Archives for Weiler


My ancestors helped found Santa Claus, Indiana

by Diana Thornton My 3rd great grandmother, Susan (Aegerter) Freyhofer, was born in Switzerland on Christmas Day, 1805. She died 57 years later in Santa Claus, Indiana, a town she and her husband Jacob helped found. Susan and Jacob Freyhofer and their two young children immigrated to the US in 1834. They landed in New Orleans and made their way up the Mississippi River to Indiana where they received a land grant of 160 acres…
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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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Interesting Tidbits

Rev. Weiler’s Louisville church to become whiskey bar and Bob Dylan art gallery

In 1933 my great great grandfather Rev. Weiler, wife Addie Hanning and their last child Pearl moved to Louisville, Kentucky to serve the church at 604 East Market Street.  Cindy Ward sent me this article about the church being turned into a whiskey bar and Bob Dylan art gallery. Pretty sure Rev. Weiler would not approve of his pulpit becoming "the high church of bourbon." It was from this pulpit in 1937 that Rev. Weiler preached…
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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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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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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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Grandma Weiler’s Spinning Wheel

Reverend William Weiler wrote about his father's loom and his mother's "spinning outfit" which he brought back from Germany in 1908 when he visited home. Granddaughter Eleanor Wagner kept it and then gave it to me. My father learned the trade of a linen weaver, but switched over to farming after the machine looms were invented. I well remember the big loom he had in their bedroom and how he plied his trade it times…
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Audio Recordings

Interview with Louise Weiler

Back in the 1970s (I think) I interviewed my grandmother, Louise Adelaide Weiler about her childhood. I had caught the genealogy bug, and she and I were going through old photos and I was filling in the tree. I made this tape, which I have drawn from for various biographical information, especially in the epilog I compiled of the Autobiography of her father Rev. William Weiler. Here is the unedited recording (it's in two parts).…
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