Tag Archives: Illinois

Matrilineal Monday – St. Gallen to El Paso

My great-great-grandmother, Maria Elizabeth Rusch, was born on Christmas 1859 in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Her parents were J. A. and Maria (Scheuerman) Rusch. In her early years Maria worked in one of the lace embroidery factories in St. Gallen.

Then on 3 March 1885, George John Hunkler, who had been born in St. Gallen on 20 September 1862 and emigrated to America in 1883, paid $19.78 (the equivalent of approximately $500, according to one inflation calculator):

for the passage of Miss Maria Rusch in the Steerage of one of the Steamers of the “RED STAR LINE” from ANTWERP to NEW YORK/PHILADELPHIA and for the Railroad Fare from Bassel Schweiz. to ANTWERP and from NEW YORK/PHILADELPHIA to Washington [Illinois]

Maria Rusch Emigration Ticket

Maria’s ticket was good for one year, and on 14 December 1886 in Peoria, Illinois, Maria and George were married by Gottlieb Traub, a Lutheran pastor. By 1900 the Hunklers had George Hunkler Maria Rusch Marriage Licensefive children; the family was enumerated in Washington, Illinois in June of that year:

June 4 1900 Washington Twp Tazewell Illinois 
13 13 Hunkler George J Head W M Sept 1862 37 M 13 Switzerland Farmer 
—Mary Wife W F Dec 1859 40 M 13 5 5 Switzerland 
—Berely [Bertha] Daughter W F May 1887 13 S Switzerland 
—Matilda Daughter W F Oct 1888 11 S Switzerland 
—John G Son W M July 1891 8 S Switzerland  
—Lenie Daughter W F Dec 1892 7 S Switzerland 
—Huldy Daughter W F Feb 1896 4 S Switzerland 

“Lenie” was Lena, my great-grandmother. By 1910 only John and Hulda remained at home, and in 1920-1930 George and Maria are living alone in Elmwood, Illinois. George died in 1934, and in 1940 “Marie,” age 80, is enumerated living alone on Lilac Street in Elmwood. She would die 8 years later on 27 September 1948 in Dowell Nursing Home in El Paso, Illinois, of acute cardiac failure. She and George are buried in Glendale Cemetery in Washington, Illinois.

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.

Sunday’s Obituary – Grandpa Swing

Albert Carl Swing Obituary

Albert Swing’s obituary from the 3 February 1969 Harlingen, TexasValley Morning Star

Great-grandpa Albert Swing was born 11 April 1889 in Cissna Park, Illinois, the fourth of thirteen children born to Albert Carl and Catherine Marie (Hoffmann) Swing. He was musical, buying a violin with the first money he earned working in the fields; in later years he called square dances.  On 18 June 1913, in Peoria, Illinois, he married Lena Agnes Hunkler. As noted in his obituary, Albert and Lena had three children. The family spent a number of years in Francesville, Indiana, moving between there and various locations in Illinois. In 1951 the couple moved to Harlingen, Texas, for Lena’s health. She died there in 1964. All his life Albert longed for the flat farmland of his youth; he would say that he wished he could have been buried in the cemetery in Francesville among the Indiana wheat fields. However, Albert’s final resting place is with Lena at Restlawn Cemetery in La Feria, Texas.

Amanuensis Monday – Early Diary Years

Velma This is me on horseback fording the river.

Grandma on horseback on a hunting trip

Grandma Hoffmann began keeping a diary in earnest in about 1975, and I have a separate blog dedicated to those posts.  Grandma was always a record-keeper, however, and I’ve uncovered some documents which essentially constitute a much earlier diary record.

A series of sheets of paper, about 3″x 5″, fastened together with now-rusty paper clips, each sheet covers one month and has some sections pre-typed.  It seems Grandma originally intended the sheets to track her work schedule, with “Work” typed next to each weekday, and “Work A.M.” typed next to each Saturday. Grandma then added further details about her daily activities.

At this time, Grandma was 24 years old and (I think – someone may be able to confirm for me) working for Selective Service. This, as well as the date of this month’s diary sheet, makes it particularly fitting for this Memorial Day. She and Grandpa had moved from Illinois to Idaho within the previous 18 months. Both loved the West, but when Grandpa seemed more interested in the hunting and fishing that had drawn him there, Grandma was the one who first went out and got a job. An earlier record sheet indicates Grandma began work on January 29 1941, and Grandpa on February 17.

DECEMBER 1941

Mon. 1 W/□ – W/o□ Work [check mark]
Tues. 2 – Work [check mark]
Wed. 3 x – Work [check mark]
Thurs. 4 – Work [check mark]
Fri. 5 – Work [check mark]
Sat. 6 [check mark] – Work A.M. [check mark] Get permanent
Sun. 7 – U.S. attacked by Japan
Mon. 8 – Work [check mark] U.S. declared War on Japan
Tues. 9 – Work [check mark]
Wed. 10 – Work [check mark]
Thurs. 11 – Work Quit working – last day.
Fri. 12 – Work Washed & cleaned basement
Sat. 13 – Work A.M. Quit working Cleaned house
Sun. x 14 – Went to Helen’s
Mon. 15 x – Work Ironed & went downtown
Tues. x 16 ? – Work Finished ironing & mended. Went to Caldwell at nite.
Wed. 17 x – Work Mended, etc.
Thurs. 18 x – Work – Got telegram – left for home [Illinois] 12:00 noon.
Fri. 19– Work – Night of Xmas party.
Sat. x 20 – Work A.M. Go Home (?) Arrived home 1:20 P.M.
Sun. x 21 – Hoffmann’s for supper – stayed at folks all nite
Mon. 22 – Mom’s birthday – Bill [Grandma’s sister Marilyn] & Fran married. Went home w/Sam & Norm 
Tues. 23 – Stayed at Marie & Herman’s all nite
Wed. 24 – Folks all nite.
Thurs. 25 – Christmas – stayed at Joe’s Mother’s all nite.
Fri. 26 – Went to Bill & Millie’s – stayed at Lee & Eileen’s.
Sat. 27 x – Came home – Stayed folks’ all nite.
Sun. 28 – Roy & Phyllis went home – Martha’s for supper.
Mon. 29 – went to Peoria – saw Ann & Mary.
Tues. 30 –
Wed. 31 – Sam & Norma’s New Year’s eve.

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Wednesday’s Child – Duane Farney

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Duane Farney, my first cousin twice removed, was born July 27, 1933.  He was the son of Orville Farney and Lucy Hoffmann. Lucy was the youngest child of Jacob Hoffmann, born when he was 57 years old.

The Farney family appears in Fountain Creek, Illinois, in the 1940 census. Less then ten years later, on January 26, 1950, sixteen-year-old Duane was driving his father’s 1949 sedan, with six other boys as his passengers: Paul Hickman and Don Pennick, both also sixteen; Duane’s brother James, fourteen; and three fifteen-year-olds: Tom Bell, John Hertel, and Ulyn Reece. At an unguarded railroad crossing north of Rossville, Illinois, Duane apparently drove his car into the side of a moving train.  The three sixteen-year-olds were killed; the four younger boys were taken to Lakeview Hospital but survived.

The Silver Lining, a newsletter of the Apostolic Christian Church, reports on this incident as well in the Cissna Park section of its February 1950 issue:

Tragedy struck our community January 26, when Duane Farney, 16, son of Mr. and Mrs. Orville Farney, was killed in a train-auto crash. Funeral services were held Monday, January 30. Joshua Broquard of Forrest, Illinois, held the services. Arthur Gudeman of La Crosse, Indiana, prayed at the cemetery. James, a brother of Duane, was also in the accident and is seriously injured.

Sunday’s Obituary – Marie Hoffmann Bauer

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Marie Hoffmann was the ninth child of Jacob Hoffmann and his first wife, Annette Meyer. She was born in Renaucourt, France on February 11, 1870. At age 13 she made the trip from France to America, and on her 22nd birthday she married George Bauer in Pontiac, Illinois. She and George had a family of nine children: Alline E., Ernest E., Elmer Ernest (who lived only 7 months), Charles George, Edna, Esther Matilda, Leona, Harry William, and Arthur E. The first three children were born in Gridley in McLean County; the remaining children were born in Cissna Park. In 1922 George and Marie moved to 324 W Garfield in Cissna Park; George died on August 25, 1924 at age 61. Marie and her two youngest sons continued to live in the house on Garfield, and it was there that she died (also at age 61) on May 24, 1933. She was buried four days later in the Cissna Park Apostolic Christian Cemetery.

MRS. MARY BAUER

DIED SUDDENLY

AT HOME HERE LATE WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON

HAD BEEN IN GOOD HEALTH ALL DAY

“DEATH NATURAL CAUSES UNKNOWN” STATES CORONER

Mrs. Mary Bauer, 63, fell to the floor in the basement of her home Wednesday afternoon probably stricken with a heart attack, died within a few minutes. She was discovered by her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Mattie (Harry) Bauer, who immediately summoned her own mother, Anna Beer, and sister, Miss Lucille (next door neighbors) and Dr. W. R. Roberts. Although Mrs. Bauer drew a few breaths after being found, life had flickered away before the doctor arrived.

At Coroner W. C. Hotaling’s inquiry that evening testimony was heard that the deceased had been in usual good health that day. She had spent the day canning pineapples. At about 5:05 P.M. she went to the basement to refuel the boiler that was furnishing the hot water for the canning, her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Mattie Bauer, following her to the basement. Mrs. Bauer was in the third room (furthest from the stairs) the daughter-in-law in the second, when she heard the older woman breathing heavily in the other room. Going there she saw her lying on the floor. Mattie immediately called her mother, Mrs. Anna Beer, who lives next door, saw that the doctor was called, and returned to the stricken woman, saw her breathe her last. Dr. Roberts, who arrived within a few minutes, testified to the coroner that night as follows:

“On May 24, 1933, at about 5:15 P.M. I was called to the resident of Mrs. Geo. Bauer, on arrival found her dead, features livid, no heart beat or respiration. I have known the deceased and her family intimately for thirty years. Mrs. Bauer was in good health so far as known. In my opinion, from appearances, death was due to natural causes, either cardiac infarct or cerebal hemmorhage [sic]….”

Mary Bauer, daughter of Jacob and Lizzie Witterich [sic] Hoffman, was born in Alsace Lorraine, February 11, 1870 and died in Cissna Park, Illinois, May 24, 1933, at the age of 63 years, 3 months and 13 days.

The family of Jacob Hoffman lived in the old country until 1883 prior to which time the mother died, and when Mary was 14 years old, emigrated to America where they settled in Fairbury, Illinois. Here, Mary continued her schooling, grew to womanhood, met and married, at Pontiac, on her birthday in 1892, George Bauer. They set up housekeeping in the Fairbury neighboorhood on a farm, and lived there until 1896. In that year Mr. Bauer purchased the farm west of here, known now as the Bauer homestead, and moved onto it. Here the couple raised their family of nine children, lived for over a quarter of a century. In 1922 they moved to town, retired.

In 1924, on the 25th of August, Mr. Bauer died.

The deceased was a long time member of the Apostolic Christian church.
Surviving are eight children, four boys, four girls, who are: Mrs. John Otto (Alline) of southeast of here; Mrs. Sam Yergler (Edna); Mrs. Fred Knapp, Jr. (Leona); Mrs. Wm. Yergler, Jr., (Esther), and Ernest, Charles, Harry and Arthur, all of this locality. Surviving also are twenty-nine grand children and the following brothers and sisters: John Hoffman of France; Joe of Roanoke; Mrs. Phillip Yost (Lena) of Fairbury; Mrs. Sam Stoller, (Carrie) of Peoria; and by the following half-brothers and sisters: Paul Hoffman of Fairbury; Andy and Sam of this vicinity; Mrs. Joe Swing (Lydia) of San Pierre, Indiana; Mrs. Jeff Springer (Maggie) of Danvers, Illinois; Mrs. Orville Farney (Lucia) of south of here. Four other brothers and sisters and one son, Elmer, preceded her in death.

Funeral services will be held on Sunday afternoon leaving the house at 1:00 and later at the Country Apostolic Christian church, where the services proper will be held. Interment will be in the church cemetery.

Sympathy Saturday – Annette Meyer Hoffmann

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Annette Meyer, my great-great-great-grandmother, was born December 13, 1827 in Grostenquin, France. According to her death record, it appears that her mother was named Barbe and was unmarried at the time of Annette’s birth. Annette was Jacob Hoffmann’s first wife and the mother of ten children: Lisa, Anna, John, Catherine Marie (my great-great-grandmother), Magdalena, Sophie, Eugenie B., Caroline E., Marie, and Joseph. Jacob and Annette’s children were born between 1853 and 1872. Two years after the birth of her last child, Annette died on June 26, 1874 in Renaucourt, France at age 46.

Additional details regarding Annette’s life can be found in the “green pamphlet,” which for years represented the totality of my knowledge of our Hoffmann ancestry prior to their arrival in America. This pamphlet was written by Annette’s youngest son, Joseph, in 1952. Joseph describes how his father joined the Apostolic Christian Church in 1855 at age 19, then two years later married Annette. It wasn’t until acquiring copies of the original death records that I learned Annette’s name was officially Anna (thanks again go out to Cousin Daniel!). Joseph further explains that the family lived in Romacourt (apparently “Remicourt“) until 1869, while Jacob worked as a farm hand. The family then moved farther south to Renaucourt, where Jacob intended to lease a farm of his own. As Joseph states in his history of the family, “In June of 1874 father had a very hard blow for mother passed away, leaving him with a large family of children.”

After Anna’s death Jacob remarried, but his plans to stay and farm were unsuccessful after the harsh winter of 1879-1880. Between the weather conditions and an epidemic among his stock, Jacob could no longer afford to stay, and the family decided they would move to America. As has been detailed here in other posts, the majority of the family arrived in Philadelphia on May 16, 1883 and left that same night for Fairbury, Illinois, where Jacob would eventually die and be buried, thousands of miles from his first wife’s resting place.