Ancestral Anthology, Part 3 – Weible Family
Growing up, maybe we were all suffering from a lack of information, or maybe I just wasn’t listening closely enough whenever my grandparents talked about the places our families came from.
Probably it was more of the latter than the former.
But maybe that makes my fascination with discovering just which “homeland” fits with each main branch of my family tree all the richer.
Though how I wish I had the opportunity to go back and discuss my findings with my grandparents. I know I’d be all ears about what they’d have to say now.
Anyway, my understanding back then went something like: Leys – Switzerland; Weibles – Wales; Foutzes – Germany; Johnsons – England.
And as it turns out, at least where the first ancestors to immigrate are concerned, it goes like this: Leys – Germany (Rheinland-Pfalz); Weibles – Switzerland (the Morgans were from Wales); Foutzes – Germany (Baden-Wuerttemberg); and Johnsons, well, we’ll get to them in the next post.
Remember what I said about not really listening?
As it turns out, then, three out of the four main branches of my family tree are from the same basic area — that region of southwestern Germany and northwestern Switzerland that is bordered primarily by France, and within alpenhorn’s hearing distance of Luxembourg, Belgium, etc. It’s around 343 km from Boeckten, Switzerland, hometown of the Weibles, to Kaiserslautern, Germany, landing place of the Leys, who were originally from the Netherlands. That’s about 212 miles, as the crow flies — no daily commute. But it’s less than the distance from Dover to Cincinnati.
All right. Not even the same state, really, as far as politics, industry, etc. are concerned. But closer than I’d thought.
We’ve got a lot of info about our Weible ancestors. Not all of it has been confirmed. And there’s a certain letter from Dorothy (Cook) Wible, wife of David Augustus “Scoop” Wible (a descendant of both the Leys and Weibles; we’ve previously covered the modified Weible spelling) to my mother in the 1970s that may shed some further light. We’ll get to that later. For now, consider these whisperings a conversation-starter.
Weible Ancestry – Looking Back 13 Generations
1. Jonah Robert Foutz and Benjamin Peter Foutz
Born in Illinois, Sept. 6, 2006 and Sept. 9, 2008.
2. Frederick Colt Foutz (married Kathryn Marie Knutson)
Born in Dover, Ohio, June 2, 1976. Educated at Carnegie Mellon University and Columbia College Chicago. Newspaper reporter and columnist in Ohio and Illinois, freelance writer, musician. Currently manages a creative team at a Chicago advertising agency. Married Sept. 21, 2002 in Olathe, Kansas. Katie was born Dec. 8, 1977 in Rochester, Minn. Parents of Jonah Robert, Benjamin Peter.
3. Janet Louise Ley (married Frederick Charles Foutz)
Mother. Born in Dover, Ohio, May 25, 1952. Educated at The Ohio State University, Kent State University, Ashland College. Teaches art. Married Dec. 21, 1975 in Dover. Fred was born June 5, 1952 in Dover. Parents of Frederick Colt, Daniel Morgan, Jacob Ley, Samuel Chase.
4. Suzanne Abbott Weible (married Robert Earl Ley Jr.)
Also pictured above. Grandmother. Born July 6, 1918 in Dover, Ohio. Died January 15, 2007 in Dover. Educated at Miami University (Ohio). Homemaker, volunteer. Married Oct. 16, 1943 in Oxford, Ohio. Robert Jr. was born Sept. 18, 1918 in Dover. He died July 28, 2008 in Dover. Parents of Robert Earl III, Sally Ann, Jeanne Abbott, Suzanne Elizabeth, Janet Louise, Mary Lynn, Heather Beatrice.
5. Robert Ohio Weible (married Beatrice Ethel Morgan)
Great-grandfather. Born May 30, 1892 in Dover, Ohio. Died July 16, 1947 in Dover. Furniture store owner and salesman (second generation). He was a Mason, Shriner and president of the Dover Elks Club. He was appointed superintendent of purchases and printing for the state of Ohio, and served as executive secretary of the Ohio General Salvage Divisions of the War Production Board. He was an avid gun collector and a member of the Ohio Gun Collector’s Association. Married May 6, 1914, probably in Carnegie, Pa. Beatrice (M.A.) was born July 27, 1892 in Carnegie, Pa. She died May 17, 1974 in Dover. Parents of Robert Colt, Suzanne Abbott, William A.
6. Franklin Eli Weible (married Esther Bliss Goddard)
Second great grandfather. Born Dec. 10, 1845 near Dover, Ohio. He died Feb. 5, 1917 in Dover. Furniture store owner and salesman. President of Dover Elks Lodge. Married Feb. 12, 1869 in Henry, Ohio. Esther was born July 4, 1852 in Londonderry, Vt. She died Jan. 23, 1915 in Dover. Parents of Otheo Martin, Albert Lowell, Clara A., Rose Ella, Frank Abbott (twin), Charles Forrest (twin), Robert Ohio.
7. Frederick Weible (married Susan Schrock)
Third great grandfather. Born March 13, 1809 in Westmoreland, Pa. Died Nov. 16, 1885 in Crooked Run, south of New Philadelphia, Ohio. Farmer, Sunday school teacher, choir member, Moravian Church. Was an early pioneer of Tuscarawas County – his wife’s family was one of five to settle just south of New Phila in 1812. Married Nov. 11, 1833 in Tuscarawas County. Susan was born March 31, 1814 in Tuscarawas County. She died Dec. 13, 1893, probably in Crooked Run. Parents of Joseph Blough, William Reinhart, Lydia Jane, Simon S., Franklin Eli, David, Albert Jones, Mary Elizabeth.
8. Hans Jakob Weible (married Anna Nancy Metzger)
Fourth great grandfather. Born Dec. 15, 1780 in Bockten, Switzerland. Died around July 1849, probably in St. Louis. Farmer, pioneer, adventurer. Emigrated from Switzerland about 1804, at age 24. Stopped first in Westmoreland County, Pa., where he met and married Nancy Metzger. Continued on to Tuscarawas County, probably following John Weible (maybe his brother, maybe his father), who was among five families to settle just south of New Philadelphia, in Crooked Run. He was just past 70 when he lit out for the Rocky Mountains, seeking fortune. He died of smallpox. Married Dec. 2, 1806 in Westmoreland County. Nancy was born Dec. 2, 1790 in Northhampton, Va. (Her parents were friends of George Washington.) She died March 26, 1886 in Delphos, Ohio. They were parents to 13: John Jacob, Frederick, William, Fanny, Ann, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine, Jacob, Daniel, Henry, Mattie, George Christian.
9. John Weible or Johannes Waibel (married Ursula Freyburger)
Fifth great grandfather. Born June 23, 1757 in Bockten, Basel Canton, Switzerland. It is thought that he died Nov. 22, 1826 in St. Clair, Illinois, a town southeast and over the border from St. Louis, which is where his son succumbed to smallpox 23 years later. He could be the trailblazer Jakob followed to Tuscarawas County. Or that could be another son. He doesn’t seem to have left Switzerland until after 1787 – half of his kids are born in Switzerland; beginning with William Noah, the rest are born in Pennsylvania. Married Feb. 29, 1780 in Bockten. Ursula was born March 29, 1757 in Ormalinger, Basel Canton, Switzerland. Her death date is unknown. They were parents to eight: Hans Jakob (John Jacob), Johannes (John), Heinrich (Henry), William Noah, Elizabeth, Anna Maria, Henry.
10. Hans Jakob Waibel (married Anna Buser)
Sixth great grandfather. Born 1726 in Bockten, Switzerland. Died July 13, 1784 in Basel, Basel-Town, Switzerland. Married Aug. 1, 1752 in Bockten. Anna was born 1732 in Ormalinger, Switzerland. She died June 8, 1784 in Bockten. Parents of 11: Hans Jakob, Johannes, Anna, Fridli Friedrich, Elizabeth, Anna, Katharina, Martin, Rudi Rudolf, Salome.
11. Hans Jakob Waibel (married Anna Madori)
Seventh great grandfather. Born Feb. 27, 1707 in Bockten, Basel Canton, Switzerland. Died March 2, 1786 in Bockten. May have married as many as three times. The wife we’re concerned with is his first: married Oct. 15, 1725 in Bockten. Anna was born Dec. 1, 1705 in Ziefen, Switzerland. She appears to have died in childbirth, March 3, 1737. To them were born: Hans Jakob, Johannes, Martin, Heini Heinrich, Hans Georg, Benedikt, Anna. Following, Anna Madori’s death, Hans Jakob married Elisabeth Gass (1707-1751) on Nov. 3, 1739. To them was born Rudi Rudolf. Hans Jakob married Elisabeth Borlin (1725-1786) on Feb. 9, 1751. To them were born Fridli, Elisabeth, Barbara, Anna Maria, Rachel. But this is all a bit sketchy to me at this point….
12. Hans Jakob Waibel (married Elisabeth Wurz)
Eighth great grandfather. Born May 9, 1678 in Bockten, Basel Canton, Switzerland. Died Feb. 9, 1744. Married Jan. 20, 1705 in Bockten. Elisabeth was born 1682 in Gelterkinden, Basel-Country, Switzerland. She died May 18, 1760 in Bockten. Parents of Anna, Hans Jakob, Fridli Friedrich, Johannes, Elisabeth, Barbara, Basche Sebastian, Hans Georg.
13. Hans Jakob Waibel (married Anna Socin)
Ninth great grandfather. Born 1650 in Bockten, Basel Canton, Switzerland. Died 1720 in Bockten. Married in 1675. Anna was born about 1650 in Bockten. Only known child is Hans Jakob.
Some very misty mist-gazing this time around….
HANSES AND JAKOBS AND JOHANNES, OH MY — What’s in a name? Maybe everything. And, well, maybe nothing, too.
I’m pretty confident in my research back eight generations, which is backed up by sources such as Ella Metkser Milligan’s The History of Christian Metzger, Founder of an American Family. But before that, things get a bit squirrely.
Previous researchers have traced our line back through the series of Johannes and Hanses and Jakobs outlined here. I haven’t had a chance to double-check and confirm all of it. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong, but it doesn’t it’s all right, either.
As the journalism adage goes, “If you’re mother says she loves you… check it out!”
For now, though, seems like a pretty good roadmap, and it leads us through Bockten.
WAIBEL TO WEIBLE TO WIBLE (IN CERTAIN CASES) — As the link in the intro should remind you, we’ve already discussed the change in spelling, a couple generations after the Swiss “Waibels” hit the United States, from Weibel to Wible, as perpetrated by my second great grandfather Franklin Eli and his brother, David.
Probably it was a ploy to have the name easily sounded out by lumber and furniture customers in late 19th-century Canal Dover. (The spelling appeared on those advertisements.) But one descendant of David (and the Leys, too, remember?), “Scoop”, a friend to my grandparents, was buried a Wible just last year.
By any indication, though, Waibel seems to be the preferred spelling in Switzerland. At least, that’s what the previous research is indicating.
SMALL PLACE, BOCKTEN — And forgive my lack of umlauts. Looking at some photos of Bockten today, there’s a striking similarity to the hills and valleys of the Weible’s new hometown of Dover, Ohio. And the population is merely a fraction of tiny Dover.
According to Wikipedia, Bockten underwent a building boom in the 1980s, and its population topped out about 700 as of 1991. It sits under that now, but still boasts elementary and primary schools, and the usual Swiss-German-Austrian preference for a local sports club — kind of like our YMCAs.
The nearby bigger cities include Gelterkinden, Sissach and Rickenbach, with Basel to the west. The main river is the Ergolz, an old Roman source for drinking water, and from which the valley Basel is situated in gets its name.
Regard the whole “canton” business as a Swissified county. There is the county that is organized around the city of Basel, and everything outside of it falls into the Basel-Country canton. Starting to get it?
What I am still getting a feel for is how the numerous wars and conflicts affecting this region — religious and political — from the closing centuries of the Roman Empire on might have affected our ancestors and their families. There’s a whole mess of time in which Catholics are persecuting Christians, and Christians all the new denominations of belief (Anabaptist-branding, anyone?), and the French just want to jump the border and bring our ancestor’s states into the fold for king and ya-da, ya-da, ya-da. And all these minor princes and fiefdoms that oversee everyone for a time.
Today, you’ve got the regular old (by European standards, anyway) Swiss government and the municipal and canton governments (Bokten official website). But then, we’ve got our own issues in the U.S. of A.