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Wirsing in Somerset Co PA

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Re: Wirsing in Somerset Co PA

kwg (View posts)
Posted: 1107622430000
Classification: Query
here is my work in progress..


The earliest record of the Gunnett’s in America was discovered in the perishing pages of the old family bible brought over to this country from Rifshoffen, Province of Alsace, France in the late eighteenth century. The vital statistics record in the sacred book tell us that a George Gunnett, son of Anthony Gunnett, was born on May 11, 1774 in the province of Alsace, France and from there immigrated to the United States probably sometime between 1790 and 1800. Although strictly hearsay, rumor has it that he may have come over as a soldier during the American Revolutionary days. Originally, the family name was spelled Gunnet. During the early 1800's different people who filled out the bible started switching back and forth between the spelling of Gunnet and Gunnett. The Gunnett didn't become permanent until the late 1800's. So you will find different branches of the family will actually have different spellings of the our name. You will find Gunnett, Gunnett and Gunnette.

On July 31, 1800, George Gunnett married Ellen Hudgel, daughter of Thomas and Catherine Hudgel of Washington County, Maryland. Ellen was born in that county on October 15, 1782. They had nine children between the years 1801 and 1826 while George worked as one of the civil engineers who surveyed and helped lay out the great National Pike (Route 40) which extended from Washington, D.C. to Wheeling, west Virginia, prior to 1820. Quite naturally, most of their children were born at various stopping points along Route 40. They were in order of birth:

1. Thezia Gunnett, born Aug. 03, 1801, Baltimore Co., Maryland.
2. Thomas Gunnett, born July 19, 1803, Baltimore Co., Maryland.
3. Reason Madison Gunnett, born Aug. 04, 1806, Baltimore Co., Maryland.
* Located “Russ” born Aug.11, 1806, same POB and family members.
4. Washington Gunnett, born March 26, 1809, Frederick Co., Maryland.
* Located George Washington Gunnett, same DOB and POB and family members.
5. Lawson Gunnett, born June 15, 1811, Allegany Co., Maryland.
* Lofts or Loftson Gunnett listed in other web papers with same information and
family members listed in the section.
6. Mary Gunnett, born March 17, 1814, Allegany Co., Maryland.
7. Katherine Gunnett, born Feb. 23, 1817, Bedford Co., Pennsylvania.
8. John Gunnett, born March 8, 1821, Franklin Co., Pennsylvania
9. Ellen Ann Gunnett, born April 28, 1826, Huntington Co., Pennsylvania.

** According to a family member, it was not uncommon for a Gunnett to use a
nickname or middle name as a first name or not use their given first name at

Loftson married Elizabeth Grove, daughter of Peter Grove in Hunting County PA on Sept 11, 1832. Elizabeth Grove was born on Nov 26, 1812.

1. Thomas Gunnett, was born Dec 11 1833 or 1834
2. John Gunnett, was born Sept 8, 1835?, died 13 days later.
3. George Gunnett, was born Sept 27, 1836
4. Peter Gunnett, was born November 25, 1838
5. Margaret Gunnett, was born on July 3, 1841
6. Ellen Ann Gunnett, was born August 26, 1843
7. Sarah Jane Gunnett, was born January 25, 1846
8. Evelina Gunnett, was born June 8, 1848
9. Mary Gunnett, was born October 23, 1850, died May 13, 1864.
10. Elizabeth Gunnett, born May 15, 1857

Unknown relationship? Elllenor Gunnett (something) born 1782(?) of George Gunnet died October 2, 1837, age 54 years, 11 months & 17 days at Rebecca Furnance in Huntingdon County.

Tax and census records revealed that the Gunnett’s apparently settled in Blair County, Pennsylvania from about 1828 on, living in Woodberry Township and Huston Townships. To give you an idea why the Gunnetts settled in Blair County, here is a general account of that area in the early nineteenth century. “The development of iron mining and smelting furnaces with associated industries was the magnet for drawing the railroads into this section and responsible for the creation of the villages of Henrietta, Rebecca Furnace and Clappertown. Within Huston Township, Rebecca Furnace was the first furnace put into operation within the present limits of southern Blair County being built in 1817 by Doctor Peter Shoenberger, one of the leading ironmasters of Pennsylvania. It was a charcoal furnace and was located along Clover Creek several miles north of the village of Fredericksburg. Rebecca Furnace once able to boast of forty workmen’s cabin, leave the ruined blast furnace and a nearby cemetery as its only memorials. It is believed that the Gunnetts, father and sons, worked on the Rebecca Furnace and established their homesteads on a portion of land in the general area of Morrison Cove.

Reason Madison Gunnett (AKA: Rezin, Reese), married a French girl named Cecelia (Cicely) Lyttel around 1830 or 1831. Cicely was born sometime in 1804. They had a son, George Theodore Gunnett, born on September 14, 1832 in Woodberry Township, Pa. In the year 1850, the census reported that Reason and Cicely Gunnett were living in Juniata Township, Blair County, Pa. At that time, they had three children living with them:

1) Mary A. Gunnett, age 14, (born circa 1836)
2) Sarah I. Gunnett, age 12. (Born circa 1838)
3) Rachel Gunnett, age 5. (Born circa 1845)

Reason’s father, George, then age 76, was living with his other son, Washington and his family in Fairfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pa. From this, it is assumed that George’s wife, Ellen, must have passed away sometimes between 1830-40.

In the same census year, 1850, George Theodore Gunnett, son of Reason and Cicely was living in Addison Township, Somerset County, Pa. where he worked as a molders. Molders used moist sand to make forms for iron stoves, etc. It was there that George met Catherine Elizabeth Wersing (Wirsing).

Catherine Elizabeth Wersing was the daughter of Samuel Wersing and Catherine Zibley. Samuel Wirsing (as it was spelled before his marriage) was the son of Rev. John Casper Wirsing, who was born on December 27, 1766 in Titzingen by “Waertzburg on the Main,” Germany. He was a commissioned officer in the German Army (said to have served under Napoleon Bonaparte) and immigrated to America on October 3, 1789. On board the ship he was sailing, he became acquainted with Catherinea Elizabetha Biltherr, who was born in Germany on April 12, 1768. She had “sold her time”for a period to pay her passage to America. John Casper Wirsing purchased her time, and they were married on Jan. 1, 1793. Soon after landing in the United States, John C. Wirsing went to Baltimore where he remained some time, then moved to Westmoreland County, Pa.

“John Casper Wirsing was an educated gentleman of fine address and great power of language and became a local preacher in the Methodist church. He spoke seven languages fluently, was the ablest and most eloquent exhorter of his day, and people came in vast numbers to hear him speak at camp meetings, quarterly meetings, revivals, etc.” Mention was made of him during a Methodist meeting in New Florence in June of 1819. “The meeting was conducted by John Casper Wirsing, a local preacher of great native power who served as a soldier under Napoleon Bonaparte.”

He was in the zenith of his fame in 1820, and five years later moved to Somerset County near Petersburg where he settled on a farm upon which he had a vineyard of the fruits of which he made wine. He was, however, by trade a cooper and was an itinerant Methodist preacher who worked his trade during secular days and preached here and there on Sundays. He was the father of eight children, among who was Samuel and died in the year 1835. His wife, Catherine Elizabetha died in 1850. Samuel H. Wirsing was born on March 14, 1806 in Westmoreland County, Pa. He was said to have been a farmer in Addison Township, Somerset County during his married life. His wife, Catherine Zibley was born in Philadelphia in 1810. They say she traveled across the State of Pennsylvania to Somerset County in a covered wagon at or about the age of eight. Samuel and Catherine probably married between the years of 1825-1830. Samuel died on April 8, 1847, leaving Catherine a widow with eight children. In the 1850 census report for Addison Township, we find Catherine, then 40 years old, living with James and Ann Fuller, her oldest daughter and husband. The Newbury Cemetery is the burial place for:

a) Wirsing, John J. 1766-1841
b) Wirsing, Catherine E. – Wife – 1768 – 1850
c) Wirsing, John R. – Died 7-9-1872 Age 28 yrs. 3 mos. 25 days.
d) Wirsing, Catherine – W/O – Samuel H. 1810 – 1894
e) Wirsing, Samuel H. – Died 4-8-1847 age 41 yrs. 0 mos. 25 days.

It must have been difficult for Catherine to be widowed so young with a big family to raise. It was said that Catherine Elizabeth, being the next to oldest, helped her mother raise the family. She told her grandchildren many years later that she said that she would marry the first man who asked her. It was right about that time Catherine Elizabeth scarcely 15 years old (She was born on Sept. 16, 1836) first met George Theodore Gunnett. They were married on Aug. 21, 1851 in Petersburg, Pa. It was said that they had a very happy life together and were blessed with eight children.

1) Madison Gunnett, born Nov. 4, 1852, Addison, Pa.
2) Theodore Gunnett, born April 11, 1855, Addison, Pa.
3) Ida Virginia Gunnett, born Nov. 20, 1857 in Frostburg, Pa. (AKA: Jennie?)
Married William McLuckie, Ida died March 25, 1943.
4) Laura Gunnett, born Aug. 16, 1859 in Frostburg, Pa. (assumed)
Married George Stevens and later a Mr. Wagus.
Aka: Laura Stevens Wagus, Laura died June 1, 1925.
5) Ella K. Gunnett, was born March 16, 1862 in Frostburg, Pa. (assumed)
Married Henry Neff, Ella date of death is unknown.
6) Lillie Daisy Gunnett, was born on August 21, 1870 in Frostburg, Pa. (assumed)
Married Henry Fresh, Lillie died on Nov. 27, 1941.
7) Bertie May Gunnett, was born on Oct. 7, 1873 in Frostburg, Pa. (assumed)
Married Walter Alfred Cook
8) Frank Clifton Gunnett, was born on May 13, 1878 in Frostburg, Pa. (assumed)
Had two children: Eva and Kitty, in 1975 both were living in Frostburg, Pa.
Frank died on Jan. 21, 1918.
*** Reference was found to a another child named “Fannie,” she died in childhood.

In 1856, George Theodore brought his family to Frostburg, Maryland. For a number of years, he worked as a Wagoner on the old National Pike, which his grandfather as a civil engineer helped to lay out some 30-35 years before. The National Pike was a bustling road of principal importance since it connected Washington, D.C. and Cumberland with the Midwest. The people who lived along it and those in the towns and villages through which it passed witnessed a great procession of stages, line wagons, Conestoga’s, horseman, droves of cattle, sheep and swine. Many men whose names appear in the histories of the United States were familiar figures on this road.

Later on in his professional career, George Theodore worked as a carpenter. They lived a good portion of their life in a house on Beall Street on a lot adjoining the back of their daughter, Bertie May’s house, and were actively involved in the First Methodist Church in Frostburg on Main Street for many years.

Catherine Elizabeth Gunnett’s mother, Catherine Zibley Wersing (Wirsing,) remarried a Doctor Benjamin Rush of Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County, Pa. (no relationship to signer of Declaration of Independence) She died in 1894 and was buried in the Wirsing family plot in Newberry Cemetery between Lower Turkeysfoot and Addison Townships. George Theodore Gunnett died on March 28, 1908 (age 75) of stomach trouble and anemia. Catherine Elizabeth then went to live with her daughter, Bertie Cook and family, until her death on June 18, 1912. She died of indigestion at the age of 75.

Madison Gunnett was a contracting plasterer by trade. He and his wife, Anna (last name unknown), had three children. Madison died at age of 69 on Dec. 3, 1921.
1) George, born in 1875
2) Olin, born in 1876
a. Had three sons: Harry, Jackie, and Billie.
b. Olin Gunnett listed as one of the pallbearers for Mrs. Oscar Schneider (Carrie Wehner), died Aug.19, 1920 in accident involving a train near Frostburg, M.D.
3) Clara, born in 1878
a. Married Milton Race.
b. Had a son named Ralph, lived in Frostburg, and headed the Fidelity Bank.

Bertie May Gunnett married Walter Alfred Cook on Oct. 19, 1898. Walter was a coal miner in his early life and later worked for the Celanese Corp. He was born on June 28, 1876, the son George and Martha Meyerick Cook. George Cook descended from Miles Oliver Cook of Gloucestershire, England, who was orphaned at the age of ten. He worked in the mines and came to the United States when he was about 17 years old. In Frostburg, he met Martha Meyerick who was born in Mammouthshire, Wales and married her. They had seven children: Walter Alfred, Martha, Bessie, Joe, Clarence, Miles and Annie. George Cook died on Apr. 8, 1846 and his wife Martha died on Sept. 20, 1850.

Bertie and Walter Cook lived in Frostburg for many years. Bertie died on May 4, 1948 at the age of 74 years. Walter died on Dec. 16, 1962, both died in Cleveland, Ohio. They had two children:
1) Gertrude Cook, born Sept. 14, 1900
Married Edward Elice Huntsman on Sept. 9, 1920, later married Martin T. Frederick.
Last known resident: St. Croix in the Virgin Islands.
a. Daughter: Neila Beth Frederick DeTar, last known living in Michigan.
b. Daughter: Name unknown, last known living in Boulder, Colorado.
2) Walter Neil Cook, born Oct. 24, 1904.
a. Once lived in Wheaton, Md., suburb of Washington D.C, retired from Celanese Corp.

Theodore Gunnett, second son of George Theodore and Catherine Gunnett, was a Methodist. For many years, he voted the Republican ticket, but then affiliated himself with the Socialist party. Educated in the public schools of Frostburg, he learned the plasterer’s trade, followed it for forty-nine years and was an excellent workman.

In the year 1877, Theodore married Miss Ann Cosgrove in Froshburg. Anna Cosgrove was born on Aug. 6, 1858 in Lonaconing, Md., the daughter of Patrick and Bridgette Cosgrove. They came to Lonaconing from the coal mining region of Pennsylvania. I imagine they were involved in some aspect of mining there having immigrated from Ireland. Bridgette’s maiden name was Donaldson.

Theodore and Ann had three children:
1) Emma Kate Gunnett, was born June 22, 1878, in Frostburg, Pa.
a. Emma Gunnett married William Henry McInturff
b. Gave birth to William Henry McInturff Jr., He died in Washington, D.C in 1955.
c. Gave birth to Bertha McInturff
d. Emma gets divorced & marries Frank E. Jones of Washington, D.C
e. Emma dies in that city in 1922 or 1923 after a mastoid operation.
f. Bertha married James DeLuna, she died in the spring of 1975.
2) Mary (Mae) Gunnett, born May 5, 1879 in Frostburg, Pa.
3) Sam Gunnett, born in 1882

Mary (Mae) Gunnett comes to Washington, D.C. as a young girl of 18 years and stayed with her sister, Emma, for a while. Emma operated a millinery establishment. On March 17, 1905 Mary (Mae) married George Franklin Eppley, and they lived on You Street for 22 years (See Eppley genealopy). George Eppley was in the construction business all of his working life and build his own home of brick in Washington, D.C. They had two children:

1) George Theodore Eppley, was born on Aug. 25, 1910.
a. George married Evelyn Sibley Fresh on Dec. 26, 1936
2) Anne, born on March 3, 1913.
a. Anne Eppley married J. Glyn Sandefer

George Theodore Epply graduated with a Master’s degree from Univ. of Maryland and Columbia and came a professor and labor relations consultant for many years. He used his talents in the oil business and lived for a time in the Middle East before finding his true vocation as a Episcopal priest specializing in counseling. He and Evelyn had two daughters before being divorced in 1958.

1) Joyce Lyn Eppley, born on Aug. 13, 1947
a. She married Robert Snyder Foote
2) Donna Li Eppley, born on July 24, 1942
a. She married James Lawrence Fingland
b. Gives birth to daughter Michelle Fingland, born Nov. 21, 1968 (est)

George Theodore Epply marries Verna Edmondson and continued counseling in the Southern California area. In 1976, Evelyn headed the Fashion Room at Grumps Specialty Store in San Francisco, California as Director-Buyer using her managing, designing and artistic talents. Mae Gunnett died on March 28, 1967.

Anne (Anna) Eppley Sandefer was a successful minister in the Unity faith throughout her working career. She and her husband Glyn lived in or near Washington D.C., they had two daughters:

1) Diana Sandefer
a. Diane married Shane Stark
b. Gives birth to Sarah
c. Gives birth to Rebecca
2) Martha Sandefer
a. Martha
b. Martha was a talented signer and entertainer.

The third child of Theodore and Anna Gunnett was Samuel, born in 1882. Samuel married Bernadette Crowe and they had 5 five sons:

1) Theodore (Dory) Gunnett
2) George Gunnett
3) Robert George Gunnett (aka Robert Griffith) *** youngest two
4) Samuel Madison Gunnett (aka Samuel Gunnett Neff) *** youngest two
5) James Kenneth Gunnett (aka: James, Jim)

Bernadette died in 1914 or 1915, Robert and Samuel were brought up by relatives. Samuel was a contracting plaster all his life, and his son, Theodore followed in his footsteps living in New Castle, Pa. George Gunnett also lived in that city prior to 1976, Robert lived in Ohio. Samuel Gunnett now called Samuel Gunnett Neff was said to have been a Pennsylvania State Senator and owned and operated a golf course in Beaver Valley, Pa. I was unable to find anything linking him to elected office. I found this on the Internet:
· Neff, Samuel Gunnett -- also known as Samuel G. Neff -- Democrat. Candidate for U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 25th District, 1944, 1946; candidate in primary for Pennsylvania state auditor general, 1964; candidate in primary for Governor of Pennsylvania, 1970. Samuel Gunnett Neff was appointed to & serviced on The State’s Workmen’s Insurance Fund Board on Feb. 8, 1955.

In the New Castle News, Monday, July 13, 1981 printed the following story:

“Former plasterer returns to St. Francis as patient. St. Francis Hospital was reunited with an old friend recently when Samuel Madison Gunnett spent some time there as a patient. Gunnett, who is 98 years old, was a member of the construction crew when the original hospital was built in 1918. The former plaster, who lives with his son Theodore at 826 Lathrop Street, learned his trade in the 1890’s in Frostburg and Cumberland, Md. When the New Castle Hospital was built, the Pittsburgh contractor Gunnett worked for paid plasterers $4.00 a day and hod carriers, $2.50 a day. When that work was finished, he remained in New Castle and worked for George T. Weingartner, general contractor, and New Castle Lumber Co. In the 1950’s, Gunnett again worked as a plaster when an addition was built onto St. Francis. His son Theodore was the plastering contractor on that job. During the elder Gunnett’s career as a plaster, he worked in New York City from 1904 to 1909 on the Plaza Hotel and Tribune building. He remembers attending the opening of the New York subway. In Washington, D.C., Gunnett worked on Trinity College, the government printing office and Georgetown University….”
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