Offenburg to County Of Ross (Ohio)
by John Andrew Riehle
The Roots of Bartholomew Riehle:
- Born: July 21, 1794
- Married: Teresa Erb – April 18, 1817
- Married: Ursula Burgert – July 25, 1825
- Died: June 2, 1876
PROLOG: A genealogy family history must, of necessity, begin somewhere short of Adam and Eve. Given the practicalities of ancient and modern record keeping, one must pick a place in the continuum of ancestry, a nexus in the line of a surname from which one can trace the ancestors and progeny from that nexus in both directions in time.
Bartholomew Riehle is the subject of this account, a citizen of Offenburg, Baden, Germany, Chillicothe Ross County Ohio and Farming, Sterns County Minnesota. The purpose here is to account for his ancestry as far back as possible, and for his progeny, as much as possible up to this time in the 21 century,
From all indications, he was a man born to poor Catholic farming parents in the Baden area of western Germany near Offenburg. He was chosen nexus of this investigation because he is the first of his family line in Germany to immigrate to America and as such he is the sire of my own line and my paternal Great, Great Grandfather.
Bartholomew Riehle was born on July 21, 1794 in Offenburg, Baden Germany (coordinates: 48.29 Degrees N Latitude, 7.56 East Longitude), the Son of Andreas Riehle and Catherina Sufferly. Catherina was the daughter of Jacob Sufferly and Catherina Roul.
Bartholomew had two wives with whom he sired twenty children. He and his first wife, Teresia Erb were married on April 18, 1817. With Teresia, he had eight children, all in Germany:
Then on March 30, 1825, Teresia died just five days after giving birth to daughter Josefa. Four months later, on July 20, 1825, Bartholomew married Ursula Burgert of Lospacch Germany. Ursula was the daughter of Ranghard Burgert and Ursula Barabar. Ursula (Burgert) Riehle was thought to have born 14 children for Bartholomew:
From the Family Bible inscriptions, representations from which are included in the above tables, we can see that daughter Sophia was born in Germany in 1831, while son Ferdinand was born in Chillicothe Ohio in 1833. Without definitive immigration records such as a ship’s manifests or immigration records, the exact date of immigration is hard to pinpoint, but it could have been during any of the twenty four months between Sophia’s birth and Ferdinand’s. The Ohio Census of 1840, pp 373 firmly establishes Bartholomew as living in Huntington Township, Ross County Ohio.
After arriving in America, Bartholomew and his family set up housekeeping in the Chillicothe area. Being a poor man, Bartholomew worked as a farm laborer until he had saved enough money to buy a 50 acre tract of land on Black Creek Run in Ross County Ohio. On October 11, 1838 he paid $300.00 for that first piece of land. Bartholomew built a two story log cabin on that property in the hills just east of Black Run Road, St Route 161 which still exists today. (see picture below taken by the author in 1999) On March 3, 1851, he purchased an additional 50 acres which adjoined the first tract on the west side and north for $100.00. On November 5th, 1857 he paid $44.00 for another 8 & 7/8 acres, four tenths of a mile to the north east of the first tract.
According to Ross County Historical society records, “Bartholomew had five sons in the union army during the civil war. Three of those sons were killed.” Additional research, however, indicate only three sons who were civil war veterans, and only two were killed. One son, John was killed at the battle of Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia and son Anselmus was accidentally drowned in the Ohio river near Louisville. We also know that Heinrich (Henry) Riehle, served with Company E, 63rd Ohio volunteers and survived the war. The names of the other two alleged army veterans are unknown and it is doubtful that they exist. Here is what we know of the two sons killed in the war:
- Son John Riehle (b. April 10, 1836, Chillicothe, Ohio) was with Company I, 68th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. This unit was assigned to General William Tecumseh Sherman’s 90,000 man army advancing on Atlanta. Confederate Major General Joe E. Johnson opposed Sherman with a defending force of 60,000. Johnson planned a delaying campaign to draw Sherman away from his supply lines and keep him from Atlanta. Johnson’s battle strategy did not include a major engagement with Sherman unless he could control the ground and insure a decisive victory. From Chattanooga to Atlanta, these two armies perform what Civil War historian Bruce Catton called “…a macabre dance.” Both armies engaged in small skirmishes one advancing and the other blocking. For both armies, the spring of 1864 was spent in a frustrating series of thrust and parry fights. Sherman repeatedly outflanked his opponent, only to be stopped by a small chain of mountains just west of the small northwest Georgia rail center at Marietta. The two armies had frequent contact and many small battles, but no definitive engagements until the battle of Kennesaw Mountain on July 27, 1864 where Sherman suffered a setback losing more than 3,000 men. Joe Johnson lost only 1,000 men, but neither side could claim a victory. John Riehle was one of the casualties of the battle at Kennesaw mountain, being killed in battle on July 28, 1864. At the time of his death John was 28 years, 2 months and 20 days old. Although John is buried in National Cemetery at Marietta Georgia, there is a gravestone to him in the Riehle Family cemetery on the farm in Ross County Ohio.
- Son Anzelum (Anselmus aka Anselum) Riehle, born in Germany in April 23, 1823 was drafted into the Union army at Circleville Ohio on September 26, 1864. On October 26, 1864 he with a detachment of 300 other draftees were shipped aboard a river steamer down the Ohio river. On October 28, as the boat was nearing Jeffersonville Indiana (Louisville Kentucky,) Anselmus attempted to get a bucket of water from the river to wash himself when he fell overboard and drowned. His body was never recovered. There is a gravestone in the Riehle Family Cemetery located on the Ross County farm to an “Anselm” with the inscription “Anselm Riehle, died October 28, 1864, age 41-6-24, drowned in the Ohio River.” Anselum was married to Eliza Ann Duay on September 25, 1849. He left six children.
There is an interesting side note, recorded by the Ross County Historical Society that relates to Eliza Ann Duay Riehle. A few days after receiving the news of her husband Anselum’s drowning, Eliza Ann Riehle was visited by a sick Union Soldier who came to her door. He had no money or identification, but she took him in and nursed him. A few days later, he became delirious with fever and died unknown. Mrs. Riehle and some neighbors buried him at the foot of a large maple tree. Today the area around the Riehle home is part of Ohio’s Pike Lake Park. After World War II, the Ross County Historical Society erected a stone over the unknown soldiers grave.
Anselm’s widow, Eliza Ann remarried on January 16, 1867 to Doctor John Green of Bainbridge Ohio. Dr Green became the guardian of the six children and applied for an increase in the government pension due them from their father’s civil war service and death.
According to Ross County Historical Society documents, Bartholomew had five sons in the Union Army, three of whom were killed during the war. Apparently Bartholomew was deeply affected by the Civil war and the loss of his sons. Apparently disillusioned, he decided to sell his entire farm and move away from the unpleasant memories.
Bartholomew and Ursula lived with their family on the Ross county farm almost thirty years rom 1838 until March 18, 1866, when he sold it all to his son Henrich (Henry) Riehle and Phoebe Knapp Riehle for $800.00. Shortly after that Bartholomew and Ursula moved to Pennsylvania for a short time. After that, Bartholomew and Ursula, along with the youngest son Andrew and his wife Sophia moved to Stearns County MN.
THE SEARCH FOR THE FIVE CIVIL WAR VETERANS: After extensive genealogy research on Bartholomew and his descendants there has been a specific interest in the five (5) sons of Bartholomew who are alleged to have served in the civil war. Like many who came before, we have not found military records to support such an idea. Proof that no more than three of Bartholomew’s sons; John, Henry and Anselmus served in the war has not been found. Military records for these three have been found that include enlistment dates, unit of service, service records, dates of promotions, dates of death and mustering out dates for all three of them, as well as photocopies of their Federal Pension records proving service have been discovered. No military records for either Union or Rebel forces have been found for the other two unknown veterans, but research continues.
ANALYSIS OF POTENTIAL CIVIL WAR VETERANS: According Bartholomew’s family bible, he recorded the names and births of a total of 20 children. Some collateral historical records such as the Ross County family Histories make note of a total of 22 Bartholomew children and name two children that are NOT listed in Bart’s bible, but we assume that the family bible is the definitive authority on the number of children he had. Some Riehle researchers have opined that the two unrecorded children could have been stillborn and thus not recorded by Bartholomew in his family bible. For the purposes of this analysis, we consider that Bartholomew was meticulous in his record keeping and not recording the births of his children, stillborn or not, would have been inconsistent with his Catholic faith. We therefore consider that Bartholomew sired only twenty (20) children with two wives, Teresia (nee) Erb Riehle and Ursula (nee) Burgert Riehle.
[Editor’s Note: We have recently identified two possible additional children: Sabastian, born of Teresia Erb who is reported to have lived just two (2) days in march 1820 and Margaret, born of Ursula Burgert “about 1857” about whom little is apparently known and who may have been stillborn as suggested. We can perhaps understand why Bartholomew might not have been motivated to make these entries in his “Bible”]
Bartholomew’s family bible was not actually a true bible at all. The book he used as a family bible was in fact, a hand written high school graduation thesis from a Catholic Theological Seminary in Offenburg, Baden Germany in 1810. This hand written thesis was titled “A short biography of Lord Jesus and his mother and his mothers parents.” Bartholomew brought the book with him when he immigrated to America in 1831 or 1832 and used by him as a family bible. It is easy to imagine Bartholomew sitting by the fireplace in his log cabin on Black Run near Chillicothe reading the story of Jesus to his children.
Bartholomew had the habit of using his thesis bible to record not only the names, birthrates, baptisms, deaths, marriages, places of birth and godparents of his children he also recorded some of his deeds from land purchases.
ACCOUNTING FOR THE MALE CHILDREN: Of the list of 20 children, 11 were male. Of the eleven male children, we know that Johannes, Joseph, George, Bartholoma, Peter, and Martin all died BEFORE the war and therefore could not have served.
We know that John, Henrich (Henry) and Anselmus DID serve, with John and Anselmus dieing while in service. Henry lived to a ripe old age and died in Chillicothe in 1933. We know that Richard Ferdinand died on July 4, 1887 and COULD have served but we have no record of it. Finally, we know that Andrew born in 1848, moved to Farming with Bartholomew and Ursula in 1866 and died in Farming in 1914.
Summary: Six of 11 died before the war, three served and two died during the war. Of the remaining two, Richard Ferdinand and Andrew are the only two remaining sons who could have served but we do not have any records that they did. Of the last two Bartholomew sons, Andrew, was born in 1848 would have been just 12 years old in 1860 and barely 16 at wars end. It seems unlikely that Andrew served. Finally, Richard Ferdinand Riehle was born September 29, 1834 would have been 26 years old in 1860 and COULD have been old enough to serve, but again, no records have been found confirming that he did.
That leaves just three possible conclusions for the two missing veterans.
1) Andrew was not old enough and is not likely to have served.
2) Richard served but we have not found the records of his service.
3) Richard did not serve and there were actually only three Riehle civil war veterans.
Our conclusion is that we have absolutely accounted for nine (9) of the 11 brothers through collateral records. Of the two remaining sons, Andrew was not old enough to have served and Richard, while old enough did not serve in either the Union or Rebel armies.
John (Jack) Andrew Riehle
September 10, 2002
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