Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Marriages and Children of William Zahniser

William Zahniser in 1860
(click to enlarge)

William Zahniser, a dry goods merchant, lost his first wife Elizabeth in 1869, when she was just 41 years old. He had lost his son four years earlier.

Left with two young daughters, Bess and Mary, he remarried within a couple of years. His second wife Caroline was soon expecting, and she gave birth to their daughter Sarah on March 9, 1873.

Sadly, less than four months later, Caroline also died. William buried her at Mercer Citizens Cemetery with his first wife and son James.

William Zahniser in 1880
(click to enlarge)

In the 1880 census, William's oldest daughter Bess, 17, was enumerated at the home of her aunt and uncle, the Flemings. William was enumerated separately with his two younger daughters.

Paul Terhune's household in 1900
(click to enlarge)

In 1900, William Zahniser was again enumerated with his daughters Mary and Sarah. Mary was newly married to her husband, Paul Terhune.

Christian Terhune's family in 1870
(click to enlarge)

Paul was a son of Christian and Margaret Terhune of Lodi, New Jersey.

Paul Terhune's household in 1910
(click to enlarge)

William Zahniser died January 20, 1901. He was buried with his two wives and son in Mercer Citizens Cemetery.

Sarah continued to live with her sister Mary. Paul was a commissioned traveling man in the wholesale lumber business, so Mary was probably glad to have her sister's company.

Paul Terhune's household in 1920
(click to enlarge)

By 1920, Paul's mother and sister Elizabeth, both widowed, lived with them also.

Paul Terhune's household in 1930
(click to enlarge)

To my knowledge, Paul and Mary had no children, and Sarah never married.

Paul's mother died in 1923 and was buried next to Milton E. Kerr at Mercer Citizens Cemetery. Paul and Mary would eventually join her there, and Sarah was eventually buried in the row immediately behind them, next to her father William.

That's the extent of my knowledge about the Zahniser family, and I have no photographs of any of them, not even Milton's wife Bess. If you can add to their story or share photographs, please use the Comments feature at the bottom of this post to contact me. Include your email address for a personal response. Any comment containing an email address or other personal contact information will not be published to the blog.


Update: The full text, including photographs, of The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906) is available online in PDF format at BYU's Family History Archives. I found the introductory material and Part One, a narrative about the emigration from Germany and early life in Pennsylvania, very interesting and well-written. Part Two is a descendancy which often includes a bit of interesting personal information along with the statistics. Two hundred pages may seem daunting at first glance, but there are only a couple of double-spaced paragraphs per page so the reading goes quickly. There are many photographs included, as well as an index.

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Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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