The theme for this week’s challenge is “So Far Away”. I tried to figure out which ancestor was born the furthest away from me (in terms of distance) and decided to write about my great-great grandmother, Elisabetha E. Korndorfer, who was born in Bavaria, Germany. She appears to be another instance of a woman living a quiet ordinary life. However, reviewing the facts of her life, she seems to have been a very strong woman, making the best of what she was dealt. She suffered losses that would be difficult for one in her circumstances. And she was a nurse, who attended the births of her grandchildren, and worked in private homes. Her husband moved the family from Indiana during the late 1800’s to Kansas for just a few years, then they moved again to Illinois. She was widowed early with three teenagers and a nine year old.
Elisabetha was the daughter of Johannes Korndorfer and Katherina Kleindinst,. She was born on the 27th of March in 1858 in Bavaria and was the seventh of ten children. She was called “Lizzie”.
Elisabetha and her family arrived in United States in 1860 when she was two years old. The family settled in Marshall County, Indiana, where her father owned 80 acres. Elisabetha’s father, Johannes (John) Korndorfer died six years later, leaving Elisabetha’s mother, Katherina, with six children to raise. Katherina remarried a year later to Philip Dielman, a widower with five older children. Elisabetha was only eight years old when her father died and nine years old when Philip became her step-father.
Elisabetha Korndorfer was listed in the 1870 St. Joseph County, Indiana Census with her step-father, her mother, her sister Ella and her brother John. She was twelve years old. Her step-father was a farmer, and had been since at least 1850, so it is safe to assume that Elisabetha lived on a farm all of her life.
When Elizabetha was twenty-one years old, she married twenty-year old Edward Hanauer on the 30th of December in 1879 in St. Joseph County, Indiana. Edward had also been raised on a farm in Indiana. By the following summer, Elisabetha and Edward were listed in the Ft. Wayne, Allen County, Indiana Census. Edward was listed as a laborer. And Elisabetha began her new life living about eighty-five miles away from her family, and for the first time, not on a farm...
The following year, in 1881, Elisabetha and Edward Hanauer’s first child, Ella Hanauer, was born in Ft. Wayne. By 1883, the Hanauer family had moved back to Mishawaka, where their second child, Kathryn, (This was my great-grandmother) was born.
The family moved to Kansas sometime after Kathryn’s birth, and two children were born there-son William was born in 1886 in Abilene, Kansas, and son Charles was born in 1891 in Niles, Kansas. Elisabetha had two step-brothers living in Kansas, so that may be what drew the family to Kansas. However, they didn’t stay in Kansas for long.
By 1893, the family moved to Peoria, Illinois. Elisabetha’s sister, Kate, had married George Proehmer and they had been in Peoria for about twenty years. The Proehmer family owned and operated a bakery.
Sadly, Edward Hanauer died six years later in 1899, leaving Elisabetha with four children to raise.
The Census for 1900 for Peoria, Illinois shows Elizabeth Hanauer as age 42, widowed, with four children. No occupation was listed for her. It also shows her four children, Ella, Katie, William and Charles. Katie, age 16, is listed as a saleslady for a bakery. She is the only member of the household that shows to be employed.
Elisabetha’s daughter, Kathryn, married in 1902. Elisabetha was a nurse, and attended the birth of Kathryn’s first two children, who were born in 1903 and 1906.
Elisabetha’s sister Kate, who lived in Peoria, died in 1906. Other than her children, Kate was the only family that Elisabetha had who lived in Peoria. That must have seemed like a huge loss to her, especially coming only seven years after losing her husband Edward.
In 1908, Elisabetha’s son William married.
The 1910 Peoria Census lists Elizabeth Hanauer, age 52, widowed, living with daughter Ella and son Charles. They were living a few houses away from daughter Kathryn and her family. In 1911, Elizabeth was listed as living with her son William in Peoria. Sometime between 1910 and 1920, her daughter Ella married. And in 1912, Elisabetha’s son Charles married.
It appears that after 1910, Elisabetha always lived with one of her children and their family. By 1920, Elisabetha was living with her daughter Kathryn and family in Peoria. In that census she is listed as age 61, widowed and her occupation is nurse. Her son William was living in California with his family, and her daughter Ella was living in Oklahoma.
Ella died in Oklahoma in 1925. She had no children and was only forty-four years old.
The 1926 Peoria City Directory shows that Elizabeth Hanauer was still living in her daughter Kathryn’s home.
Elisabetha Korndorfer Hanauer died on the 23rd of April in 1928 at her daughter Kathryn’s home. She was seventy years old.
The obituary from the Peoria Journal Tues. April 24, 1928 states:
"Mrs. Hanauer Rites Will Be Wednesday
Announcement is made of funeral services for Mrs. Elizabeth Hanauer, to be held in the residence of her daughter Mrs. ER Murphy, 121 Clarke ave, Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock. Rev. Nelson Dahlenberg will officiate at this service and also at the grave in Springdale cemetery.
Mrs. Hanauer, who died at St. Francis hospital on Monday, was born in Bavaria March 27, 1858 and had been a resident of Peoria since 1893. Her husband Edward H. died many years ago and the survivors are 2 sons, William and Charles Hanauer and the daughter at whose home she died. Others surviving her are a brother J.H.Korndorfer of Long Beach, CA and 2 sisters Mrs. W.H. Wiegner of Elkhart, IN and Mrs. Benjamin Neu of White Pigeon, Minn."
Elisabetha’s death certificate states that she had been in the US for 68 years, and a resident of Illinois for 35 years; Medical: Contributory factor: Fracture of right femur (from accidental fall)
Elisabetha had ten grandchildren. I don’t remember ever hearing anything about this great-grandmother other than she had delivered my grandfather. This is one of those cases where I wish that I had asked questions long ago before family had died. Unfortunately, I have many of those cases!