|Birth: ||Oct. 11, 1845|
|Death: ||Apr. 22, 1926|
Susan (nee Köenig, often translated to "King") Schell, my great great grandmother, was born in Alburtis, outside of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Susan was a daughter of Joseph Köenig/King and his wife Maria Wagner.
I had long wondered how Susan and her husband Jonas had met, with her being from Lehigh County, and he seemingly from Union County. Kind contributor Leanne sent information that suggests that Jonas' forebears were pioneers in the Allentown/Lehigh County area which may explain the meeting. I hope to explore this further.
She married Jonathan aka Jonas Schell, and the couple spent most of their adult lives in Union County in farming while raising a large family. All told, Susan and Jonas would have the following 13 children:
-Catharine/Kathryn (aka "Kate") Schell (15 AUG 1864-13 MAR 1935) became Mrs. Charles Johnson and had seven children. Her husband was reportedly from Iowa. Still, I found a marriage license for one of her sons, Robert J. Johnson, and it states that his father was born in Reading, PA and his mother Catherine Schell was born in Mifflinburg, Union County. In 1923 when the marriage occurred, Kate's husband is a watchman, she a housekeeper.
-Lewis A. Schell (25 DEC 1865-27 SEP 1884). My great grandma Susan remembered Lewis as the oldest boy of the family, and that he died young. He rests with his father Jonas in the family plot at Ray's Church.
-Anna (aka "Annie") Schell (14 FEB 1868-20 DEC 1946) became Mrs. Newton Newman and had two children, Raymond (b: 16 MAR 1894) and Arthur (b: 6 SEP 1901).
-George E. Schell (6 JAN 1870-14 FEB 1951), married Margaret Orwig with whom he had two children, sons Orwig and Luther M Schell. Luther's marriage license tells us that Luther was born in Norristown, and suggests that his parents did not stay married, as by the time he was to be wed in 1925, his father's residence was in Allentown (Lehigh County), while his mother lived in Hartleton (Union County). This license also tells us that George was a musician by trade.
-Joseph Wagner Schell (16 JAN 1872-16 MAR 1943, who was remembered as "Wagner"), first married Carrie Royer (and whom he may have met in Altoona via his brother who lived there), and later married Ella Mae Reedy with whom he had five children. One known is Grace Edna Schell, who married Harry Hamilton in 1925; at the time, Wagner worked as a dairyman and lived in Hershey. Another child, found through marriage certificates, is Alice K. Schell born in Lewisburg, who married Hayes Reilly of Hershey in 1937. Alice was the daughter of Joseph Wagner Schell and Ella Reedy Schell, both then residents of Palmyra, PA. Likewise, Joseph W. and Ella Reedy Schell's daughter Helen J. Schell in 1927 married Virginia-born Ward Powell, and her folks then lived in Palmyra as well. JW was then listed as a laborer. Joseph's son Ralph married in 1935 to June Watson, and again, JW and Ella lived in Palmyra where JW and son Ralph both worked as gardners. Ralph's wife June's obituary states she and Ralph were "employed by Milton Hershey to be the caretakers of the Rose Gardens where they resided for 50 years on the property."
-William J or J. William Schell (9 NOV 1872-27 JULY 1943), married Cora Megahan, no known children, but they did raise the son of William's sister Ella, named Gerald L Boorse. When William died, Cora married once more to David Probst, and passed before him by a few weeks. She rests in the same cemetery as both her husbands.
-Charles Jonas Schell (29 OCT 1875-4 AUG 1935), married Minnie Celeste Worden (reportedly of NY but her marriage license states she lives in Morris Plains, NJ), had five children. The couple married in Dauphin County, PA in 1902. Charles was a railroader, and Minnie a nurse. Minnie's death occurred in NY in 1947, so probably their adult lives were spent there. Their children were all born there with the possible exception of the last: Hazel F. Schell (later White)(b: 25 MAR 1905), Fern L. Schell (later Chappell) (b: 27 SEP 1907), Charles Jonas Schell (b: 24 DEC 1909), Harold J. Schell (b: 19 JUN 1911-1980), Lillian M. Schell (later Hulster)(b: abt. 1915 possibly in PA).
-Ella Schell (2 AUG 1877-?), married C. C. Boorse (born May 23, 1877 by his draft card), supposedly in Manhattan, New York in 1903. This gent is almost certainly Christian C Boorse of West Norriton Township in Montgomery County, PA, a farmer. My guess is confirmed by "A genealogical history of the Hunsicker family" where it says "Christian C. Boorse, born 23 May, 1877; married Ella Schell." Ella and Christian's children were Herbert, Everett, Gerald, Mary and Sara. Boorse appears to have had some interest in horse racing, as the United States Trotting Association's "Wallace's Year Book" of trotting and pacing shows that on July 4, 1911 C. C. Boorse's horse Keyno competed in Phoenixville, just down the line from West Norriton. The 1940 census shows Christian as married, but living with his daughter and a servant and her daughters at 2103 W. Main Street in Jeffersonville with no clue as to where Ella is, ditto 1930 where he's with 3 kids and no wife. His 1942 WWII draft card gives his name as Christian Custer Boorse with the same address, except noted as Norristown. He is 5'8", a light complected white man with hazel eyes working for the highway department. The person who will always know where he is is the housekeeper at the same address.
-Daniel Schell (12 NOV 1878- 2 NOV 1962), married Cora Elizabeth Dieffenbach in May of 1901, had three children: Amelia (later Schnure) (19 NOV 1903 - 12 May 1993), William (24 DEC 1904 - Nov. 1965, married Dorothy Strickler), and Harold (LeRoy or LaRue) Schell (30 NOV 1907- Feb. 1967).
-Frank Jacob Schell (11 NOV 1879-APRIL 1966), married Lizzie Keener, one child, Ralph. Frank and E. Elizabeth Keener were married in Dauphin County where he worked on the railroad. By 1906 Frank married again to Laura Miller. Frank was close to his sister, my great grandma, Susan. It's my guess that she handled his funeral arrangements.
-Susan Mabel Schell (15 APR 1883-28 FEB 1974), married Edward Meckley, and later William J. Dietrich Sr, having one daughter with each husband, Fay and June respectively. She is my great grandmother.
-James Schell (27 APR 1885-19 MAR 1926).
-Maud Schell (27 JAN 1888-?), married George Lutz and later married William Kolb. With her first husband she would have Thurman Lutz (b: abt. 1905) and Anna M. Lutz (b: abt. 1922). When Anna Mae Lutz married Gilbert E. Smith of Allentown (specifically Waldheim Park) in 1941, her father was gone, but she lived with her mother, listed as Maud Kolb, at 2532 S. 5th Street in Allentown. Maud seems also to have had a daughter Ferne with George Lutz, whose marriage certificates I found. In her first union, Ferne marries Leon Kleppinger of Allentown in 1926. Leon lived until 1960 so they must have gone separate ways; indeed, he died (while in a common law marriage) at the state hospital, a paranoid schizophrenic. Her second marriage was to hotel proprietor Percival Oscar Wagner in Allentown in 1944, where her pre-marriage name is given as Ferne Amanda Lutz. Both she and Percival state their first marriages ended in 1943.
There are many times I feel some pride about accomplishing something difficult in genealogy, but I rarely discuss my sense of accomplishment because most people I know do not do it, and thus cannot appreciate the work that led to the end of a task; indeed, I often worry that I will bore others so I tend to keep it to myself. Still, I will brag for a moment here because if you've read this far you probably have some interest. I know my way around the internet very well, and can assure you that no one had really worked on this family. No one had gotten all the children documented down to their places of rest. With the exception of one woman who has placed an old family Bible online (which is amazing in scope in terms of many births and deaths but no life data past that, and more inaccuracies than she would like to believe) there has been no discernible effort to document this family. This strikes me as amazing - there were 13 kids (at least) and they have produced many more children. Is it a testament to their inherited farm-family practical industriousness that they have not had time or inclination? All I can tell you is that the engine behind this effort has been the unconditional love given to me as a child by my great grandmother Susan, and the visible joy speaking of her family brought to her. For as long as I have done genealogy with any focus, I have wanted to document her family out of respect for her. Too often it seemed impossible; too many people, too long ago, too far away. The other families of my line fell into focus with greater ease, and I approached them with greater confidence, bolstered by memories of people whom I once knew, and a few still living. No one I had ever known had any information about the Schells; my Nannie's line was getting buried in the sands of time. And so my dear Nannie, I have built a bit of your house, all of your generation, working blindly with nothing but my memory of you as my beacon, and now, nine years after I dared to stumble into the house of Schell, I smile at you and all the brothers and sisters who shared that supper table; the one you told me about where your father had a rhyme for each child and would go around the table reciting. I hear the clatter of the crockery, I see the homemade curtains blowing, I feel the warmth of the stove in a house I will never see, one that probably stands no more yet lives on in my imagination, and in the hundreds of children that came from your beautiful, large family. It is an honor to bring them back to living memory.
I believe it is possible there may have been one or two more children. On the 1870 census in Union County, in Buffalo Township, we see a Jonathan and Susanna Shell, he age 31 and she 25, both about right. They have a one year old child, Sallie S. The only problem? The couple had a few children before 1870 and they are nowhere in sight. If this is not them, then I cannot find them on 1870's census. Their post office is Vicksburg, which is where a William D. Schell was also born - a marriage certificate has been found for him stating that Jonas and Susan were his parents too and he surely looks tempting to include as part of the family, if not for the fact his name and dates do not quite match up with what I know of my Jonas and Susanna's family.
Susanna's husband Jonathan (aka Jonas) would die on July 8 1912, in Kelly Twp, PA, and she would collect a widow's pension from his Civil War service, which she applied for rather quickly after his passing.
Susan herself passed away 14 years later, a month after her son James (who lived with her) died, and a week after her daughter Susan's 43rd birthday. Where she spent her last years is unknown, as she last appears (that I can find) on the 1910 census. She was not always with James; on the 1920 census, he is in Altoona with his brother's family, working as a railroad brakeman. It would be this other brother who served as the informant on her death certificate when Susan died.
The medical information on her certificate seems questionable; I don't know how someone can die of cirrhosis of the liver of one and a half month's duration. This may have been a guess on her doctor's part. With the son she lived with dying a month before she did, perhaps the doctor assumed she then turned to drink, though I wonder if she'd not done so earlier, perhaps after the death of her husband, or in the months before her son James died, while he must have been very sick with tuberculosis. This is assuming the doctor is right about the cirrhosis at all, and if so, alcohol is not the only way you can get it. Still I keep going back to the doctor saying "one and a half months duration" and think he is assigning life stresses as the cause for drink leading to cirrhosis.
It's likely I have idealized the old Pennsylvania-German farm life she led as a wife and mother. I tend to think of it as healthy, productive, natural and full of toil people accepted as the norm of the day. Perhaps it was harder than that, and unhappier as she dutifully birthed her 13 children and ran the home in this busy household. Still, childishly, I prefer to think of her life then as generally happy, and perhaps only the end of it being difficult.
When Susan was a child, her family appears on the 1850 Lower Macungie census thusly:
-George Wagner 80 years old, male, occupation yeoman, real estate value $7000, born in PA.
-Joseph Koenig 34, male, farmer, born in PA.
-Maria Koenig 33, female, born in PA.
-George F Koenig 11, male, born in PA.
-John J Koenig 10, male, born in PA.
-Ann Koenig 7, female, born in PA.
-Susan Koenig 5, female, born in PA. <===
-Elowisa, 6/12, female, born in PA.
-Susanna Christman 37, female, born in PA.
By 1880, Susan has married and is halfway across the state in Union County. When she is an adult, her family appears (with their name mis-spelled) like this in the 1880 West Buffalo Township census:
-Johnathan Shell M(arried) Male W(hite) (age) 40 laborer
-Susan Shell Wife M Female W 36 keeping house <===
-Kate Shell Dau S Female W 15 Servant
-Lewis Shell Son S Male W 13 works on farm
-Anna Shell Dau S Female W 11
-George Shell Son S Male W 10
-Joseph Shell Son S Male W 7
-William Shell Son S Male W 6
-Charles Shell Son S Male W 4
-Ellie Shell Dau S Female W 2
-Daniel Shell Son S Male W 1
All family members were reported as being born in Pennsylvania, as were their parents.
Jonas Schell (1840 - 1912)
Lewis A Schell (1865 - 1884)*
Kathryn M Schell Johnson (1866 - 1935)*
Anna A. Schell Newman (1868 - 1946)*
George E Schell (1868 - 1951)*
Joseph Wagner Schell (1872 - 1943)*
William J Schell (1872 - 1943)*
Charles Jonas Schell (1875 - 1935)*
Sarah Ella Schell Boorse (1877 - 1955)*
Daniel E. Schell (1878 - 1962)*
Frank J. Schell (1879 - 1966)*
Susan Mabel Schell Dietrich (1883 - 1974)*
James H Schell (1885 - 1926)*
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Feb 20, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 48383313