Sunday, April 26, 2015

Banschbachs, Redlingshafers & Forty-Eighters...

This old photograph of a Redlingshafer aunt --- Maria Anna (Redlingshafer) Banschbach --- and her family turned up the other day to remind me that I need to assemble and organize my notes and papers, then write more about the family. 

The Banschbachs didn't live in Lucas County, having settled at DePue, a small town southwest of Chicago in Bureau County, Illinois. But four of Maria Anna's siblings did --- Anna Margaret (Redlingshafer) Rosa, John G. Redlingshafer (my great-great-grandfather), George W. Redlingshafer and Margaret Anna (Redlingshafer) Hupp. There are still enough descendants of the Lucas County four left around here --- at least in Iowa --- to fill Carpenters Hall should we ever decide to get together.

But there are fewer than you might think, in part because the second generation of this family in America seems not to have been especially interested in reproducing. Only two of 12 Hupp children married and produced descendants, for example. The Redlingshafer-Banschbach family at DePue managed to die out entirely.

In the photo, I can identify Aunt Maria Anna and her husband, Martin, as well as their youngest daughter, Lilly Belle, seated in front with the family dog. But I'm not sure about identifies of the other children. The other girls were Emma and Elizabeth Ann; the boys, George, Charles and William Henry. The boys all married, but upon departure from this earthly realm left collectively only two adopted children behind. None of the girls married --- Lilly Belle, reportedly, because of disinclination; Emma and Elizabeth Ann, reportedly, because none of their suitors lived up to their mother's expectations.

The Banschbach family was quite affluent as is kind of obvious in the photo --- and had the Lucas County Hupp family been just a little longer-lived it might have been a little richer. Elizabeth Ann Banschbach was the last of the Banschbach siblings, surviving until August of 1962. In her will, she left $10,000 to four of her Hupp first-cousins in Lucas County --- still living when she drew up the document: Lucinda, Hannah, Sara Jane and Otto. 

The three Hupp girls died during the 1950s, however, and although Otto survived until 1962, he predeceased Elizabeth Ann by four months. Because of that the Hupp bequest rolled back into the Banschbach estate and eventually went with several hundred thousand other Banschbach dollars to Oberlin College --- all of the Banschbach daughters were Oberlin graduates.

The Redlingshafers also were Forty-Eighters --- and that's something else I need to look into a little more thoroughly. 

If you're familiar with European history you'll know that a series of revolutions swept across Europe during 1848, including the German states. The Redlingshafers lived at the time in a protestant enclave west of Nuremberg in Bavaria where they had lived since the 17th century after having been booted as protestants out of their native (and Catholic) Austria.

While it's doubtful the Redlingshafers were revolutionaries themselves, they appear to have shared the ideals of those who were --- democracy, human rights, unification of the German people.

After the revolutions of 1848 were crushed, thousands of Germans emigrated to America --- some as political refugees (Davenport was at the heart of Forty-Eighter settlement in Iowa), others who shared those revolutionary ideals and simply decided to move their families to safer and more liberating places.

As a result, George and Doratha Redlingshafer --- he in his 60s and relatively affluent and she, mid-40s --- sold out and set sail during late 1848 or 1849 for America with their eight children ranging in age from mid-20s to less than a year. George died in 1856 at Guttenberg, having at least reached Iowa; Doratha came on west to Benton Township, Lucas County, where she died in 1881.

So that's a little bit about how we came to be here, and I'd like to learn more.

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