Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Wises and The Schwenkfelders

Two weeks ago I spent some time in Harmony, PA with my maternal grandma and grandpa. I scanned a lot of old photos, found some old letters, and heard a few stories. I've decided to compile all that I've learned learned so far - from H. E. Hartman's book collection, from my grandparents and other relatives, and from my own research. I'd like to publish a book, probably using the self-publishing company Blurb.

Now I'm trying to figure out how I would organize my family's history. I think the first story is the story of the Wises (my mom's dad John H. Wise and his dad John L. Wise and his dad Israel M. Wise and his dad Jacob F. Wise and his dad John L. Weisz and his dad Killian Weiss and his dad George Weiss, Jr. and his dad the Rev. George Weiss).

So far this blog has concentrated on my maternal grandmother's family - the Hartmans (since most of the books belonged to them). I've only written one post about "The Other Side," my maternal grandfather's family - the Wises.

Gertrude Mohlin Ziegler wrote a very informative book called "The Ziegler Family and Related Families in Western Pennsylvania" (Charles Campbell Printing Company 1978). In it, she summarizes the Weiss-Weisz-Wise family's arrival in America:

"The Weiss-Weisz-Wise Family in America traces its ancestry back to the Emigrant, George Weiss (1687-1740) who was married to Anna Meschter. George, son of Caspar Weiss, was born in Harpersdorf, Lower Silesia. He came to America in the early 1700's, settling first at Germantown. He was the first minister to be elected (November 9, 1735) of the Schwenkfelder Group. The Schwenkfelder Group takes its name from Caspar Schwenkfeld (1490-1562) of Silesia. 'He and Martin Luther sharply disagreed on the nature of Christ's presence in the Lord's Supper.' (See Wenger's "History of the Franconia Menonites.") They opposed war and oaths, advocating separation of church and state, like the Mennonites. They, too, were persecuted for their beliefs and fled to America between 1731-1737.

Two sons of Rev. George Weiss were George Jr. and Killian. Killian and Sarah Weiss had no issue. George Jr. had two sons and five daughters. The sons were Jacob who married Sarah, and Killian (1751-1840) who married Catherine Ziegler Landis (1764-1826). The Weisz and Wise families who emigrated into Butler County, PA., and Ohio descend from Michael Ziegler and George Weiss through these lines."

I've found a few other references to Rev. George Weiss, but they don't all agree. Pages 59 to 61 of "The Schwenkfelders in Pennsylvania: A Historical Sketch" by Howard Wiegner Kriebel (New Era Printing Company, 1904) describe how George Weiss became minister of the Schwenkfelders. Two pages of a document copied to also talk about George Weiss, but claim he had no descendants. I'm hoping that a visit to the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center will clear things up.

I don't know much about George Weiss, Jr. Was he involved in the Schwenkfelder community? Did he stay in the Germantown area where his father lived? He had a son named Killian Weiss who was born in 1751 and died in 1840 in Montgomery County, which is still pretty close to Germantown. Killian's son John Landis Weisz made the move from Eastern to Western Pennsylvania. He was born in 1790 in Montgomery County and died in 1856 in Beaver County.

The story fills out with his son, my great-great-great-grandfather Jacob Funk Wise (pictured), who bought a farm in Harmony, PA (Butler County). There's a 50-page pamphlet that was published in 1962 called "History of the Descendants of Jacob Funk Wise." It describes Jacob Funk Wise as a farmer and drover. In 1886, he bought a farm called "Drovers' Inn" which is still in the family. My grandma and grandpa and aunt and uncle live on the farm now, which was operating as a dairy farm until about a decade ago.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back In The (School) Day

My next set of books are schoolbooks, including reading, arithmetic, geography, spelling, and science books. Some belonged to my great-grandfather Holliday Ellwood Hartman, and some belonged to his children - my grandmother Eleanor Hartman Wise and her siblings.

Most Beautiful Book
"Holiday Sport," printed and bound by M. A. Donohue & Company in Chicago, is a beautiful reader. I can't tell when it was published, but antique book sellers estimate 1880 and say that this book is very rare. It includes sweet stories such as "How A Goose Did Love A Dog" and "How The Elephant Tried The Bridge" as well as poems such as "Learning To Walk" and "All For The Best." Unfortunately, this book is extremely delicate, and the first few pages are falling out. I don't want to completely open the book for fear of breaking more pages, but it looks like nearly all the stories and illustrations are completely intact.

Most Personal Book
"Feltinum" Composition Book. Property of H. E. Hartman, Ellwood City, Pa., Betts Academy. This was my great-grandfather H. E. Hartman's composition book while he was at a private high school called Betts Academy (see "The Education of H. E. Hartman"). The first page includes subtraction problems (484.2 - 29.1 = 455.1) and formulas ("The plastic amorphous is formed by pouring the melted sulphur into some water"). All 64 pages of his notebook continue in this manner, with formulas (Fe+2Hcl=Fecl2+2H) and descriptions ("Iron melts, but does not burn, and it does not decompose water. It dissolves in dil. hyd., nit., and sul. acids, and hydrogen is given off"). He received lots of blue checks, which I think are good.

Historically Interesting Books
"Stoddard's American Intellectual Arithmetic" (published by Sheldon & Co., New York and Chicago, copyright 1866) belonged to my great-grandfather H. E. Hartman. It's signed "Holliday Ellwood Hartman / Ellwood City, Penna. / Lawrence County. May 8th, 1893" on the inside front cover. It then belonged to my grandmother Eleanor Hartman Wise. It's signed "Eleanor Ida Hartman" and then "Eleanor Millidred Hartman" - not sure why - on the first page.

The first lesson is basic addition and includes problems such as, "James killed 2 birds, and John killed 1 bird; how many birds did both kill?" and "A man had 2 cows, and he purchased 5 cows more; how many cows had he then?" By lesson five, the problems get more complicated: "A boy bought a pound of butter for 44 cents, a pound of meat for 20 cents, and a bunch of lettuce for 7 cents; how many cents did all cost?" In lesson nine, a duck costs 2 dimes, a candlestick is 12 cents, and a ton of hay goes for 13 dollars. Lesson 17 includes a "Table of Troy Weight" in which 24 grains make 1 pennyweight and 20 pennyweights make 1 ounce. Then there are lessons on partnership, fractions, algebraic questions, and interest.

Overall, the book is in great condition and most pages have no writing on them. The back inside cover, however, has a list of names written in my grandmother's handwriting. I'm guessing these are classmates, but I'll ask if she remembers.
Edgar - 7; Lillian - 2; Marella - 4; Mary V. - 6; George Hesse - 9; Evelyn - 14; Goldie - 15. Bob - 2; Alberta - 5; Jack K - 1; Betty - 3; Billie - 8; Dorothy S. - 1. 2 Jack H.; 4 Ruth Hollerman; 3 Herschel; 5 Devona; 6 Robert; 7 Helen; 9 Julia. 2 Howard K.; 4 Jeane K.; 7 Louise M.; 6 Patricia M.; 3 Billie P.; 12 Lee Z.; 11 Mary L. Flower.

"A Grammar School Geography: Descriptive, Industrial, and Commercial" by John N. Tilden and published by Leach, Shewell, & Sanborn (1894) was my great-grandfather's book, too, and is signed "Doc" (his nickname) in huge letters. It is also signed by his daughter Mary Hartman, who noted "Japan on page 190." I don't know why. The book includes illustrations and color maps.

When the book was published, Philadelphia was the third largest city of the Union and Pittsburg (no h at the time) was the largest producer of iron, steel, and glass. All of New Jersey had a population about equal to that of New York City. (Actually, a quick Google search tells me that's still true, with 8.7 million people in NJ and 8.2 million people in NYC. That surprises me.)

Property of Zelienople Schools
A few of the books that were stored in my grandfather's attic actually belong to the public school system. A 1913 edition of "Wilhelm Tell" - in German, with English notes - is stamped "Zelienople Schools No. 5-14; Pupil held responsible for damage or loss of book." The same stamp is on the first page of a 1900 "Halleck's New English Literature" ... and on a 1920 "Hamilton's Essentials of Arithmetic" by Samuel Hamilton ... and on "The Winston Readers Second Reader," a cute storybook with color illustrations from 1918 ... and on the similar "Elson Primary School Reader: Book Two" from 1913. If Zelienople Public Schools would like to reclaim their books, I'd be happy to send them.

I also have a Monongahela City Public School District book - "Stories of Pennsylvania" by Joseph S. Walton and Martin G. Brumbaugh (copyright 1897).

My Hartman Textbook Collection
Holiday Sport Reader from the Bright Eyes Series (c. 1880)
The Winston Readers: Second Reader (1918)
Appletons' School Readers: Third Reader (1877)
Elson Primary School Reader: Book Two (1913)
Town's New Speller and Definer (1896)
Halleck's New English Literature (1900)
Sheldon's Advanced Language Lessons (1895)
Stoddard's American Intellectual Arithmetic (c. 1890)
Hamilton's Essentials of Arithmetic: Higher Grader (1920)
H. E. Hartman's Science Composition Book (c. 1900)
A Grammar School Geography (1894)
Stories of Pennsylvania (1897)
Schiller's Wilhelm Tell (1913)