Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Louise Koewler and the Broken Promise

Following the church marriage of my grandparents, George Henry Haitz and Janet Linn Becker, the couple lived on Second Street in Ripley with Janet’s parents, Louis and Amy Becker.  While George had stated for the marriage license that he was a clerk, it is unclear just where he was employed.  It is possible that he worked for his father-in-law in the family clothing store, Becker’s, as he would report six years later in the 1940 census.  

His elopement with my grandmother resulted in a loss of what he had hoped would become a career in the business that he loved, baseball.  My grandfather absolutely loved baseball and he was an avid Cincinnati Reds fan all of his life. While I do not know all the details surrounding the loss of a hoped for career, the story is that his maternal Aunt Louise had promised to pay for her nephew’s education and training as an umpire for the Reds.  When she discovered that he had eloped, the promise was withdrawn and George was unable to follow his dream.  I do not know whether he knew of the promise before he eloped or Louise taunted him with it after the fact.  

This story leads to the question of just who was Louise Koewler, besides being the sister of George’s mother, Henrietta.  Her birth is listed in the Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1800 - 1962 database on Ancestry.com and Family Search.  She is recorded as Louisa, daughter of A Koehler and H Fisher born 14 June 1877 in Union Township, Brown, Ohio.  She is found as a three year old in the 1880 census of Ripley, Union Township, Brown County, Ohio.  Louise was the ninth born child of Anthony and Henrietta Koewler, although she was the fifth living child during that year as four siblings had died in infancy before her birth.  Her childhood was spent on the family farm in Union Township and at age 22, she was still living there with her then widowed mother.  
Louise Koewler
"Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11052-148025-41?cc=1932106 : accessed 26 May 2015), Brown > Birth index 1867-1878 vol 1 > image 236 of 238; county courthouses, Ohio.
The next year finds Louise as a special teacher with the Nelsonville, Ohio branch of the Work’s Dress Cutting School of Saint Louis, Missouri.  She is working with George F Henry who would, in two years, become her husband.  She and George F., who was also from Ripley, married November 25, 1903 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Her name is recorded on the marriage license/record as Louise Margaret Koewler. I wonder if it possible that my grandfather was named for Louise’s husband.  If that is the case, it might be that Louise felt a special bond with my grandfather which would explain the umpire school offer.  

George F Henry

Louise Margaret Koewler
"Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-21130-39052-44?cc=1589502 : accessed 26 May 2015), 004268836 > image 87 of 218; county courthouses, Pennsylvania.
Louise and George’s life after their marriage is still being researched.  There are several possible matches for them in the census for the years 1910 - 1940 in locations from Chicago to Indianapolis, although I haven’t been able to actually prove that those listings are the same people.  I haven’t found any possible children for them so it may be that they were childless. 

George F died in 1957 and Louise in 1961.  Both are buried in Maplewood Cemetery.

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