The History of Eudora, Kansas
The History of Eudora, Kansas
Above photograph, from left, Carl Reber making an egg delivery for Pilla Store, Charles Pilla, William Robinson and Lizzie Kunkel Robinson, and Mae Miller
Mary Miller, the daughter of Daniel and Margaret Miller, was born in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, on February 2, 1822, and married William McCabria, who was born in 1821, also in Armstrong County. They moved to the Kaw Valley area in 1868 and later moved to Linwood for 12 years, and, ultimately, to a farm one and one-half miles north of Eudora. They had 10 children, four survived. About Daniel, at the time of his death in January 19, 1903, it was written he was “a kind old gentleman, courteous, kind-hearted, generous to a fault.” Source: Mary McCabria’s obituary and Daniel MCabria’s obituary (1903)
John Aloysius Madl, born November 2, 1829, came from Grainet, Germany, to the United States at age 33. His wife was Antony (or “Antoni”) Kellerman. They took a three-month steam trip to the United States and landed in New York City, before proceeding to the Eudora area in 1868. Some of Clearfield’s earlier settlers, they had 11 children, some of them born near the city of Munich in Bavaria, including Mary (widow of Joseph Sommer who died in 1888 and married Edward Koerner in 1889), Teresa (Staib), Tillie (Schoenhofer), Joe, and John Jr. who married Teresa “Molly” Schoenhofer. The children of John Jr. and Teresa Madl were Frank, Emma (Kasberger), Elizabeth (Bohnsack), John Peter, William, Clara (Miller), Herbert, George, Ernest, Henry, and Louis. The Madl family attended the Catholic church. Source: John Madl’s obituary (1906), John A. Madl Family Record by Roland Evilsizor, and Antoni Madl’s obituary (1913)
Jesse Franklin Marley was born July 9, 1866, in North Carolina. His mother, Sylvania, died when he was four years old. His father brought their children to Kansas and settled near DeSoto and married a Miss Adair from Lawrence. After the marriage, Jesse and his brothers became “bond boys” and worked for David and Penelope Davis in Hesper. The Davis’ foster child, Halsey (or Halcie) Moore(born 1873 in Eagleton, Indiana), married Jesse Marley at the Davis farm on New Year’s Eve in 1890 or 1892. The next spring, Jesse and Halsey left with six of their children and Rogers Grantan, a 16-year-old orphan, to find a home on the Sac and Fox reservation in Oklahoma. Jesse bought a 160-acre homestead for $150 from an old cowboy named John Pritchard who made the run on horseback. Pritchard helped Jesse build a sod and log cabin with a board floor instead of earth and wainscotting as high as the wall was dug. The walls were covered with sheets and magazine pictures pinned to the sheets. The new home was 60 miles from Guthrie. Neighboring Indians were friendly. Jesse worked for 50 cents a day for neighbors. Their main food was navy beans with dumplings and salt pork. Once Jesse had a “felon” on his finger and walked to Guthrie to get medical help. He fainted at a camp ground, and when he regained consciousness, he found the man caring for him was his former mail carrier in Kansas, a Mr. Swearingin. After spending two years at their homestead, they were asked by “Grandpa” David Davis to come back to Eudora and care for his 300 acres. They sold the cow, calf, and chickens, and returned to Hesper. The Marleys had six daughters and four sons, including Howard, Elbert, Joseph, Mrs. M. L. Pearson, Mrs. W. C. Wilcox, Lesley (Reber), and Mrs. Ernest Biery, who attended the Hesper Academy. In 1919, Jesse Marley bought 23 acres called the old Slifer place in Eudora and built with the help of his sons a home at 2202 N. 1420 Road, later occupied by the Alf Oleson family, east of Eudora on Seventh Street. Jesse cleared part of the land (“Marley’s Grove”) for the use of picnics, reunions, and ball games. Source: Lesley (Marley) Reber in “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977), “The Good Old Days” by Lesley (Marley) Reber, and Jesse Marley’s obituary (1928)
The Mertz family came to Eudora in 1868 after a short stay in Illinois. They were natives of Wipkingen, Canton, Zurich, Switzerland. Dora Mertz, born in 1833, died in 1903, 21 years after her husband, Melchion, drowned in Eudora and a few months before her son, one of three including Will and George, died of illness. Source: Dora Mertz’s obituary (1903) and land abstracts.
In 1873, Henry Meyers, a German, married Mary (Hunzicker), born July 27, 1851 in Basel, Switzerland. At age three, she had come from Switzerland with a younger brother, Daniel, and family to Fort Wayne, Indiana, through New Yorkin 1854. The Hunzickers came to Eudora in 1865. Henry and Mary lived on the “Ray Miller” farm, moved to Anderson County, then returned to Eudora. Henry sold the farm, bought a saw mill, and cleared Weaver Bottom of timber. The family lived in the “Will Spitzli” house and then bought a lot at 1100 Church Street to build a Victorian-style house. Their children were Clarence, William, Ida (White), and Alma (Gerstenberger). After high school, Alma worked at the Eudora post office for Gus Gabriel for nine years, and then at the Kaw Valley Bank for three years. In 1923, she married George Gerstenberger who was born on the family farm south of Eudora. He had gone to Colorado near Denver to work with his brother and then went into the army. When he returned from World War I in 1919, he worked for Mutual Oil Company and stayed in the oil business until he retired, including his service station at Eighth Street and Main Street that they sold to Paul Hadl in 1948. Alma also worked as city clerk for 25 years, taught Sunday school for 50 years, and was secretary of Eastern Star for 25 years. Source: Alma Myers Gerstenberger in “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977) and Mary Meyers’ obituary (January 4, 1929)
Henry Milburn, born December 4, 1848, on a Madison County, Indiana, farm, married Nancy Jane Huntzinger, the daughter of Jacob, a Methodist minister, and Mary Catherine (Anderson), on April 23, 1872. They came to Kansas in the spring of 1887 and bought a farm three miles south of Hesper. They had seven children, including Ada (Deay), Eddie, Zuella (Griffin), Jacob, James, and Isaac. One daughter died in childhood. Milburn died of “consumption” November 25, 1887 and was noted for his “frugal and industrious” nature in his obituary. He was buried six miles south and one mile east of Eudora in the “burying ground.” Source: Henry Milburn’s obituary (November 1887)
Edward Mistele was born within a few miles of William Trefz, another who would come to Eudora from Germany, but they did not know each other at the time. Mistele came to the United States on a two-month trip on a sailboat from Germany. He settled in Kansas City, Missouri, and married Pauline (Kaiser), who came to the United States from Switzerland in 1887. They had four children: Edward, William, Hulda, and Matilda. The Mistele’s first home was just north of 931 Church Street. They rented it for $8 a month from Joshua Reber. Mistele bought the blacksmith shop in 1901 from Joshua Reber on the northwest corner of Tenth Street and Church Street. He sold the blacksmith shop six years later to Frank Roe who made it into a bicycle shop. After a while, Roe tore down the shop and built a house at 931 Church Street. Mistele bought Joe Zillner’s blacksmith shop and went into partnership with Zillner; later, Zillner became sole owner. Mistele built the house at 926 Church Street about 1904. He was a member of the Eudora City Council for a number of years and liked the free passes to traveling shows such as circuses and plays that council members received. The Misteles were active members of the Salem Evangelical Church. Ed Mistele Jr. helped Daniel Reber move houses with dollies, beams, and a steam engine. They charged $25 to move a house. When they finished one particularly heavy house, Reber said he had enough of moving houses because he couldn’t make enough money. He stacked the beams in his back yard and burned them. The Misteles, except Ed Jr., moved to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1912. Ed Jr. moved to a farm four miles south and three miles east of Eudora and had five children. Source: “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977)
Georg Moll was born in 1695 in Baden, Germany. He married Magdalena (Reinbold) in Germany. Magdalena was born about 1699 in Urloffen, Offenburg, Baden, Germany. Joseph, one of their descendants, married Regina(Keiser), born in 1817 in Alsace. She came to the Unites States at age 13 with her parents, and married Joseph in 1835. They had 10 children, including Edwin, William, James, Samuel, Emma, Elizabeth (Dolisi), and two who stayed in the Eudora area: Mary (Dolisi) and Louis. Born in Perryville, Perry County, Missouri, on November 5, 1844, Louis, lived 87 years. Early in his life, his parents moved to Muscotah, Illinois, and when he was 15, they moved near Olathe where several Moll families lived. Louis served three months with state militia during the Civil War. In 1868, he married Frances Sauer. They had nine children, six dying before Louis did. The Moll family moved to Eudora in 1893. Fred, one of those children, married Anna (Herz), adopted daughter of Joseph Herz, in 1901. They had two children, Leo and Maria, before Anna died of tuberculosis at age 32. Fred, a blacksmith and school janitor, bought the block between Seventh Street and Eighth Streeton Ash Street where he had a dairy and truck farm. He grew Dunlop strawberries that he marketed in Newton. Born July 27, 1891, in Kansas City, Missouri, Johanna Maull, Fred’s second wife, moved with her family to Eudora at age 11. The family made the move because her mother wanted to live in the country. Her father, a machinist, worked in Kansas City, and came to Eudora on weekends. Johanna took care of her future husband’s children after their mother died and married Moll, also a blacksmith, December 27, 1911. “All the Molls were blacksmiths,” Johanna said in a December 15, 1976 Eudora Enterprise article. Johanna made hot lunches for the Eudora grade school from 1921 to 1954. She cooked on a three-burner coal oil stove for 50 pupils when she started. Source: Moll history on Internet, Maria Moll “History of Fred Moll-Anna Herz” one-page sheet given to Eudora Area Historical Society in 1982, and Eudora Enterprise (December 15, 1976)
The first Musicks came from Wales to America in 1719 when George Musick received 250 acres in Spottsylvania County, Virginia. The son of John Musick and Mary (Johnson), William Musick (born August 15, 1839) was one of nine children who lived to adulthood. Nine of his siblings died in childhood. William married Rachel Shaw (born February 10, 1846 in Liverpool, England) in Logan County, Illinois. They bought a 242-acre Clearfield farm in 1882 and moved there with their nine children. They had two more children. One was Ephraim, who married Grace (Schellack), born March 25, 1884 on a farm three miles southwest of Eudora. She was the daughter of Alvin, a physician who came to the United States from Germany, and Rose Anna, a native of Ohio, who moved to Hesper. Grace attended Belleview School and left after the elementary grades to work on the family farm. "In those days, it didn't make so much difference if you had an education or not," she said in a news interview. At age 23, she married Ephraim Musick and they farmed 240 acres eight miles south of Eudora on land Ephraim's father had homesteaded. Ephraim later was thrown from a horse that landed on top of him. He died a year and a half later from complications, leaving Grace with three young children: Edna (Schmidt), Merritt, and John. She stayed on the farm a few years before moving to her brother's farm and buying 40 acres southwest of Eudora. Later she began raising turkeys and selling bread-and-butter pickles. She also rented rooms to students and did washing and ironing. Merritt Musick married Ella Marie (Wichman) in 1931. They had 10 children and lived on a farm two miles west of Eudora. In 1964, Merritt retired and bought the Dairy Joy in DeSoto with Ella. After Ella died in 1978, Merritt married Florence Nuckolls in 1980. Source: Geraldine Musick Wilcox and John Musick Sr. in Douglas County, Kansas, Family Histories 1991-1992, Vol. 1 by Carol Buhler Francis and Lawrence Journal-World(March 22, 1984)
The first Neis family members in the United States came with the Brecheisen family. Peter Neis was born in Worbach, Rheinfals, Bavaria, in 1805 and married Mary (Braun), who was born in Prussia in 1811. (Both are buried in Eudora). They had two sons. One was Frederick(born April 14, 1833, in Germany) who married Magdalene (Brecheisen) (born 1837 in France. They ultimately ended up in California, both dying in 1917. Born February 25, 1831 in Prussia, Peter, the other son, married Elizabeth (Pfleger), also born in Prussia (December 3, 1831 in Heimkirchen). They married February 4, 1854, and had Frederick, Caroline (Brecheisen), Peter (who married Mary Guenther), Henry (who died at age four in Germany), Maria (Bahnmaier), Wilhelm (who died at age four), and Wilhelmina (Hildebrand). When he was 28, Peter, a carpenter, brought his family to the United States on the vessel “Hansa” from Bremen. The trip took two weeks. He also brought his wife’s son, Carl Pfleger, and her sister. They stayed in Chicago one year, then settled on a farm one and one-half miles east and one-fourth mile south of Eudora. Frederick Sr., a son of Peter and Elizabeth (born July 15, 1854 in Talakinake, Bavaria) was 14 when his parents brought him to Eudora, and died October 1, 1928, in Eudora after “he had been picking blue plums and fell out of the tree and contracted pneumonia,” said his daughter, Sarah. He had married Susanna Wilhelmina “Minnie” Strobel (born in Herman, Missouri, on February 9, 1859 and died in Eudora on September 3, 1935). The Neis and Strobel families were neighbors and that is how Frederick and Minnie met. Frederick and Susanna first lived on a farm one mile east and three-fourths mile south in a two-room home. They later moved to the farm one mile east of Eudora and stayed on this farm until they retired and moved into the city of Eudora. Their children, all born in Eudora, attended the Oberlin county school. They were: Albert (married Anna Marie Brecheisen), Samuel (married Lillie Koellar), Frederick (married Maude August Reusch), Carl (married Mattie Payne), Benjamin (married Alvena Wuensch), Gideon (married Lottie Laughlin), Daniel (married Alma Bryant Sommer), Peter (married Dora Knabe and they took over the home place), and Selma(married James Carr Kraybill). Sarah, daughter of Frederick and Minnie, met Otto Abel when he came to Eudora to cut wheat for her brother, Fred, and she had the job of carrying water to them. She gave everyone a drink except Otto because she did not know him. Her brother told her to give him water. So, she took the jug of water over to him and flung it at him. With that introduction, they began dating and got married May 15, 1918. After Otto and Sarah married, they moved to Williamsburg on a farm belonging to Otto’s uncle for about a year. Unable to make a living there, they agreed to return to Eudora for a home given to them by Sarah’s father and brother, Sam. They settled on the farm that their son, George, later owned. They had seven children; five girls and two boys. All of them were born at home except Carl and Marion who were born in Lawrence. Sarah and Otto stayed on the farm until 1954, when they moved to Eudora. Otto died February 16, 1955. The youngest son of Samuel and Lillian Neis was Samuel G. Neis, known as “Junior.” He married Elizabeth Kindig, the daughter of Bruce Alvin and Hyacinth (Matney). As a girl in Barber County, Elizabeth spent many hours with her father in the basement preparing slides for classroom work. Her family went hiking in the Gyp Hills, checked on the new roads and bridges as they were being built, or visited the oil and gas fields. She was a member of Mingona Boosters 4-H Club, participated in Sunflower Girls State, and liked candy parties except for the night someone brought salt instead of sugar. On Saturdays, she worked at Mr. Overstreet's Jewelry Store, the only place in town that had sheet music. Later, she worked in the acid laboratory at Sunflower Ordnance Works. Following graduation from the University of Kansas, she married Samuel in October 1947 and their children were Carol Anne, Bruce (married Bonnie Jean Bartling), Samuel, and Russell (who married Tina Ledgerwood). She lived on the family farm southeast of Eudora and was active in Eastern Star, Rebekahs, 1900 and Now Club, EHU, and PTA, and helped with 4-H and Scouts. Her hobbies included collecting local history and genealogy. Source: Elizabeth (Kindig) Neis and Sarah Neis in Douglas County, Kansas, Family Histories 1991-1992, Vol. 1 by Carol Buhler Francis, Elizabeth (Pfleger) Neis’s obituary (1911), and Frederick Neis Sr.’s obituary (1928)
Several members of the Neustifter family came to Eudora during the 1850s and 1860s from Bavaria. Louis Neustifter and wife, Anna, both born in Bavaria, came to Eudora in 1864 by ox team from Illinois. They brought with them their son, Charles, who was born July 3, 1858, in Chicago, and also John, Lewis, George, Frank, and Anna, according to the 1880 Census. The family settled on a small farm east of town and later built a log house on the first lot north of where the English Methodist parsonage stood. Charles Neustifter (1858-1936) owned and operated the Cash Grocer and produce store on Church Street for more than 30 years. Another Neustifter was Christena "Tena" born March 28, 1893in Engle, New Mexico. She was two when her father, a Eudora native and railroad employee, died. With her mother and three siblings, Tena returned to Eudora and "were awfully poor." Her mother, who later married Louis Eder, picked potatoes in the day and did washing on a wooden washer by night. The Mutual Telephone Office also was run from the family house, and Tena and her two sisters operated the switchboard. In 1920, Tena married Fred Ziesenis and moved to Lawrence where her husband operated a grocery and she raised their two children, Aileen and Richard. Source: Eudora Weekly News(April 30, 1936)
Katie (Peters), born in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, on December 3, 1827, married Edward Oberholtzer on September 9, 1854. They arrived in Eudora on July 4, 1884. Members of the German Evangelical Church, they had 11 children. At the time of Katie’s death in 1898, four children survived her. Source: Eudora News (April 6, 1898)
Catherine Ott, born in Eich, Germany, October 25, 1836, came to the United Statesin 1853 to Freeport, Illinois. She married Jacob Ott in 1855. They came by steamboat to Kansas Cityon April 4, 1858, and settled in Franklin (southwest of Eudora). Their children were John, George, Helena, Frederic, Mary, and Ann, according to the 1880 Census. Jacob Ott died in the 1870s. Catherine died at age 72 of heart trouble. They attended the Evangelical Church. Source: Catherine Ott’s obituary (1909)
The Pearson family left Plainsfield in Hendricks County, Indiana, in 1872 to come to Eudora. Enoch S., a Quaker from a family who came to America with William Penn and Edith (Stanley) Pearson, a graduate of Earlham College, a Quaker school, brought their family by train to Leavenworth and rented land for two years in Leavenworth County before buying a 160-acre farm, comprised mostly of virgin prairie. All six children attended school. They were Martha (Hill); Matthew; W. J., Curtis, H.I., and Mary (Henry). Source: Mathew Pearson (1862-1948) A Tribute to my Grandfather by Dr. Vernon L. Dixon of Spokane, Washington
When Charles Pilla was appointed postmaster in 1871, he had been in the Eudora since 1865 working in the mercantile business established in 1862 by his younger brother, Frederick, who came to Eudora before 1859. The store’s name changed from Pilla Brothers after the death of Frederick in 1871. Frederick’s 1871 will, written in German, found on Docket B-49-4, #1883, left half of his estate to Charles, half to his sisters, Louisa (Stuckel), Katherine (Pilla), and Lisetta (Pilla at that time and later known as “Lizzie” Lotz). Part of that estate included 165 acres in four parcels and 40 city lots. Charles Pilla was born in Zweibrucken, Rheno Bavaria, February 19, 1830 where his family had lived since they left France when a royal decree took away the rights of their fellow Huguenots in 1598. He went to public school and the lyceum at Kaisers Lautern. After a dyer apprenticeship in Speirs, he came to the United States in 1849 at age 19. He settled in New York City, where he clerked at a clothing store then worked at E. Walker & Sons, Booksellers and Bookbindery before moving to Eudora. He got married in Factoryville, Staten Island, New York, September 10, 1865, to Alice B. Smith, of Factoryville. They had seven children, Charles, their son, died in childhood, and three daughters survived to adulthood: Alvina, Louisa, and Molvie. Alvina married J.E. Dolisi and had three daughters and one son. Louise married J. S. Lawson and had two sons. Molvie never married. Besides his store, Pilla was one of the principal stockholders and contributors of a sweet corn factory, co-owner of the Stadler brick manufacturing business, a stockholder in the Leis chemical works in Lawrence, principal stockholder as well as the director of the Eudora Creamery Company, and president of the State Bank of Eudora. He was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Eudora School Board, Eudora Lodge No. 42, I. O. O. F., and Doric Lodge, No. 83. Pilla was active in helping German emigrants and was generous to St. Paul’s Church. Alice died in 1899, and Charles in 1916. His will shows that he had $83, 633 worth of real estate at his death; he owned numerous lots in 28 Eudora blocks and numerous acreage parcels in Douglas County and Johnson County. He left his home and its contents to Molvie; Lizzie Lotz received $300; Louise was given the store and its stock valued at $11,000 with the provision that two years later she was to give her two sisters a one-third share of the property’s value. The rest of his estate also was to be shared equally by his daughters, less any money he had given them earlier. Louise Lawson and her husband took over his business interests. Molvie lived in the house he built in 1894. Previously, the family had lived above his store. When Molvie died December 12, 1964 in a nursing home in Osage City, the house and contents already had been sold at a June 1963 auction. A 1967 Lawrence-Journal World article described the auction as “one of the best” for antique lovers, “complete with walnut furniture sets, brass beds, wicker outdoor pieces, old kitchen equipment, and other late-Victorian items. Source: A Biographical History of Eminent Men of the State of Kansas, History of the State of Kansas (1883) by William Cutler, A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans (1918) by William Connelly, Alice Pilla’s obituary (1899), Pilla will filed September 9, 1916 in Journal U, pg. 488; and Charles Pilla, A Pillar of Eudora by Rose Pyle White [House], Heritage of Kansas 10, No. 4 (1977), 29-30
Joshua Reber, a Civil War veteran born in Windsor Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Esther (Hollenbeck also spelled Hollanbach), born February 1, 1833, came from Hamburg, Burks County, Pennsylvania. Married January 13, 1855, they had eight sons and three daughters. In 1878, they came to Kansas with two sons, Oscar and Daniel, and Alice (Kohler). Daniel saw Louisa Strobel at the wedding of her sister, Minnie, and Peter Neis. He said that Louisa was going to be “his girl.” After they married, their daughter, Ella, was born in a hand-hewn log cabin. Daniel later bought 12 acres ¼ mile east of Eudora on Seventh Street where Archie and Francis Goodger later lived. Daniel cut walnut trees to build the home. It was one large room downstairs and two rooms upstairs. In later years, he added to the north side of the house. He drilled a well west of his house, 320 feet deep, and struck salt water. Daniel built a smokehouse and did custom smoking. The feathers from their ducks, geese, and chickens were sold for “rich guys” pillows. The Rebers stuffed their pillows with straw and used flour sacks for pillow slips and underwear. Their home-knit black stockings were itchy. When Ella went to school, she often stayed with Grandmother Reber and helped her cook for boarders. They cooked on Saturday and kept the food warm in the oven for Sunday meals. Grandmother Reber would sit by the front window in her rocking chair on Sundays and read the Bible. Louisa was custodian at the church for $15 a year. Ella and her sister used a little hand pump to put air in the church’s gas lamps. Ella played guitar, pump organ, and piano. At age 87, she still played piano for the church. After high school graduation, Ella worked in the dry goods department of Pilla Department store for $3 a week for five years, all the time wanting to go to Emporia College and be a teacher. Ella married Charles Gerstenberger, a high school classmate. They lived in Kansas City for six years and then moved to Prairie Center to manage the general store for a year for Fred Lotz. They came back to Eudora and rented a house on the 800 block of Church Street from her father and later bought it. Her grandfather Reber had built the front part of the house and her father added to it in later years. He had a blacksmith shop where Ella’s garden later was, before he moved the shop to 931 Church Street. Ella’s white lilac bush, flowering almond, and Juneberry bush were planted by Esther Reber, her grandmother. Source: Ella (Reber) Gerstenberger in “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977) and Esther Reber’s obituary (1907) and Joshua Reber’s obituary (1911)
Above photographs, from left Mike Schopper and Anna Speicher Schopper, Carl Schubert and his hearse, Mary Theresa Seiwald and Joseph Schopper,
The Reusch family, whose name is derived from the German word “Ruisch” meaning a marshy area of low land area near water, left Prussia to settle in Bahner, Missouri. Peter and Nicholas Reusch came first. Parents Nichols and Maria (Nussbaum), and sisters Elisabetha, Susanna, and Maria followed. Peter, wife Maria Katherina (Weber), children Nicholas, Mary, Henry, and Jacob came to Douglas County in 1861 and bought land six miles directly south of Eudora. In 1866, Peter, returning from a cattle delivery, was killed for his horse and money three miles from his farm. He was buried at the murder site. His wife stayed on the farm and raised the family. Mary returned to Bahner, Nicholas farmed in Vinland, and Henry purchased his mother’s farm. Jacob had 11 children and most of them remained in Douglas County. Source: Linda (Reusch) Broers and Reusch Jones and Allied Families by Betty Coleman Maker, Bend, Oregon(1989)
Oscar Richards was born January 12, 1836 in Napoleon, Jackson County, Michigan, and died April 4, 1815 in his Eudora home. His father was Xenophon Richards, a soldier of the Black Hawk Indian War. Oscar received a rudimentary education in local schools and was raised on a farm in Livingston County, Illinois. At age 20, he joined General Lane's forces as they went through Illinois, under Captain William Strawn. With this band, he went to Topeka on what was known as Lane's Road. Oscar drove the first team on the laying out of that road, and planted the first stakes. In this band were such as Captain Scrambey, of Ohio, Captain Cutler, of Massachusetts, and John Brown, of Harper's Ferry fame. Oscar was with the party that besieged Fort Titus, Fort Saunders and Lecompton. He also was at Black Jack when Clay Pate surrendered to John Brown. After what was known as the border ruffian wars, Oscar went near Manhattan, where he took a claim, which he improved and sold in 1857. He then came to Douglas County, on what was known as the Shawnee Absentee Lands, where a party of 27 emigrants, including a number of relatives who came out from Illinois with him in the spring of 1857, had settled. Here he remained 10 years, farmed, and studied law, as he could procure books and find time. At the age of 30, he was admitted to the bar in Douglas County in 1860. He then settled in Eudora. On January 8, 1857, he married Martha (Granger), of Livingston County, Illinois, who died, leaving two children: Jessie (Harmer) and Franklin. He then married German-born Sophia (Mulsow), who died of “stomach cancer” in 1920, in Eudora, on June 12, 1865. They had four children: Charles, Hattie, Euretta and Mabel. In 1869, Oscar obtained a license to practice law and entered the insurance and real estate business representing the Home of New York, Springfield of Massachusetts, Phoenix of Hartford, and American Central of Burlington, Iowa. His insurance business (1869-1887) was taken over by his son, Charles, (1887-1939), which passed to Roy Ogden (1939-1953). In 1878, Oscar was elected to be a member of the Kansas House of Representatives from Douglas County. While in the House, he helped establish the Kansas State Historical Society. He wrote about his life and also verified articles about the Wakarusa Mission and Pascal Fish. Oscar had several other business ventures such as selling mineral water from Eudora’s natural springs and holding the office of Justice of the Peace of Eudora several terms. He was a member of Doric Lodge No. 83; A., F. & A. M.; and Eudora Lodge No. 42, I. O. O. F. His long-time friend, Dr. W. H. Robinson of Eudora, read a tribute to Richards at the Old Settlers Day meeting in Lawrence: "Oscar Richards was my close friend and neighbor for 27 years. My next door neighbor until a house was built between our homes. We knew him in the changing scenes of life, when light hearted, laughing and gay and when the tear drops trickled down his cheek and his voice choked. We knew him and are glad of this opportunity to pay tribute to his memory. He was like the towering tree of the forest, a towering figure in our community. Intellectually his life is an inspiration to the young. Handicapped with meager advantages of school in childhood, inured in hardship and toil, coming to Kansas in 1856, a pioneer with more hardships; in the Kansas struggle for free statehood; married in 1857, taking care of a wife and children; studying law and admitted to the Douglas County bar in 1869. An unusually strenuous life, even for a pioneer. To his sturdy Scotch ancestry can be attributed the grit and determination that carried him through. In his practice of law he knew neither friends nor enemies but always true to his client. He enjoyed doing good and bestowing favors upon whomsoever he met; a friend to the friendless, a loaf for the hungry, a cloak for the shivering. 'His gift was never bare,' the giver was always there. His favorite poem was 'To live by the side of the road and be a friend to man.' . . Ever ready in the defense of right, ready to support any enterprise for the public good. He walks no more among his fellow men, but his spirit, like that of John Brown, goes marching on. Like the towering tree of the forest, Oscar G. Richards' life was a towering life spent among us, and the blessings and inspiration of that life are our everlasting heritage to emulate." Source: History of the State of Kansas (1883) by William Cutler; A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans (1918) by William Connelly; and a photograph in Spencer Library at the University of Kansas (dates of insurance business involving O.G. Richards, Charles Richards, and Roy Ogden)
George and Barbara (Schneider) Meeder, Waverly, Iowa, came to Kansas shortly after the Brecheisens arrived in 1857, with their two sons, George and Charles, in a covered wagon driven by an oxen team. Four more children were born in Kansas: Edward and William (both died of diphtheria), Sarah (born 1868), and Minnie (born 1869). George got a patent for 160 acres in Section 16, and set aside a part of it for a school in 1880. The Clearfield Cemetery had its beginning in 1871 on the corner of the farm and the old Santa Fe Trail ran across the farm, too. Charles brought home E. Albert Rodewald, a German friend from his Evangelical ministry school. Without much of a courtship, Sarah married Rodewald. Her father gave her (as he would Minnie) part of the farm as a wedding gift. Walter Rodewald, the fourth son of E. Albert and Sarah, married Mary Brecheisen June 1, 1935. Their children were Richard, Newell, and Sara. Mary bought the family farm and made a living in poultry and small dairy herd. The house Walter and Mary lived in had been moved at least twice. The Rodewalds found many large and small granite rocks on their land. They also found Indian arrow heads, axes, grinding stones, beads, and pieces of pottery as well as two Indian burial grounds. Source: Mary Rodewald in “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977)
Born April 16, 1857 in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, James F. Roe came to Kansas with his parents in 1868. They drove a team to Birmington, New York, the nearest railroad station, and got on a train for Kansas. They got as far as St. Joseph, Missouri, then took a steamboat to Westport Landing. They walked to Olathe with James’ mother on crutches. Roe, a Civil War veteran, took up a homestead, but died of malaria in October 1869. In 1872, the family came to Eudora with the Hunzicker family. Later, James married Amelia (Zimmerman) and worked for the railroad. He attended the Methodist Church and died in 1949. Source: James Roe in “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977)
Gustav Rosenau, born 1837, moved to Eudora in the early 1870s with his wife, Maria (Hortsman), born in Delman Horst, Groszhertzum Oldenburg, Germany, and children. They came from Prussia, Germany, and first settled in Herman, Missouri, for five years and Lawrence for two years. They had 11 children, including Hannah (Rausch), Prairie Center; Max Rosenau (born in Berlin), Eudora; and Emma (Diedrich), Eudora. Max married Marie Barbara Kraetti in 1901. Otto Rosenau, who farmed up to 400 acres, married Pearl Gabriel on May 15, 1925. They had two daughters, Marilyn (Livingood) and Shirley, both graduates of Kansas University. Source: 1880 U.S. Census, Maria Roseanu’s obituary (1907), Eudora News (June 5, 1996), and Max Rosenau’s obituary (April 25, 1929)
John Rothberger, who had a twin brother, Raymond. was born Mary 12, 1849 in Bavaria. His family came to the United States in 1880, and also included his brother, George, 34, a carpenter, and Cressenz, 31, George’s wife. John married Anna (Zillner) on July 3, 1882 and had six boys and five girls. Raymond Rothberger married Mary (Eppinger) on the same date and place. One son, Fred, was born February 5, 1895, and with wife, Madge, lived at 1023 Elm and owned a car dealership. At the time of Fred’s death in 1970, his siblings Grace and John were still living. The Rothbergers attended Holy Family Church. Source: Jamie Rothberger Gfeller, May 10, 1998, 1880 U.S. Census, and Fred Rothberger’s obituary (December 2, 1970)
Stephen Schehrer, his wife, Elizabeth, (born June 26, 1841), and son, Wendelin, came to the United States from Alsace Lorraine (Mackenheim, Elsas, according to Stephen’s obituary) in 1862, two years after they married, and to Eudora in 1865. They settled on a farm six and one half miles south of Eudora. They had four more children: Joseph (married Walburga and built a two-story, 8-room house five and one-half miles south of Eudora that burned down in 1911 and was rebuilt by Frank Sommer); Stephen; Mary (married Lorenz Speicher, born 1858 in Hartheim, Baden, Germany, and came to America in 1882, settling five miles south of Eudora); and Caroline (married Joseph Eder). Wendelin met his wife Barbara (Ernst), after she came to the United States from Alsace with her brother, Emil, in 1884. Barbara stayed with her aunt, Wilhelmina Brecheisen, who lived on a farm a mile north of Clearfield. Her aunt arranged for her to get a ride to Holy Family Catholic Church with the neighboring Schehrer family, and Barbara and Wendelin married not long after. After they married, four of the children of Steven and Elizabeth lived within one or two miles of their parents’ farm. When Stephen Jr. bought the farm in 1902, the elder Schehrers moved to 931 Church Street. Each Sunday, before Holy Family Church services, the five Schehrer children and their families congregated at their parents’ home. All the hitching posts in the front of the house and in the alley filled with teams of horses, carriages, and buggies. Stephen (who died August 23, 1917), Elizabeth, and their children all are buried in Holy Family Cemetery. Bill Schehrer, the husband of “Freddie,” and his brother, Charles Schehrer, owned a gas station at 835 Main Street for more than 30 years. Their sister, Emma, married Bill Mercier, a long-time Kaw Valley bank employee. Sources: Schehrer Family in “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage(1977); obituary of Elizabeth Schehrer (January 12, 1928); and Patty (Nusbaum) McGivern, god-daughter of Bill Mercier.
Christian C. Schneider Sr. (1809-1890) was born in Switzerland. He immigrated in 1851 to Ohio and later come to Eudora where he died and buried in the Eudora Cemetery. He married Anna Winply (1811-1884) in Switzerland, probably Interlaken in Bern. All of their children except Peter, their last, were born in Switzerland: Christian, Anna, John, Joseph, Emmanuel, Elizabeth, Magdaline, and Gottfried. Joseph, Elizabeth, and Emmanuel used “Snyder” as their last name. Source: Ancestors of Thomas Edward Snyder by Tom Snyder on Ancestry.com.
Franciska Blochl (also spelled Ploechel) (born December, 1819 in Bischofsreut, Niederbayern, Germany) and Michael Schopper (born February 1817 in Hintereben, Niederbayern, Germany), came from Germanyto Eudora. They had Fraziska known as “Frances,” Mary Ann, two sets of twin girls who died in infancy, and Joseph. Born April 17, 1860 in Passau, Grunest, Germany, Joseph married Mary Theresa (Seiwald), (born March 24, 1863) and they lived in Clearfield. They had 10 children, nine of them delivered by Joseph. These children were Joseph Paul, Frank Philip, Michael George, Mary Ann, John, Frances Catherine, Albert Louis, Emma Thekla, William Henry, and Margaret “Katie” Catherine. Sometime between 1900 and 1903, they moved to a farm home on the north side of Tenth Street by the Wakarusa River in Eudora. In newspapers of that time, Schopper ran this advertisement: “I am prepared to pay the highest price for raw furs, beef hides, and sheep pelts.” By 1911, Joseph also was a sales representative for Continental Lamp and Stoves, headquartered in Davenport, Iowa. Source: Family Tree by Gloria (Schopper) Lundy, Joan Lyndon Crewse, Frances Schopper, Mary Pat Crewse, Eudora New Weekly, and Micheales family history.
An early Eudora citizen, Charles Schroeder, born November 16, 1826, in Schwerening, Meikleburg, Germany, came to the United Statesin 1854. In 1874, he married Christine (Carabel), born in Hessen Dam Stadt, Germany, on February 8, 1848, in Chicago. German Methodists, they had nine children, including: Carrie (Devlin), Mary (Straub), Kate (Hoffman), Charles, Lottie (Erwin), Adolph, William, and George. Source: Charles Schroeder’s obituary (1900) and Christine Schroeder’s obituary (1907).
Johann William Schubert (April 15, 1843-March 22, 1920) married Lydia Ann Breithaupt, born September 16, 1855 in Freeport, Illinois, on August 8 (or September 9), 1879. Known as “William” or “Will,” Schubert, 36, appeared in the 1880 U. S. Census as “John W. Shuberth” a laborer from Bavaria who lived with his wife and Bavarian cousin, Elizabeth Fischer, a dressmaker. They bought a stock of goods from Christian Fischer in 1881 and set up a business that would expand into furniture, barbering, and undertaking. With their children George (who owned a general store in Eudora for many years), Carl who was a barber and undertaker like his father), Henrietta (in banking for more than 50 years with Kaw Valley State Bank), Edwin (a sales man and took over furniture store in 1917), Alma (Hughes), and Paul (a barber), they lived above their Main Street business. Will died in 1920. A few days later, Lydia was hit by a car while going to church and her sustained injuries and “dropsy” led to her demise in 1924. Source: 1880 U.S. Census; Oct. 22, 1967 letter by Henrietta Schubert; news items; and Lydia (Breithaupt) Schubert’s obituary (April 17, 1924)
Gestine, born January 29, 1845, in Germany, and Henry Schumaker had the following children: Mrs. Matt Ziegler, Mrs. Herman Wichmann, Mrs. William Knabe, Mrs. George Kaegi, and Henry. The family attended St. Paul’s Church. Source: Eudora Weekly News(January 20, 1913)
Jacob Schurle (1829-1896) married Wilhelmine “Minnie” (Strobel) (1843-1919). They came from an area by Stuttgart in Wurtemberg, Germany. Their children were Sophia Esther, Jake, Christian, and John. Sophia married Fred Koch (born November 14, 1858) in 1882. Two of the Koch children died as infants; the others were Hattie (Repstein), Gus, Jane (Jackson), Fred, and Rose (Mayhew). Source: Eisele Family and Hornberger Family by Clifford Eisele (March 1, 1977)
The son of Charles Schwartz and Barbara (Haas), William Frederick Schwarz born in 1870 married Louise Young, daughter of Michael Young and Katherine (Englehardt). They lived in Worden with their six children: Frieda, Carl, Albert, Walter, Erna, and Dorothea. Their oldest daughter, Frieda, married William Adolph Reetz in 1919, and they had five children (Katherine, Lila, Alvin, Elmer, and Lorene) who grew up in the Fall Leaf area. Fred Reetz, had come came to Fall Leaf in 1864 from Germany, via St. Joseph, Missouri, because his aunt lived there. Gottfried Reetz, Fall Leaf, married Lena Tornedon in 1881. Source: Lorene (Reetz) Cox, who has written extensively about the Fall Leaf area and researched the genealogy of the Schwartz and Cox families.
George Seitz married Margaret (Rohe), born in Obersebach, near Weisenberg, France, on February 27, 1847, in 1868. They came to the United States in 1871and moved to Eudora where they lived on a farm until 1900. After George’s death, Margaret, who was an invalid from rheumatism, lived with her daughter, Grace (Strobel) in Eudora. She also had another daughter and five sons. Source: Margaret Seitz’s obituary (June 28, 1928)
Joseph (born July 25, 1824) and Thekla (Stadelbauer) Seiwald came from Grainet, Bavaria, Germany, through Bremenon SS Atlantic to Warrenton, Missouri, which they left in 1864 for Eudora. On June 27, 1864, Joseph bought land in Eudora. In August of that same year, two sons of the couple drowned in the Kansas River. Another young son died soon after. At the time of Joseph’s death at age 51, his and Thekla’s children were: Joseph (who died in Germany), John Baptist, Frank, Mary Theresa (Schopper), Louis, George, and Michael. In 1904, Theckla Seiwald gave Louis Seiwald her farmstead and land. In return, stated the warranty deed, he was to let her live in the south part of the house and the land was not to be sold during her lifetime. She also expected one granary bin, one-fourth of the crops grown each year, and the feeding of her 40 hens, one cow and heifer. Louis also agreed to bring her fire wood and drive her to church each Sunday. Theckla, born January 7, 1829, died in 1905. Source: Barbara (Reid) Seiwald
The children of Bertha and John Seybold, married January 6, 1927, were George, John, Will, Henry, and Mrs. C.S. Owen. John Sr. had a tin shop and died from a fall from a roof he was tinning. Source: Bertha Seybold’s obituary (1927)
Born in Bern, Switzerland on June 22, 1847, Mary married Joseph Snyder, also born in Switzerland, on June 23, 1870. She had come to the United States at a young age to live in Indiana. The Snyders came to Eudora in the 1870s. At Mary’s death, her living children were Anna “Anita” (Reinisch), Ella West, Lillian, “Lilly” (Seip), Mayme (Zimmerman), Charles, and Sid, the only one who resided in Eudora. The family was of the Evangelical faith. The 1880 census also lists an Albert, two years younger than Ella, and Simeon, which may have been Sid. Another Snyder was Emmanuel, born in Spiez, Bern, Switzerland in 1844, the son of Christian Schneider and Anna Winkler/Winply. He married Abigail Epley in Eudora on Christmas day in 1866 and are buried in Brashear, Texas. Their children born in Eudora were Emma Lilian, Clara Almedia, Charles Christian, Frank Godfred T., William Emanuel, James Edward, Joseph Emerson, Anna Mabel, Claude Frederic, Carrie Ulalia, and Lula Gertrude.
From Reichnau, Bavaria, Kajetan (also spelled “Kayeton” and “Kayetan”) Sommer and his wife, Maria, known as “Mary,” arrived in Lawrence at noon and walked to Eudora before the night became dark on their first day in Eudora. They came to the United States in 1867 and lived at the corner of Church Street and Eleventh Street. He and his wife both died in 1903. Son Joseph, who married Mary (Koerner) died before his parents. Their surviving children were: Anna (born 1863 and married Frank Blechel who managed the machinery department of Pilla Store for 20 years, according to family members); Theresa (born 1867 who married Mike Zillner); Hedwig Zollner; Franz “Frank” (born 1875); and Kajetan Jr. (who lived in house on the southeast corner of Tenth Street and Church Street before “disappearing” one day in 1903, leaving his wife and children, and was never heard from again). Source: Barbara (Reid) Seiwald and Janet (Sommer) Campbell
Maximillan Sommer, born in Alsace, and his wife Caroline (Heiligenstein), 22 years younger, had a 111 ½ acre farm two ½ miles from Eudora and their children in the 1880 U.S. Census were Mary, Charles, Frank, Carolina, Lewis, John, and Lizzie. Tracy, their eldest, was listed in the 1870 census as having been born in “Atlantic,” which may refer to the Atlantic Ocean. “Max,” who had been ill for many years, died in January of 1885 and was buried in Eudora’s Catholic Cemetery. Son Charles married Mary Anna Ziesenis in 1898; the other son, John, married Mary’s sister, Anna Ziesenis. In 1904, both families moved to Niles, Oklahoma Territory. In 1916, John and Anna moved back to Eudora with their three children, Ethel, Edna, and Paul (a long-time member of the Eudora Area Historical Society). Edna married Clement Zillner and Ethel, an attendant for Dr. Johnson for several years, married George Jennings, a baker from Lawrence, in a double wedding ceremony at Holy Family Church. Paul married Christene (Selzer) and worked at the Eudora Department Store and for the Eudora Post Office. John Sommer’s home was at 1202 Birch Street. Source: Eudora News accounts, obituary notice of Maximillan Sommer (Die Germania)
William Spitzli, the son of Fred Spitzli and Margaretha (Messmer), came to the United States about 1870 from Switzerland. Spitzli was born at Cheney, Kansas, October 15, 1880 and died July 14, 1956, at Eudora at age 75 years and nine months. He was married December 17, 1913 to Ellen Eunice (Bryant). In 1914, William and Ellen moved from the Gutknecht farm on the Johnson Countyline east of Eudora to the “Hill” place in the Weaver Community (Northwest 1/4 of the Southeast 1/4 of Section 34 Township 12 Range 21). Two children were born at this home, Margaret (who married Harold Gabriel) and Delmar. In 1919, William sold the farm to Fred Laughlin, and the Spitzli family moved across the road east to the farm formerly occupied by George Broers and family. Three other children were born at this home: Verneta (who married Stanley Skwarlo of Shawnee, Kansas); Greta (who married M. N. Thomas of Shawnee, Kansas); and Barbara (who married Ronald Archer of Assaria). All the children attended Weaver School where William served as treasurer of the school board for fifteen years. The family members all were members of the United Methodist Church of Eudora. All the children were graduates of Eudora Rural High School. Spitzli raised potatoes and shipped them on A.T. and Santa Fe Railroad box cars. In later years, a truck garden provided watermelons, sweet corn, strawberries, and other produce for sale. Spitzli also worked a few years at the Sunflower Ordnance Plant near DeSoto. Delmar and Louis Spitzli took over the farm operations. Source: Margaret (Spitzli) Gabriel (March 1985)
Johann Stadler was born in Grainet, part of the Bavarian Forest, and was in Eudora by 1861 with his brother, Joseph Stadler, listed as a cooper in the 1860 U.S. Census. Both may have come because a Stadler uncle farmed in the area around 1855. Johann Stadler returned to Grainet in 1877 and died there two years later. While in Eudora, his daughter, Franziska, was born December 6, 1872, and his son, Johann, born in 1874. George John Stadler, the son of Joseph, was born July 18, 1842, in Bishofsreuth, Landgerich, Wolfstein, Nider Bayern, Germany, and came to the United Stateswhen he was 13. First, his family lived in New Jersey, then Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, and Warrenton, Missouri. A Civil War veteran, George drove supply wagons from Fort Scott to Leavenworth for two years. He married Louisa Basemann, a daughter of one of the original town settlers on September 20, 1870. They had 10 children, four died in infancy. Their son William, born February 5, 1873, was the editor of the Eudora News. The family, which also included George Jr., Frank, John, Emma, and Kate, lived at 719 Birch Street in a brick home. Except for three years in Kansas City, George lived in Eudora. He operated the brick kiln and laid brick in Eudora until he retired at age 70. He made most of the brick for the homes and buildings in Eudora. He also was a city councilman. As city marshal, he was shot in the knee by John Leger in Gufler’s saloon and received several knife wounds while trying to arrest a drunken gang from Leavenworth County. The bullet was never extracted. Leger escaped into the heavy timber of Leavenworth County and was killed by a U.S. marshal several days later when he resisted arrest. George died May 31, 1925 and was the last Civil War veteran to die in Eudora. Louise died March 10, 1927. Source: Will Stadler, Eudora Community Heritage (1977), various Eudora Weekly News, Reinhard Hofer in 2001 letter to Barbara (Reid) Seiwald; and “From the Bavarian Forest of Kansas on the Trail of the ‘American Franz,’” by Reinhard Hofer
Born in Buchanan County, Missouri, August 12, 1841, the son of Joseph Stanley and Lydia (Vilderbach), Sino Stanley came to Kansas in 1857. He first settled in Doniphan County. There he enlisted August, 1861, in Company A, Seventh Regiment Kansas Cavalry, and was discharged October 5, 1865. He married Rebecca Eaton, widow of Alvin C. Eaton, the daughter of Isaac Blond and Mary (Sanderson) in Leavenworth May 29, 1876. Their children were: Ella Eaton (born December 22, 1864); Harry Eaton (born January 26, 1867); and Florence M. (born February 24, 1877). Rebecca, a native of Ohio, owned 141 acres of rich bottom land in Section 36 and was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Another Stanley family was that of Harvey and Dorinda (Whicker) from Indiana. They moved to this area in the spring of 1869. Samuel, their son, married Georgiana Rogers, daughter of George and Laura (Mendenhall) Rogers in 1881. Their children were: Roger, Raymond, Laura (Klopfenstein), and Georgiana (Dollnig). Source: History of the State of Kansas (1883) by William Cutler and Samuel Stanley’s obituary (July 10, 1924).
Christena Madgelener (Bederman), daughter of John Jacob Bederman, a vine gardener, and Christena Katherne (Schwindragheim), was born February 24, 1833 in Under Tuerkheim, Germany. She and her father came to Herman, Missouri, from Wittenburg (or Wurtmeberg), Germany, on a sailboat in the early 1850s. The journey took three months. She married Jacob Strobel on February 8, 1851 in Herman, Missouri, and they moved to Union, Missouri, in 1857. The next year they moved to Kansas. They came by boat to Leavenworth, then by ox team and wagon to their farm four miles east of Eudora north of the Evening Star school. Said Sarah (Neis) Abel about her grandparents’ farm: “In those days, no one had a lot of money but all helped one another. My mother told me the barn burned down and the neighbors came, brought their hammers, saws and nails and shared what they had in lumber and built another barn. We would walk miles to visit neighbors.” All 12 Strobel children attended the Evening Star school: Caroline (married Mickel Rohe and then Adam Glasier or Glaser and moved to Oklahoma), Pauline (married Martin Rohe and lived in Clearfield), Nannie (married William Selzer in Clearfield and lived in Clearfield), Minnie (married Fred Neis), Louise (married Dan Reber and lived in Eudora), Sophia (married Charles Kurtz and lived in Eudora), Jacob (married Grace Seitz and lived in Eudora), Clara (married Charles Harbour and lived in Sibleyville), Julia (married Nickolas Weil and lived in Carbondale), Sam (married Emma Kurtz and moved to Heuber Springs, Arkansas, then moved back to Eudora), and Sarah (married a Mr. Reedy and/or Mr. Potter and moved to Lawrence). Evangelical meetings as early as 1869 were held by Jacob and Christena, some of the founders of the Salem Evangelical Association. When the original part of Salem Evangelical Church was built in 1870, Jacob and daughters, Caroline and Pauline, carried water from the Wakarusa River, the nearest water supply, to the construction site so mortar could be mixed for bricks. When Jacob died at the age of 54 on May 27, 1881, Christena stayed on the farm and then lived with her children. She died August 21, 1900 at the home of Nanny. Both Jacob and Christena are buried in the Eudora Cemetery. The Strobels had their first family reunion September 4, 1927 with 142 relatives attending. The last reunion was August 31, 1941. Source: Sarah (Neis) Abel and The Strobel Family in “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977); Eudora Weekly News (July 22, 1924), obituary of Christena Strobel (September 15, 1927) (1881)
Photographs above, from left, Nickle Wilson turkey hunt Harry, Roy, and Edward Wilson;
Summerfield, Arno Ziesenis, and Sophia Schulz Zigler
The Summerfield family came to America in 1850 from Posen, which is modern-day Poland, before coming to Eudora in 1857. Abraham Summerfield, changed his surname “Sommerfeldt” to “Summerfield in 1855 when he worked in New York City as a cigar maker. With son, Marcus, who worked as a pipefitter in Chicago, they joined Neuer Ansidungs Verein, and bought town lots in Eudora. His son, Elias, arrived in 1859, and wife Hannah Eylenberg whom Abraham wed in 1841, brought their daughter Wilhelmina (Minnie). Abraham held a partnership in the mercantile firm of Summerfield & Jacobs, was on the Eudora city council, served as postmaster, and was active in the Jewish community. They relocated to Lawrence during the Civil War where Abraham died at age 59 in 1880. Elias, their son, served three years with the 24th Infantry ending in 1864 and later became the superintendent of the K.C.W. & N.W.R.R. (part of the Missouri Pacific railroad). Minnie married Joseph Jacobs, (son of Jacob and Rika), a school teacher in Germany and glazier in England before arriving in New York City in 1853 and also from Poland. They lived in Eudora, while Marcus Summerfield studied medicine at Belleview Medical College in New York before joining his parents in Lawrence with his bride, Sara. Their son, Solon, amassed a large fortune from hosiery sales and had a building at the University of Kansas named after him because of his scholarship donations. Source: Pawnee County [Nebraska] History site (2008); Prodical Sun, New York (January 29, 1919); George M. Cruikshank, A History of Birmingham and its Environs: A Narrative Account of Their Historical Progress, Their People, and Their Principal Interests, Volume 2, Birmingham, Alabama: Lewis Publishing Company, 1920. Also view, David M. Katzman, “The Children of Abraham and Hannah: Grocer, Doctor, Entrepreneur: The Summerfields of Lawrence, Kansas,” Kansas History, Spring 2014
“Tauren,” “Thorensmeyer,” and “Taurensmeyer” are some of the original spellings of the Thoren name in the Schwalenberg Parish records. Born in the small village of Brakelsiek, about a half hour walk from Detmold, Lippe, Germany, Christian Thoren came to the United States with his parents and other relatives to Rock City, Illinois. In 1856, he married Katharina Rohrbach of Frankfurt am Main. They came to Eudora to farm in 1857, lived there several years and then moved to Johnson County before returning to Eudora in 1900. Their children, Marie Maypalene Margaretta (died as a child); Marie Amalia (died as a child); Emilie Christiana (married Friederich Gerstenberger); Heinrich “Henry” (married Minnie Kasier, born in Germany); Friedrich (married Emma Schmidt); Clotilda (married a Yeats); Sophia Lydia (married Pastor Edward Gruen); Conrad “William;” Katharine Caroline (married Christian Schurle); Louisa Marie (married Charles Gabriel); Georg August Gottlieb (married Mary Edelbrock); and Karl “Charles.” Violet (Gerstenberger) Fleming, Carrol Gerstenberger, and Lois (Gerstenberger) Neis are grandchildren of Emile Gerstenberger and also long-time members of the Eudora Area Historical Society. Fleming said at one time the Christian Thorens lived at 1001 Elm Street. Source: The Ancestors, Family, and Descendants of Johann Henrich Ludwig Thoren and Catharine Beckmeier from 1630 to 1984, by Elizabeth Haynes.
Before members of the Tornedon family came to the United States, their name was spelled “Darneden.” John Bernard Tornedon (born July 26, 1819) married Caroline Pauline Altenbernd (born July 4, 1825 and died in 1888) in 1845. They left Germany to keep their two older sons, August and Simon (“Sam”), out of the German army. Caroline’s brother, Conrad Altenbernd Sr., arranged for the trip to Eudora from Lippe Detmold, Germany, in 1869. It took two wagon trips from Kansas City to bring all their belongings. Their children were August, Simon (“Sam”), Frederick, William, Henry, Lena, Herman, Frederika (married William Loesch), and Adolph. Two others were Caroline (“Lena”) (married Godfrey Reetz and had nine children), and Herman (married Elizabeth Haas). These two and their spouses are buried in Eudora. Many of the other children and their 735 descendants (in 1987) live in Lawrence, Tonganoxie, and Kansas City. Source: Tornedon Family Tree, Lola Mae Tornedon
One of six children, William Jacob Trefz was born in Kirch-heim, Wittenberg, Germany, on July 11, 1856. He worked as a court stenographer, then came to the United States at age 16 with his father to avoid military training. He said, “I did not want to goose step to the militarism of my homeland.” His brothers stayed and became millers on the Rhine River. He first went to Newark, New Jersey, where a relative lived. Then he went to Pennsylvania to work as a baker. There he met Bertha Katrina Epple of Eudora who was visiting relatives. She was the first white woman born in Eudora, and her parents were original townsiters. They married April 3, 1878 in Pennsylvania and moved to Eudora where William worked as a baker. Later, he worked 35 years as a miller at the Durr Mill and the Bowersock Mill in Lawrence. When he worked in Lawrence, he would leave home at 6 a.m.to walk along the “cowpath” on the river banks two hours to get to work. At night, he started his trip at 6 p.m. and got home at 8 p.m. William and Bertha had six children, five of whom lived to adulthood: Regina (born 1880 who married at age 16 and moved to Denver); Carl (born 1882 who owned a variety store in Eudora); Will (born 1886 who operated a tin, plumbing, and electric shop and married Ida Grabski); Herman (born 1893 who took over Will’s shop); and George (born 1891). Bertha died in 1896 at age 35 of typhoid fever thought to have come from the family’s contaminated well. The Lutheran church refused to bury her, because everyone thought typhoid was contagious. Years later, a Trefz relative who stayed in Germany, Wilhelmine Kirchheim (Germany) wrote in German to “Nanele” Trefz, Eudora, December 20, 1908 a letter in possession of Pat (Trefz) Sherman, Warrensburg, Missouri. In it, she said: “How nice it would be if I could welcome you in my future home sometime. I would not let you leave again and wait. We might even find a colleague or friend of my spouse who would hold you, and make you turn your back on that awful America forever. That is my sincere desire, and it’s coming true would not just make me happy.” The Eudora newspaper carried a Kirchheim mention in 1922; in this instance, Robert Vetter and wife, of Kirchheim on the Necter, Wuertenberg, Germany, came to visit their uncle, William Trefz, in Eudora before going on to Kansas to make a new home. George, at age 16, was an apprentice telegraph operator under S.V. Carr for the Santa Fe Railroad. He was promoted to telegraph operator and also worked as a station agent, telegrapher, ticket agent, and at other positions in Kansas and Oklahoma. In 1917, he was drafted into the Army and worked at Camp Funston for a year, before being assigned to Fort Riley to ticket the baggage cars full of corpses due to the flu epidemic, he said. He returned to the Santa Fe Railroad, then in 1919, went to work for the Eudora State Bank. Later, he worked as a bookkeeper and teller at the Peoples State Bank in Lawrence for 15 years. He returned to the railroad as a general clerk and baggage clerk until his retirement in 1956. George also operated the first movie theater in Eudora at 700 Main Street. He sold the theater to Mr. Eldelbrock. Nettie Vicker introduced George to Nora, a housekeeper for the private home of Fred Harvey, of railroad dining fame. They married June 2, 1917, and had four children: (Fred, born October 29, 1919 who bought and operated Herman’s plumbing shop); Howard (born May 10, 1921 who worked at Lothholz Lumber until he was drafted and killed in the service at age 22 in 1943); Robert (born April 1, 1923 who worked at Sunflower Ordnance Works); and Wilfred (born December 24, 1927 who worked at Sunflower Ordnance Works, married Nell Powell, and had four daughters). Source: Bertha Trefz’s obituary (1896) and George Trefz in “Biographical Sketches,” prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977)
The Vitt family, which has been extensively researched, can be traced to Wyhl, Germany, with the first recorded ancestor being Johann Jacob Vitt. In 1865, the U.S. Census listed the Vitt family of William (“Wilhelm”), 45, and wife, Maria Magdalena (Stegal Kummer), 48, and their children Charles, Landoline, William, and Joseph. Landolin Vitt, born July 5, 1845 in Wyhl, married Amanda Louisa (Deay), daughter of George and Catherine (Mock) Deay. Their children were Hattie, Myrtle, and Bernard. Other Vitt familes in the 1865 census were George Vitt, a miller, wife, Hannah, and children (Emil, Eliza, Louisa, Frank, Hannah, and Augustus) and Stephen Vitt, 48, and wife, Louisa, 47, who had children Louisa, Joseph, Nicholas, Catherine, Mary, and John. The U.S. census lists four Vitt families in Eudora Township in 1870. The families were headed by William, Ferdinand, Louisa, and Leo. Born in Baden, Germany, in 1818, Leo Vitt came from Alsace to the United States with his wife, Louisa (Held); son, Emile; and nephew, William Brecheisen, the son of Wilhelmina (Vitt) born in January 1, 1826 in Wyhl, in early 1851. According to Vitt Family Genealogy Forum on the Internet, the Vitts fled Baden following the failed Revolution of 1848. They settled in Elgin, Illinois. Louisa died giving birth to twins, leaving children Emil, Elizabeth (Springer), and Louisa (Eisenbarger), a surviving twin. Leo married Johanna (Sebastian) born in Alsace in 1855 in Elgin. They lived there until 1857, then moved to Olathe. There a short time, they moved to a farm southeast of Eudora (Northeast ¼ of Section 3, Township 14, Range 21E). The 1870 U. S. Census lists, besides Elizabeth and Louisa, Mary, Francis, August, and Amelia. Leo sold the farm to Anna Davenport in 1860, and was by then living in Lawrence. After a few years, Leo moved back to Eudora in 1866 where he worked in a mill and sold real estate until he died at age 65 in 1883. The house he built, a small, unimposing stone structure with a frame addition, on West Sixth Street stood for over a hundred years. This house sat just south of the Vitt Mills and had tall, narrow arched windows. The 1976 Douglas County Historic Building Survey includes a photograph of this house abandoned in 1974. The children of Leo and Johannah were: Marie, Frank, Johannah (married John Gutsmithl), Amelia (“Emma”) (Neufstifter), Ephrosina (“Sena” who married George Seiwald), Augustus (married Anna Eder), Frank, and Paulina (died at age 14). Frank, who married Mary Schoenhofer on October 20, 1882 and had 11 children, and his invalid sister, Mary, were the only children who stayed in the Eudora area. Source: The Family History of Peter Brecheisen I (LaVerne Brecheisen, Charles Brecheisen Sr., and Mary Brecheisen Rodewald) (1979), 1880 U.S. Census, and the impressive (2001) Descendants of Johann Jocob Vitt, Which Includes Related Families of Eudora and Surrounding Communities edited by Sandra Deal, 433 Antares, Corpus Christi, Texas
Augusta Julia (Haelsig), born February 23, 1844 in Clausnitz, Kingdom of Saxony, married Carl Vogelsang of Margersdorf, Germany, on February 8, 1863. In July of 1865, they came straight to Eudora from Germany. In 1869, they moved to Fredonia and lived there until 1882. They returned to Eudora. However, the 1880 census shows “Augustina” living with her brother, Lebrecht, and her three daughters without Carl. Their children were Mary, Clara, and Lizzie. Source: Augusta Vogelsang’s obituary (1907)
Franz Paul Vogl, born in Germeinde Maut, Landgericht, Wolfstein, Germany, in April 1826 married wife, Barbara (Schmidt), age 23 before they came to the United States in 1854. They stayed in New York City, New Jersey (two years), and in Chicago before settling in Eudora in May 1858 where Franz initially was a liveryman. They had 10 children (including Robert, Matilda, Frank, Catharina, Francisca, Joseph, Otto, and Alfred). Katie (who later married John Brueggan and had Mary, Matilda, Frances, Robert, Fred, Otto, and Mrs. Mike Seiwald), was born in 1859 in Eudora. The family lived on Church Street and attended Holy Family Church. Franz Vogl died in 1907. Source: 1860 U.S. Census, 1880 U.S. Census, Franz Vogl’s obituary (1907), and Katie Brueggan’s obituary (1927)
The Votaw family came to Eudora in 1905 to farm. Oscar Votaw married Elizabeth (Allsup) on February 8, 1867. Son Ralph, born in Iowa, married Ethel (Westerhouse) and they made their home on farm three miles south and one half mile east of Eudora with their four children: Eva (Lancaster), Lela (Morley), Vernon, and Dorothy (Baldwin). George, another son of Oscar and Elizabeth who was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, married Della Davis on October 17, 1915, and they raised their family in Hesper. Daughter Marian (Freeman) remembered that the five girls and two boys in the family milked cows, and stored the milk and butter in the well to keep them cold. In the summer, the children picked potatoes to earn money for school clothes. They were paid four cents a hundred after they were sorted and would earn up to $3 a day. They walked to the school that was one-half mile away. Their mother baked bread every day that they ate with butter and sugar sprinkled on top. In the early 1940s, the family moved to a farm southwest of Lawrence. The name “Votaw” comes from Isaac Vauteau (b.1658 in France and died in Dublin Ireland, who married Mary Magdelene Vautrin. Source: Marian Votaw Freeman in Douglas County, Kansas, Family Histories 1991-1992, Vol. 1 by Carol Buhler Francis; Eudora Enterprise (March 22, 1967); Eudora Enterprise (February 21, 1968)
John Weaver, the son of Henry and Nancy (Hill), was born in Columbiana County, Ohio, December 31, 1848. He came at age 17 to Eudora where he worked on the farm in the summer and taught in the winter for three years. He then moved to Saline County, Kansas, and returned to Douglas County. His first purchase was 160 acres. He kept buying until he owned 600 acres. He started growing corn and wheat, later switching to potatoes. He was a charter member of the Potato Growers and Co-operative Dealers Association and got a patent on a potato sorter. In 1892, the Santa Fe Railroad put a station on his farm and named if after him. That same year Weaver opened a general store near his residence, which he sold in 1899. He also was station agent for the Santa Fe from 1891 to 1899. He married Australia(Speaks), daughter of William Speaks, an early settler of Salina, on December 31, 1877. Their children were Cornelius, William, Jennie, Homer and Hallie (twins), Lucile Mat, and Helen. Weaver was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the I. O. O. F. The area known as Weaver Bottoms was named after the Weaver family. Weaver moved to Baldwin in 1899 so that his children could attend high school and Baker University. Henry owned 1,300 acres of land in this area, was a Whig, and died in 1893 at the age of 81. Source: History of the State of Kansas (1883) by William Cutler
At 27, Nicholas Weil, born 1826 in Gugemheim, near Dueringen, Alsace, came to this country. He chopped wood in New Yorkhis first winter. Then he married Anna Marie Boehner (born December 25, 1832, in Stackenforf, Bavaria, Germany) in Burlington, Iowa, and worked as a bartender. The family came to Paola in 1859 and then moved a year later one mile east of Clearfield. Nicholas served in the Civil War in Company D-5 for three years in Arkansas. After discharge, the family moved nine miles south of Eudora and built a log cabin home. By 1877, they had a two-story, five-room, frame house in which they lived until 1910 when they moved into Eudora. Their children were Charles, Nicholas, Anna Mary, Sarah Louise, Hannah, Catherine, George, and John. The Weils were members of the Clearfield Evangelical Church since 1864. Nicholas died in 1915; Anna in 1925. Source: Norma Jardon in Douglas County, Kansas, Family Histories 1991-1992, Vol. 1 by Carol Buhler Francis; Anna (Boehner) Weil’s obituary (1925).
Annie Holcum, born in Anover, Germany, September 9, 1828, came to the United States at the age of 23 with her parents. They settled in St. Louis, Missouri, and when she was 25, she married Peter Westerhouse (1829-1876). They made their home in Lexington, Missouri, and while there “they experienced the hardships of the Civil War,” according to Annie’s obituary. When the war ended, they came to the Captain’s Creek area (½ miles east on north side of the road to Olathe or 900 Road) about seven miles southeast of Eudora. They may have tried residing in Nebraskabefore they came to Eudora. Once here, they worshipped at the Captain’s Creek German Methodist Church. Their children were Henry, Mary, Amelia, Emma, Edward, William, Aurelia, and Amos Sr. Two of the daughters died in their early teens. Peter died in 1875. Two years later (another account says 1887), Annie married Henry Eggas (also spelled Eggard) who had been married several times before. Eggas was born in Hanover, Germany, and came to the United States at age 20. After spending time in New York, St. Louis (six months), and Iowa(four years), he moved to Eudora in 1855. Most of the Westerhouse children stayed in the Eudora area. In the early 1900s, for example Henry and Catherine (“Katie”) Westerhaus rented a 640-acre farm with three houses in Weaver from William Roberts, according to Ermal (Westerhouse) Whaley in 1985. Later, Henry’s sons, Charles (who married Alice (Musick and had sons Raymond and Harold) and Henry Edward (who married Margie Wilson and had Ermal, Lucille, and Carl), helped him farm the acreage. Edward raised his family in the Hesper area, and his son, Elmer, farmed one and three-fourths miles south of Hesper. Amos Sr., who married Sophia Meyer, built several of Eudora’s outerlying concrete bridges and his initials still can be read on them. Their children were twins Allen and Alvin, Oscar, Ethel, and Amos Jr. The children of Amos Jr. and Leoti (Milburn) were: Arlene (Lawson), Maxine and her twin, Eugene, who married Dorothy (Willard). Annie Eggard died November 29, 1916, at the house of her daughter, Mary Clark, in Eudora. She had 15 grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren at the time. Source: Kay (Lawson) Spitzli, Peggy (Westerhouse) Claggett, Ermal (Westerhouse) Whaley, Annie Eggard’s obituary, Henry Eggas’ obituary (1908), and family records of Sandi (Wilson) Westerhouse
Herman Wichman and his wife, Marie (Schumacher), came to Eudora from Germany. Marie’s sister, Amanda, married George Kaegi. The Wichmans also were first cousins to the Knake family. Some of Marie’s nine children, including son John, went to live with Amanda after Marie died in childbirth. Source: Echoes 11, Number 8 (August 1988), published by the Eudora Nursing
Born in Saratoga, New York, August 7, 1830 (son of Thomas Wilber and Sarah A. Townsend), Charles Wilbur moved to Albany, New York, in 1853 where for 15 years he was engaged in the flour, coal and wood business. In 1858, he came to Hesper and settled on a farm in Section 19 containing 240 acres. Charles married Charlotte, daughter of John Pemberton and Clarissa Henry, in Albany, New York, on February 28, 1854. They had at least 10 children: Emily (born December 12, 1854); Thomas (born October 1, 1856); Clara (born March 22, 1858); John (born December 22, 1859); Elias (born July 28, 1862 and died January 31, 1863); Charles (born December 5, 1863 and died November 15, 1866); Charlotte (born December 7, 1866); Mary (born December 2, 1867 and died April 16, 1874); Samuel (born September 14, 1870); and Elizabeth (born January 13, 1883). The Wilburs were members of the Society of Friends. Source: History of the State of Kansas (1883) by William Cutler
The Ziesenis name has several spelling differences, often with a double “s” ending. Five Ziesenis men came to Eudora, and, at least three were relatives. The first, Ernest Ziesenis, was one of the original town settlers, but it is not known if he was a relative to the others. The only mention of him was going to hunt buffalo in Salina in the fall of 1858. Another Ziesenis, this one, August, was born November 23, 1829 in Hanover, Germany. His parents died while he was young, and he apprenticed as a cabinet maker for four years. Drafted in the German army, he refused to enlist and left for New York and then Chicago. He then worked in Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1853 to 1855. After working as a carpenter with General Kearney’s expedition to Nebraska, he returned to Chicago. He came to Eudora from Chicago in 1857. A carpenter, he was elected a councilman in 1859 and an election judge in 1860. The 1873 map of Eudora spells his name “Zeisinis,” showing him owning 59 ½ acres in northwest Eudora, 11 city lots, and six blocks in southwest Eudora. He and his wife, Johana or Johanne (Franken), who was born in Westphalia, Tecklenburg, in 1853 and came to Chicago at two years of age, had eight children and were buried in Eudora.
Frederick Ziesenis, born May 19, 1840 in Dedensen, Hanover, Germany, came to the United States with his parents and settled in Plymouth, Wisconsin. He married Caroline (Mueller), born July 1, 1848 at Cornwall-on-the-Hudson in New York, in Town Rhine, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, in 1886. They came to Eudora in 1889 from Port Washington, Wisconsin. Frederick attended St. Paul’s Church as did his brother Henry, who also emigrated, and August Ziesenis, another relative who came to Eudora before the brothers. Caroline attended Holy Family Catholic Church. Thirteen children were born to this union, nine of whom grew lived past childhood: Gustave, Mary (married Charles Sommer), Louise (married William Timmermeyer), Anna (married John Sommer), Henry, Kathryn, Emma (married Ralph Beal), Adelia (married William Zimmerman), Fred, and Leonard (who died young). August Ziesenis (born November 12, 1868), the son of Frederick and Caroline, married Caroline Durst, a German, in Pittsfield, Illinois. He apprenticed with the largest harness maker in Lawrence for four years, then bought the Coate Harness Shop at 715 Main Street. In front of his store Gus placed a full-sized, dapple-gray wooden horse to display harnesses and saddles. He turned to shoe repairing when tractors replaced horses and moved his shop first across the street. From the Ziesenis family history, is this account: “Gus and Carrie had four children: Erna, Hilda, Lota, and Arno. For 14 years, Gus, besides owning his own business, also served as the Eudora postmaster. His father, Frederick, a tailor by trade, established his business at 730 Main Street on the south side of the business. Charles Schurict, a shoemaker, operated out of the north side. When Charles Schuricht decided to retire in 1917, Henry Ziesenis, Frederick’s brother, bought and moved the building to the 800 block of Elm Street. The building was later razed. Frederick moved his shop across the street to the American House and retired in 1920. Many suits by Eudora men were made by Henry, and Eudora women made quilts from samples they got at “Tailor” Ziesenis. The Ziesenis family lived at 726 Elm Street. Fred died in 1925; Caroline died in 1923. Henry, born 1842, served in the war between Austria and Germany and Prussiabefore coming to the United States in 1866. He came to Eudora in 1866 and opened the Ziesenis Harness Shop and Tannery at the northwest corner of Eighth Street and Main Street. He sold the business in 1887 to William Coates. He married Louisa Lefmann (born in Jamestown, Missouri, in 1849) in 1872. They had four children: Lena, William, Tillie, and Emma and lived at 802 Elm Street. Source: The Fred Ziesenis Family by Lauretta Trabant and Frederick Ziesenis and Other Ziesenis Relatives by Janett Ziesenis Seacat and Rachelle Ziesenis, (April 1989); photo of Henry Ziesenis house donated to Eudora Area Historical Society; Johanne (Franken) Ziesenis’s obituary (1918); Caroline (Mueller) Ziesenis’ obituary (February 15, 1923); and Louise Ziesenis’s obituary
Josef Zillner, was born in Bavaria and married Ann (Mueller), also born in Bavaria. They shipped to Baltimore in 1875 on the North German-Lloyd Line. Their children in one listing were Marie (Sommer), Therese, and Josef, born February 13, 1875, who worked at W.G. Rice’s blacksmith shop in Prairie Center to get the money for his own smithy. Anna (Zillner) Rothberger, who may have been a relation or not, was born June 7, 1857, and was from Neiderbaren, Germany. Source: Kenneth E. Madl records and Douglas County, KS Alien Registration Index
Professional genealogist Reinhard Hofer’s own ancestral puzzle recently resulted in a German television showcasing of Eudora.
The question perplexing Hofer was the whereabouts of his relative Franziska Stadler’s birth record. Why wasn’t it with the rest of her family’s church records in their small German village by the Czech border?
After traveling to Kansas to study Douglas County records, Hofer solved his puzzle when he found documentation of Franziska as well as her brother, Johann. Both were born and baptized in Eudora when their parents briefly migrated to Kansas in the late nineteenth century.
Hofer detailed his search in an article that came to the attention of German television producers. They incorporated Hofer’s own family’s emigration to Eudora in a recently televised program about Hofer’s research of another immigrant family story.
Local filming for the television show took place last June when Hofer; his son, Andreas; and a German film crew toured Eudora landmarks relating to Hofer ancestors.
First time visitor to Eudora Andreas Hofer said “It’s beautiful,” about his initial impression of the city. “It looks like a typical Western town from the movies,” referring to Eudora’s downtown.
“Overall, Eudora being a smaller town, it is also quite widespread,” he said. “Thus, it seems very big and not like a small, concentrated town we are used to. The great farmland, too, is impressive.”
The German film crew, the Hofers, and several family historians distantly related to the Hofer family met at The Lodge before filming Eudora sites.
First stop was the Holy Family Catholic Cemetery between Ninth and Eighth streets.
Often commenting on spelling and the way a name is pronounced in English as compared to German, Hofer pointed out several graves of his long-ago German relatives. “The cemeteries of Eudora with the many German names we know from here.”
“The names on that grave list look like the local telephone directory of the Freyung area [Wolfstein County] in Bavaria where I am from,” Hofer said, when reading surnames Nigl, Madl, Hodl, Blochl, Kellerman, Neustifter, on grave markers.
Seeing the grave of Anita Stadler, Hofer remembered. “I talked in English to Anita 18 years ago when she was over a hundred years old. At the very end of conversation, they said, “She can speak German.”
After filming the cemetery, the group walked to the original Holy Family Church at Ninth Street and Church Street. Built by its 32 founding members and completed in 1865, the sandstone church was a trip highlight. “That’s very special to us, Andreas Hofer said, “to visit the church where our great-grandmother was baptized in 1872.”
Next on the list was 719 Birch, the residence of Franziska’s cousin George John Stadler, who came to the United States from Germany when he was 13. Stadler married Louise Basemann, a daughter of one of the original town settlers, and they had 10 children.
Finishing up the town landmark tour was an extended stop at a member of a related Schopper family who originally farmed in the Clearfield area. The televised segment focused on that Schopper family’s later farmstead, 2124 N. 1400 Road at the northeast corner of Tenth Street and Cedar Street.
Once the site of the Eudora Mineral Springs that advertised “games of all kinds,” including nine-pins, swings, and shooting targets as well as fine meals served at all times,” little remains to mark this resort.
Ballyhooed for its health-restoring water “warranted to cure all diseases arising from bad blood, rheumatism, gout, liver complaints, disease of the kidneys, dyspepsia, indigestion, general debility, nervous and female diseases and all other chronic diseases,” the short-lived resort sold at a sheriff’s sale for tax default in 1890.
After a few owners, Joseph Schopper and Mary Theresa (Seiwald), the parents of 10 children, left their Clearfield home and bought the former resort land sometime between 1900 and 1903.
In the 3.17 minute Eudora section of the program, the Schopper farm is referred to as a “biergarten,” and the search for a dug-out cave ends the Eudora visit and provides a transition to a different aspect of the overall story.
Trekking through a woody trail on a search for the cold storage cavern, Hofer and the accompanying, off-camera group find with delight what they dub a “beer cellar.” Discarded bottles help support their theory.
View Eudora’s segment in ARD Mediathek’s Passau-USA: Eine Suche nach den Vorfahren (Passau-USA: A Search for the Ancestors)
Note: Franziska’s family came to Kansas, Hofer has written because small farmers in this part of Germany “were burdened with poor soil and hard winters.” The “die landlosen Bauern aus den Wäldern an der böhmischen Grenze” (“landless peasants from the forests”) were lured, Hofer wrote, with the promise of free land, citizen rights, and democracy. Just married in 1872 before leaving Germany, Franziska’s parents returned home to Grainet five years later. John, her father died shortly after his return.