Uncle John researched his Thuringian, multi-faceted, immigrant grandfather Fritz Eckebrecht for decades. Fritz was my second great grandfather and everyone in the family knows his name. My little niece giggled when she heard his name for the first time. From a young age we were told he was “taken” by Comanches in Texas and was made to be a butcher for them. After he left Texas and the Comanches, he went to Chicago to work for hire “re-building Chicago after the fire with his carpentry” talents. Later, he opened a butcher shop there, using the skills he learned while with the Comanches. He spoke Comanche and when you read more of Uncle John’s research you wonder how much of a captive he really was.
Uncle John’s own words and research were posted here previously:
The other day I was looking for Fritz’s obituary at newspapers.com and came across this intriguing little snippet from the January 6, 1888 edition of The Chicago Inter-Ocean:
Fritz, what went on there?
I couldn’t help but notice this is the time period that Uncle John surmised my second great grandmother Katharina Schuttler had left him for a few years. There was no other reference in the newspapers to this. It looks like they were released on bond doesn’t it? By the way, F.W. Westfall was a wealthy Chicago real estate developer.
So Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Archives has criminal records dating back to right after the fire of 1871.
Maybe we will be lucky and a copy of Fritz’s case still exists…
Immigrant Emilia Anna Bold was born in 1843 in Nuenschweiler, Rheinpfalz, Germany like her future husband Johann Leies. She was the daughter of Nuenschweiler’s Catholic Schoolmaster Franz Jacob Bold and Elisabetha Scheid. She was my second great grandmother.
Emilia was 1 of 5 Bold children that survived to adulthood. Her brothers Alexander, Richard, came to the United States sometime around 1866. The Catholic Kirchenbuch of Nuenschweiler lists Emilia and her brother Alexander as being confirmed in 1865. Their confirmation sponsor was Emilia’s future husband Johann Leies. In that record the parish priest spelled his surname “Lays.” Emilia’s brothers were both Chicago police officers. We know that Immigrant #1: Chicago Police Officer Alexander Bold was naturalized in 1866 which leads me to believe that is about the same time Emilia arrived. In those days you didn’t have to be in the country for at least 5 years before you could be naturalize. Nobody has ever been able to find the immigration records of the Bolds coming to the United States. Of course it is possible that Emilia came to America with Johann Leies. However, there is no evidence they were married yet. Their marriage was not in the Nuenschweiler Kirchenbuch. I am making a guess they were married in Ohio.
Emilia married Johann Leies. Their sons Alexander (my great grandfather) and John Ferdinand were born in 1870 and 1872, in Wooster, Ohio.
Emilia’s second son, my great grandfather’s brother, John Ferdinand, was ordained a Redemptorist Priest in 1896 in New Orleans and died of a sudden illness shortly thereafter. Uncle John wrote about his uncle John Ferdinand, and in the near future, it will be shared here, like the life of The Multi-Faceted Life Of Fred Eckebrecht 1848-1920.
I only have two records plus a newspaper clipping in America that mention Emilia specifically. She appears on the 1880 census in Chicago as wife of Johann Leies keeping house when he is running a tavern in Chicago. The second record is her Cook County, Illinois death index record! The news clipping is about a civil suit appeal in which she is mentioned in the Civil Suit roll as a plaintiff in 1877, the outcome of which I haven’t yet been able to find. I think she was close to her brother Alexander, having named my great grandfather after him. Maybe both of her brothers frequented her husband’s saloon.
Two years after her passing, Emilia’s widower married Caroline Sickel, a native of New Orleans. She was the daughter of a French immigrant father and German immigrant mother with the surname of Kunz who Uncle John was certain was also a native of Nuenschweiler. She and Johann had no children.
Back in Germany: Franz Jacob Bold
It is known that Emilia’s father Franz Jacob Bold stayed behind in Germany because in 1874 he appeared in this book in 1874 and listed as the schoolmaster of the Catholic school in Nuenschweiler:
Franz Jacob also signed Catholic Church records in Nuenschweiler as the head school master. See Another Week, Another Country. Discoveries in Germany in the Leies Line. The Bolds have been hard to research beyond the parents of Franz Jacob Bold – Johann Adam Bold and Margaretha Becker. He was born in nearby Labach in 1811, and was 1 of 8 children. They were 7 boys and 1 girl in all. Emilia’s Bold grandfather was a farmer. Source: Familienbuch, Knopp-Labach 1785-1799-1824. They moved the family to Rodalben, a neighboring town to Nuenschweiler. Source: Rodalben Kirchenbuch. Because Emilia’s father was the schoolmaster, I want to find out more about the Bolds to see if there are more teachers in her father’s ancestry.
“I can’t help but think the genes of Emilia’s father maybe the cause for so many schoolteachers in Emilia’s descendants.”
Like Emilia, little is known about the life of her mother Elisabetha Scheid. Could she have come to the United States with her children? It is possible. I found a widowed Elizabeth Bold in the 1900 New York City census living with a niece and nephew born in Germany in September 1822. That jives with our Elisabetha. But I can’t connect the niece and nephew to our Elisabetha.
Unfortunately, as is common in researching female ancestors, I know more about Elisabetha’s ancestry than I do her or her daughter Emilia Bold. Elisabetha married Franz Jacob Bold in Nuenschweiler in 1842. She was born in Rodalben in 1822. Please refer to the map below. Fr. Peter Bold baptized her. Elisabetha was the youngest of the 10 children born to Catharina Buchler and Johann Jakob Scheid. Once I had the names of her parents and birthplace, the ancestors just kept coming and are still increasing. According to 850 Jahre Leimen Pfalzerwald** and Die Helfriche* a branch of Elisabetha’s ancestry was living in this southwestern area of the Palatinate before and after the Thirty Years War, which I understand was rare for that time period. Sources: Nuenschweiler Kirchenbuch, Rodalben Kirchenbuch, Familien-und Seelen-Vercheisnissi fur Pfarrei Rodalben, 850 Jahre Leimen Pfalzerwald, Die Helfriche.
Elisabetha’s great grandfather Frederic Scheidt was born in Loutzviller, Moselle, France in 1691.
Source: Baptemes Loutzviller, Archives Moselle/Archives 57, Rodalben Kirchenbuch, Register zu Gerichtsbuch Amtes Grafenstein . The surname is seen with a “t” at the end in Moselle, France.
I like to refer to Elisabetha Scheid as one of the “mill ladies” in my German ancestry because she is one of the ladies that descends from a lot of millers. Two of her great grandfathers, Frederic Scheidt and Christian Becker were millers near Rodalben in Germany. There is evidence from the land purchases and sales in the Register zu Gerichtsbuch des Amtes Grafenstein 1657-1732, that Frederic Scheidt owned several mills in the Rodalben area to include Trulben. Frederic Scheidt’s migration story is coming.
Two of Elisabetha’s great great grandfathers, Johann Jacob (Georg) Hauck and Jean Nicolas Scheidt owned mills. Johann Jacob (Georg) Hauck owned a mill in Vinningen near Rodalben while Jean Nicolas Scheidt owned the Moulin d’Eschviller in Volmunster, Moselle which had previously been owned by his father-in-law Nicolas Bittel/Buttel. This was likely the town’s mill. The current day Moulin d’Eschvhiller is not the mill that was standing in the 1600s. Nicolas Bittel’s father Gall Bittel was a miller in Haspelschiedt, Moselle. Right there, Elisabetha Scheid has at least 6 ancestors owning or operating mills in the Palatinate and Moselle. Sources: Register zu Gerichtsbuh des Amtes Grafenstein, Rodalben Kirchenbuch, 850 Jahre Leimen Pfalzerwald, Die Helfriche, Archives Moselle/Archives 57, Heredis Online, Wikipedia.
Before I write about the unconfirmed part of Elisabetha’s Moselle ancestry from the French Genealogy website Geneanet.org, I have to account for two small things regarding Elisabetha’s ancestry which are also confirmed through credible sources. Her great great great grandfather Jean Jacques Hauck was Game Keeper (Garde Forestier) and Court Alderman (Eschevin de Justice). Source: Heredis Online. His son, the miller Johann Jacob Georg, married Anna Katharina Helfrich. Do you remember that surname from the Schultheiss post? Anna Katharina Helfrich was the daughter of Schultheiss Johann Valentin Helfrich. Now if I am counting correctly, Anna Katharina Helfrich was also the 6th great granddaughter of Junker Helfrich of Leiningen, who was alive in the early 1400s. Emilia Bold would then be the 11th great grand daughter of Junker Helfrich. Sources: Die Helfriche, 850 Jahre Leimen Pfalzerwald, Rodalben Kirchenbuch. A Junker is a usually a minor nobleman or an honorific title, or a country squire. Source: Wikipedia.
Unconfirmed Scheidt Possibilities:
Every time I turn around there are more French genealogy sites giving me more avenues on these ancestors. The major French genealogy site is called Geneanet.org. There are spectacular trees from Moselle on there. And the sources! Wow! Their sourced tree are incredible! Many trees on Geneanet detail parts of the French ancestry of Elisabetha Scheid, that me as an American, without access to more records can neither prove or deny without having someone visit the archives for me. One tree makes a claim that Frederic Scheidt’s great grandfather Alexandre Zeigler was a miller in Volmunster. This data is confirmed at Heredis Online but is not confirmable elsewhere. If that turns out to be true, that would make seven millers in Elisabetha’s ancestry.
Gall Bittel, mentioned above, if the trees can be believed, is purported to have been born in Sarreguemines, Moselle and his father Nicolas Shaub “dit Bittel” is alleged to have migrated from Switzerland or Tyrol. The sources in these trees site notarial records of Comte de Bitche that were not destroyed during the Thirty Years War. Another tree makes the claim that Frederic Scheidt’s great grandfather Francois Jacques Fabing/Faber was born in Switzerland, while another one ties the surname to the Fabers that lived in Bitche, Moselle. If the latter is to be believed, and Emilia Bold’s ancestor Susanna Fabing’s father is actually a Faber from Bitche, and not Switzerland, then Emilia Bold and Johann Leies would be distantly related to each other because the Bitche Fabers are in the ancestry of my second great grandfather Johann Leies as well. The French have access to older records and genealogy books at their genealogy societies that I can only dream of accessing here. I am still skeptical about these Fabers/Fabings and Nicolas Shaub claims .
I wish I knew half as much about Emilia that I do about her mother’s ancestry and I just wish I had a photo of her.
In addition to the sources mentioned throughout this post that can be found at Family Search online and on microflim or online at Archives Moselle/57, the following sources were used:
Uncle John’s writings
United States Federal Censuses
Cook County Marriage and Death Indexes
*The book on the Helfrich’s full title is: Die Helfriche im Grafensteiner Amt by Alfons Helfrich. It is not available online.
My great great grandfather Fritz Eckebrecht had 5 siblings. Carl, Auguste, Wilhelm, Heinrich Ferdinand, and Eduard. His brothers Edward and Henry Ferdinand arrived in New York City on May 25, 1866 aboard the Jennie with him. Edward was the baby of the family. You can see him on the far left of this photo taken sometime between 1868 and 1875. Henry is likely the tallest pictured in the middle back OR the gentleman on the far right.
Edward was born in 1859 in Schwarzburg, Thuringia. He was only 6 or 7 when he came to America with his family. He looks very young in the above photo! By 1880, he was living with his brother Wilhelm and working as a harness maker because his mother Marie Louise, seated above – middle, was already deceased. His father Quirinus, seated above, was living with his oldest son Carl. On September 27, 1880, at the age of 21, Edward enlisted in the United States Army in St. Louis, Missouri. His profession was recorded as harness maker and he was listed as 5’5″, having blue eyes, light hair, and possessing a light complexion. He was put into the cavalry, naturally, because he was a harness maker. Of the 41 enlistments on the page I found him, he was 1 of 19 men born outside the United States.
Edward was part of a famous regiment – the 4th Cavalry Regiment, Company B. Edward would have enlisted at the time the United States was engaged in various struggles with Native American resistance in the West. In fact, Edward enlisted in the 4th Cavalry Regiment at the time they had been sent to Colorado to “subdue” the Utes and then to Arizona to “subdue” the Apache. In Company B he would have served directly under then Colonel Ranald S. McKenzie, aka “Bad Hand/No Finger Chief”. In October, the 4th Cavalry under MacKenzie was sent to New Mexico to “subdue” White Mountain Apaches, Jicarilla Apaches, Navajos, and Mescaleros. Edward deserted the United States Military on May 5, 1881. About 1/3 of the page of enlistments where I located his name had deserted.
I find it incredibly interesting this Eckebrecht tale was lost to my side of the Eckebrecht family considering the fact that about ten years earlier his brother, my great great grandfather Fritz, was a “captive” of the Comanche in Texas. Uncle John had doubts about the word “captive” too. See: The Multi-Faceted Life Of Fred Eckebrecht 1848-1920 If Fritz was a “captive” I never understood how he was allowed to visit a German family for Sunday dinner once a week. Don’t forget the tale about our Fritz… during a civil case before a judge he spoke with his thick German accent. A lawyer told him to speak more clearly – more “real American.” Fritz replied in Comanche. The lawyer asked him what he had said. Fritz said, “That was real American, from the people who were here before we came…”
Nobody views desertion positively, right? Since Edward was part of a military unit that at that time was forcing the Native Americans to reservations, there is no fault in his desertion… That being said, unless the digging pans out with the potential brother of Johann Schuttler, a.k.a. “The Gigantic Brick Wall” ancestor, Edward was the first of the first in the Ferraro ancestry that served in any capacity in the United States Military.* Edward Eckebrecht was an immigrant that enlisted to serve his new country. He deserted for a reason we will probably never know.
*My 3rd great grandfather Johann “The Gigantic Brick Wall” Schuttler made wagons for the Union Army but never served. I am on the trail of a potential close relation to him that served in the Civil War for Illinois as a wagoner.
After he left the army, Edward married Mary Ruebhausen, a German-American. They had two children: Loretta and Elmer. By 1900 Edward was a machine engineer for a bank. He had a stepdaughter through that marriage – Sophie Eckebrecht. Sophie married Gerald Brown. Edward died in 1926 in Chicago.
Henry Ferdinand Eckebrecht
Researching Fritz’s brother Henry Ferdinand Eckebrecht gave me a hint about the migration of the Eckebrecht family to Chicago. I always thought the Eckebrechts stopped off somewhere between arriving in NYC in 1866 and appearing in Chicago on the 1870 census. I found the confirmation of Henry Ferdinand in the St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church in Chicago with a date of April 5, 1868. So Quirinus and Louise Eckebrecht already had the family in Chicago by 1868. I believe at this point that our Fritz was wandering around the Post-War South picking crops.
Henry Ferdinand was in the medical profession, the only sibling of Fritz that didn’t work in a laboring capacity. He was a pharmacist. In fact, he was comfortable enough in the 1900 census to have a servant. Henry Ferdinand married a German-American born in Wisconsin named Theresa Louise Engleman. They had three children: Henry Frederick, Theresa, and Albert. Henry Ferdinand has many descendants on the West Coast today. Below is a photo of his son Henry Frederick that I retrieved from his Seaman’s Certificate application on Ancestry from 1918.
Researching Edward Eckebrecht was a surprise for me. You have to read everything on a military record! I have not found any biological descendants of Edward alive after 1920. I would like to research more about Edward’s time in the United States Army to find out what his Company did while he served.
New York Passenger Lists
Chicago City Directories
United States Federal Censuses
Chicago Birth, Marriage, and Death Indexes
United States Social Security Death Index
Chicago 1892 Voter Registration
National Archives, U.S. Army Register of Enlistments
Coming: Carmine’s sister Elena Ferraro Scarnecchia.
I do plan to do write-ups on the Gerbing immigrants (the family of my third great grandmother.) Her siblings had huge families, who had huge families, who are now allover the country. They may likely come last.
Immigrant Carl Johann Eckebrecht was the oldest sibling of my great great grandfather Fritz Eckebrecht. He was born in 1844 in Schwarzburg, Germany. Uncle John was not certain when he came to America, but with research, it has been narrowed down to about 1863. He appears to be the first Eckebrecht in Illinois, having stated he was living in the County of Cook and State of Illinois for 29 years on his 1892 Chicago Voter Registration Record. Therefore, Carl got here before his brother Fritz and the rest of his clan did in 1866 on the ship the Jenny. He would have been around 19 when he arrived in America and it would have been smack dab in the middle of the Civil War.
The earliest actual record I could find of Carl or Charles was in 1867, where he is listed in the Chicago City directory as Charles and he works at Eckebrecht & Company as a grocer. This appears to be his own grocery company. Next, from what was also noted on the Chicago Voter Registration listing of 1892, Charles stated he was naturalized in the Circuit Court of Cook County on September 7, 1868.
In the 1870 Federal Census he was living with his parents Quirinus and Louise and three of his younger siblings and was working as a carpenter. Around this time, Fritz was migrated through the Post-War south picking crops, and making his way to Texas, where he ended up being taken to live with Comanches.
In the 1874 and 1875 Chicago City Directories, Charles is listed under the Heading for Harness and Saddle Makers. He was married by this point to another German immigrant Bertha Rohrbach. Their first child Minnie, or likely, Wilhelmina, was born. By 1882, according to the City Directory, he is back to being a carpenter.
In 1896 and in 1897, a few years before he died in 1900, his occupation was listed as Foreman in the City Directory. He died in 1900 and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.
Charles had four children with Bertha: Minnie, Henry Charles, Anna, and Oscar Christian.
As you can see, Charles Eckebrecht’s Record of Administration references his wife, son Henry, and brother-in-law Charles Wolter (Augusta Eckebrecht’s husband).
Charles Eckebrecht’s Children (Fritz’s Nieces and Nephews) and Their Descendants
Minnie Eckebrecht died in 1902. Charles’ youngest son Oscar never married and worked at the Post Office as a clerk. Daughter Anna married an English immigrant from London – Walter Smith. It appears he entered America through Canada making the ethnicity of Anna’s child Harold Albert a Canadian in the Cook County Birth Index. I question that reference on Ancestry though. Walter was a type setting salesman according to the Federal Censuses. Their son Harold Albert married Vera Lindsay and they had 3 children. Harold was a copywriter at a publishing company.
This leaves us with the other son of Charles and Bertha – Henry Charles Eckebrecht, one of the most colorful descendants of any immigrant in the Eckebrecht line. Henry Charles married another native of Chicago and German-American Mamie Schmidt. She too was the daughter of German immigrants. They had two children: Henry Charles Jr., who was struck and killed by an automobile driven by Ernest Keg at the age of 5, and Wilbur Mont Eckebrecht. Pay attention to Wilbur’s middle name because it comes up later.
Wilbur Mont Eckebrecht married Gladys Florence Schweitzer. They had a son that may still be alive so I will refrain from naming him. He was elected President of the Illinois State Florist’s Assocation in 1969. I have several photos of him from newspapers.com. Please email me if you would like to see them.
More on Henry Charles Eckebrecht (Fritz’s Nephew)
Henry Eckebrecht was in a kind of real estate business. I did find newspaper references to real estate transfers. One of the transfers was made in 1914 to Peter Tennes, the son of Jacob Mont Tennes, or just Mont Tennes. That was not the only reference to Henry’s name to Mont Tennes in the Chicago newspapers. Have you heard of Mont Tennes, Chicago King of Gamblers? No? Well then please google him or check out this well-referenced story by another blogger: Jacob Mont Tennes. Mont Tennes ran a news bureau and a country-wide gambling circuit prior to the takeover of the Chicago underworld by Capone’s gang. One of Mont’s associates was Big Jim O’Leary, grandson of the Mrs. O’Leary, of the Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow fame. Mont Tennes was the son of German immigrants like Henry.
Henry was a bookkeeper of sorts for Mont Tennes and clients would visit Henry at their real estate office where money was taken. Let me point out that Henry, nor Mont were ever convicted of any crime. Don’t be surprised about this gambling business either because I found many references to Fritz’s brothers and nephews in the paper advertising bettings on sporting events, namely basesball, or winning at gambling on baseball in the Chicago newspapers. Gambling wasn’t a crime. Mont was important enough to this family of Eckebrechts for Henry to give the middle name to his son.
Now in 1916, the future baseball Commissioner Landis was the Federal Judge that was called to oversee the Federal Grand Jury empaneled to investigate Mont’s news bureau. Rolling eyes. Henry testified and a portion of his testimony was in the October 3, 1916 Chicago Tribune below. The first three clippings are taken exactly as they were printed in the paper but had to be clipped that way for easier reading.
This last section was at the end of the article for that day:
Henry was in several other articles regarding the testimony. Yes, that is THE Clarence Darrow. Nothing came of the grand jury investigation. In the 1920 Census, Henry is still listed as working as a bookkeeper at a real estate company. By 1940 he was running his own business selling seeds and bulbs. Perhaps his florist grandon was a part of the business…
What did Charles do for the first 4 years in America before I found him in the City Directory with his own business named after him? No, I didn’t find him on any Civil War draft records, unless they spelled his last name wrong. Coming here at 18 or 19 without the rest of his family had to have been courageous. I imagine he wrote home to his family in Germany to tell them about Chicago. If he hadn’t come first, maybe the rest of his family, and his brother Fritz would not have come here at all.
Chicago City Directories
Chicago Voter Registration
Chicago Birth, Marriage, and Death Indexes
Cook County Probate Records
Social Security Death Index
Frank Eckebrecht’s Research
Uncle John’s Research
Numerous Online Articles regarding Mont Tennes
Next immigrants: Two completely different great grandfathers
Immigrant Auguste Eckebrecht was the only sister of Fritz Eckebrecht, my great great grandfather, and two years his senior. Anna Liesbeth was my 7th great grandmother and a religious refugee. Her last name is not known.
Auguste was born in 1846 in Schwarzburg, Thuringia, Germany. She came to America with her family in 1866 aboard the Jenny that had sailed from Bremen in a journey across the Atlantic that took approximately 3 months. At the time of the 1870 Federal Census, Auguste lived as a domestic servant in the home of a grocer Adolph Kate and his young wife Emilia.
By 1876 she had married Charles Wolder or Wolter and they had a child that didn’t survive to adulthood. In the above snipping tool “snipped photo” you can see Auguste is showing you her wedding ring. She put her hand in that position on purpose. She was married in this photo that Eckebrecht descendants believe was taken between 1872 and 1875. I was unable to find the name or the sex of the child she had in 1876 or to trace her husband. He has proven difficult to find. Auguste Eckebrecht passed away in Chicago in 1916 and was buried in Rosehill Cemetery. She was the only sibling of Fritz Eckebrecht that did not have any children that survived to adulthood.
Anna Liesbeth N.N.
Anna Liesbeth was born in Switzerland and immigrated to the Palatinate in Germany around 1675-1685 as a religious refugee. She and her husband Hans Theobald Rubeli were part of the Anabaptist migration to the Palatinate. Previous Anabaptist congregations that had already settled in the Palatinate set up shelter for the refugees when they had to leave their Swiss homeland with nothing but the clothing on their backs. Their possessions had been seized by the cantonal governments. They were forced to leave their homeland if they refused to take the oath to the state church. If they stayed and practiced their faith, they were hunted down by Taufer hunters, imprisoned, beheaded, burned, drowned, and in the most extreme circumstances that forced the greatest number to flee their cantons, they were sold as galley slaves to the Venetian Empire. The former punishments just drew more followers.
I found a church record in the Massweiler area of the Palatinate that references a surname Vetter after a person named Anna Liesbeth. However, I am not sure they are the same woman, or why an Anabaptist refugee would be mentioned in a Catholic church record. I suppose it is possible. She was the mother of Balthasar Jakob Rubly, the Gerichtsschoff and 5 other children born in Germany. She was my 7th great grandmother. Since I do not positively know her last name, I do not even know her birth or death dates.
These two women are parts of separate lines in my German grandmother’s ancestry. One went to Germany and another left Germany.
EDITED TO ADD ON 3/12/17: NEW RESEARCH HAS BECOME AVAILABLE. ANNA LIESBETH MAY HAVE BEEN A SWISS REFUGEE HOWEVER, SHE WAS NOT MARRIED TO HER HUSBAND AT THE TIME HE DEPARTED SWITZERLAND. SOURCE: MENNOSEARCH.COM/RICHARD WARREN DAVIS.
New York Passenger Lists
United States Federal Censuses
Cook County Birth and Death Indexes
Photo from Frank Eckebrecht
Weisbach Catholic Church Registers
Massweiler Catholic Church Registers
Contwig Catholic Church Registers
Aeschlen bei Oberdeissbach Evangelical Reformed Church Register List of Taufers (Anabaptists) living in the vicinity
Palatine Mennonite Census Lists
Bernese Anabaptists and Their American Descendants
Happy New Year! Feliz Anno Nuovo! Frohes Neues Jahr!
Will it be this year? Will the USCIS fulfill my request for Angelo’s Board of Special Inquiry hearing file in 2017? Will it happen this year?
It is the start of a new year and time to make our firm oaths of intent to better ourselves in the coming year. So I ate the lentils to ensure wealth this year. In the genealogy world that means I resolve to spend less money on genealogical research. I resolve spend more time sorting and organizing records (yeah right!), maybe have the cash to join a genealogy society or two, including one that concentrates on Italian-American research, and going forward this year in my family history research I prudently resolve to do the following:
In my Swiss German line ~ ~
Finish reading the books I already have on Bernese Anabaptists from Masthof Press before I try to get my hands on more. Gerichtsshoffe Balthasar Rubli’s parents were banished from the Emmenthal Valley in Canton Bern by the Swiss government sometime between 1675 and 1689. They left with no possessions and walked for two weeks with the clothes on their backs with hundreds of other refugees towards the promise of religious freedom in the German Palatinate where they raised Balthasar, my 6th great grandfather. He left the Anabaptist faith and married into a Catholic family.
The story of the persecution of the Rubeli or Rubli appear in these two books:
The Rubeli are also in the Palatinate Mennonite Census of the late 1600s and early 1700s. My ultimate goal is to find the first Swiss Anabaptist in this line.
In my German lines ~~
For Johann Schuttler, my first American ancestor, I am proud he made wagons for the Union Army. I resolve to never again ask a descendant of his son if they took an Ancestry DNA test, knowing Johann’s second wife, and the son’s mother, was 7 months pregnant when Johann married her, and knowing they had to swear out an affidavit to have him buried in the Schuttler cemetery plot when he died. Now I know why I never heard from that researcher again! I just wish I could find the names of Johann’s parents and will not pay a researcher in Germany to do that.
If possible this year, I resolve to fill out more family in the line of the Schultheiss (Mayor) Johann Valentin Helfrich. He was my 8th great grandfather. His family appears in their own section in this free history book downloadable from the town of Leimen:
Valentin’s ancestors appear in another German language publication called Die Helfriche im Grafensteiner Amt that a distant cousin was nice enough to email to me in spurts because neither his nor my email could support it in all in one email. Valentin descends from a German Junker. That is a minor nobleman – something like a squire. Junker Helfrich was born around 1430 and is my 15th great grandfather. The book says he was from Leinengen, Germany. I offered to translate some of the book for my distant cousin. I don’t know what I was thinking. It takes me at least two hours to translate one page and there are about 75 pages in the book!
In another German line I resolve to begin research on Marie Louise Koppel, my 3rd great grandmother, mother of the Fritz Eckebrecht from Thuringen. I would like to work on her ancestry, not the Eckebrechts which dear cousin Frank already researched. She owned a mill according to Frank.
She is the woman seated in the center in this photo:
In my French lines ~ ~
There is a 9th great grandfather of mine named Gall Budel. He was a miller with a first name I have never encountered before. There is an odd rumor floating around the French-speaking internet that he was also Maire or Mayor of Haspelschiedt, Moselle, France. I cannot confirm that and resolve to research that.
In my Italian lines ~ ~
I resolve to request the pension record of Angelo Ferraro and to figure out a way to push for Francesco Antonio Ferraro’s military record for his service in the Bourbon Army.
I resolve to continue to search for descendants of Angelo and Filomena in America while waiting for Caserta and Napoli records to go on Antenati.
I resolve to continue to add more ancestors in my Farindolesi and Pennesi tree because it is so simple to do with the records Antenati has online for Pescara.
Speaking of the Farindolesi tree, because my combined trees approach 3000 individuals, and I don’t believe it has been done before with the any of these Italian lines, I resolve to work towards preparing at least one of my trees put into the next new thing in genealogy sites on the world wide web, my own database. I think it will make researching easier for those that ask me which Antonio Cirone in my tree is theirs because I have at least 5 Antonio Cirone in my tree. I have used these databases when I work on trees for my relatives, but, none of my ancestors are in one of those.
Finally, when I get the genealogy attention deficit disorder problem I usually get every two weeks or so, while working on any resolutions above, I resolve to finish my cousin’s tree and finish the other tree of a relative who descends from the Soderini of Florence are the subject of this book that I was able to find used for a cheap price:
Yes, his ancestors were right there with the Medici. Happy ancestor hunting!
Italian American Heritage Month is October. German American Heritage Month is September 15-October 15. These months were created to celebrate the many achievements made by the successes of Italian Americans and German Americans. Coincidentally these months overlap each other on the anniversaries of several of the dates that my Italian and German ancestors became Naturalized Citizens of the United States.
-2nd Great Grandfather Johann Leies, naturalized in Ohio on October 4, 1867.
-Great Grandfather Cesidio Marcella, naturalized in Queens County, New York on October 4, 1929.
-2nd Great Grandfather Fritz Eckebrecht, naturalized in Chicago on October 5, 1888.
-Great Grandfather Carmine Ferraro, naturalized in Chicago on October 27, 1911.
What is it about October and Naturalizations?
Because we only have Johann Leies’s naturalization date and not his record, the oldest Naturalization Record we have is from 1888 and it is. It belonged to Fritz Eckebrecht and came from Frank Eckebrecht who researched his family with Uncle John for decades.
A Little Bit about German Americans and Italian Americans
Germans brought the Christmas tree to America while the Italians brought their food and family-centered culture to America. Our country is named after an Italian. German Americans are the largest ancestry group in America today and the largest number of German Americans live in Pennsylvania today.
Most of the Germans in Pennsylvania are descendants of the Germans from the Palatinate (or Pennsylvania Dutch). Not until I started genealogy did I know that the German language of the Palatinate is that of the Pennsylvania Dutch. My 100% German American grandmother had 50% Palatinate ancestry. She never lived in Pennsylvania. She was born in Chicago at a time when Germans made up the largest ethnic group there.
Grandma said she remembered anti-German sentiment after World War I. Some Germans Americanized their surnames and were forced to purchase war bonds to prove American support. Another fact that I didn’t know until I started doing genealogy was that German Americans were detained and placed in internment camps during World War I and World War II. Italian Americans were placed in internments camps during World War II. I am not sure if either group ever received a formal apology from the government. I am happy to report that this did not happen to any of my ancestors. Even so, it is a struggle to obtain government records on an Italian in my tree between the World Wars where I believe someone was a victim of anti-Italian sentiment. You can read more about German Americans and their heritage through Wikipedia here.
Italian Americans are the fourth largest ethnic population in America. Besides their food and family-centered culture, they brought opera, bocce, and Montessori schools to America. Philadelphia has the second largest Italian American community in the country. You can read more about Italian Americans and their heritage here.
I think I will pack an Italian hoagie for lunch. Later I will make some stick to your ribs Pennsylvania Dutch chicken corn soup for dinner. Next: Brick Wall Wednesday
Schuttler Wagons, Chicago – For as long as I can remember I had heard that I had an ancestor named Schuttler and he worked for Schuttler Wagons and the pioneers used them to go West. I knew he wasn’t in the Civil War but I heard that they supplied the Union Army with wagons. I can remember sitting there in my grandmother’s cottage, as she sat in the chair by the lake window telling me and my siblings of this ancestor that lived in Chicago. Then she would talk about her ancestor that was taken to live with the Comanches as their butcher that later opened a butcher shop in Chicago. Then she would talk about ice-skating two blocks away from the Valentine’s Day Massacre and then how she met grandpa. It was so important about my Schuttler ancestor that Grandma typed it up for her descendants to have.
When I started my genealogy I found numerous articles about Peter Schuttler and his wagon company. John Schuttler, my 3rd great grandfather, was his company foreman for many years which included during the Civil War. I was dismayed to read the Wikipedia entry involving Peter Schuttler and the wagon company where John worked. It stated they didn’t make supplies for the Union Army. This was stated many places on the internet. Wagon collector blogs stated the same thing as did the article on the Chicago History Museum website. (They all copied Wikipedia!) No really, they all copied it.
I remember Grandma saying “he built the things that the cannon would fit on on a wagon…” I remember this. I remember this.
Grandma told us because it was the truth and it is proven according to this Chicago Tribune article dated November 15, 1912 that was describing the razing of the mansion Peter Schuttler used to live in. My 2nd great grandmother, Katharina Schuttler Eckebrecht, lived there during the Civil War when her mother died.
This is the most important snippet:
And proven again in this beauty of a snippet from the Chicago Inter-Ocean dated July 13, 1913:
The Multi-Faceted Life Of Fred Eckebrecht 1848-1920 My Grandfather
By John G. Leies October 1995
This is the story of my great great grandfather, Fritz Eckebrecht, told in the words of Uncle John.
Polls say that for many Americans, if they had to rescue something from a fire, the first thing would be the family album of pictures.
We have very very few photos of Grandpa. In fact, I know of only one, and in that one, we cannot identify several persons, and we have no date on which the photo was taken.
In recent weeks, I have received additional details of the life of my maternal grandfather, Grandpa Eckebrecht. I would like to add these details to the ones we know, and blend them into one account.
Grandpa Eckebrecht had kept a rather complete diary unfortunately after making a summary of it, then destroyed the original. I got hold of the summary from my Aunt Lottie, and translated it from the German. This was in 1953. I had circulated this summary to some of the members of our family.
Recently I received from Dr. Josephine Schulte, of our University faculty, the shipping lists of the year 1866 with Eckebrecht family mentioned in the list. Other details come from the recollections of M. Kinzig, my sister and A. Ferraro, also my sister. Other persons have contributed precious details.
I will double space the details which I have received from family members as also my own recollections.
For surmises, conjectures, etc. I will mark an underline under these contributions.
Grandpa Eckebrecht was born in Thuringia, Germany (Central Germany) on January 18, 1848. No other details do I know except for the fact that he was baptized in the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The shipping lists the steamboat JENNY gives these names:
Quirinus Eckebrecht Age 49 Baker
Louisa Eckebrecht Age 48
Auguste Eckebrecht female, age 20
Fritz Eckebrecht male, age 17
Wilhelm Eckebrecht male, age 15
Heinrich Eckebrecht male, age 9
Eduard Eckebrecht male, age 7
Let’s compare this list with the one which I have received for our “family tree”. The list comes from mother, relatives, etc.
SHIPS LIST Family Records
Charles (listed as the oldest of the children)
I cannot account for the fact that Charles is not listed on the shipping list. The family record states that Charles, William, Henry, Fred, Edward and Augusta were later on, married.
The JENNY lists all of the ones on the list as destined for Ohio.
The Eckebrecht family cross the ocean on the “JENNY” arriving in New York on May 23, 1866. Grandpa in his diary says that the voyage took 87 days. So subtracting 87 from May 23, we have February 4, 1866 as the date of leaving Bremen for New York.
On June 29, 1866 Fred arrived in Chicago. He got a job as a carpenter for $2.00 a day and ten hours of work a day.
Did he leave the family in Ohio? Or go to Chicago all alone? He is a 17 year old, showing in subsequent events that he knew how to get around show proper independence.
LIFE IN THE SOUTH:
In 1868, Fred left Chicago for work on a farm in Mississippi and got work planting cotton, corn, sweet potatoes, watermelons, and oats.
The next year, on October 16th he went to a farm in Walden, Mississippi, then left for New Orleans, where he stayed for two days and then left for Galveston, Texas. And then moved to Houston.
Near Houston, Fred was captured by Indians and stayed with them until May 30, 1870.
Were these Comanches? Judging from several details it would seem very possible that they were; the Comanches did reach East Texas.
In any case, these roving Indians did need a butcher, and this lively young German suited the bill.
I would surmise that this “captivity” was benign; after all, he got permission to visit a nearby farmer, and to have Sunday dinner with the German-speaking man.
Soon after his “captivity”, Fred managed to escape. He visited the German-speaking farmer for several Sundays escorted by the Indians (on horseback.) While he visited and ate dinner with the farmer, the Indians waited near their horses. One Sunday, with a pre-arranged plan, Fred walked through the house, mounted a horse that was waiting for him, and rode off to freedom. The Indians found out only later that Fred had escaped. I just hope that they did not wait hours and hours.
Grandpa did learn some Comanche words and used them at least on
one occasion. It seems that on one occasion (a civil suit) where as it
proceeded, Grandpa said something to the German-speaking judge.
A rather brash young lawyer broke into the conversations and said:
“Why don’t you speak real American?” Grandpa said some Comanche
Words, and as the young lawyer asked “What was that?” Grandpa simply
stated “That was real American, from the people who were here before
THE CHICAGO FIRE
Grandpa after his “escape”, wandered around for some time, until October 2, 1871, when he heard about the great fire in Chicago.
He left for Chicago immediately knowing that carpenters would be needed after the fire, to build and rebuild. As a carpenter he wanted to save as much money as possible.
Grandpa was a good butcher….and a master carpenter (all of this before he was 23 years old.)
Grandpa stated that he arrived three days after the fire. Did he means after the fire burned itself out, or three calendar days?
He told me that they traveled in those days in “third class”, that is in open “gondolas”, the railroad cars which haul gravel, coal, and similar goods. One prayed for good weather…tried to brave out the rains and cold, and sitting on the floor of the car, trying to take care of health needs and sanitation. The train trip took some 70-80 hours.
1871-1876: Grandpa married to Katharina (Katy) Schuttler in the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
1876: my mother (Caroline) was born.
Now comes a good bit of surmise: It seems that after some altercation and perhaps some physical abuse, Katy left him for several years. Someone surmised this was true because the next child was born after four years. But subsequent births of the next children was in two instances 6 years apart.
The Leies family has nine children, and always two or three years between children; never more than three; never less than two.
After 1876, Grandpa moved around quite a bit. Was he a restless young adult? Restless at age 25? Were his skill as butcher and master carpenter so honed that he could find work anywhere?
1876: Grandpa started a butcher shop in Mattison, Illinois (Cook County.)
1878: as a butcher he sold sausage (and processed hides, pigs, and calves.)
1881: he sold the business “family affairs demanded his attention” is the entry in his summary diary.
Here we may surmise that his wife wanted some arrangement of living in Chicago and so he moved back to the city.
1881: Exercising his good skills as a butcher and carpenter, he went into partnership with Gust Resthof on North Avenue fronting Market Street. This partnership lasted two years.
1883: he started a butcher shop alone in Clyborn, south of Sheffield Avenue. He made so much money that he bought a lot on Willow Street, east of Sheffield.
1883: with the help of his brothers, Grandpa started to build a house on the lot on Willow Street.
1884: the house was completed November 1. He started a butcher shop which lasted until 1892. He then started a butcher shop on Western Avenue and Belle Plaines. Times were hard.
1892: Grandpa started a butcher shop on Roscoe and North Lincoln. It lasted till 1895.
1895: he sold the business to a brewery, and had to vacate quickly. He found a furnished house. Times were still hard. The boom after the fire (building and furnishing) was over.
In summary, from 1876 till 1895, Grandpa had moved again and again. Times were hard, and because he had exhausted the thousand and more dollars he had saved. So he went to work and “up-to-date”, worded as a carpenter. I know very little apart from the above last-mentioned item, what his history was.
Grandpa died September 19, 1920. I have no recollection of his funeral, although I was 11 years old at the time.
Previously, (1916 to 1920) Cousin Harold and I played in the attic of 930 Willow Street. The attic was spacious and with a pair of cowboy chaps, we raced around, playing cowboy. And both of us had vivid imaginations.
Grandpa had five children: Caroline, my mother; Lottie who married Mr. Bransford and had one child Thelma. Fred who married Mamie Meyer, George who married Aunt Annie and Frank who married Emily.
Grandpa Eckebrecht was baptized in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. He married Katharina Schuttler in the same church. As much as I know, the other children (my cousins) were raised in the Lutheran church.
The one exception was Caroline (my mother) who was baptized in the Catholic Church prior to her marriage to my father in Ohio. The wedding was in Canton, Ohio and the baptism in Wooster. My uncle Frank, brother of my mother told me several times: “Lena (her name among the family members) sure practiced her religion, to a fine point; but she never pushed her religion on the others in the family. (Frank’s son, Frank Jr. became a Catholic a few years ago after years of praying and assisting at Catholic services with his wife, Jackie.)
SUMMARIES AND IMPRESSION
Writing this history of my Grandfather Eckebrecht has been a real pleasure and challenge. It gave me memories and also surprises.
I had always pictured Grandpa as coming alone to this country alone and aged about 25 or so. And going straight to Chicago.
The Jenny shipping list tells us that he came with his family: parents and siblings. He landed in New York and I presume he went with the family to Ohio. But he is in Chicago within 36 days.
The difference between the Jenny list and the family tree which had puzzled me. Where did Charles come from? And one or more siblings are mentioned only once in the summary-diary.
The activities of Grandpa at the early age of seventeen surprised me. Perhaps we tend to read only into early accounts our present situation where college youth find it hard at the age of 22 to select a major in their studies. I saw Grandpa at 940 Willow Street as quiet, reserved, calm and content to live a life of quiet.
What surprised me also is the fact that Grandpa ventures into the South so soon after the end of the Civil War. But away he went for monotonous work and adventures.
Grandpa’s experiences with the Comanches can so easily be expanded into a rather romantic episode. I surmise that the Comanches needed a butcher and Grandpa came into their lives and they “captured him”. The very fact that they allowed him to visit the nearby German-speaking farmer depicts a mild form of captivity.
The next part is hard for me to write. Interpretation is difficult. But the other evening my sister told me that Grandpa left the family for five years. He started a business in Mattison (Cook County) and then returned to Chicago. It seems Grandpa “raised his hand” to Katharina and she left him, taking along Caroline, my mother. Caroline was only a year old, at most. Note that Grandpa says in his summary – diary: “family affairs demanded my attention.” So he sold the Mattison shop and returned to Chicago. What was the “raised the hand to Katy?” A mere gesture or some physical harm? I write this in the wake of the Simpson verdict and consequent turmoil in the ranks of some women, that physical abuse would not be a strong argument in the courts of law. Katy was a strong woman, coming from a strong family. She would not accept rough treatment without some strong response. And going off and leaving her husband was the answer.
One more “surprise.” I have the accounts of the years up to 1890 or so. What did Grandpa do from 1895 or so until his death in 1920? He was old in the terms of the times but after three decades of moving about, starting new businesses, he was ready to rest.
Katy died before Grandpa did, and we do not have the date of her death at hand. I had heard years back that she died of a massive and sudden heart attack. The long diary would have had some details of the character of Katy showing her stamina and moral strength.
I feel that deep down, Grandpa was a sincere and loving Christian, and had a strong belief in a future life. Persons of his social level often joined “lodges” so that proper burial would be taken care of.
And so we say: “Eternal rest for you, Grandpa, and may your memory flourish. And we will meet in heaven where I will have some pertinent questions to ask of you.”
p.s. You will find some errors in typing the preceding pages. I am in the mid-eighties and taking rather strong cardiac medicine.
THE SUMMARY DIARY EXCERPTS
The following was inserted in Uncle John’s 1995 Grandfather’s biography and also included in Frank Eckebrecht’s family research on their ancestor Fritz:
1961 – About the time of my mother’s funeral, and shortly thereafter, I received some material from Uncle Frank and Aunt Lottie about mother’s parents. I thought that you would appreciate seeing a copy of this material before I return it to Uncle Frank and Aunt Lottie.
Frederick Eckebrecht born January 18, 1848 in Saxon, Germany; passed away September 19, 1920.
Data from the writings (diary) of Mr. Eckebrecht, mother’s father:
“On the 29th of June 1866, after a trip of 87 days on the ocean, I arrived in Chicago on Friday; Monday, I carried brick at Michigan and Clark Street, and did this for two weeks.
Then I got a job as a carpenter for two dollars for ten hours a day. I worked at this until 1868. On the 27th of December, I went to Mississippi; here I worked on a farm planting cotton, brown corn, sweet potatoes, watermelon and oats. At this I worked until the 16th of October 1869.
From Warden Mississippi (Carroll County) I went to New Orleans, and stayed there two days; from New Orleans, I went to Galveston, Texas. I could not get work. From Galveston, I went to Houston, Texas.
From there I was taken along by Indians; I stayed with the Indians till May 28, 1870. I secretly made my escape from the Indians, and came again to Galveston; from there, to New Orleans; from there to Mississippi, and up to Vicksburg. There I worked for four days, on the docks. Then I went by boat to Water Valley, Mississippi.
There I worked for about two days, but could not find any work. I wandered about until October 2, 1871. On the 9th of October 1871, the big Chicago fire took place. I came to Chicago, as three days after the fire, work started and the carpenters all had the work they could do; there was work day and night, and as much money saved as possible, until March 1872.
Upon the request of my father, my brothers and I started to build a house on North Avenue, fronting Orchard Street. As soon as the house was finished, I worked again as much as I could find to do, and worked until Christmas, 1872. Then I got a job in a butcher shop to make sausage, until 1873. Then I worked again as carpenter until fall.
Then the job in the butcher shop was again open for me, making sausage, until March 1874. In April I got the job of selling meat and other articles in the same place. And I stayed there during the next months; I was married on June 13, 1875 to Katy Schuttler, German-American, born in Chicago. I was in the same business until 1877 in January.
Then I started a butcher shop until April 1878. But the butcher business was no good; I could not make any profit from it. Then I again worked at the butcher’s, making sausage, until March 1879.
In April 1879, I started a butcher shop in Matteson, Illinois, and also bought up cows, pigs and calves and hides, as there was not enough to do in the butcher shop.
On account of family affairs, I sold the business and came back to Chicago, in May 1881, and started a partnership with Gust Resthof on North Avenue fronting Market Street, for two years.
In April 1883, I started a butcher shop alone on Clyburn Avenue, south of Sheffield, and I made in a short time so much that I bought a lot on Willow Street, east of Sheffield Avenue.
I started to build a house on this lot. The lot was completed on November 1, 1884. I started a butcher shop in this house, until 1892. Then I started a butcher shop on Roscoe and North Lincoln until 1895.
Then I sold the house so quickly to a brewery that I had to move within ten days. I looked around and found a completed house on North Western Avenue and Belle Plaine Avenue and here I started a butcher shop and grocery. But times were hard and there was no work.
I had a thousand to twelve hundred dollars cash but it was not long and my money was gone, and as I did not want to borrow some customer’s money, and all was gone, from that time I went to work and up to date, have worked as a carpenter.”-End of diary insert.
*Uncle John mentions that the Eckebrechts went to Ohio before they got to Chicago. On the Jenny manifest it was clearly stated as Chicago. Frank Eckebrecht researched the family for years with Uncle John. I believe they collaborated on some details. In the lengthy report Uncle John wrote on his other immigrant grandfather there are a few more details of Katy and Fritz’s life together which will be transcribed and shared here at a later date.