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Frederick Vesper was my 3x great grandfather. He immigrated from Munden, Germany in 1846 at the age of 26, arriving at New Orleans. He settled in Canton, Missouri, where he farmed and lived the rest of his life.
Letter from Jacob Freyhofer, 1871
On February 22, 1871, Jacob Freyhofer, age 64, widower, from Randolph, Kansas, wrote a long letter to his adult children, probably Susan Hanning, back in Santa Claus, Indiana. Jacob was one of the earliest settlers to Riley County, Kansas along with several of his sons. Read more about the Freyhofers and Hannings here. Jacob is responding belatedly (for which he apologizes profusely) to their “happy and interesting letter” dated Jan. 16. He thanks them for…
Old Bill Wagner
Jacob William (later dubbed "Old Bill") was born in 1840 in Elleringhausen, Germany. At the age of 6, he and his family joined the waves of German immigrants after their friends in Quincy, Illinois, kept writing for them to come. Six-year-old William took his little sister Henrietta by the hand and led her up the gangplank onto the ship. She never forgot the smell of tar coming from the cordage coiled on deck. They had…
Ernest and Helen Thornton
Ernest Monroe Thornton was born in 1902 in Radford, Virginia. At a young age his father drowned and his mother died of pneumonia. Around the age of 20 he moved to Pittsburgh for a better life. Helen Lucille Strawser was born in Preston County, West Virginia. They met and married and started a family. Ernest worked as a watch repair and maker and the family appeared to be doing well in North Side, Pittsburgh, PA.…
We’re All Connected
It turns out that my half siblings and a close friend and his mother and my mother are all distant cousins, at least by marriage. It wasn’t some deep dark secret the family had kept hidden. I only just stumbled on it. Sometimes I think that instead of a tree, my family works better as a spirograph or vines that twist and tangle onto themselves as they grow in all directions. READ:
Do You Remember Quincy? by C. Arthur Fifer
I discovered Do You Remember Quincy, written in 1951 about Quincy, Illinois, where my Wagner side ancestors lived in the 1800s. I didn't find much of use for my research, but it's kind of interesting. Feel free to download. It's public domain.
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.
Early History of Snowville by Louise B. Allison
(Transcribed by Rhonda F. Smith 9/2000) DOWNLOAD scan of Early History of Snowville by Louise Allison PDF This appeared in the Pulaski County Genealogy Club newsletter in October 2000 In order to obtain materials relative to the founding and early development of Snowville, a survey of the community was made. In addition, letters were written to relatives of one-time Snowville residents to secure information about its early days, its residents and industrial enterprises. Various…
Coming to America – Weilers and Wagners
The Weiler/Wagner ancestors came to America from Germany and Switzerland between 1834 and 1891 during the mass immigration of Europeans. Some came as eager young teenagers leaving their parents and homeland behind, others were older with spouses and children seeking a better life for their family. They came without knowing the language or what they could expect. They settled the new land and farmed, smithed and used their talents to make a good life in…
FBI File of Reverend William Weiler
"The first World war put my convictions to the test. When it broke out I was the pastor in Santa Claus, Ind. I had five children, the oldest ten and the youngest one. My salary was $800. We had nothing else to fall back on. My future was at stake. My pacifist position aroused suspicion, misrepresentation and opposition, especially after the became involved. If I were to go into detail I could tell you a…