Posts tagged ‘Illinois’

April 14, 2010

Christian Young, 1830-1911

Christian Young was Bernice’s grandfather, her mother’s father. I had only recently discovered his name who he was, or anything at all about him….

He was born in 1830 in Alsace, France, but of German descent. He came to America through Philadephia in 1847 when he was 17 and made his way to Menomenee, Wisconsin by 1850 with his parents and younger sister.

He married Sophia M. Koeppe (1840-1920) in 1855. Their first few children died very early on but they went on to have at least 8 to survive into adulthood. My great-great grandmother Adaline (Bernice’s mom) was their 5th child, born in 1872.

They moved to Galena, Illinois in 1860, where Christian was a flat boatman, a farmer, and a carpenter.

When the Civil War hit, Christian enlisted in the Illinois 96th Infantry Regiment, Company K as a Private in 1863. They mustered out (what does that mean? I can only guess “set out for battle”) on June 9, 1865. Christian was transferred to the 21st Infantry and was there for another year, under Lt. Ulysses S. Grant in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. What a miracle it is that he survived… or else hundreds of people in my family would not be here today!

Now, I had had a feeling that Christian fought in the Civil War. But up until today, I could not find any records indicating that the Christian Young that was related to me had fought. There were several Christian Youngs listed from all over the country, and even a few from Illinois. Today, I was just determined to figure it out. It took me over an hour of cross referencing, looking up new leads, hitting dead ends, but I finally found it. And when I finally saw the right page, I just knew it. It was like he was saying, Yeah, that’s me. And what was so exciting about it was that his enlistment page had his physical description. He had brown hair, grey eyes, fair complexion, and was 5’8.” I wish I could have seen the actual page instead of a transcribed record, so I could have seen his signature.

After the war he went back to Illinois to his family. At some point he became a dairyman. He died in 1911 at the age of 81 in Jo Daviess, Illinois.

I’d like to find out more about his daughter Adaline, who was my great-great grandmother. She died in 1901 at the age of 29 and I don’t know why. I’m hoping to find a death certificate, because there might be a cause of death on there. Both of her parents out-lived her and it is very, very sad. It’s why Bernice left home at 16, because she did not like her stepmother (if there were other reasons…?).

Sophia Koeppe was Christian’s wife. She was born in Mecklenburg, Prussia (present day eastern Germany) in 1840 and came over to America in about 1847 as well. I wasn’t able to find out anything else about her life, only that as it relates to Christian’s. She married him at 15 and they were married for 56 years. She died in 1920 at the age of 80 in Illinois. So far I have been unable to find out anything about her parents or anything else of her life. It gets harder and harder to find out stuff the further back you go, especially when you have to look into other countries. I don’t know what I’ll be able to find but I am very hopeful. I was beyond thrilled with what I found today and I think I can dig up some more!

(click to enlarge)

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