E.A. Niess Family
Washington D.C., abt 1895


This is the The Niess Family, Edwin and Carrie, with their children Nellie Viola and Edwin Mark. The picture must have been taken about 1895, since my grandmother was born in 1891 and her brother in 1893.

Edwin Alonzo Niess, b.23 September 1867, Harrisburg, PA d. 18 April 1948, Washington D.C., buried in Warrenton, VA

Carrie Virginia Carvell Niess, b. 2 May 1868, Newville, Cumberland County, PA d. 13 January 1933, Washington D.C., buried in Shippensburg, PA

Nellie Viola Niess Sherman, b. 15 August 1891, Washington D.C. d. 30 April 1976, Riverside, CA, cremains buried w/ mother in Shippensburg, PA

Edwin Mark Niess, b. 20 February 1893, Washington D.C., d. bef 29 January 1966, Washington D.C., buried in Warrenton, VA



Edwin I probably have more information on Edwin than on any other of my ancestors. You see, besides being meticulous, he was a saver! He saved newspaper articles with his name mentioned dated from before the turn of the century! I even have a college yearbook of his that has copies of his classmates obituaries placed over their picture. I have copies of letters that his wife and her sister exchanged dated from 1900 to about 1931. His collection was what peaked my interest in genealogy!

Edwin was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, September 23, 1867 to Ephraim H. and Catharine Auxer Niess. He was the third son born, but the first to live past infancy. Edwin graduated from public high school in Harrisburg, 1884, special course at the state Normal school in Millersville, PA, 1888, and Columbian University, (Now Geo. Washington) LLB 1895, LLM 1896. He had saved one of his handwriting books from one of his elemetary school years that is now in my possession. The Columbian University yearbook is the one I have with obituaries!

Edwin He married Carrie Virginia Carvell on September 18, 1890 in Harrisburg at the Church where her father preached. Her father, Jeremiah M. Carvell, united them in marriage. I have a copy of their signed wedding certificate!

Edwin and Carrie moved to Washington D.C., where he was working as a Clerk with the War Department and attended classes in the evening towards a law degree. By 1891 he had been promoted Edwin to the War Department. It was during this time that his two children were born, Nellie Viola on August 15, 1891 and Edwin Mark on February 20, 1893. He graduated from Columbian University and immediately took the Bar exam, which he passed.

Let's skip to Carrie for a moment. Carrie was born to Mary Jane Ziegler and Jeremiah Mark Carvell. This was Mary Jane's second marriage as she was widowed with a small daughter when she met Jeremiah. The daughter was Rosa Viola who married John Hamilton, a widower in Shippensburg with 3 small children. A few of the letters exchanged between Carrie and Rosa are on a separate page. In these letters, they are trying to figure out how to obtain a fortune that is rumored to be floating about for the heirs of Hans Graff. Be sure to read these!

As an attorney, he was a member of the bars of the United States Supreme Court and other District courts and was active in the work of the Federal Bar Association.

By 1900 he was a Postal Inspector and life was good for the Niess' in Washington. Summer was spent in Braddock, Maryland to escape the summer heat, and trips were made home to Pennsylvania - to vote the straight Republican ticket for one thing! He moved up in the Postal Department, attaining the position of "Superintendent and Attorney in the Office of the Special Assistant to the Attorney General for the Post Office Department", which is equivelant to Asst. Postmaster General today. He traveled about the nation taking care of the legal matters of the Department, sometimes taking the family.

Edwin His children grew, and his daughter Nellie married William Francis Sherman on September 16, 1914. William was just four months older than Nellie. The wedding was the social event of the year! His son "Eddie" would also go to law school and become an attorney in Washington. Eddie married Lucy Kelley of Warrenton, Virginia. Nellie and William had three sons, my father William, Jr. being the oldest. He was born September 4, 1915, Raymond Carvell Sherman, was born July 15, 1918, and Vincent Edwin Sherman was born February 20, 1920. The Niess' would enjoy their grandsons, even to the point of having my father live with them for about 7 years! Family legend has it that they wanted to adopt my father.

Edwin Carrie died January 13, 1933, leaving Edwin a widower and lonely. (Carrie is buried in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, along with her father, sister and daughter.) By the end of 1934, he remarried. Florence Kelly, Lucy's sister, who was four years younger than his daughter. The marriage would last almost 10 years before Florence died in 1944. Edwin would not marry again, and died in Washington on April 18, 1948. He is buried in Warrenton in the Kelly Family Plot, next to Florence.

All the many awards, honors and positions Edwin was able to attain, nothing is greater than the legacy he left his family! He was a man of honor, high moral standards and principles. All of this is evident through the papers he left that reflect the character of this man and his family. I am proud to be descended from a man such as this!

The following pictures are on this page:

Edwin Niess family, Edwin, Carrie, Edwin Mark and Nellie
Edwin as a child
Edwin as a young man
Edwin and his three grandsons - William, Raymond and Vincent
Edwin Mark Niess
Edwin and Carrie Niess, shortly before her death

To read Carrie's letters


return to Linda's family history


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