Mathias Schwarz / Casper Lauer / Germany

Descendancy Chart:
Mathias Schwarz to William Edward Dunn

Great Great Great Grandfather of William Edward Dunn
Mathias Schwarz - aka Matthias, aka Matthew, depending upon the source - was a tailor who became a farmer. He emigrated from Germany to the U.S. in 1853, probably due to war and unrest in Germany during that era, and settled in Madison County, Illinois. He married Theresa Ganguiner, aka Graedinger, aka Ganninger, again depending upon the source. As you will see below, t
hey were the parents of John Schwarz.

Mathias' GGG granddaughter, Colleen Dunn Becker and her husband Ken, provided me with an excerpt from an 1894 book (which I also found online) titled, "Portrait and Biographical Record of Madison County, Illinois", subtitled "containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county". In an article about John Schwarz (see below) it says the following about Mathias.

"His father, Mathias, was born in Mangelsheim, Baden [Germany] March 25, 1810, and in youth learned the trade of tailor. He married Theresa Ganguiner, who was born in Baden October 27, 1812, being a daughter of Mathias Gangninger (sic) of that province. In the spring of 1853 Mathias Schwarz with his family set sail from Bremen in a sailing vessel and after a voyage of fifty-six days landed in New Orleans [Louisiana]. Transferring there to a river steamer, he ascended the Mississippi to St. Louis [Missouri] and went thence direct to Highland, Ill[inois].

After a week's sojourn in Highland, Mathias Schwarz went to Marine [Illinois] where he rented a small house and began working at his trade. During the following year he erected the first two-story brick building in the town, and there he continued at his trade until 1862, after which he operated a rented farm for four years. Rural life pleased him so well that in 1866 he purchased one hundred and sixty acres on section 30 of Leef township, and there he made his home until March 15, 1872, when he was called from earth."


The 1860 census shows that they lived in Madison county, and that the household looked like this (all of them were born in Baden except Johana, who was born in Illinois):
Mathias Schwarz, 50, tailor
Theresa Schwarz, 48, housekeeper
Catherine Schwarz; 23, servant
Margretta Schwarz, 20, servant
John Schwarz, 18, servant
Peter Schwarz, 15
Theodore Schwarz, 12
Conrad Schwarz, 10
Lena Schwarz, 8
Johana Schwarz, 5

Since it seems unlikely they would have been called servants in their own home, it appears that the three eldest children were employed as servants elsewhere
in the area. In researching the subject of Irish slavery (covered elsewhere in this blog) I came across an article that may explain why they were servants:

"Because of the cost of passage—which exceeded half a year’s income for a typical British immigrant and a full year’s income for a typical German immigrant—only a small portion of European migrants could afford to pay for their passage to the Americas. They did so by signing contracts, or “indentures,” committing themselves to work for a fixed number of years in the future—their labor being their only viable asset—with British merchants, who then sold these contracts to colonists after their ship reached America... In other cases, migrants borrowed money for their passage and committed to repay merchants by pledging to sell themselves as servants in America, a practice known as “redemptioner servitude."

If the article cited above does, indeed, explain why the three members of this family were listed as servants, they would not have been slaves, but would have been referred to as "indentured servants". This was a voluntary alternative that resembled slavery in many ways, but with a definite term as opposed to being without an end. It may be that Mathias had insufficient resources to pay the fare for all of them to get from Germany to the U.S. and the "indentured servant" route was a way to get them here.

Incidentally, because he was a tailor I looked around to see what I could find about what he might have been doing in that era and found this site with info about men's clothing and this site with info about women's clothing, both dealing with the year 1860.


The Civil War started in 1861 and ended in 1865, and I have not so far learned whether any members of this family served in the military during that war. A site that provides a list of those who served does not record either a Mathias Schwarz or a Peter Schwarz from Illinois. It does list a John Schwarz and a Theodore Schwarz from Illinois, but provides insufficient data to determine whether they are part of our family.

The site records that the Theodore on the list served with the 43rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, which was organized at Camp Butler, near Springfield, Illinois, and mustered October 12, 1861. It also records that the John Schwarz from Illinois served with the 16th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, which was organized at Camp Butler January to April, 1863.


By the time of the 1870 census they were still in Madison County and the household had evolved to look like this:
Mathias Schwarz, 60, farmer
Therese Schwarz, 58, keeps house
Peter Schwarz, 25, farm laborer
Conrad Schwarz, 20, farm laborer
Hellena Schwarz, 18, farm laborer
Johnanna Schwarz, 15, at home

Mathias' birth: 25 Mar 1810 in Mangelsheim, Baden, Germany

Death: 15 Mar 1872 in Madison County, Illinois, at age 62

Great Grear Grandfather
John Schwarz emigrated to the U.S. as a child with his father in 1853. He became a farmer and married Elizabeth Guenter, who was born in Prussia, Germany.
The book referred to above says this about him.

"John Schwarz. In this book may be found biographies of many influential citizens who have plodded up the steeps of honor and prosperity with energy and success. The life of Mr. Schwarz provides a good example of this kind. He is now the owner of a good farm on section 29, Leef township, and thereon is devoting his attention to agricultural pursuits. Progressive in every way, he is known to this part of the county as one of the well-to-do and prominent farmers.

In the village of Langenbrucken, Baden, Germany, Mr. Schwarz was born January 22, 1842. Of a family of nine children our subject was fourth in order of birth and the eldest of four sons. From his sixth year until the time of emigration he attended parochial schools and continued his studies for a short time after reaching America. When twelve years old he began to work by the month on farms in the neighborhood, his earnings going into the family treasury. After the purchase of the farm in Leef township he rented the place where the family had resided for the four preceding years and began life for himself.

April 10, 1866, Mr. Schwarz married Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Guenter, who was born in Prussia [Germany] in 1800. Mrs. Schwarz was also born in Prussia, the date of her birth being June 21, 1842; she was the fourth child and only daughter in a family of five, and only two years old when brought by her parents to the United States. Unto our sibject and his wife have been born eleven children, six of whom survive. They are: John C., Charles M., Theodore W., Emma T., Johanna and Elizabeth.

In religious connection Mr. and Mrs. Schwarz are identified with the Catholic Church at Grantfork [Illinois]. In politics he is a firm supporter of the old Democratic principles. Among the official positions held by him may be mentioned those of School Director, in which capacity he served for ten years; School Trustee, six years; Highway Commissioner, three terms, and he has also been Church Trustee for many years. He is a member of the Catholic Knights of America, Highland Branch N0. 373, of which he has been Trustee."


For John's household the 1870 census shows that he lived in Madison County and records the following about the household:
John Schwarz, 28, farmer
Elizabeth Schwarz, 27, keeps house
John C Schwarz, 2
Charlie Schwarz, 5/12 [5 months old]
Oswold Heiner, 14, farm laborer, born in Pennsylvania


The 1880 census shows them living in Leef township in Madison County and records the household members as follows:
John Schwarz, 38, farmer
Eliza Schwarz, 38, keeping house
John C. Schwarz,12
Chas. M. Schwarz,10
Emma T. Schwarz, 8
Hannah Schwarz, 5
Theo. William Schwarz, 3
Franc. Frederick, 22, farmer, born in Baden


The 1910 census shows them in Leef township and the houshold as follows:
John Schwarz, 68, own income
Elizabeth Schwarz, 67


The 1920 census records them still living in Leef township and the following in the household:
John Schwarz, 78
Elizabeth Schwarz, 77

John's birth: 22 Jan 1842 in Langenbrucken, Baden, Germany

Death: Madison County, Illinois, date unknown, but sometime after 1920, when he was 78, since he was alive for that year's census.

As shown above, they were the parents of Emma Schwarz.

Great Grandmother
Emma Schwarz married Casper Lauer. The 1860 census
shows the family as follows:
Caspar Lauer, 26, farm hand
Emma Lauer, 21, housekeeper
Lena Lauer, 6.12 [6 months old]


The 1880 census shows them living in Leef township and the household looking like this:
Casper Lauer, 46, farmer
Emma Lauer, 41, keeping house
Lina Lauer, 20, at home
John P. Lauer, 17, at home
Etta M. Lauer, 16, at home
Anna R. Lauerw, 14, at home
Emma T. Lauer, 12, at home
Josephina Lauer, 10, at home
Elizabeth Lauer, 6, at home
Theodore Lauer, 3, at home
Caroline Lauer, 2, at home

Note that Josephine is now in the family.


His obituary is interesting:

"He Would Have Been 80 Years Old Next Summer"

"Casper Lauer, 79 years old, a former resident of Edwardsville, [Illinois] died at 7:10 a.m. today at the home of his son, Theodore Lauer, at Gillespie [Illinois]. Death was due to a complication of diseases from which Mr. Lauer had suffered for many weeks.

The body will be brought to Edwardsville by Roy A. Lowe and the funeral will be held from the home of Thomas Fisher, on Union St. Mrs. Fisher is a daughter of Mr. Lauer.

Besides Mrs. Fisher, Mr. Lauer is the father of Mrs. Henry Vogel and John Lauer, of Edwardsville. [O]ther children surviving are Mrs. William Duffy, Steager (sic), this state, Mrs. William Berry, of St. Louis; Theodore Lauer, of Gillespie and Mrs. Herman Frisse of near Alhambra. The wife [is] also surviving.

Casper Lauer, who would have been 80 years old on June 17, this year, was a native of Germany. He spent his childhood years in that country, but immigrated [sic] to America [as] but a young man. He settled [text missing] for some years and was [text missing] a driver for the grand [text missing] Gericke, of that [text missing] a farm, first near Marine and then between Alhambra and Grantfork.

They came to Edwardsville about twenty-three years ago and managed a boarding house on South Fillmore Street for several years. Then the family went to Glen Carbon where they again managed a boarding house, at No. 2 mine.

In a year or two they returned to Edwardsville again and lived on North Fillmore street until about nine years ago. Old age affected the couple, however, and Mrs. Lauer found herself no longer able to properly care for the home. Then they went to Gillespie, where they have resided with the son until the present time. Add Lauer funeral [sic]

The funeral will be Saturday at 9 a.m. from the Thomas Fisher residence to the St. Boniface’s Catholic church where Rev. J.D. Metzler will conduct services. Interment will be in the Catholic cemetery.

The pall bearers (sic) are to be grandsons of Mr. Lauer. They are George and Thomas Fisher, Henry and Wilbur Vogel and John and Joseph Lauer.

Besides the children mentioned, Mr. Lauer was survived by 45 grandchildren and one great grandchild. Two daughters, Mrs. Fred Funke and Mrs. Lizzie Petgen, formerly of Missouri, are both dead.

The body will arrive in Edwardsville from Gillespie this evening or tomorrow on the McKinley line.” [The "McKinley line" was a railroad.]

His birth: 17 Jun 1845 in Baden, Germany

Death: 12 Feb, 1914 in Gillespie, Illinois, at age 79


New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
Info about Casper Lauer

Arrival Date: 12 Mar 1870
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1843
Age: 27
Gender: Male
Port of Departure: Bremen, Germany
Destination: United States of America
Place of Origin: Bavaria
Ethnicity/Race­/Nationality: Bavarian
Ship Name: Smidt
Port of Arrival: New York
Port Arrival State: New York
Port Arrival Country: United States


Emma's obituary is also interesting:

"Mother of Dozen Children Will be Buried Wednesday"

"Mrs. Emma Schwartz (sic) Lauer, mother of twelve children and who has sixty-five grand and great grand children, will be buried Wednesday morning at St. Mary’s Cathilic [sic] cemetery following services to be held at at (sic) St. Boniface’s Catholic church.

Services will be conducted by Rev. E.J. Eckhard.

The living children are Mrs. William Berry, St. Louis; Mrs. Herman Frisse, Alhambra; Mrs. J[osephine] Dunn, Steger, Ill., Mrs. William Duffy, Chicago; Theodore Lauer, Gillespie; John Lauer, Mrs. Henry Vogel and Mrs. Thomas Fisher, Edwardsville. Two children died in infancy and two others, Mrs. Fred Funke and Mrs. James Poettgen have preceded the mother in death.

There are 37 grandchildren and 28 great grandchildren. Mrs. Lauer is also survived by one sister, Mrs. Johanna Leef and a brother, John Schwartz [sic] of Highland [Illinois].”


Birth: 6 Oct 1838 in Baden, Germany

Death: 17 May, 1925, in Illinois, USA, at age 86


Josephine Barbara Lauer married William Edward Dunn on 11 Feb 1892 in Edwardsville, Illinois. All four of their parents were immigrants - hers from Germany and his from Ireland - so both were first generation Americans. The 1900 census says they were living in Chicago and that he was working for a railroad as a foreman at the time. She was a housewife who became the keeper of a boarding house after she was widowed in 1909. They were the parents of Eugene Michael Dunn and seven other children.

Birth: 20 Dec 1870

Death: 28 Oct 1942, in Chicago Heights, Illinois, at age 71

(For the details about Eugene Dunn's and William Edward Dunn's stories below, see the other pages of this blog. Their complete stories are not reproduced on this page.)

Eugene Michael Dunn married Hazel Loretta Nolan in Crown Point, Indiana, on or about 20 June 1917. Their marriage license application says he was a bookkeeper and she was a "stenog" [stenographer]. The 1920 census shows that he was a "clerk - die casting", which suggests that he was employed in a clerical job at a factory by that time. He later became a chicken farmer.

Birth: 08 Jul 1898 in Litchfield, Illinois

Death: 15 Dec 1969 in Cabot, Arkansas, at age 71

William Edward Dunn

He married Fleeta Claire Jones 27 June 1940.

Birth: 07 Jul 1918 in Chicago, Illinois

Death: 29 Dec 1986 Hammond, Indiana, at age 68


Ancestry.com has additional information that goes back four more generations on Mathias Schwarz’s paternal ancestry. In addition, his mother’s maiden name was Hoffman, and Ancestry.com has info going back to the 1200s on them - which covers about 60 generations of that family line of our ancestry.

Trivia: Here's a fun bit of trivia. In the Hoffman line Ancestry.com reports that we are distant cousins of former presidents
Lyndon Johnson and Dwight Eisenhower.

Ancestry.com reports that Mathias Schwarz was a 1st cousin 4 times removed of former president Lyndon Johnson. The connection is that the maternal grandfather of Matthias Schwarz was the GGGG Grandfather of Lyndon Johnson.

Ancestry.com also reports that Mathias Schwarz was a 5th cousin 2 times removed of former president Dwight Eisenhower. In that case the connection is that the GGGG grandmother of Mathias Schwarz was the GGGGGG grandmother of Dwight Eisenhower.

Last updated 6/24/09

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