Wednesday Wanderings: From Germany to Dekalb County, Indiana

According to a biographical sketch in the History of Dekalb County, Indiana published in 1914 by B.F. Bowen & Co., John Mathias Shoudel was known as a leader in the agricultural circles in DeKalb County, Indiana. He was born in Bavaria (Germany) in 1814 and was the son of Johannes (John) Franz Schaudel and Magdalena Schmitt. He married Magdalena Miller, who was from the same area and was the daughter of Johannes (John) Miller and Mary Trapp. He learned the trade of a weaver and also farmed. He came to the United States in 1854, eventually ending up in Chicago for a couple of years, working on the Chicago docks. His family came in 1855 and they moved to DeKalb County in 1857, where he joined four other men and together they bought forty acres of land located in Section 15 of Smithfield Township. They divided the land between them, eight acres each –

1918 Land Records from Smithfield Township

Eventually John was able to buy more land until at the time of his death he owned two hundred acres of land.

John was one of fourteen founding members of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Waterloo in 1880. According to the church’s website, he died while the church was still under construction, but his wife donated an acre of land for the cemetery. John is buried near the center of the cemetery.

Tombstone Tuesday — Magdelene (Miller) Shoudel

Here’s another tombstone from St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Cemetery in Waterloo, Indiana. Magdelene, Magdaline, Magdalena, Mary Magdaline, Maria Magdalena (whatever because the name is different depending on what record you look at) Miller was married to John Matthias Shoudel. The spelling on the tombstone is Magdalene, I’m just going to leave it at that for now.

Photo courtesy of L. Mafera

There are quite a bit of date discrepancies which I have to work on to verify what is correct. In her obituary (thank you to Scott Bowmar!), it states she was born in Bavaria, Germany about 1815 and came with her parents in 1855 to Smithfield Township, in DeKalb County, Indiana. According to the genealogy that a family member gave to me decades ago — and shamefully for the life of me I cannot remember who gave it to me — she was born on May 24, 1816, the first child of John Miller (spelled Müller in Germany), and that in 1855, John Matthias sent for his family, so it sounds as if she was married before coming to the United States. However, the Birkenhordt Project website states her birth date was May 21, 1815.

The Birkenhordt Project website states it is “a non-commercial project committed to documenting all genealogical relationships in the Southern Palatinate and the French district of Bas-Rhin.” Wow, that’s pretty cool. I’m sure going to have to read up on that area of Germany and work on verifying all of that information.

Magdalene died on February 15, 1888.