Friday, August 31, 2012

Iowa Brewers

I found Joseph Heisler's name on a U.S. Civil War Draft Registrations in June, 1863.  Both Joseph and his brother, Christian, are listed.  Joseph's age is listed as 28, and Christian is 31.  Curiously, both are listed as "married," but only by use of ditto marks.

Christian is in the 1860 Census in a separate household with his wife, Catherine.  His age is given as 28, and his  occupation is "Brewer."  Joseph is included with his father's household, his age given as 23 (or possibly 25), and his occupation is "Farm Labor."

At the time, brewing was a major industy in Dubuque County, Iowa, owing to the many German immigrants to Iowa in the 1840s and 1850s.  According to  the "History of Dubuque County, Iowa," published in 1880 by Western Historical Co., there were four breweries in existence in 1863:
  1. Dubuque Brewery, established in 1846, with major additions in 1856 and 1860;
  2. Key City Brewery, established in1852 as "City Brewery";
  3. Western Brewery, established  in1846; and
  4. Iowa Brewery, established in 1855.
So yes, at one point, Joseph could very well have been a brewer!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gravestones, Part 2

Anna Maria Hammer
Richmond, MN

Anna Maria Hammer, my great-great grandma.

The marker is freshly painted and decorated, so there must be nearby relatives!

"Here rests in peace Anna M.
born December 28, 1824
dies May 11, 1889

Michael Hammer, Sr.

Michael Hammer, Sr., my great-great grandfather.

Born August 9, 1824; died May 23, 1913.

Michael remarried after Anna's death.

I have a rubbing of this stone so I can translate his epitaph.

Sabina Gaughen

Pinched from -- presumably, from a cousin.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gravestones, part 1

Headstone for Nicolaus and Josephina Heisler
St. Martin, MN
The Catholic cemetery in St. Martin, MN is behind the church.  There is a grave finder posted at the gate, which was very fortunate, since this stone is mostly illegible.   I took a rubbing, and it is no help; the stone is old and broken.

On the left is Nicolaus; Josephina in on the right.  She is also called Sophia in many documents, so Josephine may be her baptismal name, and Sophia the name she used.  You can make out her maiden name "Rubly" just above the date of her birth, 1805, and the date of her death, Dec. 10, 1869.

Likewise, Nicolaus was born in 1805.  He died much later, in   .  It does not appear he remarried after Josephina's death.

Next to this stone is the marker for the Loosbroek's, Margaretha and Henry.  Margaretha was a daughter of Nicolaus and Josephina.

Margaretha Loosbroek, nee Heisler
 Margaretha was born on April 13, 1844.  The information I have says she was born in Pennsylvania.

She died on January 19, 1898.

I made a rubbing of her stone so I can add the epitaph when I translate it. 

Henry Loosbroek

Henry Loosbroek's stone.  Born February 13, 1838; died Sept. 24, 1921.

"O God, give me eternal rest."

I don't know anything about Henry -- or Margaretha, for that matter.  I don't know if they had any children, but it looks as if Henry, like Nicolaus, did not remarry after his wife's death.

Stearns County Churches

My ancestors from Stearns County, MN were Catholics, German immigrants from Bavaria and Alsace-Lorraine.  There was a very high concentration of Catholics in the county and, consequently, Catholic Churches.   Driving along the county roads, you could see a stand of trees and a steeple from the town's Catholic church poking through the canopy.  The churches were large and impressive, for the most part.

Most of the remaining churches were built after my ancestors had passed on or moved away.  It was still lots of fun to tour these churches (all open, except for the closed St. Catherine's) and take some photos:

Sts. Peter and Paul, Richmond MN

The Hammers lived in the area around Richmond.  Michael Hammer, Sr., my great-great grandfather, was buried from this church.  There are several Hammer graves in the Catholic cemetary in town. 

The church appears to be a thriving parish, building an addition to the main building, and supporting a grade school.

Original church, errected 1884

Portrait of St. Vitus, one of many painted on the ceiling.

Sanctuary, from choir loft

St. Martin's, St. Martin, MN:

The old Gothic-syle church was replaced in 1969 with a modern structure which was larger and more easily accessible -- no stairs.

It's a round church, and I only took a photo
of the sign out front.


St. Margaret's, Lake Henry, MN
The parish was established in 1882; the present church was completed in 19??.  Grampa Martin Leo Heisler was born in the Lake Henry township, and was likely baptised in the Catholic Church in the village.

Built in 1922, well after family left area

One of the many beautiful windows in the church.

St. Catherine's, Farming, MN

The church was closed by the Diocese of St. Cloud in May, 2011.   There are some spectacular stained glass windows, according to a Flickr posting here.  Great grandparents Joseph and Anna Heisler lived in the surrounding area and had two of their daughters succumb to diptheria.  I suspect they are buried in unmarked graves in the church's small cemetery.

Missing a steeple?

Front door

Friday, June 1, 2012

Spelling Variations for "Hefenieder"

Among modern Hefenieders in the US, there are a variety of spellings:  Hefeneider, Hefeneader, etc.

Looking through the German Personnel Rosters for WWI, additional possible spellings are abundant:


These would be a branch of the family that stayed behind when the immediate ancestors pulled up stakes for Russia.

I also found some Hefeneders immigrating to Buenos Aires, Argentina in the early 1900's -- possible relations, too, perhaps.