Friday, February 22, 2008

Genealogue Challenge #118

I don't usually post my own brick walls here, but this challenge concerns the ancestry of a young lady near and dear to my heart, so I'll make an exception. I've helped her trace one of her lines to Elias and Elizabeth Reber, who lived in Akron, Summit Co., Ohio, in 1850, and Sturgis, St. Joseph Co., Michigan in 1860.

It appears that Elias was the son of John A. and Lydia Ann Reber, who were also living in Akron in 1850 and Sturgis in 1860. It's probable that Daniel J. Reber, who lived near John and Lydia in 1860, was another son (in 1860 he was, like his supposed brother Elias, a "tinner"; he later lived in Kansas).

I need help pushing this line back a generation or two, and linking it to one of the known Reber families of Pennsylvania.

Can you find the parents of John A. Reber? While you're at it, what was Elizabeth's maiden name?


I assume you've seen this:

Sallie Lorena Chase, daughter of Stephen Harrison Chase, married Daniel J. Reber who was the first town clerk of Bruno. Their daughter, Lena Floy Reber (born in Augusta) married Elmer Guy Newland, the son of Isaac Newland, one of the first two Justices of the Peace of Bruno and organizer/ superintendent of the first Methodist sunday school there before there was a church."

Could lead to living descendants, I suppose.


One other thing: I might speculate that Lydia's maiden name was Llewellyn, since that was the name Daniel & Sally gave their first, and it's not Sally's maiden name.


A wise person once told me to look for a bride and groom to be living within seven miles of each other, because that is about the maximum distance a man could walk to and fro in a day. Going on that theory, there is a John Reber (Jr and Sr) in 1830 in Manheim, PA, and a David Lewellan about seven miles away in Norwegian, PA. Maybe he's Lydia's father.


Ananotherthing ....

In 1870, widow Elizabeth Reber and children are living in the household of Samuel and Mary Pitcher. He was born in PA, as was Elizabeth. Could they be bro and sis? Also possible that Elizabeth and Mary are siblings.


I have a hunch that this was the John Reber who married Lydia Wenrich 4 Nov. 1820 at Trinity (Tulpehocken) Reformed Church, Lebanon, Pennsylvania. No firm proof, though.


Here's Daniel J. Reber's grave stone. The stone gives his Michigan Civil War regiment. There is a CW pension file for him that may well give his place of birth in PA.

Ancestry also has a tree that links him to John A Reber and Lydia Wenrich, then to Abraham Reber and then Johannes. There is a RW pension for a Johannes (John) Reber who went from Berks County, PA in the mid-1770s to Manheim Township in Schuykill where he received a pension in 1832. Not sure the dates line up but the Schuykill Reber/LLewellyn connection still intrigues me.


The PA Archives also has a militia roll from Berks County with John Reber listed under the command of Col. Joseph Hister. This is consistent with the RW pension in which the John Reber who ended up in Manheim also says he served under Hister. Don't know if this link will work, but here it is anyway.


I should mention the tree on Ancestry places John A Reber in Berks County. No sources given so not worth much except as a possible clue.


The suggestion about Daniel J. Reber's pension record is a good one. He seems to be the best-documented member of the family unit.


There's this too, in which Daniel is involved in the execution of his in-laws wills. The abstract tells where daughter Theresa and son Llewellyn are living in the late 1890s. It was easy to trace Theresa's son Arthur Whitehead to Nevada in 1930; there he has son Edwin R, 16, and daughter Jean E, 12. His wife was Vera. Arthur's mother's pob data in 1930 doesn't correctly match with Theresa, but it does in 1920. Llewellyn, or L.C., is harder to track. There was something I saw that put him teaching school back in Jackson, MI, but by the late 1890s, he was in Iowa, according to the probate papers of his Chase grandparents.


This RootsWeb entry indicates a specific death date, but no location, for Howard Reber. If it's the right Howard, a death certificate might give Elizabeth's maiden name. It also suggests that Elizabeth died in Illinois in 1901, which could bring a death certificate for her into play as well. I've sent an email to the contributor.


looks like Howard Reber is buried in Strawberry Point Cemetery in Clay County, Iowa. From Ancestry:

Howard L. Reber
Death Date: 1917
Page #: 169
Birth Date: 1859
Cemetery: St. Pt.
Town: Strawberry Point
Level Info: Clay County, Iowa Grave Records

In 1900, he was in Jefferson, Fayette County, IA with a son, Earl E, age 12, born Illinois.


Using Doug's info, I get a listing for Daniel reber, Company C, 11th regiment, showing him at Age 27, from St. Joseph County. 11th Michigan

Ancestry confirms the enlistment, and notes that he received a disability discharge on 13 Feb 1862Daniel Reber

The 1880 US Census from Family search gives us Daniel's age (46) and place of Birth (PA), and the ages and places of birth of his first two children.


Waterloo Evening Courier, January 23, 1917

"H.L Reber, 58, died at his rooming house, 705 South Street, last night of heart failure. He had been in poor health for some time. Reber came to Waterloo 10 years ago. He was a painter by trade. At the rooming house little was known of him. He preferred to be alone and spent much of the time in his room. His wife died seven years ago. A son, who joined the Navy four years ago, and who has not been heard of since, a sister who lives in Chicago, and a brother-in-law, Thomas Leonard, Waterloo, survive. Shortly before his death, Reber requested that efforts be made to locate his son. Funeral services will be held at Peterson Bros mortuary Thursday afternoon and the body will be taken to Strawberry point for burial."

Some of the facts aren't right -- his wife died in 1908, and his son was in the Navy by 1910 and is still there in 1920 and 1930. A 1908 obituary for Howard's wife gives additional details, including her marriage to Howard Reber 22 years ago in Chicago. (That marriage can be found on-line - her maiden name was Eaton.)

From these two obituaries, and the rootsweb clue above, I would gather that the Reber family removed from Sturgis, MI some time before 1887 and landed in Chicago. Apparently Elizabeth died there in 1901, and by the time of Howard's death in 1917, his sister, I assume Theodora or Theodosia, was still living there. A death record for Howard, Elizabeth, or Theodosia, if her married name could be discovered, should lead to a maiden name for Elizabeth.


OK, I see Elizabeth was living in Chicago in 1900 with her son Leonard C. Reber. Leonard died 4 Feb. 1904 in Cook County, and his widow Ida went to live in Sturgis, Michigan.

Checking the Illinois Death Index, I find an E. I. Reber who died in Cook County 1 Feb. 1901, aged 68 years. Maybe a long shot, but the age fits Elizabeth.


So, for Elizabeth's maiden name, you've got potential death records for Howard, who died in January of 1917 in Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa, Leonard C (Curtelle) who died in Chicago in February of 1904, and a possibly Elizabeth herself who might have died in February of 1901 in Chicago. For the previous generation, you have Daniel J. Reber's Civil War pension application, which could well state his place of birth in Pennsylvania, and possibly a death record for him in Augusta, Butler County, Kansas. Unfortunately, this is where genealogy gets expensive.

I've sent an email to someone in Butler County who has access to an old county history which might give some biographical data on Daniel. She will check the book on Tuesday.

Is Leonard the line your person descends from? Do you know the married name of Theodosia (or Theodora), who apparently was still alive in Chicago in 1917?

Sorry. You get me hooked on these things and I can't stop. Don't you dare withhold the details, if they ever come in. :)


I had noticed an Abram J. and Sarah Ann Reber in Akron in 1850. Any chance the 1880 entry for Abraham J. Reber and wife Sarah is the same family? The details seem about right, and living alone next door is John Reber, 79, born PA.


No, she descends from Elias and Elizabeth's son Oliver.

The 1900 census says that Elizabeth had four children living. We know that Daniel, Theodora/Theodosia (I don't know her married name), and Howard were living. I haven't been able to find Oliver in 1900 (in 1880 he was living in Branch County, Michigan; his age is wrong: he was actually about 30). It's said that his widow married a man named Perkins.


That must be them, Doogles. The actual census schedule seems to put them in the same household.


I found A. J. and Sarah Reber in Buffalo, Ogle Co., Illinois, in 1860.


This is interesting.


And here's Abraham and Sarah's marriage.


Indeed, re: the IGI entry!

I noticed the Ogle County entry too. Carlton, who is in the house next door in 1800, is an easy marker. Can't find them in 1870, though.


Hmm. An Oliver J. Reber lived in Leon, Decatur Co., Iowa, in 1900. The age is wrong, and he appears to have a different wife, but his place of birth and those of his parents are correct, and he was a "tinsmith," just like our Oliver.


In light of the IGI entry that indicates A J Reber was born in Berks County, PA, I should clarify my comment above. It's not stated when the RW soldier Johannes (John) Reber went from Windsor, Berks County to Manheim, Schuykill County. All that is said is that ever since the Revolution he had resided in Berks County and Schuykill County. His pension was filed in 1832 from Manheim and he signed his name Johannes in old German script. He would have been 42 in 1800, the approximate time when John A, Reber was born.


Elias, Elizabeth, Oliver, Howard and Theodora/Theodosia are here in Sturgis, St. Joseph,MI in 1860.


This 1880 Census record for Elizabeth Reber and Tell Reber may possibly be Elizabeth and Leonard/Curtelle.

World Vital Records shows a listing in Everton's Genealogical Helper for Elizabeth Sally Ann HAIN, born 1830, Reading, PA, m 1849 Elias REBER. She had at least one sister, Sally, and several brothers. Also had friend or relative Louisa SCHREIBER.


Sounds promising, but this WorldConnect project suggests that this was a different Elias and Elizabeth. Here's the family in 1880.


Could this be another son of John and Lydia's?

James Lenhart Reber

Dates and "manufacturer of canned goods" aka "tinner" fit...?


Nice try, but that John and Lydia Reber were living in Albany Township, Berks Co., Pa., in 1850.


I just got a copy of E. I. Reber's death certificate from Chicago, and can confirm that this was Elizabeth Reber. No clues as to her maiden name or exact place of birth, though.

I can also confirm that Oliver J. Reber's wife married second a Perkins. Widow Rilla Perkins was living with her parents in Quincy, Michigan, in 1900.


A late follow-up: The recently released Michigan marriage records at FamilySearch Record Search show that Elizabeth's maiden name was Tompkins.


Ah, Rebers! We can have a field with this one - they were prolific and loved to re-use names over and over again. For starters, though, the John (Johannes) who served under Joseph Hiester (I know, the record says HISTER, but it IS Hiester - it's my maiden name, so I've researched the line a lot), is not the John who had Abraham.

The patriot John was married to Catherine Schmidt, and they settled in Manheim Twp., Schuylkill County. Lots of Rebers related to them are buried at St Paul's (Summer Hill) at Auburn.

The John Reber who had Abraham, was married twice, first to a Miss Orbengast and second to Abraham's mother, Magdalena Haas. John and Magdalena are buried at the Bern Church cemetery near Strausstown, Berks Co.I'll see if I can dig up more on their other children, as I descend from one of the sons of John and his first wife.


Someone e-mail me direcrly; I have to get another 'cousin' or two involved because I don't know all the answers, and I don't want to force them to join this blog. I will post the answers within a few days, though.

Jack J. Reber

I show John A. Reber as the son of Abraham Reber and Catherine Christ. Abraham the son of Johannes Reber and his second wife, Maria Magdalena Haas. Johannes was baptized 16 dec 1736 in Langenselbold, Hesse (now Germany) and died 27 aug 1821 in Heidelberg Twp., Berks, Pa. He is buried in the old cemetery at the Bern Lutheran and Reformed Church in Bernville, Berks, Pa. I have a note from the Reading Adler that he OUTLIVED 55 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren. Not sure I believe that. Johannes was the son of Johannes Reber and Johanna Magdalena Hahn, the first of this Reber line to come to the U.S., leaving Langenselbold in April 1742. Another son died on the voyage.The ship (probably boarded in England) was the Francis and Elizabeth. The younger Johannes was a drummer in the Revolutionary War, according to DAR records. Before that he was the first of this Reber line to become a naturalized British subject (13 may 1768). Part of the original Reber homestead is still in Reber hands, just west of Reading. The rest of it is under a reservoir.

Richard B

I'm very curious too as to the maiden name of this Elizabeth. It was my theory that it might have been Dice, as Elias and Eliz. are next to Jacob and Mary Dice in the 1860 census. The only problem is they had a daughter "Eliza" in the 1850 census who was b.c. 1836. So unless she married after the 1850 census and had Oliver after the census it couldn't be Eliza. BUT two other daughters of Jacob and Mary Dice married Rabers/Rebers. One married Abraham Reber, and that must be the one in the 1850 census in Akron, as they married in nearby Greensburgy in late 1848. Perhaps you will want to check into the probate of Jacob Dice, who d in 1863 in St. Joseph Co., and let me know if you find her listed there? Abraham J. Reber was a definite son of John Abraham, who followed him out west and was living nearby his son Abraham in the 1880 census age 79.


Abraham John Reber and Sarah Ann Dice were in Maringo, Iowa Co., IA in 1870, in 1880 they were in Sioux City, Woodbury Co., IA.
Carlton was in Omaha, Douglas Co., NE in 1893 and died there in 1922.
For more information e-mail me at

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