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.

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. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

# 4 John M. Hannah--I Lied About my Age

# 4 John M. Hannah--I Lied About my Age

     This week’s ancestor is John M. Hannah.   John’s parents were James and Nancy (McKee) Hannah.  While the exact date his birth cannot be verified, he was born in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania about 1799.  The 1810 census finds his family living in Sugar Creek, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.  However, by 1820 James was living in Union Township in Brown County, Ohio. 

On April 22, 1822, John M. Hannah and Charity Mears were married by the Reverend Rankin, a noted abolitionist.  In about 1830 John M. and Charity along with their five children:  Sarah, Nancy, Elizabeth, George, and Oliver moved to Edgar County, Illinois.  By 1838, four more children had been born:  Mary Sayres,  Albertine, Catherine, and John Wesley.  In 1842 Charity Mears Hannah died and was buried in the McKee Cemetery in Edgar County. 

                Over the years, John bought land from private individuals and in the Public Domain Land Sales.  The land clustered in the northeastern section of Edgar County, mostly in Prairie and Ross Townships.  The Non-population Schedule for 1850 lists John as having 150 improved acres and 200 unimproved ones with a cash value of $2500.  That year the farm produced 3000 bushels of Indian corn, 30 bushels of wheat, and 150 bushels of other crops. 
                When the Civil War began, John enlisted in the Illinois 79th Volunteers, Company A,   with the rank of Sergeant.  According to the Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois,
The Seventy-ninth Illinois Infantry was organized at Camp Terry, Mattoon in Coles County, Illinois and mustered into service on August 28, 1862.   The men volunteered from Edgar, Randolph and Vermilion counties-Company A, Douglas County-Companies B, E, G and part of K, Edgar County-Companies C, D and H, Clark County-Company F and part of I and Coles County-part of Company K.  The Regiment was ordered to Louisville, Kentucky on September 13, 1862.  October 1 the Seventy-ninth began a march through Kentucky—Frankfort to Perryville to Crab Orchard to Lebanon, Bowling Green and finally arrived at Nashville, Tennessee on November 7.  They remained at Nashville until December 26 when they were ordered to Murfreesboro, Tennessee…”

     On December 12, 1862, John was discharged due to disability and old age.  What I find so interesting is that on his Civil War records his age at enlistment is 45, while his age on his discharge papers is 63.  63 is the correct age.  Further, the reasons for his discharge were disability and old age.  That leads to the interesting questions of what was going on.  According to “And Your Age is..” (http://emergingcivilwar.com/2011/12/01/and-your-age-is/), it was not unusual for men who were younger than 18 or older than 45 to lie about their age.  Thus, young men stated their ages as older and older men stated their age as younger.  Commons reasons were financial and philosophical.  John was a prosperous farmer so financial gains do not seem to be a viable explanation.  Philosophical reasons seem more likely, particularly when you remember that he was married by the John Rankin, a Presbyterian minister and an active conductor on the Underground Railroad.  Consequently, he may have decided to serve because he opposed slavery.  However, we will really never know.

     John died in 1865 and is buried in Paris Cemetery in Edgar County.  Probate documents from the Edgar County Court indicate that his children who were then living in Edgar County, e.g. Albertine Hannah, Mary Sayres Hannah, Catherine Hannah O’Hair, Sarah Hannah Mitchell, George Newell Hannah, and Charity Conrey (daughter of Nancy Hannah Conrey, deceased), sold 258 acres of land owned by John M. Hannah to Zachariah Riley for $3,200.  (Oliver Hannah was deceased and John Wesley had moved to Butler, Missouri.).  Whether or not John Wesley received any inheritance is unclear. 

      If I were able to speak to him, I would ask why he moved to Edgar County and why he lied about age when enlisting in the Civil War.