Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Vast Redlingshafer Conspiracy

Doratha Redlingshafer
Courtesy of (esteemed cousin) Donnell Wisniewski

Lucas County's Redlingshafer family, of which I am a part, traces its origin to George Redlingshafer who married as his second wife, ca. 1823, in Bavaria Doratha Redlingshafer, who was a cousin --- although the degree of cousinship never has been established. The came to the United States, settling first in Pennsylvania, ca. 1848. After moving gradually west, George died during 1856 in Guttenberg, Iowa, and Doratha removed to Lucas County, where a majority of her children had settled. She died during 1881 at the home of her son, George, in Benton Township and was buried in the Salem Cemetery.

The best (which translates as the only) summary of their lives was given by their son, John G., in his own biographical sketch, which appears on Page 230 of "A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa" (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1896). I'll elaborate on these lives as time goes on, but this is the place to begin:

"George Redlingshafer, the father of our subject (John G. Redlingshafer), was twice married and the children recorded above are of the second union. His first wife, who was a Miss Wise and who was a native of the same province in which he was born, bore him three children, - Barbara, James and John. All have long since passed away. The mother died soon after the birth of her last child. Of the father of this large family, we further record that he was born in Bavaria, December 7, 1787, and that he was a farmer and met with more than ordinary success in his vocation. When the war cloud gathered and hung over his native land he converted his acres into cash and came to America, making the Atlantic voyage in the Abegunde and being sixty-three days from Hamburg to Baltimore. The progress of the vessel was hindered by both calm and storm, and although the vessel was somewhat the worse for the voyage, she landed her precious freight in safety. Patiently awaiting the arrival of this good ship was James Redlingshafer, the brother of our subject, who had several years before emigrated to America. United, the family set out for Uniontown, Pennsylvania, making the journey by rail to Cumberland and thence by stage to their destination. This was in 1848.

"After a residence of about a year at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the family removed to Washington county, same State, where they purchased a farm and settled upon the same. About six years later the father and mother, upon the continued solicitation of Mary, their daughter, came west to Bureau County, Illinois. Still later they located in Clayton county, Iowa. Here ended the useful career of George Redlingshafer. He lived long enough, however, to feel assured of the success of all his children. It was January 7, 1856, and at the home of his daughter, Mary, in Guttenberg, Iowa, that he quietly passed away. The mother of our subject, nee Dorothea Redlingshafer, was born in Bavaria, July 18, 1803. She was a devoted Christian woman and a member of the German Lutheran Church. After an active and useful life, the closing years of which were spent at the home of her son George, in Benton township, Lucas county, Iowa, she passed to her reward, the date of her death being August 13, 1881. In the Salem Church burying-ground a stone marks her last resting place."

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