Thursday, March 27, 2014

52 Ancestors- #13 Wendelina Augusta Friederike (Schaaf) Liebe

No immigrant ancestor would be complete without his wife- after all, they're really the beginning of a family in the New World. So allow me to introduce you to the wife of Carl Moritz Liebe

Wendeline Augusta Friederike Schaaf

Wendeline was born to Lorenz and Ernestine (Nickolai) Schaaf on 18 August 1836 in Eischleben, Sax-Gotha (Thuringia), Germany. She was one of about 8 children.

The family immigrated to America and settled in the Sheboygan town of Mosel. I have not yet found the immigration records, but dates reported by family members on various censuses range from 1853-1856. Wendeline's obituary says 1854, and that is consistent with what she told census takers in 1900 and 1910.

Wendeline was eighteen when her family settled at Mosel. Not far from the Schaaf homestead lived another German immigrant who had arrived the previous year, Carl Moritz Liebe. The two were married on 22 April 1856. Here is a transcription of the marriage record:

Charles Moritz Liebe and Wendeline Auguste Friedrike Schaf
Married 22 Apr. 1856 in the Town of Mosel, Sheboygan, WI. 
Reg. 30 April at 10 o'clock AM.
Justice of the Peace- Geo. Ramming.

Charles (farmer)- Father-John Gottlab (te) Liebe/ Mother- Christiana Liebe

Wendeline- Father-Lorenz Schaf/ Mother- Ernestine Schaf

Carl and Wendeline had 14 children during the next 25 years, including one daughter, Lizette, who lived for only one month, and my great-grandmother, Amelia Dorothea:

  • Thekla "Hulda"
  • Emilia "Minnie"
  • Augusta "Ida"
  • Amelia Dorothea
  • Rosalia Laura
  • Amalia Therese (Molly)
  • Ernestina Marie
  • Elisabette (Lizette)
  • Carl "Otto"
  • Ernst Ferdinand
  • Laura Theckla Paulina
  • Gustave Adolph
  • Bertha Louise
  • Adolph Carl Johannes

The Liebe Cabin

Wendelina & Molly Liebe in front of their ivy-covered cabin

I already mentioned the construction of the 2-room cabin Carl built for the family. The house was 1 1/2 stories, with  a loft upstairs where the children slept. I was able to take a peak inside during the 1970's, shortly before its collapse. It was then only a shell of the home that sheltered Carl and Wendelina's large family. 

 Natalia Athorp, daughter-in-law of Carl and Wendelina's daughter Ernestine, was the Liebe family historian. In 1970 she shared these memories of the cabin, which was Molly Liebe's home for most of her life:

"The house was beautiful in the summer time- outside was covered with grape vines, which helped to cool it. Flowers grew everywhere. The inside of her house was so comfy, even tho' it had only 2 rooms. The windows were filled with red geraniums and ivy. The table was in the SE corner against the wall, but when company came- it was pulled out and every one loved to sit on that old bench. Rocking chairs were always in use.
A trap door led to a basement where goodies were kept. The old wood stove baked the best "kucken" (coffee cake) I have even eaten.
I wish you could have seen the big feather cover on her bed. An upstairs room had an old fashioned rope bed...Aunt Molly lived here until about 1945- when she was 80 years of age. She had lived alone for at least 30 years.
13 children grew up in this home (another died as an infant). The first baby was born there on Sept. 8, 1859, so it must have been built that year (110 years ago- one of that family still lives- Aunt Bertha is 90).
I'm sure many of you remember the old summer kitchen. Aunt Molly had one too- built of stone (It's too bad, the roof has fallen in.)"

Aunt Molly at the summer kitchen

Later Years

Carl, Molly & Wendelina Liebe

 One by one, the children grew up and left the homestead, until only Molly and Bertha were left. Bertha moved away and worked for families in Oregon and Chicago before returning to Sheboygan County for her last years. Molly remained at home caring for her aging parents. 

Carl died in 1906, and Wendelina followed 10 years later, on 3 Feb 1916. She was buried next to her husband at the Evangelical (now Immanuel) Lutheran Church cemetery at Mosel.

Here is Wendeline's obituary from a Sheboygan county German newspaper, possibly the "National Demokrat" which was published at this time. Using Google Translate, I was able to come up with a pretty good translation. Thank you, Google:

At 3 February 8 o'clock in the morning, blessed Wendeline Auguste Friederiche Liebe, nee Schaaf, the (Zeitliche) in the town of Mosel. The (deceased) was born in Eischleben, Saxony-Gotha, Germany on 28 August 1836. In 1854 she (came) here with parents and siblings and (liefzen) they settled in the town of Mosel. Later, she entered with Mr. Moritz Liebe in holy matrimony, and lived there until her death (down there) at the farm. The marriage produced 14 children, one of whom died at a tender age. At 10 March 1906 her husband died. She suffered with a heart ailment for the last several weeks, and the Grippe (flu) hastened her end. She reached an age of 79 years, 5 months and 5 days. Two brothers and 13 children survive: four sons and 9 daughters, 49 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren. The funeral will be on Sunday afternoon at (2:30?) from the funeral home to the Evangelical Lutheran Church (officiated) by Pastor M. Denninger.

For the warm participation at the funeral for our beloved mother, Mrs. Wendeline Liebe, furnish we hereby all dear friends our intimate thanks. Likewise, the support for their service of love; same of the undertaker Mr. Nidel, and Mr. Martin Denninger for his comforting words. 
Amalie Liebe and siblings.

Wendeline Augusta Friederike (Schaaf) 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

52 Ancestors- #12 Carl Moritz Liebe, Immigrant Ancestor

The immigrant ancestors of my family cover a wide span of years. Quite a number of them were a part of early colonial America, while others made their way across the water two centuries later. All of them arrived before Ellis Island became a part of the immigrant experience.

From my observation, our immigrant ancestors were of adventurous, hard-working, sturdy stock. After all, look what it took to leave friends and family behind, survive the months-long journey to blaze a trail to an unknown life in the new world.

Carl Moritz Liebe, Immigrant Ancestor

The first immigrant ancestor I will consider is my paternal great-great-grandfather (my great-grandmother's father), Carl Moritz Liebe. 

The name "Liebe" means love in German. Carl seems to exemplify this quality, though I never knew him. After all, he fathered fourteen children, thirteen of whom lived to adulthood. Of those thirteen, eleven went on to have families of their own, extending Carl's legacy for generations to come. And that legacy includes long life. Carl lived to be 74 year old, two of his children lived to age 66, three lived into their mid-70's, seven into their 80's, and one made it to 91. The combined lifespan of these thirteen children is an amazing 1,032 years.

Carl (Charles) Liebe was born on 17 November 1831 in Sachsen, Germany, to John Gottlieb and Christiana (Muller) Liebe (although I have yet to locate them in German records). I don't know what his childhood was like, how many brothers or sister he had, or whether he was an older or younger child in the family.

Life Between Deck

The first reference to him is in February of 1853, when at the age of 21 he departed from Bremen, Germany aboard the barque "Kosmos", bound for America. He was listed as a "smith", and as a passenger "between deck", the area immediately below the main deck which was used to accommodate passengers travelling on the cheapest class of ticket. Passengers in this area were "offered only the most basic amenities, typically with limited toilet use, no privacy", and "miserable food dealt out of huge kettles into the dinner pails provided by the steamship company." 

The ceiling height of the between deck was 6-8'. The double-deck bunks, made of rough boards, were set up along both sides of the ship, with only a small corridor between bunks. Each bunk was intended to hold 3 to 6 persons, and these were often called family bunks.
The bunks had straw mattresses, which was often home to lice and fleas. Passengers spent most of the two-month voyage in this dark, crowded, smelly room. The only light and fresh air came from the hatch, then entrance from the deck. During rough weather, this hatch had to be covered to prevent water pouring in, making the air barely breathable.

Making the New World His Own

Carl arrived in the port of New York City on 22 April 1853, with his destination listed as "Wisconsin". He wasted no time getting there, probably traveling up the Hudson River, through the Erie Canal to Lake Erie, and sailing to Wisconsin without having to travel over land. He settled in Sheboygan County in the township of Mosel, where "Moritz Liebe" purchased the original 40 acres of his homestead for $192 on 19 July 1853, just three months after his arrival in America.

Mosel was largely inhabited by German immigrant families. One of these was the family of Lorenz and Ernestine Schaaf, from Eischleben, Sax Gotha. Carl fell in love with their oldest daughter, Wendelina Augusta Friederike, and they were married on 22 April 1856. 

Carl built a two-room, "wattle-and-daub" cabin on his homestead. It was built without nails, of logs, clay and straw, and the original roof was thatched with rye straw. Like the other hard-working German immigrants, Carl farmed the fertile soil. By the 1860 census, the couple had three daughters, the value of their real estate was $300, and their personal estate was $230. Ten years later, his real estate was valued at $1200, and personal estate at $575, and there were now 7 daughters: (Thekla Hulda, Emilia Minna, Augusta Ida, Amelia Dorothea (my great-grandmother), Rosalia Laura, Amalia Therese, and Ernestina Marie. The eighth, Elisabeth, lived for only one month). By 1882, two more daughters and three sons would complete Carl and Wendelina's family of 14 children: (Carl Otto, Ernst Ferdinand, Laura Theckla, Gustave Adolph, Bertha Louise and Adolph Carl). 

Carl & Wendeline with daughter Amalia (Molly)
In front of their vine-covered cabin

Some of the Liebe children and their families
On February 4, 1940, the surviving seven children were the subject of a cover article of the Milwaukee Journal. This picture was featured, and the title read: 
The "Youngest" of This Family is 57; Add Them Together- 767 Years

Rosalia Laura, Amalia Theresa, Ernestine Marie, Carl Otto, Ernest Ferdinand, Laura Thekla Paulina, Bertha Louise.

I don't know whether Carl ever became a citizen of his new country, but the 1900 census states that he had applied for his papers. On 10 March 1906, Carl Moritz Liebe passed away, and was buried in the Emmanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery at Mosel.

In Memory of Chas. M. Liebe

Sunday, March 16, 2014

52 Ancestors- #11 William David Clark

William David Clark

My great-grandfather, William David Clark, was born 14 November 1847 at Sheboygan Falls, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. He was the oldest child of Sanford and Mary Jane (Dumprope) Clark, who were married at Ontario, Canada and shortly thereafter moved to Wisconsin. William was known by many as "Dave", and to nieces and nephews as "Uncle Bill". 

On 30 October 1882 he was united in marriage to Amelia Liebe of Mosel, Sheboygan County. Soon after their marriage, the couple moved to Claybanks, in Door County, Wisconsin, where they farmed for over 25 years.
Dave & Amelia Clark

Dave and Amelia were parents of eight children, seven of whom lived to adulthood: Sanford, Charles "Charlie", Charlotte "Lottie", Hannah, John, Georgianna "Georgie", and James. Their youngest, Daisy, died soon after birth.

Children of Dave & Amelia Clark:
Sanford, Georgie, James,
Lottie, John & Hannah
Sanford, Charlie & John Clark

Dave with son Sanford and granddaughter Helen
The one recurrent description I have heard of my great-grandfather was that he had a bad temper, and wasn't always known to treat Amelia kindly.

Later in life, Dave and Amelia lived for a time with my grandparents, Sanford and Eva on their farm; and after Amelia's death, Dave lived with their daughter Charlotte and Chan Schuyler for his remaining year. 

William David Clark passed away on 26 November 1935, and was buried next to his wife of 52 years at the Claybanks cemetery. It is a peaceful little cemetery, high atop a hill overlooking Lake Michigan.

Clay Banks Cemetery

Obituary from Door County
Advocate, 29 Nov. 1935

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

52 Ancestors- #10 Sanford Edward Clark- At Home on Land and Sea

This week is dedicated to my paternal grandfather, Sanford Edward Clark.  I partially considered him in week two in connection with his marriage to my Grandma Eva, but I don't feel that coverage did justice to his interesting life. Included this week is an example of what a wealth of knowledge is being made available through digitization of records previously unknown or hard to access. Our local newspapers were recently digitized and put online,  and through a search for my grandfather's name, I found several news items that helped to fill out my knowledge of his earlier life.

The Grandpa I Knew

Grandpa was 66 years old when I was born, so my knowledge of him was as an older little man who milked a small herd of cows and smoked a corn-cob pipe. He was known by his friends as "Sandy". He could swear like a sailor (which he was), and was deathly afraid of snakes. He was only 5' 5" tall, and appears to have been the shortest in his family of siblings, boys and girls. He was also noticeably shorter than Grandma, and I grew up with the impression that she was the one who wore the pants in the family. She bossed him around, and he would grumble, often with a twinkle in his eyes. Grandma forbade him from smoking his Peerless tobacco in the house, so he would either fill the enclosed porch with blue smoke, or stand outside an often open window, the smoke curling into the kitchen. In cold weather, Grandma would scold, "Sanford, get in here and get a coat on!". He would come in grumbling, put on his jacket, then sit down and stay inside. I remember him reaching across the dinner table to spear something with his fork, and Grandma asking him, "Don't you have a tongue?". He grinned, "Sure, but it doesn't reach that far." They were a constant source of amusement to me and my cousins, but I always wondered what he was like in his younger life. After all, he had won young Eva's heart.

Early Life

Sanford's parents, William and Amelia (Liebe) Clark, were married at Mosel, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin in 1882. Soon after their marriage they moved up the Lake Michigan shoreline to the town of Ahnapee, Kewaunee County, Wisconsin, where Sanford was born the following year, 20 September 1883, the oldest of eight children. He was named for his paternal grandfather, and was baptized at his mother's family church at Mosel the following June. 

In 1900 Sanford was a farm laborer on the family farm, but by the time of the 1905 Wisconsin State census, 21-year-old Sanford was already experiencing the "lure of the lake". He was listed as a deckhand (employed 7 months during the past year), while his younger brother Charlie, age 19, was a fisherman. 

Brothers- Sanford, Charlie & John Clark

On the 4th of July 1906, Sanford married Edith Celia Tollefson of Sturgeon Bay, Door County. Two daughters, Lucille and Helen, were born to the couple. Edith was expecting their third child in 1912 when she became ill with Bright's disease and required surgery for a "twisted and adhesive bowel". She spent a month in the hospital following surgery, during which time their son was born prematurely. Baby Sanford died within a couple of days, and Edith died about three weeks later. Edith's family helped to raise the girls.
Sanford with his father, William "Dave" and daughter Helen

A Surprising Discovery

Three months after the death of his wife and infant son, Sanford suffered another misfortune.

Sanford was now employed at the Leathem & Smith stone quarry at Sturgeon Bay. In the fall of 1912 the company purchased the "Adriatic", a 23-year-old former three-masted schooner that they repurposed by cutting it down to a stone barge, and fitted as one of the first "self-unloaders". It carried crushed limestone from the quarry to cities on the Great Lakes for use in paving roads. 
Stone barge "Adriatic" being towed by its tug, "John Hunsader"

A few years ago I found an article from the Sheboygan Press, dated 17 April 1913, page 5:

"Word reached here last evening by Mrs. M. J. Clark (Mary Jane) that her grandson, Mr. Sanford Clark, was seriously injured when he fell from a steamer at Sturgeon Bay. Mr. Clark was a former Sheboygan young man and is known in the city. His condition at the present time is alarming as he is not expected to recover. Mrs. M. J. Clark and Miss Grace Clark left for Sturgeon Bay this morning."

(Sanford's grandmother was Mary Jane Dumprope who married Sanford Jeremy Clark. She was an 83 year old widow living in Sheboygan Falls, WI. Grace was the daughter of Mary Jane's brother, Charles Rogers Clark and Anna Brown.)

Another account was recorded in the Sturgeon Bay Advocate, Thursday April 17, 1913:


Meets With Accident Friday While at Work on Tug John Hunsader. Face Crushed By Fall.

"Sandford Clark was seriously injured on Friday while at work on the tug John Hunsader, of the Leathem & Smith fleet, and lies at the hospital in a precarious condition.
Sandford was assisting in the work of putting together some of the machinery on the tug and had carried an iron strap weighing probably forty or fifty pounds into the engine or boiler room, which was to be put in place on the machinery. He put the heavy piece of iron onto a shelf or support above him and was about to climb up himself when in some way he lost his footing and fell backward. Grabbing for something to keep from falling, he pulled the iron strap down. This struck an obstruction and then fell on Clark as he struck the bottom of the boat, hitting him squarely on the nose. This organ was smashed beyond any resemblance of a nose, and the skull above the right eye was fractured. He also suffered other bruises and conditions of a minor nature.

The injured man was hurried to the hospital, where his hurts were attended by Dr. Hilton. For several days afterward it was doubtful whether he would survive as the injury to the skull was a severe one, causing no end of anxiety.

   Mr. Clark last winter lost his wife, and has been exceptionally unfortunate in the way of illness. He will be disfigured for life if he recovers from the injuries, as the bones at the base of his nose are all crushed to a soft substance. The organ is being looked after by Dr. Robb, who makes a specialty of this line of work."

Survive he did, and went on to live a long and full life. Interestingly, none of his children had ever heard about the incident. They just knew that he carried a scar on his nose. 

Sanford (on right atop the snow pile) at work at Leathem & Smith yard

Sanford, Eva & the Adriatic

Three years later, 32-year old Sanford fell in love with 16-year-old Eva Jane Mapes, who had helped to care for his first wife and daughters during her illness. Sanford was by now working as a steam engineer on the "Adriatic",  captained by his cousin Albert Braunsdorf. When the Adriatic left Sturgeon Bay on Thursday, August 3, 1916, Eva was also on board. Later that day when they docked at the port in Manitowoc, they walked to the court house and got married. Albert and his wife Ella, the ship's cook, accompanied them as witnesses. Eva remained on the Adriatic for the rest of that sailing season, and by the next year she was expecting their first child.

Sanford, however, did return to the lake the next season. In the fall he experienced another close call when gale winds washed the Adriatic ashore near the Sturgeon Bay canal. Here is the account as described in the October 12, 1917 issue of the Door County Democrat, page 1:


Adriatic and Glasgow of Leathem & Smith Fleet Ashore Near Lily Bay.


Tow Line Parts When Tug Hunsader Tries To Enter Canal With Tow— Wind and Sea Carries the Two Craft Onto the Beach.

While endeavoring to enter the canal Saturday evening at seven o'clock in a heavy sea and wind from the south, the tow barges Glasgow and Adriatic of the Leathom & Smith stone fleet, broke away from the tug Hunsader and are now on the beach near Lily Bay, about three miles north of the canal.

Capt. Serface of the Hunsader had brought his tow up the lake from Milwaukee and Manitowoc, both stone barges being light. When abreast of the canal and about a mile out in the lake, the tow line between the tug and first barge was shortened up so as to be able to enter the canal in the heavy sea that was running. After the line had been shortened and the tug started to straighten out the tow, the line parted. The wind was blowing a gale, and in the big sea that was running, it was impossible to pick the barges up and Capt. Serface went into the canal with the tug .and reported the loss of his tow to the captain of the Coast Guard.

After parting of the line the Adriatic and Glasgow were at the mercy of the wind and sea before which they drifted toward shore. At one time the sea brought them together, but fortunately they drifted apart with no serious damage. When nearing shore Capt. Olsen of the Adriatic dropped the anchors, but they would not hold in the storm and the two craft drifted into the surf and finally struck bottom. The tow line that held the Glasgow to the Adriatic was cast off and the sea carried the Glasgow in, shore about 76 feet further
than the Adriatic, the former being about 200 feet from the beach.

The coast guard crew took off Chas. Wilmer and L. E. Thorstenson, the two sailors on the Glasgow, at eleven o'clock, it being a difficult and dangerous job in the dark and high running surf. 

The Adriatic being a better boat and not in danger of going to pieces the crew were not taken off until early the next morning. It will be a night, however, long remembered by the six members of the crew, seas sweeping over the craft, making it not only most uncomfortable but dangerous. The members of the crew were Capt. Chris Olsen, Sanford Clark, Tolllf Tollifson, Julius Helsen, Tom Pallistor, and Mrs. Ervine Devoe, the cook. All night long they were exposed to the storm and it was a great relief to them when they were taken off the stranded craft in the morning by the Coast Guards.

The first attempt to release the barges was made Monday afternoon, when the Hunsader got a line to the Adriatic and succeeded in moving her quite a distance, but the sea was running so high that the attempt had to be given up.

It is doubtful if the Glasgow can be saved. She is an old boat and the wrecking job would be quite expensive. The Adriatic is a more valuable craft, being equipped with self-unloading machinery for the purpose of handling crushed stone.

Stranding of the boats is a heavy loss to the company at this time of the year. They have considerable stone to deliver at different ports along the lake, and it means a loss of business, if deliveries cannot be made.

Sanford and son Raymond at work on the farm

Eva and Sanford had seven children.  For a time they owned a farm at Juddville with his brother John and his wife Tressie. In the early 1920's Sanford moved his family to a place along Lake Michigan,  south of Sturgeon Bay. Eva found that it was too isolated a life for a young mother with three little children, so while Sanford was away sailing, she moved the family into town.

In 1929 they purchased property just south of Jacksonport, and moved an old store building to the farm for their house. Sanford farmed for the next thirty years, but throughout the years he also worked at the ship yards and occasionally returned to the lake for seasonal employment. During the Depression, he found work with the WPA, building roads and planting trees in Door County. 

Sanford & daughter Amelia

Sanford with sons Raymond & Frank

Sanford & his favorite horse, Babe

Sanford & daughter Doris haying
Sanford & son Herbie, who died in 1931
of Scarlet Fever, at the age of 18 months


In 1959, 76-year-old Sanford found he could no longer get up and down from his milking stool. He made the difficult decision to sell the farm, and he and Eva moved to Sheboygan to live their last years together. In the city Grandpa loved to work in his vegetable garden and go for long walks. In 1966 they celebrated their 50th anniversary with friends and family. Sanford passed away on 6 July 1970 at the age of 86. He is buried at the Jacksonport Town Cemetery in Door County, just a few miles north of the farm where he and Eva raised their family, and where she would join him eighteen years later.

Sanford's work on the Great Lakes

(For more photos and a discussion of their life on the farm, see week #2 .)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

52 Ancestors: #9- Margaret (Bright) Mapes

Having just written about Stephen S. Mapes, I must now finish his story by telling of his wife, my great-great grandmother Margaret (Bright) Mapes. 

Margaret was the fifth of fourteen children born to Thomas and Clarissa (Ferris) Bright, born 23 June 1808 at Deerfield, Portage County, Ohio. Thomas was born in 1778 in Maryland, and Clarissa in 1786 at Pound Ridge, Worchester, New York. They married in Virginia, where the first three children were born before moving to Ohio. 

Margaret was 24 years old when she married Stephen S. Mapes at Orange, Cuyahoga County, Ohio on 9 October 1832. Her brother Curtis married Stephen's sister Julia ten months later.
Marriage Record for Stephen Mapes and Margaret Bright
Stephen and Margaret were parents of at least 9 children, 5 girls and 4 boys: Clarissa Rosetta, Julia Ann, Mary Maria Ann, Rebecca Cordelia, McKenzie, Orpha Lomira, Alvin Perry, Calvin Ferris and John Dony. Most of these accompanied their parents on their westward trip to Wisconsin in 1853. They spent about four years in Sheboygan before following the Lake Michigan shoreline 120 miles to Door County. 

According the two histories written by H. R. Holand about the Door County peninsula, Stephen and Margaret's journey was full of challenges. 

"From Sheboygan he (Stephen) came full of hope moving all his earthly possessions, including fourteen children, for two hundred miles through the timber on a two-wheeled cart drawn by two oxen. When he came to Sturgeon Bay there was neither bridge nor ferry. But he made a raft and managed to get the oxen and all on board. With his wife standing in front of the oxen feeding them corn to keep them quiet so that none of the fourteen children would be spilled out, he paddled them across to the promised land where riches and happiness were soon expected, but which,alas, were never realized."

Stephen and Margaret lived at the town of Gibraltar, where they are listed on the 1860 and 1870 Federal censuses. Living with them in 1870 were their youngest son John, and their widowed daughter Mary Potter and her daughter Ida. Mary's husband John had died soon after being mustered out of the army in 1865. Mary remarried in Fish Creek in October 1870 to Samuel Hamilton, and died some time before 1880. Her daughter Ida was adopted by Mary's sister, Rebecca and Lewis Churchill.

Margaret died on 18 August 1877 at the age of 69. Interestingly, her death certificate lists the cause of death as "apparently from old age". She was buried at the Juddville Cemetery.

Margaret Mapes' Death Certificate

52 Ancestors- #8 Stephen S. Mapes

A Shoemaker Looking for a Pot Of Gold

Stephen S. Mapes

My great-great grandfather, Stephen S. Mapes, is responsible for bringing our branch of the Mapes family to Wisconsin. He was born 23 June 1811 in Senica County, New York, the tenth of twelve children born to Seth and Julia (Smith) Mapes. When he was a small boy, his family moved from New York to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where Stephen grew up. 

On 9 October 1832 at Orange, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Stephen (age 21) married Margaret Bright (age 24), daughter of Thomas and Clarissa (Ferris) Bright. Stephen's younger sister Julia married Margaret's brother Curtis Bright just ten months later.

Looking for the Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow

Being one of the youngest children in his family, Stephen did not follow the family trade of surveying and map-making, but became a shoemaker instead.This no doubt came in handy with his own large family of children to clothe. Stephen and Margaret had at least 9 children, all born in Ohio. Most of these accompanied their parents in 1853 when they moved westward to Wisconsin, settling first in Sheboygan. They remained there for about 4 years. 

In 1857 Stephen and Margaret moved all their possessions and children 120 miles north to Door County, settling at Fish Creek, in the township of Gibraltar. An account of this is preserved in two Door County histories written by H. R. Holand, "Old Peninsula Days" and "History of Door County, Wisconsin...The County Beautiful": 

"The Fish Creek community is not the product of a high, far planning purpose, such as is the case with Ephraim. It was the accidental meeting place of a number of discordant individuals, unrelated mentally or physically, who were driven thither by fortuitous circumstances. One thing they had in common, however, and that was the bitter struggle of finding their way through the world and battling with a merciless wilderness. With illusionary optimism they moved hither and thither, ever hoping that at the next turn they would find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 

As an example may be mentioned STEPHEN MAPES. From Sheboygan he came full of hope moving all his earthly possessions, including fourteen children, for two hundred miles through the timber on a two-wheeled cart drawn by two oxen. When he came to Sturgeon Bay there was neither bridge nor ferry. But he made a raft and managed to get the oxen and all on board. With his wife standing in front of the oxen feeding them corn to keep them quiet so that none of the fourteen children would be spilled out, he paddled them across to the promised land where riches and happiness were soon expected, but which, alas, were never realized."

While some details like the number of children and the distance they traveled were incorrect, the story always fascinated me. Another mention of Stephen was recorded in the Door County Advocate in 1926, related to a visit by son John and Josephine to the newspaper's office: 

"Mr. and Mrs. Mapes are pioneer residents of Door county, as the above record indicates. Mr. Mapes is a son of Steven Mapes, who came here in 1857 and settled in the town of Gibraltar where he worked at his trade of shoemaking."

Stephen's Land Patent in Gibraltar Township

The Mapes family was still living in the Gibraltar area in 1877, when Margaret died at 69, "apparently of old age". Stephen was listed on the 1880 census at Gibraltar, living with his son Calvin's family. He apparently accompanied Calvin to Green Bay during the 1880's. Stephen died on  7 June 1890 at Marinette, Wisconsin. I have not been able to locate a place of burial for him. Perhaps he was brought back to Door County to be buried beside his wife at the Juddville Cemetery.

Stephen S. Mapes' Death Certificate
While Stephen's quest for material riches was never realized, he leaves behind a wealth in the way of descendants and will always remain a part of the history of Door County.

52 Ancestors- #7 John Dony Mapes

John Dony Mapes, Lover of Dogs

Having begun my stories with my grandmother Eva, and worked through her family- mother, brother Leslie and grandmother, it now seems fitting that I give attention to her father, John Dony Mapes. In looking at photos of John, I noticed a recurrent theme- he often was accompanied by a pet dog. He must have felt they were as much a part of his family as the people in his life.

John was born 12 April 1851 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, the youngest child of  Stephen S. and Margaret (Bright) Mapes. John was about 2 years old when his family moved from Ohio to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where Stephen farmed until 1857, when they made the 112 mile trip up the Lake Michigan shoreline to Door County, settling in the town of Gibraltar.

John's First Marriage

The year 1880 was a Leap Year. On March 30th John, age 28, married "Spinster" Betsey Moore, age 47, in a civil ceremony witnessed by John's brother Calvin and his wife Harriet. Here is the newspaper notice from The Expositor Independent of 9 April 1880, page 4:

Betsey, who was 19 years older than John, died at the age of 61 on 13 February 1894 while visiting in Green Bay. According to her obituary, "Her husband, who was at home, went to Green Bay immediately on receipt of the sad intelligence." 

John and Josephine

The following November 28th, John, "a traveling man",  married Josephine Fittshur (Rockwell) at Forestville. The Door County Advocate added some personality to their December 15th report of the marriage under the Fish Creek section:

Marriage Record from Mapes Family Bible

Registration of Marriage
John's entry in his wife's autograph book

Two months later, the Door County Advocate reported under the Forestville section: 
"John Mapes, of Gibraltar, is selling fish to this vicinity. He is meeting with success in that line if his supply of fish which has been recently increased may be taken as a criterion of success."

On 10 September 1895, John and Josephine became parents to a son, Lesley Dony Mapes, and a daughter Eva Jane was born on 13 February 1900. 

John Mapes Family about 1903
John Mapes Family about 1912

The family lived in a cabin at Forestville, across the road from Josephine's mother Lydia Rockwell. John was associated with the Seventh Day Adventist religion. In November 1895 the Advocate reported: 

"Daily religious services are being held at the residence of John Mapes. The services are held at night and are conducted by a minister of the Seventh Day Adventist church. On Saturday evening at 7:30, the minister will deliver an address on the Church and State."

John must have been pretty handy with a gun, as reported by Door County's "Weekly Expositor Independent" on 9 Feb 1883: 

Besides the wildcat incident, another example of John's willingness to jump in and help others is what happened in March 1996, as reported in the Door County Democrat:

In about 1904 John moved his family up the peninsula to the community of Juddville to farm. They moved back south to the town of Sturgeon Bay in April of 1911. In January of 1912, it was reported under "Sawyer News in Brief": 

John Mapes has entered the employ of J.M. Ellenbecker as traveling saleman and he will have unlimited territory in the sale of the useful household articles manufactured at the Sawyer factory."

Tragedy struck the family in about 1912 when Lesley became seriously ill with Tuberculosis of the bone in his right hip, requiring the amputation of his leg. On 4 July 1913, the Door County Democrat reported:
 Lesley died two weeks later, and was buried at the Juddville cemetery, where John and Josephine would later join him. 

John continued his nomadic lifestyle, moving from place to place to find a way to provide for his family. Throughout the rest of his life, he and Josephine lived in various places in the southern and northern parts of the Door peninsula. They were living at Jacksonport next to their daughter Eva and Sanford Clark's family in 1930, in a little house built for them on the farm. John had gradually lost his eyesight, and fell one evening while trying to light a lantern, fracturing his left hip. He developed pneumonia and died two weeks later, 20 September 1930. 

John & Josephine Mapes