Person:Johannes Waber (3)

Johannes Georg WABER
d.25 Nov 1883 Otsego, Allegan, MI
m. 15 Jul 1800
  1. Johannes Georg WABER1803 - 1883
m. 27 Dec 1829
  1. George Egelseer WABER1829 - 1887
  2. Henry WABER1831 - 1885
  3. Frederick WABER1834 - 1906
  4. Margaret Kunigunde WABER1837 - 1927
  5. Anna Kunigunda WABER1839 - 1931
  6. Thomas Georg WABER1841 - 1917
  7. James WABER1847 - 1925
  8. _____ Waber, male infantAft 1847 -
Facts and Events
Name[1] Johannes Georg WABER
Gender Male
Birth? 20 Jul 1803 Burgstall Im Franken, Germany
Alt Birth[2] 1803 Burgstall Im Franken
Marriage 27 Dec 1829 Hofen, Bavaria, Germanyto Kunigunda Barbara EGELSEER
Reference Number Kunigunda Barbara EGELSEER
Death? 25 Nov 1883 Otsego, Allegan, MI
Alt Death[3] 1883 Ostego, Allegan, MI
Burial? Earl Cemetery, Pine Grove Twnsp. VanBuren County, MI
Reference Number? 835

Johannes Georg WABER's tombstone reads: "Their native land so far away can give no flowers to deck their tomb, nor the low soft strains of it's vesper bells will wake it's silent gloom".


Johannes and Barbara Cunigundi Waber, and Nicholas and Analise Miller, progenitors of families represented in this reunion today.

The Miller branch probably antedated the Wabers as pioneers of Michigan. Elizabeth Brender, the oldest daughter of Nicholas Miller with her husband Peter A Brender located on the farm in Trowbridge, in December of 1853. She was, so to say, the scout of the Miller family.

The Nicholas Miller family originated in Germany. A family of nine children: John; Elizabeht; Henry; Katrina; Maria; Mary; Analise (Anna Elisa); Elizabeth Katrina (Aunt Lizzie); and Louis (Ludwig).

Four of the elder children, as they grew to years of self-responsibility, in wanderlust, sought America previous to the parents arrival. The parents, Analise and Nicholas, had by industry and economy, accumulated a comfortable home in Germany. Wishing to follow the children in America, the home in Germany was sold. As is usual in the sale of property, payment of home needed time for collection. The mother Analise with the remaining younger children set out for America, to begin homemaking in the new land. The father Nicholas remained to collect the money value of the old home sold in Germany.

Ocean voyage was slow in those days and while Nicholas Miller was envoyage to the US, suddenly Analise died and rests in Palmyra, NY. Empt home, motherless children. In the mean time, the daughter Elizabeth had married and begun her home in Michigan. Thus it followed that the bereaved husband and father was invited to Michigan. At their new home in Trowbridge Township, the younger Miller children found a sort of homing place until making homes for themselves.

Grandfather Nicholas, fond of hunting often found grateful reward in the sport- also in those early days of pioneer wilderness sustenance. What are now open productive fields between Trowbridge and Kendall was then forest and swamp. Grandfather Miller one day in his rambles was lost. He lit upon a new clearing. It was the new home beginning of Grandfather Johannes Waber and Barbara Cunigunde Waber. He remained with them overnight. Wabers, a sturdy family of competent sons and daughters, and heart delight; Germans he could understand and visit with. He often later made happy pilgrimages thither.

Later friendships among the younger scions resulted in marriages and homemaking. Both families were religious. Grandfather Miller would often donate a last hard earned dollar for church interests.

Grandfather and Grandmother Waber would drive, slow team, rough roads, from their home in Pine Grove to Allegan, a distance of 12 or 13 miles, regularly to a German church service they could understand.

May the descendents of these worthy pioneer ancestors remember and emulate, and ever "Dwell under the shadow of the Almighty" and seek the Blessing of God.

-Mary Brender

PS Mary Brender (1853-1942) was the oldest of seven children, the daughter of Peter and Elizabetha Miller Brender. She attended high school in Allegan, and later Kalamazoo College. She taught school for several years until she was needed at home. She never married but was an outgoing friend to all the family members and neighbors. As Mary Brender said the Waber-Miller young people had a close association through the church and other local activities. Thus it follows that George Waber married Mary Miller; Thomas Waber married Anna Eliza Miller; and Anna Kunigundas' second marriage was to John Miller. This resulted in many double cousins so that many of you here today are both Miller and Waber.

Detroit, Michigan, April 1st, 1941 Thomas Laverne Waber

The Waber family in America as recalled by Thomas L. ("Vern") Waber of the third generation.

The family consisted of himself and wife Kunigunda and the children George, Henry, Anna, Margaret, Thomas, Fredrick, James and a younger child whose name I do not know, who sickened and died while on the trip to America and was buried in the Atlantic ocean.

In recording these words, it must be taken into account that what I now set down may not be in accord with facts known by other descendants of the family and therefore this is only my personal opinion from the spoken word of my Father (Thomas) who did not tell it as an autobiography but only snatches of conversation which I have heard him repeat. These words of my Father were only remembered by me and now recalled at this late date. His remarks had no special appeal for me at the time and I may have some of the facts (from years of a faulty memory) twisted as to chronological sequence, but the main intent of this is to try to preserve some of the main events as I now feel they happened.

I have no special knowledge of the Family as they lived in Germany prior to their immigration to America, but I recall having heard that Johannes or John Waber was what we would be known today as a forester or conservation officer. In Germany, the forests and any game that lived therein seems to have been owned by some nobleman, duke, or lord or whatever name they were known under in the German nobility. The forest may have been under supervision of the government or state, but the game was only for the nobility, and when the hunting season came around all the people had to make a drive through the woods, and the lords and their guests held forth at the edge of the woods and had all the game driven to them, and all they had to do was shoot whatever they wanted. No effort at all on their part. It was the duty of John Waber to watch the forest and see that no on cut any wood or caught any of the game.

Whenever the peasants stole any of the wood, it was the practice to dip the fresh-cut ends of the wood in manure water, that the ends of the wood be colored dark like the wood that had been piled for some time, and that would make it less noticeable. Wood for the peasants was gathered only when the state supervised the cutting and distribution. All trees were removed from the land by digging them out by the roots, and every branch and twig was saved and taken home, after which the ground was made ready and again planted to trees, and in that way a new growth of forest was growing all the time, and there was no depletion of the acreage.

The only game that could be taken by stealth was hares, or rabbits, as we know them. They were caught by a snare, and the snares were made of copper wire into a loop, and a small tree was bent over the runway of the rabbits and set with a trigger that would release the tree when the rabbit ate the bait, and Mr. Rabbit would be found hanging by his neck. It was the duty of John to see that these snares were removed whenever he found them. He usually took them home, and at times, he had several bushels of them stored in the loft of his home. What disposition was made of the snares I do not know.

John Waber was born in the year 1803 and died at the age of 80 years November 25th, 1883, Otsego, Michigan. Kunigunda was born November 21st, 1808, and died May 28th, 1875, at the age of 67, at the family home in Pine Grove Township, VanBuren county, Michigan. I do not have the date of their marriage, nor do I know their social standing in the community in which they lived in Germany.

Owing to the fact that all names have a special significance and meaning in Germany and the fact that Barbara Kunigunda (Egelseer) was named for two of the early queens of Saxony who were known for their piety, Barbara and Kunigunda were names of the highest standing among the Lutherans of old. Therefore, we must look upon the Egelseer family as being very highly esteemed in their native Germany. The origin of the name Waber is unknown to me, and owing to the fact that all names of early Germany were derived from the occupation by which; the family made its living, I can not imagine what they worked at. All trades and other methods of existence were family affairs that were handed down to generation after generation, and any secrets of the trade were most carefully guarded that no one not of the family came into possession of them.

In the marriage of John Waber and Kunibunda Egelseer, we see the merging of two families of strong religious character and most highly esteemed by their friends and neighbors. The family was of strong Protestant faity, as will be noted by their affiliation with the Lutheran church, which shows the convictions they held were of highest order, and they must have had many ups and downs among the people affiliated with the Catholic church, as the state was dominated by the Catholic church at that time. These remarks are no criticism of the Catholic faith but are set down here to show the steadfast character and faith in their beliefs. Thus we find them affiliated with the Lutheran church upon their arrival in America.

I now come to time when the family are beginning to grow up, and w find that when they decided to go to America that the oldest son was nearing 20 years of age and that the youngest was jus born. The time appears to me as about the time the Prussians were consolidating the kingdoms of Germany under the Prussian yoke, and Bismarck was coming into prominence as strong man of Germany who was to rule the empire for many years.

The Waber family did not desire to have their sons become Prussian soldiers, as the Prussians were old enemies of their kingdom. They decided to emigrate ot the Americas, where they were told that everything was free and all one had to do was help himself to get along in the United States.

Their hardships must have been great before leaving Germany to cause them to dispose of their property and take upon themselves the unknown hardships of a new and foreign country where they could no speak a word or our language as we now know. After having disposed of their property, we find that they had a long overland trip to reach Hamburg, Germany, where they were to take the boat for America.

On arriving at Hamburg, they were put upon a sailing ship bound for America. The family of six boys and two girls made quite a party to move at one time, and they were put down in the hold of the ship where there was no daylight and very little other light to see by. They were herded-in like stock, and all lived together in a common lot as a herd of cattle, and the privations must have been almost unbearable to them. This ship was an immigrant ship and carried only people their belongings. No other freight, only just human freight that was trying to get away from intolerable conditions in their homeland and determined to have better things for their children than they were leaving behind.

The meals had to be prepared on stoves down there in the hold, and as far as I know, they may have slept alongside the stoves. These stoves were community affairs and the different families had to take turns in using tyhem, and many times several wanted them at the same time, and this caused much confusion, and at times fighting was indulged in.

This particular ship was thirteen weeks on the ocean, as it was a sail ship and so had to go wherever the wind blew it. This ship was blown so far south of its course that it first saw land somewhere along the coast of South America and then had to make its way back north to New York.

We of this generation cannot even imagine the hardships and trials the family went through on that crossing, locked below decks days at a time during the storms and never seeing daylight frome one weekend to the other. How they procured their edibles is a mystery to me. They may have brought them along, or again the shipping company may have furnished them. But I do know that they had to furnish their own bedding and make their own sleeping accommodations the best they could. What they did in the way of washing clothes is one of the things that will always remain some mystery, and I can only imagine what it was when I think of the other accommodations on shipboard.

They finally arrived at New York City having lost their youngest child who was unable to bear the hardships of the ocean crossing and was buried in the Atlantic. After three months on this ship they came ashore and went through the usual immigrant inspection and boarded a train for Rochester, New York, where they had some former friends from Germany. They arrived in Rochester and were put up at a hotel for the first night, and in the morning when they paid their bill, they had the sum of 25 cents in money left and no place to live.

That they made good in their new home is the fact that after something like five or six years we find that they own a small home in the city of Rochester. This home was where the union station now stands (or did some years ago). There does not seem to have been anything to break the monotony of their making a living that was of importance in their lives during these years, and as their children were growing into maturity they felt that they would have to leave the city if they were to have the thing they had sought when leaving Germany.

The time is now about the year 1855-56, and we find that they have decided to move westward where they could get plenty of land cheapand that the older boys could help to make a home by all helping to clear up the timber and thus have a new home. Michigan was the utopia of that day, so they decided to come here. Land sharks were doing their stuff in those days, and so the family traded their home in Rochester for 80 acres of land in Michigan, and we learn that trade was only a grab-bag, as no one had ever seen the property, and they had only hearsay as to where it was or what it was.

So again they move to an unknown home, and in due time they arrive at Kalamazoo, where the Michigan land office was located, and on inquiry they found that the land they owned was some 25 miles northwest of the city through a dense forest and that they could not find anyone who could take them to the property. Some of their friends advised them to secure something near Kalamazoo and forget about their farm out in VanBuren county, but they decided that as all they now owned in the orld was this piece of land that they would move out there as soon as they were able.

The fact that they had to do something to make a living was the most important thing at this time, so they decided to move out to a place called Oshtemo Side Track, now known as Oshtemo, Michigan. This was at the end of the Michigan Central Railroad at that time, and it was building on toward Chicago, and furnished the only source of work for those who would work.

The father and the older boys went to work for the railroad and were employed there for a couple of years. How long they lived in Oshtemo I do not know, but owing to the fact that some time before the Civil War they were located on their farm in Pine Grove Township, VanBuren County, only half a mile from the north boundary line of the county, which is what is known as the base line (a line that was established when the state was first surveyed and was the point from where all land descriptions were made recorded in proceeding to the north or south from this line) and some eight miles southwest from Otsego.

They found no neighbors when they arrived at their farm (I call it a farm, as that was what it beccame in time) and proceeded to carve a home from the wilderness. They found a plot of ground that was bare of any woods or brush and all cleared containing some six or eight acres that had only to be cultivated and planted to grow corps. This clearing was said to have been cleared by the early Indians and used to grow corn. The family grew corn and wheat and for meat killed wild pigs, turkeys, and other small game. Their groceries such as sugar, coffee, and flour had to be transported over foot trails from Otsego and carried on their backs. I have heard my father say that when he was about 16 he carried the family flour on his back from Otsego in fifty-pound sacks.

The family left Germany so that their boys would not become soldiers of Prussia, but at the beginning of the Civil War we find that the family was duly enlisted in the cause of the nation that it should not become a divided country. The records further show that the family was represented in the Spanish War, also in the first World War.

The children who comprised the family at this time were George, Henry, Anna, Margaret, Thomas Fredrick and James, all of the second generation.

George Waber married Mary Miller (Mueller), daughter of Nicholaus and Anna (Killer) Miller. Five children were born to them, as follows: George, Louis, John, Daniel, and Elizabetha ("Betha").

Henry Waber married_____________________(Linda Alice__?___). Three (4?) children were born of this union, James A., Henry, and Kunigunda.

Anna Waber married George Kurtz. Three children, as follows: Charles, Henry, John. George Kurtz died, and Anna Waber Kurtz then married John Miller, son of Nicolaus and Anna (Killer) Miller. Two children,a s follows: Anna, Clara.

Margaret Waber married Charles May. There were nine children: Fred, Philip, Anna, Barbara, Frances, Charlie, Nellie, Alice, Elmer.

Thomas Waber married Anna Eliza Miller, daughter of Nicolaus and Anna (Killer) Miller. There were five children: Thomas L., Alma, James W., Paul M., L. Arthur. Roland E. Smith inserted a hand written note here: Roland's, Roger's + Louise's great uncles + grandmother-Thomas was the only one I never knew-Roland Frederick Waber married Anna Margaretha Zoll, There was one son, Frederick Jr.

James Waber never married, no children.

This makes 28 descendants in the third generation.

Copiers note:

Some parenthetical information was supplied in pencil (on the original from which this was made) by "Uncle Vern's" brother, Arthur, my father. In the original, also, Vern was under the impression the Kunigunda was of a family named "Weise", but genealogical records establish firmly that it was Egelseer. Where blanks are show above, the inguirer can find full information in the Waber genalogical files curreently in the possession of James and Faith MacGregor.

Thomas V. Waber (son of L. Arthur) July, 1986 Southfield, MI (A memoir written by Thomas Laverne Waber, retyped Jul 1986 by his nephew, Thomas V. Waber, son of L. Arthur, since the original did not Xerox clearly)

(Retyped again, July 1998 by Gary R. Smith as the copy sent to me from Roland E. Smith is not suitable for scanning. No attempt was made to correct the document)

  1. OneWorldTreeSM.
  2. OneWorldTreeSM.
  3. OneWorldTreeSM.