As many of you may have already guessed, our families and ancestries are crowded with Mennonite and Amish peoples- Anabaptists. For years, we knew of the Rich (Henss Family Branch) connections to the Swiss- Elsass/Alsace, Montbeliard/ Bern communities. More recently, we have come to understand quite a bit of the Senger (Rabideau Family Branch) connections to the West Prussian / East Prussian Mennonite communities.
Because of the smallish nature of these original communities, we (Becky, my wife, and I) have elected to purchase DNA tests from 23andMe and submit our DNA test results for inclusion in the Mennonite DNA Project. This past weekend our 23andme DNA test kits arrived! Now all we have to do is study hard and take our tests. ;^) Which actually means, we have to ‘spit in a tube’. It is our hope that we will both contribute useful research data as well as benefit from the new information we obtain regarding our heritages & lineages.
As our adventure progresses, I will post more information regarding our DNA ‘project’. But for now, if you, like we, are genetically linked to any of the Anabaptist, Mennonite, Amish communities, please consider participating and adding your ‘voice’ (read, DNA) to this worthwhile research project.
Who knows what kind of insights and discoveries might arise from our collective efforts!
As you may have noticed, a “goodly portion” (to quote my father-in-law) portion of both sides of the Henss & Rabideau families have roots in Amish/ Mennonite/ Anabaptist traditions. Out of curiosity, actually out of a desire to find church building photos, I did a little web research on our families’ past church homes. As you might have guessed, nothing identifiable remains of our Prussian/ Poland Mennonite congregations, the Second World War took care of that. However, I have stumbled across a number of our families’ Alsatian congregations on the Internet.
It is wonderful to see that many of our predecessors’ beliefs and traditions live on and that our family’s work is continued by those who remained in the home country (Heimatland/ Patrie). The links below provide information to those Mennonite congregations today:
If any of our readers have information or photos regarding the history for any of these faith communities, we would greatly appreciate hearing from you. Please use our Contact us page, we’d love to share information.
This page contains information regarding source materials I am using from across the Internet to conduct Henss/ Rich family research. These links and pages will change ‘automagically’, over time, as I add, change, and delete materials in Mendeley.
If you wish, you may also join the group and contribute to the research library.
A lot has gone during the past month or so. Not only have we added a lot of new material to ManyRoads but we have achieved some important milestones, as well. Per normal, rather than bore you with a lot of details, I will outline most of the key happenings. But before I do that, a couple of important ManyRoads items have transpired. Firstly, we have signed up our first customers. We are excited and progress is beginning to be made. Also I have been invited to write periodic articles for http://geneabloggers.com. Also our readership numbers have almost doubled in the past month. Please invite your friends, we hope they are able to find useful information on our site. And last but certainly not least, I have been invited to speak at the Parker LDS Family History Center on 16 September 2010; stop by if you are in town!
Now on to the other major postings I placed on ManyRoads over the past month or so (just click on a title to read the article…):
The following obituary was published in Mennonite Weekly Review: 8 Dec 1926 p. 7
Verda Marie Rich, wife of Paul Henss, was born to Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Rich, May 9th, 1905 near Crawfordsville, Iowa and departed this life in Wayland, Iowa, November 27, 1926 at the age of 21 years 6 months and 18 days.
Early in life she was admitted to the Eicher Mennonite Church at Noble. Her Christ-like disposition won the respect and admiration of all who knew her.
She graduated with honors from the Wayland High School with the class of ‘23.
Two years ago the mother was taken from the home after which Verda, with the help of her older sister, was untiring in her efforts to fill the place of a mother and by her sacrifice and devotion filled the vacancy remarkably well.
The young mother leaves to mourn her departure, the husband and infant son, Robert Rich, also her father, five sisters and four brothers, Edwin, Mrs. Mabel Allen Irvan, Orville, Vivian, Irene Florence, Glenn and Evelyn.
Although her years be few her sterling qualities will always remain a heritage to those whom she loved.
Numerous Henss forebears were devote Quakers. Robert Owen was even incarcerated for 5 and a half years for his beliefs and finally brought to the New World from Wales by William Penn.
The following 9 Questions provide good insight into Quaker (Friends) traditions and beliefs.
Who are the Quakers?
Quakers are members of the Religious Society of Friends, a community which began in England about three hundred and fifty years ago. Friends were probably first called “Quakers” by a seventeenth-century judge who wanted to insult them; Friends, however, accepted the name.
What do Quakers believe?
Friends rely on direct experience of the Inner Light, which the Gospel According to John identifies with the divine Logos, the eternal and living Word of God, and which Friends see manifested in the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Consequently, Friends reject formal creeds and doctrines. They expect their community to be held together not by conformity of thought but by love. Their religious life is centered on seeking to discern and follow the divine Light.
What are the Quaker “testimonies”?
Through their openness to the guidance of the Light, Friends have been led to live in certain ways. Friends often try to describe their way of life by enumerating certain principles, or testimonies, which seem essential to it. These include simplicity of life, equality of both sexes and of all persons, personal integrity, active concern for the liberation of the oppressed, love of enemies, the cultivation of non-violence, open worship, and free ministry. In practice, the testimonies take sometimes a positive form, sometimes a negative one. Positive forms include the Quaker United Nations Office, which assists with international conflict resolution, and the American Friends Service Committee, which provides relief to both sides in armed conflicts and also works for social and racial justice and harmony. Negative forms include Friends’ refusal to swear, to gamble, or to take part in war. Some testimonies, such as the simplicity of Friends’ meetinghouses or the lack of ritual in Quaker worship, are highly positive to Friends but may seem negative to others.
How do Friends worship?
In traditional Quaker worship, there are no pastors, rituals, or programmed activities such as readings or music. Worship is held “on the basis of silence,” so that each worshiper may, in unity with all those assembled, open her mind and heart to the leading of the divine Spirit. Historically, this has been called “waiting on the Lord.” During the silence, which usually lasts for about an hour, anyone who discerns a call to ministry may rise and speak. (Friends have never restricted ministry to ordained persons, males, or any other group.) When the meeting for worship has been “gathered into the Life,” those present feel themselves joined together in love, transformed in spirit, and strengthened for service.
How do Friends make decisions?
Friends make their decisions in a spirit of worship, waiting upon the Light for guidance. All persons have an equal say in the process, because the Light is accessible to all. No vote is ever taken; when the community comes to be united as of one mind, then it recognizes that a decision has been reached.
Do Friends believe in the Bible?
Friends see the Bible as a precious record that has been left to us by writers who were inspired by their encounters with God. Friends assert, however, that the same encounter and inspiration are available to us today. Quakers have always maintained that only those who are themselves inspired by the same Spirit that inspired the scriptures can understand the meaning of the Bible. So it is the experience of the Light in one’s heart, and not the Bible, that is the primary source of truth for Quakers. Since the Bible is not the Word of God for Friends, but only a pointer to the living Word, Quakers are not concerned with such questions as biblical inerrancy. The Bible is for them a tool, not a rule.
How do Quakers view other faiths?
As John Woolman, the Quaker “saint” and anti-slavery activist, wrote long ago, the pure Light of God in each human heart is “confined to no form of religion, nor excluded from any, where the heart stands in perfect sincerity.” Having experienced for themselves the truth of Woolman’s statement, Quakers do not seek to “convert” others to Quakerism, but only to help others to discover the leadings of the divine Light within and among themselves.
What is Friends’ history in the United States?
Quakers arrived in the colonies of North America in the middle of the seventeenth century. In some places, they were persecuted and killed by the Puritans. Baptist leader Roger Williams, who believed that God abhors intolerance, sheltered some Friends in Rhode Island. When King Charles II ceded the colony of Pennsylvania to the Quaker William Penn, Friends established a government there based on Quaker principles. Members of any faith were permitted to live in the colony. Native Americans were compensated for their lands and were not warred against. Quaker merchants established strict standards of honesty in business. This “holy experiment,” centered in Philadelphia (“the City of Love”), lasted until non-Quakers gained control of the state legislature and began a war against Native Americans. Quakers have been active in many of the great movements of United States history. Due to the efforts of Friends like John Woolman, by the time of the Revolutionary War Quakers as a group had renounced slavery. Friends were among the most active and vocal abolitionists, working also in the “Underground Railroad” to help slaves escape to freedom. Quakers have also made important contributions in prison reform, education, social work, racial equality, the peace movement, and the women’s movement.
Is there a very brief summary of Quakerism?
Because Quakerism is a way of life rather than a system of belief, the best brief summary of what it is about is probably George Fox’s exhortation to early Friends. “Be patterns, be examples,” Fox wrote, “in all places, islands, countries, nations, wherever you come, that by your life and example you may preach among all sorts of people, and to them. Then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one, whereby in them you may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you….”
John & Isabella (Solomon) Musgrove are in the Henss branch of our family lineage. We are in search of additional information and photos regarding John & Isabella that may be available. We are especially keen to find military information (for John’s service and death), gravestone images, marriage documentation and death certificates. Please use our contact page if you have any information to share.
John Musgrove is one of our family’s honored war dead.
He died in the service of his nation from wounds he suffered at Vicksburg, MS.
The 1850 US Census finds the Musgrove family living in Livingston, Clark County, Illinois. At that time, John was a farmer age 26 living with Isabella, his wife age 21. They had two children Henry age 2 and Kesiah age 1. Their farmer real estate was estimated to be worth $500. John was reported to have been born in Ohio, Isabella in Kentucky and both children in Illinois.
By 1856, the Musgrove family had moved to Marion Township in Henry County Iowa. As of the taking of the Iowa Census, they had been in Marion County for 1/4 of a year. John is reported as being 33 years old and a farmer also serving in the militia; Isabella is a 29 year old homemaker with three children:
Henry 9 years of age
Keziah age 6
Christopher age 1.
Also, now living with the family is a Miss Jane Johnson age 16 from Ireland.
1860 finds that the family is prospering and growing. John now age 37 and his wife Isabel age 33 own a farm worth $2500 and have personal assets valued at $1000. Their children are now:
Henry age 13
Kesia age 11
Christopher age 6
Isabel age 3
John age 4 months
Notably Isabel (age 3) is reported to have been born in Illinois which, if true, would indicate that Isabella (the mother) was pregnant at the 1856 Iowa Census taking and she went ‘back to Illinois’ to have the baby probably in 1857.
“John Musgrove, a member of Company H, 25th Iowa Infantry, died in the service.”[ref]ManyRoads Iowa Library see p.274. Original Text: Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County, Iowa Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County, Together with Portraits and Biographies of All the Governors of Iowa, and of the Presidents of the United States. Chicago: Acme Pub., 1888. Print.[/ref]
John Musgrove “Union Army 3rd Sgt. Company H, 25th Iowa Volunteer Infantry [was] shot during Battle of Natchez, died on board a Riverboat Steamer.” Per Marcia Witt [unknown source]
Isaac W. and Keziah Allen are in our Henss family lineage. We are in search of additional information and photos regarding Keziah and Isaac Wade that may be available. We are especially keen to find gravestone images, marriage documentation and death certificates. Please use our contact page if you have any information to share.
According to the 1870 US Census, Issac Allen (reportedly born in Ohio was age 25) and Keziah (reportedly born in Illinois was age 21) were living with their daughter Cora Belle Allen in Mt. Pleasant, Jefferson Township, Henry County, Iowa. Issac was earning a living as a blacksmith and Keziah was noted as Keeping house.
By 1880, the family had grown. Issac (reportedly born in Iowa was said to be age 36) was now a farmer living with his wife Keziah (reportedly born in Illinois was age 30). They had 4 children living with them including:
Cora (age 11)
Ella (age 8 )
Jackson (age 4)
Bessie (age 2)
In the Iowa Census of 1885 Issac W. Allen (age 40, born Ohio and a blacksmith) and his wife Keziah (age 35 born in Illinois) and their children were reported to have lived in Jefferson Township, Henry County, Iowa.
Cora Belle (age 15)
Ella (age 12)
Jackson (age 9)
Bessie (age 6)
Anna (unreadable smudge)
In the 1900 US Census, Isaac and Keziah were reported as having been married for 33 years meaning they were married about 1867). At this time Issac, still a farmer, was reported to be 55 (reported to have born in Ohio in Oct. 1844) and Keziah 50 (reported to have born in Illinois in Aug. 1849). By this time, it was noted that Issac and Keziah owned their farm. They had 4 remaining children in the household including:
John J. (age 24) reported as being a farm worker
Bessie (age 22)
Anna (age 17)
Edith J (age 10)
By 1910 Isaac Allen (born in Ohio and now 65) and Keziah (born Illinois and now 60) lived with two of their daughters:
Bessie (age 31)
Edith (age 20)
Isaac and Keziah continued to own and operate their farm. Keziah is reported to have had 6 children all of whom reportedly remained alive in 1910.
Isaac Wade Allen died on 11 April 1914.
1920 US Census reports that Keziah (age 70 and now a widow) was living with her daughter’s family including:
Son-in-law Orus P. Boshart (age 39)
Daughter Edith J. Boshart (age 39)
By 1925, Keziah (age 75 and a widow) was living with her extended family in Wayland, Henry County, Iowa. The extended family included:
Son-in-law Orus P. Boshart (age 35)
Daughter Edith J. Boshart (age 35)
Grandson James O. Boshart (age 4)
Keziah owned the real estate free and clear, it was valued at $2000.
I am currently working on a portion of the Henss family and am ‘visiting’ Virginia/ Maryland at the time of the Revolutionary War. The person I am closely examining is a Mister John Hall; his wife is Mary Magdelene Smith. I just love it when the names are so incredibly unique!
So here goes, I have three mysteries!
Please use our Contact page to let me know if you have any firm data or information to help solve these!
I found a document (located in the National Archives) addressed to ‘some guy’ named George Washington. [SinglePic not found]
The document is transcribed as the following in Letters to Washington and Accompanying Papers. Published by the Society of the Colonial Dames of America. Edited by Stanislaus Murray Hamilton:
Sworn to this 27th. day of August 1757 –
BALTIMORE COUNTY SS The Deposition of Thos. Hudson, taken before me the subscriber one of his Lordship’s Justices of the peace for the County aforesd. in the Province of Maryland; who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists declares. That he this Dept. was present with Mr. Nathaniel Gist & John Hall when the said John Hall was going to sign his assent to being Enlisted in his Majesties Service; That the said John hall on taking the Pen in his Hand, said I will not sign for any more than Six months, Upon which said Mr. Gist made answer, Thats what I want; (or thats what I desire) but which of those words this Dept. can’t exactly remember. That Mr. Saml. Owings a Magistrate for this County was then also present; and on the said John Hall going to sign as aforesd.–Said unto the aforesd. Nathl. Gist, this Boy is too Young; to which the said Gist made answer he was the highth of their Standard; and farther Saith not –
… BUXTON GAY
A Brief Look at John’s Genealogy
The genealogy I have for John Hall and Mary Magdelene Smith is:
b:1732 Chester, Pa.
d:1794 Bedford, Va.
m:1759 Bedford, Va.
Mary Magdelene Smith (wife)
b:1734 Bedford, Va.
d:1833 Bedford, Va.
My thoughts are that since Baltimore, Maryland is in a straight line between Chester, Pa. and Bedford, Va (and is approximately in the middle), well you get the point; this could be my John Hall.
The real question is: Does anyone have any hard information on this subject?
And..as if that were not enough, I also have the following for a John Hall (again any firm data or ideas are most appreciated).
Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 18 March 1, 1781 – August 31, 1781 John Hanson to John Hall
My Dear sir Philadelphia June 4th 1782 I inclose you the two last papers-the Accounts given of the battle in west Indias are upon the whole rather unfavourable yet there are some Circumstances that render their Authenticity some what Doubtful. No official Account is yet come to hand at New York and it is reasonable to suppose if their Account be true that a Communication of a matter of Such Importance, to their Commander in Chief here would not have been so long delayed. There are other favourable Circumstances and I hope for the best, but am afraid the french have received so much damage in the Action, as will prevent the intended Attack on Jamaica at least for a time. An embarkation of Troops at New York is talked of, and a number of Transports it is said are going from thence to take of the Garrison at Charles Town. We hear nothing from Sir Guy. I very Sincerely wish you may Adopt the five per Ct Duty in the manner recommended by Congress, because I think an impost on all imported goods is a mode of Taxation the easiest that can be proposed. The Merchants in the first Instance pay, the people insensibly refund, every man pays in proportion to what he Chuses to Consume. The Extravagant man pays for his folly and the foreigners And strangers Among us are made to Contribute.
I sincerely wish you health and happiness, being my Dear sir, your friend & most humble Servt. John Hanson
RC (MdHi: Gilmor Collection).
Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 5 August 16, 1776 – December 31, 1776- Benjamin Rumsey to John Hall?
Sir (1) Joppa 19th Decr. 1776 Engaged in the Commission and the Business thereof in which we met with great Difficulties & Interruption I never attended Congress till this Day Week and should not then as the Business remained unfinished had I not heard Mr. Tilghman and Mr. Carroll had gone Home and left the Province unrepresented.(2)
When I got into Congress where I came determind to stay ’till the last Extremity, altho exceeding inconvenient to me, I found that Congress had two or three Days before that determined by the Advice of their Generals to remove from thence to Baltimore, Upon a presumption that the Enemy being possessed of the Jersey above by marching Parties opposite the City might make a push in the Night in Conjunction with the Tories and seise the Persons of the Congress, and this might have been done with great Facility as the City Militia had all marched to join General Washington.
The Enemy are posted on the Banks of the Delaware at Trentown and from thence have pushed their parties as low as Burlington and as high as Penny Town. They are commanded by General Howe who has with him it is supposed the whole Brittish Force that can be spared from their Conquests and are thought to amount to about thirteen Thousand Men.
General Washington had not when we came away above 5000 Men with the Junction of the Militia posted on the opposite Banks with forty Peices of Cannon. Genl. Lee was posted about 25 Miles in the Rear of the British Army at a place called Chattam about 3 miles from Morris Town with a large Body of Forces composed of a Detachment from the Northern Army Troops returning from Ticonderoga and encreasing daily with the Jersey Militia Numbers unknown to me but between 5000 and 12,000 from whence he has positive Orders to march and join Genl Washington very injudiciously in my Opinion but the Slowness of the coming in of the Militia in the State of Pennsylvania possibly may justify the Measure.
If the Militia would join Genl. Washington in such Numbers as to make him strong enough in Front to prevent the Enemy’s crossing Delaware and taking Philada. Lee by strong Detachments may cut off all their Supplies and destroy the British Army without striking a Blow or if they decamp expose them to two fires in Front and Rear.
My Colleagues Colo. Contee and Mr. Hanson have just parted from me after finishing our Business as far as we could to lay before your Honours and this in some Measure will account to you for my not writing.
I understood that as the Pennsylvania Militia rather moved slow the Congress had come into a Resolution to request the Militia of our State to march to the Assistance of Genl. Washington. I understood too Col. Ewing undertook voluntarily to bring them up and rode away without any written Orders; my Intelligence was from One of the Officers of our Army. You know Colo. Ewing (I presume the Congress do) and eer this or at their first setting at Baltimore You will receive a written Requisition.
I heard Mr. Chase tell Mr. Robt. Morris that all our sick, the Baggage of the Congress and even Mr. Morris’s Effects which are pretty considerable would be removed with Ease as he had wrote for Vessells to transport them but none were at the Head of Elk as I came by, at least they pressed Colo. Aquila Halls Vessell for that purpose. How Mr. Chase has transacted this whether in a public or private Capacity I cant tell, he can best answer it.
I had just received Orders from the Brigr. Genl. to give my Battallion Notice to hold itself in Readiness (If I am yet a Colo. which I doubt of from Report) and in Letters to the Officers was communicating that Intelligence when the Express brought to me your Letter directed here by the honorable John Hancock Esqr. on his Way to Baltimore. I much approve of your giving the Militia Notice to hold themselves in Readiness but I now tell you that will be totally useless without more, that they are without Arms, Blanketts many of them & Baggage Waggons with a numerous &ca. that ought to be supplied them before or on their March, and that they ought really to be better supplied than other Troops especially at this severe Season. I have advertised the 8th Battallion that if I am still their Colo. I will with the greatest alacrity do myself the Honour to march at their Head if the Province is represented without me.
A Doubt may arise with You respecting the Reason of the Tardiness of Pennsylvania. You know great Part of Philada., Bucks and Chester are Tories and the Councill of Safety of Pennsylvania have cried Wolf, Wolf two or three Times falsly to the back Counties and now the Wolf is really come they think it still a false Alarm. They are distracted too abt. the State of their Governmt., People being of various Opinions about it.
I have opened Mr. Presidents Letter (3) but shall seal and send it by Express to Baltimore to Mr. Chase who I expect by this Time is there. Seamen were much wanted and your Orders in sending the Seamen will be very agreeable to Congress. For if Philadelphia should ever be taken by some Coup de Main of the Enemy, wch. by the by a well manned Frigate will render much more difficult, there being no Ships of the Enemy in Delaware Bay, the Frigates and a great Quantity of Stores may be saved thereby.
You are also requested by me to inform Mr. President that it has not been either with my privity, Consent or Knowledge that Individuals have been applied to, that I am exceedingly sensible it rather tends to delay Business and that he and the whole Board I hope will acquit me of any Design in being Wanting in Respect to the cheif executive Power in the State, the Dignity of which I was always strenuous in supporting while I had the Honour of Seat there and still am ‘tho I have not thot I am (besides my Love for my Country), added to other Motives, actuated- by a Friendship and Esteem for the Individuals of that Board that will always induce me to treat them with the Utmost Respect, Esteem and Regard.
I am Sir, Your most humble Servt. Benjamin Rumsey
1 Perhaps John Hall, vice president of the Maryland Council of Safety. Rumsey obviously directed this letter to a member of the council of safety and in the course of it twice mentions “Mr. President,” Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer.
2 Matthew Tilghman and Charles Carroll, Barrister, are known to have been in Philadelphia as late as December 9, the day they and Samuel Chase requested money for the removal of sick troops to Maryland. Tilghman and Carroll apparently left soon afterward, leaving only Chase and William Paca to represent Maryland, which until February 15, 1777, required the presence of three delegates to cast the state’s vote in Congress. See William Paca to the Maryland Council of Safety, December 7, 1776, note 3; and JCC, 7:111.
3 Probably the council’s December 15 letter to the Maryland delegates. See Md. Archives, 12:530-31.
The most enterprising firm of young men in the village of Wayland are the brothers, Joseph and Christian C. Wenger, both born in Washington County, Iowa, and are the two eldest sons of Christian and Elizabeth (Goldsmith) Wenger. Christian was born in Switzerland and is a son of Christian and Mary (Roth) Wenger, who emigrated from Germany to Hamburg, Canada, and thence to Washington County, Iowa, making the journey with a team passing through Chicago when that now great city was a village but a trifle larger than Wayland. Settling in 1832, in Marion Township, Washington Co., Iowa, the grandsire of our subject purchased a claim, upon which stood a small cabin and later entered the lands. This family were among the first settlers in that county, and both lived and died upon the farm which they had put in fine cultivation. His wife reached sixty, and Christian Wenger, Sr., the ripe age of eighty-three years. All their children but the three eldest were born in Canada, and came with them to Iowa, and perhaps no better family has ever settled in her boundary. We are pleased to make separate mention of each: John married Mary Ernst; Christian, father of our subject, wedded Elizabeth Goldsmith; Nicholas died unmarried; Joseph married Elizabeth Roth; Benjamin became the husband of Lena Gengerich; Annie married Christian Eicher; Mary wedded Joseph Rich; Lena wedded Christian Ernst, a brother of John’s wife; Katie became the wife of John Miller, of Davis County; and Barbara became the wife of Christian Schlatter, the proprietor of the Wayland sawmills. Under the name of Christian Wenger the further history of the family is given. His five eldest children were born in Washington County and are: Joseph, Christian, Samuel, Jacob and Lizzie, the latter the wife of Jacob Kabel. On the farm in Henry County, John, Daniel, Henry, Ella and Levi, were born. Samuel was educated at Howe’s Academy, and has taught in the public schools of this county. The two eldest sons were educated in the schools of the township, but are brilliant business men, and their retail trade is successfully managed.
In 1881 Christian C. left the farm and in 1882, in company with Benjamin Gardiner, engaged in the mercantile trade. Their new store building was erected in 1883, but prior to its completion Joseph purchased the interest of Mr. Gardiner, and the firm was changed to Wenger Bros. The firm carry a full line of general merchandise and the largest stock in the northern part of the county, their stock invoicing over $6,000. Everything is of the best, and selling goods at the lowest living profit has given these young men a trade of over $10,000 per annum, and located as they are in the midst of an excellent agricultural region, their trade is constantly increasing. They are an honor to their parents, their village and their country, and to men of such business enterprise the growth and prosperity of Henry County is due.
The wedding of Joseph, the elder member of this firm, was a brilliant affair, and was celebrated on Thursday, Oct. 27, 1887, the bride being Miss Katie, the handsome daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Henss, the veteran wagon-maker, and one of the wealthy men of Wayland. The young couple took a pleasant bridal tour, and are now cosily settled in Wayland, the birthplace of the bride, who has one of the best of husbands and a man in whom the public repose confidence.
Christian C., the younger member of the firm, but the original partner of Mr. Gardiner, is also happily married, having, on Dec. 8, 1887, been united to Miss Ella, daughter of Isaac and Keziah Allen, of Wayland, of which place she is a native. She was educated in the schools of the village, and has always been regarded as one of the brightest and best of its daughters, as her husband is known as one of its most honorable and enterprising merchants.
Much of the Robert Henss family background is rooted in Swiss and Iowa Anabaptist Mennonite traditions. Many of our forebears were active participants and members of the following congregations. [Please note that this post will be updated as more information is uncovered].
Basel-Holee (Basel Switzerland)
Basel-Holee, a Mennonite congregation with a meetinghouse at Holeestrasse 141 in Basel, Switzerland, formerly called Basel-Binningen, the Amish congregation mentioned in the article Basel. The origins of the congregation go back to the middle of the 18th century, a church book containing records of births, marriages, deaths, and baptisms (probably maintained at the request of the state) having been kept from 1777 on (with an interruption 1880-1910). Throughout its existence a majority of the families of the congregations lived on the Alsatian side of the nearby border and the congregation belonged to the Alsatian Conference. In wartime this caused considerable trouble, particularly in World War II when the Alsatian part of the congregation could not cross the border into Basel and had to meet in near-by Bourgfelden. The first meetinghouse in the village of Binningen (now incorporated in the city of Basel) was built in 1847 and continued in use until the new meetinghouse was built on the same lot in 1932. The membership remained fairly constant for several decades, with considerable losses by emigration to the near-by Mulhouse region and to the United States. The 1952 membership was 185 and 50 children; in 2009 the membership was 100. Most common family names have been Roth, Widmer, Wenger, Würgler, and Goldschmidt. Elders have included Hans Jacob Schmuckli, 1777-?; Hans Freienberg, 1787-?; Johannes Kaufmann, ca. 1800-?; Fritz Steinbrunner, ca. 1830; Hans Steinbrunner, d. ca. 1843; Johannes Kaufmann, ca. 1845; Hans Schmuckli, ca. 1860; Christian Klopfenstein, ca. 1870; Joseph Klopfenstein, d. 1878; Jacob Zimmerman; Jacob Widmer, 1874-? emigrated to America; Michel Widmer, 1893-1924; Christian Roggy, 1896-1904; Daniel Roth, -1927; Jakob Widmer, 1924-1942; Fritz Goldschmidt, 1927-; and Daniel Wenger, 1951-. In the 1950s services are held every two weeks alternating with Schänzli. The congregation has had an organized chorus since 1896. As late as 1915 it still practiced feetwashing. The Ausbund was used as hymnal until into the 20th century.
source: Goldschmidt, Fritz and Harold S. Bender. (1953). Basel-Holee (Basel Switzerland). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 12 July 2010, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B37574.html.
William (Wilhelm) Henss and Katharine (Catharina) Kaemmer probably both came from Hesse in Germany and were born around 1830 (according to the 1900 US Census records Dec 1831 for William and Nov 1829 for Katharine) . I am looking for any historical documentation regarding their births or marriage. Photos of graves or life would be most appreciated, also.
I have a fairly well established genealogy and history for their lives in the US. They lived and loved in Wayland, Henry County Iowa. What I am most ardently attempting to establish is a clear link for them back into Germany before 1853- I have a tentative information set with which I am not completely comfortable. I do know that Katharine Kaemmer (name originally spelled as Catharina Kaemmer) came to the US from Lumda and through Bremen through port of Baltimore – all according to a metal tag on her trunk. She is reported to have come to the US in 1854 and William in 1853; both immigration dates are from US Census information.
Any help, leads or pointers are most appreciated; you may use our contact page to get in touch with me directly.
The following, incomplete, history follows the life and times of William & Katharine Henss, the founders of our US based Henss Family.
If you know of any additional history to support and expand our history, please use our contact page to share your information and/or images.
1853 & 1854
During these years William Henss (Wilhelm Henß) – 1853- and Katharine Kaemmer (Catharina Kämmer)- 1854- traveled from Hesse to the United States. We know that Katharine traveled from Lumda through Bremen to Baltimore and then Burlington, Iowa (this information is on a tag affixed to her trunk).
It is may be that William and Katharine were engaged before William departed from Germany for Iowa and that the couple had planned to meet, marry and live in Iowa as soon as William successfully established himself in the ‘new world’ (Iowa). [Historical data to support these assertions is being sourced and examined.]
It is possible that the following ship’s passage for one William Hinz (wagonmaster) aged 24 8/12 arriving in New York on 14 June 1853 is our Wilhelm Henss.
In 1856, William Henss (Hense) was a blacksmith living in Jefferson, Henry County Iowa. He was 25 and had been a resident of Iowa for 3 years. (according to the 1856 Iowa Census). This likely means he emigrated to the United States about 1853.
NB. The area where William lived had its plat filed as Marshall, Iowa in 1851.
William Henss and Katharine Kaemmer were married 12 Jan 1857. Their wedding record provides us with the following information:
Town 73, Range 7.
Post Office-Marshall. ALEX. STEWART, P.M.
MARSHALL is the only village in this township. It has a population of some 250; one good church, a school house, and three stores. Is a place of considerable business. The township is timber and prairie about equally divided. The land is rich and well adapted for farming purposes.
The population of the township 803 persons.
Hance William, blacksmith.
By 1860 William, now 28, (Hens) had married Katharine (Kaemmer, age 29) and had a son Louis (age 10 months). He continued to be listed as a blacksmith and along with his family resided in Marshall, Jefferson Township, Henry County, Iowa. His real estate was valued at $400 and his personal estate at $500. At that same time they had a white domestic servant named Christina Collin (aged 10).
In June of 1863, William Henss was registered on the consolidated list of all persons of Class I, subject to do military duty in the First Congressional District, State of Iowa.
In 1864, William Henss received his US citizenship.
Name: William Henss
Source Publication Code: 6015.65.85
Primary Immigrant: Henss, William
Annotation: Date of naturalization in Henry County, Iowa. Country of origin also provided.
Source Bibliography: NATURALIZATION RECORDS, HENRY COUNTY, IOWA. In Henry County Genealgoical Society Quarterly (Mount Pleasant, IA), vol. 9:4 (October 1995), pp. 306-311; vol. 10:1 (January 1996), pp. 317-320; vol. 10:2 (April 1996), pp. 326-329; vol. 10:3 (July 1996), pp.
According to the 1870 US Census, William & Katharine and their family lived in Mt. Pleasant, Henry County, Iowa. William (listed as 38) was Wagon maker while his wife Kate (also listed as 38) was keeping house. The value of their Real Estate was noted as $8000; their personal estate was valued at $320. With them were their children:
Louis (enumerated as Lewis) 11 at home
Elizabeth 9 at home
William 7 at home
Katie 3 at home
By 1880 US Census, the William Henss Family was in the Village of Wayland, Henry County, Iowa (NB. In March 20, 1880, just before the US Census was conducted, Marshall Iowa was renamed to Wayland Iowa in order to eliminate confusion with the larger Marshalltown, Iowa.). William (48) was listed in the 1880 US Census as a Blacksmith. Catharine (50), his wife was noted as Keeping house. Living with them were their children:
Lewis (20) Working in Blacksmith shop (presumably with William Henss)
Elizabeth (19) Keeping house
William (15) Working in Blacksmith shop (presumably with William Henss)
Catharine (12) at home
However by the 1885 Iowa Census, we find William Henss (age 53) and Katharine (age 55) living in Jefferson Township, Henry County, Iowa. Living with them were their children:
Louis (age 25)
Lizzie (age 23)
William (age 21)
Katie (age 17)
They also had Oliver Carow (age 50),a teamster, and Will Franks (age 41), a laborer, living in their household. By this time William was in business as a wagon maker.
“The wedding of Joseph [Wenger] [...] was a brilliant affair, and was celebrated on Thursday, Oct. 27, 1887, the bride being Miss Katie, the handsome daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Henss, the veteran wagon-maker, and one of the wealthy men of Wayland. The young couple took a pleasant bridal tour, and are now cosily settled in Wayland, the birthplace of the bride, who has one of the best of husbands and a man in whom the public repose confidence.”
“Louis Wagner of Burlington visited Mrs. William Henss Saturday. They are distantly related and were raised in the same village in the old country.”
from Portrait & Biographical Album of Henry County- 1888
By 1900, William (indexed as William Henis, age 68) and Katharine (indexed as Katie, age 70) were living in Wayland City, Jefferson Township, Henry County, Iowa with their daughter Lizzie (age 39).
William’s birth date is listed as Dec 1831; Katharine’s as Nov 1829; and, Lizzie’s as Feb 1861. William and Katharine had been married for 43 years by 1900 and Lizzie was single. Emigration dates listed as being 1852 for William and 1855 for Katharine. William was listed as being a naturalized citizen. William, in 1900, was listed as being a wagon manufacturer and a home owner. All three Henss Family members could speak, read, and write English. (A complete transcription of this 1900 US Census page is available on us-census. org. Original document image follows below.)
William Henss died on 19 March 1902.
In the 1910 US Census, we find that confirmation that William has died and Katharine is listed as the widowed head of household (age 80) living with her daughter Lizzie (age 48). They continued to reside in Wayland Town, Jefferson Township, Henry County, Iowa.
Katharine died on 18 November 1913.
Early Wayland Iowa Photos
The following photo gallery contains photos from Wayland, Iowa in the late 1800′s and early to mid-1900′s.
The information on this page has been graciously augmented by the efforts of numerous genealogical friends including: Manuela Bassler, Elvira Groot, Jerry Harris, Kate “Chris’ Mom”, and Jutta Hoffmann. 1 & 2 Aug. 2011:
I have read the following website… Hessisches Staatsarchiv Darmstadt(HStAD) Auswanderer-Nachweise(R 21 B); I have run searches and reviewed all materials for:
Beuern ev. Kirche Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1821-1840 FHL INTL Film 800674
Allendorf/ Lumda Taufen 1825-1845 FHL INTL Film 1195876
Grünberg, Hessen Taufen 1817-1835 FHL INTL Film 801274
Grünberg (Kr. Gießen)Tote 1827-1828 Tauf-, Heirats-, Totenindex 1808-1828 Tote 1829-1845 Tauf-, Heirats-, Totenondex 1829-1845 Tote 1846-1861 FHL INTL Film 1201518
17 Oct. 2010: New information, worthy of exploraion, has been discovered in the Henry County History vol. 1 copyright 1982. This document states that William’s family was from Beuern, Hessen. In researching the location of Beuern a second Lumda was found within 5 miles of Beuern. Church records for Gruenberg and Stangenrod (both near Lumda) are being sourced for Katharine’s birth; and, Beuern Church records are being sourced for Wilhelm’s birth.– these documents produced nothing of interest. 14 Sep. 2010: Sadly, I reviewed the Church records for the ev. Kirche in Lumda and was unable to find either William or Katharine’s birth.
I will search on. If anyone knows of possible family members in Hesse (in Germany) or of possible birth record locations, please let us know!
Find your friends. If you run a family history/ genealogy website, building associations and affiliations can be a useful and valuable adjunct to your genealogical efforts.
Some of the most interesting and potentially useful affiliations (links) are with are sites and organizations belonging to other family members or family associations. These family members/ associations need not be particularly close, from a genealogical relationship perspective, but rather simply represent individuals or groups searching for, or providing, information on branches, limbs of your family tree. It is additionally helpful if their family name obviously links or relates to those most frequently mentioned on your site. Obvious name linkages make it easier for casual readers and researchers alike to see the importance and enthusiasm for information involving your family, perhaps enticing a more reluctant reader into active participation.
Not only can related sites possible additional readership for, and comments on, your site, but more importantly, they provide you with the potential of finding good and useful sources of genealogical information. Presumably, the readers of closely affiliated and obviously related sites are also interested in assisting in your research success and may, also, be willing to provide you with analysis and reviews on your own research efforts. (N.B. I have found this form of review invaluable in scrubbing errors and addressing omissions in my research.)
In the case of ManyRoads, we have recently come across several such sites. These include:
Yesterday was a wonderful research day for me. I began seriously researching materials and information to support the work my father-in-law (Robert Henss) had done on the Johansson family line (Becky’, my wife’s, matrilineal line). With a photocopy of his work in hand, I bravely proceeded into uncharted territory (for me).
To assign quanta to my success, I found 17 original source documents. I’ll post images of them on ManyRoads for me to admire quite soon. In all honesty, I must admit that the bulk of the 17 source documents were actually from the Norwegian side of the family (Sivertsens); there were but a handful from the Swedish (Johansson) side. Sadly, the family parish in Sweden have not been fully digitized, but they are working on it! Nonetheless, my feeling of accomplishment remains high and I am optimistic that I will be able to add and expand to our knowledge of the families, even given my weak Norwegian and Swedish skills (more on that in another post).
A good day it was. I will review the documentation today with Becky and then clean up the images for archival and research purposes (such as may be required).
MENNONINTE HISTORY OF HENRY COUNTY AREA
by Melvin Gingerich
This is a series of articles written by Melvin Gingerich, a well know Mennonite minister, and, I believe Bishop. The series was published on a weekly basis in The Wayland News until its conclusion. — Ann Miller White. - 1/9/1931 – Wayland News
This Wikipedia article excerpt is provided in order to give a bit of historical context to the circumstances surrounding Henss and Rich family history and migrations. More history texts are available here.