An Illinois King Family History

Posted by Daniel Mast on

Sam and Anna B. (Claudon) King

Sam and Anna B. (Claudon) King.

John König/King was born in 1832 in Baden, Germany, and his wife Lydia (Troyer) King was born September 8, 1834, in Licking County, Ohio. (The word for “king” in German is “König.”) It was one of the families of Canton Bern, Switzerland, who traveled a familiar path to Alsace, Bavaria, and Illinois, over a 300-year span.
John King and Lydia Troyer were married about 1854 in McLean County, Illinois. John King’s parents should be Christian (b. ca1804) and Phoebe (Barnet/Barnard) King. They came from Baden, Germany, to Ohio, and then in 1850 moved to Dry Grove Twp., in McLean Co., Ilinois. Christian King was the son of Christian King and Marie Zimmermann. Lydia (Troyer) King’s parents should be Jonas and Elizabeth (Miller) Troyer.
John and Lydia (Troyer) King started married life in Hudson, Illinois. Their nine children are:
1. Samuel T. King, Dec. 31, 1855-Oct. 7, 1938; m. Anna B. Claudon; d. in Gridley, Ill.
2. Elizabeth King, 1857-bef. 1880; listed at home in 1870
3. Barbara King, 1859-1941; m. twice-married, retired, David Thomson, d. Oct. 26, 1948, a Flanagan schoolmate; lived in Iowa
4. Mary “Ann” King, 1861-May 23, 1899; m. Nov. 28, 1893, Daniel Augsburger Jr.; their son, Leo, was b. Dec. 13, 1894
5. Lydia King, June 1863/64-Aug. 25, 1941; a twin whose unnamed sibling d. at birth in Chenoa
6. Joseph King, 1867-d. young; not listed with the family in 1870
7. Anna “Maria” King [pronounced Mariah], 1870-1959; d. in Meadows, Ill.; bur. at Waldo; m. Joseph Gascho and had four daus.
8. Salome “Saloma” King, Dec. 1873-Jan. 11, 1932; d. in Chenoa, Ill.
9. Allie King, May 1877-1964, d. at Meadows, Ill.

About 1863, the King family moved to Waldo Township, Livingston County, near Flanagan, Illinois. In the 1870 and 1880 U.S. Census, the John King residence was still located in Waldo Township. John was listed as a farmer during that time. The family later moved to the town of Chenoa, Illinois. Only two of the nine children—Mary “Ann” and Anna “Maria”—furthered the family line. John King died in 1898 in Chenoa, leaving a widow, one son, and six daughters. The 1900 Chenoa census lists Lydia (Troyer) King as widowed. She died August 4, 1908, leaving four daughters at home.

Samuel T. King (1855-1938)
On December 4, 1883, Sam King, the oldest King sibling, married Anna B. Claudon of Chenoa, Illinois. They moved to a farm in Yates Township where they lived until they retired from farming in 1894 and moved to Chenoa, Illinois.

Sam and Anna had no children. In 1933, they moved to Gridley, Illinois, and lived there until Sam died at age 82. He was a member of the Meadows Mennonite Church. Sam often visited his sisters Barbara, Lydia, Salome, and Allie, at their Chenoa home and took care of yard chores around the property.

Barbara King (1859-1941)
The next living sibling was Barbara King who lived in the family home until later in life, when she married a former Flanagan schoolmate, David Thomson, a retired farmer who had been twice widowed. They lived in Storm Lake, Iowa, until Barbara died of breast cancer in 1941. Indications are that Barbara came home to Chenoa to spend her final days. Barbara was buried at Waldo Cemetery at Gridley. Her widower husband, David Thomson, died October 26, 1948.

Mary “Ann” King (1861-1899)
The third surviving King sibling, Mary “Ann,” who married Daniel Augsburger Jr., died on May 23, 1899, of an illness similar to pneumonia or diphtheria. Their son, Leo, born December 13, 1894, was left motherless at age 4½ years. Leo Augsburger was this writer’s father.

While widower, Daniel Augsburger worked at his general store in Gridley, Illinois, his motherless son, Leo, was cared for a few miles away by his grandmother, Lydia King, in Chenoa. Four of Leo’s unmarried aunts were also living in the family home at this time.
In 1900, widower Daniel Augsburger Jr. purchased a farm of 160 acres in Iowa where his one full sister Lizzie (Augsburger) Miller, lived. Perhaps this was an indication of a plan to move closer to Lizzie so she could help him raise his son Leo.
In the meantime on May 3, 1901, Daniel’s store and flour house burned down in the Great Gridley Fire.

In May 1902, Daniel married Miss Leah Susan Gurtner. In September 1902, Daniel sold his farm in Iowa at a profit and was able to rebuild his store in Gridley. By 1908, Daniel and Leah had three children: Martha (b. 1903), John (b. 1905), and Edna (b. 1908). Unfortunately, Edna died young.

As Leo grew up in Chenoa, he was able to keep in frequent contact with his father and half-siblings innearby Gridley. In 1907, when Leo was age thirteen, his grandmother Lydia died, leaving him at the King home with his remaining four King aunts: Barbara, Lydia, Salome, and Allie. Leo preferred to go live with his father, but his aunts begged Daniel repeatedly to let Leo stay with them because he was their only nephew. Daniel relinquished, for whatever reason. Leo graduated from Chenoa High School in 1912, worked for a while as a Chenoa pharmacy technician, and later completed studies to become a registered pharmacist in the state of Michigan.
In 1910, Daniel had retired from his general store business, and in 1918 he and Leah moved to Goshen, Indiana, with their two children. Two years later the family bought a farm in nearby Milford, Indiana. However, Daniel’s life was taken by cancer in 1923. He was buried in Waldo Cemetery at Gridley, Illinois, with his first wife, Mary King.

Anna “Maria” King (1879-1959)
In 1870 when John and Lydia King’s seventh child, Anna “Maria” (pronounced Mariah) King, was born, their neighbors in Waldo Township, near Flanagan, Illinois, were John Gascho, age 26, and his wife Catherine, age 26, with a son, Joseph, age six months. That same Joseph Gascho later married “Maria” King.
In 1911, Joe and “Maria” (King) Gascho lived in Saybrook, Illinois. In 1912 and 1913, they lived on a farm in Foosland, Illinois. By 1932, the family lived in Meadows, Illinois. Joe and “Maria” had four daughters:
1. Lottie, Feb. 28, 1893-Oct. 1973; became a high school teacher in Alton, Ill., and never married; bur. at Waldo Cemetery.
2. Bessie, May 11, 1895-Dec. 12, 1975; remained single and lived at home; bur. at Waldo Cemetery
3. Hazel Esther, b. June 1898; m. a traveling salesman; no children
4. Josephine, Dec. 22, 1900-Mar. 18, 1989; m. William Hanfelder; lived in southern Ill.; they had 13 children:
1. Kenneth, May 25, 1923-July 16, 1996
2. Arthur, b. Sept. 11, 1924; m. Shirley
3. Alice (Fitzgerald) Schuessler, b. Nov. 8, 1925; m. Hank
4. Robert, Sept. 5, 1928-Dec. 1, 1993
5. Helen Perry, June 24, 1931-Dec. 11, 1958
6. Charles, b. Jan. 25, 1933; m. Sonja
7. Doris Stille, Apr. 1, 1934-April 3, 2014; m. James
8. Rita Sutton, b. June 21, 1937; m. James
9. Margaret Hinkle, b. Aug. 25, 1938
10. Kathryn Smith, June 21, 1940-Apr. 11, 1993
11. Joseph, b. Nov. 15, 1941; m. Judy
12. Gladys Abernathy, b. Feb. 20, 1943
13. Phyllis Noble, b. Nov. 28, 1944; m. Dale

There is an interesting story about the Gascho farm near Chenoa that goes like this: Joe Gascho’s farm had a railroad track running right through the middle of it. One day, when Joe was driving his cattle from one side of the farm to the other, he put up a temporary barbed-wire fence across the tracks in two places so that he could lead the cattle over the tracks all in one place, to keep them from scattering. When he finished moving the cattle, he forgot to take the fence down. A railroad worker’s car soon came rolling down the track and hit the fence, throwing the workers off the car. Fortunately, no workers were seriously injured, but that experience may be what motivated Joe Gascho to look for another farm in a different location.

The four remaining King sisters stayed in the King family home in Chenoa, Illinois, and transformed it into a very successful tourist home or “Bed and Breakfast,” as it would be called today. Salome died in 1932, and Barbara married later in life and moved to Iowa. This left Lydia and Allie at home to run the tourist business. In 1941, Lydia and Barbara died within a few days of each other. Allie was able to fill the shoes of her older sisters by continuing to run the tourist home on her own. She later moved to nearby Meadows, Illinois, to live with her widowed sister “Maria,” along with the Gascho daughters, Lottie and Bessie.

The King family home still stands today in Chenoa, Illinois, at 601 Cemetery Avenue. However, it has lost its beautiful wrap-around front porch and latticed back entry. A new owner has divided the house into apartments, and there is no evidence of the tourist home sign which illuminated the front yard at night. The original glazed-slate sidewalk still borders the corner lot on both sides.

In the late afternoon on New Year’s Eve in 1924 in Chenoa, Illinois, Leo Samuel Augsburger married Anne Gertrude Travers of Lexington, Illinois. At that time, Leo was employed as a pharmacist in Detroit, Michigan, after completing his Michigan pharmacy education. Anne had been an Illinois country school teacher near Lexington for ten years, where she lived on her family’s farm. The couple made their home in Detroit, Michigan, where three children were born:
1. William, July 1927-July 1927
2. Mary Ann, b. Mar. 29, 1930
3. Leo David, b. Nov. 30, 1931

During the Great Depression, Leo and Anne returned to Illinois in 1933 with their two children where they lived out their lives, eventually settling in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. Mary Ann and David grew up visiting their Irish grandparents on a farm in Lexington, Illinois. The other set of grandparents were Leo’s German great-aunts in Chenoa, Illinois. Visits to Aunts Lydia and Allie at their established tourist home brought a magical experience to their childhood. Occasional visits from Great Uncle Sam, Aunt “Maria,” and Uncle Joe, with their daughters Lottie, Josephine, Hazel, and Bessie, were also an important part of that world.

Time passed, families grew, and in 1995, Doris (Hanfelder) Stille wrote the following letter to David Augsburger after locating him in St. Louis. This was the first step at gathering the remaining King-Augsburger second cousins, David and Mary Ann, for a major reunion in southern Illinois. The Hanfelder relatives held such large reunions regularly.
When we first connected at Doris and Jim Stille’s beautiful, restored 100-year-old house and farm at Glen Carbon, Illinois, we were especially impressed with their barn. Jim had painted a gigantic American Flag on the side of the barn facing the adjacent highway. Along with the flag was a patriotic message, ending in “God Bless America.” It was during the time of the first War in Iraq. Highway traffic often acknowledged Jim’s “proud to be an American” artwork by honking their horns as they passed.

Sadly, we recently lost Doris. This current attempt at recording our mutual family history is a fitting memorial for her. Doris initiated compiling a King-Augsburger-Gascho-Hanfelder genealogy and began organizing additional meetings for several of the Augsburger-Hanfelder second cousins. As a result, we all experienced a deeper relationship. Doris used to say, “Our parents and aunts are happily looking down on these get-togethers.”

When looking closely at the John and Lydia (Troyer) King genealogy, one can see that it was continued by just a few of the many women born into it. In the beginning, Sam King, the only male child who lived to adulthood, had no children. Among his sisters who lived, only Mary Ann and Anna “Maria” King married and had families. Of their children, Leo Augsburger had two living children who multiplied into six grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and ten great-great-grandchildren at the time of this writing. However, Leo’s cousin Josephine (Gascho) had thirteen Hanfelder children. A photo taken at the 2007 Hanfelder Reunion is a good representation of the current extent of the Hanfelder family! It is pictured on the back cover of this MFH issue.

Information and 12 photographs for this article were provided from family memorabilia collected by Doris and Jim Stille, along with Mary Ann Eng. Helmut Gingerich of Bavaria contributed to the findings with data from his research results.

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