Tag Archives: Fairbury

Sympathy Saturday – Mrs. Samuel Slagel

My great-great-grandmother, Mary (Demler) Slagel, has appeared in a number of posts here, but I had not yet posted her obituary:

MRS. SAMUEL SLAGEL.

Mrs. Samuel Slagel passed away at her home in this city [Fairbury, Illinois] last Friday morning [3 February, 1928] at 11:30 o’clock at the age of 73 years and 16 days.

Mary Demler was born in Baden, Germany, January 17, 1855. When nine years of age she came to this country, locating at Washington [Illinois]. In 1868 the family moved from Washington to Fairbury, and here on November 24, 1875, she was united in marriage to Samuel Slagel, who together with two children, Daniel and Mrs. Paul Hoffman, of near Fairbury, survive. There also survives one brother, August Demler, who lives in the state of Kansas.

The deceased was an excellent wife and mother and will be missed not only in the home but by many friends.

The funeral services were held at the Christian Apostolic church in this city Monday and interment was in Graceland Cemetery.

Mary SlagelOther information about Mary’s death can be found on her death certificate. Signed by Dr. Henry C. Sauer, the certificate notes her cause of death as carcinoma of the stomach, from which she had suffered for two months. Myocarditis was a contributing factor as well.

Mary’s “home in this city,” according to her death certificate, was at 107 East Walnut Street. This 2075-square-foot home was built in 1895 and still stands.

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Friday Funny – Sisters in Law

Alice and Dottie

I love this picture. It was taken in June 2009 on one of our annual visits to see family in Fairbury, Illinois. We didn’t know it then, but it would also be our last visit with Aunt Alice. Along with trying to convince Dottie to drink cinnamon schnapps (I think), Aunt Alice also regaled us with stories of when they were young wives vacationing together. In particular I remember one story of a rainy day when both families were on vacation in Michigan. All the kids were outside playing in the rain, and Alice and Dottie decided they would bake a German chocolate cake. They could hardly wait for the cake to finish baking before they tasted it. And tasted a little bit more. And then more. And suddenly to their horror, the entire cake was gone except for a tiny sliver! Hastily they devoured the final sliver, then washed and put away the pan. Between them, the two sisters-in-law had eaten the entire thing. Hopefully the smell of the rain hid the smell of the missing German chocolate cake…

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Wedding Wednesday – Estimable and Industrious

Only Know Pic of Paul Hoffman

Because of religious restrictions, there are no photographs commemorating the wedding of my great-grandparents, Paul and Emma (Slagel) Hoffman.  The picture above is the only known photograph that exists of Paul.  A handful of photos of Emma from later years do exist, but Paul died in 1933, which was a tragic blow for the family.

There is, however, an account of their wedding in a local newspaper (possibly the Fairbury Blade), which marks the occasion.

MARRIAGES

HOFFMAN-SLAGLE

Mr. Paul Hoffman and Miss Emma Slagle were united in marriage at the Amish church southeast of Fairbury, Sunday, December 7 [1902]. The ceremony was performed at 3 o’clock by Rev. Chris Garber in the presence of a large concourse of people. The bride is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Slagle, of south of Fairbury, and is a most estimable young lady. The groom is a resident of Cisna [sic] Park and a brother of Mrs. J. G. Swing, of this city. He is an industrious and energetic young man. They will reside on a farm south of Fairbury and their friends join us in wishing them success and happiness during life. A number of Fairbury people were present at the wedding.

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Family Recipe Friday – Aunt Leona’s Rhubarb Dessert

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Tucked inside Grandma Hoffmann’s recipe binder, amidst all the booklets from Kraft, Good Housekeeping, and Better Homes and Gardens, are a few hand-written recipes. One is for a recipe famous within the family: Aunt Leona’s Rhubarb Dessert. This particular recipe card was written out by Grandma Hoffmann and credited to her sister-in-law. I can imagine Grandma requesting the recipe and writing it out on one of many trips back to Fairbury, Illinois, from Idaho.

Not being a fan of rhubarb, I’ve never had this particular dessert, but I do know from two trips to Fairbury as a child that Aunt Leona was a marvelous cook.  I remember the smell of yeasty, warm buttered rolls in particular, as well as a particular smell Aunt Leona’s house itself had. I’m not the only one to remember that smell, either – the house at 505 S. 4th Street was the scene of many childhood memories for my mother as well, as my great-grandmother and Aunt Leona, who never married, had lived there beginning around 1943. On occasion my own front door here in Virginia has given off that same distinctive odor – is it something about all the woodwork Aunt Leona had in her house? I have also learned that the family who lived in my house from about 1930-1960 had a large rhubarb patch in their backyard garden. Perhaps I ought to plant some…

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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.

Census Sunday – Jacob Hoffmann in Illinois

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Our Hoffmann emigrant ancestor, Jacob, appears in only two U.S. census records, having come to this country in 1883 and died in 1914. In 1900 Jacob appears in Fountain Creek Township, Iroquois County, Illinois. He had lived in this location for nine years, having purchased 160 acres 1/4 mile east and 1/4 mile north of Fountain Creek proper. This original farmhouse still stands; Jacob’s two youngest children, Samuel J. (born September 9, 1891) and Lucy (born July 1893) were born here.

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June 2, 1900 Fountain Creek Twp., Livingston, Illinois 
23 23 Hoffman Jacob Head W M Sept 1836 63 M 25 France France France 1883 17 Farmer
—Christine Wife W F Mar 1850 50 M 25 7 6 France France France 1883 17
—Paul Son W M May 1878 22 S France France France 1883 17 No Farm Laborer 
—Andrew son W M May 1884 16 S Illinois France France Farm Laborer
—Maggie Daughter W F Sept 1888 11 S Illinois France France at School
—Sammie Son W M Sept 1891 6 S Illinois France France at School
—Louisa Daughter W F July 1893 6 S Illinois France France at School

This census lists Lucy as “Louisa,” though Louise was in fact an older daughter who died in 1884. Louise accounts for the fact that Jacob’s wife Christine is listed as having given birth to seven children, six of whom are still living. His first wife, Annette, had given birth to a further ten.

On September 16, 1908, Christine Schmidt Hoffmann herself died:

Mrs. Jacob Huffman of near East Lynn, died Wednesday night after a lingering illness of several months.  She will be buried this afternoon at the Amish cemetery. 

Jacob then rented the Fountain Creek farm to his son Andy. Two years later, the 1910 census finds the widowed Jacob living with Lucy on 4th Street in Fairbury, Illinois:

April 21 1910 Fairbury City, Indian Grove Twp., Livingston, Illinois
4th St
18 18 Hoffman Jacob Head M W 74 Wd Ger German Ger German Ger German 1880 na English own income
—Lucy Daughter F W 16 S Illinois Ger German Ger German English none

Some four years later, on January 20, 1914, Jacob died and was buried in Graceland Cemetery in Fairbury. It would be interesting to know how many of Fairbury’s current residents can claim a connection with Jacob.

Those Places Thursday – Pisgah, Illinois

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There is nothing better than a genealogical pilgrimage. I try to squeeze in one (or several) any time I travel.  So what if it makes a trip hours (or days) longer than it would have been otherwise? Every summer we return to Fairbury, Illinois to visit relatives, and we usually manage to fit an extra side trip in there somewhere as well.  We made one such trip  four years ago to Pisgah, Illinois. Essentially a wide spot in the road and a grain elevator, Pisgah nevertheless was the location of genealogical events in the lives of 24 family members, including 21 burials. Union Baptist Church once stood near Pisgah and Highway 104. The church was torn down between 1971 and 1972, but the adjoining cemetery, founded in 1830, remains.

Among the 21 family members buried here are Joseph and Celah (Sweeney) Waters, my 5G-grandparents. According to the Find-a-Grave website, Joseph actually owned 80 acres adjacent to the cemetery, and descendants continue to live there.  Joseph, son of Isaac and Kitty (Hawker) Waters, was born January 4, 1773 in Montgomery County, Maryland. He married Celah Sweeney, daughter of Moses and Elizabeth (Johnson) Sweeney on November 27, 1798 in Stanford, Kentucky. Celah was born June 2, 1782 in Amherst County, Virginia. Joseph and Celah had some 15 children between 1799 and 1825, and both died in Morgan County, Illinois – Joseph on March 10, 1842, and Celah on September 18, 1845. Their daughter Cassandra (Waters) Murphy, my 4G-grandmother, is supposedly buried in this cemetery as well, though we did not succeed in finding her headstone on our pilgrimage. Maybe next time.