The "Weber" 80th   Reunion was held August 19, 2007 at the Geneseo Community Center with a Potluck dinner.  The reunion is always held on the 3rd Sunday in August.  The following story of the Weber Family written by Valerie VanVooren was read for this special reunion! The story is below and  the names of the people in photo;

The names: Back Row: Gary Pike, his son Joey Pike , Gary Tomlinson, Shirley Tomlinson, Loretta Bohnert, Steve Faber, Peggy Faber, Mel Krueger, Harold VanVooren, Bill Williams, Delores Williams, Mauritz Hulting, Ken Bonnen

  2nd row: Gerva Weber, Carol Krueger, Valerie Vanvooren, Robin Pardus, Gladys Hulting, Bev Bonnen

  Front Row:  Charlotte Pike, Robert Weber, Charlene Hanson

 

New officers are; Pres.; Peggy Faber (309-852-3749), Vice Pres.; Robin Pardus (815-868-2425), Sec/Tres; Shirley Tomlinson.  If you are a Weber Descendant and would like to be added to our mailing list please contact one of the officers.

 

      New Beginnings in a New Land” 

Once upon a time in the year 1856 Jacob and Elizabeth Weber decided to make the long arduous journey from Germany to America .  Jacob was 44 years old and Elizabeth 47.   Five sons and two daughters went with them as they ventured towards America .  This couldn’t have been an easy trip for any of them as sea travel was not an easy adventure.  Let’s listen for just a moment and see if we can hear the echo from the hallway of time of thoughts that Elizabeth may have had as she completed this long voyage to America .  “Will I ever get my land legs again?  I still can feel the ship rolling beneath my feet.   My oh My I never dreamed when we left Germany exactly what this voyage would be like.  First there was the planning of what to take with us, and then the excitement of the unknown. Those thoughts quickly left me as we embarked upon the open  sea and were  constantly sick and nauseated  due to the  rolling of the ship.  The children were getting sick and loosing their meals.  But eventually we all adjusted to the tossing and rolling of the sea.   Sanitary conditions were unbelievable, and trying to keep clean clothes for all the family was overwhelming. The food wasn’t the best either.  There were good things that happened too, like enjoying the beautiful sunrises.  The sunsets were also breath taking.  God is a wonderful designer.

Finally, after 60 days we arrived in New York Harbor . From there we would eventually  begin our trip by train to Geneseo. Illinois Then heartache attacked as we lost our precious Christopher due to illness.  He was only one year old and so precious and dear to all of us.   I wonder what this new land holds for us? I am thankful that Jacob, Henry, Conrad, William, Philip, Margaret and Katherine are okay.  Tomorrow is a new day and we will begin it together.”    Jacob arrived in Geneseo. He along with Henry Dremer started on a 10 mile walk to the home of Philip Sand who was a brother of Elizabeth .  They were going there to get a conveyance and means to bring the rest of the family to Geneseo. Let’s listen to Jacob’s story of what may have happened:  “Boy 10 miles seemed  like forever, but it’s sure beat the rocking and swaying of the ship for 60 days.   We definitely had God watching out for us when we crossed that river.  I never dreamed the ice was so thin.  we heard it crackling and both of us fell through.  Thank goodness we were able to grab hold of the firmer pieces and pull ourselves out.  We could have been caught beneath the ice and that would have been the end.  How good it felt to get to Philip’s home and get dry clothes and hot coffee in us to warm our freezing bones.  Didn’t think we’d ever stop shaking.  Sure felt bad about having to leave Katherine in Chicago .  We just didn’t have enough money to bring her along with the rest of the family.

  We lived with relatives until a two-room log cabin was built  in Loraine township about 10 miles Northeast of Geneseo.    It was a little crowded, but the best thing was we had a home.”   They lived in this cabin for 20 years and then built a frame house.  Part of it still stands on the homestead in Lorraine .  Back in Chicago we find Katherine, who is only 14 left without her family…..  Let’s listen to what may have been her thoughts about the situation…  “It was hard watching everyone leave this morning,  I feel so alone in spite of the fact that I’m working for some very nice people.  It’s still not like having family with you.  I miss Margaret already.  Henry, Conrad, Phillip and William liked to tease me once in a while, and I even miss that.   Chicago is such a busy place and I miss the old country ofGermany.    If I wasn’t so tired after a hard days work it would be hard to sleep at nights from missing my family so much.  I just hope poppa can get the funds together soon for me to join them.  It’s so frightening to be here without them.  The Civil War begins in 1861 and Henry and Conrad enlisted.  Henry’s horse gave out as he and another soldier were trying to run away from the battle after orders to run from the Colonel.  Henry fell and knocked off his left knee cap, cutting the muscles above the knee.  Several confederate soldiers caught him and he was taken to Andersonville prison where he wasn’t treated very well.   His health was poor after the cruelties he endured and finally after an exchange of Southern soldiers he was moved to Camp Parale and then in 1865 he was sent to Benton Barracks, in St Louis , Missouri and was discharge in May 1865.  Conrad and Henry survived the war and came home shortly afterwards.  Henry married Susan Ott and raised a big family.  Susan died after the birth of her 8 th child who was named Philip.  Susan’s brother and wife came from Iowa and took Philip home but he died  at the young age of 2.   Henry asked a neighbor’s daughter to come work for him as a housekeeper, but the neighbor wouldn’t allow this unless Henry would agree to marry her.  He  married Caroline Papenthien.  Henry had Freeman-14, Cora-9, Samuel-7, Mabel-2,  It wasn’t easy for a man to raise children alone. 

This union was blessed with 5 sons and one daughter.  They were Henry, Jacob, Edward, Herman, Casper and Lydia .  Two families merged into one.  Conrad ended up marrying Sarah and moved away to Kansas .  Kathryn who had been left in Chicago married Remey Miller.  The Millers moved to Nebraska .  Margaret, the younger daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth married John Meyers from Geneseo. They farmed there for a time and then moved to Nebraska .  They had four children.  Philip stayed with his folks Jacob and Elizabeth until they died.  He remained on the old homestead in Lorraine for 71 years.    Jacob’s Descendants were scattered throughout the united states…..They were farmers, soldiers, husbands, wives, children, and laborers who came seeking freedom and a new life….they came as pioneers and pilgrims to set an uncharted course for the generations of Weber’s to come.  They had courage and vision as they marched forward leaving a legacy  of  hope and a New Beginning in a New Land for the generations of those who would follow in their footprints.  

Written by Valerie VanVooren

Submitted by Robin Pardus

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