Tag Archives: Revolutionary War

Stahler widow's pension

Pension Application: Is This Adam Stahler THE Adam Stahler?

How many Adam Stahler/Stohler/Stollers were there serving in the Revolutionary army from Pennsylvania? A pension application surprised me with an answer.

Thanks to Fold3, the website that digitizes millions of military records including pension applications, and thanks to the Family Search Center at a local LDS church, I have been able to see the eighty-plus page application for a widow’s pension for my 4x great-grandmother Eva Marie Stahler, survivor of Captain Adam Stahler. I say “see” advisedly, because just because you can see an image of an old document does not necessarily mean you can read it. (More about that in my next post.)

Several references on Ancestry.com referred to Adam’s service in the American Revolution –or the Continental War as it is called in some of the pension application legal papers.  However, those Ancestry references in other people’s trees were not sourced, so I could not verify the information.

I knew that Eva Marie/Mary, Adam’s wife had received a widow’s pension because as I wrote in this article on her–the 1840 census told me so. But that didn’t help with information about where Adam served and when.

Maddeningly, the only piece of paper available on Ancestry.com that might prove his service, the pension application, had this scanty information, a cover page to a pension application.

Stahler widow's pension

Cover page, application for widow’s pension for Eva Maria Stahler.

 

This is the cover page of the lengthy file for Mary’s application for a widow’s pension.  Her husband died long before she did.  He died in 1803 and she not until 1842. The act re-authorizing the orphans’ and widows’ pensions passed in July 1836. Between 1784 and 1836 widows received no pensions, and their right to pensions was reinstated in 1836. The changes in the pension law over the years are quite complex.

The rest of the legal document resides at Fold3, a pay-for site for which I do not have a subscription.  To the rescue comes the Family Search Center a few miles from me.  At the LDS Family Search sites, you can utilize their computers to find documents on some pay sites.

I struggled through the many, many pages with the many, many different forms of unreadable handwriting and faded images since I wanted to squeeze out every bit of information possible.  I knew from studying some of the records of my New England Revolutionary veterans that they would contain a full description of Adam’s service, as well as verification of things like birth and death and marriage dates and place of residence.

What I didn’t expect was sworn testimony that Adam Stahler, my 4th great-grandfather was the ONLY officer with that name, including variant spellings.

Sure enough, one witness swore that he had studied the officer’s lists from Pennsylvania for men named Adam Stahler, Stohler or Stoller, and verified that the Captain Adam Stahler whose wife was applying for a pension stood alone.

YAY!  That nagging fear that I might be mixing up the records of two people vanished.  A witness in 1853  provided information helpful to a family history search in 2018. Amazing!

The Letter

Letter of testimony

Letter Testifying there is only one Capt. Adam Stahler 1853

 

TRANSCRIPTION

Secretarys Office

Pennsylvania

I do hereby certify that I have carefully exmined the rolls of the collection of Northampton County remaining on file in this office the years 1777, 1778, 1780 and 1785 and that I find but one Adam Stahler, or Stohler, or Stoller, Captain in said rolls.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Secretary’s office to be annexed [affixed] at Harrisburg this seventh day of April in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and fifty three and of the Commonwealth the seventy-seventh.

E. C.[?] [surname unreadable]

Depy Secy of the Cowlth

Next up: Adam’s military record and why there is testimony coming in in 1853, when Eva Maria/Mary first applied for the pension in 1836 and she had died in 1842. Curiouser and curiouser.

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 III, who is the son of
  • George Kaser, who is the son of
  • Joseph Kaser and Elizabeth Stahler Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Adam Stahler.

A Note on Research

Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, The National Archives, Application of Eva Maria Stahler, widow of Captain Adam Stahler,  www.fold3.com/image/18467518?terms=adam%20stahler&xi
d=1945 
Accessed at the Family Search Center, Tucson NW

FOUND IT! Hidden Information in1840 Census

Eva Maria Henrich Stahler ??-??

What an obscure line on the 1840 census plus a report on a Widow’s Pension told me about my 4th great-grandmother.

My maiden name is Kaser.  If you have been around here for a while, you are aware that I have a great deal more information about my mother’s side of the family, than my father’s.  That seems to be because the women in the family passed down the responsibility of keeping track and passing on the family stories. I’m the latest to be tagged “It.”

As I explained earlier, my great-great-great grandfather Joseph Kaser married Elizabeth Stahler. That leads me to exploring the Stahler family, and I am currently piecing together the life of Elizabeth’s father, Adam Stahler, son of an immigrant, and a patriot. However, since the 52 Ancestors challenge this week points us to Census, I can’t resist a short digression about Elizabeth Stahler’s mother, Eva Maria Henrich (Stahler) and how “hidden” information on an 1840 census and a widow’s pension document gave me some interesting information.

Mary Henrich Stahler Questions

Admittedly, I still don’t know a lot about Mary Henrich Stahler.  (Her complete name Eva Maria floats in and out of the records, but she seemed to be known as Mary.)

I was not absolutely sure what year Mary was born, and could not find any information about her death.  Since her husband was born in 1747, I figured she would have been born close to that date.

An Ancestry hint led me to the 1840 census. Specifically to a page that lists , under a column headed “Pensioners for Revolutionary War or Military Service Included in the Foregoing.”

1840 census Pensioner

Eve Mary Stahler listed on 1840 census as Revolutionary War pensioner.

This “hidden” page of the census tells us, in the 2nd family listed, that in a family totaling five, with two engaged in agriculture, there is a Revolutionary War pensioner named Eve Mary Stahler, who is 92 years old.

If you would like to pursue information about an ancestor of yours that you suspect could be on the pensioner rolls–mostly veterans of military service–there are several sites where you can find them indexed. This site has particularly valuable information, I think.

Eva Maria Henrich Stahler 1748-??

Hurrah! First question answered–she was born in 1748, just one year after her husband. As to WHERE she was born, although I did not find a baptism record, or other birth record, that question was answered by looking at her father’s history. He had arrived in North America in 1742, and moved immediately to Berks County, Pennsylvania, where he spent his life. So that is where she had to have been born.

Although it is impossible to know the details of her young life, we do know of her father and mother’s deep involvement with the Catholic Church, and have to imagine that she helped in hosting visiting priests and hosting the many services that took place in their home.

Marriage and Family

When I scanned the Church records from the Catholic “Goshenoppen Register,” I found her wedding to John Adam Stahler on May 15, 1768, at Weissenberg, alias Macungi”  (More about that in my extended bio of Adam Stahler.}

Eva Mary, or just Mary, and Adam, had six recorded children who were baptized in the Catholic church.

On November, 1768, Catharine was born. Whoops! Looks like Mary was four months pregnant when she married.  Let’s just blame it on the traveling priests who weren’t always around when you needed them!

I found no church records for children born to Adam and Mary during the period between 1769 and 1775.  That would be unusual, so there may be missing records, or they may have lost some babies during that time.

March 19, 1775. Elizabeth, my third great-grandmother came next.

The Revolutionary war was heating up, and even though Adam  signed up and became a Captain in the Pennsylvania military, the couple spent enough time together to make a son.

May 1, 1776 the church recorded the birth and baptism. They named him Christian for his grandfather–Mary’s father.

July 29, 1777 came Eva Maria , mother’s namesake, and the last child for which I have a record.

Adam, like most of my ancestors, farmed his plot of land.  We find hints that their life was a financial struggle during the recession that followed the Revolution, as Adam applied for military loans.

Mary’s husband, Adam, died in 1804.  He was just 57 years old.

More From 1840 Census

So far, the only other clue I have found to Mary’s life, resides in that 1840 census that gave me her birth date.  I have learned that it is a very good idea to look backward and forward through the census from the page that has the main data you are looking for. Surprises lurk on those other pages.

Going back one page from the page pictured above tells me who Mary was living with in 1840.  Well, kind of.  It gives me the name of the head of household.  That, of course, starts another chain of searching. Who is John Klingeman and what is their relationship? That will wait for another day.

For now, I know that as an old lady, she was not living alone, but in a house with a middle-aged couple and two young men, presumably their sons.The couple is too young to have been one of her daughters and a husband, so it could have been grandchildren, or related through one of her own siblings.

By the way, she seems to be the only woman whose age falls between 90 and 100 in this area of Pennsylvania, so she would have qualified for that post I wrote about older Ancestors.

1840 Census

1840 Census with family of Mary Stahler.

 

 

So when did she die?

Another Ancestry hint points to a list of pensioners’ payments with a notation as to when her payments ended. It says Name: Maria Eva [the Eva apparently added as an afterthought] Stohler ‘of Adam’; Rank: Captain; Half Yearly Allowances: 60; Commencement: Mar. 1825.

Pension payments

Eva Maria Stahler ‘s pension payments

And the facing page where we see an accounting of her payments in March and September for each year, until 1843, where a notation reads: Died 24th of May 42 [1842] I cannot make out the entire line of writing above her payments, but it looks as though it applies to her, and includes the words “paid in full [something] date of death  [something].

Widow's Pension Payments

Eva Maria Stahler, Pennsylvania Accounting for widow’s pension payments.

Now the circle is complete, and we know the exact date of death of Eva Maria (Mary) Henrich (Stahler).

Eva Maria Henrich Stahler 1748-1842

Of course there are many loose threads dangling from that “complete” circle.  The questions I mentioned above about the identity of the family she lived with in her declining years, for instance.  And if I can find a pension application, I might know much more about her and her circumstances.

But I am very grateful for the hidden information on the 1840 census and the Pennsylvania record keeping of the Revolutionary War pensioners for giving me some hints about my fourth great-grandmother.

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), who is the daughter of
  • Eva Maria Henrich (Stahler)

Notes on Research

Goshenhoppen Registers (second series) 1765-1786, read in translation at Google Books where it is published as Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia, Vol 3 by Rev. Thomas C. Middleton, Translator and Annotation, Philadelphia, 1891.

1840 United States Federal Census, Miffllin, Columbia, PennsylvaniaRoll: 449; Page: 162; Family History Library Film: 0020540.

The National Archives; Washington, D.C.; Ledgers of Payments, 1818-1872, to U.S. Pensioners Under Acts of 1818 Through 1858 From Records of the Office of the Third Auditor of the Treasury; Record Group Title: Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of War. (Revolutionary War) Widows Pensions 1815-1843.

52 Ancestors: #11 How German Johann Wilhelm Became American William Butz

Johann Wilhelm (John William, or William) Butz/ Butts (circa 1735-1805)

Last week I talked about the tough times German immigrants  faced becoming Americans.  I was tracing my father’s paternal line–the Kasers.  My father, Paul Kaser’s German ancestors on his mother’s side had a quite different story. The great-grandfather of Paul Kaser’s mother, Mary Isadore Butts, was the first of that family to set foot in America.

“Mame” Butts Kaser may never have contemplated the way her grandfathers shared the burden of creating a new country. Her father, Henry Butts, was a Civil War soldier. Her grandfather, (John) Henry Butz was listed as a private in Sparks’ Battalion, Pennsylvania Volunteers in the War of 1812. And his father, (Johannes) Wilhelm–William Butts, left Germany with a group of iron workers brought to America by a man named Hasenclever, eventually started his own iron works, supported a large family and served during the Revolutionary War.

The Kasers were Reformed Lutherans; the Butts family were Catholic. The Kasers were farmers; the Butts’ were used to an industrial setting, small towns rather than cities, but not rural life. The Butts’ worked for others; the Kasers wanted to develop their own farms and work for themselves. Both families, however, clustered with people from their own region of Germany and continued to speak their native language.

I want to say at the outset that I could not know this story in so much detail, were it not for the meticulous research and the generosity of Jane Butts Kilgore, who many years ago shared with me what she had learned about our mutual ancestors.

William Butz birthplace

Location of Taunus in Germany and the Rhineland Palatinate.

My three- times great-grandfather, Johannes Wilhelm Butz–known in America as William Butz– was born in the Hessen region of Germany, near the Taunus Hills. I do not know exactly where he was born, but he was listed as from Asbacher Hammer, Germany when he married his first wife, Maria Magdalena Kurtz in Hirschfield, Germany in the Rhineland-Palatinate on November 8, 1761.

Apparently William Butz spent most of his life on the move in search of better jobs. German records show four Butts, probably brothers, settled in the area and moved from one “Hammer” to another plying the family trade.  Hammer means forge and you can find Katzenlocher Hammer, Sensweiler Hammer, Stummenhammer, etc. as place names.

Then a man named Peter Hasenclever came calling. Hasenclever, with backing from English investors, established several iron works in New Jersey.  The workers he recruited in Germany between 1764 and 1767 not only worked with the iron, but built the forges and factories, the roads, the bridges and their own homes, so it took an army of hard-working men of many skills. And all this in a foreign country where they did not know the language and a revolution was brewing. (See a map of a typical forge to see what the workers accomplished.)

Wilhelm Butz and his wife Maria Magdalena had two children while they lived in Germany, Anna Catharina (1762) and Anna Maria (1765). After Anna Maria’s birth on March  4, 1765 (on the same day as my own birthday although one and a half centuries earlier!) and before the birth of their first son, John George in June 1767, the family took passage to America.  Johann Wilhelm had been recruited, along with more than 500 other German iron workers, to come to New Jersey to work in the Hasenclever iron forges.  They lived in Ringwood, New Jersey when the last two sons were born– John Joseph in 1770 and John Henry (my great-great grandfather) in 1772. There they attended the Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.  (Fr. Schneider’s Church is the original part of the church, built in 1754.)

William Butz church

Blessed Sacrament Church in Bally PA

The last half of the 1770’s, a time of turmoil and revolution for the budding new nation, was even more tumultuous in Williams life.  In 1775, Maria Magdalena died, and the following year, he married Magdalen Kuhn and is living in Greenwich, New Jersey at the Chelsea Iron Works, connected to the Durham Furnace.  He and other Butz family were running that Iron Works, but it was being confiscated by the authorities and sold.

According to the Long Pond Ironworks website, The Butz family moved from Ringwood and Charlottenburg to Mt. Hope (all in New Jersey) then to Goshenhoppen in Pennsylvania where they established an iron operation in 1776. Many of the families who had worked in Ringwood, followed them to Pennsylvania.

Ringwood New Jersey is north of New York City, but Charlottenburg and Mt. Hope, presumably the names of forges, no longer exist. Goshenhoppen is now called Bally and is east of Reading Pennsylvania and north of Pottstown.

According to researcher and cousin Jane Kilgore, in 1777 William and his brother Christian, along with a man named Moses Yaman also bought the Mount Pleasant Iron Works in eastern Berks County, Pennsylvania.

At the time that William was taking all these entrepreneurial risks, he had a new wife and children aged 5, 7, 10, 12 and 15.

According to one history site, the Mount Pleasant Iron Works of Berks County was a few miles north of Pottstown, which means it would have been near the Goshenhoppen forge.

The Butts brothers tried to revive the works and called it “Upper Mount Pleasant Forge,” but eventually it failed.

It is difficult to understand how Christian and William Butz could manage these new businesses during the war, because they were also members of the Hereford militia, recorded in May, 1779 and in 1784 (but serving for many more years than the records show). Hereford is the township that contained their Goshenhoppen forge.

A newspaper article written in 1972 (cited by Jane Kilgore, but not identified) explains the unusual nature of the company the Butz brothers joined.

Quoting an article printed during the war, writer Richard Wheeler, describes the “Old Man’s Company” made up of eighty Germans over the age of 40. The man assembling them is 97 years old and the drummer is 84. Instead of going to Valley Forge during the hard winter of 1777-1778, they were guarding men who cut down trees for ship’s masts in western Pennsylvania. Since they were close to home, they spent the winter at home.

Despite the fact they were off serving in the army at least part of the time, apparently the forges  thrived during the Revolutionary War, but the economic depression after the war led to many business failures.  In 1785, the brothers sold the Goshenhoppen forge and in 1792 they sold the Mount Pleasant Forge.

William relocated at least twice more. in 1795 he was living in York County, now Adams County on the southern edge of Pennsylvania across from Maryland. Perhaps, with his children reaching adulthood, he was able to enjoy a few years of rest from his lifetime of hard work before he died in 1805 in Frederick Maryland.

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Mary Isadore Butts, who is the daughter of
  • Henry Butts, who is the son of
  • John Henry Butts, who is the son of
  • Johann Willhelm Butz/William Butts

Research Notes

 Pennsylvania Forges and Furnaces

Join The History Girl in a tour of the only existing ruins of one of the early Ironworks.

This map gives an idea all the things the German workers built and how they lived. See a map and pictures of the only one of the nearly 100 iron works that once stood in the Highlands of New Jersey and Pennsylvania–Long Pond Ironworks.

Mount Pleasant Furnace (Berks County)”Per Bining, this furnace was built in 1737 by Thomas Potts, Jr. & Company. The furnace was located on Perkiomen Creek in Berks County.” Source: Old Industry

Information about Pennsylvania Forges and Furnaces in this introduction to a collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Other Sources

The Church: http://goreadingberks.com/religion/catholicfaith/history/

and “Catholic Trails West” Vol. 1 (1988), by Adams and O’Keefe St. Joseph’s Church, Philadelphia

The Palatine Migration :“Whatever happened to Hasenclever’s Germans” by Susan Deeks   from The Highlander, Vol. 34, no. 88 (1998) Ringwood, NJ. Read at Long Pond Ironworks website.

and The Palatine Immigrant, Vol. XVI, No. 1, Spring 1991, Columbus, Ohio. copy provided by Jane Butts Kilgore.

The Family: Letters and a paper “The Family of Johann Wilhelm Butz” (2007) by Jane Butts Kilgore.

Church records from Most Blessed Sacrament Church, Bally, Pennsylvania.