1789 - Current
The literal translation of the German word “bauer” means “farmer” but the name’s historic roots refer more generally to the status of a peasant, neighbor, or fellow citizen. Most Bauer immigrants into the United States settled in Pennsylvania or New York. The vast majority came unsurprisingly from Germany, prominently areas like Bavaria, Baden, and Wurttemberg, but some numbers also came from Austria. However, our Bauer family originated from Saxony, a state in eastern Germany.
The progenitor of the Bauers was Frederick Adam Bauer I, who was born in Saxony, Germany in about 1789. He was a farmer (appropriately) and a miller. According to The History of Butler County, Pennsylvania, he was a member of the German Lutheran Church and supported the Democratic Party. His wife was Christiana or Christina Myers and she was born around 1794. They had ten children in total:
All of the children were born in Saxony, Germany except possibly the youngest, Caroline, who may have been born in Pennsylvania. August’s birth place is once reported in 1870 as Prussia, probably because in 1867, Saxony was forced to join the North German Confederation, under which terms Prussia took control of much of Saxony’s political affairs. Therefore, at the time of the recording, Saxony was considered in Prussia rather than Germany.
The Bauer family had immigrated to Pennsylvania sometime around 1837 when August was only about three years old and settled into Buffalo Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, which is not far from Pittsburgh. The township borderlines changed overtime so that the area of Buffalo Township in which they settled later became Jefferson Township when it was created in 1854. Frederick I owned two lots of property and on the main one he built a mill which became known as Bauer’s Mill. It was located near the crossing of Thorn Creek and what is now Ohara Road. After his death, the mill deteriorated and in 1884, Golden City was built around its ruins. Though Golden City no longer exists, evidence of it remains today in the Golden City Road which runs right through what had been the Bauer’s main property (see satellite image at the end of the chapter).
Frederick and Christiana’s daughter Mena married John A. Knoch in Pennsylvania and had two known children with him, William and Caroline, before she died (perhaps in childbirth) in 1844. Mena’s sister Auguste then became John’s second wife and they settled in Jefferson Township and had seven children. Auguste and John are buried in nearby Saxonburg Memorial Church Cemetery on Butler Road which was a German Evangelical Church. Saxonburg is a borough in Butler County that was founded in 1832 and initially called “Germania” but soon changed to Sachsenburg before finally being anglicized to Saxonburg. This certainly suggests that the area attracted a large number of people from Saxony like the Bauers. In Jefferson Township, there is currently a Knoch Middle School and a Knoch Athletics Field at South Butler Intermediate School on Knoch Road all of which were located on what had been the Knoch family property. It is located only just down the road (State Route 2007 aka Dinnerbell Road) from where the Bauer’s property was.
George’s fate is unknown, he probably died young before he married because he is not mentioned in his father’s will. Henrietta married Edward George Leithold and had three children in Jefferson Township. Sophia married Peter Tuscherer and had six children in Allegheny County. Rosannah married Henry Heller, settled in Washington Township of Butler County, and had four children. Charles apprenticed with a blacksmith Isaac Lafever but by the time he came of age, he might have either died or moved out of Butler County. Caroline married John Henry Bauman, settled in Jefferson Township, and had seven children before dying on June 12, 1898. She too is buried in Saxonburg Memorial Church Cemetery.
Frederick (II) was a member of the St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Butler, Pennsylvania, which is in keeping with the rest of the family’s religious orientation. In 1843 the church lost 45 members who wanted English sermons and broke away to create the First English Lutheran Church in Butler. The fact that Frederick and his family were members of the original German church from at least 1867 indicates they still spoke the language themselves. Frederick had twelve children, at least seven of which were baptized at St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. One of his sons carried on the namesake as Frederick Bauer III.
Frederick I died December 21, 1850 and after his death, his wife Christiana lived first with their daughter Caroline and then with their daughter Auguste before she died on October 6, 1874. They are buried in Saxonburg Memorial Church Cemetery, though their gravestones are very worn and Frederick’s is titled with his middle name first, Adam. Frederick’s last will and testament left everything to his wife and gave her full power to sell any real estate she chose, but he also instructed that after her death, all the property should be liquidated and each of his children should receive one equal share apart from Rosannah (who appears to be called Theresa in the will, though never recorded as such anywhere else), who received two shares. It’s possible Frederick gave Rosannah more shares because she was unmarried at the time the will was drawn up and he wanted to be sure she was was financially taken care of. However, Caroline was also unmarried at the time and only received one share. Maybe Caroline was already betrothed and so Frederick felt she was already in good hands, or perhaps it was because Caroline was only 14 years old and still had plenty of time to marry whereas Rosannah was 21 years old and Frederick was maybe concerned that she would wind up an unmarried spinster. That is not to say twenty-one was too old to marry, the average age of girls in Butler County roughly around this period of time was 23. Indeed, Rosannah went on to marry Henry Heller at some point before she turned 30, but maybe something gave Frederick cause for concern that this would never come to pass, perhaps she had no suitors at the time he made his will.
After his death, Frederick’s inventory of goods was taken and filed on January 25, 1851 and included one wagon worth $50, two jack screws worth $4, four old wagon wheels worth $6, one sleigh worth $1 (it must have been a small one for recreational sledding, not one pulled by horses), two ploughs worth $4.50, two crescent saws worth $1.50, one hand saw worth $1, one clock worth $1, two maps worth 50c, one vice worth $2, one stove worth $3, one broadaxe worth 50c, two chains worth $1, one ironbox worth 25c, two small wheels worth 50c, one old iron worth $1, one German scythe worth 75c, one lock worth 62c, one smokepipe worth $1, one horse worth $25, one yoke of oxen (the pulling beam or harass for two oxen) worth $16, one calf worth $2, two hogs worth $2.50, one log chain worth $1.50, and five volumes of “Grübel's Works” worth 75c which may refer to German poet Konrad Grübel. While Frederick did not own any oxen by this point, the fact that he still had a yoke for them suggests that he previously did own oxen, probably for ploughing. The presence of five volumes of German poetry suggests Frederick was literate in German, though probably not English.
On February 10, 1851, many of Frederick’s possessions were sold at Bauer’s Mill. They included several items not listed on the original inventory such as one pair of shoes sold to Rabe for 75c, another pair of shoes sold to H. Houser for $1, a pair of boots sold for 37.5c, a lanthorne to George Doerr for 50c, a coffee brewer to C.F. Rudert for 12.5c, a trunk to H. Grimm for 75c, a pitchfork to H. Grimms for 25c, two old shovels to C.F. Rudert for 13c and two more shovels to Rabe for the same, and an oil can to C. Bauman for 21c. Many of the items valued in the original inventory sold for less than what they were valued at, for example, one plough and groove planes sold again to C.F. Rudert for $2 when originally valued at $2.25, a broadaxe to C. Gachel for 26c when it was valued at almost double that cost, the ironbox went for only 3c, and four jack screws were sold for varying prices each: $2, $1.06, $5, and $1. Finally, the scythe worth 75c sold for only 37c. However, five books which may have been five volumes of poetry sold to C.F. Rudert for $1 when they were valued at 75c, and another book went to H. Adeshold for 37.5c. But then another sold to N. Engelhardt for 12.5c, while yet another to A. Heckart for only 10c, and then three more books to H. Grimms for 12.5c.
At a later date, there was another sale in which a map of Germany went to C. Bauman for 31c, two smokepipes went for 25c and 75c to G. Goff and C.F. Rudert respectively, a door lock went to H. Grimms for 53c, a box with an iron to F. Ebert for 28c, a spinning wheel to F. Schuchts, a plough to Weyland for $1.50, a chain to G. Michael for 66c and another to S. Davis for 64c, a cutting box to L. Gregory for $1.70, wheels and scythe and ploughshare to C. Bauman 75c total, a sled with metal soles to F. Schuchts for 50c, a saddle and holstery to Gottlieb Michael for 37.5c, yet another plough William Wiskman for 85c, and finally the yoke of oxen to Samuel Love for $29.
Sometime in his early 20s, August Bauer (not to be confused with his similarly named sister Auguste) decided to leave his family home Butler County and move south into Allegheny City (now a part of Pittsburgh). Here he met and married a woman named Caroline Wahr who was born around 1842 in Alsace-Lorraine, an area of France bordering Germany. They had seven known children together:
By 1872, the family had settled into 4 Faulkner Alley in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, which was later renumbered to 1440 Faulkner Alley and eventually renamed to Faulsey Way. Sometime before 1890, August also acquired the property next to his own, on which more houses were built in 1874 and 1879. Eventually, August owned a total of six houses that lined Faulkner Alley and Fayette Street. Because of this, the Bauers are sometimes listed as living at 37 Fayette Street which was renumbered to 1443 Fayette Street sometime between 1899 and 1901 and renamed to W North Ave sometime after 1925 (well after the Bauers moved out). August’s three houses on Fayette Street were numbered 37, 37 ½, and 39 (now known as 1443, 1441, and 1439 W North Ave) and his houses on Faulkner Alley were numbered 4, 6, and 8 (now known as 1440, 1438, and 1436 Faulsey Way). The houses on Fayette Street (W North Ave) which had been built in 1874 and 1879 are still standing and occupied but the houses on Faulkner Alley (Faulsey Way) have since been torn down and appear to serve as backyards for those on W North Ave. The number of boarders and tenants August had in all six houses over the years is in the dozens but some of the more noteworthy names were Joseph Sye, John McCallum Pearson and Robert Russell, who we’ll discuss later.
In 1870 Caroline was illiterate in English but had learned to read and write by 1880. Though she was from France, she probably spoke German since her parents were German and immigrated to America when she was a young child of only about three years old. The fact that she was still illiterate in English as an adult suggests that she did not attend an English school in America and shows how strong the German language remained in America during this time. It was only during WWI that German really began to die out as a common language, particularly in Pennsylvania. Census records suggest it was common for children in this area to stop attending school around age 15. It’s unknown who taught Caroline to read and write as an adult; it may have been August or she may have picked it up from her oldest children as they learned at school. It could have even been a friend or neighbor.
August worked as a machinist his whole life but two of his sons switched occupations frequently. Louis became a spring fitter first, then a laborer, a street cleaner, a fireman, and an engineer. His other son George started working as early as 16 years old as a clerk but later in life also became a machinist like his father. He eventually became a mill foreman.
Louis never married but why is unknown. He was competent enough to work and was literate but never lived alone or as head of the household and seemingly did not register for the WWI Draft. So it’s possible he was somewhat mentally disabled, though at the time it was more common for people of this nature to be put in an institute. Louis lived with his father until August died and then lived as a boarder or lodger in other people’s homes. He first lived with Joseph Sye’s family, who had been tenants of one of the six houses August Bauer owned at 1441 Fayette Street but they then appeared to move next door to 1445, and Louis went with them. In 1920, another lodger named Malcolm Pearson was living with the Sye family along with Louis. Malcolm was a brother of Scottish born John McCallum Pearson, who had been living with the Bauers in 1889 and who became president of a company that Edward later worked for (more on this below). By 1930, 63 year old Louis had moved in with a family by the name of Wockler, though he lived next door to Joseph Sye’s son, William.
It’s therefore not surprising that John McCallum Pearson also married August’s daughter Anna Mary around 1890. They had at least four children together and lived in Bellevue.
Amelia married English born William H. Cutler and had eight children, initially living in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania before moving to Clinton Township, Knox County, Ohio. Amelia died there aged 68 on November 13, 1938.
Edward married a woman named Anna Jane Russell on November 28, 1899 when he was 26 and she was only 17. Around the time of their marriage, Anna’s father Robert Russell was living in one of the 6 houses August owned, 1440 Faulkner Alley, which is probably how Edward and Anna met.
George married a woman named Agnes and had at least three children. At first, they lived in one of the Bauer homes on 1441 Fayette Ave but eventually they moved to Franklin Street.
Emily, who seems to have also gone by Emma, married Elmer Marshell but not much else is know about their lives. The fact that Emily may have also been known as Emma suggests that her sister Emma died young, possible before Emily was born.
August died on August 12, 1913 while his wife Caroline died sometime before 1900. August had died a US citizen, having naturalized sometime before 1870. In his will, dated from 1909, he left all that he possessed to his six children, which supports the idea that first born daughter Emma died young. He named all three of his sons as executors of his will, which suggests that Louis was competent. August was buried in the First German United Evangelical Protestant Church on Juniata Street which is now the Victory Baptist Church.
After Edward’s marriage to Anna, they initially lived in one of August’s houses in Allegheny City, which had such a strong German population it was often nicknamed Deutschtown. Allegheny City was separated from Pittsburgh only by the Allegheny River and in 1907, it was annexed into Pittsburgh. The vast majority of Allegheny City residents were strongly opposed to the merger and so it might explain Edward’s move to Sheraden, Carnegie (732 Merwyn Ave, which may have been renumbered to 2747) around 1907, which was an area just west of Pittsburgh. If they felt strongly enough about it, perhaps they moved out of the city in protest of the merger. But the move could have also been related to the Pittsburgh flood in March of 1907 when heavy rainfall and snowmelt caused the rivers to overflow. There was $5 million of damage to the city and since the Bauer’s homes on Fayette/Faulkner were just east of the Ohio River and a 1909 survey of the damage reports that the flood did just barely extend to Fayette Street and Faulkner Alley, it’s possible they had to temporarily relocate. However, they did not actually move very far since Merwyn Ave is only just on the opposite side of the Ohio River, near West Carson Street so it too could have had flood damage. This area is no longer a part of Carnegie, which is now only a small borough about 6 miles southwest of Merwyn Ave. Obviously, at some point, parts of Carnegie also found itself incorporated into Pittsburgh. Regardless, Edward and his family found themselves back in what had been Allegheny City (now Pittsburgh) by 1912 at 1331 Hopkins Street (now the back of an office supply store), a home they rented from Frank L. Whitty for $31 a month, which was only just a few streets south of Fayette (but of course, by this point, August had passed away).
In both cities, however, the second industrial revolution was still in full swing and so it’s not surprising that Edward wound up working as a boilermaker (though when he was 22, he briefly worked as a tile setter). Though the name originally indicated someone who built actual boilers, it became a more general term for a trained craftsman who produced any steel fabrications from plates and sections and the trade evolved out of the industrial blacksmith. In celebration of the boilermaker, there is now a beer cocktail named after them which includes a glass of beer and a shot of whiskey, tequila, or vodka and may be served either mixed or with the beer as a chaser. It is also known more simply as just “a shot and a beer.”
Edward is also reported as a secretary and treasurer of Pearson Manufacturing Co. on Beaver Ave in 1912 and 1916 respectively, where John McCallum Pearson, the man who had been living with the Bauers in 1889, was president (he probably founded the company). There is a company by the same name now in Charlotte, North Carolina which is described as “a precision machine shop that can custom make, repair, and construct assemblies at your convenience”. Another company called Pearson Manufacturing LLC produces speciality hydraulic tooling and is based in Pineville, Louisiana. And one just outside of Pittsburgh in Verona is a Pearson Manufacturing Inc. It’s unknown whether these companies have any connection to the one from Edward’s history.
Edward and Anna had only three children:
Katherine may have been named after her maternal grandmother, another Catherine. Being only about a year apart, James may have been very close to his older sister since he went on to name his own daughter after her.
In 1909, though still married to Edward, Anna can be found living on her own in a lodging house on Burgess Alley, which no longer exists but it ran from South Diamond to East Ohio Streets, between Arch and West Diamond, parallel to Federal and Sherman Ave. It may have had some association with the nearby department store Boggs & Buhl since the address was sometimes recorded as 616 Buhl instead of Burgess. Anna was reported on the 1910 census as working as a nurse for a private family but death record says she did housework. The keeper of the lodging house Anna lived in was named Jennie Kirkpatrick, a 26 year old Maryland born woman with a five year old son. The other lodgers at the house included Ida Baker, a 41 year old widow working as a Laundress for a private family, and Ida’s 15 year old daughter Florence, who helped out by serving as an errand girl at the market. Also living there was Ida’s 40 year old unmarried brother, William D. Dick who was a laborer. Lastly there was a salesman Harry Mann and his wife Pearl, 25 and 20 years old respectively, with no children, who were also living at the lodging house. Anna was 27 at the time and so she may have found friendships in the other two women around her age, Jennie Kirkpatrick and Pearl Mann.
Sometime between 1910 and 1913, Anna moved to 109 Rampart Street/Alley which is now where a First National Bank sits. In 1907, the property had been owned by a company called Fidelity T&T Co. and they may have still been the owners when Anna died there on December 7, 1913 of acute alcoholism at only 31 years of age. The informant of her death was her stepmother, suggesting that Anna was not only estranged from her husband but also her father. This is further supported by the fact that no one ever bought her a headstone and so her grave in Homewood Cemetery remains unmarked to this day. It may have been Anna’s drinking which lead to Edward kicking her out of their family home and lives. The children were only eight, seven, and four years old when Anna moved out and twelve, eleven, and eight when she died. Keeping in mind that they had only just recently lost their grandfather a few months earlier, the latter part of 1913 must have been a hard year for the Bauer family.
In 1920, James was 18 and working as a clerk in a steel mill, which may have been a job his father got for him with his connections in the boilermaker industry. Katherine worked as a file clerk in an office and later as a stenographer for the Oil Well Supply Company before she presumably married sometime in 1929 or 1930 when she was about 28 or 29. Stenography, or shorthand, is an abbreviated method of writing and was considered an essential part of secretarial training. In 1930, Helen was 25 years old and living with her father Edward. We can see the influence the stock market crash had on Edward, who, although reported as a boilermaker, is marked down as unemployed. In 1929 before the stock market crash, Helen was a comptometer operator. A comptometer was the first commercially successful key-driven mechanical calculator which was later replaced by electronic calculators and now only found in museums.
James married Jennie Lee Pike on November 19, 1923 when he was 21 years old and she was 18. It’s unknown how or where James and Jennie met. Jennie was from Ohio and there’s no evidence that her family had moved to Pennsylvania or that James spent any time in Ohio. They were married in New Cumberland, Hancock County, West Virginia, which was a midway point between their two places of residence.
Edward’s death remains unknown but he died sometime after 1940, probably in Bath, Morgan County, West Virginia. He had moved there with his daughter Helen Grace and her husband Wilbur Hovermale sometime in 1939 or 1940. They were married around 1832 and had four children before moving to West Virginia. Bath is sometimes referred to by it’s post office, Berkeley Springs, and is not anywhere near the location in West Virginia where Helen’s brother James was married.
James and Jennie settled on 158 Clymer Street, Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania where James was a salesman of household goods, having only completed two years of high school. They had three children together:
Tragically, Edward Ralph died when he was only 3 months old. The cause is unknown but the doctor had recommended to Jennie that she take him outside as much as possible for the dry air. This suggests he maybe had some fluid buildup in the lungs. However, having been born in December, Jennie was not comfortable keeping an infant outside in such cold weather for too long. Whether this had any negative or positive effect on his health is unknown. He is buried in Charles Evans Cemetery, Reading.
Jennie and James had two other children, twin boys, but they died either at birth or soon after. They were born premature around 6 months into pregnancy due to a bus accident. They probably were unnamed and it’s unclear when they were born or where they might be buried.
In 1934, James left the family and divorced Jennie. Within the next three years, he remarried a woman named Anna S (b. abt. 1907 in Pennsylvania) who, according to his son, did not want anyone to know that her new husband had a previous family, presumably because divorce was still a taboo subject. As a result, the children were instructed never to acknowledge their father if they happened to see him in public and James was not a part of much of his children’s lives as they grew up.
About two years after her divorce from James, Jennie remarried to Gilbert B. Hougate in December 1936. Within the next four years, they moved to Philadelphia and lived at 4714 Old York Road. Jennie worked as a waitress, having only an 8th grade level of education, while Gilbert was a cabinet maker, also with only an 8th grade education. They were both working 40 hours a week in 1940 though in 1939, Gilbert had obviously been unemployed for some time since he only worked 20 weeks out of that whole year and only made $180 whereas Jennie had worked all 52 weeks and brought in $520. This meant that for the year of 1939, their combined income was only $700, about $11,300 today, which is lower than what minimum wage is today for one person (if one worked 40 hours a week, 52 weeks year on the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, one would make $15,080 annually). They rented their home for $30 a month. Sometime around 1941, Jennie divorce Gilbert as well because he was an alcoholic.
Meanwhile, James was still in Reading (more specifically in Kenhorst) which meant his children’s move to Philadelphia would have made it even more difficult for him to have a relationship with them. In 1939 and 1940, he was working 60 hours a week, 52 weeks out of the year and making about $2,800 annually (about $45,000 today) selling china and glassware. Wife Anna was a spinner in a silk mill working 45 weeks a year and making $900 annually (about $14,400 today). With such a reasonable household income compared to that of his ex-wife’s, it’s not surprising to see that James owned their home - it was worth $5,200.
In 1943 when James was 41 years old, he joined the Freemasons and served as Worshipful Master in 1950. His duties included directing all business of his lodge and presiding over ceremonies. The office is obtained by election but is typically filled by the previous year’s Senior Warden out of tradition. Upon completion of the one year term in office, the Worshipful Master becomes known as a “Past Master”, who duties and privileges vary from lodge to lodge.
By this point, he had gotten out of household goods sales and entered into Life Insurance sales, working for Aetna Life Insurance, a company which has been around since 1853 and still running today. Around 1951, he also divorced from his second marriage to Anna.
Around 1947, Jennie remarried for the third and final time to Wenzel Joseph Welischek, known to family as Bill, and they lived in Wilmington, Delaware. She was 42 years old and he was 40. Finally, she’d found happiness with a man and they were married until his death in 1968 when he was only 60 years old. Jennie survived him by almost 20 years when she passed away just two days before Christmas in 1985. She was 80 years old.
James had remarried for a third time as well in June of 1951 to a woman named Alma Irene Rowlands (born April 1, 1908). The third time apparently is the charm after all since this marriage was also successful. They were married until James’ death in his 66th year on January 22, 1969 in Reading. He is buried in Charles Evans Cemetery. Alma was described as a wonderful and warm person and is credited as the driving force behind the reconciliation of her husband and his children. She had not been married before James and so had no children of her own. She worked as a bookkeeper or clerk for Ruttenberg Furniture Company from the time she was in her early 20s until at least 1957 and may have been employed until it was bought out by another company in 1964. She did not remarry after James’ death and lived into her 80’s, dying sometime after 1993.
**A lot of recent content was removed to respect the privacy of living individuals - relatives of the Bauer family can contact me on Ancestry.com for more details.**
© Robin Bauer 2010-2013
Bauer Photos and Documents
A Google Street Maps screenshot of 1439 - 1443 Fayette Street (now W North Ave) in Pittsburgh, among the properties that August Bauer owned and rented out, built in 1874-9.
Satellite image of showing an outline of the Bauer’s main property upon which sat Bauer’s Mill in what is now Jefferson Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania.
A section of the 1912 map from the Report of the Flood Commission of Pittsburgh showing the damage of the 1907 flood to the Bauer’s homes on Fayette Street and Faulkner Alley.
James Edward Bauer I holding his baby son, James Edward Bauer II
James Edward Bauer I and his third wife Alma Irene Rowland, with their dog. James was very involved in the Berks County Dog Training Club.