Family Histories: G-H

Family Histories


After an older half-brother inherited the family home, August Gabriel, the son of a blacksmith who died of typhoid fever and the oldest of seven, came to the United States from Pristram , Silesia, Germany. After several years, he sent for his brother, William, and sister, Henrietta, in 1860, also from Pristram. They entered the United States in New Orleans. William went to work at his trade of a Gabriel brothersblacksmith in Wyandotte for two years, while Henrietta washed dishes in an "eating house." August worked in Kansas City, Kansas, too, before he settled on a farm south of Eudora for which he got the deed in 1863. He dug a cave to live in until he could build a one-room house over it with lumber hauled by ox wagon from Kansas City, Kansas. The hauling trip took several days. August dug a well and planted trees near the house. After several years, when he had enough money, August sent for his other siblings: Traugott, Herman, Ernestine, and Caroline. August never married and died in 1916 of pneumonia complications. William Gabriel, born July 29, 1836, married Franziska Groh in 1867, and they moved to a farm four and one-half miles south of Eudora, a half mile west of August's. They had three sons and six daughters and attended the German Methodist Church. Source: Mrs. Floyd Deweese and Mrs. Herbert Nerhbass, Lawrence, Kansas, in “History of the William Gabriel Family of Eudora, Kansas,” Eudora News Weekly (1904). (Photo on right is of Gayle and Galen Gabriel in 1938.)

Ernst Wilhelm Gerstenberger was born July 25, 1850 at Hennesdorf, Kreis Reichenbach , Silesia, Germany. This site is now Tuszyn, Dzierzoniow, Wroclaw, Poland. Ernest came to America in March 1864 with his parents (Ernst Wilhelm and Anna Rosina Amsel of Pfaffendorf, Silesia) and three younger siblings, Frederick, Anna (Bertschniger), and Mary. They went from Lauterback, Germany, to Bremen and waited two months to sail on the vessel “Ocean” to New York. From Westport, Missouri, they bought land four miles south and one-half mile west of Eudora. Several times Ernst and his father walked to and from Westport to visit friends. Ernst’s father of the same name died October 23, 1866, and Anna kept the farm going. Ernst met his future wife, Sophia Elizabeth Toennies, born in Hanover, Holfern, Germany, on July 4, 1854, at church. They married April 2, 1877 and are pictured here in front of their house. Her family had lived Gerstenbergerson a German farm where cattle were kept under the same roof with the family. The cattle stalls were scrubbed out every day. Sophia’s father, Christian, and her oldest brother, August, worked in Kaiser Wilhelm’s forest in Germany. When the oldest Toennies son was baptized, the Kaiser held him in accordance with the custom that the oldest son of a government worker was held by the Kaiser when he was baptized. Her family came on the steam vessel “Donau” in August 1871. They lived in St. Louis until her brother George agreed to serve at St. Paul’s Church in Eudora. Sophia; brother, Moritz; and her mother (Susanna Amelie Horenkohl) came to Eudora. Standing on the hill by the Pilla Store, Sophia said: “Where is Eudora?” and was teased about that remark in the years that followed. August Toennies worked for the Evangelical Synod publishing company and sent the family beautifully-bound German books for Christmas after they moved to Eudora. The Toennies family lived in the St. Paul ’s parsonage. The 10 children of Sophia and Ernest were born on the farm and attended Belleview School . Remembered their youngest son, Herbert: “My parents always had lots of friends around Eudora and always were prompt at attending church services. On Sundays, it seemed they would be invited to dinner with someone or some family would be out at our country home for dinner and spend the day visiting. I recall one Sunday while some were at our farm, they decided to all get weighed on the farm scales. Mother was a little heavier than Dad, so Dad put some heavy bolts and nuts in hip pocket so he would weigh more than Mother. Dad was quite an entertainer as things went." Ernest served on the church council 20 years, was a Belleview school board member, and was president of the Home State Bank. In 1910, Ernest and Sophia retired and built a home at Twelfth Street and Church Street where the family gathered on Sunday evenings. Sons Ernest, Louis, and Herbert moved to Colorado. Godfrey farmed the homeplace until 1925 then moved to Kansas City where his brother, Paul, worked. George, Christina (Schlegel), Susanna “Anna” (Schmidt), Charles, and Henrietta (Woodard, then Harris) stayed in the Eudora area. Ernst and Sophia are buried in the Eudora Cemetery as are their mothers. Ernst’s father is buried in an unmarked grave in the Delaware Cemetery even though his marker is in the Eudora Cemetery. Source: Herbert Gerstenberger and Lauretta Louise (Gerstenberger) Trabant, daughter of Charles, in “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977) and The Gerstenberger Immigrants and Their Descendants in America, (1993) by Duane Francis Gerstenberger and Ruthelma Millie Vedder Gerstenberger, Bothell, Washington

Born in Livingston County, New York, November 27, 1833, John Gilmore was the son of James and Mary (Green) Gilmore. He resided there until 1857, when he came by boat to St. Louis. There he took a train to Leavenworth, then came by Overland stage to Lawrence where he had a business interest in a hardware business with Lyman Allen on Massachusetts Street. In 1862, he moved to Eudora Township on his 800 acres in Section 36. He bought the land from the Bluejacket family and the SilverheGilmore familyad Indian family and had several tenants. John came with his wife, Susannah, the daughter of John Widel. He married her in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, April 3, 1856. They had five children: Annie (born November 15, 1857); Mary (born July 18, 1860); Solon (born April 14, 1862); Josephine (born January 18, 1866); and Nydia (born December 29, 1867). All of them graduated from Kansas University. When Susannah (seen in middle of photo with her daughters; Nydia, left, and Ann in back, Mary, left, and Jo in front) talked of their early life in a newspaper interview, she told of going to Lawrence in a cart behind two oxen. It took a day to go four miles. The family’s temporary residency was a one-room shanty of boards with a dirt floor and leaky roof during the first winter. One time a horseback rider stopped to ask for shelter during a rainstorm. She invited him into the house. He looked in, got on his horse, and continued riding. The Indians were peaceful, she said, and often came to her house to sell wild berries as ask for supplies. In the garden, the family grew watermelons, corn, and garden vegetables despite the drought and grasshoppers. John and several others helped take a prairie schooner train to Denver in 1861 and saw debris of other wagons that had been attacked. At one time, John had 1,300 head of hogs on his farm after vowing to never have any. The Gilmores were among the organizers of the English Methodist Church in 1885 and gave the land for the brick Methodist Church at Seventh Street and Church Street built in 1921 and 1922. Source: In “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977); History of the State of Kansas (1883) by William Cutler; and Eudora Weekly News (April 30, 1936)

John Greiner arrived from Altreichenau,Grainet, Germany, in 1872. When he and his family arrived in New York, they had small pox and were quarantined. His first wife was Maria Anna Wolf, the daughter of Johann Wolf and Juliane (Plochl). They married in 1851 in Grainet, which is in Bavaria. They had three children: Mary, John Jr., and Lena. John Sr. married Maria Mandel in 1864, and she died two years later. His third wife was Anna (Eder), born 1838 in Bavaria. She came to the United States when she was 10 years old. The trip took three weeks. Their children were Otilla (married Emil Hartig), Teckla (married Max Koch), and Herman (married an Alveiner). A headstone in the Catholic Cemetery also reads: “Hier Ruhen Die Kridor Von John & Anna [Here lies the children of John and Anna]: Ludwid, Therasia, Valentina, Valentin. A carpenter, he built his home on two southwest lots next to the church and made an altar for Holy Family Church. The children of John Jr., a Santa Fe section foreman for 33 years, and Frances were Mary (Neustifter), John, Frank, Ralph, Bertha (Hadle), Anita (Stadler), and Agnes (Calvin). Source: Eudora Weekly News (April 30, 1936); Lawrence Journal World (July 16, 1957); John Greiner Jr.’s obituary (March 8, 1928); Eudora Enterprise (1969); Anita Stadler; and Holy Family Cemetery, Eudora, Kansas, by Barbara (Reid) Seiwald

Grace Kellerman, born April 30, 1844, in Bavaria, came to the United States at age 11, and to the Eudora area in April 1864. In June of that same year, she married Anton Gufler, born in Bavaria, who came to Eudora in 1857. Their children were: Albert, Otto, Kate (Thudium), Augusta, and Christine. Source: Grace Gufler’s obituary (1913) and 1880 U.S. census

Mathias (“Matt”) Grosdidier, born in Ginders, Germany, in 1861, and his wife, Clara, came from Culbertson, Nebraska, in 1898 to farm in the Belleview neighborhood. They had five sons and three daughters: Edward, Henry, Louis, George, Albert, Agatha, Marie, and Helen (Schopper). The children of Louis and wife, Alice, were Albert, Ralph, Lawrence, Francis, Mrs. Ed Nicholson, Mrs. Tom Fitzgerald, Jeane, and Sister Mary Rochelle. George married Ann Feldkamp, born February 4, 1902, on April 23, 1924. They farmed and operated a dairy south of Eudora. Their children were Norbert, Cletus, Edgar, and Rita (Westerhaus). Albert, the son of Matt and Clara, married Clara (Schehrer) March 7, 1916, at Holy Family Church. They farmed in the Kaw Valley for 11 years, then moved to the farm first owned by Clara’s parents. Their children were Magdalene (Gustin), Arlene (Krizman), Rosemary (Grosdidier), Bernard, Arthur, Herbert, and Gerald. Source: Eudora Enterprise (March 9, 1994) and Eudora News (March 9, 1994)

Three Hodl brothers emigrated to Eudora from Oberseilberg in eastern Bavaria with two of their cousins and have many descendants in Douglas County. Georg Hodl (born September 16, 1836) married Karoline Neustifter of Bischofsreut, and they came to America with two children, plus Jacob Nesutifer and family, and Lorenz Eder and family on the S.S. Westphalia. Georg and Karoline had five more children plus Karoline’s daughter, Karolina, and bought a 40-acre farm two miles east and a half mile south of Eudora by Captain’s Creek. Georg, who worked in his father’s weaving shop, became a stonemason in Germany to comply with a Bavarian law mandating that only well-earning suitors could marry. Stefan Hodl (later Stephen Hadl) was born in Kaining, Bavaria, in 1843. He married AnnaHadle family Lenz (or Lance) of Frauennberg, of a nearby village, in 1870 and came to Eudora in 1871 along with Anna’s daughter, Crescentia. They lived in Eudora eight years when Stephen worked as a stonemason, then lived on a farm near DeSoto with their five other children who spelled their name “Hadle.” In 1907, Steve and Anna (see them and their family in 1914 in photograph to left) moved to Eudora on south Main Street to the “Schuette House.” Alois Hadl, also born in Kaining near Grainet, was forced to be in the military beyond his allotment, so he borrowed a passport, abandoned the military service, and came to the United States. He sent the passport back. A year after arriving in Eudora, Alois married Frances Schopper, another recent Bavarian emigrant. They moved to Fall Leaf for four years, then to Belleview and had five daughters: Anna, Mary, Frances, Katherine, and Theresa. After Frances died in 1882 after a short illness, Alois hired housekeeper Martha Seibold from Wisconsin who had come from his same area in Bavaria . They married in 1883 and had 14 children. Only one of Alois’ children died before reaching adulthood, and several married into the Madl family. Although he lived on a farm most of his life, Alois worked as a stonemason, according to the Hadl family history. Cousin Johan Hadl came with his wife Theresa (Fenzl) and seven children in late 1890. Most of this family branch moved to Kansas City. Johan’s brother, Josef, also of Obergrainet, came to Eudora in 1891 at age 52. This bachelor known as “Sep” married Catherine Schmidt, who emigrated from Bavaria a few years earlier, in 1893. Source: Hodl Family History, 1690-1989, by Jack Williams and Anna Hadle’s obituary (September 27, 1928 that says her maiden name was Lance and that she moved to DeSoto in 1872)

The Haelsig family came from Clausnitz, Saxony , Germany . One Haelsig was Traugert Haelsig, born June 13, 1845 , who left his homeland for Chicago . The great fire of Chicago prompted him to move again and he came to Eudora in the spring of 1872 and was a harness maker. His children with wife Rosina “Mary” Gerstenberger besides six who died young were Emma (Lotz), Arthur, Ernest, Willie, Walter, and Otto. They lived at the corner of Eighth and Main . Another Haelsig harness maker was Lebrecht, who married Maria. Source: 1880 U.S. Census, Traugert Haelsig’s obituary (1911), and The Gerstenberger Immigrants and Their Descendants in America (1993) by Duane Francis Gerstenberger and Ruthelma Millie Vedder Gerstenberger, Bothell , Washington

Born December 7, 1890 in the house one-quarter mile east of Eudora on the road to the city’s cemetery, Maggie Reber was a tomboy who didn’t like housework or school. She married Harry Hagenbuch in October 1913; they are pictured here with their son. He was the only son of Henry Hagenbuch, born in Allentown, Pennsylvania on May 16, 1856, who came to Eudora in 1866. Henry married Mary Louis Ludwig who had come to Douglas County with her parents from Warrensburg, Missouri, in 1866. Mary’s mother died soon after they got to Douglas County, and she was reared by the Jack Schaffer family of Eudora. Married August 7, 1884 at St. Paul’s Church, Henry and Mary lived on a farm eight miles south of Eudora before returning to operate a meat market on the corner of Eighth Street and Main Street. After Maggie’s marriage, she lived with Harry’s parents on Church Street. Henry had traded meat to Ernest Kraus for property at 831 Maple Street where the couple built the home they would live in for 62 years. Harry worked in the meat and ice business with his father. He also built a footbridge across the Wakarusa at the west end of his ice plant for people to cross over to Durr’s Grove where picnics and other gatherings were held. Source: Maggie (Reber) Hagenbuch in “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977)

John Hammert, born in Mulfingen, Germany, came to the United States at age 18. He lived in New York, then came to Kansas and lived off and on in Fredonia, Lawrence, and Eudora, before settling in Eudora in 1876. He married Marie Magdalena (“Lena”) (Kraus) Marfelius, who was born September 9, 1834, at Kartbach, Germany, and went to New York City at age 16, before traveling on to Chicago and marrying a Mr. Ruppal, then Kaspar Marfelius (also spelled “Caspar” and “Marfelius” or “Mafilius”) with whom she came to Eudora as one of the original townsiters with Marfelius, and her brother, Dan Kraus. Lena and Caspar adopted Anne Christine Ludwig, who married B.W. Hammert. On July 25, 1889, Hammert, who was mayor at the time and a school board member, died of a stroke. Source: John Hammert’s obituary (1889) and Marie Magdalena (Kraus) Ruppal Marfelius Hammert’s obituary (April 19, 1923)

Thomas J. Harris left Grant County, Indiana, to farm three, 40-acre tracts near Hesper. His wife, Mahala (Van Horn), born in Ohio, and their three children came to Hesper in 1865. Four children later, Mahala died in 1881. The 1880 census shows the following children at home: Noah, Lily, Irwin, Rosa, Luther, and Ernest. Source: Eudora News and 1880 U.S. Census

A native of Heimbuchenthal or Bayern , Bavaria, Peter Hartig donated the land for Holy Family Cemetery in 1865. He was an original townsiter, and first came to New York , before moving on to Ohio, and Chicago. On the tombstone of his wife, Franzisca Streh, who died at age 75 one year before Peter, was written: “Herr gibe ihnen die ewige ruhe.” They had six children: Emil, Theresa “Tessie” (Stumpf), Barbara (McDonald), John, Lother, and Frank. Peter, who was carrying a basket of eggs, was killed by the Santa Fe California Flyer, 50 feet from the rear gate of his home, when he was crossing three tracks on his way to shop. His daughter, Theresa, called to him as she heard the whistles of the train, but Hartig’s hearing was impaired and he did not hear the approaching train, nor his daughter’s shout. Before he could cross the track, he was struck and hurled 100 feet or more. The only witness to the accident was Charles Lothholz, who watched it from the window of his lumberyard. Hartig’s obituary described him as “a most kind man, scrupulously honest, and sincere with all dealers.” It also said he was “eccentric” even “stubborn” if he thought his rights or the rights of his children were being violated. Source: Eudora News, land abstracts, and Holy Family Cemetery, Eudora, Kansas, by Barbara (Reid) Seiwald

Margarette Schmarlzer, born September 16, 1831, in Germany, came to the United States in 1842 and married George Hausmann in 1858. They moved to Clearfield in 1863. Of the Evangelical religion, they had six children, including Mary (Ott), George, Henry, and Emma (Deckwa). Alma, the daughter of Henry and his wife, Minnie, married Roy Breithaupt on April 10, 1918, and they farmed at Clearfield for 34 years. They moved to Garden City for 10 years before moving back to Eudora. Their children were Ruth (Wilson) and Eilleen (Vincent). Source: Margarette Hausmann’s obituary (April 19, 1923) and Echoes, 13, Number 10 (October 1989), published by the Eudora Nursing Center.

John C. Hill, son of John and Lydia (Starbuck) Hill, was born in Randolph County, North Carolina, on June 9, 1838. After moving to Rush Country, Indiana, in 1861, he decided to live near friends in Kansas. In 1863, John C. Hill; his brother, William; and son, Robert; came to Eudora in a two-horse carriage to find a home, because they thought opportunities were better in Kansas, and they were members of the Society of Friends. John also opposed slavery. He bought 80 acres in the Hesper area four miles southeast of Eudora and returned to Indiana for his wife, Lydia, and children: Penelope, Lydia Jane, Ruth Ellen, William, and M. Chalkley. Some of the family traveled by train to St. Joseph, Missouri, then by boat down the Missouri River to Leavenworth. Relatives met them there and drove them to their Hesper farm. Two other sons and a sister came later in a covered wagon that was used years later in a parade in Topeka when Governor Alfred Landon accepted his party’s presidential nomination in 1936. The wagon later became part of the museum collection at Friends University in Wichita. In 1864, John bought more farm land, and, in 1866, built a brownstone, two-story house, 24 feet by 35 feet, on the farm. As Hill was hauling a load of lumber to build his home, he was attacked by a highway robber and killed September of 1867. His wife died in December of 1879. Their son, M. Chalkley, married Sarah Mitchell in Topeka in 1869. For the next 53 years, he was an area merchant. He helped get a bridge made across the Kansas River, was mayor, an organizer of the Watkins National Bank in Lawrence, and on the board of directors of the Friends' University of Wichita, Kansas. Source: Letter from M. Chalkey Hill and his History of Hill Farm, (November 12, 1938); Lawrence Daily Journal World, “Home of M. Chalkey Hill Was Part of Settlement of Middle West” (June 4, 1940); and A Standard History of Kansas and Kansan (1883) by William Cutler

Leslie Hobbs, son of James and Martha (Lawson), was born May 14, 1838, in Indiana. He married Elvira, the daughter of Richard and Laura Grisham, August 14, 1858, in Illinois. They came to Kansas in a covered wagon shortly after the Civil War with two of their children. Owners of a large farm in Kaw Valley, they also had a grocery in Eudora by the railroad tracks. Their children were Lillie (Dutton)(McKnight), born July 25, 1859; John Charles, born September 8, 1863 and married Annah McKnight; Laura Belle, born August 5, 1866; Martha Evelyn (Grimes), born April 8, 1870; Anna Elvira (Prosser), born January 10, 1873; May Elizabeth (Lepper), born November 1, 1874; and Goldie, born May 12, 1877, and died 10 months later.

The Hunzicker family came to the United States from Basal, Orensdorf (or Arisdorf), Switzerland. Daniel Hunzicker, born in 1829 to Catharina (Yeager Sager) and Johannes Hunzicker, was a stone mason, when he married Anna, who was two years older. Their children were Daniel Jr., Henry, John, and Edward. Source: 1880 census and Daniel Hunzicker Jr.’s obituary (1899)

Copyright 2010. Cindy Higgins. Where the Wakarusa Meets the Kaw: A History of Eudora, Kansas. Eudora, KS: Author.