Tag Archives: Feature

Karolyn Wunsch: Little Known Oldest Herr Child



Located on M-21(E Fulton St) halfway between Lowell and Ada Mich on the south side. Only about 30 stones total in the cemetery. Wunsch stone is the big one in the center above the sign.

A large portion of our Herr Family is not familiar with the story of  Fidel’s oldest daughter, Karolyn, about whom I’ve been corresponding with some of our newly found cousins and her descendants the past few years. . 

Recently, cousin Gerald Wisner sent me a photo of Karolyn’s tombstone in Rolfe Cemetery, Ada, Kent County, Michigan and told me the old Wunsch farmhouse is still standing proud and in good shape  down the road from the old cemetery, where they were buried.  

I’ve also learned much about the Wunsch Family in correspondence with cousin Donna Rogers, and Phil and Marge, who have  published an informative “Wunsch Descendants.,”  web page. 

The second of eleven children born to Fidel Herr and his first wife Maria Anna Schmidt and the first of only four by that couple to live beyond infancy, Karolyn Herr was born December 16, 1803 in Achern, Germany..

Her father Fidel arranged a marriage contract for her with Anton Wunsch, the son of Joseph Wunsch and Margaretha Ullrich, and a potter from nearby Oberdorf near Kuppenheim, on April 24, 1823.   

The happy couple made Fidel a proud grandfather in rapid succession with the births of Appolonia (1824), Sebastian (1827), Agnes (1829) Karl (1830) and Genovefa (1832).  

However, they disappointed old Fidel, when they stayed back in Oberndorf, rather than sail on the General Hamilton with him, his new wife, Maria Anna Hauser, and her brother and sisters, Jane, Fidel, Maria Theresa, Marianna, and Maria Theresa on a six -week voyage to the New World in the Fall, 1831.  

Anton and Karolyn attended the funeral and were at the reading of the will of Karolyn’s maternal grandmother, Johanna Burger in Achern in March, 1832.

I think the silver legacy the couple received from Grandma Burger and father Fidel’s encouraging letters from America finally  influenced them to cross the Atlantic Ocean to join the rest of the Herr Family, sometime between the birth of their daughter, Genovefa on January 3, 1832 in Oberndorf and John Anthony Wunsch in Plymouth, Wayne Country, Michigan on October 10, 1837 (I have not found a passenger record yet for them).

They lived in Plymouth, Wayne County, Michigan until they bought a 40-acre farm in Ada, Kent, County, Michigan on June 17, 1850.

The family, which  is listed in the Ada, Kent County, Michigan Federal Census records for 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900., grew by leaps and bounds to ten children with the Michigan births of Charles, John Anthony on October 10, 1837, Barbara on March 15, 1839, and Mary in 1843.     

All of the children married, Sebastien to Martha Champlain, Agnes to Thomas Barr, Genovefa to Adam Umlor, Charles to Ida A. Haight, John Anthony to Anna Peplow, and Barbara to Mathias Snyder.

Karolyn died on July 30, 1876 and Anton 4 years later on January 31, 1880 on the old farm in Ada, Kent County, Michigan 

Much of the family and descendants have stayed and still live in the Grand Rapids and Grand Traverse Michigan areas today  not too far from the old Wunsch family homestead, where their American Dream all started.

Joseph Herr (1834 – 1917) – Obituary – Plymouth Gazette – 1917

Our cousin Nancy Harper Fullerton  was nice enough to send us Joseph Herr’s obituary shown below, which was published in the Plymouth Mail in 1917.

Born in Nankin Township in March, 1834, Joseph Herr was the youngest son of the original Michigan Herr emigrant, Fidelius Herr and his only son to be born in America. 

He never married, choosing to live his entire life as a bachelor with his older bachelor brother Enos and spinster younger sister Clarissa  on the old Herr homestead, in Nankin Township.

He was a dashing young man in his day, as described in the obituary, riding into Plymouth with his brother Enos on a couple spirited stallions. It sounds like the townspeople were quite impressed with our young cousins, Joseph and Enos Herr.

It is surprising that Joseph and his brother were not combatants in the Civil War as they were definitely of military age, 26 and 29 years old, and sound like they would have been worthy cavalry men., but then maybe Fidelius sheltered them from the draft or enlistment somehow. He had to be tired of the military having survived Napoleon’s antics back in Achern before he left for America..

Other children by Fidelius’ and second wife, Maria Anna Hauser, who survived infancy and came over on the USS General Hamilton with their parents, were: Maria Barbara (born 1824 and married Anthony German), Marianne (born 1824 and married Francis George), and Ignatius Enoch (born 1831 I think on board the USS General Hamilton on the way to America).

 Thanks Cuz Nancy, for sending us this interesting piece.


John H. Herr – Military and Pension Records

Compiled by Rodger M. Wood

Coincidence or John’s Spirit?
I have another scary story about our family history.

In August 1967, my then three old son Mark and I went to the National Cemetery, Marietta GA to visit the grave of our fallen Civil War family hero, an 18 year old boy, John Herr, who enlisted in Sherman’s Army on February 11, 1864, so his father Fidel Herr would not have to and could stay home on the farm with John’s mother and four younger siblings.

John was a cannonaire in Battery A, 1st Michigan LA, which supported Sherman’s Army in his famous Siege of Atlanta and subsequent March to the Sea, but our John made it only to Marietta GA before he contacted bloody disentery and died on August 31, 1864, less than a year before the end of the Civil War.

On that hot sunny day near to the 103rd year anniversary of John Herr’s death on August 31, 1864, Mark and I drove up to the entrance to the National Cemetery at Marietta, GA, walked into the cemetery without a clue where John’s grave was in this big spacious cemetery, walked about 25 yards forward, about ten steps to the right, happened to look down to find out we were standing over John’s grave. Coincidence or John’s spirit drawing us to him, we‘ll, never know, but understandably, we were convinced it was John’s spirit
which drew us to the grave, and we’ll never forgot the experience. .

Pension Index: Mother Joanna E. Herr, Applied for Pension: November 12, 1890, Mother, 487433 341591 Michigan.
Battery A, 1st Michigan Light Artillery
Born: June 23, 1845, Nankin Twp, Wayne Co, Michigan
Parents: Fidel and Joanna Herr
Died: August 31, 1864 at Marietta GA
Buried: Section A, Grave 35, National Cemetery, Marietta, GA
Tombstone reads, “Jno Hern, Michigan, and is right by the entrance to the cemetery, to right of the gate in Section A. I was there in August, 1965 with my young son Mark to pay our respect to this fallen family hero. (There is a memorial tombstone for John H. Herr next to his parents’ grave in Newburgh Cemetery, Westland MI, but he is buried at the National Cemetery, Marietta, GA.

Military Records:
Was a member of Battery C, 1st Michigan Light Artillery.
Enlisted on February 11, 1864 at Nankin, MI for three years, aged 18, Mustered February 11, 1864. Died of disease at Marietta, GA August 31, 1864.
Battery C during John’s time of enlistment took active part in Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign, joined in the siege of Atlanta until it surrendered to General Sherman. Battles included: Dallas GA, May 27, 1864; Resaca GA, May 14, 1864; Decatur Ala, Big Shanty, June 15, 1864; Kenesaw Mountain, GA June 25, 1864; and the Siege of Atlanta, July 22 – August 25, 1864.
John was a cannonaire, pvt, and enlisted instead of his father Fidel. He died of colera according to my great uncle John Herr.

March 2, 1891: by Ebenezer Hubbard
He knew Joanna E. Herr for 30 years. She and her husband owned 36 acres of land valued at $1,500 dollars; $125 furniture, and had $100 annual income.
Joanne’s husband Fidel Herr was 80 years old, disabled for Shematism.
Lived in Township of Nankin, Wayne Co, Michigan.

Affidavit by Edwin J. Norris of Nankin dated March 2, 1891 (same as Ebenezer Hubbard above)

Affividavit by David F. Norton, PO Pikes Peak – medical – dated March 2, 1891
Has known Joanna for 30 years. Lived 1 mile away for 15 years. Her husband Fidel and father of John has been unable to do any manual labor for 3 or 4 years. Hart Trouble. Norton was a medical doctor for 40 years and was over 80 years old himself.

Claimant Affidavit: March 2, 1891 and April 17, 1891:
John Herr was born June 23, 1845, Nankin Township, Michigan.
Joanne listed her children:
John H. Herr botn June 23, 1845
Theresa H. Herr, born June 11, 1848
Marrett C. Herr, born April 3, 1850
Malvina H. Herr, born June 29, 1852
William C. Herr, born December 23, 1853
Husband: Fidel Herr, 80 yeats old
Joanne was 64, resident of Nankin County, Michigan.
John wnrolled at Detroit, February 11, 1864, died disentery or bloody flux incurred near Atlanta GA July 31, 1864.
Joanne died May 19, 1910, pensioner dropped, $12/mo.

Last Will and Testament: Fidel Herr (1782-1862)

The last will and testament and some of the supporting documents of our first Herr emigrant to the New World, Fidel Herr (1782 – 1862), are printed verbatim below.

The original documents are on file at the State of Michigan Historical Library in Lansing, Michigan.

In his will, Fidel provided that his farm and personal effects go to his youngest sons, Enos and Joseph, who he also named executors of his will.

He also stipulated Enos and Joseph pay $25 to each of his married daughters, Teresa, Mary Ann, Jane and Barbary, and $50 dollars to his only single daughter Clarissa.

While everything may be on the up and up, I have a couple concerns about the validity of this will.

The will was witnessed November 7, 1862, which would have been the day before Fidel Herr died on November 8, 1862, and hardly a day when Fidel would have been lucid enough to make a new will.

His living children on November 7, 1862, are listed below, but Fidel left out mention of his two oldest children, Fidel Herr Jr, who was living about a mile away on a farm in Nankin, and Karoline Wunsch,
who was living on a farm 150 miles away in Ada, Kent, Michigan.

Children Alive at Fidel Herr’s Death n November 8, 1862

Karoline Wunsch (1803 – 1876) living in Ada, Kent, Michigan
Jane Holbrook (1810 – 1868) in Plymouth, Wayne Co, Michigan
Fidel Herr Jr. (1812 – 1894), living in Nankin, Wayne, Michigan
Teresa Tanguary (1813 – probably before 1890) and living in Wabash, Illinois
Barbara George (1824 – 1879) living in Wayne, Wayne, Michigan
Mary Ann German (1826 – before 1891) living in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan
Enos Herr (1831 – 1908) living in Nankin, Wayne, Michigan
Joseph Herr (1834 – 1917) living on Herr Family farm in Nankin, Wayne, Michigan
Clarissa Herr ( 1835 – 1911) living on the Fidel’s family farm with brothers Joseph and Enos in Nankin

In the supporting documentation, Joseph and Enos did not remember their father died November 8, 1862 and certified instead, he died sometime in 1867, when they requested probate of the will on December 2, 1890..

On the same date they requested probate, December 2, 1890, the executors, Joseph and Enos, overlooked listing the names of their older brother Fidel, who was living, and the children of their deceased sisters, Karoline, Teresa, Jane, Barbara, and Mary Ann (listed below) among the living heirs,

In a good old traditional German family, usually, the oldest son Fidel would have been given his father’s farm and the grandchildren would have been given their mothers‘ inheritance.

Known Fidel Herr Grandchildren Whose Parents Were Deceased in 1890. (Fidel Herr Jr
Children Are Not Listed)

Sebastien Wunsch (1827 – 1905) living in Ada, Kent, Michigan
Agnes Barr (1829 – 1895) living in Ada, Kent, Michigan
Genovefa Umlor (1832 – 1901) living in Ada, Kent, Michigan
John Anthony Wunsch (1837 – 1907), living in Ada, Kent, Michigan
Barbara Snyder (1839 – 1908) living in Traverse City, Michigan
Mary Frances Holbrook (1855 – 1940) living in Plymouth, Wayne, MI
Alfred Tanguary (1855 – 1920) living in East Clarkston, Missouri
William Tanguary (1856 – after 1920) living in Wabash, Illinois
John F. Tanguary (1846 – after 1915), living in Wabash, Illinois
Emily Patterson (1847 – after 1900), living in Richfield, Michigan
Dillon George (1849 – after 1900), living in Livingston, Michigan
Lester George (1852 – after 1920), living in Portland, Oregon
Fidell George (1855 – 1916) living in Volusia, Florida
John A. German (1857 – after 1910), living in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan

The explanation for omitting Fidel Jr. in the will may have been his father or younger brothers thought he was well enough off that he didn’t need the family farm, or the brothers wanted a clear title to the farm for themselves without Fidel, who was getting up in years, knowing.

The brothers may not have known Karoline Wunsch, who came over to America about 1851, much later than the family in 1831, lived in Plymouth, Michigan only a brief time, and left for Ada, Kent, Michigan to raise a family, maybe without much contact with her Herr Family back in Nankin..

The brothers may also have paid the stipend provided the daughters to their off springs without mention in the record.

In any event, what is passed is passed and I think almost one hundred twenty years later, it is too late to resurrect Fidel Herr and the grandchildren’s descendants’ claim to the estate now.

Supporting Documentation

Herr, Fidel
Estate: 1890
Died: 1867
Nankin , Wayne, Michigan
Will dated: 7 November 1862

Died —-1867, Nankin, Wayne, Michigan
Will dated 7 November 1862

Estate: 1890
Herr, Joseph (son & Executor) Nankin, Wayne, Mich
Herr, Enos (Son & Executor) Nankin, Wayne, Mich
Herr, Clarissa Herr (daughter) Nankin Wayne Mich
Tanguary (Nee Herr) Theresa (Daughter, deceased) Nankin, Wayne, Mich
Holbrook (nee Herr) Jane (Daughter, deceased) Nankin, Wayne, Mich
Herr, Barbara (Daughter, deceased) Nankin, Wayne, Mich
Herr, George (son- deceased) Nankin Wayne Mich
German (Nee Herr) Mary Ann (Daughter) Detroit, Wayne, Mich

Filed December 9, 1890

To The Hon. Edgar O. Durfee, Judge of Probate for the County of Wayne, in the State of Michigan:
The petition of Joseph Herr, who is the age of 21 and upwards, of the County of Wayne respectfully shows:
That Fidel Herr departed this life on (blank) the (blank) day of (blank) in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty – seven leaving a last Will and Testament, as your petitioner is informed and verily believes, which will is herewith presented for probate and wherein your petitioner and Enos Herr are appointed executors thereof.

That said deceased was, at the time of his death, an inhabitant of Nankin in said County of Wayne, that he was possessed of real and personal Estate, situate and being in the County of Wayne, to be administered, and that the estimated value thereof is the sum of (blank) Dollars, or thereabouts, of which (blank) Dollars is personal estate, as your petitioner is informed and verily believes.

And your petitioner further shows that the names and residences of the heirs at law od said deceased, and other persons interested in his estate, are as follows:

Enos Herr and your petitioner, the sons of said deceased, residing in said Nankin, and Theresa Tanguary, deceased, Jane Holbrook, deceased, Barbara George, deceased, Mary Ann German, and Clarisa Herr, the daughter of said deceased. That said Enos, Joseph, and Clarissa reside in said Nankin and said Mary Ann German resides in Detroit in said county.

Your petitioner therefore prays said will may be admitted to probate and to said Enos Herr and your petitioner or some other suitable person, and that such other and further order and proceedings may be had in the premises as may be required by the statutes in such case made amd provided.
Dated November 12, A.D. 1890
(Signed) Joseph Herr

Last Will and Testament of Fidel, Herr

In the name of God Amen, I, Fidel Herr of the town of Nankin, County of Wayne, and the State of Michigan, being sound of mind and memory & considering the uncertainties of this frail life, do heretofore, make and ordain, publish, & declare, this to be my last will and testament. That is to say, first after all my lawful debts are paid and discharged, the residue of my estate, real & personal, I give, bequeath, to the following (wit), To my two Sons, Enos Herr, & Joseph Herr, my farm and appurements thereon, situated in the Town of Nankin, in the county of Wayne, & State of Michigan., together with all my personal effects, of which I may be possessed at my decease. My two sons, Enos & Joseph, are to pay to my daughter Teresa, twenty-five dollars, to my daughter Mary Ann twenty-five dollars, to my daughter Clarissa, fifty dollars, to my daughter Jane and Barbary, twenty five dollars, Likewise, I appoint, make, and constitute my said sons, Enos & Joseph, to be my executors of this my last will & testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me made.

In witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal the seventh day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two.

The above written instrument was subscribed by the said Fidel Herr in our presents, and acknowledged by him to each of us: and he at the same time published and declared the above instrument and subscribed to
His last will and testament, and we, at the testator’s request and we, at the testaor’s request & in his presents, have signed our names as witnesses hereto, and writen opposite our names our respective places of residences.

Harry Dow Nankin Wayne County State of Michigan
B.C. Bunnell Livonia, Wayne Co, Michigan
Last Will and Testament of Fidel Herr (continued)

State of Michigan in the County of Wayne Probate Court for said County, I Edgar O. Durfee Judge of Probate In and For the County do hereby certify that the foregoing instrument was this day duly found ande allowed as and for the last will and testament of Fidel Herr late of Nankin Township in said County deceased as fully appears from the order entered in the journal of the said court.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto rendered my hand and official seal of said writ the 5th December eighteen hundred ninety.

Edgar O. Durfee
Judge of Probate.

Es Ist Zu Spaet

Von Rodger M. Wood 


I wrote the article, “Es ist Zu Spaet” or “It is Too Late”  for my German 295 class last semester. 

It describes the events which led our third great grandfather, and first Herr emigrant to America in our Herr family branch, Fidel Herr (1778 – 1862) to give up his Catholic religion and heritage in 1833. 

In the spring of 2006, I made a pilgrimage to St. Mary Church, from which Fidel was turned away.  I paid a priest the “French Tax,” which Fidel had refused to pay, 

had my confession heard, attended a mass, which I arranged to be said for our Fidel, received Holy Communion, and poured holy water from the church’s font into a bottle. 

I took the holy water back to Newburgh Cemetery. My hands and legs shaking in fear Fidel may come up from his grave at me, I  poured the holy water on Fidel’s grave to restore him to Catholicism and good terms with God.     


Es ist zu Spaet

Nach Familietradition, waere mein sechster UrgroBvater, Blasius Herr, im Jahre 1674 

aus der Schweiz geflohen, weil er,, Mennonite Anabaptist” waere.  Er waere an der alten 

romanischen StraBe aus Basel nach Baden- Baden durch den schoenen Schwarzwald  

gewandert, um von katholischer Verfolgung entkommen.  Er waere auch 

gewandert, weil er die Einladung des palatinen Konigs  sein Reich aufzubauen woellte.

     Die meisten meiner anderen Vorfahren waren auch Deutsche.  Der Maedchenname 

meiner Mutter war,, Herr.”  Ihr dritten UrgroBvater und der ersten Einwanderer nach

neuen Welt Unserer Familien, Fidelius Herr, war im Dorf ,,Oensbach” geboren, das im 

Schwarzwald gelegen hatte.  Fidelius war der groeBe  Enkelsohn von Markus Herr, der 

ursprunglichen aus Siedler in Oensbach wae. 


     Oensbach liegt im Archertal im Norden von Schwarzwald naeher dem Rhein, 18 KM 

nordwesten Baden – Baden, 19 Km nordosten Offenburg, und 30 Km sudwesten daeruber

die franzosischen Grenze aus Strasbourg, die Kathedralestadt denn fuer Oensbach war.  


    Dieses Dorf war erste im Schriftgeschichte im 1230 A.D. er wachnt worden,, wann 

ein Burkhard von Hohenrode einen ihm HOF in Oensbach an das Kloste Honau 

uebergab.”  Die koniglichen Staufenberger und Zahringer Familie waren Oensbach in das

hochen Mittelalter mit Landevogtei der Ortenau zu verbinden gefuhrt.  Waehrend 


Des DreiBigjaehrigen Krieges (1618 – 1648), ist Oensbach vom franzosishen Heer 

niedergebrannt worden und ist vieler Jahre verlassen worden, bis der Konig des

Palatinates,, die Mennonite Anabaptist” ihm sein Reich wieder aufbauen zu helfen

ein geladen hat. Blasius Herr hat sein Enladung angenommen, bevor er nach 

Baden – Baden gewandert war.


     Das Haus, in dem Fidelius Herr geboren wurde, steht wieder in Oensbach bei 

SchwartzwaldstraBe 25, unter dem Schatten des doerflichen katholischen Kirchturms. 

Da die doerflichen romanischen katholischen Kirche,,  St. Josef”  nicht schon gebaut 

worden am Fidels Geburtstag am 23 Dezembre 1782, mussten seine Eltern, Blasius und 

Maria Klaer, viele Brueder und Schwestern, Oenkel, Tanten, Kuisine, Nachbarn, und 

andere doerflichen Leute den Saeugling diese Nacht einen Km. hinher die StraBe bei der

Altekirche, St Elisabeth, in Fautenbach nehmen, um ihn zu taufen.  Alle waren in einer

Prozession, die bei glanzender brennenden  Taeschenlampen geleitet war worden, bevor

Tod ihn zum Mitmehmen konnte. 


     Fidels GroBvater Markus Herr, der Sohn des ersten Mennonite Siedler in Baden – 

Baden war, nach Oensbach im Jahre 1731 zu wohnen gekommen.  Er konnte heiraten  

Elisabeth Schlinder, deren Vater Buergermeister des Oensbach und reicher Bauer war, 

und doerflicher Schuster sein und ist in die Katholismus umwandelt.  Im Jahre 1732 hat 

Markus Herr das Familiehaus bei SchwarzwaldstraBe 25 von seiner Schwiegermutter 

gekauft, und hat das jaehrlichen Zeichen beim Zahringer Scloss getragen.  Ein Inschrift

an einer Schlafzimmerwand,, In Anno Domini MCCCLXVIII” angedeutet habe, dass das 

Haus im 1388 A.D. gebaut sei.  Markus hatte Erfolg als Schuster, und er das 

Haus und sein neues  Religion bei seinem aeltest Sohn Blasius Herr, gegeben hat, wenn er

im Jahre 1765 gestorben wurde. 


     Blasius war auch auf fallend Buerger, Schuster, und  im Jahre 1800, war 

Buregermeister Oensbach.  Er war jedes Jahre ein Mitglied des Stadtrats.  Er hat am 

7. Juli 1805, nachdem ein Monat die neue Kirche,, St  Josef” schon gebaut war.  Er wurde

im Friedhof der Kirche begrabt worden, das er zu bauen ge holfen hatte.  


    Im acht zehnes Jahrhundert, waren deutsche Vaeter verantwortlich gute Ehe 

fuer ihre Soehne und Toechter zu verhandeln.  Buergermeister im Jahre 1800 und reicher

Schuster hatte Blasius Herr ein Ehevertrag ueber Seinem juengest Sohn Fidelius mit

Maria Anna Schmidin, die eine Tochter eines reichen Baeckermeister, Johann Nepomuk  

Schmid  aus Achern, verhandelt. Das Paar hat am 10 August 1801 bei St. Nicholaus oder

Klausenkirchel,  die um 1300 A.D. in Achern gebaut hat worden, geheiratet.  Als seine

Mitgift, hat sein Schwiegervater sein groBes Haus in Achern bei Fidelius gegeben.  


     Von 1801 – 1831, hat Fidelius gut gemacht.  Er und seine Ehefrau Maria hatten Kinder 

jedes Jahre zur Welt gebracht aber einzige Toechter Karolina (1803), Johanna (1809), 

Maria Theresa (1817), und Sohn Fidel (1812) (und er meinen UrgroBvater war), ihre

fruehe Kindheit uebergelebt haben. Als sein Vater im Jahre 1805 gestorben wurde, hat 


natuerlich sein aeltest Bruder, Blasius Herr, das Familiehaus bei SchwarzwaldstraBe 25 

geerbt.  Fidelius’ erste Ehefrau am 17 Septembre 1818 gestorben hat, und er hat Maria

Anna Hauser fuenf Monate spaeter im Februar, 1819 bei Fautenbach geheiratet. 


     Im Jahre 1830, hatten die Kinder der Maria Anna Schmidin ihres Mutters Erbe von ihr 

GroBmutter Johanna Burger gegeben. Ihre vaeterliche GroBmutter, Maria Theresa Klaer, 

ist sehr junge gestorben, aber ihr Bruder, Wilhelm Klaer, der Schulleiter und Organist

der Stadt Oeberachern war, hat gewaehrleisten, dass sein junger Neffe, Fidelius sehr gut

hat beigebracht worden. Ich besitze ein hundert Seite Violinsonate und  ein 

philosophisches Buch, dass er im Jahre 1817 geschrieben hat. 


     Im Jahre 1830, haben einige Aktivitaten im Achern ge schehen, dass Fidelius nicht 

gefallen haben.  Waehrend der frueher dreiBig Jahre, hatte Napoleon aus Archertal ins 

Schlachfeld verwandelt.  Die Maenner der Herrenfamilie und Dorf hatten mit ihrer 

Einberifung bedroht worden.  Wann die Armee Napoleons die Bauers Feld                        

war, hat sie ihn zerstoert hat. Im 1807, haben deutsche Leibeigene aus Sklaverei befriet, 

und waren in die groBen Fabrik in die Staedte und Doerfer gegangen.  Sie hatten die 

Existenz der Fidels Baeckerei und alles traditionellen deutschen Hauswerke bedroht.

Obwohl Achern sehr katholisches Dorf war, hatten die Evangelische eine Kirche in 

mittler Dorf naher Fidels Haus zu bauern er lauben. Vergessliche seines katholischen oder 

Mennoniten Vertrauen, wurde Fidelius feste ein Agnostiker. Die Familie hat im Jahre 

1830  auch viele Goldenmuenze geerbt.  Fidelius hat ueber die vielen Anschlage fuer 

billiges Land und Ueberquerung im Michigan gedacht, die er ueberall gesehen hat, .  


     Er hat sich entschieden nach Amerika auszuwandern, er hat sein Haus bei seinem 

Vetter, Edward Armbuster, gekauft, und hat seine Frau und fuenf Kinder an die Rhein 

nach  Antwerp genommen. Sie waren drei Monate ueber die Atlantischer Ozean nach 

Amerika gefahren.


     Wenn er ein Jahre spaeter in seiner Blockhutte in seiner viertig Acre Bauernhof, 

aufgewacht hat, war er sehr froh. Er war ein Marzen Samstag, und er hat seines 

katholischen Vertrauen zu erneuern entschlieBen.  Er wurde Zwoelf Km. in die deutschen 

Detroit Kirche fahren, um ein Priester seine Glaubens Gestaendnis zu hoeren und er 

seines Ostenen Pflicht. Als seine Verfahren, wurde er die langen Entfernung fuer Religion 



     Bei der Tur der deutschen Kirche, hat ein franzosischen Priester ihn gegruBt. Fidelius

hat dem franzosischen Priester seine Gestaendnis zu hoeren gefragt.  Der Priester 

antwortete auf ihm,, Bestimmt, aber Sie mussen erste mir die Besoklung bezahlen.”    


     Daerfur erinnerte Fidelius sofort an Martin Luthers verdammung von die

katholischenen Kirche. Er hat sich vom Priester ab gewandt und hat sich gemurmelt,, Ich

werde meinen Weg Gott zu verehren finden mussen.”  


     Fidelius ist nie wieder zu einer Kirche gekommen, aber im Jahre 1850, hat er allein 

ueber die StraBe von St. Mary gestanden. Er hat gehends in die Kirche, die 

Menschenmenge, die seine juengest Tochter Maria Theresas Hochzeit zu sehen

gesammelt,  an gesehen. 

     Er sagte leise sich, Ich darf nicht meine Meinung andern. Es ist zu spaet!”

Die Leutegeschichte von Oensbach



I wrote the “The People History of Oensbach” for my final paper for my German 295 class at Northern Virginia Junior College last semester.

It was the culmination of my preliminary research into Upper Rhine Valley and Black Forest area of Baden, where our Herr Family showed up in 1731 when Markus Herr bought 25 Schwarzwaldstrassee from his mother in law, Frau Schlinder.

While serving initially as a research paper for my German class, I truly wish it will also serve as a framework for my doctoral research into our Herr Family History down the road. The Oensbach area history is blessed with much more fruit for study and I am determined to track our family’s place in it.

Also, I want to show my German speaking cousins the progress I have made in learning our ancestral language. I am enrolled in German 415, Advanced German Grammar and Composition at George Mason University this semester and plan to keep getting more fluent until I can read the philosophy book our third great grandfather, Fidel Herr Sr, wrote in 1817.   

Die Leutegeschichte von Oensbach  


     Um ueber meine muetterliche ethnische religioese und nationale Erbe

zu bestimmen, muss ich zueruck an die romische Zeiten im Jahre 55 B.C.

an die Geschichte vom Dorf Oensbach und anderen naeher schwarz waulder

Doerfer ziehen.  Der dritten UrgroBvater von meiner Mutter Fidelius Herr

ist im Jahre 1782 in diesem Dorf geboren, das im Ortenaukreis im

Archertal im Norden von Schwarzwald naeher dem Rhein, 32 km

nordwesten Baden-Baden, 19 km nordosten Offenburg, und 30 km

suedwestlich von der franzoesischen Grenze von Strasbourg liegt.   


     Zwischen den Jahren 100.000 und 30.000 BP waehrend der Mittler

palaeolithicischer Periode, gab es viele Beweis, dass Neandertler auf

Rhinozeros und wollige Mammuten dem Rhein entlang naeher Oensbach

gejagt haben.


     Waehrend der mesolithic an Periode von kultur eller Entwicklung um die

Jahre 5.600 B.C., ist das Rheintal von,, Cro-Magnon” besetzt worden, die

gejagt haben, die ueber pflanzen und Tiere gewusst haben, und die einige

Tiere aufbewahren gekonnt haben.


      Waehrend der Eisenzeit um die Jahre 600 B.C., sind beide Ufer vom

Rhein naeher Oensbach von keltischer Stammen besetzt worden, die von

germanischer Stammen er setz worden sind, die den Weser und Aller

Fluesse ueberkreuzen sind und die um die Jahre 500 BC der Ufer entlang

vom Rhein ausdehnen sind. 


     Im,, die gallischen Kriege “ hat Julius Caesar geschrieben, dass

Ariovistus im Jahre 53 B.C. ein Heer aus der Harudes, Marcomanni,

Triboci, Vangiones, Nemetes und Sedusil germanischen Stammen

gesammelt haette die in ein hundert Kantons dem Rhein entlang gewohnt

haetten. Waehrend des gleichen Jahre, hat Julius Caesar Bruecken gebaut,

um Rhein zu ueberqueren. Im Jahre 50 B.C, haben German ische Stammen

die romische Stadt Vesontio in Gallien attackiert.


     Der Verfall der romischen Baden sind in Baden-Baden gefunden worden,

 der eine Stadt 32 km nordwestlich von Oensbach platziert ist, dass die

Romer im 80 A.D. ge gruendet haben.  Es gibt auch Beweis ueber eine

romische Entscheidung naeher Hoch Straebel in Achern, die eine Stadt zwei

km suden Oensbach platziert ist. 


     Im Jahre 75 A.D, hat Tacitus die,, Germania “ geschrieben, die

Germanics Stammen dem Rhein entlang und im Schwarzwald gewohnt



     Im Jahre 98 A.D, habe Ammianus Marcellinus den Name,, Alamanni” auf

germanische Stammen im,, Limes Germanicus” waehrend trajanisches

Gouverneursamts des,, Germania Vorgesetzte” sich zu beziehen benutzt.


     Claudius Ptolomy hat im Jahre 168 A.D. im,,Geographie” geschrieben,


dass die ger manische Stammen, Ingriones, Intuergi, Vangiones, Caritni, und

Vispi in,, Germania Vorgesetzte” gewohnt haetten, die zwischen dem Rhein

und Abnoba im der Schwarzwald platziert worden sind.


     Im Jahre 215 A.D, zeigt Archeologie von der Periode, dass die Alamanni

Weitgehend romischen waren. Sie haben in romischer Haeuser gewohnt,

und haben romische Artefakte benutzt. Die alemanne Frauer frueher als die

alemanne Maenner die romische Art von der Tunika adoptiert hatten. Die

stammese Strukfuer hat sein Griff in der Schwarzwald verliert, und war

darin von die Kanton zurueckgestellt worden.


     Im Jahre 217 A.D, hat der romische Kaiser Caracalla Anspruch

alemannes Buendnis der ger manische Stammen zu schlagen erhoben, die

ueberall den oberhaupten Fluss gewohnt haetten und die Romer von

eindringende darueber den Rhein aus der romanischen Provinz,

ger manischen Vorgesetze, angehalten haette. 


     Viele Alamanni sind im Jahre 366 A.D. hinueber den gefrorenen Rhein

im Gallien zu einfallen gegangen, wo sie von  Valentinian im Schlacht

Solicinium sind geschlagt worden. 


     Im Jahre 406 A.D, sind die Alamanni wider hinueber den Rhein im

Elsass zu besiegen, und hat das westliche romische Reich zer fallen.


     Das konigreich (oder Herzogtum) von der Alemanni zwischen

Strasbourg und Augsburg hat bis ins Jahre 496 A.D. angedauert, als die

Alamanni von Clovis I am Schlacht Tolbiac besiegt.


     Byzantinischer Geschichtsschreiber Agathias von Myrina hat im Jahre

550 A.D. aufgezeichnt, dass die Alemanni als die Frankfurtr auBer ihren

Religion waeren, die unter den Truppen vom frank ischen Konig

Theudebald haetten gekaempft, seit sie abgortisch Baeume, Fluesse, und

Schluechte als Gott verehrt haetten und Pferde, und Kuhe, und unzaehlige

 andere Tiere gekoepft hatten, als ob es ein heiliger Ritus waere.    


     Im Jahre 614 A.D, haben Alamanni in die Dioezeze von Strasbourg

haben sie angesiedelt im Jahre 736 A.D. im Staatsgebiet von Augsburg

haben sie angesiedelt im Jahre 745 A.D. in die Dioezeze von Mainz

und sie haben angesiedelt im Jahre 805 A.D. in die Dioezeze von Basel




     Im Jahre 635 A.D, ist das Bischofsamt im alamannischen Staatsgebiet

geschafft worden. Das zum Ausdruck gebracht hat, dass sie Katholizismus

angenehmen haben.


      Die alamannische unverwechselbare Gesetz sind im Jahre 800 A.D.

unter Karl der GroBe als das Herzogtum von Alamannia in Schwaben

kodifiziert worden.


     Im Verdun Vertrag ist Alamannia eine Provinz vom oeslichen Konigreich

von Louis der Deutscher geworden, das Wegbereiter vom Heiligen

romischen Reich war.


     Vom Jahre 870 A.D, war der Rhein die zentrale Achse von einer

politischen Einheit, das Heilige Romische Reich.


     Rudolf von Rheinfelden Herzogtum von Schwaben ist im Jahre 1077

A.D. den Koenig von Deutschland gewaehlt worden.  Die Zahringer eine

wenigere alamannische adlige Familie hat diesen neuen Koenig gestaerkt,

der sie fuer ihre Treue mit Land und Kraft belohnt hat. Sie sind Herrscher

ueber ein Herzogtum geworden, und haben Eigentum im Schwarzwald auf

beide Seiten von den oberen Reichweiten von Rhein zu erwerben

konzentriert.  Diese Familie hat Graefe in Thurgau, Albqua, Breisgau, und

Ortenau, wo meine Herrenfamilie hat ins Doerfer von Achern und

Oensbach gewohnt. Der Markgrafen von Baden hat im Jahre 1275 A.D. die

Graefe vom Breigau und Ortenau uebergenommen.  


     Die zahringerische Familie war verantwortlich fuer die Gruendung von

vielen neuen Entscheidungen in ihren Koenigreich Ortenau einschlieBlich

Oberachern, Achern, Oensbach, Fautenbach, Offenburg, Renchen, und die

Allergeiligen Kloster. Jede neue Entscheidung hat mehre Volker aus dem

Koeniglichen Haushalt, andere Stadte, und Laender gebracht.


     Achern oder,, Acchara” hat erst im Jahre 1050 A.D. in einer Handschrift

er waehnt. Zum gegenwaertigen Zeitpunkt haben Oberachern und

Niederachern ein Gemeinwesen gebildet. Die Abtrennung in zwei

verschiedene Doerfer hat allmaehlich vom Ende des dreizehnten

Jahrhundert zum Beginn des vierzehnten Jahrhundert ge schehen. Um dem


Jahre 1300 A.D, hat die Nikolaus Kapelle in Achern gebildet, und sie steht

noch heute im mittleren Dorf.  Im Jahre 1495 A.D, ist Achern im

Hundertjahrekrieg heruntergebrannt worden, und das Dorf ist zwoelf Jahre

davongelaufen worden. Priesterliche Rechte sind von Sankt Johann

Kirche in Oberacherm nach die Kirche von unserer Frau in Achern verlegt



     Eine zahringerischer Herzog hat im Jahre 1201 A.D. ein Schloss im Teil,

der Oberachern geworden ist.  Bis um Jahre 1500 A.D, war Oberachern die

Lage vom regionalen Hof Achern. Der konig liche Vogt ist im Jahre 1328

A.D. er waehnt worden, und der konig liche Hof ist im Jahre 1370 A.D.

er waehnt worden.


     In der Bulle des Papstes Honorius III (1216 – 1227) werden um des

Jahre 1223 A.D. dem Kloster Ettenheimmuenster seine Rechte und

Besitzungen bestaetigt. In diesen,, Honoriusprivileg” erscheint der

Name auch,, Oensbach” als,, Ongersbac.”  Im Jahre 1230 A.D, hat

Burkhardt von Hohenrode ein Hof in Oensbach fuer das Kloster Hanau

ge gruendet.


     Naeher Oensbach, Achern, und Oberachern hat Herzogin Uta von

Schauenberg im Jahre 1192 A.D. ein Monchskloster von Allerheiligen

geschafft, das Leute in der Flachenausdehnung angezogen hat, und eine

groBere religiose politische und kulturelle Mitte des oberen Trogtal von

Lierbach im noerdlichen Schwarzwald geworden war. Es war im Jahre 1657

A.D. eine Abel geworden und hat am 17 November 1802 function ert hat,

wann der Margraf Karl Friedrich von Baden sie aufgeflosen hat.


     Offenburg war noch eine Stadt, die in der Flachenausdehnung angezogen

hat.  Der Bischof von Strasbourg hat im Jahre 1100 A.D. sie ge gruendet hat,

und sie hat erste im Jahre 1148 A.D. in deutschen historischen Handschidte

er waehnt. Sie war im Jahre 1240 A.D. eine freie kaiserliche Stadt



     Einige religiose Dissidentin sind nach den Dreibigjahrekrieg

(1618-1648) die Flachenausdehnung zu restaurieren gekommen. 

Anabaptische Schweizer haben im Jahre 1653 hinunter den Rhein in die

Oedlands in ihren westenen Boeschung zu bewegen begonn. Der

palatinische Herzog hat im Jahre 1664 A.D. ein spezielles Angebot der


Tolierung und religiose Freiheit den schweizerischen Brueder,, Mennists”

ausgegeben.  Einige franzoesische Adligen hat auch die schweizerischen

Brueder in die Lands norden die Schweiz ein geladen. Im Jahre 1680 A.D,

Hat Jakob Ammann ein anabaptisches Band des Anhaengers in

Markirchental im Elsass ge fuehrt.       


     Viele sephardinische Juden sind zum Ende vom fuenfzehnten

Jahrhundert und waehrend des sechzehnten Jahrhundert aus iberischen

Halbinsel fuer religiose Greiheit in Kaufmaennischen Mitten von Holland,

Frankreich, und Deutschland verlassen.  Es gibt Registers, die einige

sephardinische Juden wohnende in Offenburg, Oensbach, und Achern




     Nach den Erlass von Nantes und den Dreibigjahrekrieg, haben manche

franzoesische Hugenotten in Achern und anderen Teilen vom rheinischen

Trogtal unterbtacht.


     Ortenaukreis war ein Schlachtfeld, waehrend des Hundertjahrigekrieg

(1337- 1453), Dreibigjahrigekrieg (1618-1648), Hollaendischkrieg (1674),

Palatinischfolgekrieg (1688 -1700), und der napoleonischen Kriege spaeter

(1795 – 1815).  Waehend diese Kriege sind franzoesische schwedische

deutsche osterreichische englische russische und andere europaeische Heer

und ihre hilfreiche Leute in Ortenaukreis, und dem naeheren Schwarzwald

gecampt worden, bewegt worden, gepluendert, und gekaempft, der wie

einem Sammelplatz, genutzt hat, bevor Ulm und andere Schlachte.  Einige

diese Soldate und ihre hilfreiche Leute haben in Achern, Offenburg,

Oberachern, Oensbach, und anderen Schwarzwalddoerfer nach die Kriege

zurueckzukommen und zu wohnen ge waehlt.  


     Mein funfte UrgroBvater Blasius Herr ist im Jahre 1735 auch in

Oensbach gebornen, aber ich kann nicht ueberprufen, dass sein Vater mein

sechte UrgroBvater Marcus Herr auch in Oensbach gebornen ist.  Ich weiB,

dass er im Jahre 1731 ein Haus bei Schwarzwaldstrassee 25 in Oensbach

gekauft hat, aber ich kann nicht seine Geburtsurkunde finden. Er war

Schuster, der irgendwo sein Gewerbe von der Gilde gelehrt worden ist, aber

ich weib nicht woran.


     Seine Vorfahre und meine koennen Neandertler oder ,,Cro-Magnon”


Man, germanischer oder romischer Krieger, Zahringerischer koeniglicher

Arbeiter, anabaptischer Schweizer, sephardinischer Jude, franzosischer

Hugenotte, oder franzoesischer Soldat sein, oder etwa Kombination von

diesen Leute, die Oensbach, und naehere Flaechenausdehnung bevoelkt hat.

Ich muss die Leutegeschichte von Oensbach darueber zu finden und


Concerto by Our 3rd Great Grandfather: Fidelius Herr (1782 – 1862)

Somehow and some where, our third great grandfather, Fidelius Herr, a baker by trade, studied and learned music well enough to compose a lengthy concerto in 1817, a sample of which can be heard on this web page.

No. 4 Andantevln

Duetto II

The sixty-four pages of his original sheet music are in my possession.

I am having a professional musician record the remainder of the concerto, which I will put on this web page in the near future..

To listen to Fidel’s concerto straight through, you will have to enjoy classical music.
He has been compared to Mozart, which is probably a stretch, but possible as I know absolutely nothing about music having flunked this class repeatedly at old Isaac Crary Elementary.

There was a music tradition on the maternal side of Fidelius’ family. Although his mother Maria Klar, died when he was two years old, three generations of his grandfathers, Franz Klar, Franz Ignas Klar, and Franz Klar carried on a musical heritage as Head Schoolmasters and Organists at nearby Oberachern.

Since Fidelius was motherless, it is very conceivable he may have spent a lot of time and was  educated by his grandparents and uncles.

It was well known and reported that Fidelius Herr and Fidel Herr Jr. were both accomplished violinists in Nankin Township – skipping down a couple generations,
we discover that our Uncle Harold Herr and my brother Russell Allan Wood were both accomplished musicians in Detroit, and Los Angeles.

There is a musical tradition in the Herr Family and this concerto shows that it may have started with Fidelius Herr.

Harriet Melvina Herr Story

Whatever It Takes!
Memories of Harriet Melvina Herr (1852 -1938)
By Dorothy Joy Liscum

From Germany in 1831 came a family of 3 sons and a daughter – people who wanted a new start in a new land.

The father Fidel Herr and the mother Mary Ann, brought the young people to the Detroit area where land could be obtained for a nominal sum.

It’s not known where the older couple, the parents settled, but the son named for his father, Fidel Jr., bought a farm near Plymouth Road or Ann Arbor Trail in the area then known as Perrinsville.

They had all looked at the area around and near to Detroit, but because it was wet and swampy and would need a lot of preparation before any crops could be planted, they decided to go out further and search for better farming land.

Two brothers looked still farther going west and south from Fidel Jr.’s farm and found some land that was sandy and seemed well drained so they decided to get that land.

Their sister, Clarissa, kept house for Joseph and Enos in a log cabin built by these brothers.


None of the three ever married. Their farm was at Cowan Road, near Newburg Road in Wayne County.

They all worked hard – and in later years, a 2-storied brick home was built and the log cabin was torn down.

Before leaving the log cabin, this I must let my readers know that the fireplace was designed to accommodate a large log brought into the house through the front door, across the living room to the fireplace. Here the forward end of the log was fired from the existing bed of coals and as it burned, the opposite end was pushed gradually into the fire, until all was consumed. Naturally someone had to watch this fire, but the brothers considered this method easier than cutting the log into sections fitting the inside of the fireplace.

Fidel Jr. married a 16-year old girl named Joanna Willsey and they lived in a log cabin on his farm in Perrinsville. There was very little money in the household – Joanna was able to make only six flannel diapers for her first child and cut up her wedding dress to make other clothes for the child.

Her children arrived at regular intervals, Theresa called “Tet,” Harriet Melvina (called Viny), a son named John, another daughter named Marietta (also called “Met.”), a son named Wm, and last a daughter named Jessie.

As a young man, John enlisted in a company going to help fight in the Civil War.

He did not write many letters home, and after not hearing from him for a long period, his father instituted a search through a third party, who was recommended to him, as being able to trace young men in the war. John was at last found to have been ill with diarrhea, a common ailment among soldiers, and because he either got no medicine or it was too late when he got it, he died according to a letter received from another soldier who knew him.

The log cabin the family lived in had two floors. The second story floor was of logs, laid side by side, and all the children but the youngest at the time slept in the upper room. It was warmer than the first floor – and too the children could be sent up there when company came.

My grandmother Viny told me they nearly always had bread made of corn meal, besides corn meal mush for breakfast, corn meal being less expensive than white flour. However,
when there were guests for meals, Johanna, Viny’s mother, evidently did have some white flour to use, and would make biscuits to serve the guests.

The children being relegated to the upstairs while the company was fed, would hope desperately that some of the biscuits would be left for them to eat at the children’s meal. They could look down between the logs in the second floor and would watch the plate with the biscuits. If any were left, it was a happy time – but often there were no biscuits left for the children.

Theresa married Minot Weed who had been in the Civil War. After the war was over, they moved to the Kalkaska, Michigan area to a farm. They had one daughter who died as a young woman.

Harriet Melvina met a good looking young man at Nankin Mill and later married him. His name was James K. Joy, son of Bennett Joy, whose home was at Grand River and Telegraph Rd. Bennett and family having come there from New York State.

James was next to the youngest of a family of 12 children. When he and Melvina married, he bought a farm on Plymouth Road, two miles east of the city of Plymouth.
He did not have enough cash to pay for it so he worked hard to make payments to the previous owner.

There were two parts to the farm – one part was on the south side of Plymouth Road, and the other on the north side and the larger. After a few years the smaller part was sold that on the south.

James and Viny had a daughter born in 1873 named Lydia Olivia, then in three years a son named Mark.

These children attended school at Newburg, and then went to Plymouth High School.

However, the boys were only 8 and 6 years old when their father sickened and died of typhoid fever

This left Viny with three children to raise, and a farm to pay for – she had to practice all kinds of economies.

She hired a man to do all the heavy work on the farm until the boys were old enough to do it.

One of her economies was to cut a pencil in half, and each boy got a half to do his lessons.

Also they ate sandwiches spread with lard for school lunches. After all butter could be sold or traded for groceries so it was not used much at home.

Lydia finished high school and took teacher’s training and became a teacher.

Jim and Mark worked on the farm and Viny, their mother, kept house for them, until Jim, who was courting a neighbor girl, Ella Beckhold, after 3 years, decided on marriage.

Then Viny, who believed strongly, that 2 women could not live in the same house, moved to Plymouth – there she bought or rented a 2-story house near the railroad tracks, and took in boarders.

In order to make the most of her location, Viny rented rooms to two shifts of railroad men, the day shift would rise, eat breakfast and leave, then Viny would whisk around to the bedrooms, pull off the sheets the day workers had slept in and put on the sheets that the night workers had slept in the day before and make the beds for those who would any minute come in and want to get their sleep before night fall.

When these men got up and had their meal, Viny would hurry around and remake the beds for the day men who would be coming in any time to go to bed.

No one knows how she did it, but she did it for a number of years, perhaps 5 or 6 – when she changed her habits, sold the boarding house, bought a neat little white house on Ann Arbor Trail, and keeping one steady boarder, she moved to an easier life.

Her daughter, Lydia, still teaching, moved in with her, also, and things were better for Viny.

Lydia had a suitor, a railroad worker, James McNabb, who had invented a gadget for use on the railroads. He was a good looking man and he admired Lydia greatly

She, however, was very hesitant about consenting to marriage, as he was nine years younger than she. The old belief was that the men should be older than the girl he married, and Lydia was very sure their marriage wouldn’t work. He finally convinced her he was only interested in her, and always would be, and they married. She was 34 and he was 25.

They, Lydia and James, moved to Biddle Street in Detroit and after a year, they persuaded Viny to come and live with them.

She felt she would have nothing to do there, but did go – and being Viny, she went out and found herself an occupation that kept her busy for years.

She called on folks selling magazine subscriptions. She got acquainted – told folks about her son, the farmer, who raised exceptional potatoes. cabbages, apples, and chickens!

She then took orders for the farm products, along with the magazine subscriptions, and sending Jim the orders, he and his wife Ella got them ready and Jim delivered them.

Viny also took orders for dressed chickens for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day,
sometimes as many as 25 for each of these days.

Jim would kill the chickens, Ella would dress them and then on the day before the holiday, he’d deliver the chickens to the delighted customers that Viny had found. He’d also bring in apples, potatoes, cabbage, and carrots. There were no freezer or refrigerators on the farms in those days – however, it was usually cold enough to preserve the chickens for the three days necessary before serving them on the holiday. Ella was especially worn out after cleaning and dressing 25 chickens in a day.

A monumental job! Jim would be worn out after his day in the city delivering the farm products.

One Christmas, while Viny was selling subscriptions, the company she worked for, put out a brochure, saying anyone of their salespeople who sold a certain large number of
subscriptions, could earn a gold watch made by a well known reliable company.

Viny worked very hard that year and earned two of them, giving at Christmas, one watch to Jim and one to his brother Mark. Jim and Mark carried those watches proudly the rest of their lives, Jim living to 96.

After Viny gave up the subscription business – she was still living in Detroit with Lydia and her husband James.

The year 1910. was to be a red letter year for her. Her son Mark and wife Bertha Ostrander, who already had a son and a daughter, in January, brought triplets into the world, two girls and a boy.

In 1910, multiple births were rare beyond twins. No incubators were invented or any other mechanical aid – so it was a world shaking event.

The children were born in a farm house on 7-Mile Road near Northville and weighed from three to four pounds each and were so tiny.

With baby’s normal clothing so much too large for them, it was necessary to adjust, or resewn, the clothing prepared for the one baby that was expected.

The news media wrote about the triplets, came over and took pictures of the children sleeping on pillows in a very warm room.

The January 10th birth date meant .that home fires had to be kept going day and night, never allowed to get below the warm temperature needed by the babies.

Many friends, relatives, and strangers sent gifts. It was a frantic household, with everything centering around the babies’ health and welfare.

Viny came and stayed and helped greatly. The other grandmother, Mrs. Ostrander, also came and helped.

By July the babies were so nearly normal in size and development, everyone was happy about them.

That July, Jim’s wife Ella, gave birth to a fourth child, a boy, named Charles, so Viny came over and assisted Ella for a month.

When Lydia gave birth in early September to her first child, a daughter named Edna Joy, later called Joy, so Viny then went to help Lydia.

So in that year of 1910, Viny became grandmother to 5 children. When the triplets were two years old, diphtheria was more or less epidemic and the one boy named Everett got the disease and passed away. At age five, one of the girls, Lewanda, also passed away with a kidney ailment.

The remaining triplet Lydia is living in Plymouth, Michigan with her husband at this writing.

In the remaining years of Viny’s life, she became more frail and yet using the best of her strength, she visited at her children’s homes and helped them in every way possible.

Ella always worried when Viny came to her house, thinking she would overdo – Ella had five children, and a big garden, lots of work, canning, sewing, and caring for the younger children – with three meals a day for 7 or 8 people. So Viny’s help was appreciated and needed.

Frail as she was in her later years, Viny lived to be 86 and then just slipped away one day.

She left her three children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren as follows:

Lydia Joy married James A. McNabb
Edna Joy McNabb married Richard Brown

James Joy married Ella Beckhold
Dorothy Joy married Dale Liscum
Marian Jane Liscum married R.C. Harper
Lois Joy Liscum married William Dexter
Warren Joy married Ora Goers
James C. Joy married Marian Gustafson
Carol Avis Joy married Norman Balone
Ruth Joy married Leo Douglas
Paul M. Douglas married Judy
Charles Joy, not married
Roy Joy married Marie Goodman

Mark Joy married Bertha Ostrander
Leon Joy, died at one year old
Leona Joy, died at 19 years old
Everett Joy died at two years old
M. Lewanda Joy died at 5 years old
. . Lydia Joy married Burton Greenman
Viola – deceased
Fred Geng
Estelle Joy Geng

We are indeed very fortunate and thank our family member, Lois Dexter, for providing
us this early narrative account of Herr family in Michigan, which her mother, Dorothy Joy Liscum (1902 – 1996) wrote based on stories her Grandma Viny Herr told her as a young girl.

Some clarification, however, is needed:

Parents, Fidelius Herr (1782 – 1862) and second wife Mary Anna Hauser (1793 – 1868) brought children, “Fidele, 21, Marianna, 4, Barbara, 7, Theresa, 18, and Johanna, 21, over from Baden on the good ship General Hamilton which docked in New York Harbor on October 25, 1831.

Traveling onto Nankin Township, Michigan, father Fidelius staked the 80 acres family farm out on the Rouge River, near the intersection of Newburgh and Warren Roads in Westland, Michigan.

Fidele Jr., Theresa, and Johanna were children by first wife, Maria Anna Schmidt who had passed away in Achern in 1817, and Marianna and Barbara by his second wife, Marianna, who came to America..

Another daughter Karoline (1803 – 1876) did not emigrate on the first voyage but later came over with her husband, Anton Wunsch, in 1838 to settle at Plymouth, Michigan and later Ada, Kent County, Michigan.

The three younger children, two sons and a daughter, Dorothy talked about were Ignatius (Enos) (1831 – 1912), Joseph (1834 – 1916), and Clarissa (1835 – 1911).

They were born later in Nankin Township, never married and lived on the a farm they had acquired apart from the family homestead Fidele Herr Jr. inherited from the parents. .
Viny’s parents Fidele Herr Jr. and 18-year old, Joanna Euphemia Wilsey (1826 – 1910) married on January 1, 1844 and they had children:

John H. Herr, a cannonaire private in Company G, 1st Michigan Light Artillery who died August 31, 1864 near Kennesaw Mountain GA on Sherman’s march to the sea.

Theresa Hannah Herr (1848 – 1935), who married Minot Weed.
Marretta C. Herr (1850- 1922) who married Alburtus Barnes, and,

Melvina Harriet Herr, or “Viny” as Dorothy called her grandmother, the baby of the
Herr family and heroine of this story.

History of Spectacle Island, 1634 – 1743

Compiled By Ledyard Bill, Edited by Rodger M. Wood

The early history of Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor and my Bill’s Family roots are
closely interwound.

The island was first mentioned in Boston town records on the 4th of March, 1634-35, when together with Deer Island, Hog Island, and Long Island, it was granted to the town of Boston for the yearly rent of four shillings for the four islands, or a shilling each island.


Very soon afterwards, the town allotted the island to different inhabitants, who paid a small annual rent, to insure the benefit of the free school.

Covered with trees and timber, Boston settlers used the island as a source of firewood.

Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop reported a tragedy which occurred there
during a cold New England winter.

“On the 13th of January, 1637 -38, thirty persons of Boston went out on a fair day to
Spectacle Island to cut wood, the town being in great need of it. The next night, the
wind rose very high to the northeast, with snow, and afterwards at the northwest for
two days. It was so cold that the harbor was frozen over, except a small channel. These
thirty adventurers met with bad luck, for twelve of them could get no further home
than the Governor’s Island, seven were carried in the ice in a small skiff through Broad
Sound to the Brewsters, where they had to stay two days without food and fire, and get
home by the way of Pulling Point, and many of the others, after detention, had their
limbs frozen, and one of them died.”

On the 19th of April, 1649, ten persons “bound themselves and their successors to pay sixpence an acre p’ yeare for their land at Spectacle Iland., forever to y’ use of the schole,
Y” soe it may be proprietye to them for euer, and they are to bring in their pay to the townes treasurer the first day of February for eu’r or else there land is forfeit into the townes disposing.”

These persons did not pay their rent as promptly as they should, and some of them conveyed their rights to others,

History of Spectacle Island, 1634 – 1743

A compulsory order was passed at a 1655 town meeting to levy and the constable collect the large arrears due.

It was not until the 11th of March, 1666-1667, that the town relinquished all its rights in the island to the planters and made void the agreement about the annual rent of sixpence an acre for the benefit of the school, on condition that the back rent should be paid up in full to that date.

About this time, my 8th great grandfather, Thomas Bill, a lighterman or operator of a 17th century barge, began to purchase up the rights of several owners.

In the year 1666-67, Josias Cobbam Jr of Boston sold him a piece or parcel on the southerly bend of Spectacle Island, containing three acres, or thereabouts, bounded E by the sea, W by the land of Daniel Turell and of Thomas Bill, N. by the cove, S by the land of Ralph Mason, etc. (Suff. Deeds, 8:315)

On the 3rd of March, 1667-8, Daniel Turrell of Boston and his wife Mary for 6 pounds sold Thomas Bill of Boston 2 1/2 acres on the southerly bend of Spectacle Island,
(Suff Deeds, 8:217)

On the 31st of August, 1678, Ralph Mason and his wife Annie sold Thomas Bill 8 acres (Suff Deeds 9:418).
By these purchases, Thomas Bill had acquired title to full half of the island.

On the 25th of January in 1681, he transferred his thirty-five acres to his son, Samuel,
my 7th great grandfather, a butcher, who had previously purchased five acres from John Salter and other parts from several other persons.

Boston land records showed Samuel Bill bought up all the other interests and by 1681
owned the title to the entire island for a total investment of 177 pounds..

In 1693, Drake called Spectacle Island, “Samuel Bill’s Island.
(Drake’s History, Boston, p 817).

In 1681, the island was covered with oak and heavy timber, and was valued for its nearness (4 ½ miles) to market.

During the period, 1684 – 1685, Samuel Bill became uneasy about his title to the
island property and obtained a confirmatory title that is reprinted below from
“a big Indian.”.

History of Spectacle Island, 1634 – 1743

“To all Christian People to whom these presents shall come. Josiah, son and Heyer of Josiah otherwise called Wamputuck, late Sachem of the Massachusetts Country in New England sendeth Greetings: –

Know ye that I the said Josiah, son of Josiah, for diverse causes and good considerations me thereunto moving and in particular for and in consideration of a valuable consideration of money to me in hand payd before the ensealing of this deed by Samuel Bill of Boston Butcher, Have with knowledge and consent of my wise men and Councellors William Ahoton, Sen, William Ahoton, Jun, and Robert Mamentaug, Given, granted, sold, enfeoffed, and confirmed, and by these presents Do fully freely and absolutely give grant, sell, enfeoffe, convey and confirme unto the sayed Samuel Bill his heyres and Assignes forever one certain Island Scituate in the Massachusett Bay rights priveledges and appurtenances, thereunto in any commonly known and called by the name Spectacle Island in the present possession the same Bill with all wise
appertaining and belonging. To have and to hold the same and every part and parcel thereof unto him the said Samuel Bill his Heyers and Assigns to his and their sole use and
benefit in firm and indefeasible estate of inheritance in fee simple forever – And the said Josiah for himself his heyers Executors Administrators and Successors doth hereby covenant and promise to and with the said Samuel Bill his heyers and Assigns that at the time of ensealing and delivery of these presents that (according to Indian right and title) he is the sole owner and proprietor of the said Island and hath full power and authority to sell and convey the same as abovesayd and the sayd bargained Island with all its priveledges, rights, and appurtenances belonging, will and sufficiently warrant and defend against himself his heyers and successors and against all and every other person whomsoever having, claiming, or pretending to have or claim any Indian right, title, or interest in or to the same or any part or parcel thereof.

In witness whereof the said Josiah and his councllors above sayd have hereunto put their hands and seals this thirtieth day of April in the year one thousand six hundred eighty-four.

Josiah his mark –o {seal}
William hahaton {Seal}
Old William A Ahaton {Seal}
Robert Mamentong Z {Seal}

Signed sealed and delivered in presence of George Meriott and Experience Ffisher
Josiah, Indian Sachem, and his Councellors acknowledged this to be their Act and Deed, May 1st 1684 before me”
William Stoughton
Suffolk Deeds 13: 172, 173

History of Spectacle Island, 1634 – 1743

Samuel Bill remained in full possession of Spectacle Island until his death on
August 18, 1705, when it was bestowed to his widow Elizabeth for her lifetime and
at her death to his son Samuel.

While he had a Boston house and garden on Black Horse Lane and was a butcher in Boston, there are indications in his will that Samuel had another house and raised cattle and sheep on Spectacle Island.

Samuel Bill’s will is dated August 13, 1705 and was proved September 20, 1705.

He gave his wife Elizabeth the use of all his real estate as long as she shall remain his widow, but should she marry, then the use of only one-third part. “To my son Samuel Bill, I give all my island known as Spectacle Island (in the various deeds) and all my stock of cattle upon it, he paying to my son Richard Bill six pounds a year out of the income thereof during his natural life. To Samuel he also gives two negro men. To Richard he gives his house and garden in Black Horse Lane, in Boston, “which was my father’s and also 200 pounds current money, when he finishes his apprenticeship.

After the payment of debts, the remainder shall be divided equally between his two sons, Samuel and Richard.

The Executors were his son Samuel Bill and William Welstead, to the latter of whom he gave five pounds.

The witnesses were Doctor Oliver Noyes, Robert Staples, and John Vallentine. (Suffolk Probate 16:46.)

Mrs. Bill remarried but in the course of events she and her new husband died, and the title of the island passed on in full to the son, Samuel Bill, my sixth great grandfather, in accordance with the will of his father.

While the Boston fire of 1711 destroyed his Boston residence and he had a house on the island, it is not known whether this Samuel Bill ever moved to the island.

We know, however, somebody had to care for the seventy-six sheep, two cows, two negro men, a boat, an old mare, and family hog, together with sundry tools on the island, which Samuel left in his will at death in 1733.

History of Spectacle Island, 1634 – 1743

Samuel Bill was bothered by financial problems and used Spectacle Island as leverage to make himself solvent again.

In 1714 an indenture was made, whereby Samuel Bill, of Boston, victualer, and Sarah, his wife, mortgaged the 60 acres on two heads of all his Spectacle Island for a 200 pound loan at 5 per cent interest to Andrew Fletcher, Addington Davenport, Thomas Hutchinson, John Wood, and Edward Hutchinson,

Still hurting financially, on July 30, 1717, Samuel Bill and his wife Sarah, for 100 pounds in bills of credit, conveyed to the Treasurer of the Province, Jeremiah Allen, Esq. a portion of land, being part of the southerly end of Spectacle Island, so called, and is bounded northerly by said Bills land, ten feet to the northward of the cellar wall lately built there, to erect a house for the Province, to entertain the sick, and is on the cleft or
brow of the southerly head or highland of said island forty- four feet wide, and from thence to run on a line about south southwest ninety feet, where it is also forty-four feet
wide, and thence to continue the line on the easterly side straight down to the sea and from said ninety feet on the westerly side to widen gradually on a straight line to the sea or salt water, where it is to be sixty feet wide, together with the liberty of landing on the southerly beach point and thence to pass and repass to and from the said granted land.

The Province continued to hold this portion of Spectacle Island for the purpose for which it was acquired until about 1735, when the General Court appointed a committee to buy a more suitable place for a hospital on Rainsford Island.

Prior to that, on the 18th of March in the year 1729-1730, Samuel Bill sold Spectacle Island, containing by estimation 60 acres, more or less, with the dwelling house, barn, and standing thereon, saving and reserving from this grant and sale, that part of said island which the said Samuel Bill conveyed to Jeremiah Allen, Esquire, Treasurer of the Province, July 30, 1717. to his brother Richard Bill (Suffolk Deeds, 44, 115)

February 17, 1738-9, William Foye, Province Treasurer. By virtue of a resolve of the General Court, passed in the session in November, 1736, for 130 pounds, conveys to Richard Bill, of Boston, all the interest of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in and to Spectacle Island, including the buildings where the hospital now is, being the same premises which were conveyed to Jeremiah Allen. Treasurer, by Samuel Bill and Sarah, his wife, both deceased, by their deed of July 30, 1717 (Suffolk Deeds, 57:162)

Richard Bill came into full and absolute possession of the island.

On the 18th of February, 1742 -3, Richard Bill sold the whole of Spectacle Island to his son-in-law, Joshua Henshaw Jr.

Source Material
History of the Bill Family, Ledyard Bill, editor, Alvord Printer,15 Fulton Street. New York, 1867, pages 46, 49 – 54, 105 -113.

Bill Family Genealogy

John Bill (1593 – 1638) – settled in Boston in 1633 with wife Dorothy Tuttle
Thomas Bill (1618 – 1696) – first owner of Spectacle Island
Samuel Bill (1654 – 1705) – second owner of Spectacle Island
Samuel Bill (1683 – 1733) – third owner of Spectacle Island before selling to brother
Richard Bill (1685 – 1757)
Samuel Bill (1720 – 1804) Elizabeth Bill + Joshua Henshaw (owner)
Samuel Bill (1743 – 1797)
Samuel Bill (1777 – 1840)
William Bills (1820 – 1900)
Sarah Eunice Bills (1857 – 1937)
Fred Fidele Herr (1881 – 1943)
Helen Sabine Herr (1907 – 1991)
Rodger Michael Wood

Schwarzwaldstr Plague 25


Photo of a plaque in the wall of the front room of the old Herr House at Schwarzwaldstr 25, Oensbach. Marcus Herr bought this house from from his mother in law, Appolonia Zursthorn, mother of his first wife, Elisabeth Schlinder, and husband of deceased Mathaus Schindler in 1732.

The plaque may have more significance in the Schlinder family line, I don’t know.