This week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is Road Trip. I plan to read lots of posts in Generations Café on Facebook from those who have traveled to a local spot to visit a cemetery, farmstead, courthouse, or traveled far to visit a beautiful ancestral village, battlefield, or port of entry.
My great uncle John, between World Wars I and II, while he was studying theology in Switzerland, visited Germany to obtain birth information on his immigrant grandparents Johann Leies and Emilia Bold. He traveled to Nunschweiler, Germany to visit the Catholic parish where some of our ancestors worshipped. Since he himself was a priest, the parish priest at Nunschweiler transcribed the baptismal records for both of them for him.
I’ve never made such a valuable trip as he. When I was a child we visited two ancestral towns in Italy – Penne and Farindola. I was too young, obviously, to appreciate the genealogical value of such trips.
Today we have the ability to email archives across the ocean and across this country. I’ve even emailed a few counties away to obtain naturalization information on an ancestor.
My road trips to research my family (if you can call them road trips) have been small. I’ve gone to the local LDS Family History Center to browse microfilm before Family Search started digitizing the films for use, before France added free Departmental Archives online, before Italy uploaded records I needed to Antenati, before Switzerland started digitizing church records from certain cantons free of use online, and before Ancestry added German records I needed. I was loyal, visiting almost three times a month. The night before my first ever visit to the Family History Center, I even had a dream about the ancestor I was researching on the film I had ordered – Angelo Ferraro. It was very vivid and the dream was correct.
Back to the topic on hand – Once I made a road trip to a major historical military archive – the United States Army Heritage Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania – to research collateral individuals and gain service information on those who served in the United States Colored Troops. They have excellent records for those researching Pennsylvania Civil War ancestors. While that is true, the librarian informed me upon my visit right away that they didn’t have any information on United Stated Colored Troop/Buffalo Soldiers and that he could not help it, knew it was sad, and wish it wasn’t true.
Speaking of the Civil War, I’ve been to Gettysburg battlefields many times. My ancestor Johann Schuttler made supply and artillery wagons for the Union Army. This counts as a road trip, right? I would love to visit Ellis Island or Castle Garden ~ and someday Switzerland ~ and the rest the countries in my ancestral heritage ~
On September 8, 1838, my third great grandparents Johann Adam Layes and Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeifer were married in Nuenschweiler, Germany. They were the parents of my immigrant second great grandfather Johann Leies.
Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeiffer was born in Thaleischweiler in 1816 to Johann Pfeifer and Maria Eva Bauer. They were farmers and were also born in Thaleischweiler, a little town closer to the French border than Nuenschweiler. For a time after her mother’s death around 1833, Elisabetha Margaretha and her two young siblings were living with their relative Peter Bauer, in Thaleischweiler, while their father Johann Pfeifer was living in another little nearby hamlet called Reiffenberg.
Why would Johann leave his children in the care of another and live in Reiffenberg? That is a great question.
I found out about these living arrangements after using surnames and Thaleischweiler to search on Google Books. Another relative had brought suit for the property that Peter Bauer and the minor children were living on in 1834. Also mentioned in the suit was the fact that Elisabeth Margaretha’s mother, Maria Eva Bauer, had been a widow to her first husband, Joseph Matheis, also of Thaleischweiler.
I was able to trace the ancestry of Elisabetha Margaretha’s family to the early 1700s and late 1600s in most of her mother’s lines, and to the middle 1500s in one part of her maternal pedigree to a couple of foresters of the Palatine forest near Contwig.
Of note in her father’s ancestry is a lady born in the late 1600s – a 7th great grandmother named Anna Apollonia Moraux. Where does Moraux sound like it came from? France. Perhaps she is another in the Leies ancestry of French descent.*
Johann Adam Layes was born on a farm called Huber Hof near Nuenschweiler in 1815 to Heinrich Layes and Gertruda Conrad. Heinrich was deceased and had been a farmer. Johann Adam was also a farmer.
Johann Adam and Elisabetha Margaretha had at least four children:
The Layes/Leyies-Trauden ancestry also traces back to Contwig. More research needs to be performed on Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeifer’s ancestry, which I think may include intermarriage between these two families about 100 years before this 1838 union.
I used numerous spellings for Leies in this post. I tried to stay true to the spelling of Leies in the church records of this area of the Palatinate when I located the records. The ancestry of both parents of Johann Leies is peppered with Catholics, Protestants, and ancestors that seemed to decide on both during their lifetimes.
Nuenschweiler – On today’s date in 1842, my third great grandparents Franz Jacob Bold andElisabetha Scheidwere married in the Catholic parish in Nuenschweiler, Rheinpfalz, Germany by Father Joannis Feibel. They were the parents of Emilia Bold Leies.
Elisabetha and Franz Jacob were from neighboring Rodalben. She was born there while he was born in neighboring Knopp-Labach.
Their Catholic marriage record declared that Franz Jacob was the son of Adam Bold and Margaretha Becker, married residents of Rodalben. It looks like the parochial vicar of Rodalben, Father Petro Bold, is mentioned in the Latin marriage record. He was the older brother of Franz Jacob. He also baptized Elisabetha Scheid, according to the baptismal record I found on film which is now available online at Family Search.
The marriage record also declared that Elisabetha was the daughter of Johann Jacob Scheid and the deceased Catharina Buchler, also of Rodalben.
Franz Jacob Bold, the head schoolmaster of the Catholic school in Nuenschweiler, was the son of farmers. His Bold grandparents were named Johann Adam Bold and Magdalena Helf. Elisabetha’s ancestry has been detailed here and here.
Franz Jacob Bold, for all intents and purposes, appears to have died in Germany around 1880, which lead to his wife’s immigration to America. She died in New York City in 1905.
Pictures of Nuenschweiler and Knopp-Labach can be found online here.
Recently I was contacted by two fourth cousins researching the immigrant Bolds. Thank you to B.R., a descendant of Alexander Bold, who pointed out that Elisabetha Scheid Bold and Franz Jacob Bold had another child that came to America and was named Ferdinand Bold. He and his family were part of a New York City tragedy that was absolutely horrifying to discover. Now knowing of this immigrant brother of Emilia Bold Leies, it makes sense that she named her second son John Ferdinand.
A descendant of Anna Bold Leies and Jacob Leies, P.A., informed me that there may be at three least cases of Bolds marrying Leieses in our lines. We plan to sort it out! This includes a possible case of one of the daughters of Anna Bold Leies, that I had vowed to find in a previous post, marrying her first cousin – a Bold!
TA also told me that Leies, on her side of the family, is pronounced LEESS. Not LE-AS as it is on our side and there are some Leies relations residing in Pennsylvania. Interesting indeed! Thank you for finding me!
Emilia Bold’s Youngest Brothers
Emilia Bold’s youngest immigrant brothers Richard and Ferdinand Bold seem to have traveled to America together when Richard was 17, arriving at the port of New York on November 25, 1871, on the Donau which sailed from Bremen, Germany. The strange thing about the passenger manifest I found listed Ferdinand as age 9. American records point to his age as having been 13.
In 1880, at B.R.’s direction, Ferdinand Bold was found marrying Mary Knaup (daughter of Anthony Knaup and Frances Nackes), a German-American born in New York City. According to that year’s Federal Census, he was working as a stationary engineer. The New York Marriage Index on Family Search says he was born in 1858 in Nenschweiler. To me, that is close enough to mean Nuenschweiler, where the majority of his siblings were born.
That year, Ferdinand and his wife resided at 218 Sullivan Street with his mother-in-law Frances Knaup, sister-in-law Teresa Knaup, and brother-in-law John Knaup. The census sheets before and after theirs reveal it to be a neighborhood made up of immigrants from Germany and Ireland.
In November of 1880, according to the Naturalization Index, Ferdinand became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
The Bolds and the Grand Street Tenement Disaster
In 1881, according to many newspaper articles, Ferdinand, wife Mary, their baby Joseph, and his wife’s family lived at the corner of 5th Avenue and Grand Street on the top floor when the tenement suddenly caved in. It was a three floor building and Ferdinand’s family lived on the top. It became known as the Grand Street Tenement Disaster and was nation-wide news. Below are samples of some news clippings about the tragedy.
Ferdinand’s wife’s mother and brother were killed. She herself was badly injured but survived. The news clippings I found about the collapse described some pretty horrific details. Some of them were in Chicago newspapers. Imagine how great great grandmother Emilia Bold Leies and her other Chicago siblings must have worried when they read the news there!
Below is an image found on Google images, Amazon, Abe Books, and eBay from an engraving Harpers Weekly made and printed and is called “Grand Street Tenement House Disaster.” Originals are for sale out there on the internet. Ferdinand Bold may be in the image.
It is a miracle baby Joseph survived. The following spring, Ferdinand sued James O’Brien, the owner of the building, for $1,100.00 damages. He was awarded $426.00. Current inflation makes that a little less than $10,000.00.
A coroner’s jury was held and found James O’Brien and the owner of the adjacent building, Julius Levy, grossly negligent in the deaths of 9 tenants of the building, however, a grand jury found no criminal negligence on their part!
Ferdinand and Mary went on to have 3 more children after Joseph: Theresa, Frederick, and Albert Joseph. Unfortunately, Ferdinand passed away young in February, 1893.
Wife Mary evidently re-married around 1895 to a Mr. Brennan because the 1900 Federal Census names her as Mary Brennan, widowed, and having been married 5 years. Mr. Brennan had already died. She was raising her children and his three children as well.
Ferdinand’s children Theresa and Joseph worked in a stationary factory and never married.
Ferdinand’s sons Frederick and Albert both married. Three grandchildren of Ferdinand served in the military. Frederick’s two sons, Frederick James and Joseph Aloysius joined the New York National Guard while Albert’s son Walter Albert was an Army Veteran of World War II, adding to the number of descendants of Elisabeth Scheid Bold that joined the United States Military in some fashion. Joseph Aloysius died in an automobile accident shortly after signing up for National Guard duty.
All World War I and World War II draft records that I could find for Ferdinand’s children and their descendants describe them as tall individuals, medium build, with brown hair, brown eyes, and a light complexion.
I do not know where Ferdinand is buried.
Richard Bold was born in 1854 in Busenberg, a few miles from Nuesnchweiler, Germany. A few years after he arrived at the Port of New York in 1871, I found him in the 1878 Chicago Directory, working as a barber. At the time of the 1880 Federal Census, he was living with his older brother Alexander and his wife and family, still working as a barber.
I found a news clipping stating that on May 31, 1882, Richard Bold was appointed to the Police Department. His brother Alexander was also a policer officer at this time. In 1883 he married another German immigrant, Louise Ruf, daughter of Louis Ruf and Henrietta Gerber. Later clippings regarding Richard Bold state he was a patrolman at the Larrabee Street Station. Grandma Ferraro lived on Larrabee.
The Haymarket Massacre and the Bolds
On May 3, 1886, labor demonstrators across the country rallied in support of an 8 hour work day. A peaceful demonstration in Chicago turned deadly when Chicago police officers attacked and killed picketers at the McCormick Reaper Plant.
The following day, on May 4, 1886, the Haymarket Massacre took place in Haymarket Square. It too started as a peaceful labor demonstration organized by a few anarchists in support of that 8 hour work day and in support of the laborers the Chicago police had killed the day before. One of the speakers at the Haymarket Square that evening was a lay Methodist Minister from England, a known activist.
At 10:30 pm, when, according to the data at the Illinois Labor History Society, 176 Chicago Police Officers carrying Winchester repeater rifles were trying to disperse the remaining crowd of 200, an unknown individual threw a dynamite bomb at the police, killing seven of them, and four civilians, and injuring many others. Gunfire immediately following the blast also resulted in some of the deaths and injuries. Source: Wikipedia.
It is unknown who fired the first shot following the bombing and some reports said in the chaos the Chicago police ended up firing on each other. A historian believes that in less than 5 minutes, 176 Chicago police officers had gotten what they desired because Haymarket Square was emptied of everyone, except for the casualties. Sources: Wikipedia, Chicagocop.com., and Chicagology.com
The next day, Marshal Law was declared in Chicago and the front page of the entire Chicago Tribune was dedicated to “hellish event”. Source: newspapers.com.
Eventually, in actions led by irrational fear of the foreign born (including several Germans), eight accused anarchists were illegally rounded up, tried and convicted, and hung – including the lay Methodist minister from England. One commit suicide the evening before the handing. Later some were pardoned. Sources: Wikipedia, Illinois Labor History Society, and Chicagocop.com.
I suppose, with the fact that 176 Chicago police officers were there that night, Police Officer Alexander Bold (then assigned to the Des Plaines Street Station) was likely there. See Chicagocop.com – on duty police officers of the Des Plaines Street Station were at Haymarket that evening. Patrolman Richard Bold MAY have been there as well.
In 1887, a list was printed in the newspaper of the contributions each police officer in the city made towards the “Haymarket Monument Fund.” Richard Bold contributed .25 to the fund as part of the Larrabee Street Station. According to Wikipedia, that monument had been damaged in the early 1900s and later destroyed in demonstrations against the Vietnam War. A new monument dedicated to the event now stands in front of the Chicago Police Headquarters.
In 1888, I found Richard Bold on the Chicago Voter Registration stating he had lived in Chicago for 15 years and was naturalized. Perhaps he lived in NYC for two years with his Bold relatives there.
In 1889, Richard Bold appeared in list of Chicagoans in the paper who had contributed to the fund for the Chicago’s World Fair. He contributed $20! He never lived to see the Fair though.
He passed away in 1890 from influenza complications. Below is his death notice.
Richard had a son named Richard, born shortly after his death. He didn’t live to his first birthday. I have no idea who the other child is of Richard that is mentioned in his death notice.
Richard Bold is buried in St. Boniface Cemetery, burial place of his sister Emilia Bold Leies.
This all makes me wonder when did Emilia Bold get here and who did she come with, or was she like her siblings and came alone or as a teenager without an adult?
B.R., fourth cousin
T.A., fourth cousin
New York Passenger Manifests
Family Search Busenberg Catholic Church Records
New York City Marriage Index and Death Indexes
Social Security Death Indexes
World War I and World War II Draft Cards
United States Veteran’s Burial Cards
United States Naturalization Indexes
New York National Guard Enlistment Cards
Cook County Marriage and Death Indexes
Illinois Labor History Society
Chicago Voter Registration, 1888
Nueschweiler, Germany Catholic Church Confirmation Records via microfilm
Recently, I discovered and can confirm that, yes, second great grandmother Emilia Bold’s mother Elisabetha Scheid Bold did come to America, at the age of 57 in 1880, sailing from Rotterdam, Netherlands aboard the ship the Scheidam and died in Manhattan in 1905. Her daughter Rosa traveled with her. They traveled in steerage and no profession was listed for either of them. Through clues in censuses, it appears Elisabetha’s husband, Jacob Scheid, Nunschweiler’s Head Catholic Schoolmaster, had passed away. Elisabetha came to live with her daughter, Anna Maria Bold, who had been in America for 13 years.
Anna Maria Bold Leies
I find Emilia Bold’s sister intriguing because of the age that she came here alone. According to church records, Anna Maria Bold was born in 1852 in Busenberg, Germany, a few miles from Nuenschweiler. At the age of 15, in 1867, Anna Bold’s name appeared in the Hamburg Passenger Lists on the ship named Cimbria sailing for the Port of New York. Her place of origin was Nunschweiler. She traveled in steerage. The passenger listing really specifies her age as 15! Anna Bold is also listed in the Germans to America index at the age of 15. Castle Garden lists her as arriving on June 13, 1867 at the age of 15 as well. The burning question is, did she know anyone on the Cimbria?! Is there anyone out there researching her that can shed light on this? What prompted her to leave her home at this age?
The next year, Anna Bold married Jacob Leies on December 6, 1868 at the age of 16, according to the recently released New York City Marriage Index. At first I thought this was a mistake that she was marrying at 16 and marrying a Leies. I actually discounted the index when I first found it. But no, it is all real and she is really Emilia’s sister. The marriage index listed the names of Jacob’s parents and also his birthplace as Huberhof – the same farm as second great grandfather Johann Leies.
What is our relationship to Jacob Leies?
Jacob Leies was first cousin to our second great grandfather Johann Leies. Jacob Leies and Johann Leies shared the same grandparents. Johann Leies (great great grandfather) is the husband of Emilia Bold – sister of Anna Maria Bold.
Jacob Leies was born in Nunschweiler to Johann Jacob Leies and Louisa Catharina Knerr, who immigrated to the United States around 1854 when Jacob was 14. He and his parents were living in New York City’s 8th Ward at the time of the 1855 New York State Census. Johann Jacob was listed as a laborer on that census. The entire Leies family had their surname misspelled as Lyse on that record.
Even though Jacob was about 14 years older than Anna Bold, Anna Bold would have been about the age of 2 when Jacob would have left for America.
Also, Jacob Leies is the brother of Union Soldier Peter Leies, 1841-1862, born in Nunschweiler, Germany and killed at Antietam. Jacob spent time in the Union Army as well, after his brother’s death at Antietam, in the NY 159th Infantry Regiment. I have had trouble locating information on Jacob in the Union Army and don’t want to spend the money to order the service records of a first cousin 4 x removed to me no matter how fascinated I am by immigrants in the United States Civil War.
Coincidentally, after the war, Jacob supported Anna and their children as a “manufacturer of artificial limbs.” That made me wonder if Jacob suffered an injury during the Civil War, so I looked for a pension. I couldn’t locate proof of one. The spelling of Leies in most records at this time in America is allover the place as well. On the other hand, his choice of profession choice could mean nothing.
On to Elisabetha Scheid Bold…
Elisabetha Scheid was born in 1822 in Rodalben to Johann Jacob Scheid and Catharina Buchler according to Rodalben’s Kirkenbuch and Familienbuch. She married Franz Jacob Bold in Nunschweiler, in 1842 where he was the schoolmaster. This current blog post is updating some of the facts regarding Elisabetha Scheid in this previous post.
On January 24, 1880, Elisabetha and her youngest daughter, Rosa, arrived in the Port of New York on the ship the Scheidam, which had sailed from Rotterdam, Netherlands.
American records point to proof that Elisabetha’s husband Jacob Bold had passed away in Nunschweiler by 1880. I found an Elisabetha Bold on the 1880 Federal Census living with her daughter Anna and son-in-law Jacob Leies, and their children Mary Ann, Richard Joseph, Louisa, Jacob Aloysius, and Anna. Her relationship to head of household Jacob was listed as “mother.” The box for widowed/divorced is checked next to Elisabetha’s name.
Back to Anna…
In 1885, Elisabetha’s son-in-law Jacob Leies passed away. In 1897, Anna Bold Leies passed away. Anna’s will on Ancestry.com listed all of her children as heirs and a man listed as her cousin Jacob Weinlin, as Executor.
A little on her children: Anna’s son Jacob Aloysius Leies joined the United States Navy in 1905. After his service, he was a post office clerk and never married. Richard was a merchant/salesman according to federal censuses and city directories. I have been able to trace Richard’s large amount of descendants to the 1990s while I am still trying to track down what happened Anna’s daughters Louisa, Mary Ann, and Anna.
Juliana Rosa Bold Ertl
Rosa (Julian Rosa) Bold was born in 1860 in Nunschweiler. As stated above, she came to the United States with her mother in 1880. It is unclear how long she was in New York City. She was not on the census with her mother in 1880, nor with her Chicago siblings Richard, Alex, and Emilia.
By 1883 though, she is found in Chicago marrying another German immigrant named John Ertl, They had three children: Elizabeth, Karl, and John. She passed away young, on April 4, 1891 in Chicago.
I could only find one of Rosa’s children in adulthood – Elizabeth, whose profession on the 1940 Federal Census was listed as a stenographer for an architect company. She never married. I am still searching for her sons.
Back to Elisabetha…
By the time of the 1900 federal census, Elisabetha was living with Jacob Weinlein, his wife Louisa, and their family in New York City. Elisabetha was listed as “aunt” as to her relationship with the head of household Jacob. (He is the same man that was the Executor of Anna’s will.) Elisabetha stated she was widowed, a mother of “8” children and when asked if any of her children were living the number was “0.”
The census taker wrote “yes” in the block under “Can Speak English” in the 1900 federal census for Elisabetha.
Elisabetha passed away on January 14, 1905 in Manhattan. Several of her descendants are buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Westchester County, New York. I wonder if her grave is there also. I have not located it yet. The New York Death Index did list her parents as Jacob Scheid and Catharina Bechler. That is so close to Buchler, there can be no mistake that 3rd great grandmother Elisabetha Scheid Bold came to the United States too.
On this Veteran’s Day weekend, I decided to count the amount of Veterans that I could find descended from Elisabetha Scheid and her husband Franz Jacob Bold. So far, this is what I have: 1 U.S. Navy Veteran, 1 World War I Veteran, 6 World War II Veterans (3 of which were brothers) including Colonel Gerard M. Leies.
I will find what happened to Rosa’s sons and Anna’s daughters!!!!!!!!
Familien – und Seelen-Verzeichnissi fur Pfarrei Rodalben
Nunschweiler Catholic Church records via microfilm
Busenberg Catholic Church recrods via Family Search
Hamburg Passenger Lists
New York Passenger Lists
Germans to America
New York State Censuses
United States Federal Censuses
New York City Directories
New York and Chicago birth, marriage, and death indexes
New York State Civil War Muster Rolls
Various records from National Archives pertaining to the descendants of Richard Leies
My great great grandfather Johann Leies was born in Nuenschweiler in the German Palatinate in 1843 to farmers Johann Adam Leies and Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeiffer. He came to America in 1867 and became a naturalized citizen of the United States that same year in Wayne County, Ohio. Before moving to Chicago and running a saloon, he worked as a farmer, a carpenter, in beer and wine dealing, and married a childhood friend from Nuenschweiler in Wooster, Ohio – Immigrant #24 ~~ Great Great Grandmother Emilia Anna Bold Leies~~and had their children, Alexander, my great grandfather, and John Ferdinand.
Uncle John wrote a lot about this immigrant grandfather of his and even visited the Catholic church in Nuenschweiler to obtain a transcribed copy of his grandfather’s baptism. The village is about 6 miles from the current day border of Moselle, Lorraine, France. Johann was born at Huber Hof near Nuenschweiler. Huber Hof was the name of his great grandfather Michael Conrad’s farm. Hof originally meant temple or hall in Old Norse. It later was used for courtyard and eventually for a collection of buildings on a farm. Source: Wikipedia.
When Johann was born, the farm had already been inherited by his grandmother Gertruda Conrad. Information on his estate came from a great source: Intelligenzblatt des Rheinkreises, Volume 7, or Google Books! Johann was the oldest of at least four children. The baptismal records of Nuenschweiler are missing a few decades which means there may have been more siblings.
Like me, Uncle John did not know the date or location of Johann’s arrival here, although he left a great trail for the researchers that would come after him. He thinks he may have entered the country in New Orleans.
I wondered why did Johann go to Wooster, Ohio when I read Uncle John’s research. This past summer when I found a relation of ours (Union Soldier Peter Leies, 1841-1862, born in Nunschweiler, Germany and killed at Antietam), I began looking for more Leies family members in the Civil War. That led me to two other first cousins of great great grandfather Johann that were drafted during the Civil War in Ohio – Henry and Anthony Leies. They were brothers. From what I can tell, they were only drafted and didn’t serve. Their parents were Heinrich Leies and Barbara Buchheit from Nuenschweiler and all of them had been living in Wooster, Ohio. Heinrich was the oldest brother of Johann’s father making them aunt and uncle to Johann.
Not only is it apparent at this point in my research that the Heinrich Leies family paved the way for the other Leieses to come to America, but they got here even earlier than our first direct American ancestor Johann Schuttler in 1849. Heinrich Leies, wife Barbara, and their sons arrived in New York City in 1848.
I do siblings when I count the immigrants in my tree. Do Heinrich and family count since he was the sibling of Johann’s father? Definitely.
Back to Johann. Do you think he lived with Uncle Heinrich or a cousin when he got to Wooster? It is very likely. Johann would only have been about 5 years old when his Uncle Heinrich and Aunt Barbara left Nuenschweiler. Both his Uncle Heinrich and Aunt Barbara were two of his baptismal sponsors, as you can see on the parish record below.
Uncle John had a copy of a letter his grandfather wrote to his cousin Johann Leies (a different Johann!) in Massweiler, Germany in 1910 that he translated from German and distributed to his family before his death. One detail from his life in Germany is written in the letter. He stated that “When I was 18 years old I worked in Pirmasens near the church not far from Loewenbrunnen for a Jew called Wolf. He had a bone mill at Nuenschweiler; his son’s name was Alphonse. He went to America.”
Important facts about Johann’s years in America were listed in the letter to back home in 1910 in this order:
“I have been in America for 43 years. I worked as a farmer and carpenter for two years;
Then I worked 7 years in the wine and beer industry in Wooster, Ohio;
Then we moved to Chicago. Here in Chicago I have dealt in beer and wine for 8 years;
Then for four years in other types of work;
Then for 22 years in the piano business with my son.”
At the time of the 1880 Census in Wooster, Ohio, Johann’s cousin Henry Leies was running a saloon. I can’t help but think that Johann may have been working there at some point before he moved to Chicago in the “wine and beer industry.”
The paper trail on Johann picks up in Chicago in 1880 where he is running a saloon according to the census. I would love to know the name of his saloon – his beer and wine business. I couldn’t find anything on newspapers.com regarding his saloon. By the mid 1890s, the hard-working and diligent Johann owned his own piano dealing shop – John Leies Pianos. Later he brought his son Alexander into the piano dealing business and they became known as John Leies & Son Pianos.
Johann remarried in 1896, two years after the death of Emilia Bold. His second wife, Carolina Sickel, was born in New Orleans. The 1910 Federal Census stated that her father was born in France, and that her mother was born in Germany. She had been put into a home before Johann died in Chicago in 1922. You can see his Find-a-Grave Memorial here.
Written in Latin above, in the margin next to Johann’s baptism, is his date of death in America. Uncle John knew his grandfather often sent money home to the parish in Nuenschweiler. The priest back home either received word of his death from a relative in Nuenschweiler, a relative in Chicago who wrote home, or from Uncle John himself when he visited. In turn, the church books of Nuenschweiler were photographed by the Latter Day Saints. I would like to think it was from Uncle John.
Uncle John wrote a fantastic report on this grandfather of his. Email me if you wish to have a copy.
One of Johann’s ancestors was named Hans Adam Schwartz, born around 1650. According to the Contwig Reformed Church Records I found, he was a Gerichtsschoffe or Court Alderman in the Zwiebrucken area of the Palatinate. He was our 7th great grandfather. His daughter Anna Ottilia married our 6th great grandfather Jakob Johann Wenceslaus Layies-Trauden. Leies was spelled as Layies at that point in the church records.
Johann also had ancestors born in France like his wife Emilia. The earliest known of them was Jean Michel Conrad, born December 3, 1697 in Shweyen, Moselle. I would like to point out that in 1697, parts of the Palatinate were under French rule. His baptism from the Archives of Moselle is below. Thank you cousin G. Pfeiffer in France for sharing and emailing many Conrad records to me.
Like some of the ancestry of Emilia Bold, going back to the 1400s in this part of Europe, there are two parts of Johann’s ancestry that “claim” to be able to trace back to the 1400s, and even to the 1300s in a town in the present-day Saarland. In the 1300s the region of present-day Saarland was part of the Holy Roman Empire. Emilia’s Helfrich line isn’t a myth right now like Johann’s pre-1600s ancestors are for American researchers. Maybe those trees on Geneanet are correct, but I can’t prove it!
Johann’s 1910 letter stated he had a photo album of his family back in Germany. If that album still exists, it must be a treasure.
Wayne County, Ohio Historical Society
Nuenschweiler, Germany Catholic Church Records
Hornbach Catholic and Protestant Church Records
Intelligenzblatt des Rheinkreises, Volume 7
Cousin G. Pfeiffer, France
Baptemes Loutzviller 1691-1723, Archives 57
Contwig, Germany Church Records
Weisbach and Massweiler, Germany Catholic and Reformed Church Records
Zur Familie Trauden/Layes von Oberhausen, by Johannes Becherer via L. Broschart in Koblenz, Germany
United States Federal Censuses
Ohio Birth and Marriage Indexes
Chicago Marriage and Death Indexes
New York Passenger Lists/Manifests/National Archives
Chicago City Directories
Numerous French and German personal genealogy databases
*My Kempf ancestors from Grosssteinhausen, RP are possibly descended from the Saarbrucken Kempfs in the Saarland.
Moselle, Lorraine, France
Loutzviller: Bittel, Scheid(t), Conrad
Schweyen: Conrad, Stauder
Volmunster: Bittel, Ziegler, Zeigler Huber, Stauder, Stauder dit Le Suisse
Roppeviller:Schaub dit Bittel
Bliesbruck: Stauder dit Le Suisse
Urbach: Faber, Champion
Petit-Rederching: Faber, Faber dit Schoff Jockel
Bernese Anabaptist Refugees to the Palatinate
Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach, Bern: Rubeli/Strubel (from Langnau), Muller – Rubeli and Muller migrated to Fischbach, RP and lived in Messerschwanderhof and Contwig. The Rubeli were related to the Gungerich Anabaptists of Diessbach. See: Mennosearch.com and Der Tauferlehrer Christian Gungerich von Oberdiessbach (1595-1671) und der Streit um Seinen Nachlas by Hanspeter Jecker.
Our newly discovered Union Private Peter Leies was born at Huberhof, Nunschweiler, Germany in 1841 and killed in action at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862 in the single most bloodiest day in American history. Peter is our cousin and left no wife or children. He enlisted at age 21 in New York City in the NY 4th Infantry, Company “D.”
I found a little information about Peter in an American Civil War Research database. I hope the link to him works for you before we hit a paywall. The only other information I know about Peter and the war are the records I found pertaining to him on Ancestry.
The enlistment officer wrote his name as Peter Leas. His pension card had that noted as his alias. LEIES also appears on the pension card, and with the names of his parents on the card, I knew he was the first cousin to my great great grandfather Johann Leies. I have all of the Leies baptisms and confirmations from Nunschweiler, Germany in a file. In my research experience, nobody but an actual relative of my grandmother spells their surname as L-E-I-E-S.
In 1865, his mother Louisa Knerr Leies applied for his pension after the war ended. In 1874, his father then applied for the pension, probably after his mother passed.
I found Peter quite by accident last night. I was chasing down the Leies relatives of Grandma in NYC and trying to prove Peter’s brother Jacob Leies enlisted in the Union Army. I wasn’t looking for Peter until I found his parents listed on his pension card. We have long known we had no direct ancestors in the United States Civil War.
I wonder now what possessed the ethnic Germans to enlist in the Civil War and desire to learn more about the Battle of Antietam. I found a reference to Peter’s Company “D” on another Civil War page saying it was formed with the intent of being a solely German company. I know that didn’t work out because there is a shamrock on the monument to his regiment at Antietam. Follow this link to the memorial.
According to the 1855 NY State Census, Peter and his brother Jacob had been living in NYC since 1852. I found a Jacob Leies enlisting in the NY 159th in 1862. The problem is that on that enlistment record Jacob has his birthplace listed as Brooklyn. I have Jacob’s baptismal record from Nunschweiler. So I wonder if they put Brooklyn on the record if Jacob no longer had the German accent. I will have to research Jacob some more. He is the one that led me to Peter.
With the United States Army Heritage Center so close by, I intend to take advantage of the opportunity to research Private Peter Leies further because, he is a Leies and he died in action. He gets his own research binder.
In case you are wondering how we are related, Peter Leies and my great great grandfather Johann Leies shared the same grandfather.