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Johannes 'John' Minder

Download Minder Ancestry compiled by M. Steven Traynor


John Minder

Johannes "John" Minder was born on April 24, 1793, under the name "Meinder," in either Berks County or Centre County, PA. He was the son of Burkhard Meinder and a mother whose name is lost to history. John was a pioneer settler of Iowa and Wisconsin.

John's  mother died when he was a small boy. His father married again, to Elizabeth Konrath ("Conrad"), who became John's step-mother. The family made its home in Berks County, PA.

John was married twice. His first wife was Mary Weidner Reider (1780-1829?), daughter of Johannes C. "John" and Susana (or "Esther") Reider. Records of the Berks County Genealogical Society suggest that their marriage took place around 1815, when John would have been age 22, and Mary 35. 

Mary grew up "near the line of Oley and Pike townships, in the vicinity of Lobachsville," said a book in which she and John are mentioned, the 1909 Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County, by Morton L. Montgomery. 


Annals of Berks County,  
naming John and Mary

(Also named in this 1909 volume were John's grandparents,  Friedrich and Catherine (Nein) Meinert Jr, and grand-uncle and aunt, Jacob and Maria (Nein) Minerd Sr.)

John and Mary resided in Friedensburg, Oley Township, Berks County, and also in Rockland Township, Berks County, at the time the federal census was taken in 1820. Also making their home in Rockland Township in 1820, as evidenced by the census record, were John's father (shown as "Boge" Minder) and uncle Frederick Minder. Over the years, they were among many of the Meinder/Minder family to reside in or near the village of Friedensburg, today known as "Oley Village."

The Minders produced one known son, Nathan Minder, born in 1821. 

The Minder and Reider families were close, and John's sister Maria Magdalena Meinder wed Mary's nephew Gideon Schlockerman Reider.

Mary's fate after that is unknown, but she is surmised to have been deceased by 1829. A year earlier, Mary's father John Reider passed away in 1828, leaving all of his worldly goods to his wife, except for a tin-plated stove and pipe which he gave to his son Jacob Reider. The will is on file today in the Berks County Courthouse, but does not mention his daughter Mary Minder nor her adult siblings John Reider and Mrs. Adam Haas.


John and Mary named in a Berks County book

By 1828, John married again, to Anna Osawaldt (1794-1868).

They bore a family of eight children -- Benjamin Minder, Jonas Minder, Elizabeth Fletcher, David Austin Minder, Jacob Minder, Eli Minder, Mary Ann Gardner and John Henry Minder. Seven years separated the ages of the eldest offspring from both marriages, Nathan (1821) and Benjamin (1828).

The 1830 federal census shows that John Minder and Solomon Oswalt lived side by side in Potter Township, Centre County, near what today is the town of Spring Mills. The location was about 150 miles away from John's home community in Berks County.

The 1830 census record shows John's household containing two males between the ages of 5 and 10, one male between 10 and 15, one male between 30 and 40, one female between 5 and 10, and one female between 30 and 40 -- completely consistent with the known age range of John and Anna and their children. The Solomon Oswalts -- who may have been Anna's kin -- also had a young family of children, with both parents between the ages of 20 and 30.

When John's step-grandfather died, John received a bequest from the estate of more than $300, paid on March 7, 1842. At the time, John made his home in Peters Township, Centre County, and in the legal papers, his surname was spelled "Meinter."


John Minder and Anna Osawaldt Genealogy  
manuscript -- by Marion (Minder) Hollenbeck

This windfall of cash may have helped the Minders make a major decision to move west. Sometime around 1845, John and Anna moved with some, maybe not all, of their adult children to Iowa, settling in Fort Madison, Lee County. Also migrating to Fort Madison at about that time was a distant cousin, Nathaniel Miner, of Ohio. 

In a special census of Lee County in 1856, John and Anna were enumerated as heading a household including four of their children. John's occupation was written was wagon-maker, a trade also plied that year by sons David (age 20) and Jacob (19).


John Minder and Descendants, 1997, 264 pages, 1,315 names

The federal census of 1860 lists John and Anna as residents of Fort Madison, with 21-year-old son Eli and 15-year-old daughter Mary living in the household. Residing next door was their married son David and his wife Rebecca and young son George. John's occupation that year was "wagon maker" with son Eli working as a painter and son David as a laborer. 

John and Anna later moved to Wisconsin, making a new home in Frankfort (or Frankfurt") Township, Pepin County. Their farm was said to have been located at the edge of town, and circa 1961 it was owned by Gaylord Carlson.

John died in Frankfort on April 27, 1865. On his tombstone allegedly is carved a notation of his birth in Centre County, but this is not yet confirmed, as photographic evidence does not show this inscription.

Anna outlived him by three years. She died on June 13, 1868, in Frankfort. Their burial place is believed to be a cemetery on their home farm in Frankfort Township. 

Several genealogy reports chronicling the lives and offspring of John and Anna have been produced by descendants over the years. One was a typed manuscript, John Minder and Anna Osawaldt Genealogy, believed to have been written by Marion Elizabeth (Minder) Hollenbeck circa 1961. 

Another, of 264 pages and containing 1,315 names of descendants, was produced in the late 1990s by Twila Colleen (Peterson) Payne and Henry Benjamin Peterson, bound with light blue covers and plastic spiral binding.

In 2020, concerned with the deterioration of the Minder stones, their direct descendant Michael Steven Traynor, his sister Teresa Kado and cousin Twila (Peterson) Payne arranged for a new marker to be placed at the grave. They worked with Melgard Monuments in River Falls, WI, which was able to affix the old headstone pieces by epoxy glue onto the back.


Damaged graves of John (left) and Anna Minder in Pepin County, WI. Photographer Henry B. Peterson wrote in 1997 that "the stones were the slim thin kind and they are in very bad shape, also broken in half so was buried in the dirt which made them almost impossible to read." Below: the ruins circa 2020 and a replacement marker placed by Michael Steven Traynor, his sister Teresa Kado and cousin Twila Payne.


~ Son Nathan Minder ~

Son Nathan Minder (1821-1888) was born in 1821 in Rockland Township, PA, the son of Johannes "John" and Mary (Reider) Minder. He married Sarah Working (1828-1905). Neither of them could read or write. 

In about 1850, Nathan and Sarah migrated from Pennsylvania to Iowa, settling in Port Louisa, Louisa County. There, as evidenced by the 1860 census (spelled "Miner"), he worked as a wagon maker, a trade he learned from his father and shared with his brother Jacob. He is not to be confused with a distant cousin, Nathaniel "Nathan" Miner, also an early settler of Fort Madison, who married Susan Abbott.

The Minders had 10 known children: Elizabeth Lange, Mary Jane Yust, Caroline Louise Lenhart (or "Leonhart"), John Henry Minder, Sarah E. Bilderback, Clarence Minder, Josephine Stabard Burnell, Frank Minder, William Minder and Theodore Minder.

In about 1863, the family relocated from Iowa to Wisconsin, where they spent about 18 years. By 1880, the family relocated again to Minnesota, to Lake City, Wabasha County. There, they kept a boarding house on Chestnut Street, which in 1880 included six men, with occupations ranging from laborers to house and sign painters to a blacksmith apprentice and an agent for a picture house. Caroline was the first of their offspring to be born in Iowa, and Frank the first to be born in Wisconsin.


Obituary in the Lake City 
Graphic Sentinel
in Minnesota

Nathan died in Frankfort, WI on Jan. 24, 1888, and his remains were returned to Minnesota for rest in the Lakewood Cemetery in Lake City. A Pepin County Courier obituary stated that Nathan passed at the home of his son John, three weeks after suffering a stroke. An obituary in the Lake City Graphic Sentinel reported that Nathan was "an old resident of this city," that the stroke happened while he "was engaged at his work in Wisconsin" and that he "died suddenly." His grave allegedly was unmarked as of 1997.

Sarah outlived her husband by two decades. On the day after Christmas 1905, she died in Lake City, Wabasha County. Her estate was settled in Wabasha County probate court. A large headstone with her details in the Lake City Cemetery.


Greeting card from Knox, ND

Daughter Elizabeth Minder (1843-1904) was born in 1843 in Snowshoe Township, Centre County, PA. She married (?) Lange. They had five known sons -- Theodore Lange, Frank Lange, Charles Lange, Tony Lange and George Lange -- plus four daughters who married Peter Schobert, A. Grigon, Edward Eschtanacht and H. Leppie. Elizabeth died in 1904, at the age of 61.

  • Granddaughter Mrs. Peter Schobert (1860- ? ) lived in Dubuque, IA in 1905.
  • Grandson Theodore Lange (1866- ? ) resided at Lake City, Wabasha County in 1905.
  • Grandson Frank Lange (1869- ? ) lived in Knox, Benson County, North Dakota and is believed to be buried there.
  • Granddaughter Mrs. A. Gringon (1871- ? ) lived in 1905 at Oshkosh, Winnebago County, WI.
  • Grandson Charles Lange (1873- ? ) made his home circa 1905 in Knox, Benson County, North Dakota. 
  • Grandson Tony Lange (1876- ? ) resided in Lake City, Wabasha County, Minnesota, and may be buried there.
  • Granddaughter Mrs. Edward Eschtanacht (1879- ? ) lived in Marshalltown, Marshall County, IA in 1905.
  • Granddaughter Mrs. H. Leppie (1881- ? ) made her residence circa 1905 in Bemidji, Beltrami County, MN.
  • Grandson George Lange (1884- ? ) had a home in Village Creek, Allamakee County, Iowa, in 1905. 


Unpaved South Washington St. in Lake City, MN, early 1900s


Daughter Mary Jane Minder (1845-1880) was born in 1845 in Snowshoe Township, Centre County, PA. On Nov. 21, 1863, she married Christian Yust (1843-1925), a native of Switzerland. Christian came to the United States in 1846, when he was just three years old. Mary Jane and Christian migrated to Iowa circa 1864, making a home in Waukon, Allamakee County, and remained there at least until about 1873. Eventually they moved to a farm in Deerfield, Steele County, MN. Their nine children were George Andrew Yust, Elizabeth "Lizzie" McMillian, Charles William Yust, Caroline Marie Erdmann, Clara "Minnie" Rosebrock, Peter Yust, Herman Theodore Yust, Josephine Anna Giese and Albert Harvey Yust. Tragically, Mary Jane died in Deerfield on Jan. 10, 1880, at the age of 35, most likely in childbirth with their son Harvey. She is buried in the Crane Creek Cemetery in Lake City. Christian outlived his wife by a remarkable 45 years. He married again after two years as a widower, in 1882, to Ernestine (1853- ? ), a German immigrant. They went on to have four children of their own -- Anna H. Yust, Ella A. Yust, Arthur H. Yust and Ida B. Yust. He died in 1925 and is interred beside his wife. (link)

  • Grandson George Andrew (spelled "Gevrage") Yust (1865- ? ) married Marie Elizabeth Laux. They had six children -- Phillip Christian Yust, Fred Wilhelm Yust, Ervin George Yust, Walter Reuben Yust, Thekla Anne Marie Neuschwanere and Esther Elizabeth Severson. George lived in 1905 in Big Stone, South Dakota.
  • Granddaughter Elizabeth "Lizzie" (1866- ? )  Yust wed (?) McMillian. She resided in Dryad, Lewis County, Washington, circa 1905.
  • Grandson Charles William Yust (1868- ? ) wed Edith Rosebrock. They had one son, Galen Yust. Charles made his home circa 1905 in Owatonna, Steele County, MN.
  • Granddaughter Caroline Marie "Carrie" Yust (1869-1952) was born on Jan. 23, 1869 in Lansing, Allamakee County, IA. She married Charles Ernest Erdmann (1865-1951)  on Sept. 10, 1887. They had 10 children -- Bertha Roble, Albert Erdmann, Myrtle Woodcook, Mayme Middlested, Eva Clara Olsen, Etta Thomas, Verna Seath, Irene Erdmann, Charles Erdmann and Robert Erdmann. Circa 10905, their home was in Hobson, MN. Charles passed away on Jan. 30, 1951. Caroline survived him by a year and a half. She died in West Concard, Dodge County, MN on Oct. 29, 1952, and they are buried together there.
  • Granddaughter Clara "Minnie" Yust (1872- ? ) wed Henry Rosebrock ( ? - ? ). Their only known child was Adaline Rosebrock. In 1905, Clara lived at Owatonna, Steele County, MN. 
  • Grandson Peter Yust (1873- ? ) was born in 1873 in Iowa. He married Lena L. Wiesjahn (1880) in 1898. Their three daughters were Elsa Yust (born 1899), Mildred Yust (1905) and Violet "Vi" Yust. They were farmers for many years. When the federal census was taken in 1900, Peter and Lena lived in Deerfield, Steele County, and Lena's 30-year-old brother Theodore Weisjahn boarded in their home. Circa 1905, Peter resided in Medford, Steele County, MN. 
  • Grandson Herman Theodore Yust (1876- ? ) wed Anna Schendel. Their only known child was Adaline Yust. Herman made his residence in 1905 in Ivanhoe, Lincoln County, MN.
  • Granddaughter Josephine Anna Yust (1878- ? ) wed Rudolph Giese. They had five daughters -- Mabel Giese, Clara Giese, Esther Giese, Dorothy Giese and Nadine Giest. Josephine lived in Medford, Steele County, MN in 1905.
  • Grandson Albert Harvey Yust (1880- ? ) was born in January 1880 in Deerfield, Steele County. He married Mary Herda, and they lived in Medford, Steele County in 1905. Their one known son, Larry Yust, was born in 1907. 


Fountain City, Wisconsin -- along the Burlington Route of the Mississippi River Scenic Line of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad


Daughter Caroline Louise Minder (1850-1874) was born in 1850 in Snowshoe Township, Centre County, PA. As a young woman she migrated with her family to Pepin County, WI. On Aug. 27, 1865, she wed Prussian immigrant Adam Lenhart (or "Leonhart") (1845-1924), in Pepin County. Their two children were Frank E. Lenhart (born 1866) and Elizabeth Eveline "Lizzie" Lenhart (1868), both born in Wisconsin. The census record of 1870 shows the family making its home in Fountain City, near Maxville, Buffalo County, WI. Caroline died at the untimely age of 24, in Pepin County, on Oct. 8, 1874, and is buried in the West Frankfort Cemetery in Pepin County. (link) Adam married again within a few years, to Jennie (1854- ? ), and they had at least one daughter of their own, Harriet D. "Hattie" Lenhart. Their home circa 1880 was in Maxville, Buffalo County, where Adam's occupation was given as "wood chopper" in the federal census. That year, they lived next door to Adam's former brother in law, John Minder. 

  • Granddaughter Elizabeth Eveline "Lizzie" Lenhart (1868- ? ) made her home in St. Paul, MN in 1905.
  • Grandson Frank Lephart ( ? - ? ) lived in an unknown location in 1905.

Son John Henry Minder (1852-1933) was born in 1852 in Pennsylvania, or in 1850 in Fort Madison, Iowa. (Sources differ.) He relocated to Wisconsin with his parents when he was a teenager. On New Year's Eve 1872, in Buffalo County, WI, he married Alice Johnson (1857- ? ), the Norway-born daughter of Louis and Mary (Ballard) Johnson. Of their 11children, 10 are known: Theodore Minder, Edward Minder, Emma Minder, Mabel Mary Weisinger Kowalski, Florence D. Biederman, Maude Ida Weisinger, Ruth McKernon, Clyde Minder, Wilma F. Minder and Bertram Minder. The federal census of 1880 lists John and Alice making their home in Maxville, Buffalo County, WI, with John working as a "wood chopper." When the federal census of Pepin County was taken in 1900, John was marked as working as a river boat fireman. They resided in Frankfort, Pepin County, WI in 1910, when the census was taken, and lived two doors away from his uncle and aunt, Eli and Mary H. Minder. The census-taker noted that of their 11 children, only seven were alive at the time. Circa June 1918, John's home was in R.F.D. Arkansaw, Pepin County. John died in or near Durand, Pepin County, WI on March 25, 1933, and is buried in Durand.

  • Grandson Theodore Minder (1874- ? ) was born in 1874 in Maxville, Buffalo County, WI.
  • Grandson Edward Minder (1877- ? ) was born in 1877 in Maxville, Buffalo County, WI. 
  • Granddaughter Emma Minder (1879- ? ) was born in 1879 in Maxville, Buffalo County, WI.
  • Granddaughter Mabel Mary Minder (1881 - ? ) was born in 1881 in Wisconsin. She wed Frank Weisinger and (?) Kowalski. Her children were Lester Weisinger, John Weisinger, Mary Josephine Oman and Ralph Weisinger, all of Wisconsin. She may also have had a son Frank Weisinger. Son Lester Weisinger (1904-1963) was born on Sept. 16, 1904 and died on July 23, 1963 in Saint Louis County, MN. Presumed son Frank Weisinger (1912-1972) was born on Oct. 13, 1912 and died in Saint Louis County on Nov. 10, 1972.
  • Granddaughter Florence D. Minder (1885-1965) was born on June 5, 1885 in Pepin County, WI. On Sept. 15, 1903, in Pepin County, she married Engelbert John Biederman ( ? - ? ), a native of Eisenreichs, Austria and the son of Franz and Thelia (Preissl) Biederman. They had six children -- Louise Ida Hendrickson, Engelbert John Biederman Jr., Francis James Biederman, Verna Lucille Michalsky, George Edward Biederman and Helen Marie Dittmann. Florence died on Dec. 18, 1965, and is buried in St. Mary Cemetery in Durand, Pepin County.
  • Granddaughter Maude Ida Minder (1889- ? ) was born on Dec. 22 or 27, 1889 in Pepin County. She wed Austrian immigrant Leopold "Lee" Weisinger (1882-1965) on April 27, 1907, when she was age 18. Their four children were Julia Weisinger, William D. Weisinger, George Theodore Weisinger and Alice Marion Kasey. Lee died in 1965. Maude passed away on June 9, 1971. She and Lee are buried together in Riverside Cemetery in Ontonagon, Ontonagon County, MI. (link)
  • Granddaughter Ruth Minder (1892- ? ) was born in 1892 in Pepin County. She married William McKernon ( ? - ? ). Their one known daughter was Eldora May McKernon, born in 1922 in Pepin County. 
  • Grandson Clyde Minder (1896-1968) was born on June 25 (or July 24), 1896 in Ella, Pepin County. As an adult, he was of medium height and build, with brown eyes and dark brown hair. He married Ada Patnode on Sept. 4, 1917. They had five children -- Clyde Elwood Minder, Bert Raymond Minder, Donald Joseph Minder, Delia Oreyetta Minder and Roberta Jean Minder. They lived in Pepin County, WI and in Lake City, Wabasha County, MN. When he registered for the military draft during World War I, the 21-year-old Clyde reported that he was a farmer employed by Adelbert Minder in Ella. Clyde died in August 1968. Sadly, son Clyde Elwood Minder died in Wabasha County on Oct. 24, 1917, at a young age. Son Bert Raymond Minder (1918-1988) was born on Oct. 5, 1918, and died on May 25, 1988 in Saint Louis County, MN.
  • Granddaughter Wilma F. Minder (1900- ? ) was born in 1900 in Pepin County.
  • Grandson Bertram Minder (1904- ? ) was born on Oct. 1, 1904 in Frankfort, Pepin County. 


Daughter Sarah E. (or "Jane") Minder (1853- ? ) was born in February 1853 in Fort Madison, Lee County, Iowa. She moved to Wisconsin with her parents and siblings as a girl. At the age of 19, on Feb. 18, 1873, she married Illinois native John Wesley Bilderback (born in 1846 or 1850, died  ? ) in Buffalo County, WI. They had five known children -- Sarah H. Bilderback (born 1873), Henry Bilderback (1875), Charles Bilderback (1878), Frank Bilderback (1884) and Florence Bilderback (1888). The federal census enumeration of 1880 shows the family in Maxville, Buffalo County, with John laboring as a "Farmer and wood chopper." In the years between 1888 and 1900, the Bilderbacks migrated to Minnesota, settling in Lake City, Wabasha County. John worked there as a day laborer as evidenced by the census of 1900. In 1905, at the death of her mother, Sarah resided at Red Wing, Goodhue County, MN, and received a payout from the estate of $92.33.

  • Granddaughter Sarah H. Bilderback (1873- ? ) was born in 1873 in Buffalo County, Wisconsin. 
  • Grandson Henry Bilderback (1875- ? ) was born in 1875 in Buffalo County, Wisconsin. 
  • Grandson Charles Bilderback (1878- ? ) was born in 1878 in Buffalo County, Wisconsin. 
  • Grandson Frank Bilderback (1884- ? ) was born in December 1884 in Buffalo County, Wisconsin. At the age of 15, he worked as a day laborer with his father in Lake City.
  • Granddaughter Florence Bilderback (1888- ? ) was born in 1888 in Buffalo County, Wisconsin.

Son Clarence Minder (1857- ? ) was born on Feb. 4, 1857 Fort Madison, Lee County, Iowa. As a boy he migrated with his parents, brothers and sisters to Wisconsin. He died in Frankfort Township, Pepin County, WI on Dec. 1, 1873, at the age of 16. Details are not known.

Daughter Josephine Minder (1862-1885) was born in 1862 in Fort Madison, Lee County, Iowa. Her husband was Alexis "Alex" Brunell (1854-1905), the son of Joseph and Josephine (McCoy) Brunell, both from old Minnesota families of mixed race known as "Métis." Josephine and Alex were married on Oct. 22, 1880 in Maiden Rock, Pierce County, WI. Josephine had two known offspring, Margaret Brunell (born 1882) and William Brunell (born 1884 in Maiden Rock). Circa 1885, they lived in or around Grey Cloud Island, Washington County, MN. Tragically, Josephine contracted a fatal case of tuberculosis and died on the island on or about Dec. 5, 1885, at the age of 23, leaving her husband and two young children under the age of four. She was laid to rest in the Grey Cloud Island Cemetery, a Métis cemetery. Her grave is not marked. The children thus were entitled to an inheritance when Josephine's mother died in 1905. 

  • Granddaughter Margaret Brunell (1882-1927) was born in 1882. She married Frank Theodore Staubitz and made her home in 1905 in St. Paul, MN. They had two daughters, Josephine Staubitz and Ruth Staubitz. Margaret and Frank later divorced. She married a second time, to Henry Rachac in Minneapolis, MN, on Nov. 24, 1913. Sadly, Margaret died in 1927 at the age of 45. Daughter Josephine Staubitz (1901-1927) died in 1927 at age 26, and the fate of daughter Ruth (1904- ? ) is unknown.
  • Grandson William Brunell (1884-1905?) was born in 1884 in Maiden Rock. He was but an infant when his mother died. He is thought to have passed away in 1905, at the age of 21. This needs to be confirmed.

Son Frank Minder (1864- ? ) was born in 1864 in Pepin County, Wisconsin. He lived circa 1905 in Stewartville, Olmsted County, MN.

Son William Minder (1867- ? ) was born in 1864 in Pepin County, Wisconsin. He wed Stella Cross ( ? - ? ). He lived circa 1905 in Lake City, Wabasha County, and received a payment of $92.33 that year from the estate of his late mother.

Son Theodore Minder (1869- ? ) was born in 1869 in Pepin County, Wisconsin. In 1880, a census-taker recorded that Theodore was "maimed, crippled, bedridden or otherwise disabled." He made his home in 1905 in Billings, Yellowstone County, MT, and received $92.33 as a bequest from the estate of his deceased mother.


Scenic view along Lake Pepin (Mississippi River) near Lake City, Minnesota


~ Son Benjamin Minder ~


Final resting place of Benjamin and Lavina Minder, Frankfort Twp.

Son Benjamin Minder (1828-1893) was born on Nov. 26, 1828 in Centre County, PA. 

As a young man he and his future wife Lavina Long moved to Iowa, where they were married in Fort Madison, Lee County on Leap Day, Feb. 29, 1848. Justice of the peace Henry Salmon performed the nuptials.

Neither of them could read or write. They had seven known children -- George Minder, Eli W. Minder, Mack Minder, Henry Minder, Keimer Minder, Eliza Minder and Anna Minder. 

The federal census of 1860 shows the family (spelled "Miner") living in Port Louisa, Louisa County, IA, where Benjamin was a hotel keeper. His older brother Nathan also lived in Port Louisa at that time. 

In the late 1860s, the family relocated 470 miles up the Mississippi River to Wisconsin, settling in Maiden Rock, Pierce County. The 1880 census of Maiden Rock lists Benjamin as a farmer, and 21-year-old son Henry as a laborer. 

Benjamin died at Maiden Rock, WI on Feb. 18, 1893, at the age of 65. His remains were placed at rest in the Maiden Rock Cemetery. (link)

Son George W. Minder (1852- ? ) was born in Iowa. He may have died on Jan. 22, 1871, and if so is buried in the West Frankfort Cemetery in Pepin. This needs to be explored and confirmed.


Landmark Maiden Rock, outcropped along the 
Mississippi River (Pepin Lake), Wisconsin

Son Eli W. Minder (1855- ? ) was born in February 1855 in Iowa. He married Ohio native Mary A. Brunner (1861- ? ) in about 1879. They lived in Maiden Rock, Pierce County, WI, and had five children, four of whom are known -- Allie L. Minder, Frank Minder, B. Myrtle Minder and Sadie Minder. The federal census of Maiden Rock in 1990 shows Eli's occupation as "stationery engineer" and sons Allie as "farm labor" and Frank as "stationery engineer." The 1910 census, also of Pierce County, lists Eli as an engineer at a lumber mill. 

  • Grandson Allie Benjamin Minder (1880-1963) was born on March 1, 1880 in Wisconsin. He married Elizabeth "Lizzie" (Witt) Nichols (1871-1957), who was 10 years older than her husband and had been wed once before. She brought a son to the marriage, Erwin Nichols. Lizzie, who was of German birth, became a U.S. citizen by virtue of her marriage with Allie. The Minders had two offspring of their own, Grant Eli Minder (born 1909) and Luella Minder (1904). They were farmers in 1910, when the census of Pepin, Pepin County shows the combined family under one roof, along with Lizzie's widowed mother, Dortha Witt. In 1920, their residence was on the country road near Spring Valley, Pierce County, WI. Allie made his living that year by "working out" as a hired hand. The Minders migrated again during the 1920s to Minnesota, establishing a home on Long Avenue in St. Paul, Ramsey County. The 1930 census shows Allie working as a watchman at a sheet iron factory. Lizzie passed away on March 29, 1957, in Wright County. Allie outlived his wife by six years. He died in Hennepin County, MN on June 20, 1962. Son Grant Eli Minder (1909-1993) was born on Aug. 13, 1909, He died in Anoka County, MN on Feb. 13, 1993.
  • Grandson Frank Minder (1883-1960) was born on Aug. 17, 1883 (or 1885) in Wisconsin. He married Lettie Hall (1888-1967) in about 1904 and had two sons, Francis E. Minder (born 1906) and William George Minder (born 1907). If so, this family dwelled in 1910-1930 in Bay City, Pierce County, WI, with Frank employed as stationery engineer (1910) and later as a fisherman with a commercial fishing company (1930). They spent their final years in Goodhue County, MN. Frank passed away on Oct. 13, 1960. Lettie outlived him by seven years. She died on April 13, 1967. Son William George Minder (1908-1973) was born on Feb. 4, 1908 and died on July 13, 1973, in Goodhue County. 
  • Granddaughter B. Myrtle Minder (1894- ? ) was born in April 1894 in Wisconsin. 
  • Granddaughter Sarah "Sadie" Minder (1898- ? ) was born in March 1898 in Wisconsin.

Son Mack Minder (1856- ? ) was born in 1856 in Iowa.

Son Henry Minder (1858- ? ) was born in 1858 in Iowa. He is believed to have married Alpharetta "Etta" Kirtland. They lived in Maiden Rock, Pierce County, WI and had four known children -- Benjamin Minder, Earl J. Minder, Ethel May McMahon and Bessie Florence Peterson. 

  • Grandson Benjamin Minder II (1885-1956) was born on Oct. 9, 1885 in Maiden Rock, Pierce County. He married Otelia "Tillie" Hagen (1890-1986), daughter of Elias Mikkelsen and Anna Louise (Andersen) Hagen. They lived over the years in St. Paul, MN; Alpha, WI; Grantsburg, WI; and Lewis, WI. They were members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.  Their six children were Bessie May Sabo, Anna-Louise Davis, Elsie Bernice Sayles, Benjamin J. Minder, Warren Earl Minder and Wallace Dale Minder. Benjamin II died on Nov. 17, 1956 in Springfield, Oregon. he is buried in Sunset Memorial Gardens in Portland. Tillie joined him in death on June 12, 1986, after a separation of three decades.
  • Grandson Earl J. Minder (1889-1963) was born on Sept. 7, 1889 in Maiden Rock, Pierce County. He married Clara Lillian Erickson (1899-1936) on Nov. 18, 1918. They were farmers and raised chickens, and resided in Alpha and Falun, WI. Their two children were Lucille Alpharetta Minder and Donald Wesley Minder, both of whom died as babies. Clara died in an automobile accident at the age of 37 on March 10, 1936. The accident took place near Twin Cities. Donald survived her by more than a quarter of a century. He died in Grantsburg Hospital on July 27, 1963, and is buried in Ansgarius Cemetery near Alpha, WI.
  • Granddaughter Ethel May Minder (1891-1973) was born on Feb. 23, 1891 in Granite Falls, MN. She wed Perry Adam McMahon (1889-1963). They had no children. Perry was a farmer and operated a store at Wilton, WI. Perry died on Nov. 22, 1963, the very day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Perry was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Grantsburg, WI. Ethel outlived him by a decade. She passed away on Oct. 29, 1973. 
  • Granddaughter Bessie Florence Minder (1898-1967) was born on Jan. 8, 1898 at Maiden Rock. She married Arnold Reuben Peterson (1894-1980), son of B. John and Sofia Lovisa (Jonsson) Peterson. They had one son, Henry Benjamin Peterson, born in Alpha, Wood River Township. Arnold was a farmer and an electrician. Sadly, Bessie died on April 10, 1967, at the age of 69, while in the yard of her home. Arnold lived for another 13 years, and passed from this life on March 11, 1980. They are buried in Riverside Cemetery. Their son Henry was active with the genealogy research department of the Grantsburg Area Historical Society in Grantsburg, WI. He compiled much of the information that has formed the base of research for this webpage, and graciously shared it with us in August 1996. 

Son Kenner Collins Minder (1864- ? ) was born on Nov. 8, 1864 in Fort Madison, Lee County, IA. As a boy, he relocate with his parents and siblings to Wisconsin. He was married twice. His first bride was Eliza Jane Youmans, daughter of George S. and Della Youmans. They were wed on Nov. 23, 1887 in Pierce County, WI. They had two children: Lavina Manore and Florence Ethel Orr. Kenner was a blacksmith and a farmer. Kenner and Eliza Jane divorced, and he later married again, to Cora Della Bunce. He and Cora had six more children -- Mabel M. Harwood, Claude Russell Minder, Geneva Arvella Peterson, Gladys Marie Harwood, Margaret Rose Ridenour and Bernice Laurel Hase. Kenner died on Dec. 9, 1932, with burial in Ino cemetery in Maiden Rock, WI. 

  • Granddaughter Lavina Minder (1890-1908) was born on July 21, 1890, in Maiden Rock. When she was age 18, on St. Patrick's Day 1908, she wed Philip Manore (ore "Manure") in Durand, Pepin County, WI. Tragically, the marriage only lasted two months, with Lavina dying on May 24, 1908. She was laid to rest in Durand. According to stories collected by genealogist Henry B. Peterson, Lavina was poisoned by her husband.
  • Granddaughter Florence Ethel Minder (1893-1959) was born on July 6, 1893. On Nov. 14, 1913, she married R.C. Orr. Florence died in Evert, Washington State, on May 3, 1959. Burial was in Cypress Lawn.
  • Granddaughter Mabel M. Minder (1897-1983) was born on June 3, 1897 in Salem Township, Pierce County, WI. She married late in life, to her widowed brother in law Robert William John Harwood. She died on April 1, 1983 in Everett, WA.
  • Grandson Claude Russell Minder (1901-1990) was born in Nov. 22, 1901 in Maiden Rock. He married Cordelia O'Connor on May 18, 1921. Claude died in Shell Lake, WI on Sept. 24, 1990. He is buried in Beldenville Cemetery in Pierce County.
  • Granddaughter Geneva Arvella Minder (1903-1980) was born on March 19, 1903, in Maiden Rock. She married Henry Edgar Peterson on Jan. 28, 1922. Their six children were Lloyd Elliott Peterson, Gerald Merwin "Bud" Peterson, Clark Hollis "Pete" Peterson, Florence Jean Kenall and Gloria Joyce Tiffie. Geneva died on Sept. 19, 1980, with burial in Maiden Rock Cemetery.
  • Granddaughter Gladys Marie Minder (1907-1958) was born on Oct. 24,1907 in Pepin County, WI. She married Robert William John Harwood. Gladys died at the age of 51 on Oct. 11, 1958, in Everett, WA. 
  • Granddaughter Margaret Rose Minder (1909-1995) was born on Feb. 20, 1909 in Waterville Township, Pepin County. She married Daniel Arthur Ridenour on June 27, 1973, when she was age 64. She died on May 31, 1995, in Park View Home in Woodville. 
  • Granddaughter Bernice Laurel Minder (1913- ? ) was born on Aug. 25, 1913 in Maiden Rock. She married Frederick Hartzel Hase on May 10, 1932. 

Daughter Eliza Minder (1866- ? ) was born on March 31, 1866 in Iowa. She married John Shaffer (1858- ? ) on July 25, 1892, in South Dakota. The 1922 book Who's Who in Engineering once reported that they were of "Dutch ancestry." The Shaffers lived in Iowa and later in Maiden Rock, WI and had two sons -- William G. Shaffer (born in 1885 in Iowa) and John Wesley Shaffer (born 1888 in Maiden Rock). Eliza passed away in either 1918 or in 1937. 

  • Grandson John Wesley Shaffer (1887- ? ) was born on Nov. 1, 1887 in Maiden Rock. He married Betty E. Ranis in Minneapolis, MN on Nov. 1, 1910, on John's 23rd birthday. They had two known children -- Lucille M. Shaffer and Betty May Shaffer. John was a civil engineer in his profession, and was a member of the A.A.E and the Minnetonka Country Club. Circa 1922, as published in the Who's Who in Engineering volume, he served as outside consulting engineer for several municipalities in Minnesota, handling pavement, water and sewer system, electrical and pavement projects. Clients included Excelsior, Tracy, Slayton, St. James, Madelia, Spring Valley, Hopkins, Columbia Heights in Minnesota and Appleton and Neillsville in Wisconsin. His office was located in the New York Life Building in Minneapolis, and his home address was 3737 Colfax Avenue South, also in Minneapolis.

Daughter Anna Minder (1869- ? ) was born on April 12, 1869 in Maiden Rock, Wisconsin. She married John Wallace Otis (1864- ? ). He was a machinery salesman. They had two children -- Halsey Rogers Otis and Helen Marie Swanson. 

  • Grandson Halsey Rogers Otis (1894-1970) was born on Aug. 20, 1894 (or Jan. 1, 1900) in Maiden Rock. He died in Hennepin County on Jan. 24, 1960.
  • Granddaughter Helen Marie Otis (1896-1966) was born on July 9, 1896 in Maiden Rock. She married (?) Swanson. She died in Minnesota in June 1966, at the age of 70.


~ Son Jonas Minder ~

Son Jonas Minder (1830-1903) was born on Nov. 8, 1830 or Nov. 30, 1831 in Pennsylvania. He may also have gone by the name "Albert" although this needs further proof. 

He migrated to Iowa in about 1850, at the age of 20. He married Augusta "Gusty" Seidel (1934-1903) in Fort Madison, Lee County, on Sept. 4, 1853. She was a native of Slesen, Germany. Performing their nuptials was justice of the peace Henry Salmon, the same man who officiated at the wedding of Jonas' brother Benjamin five years earlier.

They had five children -- Clara Allen, Albert Minder, Laura Boardman, Hattie Allen and Anna Thompson. 

The 1879 book, The History of Lee County, Iowa, lists Jonas as an "engineer" in a list of residents of Madison Township.


Second Street looking west, Fort Madison


Augusta passed away in 1903. 

Jonas outlived her by 11 years. Circa 1910, when the census was taken, he made his home with his married daughter and son in law, Clara and Bert Allen, in Spring Creek, Maries County, MO. They dwelled just a few farms away from Jonas' grandson, Harvey Allen and his family. The census-taker misspelled Jonas' name that year as "Jonath" and wrote his age as 76 when in reality it was closer to 80.

He died on July 12, 1914, with burial in Feeler Cemetery, Maries County, MO.

Daughter Clara Minder (1858-1946) was born on May 14, 1858 in Fort Madison, Lee County, IA. She wed Illinois native Ira Albert "Bert" Allen (1858-1958), the son of  Ira and Marietta (Weaver) Allen, in about 1883, when she was age 25 and he 27. Clara and Bert were farmers, and resided for some 61 years in Vichy, Maries County, MO. They had two known sons, Harvey Reynolds Allen and Kenneth Allen. In the year 1910, the Allens lived in Spring Creek, Maries County, with Clara's 76-year-old widowed father residing in their home that year, just a few farms away from their married son and daughter in law, Harvey and Hattie Allen. In 1920, their married son Kenneth and his wife and two sons were in the household. Clara died of kidney inflammation in Vichy in September 1946, at the age of 88. Informant Louise Snodgrass reported for Clara's death certificate that her parents were "Albert" Minder" (not "Jonas" Minder) and Augusta Seidel, and that both parents were born in Germany (half correct). Ira outlived Clara by a dozen years. He passed away of arterial sclerosis at the age of 72, at home, on Oct. 15, 1958. They are buried in the nearby Allen Cemetery, also known as Feeler Cemetery. (link

  • Grandson Harvey Reynolds Allen (1883- ? ) was born on Dec. 22, 1883. He was of medium height and build, with brown hair and brown eyes. He married Harriet "Hattie" Feeler (1887- ? ) and they had five known children, among them Annie L. Allen, Elbert Allen and Earl A. Allen. They lived in Spring Creek, Maries County. During World War I, when Harvey was required to register for the military draft, he listed his occupation as a self-employed farmer. The federal censuses of 1910-1920 shows the family living on a farm in Spring Creek, with Hattie's widowed mother Harriet Feeler living under their roof. Harvey is thought to have died in 1963.
  • Grandson Kenneth Gordon Allen (1896- ? ) was born on Feb. 9, 1896 in Maries County. He was of medium height and build, with dark brown eyes and dark brown hair. Circa 1917, he was married to Lola and had two children, Johnson T. Allen and Leonard G. Allen. As did his brother, Kenneth filled out a registration card for the military draft during World War I. At the time, he resided at R.F.D. 1, Vichy, MO, and was a self-employed farmer. He claimed that he had a "physical disability" but the nature of it was not disclosed to the registrar. The 1920 census of Spring Creek, Maries County lists Kenneth and Lola and sons living with his parents. Kenneth made a living that year working on his father's farm. He signed his father's death certificate in 1958, and at that time still resided in Vichy.

Son Albert Minder (1856- ? ) was born in 1856 in Iowa. 

Daughter Laura Minder (1861- ? ) was born in 1861. She married (?) Boardman. 

Daughter Hattie Minder (1867- ? ) was born in 1867. She married George Allen ( ? - ? ).

Daughter Anna Minder (1869- ? ) was born in 1869. She married (?) Thompson, who was in diplomatic service of the United States, possibly as an ambassador. After Thompson's death, Anna continued traveling around the world. She died while on one such trip, in Italy. Her remains were cremated and returned to Missouri for burial.


~ Daughter Elizabeth (Minder) Fletcher ~

Daughter Elizabeth Minder (1830-1895) was born on Feb. 8, 1830 in Reading, Berks County, PA. 

She married Henry Fletcher in 1845. They had 10 children -- Eliza Miller, Amanda McRae, John Fletcher, George Fletcher, Harriet Lien, Susan Henrietta Levisee, Jane Whitmarsh and William Fletcher, and two who died young.

Two years after marriage, Elizabeth and Henry left Pennsylvania and migrated to St. Louis, MO. They stayed there for a short while and from there moved again to Wisconsin and thence to Minnesota. Said the White River (WA) Journal, "She roughing it with her husband and family as pioneers during the settling up of those states. Among the places lived in by the family were Eau Claire and Danville in Wisconsin and Moorhead and Abercrombie in Minnesota." 

A family manuscript claims Elizabeth was the first white settler in Frankfort Township, Wisconsin. "She was a nice looking woman, inclined to be heavy and had very large black eyes," said the manuscript. "The Indians trusted and liked her because of her black eyes." 

Henry was a wagon maker, and Elizabeth a hotel-keeper, providing board for oarsmen on rafts passing along the river. Said the Journal, "Mrs. Fletcher kept the first hotel ever kept in the city of Eau Claire, being patronized almost entirely by the lumbermen of Wisconsin, there being very few women in the country at that time and those few scattered widely."

They resided in Eau Claire, WI circa 1859-1863, where several of their children were born. They may also have lived in or near Wisconsin (1853), Glyndon, Clay County MN (circa 1872) and Hillsboro, SD (1886), where some of their children were married. 

When the federal census was enumerated in 1880, the family made its home in Moorhead, Clay County, MN. There, Henry worked as a wheelwright, while son John (age 27) was an engineer, son George (22) was a laborer and daughter Susan (18) a dress maker. Living next door on Ridge Avenue was their married son and daughter in law, William and Mary Fletcher. 

The Fletchers moved to Kent, near Seattle, King County, WA, in December 1889. 

Elizabeth suffered from corns on her foot, and used a razor to cutting away the hard, rough skin. Tragically, she cut herself during one such self-operation, and developed blood poisoning. She died from the effects of the infection in Kent on Oct. 8, 1895, at the age of 69. She is buried in Kent. At her death, the Journal said she was survived by 22 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Daughter Eliza Fletcher (1846-1893) was born in 1846 in Pennsylvania. She wed Henry "Joseph" Miller (1847?- ? ), a native of the Alsace Lorraine region of France, later part of Prussia and then Germany. Circa 1870, when the federal census was taken, Josephwas a saloon keeper in Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI. They had four children -- Madaline "Mattie" Miller, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Miller, Henry Miller and Harriet Catherine Gilfillan. In 1880, their home was on Wisconsin Street in Eau Claire, with Josephcontinuing his work as a saloon-keeper. Elizabeth died in 1893, at the age of 47, and is buried in Eau Claire. 

  • Granddaughter Madaline "Mattie" Miller (1873- ? ) was born in 1873 in Eau Claire.
  • Granddaughter Elizabeth "Lizzie" Miller (1875?-1915?) was born in 1875. She is buried in Eau Claire.
  • Grandson Henry Joseph Miller Jr. (1876-1955) was born in April 1876 in Eau Claire. In 1900, at the age of 24, he boarded with the family of farmer William C. Mahar in Otter Creek, Eau Claire County, where he was employed as a servant. He died in 1955, at the age of 78, and is buried in Iowa.
  • Granddaughter Harriet Catherine "Hattie" Miller (1880-1953) was born in March 1880 in Eau Claire. She wed "Sandy" Gilfillan. Harriet died in 193, at the age of 73, in San Francisco. Her remains were returned to Seattle for burial.

Daughter Amanda Fletcher (1848-1880) was born in 1848 in Pennsylvania. She wed James McRae (1839-1916), a  native of Glegany, Ontario, Canada. Their wedding took place in 1872 in Glyndon, MN. They lived in East Grand Forks, MN; Grand Forks, ND; and Clarks, NE. They had one daughter, Christine Clarice Mysenberg. Amanda died in 1880, at the age of 32, after just eight years of wedded life. She is buried in Grand Forks, Grand Forks County, ND. James outlived her by 36 years. He passed away in Clarks, NE in 1916. 

  • Granddaughter Christine Clarice McRae (1874- ? ) was born on June 7, 1874 in East Grand Forks, Polk County, MN. She wed (?) Mysenberg.

Son John Fletcher (1853- ? ) was born in 1853, after the family moved from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin. In 1880, at the age of 27, he lived at home with his parents in Moorhead, Clay County, MN, and was employed as an engineer. He married Maggie Collins - Cowan in 1884. They had two children -- George Fletcher and Harriet Fletcher. John was a railroad engineer. Nothing more is known.

Son George Fletcher (1858- ? ) was born in 1858 in Wisconsin. He relocated to Washington State with his parents, and died in Georgetown, King County, WA. He is buried near Seattle.

Daughter Harriet "Hattie" Fletcher (1859-1938) was born on Aug. 22, 1859 (or in September 1862) in Eau Claire, Eau Claire County, WI. At the age of 27, Harriet wed Andrew L. Lien (1855- ? ), a  native of Norway, on March 1, 1886 in Hillsboro, ND. They had one known son, Fred Lien. Andrew was considered a "pioneer druggist" in the town of Hillsboro, ND. The census of 1900 shows Andrew and Hattie living on Fourth Street in Hillsboro, Traill County, ND. At that time, they had been married for 15 years but had no children. Harriet died in 1938 and is buried in Hillsboro. Andrew followed her to the grave in 1945.

Daughter Susan Henrietta Fletcher (1863-1929) was born on Sept. 9, 1863 in Eau Claire, Eau Claire County, WI. She was a dressmaker. Susan moved to Washington State with her parents and siblings. There, she married Leonidas Levisee (1857-1929), a native of Shreveport, Caddo Parish, LA, on Jan. 22, 1891 in Kent, Kent County, WA. They lived in Kent and had two sons -- Arthur Levisee and Aaron Levisee. Leonidas was an attorney. Susan died on April 11, 1929, in Seattle, with burial in Lakeview Cemetery in Seattle. Leonidas may have died the same day, but this has not yet been proven.

  • Grandson or stepson Arthur Levisee (1888- ? ) was born on July 30, 1888, in Minnesota. On June 25, 1911, he married Bertha Schoeneman in Washington State. Tragically, Arthur drowned in Los Angeles, CA on Feb. 17, 1955. He was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Cemetery.
  • Grandson Aaron Levisee (1894-1962) was born on April 25, 1894 in Kent, King County. He married Eva Marguerite Bergman on July 12, 1918 in Seattle. He passed away on July 6, 1962 in Santa Ana, Orange County, CA. He rests in Fairhaven Memorial Park, Santa Ana, Orange County.
  • Family member Marion Levisee Cotter, of Diamond Springs, CA, corresponded with Minerd.com researcher Eugene Podraza in July 1991, sharing vital information about this branch of the family. At the time, she was in contact with another relative, Virginia Russell.

Daughter Jane Fletcher (1849-1907) was born in 1849 in Wisconsin. She married George W. Whitmarsh (1846- ? ). They had six children -- George "Alfred" Whitmarsh, Mildred Whitmarsh, William Whitmarsh, Ada Whitmarsh, Elizabeth Whitmarsh and Effie Whitmarsh. George was a hotel-keeper circa 1880 on Front Street in Moorhead, Clay County, MN. The census of 1880 shows that in addition to the family, 19 other individuals made their home in the hotel, ranging from carpenters and barbers to machinists and brick masons. Sometime during the period from 1882 to 1900, most likely in 1902, George died, of causes not yet known. Jane and three of her adult children are shown together on the 1900 federal census of Montana, in Cedar, Missoula County, MT. That year, Jane was a restaurant-keeper and daughters Elizabeth and Effie helped there there as waitresses, while son William was employed as a laborer in a local sawmill. Circa 1907, Jane made her home in DeBorgia, Mineral County, MT. She died the day after Christmas 1907, at the age of 58. An obituary in the Anaconda (MT) Standard said "The dead woman was a widow but leaves a grown daughter."

  • Grandson George "Alfred" Whitmarsh (1871- ? ) was married and had children. Circa January 1908, they resided at DeBorgia, Mineral County, MT. On Jan. 2, 1908, their infant son died. The Anaconda (MT) Standard said "Mr. and Mrs. Whitmarsh... are well known here. [They] desire to express their gratitude for the kindness shown by friends in their hours of deep affliction."
  • Granddaughter Mildred "Millie" Whitmarsh (1872- ? ) 
  • Grandson William Whitmarsh (1875- ? ) was born in November 1874, most likely in Moorhead, Clay County, MN.
  • Granddaughter Ada Whitmarsh (1876- ? ) 
  • Granddaughter Elizabeth Whitmarsh (1880- ? ) was born in May 1880 in Moorhead, Clay County, MN. She was a restaurant waitress in 1900 in Cedar, Missoula County, MT.
  • Granddaughter Effie Whitmarsh (1882- ? ) was born in November 1882, most likely in Moorhead, Clay County, MN. She was a restaurant waitress in 1900 in Cedar, Missoula County, MT.

Son William Fletcher (1856- ? ) was born in Wisconsin. He was married twice -- to England-born Mary Gorman (1862- ? ) and May Smith ( ? - ? ). William and Mary lived on Ridge Avenue in Moorhead, Clay County, MN circa 1880 and had two children -- Charles Fletcher and Clara Fletcher. William was a laborer in 1880, and his 18-year-old bride was a dress maker. 


~ Son David Austin Minder ~


David Minder's grave, 
Frankfort Twp Cemetery

Son David Austin Minder (1832-1883) was born on Sept. 27, 1832 (or 1830) in Centre County, PA. He relocated to Iowa with his parents, settling in Fort Madison, Lee County. 

At the age of 24, David married Rebecca Ann Working (1838- ? ) in Iowa on June 21, 1856. She was the daughter of George and Anna Marie (Anspacht) Working of Potter Township, Centre County.

The Minders had at least seven children -- George William Minder (born 1849), Oscar Minder, James Almarion Minder (1862), David "Austin" Minder Jr. (1867), Lucy Minder (1870), John Minder (1872) and Sarah D. Minder (1877). 

By 1862, the Minders migrated to Wisconsin, and one of their sons was born in Quincy, Adams County, IL in 1863. They moved again by 1879 to Minnesota, with a new home in Lake City, Wabasha County. There, David labored in a saw mill. 

He died at the age of 51 on Nov. 19, 1883 in Pepin County, WI or in Lake City, MN. He rests for eternity in West Frankfort Cemetery, Pepin County. (link)


George Minder's grave, 
1871, in the shape of a shield

Son George William Minder (1858-1871) was born on Sept. 16, 1858 in Fort Madison, Lee County, IA. He moved with his parents to Frankfurt, Pierce County, WI. He died on Jan. 22, 1871, at the age of 12 years, one month and six days, as marked on his grave stone, and is buried in the Frankfort Cemetery.

Son James Almarion Minder (1862-1935) was born on May 6, 1863 in Quincy, Adams County, IL. He married Elizabeth Stafford (1873-1966), daughter of John and Jeanette (McLaren) Stafford of Ontario, Canada. Their wedding took place on March 21, 1893 in North Dakota, in Crystal, Pembina County. Elizabeth immigrated to the United States in 1881, when she was age eight. James and Elizabeth lived in Saint John, Rolette County, ND, and later maintained a home for many years on Appleton Avenue in Crystal, where all five of their children were born -- Jeanette Mae Pastoret, Roy Harlan Minder, Frederick James Minder and Marion Elizabeth Hollenbeck,, and one who died young. Crystal was a rural community located 19 miles northwest of Grafton on the Pembima Mountain line of the Great Northern Railway.  James was a newspaper publisher and commercial printer, and his paper trail needs to be explored more deeply. In 1887, at the age of 25, he established what may have been his first newspaper, the Rolette County Democrat, in the town of Saint John.  By 1901, James was the publisher of the Crystal Call newspaper. It had a subscriber base of 470, and came out on Fridays, with a Republican political focus. The Call was eight pages in length, measuring 15 inches by 22 inches in size. In 1916, he was named twice in Clement Augustus Lounsberry's book Early History of North Dakota, and conducted business under the name "J.A. Minder & Sons." Circa 1912, he served as the mayor of Crystal. During the 1920s, the Minders moved to Havelock near Lincoln, Lancaster County, NE. There, James established his publishing company, Inter-State Printing Company. He was assisted in the business by 33-year-old, married son Roy and 31-year-old, unmarried son Fred. James died in Lincoln, at the age of 72, on July 14, 1935. He is buried in Lincoln in the Wyuka Cemetery (Section 34). Elizabeth outlived him by more than three decades. She died on Oct. 20, 1966, and is buried at Wyuka. (link

  • Granddaughter Jeanette Mae Minder (1895-1988) was born on Dec. 5, 1895 in Crystal. On Aug. 13, 1921, she wed Albert Lawrence Pastoret in Bismarck, ND. Jeanie died on Oct. 14, 1988, in Boulder, CO.
  • Grandson Roy Harland Minder (1897-1974) was born on June 6, 1897 in Crystal. He married Evelyn Grant in Crystal City on March 7, 1923. They had three known sons -- Fritz G. Minder, Gregory J. Minder and O. Keith Minder, all born in Nebraska. They lived for a year or two in Appleton, Swift County, MN, where Roy was editor and publisher of the Swift County Republican newspaper. The Republican was in print for only about two years, in 1924 and until about October 1925. About the time it ceased operations, the Minders migrated to Nebraska, making their home in Havelock, near Lincoln, Lancaster County, NE, where Roy was employed in his father's publishing business, Inter-State Printing Company. In 1925, the Typographical Journal, a union publication, said that Roy had "arrived from Minnesota recently and will engage in the business of printing with his father and brother... This office has always been included in the union list...." The article also reported that Roy had "learned trade in Crystal, N.D.; worked in Appleton, Minn., an unorganized town; never a member." Roy died in Lincoln, NE on Nov. 28, 1974. 
  • Grandson Frederick James "Fred" Minder (1899-1971) was born on New Year's Day 1899 in Crystal. Having grown up in Crystal, he migrated with his parents in the 1920s to Havelock, near Lincoln, Lancaster County, NE. There, he assisted in the family's publishing and printing firm, Inter-State Printing Company. In 1922, he was listed in a typography union magazine at age 21, in Grand Forks, ND, having worked in the trade for five and a half years, but not yet a member of the union. He married Mabel J. Bailey on April 28, 1936, when he was age 37. Frederick died in Santa Cruz, CA on Oct. 15, 1971.
  • Granddaughter Marion Elizabeth Minder (1901-1987) was born on Feb. 22, 1901 in Crystal. She attended the University of North Dakota, where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority and received her teacher's certificate. Two days after Christmas 1921, at his home in Drayton, Pembina County, ND, she married George Milford Hollenbeck, LL.B. At the time of marriage, Marion was a teacher in the elementary schools in Drayton, while George was principal of Drayton High School. In 1923, they lived in Appleton, MN, at the time of death of an infant daughter. By 1930, the couple moved to Benson, Swift County, MN, where George had been appointed probate judge of Swift County. Circa 1937, Marion herself was serving as Judge of Probate in Swift County, with her term to expire in 1939. She apparently was re-elected, in a term ending in 1943. Marion is believed to have authored a typewritten, multi-page manuscript history of her great-grandparents, entitled John Minder and Anna Osawaldt Genealogy, in about 1961. A copy of this history was sent to Ceya Minder in Alabama, and forwarded to Marion Levisee Cotter, with a copy eventually sent to Minerd.com researchers Eugene Podraza and Mark Miner. Marion died in Edina, Hennepin County, MN on April 5, 1987.

Son David Austin" Minder (1867- ? ) was born on Oct. 27, 1867. He died as a teenager, but his details are shrouded by the hazy mists of the past.

Daughter Lucy Anna (or "Rushia") Minder (1870-1936) was born on Feb. 17, 1870 in Pepin County, WI. She and her brother Emory Minder were twins, but sadly Emory died at birth. Lucy married Ole Jacob "Jack" Hanson (1864-1943) on Dec. 18, 1889 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN. They had 10 children -- Dorsey E. Hanson, George Raymond Hanson, Miles Edward Hanson, Ida Hanson, Richard Edward Hanson, Clifford Hanson, Eleanor May Elliott, Grace Marie Brennan, Esther Ruth Steward and Mary Louise Vincent.  Sadly, they lost four children in infancy -- sons Dorsey (1890), Miles (1892) and Clifford (1900) and daughter Ida (whooping cough, 1895). The lived in Herman, Grant County, MN, and later moved to Sherwood, Renville County, ND and Chester, Liberty County, MT. Lucy died on May 9, 1936 in Joplin, Liberty County, MT. She is buried in the Highland Cemetery in Havre, Hill County, MT. Ole joined her in eternity on Aug. 23, 1943. Ole's obituary in the Liberty County (MT) Times said that he was a "well known and long time resident of Joplin" and that he "was a native of the state of Minnesota and came to Chester in the fall of 1908 later living four miles north and east of Joplin." (link

  • Grandson George Raymond Hanson (1891- ? ) was born on Sept. 19, 1891 in Clifton Township, Traverse County, MN. He married Katherine Scott on Nov. 27, 1913, in Whitefish, MT.
  • Grandson Richard Edward Hanson (1895- ? ) was born on May 11, 1895 in Herman, MN. He married Margaret Mary Carver in Spokane, WA on Sept. 8, 1921. 
  • Granddaughter Eleanor Hansen (1902- ? ) was born on Aug. 13, 1902 in Herman, MN. She wed Virgil Elliott on June 8, 1943.
  • Granddaughter Grace Marie Hanson (1903-1989) was born on Dec. 13, 1903 in Herman, MN. She wed George Lawrence Brennan on Feb. 10, 1922. Grace died at the age of 85 on Aug. 8, 1989. 
  • Granddaughter Esther Ruth Hanson (1907- ? ) was born on March 31, 1907 in Sherwood, ND. On April 18, 1924, in Kalispell, MT, she wed Elmer Stewart. 
  • Granddaughter Mary Louise Hanson (1911- ? ) was born on April 13, 1911 in Chester, MT. She married James Lester Vincent. Their nuptials took place in Havre, MT on New Year's Eve 1931.

Son John Albert Minder (1872- ? ) was born on Feb. 22, 1872. Nothing more is known.


Bird's-eye view of Lake City, Minnesota, early 1900s


Daughter Sarah Dell "Sadie" Minder (1877-1951) was born on Sept. 6, 1876 in Lake City, Wabasha County, MN. On June 25, 1895, in Minnesota, she wed Dick P. Brower ( ? -1938). Their five children were Hazel Gladys Brower, Jone Ralph Brower, John Edward Brower, Mary Ruth Carlson and Isabelle Rosalie Haskett. In the latter half of the 1890s, when their eldest children were born, the Browers made their home in Box Elder, NE. They eventually migrated to Seattle, King County, WA. Dick passed away first, in Seattle, on July 5, 1938. Sarah outlived him by a baker's dozen of years. She died in Seattle on Sept. 23, 1951, with burial in Washette Mausoleum in Seattle. 

  • Granddaughter Hazel Gladys Brower (1897-1911) was born on Nov. 3, 1897 in Box Elder, NE. She died at the age of 13 on March 31, 1911, in Spokane, WA. The cause of her untimely death is unknown.
  • Grandson Jone Ralph Brower (1898- ? ) was born on Feb. 15, 1898 in Box Elder, NE. He married Virginia Naomi Sutton in Seattle on July 15, 1933.
  • Grandson John Edward Brower (1903-1908) was born on April 3, 1903 in Thermopolis, Hot Springs, WY. He died at the age of five in Livingston, Park County, MT on Dec. 10, 1908.
  • Granddaughter Mary Ruth Brower (1907- ? ) was born on Feb. 17, 1907 in Livingston, Park County, MT. She wed Alvin John Carlson on Nov. 25, 1945.
  • Granddaughter Isabelle Rosalie Brower (1912- ? ) was born on June 27, 1912 in Spokane, WA. She married Robert Omar Haskett on July 15, 1933 in Seattle.


~ Son Jacob Minder ~

Son Jacob Minder (1836-1861?) was born in 1936 in Pennsylvania. He married Mary Ann Moore (1840- ? ), and they came together with his parents to Iowa. They were married on May 11, 1857, in Fort Madison, Lee County, IA, by the hand of justice of the peace Silas Gregg.

The Minders had at least three children, Allen Minder (born 1858), Alice C. Minder (1863) and A. Farnsworth.  Jacob was a wagon maker. 

The 1860 census shows the young family residing in Lee County, IA. Records show that Jacob died on Nov. 26, 1861 (or 1864), with burial possibly in Fort Madison.


Locals on a fishing outing at "The Bay" in Fort Madison


It is possible, though not confirmed, that Jacob is the same "Jacob Minder" who was employed circa 1858 in the S. & J.C. Atlee lumber mill, said to have been "one of the most extensive lumber manufacturing firms along the Mississippi River," said the 1879 book, The History of Lee County, Iowa. "Their mills consist of a saw-mill, which is supplied with machinery of the most modern pattern, a brick planing-mill, 75 x 75 feet, two stories, high, which is a model of neatness and order." Tragically, Jacob one of four men killed in a boiler explosion in November 1858, "blowing the mill to atoms," said the Lee County history. "Atlee helped bury the dead, and then commenced rebuilding and repairing, and soon had everything in operation again." Although this accident occurred a year before our Jacob was listed as alive in the 1880 census, it is worth investigating whether these two men are the same person.

Daughter A. Minder (1860- ? ) married A. Farnsworth ( ? - ? ), the son of Howard Farnsworth, in Appanoose, IA on July 29, 1883, when she was age 23 and he was 24.

Daughter Alice C. Minder (1858-1863) died at the age of five years on April 22, 1863. She rests for eternity in the Salem Cemetery in Caldwell Township, Appanoose County, IA. She may be the same as "Allen Minder" mentioned above.


~ Son Eli Minder ~

Son Eli Minder (1838-1916) was born in October 1838 (or 1839) in Centre County, PA. A profile of Eli, in the 1891-1892 book Historical and Biographical Album of the Chippewa Valley, Wisconsin, said that "Both of his grandfathers were Germans, and settled in an early day in Berks county, Pa."

When Eli was about five years old, in about 1845, he and his parents and siblings migrated to Fort Madison, Lee County, Iowa. As a boy, Eli attended private ("select") school and worked in a wagon shop with his father. He also was a clerk for three years in a dry goods and clothing store. The Minders were listed together in the same household in the federal census of 1860, with Eli making a living as a painter that year. 

Later, in 1856, Eli relocated again to Wisconsin, establishing a longtime residence on a farm in or near Frankfort, Pepin County. His parents joined him in Frankfort in about 1858. 

On Feb. 28, 1869, at the age of 31, he married Mary Henrietta Milliron (1851-1916) in Pepin County, WI. She was a native of Wisconsin. They had three children -- Jessie Esther Robinson, Nellie Blanche Biles and Delbert Barton Minder.


Ferry boat and barge on the Mississippi River (Lake Pepin) at Lake City, Minnesota, early 1900s.



History of the 
Chippewa Valley

He got his start on the river at the age of 21, in 1859, as an oarsman on a commercial raft owned by C.C. Washburn & Co. His raft trips for the Washburn firm were between Waubeek and Read's Landing on the Chippewa River. The Historical and Biographical Album related the following excerpt of his career in and around the Lake Pepin portion of the Mississippi River:

In 1864 he became a raft pilot for the Knapp, Stout Lumber Co., and soon after received a license as steamboat pilot and ran on the "Pete Wilson" for several years.... Mr. Minder lived at Read's Landing until 1873, when he removed to Ella [Frankfort] and opened a general store. In 1875 his store burned down and he next built and ran a ferry boat between Stockholm and Lake City. From 1882 to 1887 he owned an interest in the steamer "Luella" plying between Stillwater, Minn., and Hannibal, Mo. In the latter year he began running on the "Phil Scheckel," where he is still employed.

In 1900, when the census was taken, the Minders lived in Frankfurt, Pepin County, where Eli's employment was reported as river pilot and steamboat captain . When the federal census of Pepin County was taken in 1910, Eli, Mary and Delbert resided together as farmers in Frankfurt Township. Living two doors away was his 58-year-old nephew John Henry Minder and wife Alice and their children. 

Circa 1913, Eli's 40-acre farm is shown in a map of Frankfort Township, in the northwest corner of Section 23, in the atlas Pepin County 1913, published by Kenyon Company. The farm was but a short distance from what appears to have been a port or landing along the Chippewa River.

According to notes prepared by cousin-genealogist Henry Benjamin Peterson, Eli built a home at Ella, Pepin County. He kept a saloon in the basement, and due to the many flies buzzing about, the place was known as "Shoofly." 

Eli died in Frankfort Township, Pepin County on April 5, 1916, at the age of 78. He was laid to rest on the home farm.

Mary also died that year, on Sept. 22, 1916. Her remains were buried in Oakwood Cemetery in the village of Pepin, Pepin County. Eli's coffin was moved there to join her in eternal repose. (link

Daughter Jessie Esther Minder (1872- ? ) was born on Dec. 7, 1872 in Wabasha County, MN. She married Frank Elijah Robinson on Feb. 28, 1897. Their eight children were Richard Rupert Robinson, Cyril Robinson, Ivan Paul Robinson, Esther Nellie Roerner, Jerry Mark Robinson, Wallace Marvin Robinson, Clifford Charles Robinson and Edward Milo Robinson. Jessie passed away in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 1964. 

  • Grandson Richard Rupert Robinson (1898- ? ) was born on March 30, 1898. He married Irene Hanson on Dec. 23, 1923.
  • Grandson Cyril Robinson (1899- ? ) was born on Christmas Eve 1899. He married Edwina Phillips on Feb. 1, 1932. 
  • Grandson Ivan Paul Robinson (1901-1927) was born on Oct. 14, 1901. He died at the age of 25 on March 3, 1927. Details are not known.
  • Granddaughter Esther Nellie Robinson (1902- ? ) was born on Dec. 9, 1902. She wed Paul Roerner on April 4, 1959, when she was 56 years of age.
  • Grandson Jerry Mark Robinson (1905- ? ) was born on Feb. 7, 1905. He married Sophie Novack on Jan. 10, 1942.
  • Grandson Wallace Marvin Robinson (1907- ? ) was born on March 24, 1907. He married Eileen Ressler on April 3, 1939.
  • Grandson Clifford Charles Robinson (1908-1991) was born on June 14, 1908. He married Gunarda Ovidia Blackstad on April 4, 1936. Clifford died on June 7, 1991.
  • Grandson Edward Milo Robinson (1916-1949) was born on Dec. 4, 1916. He apparently never married. He died on Nov. 6, 1969, at the age of 32.

Daughter Nellie Blanche Minder (1877-1966) was born on July 29, 1877 in Pepin County, WI. She was a school teacher in 1900 in the Frankfurt area. She married widower Walter Henry Biles (1865-1945) on June 10, 1908. They were a dozen years apart in age. He lost his first wife Fanny to death on June 4, 1897. They had four children -- Vaughn Walter Biles, Claire Minder Biles, Calista Ada Sullivan and Helen Marjorie Holcer. Walter passed away in 1945. Nellie died in Minneapolis on Jan. 11, 1966, with burial at Oakwood Cemetery in Pepin County. (link

  • Grandson Vaughn Walter Biles (1910-1992) was born on Aug. 27, 1910 in Durand, WI. He married Edna Louise Kakuschke on Sept. 30, 1942 in Red Wing, MN. He died in Wabasha County, MN on April 22, 1992. 
  • Granddaughter Claire Minder Biles (-1912-) only lived five days. She was born in Durand, WI on Jan 20, 1912 and died on Jan. 25, 1912. 
  • Granddaughter Calista Ada Biles (1914- ? ) was born on Nov. 10, 1914 in Durand, WI. She married Harold Sullivan. 
  • Granddaughter Helen Marjorie Biles (1916-1981) was born on May 24, 1916 in Durand. She married Frank Melville Holcer. She died on April 26, 1981.

Son Delbert Barton Minder (1879-1960) was born in January 1879 in Pepin County. He married Elizabeth Reedy (1896- ? ), a native of Germany, on June 12, 1917. They were farmers and resided in Pepin. Delbert passed away on July 20, 1960. They are buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Pepin.


~ Daughter Mary Ann (Minder) Gardner ~

Daughter Mary Ann Minder (1845- ? ) was born in 1845 in Pennsylvania. As a young girl, she was a pioneer settler of Fort Madison, Lee County, IA with her parents. She migrated with or to join her brother Eli in Wisconsin, making her home in Pepin County. 

On Aug. 13, 1864, she married William Gardner in Pepin County. Nothing more is known.


~ Son John Henry Minder ~

Son John Henry Minder (1853-1919) was born on May 12, 1853, possibly in Wisconsin. 

He wed Leda (?). They had three known children -- Mary Frost, Emily Minder and Samuel Minder.

Sadly, Leda is said to have "died young."

On April 7, 1919, John was killed in an explosion at a location not yet known. He was buried in the Elwood Cemetery. 

Daughter Mary Minder ( ? - ? ) married Martin Frost. Nothing more is known.


Copyright © 2011-2013, 2015 Mark A. Miner

This biography was begun thanks to extensive research by Henry Benjamin Peterson of Grantsburg, WI, and Twila (Peterson) Payne of Bay City, WI, which they graciously shared in 1996. Photos of John Minder and the grave markers also courtesy of Twila (Peterson) Payne. We also extended our gratitude to cousins Rick E. Olson and Marion Levisee Cotter who also provided vital correspondence and information/.