Michael GRASSER (1772-1821)
Michael GRASSER was born on 8 July 1772 in Moestroff, Canton Diekirch, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. He was the son of Nicolas GRASSER vulgo REUTERS and Elisabetha WINANDY. Michael was the oldest of eight children born as follows: Michael 8 July 1772, Maria Margaretha 3 April 1774, Michael 24 February 1776, Susanna 26 September 1777, Wilhelm 11 February 1780, Joannes 26 October 1782, Mathias 12 November 1784 (d. 5 March 1785), and Philippe 24 July 1786. Baptismal records were found for all of these children. Their father was often referred to as Nicolas GRASSER vulgo REUTERS.
Michael’s baptismal record was more revealing. The priest wrote:
Nicolai et Elisabetha Grasser conjugum in aedibus Reuters x Moestroff
This indicated the parents were a married couple who lived in a house known as Reuters in Moestroff. Reuters was their house name but the family would keep the GRASSER surname.
Elisabetha HOSCHEID (1772-1831)
Michael married Elisabetha HOSCHEID, daughter of Léonard HOSCHEID and Marie REULAND, on 20 January 1796 in Bettendorf, Diekirch, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Elisabetha was born about 1772 in Brandenbourg.
Elisabetha’s family lived in Brandenbourg. This parish’s records are lacking and those which are included are out of order. I have not gone through them to find her parents’ family group. However, it is interesting that both her parents’ surnames are also names of town in Luxembourg. HOSCHEID variations are Hoscheit, Hoschet, Hoschette, Houschette; REULAND variations are Reiland, Reyland. Both names may have originated from town names. Did their families originally come from Hoscheid and Reuland? This thought went through my mind as I was climbing the hill up to Reuland, a village in the commune of Heffingen in central Luxembourg, yesterday on my bike. This was the view we were rewarded with after riding through the village to the top of the hill.
Elisabeth and Michael marry in 1796
Michael married Elisabetha on 20 January 1796 in Bettendorf. The marriage index card gives 2 January 1796 but the record clearly is for the 20th. More interesting is the name of one of the witnesses for this religious marriage. Nicolas MERCKES of Bettendorf signed the entry making it easier for me to prove who he was. The signature matches those found on the baptismal records of his children. Nicolas was the great-great-grandfather of Fritz KREMER (1905-1972) who would marry Suzanne PEFFER (1910-1987), the great-great-granddaughter of Michael and Elisabetha, one hundred and thirty-five years later, on 7 January 1931. They were the parents of my mother-in-law Maisy KREMER (1931-1986).
The children of Michael and Elisabetha
Michael and Elisabetha had the following children:
- Nicolas GRASSER was born on 11 November 1796 in Moestroff and died on 18 February 1801 in Moestroff at the age of 4 years.
- Margaretha GRASSER was born on 31 December 1797 in Moestroff and died on 24 April 1848 in Moestroff. She married Pierre RAUSCH, son of Mathieu RAUSCH and Marie SCHMIT, on 25 January 1820 in Bettendorf. Pierre was born on 27 July 1796 in Consdorf (Canton Echternach). He died on 17 December 1875 in St. Nicholas, Stearns County, Minnesota. [8 children]
- Jean GRASSER was born on 13 February 1799 in Moestroff and died on 19 November 1803 in Moestroff at the age of 4 years.
- Anna Catharina GRASSER was born on 15 December 1801 in Moestroff and died on 6 December 1821 in Moestroff, a week before her 20th birthday.
- Maria GRASSER was born about 1801 in Moestroff. Her birth record has not been found and when she married her sister Anna Catharina’s date of birth was listed. Maria died on 4 January 1882 in Moestroff. She married Antoin “Anton” PEFFER, son of Adam PEFFER and Marguerite PIERRET, on 17 February 1830 in Bettendorf. Anton was born on 20 May 1803 in Obermertzig (Feulen) and died on 26 December 1858 in Moestroff. Maria and Anton were my children’s 4th great-grandparents. [7 children]
- Phillippe GRASSER was born on 26 July 1804 in Moestroff and died on 12 March 1805 in Moestroff at the age of nearly 8 months.
- Cathérine GRASSER was born on 12 November 1805 in Moestroff and died on 1 March 1862 in Luxemburg, Stearns County, Minnesota. She married Michel LESCH, son of Jean LESCH and Elisabeth MAJERUS, on 28 March 1832 in Bettendorf. Michel was born on 15 April 1807 in Biesdorf, Rheinland Pfalz, Germany, and died on 27 June 1878 in Rockville, Stearns County, Minnesota. [8 children]
- Nicolas GRASSER was born on 4 July 1807 in Moestroff and died on 1 June 1852 in Moestroff. He married Anne Cathérine STAUDT, daughter of Jean STAUDT and Madeleine SCHILTZ, on 2 March 1835 in Bastendorf (Diekirch). Anne Cathérine was born on 16 January 1808 in Brandenbourg and died on 24 November 1859 in Moestroff. [4 children]
- Nicolas GRASSER was born on 23 April 1809 in Moestroff and died on 8 May 1867 in Lultzhausen (Neunhausen). He married Madeleine LENTZ, daughter of Jean LENTZ and Anne Marie MARTEN, on 9 June 1832 in Bettendorf. Madeleine was born on 17 February 1814 in Moestroff and died on 7 August 1844 in Moestroff. Following her death, Nicolas married Marguerite FRISCH, daughter of Michel FRISCH and Susanne WEBER, on 11 December 1844 in Bettendorf. Marguerite was born on 2 March 1820 in Beaufort (Echternach) and died on 22 May 181 in Lultzhausen (Neunhausen). [10 children]
This is a long list of children but, sadly, not all survived childhood. Daughters Margaretha, Maria, and Cathérine, and the two sons named Nicolas were the ones who would marry and continue the line.
Michael dies at the age of 48
Michael and Elisabetha would only be present at the marriage of their oldest daughter Margaretha who married in 1820. A little over a year later, on 26 February 1821, Michael GRASSER died at 11 o’clock in the morning. His wife Elisabetha went to the records office in Bettendorf the following afternoon at 2 o’clock to have his death recorded. She was not able to write and left only a mark on the death record. Mathias HESSE, the secretary, was the second witness and Nicolas RECHT, the mayor, was the civil official.
How close was the family after Michael’s death?
Elisabetha HOSCHEID lived another ten years. Did all of her unmarried children live with her and support her?
On 17 February 1830 Elisabetha made her last appearance in a legal document when she was present and consenting to the marriage of her her oldest single daughter Maria, my children’s 4th great-grandmother.
Reviewing the marriage record (once again) I found things I had questioned earlier. Maria’s age was left off and her date of birth was incorrect as mentioned above under #5. Her father was deceased and his date of death on the marriage record was the date for a child of the same name who died in 1809 and not for Michael who died in 1821.
Looking at the record now, in relation with the GRASSER family, it seems strange that neither of the bride’s brothers named Nicolas GRASSER nor her brother-in-law Pierre RAUSCH were present at the marriage. In the section for the witnesses, there is room for four persons and only three are listed, two PEFFER men – an uncle and a brother of the groom – and an unrelated man. I believe this is the only marriage record I have come across which does not have all four witnesses listed. Further, the marriage record appears to have been prepared in advance or at least by two persons. Notice the light handwriting at the top and bottom, while the middle section is darker and a different handwriting.
Were Maria’s family not happy with her choice? Or, was she in a family way and the rush to get her married caused errors to be made on the marriage record? Maria gave birth to her first child less than eight months after the marriage. Cutting it close or a premature birth, did it really matter as Maria was nearly 30 years old when she married?
Elisabetha dies at the age of 59
Her son-in-law Pierre RAUSCH was the informant of her death on 17 September 1831 in Moestroff. She died at 7 in the morning and Pierre was at the civil records office by 11. The record shows she died at the home of the RAUSCH family which makes me wonder if all of the family was living together at the time – Elisabetha’s unmarried children as well as her married daughter and grandchildren.
The years after Michael and Elisabetha
Following the death of their mother, Cathérine was the first to marry in March 1832 followed by the younger Nicolas in June 1832. The elder Nicolas married in March 1835.
Two families go to America
In 1848 [many family trees incorrectly list 1840] the oldest child Margaretha died. Her death was followed by the elder Nicolas GRASSER’s death in 1852. This appears to be a turning point in the family history.
Margaretha’s husband Pierre RAUSCH and five of their children emigrated from Luxembourg to Stearns County, Minnesota. Only the oldest daughter remained in Moestroff. A county history places the immigration at the latter part of the 1850s. They may have been the first to go to America but others would follow.
Cathérine and her husband Michael LOESCH (as the name was seen from 1852) also went to Stearns County. The move can be placed at after December 1855 when they were last seen in the Luxembourg census. The LOESCH family also had two sons named Nicolas. The elder was not with his parents in 1855 and likely accompanied Pierre RAUSCH and his children to America. From the History of Stearns County, Minnesota, Volume II by William Bell Mitchell:
Nicholas [Loesch] set out for America in 1854. In 1855 he started for the West with a party of eight young men. They were among the first to pass through the canal at Sault Ste. Marie. Through swamps and woods they pursued their course and finally reached St. Paul. From there Nicholas came to St. Cloud. He first took a homestead in Rockville township, but allowed his right to lapse. His parents obtained a homestead in Rockville township, where they ended their days. Nicholas finally secured a location in section 3, near Pearl lake in Maine Prairie township. Here he erected a log cabin, and with a yoke of oxen and a cow started farming operations.
Two families remain in Luxembourg
While the families of Margaretha and Cathérine went to America, Elisabetha and Michael’s last living son Nicolas remained in Luxembourg but moved away from Moestroff to Lultzhausen. Only Maria, my children’s ancestress, remained in Moestroff as did several generations of her descendants until Suzanne PEFFER died there in 1987.
While checking the National Library of Luxembourg site for newspapers and periodicals for further information on the grandchildren of this couple I made a fantastic discovery concerning Elisabetha HOSCHEID. She and her husband were mentioned in a book written in 1858. I am overwhelmed and will share as soon as I get my thoughts together in a few days.
Sources will be added during the week as the remarkable discovery I made today kept me from adding the footnotes and citations.
© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.