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Hester 'Esther' (Gaumer) Shirer


Hester "Esther" (Gaumer) Shirer was born on Dec. 5, 1807 in Southampton Township, Somerset County, the daughter of Daniel and Hannah (Baughman) Gaumer Sr.  At the age of two, she accompanied her family in their relocation to Ohio. 

On July 1, 1831, at the age of 24, Esther married her 34-year-old widowed brother in law, Valentine Shirer Jr. (1797-1881). His first wife, her sister Catherine, had died the year before. The wedding ceremony likely took place in Muskingum County. Many years later, in 1916, the book History of Butler County, Kansas mentioned Esther and Valentine and said "The Shirers are of Swiss descent, and the Gaumers came from Germany. The Shirers were prominent in the early day colonization of the country, and one of them had a grant from the English crown to establish a colony in Maryland, and later had a grant to found a colony in Pennsylvania."

They resided on a farm near Adamsville, Adams Township, Muskingum County, and had 11 more children of their own, all daughters except three -- Annette Samantha Lacey, Lydia Ellen Bell Kerr, Eliza Jane Vensil, Winifred Agnes Leydig, Rev. Daniel Gurley Shirer, Saline Shirer, Hannah Leydig, Mary Charlotte Shirer, Greenwell Reasoner Shirer, Catharine Mahala Sutton, Sarah Shirer and Cidna E. "Sidney" Shirer. Sadly, daughter Salina died as a newborn on Feb. 27, 1839 in Adams Township, and daughter Mary Charlotte died at age three on June 1, 1846. Their remains were lowered into the earth in the Bethesda Methodist Cemetery.

In about 1833, Valentine and other local men constructed a saw mill on the north fork of Symmes Creek. This is recorded in a Jan. 6, 1946 article in the Zanesville Signal newspaper.

Valentine's farm, western edge of Salem Township, 1852. Library of Congress


Valentine is named in a section of T.F. Williams' 1882 book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio. The text says that he and Esther "remained on the old homestead until his death."

Valentine passed away near Adamsville on Jan. 24, 1881, likely on the home farm, with interment in the Bethesda Methodist Cemetery in Adams Township. 

Esther survived her husband by 16 years. The farm was handed down to her son in law Samuel W. Sutton, with whom she resided. Esther entered eternity on Sept. 7, 1897.


~ Daughter Annette Samantha "Nettie" (Shirer) Lacey ~

Daughter Annette Samantha "Nettie" Shirer (1831- ? ) was born on July 8, 1831 in Adams Township.

At the age of 28, she married John H. Lacey (? - ? ) on April 17, 1859 in Muskingum County. Their name also has been spelled "Lacy."

By 1882, when they were named in the book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio, John was deceased.


~ Daughter Lydia Ellen (Shirer) Bell Kerr ~

Daughter Lydia Ellen Shirer (1832- ? ) was born on Nov. 4, 1832 in Adams Township. She was twice widowed under tragic circumstances and is profiled in a lengthy narrative in T.F. Williams' 1882 book, The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio.

On Feb. 26, 1857, at the age of 25, Lydia married her first husband, William Porter Bell ( ? -1864). Officating was Rev. D. Gordon, a minister of the Methodist Church, and a record was handwritten into the family Bible.

They apparently resided in Muskingum County and produced four children -- Harley W. Bell, Mary Ellen Bell, Daniel Gurley Bell, Ellsworth T. Bell and Ann Elizabeth "Annie" Kerr.

Despite the fact that the children were baptized, no record in writing was kept. During the Civil War, William joined the Union Army on Leap Day 1864, enlisting at Newark or Morgan, OH. He was assigned to duty with the 62nd Ohio Infantry, Company F. Sadly, while in camp near York, PA, he contracted a severe case of diarrhea and lung disease. He was admitted to the White Hall U.S. Army General Hospital at Bristol, Bucks County, PA and gave up his life on Oct. 23, 1864. His remains were placed at rest in a cemetery in Bristol, PA. (Some military documents erroneously place his death in Washington, DC.)

Within 10 months, Lydia was awarded a widow's pension from the federal government as compensation for her sacrifice. [Widow App. #73.442 - Cert. #54.440] When the federal census was taken in 1870, Lydia dwelled in a farming neighborhood near Adamsville that included the families of her relatives Alexander and Jane Shirer and Solomon and Ann Sturtz.

After more than a decade of widowhood, on March 14, 1878, she married again to 66-year-old farmer Watson Kerr (1812-1881). Rev. T.W. Anderson led the nuptials in Muskingum County. Bride and groom were separated in age by 21 years. Watson was "an old, esteemed and well-to-do farmer," said the Cincinnati Enquirer. He had been married before and brought these children to the marriage -- Isaac W. Kerr, Robert H. Kerr, Martha Dorrell, Thomas Kerr and Benjamin H. Kerr. Because she had to surrender her widow's pension upon marrying again, and because one of her children was still underage, it was arranged that her second husband was named as the child's guardian in order to receive the pension payments. [Minor App. #240.839 - Cert. #184.440]

The couple resided on a farm in Adams Township, Guernsey County, OH, and provided a home for their newlywed children (who had married each other) Annie and Benjamin Kerr. Circa 1879, their address in New Concord, Muskingum County and in 1881 Adams Township, Guernsey County.


New Concord, Ohio


Heartache again rocked the family on June 16, 1881 when Watson was killed in a freak railroad accident. "He was bringing a load of produce to town with a spirited team of young horses," reported a host of newspaers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, "when they became frightened at a train of cars near the crossing, west of this place, and, starting to run across the railroad, the engine caught the wagon, demolishing it and throwing Mr. Kerr so violently out as to fracture his skull and produce other injuries that proved fatal in a few hours." A story in the Noble County Republican, reprinted in the Woodsfield (OH) Spirit of Democracy, noted that he "started for Cambridge with a load of wheat and wool, and when he reached the crossing of the pike with the B. & O. near Cambridge, he pulled up to let an approaching train pass. The whistle of the locomotive frightened his horses and they ran across the track in front of the train, the engine striking the wagon in the middle and pitching Mr. Kerr out on a pile of stone near the road, injuring him so badly that he died at noon of same day." Lydia's fate is not yet known.


Daughter Mary Ellen Bell (1859- ? ) was born on April 3, 1859. Henry Decker, M.D. was the physician assisting in the birth. She lived in Muskingum County in 1882 when named in the book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio.


Son Daniel Gurley Bell (1861- ? ) was born on July 16, 1861. P.A. Baker, M.D. provided medical assistance during the birth.


Son Harley W. Bell (1862- ? ) was born in about 1862. His name also has been spelled "Gurley." His early years were spent near Adamsville, Muskingum County, but he was deceased by 1882 and may have died in childhood.


Son Ellsworth T. Bell ( ? - ? ) made his residence in Muskingum County in 1882. He is mentioned by name in the 1882 book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio.


Daughter Ann Elizabeth "Annie" Bell (1863- ? ) was born on Feb. 18, 1863. P.A. Baker, M.D. provided medical assistance during the birth. Annie was a baby when her father died at war. As a teenager, she received a pension of $8 per month from the federal government as support. She married her step-brother Benjamin H. Kerr ( ? - ? ). In 1880, the couple dwelled under their parents' roof and were farmers in Adams Township, Guernsey County.


Stepson Isaac W. Kerr was deceased by 1882.


Stepson Robert H. Kerr lived in Belmont County, OH in 1882.


Stepdaughter Martha Kerr married G.J. Dorrell and dwelled in 1882 in Cambridge, Guernsey County.


Stepson Thomas Kerr made his residence in Cambridge, Guernsey County in the early 1880s.


~ Daughter Eliza Jane (Shirer) Vensil ~

Daughter Eliza "Jane" Shirer (1833-1917) was born on Jan. 30, 1833 in Adams Township.

In 1855, at age 21, she was united in wedlock with Isaiah Vensil (? - ? ), also spelled "Vincel" and "Josiah Vincent." He was a native of Richmond, VA. They apparently made their home in Dresden, Muskingum County.

The couple's known children were Marion Leroy Vincel, Howard Sherman Vinsil, Esther Wages, Winnie Anes Swope, Hattie Katherine Jewell, Homer Vensil and Adda Vensil.

Suffering from organic heart disease, she died 10 days shy of her 83rd birthday on Jan. 20, 1917. Interment was in Bethesda Cemetery. Son Marion Leroy Vincel of Adamsville signed her death certificate.

They are named in The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio, published in 1882.


Bird's eye view of Dresden, Ohio, early 1900s



Son Marion Leroy Vincel (1860-1947) was born on Dec. 29, 1860 near Adamsville. He married Eliza Ann (1860- ? ). Their offspring were Mrs. Ray Frizzell, Media Biller and Arthur Vensil. They were farmers in the Adamsville area until the early 1940s. In the late 1940s, they lived at 1673 Linden Avenue in Zanesville. They were members of the Bethesda Methodist Church. Burdened with heart valve problems, he died in the Heskett Rest Home in Cambridge, Guernsey County, on May 28, 1947. Ray Frizzell of 1673 Linden Avenue signed the death certificate. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery in Zanesville. An obituary was published in the Zanesville Times Recorder.


Daughter Esther E. Vincel (1863-1936) was born on April 7, 1863 in Muskingum County. She was wedded to Lewis Wages ( ? - ? ). As a widow, she made her home in Portage Lakes, Coventry Township, Summit County, OH. Her address was Rex Road. Afflicted with kidney disease, she died at age 74 on Nov. 8, 1936. Her remains were transported for burial to Hadley, Mercer County, PA. Mrs. Mae Swank of Rex Road was the informant for the Ohio death certificate.


Son Howard Sherman Vensil (1864-1939) was born on April 18, 1864 in Coshocton County, OH. He was a farmer and never married. In the late 1930s, he dwelled on Chestnut Street in Dresden, Muskingum County. Suffering from hypertension and heart disease, he died on Oct. 15, 1939. Miss Ada Vensil of Dresden signed the death certificate. Burial was in the Bethesda Cemetery.


Daughter Winnie Agnes Vensil (1856-1943) was born on Aug. 3, 1856 in Coshocton County. She apparently was named for an aunt. She married William Swope ( ? -1942). Their known children weree Bertha Little, Sarha Dotson, Howard L. Swope, Percy Swope and Russell Swope. They lived on High Street in Dresden, Muskingum County. William passed away on Feb. 13, 1942. Winnie only outlived him by a little more than a year. At the age of 86, Winnie contracted a deadly case of bronchial pneumonia, and when added to her organic heart disease, her health declined. She died on April 9, 1943. Son Russell Swope of Dresden provided details for the certificate of death. An obituary in the Zanesville Times Recorder noted that she was survived by 17 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Funeral services were led by Rev. Frederick Brown of the Dresden Methodist Church. Interment was in Dresden Cemetery. Their son Howard was employed as a railroad telegrapher in Toledo, OH for four decades. He died in  Toledo City Hospital at the age of 67 on Jan. 11, 1952.


Daughter Adda Vensil lived in Dresden, OH in 1943 and in Columbus, OH in 1947.


Son Homer Vensil married Carrie Bell ( ? - ? ) in August 1892. They made their residence as farmers in Adamsville and had three children -- Hobard Vensil, Naomi Foster and Alice Shirer. They were members of the Fairview Methodist Church. In August 1942, the couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a family dinner at noon at their home. An article about the anniversary, in the Zanesville Times Recorder, stated that son Hobart lived at 439 Yale Avenue in Zanesville, daughter Naomi Foster in Adamsville and Alice Shirer in Canton, and that there were five grandchildren.


Daughter Hattie Vensil married Roy Jewell. Circa 1943-1947, she dwelled in Akron, OH.


~ Daughter Winifred Agnes "Winnie" (Shirer) Leydig Lydig ~

Daughter Winifred Agnes "Winnie" Shirer (1835-1907) was born on Nov. 12, 1835 in Adams Township.

She was joined in holy matrimony with her first husband, carpenter Josiah A. Leydig (? -1864), also at times spelled "Lydick." Their nuptials took place in Muskingum County on Dec. 16, 1858, by the hand of Rev. John A. McGaw, when she was 23 years of age. A native of Somerset County, PA, Joseph was one of 10 children of  Jacob Leydig who was of German heritage.


Local hotel, a landmark in Adamsville

The couple made their home in Adamsville, Muskingum County and produced two sons, James V. Leydig and Robert Bruce Leydig.

Some 15 months after the outbreak of the Civil War, Joseph enlisted in the Union Army on Aug. 8, 1862. While at Camp Zanesville, he was mustered into the 97th Ohio Infantry, Company E, commanded by Capt. George Hull. Joseph took part in a number of battles and lesser engagements and attained the rank of corporal. Tragically, at the Battle of Franklin, TN, on Nov. 30, 1864, he was killed in action. The site of his burial is not yet known.

In April 1865, following the tragic Civil War death of her brother in law William Porter Bell, Winnie signed her name as a witness on the widow's declaration to receive a military pension.

After five years as a widow, at the age of 33, Winifred married a second time, to her late husband's cousin William M. Lydig (? -1886), with "Lydig" his preferred spelling. He stood 6 feet, 1 inch tall, with a dark complexion, dark hair and brown eyes. The nuptials were held two days before Christmas in 1868, presided by Rev. William Baker at Zanesville, Muskingum County. Among those attending the wedding ceremony was Winifred's brother Greenwell "Green" Shirer. In remarrying, she forfeited her right to continue receiving her first husband's pension, but it was assigned to her two sons, who began receiving $8 per month, beginning Dec. 23, 1868, the date of the re-marriage.

The couple produced a son of their own, Harry Spencer Lydig.


Dot marks where a bullet came to rest in
William's back at Hatcher's Run, as drawn
by an examining surgeon
. National Archives

William also was a Civil War veteran, having served along with a Jonathan Leydig the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company F, with their name also spelled "Leidig." He enlisted in Berlin, Somerset County on Aug. 25, 1862 and "saw much hard service during the war," said the History of Butler County, Kansas. During the Battle of Hatcher's Run on Feb. 6, 1865, William took a gunshot in the the side which deflected upward and inward and became embedded in his pelvis. The bullet was never removed, and he later claimed that it had caused injuries to his spine and kidneys. He was treated at the U.S. General Hospital at City Point, VA for about three months, and then was transferred to a hospital in Wilmington, DE, where he spent two months. With recovery in sight, he was transferred again to the U.S. General Hospital at York, PA, where he remained about a month prior his honorable discharge after the war's end on May 29, 1865.

Before and immediately after the war, William labored with his brothers Dennis and Jacob in the Berlin area. They remembered him as "a stout and able bodied man" before his military service, and "verry ill" afterward.

Within about four years of his return home, William made the decision to relocate from Berlin to Adamsville, Knox County. OH. After arriving there, he and his brother-in-law Greenwell "Green" Shirer worked side by side on the family farm, "harvesting, haymaking, building rail fences, cutting and splitting rails and firewood and hauling same," Green later wrote. William "would frequently place his  hands on his back and complain of intense pain and suffering. He could not labor rapidly but had to be very careful."

Winifred, William and their sons migrated to Kansas in February 1872. Said the History of Butler County, "They came by train as far as Topeka, where the father bought a team and a covered wagon and started in a southwesterly direction, finally settling on a claim which was the northeast quarter of section 18, in what is now Clifford township. They first built a little, log cabin, 12x12 feet, about a quarter of a mile from the Whitewater river. Their nearest neighbor was H.H. Wilcox, who lived a mile north. Here Mrs. Leydig and her husband spent the remainder of their days." Both are named in the 1882 book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio. The 1880 federal census shows the family as farmers, with son James away "in penitentiary."


Horses, buggies and dirt on the north side of Main Street, Peabody, Kansas


As compensation for his wartime wound, William received a military pension. [Invalid App. #191.534 - Cert. #137.077]. Circa 1891, the Leydigs received their mail from the post office of Whitewater, Butler County. Among their neighbors over the years were William Bain, Samuel W. Sutton and Susan L. Haught. At one point their post office changed to Peabody, Marion County, KS. In about the mid-1880s, William's brother Dennis traveled from his home in Northampton Township, Somerset County, PA to pay a visit.


History of William's
Civil War regiment

William was burdened with kidney disease and pain in his lungs, with his urine containing pus and blood. Sadly, with his friend and neighbor Bain at his side, he died in Clifford Township on July 9, 1886. Neighbor Bain helped to wash and dress the body, and noted the inflamed wound scar in the small of the back. Among those attending the funeral and viewing the body was J.L. Shriver of Marion County, KS. That same year, on Sept. 27, 1886, Winifred began receiving the monthly pension payments. [Widow App. #345.176 - Cert. #304.729] A news story in the El Dorado (KS) Republican noted that she had hosted a visit from her brother Rev. Daniel Gurley Shirer. She dwelled with her married son and family in Clifford, Butler County when the census was taken in 1900. She eventually sold the homestead to her son James and lived in the old home for the balance of her years. She died on March 9, 1907, at the home of her son James on the old Clifford Township home farm. Noted the Republican, she "had been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church since childhood; she was truly a good woman, a kind, devoted wife and mother, always firm in her christian faith, always a 'friend in need.' She was an invalid several years and bedfast the past month." Her passing also was chronicled in the Walnut Valley (KS) Times.


Son James V. Leydig (1859- ? ) was born on Oct. 24, 1859 in Adamsville, Muskingum County. Age three when his father was killed in the Civil War, James became the ward of his stepfather. He migrated in February 1872 with his mother and presumably step-father to Kansas, settling on a farm in Clifford Township, Butler County. In a lengthy profile about him, Vol. P. Mooney's 1916 book History of Butler County, Kansas said that at "about fourteen years old he began to hustle for himself, and became a cowboy in the employ of H.H. Wilcox, who was an extensive cattleman, usually keeping a herd of from 1,000 to 1,500 head of cattle on the free range of the early days. Young Leydig received $15 per month. It was the custom to drive the cattle about 100 miles south into the Indian Territory during the grazing season. Indians were plentiful in that section of the country, and trouble with them eventually forced Wilcox to withdraw his cattle from the territory. Young Wilcox shot and killed two Osage Indians whom he caught stealing beef, which was a foolish act, as it was a metter of course that it was the nature of an Indian to steal anything that he needed, and this event proved quite a loss to Wilcox, as he had to move his cattle out of the country, as above stated." These killings may be why James in 1880 was serving time in a penitentiary in Kansas. He eventually was released from prison, and "lived in the saddle as a cowboy about ten years, and has experienced all the various phases of the life of the early day cowboy on the plains," said the History. "In 1885 Mr. Leydig went to Scott county, Kansas, where he took a homestead, and after proving up on it, returned to Butler county in 1887" after the death of his step-father. James then bought the homestead from his mother and remained there farming and raising stock. When a strip of land in Oklahoma became open for settlement, he "made the race for a homestead over the old stamping ground, where he had herded cattle in the early days, and was familiar with almost every foot of it, but when he got to the claim which he had picked he found a 'soonere' who had been hiding in the brush for days, holding down the claim." He added to the Kansas farm acreage with acquisition of an adjoining parcel of land and in 1916 owned 320 acres of "well improved and valuable land," said the History. His farms were productive, and the El Dorado Republican noted in January 1896 that James and T.M. Ralston had "loaded seven cars of hay [at Elbing] the past few days." A similar article in a July 1898 edition of the Republican, on the eve of the nation's entry into the Spanish-American War, said that he "seems to be the champion oat grower of his township; at least he has the finest oats seen on the trip. He was hard at work in his corn field Schley-ing weeds and talking war." On Nov. 16, 1897, when he was age 37, James married 23-year-old Grace (Guinty) Linn (1873- ? ), daughter of Capt. Michael and Saphrona (Wood) Guinty, the father a noted veteran of the Civil War. The wedding ceremony was held at the home of the bride's parents in Fairview Township, and the editors of the Republican provided "wishes [for] a happy wedded life." They produced two children, Lulu Leydig, born in August 1898 and James Franklin Leydig. The federal census of 1900 shows the family in Clifford, with James' 63-year-old widowed mother and Grace's eight-year-old sister living under their roof. In politics, James was a Republican and served as township trustee for eight years and on the local school board for more than 34 years, starting in about 1882.


Son Robert "Bruce" Leydig (1861- ? ) was born on July 25, 1861 in Adamsville, Muskingum County. He migrated to Kansas in February 1872 with his mother and stepfather. Then at the age of 16, in 1877, he returned to his old home to attend Spencer's Normal School in Adamsville to prepare for a career as a teacher. Upon graduation in 1881, he returned to Kansas where spent three years in the classroom. In 1880, at the age of 18, was marked by a Butler County, KS census-taker as "going to school." Attracted by the prospects of work as a lawyer, he clerked for Judge A.L.L. Hamilton and was admitted to practice in Kansas on May 20, 1885. But when his step-father died the following year, in 1886, Bruce gave up his legal practice to return to the farm and help his brother manage it. At the age of 27, in 1888, Bruce was joined in holy matrimony with Lizzie Spier ( ? - ? ), daughter of local pioneer Robert Spier. They went on to produce three children -- Marie Leydig, Robert Leydig and Raymond Leydig. Four years later, in 1890, he returned to the legal field, forming a private firm with Judge Hamilton, an association which lasted for more tha a quarter of a century. He was elected to the Kansas legislature in 1907, serving on the judiciary committee. He also was an El Dorado school board member, city council member and city attorney. On March 1, 1916, he formed a new firm with Karl M. Geddes known as Laydig & Geddes, with offices on West Central Avenue in El Dorado, across the street from the Butler County Courthouse. He is profiled in Vol. P. Mooney's 1916 book History of Butler County, Kansas and authored an essay in the book entitled "A Pioneer" about the life of early settler A.I. Shriver.

  • Circa 1916, daughter Marie had taught in the El Dorado schools, Robert was a student at the State Agricultural College in Manhattan, KS and son Raymond a student in El Dorado.


Son Harry Spencer Leydig (1877-1955) was born on April 5, 1877 in or near Clifford Township, Butler County, KS. Dr. J.V. Davis attended in the birth. Harry grew up in Clinton County and attended El Dorado High School, where he was elected 1896 senior class president. This was followed by classes at the Kansas State Normal School in Emporia, and then in August 1898 a teaching assignment in his home district of Clifford Township, at a salary of $32.50 per month. At the age of 22, on June 22, 1899, he was joined in marriage with 19-year-old Cora Linn (Dec. 1, 1880-1959), daughter of J.M. and Emma (Morris) Linn. The ceremony was held in her parents' home in Salina's Wesleyan Addition, with Rev. Foulkes officiating. The Salina Daily Republican Journal reported that "A few relatives and most intimate friends were present. All wish these worthy young people success, joy and happiness in this life and when the span of human progress has closed with them here that they 'may enter port at some well havened isle where spices bloom and brighter seasons smile'." The couple went on to produce four known children -- Marion H. Leydig, Corinna Leydig, Lawrence Allen Leydig and Donald Eben Leydig, all born in Kansas -- and Marie Leydig, Clyde O. Leydig and Vernon L. Leydig, born in California. In 1902, Harry was a teacher at school no. 47 in Clifford Township, and held a box supper which raised $20 to support the installation of a school library. For reasons not yet known, but likely for more lucrative wage-earning prospects for their growing family, the Leydigs relocated circa 1908-1910 to California, where they settled on a farm in Fresno. The federal census of 1910 shows them there, with Harry working as a laborer at odd jobs. Circa 1916, Harry was mentioned in Vol. P. Mooney's book History of Butler County, Kansas. By 1920, their home was on a farm in Pine Ridge, Fresno Countym, and then in the 1920s they relocated again to Visalia, Tulare County, CA. The 1930 census shows Harry employed as a milk salesman, with all but two of the children no longer in the household. Federal census records of 1940 show the family in Shasta County, CA, with Harry and son Marion continuing to be farmers, and grandchildren Alice M. Leydig (born 1929) and Leonard Leydig (1936) in the household. Harry died in Fresno, CA on Aug. 6, 1955. Cora survived her husband by nearly four years. In Fresno, she joined him in death on April 10, 1959.

  • Grandson Marion H. Leydig (1901- ? ) was born on April 21, 1900 in Butler County, KS. Having moved to California as a boy, he lived in Visalia, Tulare County in 1930 and, single at age 30, lived at home and earned income as a laborer performing odd jobs. He died in Tulare County on Sept. 10, 1993.
  • Granddaughter Corinna Leydig (1902- ? ) was born in about 1902 in Butler County, KS.
  • Grandson Lawrence Allen Leydig (1905-1949) was born on June 17, 1905 in Butler County, KS. As an adult he operated a tractor to earn a living. Displaying mental illness, he also was institutionalized for a time in the Stockton State Hospital, and had a "petty crime record, including that of a 'Peeping Tom'," reported the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. In March 1947, after eluding authorities for a week, he was arrested in Fresno for the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl, Esther Lee Lewis, of Minkler, CA. The San Bernardino County Sun reported that he voluntarily underwent two lie detector tests and that he was "freed today of any connection with the slaying." He passed away in Fresno County at the age of 43 on May 27, 1949.
  • Grandson Donald Eben Leydig (1908-1957) was born on March 15, 1908 in Butler County, KS. He succumbed at age 49 on Oct. 21, 1957 in Merced County, CA.
  • Granddaughter Marie Leydig (1911- ? ) was born in about 1911 in Fresno County, CA.
  • Grandson Clyde O. Leydig (1913- ? ) was born in about 1913 in Fresno County, CA. He lived in Exeter, CA circa 1958 and, said the Redlands (CA) Daily Facts, invented a "mechanized tree topper" with seven circular saws that was "the only one of its kind in existence" to help prune large groves of citrus trees. His invention also was mentioned in the Oakland (CA) Tribune (Nov. 17, 1960) and San Bernardino County Sun (April 25, 1975). Clyde was an official with the Jehovah's Witnesses and is known to have conducted funerals over the years in the Fresno area.
  • Grandson Vernon L. Leydig (1917-1997) was born on June 20, 1917 in Fresno County, CA. Unmarried at age 22, he lived on a farm in 1940 in Shasta County, CA as a next door neighbor to his parents. On Feb. 5, 1958, working for his brother Clyde, he was pictured in the Redlands (CA) Daily Facts preparing to "swign the large, flexible boom of the mechanized tree topper into position." The following year, he was pictured in the April 26, 1959 edition of the San Bernardino County Sun, operating tree trimming equipment while at work in an orange grove, a pruning process in response to poor crops the previous two years. He was swept away by the Grim Reaper in Tulare County on Sept. 29, 1997.



~ Rev. Daniel Gurley Shirer ~

Son Rev. Daniel Gurley Shirer (1837-1911) was born on April 16, 1837 in Adams Township. He stood 6 feet, 2 inches tall, and weighed 170 lbs. with a dark complexion, dark hair and blue eyes. He was a longtime clergyman of the Methodist Protestant Church.

Daniel was twice married. His first spouse was 18-year-old Cordelia Maria King 1842-1891), whom he wed on March 22, 1860. She was the daughter of George and Elizabeth (Drummond) King. Their two known children were Hampton L. Shirer and Harlan Jay Shirer.

The federal census of 1860 shows the newlyweds living in Adams Township.

During the Civil War, on Feb. 26, 1864, Daniel traveled to Newark, OH to join the 62nd Ohio Infantry, Company F. He was promoted to corporal of his company. He received his honorable discharge at City Point, VA on Aug. 23, 1865, having served for 18 months.

Circa 1883, he was pastor of the Methodist Protestant Church in Waterloo Township, Muskingum County, OH, and is mentioned in the book History of Hocking Valley, Ohio. The text says that membership at the time was 52 and "is at this time growing stronger." Daniel served as pastor of a Methodist church in Pleasantville, Fairfield County, OH circa 1880. In 1882, he was named in the book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio. He relocated to Kansas, and in 1888 was in Wichita, Sedgwick County. J.C. Sirvis, M.D., knew Daniel during his years in Kansas and said he was "a strictly moral man in all things." In September 1891, Daniel left an assignment at Spring Hill, Johnson County to a new Methodist Protestant Church pastorate in North Ottawa, Franklin County, KS.

Around that time, Cordelia learned that her parents were dangerously sick back home in Dresden, Ohio, and she returned to see them, only to take ill herself and die on Oct. 16, 1891. Burial was in Prospect Methodist Church Cemetery in Dresden, Muskingum County. News of her death was printed in Daniel's local newspaper, the Ottawa (KS) Daily Republic.

At Thanksgiving 1891, after just a month as a widower, Daniel preached on Thanksgiving Day on the topic of "Elements of National Greatness and Strength." He often penned other church updates that were published in the Daily Republic. His church in North Ottawa hosted the first annual convention of the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor of the Methodist Protestant church of the Kansas Conference in May 1893, and Daniel provided remarks of welcome. On Leap Day 1892, Daniel was awarded a military pension for his wartime service. [Invalid App. #1.095.174 - Cert. #887.347] He claimed that he suffered from heart and bladder problems, catarrh (mucus of the nose and throat) and fistula (rectum infection). Circa 1894, Daniel was in Fort Scott, Bourbon County, KS and also in Topeka, Shawnee County, and by July 1898 had moved to Argonia, Sumner County.

He married again, at the age of 59, on Aug. 27, 1896, to 41-year-old Ohio native Ida McCoy (1855-1925), the daughter of Lewis and Judith (Nessly) McCoy. It was Ida's first marriage, and at the time, she made her home in Rochester, Beaver County, PA. The ceremony was held at Wichita and performed by Rev. G.W. Saunders. Daniel and Ida eventually relocatedto southwestern Pennsylvania and in 1903 dwelled in Rochester. By 1906 they made their home across the state line in Chester, Hancock County, WV but moved back to Rochester, where they made their home at 490 Connecticut Avenue in the 2nd Ward.

There, at the age of 73, and suffering from chronic cystitis, Daniel died on Jan. 15, 1911. Among those attending his funeral were Martin Eckelberry and T.O. King. His body was sent to Dresden, OH for burial.

Ida then went to live with her sister and brother in law, Olive and Stanley Mahan in Rochester at 460 Connecticut Avenue. In April 1916, she began to receive her late husband's pension. [Widow App. #1.075.467 - Cert. #819.947]. The amount of the payments each month was $30. While in Rochester, Ida joined the Rochester Free Methodist Church. The Beaver Falls (PA) Tribune once said she was "a licensed evangelist of the Pittsburgh conference." She suffered a paralyzing stroke and was an invalid for several years.

She died in her sister's home at the age of 70 on Jan. 13, 1925. Her remains were transported to Brownsdale, WV for interment in the Nessly Chapel Cemetery. An obituary in the Pittsburgh Press said she was survived by two brothers, William Baum McCoy and John J. McCoy. [Find-a-Grave]


Builders of Topeka 1956
Son Hampton L. Shirer (1861-1940) was born on Jan. 7, 1861 in Ohio. In his 20s, Hampton relocated to Kansas with his parents during the decade of the 1880s, where he eventually resided in Topeka. In about 1890, at the age of 29, Hampton married 22-year-old Kansas native Lillian B. Whiting (1868-1951), daughter of A.B. Whiting, said to have founded the Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka as a permanent source of funding for Washburn College, the YMCA and YWCA. The Shirers produced two children -- Mary H. Lee and Hampton Francis Shirer. Circa 1891, he was employed as secretary by the T.J. Kellam Book and Stationery Company in Topeka and in 1897, working with John F. Alford, founded the Kansas Book Company which he ran for the rest of his life. The book Builders of Topeka 1956 states that the company served as "publishers' distributing agent for text books in Kansas and [was the] first school book depository in the nation." He also was a renowned singer and once was called "the leading tenor of the west." In December 1893, he helped organized a ladies' quartet conceret at Lukens Opera House to benefit the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War veterans' organization.Then in April 1896, he is known to have performed at the Rohrbaugh theater in Topeka. The family enjoyed camping and made annual trips to Centennial, WY. He died on March 16, 1940, with burial in Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka. [Find-a-Grave]


  • Granddaughter Mary H. Shirer ( ? - ? ) married Amory Lee ( ? - ? ). Circa April 1918, the Lees lived in New York, with Mary employed in wartime censorship.
  • Grandson Hampton Francis Shirer (1894-1977) was born on Oct. 10, 1894 in Topeka. As a boy of 11, his poem "In the Forest" was published in St. Nicholas magazine. He was tall and of medium build, with blue eyes and brown hair. He attended the Washburn School of Engineering and helped design and construct sets for collegiate plays in Topeka. "While in Washburn he had charge of the college shop and at one time made with the tools and equipment available an automobile which would really run," said the Topeka Daily Capital. He then went on to study architecture at the Boston School of Technology. During World War I, he lived at 1157 Fillmore in Topeka but underwent training for Red Cross ambulance service in France. He was promoted to sergeant at the training camp in Allentown, PA, and was in charge of specialized mechanical services, including training soldiers how to repair their equipment in the dark. On May 20, 1917, he was united in matrimony with 24-year-old Pauline Haynes (1894-1975), an instructor in Parsons Art School in New York, with the ceremony taking place in Topeka, where both were members of the Topeka Art Guild. Pauline was an artist in her own right which included etchings, monotypes, decorated lacquer and glassware. The couple produced two known offspring, Sarah Elizabeth Shirer (born 1920) and Hampton W. Shirer (1925). After the war, Hampton returned to his studies at Boston Polytechnic. They made their home in Wellesley, Norfolk County, MA. Hampton is credited with the architectural design of the Wellesley Hills Branch Public Library circa 1928. He spent seven years with the Boston firm of Maginnis and Walsh and was involved with design of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. In 1937, they returned to Topeka. When his father died, Hampton assumed his position as president of the Kansas Book Company. Circa March 1953 to June 1955, he returned to Washington to be in charge of the shrine's working drawings. Their home address in 1956 was 105 Greenwood Avenue and his office at 911 Adams Street. His portfolio of accomplishments also includes design and construction of mechanical devices for the research division of the Christian Science Maintenance Department. He became a trustee of Washburn College and was a member of the American Institute of Architects, Saturday Night Literary Club, Wellesley Society of Artists, Mulvane Art Center, Topeka Guild, Topeka Camera Club, the Fan Guild of Boston and the National Fire Protection Association. As a photographer, in July 1973, Hampton's works were among a traveling exhibition curated by the University of Kansas under the name "The Perceptive Eye." Pauline died in Topeka on Sept. 12, 1975. She is profiled in the book Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists. Hampton survived her by two years and died on July 3, 1977. Burial was in Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka. Their daughter Elizabeth married (?) MacNeil and their son Hampton was assistant professor and research associate in biophysics at the University of Kansas circa 1956.


Above: Hampton's profile, Builders of Topeka 1956. Below: his project, the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception



Son Harlan Jay Shirer (1863- ? ) was born on Jan. 19, 1863 in Ohio.



~ Daughter Hannah A.C. "Han" (Shirer) Leydig ~

Daughter Hannah A.C. "Han" Shirer (1841-1909) was born on March 1, 1841 in Adams Township. As a youth, she joined the Methodist Episcopal Church and was a lifelong member. Hannah is known to have attended the wedding of her widowed sister Winifred Leydig to William M. Lydig in Zanesville, Muskingum County just before Christmas 1868.

In 1880, U.S. Census records show that Hannah was single at the age of 37 and living with her parents and 27-year-old single sister Sidna E. Shirer in Adamsville. She was still not yet married when named in the 1882 book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio.

But later that year, on Feb. 24, 1882, at the age of 41, she married 55-year-old Emanuel Leydig (1827-1905). Emanuel was the widower of Hannah's first cousin, Rebecca (Shirer) Leydig, who had died two years earlier on April 17, 1880.

In marrying Emanuel, , Hannah became the step-mother of his six children -- Mary E. Shaw, Eliza J. Harrington, Christiana "Ann" McKee, Jacob V. Leydig, Carrie Shook, Emma Thompson, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Martin and Ida F. Leydig.

He immediately brought Hannah to Iowa, where he had resided for years near Greene, Butler County. They remained in Greene for the balance of their lives, on a farm in Section 13, Township 93, Range 17. In 1900, the federal census enumeration shows the couple living on a farm in Coldwater Township, with Hannah's younger sister, Cidna Shirer, residing in their home and working as a seamstress.

Sadly, Emanuel passed away in 1905.

Hannah survived him by four years. Reported the Greene (IA) Recorder, she "was a great sufferer for many years, but bore her affliction with patience and uncomplaining." She died at home in Greene on Aug. 11, 1909, at the age of 68 years, six months and 11 days. The day she died, the Recorder stated that she had passed "at her home on the west side of the river, where she has lived for sometime" and said she was "the second wife of E. Leydig who died several years ago." The next week, the Recorder printed a longer obituary which did not not list any children or step-children.


~ Son Greenwell Reasoner "Green" Shirer ~

Son Greenwell Reasoner "Green" Shirer (1846-1919) was born on March 28, 1846 in Adams Township.

At the age of 19, after the tragic death of his brother in law William Porter Bell in the Civil War, Greenwell on April 20, 1865 signed his name as a witness on the widow's declaration to receive a government pension. Then on Dec. 23, 1868, in Zanesville, Muskingum County, he attended the wedding of his widowed sister Winifred Leydig to William M. Lydig.

In Adamsville on Sept. 24, 1874, when he was age 28, Greenwell married Mary Ellen Fisher 1850-1892), daughter of Casper and Catherine Fisher. They produced nine children -- Bernice Luella Strickler, Christian Fisher shirer, Camilla Bushnell Odgers, Murle Roxanna Shirer, Bessie Karlyn Heslat, Ohio Kate Knudtsen, Clyde Branton Shirer, Hazel Elizabeth Hesla and Ralph Melville Shirer.

In 1882, Greenwell was named in the book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio. They migrated to Iowa in late 1883 or early 1884 and settled in or near Greene, Butler County. Later, they lived in Iowa City, Johnson County.

Greenwell died in Iowa City on Sept. 16, 1919.


Daughter Bernice Luella Shirer (1875-1948) was born on Sept. 10, 1875 in Adamsville, Muskingum County. She married Frank Strickler ( ? - ? ). She died on June 24, 1948.


Son Christian Fisher Shirer (1877-1944) was born on July 10, 1877 in Adamsville. He was married twice. His first spouse was Alma Bragg ( ? - ? ). His second bride was Emma McCrery ( ? - ? ). Christian passed away on March 23, 1944.


Daughter Camilla Bushnell Shirer  (1879-1971) was born on Oct. 24, 1879 in Adamsville. She wed Charles Odgers ( ? - ? ). She passed into eternity in Santa Rosa, CA on June 8, 1971, at the age of 91.


Daughter Murle Roxanna Shirer (1881-1886) was born on Feb. 19, 1881. She survived the family's migration to Iowa but died there at the age of five and a half on Nov. 6, 1886 in Greene, Butler County.


Daughter Bessie Karlyn Shirer (1883-1940) was born on Jan. 14, 1883 in Adamsville. She married Syvert A. Heslat ( ? - ? ). They migrated to California, where Bessie died on Nov. 30, 2940.


Daughter Ohio Kate Shirer (1884- ? ) was born on Oct. 12, 1884 in Greene, Butler County, IA. She was united in wedlock with Edward S. Knudtsen ( ? - ? ).


Son Clyde Branton Shirer (1885-1952) was born on May 9, 1885 in Greene, Butler County. He was married twice. On Nov. 28, 1911, when he was 26 years of age, he married Dorothy B. Eeier ( ? - ? ). His second wife was Marion Clark ( ? - ? ). He died in Pierce County, WA on Jan. 15, 1952.


Daughter Hazel Elizabeth Shirer (1888-1970) was born on March 7, 1888 in Greene, Butler County. She married Noris S. Hesla ( ? - ? ). They relocated to California, where Hazel passed away on Aug. 26, 1970.


Son Ralph Melville Shirer (1890-1970) was born on April 1, 1890 in Greene, Butler County. He was wedded to Olive Zella Kainz ( ? - ? ). They made their home in Van Nuys, CA. Ralph passed into eternity in Van Nuys on May 22, 1970.


Snowy Greene, Iowa, with the water tower and school in view at left


~ Daughter Catharine Mahala "Kate" (Shirer) Sutton ~

Daughter Catharine Mahala "Kate" Shirer (1848- ? ) was born on Oct. 16, 1848 in Adams Township. When she was 19 years of age, on Dec. 22, 1867, she was united in marriage with Samuel W. Sutton (1845- ? ). The ceremony may have been performed by J.M. Shirer. They resided on a farm near Adamsville and had three children, among them Bertha P. Sutton, Mary E. Sutton and Alice M. Sutton. In the 1890s, they provided a home for Kate's widowed mother on the home farm, and the mother eventually died on Sept. 7, 1897. By 1900, census records show that the Suttons had migrated to a farm in Washington Township, Marion County, IN. Kate was felled by a stroke at the age of 79 and died on Aug. 17, 1928. Burial was in Indianapolis, IN. A.E. Hanks of Adamsville was the informant for her official Ohio death certificate.


Daughter Bertha P. Sutton (1869- ? ) was born in about 1869 in Adamsville. 


Daughter Mary E. Sutton (1871- ? ) was born in about 1871 in Adamsville.


Daughter Alice M. Sutton (1877- ? ) was born in February 1877 in Ohio. She moved to Indiana with her parents in the late 1890s and is shown there, unmarried at age 23, in the 1900 census.



~ Daughter Sarah Shirer ~

Daughter Sarah Shirer (1850- ? ) was born in about 1850 in Adams Township. She may have died young, and is not mentioned in the book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio, published in 1882,. Nothing more is known.


~ Daughter Cidna E. "Sidney" Shirer ~

Daughter Cidna E. "Sidney" Shirer (1851- ? ) was born in September 1851 in Adams Township. Research suggests that she never married.

At the age of 27, in 1880, she lived at home with her parents and older single sister Hannah Shirer in Adamsville.

She is named in the 1882 book The Household Guide and Instructor, with Biographies: History of Guernsey County, Ohio.

When the federal census was taken in 1900, she was age 48 and dwelled in Coldwater, Butler County, IA with her married sister Hannah Leydig. At that time, she earned an income as a seamstress. Her paper trail ends here for now.


~ More ~

We are grateful for records provided by Gilbert R. Gaumer, Paul K. Gaumer, Mary L. Shirer and the National Archives in the preparation of the Daniel Gaumer Sr. family biographies.


Copyright 2000, 2006, 2011, 2015-2017 Mark A. Miner