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Christian Zehr b. 12 Nov 1812 Laim, Bavaria, GR d. 19 Sep 1893 Deer Creek, Washington Twp., Tazewell Co., IL: The Schrock-Birkey Connection

Christian Zehr

Male 1812 - 1893  (80 years)


Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All

  • Name Christian Zehr  [1, 2, 3, 4
    Born 12 Nov 1812  Laim, Bavaria, GR Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    • On the Bergerhof. Source 356 puts Christian's birth at 12 Nov 1812.
    Gender Male 
    Residence 1838  Butler Co., OH Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Farmed in OH, wife joined him here in 1840
    Immigration 14 Jul 1838  New York, NY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • From Le Havre. On ship Burgundy. The passenger list gives 'Christian Zeiyer,’ 24.
    Residence 1843  Woodford Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    • Mackinaw River area
    Census 1850  Woodford Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • farmer Christian Sears, 38, Germany; Mary, 28, France; Matlan [Magdalena/Madeleine], 8, Illinois; Joseph, 5, Illinois; Josephine, 2, Illinois; and Mattan [Magdalena/Madeleine] Stine, 14, Germany.
    Residence 1852  Deer Creek Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Settled on Section 25
    Census 1860  Mackinaw, Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • them living next door to brother Peter Zehr as farmer Christian Zears, 48, Germany; Mary, 37, Germany; and six children born in Illinois.
    Census 1870  Deer Creek Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Listed as farmer age 47, born in Bavaria; with wife Mary age 47 born in France; children Elizabeth age 16, Christian age 14, Liddy age 8 and Samuel age 4, all born in IL
    Census 1870  Deer Creek Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • farmer Christian Zehr, 57, Bavaria; Mary, 47, France; and four children born in Illinois (son Joseph Zehr, 24, lived next door; brother Peter Zehr, 52, is found on the same page).
    Census 1880  Deer Creek Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • as farmer Christian Zehr, 68, Bavaria; Mary, 58, France; with two children 17 and 13 still living at home, both born in Illinois
    Occupation Farmer And Stock-Raiser  [7
    Died 19 Sep 1893  Deer Creek, Washington Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    • On his farm in Deer Creek Twp.
      Source 356 puts death at 18 Dec 1892. Source 26 gives date as 12 Sep 1893.
    Buried Deer Creek, Washington Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Mt. Zion Cemetery, north of Deer Creek (see photo)
    Person ID I330  Schrock-Birkey Connection
    Last Modified 25 May 2019 

    Father Daniel Zehr,   b. 8 Feb 1782, Struth, Bas-Rhin, FR Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1856, Farnisville, Woodford Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years) 
    Mother Magdalena Unzicker,   b. 8 May 1785, Windstein, Wissembourg, Alsace, FR Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Dec 1838, Hanfeld, Bavaria, GR Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 53 years) 
    Married 6 Jun 1802  Windstein, Wissembourg, Alsace, FR Find all individuals with events at this location  [8, 9, 10, 11
    • Marriage records of Windstein, Bas-Rhin, France, 1793-1862:
      On 17 Prairial 10th year of the Republic (6 Jun 1802), at Windstein, District of Wissembourg, France, Daniel Zohr, age 19, son of Daniel Zehr and Catherina Zohr, married Magdalena Hunzicker, age 17, daughter of Johannes Unzicker and Barbara Uhlmann of Windstein. The following persons were witnesses and signed the marriage record: Joseph Zohr, farmer, age 47 years; Jacob Stepp, farmer, age 54 years, both residing at Windstein; Christian Bock, farmer, age 35 of Windstein; Christian Zohr, farmer, age 45 of Stultzthal.
    Notes 
    • On 17 Parairial 10th year of the Republic (6 Jun 1802), at Windstein, District of Wissembourg, France, Daniel Zohr, age19, sone of Daniel Zehr and Catherina Zohr, married Magdalena Hunzicker, age 17, daughter of Johannes Unzicker and Barbara Uhlmann of Windstein. The following persons were witnesses and signed the marriage record: Joseph Zohr, farmer, age 47 years; Jacob Stepp, farmer, age 54 years, both residing at Windstein; Christian Bock, farmer, age 35 of Windstein; Christian Zohr, farmer, age 45 of Stultzthal.
    Family ID F141  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Elizabeth Landes,   b. 1814, OH Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1843, IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 29 years) 
    Married 5 Sep 1841  Woodford Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  [12
    Children 
     1. Magdalena (Lena) Zehr,   b. 21 Mar 1843, Woodford Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Feb 1914, Manson, Calhoun Co., IA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
    Last Modified 30 Apr 2016 
    Family ID F144  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Marie (Mary) Oyer,   b. 16 Apr 1823, Niderhoff, Moselle, FR Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Nov 1893, Deer Creek, Washington Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years) 
    Married 12 Aug 1844  Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    • Wedding performed by bishop Michael Moseman. The Zehrs probably belonged to the Mackinaw Meeting Amish congregation
    Notes 
    • Source 356 says, “In his native land he married Mary Oyer, born in France in 1823, and who died November 22, 1892, one month before her husband.”
    Children 
     1. Joseph Zehr,   b. 12 Jan 1846, IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Mar 1920  (Age 74 years)
     2. Josephine (Phoebe) Zehr,   b. 11 Feb 1849, Deer Creek, Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Apr 1897, Deer Creek, Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 48 years)
     3. Elizabeth Zehr,   b. 28 Sep 1854, Deer Creek, Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Aug 1948  (Age 93 years)
     4. Christian Zehr,   b. 12 Mar 1857, Deer Creek, Washington Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Oct 1926, Olio Twp., Woodford Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years)
     5. Lydia A. Zehr,   b. 29 Mar 1863, Deer Creek Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Oct 1935, Deer Creek Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years)
     6. Samuel Zehr,   b. 8 Jan 1867, Deer Creek, Washington Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Jun 1940, Meadows, McLean Co., IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)
    Last Modified 2 Sep 2007 
    Family ID F145  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 12 Nov 1812 - Laim, Bavaria, GR Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1838 - Butler Co., OH Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsImmigration - 14 Jul 1838 - New York, NY Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 5 Sep 1841 - Woodford Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1843 - Woodford Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 12 Aug 1844 - Tazewell Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1850 - Woodford Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1852 - Deer Creek Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1860 - Mackinaw, Tazewell Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1870 - Deer Creek Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1870 - Deer Creek Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1880 - Deer Creek Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 19 Sep 1893 - Deer Creek, Washington Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Deer Creek, Washington Twp., Tazewell Co., IL Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • Obit: Herald of Truth, October 1893:
      "On the 19th of Sept. 1893, in Tazewell Co., Ill., of general debility, Bro. Christian Zehr, aged 81 y., 7 m. He leaves his wife and 6 children. Funeral services by Joseph King and Joseph Stuckey in German and English from Psa. 90."
      ——————————
      Christian traveled in 1838 to America, stopping in Butler County, Ohio, where his wife joined him in 1840. He farmed in Ohio until 1843, the next year he went to Illinois. Here he settled along the Mackinaw River and built a two room log cabin. He and [Elizabeth] had only one child, Lena. Shortly after this birth Christian's wife died. He served as a deacon of the Roanoke Mennonite Church from 1856 to 1893.

      In 1844, Christian married his second wife. Their wedding was performed by bishop Michael Mosiman. The Zehrs probably belonged to the Mackinaw Meeting Amish congregation. In about 1856, Christian built a fine brick house. It was nestled in a hillside overlooking the Mackinaw River Valley. The house took two years to build. Christian made all the bricks for the dwelling in a brickyard located on his farm. Tradition says that his children mixed the clay by stamping barefoot in the mix. Christian also built his own wagon using a broad axe and a saw. It is said that there was "not a pound of iron in the wagon." ...The brick house has since been torn down.

      “Christian had the grit and determination of his German forebarers and came to own 900 acres in Tazewell County--which he then gave to his children. He was a registered Democrat and served as a school director. His son, Christian born 3-12-1857, engaged in general farming and stock raising in Tazewell County. He married Magdalena Roeschley, daughter of John and Elizabeth Saltzman Roeschley. He also was registered as a Democrat, and listed as a prominent citizen of Tazewell County. “

      Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Tazewell County: "The family has been known in this section since the spring of 1852, when the father...Christian Zehr...settled on Section 25, Deer Creek Township, where he engaged in the general farming and stock-raising business on a scale exceeding that of his neighbors, and raising expectations in the popular mind which were more than realized...and in time became the owner of 900 acres of land, the greater part being valuable and productive. As his children became of age he apportioned farms to them, thus giving them a start in life to which his own youth had been a stranger."

      “Christian Zehr was a very thrifty and frugal man. Of all the Zehr brothers he became the most prosperous financially. In his lifetime he accumulated 900 acres of land, having a farm for each of his children when they married and started out in life for themselves.”

      “They lived along the Macinaw River near the Rocky Ford. Christian Zehr became a man of wealth and owned much land between Deer Creek and Goodfield.”


      The recollections of Christian's daughter Elizabeth, written in the 1930s:
      "I was born in 1854 in a log cabin which contained only two rooms and no floors. The roof was made of clapboards. This cabin was situated along the Mackinaw River which was only two jumps wide. It is now about 80 feet wide. There were fourteen log cabins in the community where I was born. I was the last one born in the long [sic] house, for soon after that my father made his own bricks out of clay and built a brick house.
      My father's wagon was made out of logs with broad axe and saw and not one pound of iron in it. I saw him work in the field with that wagon and three yoke of oxen a great number of times. He also built a log barn - 70 ft. by 40 ft. My father made his own plow out of wood. This was a one-horse plow and it took one row for one round.
      We always went to church in the wagon. The church was twenty five miles away. In those days church services were held in houses, while now it is held in buildings use for that purpose only. In years after, we rode in spring wagons. Now automobiles are used almost entirely, and if it rains we can't get there.
      My father put the wheat and grain on the barn floor and threshed it out with clubs. Now all farmers have threshing machines. He put the corn on the barn floor and stamped it out with horses, fanned it, put it in sacks, and took it to market. Now corn shellers are used. He cut his grain with a cradle and one of us had to follow with the garden rake and make bundles, another to bind it. They now have a machine which does both cutting and threshing.
      It always seemed that my father was blessed, for he was never too tired or busy for family worship. God blessed him with six children. My father was born in 1812 and was always a hard working man. He died when he was 82 years of age....
      I think the old days were a blessing and a comfort. The times now are so different that they are hard to get used to. I think the automobiles and high ways of living spoil things. Then the neighbors helped each other without pay; now it is pay for every quarter of an hour. During the years 1861, '62, and '63, the Civil War was fought. Two of my uncles were drafted but my father bought substitutes for them. The Civil War and also the World War are sad memories.
      I was married in 1873 to Mr. Andrew Ulrich. We lived with my folks for two years and then moved in 1875 to Harlen farm, a mile and a half east of Deer Creek. From the Harlen place, we moved to Deer Creek. We raised four children. I have fourteen grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. My husband died February 13, 1919. Since then I have lived alone. Up to this time I have made 168 quilts.
      God blessed me and still does, for he keeps me well. My wish is that God may bless the whole relationship.” [2, 5, 7, 13, 14]

  • Sources 
    1. [S87] Zehrs From Europe to Illinois, Ardys Serpette.

    2. [S26] Jacob Zehr, 1825-1898, Mackinaw Meeting Preacher, Margaret and Verle Oyer.

    3. [S141] French Anabaptist Documents, Pierre Pelsy.

    4. [S139] The Christian Zehr Homestead, Verse C. Oyer, photo from Myrna Park.

    5. [S398] Amish Mennonites in Tazewell Co., Joseph Staker.

    6. [S227] Living Stones: a History of the Metamora Mennonite Church, Steven R. Estes.

    7. [S115] History of Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Crawford & Gasconade Counties, Missouri, Goodspeed, ( Originally published by Goodspeed Publishing Company, Chicago 1888--------Ramfre).

    8. [S40] Original: Amische Mennoniten in Deutschland, Hermann Guth, (Masthof Press, Morgantown, PA).

    9. [S398] Amish Mennonites in Tazewell Co., Joseph Staker, 3 Jun 1802.

    10. [S589] Gern2.doc, Year.

    11. [S14] Marriage records of Windstein, Bas-Rhin, France, 1793-1862 (LDS film #1069483), Gives year as 1803.

    12. [S398] Amish Mennonites in Tazewell Co., Joseph Staker, Date.

    13. [S137] Valentine Birky Remembers--1935 .

    14. [S199] The Oyer Family Comes to America, Verle Oyer.


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