Frank D Sullivan and Carolina Buertel

Recent discoveries have uncovered several exciting facts about the ancesty of my mother's father, Franklin Marion Sullivan. Here is the shape of his life as my mother told it to me before we had the benefit of this new genealogical information.

Frank Sullivan was born 23 Mar 1881, the son of an Irish father, David Sullivan, and a German mother, Carolina Buertel. He had a short and a hard life, but my mother loved him very dearly. My mother tells that he had an older sister, Maggie, a brother Walter, and twin sisters who were scalded to death at an early age. Sometime soon after my grandfather was born, his father disappeared, never to be seen again. His mother pined away about his absence, and died of cancer when he was only 4 years old. Mom always said that her grandfather, David Sullivan (whose middle name she thought was "Marion"), was a riverboat man. She has long speculated on the nature of his disappearance. Could he have fell into the water and drowned, been killed in a gambling squabble, left for another woman? But she just didn't know.

Mom had a picture of her grandmother, and thought her name was Carolina Bartell. However, we have found out much more about Carolina Buertel, my great grandmother. It was an exciting day when I found the following entry in the Personal Descriptions/Berg Church/Membership/Church Business:

These stark facts fit together with pieces of my mother's recollections in such a way that this Carolina Buertel, Born 9 May 1847 is almost certainly my great grandmother. Mom knew only that Frank's mother's name was probably Caroline Bartell and that she had a sister Elizabeth who married Jacob Zimmer. Jacob and Elizabeth had taken Frank in and raised him. The Berg Church record above surely looked to me suspiciously like the family in question, even though the name was Buertel instead of Bartell.

All doubt was removed when I remembered seeing an obituary for Elisabeth Bartell in a clipping in one of mom's scrapbooks. I called her long distance and told her that I wanted her to dig out that obituary and see if the date of birth corresponded to the July 7, 1849 date in the Berg Church records. She was gone for a long time. When she returned, she exclaimed, "Jimmie, that's your grandmama!"

Recently, I was able to add even more information about my grandfather. Again my thanks go to Catherine Sams, for helping me to figure this out. I found in Cochran's Washington Co. Marriages this reference: "Frank D. Sullivan and Caroline Battle, 9 Oct 1875." As you can see, there is too much similarity here for this to be just a coincidence. Caroline Battle was, of course, Carolina Buertel. And the family lore about David Sullivan's middle name just had to be disgarded. His name was Frank David Sullivan, probably, and Franklin Marion Sullivan was his namesake. I've even entertained the possibility that David Marion Sullivan could have been the grandfather, but no evidence exists to support this thought.

Catherine Sams also showed me the Census of Washington County, Ohio, taken from the 1880 Ohio Census of Washington Co. Here we uncovered even more exciting facts. The entry reads:

Frank D Sullivan 26 OH OH OH WK Sawmill
Caroline wi 35 GER GER GER
Maggie M da 2 OH OH GER
Willie so 1/12 OH OH OH

What a wealth of information is here! My great grandfather was not only born in Ohio (if he was telling the truth), but both his parents were born in Ohio. And he married a German woman several years his senior. We find Maggie and Willie as small children in the home, Maggie is two and Willie is one month old. Yet, I'm not sure how to interpret the statement that Willie's mother was born in Ohio, while his sister's mother was German. If this is true, then Caroline was not Willie's mother. And Frank David worked in a sawmill! This is all the more remarkable because Jacob Zimmer and wife Elisabeth, who took the orphan Frank to raise, as we shall see below, probably owned a sawmill.

If all these things are true, it is highly probable that Frank David Sullivan got a job as a young man in Jacob Zimmer's sawmill. He met wife to be, Carolina Buertel through her half-sister Elisabetha, who was married to his boss.

Jacob Zimmer and Elizabetha Buertel

Mom has always told me about "Grossmutter and Grossfatter Zimmer." When her father Frank was left an orphan at age four, he went to live with Carolina Buertel's half-sister, Elizabeth and her husband, Jacob Zimmer. We do find Jacob and Elizabeth in the Berg Church Records.

Frank Sullivan grew up on the Zimmer farm out on Pleasant Ridge, not too far from my other German ancestors, the Noes and the Fickeisens. Jacob raised him as a true son. However, a sad event darkened Frank's life when he was about eleven years old. Frank and Jakie had been out in the ox cart during a thunderstorm at 2 a.m. Lightning struck a tree and frightened the oxen. They bolted and threw Jakie from ox cart. His neck was broken. The Zimmers got angry with Frank, but eventually forgave him.

He lived with them until he married Clara Ida Noe on November 12, 1912. Eventually, due to an altercation, the Zimmers disowned him. He died April 21, 1921 in Marietta, Ohio, when his only child, Lorene, was seven. I will tell more of this story in the section on my grandmother and grandfather, Frank and Clara.

Since Jacob and Elizabeth were step-parents of my grandfather, Frank Sullivan, they are not my immediate ancestors. However, it would be interesting to know more about "grossmutter and grossfater Zimmer," since they played such an important role in our family relationships. While I was searching for family records, I uncovered several references to Zimmers, but I did not systematically research the subject. At least three Zimmer children were born in the late 1870's to different parents.

Of more interest to the current line of reasoning, there was also a traceable line of Jacob Zimmers. First Jacob Zimmer, born 8 Mar 1789 and married to Elisabetha Schramm.

Whether any relationship exists between these Zimmers and the Jacob Zimmer who was the stepfather of my grandfather, I do not know for sure at this point. However, there is some strong evidence pointing to the above-mentioned Jacob Zimmer and his son as the grandfather and father of "Grossvater Zimmer." On 8 April 1872 one Jacob Zimmer 3rd purchased William and Ernest Styer for the sum of $776.00 "The Saw and Grist Mill. Together with all the fistures, implements and Machinery thereunto now belonging & appertaining to the Mill dam, Mill abutments and Banks to the same." This county land record (it is hard to read) goes on to describe 4 acres which is part of 160 acres which is part of the same deal. This property is located in Fearing Twp., Section 13, which you can see is situated just beyond the city limits of Marietta on Duck Creek. (Look at the bottom of the map. Less than three years previously, on 11 Nov 1869, this same Jacob Zimmer 3rd had purchased from William Brown a large number of three acre lots for the then whopping sum of $5,300. These were situated in the same general vicinity, in Sections 19 and 13.

In the document "Baptisms 1881 on the Hill Lowell" we have a record of two of the cousins of Carolina Buertel. Friedrich Buertel of Dennweiler Fronbach and Carolina Becker of Schwartzerden, St. Wendel, Rheinprussia had these daughters:

Mother's (pre-research) recollection of 
David Marion Sullivan and Carolina Bartell

Once again, almost everything I know about my maternal grandfather's parents is due to my mother, Ella Lorene Sullivan Andris. What is written below is a slightly edited version of things she has told me over the years. The chart should help make the text meaningful.

David Marion Sullivan worked on a riverboat. He was born in Cork County, Ireland, from where he had migrated. His main address was Cincinnati, Ohio. He met Caroline Bartell on the river, (when he was fairly young) and they proceeded to have 5 children. A lot of Irish lived on shanty boats. People were prejudiced against them. He would go on the riverboat after each child and come back.

Frank Sullivan was born on March 23,1881 in Pleasant Ridge, Washington County, Ohio. His father talked about Cork and Dublin to Frank. Some time after Frank was born he took off and they never heard from him again. Caroline grieved about David, got cancer and died when Frank was 4 years old. She was about 30 years old. The children were adopted out. Two little girls got scalded to death.

Caroline Bartell had a sister named Elizabeth. Actually there were two Elizabeth Bartells. They called Caroline's Sister "Lizzie," to distinguish her from Elizabeth "Lisbet" Bartell, who was the mother of Laura Bartell Withington. Laura had two brothers, Edgar and Clarence. Lizzie married Jacob Zimmer, who in their older years were called "Grossmutter und Grossvater Zimmer." Mom thinks that Grossmutter died in 1926 at age 78.

The Zimmers adopted Frank, whose stepbrother, Jacob, Jr. (Jakie), and he were about the same age. Frank and Jackie had been out in the ox cart during a thunderstorm at 2 a.m. Lightning struck a tree and frightened the oxen. They bolted, threw Jakie from ox cart; his neck was broken. He was 11 when he died. The Zimmers got angry with Frank, but eventually forgave him. He lived with them until married Clara Ida Noe on November 12, 1912. Then the Zimmers disowned him. He died April 21, 1921 in Marietta, Ohio, when his only child, Lorene, was seven.

I don't know who adopted Bill or Maggie, but Maggie was adopted by someone and moved to town. She had an illegitimate child who went by the name of Marie Preston. Then she married a man by the name of Shiers, had another child Ernest. There were no other children to mom's knowledge.

Glen Biehl, son of Willie Biehl and Clara Zimmer, is a school teacher, still living out at Moss Run on the old home place. He married a Reed girl, but they are now divorced. Willie Biehl was a brother to Henry Biehl (the Biehls had about eight boys). Henry Biehl married Anna Fickeisen, sister to Eva Fickeisen Noe. Willie was a lot younger than Henry.

The Bartells, the Fickeisens, the Biehls, the Schwartzs, and the Schrams were the main families out on Pleasant Ridge, came and migrated from Germany well before the Civil War. They had a little community called "Bonn" and their Christmas celebration put the town on the map, so to speak. Also some of the families settled the towns of Dartt and Moss Run.

William married Mary McBride before 1913. They had six children: Pearl, Garnet, Mabel, Walter, Ralph, and Betty. Pearl was a man, very handsome, looked like my daddie. He moved to Akron, went to work at the Quaker Oats Company in the 20s. Garnet and Mabel also went to Akron and died very young, in their 30s. It was in the paper.

Walter married a Schaeffer girl and they had children by the name of Walter, Jr., Polly, Susan, Clifford, Jack, Lester. James, Lorene's oldest son, went to school with Walter, Clifford, Jack. They lived at 303 Green. Columbus is where some of them are. Leslie went to Alaska for a while. Polly married Ed Hadley and works up to the Big Bear.