Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Connections! Connections! Connections!

For the past day or so, I’ve been looking into possible connections between Charles and Salome(C&S) or, more precisely, the Ruch and Siegler families and certain residents of Erie, PA. Having determined what I believe to be the main reason for C&S to emigrate from France – the ceding of Alsace to the Germans after France’s defeat in the Franco/Prussian War – I began to wonder what brought them to Erie, PA. There was no stopping in New York to get their bearings, no wavering whatsoever; they were in Erie as quickly as the train could travel from New York. Not only that but they no more arrived in the city than they were standing before the pastor of St. Paul’s German Evangelical church to be married!
The marriage was witnessed by Friedrick Siegler and Jacob Walther. Since Fred Siegler’s naturalization record – papers of intent – state that he immigrated in 1872, it appears Salome’s brother led the way. He most likely paved the way for the wedding, as well. (I have yet to find a passenger list for Fred so his “papers” will have to do for now.)
The other witness, Jacob Walther, was an unknown. I’d never encountered that surname in my research of the families. Was he just a church member or was there some connection about which I didn’t know? I checked the 1870 and 1880 census records and all I really learned was he was born in France and was a shoemaker. Well, France could be helpful but not really definitive.
As it turns out, I spent a good part of this morning at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, IL plodding through the two volumes of Nelson’s Biographical Dictionary and Historical Reference Book of Erie County, Pennsylvania published by S. B Nelson in 1896. Happily, Jacob Frederick Walther’s biography is included; he was not only born in France but in Buchsweiler (the German spelling for Bouxwiller), Alsace. The Walther family had been in Erie since 1846 but probably kept contact with friends and family in France. At least, Jacob would most likely have been pleased to help a young couple from back home.
One more connection to mention before I sign off: Jacob Walther’s wife was Frederika, nee Streuber, the daughter of John Streuber who established a tannery in Erie. This family was also from Bouxwiller, the children of the same generation as C&S and immigrating only 10 years earlier. Charles became a tanner while in Erie and, most likely, learned that trade at the E Streuber & Bros Tannery on State Street between 18th and 19th.

1 comment:

  1. Surprise Becky!
    I hope your eerie trip is wonderfully surprising and not scary. Poor joke I know. But I do hope you find some good stuff, see you soon.
    Larry Pepper

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