Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Johann Jakob Schneider (1792 – 1871) and Eva Maria Haumann (abt 1802 - ?), my 4th great-grandparents

Climbing My Family Tree: Modern Map of German States
Modern Map of German States
Hesse is in blue & we are from the far south portion of Hesse
Map is n the public domain
Click to make bigger

As I explained earlier my second great grandparents were both Snyders.  I was told that both John and Katharine were from unrelated Schneider lines which originated in different areas of Germany. I now know each family immigrated to the United States (to Ohio) in different decades, but my research so far has shown both sides originated from the southern portion of Hessen, Germany.  I did a post on my second great-grandfather, John Snyder’s father, Johannes Schneider, earlier this year (See HERE), and I did Katharine’s parents last month (see HERE).

My 4th great grandfather  Johann Jakob Schneider, was born 1 October 1792, in Hohenstadten, in an area of Hesse-Darmstadt (pre-Germany) which stores its records in Reichenbach, Starkenburg, Hesse, Germany to Johann Georg Schneider (abt 1760 - ?) and Elisabetha Catharina Bauer (1765-1810). He was the second oldest of six children (that I know of): Johann Georg (1783-1867, m. Anna Maria Moesinger), my 4th great-grandfather Johann Jakob, Anna Margaretha (1798-1852, m. Johann Peter Keil), Johannes (1800-1858, m. Elisabetha Katharina Hoffmaenn), Anna Barbara (1802-1865, m. Johannes Gersich), Anna Katharina (1805-1827) and Johann Michael (1808-?).  Their mother died in 1810 when Jakob was 18, and his youngest brother was two years old.

When Jakob was 26, he married Eva Maria Haumann on December 6, 1818, in a Protestant church in Reichenbach, Starkenburg, Hesse-Darmstadt. The marriage record indicated that Jacob was 23 years old and his parents were Johann Georg Schneider and Elisabetha Katharina Bauer. His bride, Eva Maria, was 16 years old and her parents were Johannes Hausmann and Anna Elisabetha Heldman.

Climbing My Family Tree: Map of Hessen, Germany
Map of Hessen, Germany
Jakob and his family lived in the purple part.
Click to Make Bigger.

They had five children that I’ve found all born in the same area of Hessen-Darmstadt. There are long enough gaps in their birthdates that I wouldn’t be surprised if they had other children that I haven’t found yet. Their first daughter, Anna Maria, was born about a year after their marriage on 26 November 1819 and she was baptized in the church her parents married in, but she lived only a little over three years and died on 31 January 1823. Their next child, Eva Maria, was born a little over nine months later on 8 November 1823 in Gadernhein, Hessen (m. Johannes Allmann 20 Jan 1853 and dd. 17 Nov 1866.) Their third daughter, Elizabetha Katharina, was born three years later on 1 February 1826. My 3rd- great-grandfather, Johann Philip, was next, born on 10 January 1831 (his story is HERE). The youngest child, Johann Georg, was born 11 October 1837.

I haven’t found a marriage for their third daughter, Elizabetha Katharina, but I did find a daughter born to her in Hesse, on 24 January 1854, named after her mother, Eva Maria Schneider.

The Hessen Archives has an online database listing those who emigrated from Hesse; it indicates that Johann Jakob Schneider emigrated from Darmstadt in 1854 to America. Notes indicated that he was traveling with his children. It does not mention Jakob’s wife so I think she had died prior to the time the family left for America. I’ve looked through the Germans to America Indices, and through several passenger list websites, but haven’t yet find found any of the family (for certain) so I don’t know when they actually traveled to the U.S.A. or on which ship(s), or at which port(s) they arrived.

Many of the farmers and craftsmen and shopkeepers who came to America from the German States in the mid-1800’s were disturbed by the collapse of the Industrial Revolution in Germany, agricultural reform, overpopulation, crop failure (potatoes), a lack of land in their homeland to expand, and the collapse of the 1848 March revolution in the southwestern Germanic states.  Those farmers, fearing a loss of their land to government confiscation, opted to sell their land, ironically at higher rates than usual since the land was so scarce, and move to America where land was known to be cheaper and more abundant.  

Many Germanic immigrants had only limited financial resources and/or followed friends and family as they first moved into established rural settlements, and certain cities. The mid-west was the most popular American region for Germanic immigrants to settle in. Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio had similar climate and geographical conditions to that of Central Europe, making farming there more familiar to the Germanic settlers. This may explain why Jakob and his family ended up in northwest Ohio.

German Immigrants to North America (1853)
Click to Make Bigger

Climbing My Family Tree: Settlement Patterns of German Americans, based on the 2000 Census
Settlement Patterns of German Americans, based on the 2000 Census
Click to make bigger

While Jacob immigrated to America with most of his family, his daughter Eva Maria stayed in Hesse with her husband Johannes Allmann, who she had married on 20 Jan 1853. They had his first grandchild, Anna Elisabethe, on 29 Aug 1853. Sadly, she died on 24 July 1854. I don’t know whether Jakob was still there when his granddaughter died.  I don’t think he ever saw his daughter again after he emigrated.  She and her husband had two more children, sons Georg Phillip (I think she missed her brothers), born 16 Nov 1856 and Johann Peter, born 19 June 1861.  They would never have known their grandfather or maternal aunt and uncles.

I know that Jakob and his family were in Hancock County, Ohio, USA, by 1860, when he was 66, because they are listed in the 1860 Census, in Union Township. He had anglicized his name to Jacob Snider. Living with him are his daughter, Elisabeth (age 33), and her daughter Mary (age 6); his son, Philip (age 29) and his wife, Hannah (age 26), [my 3rd great-grandparents] and their first two children, Catherine (age 2) and Frederick Nicholas (listed as Nicholos, age 5/12) ; and his youngest son, George (age 22). The Census indicates that Jacob, Elisabeth, Philip, George, and Mary were born in Hesse, Germany; Hannah was born in Pennsylvania; and Catherine and Nicholos were born in Ohio. Jacob was working as a day laborer and Philip was a carpenter.  All the adults (over 20) could read and write.

The next year the Civil War erupted in their new country. German Americans who arrived in the 19th Century overwhelmingly fought for the Union, over 200,000 of them, while thousands of Germanic Americans who arrived in Pennsylvania earlier in the 18th Century and whose families migrated to North Carolina chose to fight for the Confederacy.

Climbing My Family Tree: Ohio Civil War Recruitment Poster
Ohio Civil War Recruitment Poster
Click to make bigger

Jacob’s youngest son, George, joined the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company A, as a private, under an act passed on April 27, 1861, for the defense of the state because Ohio was a border state and thus in danger of invasion. The 21st was ordered by General McClellan on July 3, 1861, to Ravenswood VA to reinforce other troops, and drove Confederates back at Ripley VA. On July 11, 1861, it became part of General Cox’s brigade and participated in the Battle of Scary Creek in West VA. George mustered out at the end of the first enlistment period, of the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, on 12 August 1861.

In the latter half of the 1860s, mail from home would have brought Jacob sad news. His sister Anna Barbara Gersich died on 4 June 1865.  Next, the daughter he had left behind, Eva Maria Allmann, died on 17 Nov 1866, leaving her two young sons motherless. Finally, his oldest brother, Johann Georg, died on 19 April 1867.

By 1870 Jacob, now 77, his sons, and Philip’s family had moved to Madison Township in Hancock County, Ohio, near the village of Arlington, about ten miles from the county seat, Findlay. (I lost his daughter Anna Katharina and her daughter Eva Maria after the 1860 census.) The family now spelled their last name “Snyder”. The property the family lived on belonged to Philip, now 39. He and his wife, Hannah, 35, had six children at home: Catherine (12), Nicholas (9), George (8), Elizabeth (5), Philip (2), and John (6/12, born in February).  Jacob’s youngest son, George (32) also lived in the household. Philip’s children Catherine, Nicholas, George, and Elizabeth attended school.  Philip was now a millwright and a farmer.  Jacob is listed as a retired farmer and George as a farmer.

Jacob died the next year, on 21 October 1871, at age 79.  He is buried in St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery, in Arlington, Hancock County, Ohio, USA. His gravestone bears a lengthy inscription, in German.

Grave of Jacob Schneider, in St. Paul's Cemetery, Van Buren Township, Hancock County OH
posted with permission of C.H. (I do not  own copyright & cannot give permission for its reuse.)
Click to make bigger.

My cousin Steve, who, thankfully, is fluent in modern and old German, translated the inscription on Jacob’s gravestone, for me,  from the above photograph, although part of it was obscured by a plant:  “Jacob Schneider born in Hohenstadten, Hessen Darmstadt Germany on the 1st of December 1792. In the year 1808 he became a soldier in the German Army and participated in the campaign against Napoleon the 1st. With his [illegible] he was awarded a medal by his [illegible] and in the year 18[illegible] on the 21st of December his life ended.”

It looks like there are quite a few clues on that gravestone (and would be more if that plant wasn’t there!), but it confused me more than it enlightened me. The inscription indicates that when Jacob was approximately 16 he was fighting with the German Army against Napoleon and got a medal for it.  I’ve been reading many synopses of the history of the Duchies/Landgraviates of Hessen in the process of writing my last several posts and I think I’m going to have to study a bit more in-depth to figure out how he fought against Napoleon in the German Army in 1808, since at that point in time most of the Hessen-Darmstadt troops were fighting with the French Army - on Napoleon’s side (1806-1813). It wasn’t until 1813 that Hesse-Darmstadt joined the allies (AustriaPrussiaRussia, the United KingdomPortugalSwedenSpain and several other German states) and fought on the side of the 6th Coalition against France & Napoleon, which succeeded in pushing France out of Germany in 1814.

Either Jacob’s surviving family misremembered the date he fought in the army, or he was in the army in 1808 but was fighting FOR Napoleon and the story morphed over time since Napoleon not only wasn’t the good guy, but he lost. Or it’s also possible Jacob joined the Prussian Army which had a part in the Peninsular War (initially Napoleon/the French Army and Spain vs. the Sixth Coalition for control of the Iberian Peninsula, 1807-1814, until in 1808 when France turned on its former ally, Spain, as well). I’ve been trying to figure out what medal Jacob was awarded as that might pin down where he fought and against whom but have had no success because I really need to know where he fought and against whom first to have a chance at finding more information on the medal.  

If anyone reading this has any suggestions that might help me solve the puzzle of who Jacob fought for in the Napoleonic Wars and what medal he received, or on what ship/when he immigrated to America, please

Hessen Baptismal records and Marriage records, Ancestry(.)com indexes;  1860  & 1870 U.S. Censuses; Hancock County, Ohio, Cemetery Inscription, Orange and Van Buren Townships, Hancock County Genealogical Society (1995); History of Hancock County [Ohio] from Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Together with Reminiscences of Pioneer Life, Incidents, Statistical Tables, and Biographical Sketches, by Daniel Barna Beardsley (Springfield, OH, Republic Printing Company. 1881.); History of Hancock County, Ohio, Containing a History of the County, Its Townships, Towns ... Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men, Biographies, History of the Northwest Territory, History of Ohio, Statistical and Miscellaneous Matter, Etc., by  (Chicago. Warner, Beers & Co. 1886.); (Source: M.d.I. Abl. 11, Konv. 58 II (Part.V) Film 12 No. 476);;;; ;;;

Monday, January 29, 2018

Johann Phillip Schneider (1831-1909) and Hannah Essinger (1834-1898), my 3rd great-grandparents

Climbing My Family Tree: Johann Philip Schneider (aka Philip Snyder) (1831-1909)
Johann Philip Schneider (aka Philip Snyder)
(given to me by R.M., my 1st cousin 1x removed - Thank you!)
Click to make bigger.

Johann Philip Schneider was born 10 Jan 1831 in Hessen-Darmstadt Germany to Johann Jakob Schneider and Eva Maria Hauman.  I’ll list his siblings in his parents’ entry, which is coming up shortly.

I’m not certain whether he moved to the United States at the same time his father did or at a different point as part of his family's immigration to the United States.  I do know that he had immigrated to the USA by 1856, because that’s the year he married Hannah Essinger, daughter of  Adam Essinger and Anna Catharina Simmermacher (their story HERE), on 11 September, in Hancock County Ohio. I also don’t know whether he was a naturalized citizen by the time he married. If he wasn’t, even though she was born in Pennsylvania in 1834, she would have lost her citizenship by marrying him because in the mid-1800s a woman’s citizenship was tied to that of her husband. She would retain her citizenship if he was a naturalized citizen when they married or regain it when he became a naturalized citizen.

Over the course of their marriage, Phillip and Hannah had nine children. Their eldest daughter Katherine M. was my 2nd great-grandmother (1857-1931); she married my second great-grandfather, John Snyder [his story HERE]).  Philip and Hannah’s other children were: Frederick Nicholas (1860-1936, m. Mary Ellen DuMond); George Snyder, (1862-1952, m. Elizabeth Hosafros); Elizabeth Snyder (1865-1955, m. William Patterson); Philip Snyder (10 February 1869-1898); John Harvey (1870-1952, m. Alice Bartchlett); Alexander W. (1873-1957, m. Sadie L. Hartman); Charles (1875-1957, m. Florence Fetters); and William H. (1878-1961, m. Rosetta F Brown). The family lived in a small village in Hancock County, Ohio, called Arlington, or in the surrounding Madison Township during the years in which the children were born.

After their marriage, at some point, the family anglicized their last name. Many immigrants did this to help them fit into their new country better. One of the most common ways to make a name sound more American was to simplify the pronunciation and spelling, and that seems to be what my family chose to do.  Sometimes immigrants used an anglicized version of their name publically but used their original name within the family. (The idea that names were changed at the port of entry – the Schneiders got here over 30 years before Ellis Island opened – is a myth.)

In their 1860 Census, the last name is listed as Snider.  Philip (age 29) and Hannah (age 26) and their first two children, Catherine (age 2) and Frederick Nicholas (listed as Nicholos, age 5/12), were living with Philip’s father Jacob (age 66), Philip’s older sister Elisabeth (age 33) and her daughter Mary (age 6), and Philip’s younger brother George (age 22) in Union Township, Hancock County, Ohio. The closest Post Office was Hassan, which no longer exists but the pin in the map in the next image will show you where it was, and thus give a general idea of where they were. The Census indicates that Jacob, Elisabeth, Philip, George, and Mary were born in Hesse, Germany; Hannah was born in Pennsylvania; and Catherine and Nicholos were born in Ohio. Jacob was working as a day laborer and Philip was a carpenter.  All the adults (over 20) could read and write. Philip had real estate valued at $750 (as a comparison, in today’s money that would be $21, 127.98). He is not shown as having personal property of any value. 

Climbing My Family Tree: Hassan Post Office in Hancock County Ohio
Site of the historical (no longer existing) Hassan Post Office in Hancock County Ohio
(credit to,ftc,3,fid,1990254,n,hassan%20post%20office.cfm)
Click to make bigger.

In 1869, Philip Snyder (note the change from Snider to Snyder) served on a Hancock County Court of Common Pleas Grand Jury, commencing April 6, 1869. 

In the 1870 Census the family name was Snyder as well.* They had moved to Madison Township in Hancock County, Ohio; the closest Post Office was in Arlington, a village in the south of Hancock County (see below), about ten miles from the county seat, Findlay. Philip (age 39) and Hannah (age 35) Snyder are living with six of their children: Catherine (12), Nicholas (9), George (8), Elizabeth (5), Philip (2), and John (6/12, born in February). Catherine, Nicholas, George, and Elizabeth attend school.  Also living with them is Philip’s father Jacob (77) and Philip’s younger brother, George (32). Philip is now a millwright and a farmer; he has real property worth $2000 and personal property worth $681 (value today: $35,995. 82 in real property and $12,256.58 in personal property). The census shows that Jacob, and Philip and his brother George were born in Germany, and states that all the children and their mother were born in Ohio (erroneously as to Hannah). Jacob is listed as a retired farmer, and George as a farmer; but neither of them shows any real property or personal property owned so perhaps they work on the family farm on land owned by Philip.

According to the 1870 non-population census schedule for farms, Philip had 40 acres of improved land and 40 acres of woodland. He valued the farm at $3000 (today $50,993) and the farm implements and machinery at $150 ($2,549). As of June 1, 1870, the farm had 5 horses (this was before tractors), 4 milk cows, 4 other cattle (not mules, asses, and oxen), 17 sheep, and 8 pigs – total value $431 (today $7,326). During the year ending June 1, 1870, the farm produced 125 bushels of winter wheat, 100 bushels of Indian corn, 130 bushels of oats, 60 pounds of wool, 300 pounds of butter,8 tons of hay, 10 gallons of molasses, and $172 worth of meat (today $2,923). The estimated total value of all the farm produce in that year was $630 (today $10,708).

Climbing My Family Tree: Map of Hancock County, Ohio with Arlington highlighted
Map of Hancock County, Ohio, with Arlington, highlighted
(CC BY-SA 3.0, )

Philip’s father Jacob died in 1871, and his brother George died in 1872, only 35 years old. Both are buried in St. Paul’s Cemetery in Van Buren Township, Hancock County.

The 1880 Census is the first one where we find Philip’s family alone, without any other relatives living with them. Philip (age 49) and Hannah (age 46) were living in Madison Township, Hancock County with seven of their children: George (18), Elisabeth (14), Philip (12), John (11), Alexander (8), Charles (5) and William (2), Philip Sr is listed as a farmer and his wife Hannah as keeping house. Sons George, Philip, and John are shown as ‘working on the farm’.  The census also indicates that Elisabeth, Philip Jr, John, and Alexander attended school during the year. It also indicates that the whole family can read and write. It lists both Philip sr and (erroneously) Hannah as having been born in Hesse-Darmstadt, and their children as being born in Ohio.

According to the 1880 non-population census schedule for farms, Philip owned his farm. It had 51 acres tilled, 4 acres of permanent meadows, and 25 acres of woodland. He estimated the value of his farm (including land and buildings) at $4900 (today $106,497); the value of his farm implements and machinery at $100 (today $2,173); and the value of his livestock at $349 (today $7,585). He showed no labor costs for the farm so it is likely that it was entirely a family endeavor. The estimated value of all farm productions (sold, consumed, or on hand) for 1879 was $734 (today $15,952). In 1879 he harvested 9 tons of hay. As of Jun1, 1880, the farm had 4 horses (which would have pulled the plows), 3 milch (milk) cows, no mules, asses or working oxen, but 6 “other” (your guess is as good as mine – maybe meat cattle?).  Under the section “Neat Cattle and their Products” he indicated in 1879 there were 3 calves born on the farm; he bought 4 cattle, he sold 4 living cattle and one slaughtered, and one had “died, strayed, or was stolen and not recovered”, and he made 300 pounds of butter. On hand on June 1, 1980, he had 12 sheep; one lamb had been born in 1879. He didn’t buy or sell any in 1879. In the Spring of 1880, he had shorn fleeces from eight sheep. On June 1, 1880, he had 27 pigs, 20 barnyard poultry and 14 “other” poultry (exclusive of spring hatching). Ninety-six eggs were produced in 1879. Also in 1879, the farm produced 1200 bushels of Indian corn on 24 acres; 125 bushels of oats on 4 acres; and 212 bushels of wheat on 18 acres. The farm also produced 4 gallons of molasses; 40 bushels of potatoes on ¾ of an acre of land; 125 bushels of apples from 4 acres of apple trees (he valued the 125 bushels at $25 [today $543]); and 40 cords of wood cut (valued at $40 [today $869]).

Climbing My Family Tree: The Plower, by Anton Mauve (1838 -1888)
The Plower, by Anton Mauve (1838 -1888)

In 1880, Arlington had a population of 126 people.  There was a post office, one wagon-and-carriage shop, one blacksmith shop, and a steam-powered saw and planing mill, a shoe shop, a pump factory, a tile factory, a dry goods store, and a grocery store. The local doctor also operated a drug store in addition to his medical practice. There were also two saloons.

In the early 1800’s stories of finding of natural gas in Pennsylvania and its adaptation to manufacturing purposes, as well as its adaptability to lighting and heating – prior to that, it was just considered a nuisance – brought to mind in Hancock County Ohio, an old gas discovered in the 1830’s in which gas was found when drilling for water. A local German doctor had always maintained that there was gas underlying this area. He convinced backers to fund an experimental drill at a location of his choosing, and on December 5, 1884, natural gas was discovered in Hancock county, at a depth of 1,092 feet in sufficient quantity to make a flame 30 feet high when ignited. The Great Karg Well was the 13th well (of 17) drilled in the county, and at that time the largest gas well in the world. It produced over 10,000,000 cubic feet of gas per day.  The gas pressure escaped with such ferocity that it roared like Niagara Falls and was initially so powerful it was impossible to contain it to pipe it off for fuel so that for safety’s sake the company capped it briefly while running a pipe across to the middle of the Blanchard River where it was then allowed to gush flame, boiling the river below. It burned with a 100ft high flame which was visible more than 30 miles away at night! It burned for four months! It was an exciting time to live in the county. Findlay became known as the "City of Light" and free fuel and light attracted many tourists as well as many industries.  By 1888, Findlay was one of the largest glass production centers in the country including eight window, two bottle, two chimney lamp, one light bulb, one novelty, and five tableware glass factories. (Later generations of my family include several glass artists, this might be why!)

Climbing My Family Tree: The Great Karg Well, 1886 Cabinet Card
The Great Karg Well, 1886 Cabinet Card
View from across the Blanchard River

By 1886, after the discovery of natural gas in Hancock county and the subsequent drilling boom,  the population of Arlington tripled to 400, and several businesses had been added to the village: two more grocers, a hardware store, a grist mill and elevator, two more steam saw mills, a boot and shoe store, a harness shop, another wagon shop, another blacksmith shop, an undertaker, a brickyard, two tile-yards, a good hotel and livery stable, two more doctors, two more saloons. Additionally, two churches had been built and a two-room schoolhouse. This is a huge amount of growth for only six years! (Likewise, the population of the county seat, Findlay, Ohio, nearly quadrupled from 4,600 to 18,000 in less than two years!)

In 1886, oil was discovered in Hancock County, and by 1887, there were 30 oil wells in the area too. In 1895 Ohio became America's leading oil-producing state. Ohio oil production peaked in 1896 at 24 million barrels, but Ohio continued as the leading oil state until 1902, when that title was taken by Oklahoma. By 1890, the gas production began to diminish.  But because the oil production continued, the industrial base that had grown up remained in the city, including the home base of the Marathon Oil Company.  

The crops and livestock produced by the County’s farmers also helped maintain a solid economic base for the county during the boom and after. In 1900, Hancock County had over 3200 farms and livestock production was at its peak. It was an extremely prosperous county. As environmental protection regulations largely did not yet exist, the county also had a lot of industrial pollution.

Hannah Essinger Snyder (1834-1898)
(given to me by R.M., my 1st cousin 1x removed - Thank you!)

Hannah Essinger Snyder died on 2 February, 1898; she was only 63. She is buried in St. Paul’s Cemetery in Van Buren Township. I don’t yet know why she died. I wonder whether it was related to the sudden industrialization of the County or to illness? That must have been a very tough year for Philip. Approximately a month after Hannah died, their son Philip also died, at age 29.

Two years after his wife’s death,  the 1900 census showed that Philip was 69 years old and living with his oldest daughter(Katherine, age 42) and her family in Findlay, Ohio, in a rented house. It listed his occupation as jeweler, but indicated that he had been unemployed for 12 months. His son-in-law, John, age 45, worked on Saw Mill Road, and his grandson Philip, age 17, listed his occupation as a motorman. The census showed that all members of the household can read, write, and speak English.

Two years later Philip again experienced tragedy when his 40-year-old son George died on 8 October 1902, and a year later when George’s three-year-old son died.

On 29 October, 1909, at age 78, Philip died of dropsy and acute nephritis (an inflammatory kidney infection with painful swelling of tissues caused by fluid retention); he was buried in St. Paul’s Cemetery in Arlington Ohio on October 31, 1909 (described on his death certificate as the “german cemetery”). His death certificate is in the name of Philip Snider, but on his gravestone his name is Philip Schneider.

Climbing My Family Tree: Death Certificate for Philip Snider
Death Certificate for Philip Snider

*Note: If you’re looking on Ancestry for these Snyders in the 1870 Census, the name under which the family is indexed is (very) wrong: Philip Snyder is indexed as “Mine Luyster”. I submitted a correction, so it should be searchable under the correct name soon. (I read every page of the 1870 Census in Hancock County Ohio until I found them - I just knew they had to be there!)

"Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898,", FamilySearch, Johann Philipp Schneider, 12 Jan 1831; FHL microfilm 1,195,077; U.S. Censuses for 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900, and the nonpopulation schedules for 1870 and 1880; Ohio birth records; Ohio death records;; History of Hancock County [Ohio] from Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Together with Reminiscences of Pioneer Life, Incidents, Statistical Tables, and Biographical Sketches, by Daniel Barna Beardsley (Springfield, OH, Republic Printing Company. 1881.); History of Hancock County, Ohio, Containing a History of the County, Its Townships, Towns ... Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men, Biographies, History of the Northwest Territory, History of Ohio, Statistical and Miscellaneous Matter, Etc., by  (Chicago. Warner, Beers & Co. 1886.); List of Jurors, Hancock Jeffersonian March 12, 1869 (Found at;,ftc,3,fid,1990254,n,hassan%20post%20office.cfm ;; ;  ; ; ;; ; “Natural Gas in Findlay”, The American Magazine, Volume 7 (The American Magazine Company 1888}.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Johann Adam Essinger (1796-1840) and Anna Marie Simmermacher (1799-1890), my fourth great-grandparents

Climbing My Family Tree: Modern Map of German States
Modern Map of German States
Hesse is in blue & we are from the far south portion of Hesse
Map is n the public domain
Click to make bigger

One of the complications I have discovered in trying to research my German ancestors is the traditional naming system called “rufnahmen”. By this custom, all children in the same family of the same sex shared the same first name, a favorite saint’s name given a baptism. They then went by secular middle name or rufnahmen which they were called by the rest of their life. About half of all German men were named after St. John for their Saint’s name; it was usually spelled Johann or Johan.  If a man’s “called by” name, or rufnahmen, was really John, it was spelled Johannes and no middle name was given. Similarly, most German women were named after St. Anna or St. Maria, such that the first name of all the women in any given family would be Anna or Maria. Once you figure out a given families’ chosen Saint it does help a bit in determining if a person in a specific record may belong to your family when you have a common last name, because they don’t seem to switch up Saints names mid-family.

Johann Adam Essinger was born the second son of Johann Heinrich Essinger (1766-1830) and Anna Elisabetha Kaffeberger on March 2, 1796, in Reichenbach Hesse-Darmstadt. His parents, Johann Heinrich Essinger and Anna Elisabetha Kaffeberger, were married on September 15, 1791, in Reichenbach, Starkenburg, Hesse-Darmstadt. Their children (or, at least the ones I’ve found) were: Johann Nicolaus Essinger (1792-1865, m. Anna Barbara Seeger); Johann Adam Essinger (1796-1840, m. Anna Marie Simmermacher); Johan Peter Essinger (1799-1866, m. Maria Margaretha Kindinger); and Johannes Essinger (1804-1866, m. Anna Elisabetha Kaffeberger).

The family was likely farmers as were most of the people in that area of the Odenwald, and most of the men would have served in the military at some point especially in the early 1800s in the Napoleonic wars. After the wars, the economy was bad and inflation was high, making it difficult for farmers to obtain more land to support growing families.

Climbing My Family Tree: Map of Hessen, Germany arrow points to Reichenbach (now Lautertal) area
Map of Hessen, Germany arrow points to Reichenbach (now Lautertal) area,
 where my 4th great-grandparents lived.
Map from:
Click to Make Bigger

I don’t know anything about Adam Essinger’s younger life. On May 9, 1830, he married Anna Catherina Simmermacher in a protestant church in Reichenbach, Starkenburg, Hesse-Darmstadt. He was 34 and she was 30.  The Germanic states in the 19th century imposed restrictions on marriage in an effort to control overpopulation in a poor economy, including requiring high minimum ages at marriage, and proof of having sufficient wealth or property, or a secure income, to be able to support children.  (These laws led to an increase in the number illegitimately born children, and an increase in emigration.)

According to Adam and Catharina’s marriage record, her father was Johann Wilhelm Simmermacher and her mother was Anna Elisabetha Boewer (but on Catharina’s birth record her mother is named Anna Elisabetha Loeber). Just a month after the wedding, Adam’s father’s died, on June 20, 1830. And, a month after that, on 20 July 1830, Adam and Anna’s first son, Johannes Essinger, was born. He was baptized in a protestant church in Reichenbach, Starkenburg, Hesse-Darmstadt – likely the same one his parents were married in.

 SHIP IN THE STORMY SEA, by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1887
in the public domain
Click to make bigger

In the area in which the Essingers lived, a group of some 150 friends and neighbors decided to move to America in 1931 for the possibility of a better future. I told the dramatic story of their travels and shipwreck HERE. Based on a partial remaining passenger list for the James Beacham (Famous Dove), Adam Essinger and his older brother Nicholas and their families were part of that group who emigrated to America.  However, it is also possible that Adam and his brother arrived in the U.S. at a later date, as there is a book which abstracts customs passenger lists of arrival for the Port of Baltimore from 1820 through 1834 that shows “Essinger, Ad. & Nic,” farmers from Germany arrived in the port on 30 Sep 1832; the ship’s name is not given.   I think that his two younger brothers’ families stayed behind in Hesse-Darmstadt. I don’t know whether his mother stayed behind or came with them to America; nor do I know what happened to Catherina’s parents.

Climbing My Family Tree: Map of Pennsylvania with Washington County highlighted
Map of Pennsylvania with Washington County highlighted
in the public domain
Click to make bigger

Adam and Catharina did not immediately move to Ohio. Their second child daughter, my 3rd great-grandmother, Hannah Essinger was born in Washington County PA on 25 December 1834. Washington County PA is just southwest of the county in which Pittsburgh PA is. Later that year, the family moved to Hancock County, Ohio.

The History of Hancock County, published in 1886, says, “Adam Essinger, Martin Funk and Napoleon B. Martz all came to the township in 1834. Mr. Essinger and his wife, Catherine, emigrated from Germany to Pennsylvania in 1832, then removed to Hancock County, with the families of his brother, Nicholas, Adam Gossman and Peter Pifer in the fall of 1834, locating on Section 14, where he soon afterward died. His widow and three children are residents of the township.”  A later entry on his brother Nicholas indicates the brothers’ families spent at least two years in Pennsylvania before moving to Ohio, as two of his brother’s children were born during their stay in Pennsylvania.

Climbing My Family Tree: Map of Ohio, Hancock County highlighted
Map of Ohio, Hancock County highlighted
In the public domain
Click to make bigger

At the time they moved there, it was not Madison Township as the township was first formed in 1840. It was still thick forest which had to be cleared before it could be farmed. The tall timber was made into a log cabin to house the family, chinked together with mud mortar to stave off the winter winds, it was heated by a fireplace at one end that was both heat source and kitchen stove. Furniture was also made from the cleared timber. After the trees were taken down, the land was further cleared by fire, to become fields for planting. The whole family would have participated in this work of clearing the land, and then farming it, with Catharina also maintaining the home: cooking over the fire, looking after the children, cleaning, drawing water from the well, making clothing, gardening for the kitchen.

Climbing My Family Tree: Map of Hancock County Townships,
Map of Hancock County Townships,
Madison Townsip is in the bottom row
 (Attribution By US Census, Ruhrfisch [GFDL (httpwww.gnu.orgcopyleftfdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http//:creativecommons.orglicensesby-sa3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
Click to make bigger

On February 18, 1840 Adam and Catherine’s last child, Nicholas Essinger was born in Hancock County Ohio. Unfortunately, he likely never really knew his father as Adam died less than eight months later on November 3, 1840, and, by some accounts, was the first person buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran church cemetery.

After Adam’s death, I lost Catherine for thirty years. In that time, her eldest son John married Catherine Goetzinger (1835-1923) on November 6, 1855, her daughter Hannah married my 3rd great grandfather Johann Phillip Schneider (1831-1909), and her youngest son Nicholas married Maria Katherina Wertenouger (1847-1933) on August 21, 1866.

I found her in the 1870 Census living with her son John (age 40) and his family (wife Catherine, age 25; daughter Catherine, age 12; daughter Mary, age 11; daughter Hannah, age 8; daughter Barbra, age 6; son Henry, age 4, and daughter Margaret, age 1). He is a farmer in Madison Township, Hancock County, Ohio; his farm is worth $2600 and he has personal property worth $1025 (not the highest in the neighborhood, but in today’s dollars the real property is worth $46,794 and the personal property is worth $18,447).  In 1880, she is still living with her son John and his family, on their farm, and they have three more kid:, Nicholas, age 8; Emma, age 4; and Charles, age 1 (this census doesn’t ask for property values this time).

Catherine died on January 23, 1890, before the next census was taken. She was laid to rest beside her husband in St. Paul’s cemetery in Jenera, Ohio.


German Genealogical Research, A Few Introductory Comments,;  18th Century German Naming Customs, ; Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Baltimore 1820-1834, from Customs Passenger Lists, General Editor Michael H Tepper, Transcribed by Elizabeth P Bentley (Genealogical Publishing Co. 1982), found at Ancestrycom; ; Demographic Behavior in the Past: A Study of Fourteen German Village Populations in the 18th and 19th centuries, by John E, Knodel (Cambridge University Press 1988); History of Hancock County. Ohio. Containing a History of the County, its Townships, Towns, Villages, Schools, Churches, Industries, Etc.; Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men; Biographies; History of the Northwest Territory: History of Ohio; Statistical and Miscellaneous Matter, Etc., Etc. Illustrated.  (Warner, Bees & Co., Chicago, 1886.); History of Hancock County, Ohio , Geographical and Statistical, by Jacob Spathe (B F Wade Printing Co, Toledo OH, 1903); Find-a-grave,;; 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Coming to America: Shipwreck!

Climbing My Family Tree: SHIP IN THE STORMY SEA, by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1887  (public domain)
 SHIP IN THE STORMY SEA, by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1887
 in the public domain
This is more of a community history post than a profile post, but my ancestors were part of that community, and it is a wonderful story. They are not name-players in this story, and I will later do separate posts on each of them, but a surviving partial passenger list for the James Beacham/Famous Dove includes my fourth great-grandfather, Johan Adam Essinger, and information received from a new cousin may place some of my Schneiders on this trip. I am posting the story now, so that my family (and maternal side cousins), the descendants of the shipwreck survivors, may recognize and honor the importance of September 17 in the fact that we exist.

My ancestors came from the southern part of Germany, in the Grand Duchy of Hesse Darmstadt. They lived in small villages in the wooded hills of the Odenwald, just east of the Rhine River. The Essingers came from Reichenbach and the Schneiders came from the Gadernheim; others on this journey also came those villages and from the villages of Lautern and Raidelbach. They all attended a small Lutheran Church on a hill in the village of Reichenbach. Most of the members of the church were farmers, some were smiths, and at least one owned and operated the local mill.

Detail of the portion of Hesse that was once Hesse-Darmstadt,
and home to those who emigrated to NW Ohio on the Famous Dove
Used with permission of R.M. (Click to make bigger)

First, a little bit about the history of Hesse-Darmstadt to understand the home of the people who eventually left it to move to northwestern Ohio.  In 1806, with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, Hesse-Darmstadt became part of Napoleon’s Confederation of the Rhine and became a Grand Duchy (had been a Landgraviate, a German principality headed by a Landgrave). Hesse-Darmstadt troops served with the French from 1806-1813, and then Hesse-Darmstadt joined the allies in 1813 and fought on the side of the Coalition against France, succeeding in pushing France out of Germany in 1814. Between 1813 and 1815 citizens and laborers supported the wars of liberation against the Napoleonic foreign rule, giving rise to a new German patriotism. On 30 May 1814, the Treaty of Paris declared the German States independent. Hesse-Darmstadt entered the German Confederation in 1815.

In the aftermath of nearly a decade of war, Hesse-Darmstadt’s economy was bad, inflation was high, and the Grand Duke had imposed high taxes to fund the rebuild of the country. Additionally, forced military service required that once a boy was 16, he had to serve three years in the service. All of these conditions caused the small farmers and craftsmen to look to emigrating from Germany. Emigrating to America was a popular choice because Germans who had already gone to America were writing letters home telling of the contrast in land values between Germany and America. America was painted as a bounteous land of opportunity while in Germany the cost of land was disproportionately high, making it difficult for the small farmer to acquire enough land to feed his family, let alone to pass down land to his sons in amounts that would allow each to survive. Ironically, that same issue made it easier for the small farmer to sell his farm in Hesse at a price that would enable him and his family to cross the sea to America and buy a larger farm which could support his family.

Used with permission of R.M.
(Click to make bigger)

In the Odenwald, in Hesse-Darmstadt, two men decided to organize a group of friends and neighbors to travel to America. One was Johan Tracht; the other was Johan Peter Arras. Between the two groups, there were at least 150 friends and neighbors leaving for a new life in America in 1831.  It must have been a difficult decision to leave. Most Germans in that time period, unless they had fought with the army, had never been further from home than the nearest village.  Those deciding to emigrate with Tracht and Arras knew that they were unlikely to see anyone they were leaving behind ever again. Moreover, not only were they leaving their homes, they had to leave behind or sell many of their possessions to move to this new unknown land. The first leg of their trip took them through Darmstadt and Kassel to Bremen, approximately 300 miles away. They arrived at Bremen sometime in July, and on July 29 they went to Bremen’s seaport. On July 31, 1831, they loaded their possessions onto two ships. One of these ships was the British ship, the James Beacham, sailing for Baltimore. The other ship was a Dutch ship which was sailing to New York. As the English ship was newer, everyone wanted to board it. The partial passenger list surviving shows that the Essingers managed to make it onto this ship. The James Beacham has been described as 118 feet long, 28 feet wide, and 20 feet high, with two masts and 24 sails. It was large enough to carry 7800 tons of cargo. I don’t have a description of the older ship or even its name.

At this time, when immigrants reserved passage on a ship, it was understood that they had to provide their own food for the entire trip. The history of the Trinity Lutheran Church, by Jon Rossman, includes an excerpt from a letter written by Johan Peter Arras that tells what some of these provisions were: “we needed potatoes, beans, peas, barley, rice, white flour, tea, sugar, coffee, the herring are very good, eggs, cheese, sausage, vinegar, wine, white and dark Zweiback, the white is tastier than the dark. We could take bread for 15 days also meat for 14 days, you salted some, or else it would sour and could not be eaten. The water was terrible. Pork kept better, it would not sour as fast.” They left port on August 1, 1831. The captain of the ship had told them that it this trip would take 32 days. During the course of the trip, the immigrants renamed the ship, the “Famous Dove” as a symbol of their hope and freedom.

However, there were some problems on the trip: they did not have any wind for 12 days and there were also a few days when the wind blew in the wrong direction; they were also hit by a couple of storms at sea. It also became apparent that the captain was inexperienced and often drunk. Also while they were at sea, two of the families lost a child (not my families). However, that wasn’t the worst part of the trip.
On their last day at sea, September 16, 1831, a strong gale came up near America and they were blown off course, losing both the mast and the rudder, and waves were washing the decks.  Off the coast of Virginia, east of Norfolk, just south of Cape Henry, the ship hit a sandbar which tore a large hole in the bottom of the ship. The ship quickly filled up with water. When the captain realized what was happening he ordered his crew to launch a lifeboat so they could escape, without the passengers. When the immigrants realized what was going on, one of the leaders, Johan Tracht, took seven guns he had brought to hunt with out of his trunk and armed himself and six other men. He gave orders to shoot anyone who attempted to abandon ship and thus persuaded the crew to stay aboard. Subsequently, in order to stop the ship from being tossed about by the storm, the brother of the other leader, Arras, ordered the men to cut down the mast so that the wind would not be able to catch in the sails and bounce the ship about on the waves. This helped, but the storm continued and the ship was quickly filling up with water and appeared that it would sink within a few hours. The people were afraid. The story then says that the 13-year-old Margaret Arras reminded the people of how Jesus quieted the waters of the sea of Galilee and saved his disciples; she said he would save them also. One of the sailors wanted to slap her for talking foolishly, but then she started to sing a hymn. All of the immigrants joined her in the singing and praying, and even some of the sailors. They vowed, “if we are saved, the 17th of each September shall be kept as a holy day by us and by our descendants, even unto the third and fourth generation.”

Climbing My Family Tree: Map of the coastline of Virginia, focusing on the Cape Henry area
Map of the coastline of Virginia, focusing on the Cape Henry area
(Click to make bigger)

When morning came,  the storm had stopped and when they looked out towards the West they discovered that they were only 100 yards from land, and people had gathered on land to help rescue them, including a number of the first black people they had ever seen. Lines were run to the wrecked ship and the opposite end fastened to trees on the shoreline, and the immigrants then made the trip to shore in small boats pulled along the cables. Families left the ship first and then the single men. Even though all of the people were saved, many of them lost some or all their possessions.  When they were all safe on shore, they gathered and thanked God for saving them from the storm.  I found the wreck reported in papers as far away as Washington DC and Yorkshire, England.

Climbing My Family Tree: The James Beacham Shipwreck,   as reported in The Washington National Intelligencer
The James Beacham Shipwreck, 16 Sep 1831,
as reported in The Washington National Intelligencer 23 Sep 1831 p3
Click to make bigger

Climbing My Family Tree: The James Beachem Shipwreck,  as reported in The Hull Packet and Humber Mercury (East Riding of Yorkshire, England),
The James Beachem Shipwreck 10 Sept 1931,
as reported in The Hull Packet and Humber Mercury (East Riding of Yorkshire, England), 18 Oct 1931, p 3
Found in British Newspaper Archive website
Click to make bigger

They initially set up camp in the Norfolk area as they needed some time to recover and plan. They still had a long way to go before they reach their planned new home in Ohio. They stayed in Norfolk until September 21, then they went to New York by boat and arrived on September 22. They stayed in New York one day and left for Baltimore on a steamship at on the 23rd. At that point, since they had lost many of their possessions, the people split up and decided that each family would have to earn its own way to Ohio. For a while, a number of the families settled in Maryland and in Washington County, PA, to earn the money to continue their journey. They were moving to undeveloped frontier lands so they would have to bring everything that they thought they would need to survive.  The first settlers from the Famous Dove arrived in Hancock County, Ohio, in 1834; It took approximately seven years for all of the families, except two, to arrive. 

The other ship carrying the rest of the community, being older, traveled more slowly, and missed being caught in the gale. It arrived at its port intact, with its passengers and cargo safe.

Oh, and that vow that was made on the sinking ship off the coast of Virginia? It has been kept by two congregations in Hancock County,  well beyond the promised third and fourth generations: Trinity Lutheran Church in Jenera, and St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran, in Van Buren Township, both of which were founded by some of the families from the Famous Dove. The first recorded shipwreck service was held on September 17, 1836. The 186th Shipwreck service will be held this Sunday, September 17, 2017, at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church. And, to my family, now that you know about it, you can add your own thanksgivings this Sunday, if you so wish, since, if they had drowned you wouldn’t be here!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Margaretha Pink (about 1825 – May 1890), my third great-grandmother

Map By NuclearVacuum (File:Location European nation states.svg) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Hancock County Ohio, USA
Map by By David Benbennick [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I don’t know enough about my third great-grandmother to write my normal profile on her. This post is to set out what I think I know so far, and indicate areas I need to explore later, more of a status report than a profile.

Shortly after I started with the family genealogy Mom gave me a hand-drawn Snyder family tree (her father’s side of the family) drawn out by someone prior to her – she wasn’t sure who – and some notes of her grandmother (Pearl Pauline Bailey Snyder) talking about her memories of her parents and grandparents and those of her husband, Phillip Snyder. I subsequently received another similar (not quite the same) copy of the hand-drawn tree from one of my Mom’s cousins. Those documents were my starting point in tracing back my Snyder lines. They have proved to be largely, but not entirely, accurate.  Two of the parts that turned out to be, I think, incorrect, are the names of my third great grandmothers on my two Snyder/Schneider lines.

Climbing My Family Tree: Snyder Tree that Mom gave me  (not entirely accurate)
Snyder Tree that Mom gave me (not entirely accurate)

My second great grandparents were John Snyder and Katharine (Kate) Snyder. My Great-grandmother’s notes say that the two Snyder families were not related. The family tree I was given indicates John’s parents were John and Hannah Snyder and Katharine’s parents were Philip and Anna Snyder.  My great-grandmother’s notes go on to say that “Phil’s mother’s name was Pinkstein. After she dropped the Stein they laughed about her having the name Pink. She may have been Jewish. Old Philip (her father) looked more Jewish than most Jews. This Philip was born in Dumstart, Germany. He was a school teacher in Findlay….” (It goes on from there but becomes quite confusing to me, so I’m not going there.)

As is obvious by the title of this piece, I believe great-grandma got her husband’s grandmother’s name wrong. I did start out my search for her using the name Hannah Pinkstein and Hannah Pink, but couldn’t find her, and using Hannah Schneider I couldn’t find a family with the correct children, let alone in some place that made sense.

I looked for any clues to her name when researching my second great-grandfather and his siblings, and I found that my second great-grandfather’s death certificate, in 1925, indicates that his mother’s last name was Pink, but didn’t give a first name. His sister Dena’s death certificate in 1928 indicated that her mother’s name was Margaret, no maiden name given. His brother Benjamin’s death certificate, in 1939, indicates that his mother’s name was Margaret Snyder. Then I found his sister Lizzie’s husband in a bio-sketch in The History of Wyandot County Ohio, published in 1884, it said “[George H Hines] was married on July 14, 1881, to Miss Lizzie Snider, daughter of John and Margaret (Pink) Snider, both born in Germany.”  While later, in Lizzie’s obituary, in 1937, it said she was, “the daughter of John and Malissa Penk Snyder…,” as the bio-sketch in the county history book was written while my third great-grandmother was alive, it is more likely to be accurate. Moreover, the information in the others’ death certificates corroborated the name Margaret Pink.

When I started looking for Margaret Snyder (Snider, Schneider, etc.)  instead of “Hannah” Snyder, I found the family, with the right kids, in the 1870 and 1880 censuses in Ohio, and I was able to find my second great-grandfather’s birth record, naming his mother as Margaretha Schneider. So I think that the passed down family clues were wrong in this instance and that Margaret/Margaretha Pink is the correct name. I’ve tried to look for Margaretha Pink in Germany, but, as I explained in my last two posts, I’m having problems with looking for genealogy information in Germany. I need to take a course in it, and in German, but I don’t have time right now. As I mentioned in my entry on Margaret’s husband John (here), I’ve been in conversation via Ancestry messaging with a man who told me that Margarethe was Johannes’ second wife and that his first wife, who had died, was Margarethe’s sister, and that both marriages occurred in Frankenhausen, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany. I’ve not been able to confirm or deny that yet (continuing to try). When I’ve searched for Margaretha in Germany, I found a lot of persons named Pink, so it’s not unreasonable to consider that Pink is her entire name, rather than Pinkstein. (There are Pinksteins as well, so I can’t rule it out)  I can’t find, yet, a Margaretha with a father named Phillip (?) or a husband named Johannes Schneider in Hesse in an appropriate time frame under either name.

The Hessen Archives has an online database listing those who emigrated from Hesse; it indicates that Johannes Schneider (Fethe-Peters) of Frankenhausen born in 1819, emigrated in 1863 with his wife Pink (citing “Source: sic. Mertz, Dr. Wendel: Heimatbuch Frankenhausen 1955, p. 29” – I’ve tried to find a copy of the book but no luck so far).  It confirms a marriage between Johannes Schneider and a woman surnamed Pink, but is problematic in that it shows them emigrating in 1863, 13 years after John indicated he did in the 1900 census (he said he arrived in 1850).  Their daughter Dena's obituary also stated that her parents came from Germany in 1850.

Margaretha and Johannes appear in the church records for the Second Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chambersburg PA in for the 1 February 1851 birth of a son, Jacob, who was baptized on 20 August 1851 – this is the first and last time I’ve found anything mentioning Jacob, and the 15 August 1854 birth of their son Johannes (later ‘John’), my second great-grandfather, who was baptized on 3 November 1854. Johannes’ and Margarethe’s daughter Dena was born on 28 July 1852, also in Pennsylvania (per her obituary) between those two, but is not recorded in the same church records.

Hancock County Ohio Townships (Delaware Township highlighted)
Map by US Census, Ruhrfisch [GFDL (httpwww.gnu.orgcopyleftfdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (httpcreativecommons.orglicensesby-sa3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Margaretha and Johannes had moved to Ohio by 1859: the 1870 census lists an eleven-year-old daughter, Margaret, born in Ohio (well, it says all the kids living at home were born in Ohio but I know that John and Dena were born in Pennsylvania). I haven’t been able to find the family in the 1860 census, anywhere. The 1870 census shows John (52) and Margaret (45) Snider living in Delaware Township in Hancock County, Ohio with their children: Dena (16); John (13); Margaret (11); Eliza (9); Ben (7); Charlie (5). It’s possible they moved there because they already had relatives or former neighbors there as there were a number of German immigrants from the Odenwald in the county (the Odenwald is a low mountain range in the German states of Hesse, Bavaria and Baden-W├╝rttemberg). A county land ownership map for 1879 showed John Snyder owned a farm in Wyandot County, across the street from that owned by their daughter Mary and her husband, Frederick Stumpp.

The 1880 census shows the family again living in Delaware Township in Hancock County (next door to Wyandot County). John was 63 and listed his trade as “Pump making”; Margaret was 55, and had ague, which was an old term for malaria, for the recurrent chills and fever.  It was prevalent near marshy swamplands where mosquitoes multiplied rapidly, and a large portion of northwest Ohio was very swampy until drained in the mid-to-late 19th century.

Also living at home in 1880, according to the census, were Lizza (19), Benjamin (17), and Charley (15). The non-population schedule of the 1880 census shows that John Snyder, sr. also owned a 124-acre farm in Delaware Township in Hancock County, Ohio, (92 acres tilled and 32 acres woodland),  worth $4500 for the land, $800 for the tools, and $600 in livestock.

Climbing My Family Tree: Detail of 1880 Federal Census showing Snider family in Delaware Township in Hancock County Ohio  (found at
Detail of 1880 Federal Census showing Snider family in Delaware Township in Hancock County Ohio
(found at

The 1890 census burned in storage in Washington DC, so we have no record from that year. But John’s 1907 obituary mentions Margaretha’s death, “Mrs. Snyder died 17 years ago last May,” which means she died in May 1890. I’ve not yet found any other confirmation of that.

Margaret and John’s children:

Mary, born 25 July 1850 (actually, if John did have a prior wife, I can’t be sure that Mary is Margaret’s child at this point); married Frederick Stump (1836-1880) on 30 May 1869 in Hancock County Ohio; had four children with Frederick – Benjamin F Stump (1872-1953), Frederick Grant Stump (1874 – 1953), Edward Stump (1876-1958), and Daisy Stump (1878-1884); after Frederick died, she married Daniel E Kachele (1860-1946) on 17 March 1881 in Wyandot County Ohio; she and Daniel had six children – Emmanuel Jacob Kachele (1882-1944), Anna Kachele (!884- ?), Margret Kachele (1888-1930), Daniel Ellsworth Kachele (1891-1974), and Esther Kachley (1896-1977); Mary died on 21 Jul 1926, twenty years before her husband Daniel died. (Mary’s story is HERE.)

Jacob, born 1 February 1851 in Chambersburg, PA. I don’t know anything more about him.

Dena E., born 28 July 1852 in Pennsylvania; married Amos (Amil) Buess (1846-1919) on 20 October 1875 in Wyandot County Ohio; they had nine children – Laura E Bues (1876-1895), Mary Ellen Bues (1878-1941), Albert Benjiman Buess (1881-1923), John Frederick Buess (1885-1977), Charles Amos Buess (1887-1972), Anna M Buess (1889-1965), Earl Oliver Buess (1891-1964), Louis Franklin Buess (1893-1970) and Harley Bues (1896-1896); Dena died nine years after her husband, on 28 August 1928.

John, born 15 August 1854 in Chambersburg PA; married Katharine M. Snyder (1857-1931) on 21 October 1875; they had four children – Mary Margaret (Mollie) Snyder (1876-1949), Dela Snyder (1879-1894), Philip Aaron Snyder (1882-1967, his story HERE), George Snyder (1884-1898); he died 3 November 1925. (John’s story is HERE.)

Margaret, born about 1859, (and probably died before 1884).

Elizabeth “Lizzie”, born 20 April 1961 in Ohio, married George Hines (1853-1911) on 14 July 1881 in Hancock County Ohio; they had seven children – Erma Maggie Hines (1881-1952), Cleveland Hines (1884 - ?), Maxie /Mack Hines (1889 - ?), Hallie/Hattie Hines (1896 - ?), and Geneva Ila Hines (1900-1984), there were two other sons who predeceased their father whose names and birthdates I do not know; Lizzie lived twenty-six years after her husband killed himself in 1911, and died on 6 June 1937.

Benjamin J, born 20 April 1863 in Ohio; married Ella Haner in 1885 in Wyandot County, Ohio; they had five children – Blanch May Snyder (1887 - ?), Erma Snyder (1890-1951), Flossie Merth Snyder (1893 - ?), Earl LeRoy Snyder (1897 – 1971), and Mabel Snyder (1898 - ?); he died on 16 April 1939, nine years before his wife’s death.

Charley, born about 1865 (and probably died after 1884 but before his father, John Snyder, died in 1907).

They may have had other children. A biography of their daughter Lizzie’s husband, George H. Hines, in The History of Wyandot County (published in 1884) says of his wife’s family: “He was married on July 14, 1881, to Miss Lizzie Snider, daughter of John and Margaret (Pink) Snider, both born in Germany. In this family were nine children, six now living, viz.: Mary, Lena, John, Lizzie, Bergaman and Charley. The deceased are Bellvy, George, and Margaret.” (I think that Lena was a misspelling of Dena, and that Bergaman should be Benjamin.)

I’m very interested in learning more about Margaretha’s life, especially anything before 1870, and anything as relates to her life in Germany. I’d also like to find out why she died in 1890. I’m curious as to whether it was related to the malaria she had in 1880. If anyone reading this knows anything more about my third great grandmother, please leave a comment below or email me at the address in my Contact Me page above (or both – leave me a comment saying you’re emailing me and to check my spam file just in case it doesn’t come directly through.)


The History of Wyandot County Ohio: Containing a History of the County; its Townships, Towns, Churches, Schools Etc., published January 1, 1884 by Leggett, Conaway & company (found at Google Play e-books) pages 845 and 846 (or, as scanned, pages 788 and 789). Buchstabe S, Glederung, R 21 B Auswander-Nachweise, Hesisches Staatsarchi Darmstadt, Hessen Archives (; Historic Hancock County – An Illustrated History  by Paulette Weiser (Historical Publishing Network, a division of Lammert Inc, San Antonio TX 2007), p. 25; Some Medical Terms Used in Old Records, ; Old Disease Names Frequently found on Death Certificates,; U.S. Federal Censuses for 1870, 1880, and 1900, and non-population schedule for 1880; Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records (; Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993 (