It is spelled many ways - Bressler, Bresler, Pressler, Presler and yes, even Presley, and there IS a possibility that Elvis is somehow a distant cousin. I understand that Germans pronounce the English B and P the same, so thus the confusion. Bressler and Pressler come off their lips exactly the same and it was up to the listener to interpret the spelling. Immigrants often adopt the spelling "assigned" to them and carry that name forward.
For many years Elizabeth Presler, my Great Great Grandmother and her father John Presler sat on my chart. I had confirmed their place there was legitimate while visiting the Lancaster chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society. I was also aware the name could be Bresler. In John Presler's 1850 census record the name is spelled Prestler. I had settled on Presler as the likely spelling.
By 1850 John Presler's daughter Elizabeth had married Joseph Born and my Great Grandmother Maggie Born was shown in the census as 4 years old. Maggie would become the second wife of Gottleib Darling (Deierling) and my mom's grandmother.
OK, as of a week ago this is what we have:
Florence Darling - Mother
William Edward Darling - Grandfather
Maggie Born - Great Grandmother
Elizabeth Presler - 2nd Great Grandmother
John Presler - 3rd Great Grandfather
I had in my data base that John Presler's wife was Hester (last name unknown) as she is shown as the wife in the 1850 census. It had always bothered me that she was too young to be Elizabeth Presler's mother so I had a big old question mark by her name.
A lot of changes have happened in Ancestry.com and Family Search.org over the past few years and many documents have been digitalized and are now available on-line. So, I decided to find out about Hester, if I could. And, she was indeed his wife....his second wife. The document that tipped me off?
All kinds of wonderful information on this one document. 1) Note the name is spelled with a B 2) Note he received Bounty Land for his service. This was common procedure during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, an arrangement that exchanged land for service in the military. 3) Note name of first wife - important! 4) Note date of marriage of Hester and John Bresler - 1827. 4) I didn't understand the (FIRST MAR.DONOR) at first, but subsequent documents indicate that Hester was first married to Christian Donor.
Ancestry has a branch called Fold-3 where I found the following Application for Pension instituted by Hester Bresler in 1878. It starts with the above document and includes many affidavits of individuals testifying as to Hester's marriage to John Bresler which could not be proven by any documentation. Fold3 John Bresler & his Wife's Application for Pension You'd think since they lived together from 1827 until he died in 1865 and she was still on the homestead in 1878 AND they had eleven children an assumption of a "marriage" would be sufficient. Delia, Annie, Abraham, Jacob, Simon, Daniel, Hester, Phillip, Lafayette, William and Susan - they are all my half 3rd great aunts & uncles.
OK, Katy Letterman Bresler is now the likely candidate to be the mother of Elizabeth Bresler (we are going forward with the B version of the name as it appears to be the correct letter - but watch for another change in a bit.). It appears from the affidavits she died a year or so before John married Hester. Elizabeth, according to the census records was born between 1819 and 1822 depending on what year you are reviewing. Folks often were not sure exactly how old they were and what age they had become - they didn't have Hallmark in those days!
The next document I found was John Bresler's will. It's hard to read but although he doesn't name his two wives he clearly states the children by each. With his second wife Hester the list matches exactly the statement given by Hester when she applied for the pension...see above. He also names another 7 children by his first wife, Katie. Michael, Peter, Benjamin, Mary, Katherine, Elizabeth and it looks like Peggy.
I'm at a dead end for the moment on Katie Letterman. But, I found out where John Bresler came from and by what route.
The name, by the way, was originally Bressler. I told you there would be one more change. The family came from Niederhochstadt, Sudliche Weinstrasse, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. Our line's first emigrants were Johann Georg Bressler's five oldest children who came together in 1749. They left behind their brother Johann Valentin Bressler.
They were (1) Georg Simon Bressler b. 1722
(2) Johann Nicholaus Bressler b 1724
(3) Johann George Bressler b 1728
(4) Maria Elisabeth Bressler b. 1732
(5) Anna Maria Bressler b. 1735
Here is an article about the situation in the Palatine - Palatine History There was a huge influx of German emigrants from 1710 throughout the 18th Century, a lot of them to Pennsylvania with the help of William Penn. Our little group above, with their families, arrived on the ship Lydia in October, 1749 signing the declaration of oath on October 9, 1749.
(1)Simon Bressler went to Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pennsylvania shortly after arrival in the US. In 1767 he was warranted over 210 acres of land in Pine Grove, Berks County (present day Schuylkill County). In 1789 he is listed on an agricultural census as A Farmer with 300 acres of land in Pine Grove. Simon and his wife Anna Barbara Unruh are buried in Hetzels Lutheran Church Cemetery in Pine Grove, Pa.They had four (known) children:
They were (6) George Peter Bressler b. 1749
(7) John Bressler b. 1733
(8) John Nicholas Bressler b. 1758
(9) Sarah Bressler b. 1766
(6) George Peter Bressler, known as Peter was also warranted 150 acres of land in Pine Grove, Pa in 1774. He was in the Berks County Militia on May 17, 1777 and as an Ensign, Fifth Company, Second Battalion, Berks County Militia in May 1780. He was warranted an additional 200 acres of land in 1785 and in 1798 an agricultural census indicates he had a barn and 199 acres in Pine Grove, valued at $497. He was living in Centre County, Pa by 1804.
Peter Bressler purchased 162 1/2 acres in Amanda Township, Fairfield County, Ohio on June 16, 1809. The family's cabin was built on the southern half of the farm property. He married Eva Barbara Ulrich and they had 13 children. Eva died in 1824 and he died around 1832 at the home of his daughter Sarah Bressler Hitchcock. They are buried at the Haas-Peters Cemetery in Amanda Township, Ohio. This poor woman was basically pregnant for 25 years!! The children are:
(10) Valentine Pressler b. 1772
(11) Michael Bressler b. 1774
(12) Jacob Bressler b. 1776
(13) John Bressler b. 1779
(14) Peter Bressler b. 1782
(15) Anna Maria Bressler b. 1784
(16) Catherine Bressler b. 1787
(17) Elizabeth Bressler b. 1788
(18) Phillip Bressler b 1790
(19) Mary Magdalena Bressler b. 1791
(20) Sarah Bressler b. 1793
(21) David Bressler b. 1795
(22) Christina Bressler b. 1797
(13) John Bressler - this brings us full circle. John Bressler is my 3rd great grandfather and his daughter Elizabeth married Joseph Born...see above.
There are several more generations beyond Johann Georg Bressler listed on peoples genealogies on Ancestry, but it starts to get murky - they were all named Johann (Georg, Valentin, Michael, etc) and they all used those names for their children and I need to work to see what I can make of it. Several arguments going on as to the maiden name of some of the women....All of whom are named Anna, Maria, Elizabeth, etc. Eva Christina Barbara is a common one.
Just a note on location, The Bressler family's home in Germany was only a short distance from where the Deierling/Darling family originated in Neustadt an der Weistrasse - on today's roads a 30 minute drive. The Deierlings did not arrive for another 100 years after the Bresslers but they likely knew each other in Fairfield County, Ohio. Gottleib Deierling married Maggie Born whose mother was Elizabeth Bressler. It's a small world after all.
Oh, and as I plugged the Bressler information into Ancestry.com, guess what? I started getting a couple of hits on DNA matches related to Bressler. Here is one of them:
To be continued....