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The Marriage of John Sturmer and Barbara Barton

December 28, 2012

Lieser and Filzen on either side of the Mosel River

An earlier post told of the naturalization of John Sturmer, Sr. as a U.S. citizen in 1856. Three years prior to that, he married Barbara Barton in JoDaviess County, Illinois. Both were young immigrants from Germany, having been raised just across the Mosel River from each other.

John (1820 – 1910) was born in Filzen (also known as Neufilzen), Rhineland, Germany and immigrated to New York State in 1847, traveling with two of his brothers and two sisters. Two years later he moved to Galena, IL.

Barbara Clara Barton (1830 – 1907) immigrated to Galena in 1851 (according to the 1900 U.S. Census) from Lieser, Germany. According to that same Census report, she learned to speak English. She would have been naturalized by default when her husband John Sturmer. Sr. was. Her older brothers, Caspar (1824 – 1880) and Jacob (1826 – 1886) also came to Galena for a short time before finally settling in Minnesota. The brothers are thought to have arrived in Galena in the early 1850s, so presumably the three siblings sailed together to their new adventure in America.

In Galena, the 33-year old John Sturmer and 23-year old Barbara Barton got acquainted and then married on this day in 1853. Oftentimes in those day, there were not official looking marriage certificates but the marriage was certified by a hand-written announcement by the officiant that he had indeed presided at the ceremony. Such was the case for John and Barbara. Three days after Christmas in 1853, they were married by a Justice of the Peace named Benjamin Coombe.

Below is a copy of their marriage “Certificate” acknowledging their wedding on Dec 28, 1853.

It reads:

John Sturmer
and                                   Dec. 28 1853
Barbara Barton                (illegible)

State of Illinois, County of JoDaviess, December 28, 1853
I Benjamin Coombe a Justice of the
Peace hereby certify that on that day I joined
in Marriage Mr. John Sturmer with Barbara
Barton (agreeably?)  to the authority given in the
above License.
Benj. Coombe Justice of the Peace

Soon after the wedding, the couple moved to Grant County, Wisconsin and began their lives together. From this marriage were born eleven children:

John, Mary Matilda, Joseph, Albert, Jacob Lee, Elizabeth Susan, Clara Barbara “Dolly”, Adeline, Ella, William Henry, Wilhelmina “Minnie.” Adeline died at the age of 10 after contracting the measles; the other ten children all grew into adulthood.

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