The Life of John Slicker Part 2

This is part two of a two-part series narrating the history of John Slicker’s life. Part one of this series https://aslickerfamilyhistory.com/2017/07/12/the-life-of-john-slicker/ gives a brief narrative of John’s life from 1857, the year he was born, until 1890. This second part highlights events in John’s life from 1890 until 1929, the year he died. As you read part two, you may notice that I have not documented the sale of the property John and Malissa owned in Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. I’m not certain if I had a copy of that property deed and misplaced it; or I just didn’t look for it when I was at the Indiana County Courthouse. Nonetheless, I hope to find it. If I do, I will be updating this post to include the sale of that property. So, if you are interested in knowing about that sale, you may want to check back in a month or two.

August 30th, 1890 Malissa signed a property deed agreeing to pay three hundred and fifty dollars for two lots in Apollo Borough.[1] Five years and two months later – on November 5th, 1895- John and Malissa sold their two lots in Apollo for one thousand dollars.[2] They moved the family to Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. On December 10th of the same year, Malissa purchased eight acres and forty and six-tenths perches. Malissa agreed to pay four hundred dollars for this plot of land.[3] It is here, John and Malissa’s sixth son, William Eugene, was born December 13th, 1896.[4]

January 7th, 1892 John’s mother, Magdlena, passed away. John and Malissa were still living in Apollo. Although I have not found any written record, it is probable that John returned to Webster to attend the funeral service. Malissa who had just given birth three weeks earlier to their sixth child most likely didn’t make the trip, but rather stayed home to tend to the newborn and the other Slicker children.

The year was 1900. Twenty years had passed since John and Malissa were united in marriage. During these twenty years they had moved from Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania to Apollo, Armstrong County to Conemaugh Township in Indiana County. Over the years John went from digging coal in the mines of Webster to working as a catcher in a rolling mill. His eldest son, Frank, now seventeen, joined his father in the rolling mill as a matcher. Malissa with help from son, Samuel, age 15, was farming the eight acres of land she and John owned. It seemed the family worked together to make life better, but it wasn’t easy. Both John and Frank had been unemployed eight months between June 1st, 1899 to June 1st, 1900. Although Malissa purchased the eight acres in 1895, they were still carrying a mortgage.[5]

The year was 1910. By 1910 Frank, Samuel, and Ruth had married and left home. Frank, Samuel, George, James and Ruth’s husband were working at the sheet iron mill. John Slicker had left the mills and turned to farming the land. Malissa and the younger two children were probably helping with the farm work. In the years following 1901, John and Malissa had welcomed young Fred Manners into their home. Fred was listed as an adopted son in the 1910 United States census. John and Malissa were still carrying a mortgage on their property.[6]

The year was 1914. On October 23rd, 1914 John and Melissa agreed to pay three hundred dollars for lots eighteen and nineteen in Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Each lot had frontage of forty feet on a public street then called Brick Road. The lots extended one hundred twenty feet from Brick Road to an alley.[7] Those two lots would become Malissa and John’s last purchased property.

The year was 1917. On February 23rd, Eva Stinogle Vogel, John’s eldest half-sister passed away.[8] She was seventy years old. It is unknown whether John returned to Webster for the funeral service. Eva is buried next to her mother at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Monongahela, Pennsylvania.

The year was 1920. It was the start of the Roaring Twenties. The coming decade of economic prosperity and political and cultural change began with women being granted the right to vote, and the enactment of the Volstead Act which closed every bar, tavern and saloon in the United States marking the era of Prohibition. A greater part of the population lived in the cities and small towns than on farms. An increasing number of women were entering the work force. Many American families had extra money to spend; and they spent it on consumer goods – electric washing machines, refrigerators, and vacuum cleaners, radios, ready-to wear clothes, and automobiles.

Despite the major political and cultural changes taking place in America, one cultural norm remained almost intact – families living close to one another. And thus, we find John and Malissa Slicker living on Brick Road, Washington Township (now present-day borough of Oklahoma), Westmoreland County; nearby and on the same road, we find John and Ruth Slicker Hardwick and their four children, Albert and Matilda Slicker Seighman and their three children, George M. And Bessie E. Slicker and their two children, and Samuel and Ethel Hardwick Slicker and their five children and Ethel’s mother, Violet Hardwick. John and Malissa’s son, Frank is living with his wife, Estella, and their five children across the river in the borough of Apollo.

At the time of this writing, I have been unsuccessful in locating James C. and William Eugene in the 1920 census. William’s wife, Lela, and their six-month old son, Eugene, are living with Lela’s parents on the west side of Warren Avenue in Apollo.

All the Slicker men, except John, were working in a steel mill. John was a general merchant and owned his own shop. His adopted son, Fred R. Manners was still living with John and Malissa. Fred was seventeen and working as a utility boy for the railroad.[9]

The year was 1921. John must have received the news from his half-sister, Mary, about the passing of his half-brother, Conrad Stinogle. Conrad, a retired coalminer, left this earth on May 22, 1921.[10] He is buried in the Monongahela City Cemetery, in Monongahela, Pennsylvania.

The year was 1924. Mary, John’s half-sister, sold the property she had purchased from John and Malissa in 1880.[11] In 1930 Mary and her two sons, Samuel and James, moved to Butler, Hancock County, West Virginia. Twelve years later Mary, who was living with her son, James in Holidays Cove, Hancock County, West Virginia, passed away.[12]

The year was 1929. On July 31st, about three months before the Roaring Twenties were to come to a crashing halt, John Slicker, our ancestor, left his earthly journey.[13] The second generation of this branch of the Slicker family tree was laid to rest in the Vandergrift Cemetery, in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania.  Malissa would join John twenty-nine years later.

You can visit John’s and Malissa’s Find-A-Grave memorials at:

John Slicker’s Memorial Page at Find-A-Grave

If you know additional details or have a story about John Slicker’s life and would like to share, please do so in the comment section below.

References:

[1] Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 75:75, S.M. Jackson to Melissa Slicker, 13 August 1890; Recorder of Deeds Office, Kittanning.

[2] Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 84:196, John Slicker to Esther Owens, 4, November 1895; Recorder of Deeds Office, Kittanning.

[3] Indiana County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 6976:296, Julia A. Hartlett to Malissa J. Slicker, 10 December 1895; Recorder of Deeds Office, Indiana.

[4]  “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25, July 2017), entry for William E. Slicker (age 3), Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

[5] “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25, July 2017), entry for John Slicker Family (9 members), Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

[6] “1910 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25, July 2017), entry for John Slicker Family (7 members), Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

[7] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 554:137, John Orr Chambers to John Slicker, 23 October 1914; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg

[8] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 25302 (1917), Eva Vogel, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

[9] “1920 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25, July 2017), entry for John Slicker Family (3 members), Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[10] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 49167 (1921), Conrad Stinogle, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

[11] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 791:59, Mary Sharrow to Paul Tomecko ET UX, 3 September 1924; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg

[12] West Virginia State Department of Health, death certificate 7484 (1942), Mary Sharrow, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

[13] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 77663 (1929), John Slicker, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

© Robin Slicker, 2017. All Rights Reserve.

John Slicker: Sells First Property to Mary, His Half-Sister

This is part three of a three-part series. Part one of this series https://aslickerfamilyhistory.com/2017/05/17/john-slicker-first-property-purchased-at-age-16/ began with John Slicker and his half-brother, Conrad Stinogle, buying three adjacent lots at the north end of a small village in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1873. Part two to this series https://aslickerfamilyhistory.com/2017/05/22/john-slicker-history-of-johns-first-property/ narrates how John and Conrad, using two quitclaim deeds, divided the property in 1878. John took possession of the larger southern part. Conrad took ownership of the northern part. Now, it’s 1880, and John is ready to move on.

January 13th, 1880 John Slicker married Malissa Mansfield. Fifteen days later, John and Malissa sold the property John purchased in 1873 to John’s half-sister, Mary Stinogle. Mary was single and supporting her seven year old son, John W. Slicker¹. Let’s take a closer look at how this property transfer occurred.

It all began in 1873 when John and Conrad agreed to pay $600 for three adjacent lots. In 1878, John and Conrad divided the three lots into two parts. From the description of the division line in the 1878 and 1880 deeds, it seems there is one shared dwelling on the property. These two deeds describe the division line as passing through the halls of the Mansion House and close to the partition separating the Hall from the north rooms.  In 1880, John agreed to sell his part of those three lots to his half-sister, Mary, for $600. The property’s value nearly doubled in seven years.

Following are images of the deed used to transfer the property from John and Malissa to Mary. You may choose to skip pass the deed images to read the rest of this post. With the exception of the first image, the 1880 property deed mostly repeats what has appeared in the 1873 and 1878 property deeds.

 

1880 Property Deed: From John and Malissa Slicker to Mary Stinogle

1880 Property Sale Grantor and Grantee
1880 Property Deed – John Slicker and Malissa Slickers, Grantors and Mary Stinogle, Grantee. Source: Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Deed Book 101:439-441, John Slicker and Malissa Slicker to Mary Slicker, 28, January 1880; Recorder of Deeds, Greensburg.

This indenture made the twenty eighth day of January in the year of our Lord one Thousand and Eight hundred and Eighty (Jan 28″ AD 1880 Between John Slicker and Malissa Slicker his wife both of Webster in the County of Westmoreland and State of Pennsylvania parties of the first part and Mary Stinogle single woman of Webster Westmoreland County in the state aforesaid party of the second part witnesseth that the said parties of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of six hundred Dollars lawful money of the United States of America unto them well and truly paid by the said party of the second part at or before the sealing and delivery of these presents the receipt…

 

1880 Property Deed: Description of the Property Transfer in 1873

1880 Desription of Property
This is the first part of the property description given in the 1880 deed. The rest of the description is given in the images below. Source: Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 101:439-441, John Slicker and Malissa Slicker to Mary Stinogle, 28, January 1880; Recorder of Deeds, Greensburg.

All that certain messauge or lot piece or parcel of land situate and lying and being in Rostraver Township Westmoreland County Pa Being in Gilmore Addition to North Webster and being the southern part of three certain lots in said village of North Webster which Capt John Gilmore and Susannah his wife by their deed bearing date the second day of June AD 1873 conveyed to Conrad Stinogle and John Slicker this grantor which deed is of Record in the Office for Recording Deeds & in and for the said county in Book 77 page 364 August 14″ 1873 which three Lots are known and described as follows in the general plan of said village they are numbered No one hundred and forty seven (147) one hundred and forty four (144) and one hundred and forty three (143) on first street bounded as follows…

1880 Property Deed: Description of Property in 1873 (the three Lots) and

the Beginning of the Description of the Property Being Transferred in 1880 

1880 Property Decription
This is a continuation of the property description started in the image above. Source: Ibid.

Beginning at the corner of lot No (148) on First street thence along said street one hundred and fifty feet to the corner of lot No (140) thence along said lot one hundred feet to water street thence along said street one hundred and fifty feet to corner of Lot one hundred and forty Eight (148) thence along said Lot one hundred feet to first street the place of Beginning The part of the above described premises hereby conveyed is bounded and described as follows to wit Beginning on first street at the south East corner of said three Lots thence along said first street seventy nine feet and five inches (79 ft 5 in) to a stake thence through the Hall of the Mansion house and close to the partition separating said Hall…

 

1880 Property Deed: Continuing with the Description Started in Previous Image

1880 Property Description
Continuing with the description started in the previous image of the property John and Malissa Slicker sold to Mary Stinogle in 1880. Source: Ibid.

…from the north rooms and parallel with the line of said lots from first street to water street thence along water street to the corner of Lot No 148 thence along said lot to first street and the place of Beginning the same being the southern portion of the foregoing described three Lots and being the same part thereof which Conrad Stinogle and Isabella Stinogle his wife conveyed to John Slicker this grantor by their Quit claim Deed dated the nineteenth day of April AD 1878 which deed is of Record in the Office for Recording Deeds in and for the said County in Deed Book No 96 pages 40 and 41 May 22nd 1878 Together with…

The story continues:

After the sale of the property, John and Malissa moved near, perhaps even next door to, John’s half-sister, Eva Stinogle Vogel, and her family. John’s and Eva’s property was enclosed by First Street on the west, Center Street on the East and Wall Street running along the north side of the property. Malissa’s mother, Nancy Haney, and step-father, Samuel Haney, lived a few houses away from John and Malissa.², ³, [4] John and Melissa had two children, Milford and Frank, while living in Webster. Then between 1882 and 1885, John moved his small family to Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

1876 Atlas Map of Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

1876 Map of Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
This is an 1876 map of the village of Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The property Conrad and John purchased in 1873 is not on this map. However, John and Eva (step-sister of John Slicker) Vogel owned the highlighted property on the right. Samuel Haney, step-father of Malissa Mansfield Slicker, owned the highlighted property on the left. Source: Atlas of Westmoreland County 1876, Reading Publishing Company, 1876 (Public Domain).

Mary, John’s half-sister, married Abraham Sharrow. The marriage took place somewhere between the date Mary bought the property and June 1, 1880, the first date of the 1880 Federal Census. Magdlena, the mother of John and Mary, was now living with Mary and her family.[5]

In which year did John and Malissa move from Webster to Apollo, Pennsylvania? After they moved, did they ever return to Webster to visit their families? If you have an answer to these two questions or have any thoughts, facts or details that will add to the story, feel free to share in the comment section. Questions and comments related to the post are welcomed.

¹Mary’s son’s name was reported as John W. in the 1880 Federal Census. However, in subsequent census years and other records, her son’s name was reported as William J. Slicker. Interesting!

²“1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29, May 2017), entry for John Slicker (age 23), Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

³“1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29, May 2017), entry for Eva Vogel (age 30), Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[4]“1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29, May 2017), entry for Samuel Haney (age 34), Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[5]“1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29, May 2017), entry for Mary Shoraw (age 27), Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

2017 © Robin Slicker, All Rights Reserved.

An Analysis of Magdlena’s Life Events – Part 2

Children of Magdlena:

Conrad Stinogle was born in Germany (Bayron) in 1847.

Eva Stinogle was born in Germany (Baden) in 1849.

Mary Stinogle was born in Germany (Bayron or Byron) in 1851.

 

Marriage:

Although no written records of marriages have been found, there is a high probability – based on customs – that Magdlena was married to the fathers of her children. Since marriage records have not been found, I will use other documents to prove the relationships between Magdlena and her children’s fathers. I will begin with the death certificates of Conrad and Mary, two of Magdlena’s children.

The death certificate of Conrad Stinogle names John Joseph Stinogle as Conrad’s father and Magdelena Friend as his mother. The death certificate of Mary Stinogle Sharrow names Conrad Stenogale as Mary’s father and Magdeline Cripps as her mother. From these facts of familial relationships, several questions arise.

Questions to be Answered

First, did the informants (providers of information) for the death certificates accurately name the parents of Conrad and Mary? Was Stenogale a typo, or did the informant erroneously give this family name? If Stenogale is inaccurate and the correct spelling is Stinogle, then did Magdlena marry two men with the family name Stinogle? Finally, with the family names of both sets of parents being different I ask, are Mary and Conrad related?

Conrad and Mary, siblings?

Let’s begin with answering are Mary and Conrad siblings? Many sources taken together seem to support this relationship. The first source, the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, shows the following people living in the same household in Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania:

Philip Slicker, age 45, born Germany

Magdlena Slicker, age 46, born Germany

Conrad Slicker, age 15, born Germany

Eva Slicker, age ?, born Germany

Mary Slicker, age 10, born Germany

Johny Slicker, age 4, born Germany

The fact they are living together suggests a family unit. You may have noticed everyone has the family name Slicker. Where is the family name Stinogle? The answer: record keepers were not always accurate. Also, recordkeepers had to rely on the accuracy of the person providing the information. All family members were born in Germany.

 

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census, shows the following people living together in Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania:

Conrad Steinogle, age 23, born Germany

Martha Steinogle, age 49, born Germany

John Steinogle, age 13, born Pennsylvania

Conrad was listed as head of the household. It may explain why his mother and John was listed with the family name Steinogle and not Slicker.

 

In 1872, Conrad Stinogle and John Slicker purchased property together in Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

In April 1878, using quitclaim deeds, Conrad Stinogle and John Slicker divided the ownership of the property they purchased together in 1872.

In January 1880, John Slicker sold his property in Webster to Mary Stinogle. This same year Mary married Abraham Sharrow. The 1880 census shows Mary’s mother, Magdlena Slicker, is living with Mary and Abraham. Mary’s son, John W., age 7 is also living with her. Magdlena’s name was spelled Marthalena, similarly to the spelling in the 1870 census.

 

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census shows the following people living in the same household in Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania:

Henry Hedge, head, age 48, born 1851 in England

Mary Hedge, Wife, age 49, born 1851 in Germany, immigration date 1854

Mago Hedge, daughter, age 17, born 1883, in the state of Indiana

Sam Sharrow, step-son, age 16, born 1883, in Pennsylvania

James T. Sharrow, step-son, age 10, born in 1889, in Pennsylvania

 

February 9th, 1905, the Daily Independent of Monessen, Pennsylvania reported that Sam Sharrow was visiting his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hedge.

Thursday, April 25, 1907, the Daily Independent of Monessen, Pennsylvania reported that Henry Hedge left his home on Tuesday and did not say where he was going. This was the last time anyone had seen Hedge. He never returned.

August 7, 1905 the Daily Independent of Monessen, Pennsylvania reported that Miss Bessie Sharrow had spent a couple of days at the home of her aunt Mrs. Henry Hedge.

In 1911 Mary Stinogle, now a Hedge, mourned the death of her eldest son, William J. Slicker. Mary was the informant for her son’s death certificate. She listed Mary Stinogle as John’s mother. She signed her name as Mrs. Mary Hedge and listed Webster, Pa. as her place of residence.

In 1921, Conrad Stinogle passed away. Mrs. Mary Hedge provided the familial information for Conrad’s death certificate. In the certificate, Mary named Webster, Pa. as her place of residence.

 

The 1930 U.S. Federal Census, shows the following people living together in Butler, Hancock County, West Virgina:

James T. Sharrow, head, age 40, born Pennsylvania

Mabel Sharrow, his wife, age 33, born Pennsylvania

James Sharrow, son, age 10, born Pennsylvania

Mary W. Sharrow, mother, age 79, born Germany, immigration date 1853

 

June 18, 1942 Mary W. Sharrow’s obituary appeared in the Weirton Daily Times. The obituary reported that Mary had lived with her son James T. Sharrow since 1927 when she came to this city (Marland Heights, West Virginia) from Webster, Pa. The obituary stated Mary was the wife of the late Abraham Sharrow.

 

Conclusion – Conrad and Mary, Siblings?

If we were to view each source above separately, we would find it difficult to show a sibling relationship between Conrad and Mary. But as we consider the facts in all the records given above, we can build a case for a sibling relationship between Conrad and Mary. Many of the records mentioned above help to show that Mary Stinogle, Mary Sharrow and Mary Hedge are the same person. Mary Stinogle while Mary Hedge, was the informant for Conrad Stinogle’s death certificate. As is still true today, informants for death certificates were usually family members.

Mary’s Family Name – Stinogle or Stenogale?

Next I will address the family name Stenogale by looking at two death certificates. When Mary died in 1942, her son, James T. Sharrow was the informant for Mary’s death certificate. James reported Conrad Stenogale as Mary’s father. Mary’s father disappeared from the family story in the 1850’s. James was born in 1889. He had never known his grandfather. How could he be certain of his grandfather’s name?

In 1911, Mary’s eldest son, William J. Slicker – research has shown William to have been born out-of-wedlock – passed away. Mary, then Mrs. Henry Hedge, was the informant for William’s death certificate. For his death certificate, Mary reported herself as mother of William – William appeared in the 1880 census as John W. –  and her family name as Stinogle. Now I ask, who is more likely to know Mary’s family name, Mary or her son, James? Mary, of course. Thus, it is almost certain that James, perhaps suffering from a memory lapse, erroneously reported Stenogale as Mary’s family name on Mary’s death certificate.

Before moving on, it is interesting to note that the U.S. Federal Censuses show that James Sharrow lived in Webster, PA in 1900 and 1910. We can conclude from these two records that James lived in Webster for at least these ten years. Records for his uncle Conrad Stinogle show that Conrad lived in Webster starting around 1872 until his death in 1921. Point being, James most likely knew his uncle; and therefore, it seems he would have known his mother’s family name was Stinogle.

Furthermore, in his mother’s death certificate, James reported his mother’s birthplace as Berlin, Germany. Berlin is near the northwest border of Germany – near the border with Poland. It has already been established in other posts that Mary, her mother and her siblings were from the southwestern region of Germany – near the border of France, far from Berlin. Mary died during World War II. Did James, known his mother was born in Germany, just add Berlin to her birth place due to hearing the name in the news? Although I would never want to – without sufficient evidence – rule out the information that James provided in his mother’s death certificate, for now, I choose to go with the information his mother has provided as being the more solid facts. These facts support Stinogle as Mary’s family name.

The Father’s First Name – John or Conrad?

Now I have established that Mary’s family name is Stinogle, and Conrad and Mary are siblings, it is time to decide on a first name for their father.

Mary, as the informant of Conrad’s death certificate, reported their father’s name as John Joseph. James T. Sharrow, as the informant for his mother’s death certificate, reported his grandfather’s name as Conrad. Since it is more likely that Mary would know the name of her father better than her son, James, and I have already shown reasons the information James provided may not be reliable, I choose to use John Joseph Stinogle as the name of Mary’s, Conrad’s and Eva’s father.

Summary of Marriage Events

Magdlena married John Joseph Stinogle about 1846-47. They were the parents of Conrad, Eva and Mary. John disappeared from his family’s life somewhere between the Fall of 1853 – after the conception of Mary Stinogle – and about June 1856 – before the conception of John Slicker. Since divorce was rare in the nineteenth century, it is highly probable John died.

Magdlena then married Philip Slicker sometime during the same period in which John Stinogle disappeared from Magdlena’s life. The son of Philip and Magdlena, John Slicker, was born March 17th, 1857.

Date and Place of Death:

Magdlena Slicker died January 7, 1892. She is buried next to her daughter, Eva Vogel, in the St. Mary’s Cemetery in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. The dates on the grave marker are the only records of Magdlena’s birth and death that my mother and I have found. We found Magdlena’s place of burial by understanding the custom that people are often buried near other family members. Thus, we followed Conrad’s life right to his burial-place in the Monongahela city cemetery, but Magdlena was not there. Little did we know, we were just a little more than a stone’s throw from her burial-place. We then followed Mary Stinogle all the way to the St. Paul’s Cemetery in Weirton Heights, West Virginia, but still no Magdlena. Finally, we followed the life of Eva. We found her death date and ordered or death certificate. From her death certificate, we learned Eva was buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Monongahela, Washington County, Pennsylvania. After learning this cemetery was next to and overtaken by the Monongahela city cemetery, my mother and I headed back to Monongahela. And there we found, Magdlena Slicker buried next to her daughter, Eva and just a little more than a stone’s throw from her son, Conrad Stinogle.

Magdlena’s place of death is unknown. However, from our research it seems Magdlena lived in Webster from around 1872 until her death in 1892. In the nineteenth century, it was common for people to die in their homes. Thus, it is highly likely Magdlena died in her home in Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

© 2017, Robin Slicker. All Rights Reserved.

Magdlena’s Voyage to a New Life

This is Part two of a three-part series. You may want to read Part One, “Magdlena Friend Slicker’s Life in Nineteenth Century Germany.” Part One places Magdlena in the historical context and events of her home country. It covers the political, economic, and social atmosphere from the time she was born in 1819[1] until the birth of her daughter Mary in 1851[2].

Like part one, I have chosen to narrate this second part by placing Magdlena in the historical context of her time. Some of the narrative is hypothetical. My chosen style of narration is to help pull the reader out of present day and send the reader back to the proper time period. I hope this approach aids the reader to better visualize and understand the challenges our ancestors faced.

You may note the strange spelling of Magdlena’s name. You may think it should be spelled as Magdelena. You may be right. However, I have chosen to spell it as it appeared in the 1860 Federal Census (see image below)[3] and on her grave marker[4].

slicker-family_1860-census

Lines 6-11 of the 1860 Federal Census for Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania accessed at Ancestry.com on 19, November 2016.

Now let’s turn to the narrative.

When we consider the hardships Magdlena would have to face to make the journey with three small children from her home in Baden, Germany to her new home in the United States, we can only imagine what ignited the strong desire that propelled her forward from the known to the unknown. Many challenges awaited her as she departed her home in Baden. Yet the fear of confronting such challenges did not hold her back.

Regardless of the level of hardship Magdlena and her fellow Germans experienced in their home country, they would have never left all they knew unless a better life existed elsewhere. That better life with the potential to earn a higher standard of living, to own land, and to realize entrepreneurial opportunities with few restrictions waited on the other side of a massive body of water in the lands of a young nation. So across this massive body of water Magdlena would travel with her three young ones at her side.

Upon her departure, Magdlena confronted her first challenge – leaving behind who and what she knew. To whom did she bid farewell? Her parents? Her grandparents? Her siblings? Or did some or all of these family members go with her? Would her husband be traveling with her? Or did he go in advance to find employment and to prepare the start of the family’s new life in the United States? Perhaps Magdlena was a widow at this time.

After bidding farewell to the people she had known all her life, Magdlena confronted her next challenge – the journey to the port of departure. Living in southwestern Germany, Magdlena had a long way to go. The trip from Karlsruhe, then capital city of Baden, to Bremen, a popular port city in the north was three hundred seventy-three miles. If Magdlena lived farther south from Karlsruhe, then the distance to port could have easily been longer than four hundred miles.

But which port of departure did Magdlena choose? The port of Bremen seems most likely since Hamburg, another popular German port city, was farther to the north. The port of Le Havre, France was another possibility and a popular choice among those who lived near the border of France as Magdlena and her family did. Again for comparison, the trip from Karlsruhe, Germany to Le Havre, France was four hundred seventy-two miles.

Magdlena with her three young children, Conrad, Eva, and Mary made the long and arduous trip to port either by train, horse-drawn vehicle or on foot. If they made the trip on foot, it would have taken weeks across rough and uneven dirt roads. They would have had to endure all of what nature would have delivered. Although they may have spent some nights in the safety of an inn, it is likely they spent some nights outdoors in unfavorable conditions. But in spite of the difficulties, travel by foot or horse-drawn vehicle provided the most economical form of travel.

Weary from weeks of travel, Magdlena and her children arrived to their chosen port of departure. Since shipping companies didn’t have regular schedules to follow, it is possible that Magdlena spent days or even weeks at the port waiting for a ship to come available. Before boarding the large ship they would call home for several weeks, Magdlena and her children had to undergo and pass a series of physical examinations. To travel one had to be healthy and free of disease.

When the day finally came and Magdlena and her three children, Conrad, Eva, and Mary stepped on-board of the ocean-going vessel that would carry them across the rough waters of the Atlantic to the land of opportunity, they joined one of the largest peaks in German emigration. Unknown to these emigrants, their descendants would help form the largest ancestry group – German Americans – in the United States as reported in the 2010 census.

With the physically demanding land trip behind her and the dangers and discomforts of sea travel in front of her, Magdlena was standing at the point of no easy return. Surely she had heard of all the stories of ships lost at sea, and the large number of deaths due to ship fires and the spread of diseases such as cholera, typhus, and yellow fever. Did Magdlena make the right decision to risk the safety and comfort of all she knew for the hopes of a better life in a foreign land?

From the deck of the ship, Magdlena took one last look at her homeland, a land she would never see again. Did her heart fill with sadness at the thought of leaving her home country? Did she feel relieved for making it this far? Was she feeling uneasy about crossing the Atlantic? Was the flame of desire that initially propelled her forward still burning strongly?

As the ship pulled away from the dock, Magdlena gathered her children and guided them to an area of the ship they would call home for several weeks. This area was most likely below deck. In this dim-lighted, most likely over-crowded living space, Magdlena and her children would eat, sleep and pass their time with hundreds of strangers.

Unlike your modern-day Royal Caribbean Cruise where vacationers enjoy exquisite foods and fine wine, sleep in clean, soft beds in private cabins and enjoy a number of fun-filled and relaxing activities on the deck of the cruise ship, mid-nineteenth century passengers endured horrible traveling conditions. They most likely survived on bread, biscuits, potatoes and foul-smelling water. They slept in narrow, closely packed bunks. There was little to do to pass the time.

The strong rocking of the ship often made standing or walking around impossible. Many passengers became nauseous from the swaying of the boat. As the days slowly drifted one into another, the living space below the deck would fill with the stench of body-odor, vomit, and urine. The air would often be stifling. The poor conditions often led to an outbreak of illnesses and diseases that would spread throughout the tight living quarters. Of those who became ill, a number of them would never step foot into the new homeland. But this was not the case for Magdlena, Conrad, Eva, and Mary. They endured it all.

It was 1854[5] when Magdlena and her three children stepped off the ship. Surrounded by new sights, smells and sounds, Magdlena must have immediately realized she was in a strange land. A strange land she would come to call her home for the second half of her life.

To learn more about German Americans and the Immigrations Experience, click on the hyperlinks given below:

Adams, Willi Paul (1993). The American edition by Rippley, LaVern J. and Reichmann, Eberhard. The German Americans: An Ethnic Experience. http://maxkade.iupui.edu/adams/cover.html.

Huber, Leslie Albrecht. Understanding your Immigrant Ancestors: Who Came and Why. http://www.understandingyourancestors.com/ia/who.aspx. 2006-2008.

Huber, Leslie Albrecht. Understanding your Immigrant Ancestors: Voyage to the U.S. http://www.understandingyourancestors.com/ia/shipVoyage.aspx. 2006-2008.

Huber, Leslie Albrecht. Understanding your Immigrant Ancestors: Daily Life. http://www.understandingyourancestors.com/wea/daily.aspx. 2006-2008.

Sources:

[1] Saint Mary’s Cemetery (Washington County, Monongahela; located within the Monongahela City Cemetery), Magdlena Slicker marker; read by Robin Slicker November 2006.

[2] “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20, November 2016), entry for Mary Hedge (age 49), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[3] “1860 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20, November 2016), entry for Magdlena Slicker (age 46), Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[4] Saint Mary’s Cemetery (Washington County, Monongahela; located within the Monongahela City Cemetery), Magdlena Slicker marker; read by Robin Slicker November 2006.

[5] “1920 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20, November 2016), entry for Conrad Stinogle (age 72), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

© Robin Slicker, 2016. All Rights Reserve.

 

 

 

 

Magdlena Friend Slicker’s Life in Nineteenth Century Germany

Like her husband’s, Philip’s, life story, I didn’t want to tell Magdlena’s story as a list of events and dates. Boring! Lacking the colorful details of Magdlena’s personal life, I decided to place her story within the context of Germany’s history. It’s a simplified version, of course. Nonetheless, it will hopefully make Magdlena as a person seem more real and her story more interesting. 

The reader should take note of the words that convey possibility. To make the narrative more meaningful, I have mixed unsubstantiated information – like her father’s possible occupations – with the facts of Magdlena’s life. I only hypothesized about our ancestors’ lives when there was enough information to support it. For example, in 19th century Germany, most people worked as a craftsmen or peasant.

It was a cold December day in 1819[1] when Magdlena Friend was born in the Grand Duchy of Baden, an independent country in the southwest region of what is present-day Germany. Only four and half years had passed since Baden along with 38 other German-speaking states formed the German Confederation.

germany-1855-modified-1
Attribution: Joseph Hutchins Colton [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons accessed and modified November 3, 2016
After the fall of the Holy Roman Empire and the defeat of Napoleon, these thirty-eight German states formed an economic union to help trade and to give a mutual defense system among member states. Although economically connected, each member state preserved its political independence.

This was Magdlena’s Germany, a loosely organized confederation of sovereign states.

Magdlena’s home was nestled somewhere in the landscape of Baden. She along with her family most likely attended the Catholic Church. Her child-hood was an era marked by political and social unrest. Change was in the air as the middle class pushed to have more participation in government, a unified Germany, free markets, freedom of speech, press, and religion.

Magdlena’s parents’ economic-social status determined the family’s lifestyle. Her father most likely worked either as a craftsmen or a peasant. If he belonged to the peasant class, he may have worked for one of the wealthy landowners of rural Baden; or perhaps, he was one of the luckier peasants, who worked their own small plot of land.

On the other hand, Magdlena’s father may have worked as a craftsman. Craftsmen began as apprentice. Through training they advanced to journeymen and ultimately a few advanced to master. Although craftsmen were respected throughout their community, their living standard varied greatly. Whether he was a craftsmen or peasant, Magdlena’s father most likely worked long hours to provide economic support for the family.

During the nineteenth century young Germans who were not able to economically provide for a family would often wait until their late twenties to married. They would work and save money until they could afford to establish an independent family.

So, in July 1847, we find Magdlena at age twenty-six married to John Joseph Steinogle[2] and giving birth to her son Conrad. As she cared for her new-born, Magdlena must have wondered about the uncertainty of his future. Unemployment and political and social discontentment were on the rise. The mood throughout the German Confederation was very similar to the mood experienced throughout other countries in Europe.

Restlessness ignited on February 4th, 1848 in Paris and continued throughout the month. A result of this month-long political agitation was the overthrow of France’s King Louis Phillipe. As the fire of political revolution continued to stir in France, a spark landed in neighboring Baden. In a few unorganized instances, peasants living in the northern territory of Baden burned mansions of local aristocrats. From here the fire of revolution spread to other states in the German Confederation.

Despite the fact the Grand Duchy of Baden had the most liberal constitution among the states of the German Confederation, it became a hot bed of activity as the middle class formed convenient alliances with the working class. The alliance was a shaky one as the middle class consisting of well-educated students, intellectuals and businessmen demanded political reform and the working class sought radically improved working and living conditions.

Out of fear, the princes and rulers of the German Confederation gave in to many of the demands and began to carry out reforms. But recognition of freedom of religion and freedom of assembly among other basic reforms were not enough for many of the revolutionists. Many revolutionists of Baden further demanded a republican government while the rebels of other German states preferred to keep the hereditary monarchy.

Throughout 1848 and 1849. bloody battles were fought throughout Baden and other states of the German Confederation. Thousands of lives were lost. Many of the surviving rebels were forced into exile.

In May 1849, as the political turmoil continued, Magdlena was expecting another child. Her son, Conrad, was walking. Her husband, despite the civil unrest, no doubt ventured out every day to his place of employment – a living had to be earned. Leopold, the Grand Duke of Baden had fled the country.  In his absence, the revolutionary forces formed a provisional government. They were moving close to obtaining the republican government they desired.

In June, the Federal Troops of the German Confederation accompanied by the Prussian Army Corps and a body of Hessian troops invaded Baden. Bloody skirmishes were fought throughout the month. The revolutionists who were never well-coordinated and had failed to agree on a common set of outcomes began to fall apart. The Federal Troops and Prussian Army captured and executed many of the rebels. In July as those rebels who were not captured exited Baden, Magdlena was welcoming her daughter, little Eva[3] into a world restored to peace.

In 1851 the third Steinogle child, Mary, was born[4]. Mary is a fascinating story. As if she were a magician, she performed a little hocus-pocus and mysteriously disappeared for a moment in time. But when she reappeared, she did not come alone. A rule-breaker – intentionally or unintentionally – and bathed in an aura of mystery, Mary is not your ordinary 19th century gal.

But now is not the time for Mary’s story. Her story must wait until another time… another post. For now, let’s get this family to their new home in Pennsylvania.

In the years after the 1848-1849 Revolution, German experienced its largest flux of emigration. It was at the tail end of this peak when Magdlena with her three children embarked on a journey to a new life in the United States.

Bibiography

Huber, Leslie Albrecht. Understanding Your Ancestors. http://www.understandingyourancestors.com accessed 5, November 2016

Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baden_Revolution accessed 5, November 2016

Wikipedia. German Revolutions of 1848-49. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_revolutions_of_1848–49 accessed 5, November 2016

Wikipedia. Grand Duchy of Baden. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Duchy_of_Baden accessed 5, November 2016

Sources

[1] Saint Mary’s Cemetery (Washington County, Monongahela; located within the Monongahela City Cemetery), Magdlena Slicker marker; read by Robin Slicker November 2006.

[2] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 49167 (1921), Conrad Stinogle, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

[3] “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5, November 2016), entry for Eva Vogle (age 50), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[4] “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5, November 2016), entry for Mary Hedge (age 49), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

© Robin Slicker, 2016. All Rights Reserve.