|Birth: ||Feb. 15, 1844, USA|
|Death: ||Feb. 18, 1916, USA|
Mary Kepler is still being studied, but the lady was my great great grandma, wife of Daniel C. Kepler and mother of Eldon, Maud, Lydia, May, Lottie and my great grandma Minnie. She was the daughter of Samuel Amey and his wife Salome Krieghbaum of Juniata County.
Her mother Salome appears to be the daughter of Peter and Margaret (nee Traut) Kreighbaum, and she seems to have had a brother Jacob who went out to finish his life in Lebanon, Clinton County, Michigan, as there is a burial for a man of this name born in Pennsylvania 1825 and passing there September 5, 1896 with the same parents as hers. There's also a burial record in the same place for a 65 year old Salome Krieghbaum interred December 1883 (so born about 1818) the math not quite working. She seems also to have had a sister named Margaret Krieghbaum born about 1822.
Mary's formal name seems to have been Mary Elizabeth Kepler, though Elizabeth and Lizzie seem most used to refer to her. It was her daughter, Minnie, who married Daniel H. Romberger, my great grandpa and made her part of our family. She was not well-remembered; I saw her place of rest in our family plots at the cemetery and asked my father who she was and his answer, that she was his grandpa's mother in law, was correct, though his voice at the time was tinged with doubt. It is people like her -our family now barely known- that make me glad to research them and bring them back to our memory.
She was married to (and divorced from) Daniel C. Kepler, a druggist of Snyder County whom she married January 5, 1865. The date of their divorce is not known to me; possibly it was brought about in part by the stress of losing their youngest daughter Maud in 1881 and Lottie in 1885. Daniel had a child out of wedlock with another woman a few years later, in 1889, but it is not known to me if this happened while they were still married. By 1900's census, she was living in Juniata County with her elderly Aunt Julia Watts.
I'd thought perhaps Mary came to Allentown, Lehigh County in 1914 when her daughter Minnie and Minnie's husband Daniel Romberger left Dauphin County and relocated to begin a new family business. She and the couple would not have come alone; also with them were the couple's kids (her grandchildren Gilbert, Amy, and May), Mary's son Eldon, Mary's other daughter Lydia, and Lydia's husband John H.J. Fogel who with Daniel Romberger helped found the new family business, Romberger Cast Stone. In moving then, Mary would have had three of her four living children with her. Mary's son Eldon (who seems to have used his middle name of Thomas) worked for some time for the family company as a timekeeper, but went back to the Harrisburg by 1916. Her other living daughter had married into the Budds, a successful lumber family in Williamstown. In any case, having recently found an obituary for her, it seems she came in 1915, perhaps after the family had settled a bit more.
The first member of the family to pass away after the overall relocation to Allentown, Mary is buried front and center of the Romberger family stone. Cemetery records are contradictory, but it seems that she does not rest alone; her granddaughter Amy had a son who did not survive even a day after his birth, and it seems he rests with her, his great grandma.
Oh, the names for this lady. Mary's maiden name is probably truly Amich or Amick or Amig, Anglicized to Amey at times along the way. Her nickname above of "Lizzie" comes from the marriage license of her daughter Lydia, where Mary is thus named. Her stone says "Mary E. Kepler", the newspaper called her Elizabeth Smith, and the state death index shows her passing in Lehigh County February 18, 1916 under the name "Mary E. Smith". "Smith?" you say? Surprised me too - read on.
I'd thought no obituary was published for her in Allentown, at least not in the English-speaking papers, and thought I may have to go back and check again for the "Smith" surname. Finally, bingo, in the Allentown Democrat, which told me when she came to Allentown. It is possible an obituary was published also in another town she once lived in, since Allentown was where she spent only the last year of her life. That's research for another day.
But in June of 2014, an accounting of her will was found in the archives of the Allentown Leader, and Mary had a final surprise for us... she'd been married one more time to a man named Noah Smith. I found their marriage license and he was living in Liverpool Township, Perry County, son of George and Mary Smith. Despite this marriage, she left her estate to her four children in equal shares, and was buried under the Kepler name all of them had grown up with. The will was written exactly 3 months to the day before she died, and maybe a week after she had had her stroke. Since no one now living knew of this final marriage, for simplicity I am leaving her name on this memorial as it is on her gravestone in real life, as Mary E. Kepler, but for any future researchers who come along, she was truly Mary Elizabeth (nee Amig) Kepler Smith.
So who was Noah, this late-in-life suitor? Their 1910 marriage license tells us the deed was done in New Bloomfield, Perry County, and he was a fruit grocer whose marriage ended by desertion, while Mary had been divorced due to non-support. Neither he nor she states the date the marriages ended but both say the divorces are on file in the respective courts, his in Juniata County, and hers in Snyder.
October 18, 1910 they married, and God bless them, she was 66 and he 74. The account of her will is not specific about who lives in Allentown- her or him or both, but her obituary claims the two of them had lived in Allentown the past year. On this certificate her maiden name is Amig, and her parents are shown as Samuel and Sarah Amig. This needs to be fact-checked as I think her father, like her first husband was Daniel.
The certificate tells us not only that Noah's divorce was for desertion (without saying who deserted whom), but that his wife died in North Dakota, suggesting two previous marriages, one ending in death, another in desertion. And who were his wives? He states one marriage took place October 15, 1885, but the bride is unnamed here. Searching the records, we find that on that very day in Juniata County, Noah Smith married Jane Seiber Pannebaker, daughter of David and Hannah Seiber, which implies Jane had been married before. They both would have been about age 50 when they wed. So had Noah been married before this as well?
It seems yes. There is a man of his name on the 1880 census in Fayette, Juniata County with a wife named Lydia and 11 children; he is the right age and in the right part of the state. At the time he worked as a pump maker. They are on the 1870 census too, and in 1860 in Derry Township, Mifflin County.
1910, the year he would marry our Mary Kepler, he was reporting as widowed and living in Liverpool, Perry County, where he was a resident at the time of the marriage. The license told us he was the son of George and Mary, and this is borne out by the 1850 census where 15 year old Noah is at home with parents of those names, and his siblings George, Hiram, William, and Simon in Derry, Mifflin County. He, his father, and big brother George all work as laborers.
Kind contributor Lynn Fortney adds "He and Lydia must have married about 1857 since their first son was born in 1858 in Mifflin Co., PA. Noah was a farmer but by 1880 the census listed him as a pump maker. He and Lydia had a total of 13 children. At least 1 boy died very young."
So what happened to Noah after Mary passed away in Allentown? It seems he went back home. The 1920 census shows us a man of his name and age living in Granville, Mifflin County, with his (previously) married daughter Ada J. Moore and her daughter Sarah G Moore, and a servant, Marian J Shotzberger. This is probably our last look at Noah, as he is age 83 and not likely to be alive for the 1930 census.
And indeed, this is true. We find the resting place of Noah Smith in his old stomping grounds, passing in 1921, and resting with the wife with whom he seems to have spent most of his married life, Lydia, his first wife. The state death index records his passing as occurring April 12, 1921 in Mifflin County.
And yet, for the brevity of the sunset union of Mary and Noah, it must have been entered into with some optimism. Despite the fact Noah's second marriage to Jane had ended in desertion on someone's part, he wed Mary only 3 days after what would have been its 25th anniversary.
Noah Smith (1836 - 1921)
Daniel C Kepler (1842 - 1915)*
Thomas Eldon Kepler (1865 - 1952)*
Minnie Kepler Romberger (1867 - 1936)*
Mae J Kepler Budd (1870 - 1948)*
Lydia M Kepler Fogel (1874 - 1951)*
Maud Kepler (1878 - 1881)*
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Jun 20, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14662985