My name is Richard A. Newton.
Two – maybe three weeks ago, I requested that the Wernitch forum be created.
I am a descendent of the first Wernitch in this country - John Wernitch – he was my great-great-grandfather. Currently, I have no reason to believe that the surname of WERNITCH as descended from John Wernitch has survived and as I am fifth generation, there is not that much genealogy to discuss. Therefore, I hope that people addressing this forum keep it here and we can bring out the entire line of descent from John until the present day.
With this message, I am posting literally everything that I have, in the hopes that people who read it will leave something behind. Please bear with me.
For starters, I have in my possession, John Wernitch’s passport and I have also gotten it translated. Wasn't easy as it was written in old German script, which not many people can read anymore.
His full name, as it appears on the passport is Johann Andreas Gunther Wernitsch. You will notice that the American spelling has dropped the ‘s’. Please note that in some of the *.ged files, I have found my grandmother’s maiden name spelled Warnitch – this is incorrect.
There are two dates on the passport, 9 March 1851 and 12 March 1851. We believe the issue date to be 9 March 1851.
The following data was retrieved from the passport:
PASSPORT NO: 289
His name (from the passport): Johann Andreas Gunther Wernitsch
Height: 5 feet 3 inches in height. (NOTE: The professor who translated this, stated that this was probably a Prussian foot/inch and he didn't know the difference between it and the English system).
Color of face: Healthy
He is either from Frankenhausen, Germany or a locality that is close by.
From the Internet, I was able to find the following in regard to Frankenhausen:
FRANKENHAUSEN, a town of Germany, in the principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, on an artificial arm of the Wipper, a tributary of the Saale, 36 m. N.N.E. of Gotha. Pop. (1905) 6534. It consists of an old and a new town, the latter mostly rebuilt since a destructive fire in 1833, and has an old chteau of the princes of Schwarzburg, three Protestant churches, a seminary for teachers, a hospital and a modern town-hall. Its industries include the manufacture of sugar, cigars and buttons, and there are brine springs, with baths, in the vicinity. At Frankenhausen a battle was fought on the 15th of May 1525, in which the insurgent peasants under Thomas Mflnzer were defeated by the allied princes of Saxony and Hesse.
The principality of Schwarzburg was ruled initially by the Schwarzburg family. You can find their coat of arms on the Internet. The same coat of arms is on the passport.
The original county was divided into two counties in 1552. Both counts received the title of [Imperial] Prince (Reichsfürst) in 1697 and 1711 respectively. In 1909 the branch Schwarzburg-Sondershausen became extinct and the Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt became prince. From 1909-1918 the two states were ruled jointly. In 1918 both became Free States and were incorporated into Thüringen in 1920.
These were the smallest principalities within the German Empire, with Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt having only 940 km² and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen 862 km².
My line of descent from John is as follows:
Descendant List – Johann Andreas Gunther Wernitsch
1 -- Johann Andreas Gunther Wernitsch
sp – Katherine Hohn
2 – Edward Wernitch
sp – Clara Rebecca Gasaway
3 - Margaret Jane Wernitch
sp - Earl Orange Newton
4 – Robert Lee Newton
sp – Jeanne Lenore Steckel
5 – Richard Allen Newton
NOTE: A short biography of Edward Wernitch is given at the end of this message.
In the last month, I have collected the following information from various sources (listed). How much of it is applicable remains to be seen.
A search on John Wernitsch provides the following:
John Wernitsch found in:
Germans to America, 1850-1874
Age: 21 Gender: Male
Final Destination: United States
Manifest ID Number: 00006898
Ship's Name: Heinrich
Port of Embarkation: Bremen
Date of Arrival: May 3, 1852
Captain's Name: F. Kohn
Purpose for Travel: Staying in the USA
Mode of Travel: Steerage
I have confirmed this information with a check on the book “Germans to America.” In fact, the check added two additional facts: that there were 90 passengers on the ship and that it docked in New York City.
On Ancestry.com, the following message was posted:
I'm looking for information on the ancestors Catherine Hohn who came from Germany in 1837 to Indiana. She married John Wernitch in 1852 and moved to Iowa in 1856. Later they moved to northern Missouri. She and John had 9 children, 3 sons and 6 daughters. Any information would be appreciated.
This information is not confirmed and while the dates may not match exactly, it looks promising.
Add the following from this message that was posted on genealogy.com:
I am looking for information on John Hohn b: 1832. He and three brothers immigrated from Nassau, Prussia in 1851, using their sister Catherine's birth certificate. The brothers separated upon arrival, and lost touch with each other. John settled in Wooster, OH, working as a blacksmith. In 1859 he married Mary Speheger and they moved to Waterloo, IN. I would especially like to know:
1. What happened to Catherine?
2. Who/where are his brothers?
3. Any information on his ancestors.
This information is not confirmed.
From the Harrison County, Missouri Genealogical website we get the following:
Henry HOHN b. 1810 in Hesse Kassel or Hesse Darmstadt, Germany; left Germany about 1840 with his wife, Elizabeth Ripples, and three children: Cathryn, John and Lewis, staying for a time in Pennsylvania and Indiana before settling in Harrison Co. in Colfax Township about 1854. The family travelled with the Poush family from Indiana. On Feb. 25, 1856, John Poush and Henry Hohn purchased 40 acres of land from J. B. Wardrip for $300., the legal description being: S.W. quarter of N.W. quarter-section, Twp. 66, Range 27, Harrison Co., Mo.
The entry was dated 1854.
I have also conducted various searches of the census index and a search of all currently indexed census, (not all census have been indexed for display on the Internet yet) for all years, and for all states provides a total of 3 hits:
2 in the 1910 census
1 in the 1920 census
From the 1910 Federal Census:
Surname: WERNITCH WERNITCH
Given Name: CLARA HENRY J
Age: 54 53
Sex: F M
Race: W W
Birthplace: IN MO
State: IA MO
County: DECATUR HARRISON
Location: BURRELL TWP COLFAX TWP
Year: 1910 1910
The census sheet shows a woman living with her daughter (Margaret).
From the 1920 Federal Census:
Given Name: JOHN H
Location: BLYTHDALE; COLFAX
The census shows a man living with his wife and three daughters.
I believe that John H Wernitch and Henry J. Wernitch are the same. Since the names were in census that were ten years apart, there was ten years difference in their age (43 in 1910, 53 in 1920) and the names living in the household were the same otherwise.
Clara Wernitch’s husband Edward died in 1890 and Clara did not remarry until either 1917 or 1918. I searched on her second husbands name in the Federal Census and found her living with her husband (Douglas Davis) and I assume his son.
Edward Wernitch is buried in the Andover, MO cemetery.
From a “HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE, VOLUME II”, published by THE S.J. CLARKE PUBLISHING COMPANY (1915)
Edward Wernitch, deceased, was for a number of years actively engaged in agricultural pursuits in New Buda township and was highly esteemed by those who knew him. His birth occurred in Marion county, Iowa, February 25, 1856, and he was a son of John and Katherine (Hohn) Wernitch, natives of Germany, who settled in Marion county, Iowa, at an early day in the history of this state. Subsequently they removed just over the line into Missouri. The father worked at the cabinetmaker’s trade in Germany and after arriving in this country he followed cabinet and carpenter work and also gave some attention to farming. He passed away February 28, 1906, and his wife died in November, 1909.
Edward Wernitch grew to manhood in Missouri and there received a common-school education. He remained with his parents until he became of age and after his marriage, came to Decatur county, Iowa, buying eighty acres on section 16, New Buda township. He operated that tract for many years, or until ill health compelled him to abandon farm work. He was an invalid for two years before his demise, which occurred on the 14th of November, 1890. He was energetic and planned his work carefully and met with a gratifying measure of success as an agriculturist.
On the 23d of October, 1877, Mr. Wernitch married Miss Clara R. Gasaway, a daughter of Marion and Margaret (Lawrence) Gasaway, natives of Indiana. Mrs. Wernitch was born in the Hoosier state, September 23, 1855, and in the following year was taken by her parents to southern Missouri, where the father engaged in farming. During the Civil war he sold out and went to Kansas, thence to Illinois and still later back to Indiana, where he passed away in October, 1865. He had survived his wife for a number of years, as she died in January, 1858. Mr. and Mrs. Wernitch became the parents of four children: Lulu M., the wife of Ed E. Graham, a farmer of this county; Margaret J., who is teaching school at Hanover, Kansas; John F., who died in April, 1884, when thirteen months old; and Laura E., the wife of Quintin B. Wright, who is principal of schools at Mineral, Washington. Mrs. Wernitch has seven grandchildren, including the two daughters and three sons of Mr. and Mrs. Ed E. Graham, and a son and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Quintin B. Wright.
Mr. Wernitch was a republican and was trustee of New Buda township, discharging his duties to the satisfaction of his constituents. He belonged to the Grange and took an active interest in all movements that sought to bring the farmers closer together and to give them a more scientific attitude toward their work. He guided his life by the teachings of the United Brethren church, of which he was a member, and his sterling worth gained him the confidence and respect of all who were associated with him.
Mrs. Wernitch resides in Davis City, where she owns two good residences, one of which she erected and the other of which she remodeled and now rents. She is a member of the Rebekah lodge and has many friends not only in that order but in the community at large as she is a woman of many admirable qualities.
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