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John McLeland, father of Thomas Asher McLeland, took the unusual step of applying for a Civil War Service Pension based on the service of his deceased son James R. McLeland.  J.R. McLeland (the first in a long string of J.R. McLelands in this family culminating with my father) died, unmarried, of disease at Fort Scott Kansas, in 1861, before he had the chance to fire a single shot.  His rank at his death was 2nd Lt., Company F, 3rd Kansas Infantry Volunteers.

J.R. was John McLeland’s second son.  But John was far from running out of sons with James R.’s death.  At the time of J.R.’s death there were 3 other sons in the household and another on the way. However, at the time John McLeland applied for his son’s pension, the family had lost 2 sons and 3 daughters and John McLeland had outlived 3 wives.

I wasn’t sure, when I wrote away for this pension file, exactly what I’d receive.  I’d never seen a pension application of this type before.  When the thick packet arrived I but it aside for a few days.  I was busy with other things.  Then, in the quiet of a Sunday evening I opened the envelope and almost immediately started cheering.  I hit the biggest jackpot of my 20 years in Genealogy.  (Confession – I was a newbie and the pink highlighting is mine – Arrgh! and thank heaven for good scanners.)

Affidavit of John McLeland Civil War Pension claim #441463

Not only does this affidavit give me the names of all of John McLeland’s wives and the dates of their marriages, it also gives me the dates and places of their deaths.  And if that wasn’t enough, the affidavit names each of John’s surviving children and gives their complete birth dates!  What more could I possibly ask?

Well, in the packet there are affidavits signed by John’s oldest daughter Caroline McLeland Gallaher Livesey and documents signed by his oldest daughter by his second marriage Mathilda McLeland Hill and by her husband John Hill.  In addition there is a date and place of death for John McLeland and a record of the guardianship procceding undertaken by John and Matilda Hill shortly before her father’s death that detail his extremely poor physical and mental health.

I guess you could say, not only did James R McLeland give his name to my father, but he gave his family to me!

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caroline-decker-mcleland

Once T.A. returned  to Deer Creek, from the Civil War, his married life truly began.  He and Caroline Decker McLeland began married life as farmers on the rolling prairies of SW Kansas. Over the next 20 years, they had 8 children and buried 3 as infants. Life was not easy for them but they got by.  Surviving letters from Caroline are full of ill health, family moving away and weather trouble.

As the surviving  McLeland children grew up one by one, they moved away from Allen County, mirroring the migratory ways of the country around them.

Joanna, the oldest married Henry Clay Taylor and began a rootless life as the wife of a salesman.  The Taylors lived in Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair and some of the McLeland’s visited them and went to the Great White City. Sarah Jane McLeland spend considerable time with her older sister, helping her through illnesses and other family trials

James Riland McLeland, their oldest son was born on a family trip back to Frankfort Indiana.  He is most likely named after his paternal great grand parents – John McLeland and Jane Rulon/Rulond/Riland.  James was the first of the family to attend school past the local upper school.  A graduate of the Kansas City Dental College he moved to Pleasanton, Linn County, KS where he put down roots.  He married Nellie Valentine Whitman, daughter of a respected Pleasanton pioneer and merchant.  After the birth of his first son, George, J.R. became mayor of Pleasanton.  He was mayor when his mother Caroline died in 1912.  The Pleasanton newspaper printed her obituary with the headline, Mayor’s Mother Passes.

Sarah Jane McLeland, T.A.’s second daughter never married.  For a number of years she filled the traditional role of spinster sisters and unmarried daughters.  Moving around the family residences she took care of sick family members and kept house for unmarried brothers.  But at some point , Sarah went to Secretarial College and became a career woman.  She worked as an Executive Secretary for Berlesser and Isaacs in Kansas City until her retirement in the 1950s.

Thomas Albert McLeland – T.A. jr. married a local girl and settled into Iola Kansas, not far from his parents but not on the family farm.  T.A. jr andGeneviere, his wife had two daughters Lucille and Winifred spent their entire lives in the Iola area.

The youngest surviving son, Benjamin Clifford McLeland, B.C. moved from Allen County to other Kansas counties and then spent some time in Oklahoma.  He apparently spent the last several years of his life in New Mexico.  His life is hard to trace.  Bsed on the meager evidence of family photos and census entries he worked in the early oil business and then for a railroad.  B.C. and his wife, Bertha had two children, Rollo and /Augusta and adopted a second daughter Jesse Young.  I have been completely unable to trace Rollo after his induction into the Navy in 1920.  Austa apparently died quite young.  Jesse married late in life and died in Texas where her husband worked in the oil industry.

Once their children had moved away T.A. and Caroline  moved into the “city” of Kansas City, KS and Thomas went to work for the Federal Government. He was 59 when he began his second career as a government employee. In 1894, he was a tagger for the Department of Agriculture. By 1907 at age 70 he was a stock inspector making $1200 per year. I know his salary because it was published in the Annual reports of the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1906. Report of the Secretary of Agriculture. Departmental reports.

Caroline Decker McLeland died in 1912 with her oldest son and youngest daughter by her side.  T.A. worked for the Department of Agriculure until shortly before his death in 1917 at the age of 82.  During their lifetimes, the telegraph, railroad, automobile, telephone, residential gas and electrical service and early telephone service were all introduced to the world.  I know that they traveled by train, electrified their home in Kansas City and sent at least 1 telegraph.  T.A. and Caroline were ordinary people who were also swimmers in the fast rushing tide of history.  I am proud to be their descendent.

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In 1847 two families  immigrated from Bavaria to Iowa.  They were closely related – a sister and brother and their families.  Both families had relatively high education levels, they both came with some skills and a moderate amount of money and both families settled in Dubuque County, Iowa.  But they had very different lives in America.  First let’s look at the Lattner Family.  Joseph and Veronica Wieser Lattner brought their three sons to the U.S. in 1847.  After some initial roving the family settled in Dubuque County, Iowa.   Here is a biographical sketch of their eldest son.

Paul Lattner
Extracted from Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties, Iowa, 1894. Reprinted by Higginson Book Co., Salem, Massachusetts, p. 212

PAUL LATTNER, now deceased, was for many years one of the most prosperous and influential businessmen of Worthington. He was a native of Germany, having been born in Volketshousen, June 29,1832, and was the eldest of three sons born to Joseph and Veronica Lattner. The father of our subject was likewise a native of the Fatherland and was born February 4, 1803, while his good wife was born the same day and month but in the year 1810.

Joseph Lattner was a mechanic and upon emigrating to the New World with his family in 1847 located at Port Jarvis, N.Y., where he was employed with the railroad force in the construction of the New York & Erie Road. Three years later he moved to Zanesville, Ohio, and while there was contractor for the Lake Shore Road. He departed this life in 1852, and after his decease his widow and children spent a year in Hamilton, Ontario, after which they moved to Niagara Falls, N.Y.

The subject of this sketch, in company with his brothers Jacob and Wendelin, also followed contracting, building many roads in the west, among the last work of the kind being a three-mile track for the Dubuque & Pacific, now the Illinois Central Road, in this county. R. B. Moran, who let the contract, failed in business and the brothers were obliged to accept a large amount of land in payment for their services. In 1860 they laid out the now thriving town of Lattner’s and opened up in the mercantile business. The following year the Lattner brothers erected a steam sawmill in the place and in 1864 completed the construction of the woolen mill. The firm was a most prosperous one; the brothers amassed a considerable fortune and continued together until 1872, when the connection was dissolved.

Paul Lattner conducted the mercantile trade in the above place until 1886, when he disposed of his interest, and a year later we find him located in Worthington, where his younger brother, the Hon. Wendelin Lattner, was engaged in the mercantile business. Our subject followed farming near the city for three years after coming here, and in 1880 opened up a hotel, which he carried on in the most profitable manner until his decease, which occurred January 14, 1891.

Our subject served for many years as Justice of the Peace at Lattner’s, and was consequently known as Squire Lattner. He also held the position of Postmaster of the above place, and in 1884 was appointed to the same position at Worthington by President Cleveland. He was Notary Public for some time, and in 1875 was brought prominently before the public as a candidate for the Legislature and was defeated by a very small majority. He had filled the position of Township, Clerk eight years. He was a citizen always on the side of every social and moral reform and none knew him but to respect and love him. As a friend he was stanch and true, and the poor and distressed found in him a cheerful helper, to whom no appeal was made in vain.

Paul Lattner was married in Independence, Iowa, November 15, 1857, to Miss Amanda Lesher, a native of Ohio, and of Dutch ancestry. At his death our subject left a family of fifteen children, nine sons and six daughters. The eldest, Jacob F. is editor of the Cedar Rapids Journal. Wendline H. is one of the proprietors of the Kansas City Star. Samuel B. is engaged in the hardware business in Worthington. Joseph is a tinsmith in the employ of his brother Samuel. Paul is an engineer at Kansas City; John, George, Peter and Raymond are at home with their widowed mother. The eldest daughter, Mary Amanda, is now Sister Mary Boniface, of the Franciscan Order of Dubuque. Susan is the wife of P. Vandever, of Dyersville; Clara is Mrs. John Klassen, residing in Granville, this state, where her husband is engaged in the hardware business; Ella, Rosa and Anna are at home. The family occupies a pleasant home in Worthington, which was built by Mrs. Lattner after the decease of our subject.

Samuel B. Lattner, the third son of our subject, was born at Lattner’s, February 5, 1862, where he was given a good education. When only twenty years of age he engaged in the livery business in Worthington, and continued thus to operate for three years when he disposed of his stables and opened up a hardware establishment and has built up a large and profitable trade. He also handles agricultural implements and owns a large warehouse stocked with all kinds of carriages and buggies, to which branch of business he gives his personal attention. On the death of his honored father he was appointed Notary Public in his place, and is still the incumbent of the position he has been Village Clerk since the incorporation of the place, and also has been Treasurer of the School Board for the past five years. Like all of his ancestors he is a Democrat in politics and a devout member of the Catholic Church.

Samuel Lattner was married in 1885 to Miss Mary, daughter of Daniel Gerhart, a retired farmer of Hopkinton, and this state. To them have been born three daughters, Emma, Laura and Rebecca. This gentleman occupies one of the finest residences in the place. It is pleasantly located on an elevation just south of the business portion of Worthington and commands a good view of the surrounding country. Samuel Lattner has ever borne his part in the development and upbuilding of his community and is a prominent and influential citizen, highly respected throughout this section, where he has a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

Next up the story of Veronica Wieser Lattner’s brother Anton Wieser and his family’s life in Iowa.

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I was sent this information by a very kind researcher from Salzbergen, Germany.  I am, regretably, very late in sending her information in reply.  Sorry Karin – it will come.

The information comes from the parish records of St. Cyriakus, Salzbergen, Hannover, Germany. These records are not on microfilm at the LDS Family History Library. Anstoeter in German is usually spelled Anstoter with an umlate over the o.

Johannes Theodorus Anstoeter was a farmer in Hummeldorf, born 10 May 1809, died 26 November 1871 in Hummeldorf Jungehusling.
father – Bernhard Anstoeter
mother Adelheid Berning

Johannes married, 24 September 1844, as his first wife Maria Aleid Husling of Holsten, born 25 September 1820 and died 28 July 1849 in Hummeldorf.
Maria Aleid Husling’s parents were:
father – Jan Berend Jundge Husling
mother – Susanna Niemery

Johannes married second, on 21 November 1849, Anna Catherine Dusing of Hesselte who died 7 August 1868 in Hummeldorf
Anna Catherine Dusing’s parents were:
father – Heinrich Dusing
mother – Margaretha Evers.

Johannes and Maria Aleid had the following children baptised at St. Cyriakus Salzbergen

1. Johan Bernard  born 26 July 1845 Hummeldorf  died 7 March, 1903 in Hummeldorf
2. Herman Bernard Dirck born 4 September, 1847 Hummeldorf (whom we knew as John Herman, but who named one of his sons Bernard!)

Johannes and Anna Catherine had the following children baptised at St. Cyriakus, Salzbergen:

3. Gerhard Heinrich born 15 December, 1851 Hummeldorf

Herman andd Gerhard emigrated to Iowa in about 1869.  According to Karin they were probably draft dodgers. Gerhardt and Herman emigrated with two of their Dusling cousins from Salzbergen. They took ship from Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

“John” Herman Berhard Ansoteter, married first Elizabeth Erdman and after her death he married her youngest sister Gertrude. John Herman died 8 FEB 1915 in Dubuque County, Iowa.

Gerhard Heinrich Anstoeter died 24 April 1896 in Templeton, Carrol County, Iowa.  He married Catherine Schlichte.

According to Karin the surname Anstoeter means a person or family which lives at the borderline of two countries (from the german word anstossen “to border at”).   The Anstoeter family lived, in the middle of the 19th century, at the borderline between the Kingdom of Hanover and the Kingdom of Prussia. The farm still exists at the same place,  now is is on the borderline between two German states Lower-Saxony and Northrhine-Westphalia.  This is a rare surname.  All of the Anstoet[t]ers in the United States descend from Herman or Gerhardt.

The only other Anstoetter I know to have emigrated to the U.S. was Anna Adelheid Anstoetter, who was of a previous generation.  She was born in 1800 and married Gerhardt Ovel in 1829 in Salzebergen.  She and Gerhardt emigrated in the 1850s and she died in Delaware County, Iowa in 1878.  She was the younger sister of Johannes Theodorus and therefore the aunt of Herman and Gerhard.  It is quite probably that the Antoetter young men lived with she and Gerhardt Ovel when they emigrated.

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(thanks to my cousin Darrell for catching several typos in the post – they have been fixed. Any existing errors are my own, sadly) This photo of Thomas Asher ( T.A.) McLeland is one of a pair (much large and with the details painted in) that hang in my front hall. The other is my great great grandmother Caroline Decker McLeland. Thomas and Caroline led ordinary lives. I’m going to spend the next few posts talking about Thomas’ life as I’ve put together the pieces so far. I’m not going to include sources – at this point. Once I’ve posted the whole thing, I plan on moving it to my website The McLeland-Wieser Family with sources etc. I already have many photos of T.A. and Caroline’s family on the site. Check them out.

Thomas Asher McLeland was born, 1835, in either Wayne or Clinton Counties, Indiana to John McLeland and his wife Matilda Asher. Thomas, or T.A. as he was known most of his life, was the third child and first son for John and Matilda. Shortly after the birth of their second son, James R. McLeland, Matilda Asher McLeland died. John wasn’t the kind to raise a young hopeful family on his own. He remarried almost immediately to Martha Jane Koonz a young widow with one son. John and Mathilda had several children so T.A.’s adolescence must have been full of the chaos of younger brothers and sister.

Many of T.A’s mother’s family lived nearby, including 2 Uncles and an Aunt. By the time T.A. was 20 his father had been once more widowed and had remarried again. Now he again had a household full of young half siblings. John had also moved his continuously growing family to Boone County, Indiana where he was running a general store and becoming very active in the local Christian Church. Perhaps the household was just too full, perhaps he saw economic possibilities, perhaps he felt a closer kinship with his Asher relatives. Whatever, the reason, at the age of 22 T.A. and his only full blood brother, J.R. moved with their Asher Uncles to Allen County, Kansas.

They arrived at the height of the terrorism and political skullduggery called “Bleeding Kansas.” Although Allen County wasn’t at the heart of the troubles, the massacre at Marais des Cynes was only about 60 miles away. The area around Iola had been heavily settled by Free Staters, making it a prime target of the raiders from Missouri. T.A. and Thomas Asher, William Asher and Alvin Asher settled in the area of Deer Creek Township well away from the majority of the trouble.

Living nearby was a household of 2 families newly arrived from Illinois. William Decker, his second wife Catherine, his daughter Caroline and his younger brother Alfred and family had migrated from Pennsylvania to Illinois. There William and Catherine’s 3 young sons were born. The families arrived in this tense and volatile part of the territory just a few months before the Asher and McLeland families. Shortly after their arrival William Decker died. His widow, left alone with 3 very young children remarried almost immediately. And almost immediately William’s estate became mired in controversy. Alfred Decker and the former Catherine Decker tangled in court several times. Among the deponents in one episode was Thomas Asher McLeland.

Shortly after giving his testimony in 1861, T.A. married the orphaned Caroline Decker. Like many young married men in the early 1860’s, T.A. left his bride and joined his brother in the the Kansas volunteers, both in the cavalry. T.A. saw limited “frontier” duty, guarding rail lines etc. Many years later his pension file would relate that most of his service was away from the main battlefields but was just as muddy, tiring, disease ridden and nearly as bloody as the more “glamorous” service of his cousins. His younger brother never saw combat. James R. died of disease at Fort Scott , KS before his training was completed. Many years later T.A.’s elderly father applied for a Civil War pension based on the service of his deceased son James.

By the time T.A. came home from the war, his Asher relatives had nearly all migrated across the bloody Kansas border into Missouri, leaving Caroline and her step family waiting for T.A. to return. I have no idea if William Asher was pro Confederacy but the timing of his move seems odd. Alvin and Thomas Asher served in the Union army. And T.A. and his children kept in regular touch with Thomas Asher and his family. Whatever wounds may have been given during the Civil War appear to have been mended fairly quickly at least among some of the family.

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ben-and-lydia-wedding-1919.jpg This lovely photo shows Bernard Joseph Anstoetter and Lidwina Kramer just after their wedding in Dyersville, Iowa, December 1919. My mother in law, child of Ben and Lydia had one of the rarest surnames I’ve ever researched. Every person in the United States with the surname Anstoetter/Anstoeter was directly related to her within 3 generations. All of them descend from 2 brothers who arrived in the US about 1868. This also appears to be a very rare surname in Germany. It’s always a bit of a shock to search for a name and have almost nothing turn up! However this has its good points. Anything I post or write about the family is sure to be found and read. As a result I’ve just been blessed with wonderful instance of Genealogical Serendipity.

The Anstoetter men hailed from Hummeldorf near Salzbergen Germany. Neither Hummeldorf or Salzbergen are large towns even today. So you can imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail from an official of the Historical Society for Salzbergen. She was interested in finding out more about these former citizens of her town. And it turned out she had access to the unmicrofilmed church records of St. Cyriakus in Salzbergen. So a gift from heaven!!! (more…)

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Following up on the legend of the death of Moses Gould in 1816, I had some questions. Would a logger’s death have been so commonplace it wasn’t recorded in a local newspaper? Was it likely that Moses was working as a logger? The rest of his family appear to have been primarily ship carpenters and farmers. What was the life of a logger like in this very raw period of Maine life?

Being a librarian I turned to print sources first 🙂

The University of Maine Bulletin, (series 2 #37, 1935, pages 13+) published an entire issue, over 150 pages on “A History of Lumbering in Maine 1820-1861” The following snapshot of the dangers and rewards of a lumbermans life is taken primarily from that bulletin.

In the 1820’s, a lumberman worked 4 months a year during the dead of winter. He could earn, on average, 75 cents per day at a time when a bushel of corn cost 60 cents. The men boarded in a lumber camp at a cost of 25 cents per day. If he was careful with his money, he could come out of the woods at the end of the winter with close to $60 in his pockets. Of course that assumed that he hadn’t spent anything at the camp store. And over a long winter it seems likely that he would need to purchase some items, a new shirt, perhaps or some tobacco. Still, that was a lot of money for the early 1800s. And the work was theoretically seasonal. Young farmers, working hard in Maine’s thin soil and short growing season to provide for their families, may have been lured by seemingly big money. The newspapers and government reports of the 1830’s and 40’s are full of gloom and doom scenarios about lumbering killing agriculture in Maine. They asserted, probably with much truth, that loggers made poor farmers. They planted late and since their oxen had spent the winter in the woods with the logging teams, they had poorly manured fields. So naturally they had poor crop yields and the cycle was perpetuated.

Camp life was brutish. Sabbath was rarely celebrated. The lumber camp consisted of 10-50 men, from several lumber teams. They lived in rough log structures with open central fires. The central fire was used for cooking as well as warming the bunkhouse and was never allowed to go out. Death from fire or smoke inhalation was a constant fear. Meals typically consisted of bread, pork and beans. Consumption of strong liquor was commonplace. It was believed that alcohol would keep off colds and fevers. The men worked as long as there was light with which to see. Fatigue and cold undoubtedly played a major role in the constant danger of the work.

A team consisted of 6-9 men who worked together all winter long and had sometimes worked together for years. The boss set the pace of the work, determined which trees would be felled next and when the felling portion of the season would end. The choppers selected, felled and cut the logs. The swampers cleared for the logs. The barker and leader hewed the bark off of the tree on the drag side of the log and got the logs ready for the teamsters. The teamster looked after and ran the “haul.” They were in charge of the teams of oxen (later horses) who pulled the logs to either the river or a designated storage site. The teamsters usually earned the most money and provided their own oxen and harness.

Once the weather began to break the log drive began. The drive, predecessor of the cattle drives of the 1880’s, was the laborious process of rafting the logs down river to the port of sale, usually Brunswick or Topsham for the Androscoggin River. This was the most dangerous part of the lumbering process. Breaking the landing – rolling the logs into the stream and maybe cutting into the ice to get the logs moving was very dangerous work, so was breaking a log jam which was hard wet work that required agility and good judgment even when very tired. Between 1831-1868 (in just 5 newspapers) there were 25 drownings reported during The Drive. And it is highly probable that the newspapers didn’t report every death.

Whether the unfortunate man was crushed by a tree he was felling or while breaking a landing or he drowned while breaking a jam “such accidents had to be charged up to the hazards of the industry. The victim of a logging accident was usually buried in two flour barrels, his grave was soon forgotten but occasionally his fate might inspire some crude poetic effusions [in the local newspaper].” page 102

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