Category Archives: Hunkler

Census Sunday – 1900: Where Was I?

ImageGenealogy puts one in direct connection with times and places long gone. It can be interesting to look back and imagine oneself in a generation other than the current one.  Where would I have been in, say, 1900?

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None of my grandparents were alive yet in 1900; Grandpa Montgomery would be born the following year. His parents, Charles William and Laura Maud (Walker) Montgomery, were living in Holdrege, Nebraska (Grandpa’s birthplace) that year, with their other six children: Myrtle, Mamie, Bessie, Alta, Walter, and John (Ward). Charles was working as a butcher and was 39 years old; Laura, 37.  The children were 16, 13, 11, 10, 2, and 7 months old. Charles and Laura had been married for 17 years.

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Carl Wilson, father of Grandma Montgomery, turned 15 in 1900. In that year’s census he appears in Lincoln, Nebraska, a boarder and farm laborer in the home of Jonas and Maggie Misler (maybe…the handwriting is difficult to decipher).

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It would be seven years before Carl would marry Sophie Roberg. Three years his senior, Sophie was also “working out” in 1900. She can be found in Shell Creek, Nebraska, a housekeeper in the household of Mons Knudson, a 43-year-old widower with six children between the ages of fourteen and two. His mother, 76 years old, lived in the household as well.

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Paul Hoffmann, Grandpa Hoffmann’s father, was 22 years old in 1900, the eldest child still living at home on the farm in Fountain Creek, Illinois; he would marry two years later. Paul and his parents, Jacob (age 63) and Christine (age 50), are listed as having emigrated to America in 1883. Christine had given birth to 7 children, of whom 6 were still living. In addition to Paul, those still at home were Andrew, 16; Maggie, 11; Sammie, 8; and Louisa, 6. Paul and Andrew have “farm laborer” listed as their occupation; the other children were attending school.

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Paul’s future wife, Emma Slagel, was 20 years old and living at home with her parents in Indian Grove Township, Livingston County, Illinois. Samuel Slagel, then 50, and Mary, 45, had been married for 24 years. Mary had given birth to 4 children, three still living (and all at home): Emma, along with brothers Daniel (22) and Joseph (18). Also living with them was Mary’s niece, Lena Demler, twelve years old.

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In 1900, Grandma Hoffmann’s father was still using the old German spelling of his name. He appears as “Albert C Schwing,” in Ash Grove, Iroquois County, Illinois. Another farming family, his parents were Albert, Sr., age 40, and “Kathrine,” age 38. They had been married for 16 years, and Catherine had given birth to 10 children, all still living, and all still at home: Martha, 15; Charles, 14; Lena, 12; Albert C., 11; Soloma, 9; Joseph, 7; Katey, 6; Anna, 3; Harry, 2; and Paul, 3 months. A further three children would eventually be born to the family.

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The final and youngest of these ancestors, Lena Hunkler, was seven years old and living in Washington, Illinois. Her parents, George J. (age 37) and Mary (age 40), had been married for 13 years, and George is listed as a farmer. All five children are at home: Bertha is 13 and listed as Berty (?). Matilda is 11; John G. is 8; “Lenie,” 7; and Hulda, 4. All but Hulda had attended school in the previous year.

Tombstone Tuesday – A Plethora of Greats

A few years back on one of our many genealogical field trips, Mom and I realized that she (and I) have seen all eight of her great-grandparents’ tombstones.  This is one definite advantage to having most of your relatives stay put in the same general vicinity after emigrating to America; all eight of these ancestors are laid to rest within a 150-mile radius, from Francesville, Indiana, to Washington, Illinois. Here they are in ahnentafel order:

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Jacob Hoffmann
b. September 18, 1836 in Mackwiller, France
d. January 20, 1914 in Fairbury, Illinois
bur. Graceland Cemetery, Fairbury, Illinois

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Christina (Schmidt) Hoffmann
b. March 30, 1850 in Butten, France
d. September 16, 1908 in Cissna Park, Illinois
bur. Cissna Park Cemetery, Cissna Park, Illinois

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Samuel Slagel
b. November 30, 1849 in Wisconsin (?)
d. November 29, 1937 in Fairbury, Illinois
bur. Graceland Cemetery, Fairbury, Illinois

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Mary/Maria (Demler) Slagel/Schlegel
b. January 17, 1855 in Baden, Germany
d. February 3, 1928 in Fairbury, Illinois
bur. Graceland Cemetery, Fairbury, Illinois

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Albert Carl Swing
b. October 24, 1859 in Akron, Ohio
d. October 14, 1922 in Francesville, Indiana
Catherine (Hoffmann) Swing
b. February 2, 1862 in Remicourt, France
d. March 15, 1931 in Francesville, Indiana
Both bur. Roseland Cemetery, Francesville, Indiana

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George John Hunkler
b. September 20, 1862 in St. Gallen, Switzerland
d. December 2, 1934 in Elmwood, Illinois
Maria Elizabeth (Rusch) Hunkler
b. December 25, 1859 in St. Gallen, Switzerland
d. September 27, 1948 in El Paso, Illinois
Both bur. Glendale Cemetery, Washington, Illinois

This means, of course, that I have visited the graves of 8 of my own great-great-grandparents.  My 8 paternal great-great-grandparents (and even my own 8 great-grandparents) are a little more widespread, but I’m making headway there as well.  Now  if only I could figure out where Lucinda Blanche (Davis) Wilson is buried…I might just have to plan another field trip.

Surname Saturday – Hunkler

According to Ancestry.com, the surname Hunkler is of Swiss German derivation, a shortened form of a Germanic personal name meaning either “giant” or “bear cub.”  In the 2000 census, there were only 241 individuals in the U.S. named Hunkler.

Our Hunkler branch also hails from Switzerland – the earliest known ancestor by this name was John George Hunkler who was born in Switzerland and was apparently a bricklayer.  He and his wife, Margaret Egger, had six children: Huldreich, Ursule, George John, Henry, John George, and Adeline.  The three boys and Adeline (Adella) emigrated to the U.S. at various times in the 1880s or after.  I’ve found the emigration record for John George, who was 15 when he sailed (apparently alone) on the ship Belgenland in 1886:

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After arriving in the U.S. Adella married Fritz Meier and eventually settled in Michigan. She died in 1958 in White Pigeon.

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The three Hunkler sons settled in Illinois.  The eldest, my great-great-grandfather George John, born September 20, 1862, emigrated around 1883 and by 1886 was in Washington, Illinois.  On December 14 of that year he married Maria Elisabeth Rusch, paying $19.78 for her passage on a Red Star Line steamer from Antwerp to New York or Philadelphia, and railroad fare from Basel to Antwerp and from New York or Philadelphia to Washington, Illinois. George and Maria had five children: Bertha Elizabeth (Bert), Matilda (Tillie), John George, Lena Agnes, and Hulda Catherine. George John died in 1934, Maria in 1948; both are buried in Glendale Cemetery in Washington.

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Lena, my great-grandmother, was born December 22, 1892 in Washington and married Albert Carl Swing one hundred years ago this June 18. They had three children: Roy Albert, Velma Marie (my maternal grandmother), and Marilyn Margaret. Lena and Albert eventually moved to Harlingen, Texas, dying in 1969 and 1964, and are buried at Restlawn Cemetery in La Feria.

Lena Agnes Hunkler

Henry Hunkler, born 1864, married Elizabeth Hess in 1891 and had four children: Elmer Henry, Irma Elizabeth, Arthur Melven, and Mildred Bernice. Henry died in 1928 in Washington, Illinois (Elizabeth in 1926), and is also buried in Glendale Cemetery.

John George married Bertha Geiger in 1904 and had two children: Agnes Alvina and Walter Eugene.  John and Bertha are also buried in Glendale Cemetery after dying in 1955 and 1946.