Tag Archives: Ohio

Elizabeth Stahler Kaser, Who’s Your Daddy?

Making  assumptions about Elizabeth Stahler Kaser did not work out so well.

BACKPEDALING

At the beginning of the year, I announced that I would turn my attention to my father’s line because I know far less about the ancestors on his side, than on my mother’s.

I still intend to keep the vow to concentrated on my father’s line, but I need to “bark up a new branch” because I jumped to a conclusion that has proved to be wrong.

As a visual aid, I recently printed out poster-style family trees of Harriette Anderson (Kaser) and Paul Kaser.  It vividly demonstrates why I should concentrate on my father’s side of the family.

(Please pardon the quality, but names are not important at this point.  I just want to illustrate the relative size of known ancestors at this point.

Harriette Anderson

Harriette Anderson Kaser Pedigree Chart 11 generations. Two more not shown.

Paul Kaser Pedigree Chart

Paul Kaser Pedigree Chart, five generations.

In January, I also announced that I would be starting with the known–the parents of Elizabeth Stahler Kaser who married Joseph Kaser.  Then I proceeded to spend three months researching the families of Adam Stahler and Eva Maria Henrich. I assumed they were Elizabeth’s parents.

I WAS WRONG!

TRUST BUT VERIFY

The feeble “evidence” for most of my father’s line comes from a history about the family of Joseph Kaser. From that book, which does include some references, I determined that Joseph Kaser’s wife was Elizabeth Stahler from Pennsylvania. I wrote about Elizabeth Stahler Kaser hereAnd about Joseph here.

A distant cousin who is related to my father’s maternal line, the Butts/Butz family, long ago had told me about the Goshenhoppen Register–a record of itinerant Catholic priests. The Butts family were Catholics.  The Kasers that I knew of were not.  However, she found an Elizabeth Stahler in the Goshenhoppen Register, along with her birth and baptism in 1775 and her parents, Adam Stahler and Eva Maria Henrich.  This was good new indeed, I thought. Although I did wonder at whether she changed religion just to marry Joseph, or what was happening there.

In hindsight, I should have looked for additional confirmation before proceeding down that particular rabbit hole.  But I dug up what I could, which was not much, and explored the lives of her children and Joseph’s will to help fill in some blanks.

WHY I TRUST THE GRAVESTONE

When I found her on Find a Grave–complete with a picture of her gravestone in Nashville, Ohio, it seemed strange.  I knew that Joseph and Elizabeth Stahler Kaser had lived in Clark, Ohio, and Joseph, who died several years before she did, was buried at the Zion Reform German church in New Bedford Ohio. Many Kasers are interred at New Bedford.  However, Exploring their children’s lives and Joseph’s will points to evidence that Elizabeth spent her declining years in Nashville with her youngest son. In addition, I have no doubt that this is Joseph’s wife, Elizabeth, because their tombstones are identical in style. The same stone carver made their stones, even though they are in different parts of Holmes and adjacent Coshocton Counties in Ohio.

The tombstone says Elizabeth Stahler Kaser was born August 5, 1777–NOT 1775 as in the Catholic birth and baptism records.  Tombstones are not perfect, but in this case, I am inclined to believe the tombstone.  My problem–I had found that Find a Grave reference a couple years ago.  Why did I ignore it?  Just because it was inconvenient?  I need to slow down.

WHAT I DON’T KNOW

The key to learning sometimes is realizing what you do not know.  Earlier, I assumed that the Kaser history was right about Elizabeth’s maiden name and I assumed that my distant cousin was right about her baptism and birth records in a Catholic Church register. I thought I knew those things.  Now, I have to admit that I don’t really know her parentage or her birth place.

I have found a Pennsylvania marriage record for an Elizabeth Stahler who married a man whose name is described as Fye (but I believe it is probably Frye). That tells me there was indeed at least one other Elizabeth Stahler in eastern Pennsylvania.  However, I have not found a marriage record for Joseph and Elizabeth Stahler Kaser.

So I don’t know:

  • Elizabeth’s maiden name (although the Kaser History has proven reliable on that score, and odds are it actually is Stahler.)
  • The date and place she and Joseph were married.
  • Who her parents are and where she came from in Pennsylvania.

The basic information!

NEXT STEPS

While I looked through the Lutheran/Reform church records of Pennsylvania some time ago, I was not looking for the name Stahler, so I need to go back to those records.  It appears that they are not on line, so I will have to go to the Family History Center at an LDS church to peruse them.  If I am lucky, a marriage license will show up.

But what if even the Kaser history is wrong and her last name is not even Stahler?  Although I do not generally look at other people’s family trees and I never depend on them for answers, they can lead to new sources and sometimes a contact with the tree owner can be useful. So I need to contact people whose family trees show Joseph Kaser(1776) and his wife  Elizabeth.

Meanwhile, I have corrected as much as possible in the posts on Ancestors in Aprons. I have decided to let the posts I wrote about Adam Stahler, Eva Maria Henrich and Christian and Margaret Henrich to stay on Ancestors in Aprons. Although I do not need information about the Stahlers and the Henrichs since they are not related to Elizabeth Stahler Kaser, there are many people out there looking for information about Stahlers and Henrichs and they might get something out of my research.

Oh yeah–just to keep things interesting, one of Joseph and Elizabeth’s sons–George, who is my great-great grandfather–also married a woman whose last name is Stahler. I am making no assumptions about her!

Lucy Sutherland Photo and Losing Focus

Despite pledging to myself that this year I would stick to the main line of ancestors, I can never resist a mystery.  And Lucy Sutherland presented a mystery.

Lucy Sutherland

Lucy Sutherland (Fair) carte de visite.

In sorting through old photographs, I came across this pretty lady.  On the back I saw it was photographed in Millersburg, Ohio, by a photographer who took many pictures of my other ancestors.  The hand-written name below the photographer’s imprint on the back was Lucy Sutherland.  At the top on the back someone had also written #4 Mrs. L. S. Fair,Clark.

Both of those surnames struck a chord.  One of my father’s aunts, Emma Kaser married a Sutherland.( I  found the story of Emma and George to be quite interesting. You can follow the link to her name if you’d like to read it.)  And my mother’s half-sister, Rhema Anderson married a Fair.  The Sutherlands, Fairs, and Kasers all lived near or in Clark, Ohio.  So how come I didn’t know Lucy Sutherland? And was she born a Sutherland or did she marry one? And why would my mother or father have her photo in their collection?

What I Knew Or Learned

The carte de visite photo looks to have been taken in the 1870s, judging by the style of the photograph and by the style of her dress.  I guessed her age as in her 20s or 30s.

I searched my family tree for Sutherlands, but Lucy was not there.  So next I turned to Fairs. Since I had not added the family of my uncle (by marriage) Earl Fair, my tree was of no help, so I emailed a Fair cousin. He consulted with his sister, who did some research and came up with the fact that Lucy Sutherland married Phineas Franklin Fair, brother of Lyman S. Fair.

That solved the question of why Mrs. L. S. Fair’s name appears on the back of the picture, and firmly places the drama in Clark, Ohio.

P.F. Fair and Lucy were married on November 4 1879, so Lucy was unmarried when she had this picture made, but it is logical to assume that it was indeed taken in the 1870s.  The two newlyweds were twenty-five years old according to their marriage license, so in the picture she was a bit younger than I had guessed–in her early twenties.

A little more digging, and some mysteries clear up, but as usual–new ones emerge.

Three Families Come to Clark, Ohio

In the 1820s, a young Joseph Kaser (III) arrived in Ohio with his parents.  He married and had a large family including Emma Kaser (b. 1864) and Clifford Kaser (b. 1867).

In 1836, five-year-old Daniel Fair arrived in Ohio with his parents. He grew up and married and had several children including Phineas Franklin Fair (b. 1855) and Lyman S. Fair (B. 1866)

About 1864, the Daniel Sutherland Family, with nine-year-old Lucy Sutherland (B. 1855) and other children, including two-year-old George Sutherland (b. 1862) moved from Pennsylvania to a farm near Clark, Ohio (then called Bloomfield).

By 1879, when Lucy Sutherland married Phineas Franklin Fair they were both twenty-five years old.

In My Tree

The cast of characters as they show up in my family tree:

Clifford Kaser, My paternal grandfather.

Emma Kaser, My great-aunt, Clifford’s sister.

Lyman S. Fair, Father of my uncle by marriage, Earl Fair.

Phineas Franklin Fair, Uncle of my uncle by marriage, Earl Fair.

George Sutherland, husband of my great-aunt, Emma Kaser.

Which makes Lucy Sutherland, the lady in the picture, the sister of the husband of my great-aunt. AND the wife of the uncle of the husband of my aunt.

Got that?

More Lucy Sutherland Mystery

The mystery of why my parents would have her photo remains unsolved.

And the fact that Phineas Franklin married a second time in 1903 adds piquancy to the story.  Lucy pretty much seems to disappear from records after her one son is born in 1886. Find a Grave identifies a grave marker as hers and says she died in 1951 (age 96) but I can’t read the tombstone, so don’t currently have any more information from that. There also is a Lucy A. Fair on a property map of the area where P.F. Fair also has land, but most records refer to her as Lucy J.

I am going to leave it to the Fair family to sort this out if they choose, and go back to my direct line, now that I at least know my connection to the lady in the photo. Thanks for the entertaining distraction, Lucy, but I’m back in focus.

Penmanship Samples, a Family Heirloom

My handwriting is terrible. Some very old penmanship samples showed me just how awkward. My struggle with writing made me admire my grandmother’s Spencerian script even more. But she was not the only person with good handwriting back in her day.  If you look at the penmanship of most of the entries in the autograph books of Maude and Vera Stout, you will see many examples of children who might have studied penmanship with a master.

One day when I was visiting her, she showed me three pieces of paper with fanciful birds, drawn by pen in swooping lines of every-changing width.  I gaped. The person who created these penmanship samples was an artist. In fact, the drawings were promotional material. Advertising differed in the 1880s from today’s TV and websites. So did penmanship.

  The International Association of Master Penman, etc. provides a haven for those who think penmanship counts. They introduce F. W. Tamblyn, who moved from itinerant penmanship teacher to penmanship by mail courses. If you love beautiful penmaship, you may want to givve their site a look.
Penmanship Sample

This is smaller than the other two penmanship samples, also done by J. S. Johnston of Millersburg, Ohio. Like the other two, it is on ruled paper like children used in school.

They were all signed by J. S. Johnston, Millersburg, Ohio, and two of them designated that Mr. Johnston was a Penman.  My grandmother had kept them folded in a drawer for more than sixty years.

Itinerant penmanship teachers swarmed over the countryside in the 1800s. At that time, penmanship fell under the category of vocational training.  For those of us researching court documents and old legal papers, we become familiar with the handwriting of clerks hired for their beautiful and clear penmanship.

Grandma Vera Anderson explained that the penmanship teacher would come to town (Killbuck, Ohio) and set up outdoors near the center of town, creating these awesome examples of his work and handing them out to the children who gathered around.  Of course, he really wanted the youngsters to run back home and tell their parents about the wonderful drawings and that they could sign up and take his class so they, too, could make their writing a work of art.

In this one I admire the delicate suggestion of tree limbs in the background of the top bird, and water behind the lower bird. And how beautiful that U. S. A.!

Penmanship Sample

Two graceful birds in penmanship sample by J. S. Johnston of Millersburg, Ohio. Note he made an error in writing Millersburg! 7 3/4″ wide by 9 1/2″ tall.

 

I think of the skill needed to make these penmanship samples with a scratchy metal pen dipped again and again in a pot of ink and I get the shivers.  Even if he had never studied the concept, he was working with negative space and balancing the decorative designs around the page so that they fit into the whole.  His composition draws the eye just where he wants it.

I wonder how long it took for him to create something like the complexity of the drawing below? I can almost hear him talking to the gathered children as his hand flew across the paper. He told them how these lines form part of letters in handwriting, and wouldn’t they like to be able to do this, too?  Here, take this paper home and show your Mother and Father. I will be here all week giving lessons in penmanship.

Penmanship Sample

Very detailed picture made by penmanship teacher, J. S. Johnson of Millersburg Ohio, on ruled paper like a child’s school tablet. 7 3/4″ wide x 10″ tall.

When I inherited the drawings, I framed them properly as a work of art should be framed. Now they are well over 100 years old, and protected.

I think of these examples of penmanship, and the children’s desire to write beautifully in the autograph books whenever I hear the current discussion of whether it is practical to teach script in school any more, since everybody prints or keyboards.

Poor Mr. Johnston, the penmanship teacher, would be bereft.

As I would be without these gorgeous penmanship drawings.

Note: This post is a response to the weekly prompt of the 52 Ancestors project started by Amy Johnson Crow.    This week’s prompt: Heirloom