Wednesday, February 21, 2018

"The Nagel Family of Auglaize County, Ohio " By Scott Knerr

Scott Knerr has once again shared a wonderful human interest story about a pioneer family who lived in Auglaize County, Ohio.

This time his focus is on Phillip Nagel and his family.  They ultimately found peace and rest at Keller Cemetery and Greenlawn Cemetery in Wapakoneta, Ohio. 

Thanking Scott for his permission to re-share his three-part story about the Phillip Nagel Family.


“The Nagel Family” – Scott Knerr – February 19, 2018

“Hello all: It’s been awhile since I have written about any of our Civil War vets. I have been researching for several weeks now two brothers and their family history. I was surprised that not much has been written about them or their family other than some newspaper articles here and there. The Nagel family has been a big part of our county since the very beginning. History shows they were nearly wiped out by death as you will learn in my story below. But now it’s time for all of us to learn about this awesome family. Welcome to the Nagel family.

In the Spring of 1834 a young man named Phillip Nagel boarded a boat named “L. Eveline” to make the journey to a new life in America from Germany. From what I could find it appears Phillip arrived in Baltimore June 16th 1834 alone at the age of 23. Records are conflicting as to whether he married back in Germany or he married here. But I do know he married a lady named Margaretha Hoffman and that their first child George was born in Germany in 1834.

As soon as he arrived here he headed for York County Pennsylvania. Phillip was an expert craftsman at his trade of being a weaver. I’m thinking he may have gotten a job weaving in York County and started saving up some money. Margaretha and baby George arrived a year or so later and joined Phillip in Penn.

Phillip continued to weave and became well known for his skill as one of the best weavers in America of his time. He was known for his beautiful extant coverlets ( better known today as bedspreads). His skill must have made him some decent money because on August 21st 1837 he bought 160 acres of land in Pusheta Township in then Allen County.

The 1840 census has his occupation as a farmer. He now has two sons, George 6 and Henry just over a year old. I believe he is both farming and continuing to weave. I found an article that said that 6 of his coverlets still survive today, two of them are in the Columbus Museum of Art.

Two of the other coverlets are still in the Nagel family today. Phillip was so good at his weaving that he even weaved “ P Nagel, Wapakoneta, Ohio” into these two coverlets. Phillip owned a mortar & pestle and would grind up the roots of the madder plant to get the red dye he would use in many of his weavings.

He would also use the indigo plant which would produce beautiful blue and purple dyes. Luckily the mortar & pestle also survived the test of time and has been passed down through the family. Although a farmer I think his true passion was in his weaving.

By the 1850 census his occupation had now changed to being a weaver. It looks like his oldest son George now 16 is being a huge help on the farm as a laborer. Through the 1840s Phillip and Margaretha had five more children and were living the pioneer dream.

In the year 1849 a big cholera epidemic hit our county hard. Many died but the Nagel family was one of the few families that survived through it with not a single death( there is one mention of an oldest daughter dying during this time but nothing more I could find to prove it).Phillip and Margaretha went on and had one more child named Johann on August 21st 1850.

In the fall of 1851 our county was hit again with another outbreak, this time it was a influenza epidemic. The Nagel family suffered a huge loss during this sickness. The whole family came down with the flu. The only drug they had to fight it was called Quinine and it was of little to no help for the flu. The Nagels fought hard to overcome their sickness. But the drugs of their time was no match for the flu. Phillip age 41 along with four of his children perished during the epidemic. The only survivors were Phillip’s wife Margaretha age 43, John Henry age 12, Philip Jr. age 8, and Anna age 2.

If not for the two sons surviving the Nagel name would be a long lost memory forgotten by time today. I couldn’t find anything about the family after all of this happened. The next time the sons pop up is in the 1870 census after the Civil War.

Margaretha never remarried after losing Phillip. He was truly the love of her life. Both of her sons would go on and fight in the Civil War and become great men in our community which I will focus on in part two. Anna grew up and married James Miller. Margaretha lived a long life and died in Anna’s home on Dec. 26th 1892 at the ripe old age of 81.

What a terrible event this family survived. Margaretha must have been an amazing woman to survive all she did, from watching half her family die, to watching her only two sons march off to war, not knowing if she would ever see them again. The tears this poor woman must have shed over her life I can't even imagine.

Well that’s all I have for now. But plenty more will be coming soon. Hope you are all enjoying learning about another one of our great pioneer families. Until next time…

P.S. There are no pics of Phillip since he died before photography was invented. But I did find three of Margaretha I thought you may enjoy.

“The Nagel Family” – Scott Knerr – February 21, 2018

“Hello all: I’m back with the next part of the Nagel family history. This time I’m going to introduce you to one of Phillip and Margaretha sons that survived the flu epidemic. Below you will meet and learn about John Henry Nagel.

John Heinrich Nagel was born on February 2nd 1839. Through my research I found that he preferred to be called “Henry”. Henry was the 1st Nagel to be born here in Auglaize county in the wilderness of Pusheta Township on the newly purchased Nagel farm.

I read in a family tree that as a young boy he loved to help his father Phillip grind the dyes he used in his weavings. Although there is no information on the family after the flu outbreak of 1851 I’m sure life must have been very hard for little Henry. He was just 12 years old and now the oldest male of the family. A lot of responsibility fell on his shoulders to help keep the farm going.

At the age of 24 Henry married Jane Leslie sometime in 1863. I found in one family tree that a son was born the same year named Charles. There is very little information on Charles. He is mentioned in the 1870 census as 7 years old but by the 1880 census he has disappeared.

Henry was one of the lucky ones during the Civil War. He mustered in on May7th 1864 for a 100 day enlistment. Henry joined the 156th Regiment Ohio Infantry as a Corporal. This regiment was composed of the 34th Battalion of Preble County, 80th Battalion of Mercer County, and the 81st Battalion of Auglaize County. As hard as I searched I couldn’t find him mentioned in the war before this date but I think he may have been since he mustered in as a Corporal and not a private.

The 156th was actually known as the National Guard and I believe I have written about them in a previous Civil war vet story. They were only in one minor skirmish at Faulk’s Mill on August 1st 1864. Their main duty was to guard prisoners caught from the Confederacy side. On Sept 1st 1864 Henry mustered out as a Corporal Henry returned home afterwards to his wife and son. By the 1870 census Henry and Jane now live in Wapakoneta with real estate worth $1800. The family has also grown they have now added George age 5, Jeanette age 3,and 4 month old Frank. His occupation is a harness maker.

The 1880 census shows the family doing very well. Henry is the owner of a saddler shop in Wapak. The family has even grown more. Since the 1870 census they have now added Harry age 5 and a 2 month old newborn named Carolina. They also have a boarder living with them named Howard James age 21. Howard is working in Henry’s saddle shop and is an apprentice learning the craft of making saddles and harnesses.

Since there is no 1890 census we move next to the 1900 census. Henry is now 61 years old and has retired from the merchant business. They are living on Auglaize street and have been married for 37 years. All of the children have moved out now other then Harry who is now 24 years old. Harry is in a fairly new occupation for his time as an electrician. 

The 1910 census not much has changed. Harry has since long moved out on his own and Henry and Jane have now moved up onto Defiance street and now 71 years old. Just a year later on June 8th 1911 Jane passed away. The two had 48 years a marriage together.

But then something unique happened. Henry met another lady named Christina Nuss. She was 35 years younger than Henry and had never been married. But the age difference didn’t stop them and they married on Halloween day of 1916. Henry was 77 years old and Christina was just 42. The two moved into 303 Jackson St. after getting married.

The last census Henry appears in is in 1930. He is now 91 years old and Christina 56. I also learned in the 1930 census that Henry never attended school. I’d say he did very well in life for not having any schooling. But I also believe since he was born here in 1839 that there was probably no schools even built before he reached adulthood.

I’d like to backtrack here and tell of a story about Henry that was printed in The Lima News on Dec. 23rd 1921. At this time Henry was 82 years old. Old Henry was still very fond of riding horses. The story states that Henry was out for a ride on his horse on a highway near Wapakoneta. 

When a auto passed to close to Henry and the horse kicked the car. The auto stopped at a farm up the road a short distance. But the driver started up when he saw Henry coming. One of the men in the car said “ Let’s go here’s that horse again” 

Henry was a member of the Kyle post G.A.R. At its height they had well over 100 members. By 1931 Henry was one of the last 3 remaining members of the Kyle post. But still these three men would continue the post until the last surviving member passed.

Henry lived a very long and fulfilling life. What he must have seen in his life had to be amazing to him. He literally saw our county go from a wilderness to automobiles on the road and electricity in the homes in Wapakoneta. 

He lived through a lot of heartache watching his father and siblings die at a young age. But he had a wonderful marriage that gave him, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. After the death of Jane he still found love in a younger woman who helped keep his spark for life.
Henry died on Nov 11th 1931 at the age of 92. He died peacefully while holding Christina’s hand. What a great guy he must have been. But since this part has run so long I’m going to end here and will continue with Philip Jr. in part three. Until next time…”

“The Nagel Family” – Scott Knerr – February 19, 2018

Hello readers: I’m back with part 3 of the Nagel family. Hasn’t it been great learning and having a glimpse into this great family? I sure have enjoyed researching them. Up next I’d like for you to meet and learn about Philip Nagel Jr.

Phillip and Margaretha had a very special Christmas holiday in the winter of 1842. In their warm cabin on Christmas eve Margaretha gave birth to their third son. They named him Philip Nagel Jr.

I’m sure little Philip as a boy loved to play and explore the wilderness that surrounded the Nagel farm. But he too like his brother would have to grow up fast. After losing half of his family after the flu outbreak of 1851 including his father the farm became Henry and his responsibility being the only male survivors.

There is one article that has surfaced about Philip after the flu outbreak. In a 1907 article in The Auglaize County Democrat they talk of an old building being moved to Hoopengarner St. from its place on Auglaize St. just west of the Steinburg Hotel.

Several years before 1848 it had been a hotel. The property sold in 1857 to John H. Maisen. A furniture store was then opened by Mr. Maisen then 31 years old together with young Philip. It was Mr. Maisen who took 15 year old Philip under his wing and taught him the trade of a cabinet maker. I fear the family must have been having a hard time making ends meet and the boys needed to find work.

At the age of nineteen Philip joined Company I 99th Regiment Ohio Infantry. He enlisted into service Aug. 26th 1862 as a private. 1,700 men were recruited in but 700 were later moved to the 118th.

The 99th saw a lot of battles but the Battle of Lookout Mountain was the one mentioned in his obituary. This battle was to take over a confederate held area that was preventing the moving of ammunition and supplies.

The battle has been well documented and a great read. The Union side did end up winning but lost 408 men. The confederate side lost 1,251. But that night after the battle men on both sides talked and wrote of a total lunar eclipse that the confederate side used to their advantage to retreat from the mountain.

On August 27th 1864 Philip was one of many moved to Company K 1st U.S. Veterans Volunteers Engineer Corps. Here he remained until being mustered out on June 20th 1865. I searched his military record and he was one of the lucky ones to get out uninjured.

Philip came back to Auglaize County and just a little over a year after being back home married Hermina Menges on Sept. 15th 1866. The two began a family together and had their first child a daughter who they named Carolina on May 24th 1867. Emma came next in Sept of 1868.

In the 1870 census Philip is now 27 years old. He has moved off the Nagel farm and is living in Wapakoneta. He is now a seasoned cabinet maker along with other pieces of furniture. Hermina is staying at home taking care of the house and her two daughters. According to his obituary Philip opened his own furniture store sometime around 1874. He also added another daughter Louisa and his first son William by 1874. They also had one more child a son named Fernando who was born just after Christmas in 1875 but died an infant.

Sadly Hermina had a short life. On August 12th 1876 on a hot summer day Hermina died at the young age of just 26 years old leaving Philip to raise their four children. This must have been a very hard time for the family.

But Philip met another lady named Louisa Shafer. She was 8 years younger than Philip. She came to Philip’s home and helped take care of the children while Philip was at work. The two fell in love and married on June 12th 1878.

The 1880 census shows Philip running his new business as a furniture dealer. The new building is located on Auglaize St. in the business district. Philip and Louisa have their first child together in February of 1880 a daughter who they name Gertrude.

There is very little information about the family until the 1900 census. But I do know they had two more children together. A son Albert who was born in 1882 and another daughter Edna. I don’t know any more on Edna other then she was born after Albert and died a young girl in 1899.

The 1900 census shows the family doing well. Philip is now 57 years old and still owns the Nagel Furniture and Undertaking business. Albert is 18 years old and working as a clerk in the family store. Three of his daughters and Albert are all still living at home and all are single.

In the year 1908 Philip started to get ill. His obituary doesn’t say how he died but says he was sick for over a year. But whatever his illness he couldn’t get over it and died on August 8th 1909 at the age of 66 years. He was a well known businessman and loved by all that knew him.

Philip was a kind, gentle man who would help anyone he could. His obituary says “ His worth as a citizen was exemplified by his Christian character and life of modesty, bestowing good deeds and avoiding notoriety.” He was a Mason for over thirty years and held many important positions while a member. He was also a member of the Royal Arcanum.

Well that’s about all I have on Philip Jr. Sadly there just wasn't any information to be found on a personal level about him. He sounds like he was a great guy to know. He may not have had much of a childhood but he sure made up for it as a man. Until next time…"

 John Heinrich Nagel was born on February 2nd 1839. Through my research I found that he preferred to be called “Henry”.
 Margaretha Hoffman Nagel
 Margaretha Hoffman Nagel
 Margaretha Hoffman Nagel
 Phillip Nagel who died in 1909

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