Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

#11—Yes, Please, I would like a Beer and a Song—Frank Huelster

I am always pleasantly surprised when I find information about one of my relatives whom I know little to nothing about. Frank Huelster, who is my great great uncle, fell into that catagory.  From the census, I knew that he migrated from Germany with his wife, Anoinette in 1893. Once in the United States, Uncle Frank and his wife lived in Brooklyn, New York.  There they raised three children:  Francis, Elizabet, and Walter. 

                On a whim the other day, I put his name into the database , called The Postcard, which contains a number of newspapers in New York State.  Much to my surprise, up popped his obituary, which was a goldmine of information.

                In terms of work, Uncle Frank first worked as a bookkeeper at the Steiger Publishing.  He then moved to the Lieberman Breweries.  While initially he was a bookkeeper, eventually, he became the superintendent of the bottling department.    A little more research revealed that Lieberman Breweries were
located in Brooklyn, and were the brewers of Rheingold beer.  If you grew up on the East coast, you know that Rheingold beer was not only very popular, but also famous for its yearly contest for “Miss Rheingold”, who would be featured in their advertisements. 

                What surprised me most was what his involvement in the Germany community in Brooklyn, New York, particularly in German choral groups.  Using the internet, I learned that in Germany communities in the United States, there were many clubs and organizations devoted to music.  Typically they performed works by classical composers such as Wagner, Strauss, Handel, etc. and participated in singing festivals.   However, they also engaged in social activities like dances and travel.  Uncle Frank was a member of the Schwaeblschen Saegerbund, a German singing society, and the vice president of Arion Singing Society.  A little more research and I found that the Arion Society described as an elite choir of men, who performed regularly in their own building’s auditorium.

                Uncle Frank died in July 11, 1938.  He along with his wife, who died in 1933, are buried in Maple Grove Cemetery in Queens, New York. 


 The Postcard  (http://fultonhistory.com)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

#10 Like Father, Like Son—Abiathar Richards, Jr.

                Last week, my blog was about Abiathar Richards, Sr. and his role in the Revolutionary War.  However, he was not the only person in that household that fought for freedom.  His oldest son, Abiathar Richards, Jr. also served briefly.  Abiathar, Jr. is my 3nd great grandfather and the subject of this week’s blog.
                Abiathar Richards, Jr. was born on April 7, 1754.  His parents were Abiathar Richards, Sr. and Elizabeth (Richards) Richards.  He married Elizabeth Smith on April 12, 1782.  Abiathar and Elizabeth had eleven children. 
                I did not know much about Abiathar, Jr.’s service, but  found in the Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War,  that Abiathar Richards, Jr. was a Private in Captain Aaron Fuller’s 
Company, which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775.  The company was from Dedham, Massachusetts and served for 2 day.  That was helpful, but I still did not know that much about what that company actually did.  Fortunately, I was able to find a description of their involvement in Dedham, 1635-1890:  Examples of things past.

          “A little after 9:00 a.m. on the morning of April 19, a rider on an (inevitably) lathered horse galloped down Dedham High Street from the direction of Needham, and reined in at Samuel Dexter’s front gate.  Flinging himself off the horse and rushing up the walk, he met Dexter at his door, spouting forth his message of bloodshed and conflict at Lexington. ..As units or fragments of larger military contingents, Dedham men assembled and march for the scene of the engagement—89 men from the First Parish under Captain Aaron Fuller and George Gould….[At Menotony (now Arlington)] some of the men, joining with units from Needham and Lynn, ranged along a hill on the south side of the road, where they had a clear view of the approach from Lexington, and where they could expect a measure of protection from a stone wall that stretched uphill from the Jason Russell house.  A British flanking party surprised them and drove them back toward the house, trapping them between the flankers and the main body of troops in the road and virtually annihilated them.  Elias Haven of Captain Battle’s Company died there, along with nine men from other towns, (Hanson, p.155).
So now I know a little more about Abiathar, Jr.’s 2 days of service in the Revolutionary War.  Exactly where he was and what he did during the battle at Menotony I do not know.  So if I could talk to him, I would ask them those questions. 

Ancestry.com. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution, 17 Vols. [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1998.
Original data: Secretary of the Commonwealth. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution. Vol. I-XVII. Boston, MA, USA: Wright and Potter Printing Co., 1896.

Hanson, R. B. (1976).  Dedham 1635—1890.  Examples of things past.  Dedham, Ma. Dedham Historical Society.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fighting for Freedom--Abiathar Richards, Sr.

                When I think of the Revolutionary War in New England, I think about Paul Revere and his ride, the Old North Church, and the British Red Coats.  Missing from this picture are the colonial soldiers that fought in the War.  This week and next, I will focus on two of my New England grandfathers who were soldiers during the revolution.
                Abiathar Richards, Sr. is my 3th great grandfather.  He was born in Dedham, Massachusetts to John and Abigail (Avery) Richards in June of 1738.  On May 21, 1753, he married his cousin, Elizabeth Richards.  He and Elizabeth had nine children.
                 In  1776, General Washington was conducting a siege of Boston.  During the night of March 4, large cannons from Fort Ticonderoga were moved onto the hills of Dorchester Heights, which overlooks the 
Boston Harbor.  So that the British would not hear the cannons being moved into  place, the soldiers wrapped the wheels of the cannons in straw.  That action strengthened the siege against Boston.  Convinced that the cannon fire  would damage their ships in the harbor, the British troops withdrew from Boston.  Abiathar Richards participated in this action by serving four days under Captain Joseph Lewis in the 1st Dedham Company
                Abiathar Richard’s second service was closer to home, in the neighboring town of Roxbury.    In colonial  times, Boston was located on a peninsula with the only land route into Boston, going through Roxbury.  To protect the city, troops were stationed in Roxbury.  For 15 days beginning on March 23, 1778 Abiathar Richards served in Captain Abel Richards’s company at Roxbury and Boston.

                Abiathar’s  last enlistment was on July 21, 1780.  At that time he became part of Captain Moses Bullard’s Company, Col. Ebenezer Thayer’s Regiment, which was stationed at Rhode Island to reinforce the Continental Army.  His service there was 2 months and 24 days.  After the war, he returned to farming. 
                Abiathar Richards died on September 30, 1803 at the age of 73.  He is buried in the Village Cemetery in Dedham, Massachusetts.

                                I think it is interesting that Abiathar enlisted three times.  If I could talk to Abiathar about the war, I would ask him why he did that.  It does not appear that he was engaged in any battles, I also would want to know if that was correct.  One last question-- he and his wife had nine children and a farm, who took care of them and the farm, while he was away.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

#8 What Do You Mean, I Cannot have a Cup of Tea? Ebenezer Newell

               In  genealogy,  I am always much more interested in what people did and how they lived, rather than when they were born, died, married, etc.  Thus it is always a good when I can find out something more  about a person.  Since Patriots Day in Massachusetts is coming soon, I though in the next couple of blogs I should find out more about my relatives that were involved in the Revolutionary War. 

            One such person was my 3th great grandfather, Ebenezer Newell.  Other than the basics, I did not know much about him.  I did know that Ebenezer was born on January 4, 1712.  His parents were Josiah and Hannah (Fisher) Newell in Needham, Massachusetts.   In 1735 he married Elizabeth Bullard.  After her death in 1753 he married Elizabeth Allen.  Originally a resident of Needham, in 1748, he moved to the Strawberry Hills section of Dover.  He farmed there until 1769 when he sold the farm and moved back to Needham.   Ebenezer died on January 8, 1798.

            Since Ebenezer would have been in his sixties during the Revolutionary War, I was surprised to find that he was indeed involved in the war efforts.   According to the History of Needham, Massachusetts, 1711-1911: including West Needham, now the town of Wellesley, to its separation from Needham,   Ebenezer was on the Committee of Correspondence, Inspection and Safety during the war.  While the Committee was involved in writing to other committees about colonial issues and plans of action, and overseeing the militia, one of its most interesting tasks involved the drinking of tea.  In essence, because the taxes on tea supported the British, the Committee was to see that the people in the town did not drink tea.

            According to Frank Smith (1897) in Narrative History:  A History of Dover, Massachusetts as a Precinct, Parish, District and Town: 
            On December 5, 1774, the town voted “that we do not further engage that we will not drink, nor suffer any in our families to drink, any kind of India tea till we have a full redress of all the grievances enumerated in the Association Agreement”  …The committee of inspection were instructed to endeavor to find out whether any of the inhabitants presumed to violate the foregoing engagement, and if any were found acting contrary thereto, to post up their names in some public place in each parish as enemies of the welfare of America.

            I can find no records of people whose names were posted or how Ebenezer and the other committee members went about this task.  Thus, if I could talk to Ebenezer, I would ask:  How did you find out who was drinking tea?  Did you post their names?  How did other people react to those who had their names posted:  What did people drink in place of tea?

Monday, March 24, 2014

# 7 The Picture on my Wall—Louis Eitelbach

       Several years ago, I found this picture of my great grandparents, Louis and Marie Eitelbach.   They are all dressed up, maybe for a Sunday afternoon walk in the park, maybe just to have this picture taken.  I love my great grandmother’s parasol and my great grandfather’s walking cane.  The picture was framed so I added it to my gallery wall along with other pictures of my ancestors.  Louis Eitelbach is the subject of this week’s blog.

      He was born in Hagen Hamm, Germany in July 1864, one of seven children of Nicholaus Augustus and Helena (Agatz) Eitelbach.  In 1885 he married Maria Berta Huelster.  While in Germany they had four children:  Walter, Louis, Maxmillian and William. 

     On May 25, 1895 Louis arrived in New York with his wife and four children.  They sailed from Antwerp on the Red Line ship, Rhyland.  According to the ship manifest, their destination was Brooklyn, New York.  The 1900 census indicates that they were living at 1287 Greene Street, Brooklyn and two additional boys, Harry and Frank, had been added to the family.   By 1910 the family had moved to 152 Napier Street, Queens, New York and in 1920 lived at 8766 109th Street, Richmond Hill, Queens, New York.  While it appears that the family had moved, actually Napier Street was renamed 109th Street.   The ship manifest lists Louis occupation as a lock smith; in all three censuses his occupation is given as a machinist in a tool shop.   Louis died on December 26, 1926.

     If I were able to speak to him, I would ask about the picture.  When was it taken?  Where were they?  Why did they take it?  

Monday, March 17, 2014

#6 How Do You Spell that Name? Joseph Munarzik

#6  How Do You Spell That Name?   Joseph Munarzik
            This week I am blogging about Joseph Munarzik, my 3th great grandfather and one of my immigrant ancestors.    Joseph was born in Winweiller, Germany , probably in 1824 as he was baptized on June 16, 1824.  He was one of twelve children of Joseph and Barbara (Schroeder) Munarzik.   On September 9, 1849 in Battenberg, Germany, he married Regina Wendel.    The exact date of their arrival in the United States is not clear.  The 1860 census lists Charles, their oldest son, as born in Bavaria; however, all the other census data and Charles’s army enlist papers indicate he was born in United States in 1853.  If that is correct, Joseph and Regina emigrated between 1849 and 1853. In the 1860 census, Joseph and Regina have 8 children:  Charles, Elizabeth, Cary, Susan, John, Maria, Louisa, and Kate.   Joseph’s  occupation is listed as tailor.  On January 10, 1868, Joseph became a naturalized citizen of the United States.  His address is listed as 177 2nd Street, New York, New York.  William Schilling of 182 Ludlow Street, New York, New York,  served as the witness.  Joseph Minarzik died on April 27, 1875 while Regina (last name spelled Minarzick) died on June 18, 1878.  In the 1880 census four (John, Maria, Louisa and Katherine) of their children are living with their oldest son Charles.  
Tracing  this branch of my family has been a challenge as Munarzik has been spelled at least six    different ways.   The LDS baptismal records from Winnweiller, Germany with one exception (Minazik) use the spelling  Munarzik.   Once Joseph moved to the United States, however, the name was spelled in a variety of different ways.   I have found members of the family having such variation as Minarzick, Minarzik, Minarscik, and Minarcik. Obviously, this has made research challenging.  Since the first three or five letters of the name are consistent, using a wild card seach of either  Min* or  Minar*  been helpful.    Since 1900, the name has consistently been spelled Minarcik. 
If I had the opportunity to talk to Joseph, I would want to know why he migrated to the United States.  Was it because his wife’s family was coming here?  Was it for a better life?  I also would like to know where he worked as a tailor.

Monday, March 10, 2014

# 5—Build Me a Palace—John Wesley Hannah

   # 5—Build Me a Palace—John Wesley Hannah

This week, rather than focusing on a person, I am blogging about a hotel and the person who built it.   After the Civil War, John Wesley Hannah (1838—1898) moved from Edgar County Illinois to Butler Missouri.  Here he established himself, marrying Jennie Sophia Willey and having five children:  Gertrude, Anne, William, Marinda and Cora.  

During the Civil War, the city of Butler was burned to the ground.  The citizens needed to rebuild and considerable effort was expended to re-establishing Butler as a city.  I had always heard that John built the Palace Hotel, but I knew very little about it.  One day, while looking for information on the web about John I came across the application that was filed by the State of Missouri to have the Palace Hotel added to the National Registry of Historic Places. 
As the picture above shows, and as described in the application, the Palace Hotel is a three story building built of brick with a flat roof.  The second and third floors have vertical bays of windows.  “Significant Italianate architectural features, such as a rectangular pediment resting on an elaborate bracketed cornice, and arched one-over-one light double-hung sash windows with segmental arches, stone sills and keystones, are visible on the facade. …”

According to the document
“The Palace Hotel was built in 1879 near the end of the Italianate period (1840-1890) and remains a fine example of high style Italianate architecture. The Palace Hotel is also locally significant in the area of commerce. It was one of the first buildings constructed on the town square and has housed a variety of different commercial concerns relevant to the city's livelihood. … He (John Hannah) partnered with T. A. Shaw to formulate a plan for building a three-story hotel. As commerce in Butler would continue to expand and attract individuals from near and far, Hannah and Shaw recognized the importance of having a first-class hotel available. According to the Bates County Record, the oldest newspaper in the Butler area, on February 8, 1879, Hannah and Shaw signed a contract with Samuel Currier for the manufacture of brick and with Messrs. McBrides and Helms (two of each) for the laying of brick for their three-story hotel.  The following week Hannah and Shaw traveled to Kansas City to consult with an architect about plans for their new hotel.  It was decided that the first floor would remain fairly open for use as a store. The second floor would house the hotel, with many smaller rooms available for tenants and larger kitchen and dining facilities as well. The third floor would feature an elaborate ballroom for dances and gatherings held by the elite of Butler society.”
 The Palace Hotel opened for business on February 15, 1880. Reading of the application indicates that the Palace Hotel has been used in a variety of different ways.  Its hotel rooms were used by those traveling.  When the railroad came to Butler, the Palace Hotel operated a bus service so that its patrons could easily get to the hotel.    The first floor seems to have always been occupied by a clothing store—first, M. S. Cowles clothing store, then, American Clothing House, and finally, J.C. Penney. J. C. Penny continued to occupy that space until 1987.  The citizens used the ballroom for parties and other social events, and for a number of years, a doctor maintained an office on the second floor.  As the picture above shows, an iron balcony was on the front of the hotel.  That allowed guests staying in the hotel and the residents of Butler an opportunity to view the happenings in the town square. 

Not only did John Wesley build the hotel, he also was the owner and proprietor. He died in 1898.  It is unclear when the hotel was sold; whether it was sold before or after his death.  However, the hotel was renovated in 1897 and in 1898 became the Ross Hotel.  In 1907 the hotel was again sold, this time to H. G. Cook, who rented the third floor to the Elks. 

The application for historic designation was accepted in 2002, and a plaque to that effect has been placed on the building.  Today the Palace Hotel looks like this and has been renovated into an office building.  


Doering, J. (2002) National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, Palace Hotel.