Archives for Indiana


Santa Claus, Indiana connections and events

I have found numerous connections to Santa Claus, Indiana. 1816-1830 Abraham Lincoln lived about four miles away as a boy on Pigeon Creek Farm (Santa Claus didn't exist yet). 1847 The Hannings settled there and helped found and name the town. 1852 The Freyhofers settled there from Seymour at the invitation of the Hannings. 1854 John Hanning cofounded the Santa Claus United Methodist Church 1858 Interesting connection between Rev. William Weiler and the Freyhofers: In 1855,…
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Santa Claus Methodist Church Historical Record 1899-1999

This is a scan of a document I borrowed from Connie Hanning Wagner in Santa Claus when I visited in November, 2015. My great grandfather Rev. William Weiler was sent there as minister between 1912 and 1917. He also married Addie Hanning, granddaughter of John Hanning, co-founder of the town and German Methodist church. I have extracted pertinent info to include in the narratives and records. 
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Henry Freyhofer, Civil War Soldier

The family history about Henry has always been brief – the record merely states he enlisted in the Union Army, went to Calhoun, Kentucky, contracted Typhoid Fever and died. But we had this wonderful and rare photo of him in uniform. It was assumed he never saw action, but thanks to the internet and the vast amount of published diaries and documents, I have been able to reconstruct a likely account of the hell he…
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Reverend William Weiler Autobiography

A fantastic taste of life in a small German peasant village in the late 1800's and the voyage to America, hand written by the flying parson himself. This is the autobiography of Reverend William Weiler, the father of my grandmother, Louise Adelaide Weiler Wagner. Rev. Weiler wrote it at the age of about 79, but he did not finish it, leaving off at the age of 15. I have transcribed it just as he wrote…
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Civil War

Hanning Freyhofer Story

One cannot tell the story of the Hannings without the Freyhofers. With scenes that could be straight out of a movie or an episode of Little House on the Prairie, our ancestors came looking for the American Dream and they found it in Indiana and Kansas, along with a few nightmares. Their stories are filled with indians, locusts, droughts, and buffalo hunts. The Freyhofers immigrated from Switzerland through New Orleans in 1834 and the Hannings…
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Christina Behringer Strebe

In 1891 my great grandfather William Weiler came to America from Germany at the age of 14. He went directly to Lafayette, Indiana to stay with his aunt Christina. This is excerpted from Reverend William Weiler's autobiography   Photos found on Ancestry - originally shared by Jodi Austin Christina (maiden name Behringer) was William’s mother’s next older sister who had come to the United States in 1873 at the age of 26. Her husband, Heinrich…
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Santa Claus, Indiana founded by John and Dora Hanning

My 3rd great grandparents John and Dora Hanning helped found the town of Santa Claus, Indiana in 1854. Half a century later my great great grandfather Rev. Weiler returned to Santa Claus having married John and Dora's grandaughter Addie Hanning to preach in the church there between 1912 and 1917. FUN FACT: Addie's grandmother, Susan Freyhofer, who moved to Santa Claus about the time it was founded, was born on December 25, 1805 (in Switzerland).…
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