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Daniel A. Altenburg
Daniel A. Altenburg
Sarah A. Latson Altenburg
Two of our ancestors were  Daniel Altenburg and Sarah Latson.  We are going to NY to research their families hopefully this summer.  I think maybe his father was William Altenburg, Jr., son of William Aden Altenburg  This was a guess from the internet pages about William Aden Altenburg .  A 98 year old cousin remembers her grandparents talking about two Altenburgs coming over as Hessian soldiers.  One was wounded and died and the other was our ancestor.  This fits.  So even if he doesn't belong to William Jr., I believe he definitely fits in this family.  He was born in the same area as these members of the Altenburg family.

Daniel was born July 19, 1809 in Montgomery County, NY and died January 18, 1888 in Auburn, IN.  He married Sarah A. Latson March 14, 1833. Daniel  Altenburg and Levi Walsworth (I believe this was Sarah's brother-in-law) were among the early settlers in the vicinity of Auburn.  After Daniel moved from New York, the Walsworth family lived together in Sandusky Ohio.

After applying for land in DeKalb County, he and Levi brought their families.  They traveled in a covered wagon.  In the midst of a heavy snowstorm Nov. 4, 1838 they continued traveling all day.  Having a narrow, blind, crooked track to follow, without a house for nine miles, the snow flakes falling so fast as to bewilder the traveler, and, at some times, weighing down the bushes across the track, it became necessary for one of the men to walk before the teams, to find the way, and remove the bushes overhanging it.  They also had some stock to drive and the snow being rather soft, and hanging on the bushes, those on foot became completely wet.  On, on the the slow ox teams passed, through snow and mud, along the crooked, narrow path, until night came on, and still all around was a bleak, snow-clad forest.  They began to think of lying in their wagons for the night, but having no way of making a fire, and nothing for their teams to eat. The wagon got entirely out of the way, and so entangled among the trees and logs that the latter had to be left.  Hitching both teams to one wagon, they drove on until they began to think they must be near to the only dwelling between Steubenville and Auburn, Isaac B. Smith's.  Stopping the teams, Mr. Altenburg proposed that all should unite in one desperate yell in order to find whether any human being was near.  Loud and shrill arose that cry on the midnight air, but the loud howl of a pack of wolves, who name appeared to be legion, was the only reply.  After holding their breath in silence for awhile, Mr. Altenburg proposed that they tune their throats anew, and pitch their voices a note or two higher, and even pinch the baby (Henry Altenburg); that he might join his voice with theirs.  This effort was successful, and Mr. Smith came to their rescue with a light, and welcomed them to the hospitality of his little cabin, for although about full already, he had room for two families.  The next morning, bringing up the wagon left in the rear, they started on, and succeeded in driving all of three miles through mud and snow before dark, reaching a little board shanty put up by Wesley Park for two men to lodge in, who were building a bridge over Cedar creek, where Uniontown now is.  During the day, they caught a coon, and on it they feasted the following morning, the two families and the two bridge builders having somehow contrived to stow themselves away for the night in the little shanty.  In the morning the question was how to get down the steep bank of the creek with the loaded wagons.  This feat was accomplished by running poles under the body of the wagon and between the spokes of each wheel, so as to lock them all, and then hitching a yoke of oxen to the tongue to hold back, and another yoke to the hind part of the wagon to pull back, the oxen hitched behind, making of course, a desperate effort to prevent being dragged down.  They settled 2 1/2 miles east of the village where they remained until about 1873.

Later they moved to Auburn.  Daniel was a Justice of the Peace and a very prominent citizen of the area.  He met with a serious accident from a falling tree which necessitated the amputation of his left arm, Feb.10, 1848.  The operation was not successfully performed and in consequence he had been a constant sufferer.  In January 1884, he had his stump "amputated" close up to his shoulder, under the direction of Dr. J. N. Chamberlain of Waterloo, assisted by several other eminent surgeons.  He still suffered immensely until his death.

Mr. Altenburg was an earnest Christian, one of the original members of the first Methodist Episcopal church that was organized in 1839.  It was first called the St. Joseph Mission and the church was built in 1843, at the northeast corner of the square.

Sarah Latson and Daniel Altenburg had nine children:  Daniel Wells Altenburg, Mary Jane Altenburg (who married Charles Hanes),  Henry Esidore Altenburg, Harriet Emeline Altenburg, David Cosper (Cos) Altenburg, Isaac Lancelot Altenburg, Sylvia Almira Altenburg (who married Oscar C. Bates),William James Altenburg, and Frank Field Altenburg.  Sarah was also a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and maintained an example of Christian Piety.  She encouraged her family and was a fine example of a strong pioneer settler.

On the same day of her death a brother of Sarah's, Stephen Latson also died.  Their funerals were attended at the same time and place.  At the solemn tolling of the two funeral processions advanced, one came from the east and one came from the west meeting at separate doors of the M.E. church.   They entered at the same moment and the two, brother and sister were placed side by side at the alter.

Daniel then married Susan Gilbert June 3, 1867.  She was the widow of Jacob Sibert.  Daniel and Sarah had four children and a son-in-law in the Civil War.

In Sept.1864 the old courthouse building in Auburn, IN was sold to Daniel for twenty-five dollars.  He removed everything of value.  This was near the end of the civil war and when the battle of Richmond was fought and won by the North, a large crowd of citizens gathered around the public square for a celebration.  It was suggested a bonfire should be built (in this time period, this is how they celebrated).  Daniel said, they could use the courthouse for a bonfire so they did.  They decided it was appropriate because it was the scene of local justice and it found a glorious end in the blazing flames of a national celebration.  This information is from local DeKalb History books, a book by Clara Altenburg Zimmerman, and various obituaries and news articles in the local papers.

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