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Michael Schaefer and Katharina Pitzen

Michael M Schaefer was born near Siebenbach, Germany. Katharina Pitzen was born in Niederbarr, Germany. They were married in the parish of Wanderath, Germany. They farmed in Wanderath for 8-9 years after their marriage. After numerous crop failures and a shortage of food, they immigrated to America as some of their family and friends had done so before them. Katharina's younger brother Johann Pitzen had come to America in 1879 and settled in Pistakee, McHenry County, Illinois

Along with their four children, in the spring of 1882, they emigrated from the Port of Bremen, Germany, 12 April 1882, aboard the ship Kronprinz Friedrich Wilhelm, arriving at *Castle Garden, New York on 1 May 1882. This information was located on the ships passenger list and also Michael's Declaration of Intent papers, on file at the McHenry County courthouse, in Woodstock, McHenry Co., Illinois. They settled in Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois with their children Emma, age seven, Katharina age five, Mathias age three and Johann about nine months. They had a farm of 103 acres, Sec 13 on the McHenry Tws 1892 Plat Map, a quarter mile west of the village of Johnsburg (along what today is Johnsburg Road. Their farmhouse and barn is still there today. Three more children were born after their arrival in America, Mary, Peter and Josephine

Michael and Katharina farmed for nearly thirty years before retiring and leaving their sons' to take over the farming for them. They never owned an automobile, and walked where they needed to go. Several of their children lived in Spring Grove, a distance of about five miles. They would walk to their childrens' homes, and spend a few days before returning to their farm in Johnsburg. Michael and Katharina never spoke any English, they continued to speak in their native tongue, German.

Michael and Katharina celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary May 29, 1933. This memorable occasion was first celebrated with a special mass at St John The Baptist Catholic Church at 9:30 a m in Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois Dinner was later served at the home of their daughter Katharina Nimsgern, in McHenry, McHenry Co., Illinois. An anniversary cake was presented to them by their grandson Joseph Nimsgern, son of Katharina.

Michael and Katharina passed away shortly after celebrating their 60th Anniversary. Michael, age 87, at the home of his daughter Josephine May in Spring Grove, McHenry Co., Illinois, on Friday 22 October 1933. He was one of the oldest members of St John the Baptist Catholic Order of Foresters at this time. Katharina, at the age of 87, passed away on Saturday, 20 January 1934, just three months after Michael, at the home of her daughter Katharina Nimsgern, in McHenry, McHenry Co., Illinois. Michael and Katharina had twenty two grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. Both Michael and Katharina were devoted members of St John the Baptist Catholic Church for 52 years. They are at rest at St John the Baptist Cemetery, in Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois.

I would like to thank Al May, grandson of Michael and Katharina, for much of the information in this bio of Michael and Katharina. Al has the most extensive family genealogy collection on his family. I am fortunate to have met him and will always be grateful for the time he spent with me sharing his family history. Michael and Katharina are my maternal 2x great-grandparents, their daughter Katharina Nimsgern is my great-grandmother, and a sister to Al's mother, Josephine May.


Photo of Port of Entry, Castle Garden, New York

CASTLE CLINTON-CASTLE GARDEN

Years before Ellis Island became the most important port of entry for immigrants, Castle Clinton in lower Manhattan served as the country's first processing point for millions of future Americans. The castle was built in 1807 as a fort against possible British invasion. In 1822, President J. Monroe decided it had served its purpose and the area was reborn as Castle Garden, a spot where New Yorkers were able to enjoy concerts and entertainment in a park-like setting. It's popularity declined as an entertainment park and by 1855, Castle Garden had become America's first receiving station for immigrants. Between 1855 and 1890, eight million new arrivals passed through its portals. Immigrant operations ended in 1890 and Castle Garden eventually reverted to its original name, Castle Clinton. In 1950, Castle Clinton was declared a national monument. The building now houses a museum which has fascinating exhibits of the immigrant experience in the late 18th century.


Information in Family Group Records was obtained from family members, church records, and obits. For questions or to add information, please contact me at sandiesquilts@att.net


Family Group Records



Michael Schaeffer
Son of Johann Schaeffer and Anna Margaretha Schemisch
Born 14 February 1846/Siebenbach, Germany
Married Katharina Pitzen 29 May 1873/Wanderath, Germany
Died 27 October 1933/Spring Grove, McHenry Co., Illinois
Buried 30 October 1933/St John the Baptist Cemetery, Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois
Katharina Pitzen
Daughter of Peter Pitzen and Maria Wagner
Born 10 September 1846/Niederbarr, Germany
Died 20 January 1934/McHenry, McHenry Co., Illinois
Buried 23 January 1934/St John the Baptist Cemetery, Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois

Children of Michael and Katharina
Some of the children below have a key next to their name, clicking on this will take you to the next generation ~

1.Emma (Anna Maria)
Born 8 December 1875/Wanderath, Germany
Married Martin Jung (Young) 11 November 1897
St John the Baptist Catholic Church, Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois
Died 6 August 1953/Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois
Buried 10 August 1953/St John The Baptist Cemetery, Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois

2.Katharina
Born 6 January 1877/Wanderath, Germany
Married Frank Nimsgern 28 November 1899
St John the Baptist Catholic Church, Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois
Died 8 March 1942/McHenry, McHenry Co., Illinois
Buried 11 March 1942/St Peter's Catholic Cemetery, Spring Grove, McHenry Co., Illinois

3.Mathias
Born 15 August 1879/Wanderath, Germany
Married Rose Adams, May 1912
St John the Baptist Catholic Church, Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois
Died 22 May 1970/McHenry, McHenry Co., Illinois
Buried 25 May 1970/St Mary's Cemetery, McHenry, McHenry Co., Illinois

4.Johann
Born 12 August 1881/Wanderath, Germany
Never Married
Died 6 December 1956/Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois
Buried 10 December 1956/St John the Baptist Cemetery, Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois

5.Mary
Born 12 October 1885/Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois
Married Mathias J May, 15 February 1912
St John the Baptist Catholic Church, Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois
Died 24 March 1942/Spring Grove, McHenry Co., Illinois
Buried 27 March 1942/St Peter's Cemetery, Spring Grove, McHenry Co., Illinois

6.Peter M
Born 29 August 1886/Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois
Married Martha Mertes 30 November 1911
St John The Baptist Catholic Church, Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois
Died 15 March 1977/Crystal Pines Nursing Home, Crystal Lake, McHenry Co., Illinois
Buried 23 March 1977/St Patrick's Churchyard Catholic Cemetery, McHenry, McHenry Co., Illinois

7.Josephine
Born 7 August 1889/Johnsburg, McHenry Co., Illinois
Married Peter May 24 November 1910
St Peter's Catholic Church, Spring Grove, McHenry Co., Illinois
Died 2 July 1966/Waukegan, Lake Co., Illinois
Buried 4 July 1966/St Peter's Catholic Cemetery, Spring Grove, McHenry Co., Illinois


Additional Family Group Records will be added, please check back for updates ~sandiesquilts@att.net


Photo of Michael and Katharina

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