Mathias Gaumer was born on July 23, 1747 in what today is Lehigh County, PA, the son of Johannes Dietrich “Dieter” and Catherine (Eigner) Gaumer. Sadly, his mother died the day of the birth. His father soonafter married again to our Maria "Elizabeth" Meinert who is believed to have raised him to adulthood.
When he was about age 34, during the American Revolutionary War, Mathias is believed to have served with a Northampton County Militia, dated Aug. 18, 1781. Later, he applied for compensation for his service, but it appears to have been set aside by Congressional reviewers.
Mathias reputedly married Christina Eigner (1770-1830), who was 23 years younger than he.
The couple went on to produce seven known offspring -- Catharine Gaumer, unnamed son, Reuben Gaumer, Anna Gaumer, Esther Gaumer, Heinrich “Henry” Gaumer and Augustus Gaumer. Sadly, three of the children died young, among them Catharina (1806), the unnamed son (1806) and Esther (1813).
When the federal census enumeration was made in 1800, Matthias and his wife and young daughter resided in Macungie Township, Northampton (later renamed Lehigh) County, PA.
The couple is known to have served as witnesses to the May 9, 1807 baptism of Judith Oettinger, daughter of Christian and Margaretha Oettinger, at the Zion Lehigh Evangelical Lutheran Church in Alburtis.
There were 14 people in their Macungie household in 1810 when the census again was taken and a dozen circa 1820.
As the children were born, they were baptized at the Zion Lehigh Evangelical Lutheran Church. Daughter Esther, for example, underwent the ritual on July 7, 1811, with Mathias’ father and step-mother serving as witnesses.
Sadly, at the age of 71 years, one month and 24 days, Mathias passed into eternity on Sept. 16, 1822. His name, spelled “Mathaeus,” was recorded in the death records of the Zion Lehigh Church.
Christina is believed to have outlived her spouse by eight years. She was swept away by the Angel of Death in 1830.
~ Son Reuben Gaumer ~
Son Reuben Gaumer (1807-1842) was born on Aug. 6, 1807 in Macungie in what is now Lehigh County, PA.
In infancy, he was baptized in the Zion Lehigh Evangelical Lutheran Church, with John and Elisabeth Hainly serving as witnesses. Rev. Heinrich A. Geissenhainer performed the rite.
Evidence suggests that at the age of about 22 or 23, circa 1836, he was joined in marriage with Elizabeth (1816- ? ).
The couple's three known children were Benjamin Gaumer, Marie Gaumer and Tilman Henry Gaumer.
The Gaumers made a home in Weisenberg Township, Lehigh County.
Reuben is reputed to have died in 1842 in Lehigh County.
Elizabeth's fate is not known.
Son Benjamin Gaumer (1837-1881) was born on Aug. 23, 1837 in Weisenberg Township, Lehigh County. On New year's Day 1871, he is believed to have wedded Anna Maria Resch (1843- ? ) in Lehigh County. Their two known offspring were Elphenia Gaumer and Walter H.G. Gaumer. Clues point to them relocating to Iowa in the mid-1870s and establishing roots there in Louisa County.
Daughter Marie Gaumer (1839-1895) was born on April 2, 1839 in Weisenberg Township, Lehigh County. When she was 17 years of age, on Oct. 12, 1856, she was joined in holy matrimony with 21-year-old Jesse Griffith Layton (1835-1926). The children born to this union were Ervin Peter Layton, Thomas J. Layton, Anna Eliza Layton, (?) Layton, Sarah Ida Layton, Martha Ella Layton, Reuben W. Layton and Emma Mae Layton. The family migrated to Illinois and made a home in Carthage County, IL. Marie was swept away by the Angel of Death in Carthage on Feb. 23, 1895.
The murder of Thomas Layton by Jacob Groves in the Mississippi bottoms near Dallas City, a town in the lower end of this congressional district, mentioned in yesterday's press dispatches, was one of the most cold blooded that was ever perpetrated in that vicinity. The tragedy was the outcome of family trouble of long standing. The body of the murderer was found yesterday in the timber where he had killed himself carrying out his statement that he would elude justice. There was a woman in the case. Formerly Jacob Groves had a wife. It is said they lived happily until Layton came into the case. At least, that is what Groves has often claimed to his friends. With the advent of Layton, according to this story, came trouble in the Groves household. Mrs. Groves, it is claimed, was attracted by Layton's attentions. Rows between the man and wife followed. These culminated last Monday in a suit for divorce, brought by Mrs. Groves, and it was granted.
Tuesday Mrs. Groves and Layton were married in Burlington. They at once went to Layton's home on Big Island, near Dallas City, and Wednesday began preparations to move across the river to Dallas City. Thursday they began to ferry their household goods across the river in a skiff of the pattern known as a John boat. Groves was at Burlington. He is reported to have told some friends that he would kill Layton and his former wife. He even showed the revolver, a new one, just purchased as the weapon with which he intended to get revenge for what he considered the unpardonable wrong done him. Then he disappeared. The next known of Groves was his arrival on Big Island. He went to where Layton's house stood near the edge of the water, facing towards Dallas City. Mrs. Layton was in the house. Groves saw Layton approaching the island from the Illinois shore in a skiff. Layton had been to Dallas City with a load of household goods, and was coming back for another. When his boat's keep grated on the shore Groves accosted him in a friendly manner and offered him a drink of whisky.
Layton accepted the proferred flask and took a drink. He handed the bottle back to Groves and turned about in the boat, and was facing the stern, when Groves whipped out his new revolver and shot Layton to death. He fired five shots in quick succession, all of the balls entering the victim's back. Layton dropped to the bottom of the boat, dead, and then the murderer ran to the boat and pushed it out into the river. Mrs. Layton, attracted to the scene, ran to the bank and grasped the receding boat, and pulled it back to shore. But Groves, flourishing his revolver, told her with an oath to let it alone or he would kill her, too. The woman let the boat go, and it was again pushed out into the stream by Groves. It floated over to a small towhead island, thirty or more rods away. Groves then disappeared into the woods of the island, and was not afterward seen alive.
The killer ran to a shack on Fry's Island where he proceeded to shoot himself in the head. The widowed Mary is believed to have lived for another 28 years and to have succumbed to death in 1932.
Son Tilman Henry Gaumer (1840- ? ) was born on March 16, 1840 in Weisenberg Township, Lehigh County. As a teenager, he migrated to Illinois. The federal census enumeration of 1860 shows the 18-year-old Tillman working as a laborer on the farm of Joseph and Louisa Biery in Carthage, Hancock County, IL. After that, he disappears in the paper trail.
~ Daughter Anna Gaumer ~
Daughter Anna Gaumer (1809-1877) was born on March 24, 1809 in Macungie in what is now Lehigh County, PA.
She passed away in 1877.
~ Son Heinrich "Henry" Gaumer ~
Son Heinrich “Henry” Gaumer (1814-1839) was born on Jan. 4, 1814 in Macungie in what today is Lehigh County, PA.
Sadly, when Heinrich was age 24, he died in Macungie on Jan. 26, 1839. The cause of his untimely passing is not yet known.