Maria Katharina Margaretha <I>Kusterer</I> Schmid Hess

Maria Katharina Margaretha Kusterer Schmid Hess

Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Death 12 Aug 1858 (aged 58)
Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, USA
Memorial ID 22519030 · View Source
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She was born in Heimerdingen, Neckar kreis, and a daughter of Johannes Kusterer and his wife Katharina Salome Roesch.

She moved to Reading from Nicetown, Pennsylvania, (near Philadephia) following the death of her husband in 1836. She lived in Reading in 1847 per the deed to the property. On her daughter, Catharine Eberth's death record in the church, she is listed as Magdalena.
In a newspaper article from 1902-Reading's First "Wash Frau"-Mrs. Catharine M. Hess, the First "Wash Frau", came to Reading nearly 70 years ago and died 44 years ago, in the log house still standing at the northwest corner of 10th and Walnut. She had learned from her father in Germany how to pow-wow and to make salves and soap and other preparations to cure all kinds of aches, pains, cuts, bruises, burns, scalds, felons, crysipelas, scrofula and other ailments of a kindred nature, and people from far and near called upon her for treatment. Her funeral was one of the largest ever held in Trinity Lutheran Church, the edifice not being large enough to contain all who came to attend the services.
Reading Eagle-Dead-August 13, 1858
Mrs. Hess, better known as the "Wurst Frau", died yesterday morning. She was celebrated for her medicinal recipes, and was much sought after for advice and remedies by persons from all parts of the State.
In the Historical Review of Berks County-Summer 2003 Issue, her 3rd great-granddaughter, wrote a story about Catharine and her powwowing-entitled Reading's Wash Fraus.


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  • Maintained by: Military Mom
  • Originally Created by: Mimi
  • Added: 28 Oct 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 22519030
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Maria Katharina Margaretha Kusterer Schmid Hess (26 Nov 1799–12 Aug 1858), Find a Grave Memorial no. 22519030, citing Trinity Lutheran Church Cemetery, Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Military Mom (contributor 47125975) .