Friday, May 29, 2009

My Civil War Ancestor

John Strobel 
I traced my mother’s family, the Crawfords, when I was in high school. I started to research the Strobel family but became busy with college and didn’t get very far. My grandfather and his siblings were all long dead, so that generation was no longer available for interview, a fact that also discouraged the project.

Recently, though, a friend who still does genealogy sent me my great-grandfather Strobel’s obituary. (The surname was misspelled on my father’s birth certificate.) In honor of the upcoming original Memorial Day, founded by a Civil War vet, I’ll copy the obit.

“John Strobel died Friday, August 26, 1932 at his home north of Vandalia [Illinois] of senility. A short funeral service was held at the grave in Ramsey [Illinois] Cemetery Monday afternoon. A number of World War veterans from Vandalia and Ramsey attended the services in a body. The following grandsons were pallbearers: Kark E. Schaefer, Delmar, Fred and Paul Strobel, Leo Holdman and Stanley Miles.

“Mr. Strobel was a veteran of the Civil War, having served with Co. D, First Missouri Cavalry. Mr. Michel, aged 90, of Altamont, who served in the same company with Mr. Strobel, attended the services Monday afternoon.

“Grandpa Strobel as he was familiarly known, was born in Germany, Jan. 1, 1840. At the age of 4 he came with his parents to this country, settling in Madison County.

“On June 20, 1865 he was united in marriage with Emma Hotz. To this union ten children were born, two dying in infancy and one daughter, Mrs. Lizzie Schaefer, died in 1904.

“Besides the aged wife he is survived by the following children: Mrs. Lena Hoffman, Ramsey; Mrs. Amelia Holdman, Avena; Geo. Strobel, Peoria; John, Charles, Andy and Edward Strobel of Vandalia.

in Ramsey, IL 
“The Family wishes to thank all of the neighbors and friends for all kindnesses extended them during their [illegible].

"Th [sic] following out-of-town people attended the funeral: Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hotz and daughters and Chas. Hotz, Edwardsville; Mrs. Mary Dumbeck and daughter, St. Louis; Mrs. Margaret Winters, son and daughters, Highland; Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Strobel and daughter and Edward Strobel, Altamont; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ferrell, Pana, and Mr. and Mrs. Ward Stowell and Mrs. May Litchenberger, Decatur.”

My father-- “Paul” the pallbearer mentioned above-- remembered many of these people fondly. Dad was 20 in 1932. He recalled that his grandfather made several gallons of wonderful homemade sauerkraut every year. It would be interesting to know what kind of difficulties my great-grandfather faced in America at a time when German immigrants (and he was German Catholic, at that) faced prejudice.

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