Louis Phillip Kessler and Helena Spies of Berleburg

My Great Great Grandparents from the Kessler and Spies families of Berleburg in Wittgenstein

Signature of Louis P. Kessler
When Louis Phillip Kessler was born on January 7, 1838, in Berleburg, Wittgenstein, Westphalia, Prussia, Germany, his father, Johann Daniel Kessler, was 32 and his mother, Florentine, was 29. He married Anna "Helena" Katherine Spies on March 9, 1862, in his hometown. They had four children during their marriage. He died on June 10, 1911, in Rock Port, Missouri, at the age of 73, and was buried there. Berleburg is now called Bad Berleburg, Siegen-Wittgenstein, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Anna "Helena" Katherine Spies was born on December 28, 1834, in Balde (near Raumland), Wittgenstein, Westphalia, Prussia, Germany, just a short distance from Berleburg. On some records her name is recorded as Anna Katharine Magdalene Spiess. Her father, Georg, was 32 and her mother, Anna, was 32. She married Louis Phillip Kessler on March 9, 1862, in Berleburg. They had four children during their marriage. She died on July 1, 1911, in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, having lived a long life of 76 years, and was buried in Clifton, New Jersey.

Berleburg coat of arms
Wittgenstein coat of arms

Louis Phillip Kessler and his wife Katherina had four children:

  1. Gustave "August" Kessler - born 1862 in Iowa - died before 1911
  2. Anna E Bennett née Kessler - born 7 March 1865 in Missouri - died 9 June 1925

  3. Charles Albert Kessler - born 5 June 1866 in St. Joseph, Missouri - died 7 May 1939

  4. John William Kessler - born October 1870 in St. Joseph, Missouri - died 19 Feb 1909


1740 Berleburg, Wittgenstein
All of Louis Phillip Kessler's great grandparents were born in and around Berleburg in Wittgenstein about 1740 or thereabouts. The surnames are Kessler, Winter, Fuchs, Dreissbach, Kemper, Schnell, Jeckel, and one unknown.
Early postcard of Berleburg, Wittgenstein

1764 Birth of Phillip's Grandfather
Johann Wilhelm Kessler was born January 25, 1764 in Berleburg, Wittgenstein, Westphalia, Prussia, Germany. He married Maria Louise Fuchs who was born September 1, 1770 in Berleburg. They had nine children, all born in Berleburg:

  1. Maria Elisabetha Kessler - born 22 November 1790 
  2. Charlotte Christiane Schuessler (Kessler) - born 13 November 1791 
  3. Christiana Louisse Kessler - born 1 January 1795 
  4. Christian Heinrich Kessler - born 22 September 1797 
  5. Maria Louisa Kessler - born 16 February 1800 
  6. Catharina Vahle (Kessler) - born 19 October 1802 
  7. Johann Daniel Kessler - born 28 March 1805   
  8. Heinrich Kessler - born 22 January 1808 
  9. Heinrich Philipp Kessler - born 7 February 1811 

Evangelisch church in Berleburg
1805 Birth of Phillip's Father
The seventh child was Phillip's father, Johann Daniel Kessler. Born March 28, 1805.

1831 Marriage of Louis Phillip Kessler’s parents
On 10 September 1831 at the age of 26, Johann Daniel Kessler was married to Florentine Christiane Kemper at the Evangelisch church in Berleburg Stadt, Westfalen, Prussia. Florentine was born in Berleburg in 1808, so was 23 when she got married.

The church where they were married is still standing today, and I am grateful that a local gentleman was willing to take a photo of it for me.

1832 Birth of Phillip’s sister Friederike Louise
Birth 11 October 1832 in Berleburg, Wittgenstein, Westphalia, Prussia, Germany
Marriage 1859 to Charles John Grafe in Iowa, USA
Death 19 October 1918 in Muscatine, Iowa

1833 Marriage of Anna Katharine Spies’ parents
Georg Heinrich Spies and Anna Elisabeth Brandau, were married in Raumland on 6 October 1833. Georg was also born in Raumland on 1 April 1802, and was 31 at the time of his marriage. Anna was born in Berghausen on 12 June 1802, and was 31 upon marriage.
The very church in Raumland where many of my relatives were baptized and married

1834 Birth of Phillip’s brother John Friedrich
Birth 13 June 1834 in Berleburg, Wittgenstein, Westphalia, Prussia, Germany

1834 Birth of Anna Katharine Spies
Helene Anna Katharine Spies was born in Balde, on 28 December 1834. She was one of four children of Georg Heinrich Spies and Anna Elisabeth Brandau. After moving to America, her name is often listed as Helena. She was christened 9 January 1835 in nearby Raumland, Wittgenstein, Westphalia, Prussia, Germany. Her maiden name is sometimes spelled Spiess.
"Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NRCN-F8R : accessed 11 June 2016), Anna Katharina Spiess, 09 Jan 1835; citing ; FHL microfilm 804,033.

1838 Birth of Louis Phillip
Louis Phillip Kessler was born in January 7, 1838 in Berleburg, Westfalen, in what was then Prussia. His residence is listed as Preußen, Germany. His christening was January 13, 1838.  He was the third of seven children born to Daniel Kessler and Florentine Kessler nee Kemper. The seven children were: Louise Grafe neé Kessler; Friedrich Kessler; Louis Phillip Kessler; Philippine Kessler; Henry Kessler, Wilhelmine Lumpe née Kessler, and Elisabeth Kessler.  His older sister Louise was born in 1833, and his younger brother Henry Kessler was born in 1843. His father, Daniel Kessler was a Tailor which is a trade the Phillip learned as well.
"Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NPJ2-DZK : accessed 11 June 2016), Philipp Kessler, 13 Jan 1838; citing ; FHL microfilm 591,332.

1840 Birth of Phillip’s sister Philippine
When Phillip was two years old, he welcomed a newborn sister. Philippine F. Kessler was born 12 August 1840 in Berleburg Stadt, Westfalen, Prussia.   I do know that she married Anton A. Traut, and died on 4 July 1915 in Spokane, Washington.

1843 Birth of Phillip’s brother Heinrich
Heinrich Kessler, later known in the USA as Henry Kessler was born on 8 November 1843 in Berleburg Stadt, Westfalen, Prussia. Phillip was 5 at the time.  Henry came to the US, got married and had children. Henry died on 12 January 1917 in Denver, Jefferson, Colorado, USA.

1848 Birth of Phillip’s sister Wilhelmina 
Birth 19 Feb 1848 in Berleburg Stadt, Westfalen, Prussia
Marriage 8 October 1870 to Frederick W. Lumpe in Muscatine, Iowa
Death 16 Feb 1926 in Cedar Falls, Iowa

1851 Birth of Phillip’s sister Josephine Elizabeth 
Birth 06 Sep 1851 in Berleburg Stadt, Westfalen, Prussia
Marriage 27 April 1892 to James Shannon in Sault Saint Marie, Michigan
Marriage to Henry Feldman
Death Sep. 29, 1930 in Sault Sainte Marie, Chippewa, Michigan, US

1857 Phillip’s brother Heinrich leaves for America
Henry Kessler had arrived in America in 1857 at age 14.

1858 Phillip’s sister Louise Grafe leaves for America
Louise Kessler Grafe and her husband Charle Grafe arrived in America in 1858.

1862 Marriage of Louis Phillip Kessler and Anna Katharine Spies 
Phillip was married 9 March 1862 to Anna Katherine Spiese in Berleburg.  Katharine -- who was also known as “Helena” -- was from Balde, just a few kilometers away.
"Deutschland Heiraten, 1558-1929," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JHSR-5Z9 : accessed 11 June 2016), Philipp Kessler and Anna Katharine Spies, 09 Mar 1862; citing Evangelisch, Berleburg Stadt, Westfalen, Prussia; FHL microfilm 923,185.

1862 Marriage record of Philipp Kessler and Anna Katharine Magdalene Spiess in Berlelburg

1862 Coming to America
A few months after their marriage, Louis and Helena immigrated to the USA. They traveled aboard the barque 'ANNA' that arrived in Baltimore from Bremen via Castle Garden, NY on September 18, 1862. On the passenger list, recorded at Castle Garden immigration center in New York, they are listed as HELENE KESSLER and PHIELIP KESSLER, both aged 24 years. The barque 'Anna' aka Bark Anna was owned by Lange & Grave of Bremen.  They listed their final destination as Washington, but they ended up in Muscatine. I'm guessing that's a mispronunciation issue.  Their place of origin was transcribed as Berneburg instead of Berleburg, probably just to make things difficult for me.
Baltimore, Maryland. "Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Baltimore, 1820-1891". Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. Micropublication M255, roll 13, list 39. 
The barque Anna in full sail, by Jacob Spin, 1860

1862 Muscatine, Iowa
Upon arrival in America in 1862, the couple located in Muscatine, Iowa where his brother and sister were both already living. Henry Kessler had arrived in America in 1857 and their sister Louise and her husband Charle Grafe had been living in Muscatine since leaving Germany in 1858.

1862 Birth of their first child, Gustave
Gustave "August" Kessler was born in Muscatine County, Iowa in 1862.  He is listed on his father's obituary as his deceased son, August. Therefore, he died before 1911. He's also not listed on the 1900 census, so probably earlier than than.

Circa 1864 Death of Phillip's Mother
Florentine Christiane Kessler neé Kemper died between 1851 and 1864 at a fairly early age. Since she gave birth to Josephine in September 1851, it's possible she died shortly after childbirth of some sort of infection. The more likely option is that she died about 1864, and that is what spurred her husband to leave for America.

1864 Phillip's Father come to America
Just two years later, his father Daniel Kessler arrived in America at age 59 after his wife died, to join his children in Muscatine. Daniel arrived in New York on August 6, 1864 aboard the Geestemunde from Bremen. In that 1870 census, he’s listed as stay with his daughter, Louise Graf . Bythe 1885 census, Daniel Kessler is listed as a widowed Tailor, age 79, living with the family of Frederick and Wilhelmina Lump (another of Daniel’s daughters).

Civil War Record for Louis P. Kessler
1864 Phillip Enlists in the Union Army for The Civil War
In 1864, at the beginning of the Civil War, Louis Kessler enlisted in the Union Army, volunteering in the service of U.S. Regiment of Missouri Volunteers for one year on August 1, 1864. The 43rd Regiment Infantry was organized at St. Joseph, Missouri, August 22 to September 7, 1864 and attached to District of Northern Missouri, Dept. of Missouri, until April, 1865. The attached to District of Central Missouri, until June, 1865, with Duty in District of Northern Missouri until April, 1865. The 43rd saw action at Booneville, Mo., October 9 and 12, 1864. Brunswick October 11. Battle of Glasgow October 15, 1864 (6 Cos.). Operating against guerrillas in District of Central Missouri until June, 1865. Affair Little Blue River March 11, 1865 (Detachment). Skirmish Star House, near Lexington, May 4 (Detachment).

1864 The Battle of Glasgow
The most important action the 43rd saw was at the Battle of Glasgow. In 1864, Confederate Major General Sterling Price led a raid into Missouri in an attempt to capture his home state of Missouri for the Confederacy. On October 5th Colonel Chester Harding with six companies of the 43rd Missouri Volunteers reluctantly left St. Joseph on the West Wind, a commercial river 350-ton packet boat, to go to Jefferson City to help stop Price who was threatening to capture Jefferson City.   The West Wind had a paddle wheel on each side and 215 feet long and as Harding had 430 men with him so the boat must have been quite crowded. The Battle of Glasgow was fought on October 15, 1864, in and near Glasgow, Missouri.. The 43rd under Harding's command saw action as soon as the engagement commenced and performed their various duties with gallantry and skill under severe fire. After a fire on small-arms and artillery for two hours Colonel Harding, commanding Federal forces, sent out a flag desiring to know what terms would be granted to him in case he surrendered. He was answered that they should be treated as prisoners of war, private property should be respected, and officers permitted to keep their side-arms. Accepting the terms the entire Federal force was surrendered, consisting of Colonel Harding's regiment and four companies of militia, numbering between 800 and 900 men, 1,200 small-arms, about the same number of overcoats, 150 horses, 1 steam-boat, and large amounts of underclothing. Although the battle resulted in a Confederate victory and the capture of significant war material, it had little long-term benefit as Price was ultimately defeated at Westport a week later, bringing his campaign in Missouri to an end.

1865 Birth of Anna
On 7 March 1865, the Kessler's welcomed their second child into the world. She was Anna E. Kessler, and was born in St. Joseph. She went on to marry Martin VanBuran Bennett on 13 November 1887 and had one son, Harry Albert Bennett Sr. in 1890.  Anna is buried along with her mother.

1865 The End of the Civil War
Louis’ Regiment mustered out June 30, 1865 at Benton Barracks, St. Louis by Adjunct General of Missouri, Samuel P. Simpson.The Regiment lost 43 men during service: 11 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 53 Enlisted men by disease.  Louis Kessler was honorably discharged, mustering out as a Corporal after serving 10 months and 17 days.

1865 Post War in St. Joseph
After the war Louis and Anna went to St. Joseph, Missouri, where he was first engaged in the tailoring business and afterward served as a member of the police force. From there he went to Marysville, visiting some other places before he finally located in Rock Port, Missouri in 1871.

1866 Birth of Charles
On 5 June 1866, Phillip and Helena welcomed their third child and second son, Charles Albert Kessler into the world. Charles was born in St. Joseph, Missouri. He married Rose Lena Lukes and had two sons of his own before dying at age 72 in Oskaloosa, Iowa on 7 May 1939.

1868 Citzenship
On October 7, 1868 Louis Kessler applied for citizenship in the state of Missouri, County of Nadaway, town of Marysville. Clerk of circuit court was John C. Terhune. Witnesses were Matthew S. Roseberg and Lafayette Dawson. Citizenship was granted on October 30, 1868

1869 Birth of son John
Phillip and Helena's four and last child, and third son, John William Kessler was born in October 1869 in St. Joseph, Missouri. John died at age 39 in Rock Port, Missouri, and had three children before he passed away. His wife, Mary "Jessie" Elizabeth Zulauf went on to remarry, and have two more children. with Edward "Jake" Jennings.

1870 US Census in Rock Port
The federal census for the United States in 1870 has Philip Kessler and his wife Helen, including four young children: Gustave, Anna, Albert, and William.  Philip's occupation is listed as a barber.
  1. Philip Kessler, aged 32, born in Prussia 
  2. Helen Kessler, aged 34, born in Prussia
  3. Gustave Kessler, aged 8, born in Iowa
  4. Anna Bennett, aged 5, born in Missouri
  5. Albert Kessler, aged 3, born in Missouri
  6. William Kessler, aged 7 months, born in Missouri
1870 United States Federal Census for Kessler family in Rock Port
1880 US Census in Rock Port
The federal census for the United States in 1880 has Phillip Kessler and his wife Helena, including three teenage children: Anna, Albert, and William.  Philip's occupation is listed as a huckster. Gustave is already missing, so he either is living elsewhere at age 18 or he's already passed away.
  1. Phillip Kessler, aged 42, born in Prussia
  2. Helena C. Kessler, aged 42, born in Prussia
  3. Anna E. Kessler, aged 15, born in Missouri
  4. Carl Albert Kessler, aged 13, born in Missouri
  5. John William Kessler, aged 10, born in Missouri
1880 United States Federal Census for Kessler family in Rock Port

1881 Living in St. Joseph
The family lived in St. Joseph, Missouri for a while, as the THE ATCHISON COUNTY MAIL, September 1, 1881 reported: 'Squire Kessler has sold his residence to the eastern part of town to Ed Smith. We learn that the 'Squire will locate in St Joseph. The ATCHISON COUNTY JOURNAL, Sep 10, 1881, Saturday also reported that: Phil Kessler and family have moved to St Joseph....

1889 Death of Father
Louis Phillip's father Johann Daniel Kessler passed away on 14 December 1889, in Muscatine, Iowa, at the age of 84. In the 1880 census, Daniel was living with his daughter Louise Grafe's family in Muscatine.
"Iowa Deaths and Burials, 1850-1990," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XVQT-4NT : accessed 11 June 2016), Daniel Kessler, 14 Dec 1889; citing Muscatine, Iowa, reference V 1-4 Page 173; FHL microfilm 1,003,495.
1889 Death of Daniel Kessler in Register for Muscatine, Iowa
There was a very short obituary in the Moline Review Dispatch of 20 Dec 1889 that simply stated, "Daniel Kessler, age 84, of Muscatine, Iowa, died there Saturday."
Hawkeye Heritage, issue not recorded (article entitled "Iowa Related Deaths Reported in the Moline Review-Dispatch, Rock Island IL 1889) abstracted by Janet K. Pease of Arvada Colorado

1890 The Missing US Census
In a famous disaster, 99% of the only copy of the 1890 census was destroyed in a 1921 fire. You can read more about it in First in the Path of the Firemen: The Fate of the 1890 Population Census.  In any case, it would have shown the Kessler family living in St. Joseph, Missouri.

1893 Return to Rock Port
Then about 1893 he returned to Rock Port, Missouri, where he resided until his death, being engaged in tailoring work. He also severed as Justice of the Peace of Clay Township for several terms. While in Rock Port, he was referred to as ‘Squire Kessler in many of the newspaper accounts.

1899 Marriage of son Charles
On 19 July 1899, Phillip and Helena's son Charles Albert Kessler married Rose Lena Lukes of Oskaloosa, Iowa. Rose was the daughter of Luke Lukes and Alice Martyn of Cornwall, England. The marriage took places in Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, Iowa.
Kessler-Lukes Family Tree

1900 US Census in Rock Port
The federal census for the United States in 1900 has L.P. Kessler and his wife Lena, including three married children: Anna Bennett, Albert Kessler, and William Kessler.  The address is 24/25 Haugton Street, and his occupation is listed as a tailor.  Since their three children are all married, and living with their families elsewhere -- it looks like Gustave probably died before 1900.
  1. L.P. Kessler, aged 62, married for 39 years, immigration from Germany in 1862
  2. Lena Kessler, aged 63, married for 39 years, immigration from Germany in 1862
  3. Anna Bennett, aged 35, married for 12 years, born in Missouri
  4. Albert Kessler, aged 32, married for 2 years, born in Missouri
  5. William Kessler, aged 30, married for 2 years, born in Missouri
1900 United States Federal Census for Kessler family in Rock Port

1900 Birth of grandson Charles
Charles Philen Kessler was born 25 March 1900 in Oskaloosa, Iowa to Charles and Rose Kessler.

Circa 1900 Rock Port
During the later years of his life Mr. Kessler has engaged to a small extent in the tailoring business having his shop with Schaenleber Brothers, where he was a familiar figure.

 He was one of the typical old Germans of the community and found his greatest pleasure in associating with the men of his native land.

1907 Birth of grandson Robert
Robert Walter Kessler was born 10 July 1907 in Oskaloosa, Iowa to Charles and Rose Kessler.

1907 Working at Courthouse in Rock Port
In October 1907, Louis sent his son Charles a postcard from Rock Port, Missouri. On the front was the court house that Louis was working in as a justice of the peace.
Atchison County Courthouse, Rock Port, Missouri

1909 Death of son John
Phillip and Helena's son, John William Kessler died on 19 February 1909 in Rock Port at the age of 39.

1910 US Census in Rock Port
The federal census for the United States in 1910 has Phillip Kessler and his wife Lena, both in the 70s, living in Rock Port with their grandson John Kessler.  It looks like after their son, John William Kessler died, his widow needed help in tending to young John Albert Kessler while she dealt with a baby girl.  Phillip's occupation is listed as a Tailor in a clothing store.
  1. Phillip Kessler, aged 72, born in Germany
  2. Lena Kessler, aged 75, born in Germany
  3. John Kessler, aged 7, born in Missouri
1910 United States Federal Census for Kessler family in Rock Port

1911 Death of Phillip
Phillip Kessler’s death took place at this home in Rock Port on Saturday, June 10, 1911, in the evening about six o'clock. Death followed an acute illness of chronic interstitial nephritis which extended only but a few weeks, but which quickly have done what had always appeared to be a hardy constitution. First evidence of this decline came through failing eyesight, which doctors told him could not be checked and which within but a few weeks resulted in total blindness. The last time the folks in Rock Port saw Squire Kessler downtown was when he was lead across the street by one of the young men of the town, unable to see the old familiar sights about him, in some cases even unable to recognize the voices of his old associates until he had thought a moment.

1911 Death Certificate for Louis Phillip Kessler of Rock Port, Missouri

1911 Funeral of Phillip
Funeral services were held at the home on Tuesday afternoon, Rev. A. Spieckermann, of the Lutheran Church preaching the sermon in both English and German, and the earthly remains of our old citizen were laid away in Greenhill cemetery. A large number of friends, and especially men, attending the services at both the home and grave.

1911 Death of Helena
On 1 July 1911, only three weeks after her husband's death in St. Joseph, Missouri, Helena died at the home of her daughter Mrs. Anna Bennett in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. The death of husband and wife were three weeks apart to a day. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Kessler had accompanied her daughter to her home in New Jersey, stopping a few days at the home of her son Albert in Oskaloosa, Iowa. During her husband’s last illness, she was also dangerously ill and was hardly able to accompany her daughter and son. It was hoped that the change would be beneficial but scarcely a fortnight intervened between her passing and that of her life companion.

1911 Burial of Helena
Helena Spies Kessler is buried in an unmarked grave, in an empty area at the base of a tree in section 11, lot 324 of East Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clifton, New Jersey. There is no marker or tombstone. Her son-in-law Martin Bennett is in grave 1, daughter Anna Belle Kessler Bennett is in grave 2. Sarah Oldham Milligan (Martin's Mother's sister) and Helena Spies Kessler share grave 6.
Unmarked grave of Helena Spies Kessler at base of tree in Clifton, New Jersey

My 8 Families
Bodenheimer-Gruenwald of Baden
Kessler-Spies of Berleburg
Maass-Lachmann of Berlin
Lukes-Martyn of Cornwall
Levy-Landsberger of Posen
Zimmer-Petau of Reichenbach
Wolff-Wolff of Posen
Mansel-Obst of Breslau