Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year's Scan-A-Thon

After a recent trip to Illinois to visit my parents for Christmas I came home with a number of family artifacts that my Mom has acquired over the years as her mother downsized, moved and eventually passed away.  She and I spent Christmas morning going through some of my maternal grandmother’s collection.  I was amazed at what she had acquired in her long life and there was so much to go through. It really was very overwhelming.  My grandmother, Clem Stenger Miars had seemingly kept every card ever sent to her.  She had clipped and saved every obituary she ever read and every funeral card from every wake she attended.  I had seen some of these items before and had already brought home from previous trips quite a bit of stuff that still needs to be scanned, cataloged and preserved.  How would this ever get done and when??  I’m not sure if I scanned all day every day I would ever get it completed.

There was no time for a reflective look at each artifact that we came upon.  I had to make a very quick decision about what I was going to bring home with me on this trip and what would have to wait for later.  I remembered the other family history related items that I had at home still waiting to be processed so I tried hard to temper my need to bring everything with me now.  It was very exciting to come home with some new finds and a renewed feeling of trying to get these artifacts preserved and cataloged.

This past weekend I decided to have a “scan-a-thon” day where all I would do is scan and wait to do the citations and file name adjustments until later.  The priority for this scanning day was anything I had brought home that my Mom wanted back.  That went pretty well and I was very happy with the progress I made.  Now I am trying to work on citations and fixing file names for everything from the “scan-a-thon”.  When I opened up the first file in order to create a citation for it I found in the scanned documents folder my maternal grandfather’s high school diploma.  I do not recall seeing this before so I was very excited to be working on it.  It tells me that Robert Miars graduated from Brimfield Township High School on 26 May 1933.

On the back of that diploma was a list of all 19 members of his high school class of 1933.  I recognized some of the surnames and tried to image what their plans were on that important date.  My grandfather had lost his father the year before his graduation so I would think he was very lucky to be graduating at all. 

This made me realize that I really know very little about my grandfather’s life between the time he graduated from high school in May 1933 and when he married in May 1941.  My to-do list for researching his life has grown because of seeing this diploma.  Where did he live?  How did he make a living? These are just a couple of questions that come quickly to mind.  I will need to create more focused research questions and then follow the normal process to get them answered.

The next document that I came upon in my scanned folder was a “Memorial Record” booklet for my great grandfather, Frank Miars.  In reviewing this I found a photo of him that I do not think I had seen before.  The booklet seems to have been created by one person based on the handwriting.  There are pages in this booklet for names of family members, memorial donations, flowers that had been sent, pall bearers, etc.  I need to review each of these names to see if I know all of them and if not add them to my To Do list for future research.

One of my concerns when I brought home more family artifacts to scan and preserve is the impact on my very limited research time.  I do not have a great deal of time while working full time to do all the research I would like.  I can see now though that putting on my “family archivist” hat for a while is really another facet of my overall research activities and should be included in my research plans.  There is no need to see this work as not contributing to moving my traditional family history research forward.  After looking at just two items I have found holes in my research or new avenues to research for two members of my direct line.  Reviewing these family artifacts is just another facet of this work for me.

So…now what? I have done three or four of my new scanned files and dozens more to do.  Well….I am going to continue to get all of these artifacts scanned, citations crafted and source labels (digital) created for them.  I also want to start a catalog of these artifacts.  I have already found a small scrapbook that I scanned previously but never did anything with after that.  I brought it home again this trip when I did not need to.  Preservation of these original materials needs to happen too.

I was very overwhelmed on Christmas day to find all of these items.  But now I have the outline of a plan for processing them and managing them.  I can also see that they will make my traditional family history research more robust than just vital records or census records.  I can do this….one scan at a time…one artifact to process.

2018 - I am starting out right!  Bring it on!


Copyright ©2018 – Diane Minor – All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Finding The Nufer Sisters

I really want to find out more about my third great grandparents, Martin and Maria Nufer.  There are several research questions I have about this couple.  Included in my research To Do’s for them are the following:

        What is Maria’s maiden name?
        Were Martin and Maria married prior to immigration?
        What are their home towns in Baden Germany?

To this point in time finding the answers to these questions has proven to be an elusive endeavor.   I have been working my way back one generation at a time on my maternal line.  Rosa Nufer Loescher is my great, great grandmother and the fifth child of Martin and Maria Nufer in a family of seven daughters.i   My research to date on Rosa and her children has not turned up any family knowledge or artifacts that would help answer these research questions about Martin and Maria Nufer.  While I continue to look for this couple in traditional records, documents and newspapers I really feel like I need to additionally see if I can find out more about their other children and maybe even find a cousin in that branch of my family tree who has the answers to my questions.  Good idea, right?  But wait…..

Seven daughters….oh my goodness. The idea of trying to identify the families of seven women from 19th century Central Illinois seemed rather daunting.  But I decided that the only way to tackle this research challenge was simple….one daughter at a time.

But what is known about Martin and Maria already?  From Rosa’s obituary it says she was born in Groveland, Illinoisii  My assumption is that if in Tazewell County.  The first time this family appears in the US Federal census is in 1860.  They are in Peoria Ward 1, Peoria, Illinois.  Along with their parents, there are five of the seven daughters - Mary L, Caroline, Josephine, Emily and Rosina (10 months old).

1860 US Federal census - Martin Nufer Family

If Rosa’s birth location is correct in her obituary (that information is suspect in my evaluation) it means this family had only been residing in Peoria for a few months.  The first appearance of this family in a Peoria City Directory of the time was in the 1861 edition where Martin is listed as a “dealer in cattle, hogs, etc.iii

What about this couple’s immigration?  The 1860 census lists the birthplace for the oldest daughter, Mary L (aka Maria Louisa) as Illinois.  But the 1870 US Federal census lists her birthplace as “Baden”.iv  Maria’s birthdate on her death certificate is not direct.  It is written as the number of years, months and days instead.  From that calculation her birth date is 1 Nov 1851.v  In the 1860 and 1870 census records Martin and Maria are listed as being born in Baden also.  I have never been able to find Martin and Maria (separately or together) in a passenger list…..yet.  Martin is not listed in the only extant index of naturalizations for Peoria County, Illinois.  (Note to self:  check Tazewell County naturalizations to see if he was listed there.)  Based on additional census records, city directories and Federal tax lists from the Civil War, Martin and Maria continued to live and work in Peoria, Illinois until the early 1870’s.

My working theory is that they came to America around 1850 or 1851 as a married couple (possibly pregnant).  But where can I find out more the daughters; especially the oldest one Maria Louise?  How can I find their descendants?  In order to do that I really need to find their husbands names.  

Martin Nufer passed away sometime in March  The only record or mention of this passing that I have been able to find is from his probate file from Peoria County, Illinois from 1877.  Evidently he died in Texas and likely was not brought back to Peoria for burial.  There is no record of him being buried at St Joseph’s Cemetery in West Peoria (where his wife is buried) nor any record of a funeral at any Catholic church in Peoria.

In his probate file there is no will and no mention of any property or heirs.  It only includes a request by his widow to be name the Executrix of his estate so that a mortgage maybe settled.

So….no help here in finding the names of his daughters’ husbands.

Based on family information, discussions with my grandmother and other records, I was able to identify married names for two of Rosa’s sisters.  Caroline was married to John Friling and Josephine’s husband was Andrew Brutcher.  Both of these men were from Jubilee Township in Peoria County, Illinois and would have lived not far from Rosa and her husband Frank Loesher.  While this was very nice to find these married names and the descendants of Caroline and Josephine it really did not help me to identify any new information about Martin and Maria.

But wait….listed in the same index of probate files I found online at the Illinois Regional Archives Depository website for Peoria County was a listing for Maria Nufer!!  Given that her husband’s probate file was so small and included no real information I did not have much hope for finding out anything meaningful from Maria’s file.  But, I requested the file and was overjoyed at the results.

Maria Nufer died on 17 March 1882 in Peoria, Illinois.vii  The probate packet contents were just 5 pages including the front cover and included a handwritten will!viii  It reads as many wills do in that it provides instruction about who should administer her estate and what is to be done with her personal possessions.  But at the end of the will it lists each of her daughters and for six of the them their husbands first and last names are included.  Wilhelmina (Minnie) was not married at the time and evidently was still living with her mother.

Finally….I found the married names of 5 of my great great grandmother’s sisters!  Maybe this would help move my research about the third great grandparents forward.

Probate File Transcription - Maria Nufer
Probate File - Maria Nufer
Peoria County, Illinois and Illinois Regional Archives Depository

Source Citation -
Peoria County, Illinois, probate case files, file, no. 2585, Maria Nufer (date),will record no. 4, pages 60 - 61,1882; Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois.

Filed 21 March 1882.

[Page 1 of PDF file]
No. 2585
BOND $ ______________
Letters Granted ______________19_____
Inventory Files_______________19_____
Amount of Appraisement  . . $_________
Amount of Specific Allowance . . $_________
Amount of Sale Bill . . . . . . . . . . . .$_________
Will record No. 4, Pages 60 - 61

[Page 2 of PDF file]
Peoria County,
In the  County Court of said County,
In Probate, March Term, A.D. 1882
PERSONALLY APPEARED in open Court, Harmon Alkis
and John M. Niehaus subscribing witnesses to the foregoing instrument
Of writing, purporting to be the Last Will and Testament of Maria Nufer
late of Peoria County, deceased, who being duly sworn according to law, do
depose and say, each for himself, that the foregoing is the Last Will and Testament of the said
Maria Nufer, deceased; that they subscribed their names thereto as the
attesting witnesses at the request of the said Testator, and in her presense, and in the
presence of each other, on the 4th day of January A.D. 1882
That she then and there subscribed her name thereto in their presence, and
declared the same to be her Last Will and Testament; and that the said Testator at the time
of executing the same as aforesaid was of full age, of sound mind and memory, and under no

Subscribed and Sworn to in open Court, this
21st day of March A.D. 1882
John D McClure County Clerk.
Lawrence Olhmert
John M Niehaus

[Page 3 of PDF file]
Fridalin Braun being duly sworn, deposeth and saith:
That Maria Nufer late of the Town of Peoria
in the County of Peoria and State aforesaid, departed this life at Peoria
in said County, on or about the Seventeenth day of March
A. D. 1882, and that she died leaving a last will and testament to
the best of my knowledge and belief.
                Fridolin Braun [signature]

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 20th day
of March A. D. 1882.
                John D McClure [signature]
                County Clerk.

[Page 4 of PDF file]
In the name God. Amen.  I
Maria Nufer of the City and
County of Peoria and State of
Illinois, being in poor health but
Of Sound and of posing mind and
Memory did make, publish
and declair this to be my last
will and testament.
I desire that my funeral Ex
penses and all just debts to be
fully paid.
I give and bequeth to my be-
loved daughter Wilhelmina Nufer
all my household effects, that
is to say all the personal propo
irty now being or which at the
time of my death shall be in
My house and home.  Except notes
or other o???? in action or money
on hand.
It is my wish and will that
after the payment of my just
Debts and funeral Expenses all of
My Money and property Except
That bequeathed to my said daughter
Wilhelmina shall be divided equally
Between all of My children ????
Mary Braun wife of Fredolin Brown
Caroline Freiling wife of John Friling
Josephine Brutsher wife of Andrew Prutcher
Emma Powell wife of Wm Powell
Rosa Loeshe wife of Frank Loeshe

[Page 5 of PDF file]
Freidricka Miller wife of George Miller
And Wilhelmina Nufer
And I herby appoint Michael
Blank of the City and County as
Executor of this my last will
and  testament fully comprising my
Said Executor to Execute the pror??I?
of the same.

In witness thereof I the said Maria
Nufer have hereunto set my haus and
have this  4th day of January A D 1882

                Maria Nufer [signature]

Signed Sealed, published and declared
By the said Maria Nufer, as her
Last Will and testament in our
presence, who in her presence and
the  presence of Each other at her
request Signed our Names as ??????
to the Same on the on?? above written

                L ???????  Miller [signature]
                J. M. Niehauc [signature]

I decided it would be best to start with the oldest daughter Mary.  It would seem that maybe if there were any letters or documents passed down in the family that maybe they be with her children and grandchildren.  But in looking at the handwritten will, I had a hard time reading the writing and decided that Mary’s last name was Brown.  Her husband’s first name was also hard to make out but it looked like “Fredolin”.  Off I went in search of a “Fredolin and Mary Brown” in Peoria or the surrounding areas.  I came up with nothing in census records or city directories or in church records for these names.  Oh there were lots of Brown’s but nothing with anything close to a couple with these two first names.

Life goes on and this all got set aside for several years.  In 2014 I reread the handwritten will again of Maria Nufer and this time I enhanced and enlarged the scanned image.  This led me to see that the surname was not “Brown” but was instead “Braun”.  Also, “Fredolin” was Fridolin. 
BINGO!  I went back to the Peoria census records, city directories and church records again and there they were.  Fridolin and Maria Louise Braun made their home at 115 Smith Street, Peoria, Illinois starting around 1885.  There are Braun family descendants living at that same address until at least 1946.

There are many, many descendants of Fridolin and Maria Louisa Nufer Braun and their seven children.  There are also some very tragic stories also.  I’ll be writing about some of them in future blog posts.

But back to the other Nufer sisters.  Here are their names and their husbands’ names from Maria Nufer’s probate file along with a brief snopsis of their lives.
Mary Braun wife of Fridolin Brown - This couple had seven children and lived their married life in Peoria, Illinois at 115 Smith Street.
Caroline Friling wife of John Friling - They live in Jubilee Township, Peoria County for a few years and then lived in Peoria for the rest of their married life.  They had seven children.
Josephine Brutsher wife of Andrew Prutcher [surname is really spelled Brutcher] - Andrew was raised in Jubilee Township also and their entire married life was spent here as well.  They have six children.
Emma Powell wife of Wm Powell - I have not been able to find this couple yet or what happened to them.
Rosa Loeshe wife of Frank Loeshe [surname is spelled Loescher] - these are my great great grandparents.  See other related blog posts about this couple.
Freidricka Miller wife of George Miller - I have not been able to find this couple yet or what happened to them.
And Wilhelmina [Minnie] Nufer - She is a mystery.  She may have married Charles Shotte from Kickapoo, Illinois after the death of her mother.

While I have found been able to identify and find four of the seven Nufer daughters and their families, I have not been able to find out the answers to my original questions that I started with.  More research is needed.  More work is necessary.  Ho Hum. 

I have had some small success with autosomal DNA testing.  I found a couple of “cousins” in my AncestryDNA match list that were descendants of Fridolin and Maria Nufer Braun.  But they did not know anything about this couple (in fact I was the one who told them about this couple).  Maybe through more DNA testing and efforts by these two newly found “cousins” we will find some family artifacts that have survived.

I also would like to find a German language newspaper from Peoria from the 1870’s and 1880’s.  Maybe there would be death notices or stories about this family in the pages of that periodical.  Recently I have found another Nufer family in Peoria during the 1860’s - 1880’s as well.  I have now started trying to research them in hopes of finding a connection between that new couple and my Nufer’s.  Maybe that will yield some new clues also.
I’ll just keep trying to find out new information by investigating this family one person at a time!

Links to Previous Blog Posts -
Where Did Martin Nufer Die?

Rose Loescher – The Mystery of Her Birth

Copyright ©2016 – Diane Minor – All Rights Reserved.

i "Mrs. Rose Loescher," obituary, Brimfield (Illinois) News, 22 Sep 1938; microfilm, Brimfield Public Library, Brimfield, Illinois.
1860 U.S. census, Peoria County, Illinois, population schedule, Peoria Ward 1, Enumeration District (ED) 134, p. 40, line 10, household 301, family 324, Rosina Nufar; digital image, Ancestry ( : accessed  3 Dec 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T653, roll M653_216, FHL microfilm 803216.
ii "Mrs. Rose Loescher," obituary, Brimfield (Illinois) News, 22 Sep 1938; microfilm, Brimfield Public Library, Brimfield, Illinois.
iii O. E. Root, compiler, Root’s Peoria City Directory 1861 :   (Peoria, Illinois:  O. E. Root, Publisher, 1861), 92, entry for "Martin Nufer"; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 12 May 2015).
iv 1870 U.S. census, Peoria County, Illinois, population schedule, Peoria Ward 6, p. 109, line 23, dwelling 765, family 765, Mary Nufer; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed 19 May 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll M593_267, page 466A, image 506, FHL film 545766.
v Peoria County, Illinois, death certificate, no. not included  (23 Apr 1893), Maria Louisa Braun, Peoria County Clerk, Peoria.
vi Peoria County, Illinois, probate case files, no. 2097, Martin Nufer (1877);  Illinois Regional Archives Depository System, Western Illinois University, Macomb.
vii Peoria County, Illinois, probate case files, file, no. 2585, Maria Nufer (date),will record no. 4, pages 60 - 61,1882; Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois.
viii Ibid


Yes....I have been AWOL from this blog.  Life has a way of getting in the way.  The 4th quarter of 2016 has been extremely busy.  Work was very, very hectic and then there was the small matter of a kitchen remodel, a new water heater and the holidays.

All of these items kept me from my writing.

I hope to get back on track now and have a more regular schedule.

Thank you for your patience!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Marriage of Francois (Frank) Loescher and Rose Nufer

It is not often in our modern world that we can go back in time to the places and locations of our ancestors.  But with my second great grandparents, Francois (Frank) and Rose Nufer Loescher that is actually possible.  I have written about this couple and their children several times before (see below for links to previous posts).  But how, when and where did their life together begin?

Frank Loescher came to the US from Alsace, France sometime around 1873 based on information from the 1900 United States Census and a record of his naturalization. (1)  It is not known at this time when he made his way to Peoria, Illinois or if that was his original destination when he left his home in Reichstett, France.  But, he appears in the 1877 Peoria City Directory for the first time. (2) 

Transcription - “Loescher Frank, yard man Peoria House, bds same”.

Figure 1 - 1877 Peoria City Directory Entry for Frank Loescher
I infer from this entry that in 1877 he was working as a “yard man” for the Peoria House.  It was a popular and large hotel and boarding house in downtown Peoria at the corner of Hamilton and North Adams.  This entry also indicates he was living there as well.  Then in 1879 he is found working as a brewer and living in another boarding house.  (3)  The Farmers Hotel was at the corner of Bridge Street and Water Street.

Transcription – “Loescher Francois, brewer, 709 N. Water; bds Farmers Hotel.”

Figure 2 - 1879 Peoria City Directory for Francois Loescher
By this time he certainly would have been integrated into the large German immigrant community in Peoria in what is now the South side of town.  Likely he would have been attending the church frequented by the community, St Joseph’s Catholic Church at the corner of Spencer and Prairie Streets (today it is on Richard Pryer Way).

Rose Nufer’s birth place and date of birth are still in question.  But my hypothesis at this time is that she was born in 1859 in Groveland Township, Illinois.  In 1870 we find her and her family living in Peoria’s 6th Ward. (4)  Rose’s parents, Martin and Maria Nufer were well acquainted with Peoria and during this time period they were living at “Madison bluff side 1 below Pecan”….just a few blocks from St Joseph’s Church.

St Joseph’s Church is in the heart of what was the large Germany immigrant community in Peoria.  This seems to be the likely common denominator for how Frank and Rose met.  See the church's website for the history of this church and pictures from the restored interior.  This church community and building from 1879 still stands and is open and active today!

By late 1879 this young couple (he was 31 and she was 20) was applying for a marriage license with the Peoria County Clerk (5).  I wonder what the conversation was within her family about the age difference.  I think it is unlikely that the two families had any connection from their old country.  I strongly suspect that the Nufer’s did not know Frank or any of his family before they both made their homes in Peoria.  What concerns if any did this present for Martin and Maria?

The marriage took place on 2 November 1879 at St Joseph’s and was performed by Father Bernard Baak.  He was a longtime priest at the church.  I have found his name on many other marriage licenses and baptismal records for this family.  The actual church building where this wedding took place was built in early 1879 so Frank and Rose would have been one of the first couples married there.  Witnesses to the marriage are both from the Nufer family testifying to the fact that Frank was a recent immigrant and had no family in the area.  Frank and Rose both signed the marriage license so they must have been literate.  It’s a wonderful thing to me to find a document that has the actual signatures of my ancestors; especially for those that I never knew.

I would encourage anybody in the Loescher family or others in the Peoria area to visit St Joseph’s Church there.  It is a beautiful church and many of the items around the alter (including mosaics, hand carved wood alter) and the pews are original.  Go stand in the place where your ancestors stood over 135 years ago!

Figure 3 - Marriage License - Frank Loascher and Rosa Nufer 

Figure 4 - Marriage License Application - Frank Loascher and Rosa Nufer

Copyright ©2016 – Diane Minor – All Rights Reserved.

Links to related posts -

(1)  1900 U.S. census, Peoria County, Illinois, population schedule, Kickapoo, Enumeration District (ED) 0078, sheet 12-A, line 37, dwelling 231, family 232, Frank Loascher; digital image, Ancestry ( : accessed 20 Jun 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 333, FHL microfilm 1240333.
"U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project)," database and images, Ancestry ( : accessed 13 Sep 2014), entry for Frank Loescher, date of naturalization 26 Oct 1880; citing "National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950 (M1285); Microfilm Serial M1285, roll 36," 2010.
(2)  Ebert & Clark, compiler, Hawley’s City and County Directory of Peoria County 1877:   (Hannibal, Missouri:  Ebert & Clark, Publisher, 1877), 228, entry for "Frank Loescher"; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 4 Oct 2014).
(3)  O. E. Root, compiler, Root’s City Directory 1879:   (Peoria, Illinois:  O. E. Root, Publisher, 1877), 203, entry for "Francois Loescher"; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 4 Feb 2015).
(4) 1870 U.S. census, Peoria County, Illinois, population schedule, Peoria Ward 6, p. 109, line 21, dwelling 765, family 765, Martin Nufer; digital image, Ancestry ( : accessed 20 May 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll M593_267, image 506, FHL 545766.
(5) Peoria County, Illinois, marriage certificate, Frank Loescher and Rosa Nufer, date of marriage 2 Nov 1879, Peoria County Clerk, Peoria.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The French Connection – Rose Loescher’s Letter to Alsace France

As I have written about in previous posts (see below for links), my great great grandfather Francois (Frank) Loescher was born in Alsace France on 2 Oct 1848. (1). He came to the Peoria, Illinois area about 1871 where he began to work in various breweries, distilleries and saloons.  In the spring of 1886 after marrying Rose Nufer and having their first three children, Frank moved his family to Kickapoo, Illinois which is about 15 miles away.

There his family grew and eventually there were 8 children, a family home, several small businesses and no doubt a very busy life.  Frank passed away on 1 May 1902 after a fall down the stairs at his home leaving his young family heart broken and devastated. (2)  After his death, Rose was able to keep up all of the family businesses (including the saloon!).  She earned a reputation around the area as being a formidable woman who did not tolerate any monkey business from her children, grandchildren and the patrons in her saloon.

She must have learned about her husband’s family in Alsace over their twenty two years of marriage together.  There must have been letters back and forth between the Loeschers of Kickapoo and Frank’s family in Reichstett, France.  But what about after his passing?  Did the communication between the families continue? 

As always…there is a story about this!

Back in the fall of 1980 a letter arrived at the post office in Edwards, Illinois. (Edwards is the post office for Kickapoo which is unincorporated.)  It was addressed to the descendants of Rose Loescher, Edwards, Illinois and it was from Strasbourg France.  By 1980 Rose had been dead for 42 years.  Rural areas being what they are and everybody knowing most everybody else, the Edwards post office employees were able to identify a surviving daughter of Rose that still lived in Kickapoo.  The letter was delivered along with all of the rest of the mail of the day. 

That’s right…a letter from France with a minimal address and to the name of a woman deceased for 42 years found its way to a small rural post office and then to the daughter of the addressee.  Amazing.  What excitement there was as news of this traveled around the family and the town.

But, in opening up the letter it was all in French so that would have been the first issue to be confronted.  I do not know if a translation was included in the letter or if my cousins had to get it translated first.  Once they had a translation they read a letter of introduction from a Loescher cousin from Alsace who had come across a letter from Rose Loescher to Joseph Hoeschstetter.  It was dated February 1921.  Joseph was the deceased grandfather of this new French cousin and would have been the nephew of Rose’s deceased husband Frank.  Evidently, this letter was in response to one that Joseph had sent Rose after World War I had ended and mail service resumed across the Atlantic and Western Europe.

Our French cousin wanted to find out if she still had any Loescher cousins and to let them know about this letter that she had found.  (I am withholding her name to protect her privacy as she is still living).  What an amazing find!  First by our French cousin to find the letter in her father’s papers but also to have it shared it back to the US family and then for it to find its way to the right family.

The letter from Rose to her Loescher nephew is in German.  But I do not know if Rose wrote it herself in her own hand.  I also do not know who did the translation and which side of the ocean it was done.  Rose was born in Peoria, Illinois and was first generation with parents from Bavaria.  Was her knowledge of the Germany language strong enough to write this?  I do not know. 

The letter from Rose to Joseph is a small window into the world of my great great grandmother in the early 1920’s rural Midwest.  She comments on the state of life in the US and the start of Prohibition and the impact of this on her saloon.  She indicates that she was concerned about Joseph and his family and hoped they had come through the war ok.  We also get information about the new church in Kickapoo.  She is referring to the current St Mary’s Church that was built in the early 1920’s.  Also Rose makes reference to the Lawrence Lescher family from Colchester, Illinois.  See my previous post about this likely connection to other Loescher family.

Of course all of this brings on more questions.  Did Joseph write back?  Were there any other exchange of letters between Rose and her deceased husband’s family?  What about the Colchester cousins?  Did they exchange letters?  We may not ever know the answers to these questions. 

So what about the French cousin from Strasbourg France that sent this extraordinary letter back in 1980?  She and her family still live in the suburbs of Strasbourg.  She has remained in touch with descendants of Francois and Rose Nufer Loescher in the United States.  In fact, two years ago on a trip to Germany and France that my family and I took we were able to get together and share a meal with her and her husband in Strasbourg.  It was a wonderful experience that none of us will ever forget.  A short time after we returned home from this trip she sent me the civil birth registration for my great great grandfather.  I was very touched and so excited that she would take the time and effort to get this for me.

My family’s French Connection.  It started with my great great grandfather coming to Peoria, Illinois.  It continued with letters his widow exchanged with his family over in Alsace.  It continues on today with the descendants  of Francois and Rose and Joseph.

If any other Loescher family can shed more light on this story I would be excited to hear about that!

Transcription of Translation - Letter from Rose Loescher to Joseph Hoeschstetter – (3)

My Dear Joseph,
I received your letter with joy. I often thought about
you during the war, and I am glad that you came through it
alive. Also I am happy to hear that your Grandmother is still
My children are all married and are blessed with children
of their own. I am a grandmother of 26 little ones which bring
me lots of joy.
I am sorry about the loss of your parents, as well as the
loss of your brothers and other relatives during the war. You
probably had to go through a lot during this terrible war.
Hope it was the last one, but it does not look like that.
Your cousin Lorenz Loescher lives in Colchester Illinois,
he has a big family with 7 children, he is a gardner.
What disturbs me the most i9 your wifes accident.
In America things are not any better. Thank God I am
healthy and have enough for myself. The business is closed
since we can't sell alcohol anymore. All we can drink is water.
What comes next? Thats how you get fat. The American freedom
is gone. In this respect you are better off in the old country.
Thank God, the Elsasser are glad to be reunited with France.
Our Pastor is an Elsasser too, he was born in Rosheim.
We have built a new church and just finished it a month
ago. It is a beutiful building, it only cost about 250,000Marks.
I am sending you and your entire family and Werner and Ann
my best wishes. I will be very happy to hear from you again.
Good health and hope for the best.
Your loving Aunt,

Rose Loescher

Figure 1 - Loescher-Hoeschstetter Letter - Page 1 of 2

Figure 2 - Loescher-Hoeschstetter Letter - Page 2 of 2

Figure 3 - Translation of Rose Loescher Letter to Joseph Hoeschstetter

Links to related posts -

(1)  Copy of Civil birth registration for “Loescher, Francois” from the Counsel General of Bas-Rhin.  This was obtained by a French cousin for the author in 2014.
(2) Peoria County, Illinois, death certificate no. not given (1 May 1902), Frank Loescher, Peoria County Clerk, Peoria.
(3) Rose Loescher, Kickapoo, Illinois to Joseph Hoechstetter, letter, Rose Loescher, Kickapoo, Illinois, to Joseph Hoechstetter, letter, 25 Feb 1921, first correspondence to her husband's family following World War I; Loescher Family files, Strasbourg France.

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