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Hester 'Esther' (Gaumer) Shirer

Hester "Esther" (Gaumer) Shirer was born on Dec. 5, 1807 in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Daniel and Hannah (Baughman) Gaumer Sr

At the age of two, in 1809, she accompanied her family in their relocation to Ohio, settling in Muskingum County, and remaining there for good. 

On July 1, 1831, at the age of 24, Esther married her 34-year-old widowed brother-in-law, Valentine Shirer Jr. (Aug. 20, 1797-1881), son of Valentine and Elizabeth (Kirby) Shirer Sr. The wedding ceremony likely took place in Muskingum County. 

Valentine's first wife, Esther's sister Catherine, had died the year before, leaving Valentine with five young mouths to feed -- James Riley Shirer, Haley Wilson Shirer, Rebecca Leydig, Eunice Crane and Valentine Wills Shirer. Thus as Valentine's second wife, Esther was transformed from the children's aunt to their stepmother. 

The couple produced 11 more children of their own, all daughters except three -- Annette Samantha Lacey, Lydia Ellen Bell Kerr, Eliza Jane Vensil, Winifred Agnes Leydig Lydig, Rev. Daniel Gurley Shirer, Saline Shirer, Hannah Leydig, Mary Charlotte Shirer, Greenwell Reasoner "Green" Shirer, Catharine Mahala Sutton, Sarah Shirer and Cidna E. "Sidney" Shirer. 

Thus in his two marriages, Valentine fathered 17 children. 

They resided on a farm near Adamsville, Adams Township, Muskingum County. 

Sadly, daughter Salina died as a newborn of six days on Feb. 27, 1839 in Adams Township, and daughter Mary Charlotte died at age three on June 1, 1846. Their remains were lowered into the earth in the Bethesda Methodist Cemetery.  

Many years later, in 1916, the book History of Butler County, Kansas mentioned Esther and Valentine and said "The Shirers are of Swiss descent, and the Gaumers came from Germany. The Shirers were prominent in the early day colonization of the country." 

Valentine was a longtime farmer. In about 1833, he and other local men constructed a saw mill on the north fork of Symmes Creek. This is recorded in a Jan. 6, 1946 article in the Zanesville Signal newspaper.

Valentine's farm, western edge of Salem Township, 1852. Library of Congress


Valentine is named in a section of T.F. Williams' 1882 book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio. The text says that he and Esther "remained on the old homestead until his death." 


Valentine passed away near Adamsville on Jan. 24, 1881, likely on the home farm, with interment in the Bethesda Methodist Cemetery in Adams Township. 


Esther survived her husband by 16 years. The farm was handed down to her son in law Samuel W. Sutton, with whom she resided. 


Sadly, Esther entered eternity on Sept. 7, 1897. Burial was in Bethesda Methodist Cemetery. 


Valentine and Esther are named in a February 1983 letter from Elsa B. Haupt of Long Beach, NY to Corinna (Leydit) Talbot of Fresno, CA, discussing Leydig/Gaumer genealogy. In the letter, Elsa wrote: "So you see we have not only Leydig & Martz, in common, but also Shirer's & Gaumer."

~ Daughter Annette Samantha "Nettie" (Shirer) Lacy/Lacey ~

John and Annette (Shirer) Lacy
Courtesy Elsa Bernice Haupt
Daughter Annette Samantha "Nettie" Shirer (1831- ? ) was born on July 8, 1831 in Adams Township, Muskingum County. 

At the age of 28, on April 17, 1859, she married John H. Lacy (1831- ? ) in Muskingum County. Their name also has been spelled "Lacey." 

Together, the couple produced a brood of offspring including Margaret Ann E. Burnside Lacy, Esther Jane Lacy, Isabella Honnold Steele, Estella "Lista" Lacy, Mary Frances Haupt, Charles V. Lacy and Benjamin W. Lacy. 

When the federal census enumeration was made in 1860, the Lacys lived on a farm in Madison, Muskingum County, OH. John is not known to have served in the Civil War. 

The Lacys remained in Madison during the decade of the 1860s and 1870s, with John continuing to earn a living as a laborer. 

The family was plunged into mourning when John died at the age of only 49 on Aug. 11, 1880. The cause of death is not known. Burial was in Prospect Methodist Church Cemetery in Dresden, Muskingum County. 

By 1882, Annette and John were named in the book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio

The widowed Annette relocated to Kansas. Circa 1910, she dwelled in the household of her married daughter Mary Frances Haupt in Summit, Marion County, KS. 

She died in 1912. Burial was in Pleasant Center Cemetery in Potwin, Butler County, KS. 

Daughter Margaret Ann E. Burnside (1856- ? ) was born in about 1856. She may have taken the "Lacy" surname. Single at the age of 25, she lived at home and provided housekeeping. 

Daughter Esther Jane Lacey (1860-1941) was born in about 1860. She was unmarried at age 20 in 1880. In time she was joined in holy matrimony with W.A. Liggett (1851-1923). The only known child born to this union was Ruth J. Cornwell. W.A. is known to have been good friends with Esther's cousin Robert "Bruce" Leydig. Sadly, W.A. passed away in 1923. Esther spent the next 18 years as a widow. She was enveloped by death in 1941. They sleep for all time in Blankinship Cemetery in Butler County, KS. 

  • Granddaughter Ruth J. Liggett (1898-1983) was born in 1898. She married Wesley William Cornwell (1900-1985), son of William Henry and Stella Mae (Hackney) Cornwell. Wesley appears to have been married previously to Blanche (1900-1937) and brought a stepson to the second union, John E. Cornwell. Ruth and Wesley made a residence in Cottonwood, Yavapai County, AZ. Ruth appears to have held an interest in Leydig family history. At Christmas 1982, she and Wesley spoke by phone with cousin and fellow researcher Elsa B. Haupt of Long Beach, NY. Sadly, the following month, January 1983, Ruth succumbed to death. Wesley lived for two more years and died in 1985. Ruth was mentioned in a in a February 1983 letter from Elsa Haupt to Corinna (Leydit) Talbot of Fresno, CA, which said that Ruth had the family Bible of Esther (Gaumer) Shirer "but she didn't even know her (Esther's) maiden name. What a shame I never got to tell her." 

Daughter Isabella Honnold Lacey (1862-1938) was born on Feb. 7, 1862 in Muskingum County, OH and appears to have been named for a relative, Isabella (Lacey) Honnold. In about 1881, at the age of about 19, she wedded Richard R. Steele (Jan. 28, 1857-1923), son of Richard and Mary (Ross) Steele. The pair produced a family of eight, of which only three were living as of 1900 -- Harry L. Steele, Grace A. Steele and Charles J. Steele. The family appears to have spent their lives toiling as farmers in Dresden, Madison Township, Muskingum County. In May 1923, Richard was diagnosed with organic heart disease including heart valve failure. Sadly, after suffering for seven months, he died in Dresden on Dec. 12, 1923, at the age of 66. Isabella outlived him by 15 years. Burdened with hardening of the arteries at the age of 76, she passed away in Madison Township on May 4, 1938. Interment was in Prospect Cemetery, with daughter Grace Mount of Dresden signing the official Ohio certificate of death. 

  • Grandson Harry L. Steele (1882-1974) was born in March 1882. 
  • Granddaughter Grace A. Steele (1885-1948) was born in Oct. 1885. She wedded S.B. Mount ( ? - ? ). Their family resided in Dresden. 
  • Grandson Charles J. Steele (1891-1953) was born in March 1891. 

Daughter Estella "Lista" Lacey (1865-1946) was born in about 1865. She entered into marriage with John F. Swope (1858-1952). She died on Oct. 30, 1946. Interment was in Dresden's Prospect Methodist Church Cemetery.

Above: Newton, KS, home of the Haupt branch of the Shirers. Below: Daniel W. Haupt with his brothers (he's at far right), and his parents, Charles and Susannah (Leydig) Haupt. Courtesy Elsa Bernice Haupt

Daniel W. and Mary Frances (Lacey) Haupt
Courtesy Elsa Bernice Haupt

Daughter Mary Frances "Fannie" Lacey (1867-1947) was born in about 1867 in Muskingum County, OH. She moved cross-country with her widowed mother at some point in her youth. On Dec. 19, 1897, when she would have been 30 years of age, Mary Frances wedded 28-year-old cousin Daniel W. Haupt (July 2, 1869-1961), a native of Dixon, IL, the son of Charles George Frederick and Susannah (Leydig) Haupt and grandson of Daniel and Mary (Martz) Leydig of Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA. Their wedding ceremony was held in Eldorado or Pontiac, Butler County, KS. In announcing the marriage, the Peabody (KS) Gazette-Herald said that the couple would"begin housekeeping at once and have our best wishes for a happy, prosperous future." During their several years of courting, the pair is known to have visited with Harry Leydig in November 1895 and to have gone together to a football game. 

Two sons were born to this union, Arthur Lacey Haupt and James Wilbur Haupt. In 1900, the newlyweds first dwelled on a farm in Summit, Marion County, KS, and they remained through the first decade of the 1900s. By 1910, still in Summit, their family group had expanded to two sons, a mother-in-law, a brother-in-law and a servant. The Haupts also were counted in Kansas state censuses in the middle of each decade. For example, in 1925, they are shown in the population of Harvey County, KS, with Daniel's occupation shown as teamster. They belonged to the Woodland Methodist Church.

By 1930, they were in Newton, Harvey County, with Daniel now working as a helper in a furniture store. The United States Census of 1940 shows the couple in an empty nest back in Summit, with Daniel toiling as a farmer at the age of about 70. In later years they may have migrated to a home in or near Butler County, KS. Sadly, Mary Frances surrendered to death at the age of 80 on July 15, 1947. Her remains sleep for all time in Potwin's Pleasant Center Cemetery, also known as Clifford Cemetery of Burns, KS. Daniel survived as a widower for another 23-plus years. His final address was in Wichita at 1006 Amidon. Sadly, he died in his home at age 91 on Feb. 25, 1961. Funeral services were preached by his pastor, Rev. Dr. Franklyn Edwards. His remains were lowered into the sacred soil next to his wife's. An obituary in the Wichita Eagle noted that he was survived by six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Scenes at the Daniel and Mary Frances Haupt farm. Courtesy Elsa Bernice Haupt
  • Grandson Arthur Lacey Haupt (1903-1992) was born on March 10, 1903. Evidence hints that he was twice married, once to Leah F. Rose (1904-1955) and second to Gertrude (Reimer) Wharton (Aug. 7, 1901-1974). Children produced with Leah are believed to have been Marion Lois "Mary" Haupt, Constance R. Bennett and Charles Daniel Haupt. The family residence was in Wellington, Sumner County, KS. Arthur earned a living as a flight inspector for Boeing in Wichita. 

    Great-granddaughter Marion Lois "Mary" Haupt (1927-2000) was born in 1927. She did not marry. Circa 1992, she was in Wellington, KS. She passed away on Aug. 4, 2000. 

    Great-granddaughter Constance R. Haupt (1928-2000) was born in 1928. She was joined in wedlock with (?) Bennett ( ? - ? ). She lived in Wellington, KS in the early 1990s. The angel of death spirited her away into eternity on Dec. 4, 2000. 

    Great-grandson Charles "Daniel" Haupt (1934-2014) was born in 1934. He was married. His home in 1992 was in Marysville, WA.

Old water tower comes down in Newton, KS
  • Grandson James Wilbur Haupt (1908-2006) was born on Nov. 17, 1908 in Burns, Marion County, KS. During his childhood, he and his parents once visited his mother's cousin, James "Bruce" and Elizabeth Leydig. It marked the first time the boy had ever seen an indoor commode, and he had to ask his mother how to use it. After graduation from Newton High School, he studied for three years at Bethel College and then received a degree in mechanical engineering from the Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. To generate income, he worked in the clerical department of a railroad office in Newton. At the age of 27, on May 31, 1936, he was united in holy matrimony with Kathryn "Annabelle" Thomas (June 23, 1908-2004), daughter of David and Laura Bell Thomas. She was a Wichita native who had taught previously for six years. Together they bore three children -- Elsa Bernice Haupt, Charlotte Ament and Brian Haupt. For more than three decades, James was employed by Cardwell Manufacturing in Wichita, KS. He then joined International Petroleum Services of El Dorado, retiring at the age of 75 in 1983. The couple traveled widely and actively were involved in church, community and political matters, including a membership in West Heights United Methodist Church. He belonged to the Kansas and National Societies of Professional Engineers, the Audobon Society, Studebaker Drivers Club and Botanica. Musically talented, he played trumpet in a band called the Morgan's Midtowners and sang in the choir at church. He also was a volunteer leader for Boy Scouts activities. In the early 1980s, deeply interested in the subject, he assisted his daughter Elsa with questions about the family's genealogy. At that time he has possession of his grandmother Susannah Leydig's trunk which contained photographs, letters, high-button shoes, a dress and more.

    In her own right, Annabelle was "a volunteer, championing the rights of women, the poor and minorities and working for peace and freedom," said the Wichita Eagle. She was an alumna of Southwestern college where she later earned the "Mound Builder" award. The range of her lifetime of commitments and advocacy is stunning -- including the Young Women's Christian Association, Women's Crisis Center, Parent-Teacher Association, Job Corps, Women in Community Service, League of Women Voters, American Association of University Women, Inter-Faith Ministries, Church Women United, Black Historical Society, Urban League Guild, Methodists for Social Action, Riverside Citizen Neighborhood Association, Great Plains Earth Institute, Global Learning Center, FOCUS, Friends of the Public Library, Panel of American Women, United Way, Peace Action, Peace and Social Justice of South Central Kansas and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. For more than three decades, she coordinated the Guidelines television series, and she received the Brotherhood Award of the National Council of Christians and Jews. Annabelle was a long-time member of the West Heights United Methodist Church, serving on the Kansas West Conference of the Methodist denomination. She was an expert in legislative and parliamentary procedures, and once served on the board of directors of the Wichita CPO. She picketed and marched for a wide range of change she felt was needed in her community, among them the need for peace, fair housing and elimination of the military draft and hunger for children. Death swept Annabelle into eternity at the age of 95 on March 19, 2004. James lived to the age of 97 and passed away on Feb. 10, 2006. Obituaries for both were printed in the Eagle.

    Infant Elsa B. Haupt with her grandparents, Daniel and Mary Frances Haupt
    Courtesy Elsa Bernice Haupt

    Great-granddaughter Elsa Bernice Haupt (1937-living) was born in 1937. In 1960, she received a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting, magna cum laude, from Wichita State University. She then received a master of fine arts degree from Southern Illinois University. Here first husband was Clement Delano Blakeslee ( ? - ? ). Together, the couple bore a daughter, Elizabeth Claire Olds. In time they divorced. Elsa wed her second spouse, Frank Falley ( ? - ? ). Their only son was Marcus Amil Falley. The second union also ended in divorce circa 1963. Elsa has resided in numerous communities over the years -- St. Louis for about a decade, Dayton and Columbus, OH, Kalamazoo, MI and Harrisburg, PA. Circa 1976, she moved to Long Beach, NY and was there in the early 1980s. During her time in Michigan, she was hired by the federal government to assist in "poverty programs" based in Grand Rapids. She spent many years with the government and in 1983 was director of the Office of Civil Rights for the Urban Mass Transportation Authority (UMTA), with responsibility for southern Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As of 1983, she was continuing her master's-level education in the fields of transportation planning and engineer at Brookly Polytech. She wrote many letters and made telephone calls over the years to cousins near and far, seeking information about the genealogies of the Gaumer, Leydig, Martz and Shirer families, among others. A handful of her letters are preserved today in the Somerset (PA) Historical Center and Minerd.com Archives. In 1989, when the Leydig family held its 28th annual reunion, at Mt. Lebanon Grove near Glencoe, she was named as the go-to person collecting each branch's information, with the news printed in the Somerset Daily American

    Great-granddaughter Charlotte Haupt ( ? - ? ) wedded (?) Ament ( ? - ? ). The pair did not reproduce. Her home in the mid-2000s was in Kansas City, MO. 

    Great-grandson Brian Haupt ( ? - ? ) married Bonnie ( ? - ? ). They established a residence in Spring Hill, KS. Their two children were Alexandra Briana Haupt and Meredith Haupt. 

Son Charles V. Lacy (1870-1905) was born in early 1870 in Madison Township, Muskingum County. He migrated to Kansas and made a home in Marion County, KS. Death swept him away into eternity at age 35 on Jan. 22, 1905, while in the residence of his married sister Fannie Haupt in Burns, KS. In an obituary, the El Dorado (KS) Daily Republican said "He had lived in the vicinity only a short time but had many friends by whom his death is sorrowfully regretted. His sister, Mrs. E.J. Liggett, of Pontiac, went to Burns this morning to attend the funeral." The Daily Republican also noted in its gossip columns that B.R. Leydig traveled to Burns for the funeral services. He is buried with his mother in Pleasant Center Cemetery in Potwin, Butler County, also known as the Christian Church of Clifford Township. His brother-in-law Daniel W. Haupt agreed to serve as administrator of his estate, with legal advertising published in the Burns (KS) Citizen

Son Benjamin W. Lacy (1873- ? ) was born on Aug. 8, 1873 in Madison Township, Muskingum County. He grew up as a farmer in Madison. At the age of 28, on Oct. 9, 1901, he entered into marriage with Viola King (Dec. 7, 1873- ? ), also of Madison and the daughter of Peter S. and Eugenia (Thayer) King. Officiating their nuptials was Rev. Benjamin A. Stubbins, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

~ Daughter Sarah Shirer ~

Daughter Sarah Shirer (1850- ? ) was born in about 1850 in Adams Township. She may have died young, and is not mentioned in the book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio, published in 1882,. Nothing more is known. 

~ Daughter Cidna E. "Sidney" Shirer ~

Daughter Cidna E. "Sidney" Shirer (1851- ? ) was born in September 1851 in Adams Township. 

Research suggests that she never married. 

 At the age of 27, in 1880, she lived at home with her parents and older single sister Hannah Shirer in Adamsville. She is named in the 1882 book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio

 When the federal census was taken in 1900, she was age 48 and dwelled in Coldwater, Butler County, IA with her married sister Hannah Leydig. At that time, she earned an income as a seamstress. 

Her paper trail ends here for now.

Copyright 2000, 2006, 2011, 2015-2017, 2020-2022 Mark A. Miner

Minerd.com is grateful for records compiled by Corinna (Leydig) Talbot, Elsa Bernice Haupt, Mary Louise (Priddy) Shirer, Gilbert R. Gaumer, Paul K. Gaumer, Mary L. Shirer, the Shirer Genealogy Project, Somerset (PA) Historical Center and National Archives in the preparation of this and the Daniel Gaumer Sr. family biographies.