Tag Archives: Clifford Kaser

Finding Joseph Kaser the Carpenter

Joseph Kaser III (1827- Circa 1893)

[Update 2017: I have changed Joseph Kaser II to Joseph Kaser III for my reference. The founder of this line, Joseph Kaser had a son, Joseph, Jr.  Joseph Jr. had a son who should be Joseph II. My great-grandfather was born three years later to Joseph Jr.’s brother, my great-great I grandfather George.  So I believe I erred when I called my great-great-great grandfather ‘II’.]

Do you remember the beautiful miniature chest made by my great-grandfather Joseph the carpenter?

Joseph Kaser's carpentry

Great Grandfather Joseph Kaser made this handkerchief chest.

Last year I wrote about him and the beautiful handkerchief chest I inherited.  But I did not know much about him or any of my father’s line before Joseph.  I knew he was the father of my paternal grandfather, Clifford Kaser, and I knew the names of his children and that he lived in Clark, Ohio when Clifford, next to youngest of seven children. I knew that Joseph was born in Pennsylvania. But what a difference a year makes. (See notes at the end for some of the details and hardships of the search.)

My great-grandfather, Joseph Kaser III was named for his paternal grandfather, Joseph Kaser, whose father may have arrived in America nine years before he was born–but that’s another kettle of fish for next time. Joseph III’s father was George Kaser (possible Johann George Kaser). The proliferation of Joseph’s and George’s in the family contributed to my hair rapidly turning even grayer. (He did not refer to himself as Joseph III. I am doing that to help keep straight the various Josephs–see additional note at top.)

Joseph’s birth year could be 1824 (G.B.), 1825, 1827 or 1830 according to which Census record I choose to believe. Based on the names of spouse and children, despite spellings of Kaser, Caser, Kazer and Kaiser–the reports are all referring to my great-grandfather. He was born in Baden, a small village in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, now part of metropolitan Pittsburgh. (mistakenly listed as the place of birth: state, territory or country: Baden” in the 1870 census). So much for census records being irrefutable sources of information!

At some time prior to 1847, he had moved with his father and mother and family to Ohio where he met Catherine Samsel (Sampsel), who was born in Ohio.  Joseph and Catherine were married on August 17, 1847 (*G.B.) when she was 18 and he was about 20 years old. They lived next to his father George, probably in a house they built on George’s farm.

The family farms (for several of Joseph’s brothers would wind up living in a row) lay near Clark, Ohio.  Clark is an unincorporated town split by the county line between Coshocton County and Holmes County Ohio. Clark was originally called Bloomfield.  And the Holmes County portion lay in German Township, an unsavory name when World War I came along–so it became Clark Township.  That means that without going anywhere, they might be listed as living in Bloomfield, Clark Township, Coshocton, Ohio, or German Township, Holmes County, Ohio or a few other variations.

The population of German Township had swelled from 246 in 1830 to 703 by 1840. The settlers were mostly German or German Swiss who were fleeing religious persecution in their native lands.  Most of the new arrivals had first settled in western Pennsylvania and then later moved across the Ohio River into Ohio.

In 1842 the town boasted a store and by 1854, two physicians.  What they could not get in Clark, they could find in nearby Killbuck, Holmes County, which held several blacksmith shops and other necessities of life.

Joseph and Catharine continued to live next door to papa George Kaser and his wife Lydia as their children arrived.

  • 1849: Susan (Named for Joseph’s mother Susan)
  • 1852: Cornelius
  • 1853: David
  • 1855: Johnathan
  • 1864: Anna (known as Emma, possibly named for Joseph’s sister Ann.)
  • 1867: Clifford (my grandfather. Another Clifford is the grandson of Joseph’s brother, Daniel.)
  • 1870: Edward

There was a school a mile outside of town in 1850, and private schools and classes at churches taught in German as well as English. As far as I have been able to learn, the children’s education stopped at 8th grade.  The boys started working as laborers when they became teens.

By 1850, Joseph is established as a carpenter. Several of his brothers are carpenters as well, a talent prevalent among the German Swiss Mennonite population of the area even today.  In 1860, Joseph is listed as a miller.  Perhaps the Civil War created more demand for a miller than for a carpenter?

It appears that none of Joseph’s younger brothers fought in the Civil War, although George and Samuel would have been the right age.  Perhaps the family were conscientious objectors.

Before the baby of the family came along, Susan had married and Cornelius had gone to work as a farm laborer for another family nearby. In 1870, when he is 19, Cornelius is listed with the Graham Family in Clark.

The next son, David, stays with his parents even after he is married in June, 1880, but later moves out on his own and tries various vocations. Johnathan also lives at home until he is married  in 1883, although he is working “outside” as a day laborer. Even after he is married with several children, his occupation continues to be day laborer.

Joseph Kaser III seemed to do well in the world, accumulating some wealth, no doubt some of it from the farm, but also from his carpentry and his short stint as a miller. Since he and his brothers stayed clustered together near their father, and several of Joseph’s sons also stayed in the same area, it is ironic that the closeness of the Kaser clan did not continue into my father’s generation, leaving me with so many questions about my Kaser ancestry.

The Kaser Geneaology * states that Joseph died on January 12, 1893, but I have no other verification of his death date.  His wife, Catherine, outlived him by at nearly 20 years if the Kaser Genealogy is correct, dying in 1910 (G.B.). [UPDATE: I have since found a record in Find a Grave indicating that Catharine Kaser was buried in 1911 in the Clark (Ohio) Cemetery.]

Notes on the Research

Last year, having decided that great-grandfather Joseph was a dead end, and my Kaser research was stuck in Pennsylvania in the 1820s in Pennsylvania, I moved over to tracing my mother’s line.  Before I left the Kasers, I had found an 1850 census that showed a George Kaser living next door to a Joseph Kaser.  This George was the right age to be Joseph’s father and Joseph would fit neatly into the line of births in the family.  But I could not easily locate more information, so I closed the Kaser file.

Breakthrough #1

It turns out that the 1850 census was just the first breakthrough, and would be proven to indeed be a father and son–not to mention other sons–who lived in a row.

Breatkthrough #2

A few months ago, the second breakthrough came when a Kaser cousin got in touch through Facebook.  She owns a copy of what we call *”the Green Book” (G.B.), a Kaser family lineage book.  While some of the information in the book is proving to be shaky, it did confirm the names of Joseph’s brothers and sisters   (my paternal grandfather Cliff Kaser’s uncles and aunts) as well as the names of Joseph’s children–Clifford Kaser’s siblings.  The facts matched up with the little bit my father had told me, years ago.

The Green Book traces the Kasers back to Europe, but tells two contrasting stories, so like most research finds it presents new puzzles along with some answers.

Breakthrough #3

Finally, after look for Kaser, Caser, Kaiser, Kayser, Kaiser and other variant spellings, I discovered a George Kaeper in the 1870 census that proved to be my great-great-grandfather George Kaser.  I would never have searched for that spelling, but I used one of genealogists favorite tricks.  When you find a known family member in a document like a census record, read all the pages surrounding the record to see if relationships jump out.

I found Samuel Kaser (27), family #95 next to Charles Kaser (35) Family #96 in Monroe Township, Coshocton County, Ohio and there at family #94 was George Kaeper. George Kaser was the father of Samuel and Charles, and Joseph.

Kasers in 1870 Census

1870 U S Census for Clark Twp Coshocton County

So where was Joseph? Doing a search for variant spellings, I found Joseph Kaeser in Clark Township, Coshocton County, the neighboring township (family #86). It is even possible that the township line split George’s farm between counties. All these families are confirmed to be the right people by ages and other family members listed with them, and I know that they had a habit of living close to each other.

In 1860 George and sons Charles, Thomas and Joseph all listed with the last name spelled Caser, are living in a line in German Township.

Joseph Kaser family in census

1860 U. S. census for German Township, Coshocton County Ohio

Other Sources

U.S. Census, 1840 (George Kaiser) German, Holmes, Ohio; 1850 (George Kaser), German, Holmes, Ohio; 1860 (George Caser) , Clark, Coshocton, Ohio; George Kaeper,  Spring Mountain, Monroe Twp.,Coshocton, Ohio

Church Record Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985, (United Church of Christ) Henry’s Church of the Bethern (Spring Creek Dunkard) pg 470 in Lancaster County PA Gravestone Inscrptions , Dr. Al Gerberich Collection. Genealogical Society of PA

Census Non-Population Schedules  1850, German, Holmes.

I have checked an online copy of History of Coshocton County: Its Past and Present, 1740-1881, by A. A. Graham (1881).  Available at Google Books.

The Kaser History: A History of Dates and Other Interesting Facts (1994) edited by Deborah D. Morgan and others.  Birth and death dates from “the Green Book” were sometimes verifiable at Ancestry.com through Ohio online records, where they have not been confirmed, I have noted (G.B.) beside the information.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Clifford Kaser, who is the son of
  • Joseph Kaser III.

Finding Relatives’ Stories in Dry Data:Emily Kaser Sutherland

Great Aunt Emma M. Kaser Sutherland (1862-1944)–  an old maid until her next door neighbor became a widower. Sometimes you find some drama in those dry government records when you start finding relatives.

My friend Edie Jarolim, who also writes about food and family at her site, Freud’s Butcher, has been puzzled about why she and her mother didn’t socialize more with relatives, even when they were living relatively close (in New York). I know what she means. Not finding relatives makes you feel like you’re missing stories.  Of all my Kaser relatives, I only have a picture of one great-aunt, Emma Kaser Sutherland and stories I am piecing together with genealogical research.

Emma Kaser Sutherland, circa 1910

Emma Kaser Sutherland, Clark, Ohio, circa 1910

Although both my paternal grandparents died before I was born, I grew up knowing my aunt and uncle on my father’s side (Paul Kaser), and cousins from the uncle’s family (Aunt Irene did not have any children).  I also knew my mother’s (Harriette Anderson Kaser) two brothers and their children. All of my total of eight cousins were older than I was–in some cases more than ten years older. Only one was close to my age. But everyone gathered at my Grandmother Vera Anderson’s home for holiday family meals. And we visited often with my Uncle Keith Kaser and Aunt Irene Bucklew.

My mother and my grandmother frequently talked about their cousins and aunts and uncles, and we have lots of pictures. Some of those, unfortunately, are beautiful tintypes that are not identified.  But my father rarely mentioned anyone from either his mother’s or father’s family, and I wondered why, so I started tracking down my father’s aunts and uncles and cousins –1st, 2nd and even 3rd. As I mentioned in my last article, my paternal grandfather had six brothers and sisters and some of them had large families, so  my father had at least 20 cousins.

It seemed obvious immediately why Paul Kaser would not have been close to all the Kaser relatives–it’s a difference in ages. Clifford Kaser, my dad’s father, was next to youngest in his family.  And my Dad was the youngest living member of his family–considerably younger than his older brother Keith who was born 14 years before Paul Kaser. Paul Kaser’s age matched up with his uncles’ grandchildren more frequently than with their children.

Of course there is also the possibility that Cliff Kaser was persona non grata with his family after he became a Seventh Day Adventist.

But it still seems curious that my father didn’t ever mention–or visit–some of the aunts and uncles that were still living when he was a grown man. So my new task is finding relatives stories through official records. Here’s the birth and death dates and the number of children of each of my father’s aunts and uncles, as far as I’ve been able to dig up.

CHILDREN of Joseph and Catharine Kaser (my great-grandparents)

Susanna Kaser 1849 (no further information)

Cornelius Kaser 1852-(died before 1910)- 5 children 1878-1893.

David Kaser 1853-1923 – 7 children 1880-1900

Johnathan Kaser 1855-1932 – 3 children 1884-1891

Anna/Emma Kaser (Sutherland) 1862-1944 -4 step-children b. 1889-1899

Clifford Kaser (my grandfather) 1867-1930 – 4 children 1885-1912

Edward Kaser 1871- (death date not known) –  3 children between 1906 and 1912 (could have been more)

Paul Kaser, my father, born 1909, could not have known his uncle Cornelius Kaser, and except for Edward Kaser’s children, his cousins were ten to 30 years older than he was.

Additionally, he lived in a different place. While most of his uncles and Aunt Em lived in Clark, Ohio, Paul moved to different towns and away from the farm labor occupation of most of his uncles and cousins.

But he did know Aunt Em, at least well enough to have a picture in his files.  I don’t recall him talking about her, and don’t know if I met her when I was too young to remember, but an interesting story peeks out from the pages of census reports and other records.

In 19th century census records, when my great-grandfather Joseph Kaser’s name was being spelled Kaeser, Caser and Kazer–Emma was known as Anna. You get used to this lose use of spelling of names as you comb through records. Anna/Emma was born December 29, 1862 in Clark Ohio. Emma went through 8th grade.

By 1900, her father Joseph Kaser had died, and Emma (27) and her younger brother Edward (20) were still living with their mother, Catharine, near some other Kasers.

By 1906, Edward was married and starting a family, but in 1910, Emma (now 37, and a confirmed old maid by the standards of the day) was still living with her mother (now 81). As I work on finding relatives, I’m surprised by what I find on a census form, looking up and down the page from the name I’m researching.  Brothers Johnathan, and David lived nearby according to the 1910 census.

Another neighbor is of more interest for Emma’s story. George Sutherland, 47, lives nearby. He has no wife (died sometime in the past 4 years) and 4 children: ages 17, 13, 10 and 4. George works as an oil well driller and his 13-year-old son is already at work as a farm laborer. He has lived nearby the Kaser clan for many years, so they must have been well acquainted. He grew up in Clark, Ohio, just as Emma did. Obviously, George needs a wife. Emma is available. They marry in 1911–around the time that picture (above) of her was taken.

The scanty facts in official records leave me wondering. This could be a very romantic story–two young lovers separated by fate and back together in their late 40s. Or it could be a marriage of convenience. After all, Emma’s mother had recently died and Emma did not have a trade. She needed someone to provide for her. And George had his hands full with four children. They needed a mother.

At any rate, they were married 29 years, George living until 1940 and Emma until 1944.

Looking at Aunt Em’s picture, which version of the story do you guess is correct?

Clifford Kaser and the Seven Day Adventists

After sleeping on it, I have a couple of second thoughts about Clifford Kaser, the Seven Day Adventists and their affect on the Kaser Family Story.

Clifford left Clark while so many of his siblings, and his mother, even after his father died, stayed close to each other in that small community. It is purely speculation on my part, but I wonder if he was persona non grata after he changed his religion to Seven Day Adventists?  I have not yet been able to find out what church the Kaser family belonged to in Clark, but it is a fairly good bet that when Joseph Kaser’s father left Germany, it was part of the flight of those in reformist religions–like the Lutherans and the Mennonites.

And my second thought concerning Cliff Kaser and his family concerns food. I noticed a sad lack of talk about food in my article on Clifford. Particularly, were they vegetarian?  My father and his brother Keith certainly were not, but they left the Seven Day Adventists church. I can’t remember if my Aunt Irene ever served meat, although I know she stayed with the Adventist–even took me to a service in a small country church once.

Paul Kaser Tacoma Park MD, Seven-Day Adventist

Paul Kaser (center dark suit) with Seven Day Adventists in Tacoma Park MD 1913-1914

The Seven Day Adventists (established in New York state in 1863) are great believers in a healthy mind/healthy body/healthy soul connection, which includes vegetarianism. It is interesting to note that J.H. Kellogg of Battle Creek Michigan (brother of the founder of the giant cereal firm) was an early leader in the church. He was a medical doctor, and focused on nutrition and developed breakfast cereals. He split with them in the early 20th century.

The Adventists supported medical schools and sanitariums. They started a food processing company to serve a medical center run by the church. That became the Loma Linda Food company .The establishment of a Loma Linda plant in Mt. Vernon, Ohio (where Clifford and Mamie were married) is credited with the strong growth of Adventism in that part of Ohio. Mt. Vernon is in Knox County bordering Coshocton and Holmes–the counties that divided the community of Clark where the Kasers lived.

To follow the history of Loma Linda Foods, it became secular, selling to Worthington Foods (also founded by an Adventist doctor, and now both labels are produced by Kellogg–full circle. The Sanitarium Health Food Company in Loma LInda California, still owned by the church, still produces soy-based meat substitutes and other health foods.

So more investigations are in the works to see how this relates to my ancestors who were members of the Seven Day Adventist Church!