Sunday, September 16, 2007

New Fane

I've recently located an online transcription for a church cemetery in the southeasternmost corner of Fond du Lac County in Wisconsin. I believe that my great great grandmother and my great great great grandfather are buried in the St. John's New Fane cemetery in Auburn Township. I had not located their graves previously because census records indicate that they lived in Scott Township in Sheboygan County and that's where I had looked. It's clear now, however, that they lived on the county line and the nearest village was and still is New Fane in Fond du Lac County.

I've posted a link for the ">Scott Township Plat Map 1875. The link is an interactive plat map put online by the University of Wisconsin Digital Library. It's very high resolution with a moveable frame that allows for zooming in and out on quadrants, sections within quadrants and quadrants within sections of the map. You can see the name of the party to whom each lot was registered in each section, what portions of their lot were cleared or wooded and where any structures on their property were located. Click on Image Detail to resize the map from Medium to Extra Large and to access the Frame and Zoom functions.

It's helpful to compare the plat map with federal census listings. Thanks to I am able to show how and where my ancestors were listed on the 1860 Census. The three images posted to the right show the names of the inhabitants of what became Section 30 in the order in which they were listed in 1860. One click on each image will enlarge it, making it much easier to read.

When you click the first image you will see that in 1860 Ludwig and Henrietta Backhaus had five sons and one daughter. The oldest son was 18 and the youngest a one year old. When you click the second image it's clear that their next door neighbors were Wilhelm and Maria Lubach, who had two sons and a daughter. The next household was that of Wilhelm and Maria D. Ebert and their sons Wilhelm and August. Next to them was the Heise or Heiser family, August and Sophia and their four children, two sons and two daughters. Beyond them is the Oeder family.

When you look at the plat map for 1875 it becomes clear that the census enumerator in 1860 was proceeding north to south along the county line from the top of Section 30, Ludwig Backhaus and family, to the bottom of Section 31, where Henry and Mary Oeder lived. The Ebert family is still in between them in 1875, but the Lubach and Heise or Heiser families have relocated. The village of New Fane is a little more than one mile west of Section 30. It was the nearest village to these farms.

Construction of St. John's Church at New Fane was begun around 1860 and completed in 1871. It is still in use and appears now very much as it did then. Wilhelm Ebert, who I believe was the father of Marie (Ebert) Lubach (my great great grandmother) and her sister, Sophia (Ebert) Heise, was buried in the New Fane Cemetery in 1872 at the age of 69.

Marie's first husband, Wilhelm Lubach, died in the Civil War on July 27, 1865, and was buried at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis. Marie married Ludwig Backhaus in 1867, allowing the couple to collect a Civil War pension for her four minor dependents. Ludwig's first wife, Henrietta, appears to have died between 1860 and 1867. My theory is that she died giving birth to a son, Edward, in January, 1863. She does not appear to have been buried in the St. John's New Fane cemetery. Her son, Edward, eventually took the name Lubach as his surname, apparently in honor of his stepmother's first husband. Edward was listed as a minor dependent on Marie's pension application, so it appears she may have been caring for Ludwig's youngest son before the couple married. Marie appears to have given birth to another son, Henry, a year after her marriage to Ludwig Backhaus.

Sophie's husband, August Heise, survived the war. The 1875 plat map indicates a farm belonging to A. Heyser in Section 20 of Scott Township, two miles from the county line and close to the village of Beechwood. Wilhelm Ebert's farm in 1875 in Section 30 appears to have been divided evenly between his sons, William and August.

Ludwig Backhaus may have played a central role in finding spouses for his second wife's pensionable minor dependents. Marie was buried at New Fane in 1893, the year that her oldest son Carl or Charles lost three sons to a diptheria epidemic in Findlay, Ohio. Ludwig was buried at New Fane in 1897, the same year that Marie's second son, William, died at the age of 41 in a sawmill accident in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Ludwig was 82 in 1897. The birthdate on his tombstone indicates that he celebrated his 50th birthday on the same day that my great great grandfather died at a military hospital in St. Louis.