George W. Hess was my 2nd great grandfather.
When George Waltour Hess was born on December 10, 1811, in Crawford, Pennsylvania, his father, William, was 33 and his mother, Mary, was 36. He married Mary Ann Higbee on April 21, 1836. They had 12 children in 20 years. He died on February 26, 1899, in Berrien, Michigan, having lived a long life of 87 years, and was buried in Berrien, Michigan.
Here is a timeline of his life:
- 1811 Age 0 Birth •10 December 1811Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, United States
- 1813 Age 1 Death of Parent drowned while traveling in a canoe on the Kiskimenitas River William Hess 1779–1813 • LWYR-MC7
- 1836 Age 24 Marriage 21 Apr 1836 Crawford, Ohio, United States Mary Ann Higbee 1813–1874 • LZ2G-HRP
- 1837 Age 25 Birth of Child 26 March 1837 Crawford, Ohio, United States Mary Jane Hess1837–1908 • KPQR-QF4
- came to Michigan in 1837 according to the History of Berrien County , page 993 – they came because his wife’s parents had already moved to Michigan and wanted them to come. They came thru Chicago and then in a covered wagon to St. Joseph, MI.
- In W. Emerson Babcock’s genealogy compilation, it is recounted that this young married couple “pressed the frontier” and made their way to Berrien County, Michigan. The book (see page 22) then continues to describe the obstacles on their pioneer journey including the need for them to abandon their wagon when they were mid-stream in the St. Joseph River. They mounted themselves on the horses and continued on their way through the forest trails of the Native Americans until they find Mary Ann’ parents who had gone before them to establish a dwelling. Mary Ann and George’s westward journey had taken them through Chicago towards St. Joseph, MI. They were literally traveling through marsh lands. See here the documentation in A twentieth century history of Berrien County, MI Chapter XXVI. HagarCounty. https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/16860/dvm_LocHist004592-00674-1?pid=1084&backurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ancestry.com%2f%2fcgi-bin%2fsse.dll%3findiv%3d1%26db%3dGenealogy-glh19225593%26h%3d1084&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true#?imageId=dvm_LocHist004592-00674-1
- 1838 Age 26 Birth of Child 11Mar1838Benton Twp, Berren, Mich Eliza J. Hess 1838–1905 • KHY2-6KG
- 1839 Age 27 Birth of Child 6 June 1839Millburg, Berrien, Michigan, United States William James Hess1839–1915 • K8FF-YSJ
- 1840 Age 28 Residence • Residence St Joseph, Berrien, Michigan, United States
- 1840 Age 28 Birth of Child 29 JAN 1840 Clarissa Hess1840–1854 • KCCY-6F4
- 1842 Age 30 Birth of Child1842,, Ohio Mary E. Hess1842–Deceased • MGZL-NZC
- 1842 Age 30Birth of Child 30 MAR 1842Milburg,Berrien,MichiganAmarantha F Hess1842–1903 • KPQR-363
- 1843 Age 31 Birth of Child 09 OCT 1843 Milburg,Berrien,Michigan Sophronia Hess1843–1919 • LCV3-LGQ
- 1844 Age 32 Birth of Child1844,, Ohio George Hess1844–Deceased • MJDT-N71
- 1846 Age 34 Birth of Child 22 February 1846Millburg, Berrien, Michigan, United States Ionia E. Hess1846–1913 • KZRL-YWF
- 1848 Age 36 Birth of Child 21 APR 1848Milburg,,Michigan Lewellyn Hess1848–1905 • LHJH-NN8
- 1850 Age 38 Residence • Berrien county, Berrien, Michigan, United States
- 1850 Age 38 Birth of Child 12 May 1850Millburg, Berrien, Michigan, United States Juan James Hess1850–1929 • LWY5-1KN
- 1853 Age 41Birth of Child19 June 1853 Millburg, Berrien, Michigan, United States Alta Vene Hess1853–1940 • KPQR-34W
- 1854 Age 42 Death of Child1854 Clarissa Hess1840–1854 • KCCY-6F4
- 1856 Age 44 Birth of Child 30 SEP 1856 Eugene Hess1856–1922 • L48M-PR5
- 1857 Age 45 Birth of Child18 OCT 1857 Benton, Berrien, Michigan, USA Anabel Hess1857–1943 • KLQK-B3L
- 1860 Age 48 Residence • Benton Township, Berrien, Michigan, United States
- 1864 Age 52 Death of Parent 29 March 1864 Perryville, Hamilton, Ohio, United States Mary Judith Waltour1779–1864 • L782-D4Q
- 1870 Age 58 Residence • Benton Charter Township, Berrien, Michigan, United States
- 1874 Age 62 Death of Spouse 24 March 1874Millburg, Berrien, Michigan, United States Mary Ann Higbee1813–1874 • LZ2G-HRP
- 1880 Age 68 Residence • Millburg, Berrien, Michigan, United States
- 1899 Age 87 Death • 1 Source • 26 February 1899 Millburg, Berrien, Michigan, United States
- 1899 Age 87 Burial • 1 Source • Burial 28 FEB 1899 Millburg Cemetery, Benton, Berrien, Michigan, USA
He served as the justice of the peace for several years. He was fluent in German.
George was by nature a carpenter and also being of German descent, was able to speak and interpret German. He served as a justice of the peace in the area and was “an old school Democrat.” He provided legal services to the German settlement. He was elected to office on a Democratic ticket in a Republican township- showing his popularity.
In historical accounts it is mentioned that George was “neat in appearance” and was able to do logging without getting his clothing “dirty.” Wow- a super great life skill! All kidding aside, it does seem that he was considered a respectable and kind man and community leader. I never heard stories from my family about Mary Ann or George, so all of my knowledge has come from searching Ancestry and the web and of course the entire Hess-Higbee compilation by Babcock.
This is a link to the Find a Grave website: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/95816607/george-walthour-hess
What an amazing life! America must have been an entirely different place then.