Friday, August 1, 2014

Biography of Benedict Bixenman

Benedict Bixenman was born on March 21, 1829 in Treherz, Donaukreis, Wurtemburg, now a part of Germany, to 40 year old Eusebius Bixenman and his wife, 31 year old Maria Anna (Reidmiller) Bixenman. His parents had already had five other children, at least three of which were still living at the time. They were Joseph, if he was still alive, who would have been 9 years old. and 8 year old Francesca. We only know the birth date and nothing further about these two. It's possible they died prior to Benedict's birth. The rest of the children were 6 year old Johannes, 5 year old Theresa and 3 year old Leopold.
Benedict Bixenman's baptismal record from the church book in Treherz

The Eusebius Bixenman family record in the church book in Treherz
Sometime between 1852 and 1858, Benedict and Crescentia Wolfgang, along with several others from the area including his brothers and sisters got onto a boat and sailed to America. Family stories say the two quarrelled the entire trip. Given the harsh conditions of such a voyage, you could imagine tempers could be flared. They landed in New York and before long travelled to Lake County, Indiana. It is believed they married in either New York or Indiana shortly after arriving. No marriage record has been found.

Crescentia and Benedict Bixenman

His sister Theresa married Leonard Hoelzle.
When Benedict was 30 years old, his wife gave birth to their first child, Benedicta, on October 26, 1858 in St. John, Lake County, Indiana. Benedicta died just 6 days later on November 1, 1858. Their second child was also a daughter. They named her the same, Benedicta. She was born just over a year later on December 22, 1859. Next came Maria Josepha on May 9, 1861, Joseph on December 14, 1863. We also show Benedict Junior being born in 1863. Another son, also named Benedict was born December 14, 1865, followed by Theresa in 1867. Philomena (my great-grandmother) was born April 27, 1869. It is unknown at this time how the American Civil War affected the family whose children were being born at that time.
Likely in 1869, Benedict joined friends Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Hoelzle, Mr. and Mrs. Anton Huber and Mr. and Mrs. Mitch, traveling in covered wagon to Chariton County in north-central Missouri. When they arrived, there wasn't a house or a shed, just open country. You could imagine the family in their wagon, traveling across the prairie. The family consisted of the roughly 40 year old father, 35 year old mother and five children ranging in age from newborn up to about 10 or 12 years old. I'm confident their covered-wagon pioneer voyage was in the latter half of 1869 or early 1870 because Philomena was born in Indiana in April 1869 and we find them in Missouri in the 1870 Federal Census, which took place in July.

1870 US Federal Census

Instead of traveling with Benedict and his sister Theresa and others, his brother Johannes instead travelled to the area of Hall County, Nebraska, while Leopold, Josepha and Lawrence all stayed in the Lake County, Indiana area.
After the family arrived in Missouri, Casper was born in 1872 and John Huntz was born in 1874.
The town of Wien (originally Mt. St. Mary) was established in Chariton County in 1877. A copy of the town plat, dated June 5, 1877 reads "We the undersigned do hereby certify that we establish the town of Mt. St. Mary's as herein plotted and donate to said plat for avenues, alleys and hold the lots numbered in said plat for sale." It was signed by Francis Moenning, Leonard Hoelzle and Anton Huber.
Benedict and Crescentia's (also known as Grace) oldest surviving daughter, Benedicta, married Jacob Leber on April 29, 1878 at St. Mary's Church in Wien. She gave birth to George in 1879, Joseph in 1880, John Joseph in 1881, Philomena in 1882, William Leroy in 1885, Elizabeth Philomena in 1886, Anthony in 1889, Mary in 1890, Charles in 1890, Anna in 1891 and Kathleen in 1898.

1880 US Federal Census

Their daughter Theresa died at the age of 14 in 1881.
Joseph married Mary Jane Rodgers on January 12, 1888. Mary Jane gave birth to Joseph in 1888, Bridgitta Helena in 1889, John Bernard in 1891, thomas Benedict in 1893, Peter Albert in 1895, Philomena in 1897 and Bernard Benedict in 1900.
Benedict II married Anna Mary Hagen on January 10, 1889, Philomena married my great-grandfather, Charles E. Miller on April 14, 1891, and Casper married Helena Koehne on October 11, 1892.
After Benedict II died on May 31, 1893, his brother John Huntz Bixenman married his widow, Anna Mary Hagen, on August 7, 1894. She gave birth to Joseph in 1895, Christopher Horace in 1897, Dorothea Johanna in 1898 and Philomena Crescentia in 1900.
Benedict and Crescentia's daughter Philomena married Charles Miller on April 14, 1891 in Wien. She gave birth to Anna Mary in 1891, Crescence Marie in 1893 and Leo Henry (my grandfather) in 1895.
Casper married Helene Koehne in Wien on October 11, 1892. Helene gave birth to Theresa in December 1892, William Jacob in 1894, Anne Margaret in 1896, Herman Francis in 1898 and Henry Joseph in 1900.

Benedict's wife, Crescentia Wolfgang Bixenman, died on September 22, 1901 in Wien and was buried in St. Mary of the Angels Church cemetery just south of Wien.

Several more grandchildren were born before Benedict died on September 14, 1907 and was buried next to his wife.

An elderly Benedict Bixenman, likely around 1905

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