Koehn, Elisa

Koehn, Elisa

Female 1864 - 1943  (78 years)

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  • Name Koehn, Elisa  [1, 2, 3, 4
    Born 11 Nov 1864  Volhynia, Ukraine Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 5, 6
    Gender Female 
    Died 27 Apr 1943  Keokuk, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 5, 6
    Buried 30 Apr 1943  Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Mennonite Cemetary
    Person ID I16700  My Genealogy
    Last Modified 29 Jan 2018 

    Father Koehn, Benjamin,   b. Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1873 
    Relationship Natural 
    Mother (Koehn), Unknown,   b. Russia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 1874 
    Relationship Natural 
    Family ID F6963  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Father Schowalter, Peter,   b. 17 Nov 1819, Weirhof, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Apr 1882, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years) 
    Relationship Unknown 
    Mother Eymann, Maria,   b. 28 Mar 1824, Biedesheim, Rheinpfalz, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Jun 1892, Moundridge, McPherson, Kansas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years) 
    Relationship Unknown 
    Married 6 Apr 1845  [5
    Family ID F1818  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Schowalter, Edward Henry,   b. 27 Oct 1861, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Mar 1929, Keokuk, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years) 
    Married 25 Dec 1886  [5
    Children 
     1. Schowalter, Clarence C.,   b. 28 Sep 1887, Haltsead, KS Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Mar 1974, Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years)  [Natural]
     2. Schowalter, Abigail Marie,   b. 27 Mar 1890, Halstead, Harvey, Kansas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Jan 1957, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 66 years)  [Natural]
     3. Schowalter, Harvey O.,   b. 14 Apr 1896, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 May 1943, Keokuk, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 47 years)  [Natural]
     4. Schowalter, Mabel R.,   b. 6 Nov 1897, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 May 1979, Keokuk, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 81 years)  [Natural]
     5. Schowalter, Infant Son,   b. 18 Jul 1898, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Jul 1898, Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)  [Natural]
    Last Modified 29 Jan 2018 
    Family ID F1074  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsDied - 27 Apr 1943 - Keokuk, Lee, Iowa, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 30 Apr 1943 - Donnellson, Lee, Iowa, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Edward Schowalter.jpg
    Edward Schowalter.jpg
    ed_elissa[1].jpg
    ed_elissa[1].jpg
    Elissa Schowalter_a.tif
    Elissa Schowalter_a.tif
    Media0008.j2k
    Media0008.j2k

    Documents
    Elisa Koehn - 1900 United States Federal Census
    Elisa Koehn - 1900 United States Federal Census
    Record for Edward Henry Schowalter
    Elisia Schowalter - Iowa State Census Collection, 1836-1925
    Elisia Schowalter - Iowa State Census Collection, 1836-1925

  • Notes 
    • Per Elizabeth Hervey Osborn:

      Elise emigrated from Russia in 1874, as part of the mass migration of Mennonites out of Volhynia. Volhynia had formerly been part of Poland, was then part of Russia, and is now part of the Ukraine. It is a region not far from Kiev. You can read about this mass migration in "Brothers in Deed to Brothers in Need" by Clarence Herbert. The migration came about due to the new Czar's law making military service compulsory for all adult males. This requirement this was a major change from the promises made by the Empress Catherine about two or three generations earlier around the turn of the century from the 1700s to the 1800s. Due to their reputation as diligent hard-working and peaceful farmers, she invited Mennonites to settle and build up that part of Poland that Russia had recently acquired, promising in exchange that they would be exempted from military service.

      Several branches of Mennonites answered Catherine's call, but the single largest (and earliest) group was from Prussia, where religious persecution (largely based in their refusal to take up arms) had become intense. These Mennonites had originated two or three generations before that in the northern European lowlands of the Netherlands and Flanders. Common surnames among this "Low Mennonite" group included Becker, Nachtigall (Nightingale), Unruh, Buller, Schmidt, Ratzlaf, Jantz, Warkentin, and Köhn. They early settled in the town of Karlswalde and (as was the pattern at the time, which is even seen in our own US Mennonite ancestry settlement patterns) branched out into daughter settlements nearby, including Antonovka.

      There were some other Mennonite/Anabaptist groups which also came to Catherine's Russia, including a few Swiss Mennonites (including the surname Krehbiel) and some Hutterites. Generally speaking, prior to leaving Russia, the groups did not intermingle, because they did not speak exactly the same language (High German v. Low German) and did not exactly conform to the same religious practices (much like the differences now between Mennonites and Amish). There is some record, however, of a town or two trying the idea of living together; in particular there were was at least once where some Low Mennonites joined with some Hutterites in a common property experiment (as described in the book of Acts) but it did not last too very long.

      When the changes in the compulsory service law were announced, the Mennonites had a year or two of time before it became effective. During this time, they sent men to the Western Hemisphere to investigate where they might go, and to secure promises regarding the obligation of military service. These men toured the plains of North America from Kansas to Manitoba during the Summer of 1873. When they went back and reported to their respective congregations, they all decided to go -- but some to Kansas, some to Nebraska, some to the Dakotas, and still others to Canada. As preparation for the journey across two continents began, it became apparent that not everyone had the means to make the trip... worse, land values around the Mennonite settlements plummeted as buyers knew they only had to wait until the situation under the new conscription law would become dire, leaving the land free for the taking.

      Quite a few of the Low Mennonites decided to come to Kansas, to a location easily accessible by the new railroad. The land there most resembled the prairies of Volhynia that they knew; and they would bring Russian Red Winter Wheat (which would revolutionize Kansas wheat farming... (but that was in the future).

      Meanwhile, back in the United States, word of the plight of these Mennonite refugees was being shared in German language newspapers and Mennonite congregations. President U.S. Grant noted that they were coming to "settle in compact colonies... desirous of civil and religious liberty" in what would have been the equivalent of his State of the Union address in January 1874. Collections were taken up to help secure land and tools for the future arrivals. The Zion Mennonite Church of Lee County Iowa contributed $20.00 toward the Russian Aid Fund in December 1874, for example. Many, but not all, of the Mennonites leaving Russia found it difficult to exchange their goods and property for cash; what they could get was spent on transportation first across Europe, then to Liverpool England, then passage on a steamship to Philadelphia, then train to the great prairies. Those with adequate funds were able get underway in early 1874, and arrived in Kansas in July. Just in time for the Grasshopper plague. (You remember that plague from Little House on Plum Creek, right? Yup. That plague).

      Those without adequate funds lagged behind, including most of the folks from Antonovka. Throughout November 1874, emigrants from Russia boarded steamships in LIverpool and Hamburg, as many as could fit on each ship, some on the Nederland, some on the CIty of London, some on the CIty of MOntreal, some on the Abbotsford. There were still hundreds in the port cities trying to leave as winter set in. The "Herald of Truth" newspaper noted on November 26 that 35 families of Russian Mennonites landed that day in Philadelphia, and said "Whether they are poor or have means, we are not informed, but they will undoubtedly remain in the East during the winter."

      The writer was wrong. Unaccustomed to city life and American ways, and perhaps swindled by ticket sellers, railroad hawks, or just plain lacking information about options (and no way to say, call ahead and ask what arrangements could or be made), a huge percentage of the arrivals boarded trains for the west. And the ships full of Mennonites kept leaving Europe. The Steamer Vaterland arrived a Philadelphia on Christmas Day, after having experienced several delays at sea, including storms and a smallpox epidemic. The Vaterland was carrying 700 Russian Mennonites. About 450 or 500 of these had run out of provisions during the voyage. On arrival in Philadelphia, the whole group immediately left for Kansas. I believe based on matching the names of the persons on this ship with the people in the area where Elise was rescued that Elise was among the arrivals on the Vaterland.

      The arrivals on the Vaterland had boarded trains for Kansas in late December 1874.... and again, if you remember your Little House on Plum Creek, was a horrible horrible winter.

      By February 1875, Mennonite newspapers featured headlines "Help Needed - the Late Arrivals from Russia" and "The Great Need" and begged for relief boxes to be sent labelled "Relief Goods for the Destitute at Florence, Kansas." Various Mennonite colonies across the United States sent every spare penny, and a plan was developed to acquire land, tools, and working cattle for each family. Among those delivering goods over the following year was David Schowalter, son of Peter Schowalter and Maria Eymann. According to his brother Peter C.'s account made in 1941, when David returned from Kansas in August of 1876, he brought two girls and a little boy (Donnellson Mennonite Church Family Register, entry for Schowalter Edward Henry and Koehn Elise). The little boy did not live long in Iowa. The other little girl is not identified.

      The Donnellson Mennonite Church Family Register also reports the following "After the death of her Mother, Elise came to this country when she was nine years old with an aunt and uncle, Christan and Marie Krehbiel Koehn, before coming to Donnellson." The page identifies her father as Benjamin Koehn, and that her foster parents were Peter Schowalter Sr and Maria Eymann.

      What confounds this story, a little, is that on another page in the same record, we find that Peter & Maria Eymann Schowalter "fostered Elise from a Russian Mennonite family who came through Donnellson, IA."

      Elise's obituary in the Christlicher Bundesbote, (27 July 1943, a transcription and rough translation at Mike's site) causes me to lean more toward Peter C. Schowalter's story: "After the death of her mother, she came in 1874 with her Uncle and Aunt to Kansas, and from there to Donnellson...." Notice here that there are no names attached to the Uncle and Aunt. What is raises questions about the names given in the Church Record is that they indicate a marriage between Low Mennonite and Swiss Mennonite groups -- not an impossibility, but considered highly unlikely. During 1874, the Swiss Mennonites largely traveled together, taking passage on the City of Richmond out of Liverpool, and arriving in New York CIty in August. There are four "Krepel" families on this ship, two have girls with them (Hanna age 8 and Marie age 9) who could match Elise; there is also a Peter Krepel and his wife Marie, but they have no children listed with them. None of these leads have panned out so far.

      __________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________
      >1880 Census, Iowa, Lee County, Franklin Township
      >Page 21, lines 20-25 (image 21)
      >Showalter, Peter; W M 60, Farmer; Bavaria, Bavaria, Bavaria
      >---- Mary; W F 56, Wife, Keeps house; Bavaria, Bavaria, Bavaria
      >---- Peter C; W M 18; Son, works on farm; Iowa, Bavaria, Bavaria
      >---- Adolph P; W M 16; Son, Works on farm , Ia, Bav, Bav
      >---- Otto F; W M 14, Son, at school; Ia, Bav, Bav
      >Kohn, Eliza; W F 15, Domestic, Houseworker; Rusia, Rusia, Rusia

      __________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________
      Source:FAMILY REGISTER--DONNELLSON MENNONITE CHURCH, DONNELLSON, IOWA, on file at Bethel College

      Page 286 of a photocopied FAMILY REGISTER--DONNELLSON MENNONITE CHURCH, DONNELLSON, IOWA, recording the marriage of Edward Henry Schowalter and Elise Koehn, and listing their children includes the following information:

      Elise Koehn's father was Benjamin Koehn.

      "After the death of her mother, Elise came to this country when she was nine years old with an aunt and uncle, Christian and Marie Krehbiel Koehn, before coming to Donnellson. She lived at Donnellson, IA (as a foster daughter of Peter Schowalter, Sr. and his wife Maria Eymann) until 1882, after the death of Peter, when the foster mother, Maria Eymann and her three youngest children moved to Moundridge, KS. Edward and Elisa returned (before 1896 to farm near Donnellson. In 1919 they moved to Keokuk, IA."

      ...

      "Peter C. Schowalter recorded in 1941 that Elisa Koehn came from Kansas as an orphan in 1876. When his brother, David, came from Kansas to get married in August of that year they brought her along with another girl and a little boy. The boy did not live long in Iowa."

      __________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________
      Mennonite Library and Archives at Bethel College, Newton, Kansas, from the Christlicher Bundesbote

      27 Jul 1943

      Elise Koehn (Donnellson, Iowa) 27 Jul 1943

      Elise Koehn (Donnellson, Iowa) wurde geboren am 11. Nov. 1864 in Rußland. Nach dem Tode ihrer Mutter kam sie 1874 mit ihrem Oknel [sic] und Tante nach Kansas und von dort nach Donnellson, wo sie wohnte bis sie 18 Jahre alt war. Dann zog ihrer Pflegemutter nach Moundridge, Kansas auf eine Farm. Am 25. Dez. 1886 heiratete Elise Edward H. Schwalter [sic]. Sie wohnten dann etliche Jahre in Halstead, Kans., wo der Gatte in einem Kaufladen beschäftigt war und dann auch lehrte in der Indianer Missionsschule in Krehbiel-Town (auf Pred. Chr. Krehbiels Farm). Dann zogen sie zurück nach Iowa auf eine gekaufte Farm NW von Donnellson, von wo sie 1919 nach Keokuk, Iowa übersiedelten und die Heimgerufene nach längerem Leiden am 27 April, 1943 im Hospital starb. Ihr Gatte ging ihr am 14. März 1939 im Tode voran. Beide waren Glieder der Zion Mennonitengemeinde zu Donnellson. Ihre Ehe wurde mit 5 Kindern gesegnet. Eins starb früh. Es trauern um die Mutter Clarence S. zu Grand Rapids, Mich., und Harvey O. zu Keokuk, Frl. Mabel, Keokuk und Frau Otto Krebill, Donnellson, sowie 5 Enkel und 4 Urenkel. Die Leichenfeier fand in Donnellson statt geleitet von Pred. H. E. Nunemaker.
      Ein Quartett sang "The Old Rugged Croß" und "Abide With Me." Die Leiche wurde auf dem Mennoniten Friedhof begraben.

      And a rough translation:

      27 Jul 1943

      Elise Koehn of Donnellson, Iowa was born 11 November 1864 in Russia. After the death of her mother, she came in 1874 with her Uncle and Aunt to Kansas, and from there to Donnellson, where she lived until she was 18 years old. Then she went with her foster mother to Moundridge, Kansas, to the farm. On the 25th of December 1886, Elise married Edward H. Schwalter [sic]. They resided some years in Halstead, Kansas, where her husband worked in (a store?), and then taught in the Indian Mission School in Krehbiel-Town (on Pred. Chr. Krehbiel's Farm). They returned to Iowa, where they bought a small farm north-west of Donnellson, from whence they moved again in 1919 to Keokuk, Iowa, which she called home until her death on 27 April 1943 in the hospital. Her husband preceded her in death on 14th of March 1939. Both Elise and Edward were members of the Zion Mennonite Church in Donnellson. Their marriage was blessed with 5 children; one died young. Remaining to mourn the passing of their mother are Clarence S. of Grand Rapids, Michigan; Harvey O. of Keokuk; Miss Mabel, of Keokuk; and Mrs. Otto Krebill, Donnellson; as well as 5 grandchildren and 4 great grand children. The funeral was held in Donnellson, and was conducted by Pred. H. E. Nunemaker. A quartet sang "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Abide With Me." Interment took place in the Mennonite Cemetery.

      Oknel [sic] und Tante nach Kansas und von dort nach Donnellson, wo sie wohnte bis sie 18 Jahre alt war. Dann zog ihrer Pflegemutter nach Moundridge, Kansas auf eine Farm. Am 25. Dez. 1886 heiratete Elise Edward H. Schwalter [sic]. Sie wohnten dann etliche Jahre in Halstead, Kans., wo der Gatte in einem Kaufladen beschäftigt war und dann auch lehrte in der Indianer Missionsschule in Krehbiel-Town (auf Pred. Chr. Krehbiels Farm). Dann zogen sie zurück nach Iowa auf eine gekaufte Farm NW von Donnellson, von wo sie 1919 nach Keokuk, Iowa übersiedelten und die Heimgerufene nach längerem Leiden am 27 April, 1943 im Hospital starb. Ihr Gatte ging ihr am 14. März 1939 im Tode voran. Beide waren Glieder der Zion Mennonitengemeinde zu Donnellson. Ihre Ehe wurde mit 5 Kindern gesegnet. Eins starb früh. Es trauern um die Mutter Clarence S. zu Grand Rapids, Mich., und Harvey O. zu Keokuk, Frl. Mabel, Keokuk und Frau Otto Krebill, Donnellson, sowie 5 Enkel und 4 Urenkel. Die Leichenfeier fand in Donnellson statt geleitet von Pred. H. E. Nunemaker.
      Ein Quartett sang "The Old Rugged Croß" und "Abide With Me." Die Leiche wurde auf dem Mennoniten Friedhof begraben.

      And a rough translation:

      27 Jul 1943

      Elise Koehn of Donnellson, Iowa was born 11 November 1864 in Russia. After the death of her mother, she came in 1874 with her Uncle and Aunt to Kansas, and from there to Donnellson, where she lived until she was 18 years old. Then she went with her foster mother to Moundridge, Kansas, to the farm. On the 25th of December 1886, Elise married Edward H. Schwalter [sic]. They resided some years in Halstead, Kansas, where her husband worked in (a store?), and then taught in the Indian Mission School in Krehbiel-Town (on Pred. Chr. Krehbiel's Farm). They returned to Iowa, where they bought a small farm north-west of Donnellson, from whence they moved again in 1919 to Keokuk, Iowa, which she called home until her death on 27 April 1943 in the hospital. Her husband preceded her in death on 14th of March 1939. Both Elise and Edward were members of the Zion Mennonite Church in Donnellson. Their marriage was blessed with 5 children; one died young. Remaining to mourn the passing of their mother are Clarence S. of Grand Rapids, Michigan; Harvey O. of Keokuk; Miss Mabel, of Keokuk; and Mrs. Otto Krebill, Donnellson; as well as 5 grandchildren and 4 great grand children. The funeral was held in Donnellson, and was conducted by Pred. H. E. Nunemaker. A quartet sang "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Abide With Me." Interment took place in the Mennonite Cemetery.

      __________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________

      1925 Population Census of Iowa, Lee County, book 208, Keokuk city
      1 January 1925

      Lines 43 & 44, 1343 Des Moines

      Schowalter, Edward | Husband | M, W, 63 | Married | Owns House, Free of Mortgage; house valued at $4,500, insured for $1500 | Completed grade school; highest grade completed 6th grade | can read and write | place of birth Iowa | Father: Schowalter, Christian; born Germany | Mother: Haffner, Rosa.; Germany | Parents married in Iowa | Religion: Mennonite

      Schowalter, Elisa | Wife | F, W, 60 | Married | in the US 39 years; in Iowa 39 years | Completed grade school; highest grade completed 8th grade | can read and write | place of birth Germany | Father: Kohn, Benj.; born Germany | Mother: DN (don't know); born Germany | Parents
      married in Germany | Religion: Mennonite (note: the actual page has had all dittoes filled in by a person other than the original enumerator; in this case there is a ditto for Elisa's religion on the line below Edward's "Mennonite", but the person who filled in the dittoes wrote Meth for Methodist as all the other "M" religions on the page were Methodist; the ditto marks remain faintly visible underneath the word Meth.).

      *Commentary by Liz Osborn: Elisa (or the person answering) doesn't remember her mother's name. The 39 years matches the length of her citizenship, which would conceivably be a correct answer depending on how the enumerator asked her (citizenship being established on the date of her marriage to Edward). The Germany responses are puzzling until you consider that it may not have been prudent at that time to admit to being 'from' Russia.

      The Schowalter Book

      Foster Daughter

  • Sources 
    1. [S342] The Schowalter Book, Arb. A. Schowalter, Clarence C. Schowalter, Edgar P. Schowalter, (Name: 1963, with Supplementary Report;).
      1799

    2. [S15] 1910 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, (Name: Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006;).
      Online publication - Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2006. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1910.T624, 1,178 rolls. Franklin, Lee, Iowa, ED , roll T624_410, part , page .

    3. [S388] Iowa State Census Collection, 1836-1925, Ancestry.com, (Name: The Generations Network, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2007;), Database online.
      Record for Elisia Schowalter

    4. [S446] 1900 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, (Name: The Generations Network, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2004;), Database online. Year: 1900; Census Place: Franklin, Lee, Iowa; Roll: T623_31077_4120105; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0059; FHL microfilm: 1240442.
      Record for Elica Schowalter

    5. [S122] Eymann Database, Torsten Eymann, (Name: Web page downloaded, March, 2000 by Michael Hervey;).
      Date of Import: Mar 4, 2000

    6. 0.
      Record for Edward Henry Schowalter