|Birth: ||Jun. 26, 1846|
Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany
|Death: ||Apr. 15, 1932|
San Francisco County
Eleanore Meyer, usually known as "Lena," was the daughter of Freiderich and Anna Maria Dorothea (Gunther) Meyer and was born in Germany. In about 1866 she immigrated to the United States, establishing herself in New York City where she met and married grocer Sebastian Merkel, Jr., a civil war veteran, on November 22, 1868 at the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Paul's, then located at 220 Sixth Avenue at the corner of 6th and 15th Streets in New York City. That church is still in operation, though at another location.
On their marriage certificate, Sebastian Merkel reports that his parents were Sebastian Merkel, Sr. and Magadalena Maria (Lang). In his Civil War record, he reports he was born in Goshen, New York, where there did live a Sebastian Merkel and wife Magdalena, however we have recently discovered that the child Sebastian Jr. that was born to that couple actually is reported to have died in 1844, leaving us to wonder whether our "Sebastian Jr." had some secret to hide and had adopted the name and birthright of a dead child. More research is needed on this account. In any case, Sebastian had used this name since at least 1861 when he mustered into the NY 45th.
Lena and Sebastian had three children that lived to adulthood:
George Frederick Merkel, b. Dec 6, 1869 in New York
Henry William Merkel, b. Dec 2, 1871 in New York
Caroline "Lena" Henrietta Merkel, b. Aug 2, 1878 in Oregon
By the time of the 1880 census, the family is established in San Francisco, California, but in 1884 Lena divorces Sebastian on the grounds of cruelty. Her youngest child, Lena, is only 6 years-old at the time.
Nine years later, on April 27, 1893, Lena marries Hermann Daniel Luehrson in Oakland, the services conducted by the Rev. J. H. Thelss. The marriage lasted 17 years, but in August of 1910 she filed for divorce on the grounds of habitual neglect. In the 1910 census she is living with her son in Oakland and reports that she is "widowed" but we know this is not true. Many people did their best to hide or disguise a divorce.
In 1920, she is still living in Oakland, this time alone. She is 73 and working as a housekeeper. It is sad that at this advanced age she is having to clean other people's houses to support herself. This record confirms that she immigrated in 1866 from Germany.
In 1930, however, she is living with son Henry and his family in San Francisco.
Thanks to a letter from Woodlawn Cemetery to my cousin Diane Pedersen, we learn that our ancestor died at the age of 85 years, 9 months and 20 days at the Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco. She was interred at Woodlawn Memorial Park on April 18, 1932.
Unfortunately, there is no grave marker for Lena, a sad thing for the rest of us who might like to go visit her and pay our respects.
Eleanore "Lena" (Meyer) Merkel Luhrsen has MANY living descendants, a great number of whom I have found and included on my Facebook page where we enjoy a perpetual virtual reunion. One of those cousins, Diane Pedersen, is very good at finding official documents for our ancestors, and I am indebted to her for sending me copies and helping me untangle the history of our family. We continue to work together in a happy collaboration of talents, and I am thrilled to have found this 3rd cousin, once removed!
Biography Copyright (c) 2011,
Silver Samantha Justine Margaret Rose Parnell
All rights reserved.
Written permission required to use copyrighted material for any purpose.
Sebastian Merkel (1843 - 1927)*
George Frederick Merkel (1869 - 1907)*
Woodlawn Memorial Park
San Mateo County
Plot: Grave #113, Tier #4, Section H (no grave marker)
Created by: Silver Rose Parnell
Record added: Mar 25, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 67438603