remembering annie etter: april, sexual assault awareness month

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

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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in the census:  searching for kitchens

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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starting your family history research

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, 2018; week 1 prompt:  Start.
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When I first delved into researching my family history, I quite literally didn’t know where to start.  This was back in the 1990s when the internet was young and, before Ancestry.com became synonomous in the minds of millions, with,genealogy research…  (And, hint:  Ancestry.com?  But one source of many, folks.)

Even now, in this age of genealogy websites all over the internet; PBS’ Genealogy Roadshow; &, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., if I bring up genealogy research — my latest discoveries, a particularly neat find — I’m met frequently with, “That sounds so fascinating but I wouldn’t know where to begin…”

First step?  S t a r t.
Beginning is mostly
a, Just Do It, kind of thing.

Start with what, though?
What you already know and, have on hand.

YOUR BEST RESOURCES INCLUDE:

FAMILY PAPERS (see gold box above)  They truly are, gold.  Scrounge for all you can find.

I will add to this one, medical records of deceased family members.  Ones I unearthed revealed trivia I’d learn nowhere else…

ELDERS IN YOUR FAMILY  That’s right; the old coots.  The furthest-out-there generations still living that you can find.  They can provide facts and, wonderful anecdotal information & stories you just will not find elsewhere.  By the time I began my research, my mother & maternal grandparents were long dead; my paternal grands were deceased; and my father had the beginnings of dementia; etc.  That made for a harder road.  Talk to those people while they are yet alive!  (Take a page from Native American culture:  Value your elders.)

They drop like flies after a certain point. 😐  For heavens sake, interview them while you can.

When I began my family research in the 1990s, my mother’s siblings were gone; my father’s, also long gone.  I did however make brief contact with a paternal aunt, Geraldine (Geri) (McGinnis) Buckner — who abruptly died (old people simply do that; be fast) after we’d exchanged a couple of letters and were in process of arranging a visit.  This experience “learned me” in regard to older kin:  Waste no time!  And, Act with expedience!  Seriously.

But before she did leave this world, Aunt Geri told me an astounding fact:
I had a paternal first cousin I was completely unaware of!  (I have a mental image of myself circa, Hmmm, 1st or 2nd grades, standing in our living room asking my father, who was virtually 100% estranged from his family, “Does Aunt Nell have any kids?”  I can still “see” the both of us — center of the room, standing to one side of the staircase — my father sort of chewing his lips and frowning slightly before answering, “No, she doesn’t.”  Well, I learned from Aunt Geri that that was a blatant fib.)

“Oh yes,” Aunt Geri told me over the phone, she in Missouri, me way up in Wisconsin, “Nell had a baby daughter.  She lost her, looked and looked for her for years & years…  It was so sad.”

My aunt Nell, only sister of my father, had a daughter; “lost” her; and, my own father somehow didn’t know of this tragedy??  (Or, had purposely kept it from me?…  Why?)

Much digging turned up a near-made-for-tv-movie type story on this very-much-not-lost, yet, only-discovered-through-genealogy-research first cousin, but, that I will save for another blog post.  Suffice it to say, you will be surprised at some of what you find in your ancestral attic.

ONLINE MESSAGE BOARDS  Without these?!  I might not have learned (so soon, anyway) that among my 6th great-granduncles is an infamous cryptid 😮 known as “the Jersey Devil.”

Third cousin once removed Larry G. Greger (1944–2007 Illinois), whom I met online in a message board and learned more of my Greger-side ancestry from than anyone or any place else since — Larry was one of those walking encyclopedia types where family history was concerned — turned me on to this fact.  (It so alarmed me when first I heard it that I would not hear, or, even peek at anything regarding it for over a year.  “Don’t start, Larry,” I would say if he tried to bring it up. 😀 )

MY ALLEGED 6TH GREAT GRANDUNCLE & LEGENDARY CRYPTID, THE JERSEY DEVIL2

This alleged offspring of my 7th Great-Grandparents Japheth Leeds, Sr. (circa 1682-’88 New Jersey–abt Feb. 5, 1735-’36 New Jersey), & Deborah Smith (abt 1685–1748 New Jersey), per the The New Jersey Historical Society, is generally traced back to my very own 7th Great-Grandmum Deborah, “who emigrated from England in the 1700s to marry a Mr. Leeds [Grampa Japheth].  The Leeds family lived in the area of the NJ Pine Barrens…  Mrs. Leeds had given birth to 12 children and was about to give birth to her 13th.  The story goes that Mrs. Leeds invoked the devil during a very difficult and painful labor and that when the baby was born, it either immediately, or very afterwards, (depending on the version of the story), grew into a full-grown devil and escaped from the house.”  Other versions of the story give variations on this account, one being that the child was born “a monster,” i.e. deformed.  “It may be that indeed Mrs. Leeds gave birth to a child with a birth defect and given the superstitions of the period, the legend of the Jersey Devil was born.  People in the 1700s still believed in witchcraft and many people of the period felt a deformed child was a child of the devil or that the deformity was a sign that the child had been cursed by God.”1

Nevertheless, “In the last 200 years or so, there have been a number of ‘sightings’ and the hearing of eerie noises/wails in the forests which have been attributed to the Jersey Devil,…”  Poor uncle. :-/  (And poor Grandmama Deborah, to go down in history so “memorably?” :-/ )1

Over the years, “People have found ‘strange’ tracks and attributed them to the Jersey Devil. One instance of such tracks was reported, (along with loud shrieks), near May’s Landing in 1960. Also in 1960, merchants in Camden offered a $10,000 reward for the capture of the Jersey Devil. They said they would build a private zoo to display the creature if anyone could capture it. The reward is unclaimed.”1

SNAIL-, E-MAIL & PHONE CONVERSATIONS WITH KIN MET ONLINE  Just invaluable.  Absolutely invaluable.

Multiple cousins from Clark & Crawford Counties, Illinois, have provided me so much background on the huge number of my Buckner kin in those areas:  from photos to anecdotal data to history to you-name-it.  From one of them I first learned of my paternal grandfather Jesse Grant (Grant) Buckner’s (1882 Illinois–1941 Missouri) orphan background, along with that of his siblings after their mother’s sudden & unexpected death.

I first learned the following factoid regarding my paternal grandfather, Jesse (Grant) Buckner and, his parents/my great-grands, from several Clark & Crawford County, Illinois, cousins met online:

…Richard and Mary Elizabeth Buckner were living on their farm between West Union and Martinsville in Clark County, Illinois…  The mother, Mary Elizabeth, became ill while visiting friends on a nearby farm on Dec. 20, 1886, and died on December 24.  [Christmas Eve.  Can you imagine?]  Dora and Lula [ages 13, &, six at the time] were taken to the home of [their maternal grandparents] Christian and Catharine Fasig.  The boys [Perry Comodore, age 11; William Frederick (Fred), age nine; Grant, age four; & Edward D. (Eddie), age two & 10 months], except Homer [six months], were taken to a soldiers orphanage at Normal, Illinois, where Edward died at the age of two.  Edward’s grave has never been located.  Homer was taken by the family of Jacob Serwise.  …”

Major genealogy data!

HISTORICAL SOCIETIES  Even teeny small ones.
&
MUSEUMS  Yes, museums.  A recreational drive in the Wisconsin countryside in 2001 took me into Mt. Horeb and into the Mt. Horeb Area Museum, such a little-bitty hole-in-the-wall at the time that I almost missed the entrance.

What did I see sitting on the counter in the museum gift shop but, the bright red cover of a Mt. Horeb-Presettlement to 1986 book.

Now, while I did know that Grandunk Dr. Homer Buckner supposedly lived & had a clinic at one time somewhere around Dodgeville or Mt. Horeb, that was the extent of my knowledge.  But serendipity led me to pick up the book; turn to the index; and look for, Buckner.  I was floored to read:

“On November 4, 1918, five Mt. Horeb businessmen went to Prairie du Sack to induce Dr. Homer M Buckner to set up an office here [in Mt. Horeb].  The prospect of having an operating room was a proposition he could not resist.  Dr. and Mrs. (Marie) Buckner arrived in Mt. Horeb on Armistice Day, 1918.  He used St. Olaf Hospital to perform many surgeries until December 1921, when he purchased the spacious three story residence at 408 East Main Street, built by Onon B. Dahle in 1895.3

“In 1922, he opened a 22 bed hospital with offices…on the first floor.  …3

“….H. M. Buckner…retained several of the elegant rooms on the first floor for living quarters for himself and his new bride, Marie Pierstoff.  His skill as a surgeon gave him a large practice and he performed major surgery as well as countless tonsillectomies, which were almost routine during that period for children with sore throats.  One pleasure that usually followed the tonsillectomy was that the patient got a malted milk, for it soothed the throat as it provided nourishment.  …3

“In 1939, the Industrial Commission complained that the hospital was not sufficiently fireproof and early in 1940 informed Dr. Buckner it could no longer function as a hospital.  Dr. Judson A Forman purchased the property for an office and consultation rooms.  Dr. Buckner moved May 1, 1940, to Dodgeville where there were hospital facilities.  …3

“….[Dodgeville’s] larger hospitals provided better facilities for his surgery.  He became especially adept at removing gall bladders.  Many of his Mt. Horeb patients continued to seek his services after the move.”3

The museum even had glassed-in “reproductions” of what his offices looked like at the time.

CENSUSES  Census images reveal more than just names.  Value of property owned; educational level; year of immigration; year of marriage:  different census years offer a variety of information.

OLD BOOKS  Googling turns up all sorts of things.

AND MANY, MANY, MORE  Imagination helps.  (Never give up.).
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SOURCES
The New Jersey Historical Society, at http://jerseyhistory.org/legend_jerseydevil.html , accessed Jan., 2018.
2 PHOTO, the Jersey Devil:  public domain.
3 Mt. Horeb-Presettlement to 1986, Mt. Horeb (WI) Area Museum* gift shop; pages 47 & 121; 1986 softcover edition; purchased fall, 2001.  *[Now called the Driftless Historium; website, http://www.mthorebhistory.org/driftless-historium.html .]
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master weaver william m. fasig (52 ancestors #9)

Week 9 (Feb 26-March 4):  “Close To Home”
————————————————————————–

Home being where the heart is, my choice for this blog post had to be, my 3rd great-grandfather, weaver extraordinaire in this 3rd great-grandchild’s eyes, William M. FASIG (Mar. 13, 1801 Lebanon Co., PA-May 30, 1885 Martinsville, Clark Co., IL; buried Ridgelawn — aka Fasig-Kettering — Cemetery, Martinsville, Clark Co., IL).

FRAME-LOOM WEAVING DONE BY BLOG AUTHOR AT UNIVERSITY (ca 1978).

The frame- and loom-weaving course I took as an elective at university ranks among the most pleasurable memories of my past, and the connection I felt to William was immediate when in later years I “discovered” him as an ancestor. William also farmed & worked as a bricklayer, but it’s his beautiful work as a weaver that makes him special to me.

Years ago the Peoria, Illinois, Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences had an exhibit of IL coverlet weavers’ work which included coverlets woven by both William M., and, his son-in-law, Christian FASIG.  The 1999, “Illinois Jacquard Coverlets and Weavers: End of a Legacy,” by Nancy Iona Glick & Katherine A. Molumby, documents the exhibition, a blurb on the book at Amazon.com reading:

“Eighteen Illinois weavers produced figured and, figured & fancy coverlets from 1841 until after 1871.  Most, if not all, were working on looms with Jacquard attachments.  By the 1840s coverlet weaving had become competitive in areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio that were already saturated with skilled weavers; the craft also faced increasing competition from industrialization.  Illinois, in comparison, was much less densely populated, with unclaimed land and virtually no professional weavers producing fancy goods.  Less competition for the marketing of coverlets was probably viewed as an attractive prospect for Eastern weavers considering the move westward to the frontier.  This exhibition catalog includes essays, biographies of the weavers, a bibliography, and a checklist of documented Illinois coverlets.”[1]

1858: MY FAVORITE JACQUARD COVERLET BY WM. M. FASIG — I LOVE THE BLUE & WHITE. This photo found by me at a “Holiday.net Online Store;” the 91″x80″ coverlet sold for $456… (Breaks my heart; I hope the owner appreciates what they have!)

A search for some of the Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences exhibit images for inclusion in this blog post led me to a Wikipedia article revealing that the Lakeview Museum closed in September 2012[2], shortly before the Peoria Riverfront Museum opened in downtown Peoria.  Although the Peoria Riverfront Museum website hints that it may now contain Lakeview Museum‘s collection — under “Midwest Folk Art,” the Peoria site reads, “All 18 weavers who produced figured & fancy Jacquard coverlets in Illinois between 1841 and 1871 are represented by the 43 examples in the Lakeview Museum collection.”[3] — the website doesn’t include the 18’s names or, photos of their work, so, I can’t say for certain…

As the Peoria Riverfront Museum notes, “Most of [the IL weavers of Jacquard coverlets in their collection] wove coverlets to order during the winter months when farming activities slowed down, although a few worked at their looms year-round as their primary occupation.”[3]

What’s the big deal about woven coverlets?, you may ask, but then, that tells me right off that you’re not a textile enthusiast, not particularly into “folk art,” &/or, definitely have not done any loom weaving yourself, 😉 as, loom weaving, particularly jacquard, involves a huge amount of skill, work, & artistry!

JACQUARD COVERLET BY WILLIAM M. FASIG.

I’ll let the Bedford, PA, National Museum of the American Coverlet, “the first independent, year-round institution devoted to American woven coverlets,” have a voice here:

            “Coverlets are woven bedcovers, used as the topmost covering on a bed. The weaver worked on a loom to construct the textile itself one row at a time, and the pattern was woven in as part of the process.”

            “The two main types [of coverlets] are…geometric and, figured & fancy. The pattern motifs in geometrics are based on circles and squares,” while the patterns in figured & fancy coverlets are curvilinear & realistic and can include floral, animal, architectural and other motifs.

SIGNATURE CORNER OF 1847 JACQUARD COVERLET BY WM. M. FASIG.

“These are the coverlets that most often contain inscriptions. Inscriptions can include the weaver’s name,…location, the year…made, the name of the person it was made for, and sometimes a slogan… Figured & fancy coverlets were virtually all made by professional weavers – men.”

            “Coverlets were generally made of wool and cotton, although some are all wool. The wool was usually hand-spun and dyed with natural dyes. The cotton was most often machine-spun and left undyed.”

            “Coverlets are reversible… That is why, when a coverlet has an inscription, it is almost always woven in backwards and forwards, to enable [it to be] read it on both sides…

            “Because most looms were narrow, coverlets were often made of two woven panels joined with a center seam. Many geometric coverlets [are] three panels joined. That is to say, the weaver had to weave the entire length of the coverlet twice, or three times, and hand sew them together next to each other in order to create a textile that was wide enough to cover the bed!”[4]

Great-Grandpa Wm. M. FASIG’s obituary, newspaper unknown to me, gives such a succinct yet broad picture of his life that I see no need to repeat the data in it in my own words–

          “Mr. William FASIG, or ‘Uncle Billy’ as he is called died on Friday morning Last. He had been ailing for a few days, but the chief cause of his death was old age. He had long looked for the hour when he would be released from the cares of this life, he often spoke of the time and said he was ready to depart to the joys of that realm whence no travelers returns. Uncle Billy was 84 years of age on March 18th the last – therefore in his 85th.

          “He was a native of Pennsylvania was married there in 1822 to Elizabeth HIBSCHMAN [daughter of Henry / Heinrich HIBSCHMAN (c 1778 PA-c 1823 PA) & Elizabeth KUMLER (1779 Berks Co., PA- ), 3rd- & 2nd-generation Swiss immigrants respectively] and emigrated to the State of Ohio in 1834, lived in that state several years, then emigrated to Missouri, but not liking it on account of it being a slave state, they came to Martinsville [IL] in 1847 where he was lived ever since. He was a brick-layer by trade. Samples of his work can be seen in the Odd Fellows Hall, the E. H. Vaughn building and the old part of the brick hotel.

          “His companion died three years ago. He was the father of 12 children, but three survive him, 1 son and two daughters, S.A. FASIG, and Mrs. Chris FASIG of our village and Mrs. EDMUNDS of Charleston, who were all present to see him laid beside his departed companion in the Kettering Cemetery. Mr. FASIG was a man loved by every one for his good kind and sociable nature. He was a devoted Christian almost all of his life, never departing from the path of right, no matter what misfortunes ever took him.

          “He died at the residence of his oldest daughter, Mrs. Chris FASIG. The funeral took place at 10 a.m. and was very largely attended, nearly every one in the village and the immediate vicinity joining to pay the last tribute of respect to the departed patriarch. Services were conducted by Elder BERNARD, assisted by elders HART and JONES.

          “— Unintentionally emitted form the above – after 1847, they resided on what is now known as the KETTERING farm, till 1861, when Mr. FASIG gave up farming and moved with his family to town where he has lived ever since.”[5]

WILLIAM M. FASIG

William M. is the son of 2nd-generation German immigrant Dewalt Throbalt / Theobald FEASIG / FESSIG / FORSIG (1771 Berks Co., PA-1841 Lebanon Co., PA), among other variations of his name, & Catharina PETRI (1770 PA-1843 Lebanon Co., PA).  (Both Dewalt & Catharina were buried originally in PA, but descendant William WATSON, locating their graves in the late 1970s or early ’80s in an “abandoned graveyard…located in a weed-grown, dilapidated trailer court,” removed the stones and brought them back with him to La Porte [IN], later taking them to Martinsville [IL], “where the two sons had homesteaded long before the Civil war, coming here by covered wagon” and relocating them “in the old section of Ridgelawn Cemetery, next to the grave of one of the pioneering sons who came here in 1847.”[5])

ELIZABETH (HIBSCHMAN) FASIG

I’ve only determined two “for sure” siblings to-date of William’s, an older brother Daniel, and, a younger sister Susanna.

My own descent is from William & Elizabeth (HIBSCHMAN) FASIG’s (Aug. 23, 1803 Schaefferstown, Lebanon Co., PA-Dec. 4, 1882 Martinsville, Clark Co., IL; Ridgelawn Cemetery) daughter Catharine (1826 PA-1915 IL), who married, Yes, her first cousin — one of those Genealogy Research Surprises; a story for another blog post… 🙂 — Christian FASIG (1825 PA-1901 IL).

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ENDNOTES

1 Amazon.com, at http://www.amazon.com/Illinois-jacquard-coverlets-weavers-legacy/dp/B0006R8SXI/ref=sr_1_1/181-4268098-9993741?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394884198&sr=1-1&keywords= , accessed Mar., 2015.

2 Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia,” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakeview_Museum_of_Arts_and_Sciences , accessed Mar., 2015.

3 Peoria Riverfront Museum website, at http://www.peoriariverfrontmuseum.org/exhibits-collections/permanent-collections/midwest-folk-art , accessed Mar., 2015.

4 The National Museum of the American Coverlet, at http://www.coverletmuseum.org/coverlet.htm , accessed Mar., 2015.

5 “The Sons of Dewalt Fasig,” RootsWeb genealogy database of FASIG descendant Minga STIVERS, at http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=dewaltfasig&id=I0017 , accessed Mar., 2015.

IMAGES of William M. & Elizabeth:  My thanks to Denise DUFFY-WEAVER for (i.) the original from which this badly-cropped miniature of Wm. was swiped by someone and now floods the web :-/ ; &, (ii.) the also badly-cropped miniature of Elizabeth’s larger portrait (the originals of both of which live for now on a crashed hard drive in a corner of my clothes closet). :-\

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