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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, Rev. Daniel Gurley Shirer, Saline Shirer, Hannah Leydig, Mary Charlotte Shirer, Greenwell Reasoner Shirer, Catharine Mahala Sutton, Sarah Shirer and Cidna E. "Sidney" Shirer.

Thus to 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.


An 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 Wichita 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 Lydia Ellen "Ledda" (Shirer) Bell Kerr ~

Daughter Lydia Ellen "Ledda" Shirer (1832- ? ) was born on Nov. 4, 1832 in Adams Township. She was twice widowed under tragic circumstances and is profiled in a lengthy narrative in T.F. Williams' 1882 book, The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio.

On Feb. 26, 1857, at the age of 25, Lydia married her first husband, William Porter Bell ( ? -1864). Officating was Rev. D. Gordon, a minister of the Methodist Church, and a record was handwritten into the family Bible.

They apparently resided in Muskingum County and produced four children -- Harley W. Bell, Mary Ellen Bell, Daniel Gurley Bell, Ellsworth T. Bell and Ann Elizabeth "Annie" Kerr.

Despite the fact that the children were baptized, no record in writing was kept. During the Civil War, William joined the Union Army on Leap Day 1864, enlisting at Newark or Morgan, OH. He was assigned to duty with the 62nd Ohio Infantry, Company F. Sadly, while in camp near York, PA, he contracted a severe case of diarrhea and lung disease. He was admitted to the White Hall U.S. Army General Hospital at Bristol, Bucks County, PA and gave up his life on Oct. 23, 1864. His remains were placed at rest in a cemetery in Bristol, PA. (Some military documents erroneously place his death in Washington, DC.)

Within 10 months, Lydia was awarded a widow's pension from the federal government as compensation for her sacrifice. [Widow App. #73.442 - Cert. #54.440] When the federal census was taken in 1870, Lydia dwelled in a farming neighborhood near Adamsville that included the families of her relatives Alexander and Jane Shirer and Solomon and Ann Sturtz.

After more than a decade of widowhood, on March 14, 1878, she married again to 66-year-old farmer Watson Kerr (1812-1881). Rev. T.W. Anderson led the nuptials in Muskingum County. Bride and groom were separated in age by 21 years. Watson was "an old, esteemed and well-to-do farmer," said the Cincinnati Enquirer. He had been married before and brought these children to the marriage -- Isaac W. Kerr, Robert H. Kerr, Martha Dorrell, Thomas Kerr and Benjamin H. Kerr. Because she had to surrender her widow's pension upon marrying again, and because one of her children was still underage, it was arranged that her second husband was named as the child's guardian in order to receive the pension payments. [Minor App. #240.839 - Cert. #184.440]

The couple resided on a farm in Adams Township, Guernsey County, OH, and provided a home for their newlywed children (who had married each other) Annie and Benjamin Kerr. Circa 1879, their address in New Concord, Muskingum County and in 1881 Adams Township, Guernsey County.


New Concord, Ohio


Heartache again rocked the family on June 16, 1881 when Watson was killed in a freak railroad accident. "He was bringing a load of produce to town with a spirited team of young horses," reported a host of newspaers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, "when they became frightened at a train of cars near the crossing, west of this place, and, starting to run across the railroad, the engine caught the wagon, demolishing it and throwing Mr. Kerr so violently out as to fracture his skull and produce other injuries that proved fatal in a few hours." A story in the Noble County Republican, reprinted in the Woodsfield (OH) Spirit of Democracy, noted that he "started for Cambridge with a load of wheat and wool, and when he reached the crossing of the pike with the B. & O. near Cambridge, he pulled up to let an approaching train pass. The whistle of the locomotive frightened his horses and they ran across the track in front of the train, the engine striking the wagon in the middle and pitching Mr. Kerr out on a pile of stone near the road, injuring him so badly that he died at noon of same day." Lydia's fate is not yet known.


Daughter Mary Ellen Bell (1859- ? ) was born on April 3, 1859. Henry Decker, M.D. was the physician assisting in the birth. She lived in Muskingum County in 1882 when named in the book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio.


Son Daniel Gurley Bell (1861- ? ) was born on July 16, 1861. P.A. Baker, M.D. provided medical assistance during the birth.


Son Harley W. Bell (1862- ? ) was born in about 1862. His name also has been spelled "Gurley." His early years were spent near Adamsville, Muskingum County, but he was deceased by 1882 and may have died in childhood.


Son Ellsworth T. Bell ( ? - ? ) made his residence in Muskingum County in 1882. He is mentioned by name in the 1882 book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio.


Daughter Ann Elizabeth "Annie" Bell (1863- ? ) was born on Feb. 18, 1863. P.A. Baker, M.D. provided medical assistance during the birth. Annie was a baby when her father died at war. As a teenager, she received a pension of $8 per month from the federal government as support. She married her step-brother Benjamin H. Kerr ( ? - ? ). In 1880, the couple dwelled under their parents' roof and were farmers in Adams Township, Guernsey County.


Stepson Isaac W. Kerr was deceased by 1882.


Stepson Robert H. Kerr lived in Belmont County, OH in 1882.


Stepdaughter Martha Kerr married G.J. Dorrell and dwelled in 1882 in Cambridge, Guernsey County.


Stepson Thomas Kerr made his residence in Cambridge, Guernsey County in the early 1880s.


~ Daughter Eliza Jane (Shirer) Vensil ~

Daughter Eliza "Jane" Shirer (1833-1917) was born on Jan. 30, 1833 in Adams Township, Muskingum County.

In 1855, at age 21, she was united in wedlock with Isaiah Vensil (? - ? ), also spelled "Vincel" and "Josiah Vincent." He was a native of Richmond, VA. They apparently made their home in Dresden, Muskingum County.

The couple's known children were Marion Leroy Vincel, Howard Sherman Vinsil, Esther Wages, Winnie Anes Swope, Hattie Katherine Jewell, Homer Vensil and Adda Vensil.

Suffering from organic heart disease, she died 10 days shy of her 83rd birthday on Jan. 20, 1917. Interment was in Bethesda Cemetery. Son Marion Leroy Vincel of Adamsville signed her death certificate.

They are named in The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio, published in 1882.


Bird's eye view of Dresden, Ohio, early 1900s



Son Marion Leroy Vincel (1860-1947) was born on Dec. 29, 1860 near Adamsville. He married Eliza Ann (1860- ? ). Their offspring were Mrs. Ray Frizzell, Media Biller and Arthur Vensil. They were farmers in the Adamsville area until the early 1940s. In the late 1940s, they lived at 1673 Linden Avenue in Zanesville. They were members of the Bethesda Methodist Church. Burdened with heart valve problems, he died in the Heskett Rest Home in Cambridge, Guernsey County, on May 28, 1947. Ray Frizzell of 1673 Linden Avenue signed the death certificate. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery in Zanesville. An obituary was published in the Zanesville Times Recorder.


Daughter Esther E. Vincel (1863-1936) was born on April 7, 1863 in Muskingum County. She was wedded to Lewis Wages ( ? - ? ). As a widow, she made her home in Portage Lakes, Coventry Township, Summit County, OH. Her address was Rex Road. Afflicted with kidney disease, she died at age 74 on Nov. 8, 1936. Her remains were transported for burial to Hadley, Mercer County, PA. Mrs. Mae Swank of Rex Road was the informant for the Ohio death certificate.


Son Howard Sherman Vensil (1864-1939) was born on April 18, 1864 in Coshocton County, OH. He was a farmer and never married. In the late 1930s, he dwelled on Chestnut Street in Dresden, Muskingum County. Suffering from hypertension and heart disease, he died on Oct. 15, 1939. Miss Ada Vensil of Dresden signed the death certificate. Burial was in the Bethesda Cemetery.


Daughter Winnie Agnes Vensil (1856-1943) was born on Aug. 3, 1856 in Coshocton County. She apparently was named for an aunt. She married William Swope ( ? -1942). Their known children weree Bertha Little, Sarha Dotson, Howard L. Swope, Percy Swope and Russell Swope. They lived on High Street in Dresden, Muskingum County. William passed away on Feb. 13, 1942. Winnie only outlived him by a little more than a year. At the age of 86, Winnie contracted a deadly case of bronchial pneumonia, and when added to her organic heart disease, her health declined. She died on April 9, 1943. Son Russell Swope of Dresden provided details for the certificate of death. An obituary in the Zanesville Times Recorder noted that she was survived by 17 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Funeral services were led by Rev. Frederick Brown of the Dresden Methodist Church. Interment was in Dresden Cemetery. Their son Howard was employed as a railroad telegrapher in Toledo, OH for four decades. He died in  Toledo City Hospital at the age of 67 on Jan. 11, 1952.


Daughter Adda Vensil lived in Dresden, OH in 1943 and in Columbus, OH in 1947.


Son Homer Vensil married Carrie Bell ( ? - ? ) in August 1892. They made their residence as farmers in Adamsville and had three children -- Hobard Vensil, Naomi Foster and Alice Shirer. They were members of the Fairview Methodist Church. In August 1942, the couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a family dinner at noon at their home. An article about the anniversary, in the Zanesville Times Recorder, stated that son Hobart lived at 439 Yale Avenue in Zanesville, daughter Naomi Foster in Adamsville and Alice Shirer in Canton, and that there were five grandchildren.


Daughter Hattie Vensil married Roy Jewell. Circa 1943-1947, she dwelled in Akron, OH.


Homes of Dresden, Ohio, early 1900s



~ Daughter Winifred Agnes "Winnie" (Shirer) Leydig Lydig ~


2nd husband
William Lydig

Courtesy Elsa B. Haupt

Daughter Winifred Agnes "Winnie" Shirer (1835-1907) was born on Nov. 12, 1835 in Adams Township, Muskingum County.

She was joined in holy matrimony with her first husband, carpenter Josiah A. Leydig (? -1864), one of 10 children of Jacob V. and Catherine (Albright) Leydig Jr. of Somerset County, PA. His names also at times have been misspelled "Joseph" and "Lydick." Their nuptials took place in Muskingum County on Dec. 16, 1858, by the hand of Rev. John A. McGaw, when she was 23 years of age.

The couple migrated to Ohio, where they made their home in Adamsville, Muskingum County.

Together, they produced two sons, James Valentine "Jim" Leydig and Robert "Bruce" Leydig.

Some 15 months after the outbreak of the Civil War, Josiah enlisted in the Union Army on Aug. 8, 1862. While at Camp Zanesville, he was mustered into the 97th Ohio Infantry, Company E, commanded by Capt. George Hull. Josiah took part in a number of battles and lesser engagements and attained the rank of corporal.

Tragically, at the Battle of Franklin, TN, on Nov. 30, 1864, he was killed in action. Details are not yet known, nor is the site of his burial.

Grief compounded upon heartache when Winifred's brother in law William Porter Bell also gave his life in the Civil War. In April 1865, she signed her name as a witness on the widow's declaration to receive a military pension.


Above, Battle of Franklin, TN, where Josiah Leydig was killed, as rendered by Kurz and Allison. (Library of Congress) Below: William's name on the Pennsylvania Monument at Gettysburg.



Dot marks where a bullet came to rest in William's back at Hatcher's Run, as drawn by an examining surgeon. National Archives

After five years as a widow, at the age of 33, Winifred married a second time, to her late husband's cousin William Martin Lydig (1840-1886), who was living then in Berlin, Somerset County. His surname also has been spelled "Leydig," but he appears to have considered "Lydig" the preferred version. He was the son of Daniel and Mary (Martz) Lydig and grandson of Jacob and Mary (Sturtz) Leydig. The nuptials were held two days before Christmas in 1868, presided by Rev. William Baker at Zanesville, Muskingum County. Among those attending the wedding ceremony was Winifred's brother Greenwell "Green" Shirer.

In remarrying, she forfeited her right to continue receiving her first husband's pension, but it was assigned to her two sons, who began receiving $8 per month, beginning Dec. 23, 1868, the date of the re-marriage.

The couple produced a son of their own, Harry Spencer Lydig.


William M. Lydig
Elsa B. Haupt/Somerset (PA) Historical Center

William stood 6 feet, 1 inch tall, with a dark complexion, dark hair and brown eyes. He also was a Civil War veteran, having served along with a Jonathan Leydig the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company F, with their name also spelled "Leidig." He enlisted in Berlin on Aug. 25, 1862 and "saw much hard service during the war," said the History of Butler County, Kansas. He is known to have fought on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. The regiment was on McPherson's Ridge along what today is Reynolds Avenue, battling shoulder to shoulder with the First Pennsylvania Artillery, Battery B, as part of the 3rd Division, I Corps. The division was commanded by Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday, who later gained fame as the founder of organized baseball. They repulsed the invading enemy until reinforcements could arrive.

During the Battle of Hatcher's Run on Feb. 6, 1865, William took a gunshot in the the side which deflected upward and inward and became embedded in his pelvis. The bullet was never removed, and he later claimed that it had caused injuries to his spine and kidneys. He was treated at the U.S. General Hospital at City Point, VA for about three months, and then was transferred to a hospital in Wilmington, DE, where he spent two months. With recovery in sight, he was transferred again to the U.S. General Hospital at York, PA, where he remained about a month prior his honorable discharge after the war's end on May 29, 1865.

Before and immediately after the war, William labored with his brothers Dennis and Jacob in the Berlin area. They remembered him as "a stout and able bodied man" before his military service, and "verry ill" afterward.

Within about four years of his return home, William made the decision to relocate from Berlin to Adamsville, Knox County. OH. After arriving there, he and his brother-in-law Greenwell "Green" Shirer worked side by side on the family farm, "harvesting, haymaking, building rail fences, cutting and splitting rails and firewood and hauling same," Green later wrote. William "would frequently place his  hands on his back and complain of intense pain and suffering. He could not labor rapidly but had to be very careful."

Winifred, William and their sons migrated to Kansas in February 1872. Said the History of Butler County, "They came by train as far as Topeka, where the father bought a team and a covered wagon and started in a southwesterly direction, finally settling on a claim which was the northeast quarter of section 18, in what is now Clifford township. They first built a little, log cabin, 12x12 feet, about a quarter of a mile from the Whitewater river. Their nearest neighbor was H.H. Wilcox, who lived a mile north. Here Mrs. Leydig and her husband spent the remainder of their days." Both are named in the 1882 book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio. The 1880 federal census shows the family as farmers, with son James away "in penitentiary."


Horses, buggies and dirt on the north side of Main Street, Peabody, Kansas


As compensation for his wartime wound, William received a military pension. [Invalid App. #191.534 - Cert. #137.077]. Circa 1891, the Leydigs received their mail from the post office of Whitewater, Butler County. Among their neighbors over the years were William Bain, Samuel W. Sutton and Susan L. Haught. At one point their post office changed to Peabody, Marion County, KS. In about the mid-1880s, William's brother Dennis traveled from his home in Northampton Township, Somerset County, PA to pay a visit.


History of William's
Civil War regiment

William was burdened with kidney disease and pain in his lungs, with his urine containing pus and blood. Sadly, with his friend and neighbor Bain at his side, he died in Clifford Township on July 9, 1886. Neighbor Bain helped to wash and dress the body, and noted the inflamed wound scar in the small of the back. Among those attending the funeral and viewing the body was J.L. Shriver of Marion County, KS.

That same year, on Sept. 27, 1886, Winifred began receiving the monthly pension payments. [Widow App. #345.176 - Cert. #304.729] A news story in the El Dorado (KS) Republican noted that she had hosted a visit from her brother Rev. Daniel Gurley Shirer. She dwelled with her married son and family in Clifford Township, Butler County when the census was taken in 1900. She eventually sold the homestead to her son James and lived in the old home for the balance of her years.

She died on March 9, 1907, in James' residence. Noted the Republican, she "had been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church since childhood; she was truly a good woman, a kind, devoted wife and mother, always firm in her christian faith, always a 'friend in need.' She was an invalid several years and bedfast the past month." Her passing also was chronicled in the Walnut Valley (KS) Times.

Circa 1961, the Leydig family of Somerset County began holding annual reunions. In 1989, the 28th annual gathering was held at Mt. Lebanon Grove near Glencoe. Reported the Somerset Daily American:

Dale Bittner offered the prayer of thanks before the meal and Glenda Webreck Bittner, president, called the meeting. Silent prayer was offered for those who had passed away since the last reunion. Recognitions were given to the oldest Leydig woma present, Mabel Leydig, 89, and the oldest Leydig man present, Cloyce Coughenour, 78. Longest married couple was Carl and Gertrude Leydig, 59 years. Newest married couple was Sue Webreck and r.J. Alman. Traveling the greatest distance were Carl and Gertrude Leydig of San Antonio, Texas.


The article named Elsa B. Haupt of Long Beach, NY as the go-to person collecting each branch's information, Joyce ann (Leydig) Knotts of Berlin, PA as having the blank forms, and Jody Bittner, Kim (Bittner) Gillingham and JoAnn Webreck Rohrs for leading prizes and games for children and adults. The group announced plans to visit Comp's Cemetery and the homesteads of Daniel Leydig and Joseph Leydig at the following year's reunion.


James V. Leydig (center) at the Haupt farm in Burns, KS, with, L-R: James Haupt, George Haupt and farm owner Daniel W. Haupt. Below: Men in back, L-R: Daniel W. Haupt, George Haupt, James Valentine Leydig. Women in back, L-R: Mary Haupt, Lula Leydig, Mary Frances (Lacey) Haupt. Women in front, Della Freeman (bonnet), Grace (Guinty) Leydig, Edith Haupt. Front: Ralph Haupt, James W. Haupt, Paul Pentz, Charles Haupt, Arthur Haupt. Courtesy Elsa B. Haupt



James and Grace Leydig
Courtesy Elsa B. Haupt

Son James Valentine Leydig (1859-1940) was born on Oct. 24, 1859 in Adamsville, Muskingum County. Age three when his father was killed in the Civil War, James became the ward of his stepfather. He migrated in February 1872 with his mother and presumably step-father to Kansas, settling on a farm in Clifford Township, Butler County. In a lengthy profile about him, Vol. P. Mooney's 1916 book History of Butler County, Kansas said that at "about fourteen years old he began to hustle for himself, and became a cowboy in the employ of H.H. Wilcox, who was an extensive cattleman, usually keeping a herd of from 1,000 to 1,500 head of cattle on the free range of the early days. Young Leydig received $15 per month. It was the custom to drive the cattle about 100 miles south into the Indian Territory during the grazing season. Indians were plentiful in that section of the country, and trouble with them eventually forced Wilcox to withdraw his cattle from the territory. Young Wilcox shot and killed two Osage Indians whom he caught stealing beef, which was a foolish act, as it was a metter of course that it was the nature of an Indian to steal anything that he needed, and this event proved quite a loss to Wilcox, as he had to move his cattle out of the country, as above stated." These killings may be why James in 1880 was serving time in a penitentiary in Kansas. He eventually was released from prison, and "lived in the saddle as a cowboy about ten years, and has experienced all the various phases of the life of the early day cowboy on the plains," said the History. "In 1885 Mr. Leydig went to Scott county, Kansas, where he took a homestead, and after proving up on it, returned to Butler county in 1887" after the death of his step-father. James then bought the homestead from his mother and remained there farming and raising stock. When a strip of land in Oklahoma became open for settlement, he "made the race for a homestead over the old stamping ground, where he had herded cattle in the early days, and was familiar with almost every foot of it, but when he got to the claim which he had picked he found a 'sooner' who had been hiding in the brush for days, holding down the claim." He added to the Kansas farm acreage with acquisition of an adjoining parcel of land and in 1916 owned 320 acres of "well improved and valuable land," said the History. His farms were productive, and the El Dorado Republican noted in January 1896 that James and T.M. Ralston had "loaded seven cars of hay [at Elbing] the past few days." A similar article in a July 1898 edition of the Republican, on the eve of the nation's entry into the Spanish-American War, said that he "seems to be the champion oat grower of his township; at least he has the finest oats seen on the trip. He was hard at work in his corn field Schley-ing weeds and talking war."


Newton's YMCA (left), with which James V. Leydig was involved


On Nov. 16, 1897, when he was age 37, James married 23-year-old Grace Lenora "Linn" Guinty (Oct. 16, 1873-1945), daughter of Capt. Michael and Sophronia (Wood) Guinty, the father an Irish immigrant and a noted veteran of the Civil War. The wedding ceremony was held at the home of the bride's parents in Fairview Township, and the editors of the Republican provided them "wishes [for] a happy wedded life." Together, the couple produced two children, Lula Loyetta Webreck and James Franklin "Frank" Leydig. The federal census of 1900 shows the family in Clifford, with James' 63-year-old widowed mother and Grace's eight-year-old sister living under their roof. In politics, James was a Republican and served as township trustee for eight years and on the local school board for more than 34 years, starting in about 1882. The family is known to have traveled in 1920 to visit James' half-brother Harry Spencer Leydig and family in the mountains of Fresno County, CA. Over the years, James was actively involved with the local Boy Scouts and YMCA and belonged to the Newton lodge of the Masons. The family's home was located at 330 East Third Street in Newton, and served as the location for their daughter's wedding. Over the Christmas season of December 1935, the Leydigs traveled to Pennsylvania to visit with their married daughter. Reported the Republican, "Mr. Leydig's grandfather is buried at Comp's Church in Southampton Township. His father was born and reared in that vicinity, migrated to Ohio, enlisted in the Union army in the Civil War, and was killed in the battle of Franklin, Tenn., Nov. 30, 1864. Mrs. Leydig's father served four years as a Union soldier in the same war. Mr. and Mrs. Leydig are well acquainted with Governor [Alf] Landon and former Vice President [Charles] Curtis. The latter visited their home upon several occasions." The family left for home on Dec. 28, 1935. Soon after arrival, they were plunged into grief when their son Frank contracted appendicitis and died after surgery. The Leydigs are known to have returned to Berlin in June 1936 to spend the summer with the Webrecks. During that visit, in August, James and a nephew were part of a large contingent of local citizens who boarded a special train bound for West Middlesex near Hermitage, PA. There, they walked a half mile from the station to the Tam O'Shanter Golf Course to join 100,000 others in hearing a speech by Kansas Gov. Landon, the Republican presidential candidate who was campaigning against the incumbent, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Again in late June 1937, James and Grace traveled to Berlin to spend a vacation with their daughter. Sadly, James succumbed to the angel of death on Jan. 3, 1940, at the age of 80 years, two months and nine days. Funeral services were conducted in the First Methodist Church, led by Rev. S.W. Keller and Rev. G.L. Coppedge. His remains were interred in the mausoleum of Greenwood Cemetery in Newton, Harvey County, KS. In an obituary, republished in the Meyersdale (PA) Republican, he was called "a pioneer of northern Butler County." Grace outlived her spouse by five years. About a year before her death, she relocated east to Berlin, Somerset County, PA to live with her daughter. She was felled by old age, hardening of the arteries and a stroke, passing away at age 71 on Aug. 28, 1945. Funeral services were jointly conducted by former pastors of the Berlin Reformed Church, Rev. John N. Bethune of Pittsburgh and Rev. D.D. Stephan of Berlin. The body was transported back to Kansas for burial in Newton, and an obituary was printed in the Republican. A year later, the Meyersdale (PA) Republican referred to James as "a prominent farmer and oil operator in Kansas."


Lulu as "Miss Newton" and Robert as a WWI doughboy - Courtesy Elsa B. Haupt


  • Granddaughter Lula Loyetta "Lulu" Leydig (1898-1946) was born on Aug. 24, 1898 in Butler County, KS. At the age of 29, circa January 1928, she entered into marriage with a cousin, 30-year-old World War I Army veteran Robert Dennis Webreck (Dec. 1898-1979). He was the son of Fannon and Anna Statia "Annie" (Leydig) Webreck of Berlin, Somerset County, PA, and maternal grandson of Dennis and Leah (Troutman) Leydig. Their nuptials were held in Newton, far from the groom's Pennsylvania home, and were performed by Rev. W.J. Shull, an old family friend. A wedding shower held beforehand was attended by Mrs. J.V. Leydig, Mrs. Edith Louis, Mrs. Arthur Haupt, Mrs. E.L. Davis, Mrs. Fred Rose, Mrs. H.P. Comp, Vesta Lewis, Ann Harrison, Alta Hershberger, Bernice Anderson, Lena Shroyer, Fannie Kitts, Hazel McAllister and Elizabeth Krider. In reporting on the wedding, the Meyersdale (PA) Republican stated that "The bride came with her parents to Newton to resided several years ago, and by her sweet, genial disposition has endeared herself to a large circle of friends in the younger and older set with whom she has been associated in both church and social affairs. It will be remembered that at the time of the 1926 Harvey County Fall Festival, she was chosen from a group of popular young women to be 'Miss Newton,' and that she performed the duties as the city's hostess to the festival queen with becoming grace and dignity." The couple went on to bear a brood of three sons -- James Robert Webreck, Richard Milton Werbreck and William F. Werbreck. Robert's wartime service included a posting at Camp Hancock in Augusta, GA as a member of the 110th Infantry, Company C. The unit was considered "Somerset County's famous Company C" and saw action at the Battle of the Marne. Newspaper reports in August 1918 indicate that he had gone missing in action, with his name published in lists coast to coast. By June 1919, it was disclosed that he had been wounded by German poison gas and captured. He spent five months as a prisoner of war, primarily in Hammelburg, Bavaria. His captors were hard on those Americans of German descent, often saying "Aren't you ashamed of coming over here to shoot at your cousins?" In a letter to home, printed in the Republican, he said that "We are treated good here, so don't worry about me. I will be home some day. You can send me some chocolate candy and a few toilet articles, if it isn't too much trouble. You dare not send more than five pounds at a time." Upon his discharge and arrival home, circa 1920, Robert was employed as a fireman with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He also served as a constable, making his residence in Glencoe.

    Robert became embroiled in a controversy in late 1924 when serving as constable for Northampton Township. He tried to apprehend immigrant Steve Krimcrai, a hunter who was trespassing and operating without a permit out of season. Shots were fired, and Krimcrai was wounded. The injured party hired a lawyer and filed a legal claim. Reported the Republican, in which he was pictured, Robert "is a veteran of the World War, having served at home and abroad as a corporal..., and from all that can be learned from his comrades he was one of the bravest as well as one of the best liked members of that outfit of gallant soldiers. Those who soldiered with Webreck in France and at Camp Hancock before sailing for the other side, seem to accept his version of the unfortunate affair..." Ultimately he was charged with pointing and discharging firearms and felonious assault. Circa 1928, upon their marriage, the Werbrecks put down roots in Robert's hometown of Berlin. By that time, Robert had turned to farming as his source of income, as shown in the 1930 federal census enumeration. Lula is known to have inherited the old Leydig family Bible. In August 1941, she and her mother arranged to meet in Kansas with her uncle Harry Spencer Leydig and cousin Corinna Leydig so the latter two could examine the handwritten family records in the Bible. Corinna wrote about this meeting many years later, in February 1983, in a letter to cousin Elsa B. Haupt. Lula opened her Berlin home to her dying mother circa 1945. Sadness enveloed the family when, suffering from heart and kidney disease and bronchitis, the 47-year-old Lula passed away on June 22, 1946. Interment of the remains was in the sacred soil of the Berlin Cemetery. Robert outlived his bride by 33 years. In the mid-1950s, said the Somerset Daily American, he was "operating a large dairy farm in Brothersvalley township in partnership with his two eldest sons, James and Richard Webreck, but plans to retire within the near future." Then in January 1956, he married a second time to Elsie (Rock) Beggs (1902-1987) of Somerset. Elsie was employed at the time as a claims interviewer for the Bureau of Employment Security in Somerset and had been a civil servant for the previous 14 years. The spectre of death carried him away at the age of 81 on July 28, 1979.

Great-grandson James Robert Webreck (1929-2002) was born in about 1929 in or near Berlin, Somerset County. He was a member of the 1946 graduating class of Berlin-Brothersvalley High School. For two years, he served in the U.S. Navy and upon return home worked on his father's farm. On Dec. 15, 1949, in nuptials held in Cumberland, MD, he wedded Barby Lou Coughenour ( ? - ? ), daughter of Jay Coughenour of Jerome, Somerset County. In announcing the wedding, the Somerset Daily American said that "The bride was attired in a navy blue dress with grey accessories and wore a pink carnation corsage." Barby Lou was a 1949 graduate of Conemaugh Township High School and at the time of marriage was employed at the factory of Hoffman and Dorfman Lingerie in nearby Boswell. Offspring borne by this couple were Sandy Webreck, James Webreck, Margie Webreck, Tawyna Webreck and Tina Webreck. James died at the age of 73 on Aug. 26, 2002. Burial was in the IOOF Cemetery in Berlin.

Great-grandson Richard Milton Werbreck ( ? - ? ) was born on (?) near Berlin, Somerset County, PA. He grew up as a dairy farmer. In January 1950, in nuptials held at St. John's Roman Catholic Church of New Baltimore, Somerset County, he was joined in the bonds of wedlock with Rose Ann Will ( ? - ? ), a twin with her sister Mary Theresa Keller and the daughter of Lawrence and Virginia Will. The couple had met in high school and were 1949 graduates of Berlin Brothersvalley Joint High School. They went on to bear six children -- Cindy Werbreck, Richard Douglas Werbreck, Dennis Werbreck, Brian Werbreck, Jeanne Lowry and Keith Werbreck. For decades, starting in about 1970, the couple made their home in the same farmhouse where Richard had been born at 592 Pike School Road, Berlin. They made a living as dairy farmers. She added to their income as a cafeteria worker in Berlin, starting in the mid-1980s. Richard served on his alma mater's school board from 1957 to 1985. He was a member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Berlin, while she held a membership in St. Gregory's Roman Catholic Church of McDonaldton. In his free time, Richard enjoyed horses and reading about animals and the Western United States, while she played cards in the 500 Club and liked to quilt, refinish wood and watch figure skating. Richard was mentioned in a February 1983 letter from Elsa B. Haupt of Long Beach, NY to Corinna (Leydit) Talbot of Fresno, CA, which said that "Richard Werbreck, the middle son of Lula & Bob is very interested in family history but he is a busy dairy farmer so he doesn't have too much extra time. He has a lot of old pictures.." Richard and Rose Ann celebrated their golden anniversary in January 2000 with a reception at St. Gregory's Church and were pictured in a related article in the Somerset Daily American.

Great-grandson William F. Werbreck (1932-2005) was born on May 8, 1932 in Berlin, Somerset County. He graduated in 1950 from Berlin Brothersvalley High School and went on to serve in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. Circa 1953, he was united in holy matrimony with Bernadine Blough ( ? - ? ). Their union survived for a remarkable 52 years until cleaved apart by death. They established their longtime home in Berlin. Their only child was Tracy Wohl. William earned a bachelor of science degree in education in 1960 from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He spent his career teaching mathematics at his alma mater high school. He held memberships in the Berlin post of the American Legion and Berlin Lions Club as well as the Pennsylvania State Education Association. The family grieved at William's death at the age of 73, on Sept. 30, 2005, in Meadow View Nursing Center. The remains were lowered under the sod of the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Berlin, with Rev. Ralph G. Landis leading the service. An obituary appeared in the Somerset Daily American, in which the family requested that any memorial donations be made to the American Cancer Society or Berlin American Legion.

  • Grandson James Franklin "Frank" Leydig (1914-1936) was born in 1914. Little is known of his life. When he broke his arm in August 1919, the news was printed in the gossip columns of the Peabody (KS) Gazette-Herald. In December 1935, he and his parents spent a month visiting Frank's married sister in Berlin, Somerset County, PA, departing for home Dec. 28, 1935. Within a short time of their return home, Frank contracted appendicitis. He underwent surgery in a Kansas City Hospital, but it proved fatal. He died from complications at the age of 21 on Jan. 9, 1936. A short death notice appeared in the Kansas City (MO) Star, and a longer one in the Meyersdale (PA) Republican. His remains sleep for all time in the mausoleum of Greenwood Cemetery in Newton.


Son Robert "Bruce" Leydig (1861- ? ) was born on July 25, 1861 in Adamsville, Muskingum County. He migrated to Kansas in February 1872 with his mother and stepfather. Then at the age of 16, in 1877, he returned to his old home to attend Spencer's Normal School in Adamsville to prepare for a career as a teacher. Upon graduation in 1881, he returned to Kansas where spent three years in the classroom. In 1880, at the age of 18, was marked by a Butler County, KS census-taker as "going to school." Attracted by the prospects of work as a lawyer, he clerked for Judge A.L.L. Hamilton and was admitted to practice in Kansas on May 20, 1885. But when his step-father died the following year, in 1886, Bruce gave up his legal practice to return to the farm and help his brother manage it. At the age of 27, in 1888, Bruce was joined in holy matrimony with Elizabeth "Lizzie" Spier ( ? - ? ), daughter of local pioneer Robert Spier. They went on to produce three children -- Marie Leydig, Robert Leydig and Raymond Leydig. Four years later, in 1890, he returned to the legal field, forming a private firm with Judge Hamilton, an association which lasted for more tha a quarter of a century. He was elected to the Kansas legislature in 1907, serving on the judiciary committee. He also was an El Dorado school board member, city council member and city attorney. On March 1, 1916, he formed a new firm with Karl M. Geddes known as Laydig & Geddes, with offices on West Central Avenue in El Dorado, across the street from the Butler County Courthouse. He is profiled in Vol. P. Mooney's 1916 book History of Butler County, Kansas and authored an essay in the book entitled A Pioneer about the life of early settler A.I. Shriver. In 1922, Bruce and Elizabeth and their married daughter Marie are known to have traveled to the mountains of Fresno County, CA to visit his half-brother Harry Spencer Leydig and family.

  • Granddaughter Marie Leydig ( ? - ? ) - Circa 1916, she was a teacher in the El Dorado (KS) schools. She was joined in matrimony with Will Lathrop ( ? - ? ). The couple in 1923 traveled with Marie's parents to the mountains of Fresno County, CA to visit Marie's uncle Harry Spencer Leydig and family. When named in a February 1983 letter from Elsa B. Haupt of Long Beach, NY to Corinna (Leydit) Talbot of Fresno, CA, the couple was said to be "long dead."
  • Grandson Robert Leydig ( ? - ? ) - He was a student in 1916 at the State Agricultural College in Manhattan, KS.
  • Grandson Raymond Leydig ( ? - ? ) - In 1916, he was a student in El Dorado, KS.


Son Harry Spencer Leydig (1877-1955) was born on April 5, 1877 in or near Clifford Township, Butler County, KS. Dr. J.V. Davis attended in the birth. Harry grew up in Clinton County and attended El Dorado High School, where he was elected 1896 senior class president. This was followed by classes at the Kansas State Normal School in Emporia, and then in August 1898 a teaching assignment in his home district of Clifford Township, at a salary of $32.50 per month. His home in 1899 was in Elbing, KS. At the age of 22, on June 22, 1899, he was joined in marriage with 19-year-old Cora Amelia Linn (Dec. 1, 1879-1959), a native of Cantril, Van Buren County, IA and the daughter of John Marion and Emma Hannah (Morris) Linn. The ceremony was held in her parents' home in the Wesleyan Addition of Salina, KS, with Rev. William Foulkes officiating. The Salina Daily Republican Journal reported that "A few relatives and most intimate friends were present. All wish these worthy young people success, joy and happiness in this life and when the span of human progress has closed with them here that they 'may enter port at some well havened isle where spices bloom and brighter seasons smile'." The couple went on to produce four known children -- Marion Horace Leydig, Corinna Talbot, Lawrence Allen Leydig and Donald Eben Leydig, all born in Kansas -- and Kathryn "Marie" Leydig, Clyde Owen Leydig and Vernon Linn Leydig, born in California. Cora taught music at the time of marriage and enjoyed singing as well as playing the guitar, mandolin and org. In 1902, Harry was a teacher at school No. 47 in Clifford Township, and held a box supper which raised $20 to support the installation of a school library. Then in the mid-1900s, the family moved to western Kansas, some 20 miles from Goodland, where he planted a crop of wheat which was destroyed in a drought.


Goodland, KS, 20 miles east of where the Leydigs lived in a sod house, 1908


To pursue more lucrative wage-earning prospects for their growing family, the Leydigs relocated circa 1909 to northern Arizona, settlingin Ashfork. There, Harry clerked for the Santa Fe Railroad. After about a year, they again pulled up stakes and in 1910 moved to California, where they settled on a farm in Fresno. Their daughter Kathryn was the first to be born in California. The federal census of 1910 shows them near Fresno, with Harry working as a laborer at odd jobs. A 1983 letter by their daughter Corinna Talbot said that:

Dad was never happy in town. He wanted to be out on a farm. So we moved around to various country places, and finally settled in the mountains about 50 miles north of Fresno. A little spot about 8 or 9 miles from us, called Auberry, had a store and postoffice. We were at an elevation of 4000 ft. Dad cleared 40 acres and planted apple orchard and other fruits. We lived in the mountains about 10 years.

Cora made rugs and quilts using any fabric she could obtain, such as fabric and old clothes. She taught her daughters how to crochet, knit and sew. Circa 1916, Harry was mentioned in Vol. P. Mooney's book History of Butler County, Kansas. By 1920, their home was on a farm in Pine Ridge, Fresno County. That year, they received a visit from Harry's half-brother James V. Leydig and family. Then in the 1920s they relocated again to Visalia, Tulare County, CA. The 1930 census shows Harry employed as a milk salesman, with all but two of the children no longer in the household. Federal census records of 1940 show the family in Shasta County, CA, with Harry and son Marion continuing to be farmers, and grandchildren Alice M. Leydig (born 1929) and Leonard Leydig (1936) in the household. In order to draw an "old age pension," and needing to prove his birthdate, Harry contacted his niece Lula who had possession of the old family Bible. Harry and daughter Corinna met up with Lula and her sister Grace in Kansas in August 1941 and secured the key information. The family were members of Jehovah's Witnesses and brought up their children in the faith. At the age of 78, Harry died in Fresno County General Hospital on Aug. 6, 1955. Cora survived her husband by nearly four years. Her address during that era was 364 North Fruit Street. In Auberry, as a resident of Wish-I-Ah Convalescent Hospital, she was burdened with hardening of the arteries and senility. She entered the realm of death on April 10, 1959, at the age of 78.

  • Grandson Marion Horace Leydig (1901- ? ) was born on April 21, 1900 in Butler County, KS. He never married. Having moved to California as a boy, he lived in Visalia, Tulare County in 1930 and, a bachelor at age 30, lived at home and earned income as a laborer performing odd jobs. He died in Tulare County on Sept. 10, 1993.


Corinna Talbot and her son are known to have attended this 1958 Jehovah's Witnesses International Assembly in Yankee Stadium, New York


  • Granddaughter Corinna Ruth Leydig (1902-2001) was born on Jan. 27, 1902 in Burns, Butler County, KS. She wedded Charles Bruno Talbot (June 1, 1877-1953), an immigrant from Leeds, England. They were the parents of a son, Charles Harry Talbot. Charles had come to the United States via Canada. He joined the U.S. Army in 1916 and remained in service through World War I, with discharge on June 4, 1920. As with his father, Charles earned income as a coal miner. From the bite of an infected mosquito, Charles contracted a brain illness called "encephalitis" and suffered for 11 years. Death cut him away in Fresno on May 5 in Los Angeles on Sept. 12, 1953. (Records differ.) Corinna supported herself by working as a secretary in a collection agency. She was a devoted member of the Jehovah's Witnesses. She traveled to New York in 1953 to attend a Jehovah's Witnesses convention held at Yankee Stadium. She returned in 1958 for another convention, in company with her son, held concurrently at Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds. In January 1983, in response to a telephone call to her nephew, the 81-year-old Corinna wrote a series of family history letters to cousin Elsa B. Haupt of Long Beach, NY. At the time, Corinna's address was 364 North Fruit Avenue in Fresno. She wrote a second letter to Elsa in February 1983, saying "The Leydig in California are completely out of touch with the Leydigs in Kansas, and elsewhere... If possible I would like a complete history of the Leydigs back there and maybe I can furnish you with the history of the Leydigs out here." Later in the February 1983 letter, she asked "Where were Dad's parents born? Somewhere back along the line they came from Germany." She liked to do tatting, crocheting, knitting, rug braiding and quilting. Then in a long letter dated May 24, 1983, in addition to spelling out more family details, she wrote: "I have a large apricot tree in my yard loaded with apricots this year. I want to can them when ripe." Copies of these letters today are preserved in the Somerset (PA) Historical Center and the Minerd.com Archives. She also authored a typed manuscript, "Personal History of the Leydigs in California" along with lists of her family's details. Sadly, she passed away just a few weeks before her 99th birthday on Jan. 2, 2001, in Fresno.

Great-grandson Charles Harry Talbot (1931- ? ) was born on Jan. 22, 1931 in Fresno, CA. He was joined in wedlock with Billie Hemmerling Watson ( ? - ? ), with the ceremony occurring in 1952 in Reno, NV. Their only known son was Christopher Douglas Talbot. The couple made a home in Fresno but eventually separated. Son Christopher served in the U.S. Air Force from 1970 to 1972 and married Kathleen Anderson in Grand Forks, ND.

  • Grandson Lawrence Allen Leydig (1905-1949) was born on June 17, 1905 in Butler County, KS. He was a boy when he and his parents migrated to Arizona and thence to Fresno, CA. As an adult he operated a tractor and heavy equipment to earn a living. On Nov. 20, 1926, in nuptials held in Fresno, he wedded Mabel Triplett ( ? - ? ). The Leydig and Triplett families were close, and Lawrence's brother Donald wedded Mabel's sister Mary. Lawrence and Mabel bore two children -- Alice May Langford and Leonard LeRoy Leydig. Lawrence was institutionalized for a time in the Stockton State Hospital, and had a "petty crime record, including that of a 'Peeping Tom'," reported the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. In March 1947, after eluding authorities for a week, he was arrested in Fresno for the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl, Esther Lee Lewis, of Minkler, CA. The San Bernardino County Sun reported that he voluntarily underwent two lie detector tests and that he was "freed today of any connection with the slaying." A 17-year-old man from Los Angeles confessed to the crime and was sentenced to life in prison. Lawrence's occupation in the late 1940s was as a construction worker and heavy equipment operator, and he made a home at that time with his parents. Tragically, on the fateful evening of May 26, 1949, he went to drink in the bar of the Roland Hotel at 1816 Mariposa Street in Fresno. He apparently fell from a stairway on the outside of the building, suffering a fractured skull, leading rapidly to death. His body was found the next day at 6:15 a.m. by an employee of the nearby Pioneer Hotel on H Street. Reported the Fresno Bee, "His identity was established by means of a laundry mark on his underwear. [Detective Sergeant S.G.] Vind said he visited seven local laundries before Kay Yamamoto, the operator of the Sunrise Laundry at 913 G Street, recognized the mark and supplied Leydig's name... Police said there were no signs of a struggle to indicate the victim had been fatally injured in a robbery attack." The Bee published an obituary. Burial of the remains was in Mountain View Cemetery.

Great-granddaughter Alice May Leydig (1927- ? ) was born on Oct. 27, 1927. At the age of 16, on March 25, 1944, she married Texas native Melvin Ocie Langford ( ? - ? ). Their only known daughter Dawna Marie Douglas was born in 1946 in Modesto, CA. They also adopted a son, Robert Dale Neil (born 1970), whose parents had been killed in an automobile accident. The Langfords' home in 1949 was in Riverbank, CA. They divorced, with Alice moving to Milton-Freewater, OR and working in an attorney's office. Daughter Dawna married Raymond Hill Douglas in 1970 in Cambria, CA. They settled in or near Walla Walla, WA and Milton-Freewater, OR and are the parents of Katherine Marie Douglas and Craig Lee Douglas.

Great-grandson Leonard LeRoy Leydig ( ? - ? ) was born on (?). He lived in Fresno in 1949 at the death of his father. On July 8, 1954, he wedded Barbara McMillan at Carmel, CA. They adopted a daughter, Jennifer Ann. Leonard was self-employed in the field of brush and stump shredding in Exeter. He also was president of Leydig & Condon, Inc., which owned 75 acres of plum and orange farms on two ranches near Exeter. He also owned mountain tracts to be developed into residential home communities.

  • Grandson Donald Eben Leydig (1908-1957) was born on March 15, 1908 in Butler County, KS. In infancy, he moved with his parents to Ashfork, AZ. On May 10, 1927, in Fresno, he was united in the bonds of matrimony with Mary Triplett ( ? - ? ). The two families were close, and Donald's brother Lawrence married Mary's sister Mabel. The Leydigs produced two children, a daughter who died in infancy, and a son. Donald's home in the late 1940s was in Dos Palos, CA. Having undergone appendectomy surgery, he was stricken with a blod clot and succumbed to death at age 49 on Oct. 21, 1957 in Merced County, CA. The son is believed to have died from esophageal cancer in May 1983.
  • Granddaughter Kathryn "Marie" Leydig (1910- ? ) was born on June 22, 1910 in Fresno County, CA, the first of the family to be born in California. When she was 23 years of age, on Sept. 24, 1933, she entered into marriage with Earl Sherfey ( ? - ? ). Their wedding ceremony was held in Fresno. The family dwelled in Fresno, where Earl was employed as a postal mail carrier, and Marie was an office worker. One daughter was born to this union.
  • Grandson Clyde Owen Leydig (1912- ? ) was born on June 22, 1912 near Merced, Merced County, CA. On June 11, 1937, he and Marvel Hensley ( ? - ? ) were united in wedlock. Their nuptials took place at Esham, Tulare County, CA. Their union resulted in two sons and a daughter, one of whom was Steven Leydig. They lived in Exeter, CA, where Clyde owned and operated an orchard topping business. Circa 1958, said the Redlands (CA) Daily Facts, he invented a "mechanized tree topper" with seven circular saws that was "the only one of its kind in existence" to help prune large groves of citrus trees. His invention also was mentioned in the Oakland (CA) Tribune (Nov. 17, 1960) and San Bernardino County Sun (April 25, 1975). Clyde was an official with the Jehovah's Witnesses and is known to have conducted funerals over the years in the Fresno area. Upon retirement, Clyde was succeeded in the tree topping business by his son Steven.
  • Grandson Vernon Linn Leydig (1917-1997) was born on June 15/20, 1917 in the mountains about nine miles from Auberry, Fresno County, CA. Unmarried at age 22, he lived on a farm in 1940 in Shasta County, CA as a next door neighbor to his parents. He married Edith ( ? - ? ) who was divorced from her first spouse and brought two stepdaughters into the second marriage. In time the second marriage ended in divorce. He made his residence in 1949 in Sacramento. On Feb. 5, 1958, working for his brother Clyde, he was pictured in the Redlands (CA) Daily Facts preparing to "swign the large, flexible boom of the mechanized tree topper into position." The following year, he was pictured in the April 26, 1959 edition of the San Bernardino County Sun, operating tree trimming equipment while at work in an orange grove, a pruning process in response to poor crops the previous two years. He lived by himself in the early 1980s in Exeter, CA. He was swept away by the Grim Reaper in Tulare County on Sept. 29, 1997.



~ Rev. Daniel Gurley Shirer ~

Son Rev. Daniel Gurley Shirer (1837-1911) was born on April 16, 1837 in Adams Township, Muskingum County.

He stood 6 feet, 2 inches tall, and weighed 170 lbs. with a dark complexion, dark hair and blue eyes. He was a longtime clergyman of the Methodist Protestant Church.

Daniel was twice married. His first spouse was 18-year-old Cordelia Maria King 1842-1891), whom he wed on March 22, 1860. She was the daughter of George and Elizabeth (Drummond) King. Their two known children were Hampton L. Shirer and Harlan Jay Shirer.

The federal census of 1860 shows the newlyweds living in Adams Township.

During the Civil War, on Feb. 26, 1864, Daniel traveled to Newark, OH to join the 62nd Ohio Infantry, Company F. He was promoted to corporal of his company. He received his honorable discharge at City Point, VA on Aug. 23, 1865, having served for 18 months.

Circa 1883, he was pastor of the Methodist Protestant Church in Waterloo Township, Muskingum County, OH, and is mentioned in the book History of Hocking Valley, Ohio. The text says that membership at the time was 52 and "is at this time growing stronger." Daniel served as pastor of a Methodist church in Pleasantville, Fairfield County, OH circa 1880. In 1882, he was named in the book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio. He relocated to Kansas, and in 1888 was in Wichita, Sedgwick County. J.C. Sirvis, M.D., knew Daniel during his years in Kansas and said he was "a strictly moral man in all things." In September 1891, Daniel left an assignment at Spring Hill, Johnson County to a new Methodist Protestant Church pastorate in North Ottawa, Franklin County, KS.

Around that time, Cordelia learned that her parents were dangerously sick back home in Dresden, Ohio, and she returned to see them, only to take ill herself and die on Oct. 16, 1891. Burial was in Prospect Methodist Church Cemetery in Dresden, Muskingum County. News of her death was printed in Daniel's local newspaper, the Ottawa (KS) Daily Republic.

At Thanksgiving 1891, after just a month as a widower, Daniel preached on Thanksgiving Day on the topic of "Elements of National Greatness and Strength." He often penned other church updates that were published in the Daily Republic. His church in North Ottawa hosted the first annual convention of the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor of the Methodist Protestant church of the Kansas Conference in May 1893, and Daniel provided remarks of welcome. On Leap Day 1892, Daniel was awarded a military pension for his wartime service. [Invalid App. #1.095.174 - Cert. #887.347] He claimed that he suffered from heart and bladder problems, catarrh (mucus of the nose and throat) and fistula (rectum infection). Circa 1894, Daniel was in Fort Scott, Bourbon County, KS and also in Topeka, Shawnee County, and by July 1898 had moved to Argonia, Sumner County.

He married again, at the age of 59, on Aug. 27, 1896, to 41-year-old Ohio native Ida McCoy (1855-1925), the daughter of Lewis and Judith (Nessly) McCoy. It was Ida's first marriage, and at the time, she made her home in Rochester, Beaver County, PA. The ceremony was held at Wichita and performed by Rev. G.W. Saunders. Daniel and Ida eventually relocated to southwestern Pennsylvania and in 1903 dwelled in Rochester. By 1906 they made their home across the state line in Chester, Hancock County, WV but moved back to Rochester, where they made their home at 490 Connecticut Avenue in the 2nd Ward.

There, at the age of 73, and suffering from chronic cystitis, Daniel died on Jan. 15, 1911. Among those attending his funeral were Martin Eckelberry and T.O. King. His body was sent to Dresden, OH for burial.

Ida then went to live with her sister and brother in law, Olive and Stanley Mahan in Rochester at 460 Connecticut Avenue. In April 1916, she began to receive her late husband's pension. [Widow App. #1.075.467 - Cert. #819.947]. The amount of the payments each month was $30. While in Rochester, Ida joined the Rochester Free Methodist Church. The Beaver Falls (PA) Tribune once said she was "a licensed evangelist of the Pittsburgh conference." She suffered a paralyzing stroke and was an invalid for several years.

She died in her sister's home at the age of 70 on Jan. 13, 1925. Her remains were transported to Brownsdale, WV for interment in the Nessly Chapel Cemetery. An obituary in the Pittsburgh Press said she was survived by two brothers, William Baum McCoy and John J. McCoy. [Find-a-Grave]


Builders of Topeka 1956
Son Hampton L. Shirer (1861-1940) was born on Jan. 7, 1861 in Ohio. In his 20s, Hampton relocated to Kansas with his parents during the decade of the 1880s, where he eventually resided in Topeka. In about 1890, at the age of 29, Hampton married 22-year-old Kansas native Lillian B. Whiting (1868-1951), daughter of A.B. Whiting, said to have founded the Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka as a permanent source of funding for Washburn College, the YMCA and YWCA. The Shirers produced two children -- Mary H. Lee and Hampton Francis Shirer. Circa 1891, he was employed as secretary by the T.J. Kellam Book and Stationery Company in Topeka and in 1897, working with John F. Alford, founded the Kansas Book Company which he ran for the rest of his life. The book Builders of Topeka 1956 states that the company served as "publishers' distributing agent for text books in Kansas and [was the] first school book depository in the nation." He also was a renowned singer and once was called "the leading tenor of the west." In December 1893, he helped organized a ladies' quartet conceret at Lukens Opera House to benefit the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War veterans' organization.Then in April 1896, he is known to have performed at the Rohrbaugh theater in Topeka. The family enjoyed camping and made annual trips to Centennial, WY. He died on March 16, 1940, with burial in Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka. [Find-a-Grave]


  • Granddaughter Mary H. Shirer ( ? - ? ) married Amory Lee ( ? - ? ). Circa April 1918, the Lees lived in New York, with Mary employed in wartime censorship.
  • Grandson Hampton Francis Shirer (1894-1977) was born on Oct. 10, 1894 in Topeka. As a boy of 11, his poem "In the Forest" was published in St. Nicholas magazine. He was tall and of medium build, with blue eyes and brown hair. He attended the Washburn School of Engineering and helped design and construct sets for collegiate plays in Topeka. "While in Washburn he had charge of the college shop and at one time made with the tools and equipment available an automobile which would really run," said the Topeka Daily Capital. He then went on to study architecture at the Boston School of Technology. During World War I, he lived at 1157 Fillmore in Topeka but underwent training for Red Cross ambulance service in France. He was promoted to sergeant at the training camp in Allentown, PA, and was in charge of specialized mechanical services, including training soldiers how to repair their equipment in the dark. On May 20, 1917, he was united in matrimony with 24-year-old Pauline Haynes (1894-1975), an instructor in Parsons Art School in New York, with the ceremony taking place in Topeka, where both were members of the Topeka Art Guild. Pauline was an artist in her own right which included etchings, monotypes, decorated lacquer and glassware. The couple produced two known offspring, Sarah Elizabeth Shirer (born 1920) and Hampton W. Shirer (1925). After the war, Hampton returned to his studies at Boston Polytechnic. They made their home in Wellesley, Norfolk County, MA. Hampton is credited with the architectural design of the Wellesley Hills Branch Public Library circa 1928. He spent seven years with the Boston firm of Maginnis and Walsh and was involved with design of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. In 1937, they returned to Topeka. When his father died, Hampton assumed his position as president of the Kansas Book Company. Circa March 1953 to June 1955, he returned to Washington to be in charge of the shrine's working drawings. Their home address in 1956 was 105 Greenwood Avenue and his office at 911 Adams Street. His portfolio of accomplishments also includes design and construction of mechanical devices for the research division of the Christian Science Maintenance Department. He became a trustee of Washburn College and was a member of the American Institute of Architects, Saturday Night Literary Club, Wellesley Society of Artists, Mulvane Art Center, Topeka Guild, Topeka Camera Club, the Fan Guild of Boston and the National Fire Protection Association. As a photographer, in July 1973, Hampton's works were among a traveling exhibition curated by the University of Kansas under the name "The Perceptive Eye." Pauline died in Topeka on Sept. 12, 1975. She is profiled in the book Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists. Hampton survived her by two years and died on July 3, 1977. Burial was in Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka. Their daughter Elizabeth married (?) MacNeil and their son Hampton was assistant professor and research associate in biophysics at the University of Kansas circa 1956.


Above: Hampton's profile, Builders of Topeka 1956. Below: his project, the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception



Son Harlan Jay Shirer (1863- ? ) was born on Jan. 19, 1863 in Ohio.



~ Daughter Hannah A.C. "Han" (Shirer) Leydig ~

Daughter Hannah A.C. "Han" Shirer (1841-1909) was born on March 1, 1841 in Adams Township, Muskingum County.

As a youth, she joined the Methodist Episcopal Church and was a lifelong member. Hannah is known to have attended the wedding of her widowed sister Winifred Leydig to William M. Lydig in Zanesville, Muskingum County just before Christmas 1868.

In 1880, U.S. Census records show that Hannah was single at the age of 37 and living with her parents and 27-year-old single sister Sidna E. Shirer in Adamsville. She was still not yet married when named in the 1882 book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio.

But later that year, on Feb. 24, 1882, at the age of 41, she married 55-year-old Emanuel Leydig (1827-1905). Emanuel was the widower of Hannah's first cousin, Rebecca (Shirer) Leydig, who had died two years earlier on April 17, 1880, of the family of Valentine and Catherine (Gaumer) Shirer Jr.

In marrying Emanuel, Hannah became the step-mother of his six children -- Mary E. Shaw, Eliza J. Harrington, Christiana "Ann" McKee, Jacob V. Leydig, Carrie Shook, Emma Thompson, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Martin and Ida F. Leydig.

He immediately brought Hannah to Iowa, where he had resided for years near Greene, Butler County. They remained in Greene for the balance of their lives, on a farm in Section 13, Township 93, Range 17. In 1900, the federal census enumeration shows the couple living on a farm in Coldwater Township, with Hannah's younger sister, Cidna Shirer, residing in their home and working as a seamstress.

Sadly, Emanuel passed away in 1905.

Hannah survived him by four years. Reported the Greene (IA) Recorder, she "was a great sufferer for many years, but bore her affliction with patience and uncomplaining." She died at home in Greene on Aug. 11, 1909, at the age of 68 years, six months and 11 days. The day she died, the Recorder stated that she had passed "at her home on the west side of the river, where she has lived for sometime" and said she was "the second wife of E. Leydig who died several years ago." The next week, the Recorder printed a longer obituary which did not not list any children or step-children.


~ Son Greenwell Reasoner "Green" Shirer ~

Son Greenwell Reasoner "Green" Shirer (1846-1919) was born on March 28, 1846 in Adams Township, Muskingum County.

At the age of 19, after the tragic death of his brother in law William Porter Bell in the Civil War, Greenwell on April 20, 1865 signed his name as a witness on the widow's declaration to receive a government pension. Then on Dec. 23, 1868, in Zanesville, Muskingum County, he attended the wedding of his widowed sister Winifred Leydig to William M. Lydig.

In Adamsville on Sept. 24, 1874, when he was age 28, Greenwell married Mary Ellen Fisher (Aug. 14, 1850-1892), daughter of German immigrants Casper and Catherine Fisher.

They produced nine children -- Bernice Luella Strickler, Christian Fisher Shirer, Camilla Bushnell Odgers, Murle Roxanna Shirer, Bessie Karlyn Heslat, Ohio Kate Knudtsen, Clyde Branton Shirer, Hazel Elizabeth Hesla and Ralph Melville Shirer.

In 1882, Greenwell was named in the book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio. They migrated to Iowa in late 1883 or early 1884 and settled in or near Greene, Butler County.

The family grieved when Mary Ellen died in the Greene area on March 1, 1892.


Snowy Greene, Iowa, with the water tower and school in view at left


As a widower, Greenwell lived in Iowa City, Johnson County. He died in Iowa City on Sept. 16 or 19, 1919.


Daughter Bernice Luella Shirer (1875-1948) was born on Sept. 10, 1875 in Adamsville, Muskingum County. She married Frank Strickler ( ? - ? ). She died on June 24, 1948.


Son Christian Fisher Shirer (1877-1944) was born on July 10, 1877 in Adamsville. He was married twice. His first spouse was Alma Bragg ( ? - ? ). His second bride was Emma McCrery ( ? - ? ). Christian passed away on March 23, 1944.


Daughter Camilla Bushnell Shirer  (1879-1971) was born on Oct. 24, 1879 in Adamsville. She wed Charles Odgers ( ? - ? ). She passed into eternity in Santa Rosa, CA on June 8, 1971, at the age of 91.


Daughter Murle Roxanna Shirer (1881-1886) was born on Feb. 19, 1881. She survived the family's migration to Iowa but died there at the age of five and a half on Nov. 6, 1886 in Greene, Butler County.


Daughter Bessie Karlyn Shirer (1883-1940) was born on Jan. 14, 1883 in Adamsville. She married Syvert A. Heslat ( ? - ? ). They migrated to California, where Bessie died on Nov. 30, 2940.


Daughter Ohio Kate Shirer (1884- ? ) was born on Oct. 12, 1884 in Greene, Butler County, IA. She was united in wedlock with Edward S. Knudtsen ( ? - ? ).


Son Clyde Branton Shirer (1885-1952) was born on May 9, 1885 in Greene, Butler County. He was married twice. On Nov. 28, 1911, when he was 26 years of age, he married Dorothy B. Geier (Aug. 11, 1873-1952). The couple eventually established a home in Southern California. They bore at least one child, Wayne Arthur Shirer. Evidence suggests that they may have divorced. Clyde later wedded his second wife, Marion Clark ( ? - ? ). Ex-wife Dorothy passed into eternity in Orange County, CA on Jan. 13, 1952. Clyde died in Pierce County, WA on Jan. 15, 1952.

  • Grandson Wayne Arthur Shirer (1912- ? ) was born on Sept. 2, 1912 in Black Hawk County, IA. In a wedding ceremony held in San Diego County, CA, on June 17, 1961, he was joined in the bonds of matrimony with Mary Louise Priddy ( ? - ? ). Circa 1987, Mary Louise actively was researching her spouse's Shirer/Gaumer roots, and corresponded with Minerd cousin-researcher Eugene F. Podraza. They exchanged information, and today an original copy of her pedigree chart is preserved in the Minerd.com Archives.


Daughter Hazel Elizabeth Shirer (1888-1970) was born on March 7, 1888 in Greene, Butler County. She married Noris S. Hesla ( ? - ? ). They relocated to California, where Hazel passed away on Aug. 26, 1970.


Son Ralph Melville Shirer (1890-1970) was born on April 1, 1890 in Greene, Butler County. He was wedded to Olive Zella Kainz ( ? - ? ). They made their home in Van Nuys, CA. Ralph passed into eternity in Van Nuys on May 22, 1970.



~ Daughter Catharine Mahala "Kate" (Shirer) Sutton ~

Daughter Catharine Mahala "Kate" Shirer (1848- ? ) was born on Oct. 16, 1848 in Adams Township.

When she was 19 years of age, on Dec. 22, 1867, she was united in marriage with Samuel W. Sutton (1845- ? ). The ceremony may have been performed by J.M. Shirer.

They resided on a farm near Adamsville and had three children, among them Bertha P. Sutton, Mary E. Sutton and Alice M. Sutton.


Local hotel, a landmark in Adamsville

In the 1890s, they provided a home for Kate's widowed mother on the home farm, and the mother eventually died on Sept. 7, 1897. By 1900, census records show that the Suttons had migrated to a farm in Washington Township, Marion County, IN.

Kate was felled by a stroke at the age of 79 and died on Aug. 17, 1928. Burial was in Indianapolis, IN. A.E. Hanks of Adamsville was the informant for her official Ohio death certificate.


Daughter Bertha P. Sutton (1869- ? ) was born in about 1869 in Adamsville. 


Daughter Mary E. Sutton (1871- ? ) was born in about 1871 in Adamsville.


Daughter Alice M. Sutton (1877- ? ) was born in February 1877 in Ohio. She moved to Indiana with her parents in the late 1890s and is shown there, unmarried at age 23, in the 1900 census.



~ 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, 2020-2021 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.