found this in my attic--seems to be written by George W. Weyrauch (1872-1929), with assistance from his cousin, William L. Wagner (1864-?)
John Christian Weyrauch (born in Bullau, Hessen Germany), married Elizabeth Catherine Euich. They had four children:John Peter Weyrauch (b. April 16, 1813, d. Sept. 25, 1892), John Leonard Weyrauch (b. ?), and two daughters who “died in childbirth.”
(1)--John Peter Weyrauch (b. April 16, 1813, in Bullau, Hessen, Germany, d. Sept. 25, 1892, in Des Moines, Iowa—buried in the Greenwood Friends Cemetery, Ankeny, Polk County, Iowa.
(John Peter Weyrauch married Anna Margaret Walter(b. February 26, 1819, in Bullau, Hessen, Germany, d. Jan. 7, 1894, in Des Moines, Iowa, buried in the Greenwood Friends Cemetery, Ankeny, Polk County, Iowa) on June 24, 1838, at the village church, in Bullau.
More about Peter and Anna Weyrauch (written by Geo. W. Weyrauch—1917-ish? Spelling and grammar errors, re-typed “as is”):
“Life and Times of Peter and Anna Weyrauch, by Geo. W. Weyrauch
Peter Weyrauch was born in Bullau on April 15, 1813.This is a village of Hessen, A District or State of which Darmstadt is the capitol.There the place is called Bullau, Hessen, Darmstadt, Germany.This place is located near the Rhine River, about mid-way between the ocean and Switzerland.Other large cities near this place are Frankfort, Heidelberg and Stuttgart.
Grandmother’s maiden name was Anna Margaret Walter, and she was born February 26, 1819.In those days the rural people of Germany lived in small villages.Some people worked on small farms and went out every day from the villages.Others worked in the homes at spinning, weaving, sewing, shoemaking, furniture making and building.Most all this work was done in the home.
If anyone had livestock, the village herder came along every day.One would take all the cows, another the sheep, another the hogs.Now if anyone did not seem good enough for anything else he could become a swine herder.This was considered the lowest of the occupations.
There were no railroads, wagons, or carriages, except for the very wealthy. If people wished to go anywhere, they walked.Distances between localities were known by hours or stunde, according to the number of hours it took to walk the distance.Provisions brought from fields or shops were carried.You can readily see why people would hesitate very much to move about from place to place.So usually, children and their parents, grandparents and great grandparents would all continue to live in the same place.One would think the population would have become too great in some of these places; but when you remember the many wars they told about when all the men of the villages had to go and possibly only two or three out of a hundred would come back, the result is evident; besides the epidemics of disease ran their courses unchecked, there being no skillful doctors to fight disease at that time.
Our grandparents attended the village school, called the Folks Schule.The village school master and also the pastor of the church were appointed by the ruling Duke or Lord of the District.The people had nothing to say as to who should be their preacher or teacher.The church was the Lutheran Church.All the people were brought up in this church.The schooling of the common people consisted of day school for three years.It so happened that grandfather had a different master from the one mother had.This was seen in the marked difference in their hand writing.However, they both wrote very good German script.The teaching consisted chiefly of reading, writing and arithmetic.They committed to memory a great many of the songs of the church and the chatochism, also a great many verses and passages of scripture.Grandmother always remembered a great many of these songs she learned in her youth and would sing them very often while going about her work.One of her favorites she sang was “Jesu Christie Blut und Gerechtigkeit ist meine Ziert und Ahrenglaid” (Jesus Blood and Righteousness is my Ornament and Honor Robe).Grandmother’s voice was always prominent in the songs in this church and the religious meetings.Grandfather was also very good at reciting poems from memory, however was not so good at singing.
Grandfather’s occupation, as was also his father’s before him, was that of woodsman.He worked in the timber cutting wood for building material and also for fuel.Wood used for fuel was always burned to charcoal in the timber before it was moved, as it was otherwise too heavy to transport.So charcoal burning was quite an industry at that time, since coal mining was not done to any extent, and this was the only source of fuel.
Grandmother’s parents seemed to have been somewhat more well to do than grandfather’s; but her father died when she was about six years old.After that the family did not prosper quite so well financially.Grandmother worked for other people for quite a long time.She worked in the home of a man who was a tanner of hides.About this time her mother died.Both her parents had died while she was yet single.In 1838 she was married to Peter Weyrauch, and the marriage took place at the village church.Church weddings were quite expensive affairs and were not afforded by many of the poor people.The Lord of that territory, who was called the Graf, and his wife the Grafin, had started the custom, in order to encourage religiously sanctioned marriages, that any couple who would decide to get married on the day of their own wedding anniversary would get a free church wedding, and in addition to that, 50 Marks in money.The church parson who had taken quite an interest in grandfather and grandmother put them wise to this offer and so arranged it that they should have this public wedding, thus they had the honor of this no small distinction.
At this time there was great political unrest in Germany.The Kings and Dukes of Germany were under the control of Austria ever since the defeat of Napoleon in 1815.There was a strong desire for freedom in Germany.Bleucher and German soldiers had helped to defeat Napoleon.The French Revolution had shown what common people could do if they would rise up against the kings and princes.There were frequent attempted uprisings in Germany.The King of Austria who was Hapsburg and the prince Metternich, the ruling powers, determined to keep down revolution and to stamp out all opposition to the kings.The Carlsbad decrees were issued.These prohibited any newspaper to publish any article of writing against the government.Also no group of people were allowed to assemble and discuss public affairs, and no individual dared to criticize or condemn any government official.Therefore, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and the right of public assemblage was denied.The very things which were fought for so bitterly in the American and also in the French Revolution.A great many people were punished severely and imprisoned for the breaking of these rules.In 1830 there was a movement among the students of the universities.That was put down, and another large uprising occurred in 1848.But in 1840 that great German national song (Die Wacht Am Rheine) was written.All this had a great effect on the German people, but it was to be many years before the German people were to be a free nation.This severe and long oppression had a great deal to do with planting love of Fatherland in their hearts after they became a free people.
In the year 1840 Peter Wyerauch and his wife departed for America.At this time people were beginning to leave Germany.In the next half century 5,000,000 left their Fatherland, most of them came to America.Some acquaintances had come to America and settled at New Orleans, La., so Grandfather and Grandmother set out on a sailing vessel for America.Steam ships were not in use at that time.Storms were encountered.People who had been dancing and gay were found on their knees praying.However, after the storm they soon proceeded with the dance.After six weeks time they arrived in New Orleans and made their way up the Mississippi river and then up the Missouri and settled at Marthasville, Mo.Here Grandfather obtained work in his line, namely chopping wood.There was plenty of timber there and the wood was rafted down on the river to the cities below.Work was plentiful, and they were soon making a comfortable living.Here Grandmother and Grandfather met some people who influenced their lives to a great extent.A Pioneer preacher of the German Methodist Church, that had headquarters at St. Louis, Mo., was preaching to the people there, holding prayer-meetings and camp meetings.His name was Rev. Jacob Haas, in German he was known as Alter Vater Haas.Under his work, although having been brought up Lutheran in the old country, they now became Methodists.
In this connection, Grandmother told of having an unusual dream in Missouri before they became associated with these Methodist people.Whenever they went to town to get supplies they went on horseback, so Grandmother said she dreamed she was riding on a white horse, going at a very rapid gallop so that the horse’s main and tail and her own hair were streaming in the air.She seemed to be riding on in this way for a considerable time, when suddenly she heard voices singing and the sound was proceeding from the woods.She was always attracted by singing, so she halted the horse and walked into the woods and there she came to where there was a great multitude of people – they were singing and shouting and all seemed to be very happy.She said she told the dream to Grandfather but thought no more of it until sometime after when one Sunday morning Grandfather said to her that there was some kind of meeting down the river and that she should get ready and they would go down in a row boat.So they did, and they came to the place and climbed up the bank and went through the timber and there they came in sight of the place where they were having a camp meeting and the people were singing and shouting and Grandmother said that when she saw that sight her dream came back to her so vividly.She said then that those were the people she wanted to be with.The result you all know – they were themselves converted by that deep personal experimental religion of the German Methodists of that time.It was what we now refer to as the “Old Time Religion”.It is not necessarily any different from modern religion, but they went into it with heart and soul and made it a reality in their lives, and if all people will do the same with modern religion it will be the same today.
They lived in Missouri until 1852.There was a minister with whom they had become acquainted who was then living at McGregor, in Clayton County, Iowa, by the name of Rev. Timkin.He told them about the wonderful country in Iowa and finally they decided to move to Iowa, which they did in the year 1852.They moved on Ferry boat up the Mississippi to McGregor.As soon as they had gotten their belongings off the boat on the day they landed, they made ready to make the trip out into the country.They had planned to go to a place nine miles out from McGregor.They had bought them a horse, and Grandfather was going to take the horse and go out to the place on horseback this same day.He took two children with him on the horse and two were to remain with the mother in the town.All went well until near the edge of the town the horse became frightened at some contrivance allng the road and wheeled about and threw Grandfather and the children to the ground.At the same time the horse kicked Grandfather on the temple, crushing his skull.There he lay unconscious in the street.The children were too small to help in any way.Grandmother knew no one in the town, but a man living near by who saw the accident, offered to bring him into the house.Grandfather lay unconscious for many hours.A doctor was called but Grandmother could not speak with him with any satisfaction because the English language was difficult for her.However, she did one thing that she could do, she got down on her knees in an adjoining room with her children about her and prayed to her God.In this time of need she made use of her religion, and – contrary to what they had almost dared to hope, Grandfather regained consciousness, and in time recovered.Altho this seemed to be a very great misfortune, happening at such an inopportune time, yet they always could see good in it as it turned out a very good fortune at the same time.They had planned to locate on a place nine miles out of McGregor but on account of this happening they became acquainted with a place just five miles out where they then located and this in their opinion turned out to be a much better place and also a better neighborhood.So they still felt that it must have been the divine hand guiding them in their destiny.
The life there was that of a very primitive pioneer.There was a great deal of timber.They told of how they got the sap from the sugar maple trees and made maple sugar.There were stories of the witches that would sometimes come and bewitch the trees so that there would be no sap.It was also told that they could bewitch stock so that it would die.I always found great delight in hearing these stories and I continually longed to hear more.Farming was then done on a small scale, small plots of land in the clearings were broken up and cultivated.Grandfather had purchased a long muzzle loading squirrel rifle in Missouri with which he used to shoot squirrels.Now this came in good play.He told how he could go out on a moon light night in the field where corn was planted, cut off and set up in shocks, and see the deer come out of the fields and feed on this corn.If one were a good marks man with the rifle he could always have plenty of venison for the table.So the happy years passed by rapidly and those pioneers from the old country were becoming very much accustomed to the American frontier life.
So they lived twelve years in Clayton County, Iowa and then we came to the days of the civil war.None of the family was drafted for Grandfather was beyond the age and William, the oldest son, was still too young.Two of the daughters were married – Ida the oldest married Peter Wagner, and Elizabeth was married to Andrew Kobi.It now came about that numbers of people from Clayton County were moving to Polk County.Some people who were acquaintances and had moved were Mrs. Malley, Mr. Schlenker, Mr. Lorenz Keil, and possibly others.Therefore in 1864 the Weyrauchs also moved to Polk County.The journey was made with teams and wagons.The trail went through near Iowa Falls, and Nevada was a stopping place on the journey.Des Moines was then a mere military fort and supply station for carrying on the war.There was some land then that could be purchased very reasonably.It was sold by the Des Moines River Navigation Company.They tried to make the river navigable and had received alternate sections of land from the government.Since they failed in this some people thought the titles were no good, but Grandfather purchased a half section from this company – the East half of Section 24, Crocker Township.Andrew Kobi took part of this.Peter Wagner doubted the title of this land so he took land in Douglas Township joining this Section on the East.The land titles later proved to be valid and all right.Their first post office was Polk City.Their first home a log house built on the farm.In this home prayer meetings were often held.Here their second son George died of typhoid fever on June 27, 1869.He was 18 years old.Much of the country was still open prairie and was not settled.My own recollection of the home place does not go back farther than some time after the frame house was built in which we afterwards lived.
I remember a story that was told on my father that was a source of great amusement to all connected with it.They told that upon one occasion when he went to see his girl, who was Caroline Winter, who lived in Wapello, Iowa – giving a dinner in his honor – he helped himself to what he thought was a stack of pancakes, but it proved to be an old fashioned jelly cake, and he had helped himself to the top layer of the cake.That was not an easy thing to get away with and how they did remember this against him years and years afterwards.However, my father and Caroline Winter were married in 1870.Kate Weyrauch, who was the youngest daughter in Grandfather’s family, was also married about this time to Henry C. Winter.I have a faint recollection of the wedding of August Weyrauch, the youngest son, who was married at the home of his parents to Hulda Elsiz.Her parents lived in Hardin County.The German minister performed the ceremony, but preached a sermon about an hour long before.If they lived ever after as they were told in this sermon I know there was no question about them always being happy.Altho this was an occasion that was made very solemn, yet there was also on the part of some as there is at every wedding, a desire to have some fun.The sons-in-law were there and they were no angels.Chris Winter, for the sake of a joke, put a doll which had been previously drenched with water in the bed which the newly wedded couple was to occupy.Of course everybody had lots of fun out of this big joke.Grandmother however, could not look at it altogether as a joke.She was much put out over it.She rather blamed Chris Winter and it was quite a number of years before she could forgive him.
I remember when Grandfather gradually gave up the regular work of the farm, but still for a number of years with his share of grain from the land he would raise and feed hogs and market them.Grandmother raised chickens and milked cows and made butter to sell.Grandfather’s last illness was brought on by an affliction they called “white swelling”.He lingered with this illness for a long time and he suffered much pain.His mind, however, was active to the last.About a week before he died when his daughter Ida came to see him he recited a long poem of ten or eleven verses.He died Sept. 25, 1892.Grandmother died two years later, on Jan. 7, 1894.They are buried in the Greenwood Cemetary just two miles from the old home place where they lived.*(Compiled by Geo. W. Weyrauch and W. L. Wagner – Committee.)
*Many of those in the above history are buried in “Greenwood Friends Cemetery” in Ankeny, Polk County, Iowa—the “Weyrauch” name wasposted as “Weyrach” in the cemetery records.