Tag Archives: Slagel

Surname Saturday – the Demlers of Baden and Fairbury

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Our Demler family came to Fairbury, Illinois, from Baden, Germany in 1864. Ancestry.com provides two possible meanings for this surname:

German: from an old personal name, Damo, a short form of a compound name formed with Old High German tac ‘day’.Perhaps an altered spelling of German Demmler, a southern nickname for a glutton, from an agent derivative of Middle High German demmen ‘to indulge oneself’, or a northern nickname from Middle Low German damelaer, demeler ‘prankster’, ‘flirt’. 

Why do I suddenly feel like visiting a buffet? Anyway…our branch begins with Johan Demler, born between 1815-1816 in Baden. His parentage is unknown; he married Catherine Marie Reser who was born in Baden between 1823 and 1824. Johan and Catherine had three children, all born in Baden: Wilhelm K., born November 15, 1847; August Frederick, born about 1849; and Mary (my great-great-grandmother), born January 17, 1855.

The family arrived on December 3, 1864, in New York City on the J.A. Stamler after a 34-day ocean voyage. Records from the Castle Garden Immigration Center list the following family members: Johan, age 48; Maria, age 40; Wilhelm, age 18; August, age 16; and Marie, age 11.

Around 1867 the family moved to Indian Grove Township in Livingston County, Illinois, and in November 1873 moved into Fairbury itself. In 1880 Johan (enumerated as “John”) appears in the home of his son Wilhelm (“William”) in Belle Prairie Township. Johan is listed as married, but Catherine’s whereabouts are unknown. He died about 1890, supposedly as the result of a horse accident, and was buried in the South Apostolic Christian Cemetery, though again I am not yet sure of the exact location.

Wilhelm married Anna Keller (born November 17, 1845 in Zurich, Switzerland) in Indian Grove township in 1878, and they had seven children: Emma Ida, William Henry, Louise Ann, Samuel Albert, Benjamin E., Ernest J., and Anna. August Frederick married Caroline Fankhouser (born February 26, 1860 in Ohio), and they had thirteen children: Emma Ida, Charles, George, Lena Helen, John, William, Henry E., Mary Wina, Tadry, Katie, August, Cora, and Josephine. From our own branch, Mary/Marie married Samuel Slagel (born November 30, 1849), and they had four children: Samuel, Daniel, Emma Alice (my great-grandmother), and Joseph J.

Now, about that buffet…

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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.

Vital Statistics – Marriage License of Samuel Schlegel and Mary Demler

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Samuel Schlegel (Schlagel/Slagel), aged 26, wed Mary Demler, aged 20, on November 30, 1875.  They were married by John Georg Steidinger in Livingston County, Illinois.  Both Samuel and Mary were residents of Indian Grove Township in Livingston County.  The license to marry was granted November 27.

Various sources list Samuel’s birthplace as Wisconsin or Iowa; both of his parents were born in Switzerland. Mary Demler was born in Baden, Germany. The couple farmed in Livingston County and had four children. One, Samuel, died at age 4.  Their only daughter, Emma Alice, was my great-grandmother. About 1908 Samuel and Mary retired to 407 E Walnut Street, Fairbury, Illinois. Mary died of stomach cancer in 1928; Samuel of toxemia from chronic cystitis and chronic interstitial nephritis in 1937. Both are buried in Fairbury’s Graceland Cemetery.

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Influenza Strikes Fairbury

Mary (Wagler) Nicholas was one Fairbury, Illinois, resident who fell victim to the 1918 flu epidemic.  She may also have been my first cousin three times removed; I’m still trying to iron out some confusion over my Slagel line.  Her obituary, as found in Derrick Babbs’s Ninety-One Years of the Fairbury, Illinois Apostolic Christian Church, is particularly sad.

Mary Nicholas

After caring for children through a siege of influenza, Mrs. Mike Nicholas was herself taken ill with the disease last Thursday, pneumonia developed and she grew steadily worse, until she passed away Wednesday morning. The case is a particularly sad one as she leaves a family of teen children, the oldest being under 16 years of age.

Mary Wagler was born in Pulaski, Iowa, forty-one years ago. She was united in marriage to Mike Nicholas in 1902, and has made this city her home ever since.

Besides her immediate family she is survived by her father, Rev. Chris Wagler, of Pulaski, Iowa, and eight brothers and one sister.

The funeral services will be held from the home this afternoon at three o’clock.

I located Mary and her family in Fairbury in the 1910 census, living on Walnut Street. Mike is listed as 37 years old, Mary 32.  They have been married for 8 years and Mary has given birth to 6 children, all of whom are still living:  Ezra, 7; Alvin, 5; Ester, 4; Paul, 3; William, 2; and an as-yet-unnamed son, 7 months. Also living with them is a roomer, Thomas A. Smith.  Mike’s occupation is listed as department store merchant.

Nicholas Family 1910

Emma Slagel Hoffmann – Obituary

Services for Emma Hoffman Thursday

Mrs. Emma Hoffman, 81, died at her home, 505 S Fourth, at 11:45 a.m. Monday. She had been ill three years.

Her funeral will be at the Cook Funeral Home at 2 p.m. Thursday, Rev. Peter Schaffer officiating. Burial will be in Graceland Cemetery.

Visitation begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

She was born in Fairbury, March 5, 1880, the daughter of Sam and Mary Demler Slagel. She was married to Paul Hoffman in 1902. He passed away in 1933. She lived on a farm south of Fairbury until moving to town in 1943.

Surviving are three daughters, Mrs. Marie Kilgus, Fairbury; Mrs. Alice Himelick, Kokomo, Ind.; Miss Leona Hoffman, at home; five sons, Joe, Caldwell, Idaho; Sam, Paul, Clyde and Ralph, all of Fairbury; one brother, Dan Slagel, Fairbury; 36 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, a son and a daughter.

She was a member of the Apostolic Church Fairbury.

The family suggests that any tangible expressions of sympathy be in the form of donations to the Cancer Society.

Mary Demler and the Floating Hotel

My great-great grandmother, Mary (or Marie) Demler, was born in Baden, Germany, on 17 January 1855.  She was the daughter of Johan and Catherine Marie (Reser) Demler.  Johan and Catherine also had two sons, Wilhelm K. (b. 15 November 1847) and August Frederick (b. ca. 1849).

In 1864 the family moved from Germany to the U.S.  They appear on a New York passenger list dated 3 December 1864 and were processed through the Castle Garden Immigration Center (precursor to Ellis Island). The manifest records the Demler family as follows:  Johan, age 48; Maria, 40; Wilhelm, 18; August,  16; and Marie, 11 (though according to our records Marie was only nine years old). The ship that transported the family was the Jacob A. Stamler.

I was able to obtain a bit more information regarding this ship, which had a long and varied life.  The Gotham History Blotter tells its story.  It was originally launched 11 October 1856 so was a year and a half younger than Mary Demler.  The Stamler followed a fixed route and schedule, originally to Antwerp and later to Le Havre (which is where our Demlers embarked).  After years of transporting immigrants to America the Stamler was used for general shipping of merchandise until the turn of the 20th century. Then in 1899 a millionaire and philanthropist named John Arbuckle purchased the Stamler.  Originally the ship was used to ferry men and women around New York Harbor, then later it was anchored in place and used as a “floating hotel” for the young working classes. Eventually only girls making less than $7 a week were allowed. Mr. Arbuckle died in 1912, and the Stamler was shut down a few years later as a potential fire hazard, having served for nearly 60 years.

As for our Demlers, they moved first to Washington, Illinois, and then in 1868 to Fairbury.  On 24 November 1875 Mary married Samuel Slagel in Fairbury.  Samuel and Mary had four children: Samuel (who died at age 4), Daniel, Emma, and Joseph.  Mary died on 3 February 1928 at 107 East Walnut Street in Fairbury and was buried in Graceland Cemetery.

Joseph Slagel

Death of Joseph Slagel (February 12, 1883 – September 5, 1915)

The remains of Joseph Slagel, a mention of whose death was made in this paper last week, arrived here from Miesse, N. M., last Friday Evening, and the funeral was held from the German Apostolic church Sunday afternoon, at one o’clock.  The funeral services were largely attended, a large number being present from the surrounding towns.  The remains were laid to rest int he Fairbury cemetery.

Joseph Slagel, son of Rev. and Mrs. Samuel Slagel, of this city, was born on the old home place, south of this city, Feb. 12, 1883, and passed away at the Ladies’ Hospital, Deming, N. M., Sept. 6, being at the time of his death aged 32 years, 6 months, and 24 days.  With the exception of a year spent at Miesse, N. M., he had lived in this vicinity practically all his life.  On May 24, 1906, he was united in marriage to Miss Emma Wagler.  They resided in this city up to about a year ago, Mr. Slagel conducting a machine shop on east Locust street.  Failing health, however, caused him to give up his business here, and he purchased a ranch near Miesse, several years ago, and in September of 1914, with his wife, went there to live.     During his life here, “Joe,” as he was familiarly known to his friends, had made a host of friends.  Always honest and upright, he held the esteem and respect of all who knew him, and in their hour of sadness the bereaved ones have the sympathy of the entire community.     Besides the bereaved wife and parents, he leaves one sister, Mrs. Emma Hoffman, and one brother, Daniel Slagel, both residing south of town, to mourn his loss.

Killed by Explosion of Prestolite Tank

The first word received here was to the effect that Mr. Slagel had been killed by the explosion of a shot gun, but such was not the case. The following letter, which we received from C. C. Hollenback, who formerly resided here, but who also moved to Miesse about a year ago, gives the particulars of the accident.  We received the letter last Friday but too late for publication.  The letter also tells of the high esteem in which he was held in that community.     Miesse, N.M., Sept. 7th, 1915.  Editor Blade:     Knowing that the friends of Joseph J. Slagel would like to know the particulars as to the cause of his death, I will give a short account of the same.     He passed away at the Ladies Hospital in Deming, New Mexico, Sept. 6th, at 12:15 o’clock a.m., being conscious to the end.  The immediate cause of his death was due to an explosion of gas Saturday afternoon at about 4:30 o’clock, while he was charging a prestolite tank for his automobile with acetylene gas.  The generator exploding with great force.  Joe was standing with his hands resting on the machine and received the full…of the shock, it breaking his…about three inches long…left side following around his body striking the spinal column.     Although he was thrown several feet by the force of the blow he had gotten to his knees when reached by friends and later walked to his car with assistance and from the car into his home.  A physician was called at once and every care given him that was possible.     Mr. Slagel moved to New Mexico last September one year ago and liked the country very much and enjoyed much better health than he had for several years past.  He had just completed a beautiful new home, of which he and his wife were justly very proud.  He was very much interested in his work of farming, and we had studied the problems of a new irrigated country together on many occasions.     As a friend we had learned to love him.  As a neighbor to esteem him highly.  As a citizen he was above reproach. We will miss him.  His wife, father, mother, brother and sister have the sympathy of the entire community.

Yours very truly,               C. C. Hollenback.”

Joseph Slagel Killed

Expires at Meisse, N.M., after being hurt when gun explodes–one arm torn off and both eyes.
Rev. and Mrs. Samuel Slagel, of this city, received a telegram from C. C. Hollenback early Sunday morning stating that their son, Joseph Slagel, had been terribly injured by the explosion of a gun.  The telegram bore the intelligence that his left arm had been torn away by the force of the explosion and that both eyes had been blown out.  Rev. and Mrs. Slagel left Sunday evening for Meisse, but another telegram was received here Sunday night stating that the injured man had passed away.  His parents, however, were not apprised of this fact until they reached their destination.

No other particulars than the above are obtainable at this time.  The remains are expected to arrive here today and the funeral will be held Sunday.

Joseph Slagel bought land near Meisse, N.M., about four years ago, and about two years ago he sold out his machine shop here and with his wife located on his ranch in the hopes of bettering his health.  He had one of the best pieces of land in that section.  He loved to hunt and stated before leaving here that he intended to put in his spare time at this sport, and it is thought perhaps that it was while on a hunting expedition the accident occurred.

Joseph Slagel Tombstone, Graceland Cemetery, Fairbury, Illinois