Archives for WEILER / WAGNER


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…
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Are we related?

Are we related to Barack Obama?

The short answer is: sort of. President Barack Obama's maternal  GGGG grandfather Thomas L. Clark settled in Canton, Missouri around 1835. All of Thomas' 11 children were born there and they lived there at the same time our family (Surnames: Wagner, Eckert, Hetzler, Giegerich, Vesper). Obama's ggg grandfather Christopher Columbus Clark is buried in the same cemetery (Forest Grove) in Canton as our ancestors. By searching through the Canton newspaper, I found multiple connections that…
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Bill Russell

Til the Butcher Cut Him Down

This 1971 film by Philip Spalding was narrated by my great uncle Bill Russell. The film includes him talking about the musicians and himself, shows Preservation Hall, New Orleans, second lines, Ben Jaffee, and even Bill Russell's apartment with his massive collection. A superb study of the history and men who played New Orleans Jazz through the eyes of one of its greatest trumpet players: Punch Miller (died 1971). Kid Punch was renowned in New…
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Are we related?

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:
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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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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…
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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…
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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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