23 July 2012

A Tale of Two Newspaper Accounts - Altorfer

By Pamela Pattison Lash

Here’s an example of how two Bryan newspapers treated a suicide.  The Press gave many details not only of John Jacob Altorfer but of his wife whose obituary followed several days later.  The Press may have given a far better picture of his circumstances than The Democrat, but you be the judge.  Also note the differences in the spelling of the surname.

The Bryan Press, 22 Aug 1895 p3 c3
John Jacob Altorfer of Stryker, head of the family of the same name, which has engaged the attention of several grand juries in recent years, committed suicide by hanging last Friday night.  He was found by his wife about half past ten hanging to a rafter in a small room off the woodshed at his home, his feet touching the floor.  Life was extinct, and Squire Hester, acting as coroner, after an examination, pronounced the case to be one of self-destruction.  The deceased was about 65 years old, a veteran of the late war, a kindly disposed and inoffensive German, who for several years had been totally blind.  Last fall his wife was convicted in the common pleas court of keeping a disorderly house, and incarcerated in the Toledo work house.  Notwithstanding this lesson, the various members of the family have continued their shameful practices and it is supposed that his inability to control his wayward wife and daughters was the cause of the father’s act.

The Bryan Democrat, 22 Aug 1895 p5 c2
John J Altaffer who resided at the west end of Stryker committed suicide last Saturday morning by hanging himself in a summer kitchen.  He was a soldier in the Union army, had become blind after the war, and failing to secure the pension he wanted became despondent and took his own life.  He was buried by Bradley Post GAR.

The Bryan Press, 5 Sept 1895 p3 c5
Mrs. Altofer, whose husband hung himself some weeks since, expired Monday.  The undertaker in his report of her death, said she had cancer or tumor. Her home had been infamous several years.  A few nights since a dynamite cartridge was exploded upon the porch of her house, shattering front windows.  Two or three daughters were living with her.  Citizens of the neighborhood hope the resort will be closed.

From these obits I was able to piece together more about this family.

Williams County, Ohio Deaths, V3 p1 – J A Altoffer, died 16 Aug 1895 in Springfield Twp, Williams Co, OH; born in PA, laborer, age 61Y, married

Williams County, Ohio Deaths, V3 p1 – Rebecca Altoffer, died 31 Aug 1895 in Springfield Twp, Williams Co, OH; born PA, age 56Y, housewife, married
(Her name was possibly Rebecca Magdalene Beals)

Williams Co, OH Probate - 5 Sept 1895 case #3652 - Rebecca M Altaffer (note spelling) - there could be letters of administration and/or a will; no probate was found for her husband

Margaret C Altofer, dau of Jacob and Rebecca Beek Altofer, was born in Pike Twp, Fulton Co, OH on 26 June 1872 (Births V1 p61) – I found referencing to Beek, Beck, Bial, and Beal; Margaret C “Maggie” Altorfer married Eli Berrier in Paulding Co, OH on 7 May 1898 (Marriage V5 p506)

Using familysearch.org I found this same daughter of the couple (note different b-dates) -

name:            Christina M Berrier
burial date:            16 Jul 1927
burial place:            Bryan, Ohio
death date:            16 Jul 1927
death place:            Toledo, Lucas, Ohio
age:            56
birth date:            28 Jun 1871
birthplace:            Wauseon, Ohio
occupation:            At Home
race:            White
marital status:            Married
spouse's name:            Eli Berrier
father's name:            John J Altofer
father's birthplace:            Switzerland
mother's name:            Rebecca Bial
mother's birthplace:            Holland
indexing project (batch) number:            B07145-6
system origin:            Ohio-EASy
source film number:            1689660
reference number:            p 90 cn 2321

I also found this son listed:

name:            Charles Milton Altofer
event:            Birth
event date:            06 Sep 1879
event place:            Wauseon, Fulton, Ohio
registration date:           
registration place:           
gender:            Male
father:            John L. Altofer
father's titles & terms:           
father's birthplace:           
father's age:           
mother:            Rebecca Beal           
reference number:            pg 6-7
film number:            909018
digital folder number:            4017207
image number:            258

Charles Milton Altofer married Ella Gross Gaffney on 14 Apr 1908 in Montgomery Co, OH.

Then I used the federal census records and CW online sources to piece together the family.  Here’s what I found:
1860 German, Fulton, Ohio; Roll: M653_965; Page: 348; Image: 163; Family History Library Film: 803965
h/h 1088/1099 Intham, John 30 clothier Switz
Barbara 23 Switz
Henry 2 OH
Lydia 1 OH
Elizabeth 1/12 OH
Olderfer, Jacob 28 day laborer Switz

1861 John Altraper
Age at enlistment:            29
Enlistment Date:            9 Dec 1861
Rank at enlistment:            Musician
State Served:            Ohio
Survived the War?:            Yes
Service Record: Enlisted in Company S, Ohio 14th Infantry Regiment on 12 Sep 1861.
Mustered out on 10 Sep 1862 at Bowling Green, KY.
Birth Date:            abt 1832
Sources:            Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio

1870 Clinton, Fulton, Ohio; Roll: M593_1202; Page: 48A; Image: 99; Family History Library Film: 552701.
h/h 317/316 Oldoffer, Jacob 33 Switzerland corn laborer 899/120
Rabeca 27 OH
Albert 6 OH
Mary 5 OH
William 3 OH
Caroline 1 OH
Susan 1 OH

1880 Swanton, Lucas, Ohio; Roll: 1044; Family History Film: 1255044; Page: 87A; Enumeration District: 056; Image: 0333.
h/h 6/6 Altorfer, John J 49 laborer Switz-Switz-Switz
Rebecca M 37 wife OH-PA-PA
Albert L 16 OH-Switz-OH laborer
Mary L 14 dau OH-Switz-OH
William H 12 son OH-Switz-OH (pos m Amelia Anna Thierry)
Caroline 11 dau OH-Switz-OH
Susan A 11 dau OH-Switz-OH
Margarett C 9 dau OH-Switz-OH (mar Eli Berrier)
Rosa A 7 dau OH-Switz-OH (mar William H Umstead, 30 Oct 1897, Defiance Co, OH)
Cora A 5 dau OH-Switz-OH
Flora E 3 dau OH-Switz-OH
Charles M 9M son OH-Switz-OH (Charles Milton, b 6 Sept 1879, s/o John Altorfer and Rebecca Beal)

General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration; Roll # T288_7 John J Altorfer applied for a Civil War Pension on 21 Apr 1880 for service as musician in Reg Band 14th OVI; application #360,420; certificate # 319, 513

1890 Stryker, Springfield, Williams, Ohio; Roll: 61; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 194. Veterans Schedule – John J Altorfer: enlisted 12 Sept 1861; discharged 13 Sept 1862 (1Y 1D); musician; Co O 14th OVI

Their children appear to be
Albert L (1864 OH - )
Mary Lucenda (1866 OH - )
William Henry (27 Oct 1867 Wauseon, Fulton Co, OH – 26 Oct 1893 Mark Twp, Defiance Co, OH)
Susan A (1869 OH - )
Caroline E (1869 OH - )
Margaret Christena (28 June 1871 or 27 June 1872 Pike Twp, Fulton Co, OH - )
Rose Matilda (1873 OH - )
Cora A (1875 OH - )
Flora Ellen (1877 OH - )
Charles Milton (6 Sept 1879 Swanton Twp, Lucas Co, OH -)

At this time I do not know if Rebecca is the Rebecca Beal of this family – her mother was unknown as this David Beal married a Lucinda as a later spouse:
1860 Morenci, Lenawee, Michigan; Roll: M653_551; Page: 741; Image: 741; Family History Library Film: 803551.
h/h 2120/2125 Beal, David 40 PA farmer
Lucinda 28 OH
Rebecca 18 OH
Charles 14 OH
William 6 OH
Caroline 4 OH
Franklin 2 MI
Mary 1 MI


1 comment:

Pamela Lash said...

This is from Roger skeetereater@accesstoledo.com
Regarding 23 July 2012- A Tale of Two Newspaper Accounts - Altorfer

I think the name actually is Altorfer and they are not related to us unless we get across the ocean.

I just looked the following marriage up on John Jacob Altorfer, but everything else down below was recorded by us in the mid 1970's early 80's, and was backed up by the courthouse records and the obit mentioned.
Jacob Altonfee & Rebecca Beal married 2 Dec 1862 in Lenawee Co., MI- LDS Record but not actual view.

Mary married William Mattox, 29 Dec 1892 Williams Co., Ohio
Susan married James H. Lantz 11 March 1893 Williams Co., Ohio
Rose married William Umstead- my family as you have it.
Cora Adella married Franklin A. Lloyd 17 Sep 1895 Williams Co., Ohio
Flora Ella married John Gurlinger 2 Nov 1895 Williams Co., Ohio

I have William married Amelia Thierry 8 March 1892 Defiance Co., Ohio
They had a son Floyd William b. 5 Oct 1893 in Highland, Defiance Co., Ohio
Amelia (Thierry) Altorfer married Preston Hightower 1 Dec 1894 Defiance Co., Ohio

This was on LDS-
The family notes possibly prepared by Lori Anderson, indicate that Amelia married a man called "Hightower" was her first marriage and to William Henry Altorfer as her second. In fact, her marriage to William was her first marriage. She and her son (Floyd William) lived out in the "country". She met "Hightower" through her singing at weddings, funerals, etc., and they subsequently were married, by within three to five years, he started drinking, becoming abusive and so Amelia got a divorce. (Don't know if divorce was final, and will check with country courts to confirm also see if marriage license for Amelia and Hightower exists).

Mary Altorfer, wife of Wm Mattox, died 21 July 1955 in Pioneer and was buried in Bryan at Fountain Grove Cem. I have all these siblings referenced to her death date as surviving or not, but I can find the obit right now.

Also, I am relation to the Beal, Beals, Beale- I sometimes think they all guessed at the spelling.
David Beal's 2nd wife was Lucinda Severn.