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Rebecca J Romig Ettinger
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Birth: Jan. 9, 1845
Death: Oct. 23, 1927

Rebecca Romig Ettinger Diehl is my great great grandma on my mom's dad's side, and I hope to discover more about her life through research. One new-found fact is that her father (and probably her mother) and her siblings who died young are all resting at Baptist Brethren Cemetery, East Texas, Pennsylvania, so it is very possibly where Rebecca was baptised and the church in which she was raised.

Rebecca was the only one of three siblings to marry and have children; her brother Hiram and sister Catherine were dead by ages 21 and 16 respectively. Rebecca was the middle child (who had only one year between them) and so she surely had living memory of both her siblings.

My mother had no living memory of her great grandma Rebecca, though they overlapped on Earth for a short time. The picture to the right shows my mother and her sister Ruth visiting Rebecca's grave in 1928, the Spring after Rebecca's death.

For some time, Rebecca was a bit of a mystery... Her stone has the last name "Diehl" on it. I could never find her as a child with a Diehl family and be sure it was her. Was "Diehl" her maiden name? If so, why was "Diehl" on her stone after Ettinger?

A marriage license application found in August 2012 finally spelled it out, making it clear that after she lost her first husband Charles Ettinger in 1884, she was married again on August 23, 1893, to Mr. John J. Diehl of Bethlehem, where they were both residents, and both age 46. Both of them had been widowed, Mr. Diehl on November 15 1870 or 1878, the handwriting difficult to make out. This info is slightly at odds with info from a kind fellow contributor, Mary Law Miller, who has "John Joseph Diehl, born 9 JAN 1838 East Texas Pennsylvania, died 14 FEB 1923, Ohio. Married Margaret Hartzell in 1864. She was born 22 OCT 1842 in Allen twp, Northampton PA died 15 OCT 1878 in Ohio." In any case, the application states that John Diehl's father was Charles Diehl, while Rebecca's father was listed as Nathan Romig. Rebecca was listed as a dressmaker, while John Diehl was a locomotive engineer.

I found an account of John Joseph Diehl's passing, and had no idea why he died and was buried so far from home, but a notice appeared in the Allentown Morning Call of Thursday, February 22, 1923 on page 7 thusly:

John J. Diehl

Word has been received in this city of the death of John J. Diehl, a native of East Texas, at Flat Rock, Ohio. Mr. Diehl, a stepfather of C. H. Ettinger and Edwin Ettinger, of this city, was in his 84th year. He was born at East Texas, and was married to Margaret Hartzell in 1865. The union was blessed with seven children, four of whom have died. The wife died 44 years ago. There survive his second wife, Mrs. Rebecca Ettinger, these children: Mrs. Creighton Leininger, of Flat Rock, O.; Mrs. D. R. Felton, Lansing, Mich.; Mrs. E. H. Engler, of Bellevue, O., and three step-children, Mrs. Alice Romig, of Riverton, N.J.; C. H. Ettinger and Edwin Ettinger, of this city.

And so Rebecca outlived her second husband by a few years, widowed once again. Wondering if he'd lived on his own back out in Ohio, I checked the 1920 census for Ohio and found him there with Rebecca, so clearly she lived out there with him, and was likely there for his passing, though his daughter Celestia is the informant of his death on his death certificate... and Celestia named "Amelia" as his wife, which has me completely baffled. The name does not even match Rebecca's middle initial of "J". In any case, I am unable to find them together on other censuses.

I mean no disservice to Mr. Diehl, but clearly Rebecca's first marriage was the one considered primary, and is the one in which she had her children, so for purposes of indexing her easily to be found as an Ettinger, I am not including Diehl in her name at the top, but including it in this text to be found by search engines.

Oddly, Nathan does appear on the 1880 census with a wife named Lydia, not Hettie, and he is surely the same man- in the right place, and born the right year, 1822.

Rebecca makes her first census appearance in 1850 with her family in Lower Macungie, Lehigh County with father Nathan Romig, a 27 year old carpenter, mother Hetty age 27, brother Hiram age 6, herself age 5, and little sister Catherine, age 4.

In 1860, she is 16 and has been farmed out to live as a house servant with the farming family of Nathan and Maria Shankweiler who have children and a few borders. Meanwhile, her parents home in Trexlertown is busy - Rebecca's brother Hiram is gone (not yet dead, he may have been farmed out), sister Catherine is still present, age 14, and the family has Elizabeth Moyer (age 24, house servant) and Elizabeth Lobach (age 60) with them.

By 1870 she has married and in Trexlertown, Lower Macungie. She's counted with husband Charles "Edenger", he age 31 and she age 24, along with the beginnings of their family, daughter Alice (age 6) and son Charles (age 4, next in my line).

1880 finds her with Charles in East Texas where he is a mine contractor and they are raising daughter Alice, 15, son Charles age 13, and son Eddie, 1. The family lives right next door to her father Nathan Romig's family. This is the last we will see Rebecca and Charles married since Charles will die in 4 years. Rebecca marries again in 1893 to John J. Diehl, and the marriage happens in Bethlehem where they are both residents... a bit of a jump from East Texas where they may have known one another from.

The next census is 1900 and they are indexed as "Deihl" at 26 Lehigh Street in Bethlehem, Northampton County, and they report being married 7 years. In the house are John (age 61, stationery engineer), Rebecca (age 55). With them are his son from his first marriage, Charles D. age 27 and a draftsman, and her son from her first marriage, Edwin N, age 21 a machinist. Also in the home is Rebecca's 78 year old widowed mom, "Hattie". Hattie reports having had 3 children, one of whom is alive, which corresponds to her deceased children Hiram and Catherine, and living child, Rebecca. Surprisingly, Rebecca reports having had 4 children, of whom 3 are alive. To my knowledge, her daughter Alice, son Charles and son Nathan are alive, so I do not know who the deceased child is, as s/he does not appear on any record I have found thus far.

The only family member known in this family to have died young was Rebecca's grandson, her daughter Alice's son Fred Romig, who was murdered in 1907 in New York City while only in his 20's. I can tell the tale and link him to family only here for now, because I have not found Alice's place of rest. Fred was in the big city to work on a lumber deal and was found in circumstances that looked to family like a poorly staged suicide. Since he was the nephew of Alice's two living brothers, my great grandpa Charles and his brother Edwin, you'd think one of the men would have gotten closer to this crisis, but surprisingly it was Edwin's wife, the delicate, fanciful but perhaps most empathetic Annie, who represented her family in supporting Fred's parents at their Philadelphia home. I discovered this story in June of 2014; no one living had ever mentioned it, and I suspect it was in part because the later family did not keep in close touch with Alice who lived in New Jersey in her later years (my mom recalled only her first name), but also, who would want to tell their kids about this? Murder or suicide, and it was almost certainly murder, are not tales you tell growing children. Fred was the cousin of my grandpa, who would have been very young; he may not have been told, and thus his kids may not have been told.

To divert to Alice for a moment - 1915 she lives with her probable daughter and son in law, Ella and Joshua Bartley. She is with them as late as 1930's census where she's designated a widow (and mis-indexed as "Rosnig"). By the 1940 census, she's gone; by that time she'd have been age 75.

In 1910 Rebecca and her second husband are indexed as "Dehl" - Rebecca and John live in Thompson Township in Seneca County, Ohio. (It looks like they live next door to the Ebenezer Orphans home.) The census says they are married 19 years with zero children. John is once more listed as a stationery engineer, meaning possibly an engineer at a train station or perhaps an engineer at some kind of station, perhaps a water pumping station.

1920 finds them together in Thompson, Seneca, Ohio once more. John is 80, Rebecca 74. Neither has a listed occupation. I find myself hoping they enjoyed their time in Ohio, because I cannot help but think that Rebecca was separated from her children from her first marriage, who were getting married and having kids she probably rarely saw. John would died 3 years after this census. She would died 4 years after him, so this is the last census for them both.

Note to self: The cemetery where Rebecca's Romig parents rest was Baptist Brethren, or Immanuel Church of the United Brethren in Christ which was closed 1969 and is now known as the Village Court, a.k.a. the Playground Church.

Many thanks to Star Kline for making this online memorial, for her photography, and for the generous transfer of it without asking, when she discovered I was Rebecca's descendant.

Family links: 
  Nathan Romig (1822 - 1893)
  Hettie Sassaman Romig (1822 - 1908)
  John Joseph Diehl (1838 - 1923)
  Charles H Ettinger (1839 - 1884)*
  Alice Rebecca Ettinger Romig (1864 - 1931)*
  Charles H Ettinger (1866 - 1934)*
  Edwin Nathan Ettinger (1879 - 1944)*
  Hiram S. Romig (1843 - 1865)*
  Rebecca J Romig Ettinger (1845 - 1927)
  Catharine Romig Melere (1846 - 1862)*
*Calculated relationship
Salem United Methodist Church Cemetery
East Texas
Lehigh County
Pennsylvania, USA
Maintained by: sr/ks
Originally Created by: Star Kline
Record added: Jan 04, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 23737453
Rebecca J <i>Romig</i> Ettinger
Added by: sr/ks
Rebecca J <i>Romig</i> Ettinger
Added by: Star Kline
Rebecca J <i>Romig</i> Ettinger
Added by: sr/ks
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- purple-lady
 Added: Oct. 23, 2014

- Star Kline
 Added: Jun. 10, 2014

- Maja
 Added: Jan. 10, 2014
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