Gaertner, John ‘Johann” and Magdalen (Bouillon)
John Gaertner was born 15 Oct 1793 in Alsace, France to Jean and Elizabeth (Hoffmann) Gartner. As a teenager he was drafted into Napoleon’s army and served during the battles of Moscow and Waterloo.
On 25 Sep 1818 John married Magdalen Bouillon, born about 1792 to Antoine and Marie (Clementz) Bouillon. John worked as a schoolmaster, church organist and mayor. Three boys and 7 girls were born to them in France. Only 5 — Marie Anne, Magdalen, Anne Marie, Ursule and Marguerite — were living in 1836 when John brought his family to the United States.
The sea trip was marred by the abduction of tiny Marguerite. It was late November when the ship arrived at New Orleans and Marguerite was recovered. John worked as a security officer along the waterfront until the ice thawed on the upper Mississippi and river traffic resumed.
In the spring of 1837 the family arrived in Cincinnati, OH where they lived for several months before moving to Franklin Co., IN. There John purchased a farm and worked during the off season as a schoolmaster. In 1848 John met a French priest, Rev. Remigius Petiot, who talked of his work among the Winnebago Indians in northeast IA. Father Petiot told of the improved land that had been left behind after the removal of the Indians, and urged John to explore the area.
That fall John and 2 young neighbors, George Bachel and Anton Stathel, took river passage to Dubuque, IA. From there they walked along the Mission Road to Ft. Atkinson, arriving early in Oct 1848. After inspecting the area surrounding the former Indian mission the 3 men followed the military road to Prairie du Chien where they purchased land from the U.S. government and then returned by packet boat to Indiana.
Bachel and Stathel were among a handful of men who brought their families to Winneshiek Co. early in 1849. Also in the group were John’s daughter Marie Ann and her husband and family.
John, Magdalen and Marguerite arrived in Winneshiek Co. in 1851 -52. They built a log barn and a house of limestone and logs near a strong spring on their farm in Section 35. The first few years, following harvest, John taught night classes in German and French to young men in the Old Mission area.
Magdalen died 13 Sep 1859. About 1863 John married a widow, Theresa (Havelik) Sobolik) by whom he had 2 more children, Nicholas and Anna. In addition John helped raise 3 children of his daughter Ursule.
In 1885, with the help of his daughter Marie Anne, John fulfilled a promise his mother had made in France - a promise to build a chapel in thanksgiving for her son's safe return from war. The chapel, named for St. Anthony of Padua, was built on the site of the first Catholic church in Winneshiek Co.
John died 27 Jun 1887. Theresa lived until 17 Oct 1893. John and his first wife Magdalen were buried in St. Anthony Cemetery at Old Mission. Theresa was buried in
St. Mary Cemetery, Festina.
John and Magdalen’s oldest daughter Marie Anne was born 27 Feb 1823. She married Frank Joseph Huber 10 Oct 1843 in IN. Three children were born before they came to IA. Twelve more were born in Winneshiek Co. on their farm in Washington Twp. F. Joseph died 23 Nov 1887 and Marie Anne died 23 Oct 1902. Both were buried in St. Anthony Cemetery.
The second daughter, Magdalen, born 2 Oct 1824, married in Louisiana where she spent the rest of her life. She had 5 children.
The third daughter, Anne Marie, born 1 Apr 1826, married David Parker in IN and spent the rest of her life there. They had 14 children.
The fourth daughter, Ursule. born 5 Nov 1827, married John Klein in IN 22 Sep 1846. Two children were born in IN and 2 in IA. After her divorce Ursule married John? Justice, by whom she had another daughter. Ursule died about 1868 and was buried in the Swedish “Moody” Cemetery at McGregor, IA.
The fifth daughter, Marguerite, born 9 Dec 1833, married Dominic “Peter” Sacquety at Festina 8 Jul 1856. They farmed in Winneshiek and Fayette counties until moving to Ida Co. before 1880. Though unable to walk since early childhood Marguerite had 11 children and took care of the usual farm and household chores.
John and Theresa’s son Nicholas, born about 1864, married Emma Huber at Ft. Atkinson 16 Feb 1886. Shortly after their marriage they moved to MN. They had 7 children.
John’s youngest daughter Anna, born 23 Jan 1866, married Herman Lansing at Ossian 25 Sep 1888. Thirteen (15?) children were born on their farm near Ossian. Herman died 20 Sep 1933 and Anna died 5 Nov 1935. They were buried in St. Francis Cemetery, Ossian.
In IA John was known as Johann Gaertner. However in legal documents signed by him he used 'John Gartner” except for one instance when he wrote Jean" - the name given to him at birth. He may have been called Johann because he lived in a community that was predominantly German. Similarly Magdalen was known as "Madeleine" in France.
Geiselhart, Lorene Annetta (Knutson)
I am the youngest grandchild of Dr. Daniel and Sarah (Morrison) Mills of McCallsburg in Story Co., IA and Andrew and Catherine (Charlson) Knutson of Story City in Story Co. I was born in a farmhouse located 4 1/2 miles east of Rake, IA in Eden Twp. in Winnebago Co. With my birth we became a family of 9 children. They are in order of birth: Chester Andrew, Stella Doris (Verio), Lloyd Elmer, Mervin Kenneth, George Theodore, Arthur Carl, Lucille Muriel (Barnett) and Lorene Annetta. A “blue baby” brother lived a few hours. His placement in the family was between Lloyd and Mervin. Stella lived to be 65 and Chester 84 years. My name is Lorene Annetta (Knutson) Geiselhart. At almost 10 pounds, my birth was Mother’s hardest while in her early forties.
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this page was last updated on Sunday, 28 March 2021