Family History: Jacob and Christina (Casper) Hess

Frank Hess

My mom has binders filled with interesting information.  I’ve gone through them several times, and still find things. How do I miss this stuff?

My discovery of the family history of Jacob Sr and Christina (Casper) Hess is one of these interesting finds.  My mother received this from her parents; I’m not sure when they got it.

The history was written by Elmer William Hess, as told to him by his father, Jacob Hess Jr.  Jacob Jr was the son of Jacob Sr and Christina.

Christina (Casper) Hess was the sister of Mary Casper, wife of Nicholas Bausman Sr (my ggg-grandparents).

There are inconsistencies between what I’ve researched about Nicholas and Mary, and what Elmer Hess has in his history. Like with any history such as this, it’s provides a good overview and it’s up to us to confirm accuracy.

Nicholas and Mary’s immigrated in 1849.  According to Elmer Hess’ history, the Hesses and the Bausmans traveled together from Germany which implies that Nicholas and Mary were married.   However,  the Jo Daviess County Illinois Marriages (Book A, Dec 4 1849-Dec 5 1855) has the date of Nicholas and Mary’s marriage as February 15, 1852.

Finding this history helped me identify a photograph in my great-grandmother Viola (Bausman) Davis’ photo collection.  Frank Edward Hess, grandson of Jacob and Christina, sent a postcard to Viola, granddaughter of Nicholas and Mary, and I couldn’t figure out how they were “cousins”.  After reading this history, I was able to figure out who  Frank Hess was and that these Hesses were from New York NOT Jo Daviess County, Illinois.

Read the PDF or the transcript:

The Jacob Hess Family by Elmer William Hess

This is the life story of my grandparents, Jacob Hess and Christina Casper Hess, as told to me by my Father, Jacob Hess II.

During the decade of 1850, possibly around 1858, two young German couples, recently married, became discouraged with the Cathloic [sic] rule and domination in Hessendormstockt, Germany and decided to come to the United states of America to make their home and seek their fortune. They had been told the United states government was giving a section of land to homestead on free in the Midwest. The one couples name was Hess and the other one was Bausman.  The ladies were sisters.

On reaching New York City after along ocean voyage only the Bausmans had enough money for train fare to Chicago. So it was decided they would go to the Midwest and the Hess’es would try and get work to earn money for their train fare and follow them later on. So when they said Good-bye, little did they realize that it would be the last time that they would ever see one another again. The Bausmans got a piece of property which they farmed near Scales Mound, Illinois. There, seven sons were born to them.

Jacob Hess, my grandfather, went to work on the docks in New York City. While working there he learned of a German community about one hundred twenty-five miles northwest of  New York where he could buy cheap land and get work in a tannery. The tannery bought the hemlock bark from the heavy stand of hemlock growing on the land in Sullivan county. My Grandfather was enthusiastic [sic] about this new way of life and so he brought his wife to Hortonville, New York and started working in the tannery there. When they arrived they found a log cabin a very stony field and this was the beginning of the Hess Homestead.

In 1860, they purchased fifty acres of land with a barn but since there was no house they decided to build their new home just inside the boundry [sic]  line and on the west side of the highway coming up the hill from Hortonville. By the time they had dug the cellar the people that owned the land adjoining on the east decided to sell. Happily, Grandfather bought this thirty acres which had a small barn and a nearly new house and today this is still the eighty acres in the Hess Family farm homestead. The barn that was down in the fifty acres was torn down and brought up and built against the barn on the east end and which is now the barn floor and shed of our present barn.

Four sons, Philip, Jacob, John and Nicholas and two daughters, Christina and Carrie were born to them. Possibly Christina, the oldest, may have been born before they bought the farm. Carrie was born between Philip and Jacob, my father. Nicholas died at the age of sixteen years from pneumonia.

Grandfather joined the newly organized German Presbyterian Church and while helping to install the large bell caught cold and died of pneumonia. The bell was rung for the first time for his funeral about the year 1887.

After Grandfather’s death my father made a deal with his Mother to keep her as long as she lived for the farm. In 1890, my father married Louise Knack on March 1. On January 12, 1891 their first son, Frank was born. In 1901 their second son, Elmer arrived on May 1. Grandmother Hess died on July 3, 1916.

I always stayed home and helped father on the farm. After I was eighteen years old Father paid me $25.00 a month until I was 21 then I received $30.00 a month. On March 1, 1927 I bought the stock and machinery and rented the farm. The farm once again was taken over by the second son, like father. On June 1, 1927 I brought my wife, Ruth Kellam here to make a home.

On February 1, 1937 Mother died in the Callicoon hospital from pneumonia. A short time later my wife and I bought the farm with the understanding that Father was to have a home here as long as he lived. He passed away very suddenly on March 12, 1954, and was buried the day before his 89 birthday.

My brother Frank married Lena Hermann of Callicoon and to them a daughter, Dorothy Louise, and a son Frank lI were born in Waterbury, Conn., where he became a very successful businessman, and made his home.

On April 22, 1928 our first son, Roger was born. On February 4, 1930 a daughter, Marjorie arrived and on June 2, 1931 our second son Lloyd was born.

On May 1, 1954 we sold Roger the entire stock and machinery for $6,000 with the understanding that we could live here as long as we wanted too. Then he was to own the farm. Here the tradition changed somewhat as now the oldest son took over the farm.

Our youngest child, Lloyd was married first to Lavina Brown on August 7, 1954 at the Hancock Methodist Church. They had one son Jay Douglas born in 1962 in Somerville, New Jersey but he died twelve hours later and was buried in the Hess plot in the Hortonville, New York cementery[sic]. The name Jay was understood by the family to represent the name of Jacob. Our daughter, Marjorie, was married to Gerald Doetsch April 23, 1955 in the Hortonville Presbyterian Church and they have a son Douglas born in Lake Charles, Louisiana on November 6, 1957, and a daughter, Barbara born at the Callicoon Hospital on October 22, 1959. In January 1959 Roger married Norma Leshorn and to them were born three sons, George, William, and John and two daughters, Diane and Emily.

On August 13, 1969 Norma Leshorn Hess died very suddenly and was buried in the Hess plot in the Hortonville cementery[sic]. On July 26, 1970 Roger married Verna Simon in the Methodist Church at Hankins, New York. To them a son Dale was born on July 8, 1971 at the old Callicoon Hospital. So once again four sons and two daughters were born on the Hess Homestead. After Norma’s death their two daughters went to live with Lloyd and Lavina in Pluckemin, New Jersey.

This story was written February 1, 1972.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Luke Hess says:

    Ok, after I posted an earlier comment I see that you have the letter that Elmer wrote. My Uncle Dale Hess named his son Jacob after the original settler of the Hess farm. I am the son of William Hess, and the grandson of Roger Hess. Elmer, the author of the letter we both discovered, is my great grandfather. I was about 14 when he passed away. He lived to be 94.

    1. Kathryn says:

      Hi Luke,

      It took me awhile to figure out how the Hess’ were related to my great-grandmother, Viola Bausman. I found a postcard from Frank E. Hess (with his picture on it) that he sent to Viola. The note referred to her as a cousin and I was confused. Elmer’s history helped me figure out the relationship.


  2. Mary Memmen says:

    My name is Mary Memmen, maiden name Powers. My Grandma on my dad’s side was Antoinette Hess who was the daughter of Philip Hess, son of Jacob Hess, Sr.

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