Conrad Hierholzer Family Write-up

by: Ruth (Daniel) Cogan, 1974

Presented at the Hierholzer Family Reunion, Sunday July 28, 1974

email:: Robert Oprisch

Part I

This is a Hierholzer Reunion---Hierholzer to the core---but we have a great diversity of names.

I remember well back in 1934 when some of our family (the Charles and Olga H. Daniel family) visited Grandma (Mary Hierholzer) and her daughter, Bertha. My fiancÚ, Joseph Cogan, came along. As we entered the house I introduced my wonderful beau. "Grandma, this is Joe Cogan the man I am going to marry", Grandma, then 85 and whose hearing was a bit on the wane, said, "Cohen you say! So you are marrying a Jew?"

We all laughed and enjoyed the repartee. However, when I explained that Joe's name was Cogan and that he was an Irishman, I was establishing a precedent, because up until that time no one had inserted the Irish nationality into the Hierholzer family.

Although I do not have the name of Hierholzer, and never did, I am the matriarch of the family by virtue of the fact that I an the oldest grandchild of Conrad and Mary Anne Buscher Hierholzer.

As such, permit me, please, to reminisce.

The older children of the Daniel family always spent their summers in Celina. We had a quarter of a city block inside an iron fence to roam around in, we were taught strict obedience and discipline by Aunt Bertha, and we got to know something about our grandparents.

To me this couple was the most handsome and stately that I ever knew (or ever thought existed). They both had snow white hair. Grandma piled hers in a bun on top of her head and Grandpa had a fine white moustache. They walked erect and they walked everywhere. If there was a horse in the barn in the teens I don't remember it (but there were chickens in the coop). The Immaculate Conception Church was a short distance away as was the neighborhood meat market and grocery store. Downtown was a nice jaunt, and if they ever needed to go farther there were the boys, Ed, Al and Leo to take them in an automobile.

I don't know when the "new" Catholic Church was built. The old one was what one might call early "American gothic". But Grandpa had quite a bit to do with the building of the "new" one which was Romanesque with a beautiful copper dome that could be seen from his bedroom window.

It had been decided that St. Joseph's altar should be donated by all the men in the parish named Joseph. Grandma worked on that project. She used to tell how one day she and another woman were out hunting up the Joes and collecting. They had had trouble finding one particular fellow either at work or at home. Finally they discovered he could be found at a certain saloon---but women just didn't go near to a saloon! And Grandma's friend said that she certainly wouldn't.

But Mary Anne Buscher Hierholzer was made of different stuff, ---- She went in. She made her contact and got her contribution. Not only that, but the Joe insisted that his friends contribute too,---never mind that their names were George, Jake and John! The contributions were, of course, gratefully accepted.

When her two daughters, Bertha and Olga, were old enough to do the housework (which included a lot more than it does today), Grandma retired from that job. As I remember her she spent most of her time sitting on the side porch (facing Wayne St., dusty during the summer but well oiled just before the Mercer County Fair days) where she could see and visit with passing friends and neighbors. Rainy days and evenings she spent in her chair in the living room, reading (the Celina Standard or the Cincinnati Inquirer) or doing fine crocheting, Sometimes she would put the paper over her face and take a nap. Then there were the times when she would tell us stories. Her chair was something special. It seemed to be carved in soft, smooth curves of solid reddish mahogany. The seat was intriguing, being shaped to fit the body contours.

Grandpa's chair was solid oak with, the nearest thing to upholstered furniture, a brown leather seat. He, too, read quite a bit, but he also played solitaire at an adjustable, one legged bed-side table. Grandpa played solitaire (a one person game) presumably because Grandma said that a deck of cards was the devil's prayer book. However, she never objected when the rest of us played cards---and we all did.

Joseph Hierholzer (Here-a wood worker) was born in Germany, Dec. 10, 1814 and came to America where he met and married Theresa Sacher who had been born in Zurich, Switzerland. They farmed near New Riegel, Ohio where their four children were born. I was always told that Grandpa, Conrad was born in a log cabin near Wolf's Creek. Then they moved to another farm near Casella, Ohio in 1860, where they apparently prospered, because Joseph was ready to help his son get established on his own farm when he got married.

But Conrad met Mary Anne Buscher at a mutual friend's wedding and she was city-reared from Cincinnati. So when he asked her step-father for her hand in marriage, the older man said, "Ja. Sehr Gut" (or words to that effect). But he added one condition. Mary was rather frail and not used to country life, so she could not live on a farm.

Undaunted, Conrad took her as his bride, and they went to Celina, Ohio, where they set up housekeeping over the store where he found employment as a clerk. He was ambitious, shrewd and very smart, besides being a hard worker. She worked hard too, and knew how to save. Before so very long he was able to buy out his employer.

It must have been at about this time that he was asked for his middle initial for business purposes. He didn't have any. So he used the first and last letters of his name, Conrad. He was Cooney to his friends and C. D. to his business associates. He enlarged the store to what could be called a department store, and also acquired a grocery store which he ran for one day (or was it a week?) and then sold at a profit.

He and Mary purchased a fine piece of property on Main St. and built a house. They also had nine children, five of whom survived infancy, Edward, Aloysious, Bertha, Olga and Leo.

Conrad's business acumen was such that at a comparatively early age he was able to retire. What to do? So he went into the construction business and built houses. Again he retired. He had invested much of his money in the Commercial Bank in Celina and, naturally for him, walked down each day to see what the men down there were doing with it. After awhile the bankers decided that he was under-foot so much of the time they might just as well give him a job.

Before he died he had been the president of the bank for twenty years!

Part II

Now for the History of the Distaff side of the Hierholzer Family.

Gerard Egbert was born and reared in England (his granddaughter said so, she also said that he was a gentleman -- and never worked a day in his life). As a young man he went to Germany where he married a German girl, Angela Steinke. How many children they had I do not know. But one, Mary Margaret Adelaide Christina, was born April 12, 1833. The family came to America In 1839 and settled in the vicinity of Cincinnati and Kentucky, where Angela soon died of homesickness,

A relative took Christine into their home to rear along, with her own brood. When John Henry Buescher came asking for the hand of their young charge they were glad to assent even though she was only fifteen years old. This was about 1848. The first daughter, Mary Anne was born to John and Christina Buescher on October 13, 1849 in Cincinnati, Ohio

During the next five years two more daughters were born and because John Buescher developed tuberculosis they traveled west in a covered wagon for his health. The three girls came down with typhoid fever. A doctor, seeing the three pallid babes said, "These two we will work with. The oldest we cannot save". So Mary Anne was shoved over against the wall.

All the work they did was for naught, the two little girls died. But Mary Anne (Grandma Hierholzer) lived to be 92 years old! And how she, Grandma, loved to tell the story.

About 1855 John Buescher died and was buried in St. Laboure, Illinois. Christine brought her daughter back to Cincinnati and married Joe Moenkedick, a friend of her first husband. He had a stone quarry (Grandma always pronounced it "Quire"), and his horses were drafted for work in the Civil War.

Yes, Grandma, born Oct. 13, 1849 and Grandpa, born Feb. 17, 1850, lived during the Civil War. Grandma, in the border city of Cincinnati was more aware of it, although she didn't have much to say. However, she did tell about the hoop-skirt fashions of that era. She was too young to wear one but in order to impress the grocer's delivery boy she got hold of a barrel hoop and sewed it inside her dress!

When she was married in 1873 she wore black! She said no one at that time wore white. But the dresses, along with several petticoats, were all hand made with many tiny stitches.

Although I do not remember it, I have been told that Grandpa taught me to whistle before I could talk. I do remember, though, the thunder storms when I would go with him onto the enclosed back porch to watch the wonderful lightening, while Grandma burned Blessed Palm in a tin pie pan in the kitchen. She had heard that rubber was a poor conductor of electricity, so just to play safe, she stood on the rubber mat that was there.

I remember, too, the water in Celina. There was city water that one used for cooking and for washing when one ran out of rain water. And the soft rain water that was collected from rain falling on the roof, running down to the gutters, then through the down-spouts to the cistern. This was for washing because it made a nice suds. We used [it] carefully. Then there was the delicious well water from the pump in the middle of the back porch. There was nothing so cool and refreshing as a tin cup of this on a hot afternoon or any time.