To a Historian
You who celebrate bygones,
Who have explored the outward, the surfaces of the races, the life
that has exhibited itself,
Who have treated of man as the creature of politics, aggregates,
rulers and priests,
I, habitan of the Alleghanies, treating of him as he is in himself
in his own rights,
Pressing the pulse of the life that has seldom exhibited itself,
(the great pride of man in himself,)
Chanter of Personality, outlining what is yet to be,
I project the history of the future.
-Walt Whitman

I have been researching my family history since high school. I have collected thousands of photos and have traced my lineage back dozens of generations.

This site contains chapters and articles I have compiled and written. They are chock full of photos and maps and history, along with links to the internet for google maps and even songs and videos. These are the stories – not just names and dates. I found as I wrote them that people I’d heard about came alive, and I was meeting people I never knew I was related to.

I have tried to illustrate their places in history, both good and bad. I tell of their accomplishments, resilience and courage in the light of their day, but I don’t ignore their darker sides regardless of how unsavory their role or how dark the deed. Changing norms and social evolution create a lens that must be acknowledged in order to see clearly into the past with wisdom and acceptance and without glorification or endorsement.

All charts and data are hosted on ancestry.com. Photos are hosted on my photo website. Please contact me to request the password gain access to the photos and trees.

THANK YOU to everyone through the years who has helped me, provided research, comments and photos. This is a family project, and I appreciate every bit of help.

I NEED YOUR HELP: Please visit the photo albums and help me identify/caption them. Anything that is missing or wrong anywhere, please let me know.

Feel free to comment on anything. All input is greatly appreciated.


Weiler/Wagner is my mother’s side.

The Wagners and Weilers came from Germany and Switzerland during the 1800s. They came from small villages, and were mostly farmers, shoemakers, school teachers and blacksmiths. Despite generations of history in the same place, they came to America for land and freedom. They settled in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana, and were pioneers in Kansas before it was even a state. Several fought in the Civil War on the Union side, fighting for the abolition of slavery. It’s a cross between Little House on the Prairie and Ken Burns’ Civil War.

Family names include:
Weiler, Wagner, Eckert, Geigerich, Hanning, Freyhofer, Vesper
Behringer, Eitermiller, Mahle, Aegeter, Nepper, Eberle, Roesner
Hoerer, Zobel, Goldsmith, Hetzler, Funkenbusch, Brose
and others


Thornton/Strawser is my father’s side.

The Thorntons and Strawsers came to America very early. They were Irish, English and German. Some were Quakers who came over with William Penn. One line may have even come over before the Mayflower! They lived for generations in the colonies of Virginia, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. They made their way down the Wilderness Road into the New River Valley. They fought the British in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, and served in the Civil War on both sides. Most were farmers and coal miners and laborers who were the backbone of the new country.

Family names include:
Thornton, Strawser, Elkins, Martin, Farmer
Graham, Larew, Knaggs, Boothe, Wolfe, Nine, O’Dell
Grimm, Bucklew, Lazalle, Shillingburg, Cunningham,
and others