Catharina Heinly "Kate" (Gaumer) Acker was born on Oct. 28, 1799 in Macungie Township, Lehigh County, PA, the daughter of Johann Dietrich "Dieter" and Anna Elizabeth (Heinly) Gaumer.
At the age of about a month and a half, on Dec. 8, 1799, she was baptized in the Zion's Lutheran Church of Lower Macungie, with Rev. Jacob Van Buskirck presiding. Her sponsors were Fridirig and Catarine Gaumer. Then at the age of 19, on May 1, 1819, she was confirmed in the church.
She was married to Heinrich "Henry" Acker (Aug. 2, 1793-1850).
Their children were Carolina B. Woodring Mohr, Matilda Keck, Henry Acker, Jonas K. Acker, Jonathan Acker, Catherine Anna "Kitty Ann" Acker and Massya ("Messiah?") Acker. Sadly, their infant son Jonathan died at about one year of age in Whitehall Township on July 20, 1834.
The Ackers' children were born in a variety of places in the 1820s and '30s. Daughter Matilda was born in August 1829 in Breinigsville, Weisenberg Township -- son Henry Jr. in 1831 in Lower Macungie Township -- son Jonas in 1833 in Lowhill Township -- and daughter Massya ("Messiah?") in about 1841 in Breinigsville.
The babies received Christian baptism at the hands of local pastors. Son Jonas, for example, was baptized at a year of age in 1834 by Rev. Dubbs, with Jonathan Diehl and Rebecca Diehl serving as witnesses. The family then received a hand-lettered taufschein -- certificate of baptism -- as a keepsake of each event.
Henry passed away in Lehigh County in 1850, at the age of 57.
Kate survived him by eight years and joined him in eternity on Christmas Eve 1858 in Weisenberg.
~ Daughter Carolina B. (Acker) Woodring Mohr ~
Daughter Carolina B. Acker (1827-1850s?) was born on Dec. 28, 1827 in Pennsylvania. She also has been referred to as "Mary."
In about 1845, when she was age 28, she is said to have married William David Woodring (June 3, 1825-1888) -- spelled "Wotring" in German -- son of John William and Anna (Lerch) Woodring. William was a native of Northampton County and earned a living as a carpet weaver. He stood 5 feet, 7 inches tall, and had grey eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion.
They were the parents of an only son, William Franklin Woodring, born in August 1849.
The year after the son's birth, Carolina and her husband separated, and she and her newborn moved back into her parents' home in Weisenberg, Lehigh County.
Carolina married a second time, on June 19, 1853 to Henry L. Mohr (March 12, 1830-1902), son of Charles and Elizabeth "Eliza" (Keck) Mohr of Coopersburg, Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County. Their wedding was announced in the German language newspaper Der Lecha Caunty Patriot of Allentown.
The couple produced a son of their own, Lewis Henry Mohr (1854-1914).
Sadly, Carolina "died a few years later" after the second marriage, as reported in the the Allentown Leader.
The widowed Henry and his young son then moved into the residence of Henry's parents in Coopersburg. They were there in 1860.
Henry was joined in wedlock with his second wife, Emelina Brinker ( ? - ? ). Evidence hints that they adopted a daughter, Mrs. A. Trauger.
The Mohrs resided in South Bethlehem in the early 1900s at the address 327 Broadway. Said the Allentown Morning Call, Henry was considered "a well-known and respected resident of South Bethlehem for a long time."
Suffering from a number of illnesses, Henry Mohr died at the age of 61 a few days after Christmas 1902. An obituary was printed in the Leader, which noted that the deceased was survived by three grandchildren. Following funeral services in the family home, he was lowered into eternal rest in Fountain Hill Cemetery.
Carolina's ex-husband also married again within a few years, on Christmas Day 1851, to Louisa Seip ( ? - ? ), daughter of Edward and Margaret Seip. News of the marriage was published in German in the Der Lecha Caunty Patriot. The Woodrings lived in Lehigh County and bore two more children, Keturah Howard (1852-1921) and Eugene A. Woodring (1856-1908). This second marriage may have ended in death or divorce within a few years, because circa 1860, federal census records show their four-year-old son living in home of weaver Abraham and Sarah Fike in Emmaus, Lehigh County.
During the Civil War, William joined the Union Army, and was assigned to the 1st Light Artillery (14th Reserves). He enlisted in Harrisburg on Aug. 5, 1861. While on duty in Virginia in 1862, he claimed to have contracted rheumatism which plagued him for the rest of his life. He re-enlisted in the same unit on New Year's Day 1865 in Yorktown, VA. He received his honorable discharge and muster-out at Harrisburg on July 20, 1865.
William is marked in the 1870 U.S. Census as living in the household of his married brother John in Emmaus, Lehigh County and continuing his work as a carpet weaver. At some point migrated to Illinois and dwelled in Alton, Madison County. His rheumatism continued to be debilitating during the postward years and in 1882 he was admitted to the North-western Branch of the National Home for Disabled Soldiers in Milwaukee. His paperwork states that he was widowed and lists his next of kin as his brother John J. Woodring in Allentown. Then in Sept. 1883 he was transferred to the Disabled Soldiers Home's Roseburg Branch in Hampton, VA and on Sept. 6, 1888 moved again into the Disabled Soldiers Home in Dayton, Montgomery County, OH. He contracted pneumonia and died in Dayton at the age of 63 on Nov. 19, 1888. Burial was in the cemetery in Dayton, in Section G, Row 16, Grave 16. [Find-a-Grave]
William is not included in our count of Civil War soldiers in the family as he was no longer married to Carolina when he served in the army.
Son William "Franklin" Woodring (1849-1930) was born on Aug. 27, 1849 in Weisenberg Township, Lehigh County. As a newborn, he was baptized on Aug. 30, 1849 by Rev. J. Helfrich, a pastor in the Weisenberg community. The family then received a baptismal certificate, known in German as a taufschein, a document which Franklin kept in his possession for six-plus decades. He spent his early years in the home of his Acker grandparents in Weisenberg, Lehigh County, until their respective deaths. Among his boyhood schoolmates was Edwin Harwick. For a time he was raised by Jacob and Matilda Hetrick in Coopersburg. Franklin in adulthood stood 5 feet, 7¼ inches tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark hair. He earned a living as a laborer. During the Civil War years, Franklin was too young to serve in the military. Eventually, though, he and a friend traveled to New Jersey to join the Union Army on April 12, 1865, three days after the Confederate surrender. He was placed within the 33rd New Jersey Infantry, Company C. He later signed an affidavit about how he joined an out-of-state regiment:
That he enlisted into a strange company and regiment, went away from home to New Jersey, Trenton, with a comrade named John Weickert. That he did not know another soul of the whole regiment, they were all entire strangers. That he does not recollect the correct names of any of his comrades nor their whereabouts and they would not recollect his case at this late date.
As a soldier in late May or early June, posted five or six miles from Fairfax Station, he contracted typhoid fever and lay sick in the tent of fellow soldier John Weikert. With other symptoms including chronic diarrhea, heart disease and "nervous prostration," he was sent tot Mt. Pleasant General Hospital in the District of Columbia. Not having gotten well after 60 days, Army surgeons ranked him as a "total" disability and offered him the option of an honorable discharge. He accepted and received a surgeon's certificate of disability on July 26, 1865. He returned by rail to Coopersburg. He was met at the depot by friends Charles H. Ulrich and Henry Musselman, and only with their help was able to walk home. They were shocked to see that his head was shaven of hair and that he was "too weak to walk alone, was quite bald, full of lice, was terribly emaciated, and it was said at the time that he had the army diarrhea, and this he had badly. He was very weak in his legs, could hardly walk, he was laid up for quite a time and for a long time he could do nothing." Sarah Weikert claimed she saw him at the hour of his return and would not have recogized him. Jacob Hetrick saw him the Sunday after his arrival at home and heard Franklin complain of diarrhea and discomfort in the chest "very bad." Hetrick's wife Matilda recalled that Franklin "had no appetite and was not to eat anything of any account." Jacob Mann noted that seeing him two or three days after the return home, the soldier "was a mere skeleton, nothing but skin & bones, was quite weak, was very nervous and was weak in his legs, used a cane, his legs would not carry him." Hetrick continued to see Franklin "almost every day" and knew him to make comments about his painful chest area. Franklin spent three years in Coopersburg and then in 1868 moved to Centre Valley, Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County. A year later, he relocated again to Mountainville, Salisbury Township, Lehigh County. Five years after his Army experience concluded, he developed hemorrhoids, which he attributed to the loose bowels from wartime. At one point he boarded in the respective homes of Ulrich's grandfather and mother Elizabeth Ulrich and remarked that "I've never known him to do any hard manual labor since not being able to do it, did such as canvassing and other light work such as running stationery engines, etc."
Franklin was thrice married. On May 23 or 24, 1873, he wedded his first bride, Emma J. Graybill (June 21, 1855-1902), daughter of David G. and Matilda (Hendricks) Grayville of Juniata County, PA. Rev. William E. Rath officiated at the nuptials held in Allentown. The Woodrings bore one son, William W. Woodring. Sadly, Emma died on May 29, 1902 at the age of 47, ending their union which had endured for 29 years. Franklin's second wife was his wife's widowed sister Matilda (Graybill) Ritter (Aug. 29, 1851-1910), also a native of Juniata County whose husband Wilson H. Ritter had died in 1901. The pair tied the knot on Feb. 21, 1903. The couple enjoyed seven years of marriage and dwelled at the address of 557 Wire Street in Allentown. Sadly, having borne heart disease, the 68-year-old Matilda was suddenly stricken with paralysis and passed into eternity on June 6, 1910. Interment of the remains was in Greenwood Cemetery. On Feb. 8, 1913, when he was 64 years of age, he married for a third time to Amelia Elizabeth (Haines) Keller (Nov. 19, 1853-1931). Amelia had been married once before, to Charles A. Keller (1850-1912), and brought three adult sons to the marriage, Charles H. Keller, Earle L. Keller and Floyd L. Keller. The wedding was held in the parsonage of Rev. F.D. Geary on North Seventh Street and reported in the Allentown newspapers. The couple dwelled in Allentown, where for more than three decades he worked for the C.A. Dorney furniture factory as an engineer.
He retired in about 1910. In April 1889, Franklin was awarded a military pension for his wartime service. [Invalid App. #700.832 - 820.878] He received government pension checks for the rest of his long life. In Novemer 1919, believing he was owed an increase of $3 per month, he wrote to the U.S. Pension Commissioner, a letter which today is preserved in the National Archives with a copy in the Minerd.com Archives. William was a longtime member of the Twelfth Street Baptist church and a member of the International Order of Odd Fellows and the Allen Fire Company. Their address in 1913-1919 was 508 Washington Street and in 1930 was 820 Chew Street. As his heart and kidneys failed in later 1930, Franklin was taken to Allentown Hospital. He died there on Nov. 10, 1930. An obituary in the Allentown Morning Call said he was "a lifelong and highly esteemed resident of this city" and was survived by several step-siblings. Funeral services were held at the family church, with burial in West End Cemetery. Amelia only survived her husband by a little more than a year. She applied for Franklin's pension but apparently died before it could be approved. [Widow App. #1.681.189 - XC 2.636.839] Burdened with heart problems, she succumbed at the age of 78 on New Year's Eve 1931. Interment was in Fairview Cemetery, Bethlehem, Northampton County.
Son Lewis H. Mohr (1854-1914) was born on Dec. 8, 1854 in Coopersburg, Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County. He was a young boy when his mother died. He and his widowed father then moved into the home of the boy's grandparents, Charles and Elizabeth Mohr, in Coopersburg, Lehigh County. Lewis was united in holy matrimony with Anna Malinda Mensch (Oct. 9, 1855-1939), a native of Springfield, Bucks County and the daughter of Reuben and Hannah (Gross) Mensch. They were the parents of Charlotte Meyers and Herbert R. Moore. They made a home in South Bethlehem, Lehigh County, at the address of 335 Wyandotte Street. He was employed as a fireman for Bethlehem Steel Corporation and was well known as an "expert mechanic." The Mohrs belonged to the St. Mark's Lutheran Church. At the age of 59, he was stricken by a stroke apoplexy at work and was rushed to St. Luke's Hospital, where the Angel of Death swept him away six hours later on the second day of the new year in 1914. His remains were lowered into eternal repose in Nisky Hill Cemetery. W.M. Weierbach of South Bethlehem was the informant for the official Pennsylvania certificate of death. An obituary in the Allentown Morning Call noted that he was survived by "one step-brother." [Find-a-Grave] Anna survived her spouse and lived for another quarter of a century. Her address in the late 1930s was with her daughter at 55 West Goepp Street in Bethlehem. She bore heart disease and cystitis which let to gastritis and colitis. Unable to rally, she passed away on March 4, 1939, at the age of 83. Rev. Melvin Kurtz officiated at the funeral service, held in the Myers residence, and an obituary was published in the Morning Call.
~ Daughter Matilda Emma (Acker) Keck ~
Daughter Matilda Emma Acker (1829-1907) was born in August 1829 in Breinigsville, Weisenberg Township, Lehigh County.
She married Ephraim Wilson Keck Sr. (1816-1863), a resident of Greenville, Mercer County, PA. They made a home in or near Breiningsville, Lehigh County.
The couple bore one known son, Ephraim Wilson Keck Jr.
At the age of 21, Matilda and her newborn son lived with her parents in Weisenberg, Lehigh County. Sadly, the baby died at the age of 3 months, 17 days on Oct. 28, 1850, with burial in Ziegels Union Cemetery. That same year, Matilda's father passed away.
During the Civil War, Ephraim is believed to have served in the Union Army as a member of the 145th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G. He enlisted on Aug. 29, 1862 and mustered out on Jan. 16, 1863. Research findings suggest that Ephraim died the same day he was discharged from the army. His remains were placed into repose in the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery in the District of Columbia. [Find-a-Grave]
He and his fate are mentioned in the book Common Men in the War for the Common Man, by Dr. Verel R. Salmon.
Matilda survived him by more than four decades, but for some reason did not apply for a military pension to compensate for the loss of her husband. She relocated to Indiana and in the early 20th century lived in Logansport, Cass County. She reputedly died there on June 9, 1907
~ Son Henry Acker Jr. ~
Son Henry Acker Jr. (1831-1912) was born on Aug. 14, 1831 in Lower Macungie Township.
He married Anna Maria Ahner (1838-1928), daughter of Solomon and Esther (Ochs) Acker. They dwelled for years near Alburtis, Lehigh County, where Henry plied his trade as a carpenter.
The couple produced these known children -- Oscar Acker, Ellen King, Emma Mertz, George Acker, Harvey Acker and Llewellyn Acker.
The family were members of the Lehigh Reformed Church near Alburtis.
Sadly, at the age of 81, suffering from paresis, a loss of voluntary muscle movement, Henry died on Sept. 13, 1912. An obituary in the Allentown Leader noted that he had been sick for about nine months and that his brother Jonas, of Lancaster County, had died just a month earlier. The Allentown Democrat opined that he was "a highly esteemed resident." He was interred at Lehigh Church Cemetery, with Rev. C.A. Kerschner of Allentown officiating. Daughter Ellen of Alburtis signed the death certificate.
Anna Maria lived for another 16 years, cohabitating with her daughter Ellen King in Allentown at 617 North 8th Street. In 1920, she endured the death of her son Oscar, a former hotel operator. She celebrated her 90th birthday in 1928 with a quiet day of visiting with callers who stopped by the house, and "was the recipient of numerous gifts," said the Allentown Morning Call.
She passed away from the effects of a stroke two days after Christmas 1928, at the age of 90. An obituary said she was survived by 18 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. Rev. Frank Larosh oversaw the funeral service.
Daughter Ellen Acker (1862-1929) was born on Oct. 5, 1862 in Lehigh County. She married Peter King ( ? - ? ). The couple bore one son, William Henry King. They lived in Pottstown, PA initially and then in about 1890 relocated to Allentown, where they remained for good. Ellen and Peter were members of the Reformed church. Their home in the late 1920s was at 617 North 8th Street. At the age of about 64, she began to suffer from chronic heart disease. Two years later, she experienced a heart attack and lingered for four days before death carried her away on Sept. 2, 1929. W.H. King of the home signed the death certificate. Her remains were laid to rest in Greenwood Cemetery, and the Allentown Morning Call printed an obituary. Rev. Milton F. Klingaman, of the Dubbs Reformed Church, preached the funeral sermon. Son William Henry King dwelled in 1929 in Allentown.
Daughter Emma Acker (1867-1914) was born on July 8, 1867. She married (?) Mertz ( ? - ? ) and dwelled at 730 Chestnut Street in Allentown. She suffered for four years with chronic kidney disease and then became paralyzed. She was admitted to the Homeopathic State Hospital in about 1912 and remained there for the final nearly two years of her life. At the age of 47, she succumbed just four days before Christmas 1914. Interment was in Greenwood Cemetery.
Son George A.E. Acker (1874-1933) was born on Feb. 24 or 26, 1874 in Macungie, Lehigh County. Circa the fall of 1899, when he would have been 25 years of age, he married Carrie V. Hausman ( ? - ? ) of Allentown. The couple produced five offspring -- Helen Acker, Leroy Acker, Harry Acker, Clarence Acker and Edgar Acker. They made a residence in 1912-1933 in Allentown, where George earned income as a furniture maker in the shop of Buhler Furniture Company. George belonged to the Fraternal Music Circle of Philadelphia and the Allen Lodge of the Fraternal Home Insurance Society. Their address was 601 South Fifth Street. George was diagnosed with bladder cancer in August 1932 and underwent surgery in February 1933. Nothing more could be done, and he passed away five months later, at the age of 59, on July 2, 1933. An obituary appeared in the Allentown Morning Call. Rev. Franklin Slifer officiated at the funeral service. Flowers were provided at the service by a host of family and friends, with Carrie presenting the slumber robe. His remains are in repose in St. Mark's Cemetery, with their sons having served as pallbearers.
Son Harvey A. Acker (1879?-1969) is believed to have been born in 1879. He learned the trade of shoemaking as a young man. At the age of 19, on Nov. 26, 1896, he wedded Lulu Stella "Lula" Moyer (Oct. 3, 1882-1946), daughter of James F. and Matilda W. (Wetzel) Moyer of Lower Macungie. News ot their impending marriage was published in the Allentown Democrat. Rev. Eli Keller officiated at the wedding, held in his parsonage in Zionsville. The pastor kept a record of the baptism in his papers. The original volume of his records is housed in the Schwenkfelder Libraryand Heritage Center in Pennsburg, PA. A copy of the typed version, prepared by Raymond E. Hollenbach of Royersford, PA in 1975, is maintained in the Minerd.com Archives. The couple's known children were Annie Amanda Acker, Alverda Knauss, Esther Reinhard, Lillian Cope, Erma Fritch, Herbert Acker, Catherine DeEsch and John E. Acker. Toddler daughter Annie died at age 17 months in Aug. 1902, with interment in St. Peters Church in Upper Milford, and an infant child died in Sept. 1918, with burial in Fairview Cemetery. In March 1914, the family escaped tragedy when their four-year-old son Herbert nearly was killed. Reported the Allentown Morning Call, the youngster was wearing "a hankerechief tied around his neck in true cowboy fashion and an old, rusty 32-calibre revolver stuck in his coat pocket" as he ran across the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks at the trolley viaduct to South Allentown.
The car was in charge of Motorman Victor Silvert and Inspector George Frick was riding on the front platform. Just as the car started across the viaduct Frick discerned in the approaching dusk a form which looked like that of a child and the car was stoped immediately, within only a few feet of the object. It was then noticed that it was a child on the ties, at a point fully sixty feet above the ground. Fearful that the child might fall Frick called out of the front window and called "Stand still." The child did not seem to understand and Frick called out again in German. Even then the child started to walk on the extreme edge of the ties toward the car and stopped right at the front door of the car. It was a pay-as-you-enter car and at first the motorman and inspector were afraid to open the door, for fear it would touch the child and knock it off the trestling. The door was finally opened very slowly and Frick quickly grabbed the child and pulled it to safety in the car. The car was backed off of the bridge and Frick took the child all around the neighborhood, without locating anyone who recognized it. No information whatever could be gained from the youngster, who when asked his name said something that sounded like "Harry Allen." Frick finally took him to the Good Shepherd home, nearby, and then reported the matter to the Police Station. Sometime later the child's mother made inquiries at the station and was told where her son could be found. From the parents it was later learned that the father, who is an engineer working on the night shift at the East Penn Yards, had left home Saturday evening at the accustomed time, around 5.30, and it was thought that the child had followed him at some distance.
Circa 1915, they dwelled at 12 South Ninth Street in Allentown, and provided a home for cigarmaker Harvey J.F. Mohr. Harvey and Mohr were good friends and enjoyed hunting and fishing together. Then when Mohr died in March 1915, he bequeathed his entire estate to Harvey, including $14,000 in gold and cash. Lulu was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Citizens Fire Company No. 2 of Emmaus, the Reformed congregation of the St. Peter's Union Church and its Sunday School class. The Ackers moved to Emmaus by 1920, with Harvey continuing to be employed as a brakeman for the Pennsylvania Railroad and Lulu as a seamstress in a shirt factory. At one time they also lived in Seisholtzville and in Hereford Township, Berks County (until about late 1945 or early 1946). Suffering from an immune system deficiency which allowed easy bruising and bleeding, called purpora, Lulu was bedfast for the last eight months of her life. She was moved in early 1946 into the home of their married daughter Erma Fritch at 168 Main Street in Emmaus. There, she succumbed to death on June 1, 1946, at the age of 63. Son John E. Acker of Macungie signed the death certificate. Harvey lived for another 23 years and remained in their Emmaus residence. He passed away, at the age of about 90, in 1969. Burial was beside his wife in St. Peter's Union Church Cemetery in Macungie.
Son Llewellyn E.S. Acker (1876-1941) was born on Aug. 28, 1876 in Alburtis, Lehigh County. On Nov. 29, 1896, when he was 20 years of age, he was united in matrimony with Kate Ziegler ( ? - ? ), a native of East Greenville, Montgomery County and the daughter of James and Matilda (Schlicher) Ziegler. The wedding was led by the family's pastor, Rev. Eli Keller, who duly kept a record of the event in his papers. The two children born to this marriage were Catherine Sperling and James Acker. They dwelled for a quarter of a century in East Greenville, where Llewellyn worked as a ribbon weaver at the Columbia Silk Mills. Circa 1927, he served as a constable in East Greenville, and then acquired the Hamman Restaurant in Emmaus, where he and the family moved in late December. He nearly died in December 1929 when found "lying in a helpless condition along the towpath,", reported the Allentown Morning Call. He was rushed to Allentown Hospital, and recovered, with his malady blamed on "poisoning believed to have been caused by drinking liquor." By 1938, he became disabled and could no longer work. They sold the contents of their Church Street home in June 1938 and moved into the residence of their daughter Catherine Sperling in Allentown, but may also have retained ownership of their East Greenville house. Their address in the early 1940s was 315 Main Street. Llewellyn contracted heart valve disease which led to an enlarged heart. He passed away at the age of 65 on Oct. 21, 1941. His remains were placed into eternal rest in New Goshenhoppen Church in East Greenville. Kate outlived her husband and continued to shared a home with her daughter at 1006 Walnut Street in Allentown. At her 75th birthday, she was pictured in the Morning Call and was hosted at a dinner at the Walnut Grille, with 50 guests attending
Son Oscar H. Acker (1887-1920) was born on Sept. 21, 1887. As a young man, he learned the trade of cabinet-making. But he moved to Salisbury, PA, where for years he was proprietor of Acker's Hotel. He made his home on Bethlehem Street in Gauff's Hill. Oscar was joined in wedlock with Eleanora ( ? - ? ). They bore three offspring, Herbert Acker, Mrs. Alfred Boyer and Ella Desch. He was socially active and a member of several lodges, among them the Lecha Wonk Tribe of the Order of Red Men, the Washington Camp of the Patriotic Order of the Sons of America, the Allentown Aerie of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and Carrol Countil of the Order of United American Mechanics. Sadly, at the age of 62, and burdened with kidney disease added to cerebral apoplexy, he passed away at home on Jan. 8, 1920. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery. An obituary appeared in the Allentown Morning Call.
~ Son Jonas K. Acker ~
Son Jonas K. Acker (1833-1912) was born on July 10, 1833 (or 1834 or 1835) in Lowhill Township, Lehigh County, PA. In adulthood, he sometimes claimed his birthplace as Berks County. His first name was pronounced with the short "o" sound, as in "John."
At the age of a year and a dozen days, he was baptized in the family church. The family received a traditional, inscribed taufschein, or certificate, spelling out the details, possibly in German. In English, it read:.
To Mr. Henry Acker and his wife Catharine (born Gaumer) was born a son on the 10th day of July, A.D. 1833. This son was born in Lowhill Township, Lehigh County, State of Pennsylvania, in North America, was baptized, and given the name of Jonas on the 22nd day of July A.D. 1834 by Rev. Dubbs. Baptismal witnesses were Jonathan Diehl and Rebecca Diehl, both single.
On Jan. 6, 1856, when he would have been 22 years old, Jonas was married to 18-year-old Katherine "Amanda" Dries (Jan. 14, 1837-1915), daughter of Joseph and Kate (Zimmerman) Dries, also spelled "Driess." Their wedding was held in Kutztown, Berks County, performed by Rev. Isaac Roeller, pastor of the Maxatawny (Siegfried's) Lutheran Church. Their marriage endured for 56 years until cleaved apart by death.
They were the parents of Eugene Acker, Oscar Joseph Acker and Ellsworth "Howard" Acker.
Jonas stood 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighed 160 lbs. He had a florid complexion, dark grey eyes and black hair. In the years leading up to the Civil War, he earned a living laboring in stone quarries and burning lime in company with Daniel Dries. He stated that his occupation of the era was "engineer" -- meaning he probably operated machinery.
During the Civil War, Jonas was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army as a member of the 167th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I. He was enrolled in the Army on Oct. 27, 1862 and served for a term of almost 10 months. His company commander was Capt. Jonas M. Shollenberger. The regiment was ordered to Virginia where was on duty in mid-June 1863 at Fort Suffolk and also perhaps at Fort Mansfield. He was injured badly one day while lifting, carrying and emptying sand bags. In his own words, he recounted that "We were ordered about 11 o'clock p.m. to go out and remove sand bags that were on the fort and in lifting one of them, I slipped and fell with one leg between the bags and the other on the ground and the sand bag that I intended to remove fell across the right side of my body above the hips after which I was taken to camp by Henry Moore, a comrade of the same co." He was not treated in any sort of military hospital but instead "lay in camp 14 days, on duty one night, then laid up over two weeks, on duty again. Then lay four weeks in camp."
He was transferred to Harrisburg, PA in August 1863 perhaps in preparation for honorable discharge. From there, his friend Harrison S.B. Mohr helped take the weakened soldier home to Berks County on Aug. 6. Four days later, on Aug. 10, Mohr transported him from his house to Reading to be mustered out of the military. Two days after he returned home for good, friend Benjamin P. Brown paid a visit and later said "I have seen him entirely disabled by spells so that he could not do any labor of any kind."
After the war, the Ackers resided in a number of places -- Kutztown in 1863, Rockland Township (Nov. 1865) and Mertztown (April 1871). Friend Mohr worked with him almost daily for 18 months. Jonas suffered from chronic diarrhea and is known in 1867 to have lost 4 months in disability, six months in 1869 and seven months in 1872. When named in the 1870 federal census enumeration, Jonas earned a living as a mine worker.
The Ackers kept a family Bible into which were hand-inscribed records of family births. Their book had been published in 1867 by J. Kohler, No. 202 North Fourth Street, Philadelphia. Many years later, these records would help Jonas provide proof of his age for federal authorities when he was seeking a Civil War pension.
The couple pulled up stakes after six or seven years in Mertztown, and in about 1877 relocated to Lancaster County, where they settled in Beartown. Jonas earned a living there as a tanner in 1880 and later as what he called "Confectioner, Huckster." They migrated again after about eight years to Bird-in-Hand, Lancaster County, noted today for large populations of Amish and Mennonite communities. While in Bird-in-Hand, he worked in a tannery with Harry L. Harple, who noted that Jonas often complained of kidney disease and could only perform light-duty work. When he stooped or put pressure on the lower back, his heart fluttered and jumped and he became short of breath. Amanda gave him medicines and other treatments to try to alleviate his discomfort.
In the 1880 census, his name was misspelled "Jones Oker." Their 12-year-old niece Catharine Brown dwelled under their roof that year and worked as a servant girl.
Then in 1885, Jonas was awarded a military pension for his wartime service. [Invalid App. #540.850 - Cert. 896.283]
The couple relocated again circa March 1887 to Rexmont, South Lebanon Township, Lebanon County. In 1894-1895, they were charter members of the United Evangelical Church, with services held in German, later renamed the Rexmont Evangelical Congregational Church. He also belonged to the Col. John M. Mark Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans' organization. Jonas earned a living as a laborer and was considered one of the best known residents of the town.
When the federal census enumerations were again taken in 1900-1910, Jonas and Amanda were retired and continuing to make a home in Rexmont.
He succumbed to kidney disease at the age of 79 on July 31, 1912. Interment was in Cornwall Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery. Members of his GAR post assisted in the burial, among them Jacob L. Rise, George T. Brooks, J.H. Miller, William Oliver and John H. Boltz. F.B. Wetmer of Lebanon provided key details for the Pennsylvania certificate of death, and an obituary was printed in the Lebanon Daily News.
The widowed Amanda was granted her late husband's military pension. [Widow App. #991.827 - Cert. #750.095] Her final address was at the corner of Third and Culvert Streets. She contracted cancer of the liver and, at the end, slipped into a coma. At the age of 78, on Nov. 7, 1915, she passed into eternity.
They were remembered in a Nov. 14, 1970 article about the history of their church.
Son Eugene U. Acker (1857-1929) was born on July 9, 1857, most likely in Berks County, PA. In nuptials held in Fairville, PA on Nov. 7, 1878, he married Mary/Emma Zeiset (Sept. 17, 1859-1926), daughter of German immigrants Henry and Elizabeth (Miller) Zeiset, also spelled "Zieset" and Americanized to "Sites." Rev. A. Warfel presided, with his wife serving as witness. The children born to this union were Harry J. Acker, John Acker, William Elmer Acker and Lillian Violet "Lillie" Hyle. They lived in Beartown, PA in 1887 - Cornwall, Lebanon County in 1888 - Rexmont, Lebanon County in 1912 - and back in Cornwall in 1929. Grief blanketed the family on Oct. 12, 1888, a year after they had relocated from Beartown to Cornwall. Mary and her young son John traveled back to Beartown for a visit. While there, reported the Lancaster New Era, "the child had a bad cold which developed into membraneous croup, and by noon he was dead. The father was notified by telegraph of his sad affliction and came down the next day." Funeral services were held in the home of Mary's relative George Zieset. Rev. Martin and Rev. Zimmerman, of the Mennonite Church, co-officiated at the funeral and burial at Weaverland Mennonite Cemetery. The funeral sermon was based on Psalms 109. Over the years, he supported the family through his work as a janitor at Bethlehem Steel Company. The family were members of the Evangelical Congregational Church, of which he was a charter member circa 1895. Mary became seriously ill a few days before Christmas 1925, with her health declining over the next 10 months. Physicians noted that she suffered from "mental degeneration and insanity." She died at the age of 67 on Oct. 10, 1926. An obituary in the Lebanon Daily News said that she "was a kind and devoted mother and neighbor and was a very faithful member of the United Evangelical church and Sunday School, Rexmont, which she attended faithfully up until her health permitted." Eugene survived her by three years. He was stricken with kidney and heart disease and died at the age of 72 on Sept. 14, 1929. Reported the Daily News, "A large number of friends attended the services after viewing the body. Many friends and fellow workmen viewed the body Tuesday evening at the residence." Burial was in Cornwall, with Rev. W.H. Wieand officiating.
Son Oscar Joseph Acker (1860-1926) -- also spelled "Osker" -- was born on March 5, 1860 in Berks County. Circa 1882, when he was 22, he was joined in holy matrimonial union with 16-year-old Ida V. Yost (1866-1932), daughter of John and Sarah (Smith) Yost. Their known offspring were William J. Acker, Theodore John Acker, Ella Minner and Blanche Wonderly.Oscar was an ironworker. They resided in 1912 in Birdsboro, Berks County and in 1926 in Parkesburg, Chester County, PA, where he earned a living working for Parkesburg Iron Company. He was a member of the Patriotic Order of the Sons of America, and the family belonged to the First Methodist Episcopal Church. On the fateful day of June 5, 1926, while working in his garden, he suffered a cerebral apoplexy and cropped dead at the age of 66. "A neighbor, John Yost, saw the fall and called a physician," reported the Lancaster New Era. "Acker was dead when the doctor arrived." Interment was in Upper Octorara Cemetery. Ida boarded in the home of her married daughter Blanche Wonderly in Parkesburg, Chester County in 1930.
Son Ellsworth "Howard" Acker (1869-1928) was born on July 8, 1869. He was united in marriage with Anna M. "Annie" Zellers (April 21, 1871-1920), daughter of Isaac and Rebecca (Carpenter) Zellers of Lebanon County. Their trio of offspring were Emma Catherine Billingham, Earl Ellsworth Acker and Ralph Isaac Acker. They dwelled in Lebanon, at 1229 Forge Street, where he labored as a machinist. Burdened with chronic kidney problems for five years, Annie was felled by a stroke and died, at age 48, on Jan. 15, 1920. Her remains were lowered under the sod in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery. Howard outlived her by eight years at the address of 2819 West Third Street in Chester, Delaware County, PA. Suffering from chronic heart problems, he died at the age of 58 on Jan. 31, 1928. Burial was in Lebanon. Susie Pasko of Chester was the informant for the official Pennsylvania death certificate.
~ Daughter Catherine Anna "Kitty Ann" Acker ~
Daughter Catherine Anna "Kitty Ann" Acker (1836- ? ) was born in about 1836.
At the age of 14, in 1850, she lived with her parents in Weisenberg, Lehigh County. Nothing more about her is known.
~ Daughter Massya Acker ~
Daughter Massya ("Messiah?") Acker (1841- ? ) was born in about 1841 in Breinigsville, Weisenberg Township, Lehigh County.
The 1850 U.S. Census shows her in her parents' home at the age of nine.
She has not been located in the federal census of 1860. Nothing more about her is known.