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.
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)
(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.
Paul was a son of Christian and Margaret Terhune of Lodi, New Jersey.
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.
By 1920, Paul's mother and sister Elizabeth, both widowed, lived with them also.
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 Any comment containing an email address or other personal contact information will not be published to the blog.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.