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Family Genealogy - Schnell Family

The majority of the information on the SCHNELL family was complied and researched diligently by my cousin, Dorothy OBERER MUHLHAUSER. Her kindness and generosity have made these pages possible. Additionally, information on the SCHIELE, HAMMA, HAFNER and HENI Families was researched by my cousins Marina and Günther HENI of Fridingen, Germany. Their kindness and generosity and hard work have helped to expand the many connections to the SCHNELL Family. If you have a connection to any of these lines and would like to know more, or would like to get in touch with Dorothy, Marina or Günther, please contact me (see contact information below).

In 1781, Johann SCHNELL moved to Kallenberg, Baden, Germany, when he married Sidonia SCHIELE. They lived below Kallenberg Castle which is situated upon a mountaintop outside the town of Fridingen. No doubt the location of the castle helped to prevent marauders from causing harm to the Castle's inhabitants in those years when there was so much warfare. However, it also most likely prevented those living there from leaving the Castle frequently.

As experienced first hand by my cousin Dorothy OBERER MUHLHAUSER, the path or road leading to the ruins of Kallenberg is a long, difficult journey.It's appearance is similar to a logging road, however it is not possible for an automobile to go all the way up. The last part of the journey to the Castle ruins can only be made on foot. In the days of our ancestors, the journey to and from the Castle was perhaps made on horseback. It should be noted that the road is normally closed to the public and special permission was obtained in order to visit the Castle Ruins.

Even though Kallenberg and Fridingen were physically close, a journey from Kallenberg to Fridingen required a passport! The border between Baden and Württemberg separated the town of Fridingen and Kallenberg Castle into the two separate German states. In 1871, when the German Empire was formed, the borders between the two states were formalized, having changed many times throughout the centuries. Although the borders changed often, Kallenberg was always in Baden. It wasn't until 1945 that the two states were brought together to become one German state called Baden-Württemberg.

The area surrounding Fridingen and neighboring towns is an area surrounded by mountains and lush green areas. Difficult to travel from one area to another due to this terrain, it was even more difficult during the years that the SCHNELL family resided at Kallenberg. Mathias Schnell photograph.When Johann SCHNELL had moved to Kallenberg, the Castle was already in ruins and no longer livable. The SCHNELL and SCHIELE families lived in a home situated below the ruins of Kallenberg Castle which could be seen above the home in the distance. (See the photo gallery link below for a photo of the home and Kallenberg Castle.)

While several of the SCHNELL family remained in the Fridingen area, Joachim SCHNELL, a day laborer, son of Johann and Sidonia SCHNELL, moved to Heudorf when he married Franziska HAFNER. They had nine children.

Son Mathias (aka Michael) SCHNELL, their sixth child, was born 21 February 1834 in Heudorf, Baden, Germany.

In 1853, at the young age of 19, Mathias SCHNELL left his home land and began his long journey to Ohio. In November of that year he was in London, England. From there, on the 19th of November, he sailed for the Port of New York, arriving there on the 23rd of December 1853.

At the time of year that Mathias arrived he would have had to continue his journey either by stage coach, rail road or steam boat. The canals were not passable at this time of year. According to the Phelps' Travellers Guide published in 1850, there were hundreds of stage coach routes making it impossible to surmise which way Mathias could have gone if he traveled by stage coach. By railroad he could have traveled to Albany, New York and then continued on the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad to Niagara Falls. He also could have gone by train to Dunkirk, New York, located on the eastern shores of Lake Erie.

Whatever his mode of travel was, Mathias SCHNELL settled in Ohio, in a small town called Piqua, in the Washington Township of Miami County.

Two years after his arrival, on the 27th of December 1855, in St. Boniface Church in Piqua, Mathias married Margaretha KÖHLER who was born on the 30 of September 1824 in Gräfendorf, Bavaria, Germany.

Soon after, on the 20th of March 1857, Mathias purchased from Mr. Patrick HAGEN the town canal boat building business. He continued making canal boats in Piqua until the time of his death caused by tuberculosis on the 25th of August 1895. Mathias signed his work as evidenced by a photo of one of his canal boats in A Photo Album of Ohio's Canal Era, 1825-1913 by Jack GIECK, page 168.

Joining Mathias in Piqua were his two brothers, Wendelin in 1854 and Urban in 1860. They worked together building canal boats, both Wendelin and Urban married and had children.

Mathias and Margaretha had five children, four daughters and one son, Joseph, who died shortly after his birth in 1858. The four daughters were Louisa, born in 1856, Mary, Julia and Anna, born in 1863. Research efforts have not been successful in discovering the date of birth for Mary and Julia. All that is known is they were born after Louisa and before Anna.

Louisa SCHNELL married Ferdinand OBERER in 1876 in Piqua. They moved to Greenville Township, Darke County, Ohio, where she lived until her death in 1932. Louisa and Ferdinand had 10 children, all of whom lived to adulthood.

Daughter Mary SCHNELL married Franklin PHILLIPPI about 1880 in Piqua. They settled in Piqua. Mary and Franklin had five children, most of whom died in early adulthood.

Julia SCHNELL married John MOELLER in 1883 in Piqua. They moved to Dayton, Ohio. At this time, nothing else is known about the lives of Julia and husband John.

Anna SCHNELL, the youngest child of Mathias and Margaretha, married Henry GERTNER on 6 May 1898 in Piqua. Henry was a widower with one child, a son, Leo John GERTNER who was born in 1892. Anna and Henry lived with Anna's mother, Margaretha, in the SCHNELL family home in Piqua located at 803 South Main Street. They had four children, Margaret, Mary, Charles and Isabel.

Anna, Henry and family remained in Piqua, living in the old SCHNELL family home until the Spring of 1910 at which time they moved to Rochester, Monroe County, New York.

Find out more about the SCHNELL Family and the many families that connect to the SCHNELLS!