl, they arrived at a stable and there Gantz is said to have made a proposal to the girl which she opposed. He then forced her into the shed, beat her on the head with a board until she became unconscious and then outraged her, after which he took flight. People living in that vicinity heard the girl’s moans and notified the police department. Officer Benjamin Rhoda was sent to the scene, and was accompanied by Mahlon Bortz, an electric light in spector. In the shed they found the girl lying senseless, her head lying in a pool of blood. Her clothing were disarranged. Bortz then hurried away for a stretcher and the girl was carried to police station. Here it was seen that her condition was very serious and she was quickly removed to the Reading hospital. It was 12.45 o’clock when the patient was admitted. She was bleeding from her right nostril and right ear. An examination revealed that she had fracture In the vault of her skull, a transverse fracture over the head, lead-ins from temple to temple. The front of the skull was depressed. At 8 a. m. an operation was performed, piece of bone was removed from the temple, clots from the brain and the depressed portion of the skull raised. She did not regain consciousness, but died at 12.35 Sunday noon. The fatal injuries bore signs that they were inflicted with a board and the bruises on the face are supposed to have been caused by Gantz’s fist.5

Annie L. ETTER’s grave marker at the Charles Evans Cemetery, Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania.6

      “In the meantime Gantz was arrested and locked up at police station. Chief Miller, questioned him regarding the affair and Gantz is said to have made a confession to the effect that the girl had resisted him, but that he managed to get her into the stable, then picked up a board, felled [her?]. Chief District Attorney Rothermel was present when the statement was made to Chief Miller by Gantz. The trial came up in court at the December sessions. On Saturday, Dec. 14, the Jury was selected. It required a full day to do it. Sixty-seven names were considered, these being chosen: George T. Hawkins, colored, Ninth ward; Fred. Shilling, molder, Cumru; Solomon Stafford, farmer. Cumru: J. V. Shankweiler, storekeeper, Hereford; John A. Hiester, boat builder, First ward; John M. Rhoads, pipe cutter, Eighth ward; John Trexler, cabinetmaker, Longswamp; Adam S. Fisher, carpenter, Sinking Spring; J. K. Groman, 134 Schuylkill avene; Thomas C. Darrah, tax collector, Eleventh ward; George Melnholtz, contractor, Tenth ward; Howard C. Strauss, justice of the peace, Maidencreek. The case was opened for the prosecution by Harry P. Keiser, who related the, story of the crime, which was substantiated by witnesses. Garrett Stevens, Jr., opened for the defense the following’ morning (Tuesday). There were witnesses to testify that Gantz was an epileptic and that whenever he received any drink he was not his same self. When the testimony was all In, the prosecution had nothing to offer In rebuttal. Mr. Stevens addressed the jury with a tremor in his voice. ‘I come before you today almost brokenhearted,’ said he. ‘We have worked day and night to gather our testimony and had it all arranged. But now, as though we were some plague-stricken body, they have fallen away from us. Even the father of the boy has remained away. He on whom the son should rely has rendered himself a fit subject for pity. The father who has no greater love for his son than to leave him face the greatest of perils alone, is not a fit lather.’ On December 17 the jury brought in a verdict finding Gantz guilty of murder in the first degree. He was sentenced on April 26, 1902, to be hanged. The death warrant was signed by Governor Stone on July 11, and received by sheriff Mogel on the 18th inst. The whole proceedings dazed the youthful murderer. He resented the statements made by Chief Miller, claiming that he was not fairly dealt with and that he knew of no admissions. In fact, Gantz to his very best friends since then has said that the whole affair at the shed and afterward was a blank to him and that he did not realize the awful nature of the crime charged against him until he was in the court room and heard the stories of the witnesses.”5

Re the booklet shown below:  Why is it the Gantz tragedy?  Isn’t it more like, the Annie Etter tragedy?  Right:  let’s make the murderers famous, slide their victims into obscurity.  (How much would the board Gantz beat Annie to death with fetch on a collectibles site??  Or, one of those broken bottles?  [How about a fragment of Annie’s actual skull??])

As a society?  We haven’t come too far on this one…

Original 1901 Story Booklet Titled ‘The Gantz Tragedy.’ The Story of the Murder of Annie L. Etter from Reading PA. Discusses in detail the murder of Annie L. Etter. George Gantz beat her to death. He was executed by hanging. Measures 7 1/4″ by 5″. 32 pages. Few tears. Overall nice original condition.”7

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SOURCES
1 USGenWeb Project, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, at http://www.montgomery.pa-roots.com/Newspapers/TownAndCountry/1901/nov021901.html , accessed Apr., 2018.
2 FindAGrave.com, “Annie Etter,” memorial no. 90082887 at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/90082887 , photo contributed by N.D. Scheidt.
3 U.S. Federal Census data:  1900 and, 1910 Censuses, “David ETTER” household.
4 What is a hatter pouncer? 😀  If you’re wondering, well, so did I, so I Googled and found a great explanation at, “The Custom Hatter,” http://custom-hatter.com/process.html ; browser address good as of Apr. 4, 2018.
5 The Reading Times newspaper, Reading, Pennsylvania; issue date Wednesday, September 24, 1902; page, 2, at https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/46508555/ , accessed Apr., 2018.
6 FindAGrave.com, “Annie Etter,” memorial no. 90082887 at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/90082887 , photo contributed by “Carol & Pete.”
7 Booklet image and, text in quotes beneath (i.e. caption), from WorthPoint.com, at https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/early-1901-gantz-tragedy-annie-etter-508815212 , accessed Apr., 2018.
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The Elusive Life of Hans Herr

This blog post by Eric Christensen is such an e-x-c-e-l-l-e-n-t piece of writing and, represents such g-o-o-d research that nOt reblogging it seems [somehow wasteful? ridiculous? a mistake? etc.]. Thus I AM reblogging it and, with a note of THANKS!, and, appreciation to Eric for sharing all his hard work with myself and other Herr descendants [<- of which, by my quite unscientific estimate, I am thinking there must be gazillions, just by how many I’ve encountered?!].  UPDATE:  I am currently in “suspense mode” as to whether or not I am, indeed, a descendant:  stay tuned… 😮 😉

Eric’s Roots

One great challenge in genealogy is trying to make sense of conflicting records, knowing full well that one can never have a definitive, fully documented answer, but must instead make the most educated guess that can be deduced from the available information. Such is the case with my eighth great grandfather Hans Herr. There are not only disagreements over who is wife was, but also over his birth year, his immigration year, and the birth years of some of his children.

Portrait of Hans Herr This picture of Hans Herr comes from Theodore Herr’s “Genealogical Record of Reverend Hans Herr,” and is said to come from a painting by John Funk.

I will start with a presentation of Hans Herr’s basic history, and then move on to the disputed facts of his life.

The Swiss Anabaptists

Hans Herr (also known as John Herr) was born in Switzerland. Most histories give his birth date as…

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“my imprisonment in bern was one year, seven months and seven days:” rev. benedictus brackbill, jr.

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“On January 12th, 1709, the Government of Bern sent seven soldiers, with an usher, early in the morning to my house.  It frightened us so that my wife and I tried to hide.  I hid myself under a hay-stack.  They searched my house all through.  At last they came around to the hay and thrust their swords into it; they soon discovered me.  Then I came out, and they seized me, and asked me my name, and if I was a preacher, which I willingly acknowledged.  They then took me into my room, where two ushers gave me a smart blow on the ear; they bound my hands behind my back and took me out of my house.  My children cried and wept so pitifully that a heart of stone, as the saying is, would have been melted.  But the soldiers were very glad they had caught me.  They took me thence to the town of Bern, with two other brothers, put us in to prison, and that during the very long cold winter.  There we lay bound.  When we wanted to be warm, we had to pay dear for the wood.  After six or seven days they brought me into another prison.  There they chained me with iron chains.  The government had given 100 thalers to the men who had caught me, which same money my people had to pay out of my own private means.  After two days they brought me again to the tower, placed me in a small cell, and chained me with an iron chain.  So I lay eighteen weeks long.  Then they took me with all the other prisoners to the Spital.  There we had to work carding wool from four o’clock in the morning till eight in the evening.  They fed us on bread and water, but did not let us suffer in any other way.  That lasted thirty-five weeks.  For the last ten weeks the work was easier.  The whole time of my imprisonment in Bern was one year, seven months and seven days.  That was in the forty-fourth year of my age.”1

So wrote Swiss Anabaptist preacher Reverend Benedicht BRACKBILL, Jr. (1665 Baden District, Aargau, Switzerland21720 Strasburg, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Colonial America2; buried Strasburg Mennonite Cemetery, Strasburg, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States of America2) in a 1710 letter written at the request of the Dutch Anabaptist Commission of Inquiry at Amsterdam.1

My relationship to the good reverend is either 7th great-grandniece or, 10th great-granddaughter; the waters are muddied and, there’s dissension out there in genealogy-research-land as to his wives & issue.

I’m a 10th great-granddaughter if, as numerous genealogy researchers maintain, Reverend Benedicht was indeed married to Verena MEISTER3 (1675 Switzerland–1723 Strasburg, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Colonial America; buried Mennonite Church Cemetery, Lime Valley, Lancaster, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA4in addition to the more-universally-agreed-upon Bishop Hans Herr’s daughter Maria Margaretha HERR (1663 Zürich, Switzerland–1725 Pequea, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Colonial America; burial location unknown); as, that particular Maria HERR is my 7th great-grandaunt (“8th great-aunt”) in her own right.

Memorial Marker For Rev. “Benedictus” Brackbill at Strasburg Mennonite Cemetery, Strasburg, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. [NOTE: Do not confuse such as this with genealogical “proof” of spouses / children. Ask yourself, Who erected this marker? When? Wherefrom comes their data?]5

If the reverend’s alleged marriage to Verena is erroneous, however, I shall call him Uncle instead of Grandpa.  I’m good either way:  he’s a heroic fellow and I’m proud to include him in my ancestry as uncle or granddad.

To the muddy marriage waters:  Benedicht’s marriage to Verena is said to have yielded three4,6 children, Frances/Verena (1685–1756)4, Francis Meister (1695– )4 & Magdalena (1699– )4; OR, Magdalena (1702– )6, Ulrich (1703– )6 & Barbara (1707– )6; which is possible date-wise (Verena Meister’s “about 1675” birthdate could be fudged back a few years) but sort of begs belief, as, “everybody out there” pretty much agrees that Benedicht & Maria Herr were married in 17017 — and, Benedicht & Maria Herr’s first child, Maudlin, was born in 1702  Where then did Benedicht & Verena’s three children by Verena, the youngest only a toddler upon Benedicht’s 1701 marriage to Maria, disappear to??  Wouldn’t a first family dumped or otherwise “set aside” by, a well-known Anabaptist preacher be mentioned somewhere in histories of him?  (Wouldn’t this be highly frowned upon??)

According to “Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy,” “Records suggest that Benedict Brackbill, a Taufer (Anabaptist) of Trachselwald, was married to Verena Meister.  Archival records at stadtarchiv in Bern, Switzerland state that a Verena Meister, born about 1675, was the daughter of Ulrich Meister, perhaps [<- I would say, no doubt] the same person as Benedict Brackbill’s wife.”3  The Wolfe’s go on to note that, “Some have incorrectly named Maria Herr as the spouse of Benedict Brackbill, born 1665.3 [It should be noted here that the Wolfe’s also name Maria Herr as wife of Brackbill; they simply name both women as his wives.]  Verena Meister and Benedict Brechtbühl had children Magdalena, Ulrich, and Barbara.  Benedict Brechtbühl, of Trachselwald, Bern, Switzerland, came to America in 1717.”3

However:  the immigration record I have reads, “Primary Immigrant Brackbill, Benedicht;” “Arrival Year 1717; Arrival Place Pennsylvania; Family Members Wife Maria; Child Ulrich.”8

Wife, Maria, not wife, Verena. [Some get around this by saying Verena was aka Maria.]

The preceding, in conjunction with the following passage from the 1931 “Mennonites of Lancaster Conference,” by Martin G. Weaver3, leans me toward the conclusion that (this particular) Rev. Benedicht Brackbill is my “Uncle,” i.e., Verena must have married a different Benedict Brackbill:

“With Bishop Burkholder and Preacher Brenneman came another minister Benedict Brackbill whose wife was Maria Herr a daughter of Hans Herr.  They with one son Ulrich Brackbill and two daughters arrived at Philadelphia August 24 1717 after having been on the ocean twelve weeks.”3

So, for now?  I say if “the” Mennonite preacher Benedicht Brackbill married both Verena Meister and Maria Herr, prove it to me.  If he married Verena Meister and not Maria Herr at all, prove it to me.

Stay tuned.  (Good thing I love mysteries.)
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SOURCES

1 “Historical Papers and Addresses of the Lancaster County Historical Society,” Volumes 4-7, Lancaster County Historical Society (Pa.), 1899; pages 41 & 42, at https://books.google.com/books?id=qBYVAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA2-PA41#v=onepage&q&f=false , accessed Mar., 2018.
2 Geni.com, the “Master Profile for Reverend Benedictus Brackbill,” at https://www.geni.com/people/Verena-Brackbill/6000000001788631887?through=6000000002317067670 at https://www.geni.com/people/Reverend-Benedictus-Brackbill/6000000002317067670?through=6000000001788631887#/tab/source , accessed Mar., 2018.
“Janet and Robert WOLFE Genealogy,” “Notes for Benedict Brechtbühl and Verena Meister,” at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bobwolfe/gen/mn/m11541x20007.htm , accessed Mar., 2018. [I  l-i-k-e  the Wolfes’ site for the detailed source documentation they provide; it has turned me onto some “good stuff,” notwithstanding my not agreeing with all of the Wolfes’ conclusions.]
4 Geni.com, “Verena Brackbill,” at https://www.geni.com/people/Verena-Brackbill/6000000001788631887?through=6000000002317067670, accessed Mar., 2018.
5 FindAGrave.com, memorial number 80526383, for “Rev Benedictus M. ‘Benedict’ Brackbill,” at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/80526383 , accessed Mar., 20188.
6 “Janet and Robert WOLFE Genealogy,” “Verena Meister,” at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bobwolfe/gen/person/g20007.htm , accessed Mar., 2018.
Genealogical record of Reverend Hans Herr and his direct lineal descendants : From his Birth A.D. 1639 to the present time containing the names, etc. of 13223 persons,
by Theodore W. Herr; publication date 1908, Lancaster, Pa.  Downloadable in numerous formats at Archive.org:  see https://archive.org/details/cu31924029842204 ; accessed Mar., 2018.
8 “U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s,” “Benedicht Brackbill,” Ancestry.com, at https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=7486&h=3035169&ssrc=pt&tid=79831532&pid=180191339064&usePUB=true , accessed Mar., 2018. “Original data: Filby, P. William, ed. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. Farmington Hills, MI, USA: Gale Research, 2012.”
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where there’s a will: unearthing my swiss mennonite heritage

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52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, 2018; week 9 prompt:  Where There’s a Will.
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Where There’s a Will:  Genealogy research piques my interest in history like nothing else:  it provides me the will to literally pore through the most otherwise “boring” material.

Bishop Hans HERR.  (Image, public domain.)

My present fascination?  The Swiss.  Specifically, the 16th-century period when Anabaptists were “rooted out” of Europe.

Where I previously thought I descended from just one Mennonite line — that of my 8th-Great-Gramp Bishop Hans HERR (either 16511, or, 1639,2 Switzerland–17253 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Colony, America; buried Willow Street Mennonite Church Cemetery, Willow Street, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States of America4) — closer study reveals that I have in my ancestry a good number of interconnected Mennonite families.

I’ve only just begun to untangle all the connections, but the following helped me along greatly:

In an article in the October, 19195, National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Professor Oscar Kuhns wrote:

“From time to time single families and individuals had…sought refuge in the Palatinate, where Anabaptist communities had existed since 1527. In 1671, the first considerable emigration took place, when a party of seven hundred persons left their native land, and settled on the banks of the Rhine.5

“The movement…resulted in the settlement of Lancaster County [Pennsylvania],… … Of all [the Anabaptists’] doctrines, that of refusing to bear arms was the most obnoxious to the state, which depended on its citizens in times of aggression. It must be confessed that the Swiss Anabaptists were the most intractable of people. Exiled again and again, they persisted in returning to their native land.

“In 1711, however, the Mennonites of Berne were offered free transportation down the Rhine, permission to sell their property and to take their families with them, on condition, however, that they pledge themselves never to return to Switzerland. Their friends in Holland urged them to do this[*], and especially through the efforts of the Dutch ambassador in Switzerland, the exportation was finally carried out. About this time began the settlement of Lancaster County by Swiss Anabaptists, and undoubtedly many of the above were among them. …”
* [“The relations between the Anabaptists of Holland and Switzerland had always been close. The former had subscribed large sums of money to alleviate the sufferings of the exiled Swiss in the Palatinate, and a society had been formed for the purpose of affording systematic assistance to all their suffering fellow-believers.”]

In the archives of Amsterdam, we find a letter of thanks to Holland written by Martin Kundig, Hans Herr, Christian Herr, Martin Oberholtzer, Martin Meili and Jacob Muller. This letter was dated June 27, 1710, and states that they were about to start for the New World. October 23 of the same year, we find a patent for ten thousand acres of land on the Pequa Creek, Conostogue [sic; Conestoga, Pennsylvania] (later a part of Lancaster County, which was not organized till 1729) made out in the names of Hans Herr and Martin Kundig, who acted as agents for their countrymen. … Kundig and Herr seem to have been the leaders of this emigration.”5

Note, top of Quarterly page: ” ‘Without genealogy the study of history is lifeless.’ — John Fiske.” I couldn’t agree more… 🙂

Researching intensely for a couple of weeks, doing my best to accurately connect dots as I made a quick genealogy sketch of people connected to “my” Hans Herr, I then read Kuhn’s piece in the Quarterly again, the names in the 1710 letter now going ping ping ping in my head as I recognized one after another.

Martin KÜNDIG: aka KENDIG, it turned out (born about 1648 Switzerland–died 1725 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Colony, America), is my 9th great-uncleson of my 9th great-grandfather John Jakob KENDIG, I (1620 Switzerland–1694 Switzerland) — and, husband of my 9th great-aunt Elizabeth (HERR) KENDIG (abt 1644 “of” Switzerland–abt 1674 Germany);

Hans HERR (1639 Switzerland–1725 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Colony, America), of course, my 8th great-grandfather;

Christian HERR (1680 Switzerland–1749 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Colony, America), my 7th great-granddaddy;

Martin OBERHOLTZER: I am still looking for direct connections there — I just haven’t found them yet;

Martin MEILI, I: aka MEYLIN (1665 Switzerland–1749 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Colony, America), is the father-in-law of my 7th great-aunt Anna (HERR) MEYLIN (1711 Lancaster, Pennsylvania Colony, America–1787 Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA), daughter of my aforementioned 7th great-grandpapa Christian HERR; and,…

Jacob MÜLLER: I am pReTtTtY sure although not yet pOsItIvE that, he is Jakob MÜLLER (1663 Switzerland–1739 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Colony, America) the father-in-law of my 1st cousin 8x removed Abraham HERR (1700 Switzerland–1785 Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Colonial America).

As I said, I’ve only just begun to unearth all my Swiss Mennonite ties, but I’m delighted with what I’ve thus far learned.  All these ancestors who stood up for religious freedom… Because this, boys & girls, is why we keep church & state separated in the U.S. of A.:  to thumb our nose at God, N-O — RATHER, to ENSURE that ALL citizens may WORSHIP AS they CHOOSE: no state-mandated churches.

Amen.  God bless.
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SOURCES
1 “Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Mennonite Vital Records, 1750-2014,” “Hans Herr,” Ancestry.com, at both https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=60592&h=862303&ssrc=pt&tid=79831532&pid=34405383251&usePUB=true , &, https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=60592&h=862301&ssrc=pt&tid=79831532&pid=34405383251&usePUB=true , accessed Mar., 2018.
2 “Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985,” “Rev Hans Herr,” Ancestry.com, at https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=2451&h=2021866676&ssrc=pt&tid=79831532&pid=34405383251&usePUB=true , accessed Mar., 2018.
3 “North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000,” Ancestry.com, specifically, Genealogical record of Reverend Hans Herr and his direct lineal descendants : From his Birth A.D. 1639 to the present time containing the names, etc. of 13223 persons, by Theodore W. Herr, published 1908, at https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/61157/46155_b289964-00016?pid=1494511&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D61157%26h%3D1494511%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D79831532%26pid%3D34405383251%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=79831532&personid=34405383251&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true , accessed Mar., 2018.
4 FindAGrave.com, “Rev Hans Herr Jr,” memorial number 6812531, at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6812531/hans-herr , accessed Mar., 2018.8.
5 “Switzerland Plays A Part In The Founding Of The American Nation,” Professor Oscar Kuhns, Middletown, Connecticut, in the October, 1919, “National Genealogical Society Quarterly,” Volume VIII, Number 3; pages 33-34.  Online at https://books.google.com/books?id=BgjTAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA35&lpg=RA1-PA35&dq=%22SWITZERLAND+PLAYS+A+PART+IN+THE+FOUNDING+OF+THE+AMERICAN+NATION%22+By+Prof.+Oscar+Kuhns,+Middletown&source=bl&ots=_mphAVAPFU&sig=KblpK34vjggL_KQbG7qgpkK0ZrA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjd_YOjr-_ZAhUV92MKHQIqDrQQ6AEILDAA#v=onepage&q=%22SWITZERLAND%20PLAYS%20A%20PART%20IN%20THE%20FOUNDING%20OF%20THE%20AMERICAN%20NATION%22%20By%20Prof.%20Oscar%20Kuhns%2C%20Middletown&f=false , accessed Mar., 2018.

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Celebrating Poetry

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This Amistad Research Center reblog features poet John Langston Buckner (Apr. 8, 1836 Canada–Nov. 27, 1908 Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas, USA; buried Mount Hope Cemetery (Plot: North Memorial V), Topeka, Shawnee, Kansas), son of Thomas Jefferson Buckner (Abt. 1810 Kentucky, USA–Abt. 1875 Junction Twp, Osage County, Kansas) & Elizabeth Kirk (July 15, 1815 Kentucky–Apr. 21, 1904; buried Dean Cemetery, Pomona, Franklin County, Kansas).

See my own July 22, 2016 post here at The Mix That Makes Up Me, “born in slavery: thomas jefferson buckner,” for background on John Langston Buckner’s parents.

Amistad Research Center

First page of &quot;Margaret Garner and Her Child&quot; by John L. Buckner. First page of “Margaret Garner and Her Child” by John L. Buckner.

April is National Poetry Month in the United States. This recognition of the poetic arts was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, and in celebration of all things poetry, as well as Amistad’s literary holdings, we will be posting multiple blog entries regarding our poetry-related holdings this month.

There is no better announcement to make as part of our poetry series than the posting of the new online finding aid to the Buckner-Barker Family papers. The Buckner-Barker Family papers pertain to several generations of an African American family with multi-generational ties to Kansas. The collection consists of typescripts of poems authored by John L. Buckner, but also contains photographs; newspaper clippings; a privately published book of poems by John D. Barker, son-in-law of John L. Buckner; as well as an interview and other documents that…

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from switzerland to the pennsylvania colony: john gebhard / gerhardt hibshman

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Immediately below is a repost of a February 13, 2015, post from Janice Harshbarger’s “Happy Genealogy Dance” blog:  “Harshbarger line:  Johann Gebhart (John Gerhardt) Hibshman 1708-1771 Immigrant.”1  Johann falls among my own 6th great-grandfathers.

Following Janice’s blog post, a brief biographical sketch from the 1904, Biographical annals of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania : containing biographical sketches of prominent men and representative citizens and of the early settled families,2 by J.H. Beers & Co., Chicago, Ill., on Johann Gebhart (John Gerhardt) Hibshman’s great-grandson William H. Hibshman.  I’m including it here as it gives information on Johann as well as William.

“Johann Gebhart (John Gerhardt) Hibshman 1708-1771 Immigrant”1

“This is a hard line to research and document, partly because the surname is spelled so many different ways in so many different records.  The simplest spelling (and the one I will use) is shown above.  From there it can go into Huppman or Huebschmann or any number of other spellings.

“Johann was born in Switzerland in 1713, or in Bavaria in 1708.  If he was born in Bavaria in 1708 then his parents have been identified as Christoffel Hupshmann and Anna Barbara Van Hoffen, who were married on November 22, 1701 in Pfalz, Bavaria.  If he was born in 1713 in Switzerland, no one has yet identified parents for him.  I tend to go with the 1708 date, pending further research, because it makes possible the married of Johann to Anna Elisabetha Brunner on July 4, 1730 in the Evangelish Lutherische, Bad Duerkheim, Pfalz, Bayern.  A 1713 birthdate would make this marriage very early.  Even a marriage at the age of 22 would have been early, in Bavaria, but it would be possible.

“All we really know for sure is that he was born and that he was married.  It is stated that he came to America in 1732, but I haven’t found documentation for that.  The story is that he went back to the Old World in 1732, and returned with a wife.  Had Anna Elisabetha Brunner been waiting for him in Bavaria all that time?  It’s possible that he was indentured and had to work off the debt before returning for his wife.  Did he also save enough money to make the trip and to bring his wife to America, or did he have another indentureship to serve after arriving for the second time?  Or was he really from Switzerland, and did he go home to marry a woman his family had picked out for him?

“We don’t know much more than that he arrived on the Saint Andrew Gallery, in Philadelphia, in 1737 with Anna Elisabetha (nee Brunner?).  They settled in Lancaster County and raised a family of at least five children, Anna Margaretha, Catherine Elizabeth, Maria Catherina, Wendel, and Henry (Heinrich).  Johann Gebhart died in July of 1771 in Lancaster County, possibly Cocalico Township.  The land he had purchased was about 4 miles north of Ephrata.

“We only have hints and guesses about his life.  Because he was married in a Lutheran church, we can guess that he was Lutheran by belief and attended a Lutheran church in Lancaster County.  We can guess that he farmed, but we don’t know what else he might have done to support his family during the winter months.  We can guess that he was a hard working man, because what we can find by looking at the lives of his sons shows that they had a good work ethic and were ‘successful’.  We can hope he and his wife were happy and that they raised a happy, close family, as most Germans (and Swiss) did.  We can hope that he was not involved in Indian frontier wars, and we can assume that he was in the militia at some point.  Finally, we can hope to learn more about him as more documents and more research notes are put on line!

“The line of descent [i.e., Janice Harshbarger’s] is:

“Johann Gebhart Hibshman-Anna Elisabetha poss Brunner
“Catherine Elizabeth Hibshman-Conrad Mentzer
“John Mentzer-Margareth
“Conrad Mentzer-Elizabeth Tullapen or Duliban
“Catherine Mentzer-Lewis Harshbarger
“Emanuel Harshbarger-Clara Harter
“Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
“Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
“Their descendants.”1
~ ~ ~

My own line of descent from Johann/John Gebhart/Gebhard HIBSHMAN goes like so:

John Gebhard HIBSHMAN (Johann Gebhart HIBSHMAN); spouse Anna Elisabetha UNKNOWN.
John Henry (Henry) HUEBSCHMAN (1748 Pennsylvania Colony, America–June 2, 1818 Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, USA); spouse Catharine LEISE.
Henry HIBSHMAN (1778 Schaefferstown, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, USA–1823 Lebanon County, Pennsylvania); spouse Elizabeth KUMLER.
Elizabeth HIBSCHMAN (1803 Schaefferstown, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, USA–1882 Martinsville, Clark County, Illinois); spouse William M. (Uncle Billy) FASIG.
Catharine Ellen FASIG (1826 Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, USA–1915 Martinsville, Clark County, Illinois); spouse 1st cousin Christian FASIG.
Mary Elizabeth (Elizabeth) FASIG (1848 Clark County, Illinois, USA–1886 Clark County, Illinois); spouse Richard (Rich) BUCKNER.
Jesse Grant (Grant) BUCKNER (1882 Melrose, Clark County, Illinois, USA–1941 Missouri Baptist Hospital, St Louis, St Louis County, Missouri, USA); spouse Golda Ametta GREGER.
My father (1913 El Paso County, Texas, USA–2002 Four Winds Manor nursing home, Verona, Dane, Wisconsin, USA)
Me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Title Page, Biographical annals of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania…, Archive.org3

And now, from the 1904 Biographical annals of Lebanon County…2:

“WILLIAM H. HIBSHMAN.  Jackson township, Lebanon county, is the home of manv excellent farmers and highly esteemed citizens, and one of these is William H. Hibshman, now retired from active labor.  Mr. Hibshman was born September 10, 1832, in Jackson township, a son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Lesher) Hibshman, the former of whom was a native of Lebanon county, and the latter of Lancaster county.

“The founder of the family in America was Johann (or John) Gebhart Hibshman. a native of Switzerland who came to America in 1732, at the age of nineteen.  Five years afterward he returned to his native land for his wife, returning with her to America September 24, 1737, in the ship ‘St. Andrew’, which sailed on that date from Rotterdam, Holland, for New York.  Upon landing in the New World, he located in Lancaster county, Pa., and purchased a tract of land four miles north of the borough of Ephrata.  He and his wife had four children : Wendel, born in 1740, married Hannah Heffley, and settled at Ephrata; Henry settled in Lebanon county; Catherine married an Albrecht, and lived in Selinsgrove, Pa., and Elizabeth married Conrad Mentzer.

“Henry Hibshman, the grandfather of William H., was the first of the family to locate in Lebanon county.  He married Catharine Leisey and became the father of three sons and five daughters : Henrv. who had two sons, Samuel (who married Mattie Gibble, and had three sons and two daughters), and Daniel, and one daughter, Mary; Wendel, who had two sons and one daughter, Frank (married to Sarah Reiter), John (married to Sarah Bomberger) and Lucetta (married to John Philip); Jacob, mentioned below; Maria, who married Adam Bassler; Elizabeth, who married John Lehman; Christina, who married Henry Creek; Eva, who married Daniel Weist; and Hannah, wife of Jacob Gockley.  Henry Hibshman and wife are buried in the old Schaefferstown cemetery.

“Jacob Hibshman of the above family was born as early as 1790, and he died in 1838.  In 1812 he was married to Elizabeth Lesher, and they became the parents of nine children: (1) Catherine married Henry Mace, and had three children, living: John H., who married Amanda Yingst, and had ten children; Sarah, who married John Smaltz, and had two daughters and one son; and Amanda, who married William H. Hunsicker, and had no children.  (2) Curtis married Rebecca Miller, and had no children.  (3) Elizabeth died unmarried.  (4) Henry married Elizabeth Spayd, and died May 16, 1880; she died in October, 1882.  They had ten children: Henry W., of Tremont, Schuylkill county; Jacob, of Strausstown; Samuel, of Philadelphia; Anna, of Jackson township, Lebanon county; Rachel, of Shillington, Berks county; Lizzie, of Philadelphia; Catherine, who died unmarried at the age of twenty-seven; George and Sarah, who both died in infancy; and Christina, who died at the age of twenty-four.  (5) Sarah married Christian Hostetter, and had two sons, one of whom died unmarried, and the other married but died without issue.  (6) Mary (Polly) died unmarried.  (7) Jacob married Henrietta Swope, and had seven children: William and John of Lebanon county; Frank and Augustus of Philadelphia; Amanda, who married and died in 1899; and Sarah and Elizabeth.  (8) Lydia married Moses Becker, and had two children, a son and a daughter.  (9) William H. is the only one of the family now living.  Jacob Hibshman and his wife Elizabeth sleep their last sleep in the old cemetery at Schaefferstown.

“William H. Hibshman was reared in Jackson township on his father’s farm, now owned by John H. Krall, and in boyhood attended the public schools of the township and the Myerstown Academy, securing an education which gave him a certificate to teach school.  This profession he followed for four years, and then began to farm.  In 1848 he was united in marriage to Miss Sariah Loose, daughter of William and Leah (Bicknel) Loose, of Berks county, and one child was born to this union, Harrison W., who was married to Agnes Zinn, of Jackson township, lately deceased.  The children born to this union were: Lillie, Mary, William H., Henry Z., Catherine, Howard, Clinton, Mabel, Bertha and Walter.

“Mr. Hibshman during his early life found it necessary to practice economy and to be industrious, and he has had the natural reward, owning now a fine farm along the Lebanon and Dauphin pike road, between Lebanon and Myerstown, on the line of the Lebanon & Myerstown Street Railway, whither he came in 1873.  This is one of the very productive farms of the locality, and on account of its location is very valuable.  When a boy of seventeen he learned the milling business with Peter Reist, of Annville, and followed it for some time, residing in Berks county from 1863 to 1873.

“In politics Mr. Hibshman is a zealous and interested Republican, and he has most efficiently served his township in the office of tax collector.  His connection with the Reformed Church has covered many years, and he has been deacon, trustee and elder.  Although Mr. Hibshman is approaching the age when both mental and physical powers usually show signs of failure, such is not the fact in his case.  His memory is excellent, and his reminiscences of old days in this section of the State are very interesting.

“Mr. Hibshman has many friends, his exemplary life and high moral
character giving him the respect and esteem of all who know him.”2

A “Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s” at Ancestry.com does show  a “Gerhardt Hubschman” arriving in America in 1737 on the ship “Saint Andrew Galley,” offering possible substantiation for this from Biographical annals of Lebanon County…:  “Five years afterward he returned to his native land for his wife, returning with her to America September 24, 1737, in the ship ‘St. Andrew‘,…”

And the search / research continues.
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SOURCES
1 Janice Harshbarger blog, “Happy Genealogy Dance,” post titled “Harshbarger line:  Johann Gebhart (John Gerhardt) Hibshman 1708-1771 Immigrant,” at http://happygenealogydance.blogspot.com/2015/02/harshbarger-line-johann-gebhart-john.html , accessed Feb., 2018.
2 A
rchive.org, Biographical annals of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania : containing biographical sketches of prominent men and representative citizens and of the early settled families, by J.H. Beers & Co., Chicago, Ill., “William H. Hibshman,” pages 131-133, at https://archive.org/stream/biographicalanna00jhbe/biographicalanna00jhbe_djvu.txt , accessed Feb., 2018.
3 T
itle page, Biographical annals of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania : containing biographical sketches of prominent men and representative citizens and of the early settled families, 1904 J.H. Beers & Co., Chicago, Ill., Archive.org, at https://archive.org/stream/biographicalanna00jhbe#page/n5/mode/2up , accessed Feb., 2018.
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favorite name: bridget, saint of sweden

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52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, 2018; week 6 prompt:  Favorite Name.
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Favorite name, favorite name…  This one stumps me.  I don’t have a favorite name.  (I found choosing one for my own child tortuous; there are so many.)  Currently, my ears particularly like very old-fashioned names and, I love virtuous Quaker female names, but again, no favorite.

When I was in high school I remember going through a period of wishing my forename was more original than same-old same-old “Susan” though, and, “Bridget” was high on the list of my rather-haves; plus, raised Catholic, when I first began researching my Norwegian ancestry and saw “Saint” before some of my way-back great-grands, I was awed & delighted, so,

Saint Bridget in the religious habit and the crown of a Bridgettine nun, in a 1476 breviary of the form of the Divine Office unique to her Order1

I decided to honor with this week’s blog post, the patron saint of Sweden, my 18th Great-Grandmother Saint Bridget of Sweden (circa 1303–July 23, 1373).  From Catholic.org2:

“Saint Birgitta was the daughter of Uppland’s Lagman3, Birger Petersson and his wife, Ingeborg, who was a member of the same clan as the reigning family.  Birgitta’s family was pious; her father went to confession every Friday and made long and arduous pilgrimages as far away as the Holy Land.2

Image of Birger Petersson & wife Ingeborg at their Uppsala Cathedral, Sweden, tombstone.4

“Birgitta’s mother died, leaving Birgitta, ten years old, Katharine, nine and a newborn baby boy, Israel.  The children were sent to their maternal aunt for further education and care.  It seems that as a young child, Birgitta had a dream-vision of The Man of Sorrows.  This dream was very vivid.  Birgitta asked Him who had done that to Him. His answer:  ‘All those who despise my love.’  The memory of this dream never left Birgitta and may have even left an indelible mark on her sub-conscious.  As was usual during the Middle Ages, Birgitta was married when she was 13 years old to a young man, Ulf Gudmarsson with whom she had eight children, four daughters and four sons, all of them survived infancy, and that was very rare at that time.2

“When the King of Sweden, Magnus Eriksson married Blanche of Namur, he asked his kinswoman, Birgitta to come and be Lady-in Waiting and to teach the young queen the language and customs of her new country.  After her years of service at Court, Birgitta and Ulf made the long pilgrimage to Santiago di Compostela.  On the return journey Ulf became dangerously ill in Arras.  Birgitta feared for his death and sat all night by his bed praying, and then a bishop appeared to her, promised that Ulf would recover and ‘God had great things for her to do.’  He told her that he was Denis, Patron of France.  Ulf recovered and was able to continue his work as Lagman in the province of Närke until early in the year 1344, when he was very ill so Birgitta took him to the monks at Alvastra where he died and was buried.  Birgitta remained in a little house near the abbey and she spent along hours in prayer by Ulf’s grave.  She said that she ‘loved him like my own body.’  She arranged her affairs among her children and various charities and prayed for guidance.  She was 41 years old and in the abbey at Alvastra God called her ‘be My Bride and My canal’.  He gave her the task of founding new religious order, mainly for women.  He said that the other orders had fallen into decay and this new order would be a vineyard whose wine would revivify the Church.  He showed her how her abbey church was to be built, gave directions concerning the clothing and prayers of the nuns, 60 in all, who needed priests as chaplains, 13 priests, 4 deacons and 8 lay brothers.  These two communities were to be ruled by an abbess, who was to represent the Blessed Virgin Mary together with the Apostles in the Upper Room in Jerusalem.

“King Magnus Eriksson donated a little palace and much land to the new monastery, but almost as soon she had begun altering the palace and organising the work, Christ appeared to her and asked her to go to Rome and wait there until she got the pope to return from France to Rome.  She was to be there during the Holy Year 1350.  Birgitta left Sweden at the end of 1349 never to return.  For the rest of her life she saw visions concerning the reform of the Church, messages to kings and popes and many other persons in high places, directing them to work for the Church.  It may be noted that Birgitta never wrote in the first person.  She always said the she carried a message from a very High Lord.  Although she had longed to become a nun, she never even saw the monastery in Vadstena.  In fact, nothing she set out to do was ever realised.  She never had the pope return to Rome permanently, she never managed to make peace between France and England, she never saw any nun in the habit that Christ had shown her, and she never returned to Sweden but died, worn out old lady far from home in July 1373.  She can be called the Patroness of Failures.  In this she was like her Lord.  He was also classed as failure as He hung on the Cross.  Birgitta was a successful failure as she was canonized in 1391.  Birgitta was the only women ever to found a religious Order, Ordo Sanctissimi Salvatoris.  It was never a double order but an order primarily for women with permanent chaplains, ruled by an abbess.  The brothers had as their head, not a prior but a Confessor General who was responsible for the spiritual business of both convents.

“The order spread swiftly throughout Europe with monasteries from Scandinavia right through Europe down to Italy.  In modern times is has expanded into five different, juridically independant branches; Spain 1629, Rome 1911, U.S.A. 1970, Mexico at the change of the century.  None of these foundations have brothers (except U.S.A. which has one male convent).  The last Birgittine father died in Altomünster 1863.  She is the patroness of Sweden.  Her feast day is July 23.”2

In first & second grades I attended a Catholic elementary school.  We were rewarded with holy cards (picture old baseball cards but with a saint’s image on one side and her or his bio on the other) &, medalions for particularly good work or behavior.  I kept mine in an old cigar box, lost after my mother’s death when I was yet in grade school.  Below, an image of a similar dime-sized medallion of St. Bridget of Sweden:

St. Bridget of Sweden medallion 5

My ancestral line to St. Bridget of Sweden runs from my maternal great-grandfather Carl Johan EILERTSEN Fjelse, on up like so: Ellert TOLLAKSEN Haugland (1806–after 1864), Tollak ERIKSEN Osen (1768–1852), Erik TOLLAKSEN Sporkland (1723–1811), Tollak JOHANNESSEN Sporkland (1689–before Sept. 7, 1763), Johannes TOLLAKSEN Sporkland (ca 1653–before June 10, 1742), Tollak SIGBJØRNSEN Sporkland ( –1685), Sigbjørn TOLLAKSEN Sandsmark (?–?), Tollak SIGBJØRNSEN Stordrange (before 1598–1658), Sigbjørn TORLAKSEN Drange (1530– ), Torlak GUNNERSEN Stordrange (ca 1500), Gunnar ASBJØRNSEN Tengs (1470–1546), Unknown forename (birth & death, Tengs, Egersund, Rogaland, Norway), Gunnbjørn TORDSEN Tengs ( –after 1486), Sir Tore GARDSEN Garå, Knight (ca 1400–ca 1454), Ramborg (ca 1360–ca 1408), Marta ULFSDTR Sweden (ca 1319–ca 1375), St. Bridget.6
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SOURCES
1 Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia,” “Bridget of Sweden,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridget_of_Sweden , accessed Feb., 2018.
2 Catholic.org, “St. Bridget of Sweden,” at http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=264 , accessed Feb., 2018.
3 “A lawspeaker or lawman (Swedish: lagman, Old Swedish: laghmaþer or laghman, Danish: lovsigemand, Norwegian: lagmann, Icelandic: lög(sögu)maður, Faroese: løgmaður, Finnish: laamanni) is a unique Scandinavian legal office. It has its basis in a common Germanic oral tradition, where wise people were asked to recite the law, but it was only in Scandinavia that the function evolved into an office. Two of the most famous lawspeakers are Snorri Sturluson and Þorgnýr the Lawspeaker.” — Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia,” “Lawspeaker,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawspeaker , accessed Feb., 2018.
4 Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia,” “Birger Persson (Finstaätten),” at https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birger_Persson_(Finsta%C3%A4tten)#Barn_med_Ingeborg_Bengtsdotter , accessed Feb., 2018.
5 CatholicSaintMedals.com, “St. Bridget of Sweden Tiny Charm – Sterling Silver (#84804),” https://www.catholicsaintmedals.com/St-Bridget-Charm-Sterling-Silver-84804.aspx , accessed Feb., 2018.
5 Genealogist Signe Elisabeth Zijdemans, Flekkefjord, Vest-Agder county, Norway, “Ahnentafel of Sally Marie Eilertsen Fjelse,” prepared Oct.  23, 2001; source, Norwegian bygdebøker; in possession of myself.
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in the census:  searching for kitchens

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52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, 2018; week 5 prompt:  In the Census.
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In the Census:  the first thing that pops into my head with that prompt is, In the Census there is TONS of data.  (Censuses are veritable gold mines for genealogists.)  But if you research ancestry, you already know that.  So, let’s see — rather than try to dig up things census-y that readers may not know, I’m going to tackle this prompt in a hands-on way.

Opening my Ancestry.com message box, an unread message pops up from a Gayle O. dated Jan 22, 2018:

“I am totally new to Ancestry, so am not really sure what I am doing yet, but I am looking for information on my grandfather, Elmer Elsworth Kitchen.  He was born in 1886 and died in 1937.  He was a resident of Clark County, IL.  He seems to be very much a mystery man.  I can’t find anyone in the family that can give me any information and he was never talked about that I can remember as a child.”

Okeydokey.  The name doesn’t ring a bell but, I look Elmer up in my database and see that my 1st cousin 3x removed Sarah E. FASIG (1869 USA–1956 Martinsville, Clark County, Illinois) married an “Elmer E. Kitchen,” and, he died in 1937.  But — they were married in 1886…  Could Gayle have her grandfather’s birthdate wrong, or, is her Elmer Ellsworth perhaps my Sarah & Elmer’s son??

I message her back,

“Gayle, is that 1886 birth date for certain?  Also, what was your grandmother’s / Elmer’s wife’s, name?”

Meanwhile, I search the 1900 U.S. Federal Census — closest census following an 1886 birth — in Clark County, Illinois, for “Elmer Ellsworth Kitchen,” born 1886 give or take 10 years, the widest berth given at Ancestry.com.  [Hint:  Search U.S. Federal Censuses for free at FamilySearch.org.]  The closest match is an Edward, age 12, so, born about 1888.  Nope; no go.  I next search under first initial “E.” only.  Same solitary Edward pull.  So I try a search of “E. Kitchen” with a birthdate of 1866, using again, a 10-year span, and up comes “Elmer E Kitchens” born Nov., 1866, wife “Sarah E.,” in Martinsville, Clark, Illinois.  (Using an 1876 birthdate gives me both of the previous two pulls.)

I feel just certain now, Gayle & I share the same Kitchens, but, I need more for “proof.”  Up pops another message reply from Gayle:

“I have Elmer born in 1866.  He was the son of George Kitchen and Emmaline Clark Kitchen.  He married Sarah Fasig on Feb. 7, 1892 in Toledo, IL.  Sarah’s parents were William…and Susanna Friedline Fasig.  Hope this helps!”

And of course, it does, as I now know that her Elmer is my Elmer.

Illinois State Marriage Records — free to search online — already told me that Elmer & Sarah married Feb. 7, 1892, in Coles County, Illinois1:  [Groom]KITCHEN, Elmer [Bride]FASIG, Sarah E. [Date]1892-02-07 [Volume](This field blank) [Page]80 [Lic No.](Also blank) [County]Coles.”  (I’m not even going to pause at Gayle’s “Toleda, Ohio” marriage place…  We have our man.)

Now:  what can we learn about this gentleman from censuses alone?

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census being the first after Elmer & Sarah marry, I decide to start with that.  The household is composed of:
Elmer E Kitchens . . age 33, born Nov 1866 in Illinois; occupation, farmer; his home, rented; his father’s birthplace, Ohio; mother’s, Indiana
Sarah E Kitchens . . age 30, born July 1869 Illinois
L
uther O Kitchens . .age 6 (Son) May 1894 Illinois
E
lsie A Kitchens . . . age 4 (Daughter) May 1896 Illinois
W
illiam Fasig . . . . . age 79 Apr 1821 Pennsylvania
M
ary S Fasig . . . . .  age 32 May 1868 Ohio; occupation, house keeper

1900 U.S. Federal Census, Illinois, Clark County, Elmer E Kitchens household

Seventy-nine-year-old William is Sarah’s widowed father.  Mary S. Fasig, one of Sarah’s three older sisters (although that middle initial “S” was mistranscribed:  it’s in actuality an “L,” and, I know from past research that it stands for, “Lucinda”).  Mary is single here.  All of the adults in the household can read & write.

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census is wonderful in that it gives the month of individuals’ births instead of just the estimated year.  (The year given is often off by one, but the month, rarely inaccurate in my experience.)  This census also tells us how many children a woman has had at that point and, how many of those are yet living. In Sarah’s case, she’s had three children; one has died.

Now let’s skip back to an earlier Census when Elmer lived yet with his parents:  1870.  The household is composed of:
George Kitchen . . . . age 32; born abt 1838 New Jersey; occupation, farmer
Emaline Kitchen . . . .age 27; abt 1843 Indiana; keeping house
Ellsworth Kitchen . . .age 4; abt 1866 Illinois
Clara Kitchen . . . . . .age 2; abt 1868 Illinois

1870 U.S. Federal Census, Illinois, Clark County, George Kitchen household

Living next door to George & Emaline is 59-year-old “Julia Kitchen;” five will get you ten she is George’s mother / Elmer’s paternal grandmother, and, the four other Kitchens in the household ranging in age from 16 to 36, George’s siblings, but, we won’t explore that here.  Just a note, though:  in the 1800s, one very commonly finds family households if not adjacent to, at least, quite close to one another.

While this is just a start on researching Elmer Ellsworth Kitchen(s), we’ve got quite a good picture already, from a mere two censuses — not bad…

Elmer Elsworth Kitchen’s & Sarah E. Fasig’s grave marker at Ridgelawn Cemetery, Martinsville, Clark County, Illinois2

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SOURCES
1 “Office of the Illinois Secretary of State,” “Departments,” “Illinois State Archives,” “Databases,” “Illinois Statewide Vital Records Databases,” “Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763–1900,” at http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/databases/marriage.html . CyberDriveIllinois.com:  love it.
2 FindAGrave.com, “Elmer Kitchen,” Memorial ID 22187985, at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/22187985 , accessed Feb., 2018.  Photo contributed to FindAGrave by Jeffrey Winnett.
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