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Family Directory



The Gassmann Family

Compiled and contributed by Ron Seymour


The crest of the immigrant wave swept up the St. Lawrence during the year 1847 when 74,408 arrivals were chronicled at the ports of Quebec and Montreal. It was estimated that fully one-fourth of those who adopted this route died of ship fever while crossing the ocean or in passing up the St. Lawrence. The Niles’ Register (a local newspaper) had this account of the tragic events in 1847: “The poor creatures die as they pass up the river St. Lawrence; even such as appear healthy when they leave Quebec, often expire on their passage. Montreal, Kingston, Toronto, the various towns on the Bay of Quinte, and other towns with which there is regular communication, are filled with the sick and dying. On August 22, 1847, there were 2048 patients on Grosse Island alone. During the preceding week 288 had died and the number of deaths in the hospital and tents since the opening of the season totaled 2126.” The St. Lawrence was the most northerly migration trail to the Mississippi. From Quebec an emigrant might reach Montreal in fourteen hours at a cost of five shillings. An additional ten shillings carried him to Kingston. Passage over Lake Ontario in a regular mail line steamer to Toronto or Hamilton could be procured for around twenty-two shillings. Emigrants were warned to drink “sparingly” of the waters of the St. Lawrence, since they had a “strong tendency to produce bowel complaints in strangers” Many would-be settlers, however, traveled this route to reach the western Sates. At Buffalo they helped swell the endless stream flowing westward through the Erie Canal. “Day after day the train on the Buffalo and Niagara Fails Railroad has come in, stretched to the length of a monstrous serpent, and filled so full of German emigrants, that it seems like cruelty to compel a single engine to drag inch enormous loads in such excessively hot weather. We learn that they choose the route, via Montreal, to evade the somewhat onerous requirements of the port laws and regulations at New York. From Montreal, they come up through Lake Ontario to Lewiston, thence to the city by the railroad. When they arrive here, they encamp any where on the street side, where they can find empty buildings, which they occupy during a few days detention; but their stay is generally short, as they seem to have made up their minds whither they were going before they left home.”

Michael Gassmann may have been a part of this migration since he ended up living near Buffalo and records do not show that he arrived through the Port of New York. It seems likely that Mary came with him but it cannot be determined for certain.


Born in France in either 1825 or 1827, Michael emigrated to the U.S. on Oct. 1, 1847. He married Mary Threne on Nov. 1, 1848 and settled in Erie County, N.Y. (just south of Buffalo) Mary was born in Homberg, Germany on Dec. 3, 1820. The couple had four children while living in N. Y. and in 1854 they moved to Iowa where their last child was born. Michel purchased forty acres from William Hempstead of Jo Davies County, Ill. in 1855. The land was located a few miles northwest of Dubuque between Balltown and Sherrill’s Mound. State records show that for the year ending June 1, 1860 Michael had the following: 30 acres of improved land with 8 unimproved; cash value of the farm was $600 with $100 worth of machinery and equipment; 1horse, 4 milk cows, 2 oxen, 3 swine and 1 other cattle worth a total of $200; he had 45 bushel of wheat, 200 bushel of Indian corn, 50 bushel of oats, 2 bushel of buckwheat and 18 bushel of barley; he also had 150 lbs of potatoes, 140 lbs of butter and 14 tons of hay. He slaughtered $62 worth of animals.

In August 1863, Michael enlisted in the 8th Iowa Volunteer Cavalry. He said he was 38 years old at the time and his children’s ages were: Elizabeth 15, Helena 13, Michael 12, Rachel 10, and Peter was 6. When Michael signed up, he received a $25 bounty, $2 for signing, and a $13 advance on his first month’s pay. He is listed as being 5’8 1/2” in height with grey eyes and dark hair. The 8th Iowa was raised by Col. J. B. Dorr who also had moved to Dubuque from Erie, N. Y. Before the war Dorr had been publisher of the Dubuque Herald. It is not known why Michael decided to enlist. Some family members believe he was hired as a replacement for a draftee, but no documents have been found to substantiate this. It is possible that he believed, as did most Northerners, that the war would be over soon with the recent Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. The signing bonus must have looked especially tempting if he thought that he would only be gone a few months. But one cannot overlook the most obvious reason: patriotism! Michael was also a member of the Militia in the years leading to his enlistment, as were most men at that time.

Here is a short history of the 8th Iowa Cavalry and while Michael is not mentioned by name (very few privates ever were) three of the officers in his company are commended for their actions and it can be assumed that Michael took part in it:
Iowa and the Rebellion Lurton Denham Ingersoll Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1866.


Early in 1863, Lieutenant Joseph B. Dorr, Quartermaster of the fighting Twelfth Iowa Infantry, received authority from Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, to recruit and organize a regiment of horse in our State. At this time, the Seventh Cavalry was being recruited, but enlistments for that command not proceeding rapidly, Colonel Dorr did not commence operations till the latter part of June. This officer had been a noted democratic editor and politician of the State, and stood well with all parties as a man of fine abilities and of upright character. He it was to whom Stephen A. Douglas, in the political campaign of 1860, wrote his famous “Dorr Letter." He had great energy. Troops flocked rapidly to his standard, and in a very short time after he made the announcement of his authority to raise a regiment, two thousand men were enlisted for the Eighth Cavalry, some three hundred were rejected, more than four hundred and fifty turned over to the Ninth Cavalry, and about seventy-five to the Fourth Battery.
The troops composing Colonel Dorr's command were from all parts of the State. The regiment, twelve hundred and thirty-four strong, was mustered into the service on the last day of September, 1863, at Davenport.

The principal field and staff, and many of the line officers having served before, Colonel Dorr was soon ready to take the field with one of the best regiments that Iowa sent forth against the enemies of the country. The 14th of October, before the equipment of the regiment had been completed, Colonel Dorr received orders to report at Chattanooga, Tennessee. Three days afterwards his command was on the way. Moving by rail, through Illinois and Indiana, the regiment arrived at Louisville and went into camp on the 22d.

Early in November the march for Nashville began, which was completed on the 16th. Here Colonel Dorr received orders to report to General Gillem, commanding troops on the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad.

During the winter of 1863-4, Colonel Dorr and his command performed most valuable services, but without engaging in any battle. The headquarters of the regiment were at Waverly, a town near the Tennessee, nearly one hundred miles west of Nashville. There was one battalion of the regiment at Waverly; another was about half way between there and Nashville, whilst the other was about thirty miles west of Nashville. Besides the duty of guarding this long line of communications, Colonel Dorr had other important duties to perform. The citizens of the region were generally traitors, so that the Colonel had a difficult civil administration, so to say, on his hands. He inaugurated the policy of placing rebels under bonds to keep the peace and support the Union. During his stay at Waverly he had property of disaffected persons to the value of nearly one million dollars pledged for their good behavior. It worked admirably. Colonel Dorr's experience proved that the honor of the chivalry was of very little value in comparison of their money. They would violate solemn oaths with the utmost nonchalance, but when their bad conduct would bring about a loss of money, the case was entirely different. They put themselves on their good behavior at once. But in addition to Colonel Dorr's civil administration, he had enough to occupy the entire attention of an ordinary man with his military command. He had charge of a considerable extent of country, embracing some eight counties, which were infested by small bands of rebel troops, thoroughly acquainted with the roads and by-paths of this wild region, well adapted to the operations of guerrilla-men. Nevertheless, Colonel Dorr captured during the winter nearly five hundred of these robbers, and his energetic troopers, scouring every part of the country, drove off or brought to headquarters all enemies found with arms in their hands, including Colonel Hawkins himself, the most noted bushwhacker of these parts, who was captured. The people of Tennessee can never forget that Colonel Dorr in three months brought a large portion of their State out of a condition of anarchy and bloodshed to good government and peace.

The 13th of March, 1864, Colonel Dorr left Waverly, and taking up the detachments on the way, arrived at Nashville on the 17th. Here the command remained a fortnight, refitting for active operations in the field. The 1st of April it took up line of march for Chattanooga, but not halting long there, continued the march to Cleveland, some twentyfive miles further east, arriving on the 13th. The regiment was assigned to the First Brigade, Colonel Dorr commanding, of Brigadier-General E. M. McCook's First Cavalry Division, and remained quietly in camp at Cleveland till the Campaign of Atlanta opened, on the 3d of May, so far as the troopers with which we now have to do are concerned, and of whom Lieutenant-Colonel Barner had command.

On this campaign, the Eighth Iowa Cavalry began skirmishing with the enemy on the 7th, and from that time until the 30th of July, when Colonel Dorr and nearly all his officers and men fit for duty were captured at the disastrous Battle of Newnan, was engaged almost daily with the enemy either in skirmish or in battle. The command had a sharp skirmish on the 9th, in which Corporals Pease and Sharp of Company E particularly distinguished themselves. Having meanwhile been several times engaged, the regiment made a dashing charge w the enemy's flank, near Cassville, the 19th, when a considerable engagement took place.

Major Root, Captain Hoxie, and Lieutenant McCarron (Company G) received the special commendations of Colonel Dorr, for their gallant conduct. The command skirmished its way over the Etowah, and on the 24th met the enemy at Burnt Hickory, where Captain M. M. Walden routed a superior force by a daring charge. There was also a sharp skirmish the next day, in which Captain Hoxie was wounded. It was here that Lieutenant C. F. Anderson, commanding Company L, audaciously led his men right into the jaws of a rebel battery, and as audaciously held his position till ordered to retire. After this, the regiment held a line one half mile in length till June 1st, skirmishing daily with the enemy. Its services were similar for nearly a fortnight after the army moved back to the line of the railroad. When the enemy gave up to Sherman all the country north of the Chattahoochee, the Union army had a short respite from its severe labors. But the Eighth Iowa Cavalry, holding a ford above the railway crossing, continued to have considerable skirmishing, and it was the first cavalry command whose troops crossed to the south bank of the river.

On the 22d of July, on which day the most severe engagement of the campaign was fought before the walls of Atlanta, Colonel Dorr returned to the command of his regiment, now greatly reduced by the wear and tear of nearly three months' hard service and the casualties of battle. Colonel Croxton took command of the brigade. The next day the rebel Armstrong attacked the camp, but was soon repulsed. A similar attack, two or three days afterwards, was also easily repulsed.

The 27th, General McCook started on that raid which, at first promising fine success, turned out in the end to be most disastrous. Colonel Dorr joined this expedition, his force consisting of less than three hundred enlisted men and twenty-four officers, being all that could be mounted, and considerably less than one-third the force of the regiment when it started on the campaign less than ninety days before. McCook, having reached the railroad near Lovejoy, and effected some destruction thereof on the 29th, began a retrograde movement toward the Chattahoochee. He was intercepted by the enemy and a severe engagement ensued, in which the Eighth Iowa Cavalry bore a most conspicuous part, losing between twenty and thirty, killed and wounded. Among the killed were Lieutenant James Horton, Company K, acting adjutant, and Lieutenant Joseph E. Cobb, Company G. "Both were as gallant young officers," says Colonel Dorr, "as ever drew saber. Both fell at the head of the column, and if to die for one's country is glorious, theirs was a glorious death, for they met it boldly and unflinchingly in the very shock of battle. William Christy, sergeant-major, fell terribly wounded in four places, but, too brave to yield, courageously made his way to the rear without assistance." Colonel Dorr was himself wounded.

The next day, the battle of Newnan took place. About noon, the head of the column, upon entering Newnan, unexpectedly came upon Roddy's dismounted cavalry on their way to Atlanta. Wheeler's force soon coming up, the enemy barred our progress with a largely superior army. Croxton's Brigade, however, charged, and the Eighth Cavalry, one portion under Major Root, and another portion under Major Isett, forced the enemy to give way in confusion. General Hume, commanding a brigade, was captured by Lieutenant George M. Detwiler, of Company M, and the road was cleared, but the rest of the division not coming up, the rebels had time to rally, and again blockaded the passage.

The fight continued for some time, being sustained by the first brigade alone, which was now commanded by Colonel Dorr, Croxton being missing, and which brigade had been reduced to little more than the maximum number of a company. And so the little band fought on, making itself a shield to protect the rest of our forces, the most of whom were thereby enabled to extricate themselves from the perilous position. They made their way back to the army, but Colonel Dorr and his regiment fell into the hands of the enemy.

"In this engagement," said he, in his report made months afterwards, "which was of the severest character, the men and officers of the Eighth behaved with a gallantry and steadiness which drew from General McCook a public compliment on the battlefield. As on the day before, there were but few exceptions to this, while there were many instances of great gallantry displayed. Major John H. Isett, Captain P. C. Morhiser (Company G), Captain (now Major) Shurtz, who was desperately wounded, Captain James W. Moore, captain E. B. Doane, Lieutenants Henry Moreland, W. F. McCarron, C. F. Anderson, Jackson Morrow, W. T. Ogle, G. M. Detwiler, Jacob T. Haight (wounded) and John B. Loomis (killed) are fairly entitled to 'mention for coolness and good conduct under very trying circumstances.

Lieutenants H. H. Belfield, adjutant, Cornelius Bennett, quartermaster, and J. E. Pritchard, commissary, deserve special mention for their activity and zeal in assisting the regimental commander, and for bravery under fire. Many instances of great gallantry on the part of the enlisted men came under my notice, but so long a period of time elapsed before I had the opportunity to prepare this paper that many of them have escaped my memory  …. Of the three hundred and sixteen officers and men of the regiment who started on the McCook raid, but twenty returned to the Union lines

Michael was among those who were captured and sent to Andersonvile Prison. Many books have been written about the conditions at that “infamous” prison and the effects it had on the men who were held captive there. When I researched the records at Andersonville, Michael’s name was not listed as being held prisoner there. I provided them with a copy of the letter written by Sgt. Washington Tharp that stated: “..that I was a sergeant in Company G, 8th Iowa Cavalry; that I was well acquainted with Michael Gassmann of the same company and Regiment; that we were both captured on the thirtieth day of July 1864 about 30 miles southeast of Atlanta and taken from there to Andersonville Georgia; that whilst at Andersonville said Gassmann contracted the chronic diarrhea and was very low all the time whilst in that prison…from Andersonville we were both removed to Florence, South Carolina. Gassmann was hardly able whilst at this…place to get around”. Michael’s name has now been added to the National Park Service records at Andersonville.

Sherman’s march to the sea compelled the Confederates to move many prisoners east ahead of the advancing Union army. By February of 1865, due to the poor sanitary conditions and inadequate prison food, Michael was suffering from chronic diarrhea and was apparently near death. Sgt. Tharp described Michael’s condition: “ .... about this 20th of February A.D., 1865 we were taken to Wilmington (NC) to be exchanged, as our forces were attacking the city we were sent to Goldsborough (NC).

Gassmann was still with us but not able to help himself and could scarcely eat anything. The 3rd of March, 1865 we were paroled and sent back to Wilmington for a final exchange; Gassmann was lain by my side where he remained for about two days. I was sick at the time. I crawled to him and spread his bread, and tried to get him to eat or drink but he was too weak.

Whilst I was asleep he was moved and upon my making inquiry the next morning the nurses told me he was removed to another hospital. I have no doubt but what Gassmann died that night. I never saw him afterwards and never heard from him since he was carried from the hall” Michael did not return home and Mary was convinced that he died, however the Government had no record of his death or final resting place.

~ Michael’s Grave ~

When I began my search to find Michael’s grave, I found many conflicting and confusing statements concerning his death. His wife’s statement on Sept. 1, 1865 that he died at “sea on board the Steamer Elnora while being transferred from  Charleston… SC to Annapolis, MD as a prisoner to be exchanged on the 25th day of May, 1865” seemed so specific in detail that one would think it had to have some basis in fact. However the part about being a prisoner to be exchanged made no sense since the war had been over for several weeks and the prisoner exchange had been completed for months. Then a month later on Oc.3, 1865 Mary petitioned Judge Stephen Hempstead to have her appointed Administrix of Michael’s estate. In it she states that Michael “died about April 1865” so she apparently had some new or different information. It is likely that her original statement may have come from misidentification, speculation or rumor from one of the returning members of Michael’s regiment. Since Lt. Wallace witnessed her signature on the affidavit, it is possible he was the source of the information about Michael. However he had not been a prisoner and therefore could not have had firsthand knowledge of Michael’s fate. He may have heard rumors or reports and may have mixed up some of the stories he heard including these two: The Official Records show that a Pvt. Wescott of the 8th Iowa Cav. died “on a hospital boat near Annapolis” on Feb. 13, 1865. These Records do not report on the fate of John Kenney who was a member of Michael’s Company and was also from Dubuque County. But according to Capt. Morhiser, Kenney died in transit from Charleston to Annapolis on Dec. 22, 1864. The government has no record of his death or burial place. Obviously Michael was not the only one to fall through the cracks. There were approximately 195 soldiers captured with Michael on July 30th and 30 were listed as missing. Later at least 52 of them were paroled at Annapolis in Dec of ’64 or Jan or ’65. Five of these died and were buried at Annapolis. So, it is easy to see how the confusion of war, the release of prisoners and the treatment of the sick could result in false reports, mixed up stories and rumors. Sgt. Tharp’s statement that he was with Michael and believed he died the first week in March would seem the most likely scenario for Michael’s fate. Michael’s POW record shows that he was paroled at NE Ferry on March 5, 1865 and this places him at Wilmington when Tharp says he was there. The nurse’s comments to Tharp that Michael was moved to another hospital are not convincing. All the hospitals were set up in public buildings with few doctors available and it is doubtful that care would be any better in any other one of them so what would be accomplished by moving him? NE Ferry was on the Cape Fear River just outside Wilmington, NC. Union troops occupied the city on Feb. 22, 1865 and within ten days received almost 10,000 released prisoners-of -war. Many citizens and organizations tried to provide some relief for the former prisoners and Union doctors tried to attend to the sick. According to the Wilmington Herald forty-six released captives died in the first week of March. There were fifteen temporary hospitals set up to minister to the estimated 2500 invalid former prisoners. Perhaps up to several hundred of them, many of their names unknown died in the next month. I believe that Michael was one of them. I corresponded with several researchers in Wilmington and while they were very willing and helpful, they could not find Michael’s grave anywhere in the Union cemetery. They said that most of the graves were marked “Unknown” and that while some of the graves may have originally been marked with wooden crosses they disintegrated soon after. Another government document stated that their records indicate, “that further investigation fails to elicit any information” on Michael. It became apparent that the military had no idea what happened to him or where he was buried. This made it very difficult for his wife to obtain a Widow’s Pension.  (It also hampered my efforts to get a memorial marker for Michael.)

~ Mary’s Pension ~

It took Mary almost four years after Michael’s death to get her widow’s pension. She made some errors in her original application that undoubtedly caused a red flag. The Government was swamped by applications, many of them fraudulent, and they made it as difficult as possible for the survivors. You had to use a lawyer who specialized in these types of claims and some were more aggressive than others. The main problem that Mary had in filing her claim was that the Union Army had no idea what happened to her husband and did not know if he was dead or alive. This made things extremely difficult. Since we only have a copy of Mary’s correspondence and not the responses to them, it takes a little interpretation to figure out what exactly is going on. I decided to put together a summary since the papers are often times hard to read and you have to keep going back to see what she was responding to. I also made notes of items that seem to be questionable to the government.

~ Summary of Mary's Pension Claim ~
Sept. l, 1865


Mary filed a Widow’s Claim for Pension as provided by the act of Congress approved July 14, 1862. She stated that her name before her marriage was Mary Threne and that she and Michael were married on Nov. 1, 1848 in Collins, Erie Co. N.Y. by Rev. Biel, a Lutheran Minister of the Gospel. She stated that Michael “died at sea on board Steamer Elnora while being transferred from Charleston, S.C. to Annapolis, M.D. as prisoner to be exchanged on the 25th day of May 1865.” She also stated “that he was taken a prisoner of war at the battle of Newnan, Ga. July 30th,1864 and was put on board of said vessel as a paroled prisoner that was to be exchanged at Annapolis, Md. and died on said 25th day of May 1865 of chronic diarrhea” (Note: It cannot be determined where she got this information but the first red flag was raised – the war had been over for several weeks by May 25th, so he certainly would not have still been a prisoner and likewise did not need to be “exchanged”) Lieutenant Wallace of Co. 'G' signed her claim, so he may have provided her with this information. Wallace was from Dubuque and a Sergeant, then Lieutenant, in Co. G. Peter Holz also witnessed her Application. Also, she lists her daughter Helena as born on Oct. 21, 1850 (instead of 1849). Michael born on 12 April, 1851; Rachael born 17 Dec. 1853; Peter born on 1 March 1857. (Red flag #2: this would make Helena only 6 months older than Michael Jr.) Widows received $2 additional pay for all children under the age of 16.

Oct. 2, 1865

Michael Sukor, age 48, from the town of Collins, Eire Co. N. Y. swears he was well acquainted with Michael and Mary Threne and that he was present at Michael and Mary's marriage. His testimony was sworn in the Erie County Clerk’s Office. Margaret Sukor, age 40, wife of Michael Sukor, also testified to being present at the wedding.

Oct. 3, 1865

 Mary filed a petition with Stephen Hempstead’s court to be appointed Administrator of Michael’s estate. The next day her notice was published in the Dubuque Democratic Herald as required.  (The documents at the courthouse are very faint and difficult to read.)


Nov.14, 1865

The Commissioner of the Pension office refers claim to Adjutant Gen. for official evidence of service and death. (Includes Mary’s version that Michael died at sea May 25, 1865).


Nov. 25, 1865

Commissioner of Pensions, Wash. D.C. stated that on the Muster Out Roll dated 13 Aug. 1865 Michael is reported “Missing in Action since July 30th 1864” and that “there is no evidence of death on file”.

Feb. 22, 1866

Iowa Adjutant General (Baker) from his office in Clinton states that there is "no evidence of his death on file in this office" .

Aug.21, 1866

Mary withdraws her claim from C. J. Rogers, her former Attorney and places it in the hands of Samuel Burns and Co.


Mary states “that she has made all diligent inquiry relative to the death of her deceased husband and the circumstances attending it and can not give any further evidence to prove his death, only what has already been forwarded to the Dept. of the Pension Office.” Mary forwards claim from District Court to Pension Office.

March 10, 1867

Mary's two daughter's testify that they were present at the birth's of the three youngest children (as well as Helena’s???) “We, Mrs. E. Wilke (Elizabeth) and Mrs. H. Brimeyer (Helena) being duly sworn, deposed, and say, we are residents of Sherrills Mound Dubuque Co. Iowa and acquainted with Mary Gassmann, widow of Michael Gassmann, deceased private of Co. G, 8th Iowa Cavalry Vols. And lived near said Mary Gassmann for the last twenty years and upwards. That they were present at the births of the following children born to Mary and Michael Gassmann aforesaid and at the time hereafter stated. “That Helena Gassmann was born on the 21st day of October 1849 at Collins, Erie Co. NY (why her name was included is hard to fathom since she was not eligible for any money; perhaps it was merely to correct Mary’s original application) Michael Gassmann was born on the 12th day of April 1851, at Collins, Rachael Gassmann was born on the 17th day of Dec. 1852 at Collins and Peter Gassmann was born at Sherrills Mound Dubuque Co. on the 1st day of March 1857. That we were present and eye witnesses of said births. We make these statements from personal knowledge and we are not interested in the prosecution of claim of Mary Gassmann for pension.”


Feb. 11, 1868

Somehow, Mary or her attorney found Washington Tharp who was living in Shell Rock in Butler County, about 100 miles NW of Dubuque and he provided the information (noted above) about Michael’s last days. She was now on the right track and only needed a good attorney to pursue her pension claim.

Dec. 18,1868

Mary appeared before a Notary Public and swore that her prior application for a widow’s pension was made through Samuel Boens and Co. (Claim Agents in Dubuque) and that since the application was made, Samuel Boens (the chief man of the agency) has died and the company has left town. She states “that now no person remains to prosecute my claim” She also says “that my necessities are pressing in the extreme having four small children to support, which makes it necessary that my claim should be speedily prosecuted to final settlement”. Mary then revoked power of attorney from Samuel Boens (or Burns) and appointed R. E. Bishop of Dubuque as her attorney. The above was attested to by John H. Reitt and John Meyer.

Feb. 16,1869

Mary appoints William Relsnick of Washington D.C. to replace R. E. Bishop, who “resigns in favor of Mr. Relsnick”. She authorized her new attorney “to file additional evidence or arguments and to examine the case now on file and to receive the certificate that may be granted on the same and to do any and all lawful acts necessary to accomplish the object of his said appointment. The document was witnessed by Mr. Stillemunkes and John Knabukler(?). It would seem that Mr. Bishop recommended that Mary use a DC attorney who could present her claim and argue her case in person. This would be the best advice Mary received in several years.

Feb. 26, 1869

Again, the Adjutant General's Office in Washington, DC states that Michael was reported Missing in Action since July 30, 1864 and that they have no further information.

March 8, 1869

Mary files a supplemental affidavit stating that she is age 49 years and that she is the widow of Michael Gassmann. “And she makes this supplemental affidavit to secure the increase of pension under the act Congress passed or approved July 25, 1866.” (This provided an additional $2 per month for each child under the age of 16) Then Mary corrects her original error on the children’s birth dates: “And she further states that she has 3 (and only 3) children of her said deceased husband and herself who were under the age of 16 on July 25, 1866 and who are now living. That the following are the names, date of birth, and present place of residence of said children, to wit: Michael Gassmann, born April 12, 1851, at Collins, Erie Co. N. Y. and now resides with her at Sherrills Mound. Rachael Gassmann, born December 17, 1852 at Collins, Erie Co. N. Y. and now resides with her at Sherrills Mound and Peter Gassmann, born on the 1st of March 1857 at Sherrills Mound and now resides with her at Sherrills Mound. “She further states that no record evidence of the names or dates of births of said children can be had, for the reason that no record of the names and dates of birth of said children were ever made – and she offers the evidence of eye witnesses. “And she further states that her said husband left no minor children by a former marriage. “ She further swears that she has not married since the death of her husband, nor abandoned the support of any of their children under sixteen years of age, nor permitted any one for whom increase is claimed to be adopted by any person or persons, and that they are the only legitimate children of herself and her deceased husband now living, who are under sixteen years of age on the 25th of July 1866” The affidavit was witnessed by Franz Stillmunkes (?) and John Knabulker (?)

May 8, 1869

Finally!! Mary gets her pension -$8/mo commencing 5 March 1865 (the date the Gov’t. accepted as Michael’s date of death) and an additional $2 per month (back-pay) from July 25,1866 for Michael (Jr) until 11 April 1867; Rachel until 16 Dec. 1869; and Peter until 28 Feb 1867. There is a notation on the sheet “Evidence of death sent to Second Auditor as per Ngn (?)” dated June 7/69, but it does not explain what that evidence was. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing how much all the attorney’s fees cost her.

Mary continued to live on the farm with her son Michael and his family until 1881 when she kind of disappears from the records for the last 15 years of her life. She died on Oct. 7, 1897 and was buried in the “German Pilgrim Congregation Church Cemetery” in Sherrill.

~ Children of Michael and Mary Gassmann ~

1) Elizabeth b. July 22, 1848 d. Feb. 8, 1938 m. Jacob Meyer on Sept. 15, 1864. He enlisted in the 13th Iowa Infantry on Oct. 6, 1864 and died of pneumonia at Newburn, N. C. on Feb. 28, 1865. She then married at 18 to Henry Wilke on July 3, 1866. He was born in 1827 and died on Nov. 7, 1901.

          Their children were:
    1) Henry Wilke b. June 11, 1868 (tombstone) died Jan. 11, 1954 (tombstone)

    2) Mary (Wilke) Van Wie born Feb. 22, 1869 died 1948;

    3) Michael Wilke born Aug. 14, 1870 died Jan. 11, 1954 married Ida ?

    4) Rachael Wilke born Nov 12, 1872 died same year

    5) F. L. Wilke born 1874 died same year Louis Wilke born Apri14, 1876 died Sept. 1967 married Mary ?

    6) Christine Wilke born Oct. 14,1878 died Dec.12, 1964 m Peter Witter

    7) Emma Wilke born May 27,1888 died July 1964; Married George Hammerand born 1870 died 1938 (tombstone)

    8) Lena Wilke born July 22, 1885 died Nov. 9, 1958; Married Hiram Albrecht born July 5, 1881 died April 23, 1958;
    9) Helena b. Oct. 21, 1849 d. Oct. 7, 1930 m. Mathias Brimeyer

           Children: Mrs. Joseph Spielbauer, Mrs. Barbara Marsch, Peter, Nicolas, John, Mrs. Peter Klein, Mrs. Frank Bleile

2)  Michael b. Apr. 12, 1851; d. 1918; m. Feb. 29, 1876 Catherine Jochum (at Sherrill)

          Children: Lena, Frank, Peter, Katie, John, Matt, Clotilda, Bernadetta, Lizzie, Margaret

3) Fredericka (Rachael) b. Dec. 17, 1852; d. Jan. 3, 1931; m. Frederick Witter 1875


    1) Clara (1876-1948) married Henry Grimme on 3-9-1903;

    2) Rachael (Ida) b. 1877 d. 8-19-1956 married Carl Strohm;

    3) Sophia (1879-1946) married Fred Jecklin on 8-11-1910;

    4) Robert b.10-29-1880, d.1960 married Mary Harvey on 2-12-1903;

    5) Molly (1883-10-1943) married Joseph Powers;

    6) Martha b. 12-19-1884 d.7-7-1940 married Louis Datisman;

    7) Cristina b. 1-27-? D. 2-24-1964 married Werner Grimmie;

    8) Hulda b. 8-1889 d. 2-11-1971 married George Datisman on 3-4-1912

4) Peter b. Mar. 1, 1857; d. Apr. 24, 1922 m. Margaret Jochum b. July 14, 1862; d. June 12, 1942 They farmed at Gordon’s Ferry until Peter died then Margaret moved to Dubuque and lived at 656 Lowell St.

        Children: Michael, Fred, Raymond, Jacob, Joseph, Mrs. Harry Earle, Mrs. M. Kersch and Mrs. Roy Pape.




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