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DESCENDANTS OF JOHANNES GRAESLE

My name is Sandra L Grasley and instead of the usual charts, I will simply write what I know about my descendants and the Grasley family heritage, in order that we may hold this as our legacy. I’ve been able to trace back to my great-great-great grandfather, Johannes Graesle (that was the German spelling) who was from the Ebersweier, Offenburg, region of Baden, Germany. I’ve also read about Graesle going back to the 1600’s in the Alsace region of France, but will have to do more work on that. We do not know when Johannes was born, but know that he died May 27, 1817, He was married to Maria Anastasia Henn, my great-great great grandmother born Dec 22, 1780 and they had 2 children, Mary Magdalena, my great-great grandmother, born Dec 15, 1807 and died Aug 28, 1864. and Hieronimus (Gerome) who was born Oct 1, 1817, date of death unknown. According to the 1870 census, Gerome was living in Briar Creek Twp with Martha Grasley. Magdalena is supposed to be buried in the Summerhill Cemetery, but I found no headstone there. Maria Anastasia, my great-great-great grandmothers’s date of death is unknown and, in fact, we do not know what happened to her or Domadila after they arrived in America. Maria Anastasia Henn, who was married to Johannes Graesle, was the daughter of Andreas Henn born 1769 and Maria Anna Knam born 1752 (Maria was Andreas 3rd wife and they were married July 15, 1777 in the Catholic Church in Ebersweier), so the Henn’s were of the Catholic faith. Magdalena was my great-great grandmother and thus far we do not know the name of her spouse or if she was even married as she carried her maiden name, Graesle, to her children. Therefore, we do not know the name of our great-great grandfather. She did have 4 children, Domadila, born May 11, 1827, Esvis ( Amos,) born Apr 11, 1830, Jobe born May 8, 1840 and Oswald my great grandfather born Feb 28, 1842.

Magdalena and her children, along with the Gardenhauser family, left the port of Rotterdam and arrived in the Port of New York on the ship Flavius May 18 1842. The Gardenhauser family was involved, because after Johannes died, Maria Anastasia married Johannes Gardenhauser and they had 2 children, Mary and Oliver. Magdalena’s son Oswald, being born in Baden Germany was just 4 mos old when he arrived in the United States and died Dec 28, 1920 in Briar Creek Twp, Columbia County PA. He and his wife Christiana Naugle, my great-grandmother, born Sept 8, 1846 and died Dec 7, 1916 are buried in the Summerhill Cemetery. Alongside their headstone are the headstones of 4 of their children who died early in life - Clarence born in 1886 and died in 1897, Matilda born in 1869 and died 1880 Emanuel born 1875 and died 1877 and Isaac born 1877 and died later that same year. Oswald and his brothers and their families settled in the Knob Mountain area of Briar Creek Twp, Columbia County and apparently the brothers, Amos, Oswald and Job all lived almost next to each other. I believe Oswald owned the house where my father, Zhyender Grasley, was born, but more about my Dad and his siblings later. We also believe that one of the brothers used the spelling of Grassley to differentiate the families and, hence, the two spellings originated. According to Columbia County historical material written we do know that Oswald was a contractor and builder of Briar Creek Township. Oswald was married to Christiana Naugle, born 1846 and died 1916. Christiana, my great grandmother, was the daughter of Peter Naugle and Lavina McAfee my great-great grandparents.

Oswald and Christiana had 13 children (including 4 who died early mentioned above) as follows: Lewis Grasley Born 1881 Died 1949 Married to Jennie Alice Albertson daughter of Daniel Albertson and Elizabeth Nagle born 1883 and died. 1969. They are both buried in the Summerhill Cemetery. Since Lewis is my grandfather I will list his descendants which include my father and myself separately, all aunts and uncles and cousins separately. Mary J Grasley Born abt 1867 Died Last Evansville Married Oscar M Bower, son of George M Bower of Briar Creek Twp. From what little info I could gather, it looks like there was one son, Jason Bower. Lavina Grasley Born abt 1868 Died New York Married William A Linden. Born abt 1865. Children were Harry, George, Margaret, Gwendolin and Thelma Job(e) Oliver Grasley Born 1870 Died 1949 Buried Summerhill Cemetery Married Catherine A Miller, daughter of George Miller and Mary Sitler, born 1865 and died 1923. Their children were Robert D Grasley, Evelyn and Vida Flaura Grasley Born 1884 Died 1964 Buried Summerhill Cemetery Married Kinny Franklin Whitmire son of Reuben Whitmire and Sarah June Adams born 1881 and died 1942. Their children were Clyde E Whitmire, Doyle O Whitmire, Lovina Whitmire, Dorothy Whitmire and an unnamed infant who died at 4 days old. Laura Ritta Grasley Born 1884 Died 1961 Buried Summerhill Cemetery Incidentally, Flaura and Laura were twins. Married Charles Eber Lowery son of George Lowery and Caroline Sitler born 1881 and died 1945. Their children were Cathryn Lowery, Donzella Lowery, Marlet Lowery William Amos Grasley Born 1872 Died 1938 Buried Pine Grove Married Mattie Eudora Albertson, daughter of Daniel Albertson and Elizabeth Nagle born 1881 and died 1945. It looks like Lewis and William Grasley married the Albertson sisters Mattie and Jennie. They had one son, Lawrence. Elmer R Grasley Born 1891 Died 1919 Buried Summerhill Married Edna Covert and children are Gwendolyn Grasley and Edythe Grasley and Elmer Jr. who was only 5 mos old in 1919. before his Dad’s death same year. I did see Elmer’s headstone at the Summerhill Cemetery and it is also engraved POS of A 105, which means Patriotic Order Sons of America, one of America’s oldest patriotic and fraternal societies still in existence, similar to the Masons. It is known that Elmer was a victim of typhoid fever. George Oswald Grasley Born 1882 Died 1943 Buried Pine Grove Married Dora Rohrbach and their children were Christine Grasley. Glovene Grasley, Kenneth Grasley, Glenn Grasley and Doyle Grasley.

After the Gardenhausers and Graesle’s immigrated to America and Columbia County, at this point we do not know what happened to Anastasia or Domilida. Of course, as we read this, further investigation is being done and will be ongoing. In fact, in doing my research, I noted that on the ship’s list below the Graesle and Gardenhouser families, an Antonie Weber is listed. I came across the name Anne Marie Weber, born 1770 in niefern, Baden Germany and married to a Jacob Graesle born 1794 in the same area. I am wondering if there is some connection to the families,

Job Grasley, Oswald’s brother, settled in the same area and married Lydia Souders of Sweet Valley PA. Their children, which comprise another branch of the Grasley family, were David, Louisa, Blanche, Edith, Maude, Minnie, Charles and Harry Oswald. I have limited information on Oswald’s other brother, Amos. According to the 1880 census, he is listed as 50 yrs old and head of household with daughters Anna, 13 and Lydia who was 6. In the 1870 census, there was also a 24 yr old Mary and a 5 mo old Harriet in the household.

Also, I might add that after Oswald was widowed according to the 1920 census it appears he lived with Charles Eber and Laura Lowery in Berwick PA before his death that same year on December 28th with burial December 31, 1920 from the Kelchner Funeral Home.

Now, I will get to my immediate family and the descendants of Lewis Edward Grasley, my grandfather. He was married to Jennie Alice Albertson my grandmother the, daughter of Daniel Albertson of Briar Creek Twp and Elizabeth Jane Nagle of Sugarloaf Twp, my great grandparents. Their parents, my great-great grandparents were John and Susannah Albertson.

Lewis and Jennie had 11 children as follows: Stella Grasley Born 1904 Died 1911 of pneumonia Leanna Grasley Born 1905 Died 2000 in Florida Aunt Leanna had 3 marriages, the first to William Woodin Hosler with whom she had 4 children, Izora, George Woodin, Charlotte Betty and Frederick Lewis. Her 2nd husband was Fred Utt, and her 3rd husband was Sherman Davis. Iasetta Grasley Born 1907 Died 1995 Buried Pine Grove She married Leland S Parker son of Raymond Parker and Grace VanDine and they had no children. Jennetta Grasley Born 1908 Died 1909 of bacterial meningitis Lewis L Grasley Jr Born 1910 Died 1988 Buried Pine Grove Married Carrie E Sult daughter of Harvey Sult and Alice Ethel Everett of Hudson and they had 2 children, Lerland Grasley and Dr Randall Grasley. Verncil Grasley Born 1913 Died 1987 Buried Summerhill Cemetery Married Laura Hosler daughter of John Hosler and Anna Harmon and they had one son, Harold Grasley. Daniel Grasley Born 1915 Died 1993 Buried Elan Memorial Park Married Elda Snyder and they had 2 children, Marilyn and Daniel Jr. Duval Grasley Born 1918 Died Buried Pine Grove He married Kathryn Stout and they had 3 children, Carolyn, Susan and Vicki Sheldon Grasley Born 1920 Died Buried Elan Mem Park Married Phyllis Lowery and they had one son, Sheldon. Zhyender Derwood Grasley Born Dec 12, 1921 He married Florence Catherine Sonn born June 21, 1921 in Nuremberg PA and died April 18, 2002, She is buried at Elan Memorial Park. They had one daughter, Sandra Lynn Grasley. Born Aug 11, 1946 who lives with her fiancé, Joseph B Smith born Mar 1, 1948 in Hanover Twp, Luzerne County at the residence of her father, Zhyender Grasley at Moores Hill Rd, Salem Twp, Luzerne County PA.

Parents of my mother, Florence, were Foster Sonn of Hazleton and Nora Bohlander of Sybertsville. Parents of my grandfather, Foster, were James Sonn born 1858 in Hazleton and Annie Klinger born 1854 in Sugarloaf Twp. And parents of my grandmother Nora were Jacob B Bohlander born 1853 and Emaline Matilda Knelly, born 1858, Jacob was the son of Jacob and Margaret (Kohler) Bohlander who came to America in 1840. His father was born in Hessen Darmstadt Germany 1817 and was the son of Peter and Catherine (Frederick) Bohlander, who came to America in1847 settling in Sugarloaf Twp. I am doing further investigation on that end of the family. Betty Marqueen Grasley Born 1924 She married Charles Donald Kelchner son of Martin Kelchner and Elsie Artman and they had 2 children, David and Diane. Most of the Grasley clan remained in and around Berwick except Aunt Leanna who moved to Florida with Sherman Davis and Aunt Betty who moved to Bristol because of her husband’s work at Fairless Hills Steel Corp.

As you can see, there are many names involved in the Grasley heritage which include but not limited to: Grasley, Grassley, Graesle, as well as all of the above by marriage.

Sources for my information were from records kept by the Kelchner-McMichael Funeral Home in Berwick, the Terri Mason website, much information shared by Lester Dietterick, my 3rd cousin, who is a descendant of Jobe Grassley and is very accomplished in the art of ancestry investigation, help from Linda Sult and Bonnie Farver, by my own efforts in gathering and putting information together from the above and through Ancestry.com, Rootsweb.com, Genealogy.com, etc., as well as bits and pieces of information from my Dad and various relatives. I have also included a picture gallery which might be most interesting, as they are very early pictures of relatives, as well as Oswald’s death certificate and obituary and a map of the old homestead at Knob Mountain.

Here are some of my favorite websites:


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