Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Just the Facts: Elizabeth Stahler and Her Family

ELIZABETH STAHLER (Kaser) (1775-1843)

My 3rd Great Grandmother on my father’s side, Elizabeth Stahler Kaser, was born to a German immigrant family who settled in Berks County Pennsylvania.  Unlike many of my ancestors on my father’s side who belonged to reform churches, the Stahler family belonged to the Catholic Church.

As I am researching the Stahler family, that religion has proved to be a blessing  because the earliest generations in American show up in the oldest church registry still extant for the eastern United States–the Goshenhoppen Register.  Because once the German settlers left the Philadelphia area they were venturing into virtual wilderness, with, at best, very small towns, Catholic priests traveled from settlement to settlement until churches could be built.  Two who covered the circuit out of Goshenhoppen from 1741 until 1764, wrote down every wedding, conversion and baptism they officiated at in a small book. That treasure was translated in the 19th century, and is available on Google Books today. (See research notes).

I will talk more about the traveling priests when I get to Elizabeth Stahler’s grandfather–the first comer of the Stahlers–Christian Stahler.  But for now, her family history leaves me with a couple of religion questions.

  1. Where the heck is the record of her marriage to Joseph Kaser? I cannot find it either in the Catholic church records, nor in the Lehigh County Zion (Lutheran) Church records that records many Keiser/Kaser families.
  2. Did she convert from Catholic when she married Joseph, or had her family drifted away from the Catholic church before that?

The Birth Family of Elizabeth Stahler

According to the records (written in German) kept by Jesuit priest, Rev. John Baptist Ritter, Elizabeth Stahler was born January 19, 1775. The priest baptized her on the 19th of March at the home of her grandfather, Christian Henrich.  Christian was a man as religious as his names sounds.  He built a sort of way station for the priests on the circuit who stopped by to say Mass and officiate in church rituals.  The name, Asperum Collum, meaning ‘sharp-pointed mountain’ in Latin, appears frequently in the Goshenhoppen Register as the site of baptisms and marriages. Today the place, in Berks County, near Allentown Pennsylvania, is known as Spitzenberg Mountain (or Hill) (sharp pointed mountain/hill in German).

The Registry in translation lists Elizabeth’s parents as Adam Stahler and his wife Mary. This may be a simplification by the translator, as their “real” names were Johann Adam Stahler and Eva Maria (or Mary).  The sponsor at Elizabeth’s baptism included her grandmother, Margaret Henrich.

Elizabeth had an older sister Catherine, born in 1768.  Either I am missing some records, or the couple may have lost some children in infancy, but for five years there are no more additions to the family.  Following Elizabeth in quick succession came Christian, 1776 (named for their Grandfather) ; and Eva Maria/Mary, 1777, named for their mother. If there were other children, I have not seen them in church records.

Besides having lots of little children around the house, the big event in young Elizabeth’s life must have been her father’s military service. During 1776 and 1777, Adam was serving in the militia as a Captain fighting the British in the American Revolution.  (His service record will get more detailed attention when I talk about his life.) As a toddler, Elizabeth might not have understood, but she would have been very aware of his activities with the militia.

That military service must have proven disrupting, not only because there were four small children at home for their mother to care for alone, but also because the war was not very far away.

Building a Family with Joseph Kaser

Between 1798 (speculation) and 1800, Elizabeth Stahler married Joseph Kaser (also spelled Keiser, Kaiser, Kayser). He was nearly two years younger than Elizabeth, and of a different religion.  Joseph and Elizabeth had nine children while they lived in Pennsylvania. I listed the children and my reasoning behind certain assumptions when I wrote about Joseph Kaser. You can check that post here. Since I wrote about Joseph, I have read the Kaser History on microfilm at an LDS Family History Center.  I have also scanned the church records that I previously had only seen indexed. I will continue to review that material and update any information I have written about the Kaser family.

About 1824, they moved to Ohio in the area of Clark, a small town bordering Holmes County and Coshocton County.

According to  The Kaser History: A History of Dates and Other Interesting Facts (1994) edited by Deborah D. Morgan and others, of the nine children of Joseph and Elizabeth, seven remained in Ohio and two moved to Indiana after the deaths of their parents.

1800: George Kaser (G.B., Census reports 1840-1870) [My ancestor.]

George married in 1822, had a son born in Pennsylvania in 1823, and another born in eastern Pennsylvania in 1824.  I believe they were traveling with his parents and his wife was pregnant when they left Lehigh County and had the baby along the way.

1802/3: Elizabeth Kaser born (according to G.B. No other evidence yet.)

1806: Jonathan (Find a Grave–buried in New Bedford, OH; 1860 census)

1807: Lydia Kaser (Church birth and baptism dates)

1808: Joseph Kaser, Jr. (Census records and Find a Grave , buried at New Bedford, Ohio)

1810: Anthony (or Andrew?) Kaser ( Church birth records)

1814: Nathan Kaser (Church records; some census records)

1816: Timothy Kaser (Church birth records; Find a Grave–died in N. Liberty,St. Joseph County, Indiana)

1818: William Kaser (Church birth records; Find a Grave–died in St. Joseph County, Indiana)

(The Kaser History also mentions a “Tom” and an unamed infant who died early, but I have found no record of them.  It is possible that “Tom” could be a misreading of Tim for Timothy, but I do not know for sure.)

Although the oldest five would have certainly been old enough to help with the move, it certainly was quite an undertaking for Elizabeth to move her entire household with children from six years old to twenty-four years old. You can see a map that clarifies how difficult the terrain was, if you click on this link to George Kaser.

Questions:

Is my speculation about the birth of Joseph Kaser III correct?

What is the relationship of Elizabeth Stahler (Kaser) to the wife of George Kaser –Lydia Stahler/Stehler/Staehler (Kaser)?

Apparently the Kaser family was close–quite literally because they lived on farms that were adjoining or very near each other in Holmes County, Ohio.

End of Life

The children were grown and independent by the time their father died in December 1842. Joseph left Elizabeth one stove and a cow, two beds and bedding and such other household and kitchen furniture as she may select, not exceeding eighty-dollars in value. You can see what else the will said at the updated Joseph Kaser post. Joseph signed his will in German and from what I have learned about the German immigrants and their church, I doubt that he spoke much if any English.  I wonder if Elizabeth also spoke only German?

I believe that Elizabeth went to live with her son William in or near Nashville, Ohio after Joseph died. William was married, 24 years old and had been named executor of his father’s will.

Elizabeth received news earlier that year that her mother had died in Pennsylvania.

Five months after her husband, Elizabeth Stahler Kaser  died at the age of 68.

Although Joseph had been buried in the churchyard if the New Zion Church in New Bedford, Ohio where many Kasers lie, Elizabeth was buried in the cemetery in Nashville, Ohio.

I always try to weave a story around an ancestor’s life, but I can only share the bare facts about Elizabeth, because there is very little evidence to build stories.  She married in Pennsylvania, had nine children–about one every two years before the family moved across the central mountains of Pennsylvania to settle in the sparsely settled northwest territory of Ohio. There her sons’ farms thrived and they lived close together, with, I imagine many family dinners and much sharing of work.  Her husband left enough to care property to be sold and provide for her, but she only outlived him by a few months.

Her legacy is a family that grew and spread, not only in Ohio but particularly in Indiana and now far beyond the midwest.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser (Badertscher) is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Clifford Kaser, who is the son of
  • Joseph Kaser II, who is the son of
  • George Kaser, who is the son of
  • Elizabeth Stahler (Kaser)

Notes on Research

  • The “Kaser Genealogy” (aka Green Book) referred to is The Kaser History: A History of Dates and Other Interesting Facts (1994) edited by Deborah D. Morgan and others. Out of print. I first obtained information from a cousin who owns a copy of the book, and then accessed it on microfilm at an LDS church Family History Center.
  • Zions Lutheran Reformed Church, Zionsville, PA index of records at Ancestry.com)Unfortunately the website for the church has been updated and they no longer have the history page, but I have given you a link to the “wayback machine” where you can find the old page.
  • Birth and Death records from census and Find a Grave through Ancestry.com
  • Cemetery records from the New Zion UCC church (formerly German Reform) in New Bedford, Ohio.
  • Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998, Record for Joseph Kaser, Will Records, 1825-1906; Index to Wills, 1825-1965; Probate Place: Holmes, Ohio

Aaron Purdy Lures Uncle Jesse Morgan to Ohio

When we last saw Mary Bassett, she was settling the affairs of her first husband, Asahel Platt with the help of her new husband, Jesse Morgan. My 2nd great-grandmother, she had married a much-older Mr. Platt when she was only nineteen, hoping for stability after her mother died. Unfortunately, things did not work out the way she had hoped, and he died just a few years after they married. Read Mary’s story here.

What is the Question?

Family letters that Mary and her daughter, grand-daughter and great-grand daughter saved, are helping me learn more about Mary and particularly about her somewhat elusive second husband, Jesse Morgan. One of my quests is to figure out why Jesse Morgan wound up in the little town of Killbuck, Ohio.

I had long assumed that Jesse was born in New York because of this letter that he received addressed to New York.  But he probably was born in eastern Pennsylvania, where his father, Jesse Sr. moved from Connecticut. However, after the Jesse that became my 2nd great grandfather married his first wife, they moved to New York, because two daughters, and possibly two earlier sons were born there.  In 1835 when he received the letter, he had a three-month-old daughter, plus the older children, but he moved the family to Killbuck before 1938 when his third son was born.  His wife died,probably when that child was born.

The evidence is fairly strong that the letter he received in 1835 was influential in convincing him to move. He probably was a private school teacher, and might have wound up in Killbuck because there was  a need for a teacher.

What to Look For in the Letter

  • Aaron’s focus on the value of farm produce,
  • a lot of family gossip–which is invaluable to the family researcher,
  • a revealing couple of paragraphs pointing out the strong prejudices against German immigrants in the early 19th century. (I wrote about that anti-immigrant feeling in the late 18th century here.)
  • His sales pitch to Jesse to come to Ohio, appealing to the sense of adventure and novelty.

Note: As with the previous letter I shared, I have added paragraphs and punctuation. However, I have left Aaron Purdy’s very original spelling alone.

July 21st 1835

Folded with Address on the outside; from Clark’s Ohio

August 7th
Mr. Jessee Morgan

To: Volucia,Chautauqua Co., New York

Dear uncle I take this opertunity to inform you that we are all well at present and hope that these few lines will find you enjoying the same. I have just been perusing the last leter we had from you dated the 3rd of July 1833. We have not had any letter from you since but I think that father has wrote one since he received it. We hear from you by some one that moved from there and we only believe that you are still alive.
We just received a leter from Matilda [Morgan Howard] which was bad news to us. She writes that her oldest dauter is dead and the rest of them has been very sick. Towner Savage [Aaron Purdy’s borther in law] has had two shocks of the palsy [strokes] and is not able to do any hard laborer. We expect them here next summer. [Matilda and Towner Savage live in Oregon Territory] We have such bad news of the western country I think that we will be satisfied whare we are. I am now akeeping a store of my own on Dowdys fork, Mechanick[Mechanic] Township, homes county[ Holmes County, Ohio] I commenced the 18th of April. God only knows how I shal get along. I am aselling goods very fast.
(back of first page)

Wheat has been a beter price this Spring than it was even more before from 100 to 100.20

on the ___________ (?) which is not very far from us. Every thing that we have to sell we can get the cash for it and thare is no lack of it neither – corn 50c oats 31c and 37c. Some of our ole neibours were back to Pensylvania this Spring and it does us good to hear that old town says that we can raise wheat here and send it thare cheaper than they can aford to raise it thare.
I must tell you something of our prosperity. I have 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl, all healthy enough. Sally [Sister of Jesse Morgan] is married to George Bucklew and he is a brother to my wife [Belinda Bucklew] and if you call her duch [Dutch, meaning German] you may gess what he is and how well they are liked in this country.

I am sorry to hear of George [Jesse’s brother’s first wife died, and he married a second time. His second wife died in 1834.] having such misfortune in choosing a companion.  If it be true to have the bad luck to meet with a dville instead of a friend, we only have it from hearsay.

I want you to writ to me as soon as you can I think of enough to fill a sheet, and if you can’t think of enough perhaps some of uncle family can fill it with something interesting. I should like to know what you are all occupiing and how you
(2nd page)
you are ageting along. I want you to tell me the prices of your markets of catle, sheep, horses, wheat of which we have a plenty of here. I should be glad to See you here if you could come. I supose it would be more satisfaction from you to come here than for me to come there. I supose I have a beter idea of that county than you have of this.

I don’t know as I have much more to write at present only for some apologies made in your laste leter respecting some of the duch. I know I hope that you wont think any the less of me [or] Sally for choosing our companions because they are reported to be duch nor of us if we were as duch as the devil.

You must excuse me for not writing sooner and something more entertaining for I have so mutch to do behind this desk that I can’t think of mutch at this time
Yours with Respect, Aaron Purdy

The Family

The letter writer, Aaron Purdy, is the son of Jesse’s sister Hannah Morgan and her husband Isaac Purdy, who had moved to Ohio after they married–the only one of Jesse’s siblings to leave Pennsylvania. Aaron is married to Belinda Bucklew. Despite his enthusiasm for Ohio, he and his wife will eventually move to Oregon territory.

Sarah Morgan, who married George Bucklew, is the sister of Jesse Morgan. Her husband George is the brother of Belinda Bucklew Purdy.

Matilda Morgan Howard, Jesse’s older sister, has death and illness in her family.

Towner Savage, as described in the letter above, is the husband of Aaron Purdy’s sister, one of the many Purdys who move to Oregon Territory. (Her name was also Matilda. This family was one where they reused the names of sisters and brothers quite often).

George, Jesse’s brother lost two wives, probably dying in childbirth. The second would have died a few months before this letter was written. I believe the reference to “some of Uncle family,” has to refer to George as well.

Reading Aaron’s letter to his uncle has given me an enormous amount of information, and I believe has indicated an answer to my question about why Jesse moved to Ohio.

 

Abraham Brink (1780)–The Story

NOTE:  Some readers of Ancestors in Aprons just want to hear the story. That is what you will find here. Some like to hear about the research. That is covered in a separate post.  If you want the details, read this.

Abraham/Abram, Brink 1780-1853

When Abraham Brink (1780) and his adult children decided to relocate to Ohio in the mid 1830s, they were part of an enormous wave of people heading westward.  Ohio’s population tripled between 1820 and 1840. By contrast, it only increased by about 50 percent from 1840 to 1860. This huge influx was due to several factors.  The Indian wars had ended, the federal government was selling military reserve land, and roads, canals and railroads were entering the new state.

Born in Dutch Country

Abraham Brink (1780) was born around Bushkill, Pennsylvania.  He was born after the Revolutionary War, but before the United States Constitution was adopted in 1787, so county lines, and even state lines, were in flux.  His part of Pennsylvania, divided from New Jersey by the Delaware River, had been part of the colony of Virginia, and as his family went about their daily business, their land changed to Pennsylvania and their county, first Northampton and then Wayne, later became Pike.

Abraham, in later years, said he was born in New Jersey, but because his children were all born in Pennsylvania, they reported that he was born in that state, too.  All in all, a confusion of place dominates the Brink family story.

The area where he lived– from southern New York along the Catskill Mountains, northwestern New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania– had been settled mainly by Dutch families spreading out from New Amsterdam (New York).

Moving West

Like so many early American families, the Brinks felt hemmed in by too many neighbors. After marrying, Abraham moved slightly north to Dyberry, the county seat of Wayne County, Pennsylvania.  This article points out the pleasures of that corner of Pennsylvania today, and a bit of its history when its economy was fueled by coal and a canal.

When Abraham they were in their late teens (16-18 years old) he married a woman named Lucinda and they had at least eleven children between 1800 and 1824.

  • Jesse R. (Runnels) Brink (B. About 1797. Died after 1853)
  • Martha (will specifies she is oldest daughter, and says “or heirs” Born about 1800. Died after 1853) No last name is given. Perhaps not married in 1853.
  • Mordecai Brink (1809-1863) There are many records confirming Mordecai’s information).
  • Abraham Brink (1820-1892)–This is Abraham W., my great-great-great grandfather. Many records.
  • George B. Brink (B. 1802-died after 1853)–Many records available.
  • Sarah (Brink) Shanyan(?) (died after 1853)
  • Lucy (Brink) Nagley (B. 1803, died after 1853)
  • Polly (Brink) Given Will specifies “heirs” (1805-1850)
  • Lucretia (Brink) Riplogle (B. 1814- 1891) Many records available. Lived in Michigan.
  • Roxy (Brink) Chapman (B. 1819–1898) Many records.
  • John E. Brink (1824-) Will specifies, “youngest son.” Many records.Lived in Michigan after father’s death.
  • There may be other children who died in infancy or childhood.

 

The family lived in Dyberry through at least 1830, despite reports on family trees that some of his children were born in other counties. In that decade, Abraham developed an itch to move further west. The new state of Ohio was calling.

Buying Land

After the Revolutionary War, the government set aside land in Ohio Territory to give to men who had fought in the army.  Those lands that were not used for that purpose, a Military District, were sold to settlers moving west into Ohio.

Abraham had apparently saved up money or was able to sell valuable land, because he bought four 40-acre parcels of land in Holmes County, Ohio, for which he would have paid $1.25 per acre.  Another two parcels were bought in the name of his son Mordecai, who would have been about 26 at the time.  All purchases were in the same section of land.

These purchases took place between 1835 and 1838 and by 1840, the family was settled in Killbuck Township, Holmes County, Ohio, with son Mordecai’s family living on an adjoining farm. Abraham’s wife Lucinda does not show up on the 1840 census, probably only Abraham W. and John, the youngest, are still at home. His oldest son, Jesse, originally settled in Richland Township, a neighboring area, but by 1850, he also was living near the other Brinks.

The daughters would have been old enough to be married by 1840. The 1840 census also shows two children between 10 and 14 that could be children who later died, or children of his older daughters who were living with their grandfather.

Deaths in the Family and Abraham’s Will

Tombstone of Lucinda Brink

Lucinda wife of Abram Brink

After Lucinda’s death ( in 1846 according to her tombstone at the Wolf Creek Cemetery in Holmes County) Abraham continued to live with his younger son John, even after John married in 1848.

Abraham Brink Will

Abraham Brink the elder Will.

When Abraham Brink (1780) drafted his will in August 1853, it shows a man who had a substantial farm, and had plowed most of his money back into the land.  The property was all left to his son John who had cared for him in his later years, and the children received $5 each, except for two George Brink and Sarah S____ who received $20 each. It is an intriguing discrepancy that I may never be able to explain. I do know that George, unlike most of the family, was not a farmer. He was a shoemaker, who lives in a different county in each census year.

Abraham died in the month after he wrote his will and was buried at Wolf Creek Cemetery near his wife Lucinda.

The Wanderlust Continues

While many of the family members continued to live close together in Killbuck Township, others migrated further west to Iowa and Michigan.  Even John Elisha Brink, who inherited the farm, moved to Michigan, apparently to be with a son who died at the young age of 39 of “dropsey.” (Accumulated fluid in tissues–perhaps congestive heart disease).

Puzzle Pieces Still Missing

The story of Abraham Brink is not complete with his death. I am still missing a few important details.

  • Most important,  I have not yet been able to prove for sure how many generations of Brinks he represents in North America.  Perhaps he belongs to the line of Brinks that stretch back to a couple years after the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth. If so, move over PiIgrim father William Bassett, my family has another early pioneer.
  • Although there are numerous pay stubs for a soldier in the War of 1812 named Abraham Brink, enlisted in New York, I do not know if that is THIS Abraham.
  • And who was Lucinda, my 3rd great grandmother, and where did she come from?
  • Most important of all, Abraham–Who was your Daddy??

If you want to know more details about the research behind this story, you can read the separate post dedicated to that research. (The usual notes on research can be found there, too.)

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson (Kaser), who is the daughter of
  • Leonard Guy Anderson, who is the son of
  • Mary Brink (Anderson), who is the daughter of
  • Abraham W. Brink, who is the son of
  • Abraham Brink (the Elder).