Monday, April 13, 2009

Catharina Castner & Mathias Martin of Rock Island, Illinois

Mathias and Catherine Castner Martin
German Immigrants

Maria Catharina Castner, called Catherine or Kate, was the daughter of Georg Castner & Susanna Dorothea Fickenscher. (Castner is sometimes spelled Kastner.) She was born 5 Jun 1822 in the small town of Rothenbach, Germany. The parish register states that she was born in house number 20 between 1 and 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Witness to the birth was Maria Catharina Castner, wife of Johann Castner, who was most likely the godmother to little Catherine. Catherine's father, Georg Caster, died in February of 1847.

Sometime in her early twenties, Catherine met Mathias Martin.  Mathias was from a town called Thierstein about 10 miles away from Rothenbach, where he learned the trade of a shoemaker.  Mathias was born 30 Nov 1809 in Thierstein, Oberfranken, Bayern, Germany.  He was twelve years older than Catherine.  They apparently fell in love because Catherine had his child, a baby boy, born the 28th of November 1847. The baby was named Johann Stephan.  (No parish register in Rothenbach or Thierstein can be found of the baby's birth, so it is not known if Catherine was living someplace else during the birth.)  Both Catherine and son, John Stephan, were listed with the Kastner surname on the ship's register when they immigrated to America.

If Mathias was still an apprentice shoemaker, they could not have afforded to get married yet. German customs and laws of primogenitor (oldest heir inherits everything) often kept people from marrying until in their 30's. Being an apprentice often meant 10 years or so of learning one's trade for only room and board.

To see Martin Family Parish Register Records from Thierstein, Germany, click here.
To see Kastner Family Parish Register Records from Arzberg, German, click here.

Mathias and Catherine must have felt that they would have more opportunities for their family's future in America. Mathias decided to emigrate to America first, then send for Catherine and the baby. America was a land of promise, of opportunity, and of land ownership. A descendant of Johanna Martin Franing, said that his grandmother's family, the Henry Martin Family, had sent money to Mathias so he could come to America. Even though everything points to Henry Martin being an older brother to Mathias, the relationship between the Henry Martin and Mathias has not been proven with records.
The naturalization papers (in Jefferson County, Wisconsin) for Mathias state that he landed at the port of Milwaukee on October 1847. He has not been located on any ship lists. He lived in Jefferson County, Wisconsin next to the Adam Martin family. It is not known how Mathias might be related to Adam Martin.
Copies of the Naturalization Record can be found on another post on this blog.  Click here to see them.

According to the Rothenbach parish register, Catherine emigrated to America on 22 March 1848. Catherine traveled with her young son, Johann Stephan. Her older sister, Barbara, also traveled with her. The parish register states that Barbara emigrated on 3 April 1848. It may have taken her sister a few more weeks to prepare her emigration papers. They boarded the ship 'Telegraph' at Bremen, Germany and landed in New York on 21 Jan 1848.
Below is a copy of the ship's list.
Cath. Kastner, age 25, female; Barb. Kastner , age 29, female; Joh Steph Kastner, age 2, male.

New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957; Port of Departure: Bremen, Germany; Ship Name: Telegraph; Port of Arrival: New York, New York; Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls); Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Microfilm roll: M237_73; Line: 18; List number: 590.

Both a Rock Island, Illinois county history and Catherine's obituary state that Mathias and Catherine married in 1849 -- on Christmas Day, although no marriage record has been found in Jefferson County. Although, Catherine and Mathias can be found in the 1850 Census Farmington, Jefferson County, Wisconsin. They are living next to the Adam Martin family.
1850 Census, Farmington, Jefferson County, Wisconsin, page 104
Catherine's sister, Barbara, cannot be found in the census. She apparently died before the 1850 census, because Catherine's obituary states the following: "In 1848 she and her sister emigrated to this country and located in the town of Farmington, Jefferson county, Wisconsin. Her sister died soon after they arrived."

Catherine and Mathias lived in Jefferson County, Wisconsin until 1864, when they moved to Rock Island County, Illinois. They became the parents of eight children and 28 grandchildren: (1) John Stephan, 1847-1919, md Elizabeth Weiss, 5 children; (2) Rosina, 1850-1919, md Henry Rogge, 5 children; (3) Lawrence, 1854-1920, md Emma Johnson, 3 children; (4) Henry, 1855-1929, md Mabel Hynes, 7 children; (5) Susan Dorothy, 1856-1916, md Edward Charles Love, 8 children; (6) Christina, 1859-1901, md William Wittick, no children; (7) Mary K., 1860-1925, never married; and Ahart, 1862-1910, never married.

Both Catherine and Mathias belonged to the Lutheran Church in their native Germany, but joined with the Methodist Church after coming to America. Catherine's obituary states that "she was converted to God under the labors of George Miller and ever since was a member of the Evangelical Association." The county history on Mathias states that he was Methodist. The following information was found online: The Evangelical Association of North America was founded by Jacob Albright. George Miller completed and published the Discipline in 1809. It was identical with major portions of the German edition of the Methodist Episcopal Church Discipline of 1808.

In the photo below, Catherine is seated on the right side.  She is at a Methodist Camp Meeting with her family.
Back row standing: John S. Martin holding Wilber, ?not known?, Christina Weiss, Mary Martin, ?not known?, Ahart Martin, Christina Wittick
Front row sitting: Elizabeth Martin, Emma, Elmer, John, Catherine Martin (mother of John)
The above photo was taken about 1896 at the Methodist Camp Grounds in front of the John Martin cabin.

A cousin sent a photocopy of the picture below with the notation: Mathias Martin Homestead.
Mathias Martin Homestead
Mathias died 11 Sep 1890 in Bowling Township, Rock Island, Illinois. Catherine died 8 Mar 1907 same place. Both Mathias and Catherine were buried in the Preemption Cemetery, Mercer County, Illinois.
Below is the information from 2 different county histories and Catherine's obituary.

"History of Rock Island County", Chicago, 1914, Munsell Publishing Company, Volume II, pg 1273-1274; information on Mathias is given in the history of his son, John S. Martin.
Mathias Martin was born November 30, 1809, and was married in Germany to Katherine Castner, who was born June 5, 1828. In his native country Mathias Martin learned the trade of a shoemaker, and on first coming to the United States settled at Farmington, Jefferson county, Wisconsin, where he followed his trade and engaged in farming for twelve years. He had come to this country in 1847, and in the following years sent for his wife and baby, who joined him at Farmington.

"Martin, Mathias, Farmer; Sec. 23; P.O. Milan; Rep; Methodist; owns 200 acres of land, valued at $5000; born in Dhierstien, Germany, Nov. 30 1809; came to Jefferson Co., Wisconsin, in 1847; lived there seventeen years; came to this Co., May 15, 1864; wife was Mary Kestner, who was born in Redenboch, Jan. 5, 1822; married Dec. 25, 1849; eight children."
Past & Present of Rock Island County, Illinois"; H.F. Kett & Co., Chicago; 1877; pg. 435.

One of Catherine's obituaries reads: "Catherine Martin, nee Kostner, was born June 5, 1822, in Roetenbach, Bavaria, Germany. In 1848 she and her sister emigrated to this country and located in the town of Farmington, Jefferson county, Wisconsin. Her sister died soon after they arrived. The same year she was converted to God under the labors of George Miller and ever since was a member of the Evangelical association. In 1849, she was united in marriage with Matthias Martin and to this union were born four sons and four daughters. The husband died sixteen years ago and one daughter about five years ago. In 1864, she with her family, moved to Bowling, Rock Island county, Illinois. She leaves four sons, three daughters, twenty four grandchildren, three treat-grandchildren and many friends who mourn her departure, March 8, 1907 after an illness of about a week, she fell peacefully asleep, like one who weary with life's labors, sinks sweetly to rest, aged 84 years, 9 months, 8 days."
Reynolds Press, Rock Island County, Illinois, 22 Mar 1907.

The above photocopies of the pictures of Catherine & Mathias were sent by a wonderful cousin. We only have older xerox photocopies to post on the blog and would would appreciate scans of the originals - if possible!  Thanks!


carrolldv said...

Hi I sent a great big long post but I think I lost it in transition. Just know that I am a relative of yours thru Susan Dorothy Martin Love. She was my Great Grandmother. My Grand mother was Nettie Love their first daughter. My Father was Earl Hutchinson, Nettie's youngest living child, My Name is Ora Hutchinson Carroll. I am wondering how to be able to have a copy of your wonderful work. I would be more than willing to buy it from you. Please e-mail me at

clm said...

Just copy and paste it in a word processor and then print it.