Elizabeth Dörr Ruehl Family
Elizabeth Dörr Ruehl
ELIZABETH1 DÖRR RUEHL daughter of Johann Adam Dörr and Maria Nahrgang Dörr
born: 29 Jul 1824 in Niederklein, Kirchhain, Marburg, German Confederation
died: 04 Sep 1895 at the age of 71 in Ossian, Winneshiek County, Iowa, USA
married: HENRICH “HENRY” RUEHL (most likely German Rühl)
buried: Saint Francis de sales Cemetery, Ossian, Winneshiek County, Iowa, USA
HENRICH “HENRY” RUEHL I
born: 28 Feb 1828 in Hesse- Darmstadt, German Confederation
died: 24 Jun 1903 at the age of 77 in Cooper, Webster County, Iowa, USA
buried: Saint Francis de Sales Cemetery, Ossian, Winneshiek County, Iowa, USA
Henry and Elizabeth (Dörr) Ruehl Story
Much of the following information was extracted from US and State census records. You will see many contradictions and errors. Although the people listed are probably correct, their birth dates don’t always match up. Keep in mind that we don’t know who provided the information to the census takers at any given time.
The 1860 US Federal Census shows Henry and Elizabeth “Rahl” living in Galloway [Township], Atlantic Çounty, New Jersey, Egg Harbor City, Post Office.
- Henry, 35 years old, laborer, born in Germany, laborer
- Elizabeth, 37 years old, born in Germany
- Margaret, 10 years old, born in Pennsylvania. attending school
- Catharine, 4 years old, born in Pennsylvania
- Mary, 3 years old, born in New Jersey
- Henry, 1 year old, born in New Jersey
Based on the birthplace of their first two children, we know that they lived in Pennsylvania from about 1850 to at least 1854. Philadelphia is where her two brothers were living at the time.
Sometime between 1854 and 1856 they moved to Egg Harbor, Galloway Township, New Jersey. In my research I found an interesting post titled “Egg Harbor City: New Germany in New Jersey“1 by Dieter Cunz. It is an interesting read that I highly recommend, but it also gives a clue to why the Ruehl family moved to this location. Apparently Egg Harbor City owed its existence to two phenomena: railroad expansion and anti-immigrant feelings.
On the Board of Directors of the railroad company there were several men of German descent. They may have conceived the idea of a German settlement. However, this alone does not account for the fact that Egg Harbor City was planned as a pure German town and that this project soon became know to German-Americans all over the country. The decade preceding the Civil War was a time of turmoil and unrest, of tension and prejudice. The biggest wave of anti-immigrant resentment in American history, a movement called Knownothingism, swept the country. Irish and german immigrants became the main targets for this militant and aggressive group.
In July 1854 a party of a number of prominent German-Americans from Philadelphia, took the first train of the new railroad from Camden and plugged eastward, the official party included a good number of prominent German-Americans from Philadelphia.
Although I doubt Henry Ruehl was part of the first party to travel to what was to become Egg Harbor City, he most likely heard about the community and moved his family there to see what opportunities there were. He is showing as a laborer and as a new community there was most likely opportunities for work.
The 1865 New Jersey State Census shows they are still living in the City of Egg Harbor, Atlantic County, New Jersey, USA. The following family is listed as the family of Henry Ruehl (note that Mary and John are not listed).
The 1870 US Federal Census shows Henry and Elizabeth “Reel” living in Military Township, dwelling and family #95. Her brother Wilhelm and family (Wilhelm listed as Herman), right above them as family and dwelling #94. Henry is listed as a farmer, 46 years old with a personal estate value of $200.00, no real estate value. The following household members were listed.
- Henry, 46 years old, farmer, born in Hesse-Darmastadt, a citizen over 21
- Elizabeth, 45 years old, Keeping House, born in Hesse-Darmastadt [Germany]
- Margareth, 22 years old, at home, born in New Jersey
- Catherine, 15 years old, at home, born in New Jersey
- Mary 13 years old, at home, born in New Jersey, attending school
- Henry, 12 years old, farm laborer, born in New Jersey, attending school
- John, 6, born in New Jersey, attending school
All children are showing as being born in New Jersey [the first two children were actually born in Philadelphia as noted in other records]. I believe the family was living with her brother Wilhelm at the home farm in Military Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa, based on the placement right below Wilhelms’ family on the census record.
It is unknown why the family moved from Egg Harbor City, New Jersey to Military Township, Iowa, but it appears this may be a time of transition.
The 1880 US Federal Census is showing them living in Bloomfield Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa. Bloomfield Township is just east of Military Township in Winneshiek County, Iowa. The following household members were listed:
- Henry, 54 years old, farmer, born in Hesse-Dramstadt [Germany]
- Elizabeth, 56 years old, keeping house, born in Hesse-Dramstadt [Germany]
- Catherine, 25 years old, at home, born in Pennsylvania
- Henry, 20 years old, at home, born in New Jersey
- John, 16 years old, at home, born in New Jersey
This census record does not show the status of their assets, but it appears that they were most likely renting their farm. I see no evidence that they owned any real estate.
The 1885 Iowa State Census shows four of the children living in Ossian, Winneshiek County, Iowa, The parents are not listed and perhaps still living in Bloomfield Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa. I wasn’t able to find Henry and Elizabeth in the 1895 State Census. The following household members were listed:
- Henry II, 24 years old, single, cigar manufacturer, born in Pennsylvania (s/b New Jersey)
- John, 21 years old, single, laborer, born in Pennsylvania (s/b New Jersey)
- Maggie, 29 years old, single, Milliner, born in Pennsylvania
- Kattie, 27 years old, single, no occupation listed, born in Pennsylvania
The 1895 Iowa State Census for Military Townshship, Winneshiek County, Iowa. I suspect they were living is Ossian, as that is where Elizabeth would die later this year on September 4, 1895 at the age of 71. This census shows the following household members:
- Henry, 70 years old, a retired farmer
- Elizabeth, 71 years old
- Margaret, 48 and single,
By the 1900 Census, Elizabeth is deceased and Henry is a widower living with his daughter Katie and her husband Anton Senera, as is her sister Margareth “Maggie” in Cooper, Webster County, Iowa. He is showing as immigrating from Germany in 1850 and in the US 50 years. He is showing as naturalized.
Henry Ruehl died in 1903 at the age of about 77 in Cooper, Webster County, Iowa, USA. Henry and Elizabeth are both buried in Ossian, Winneshiek County, Iowa at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church Cemetery.
In trying to figure out the approximate time of marriage for Henry and Elizabeth, I looked at birth date of their first child, Maggie, assuming they would have married prior to that date. Unfortunately the census records contradict each other and I couldn’t pin her birth date down. If, as noted in the 1860 census, their daughter Margareth was 10 years old in 1860, then it’s probable that Henry and Elizabeth married before or shortly after immigrating from Germany in 1950 (this is the immigration year listed in the 1900 census, but I could not find a record of their immigration]. If the later census record, showing birthdate of Feb 1852, is correct, then they may have met and married in Philadelphia. I’ve not been able to find the immigration record for either of them or their marriage record.
Henry and Elizabeth (Dörr) Ruehl Children
- MARGARET “MAGGIE” RUEHL (daughter of Henry Ruehl I and Elizabeth Dörr Ruehl) was born between 1850 and 1852 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA. She died on 31 Oct 1922 at the age of 70-72 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA. She appeared to live with family most of her life. She was living with her sister Katie in the 1920 US Federal Census, which was 2 years before her death. She is showing as a Milliner in the 1885 Iowa State Census.
- KATHERINE “KATIE” RUEHL (daughter of Henry Ruehl I and Elizabeth Dörr Ruehl) was born about 1855 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA. She died on 11 Oct 1925 in Ramsey, Anoka County, Minnesota, USA. She married ANTHONY “ANTON” JOSEPH SENERA on 19 Nov 1889 in St Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota. He was born in Apr 1863 in Illinois, USA. He died on 16 Jan 1952 at the age of 88 in Ramsey, Anoka County, Minnesota, USA.
This might be the “Katie Rule” mentioned in her uncle Christian Doerr’s will in 1898.
The 1885 Iowa State census shows Katie living with her brothers, Henry and John and her sister Maggie, in Ossian, Winneshiek County, Iowa. Anthony and Katie are showing as living in Cooper, Webster County, Iowa in
The 1900 US Federal Census shows them living in Cooper, Webster County, Iowa. However, they were married in 1889 in St. Paul, Minnesota (marriage record shows him as H.A. Senera).
After Katie died, Anton 2nd married Elizabeth (Unknown). The census shows the following Household members:
Anton Senera Head of Household, born April 1863, married 10 years, born in Illinois, occupation: Market Gardner, renting their farm.
Katie Senera, wife, born Mar 1857 [this is Mary’s birthdate, not Katie’s], age: 43 [s/b 45], married 10 years, birthplace: New Jersey.
- Henry Ruehl, father-In-law, born Feb 1826, age: 74, widowed, born in Germany, immigrated 1850, years in US: 50, Naturalized.
- Maggie Ruehl, sister-in-law, born Feb 1852, age: 48, single, born in New Jersey
- MARY JOSEPHINE RUEHL (daughter of Henry Ruehl I and Elizabeth Dörr Ruehl) was born on 16 Mar 1857 in Egg Harbor, Atlantic County, New Jersey, USA. She died on 02 Sep 1934 in Hennepin County, Minnesota, USA (at the age of 7738). She married SAMUEL CAPERTON JOHNSTON (son of Thomas Johnston and Matilda (Swope) Johnston) on 30 May 1880 in Mc Greger, Clayton County, Iowa. He was born on 04 Oct 1848 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA. He died on 10 Feb 1920 at the age of 71 in Grey Eagle, Todd County, Minnesota, USA. Mary is my 1st cousin 3x removed and an ancestor I will follow.
- HENRY JOHN RUEHL (son of Henry Ruehl I and Elizabeth Dörr Ruehl) was born in Jul 1859 in Egg Harbor, Atlantic County, New Jersey, USA. He died on 22 Oct 1939 in St Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA (at the age of 80). He married MARGARETHA HECK (daughter of Jacob Heck and Margaretha E. Kirsch Heck) on 25 Sep 1890. She was born on 28 Feb 1869 in St Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA. She died on 30 Apr 1961 at the age of 92in Los Angeles, County, California, USA. Henry was a US Army Veteran. Henry is my 1st cousin 3 x removed and an ancestor I will follow.
- JOHN RUEHL (son of Henry Ruehl I and Elizabeth Dörr Ruehl) was born about 1864 in Egg Harbor, Atlantic County, New Jersey, USA. After the 1885 Iowa State Census at the age of 21 where we find John living with his brother and sisters, I haven’t been able to locate any records for him. I did find a John Ruehl who died 9 Sep 1889 at the age of 25 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota that I believe may be him, although the birth year is about 1866, not 1864. 1889 is the year that his sister Katie married Anton in St. Paul. I could not find anything to verify this is our John Ruehl. The FAG memorial number is 181357395.
- Cunz, Dieter. “Egg Harbor City: New Germany in New Jersey” Report of The Society for the History of the Germans in maryland 29 (1956): 9-30. Posted on westjersey.org website online at http://westjersey.org/ehc_cunz56/ngnj16.htm (Accessed 13 Sep 2019).