Esther Ann Wymer

Female 1837 - 1912

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  • Born  18 Sep 1837  Muskingum County, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender  Female 
    Died  14 Dec 1912  Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried  Russell Cemetery, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID  I1760  Virts
    Last Modified  15 Jul 2017 

    Family  John Jackson Werts,   b. 6 Feb 1831, Muskingum County, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Oct 1901, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  29 Aug 1854  Muskingum County, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. John Quincy Werts,   b. 25 Jun 1855, Zanesville, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Apr 1953, Canton, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. George Newton Werts,   b. 11 Sep 1856, Zanesville, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Sep 1856, Zanesville, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Mary Eveline Werts,   b. 1 Sep 1857, Muskingum County, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 May 1932, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Lydia Jane Werts,   b. 11 Apr 1859, Muskingum County, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Jun 1906, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location
     5. Alfred Riley Werts,   b. 17 Aug 1860, Muskingum County, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Jul 1935, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location
     6. Jacob Leonard Werts,   b. 3 Mar 1862, Muskingum County, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Mar 1944, Garland, Wyoming Find all individuals with events at this location
     7. William Clement Werts,   b. 2 Sep 1863, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Aug 1865, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location
     8. Flora Ann Werts,   b. 16 Sep 1866, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 May 1871, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location
     9. Clifton Elmer Werts,   b. 12 Oct 1868, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Dec 1943, Bartow, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location
     10. Susan Margaret Werts,   b. 15 Jan 1871, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Jun 1951, Imperial, Nebraska Find all individuals with events at this location
     11. Mabel Werts,   b. 7 Jun 1875, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Feb 1973, Des Moines, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location
     12. Charles Martel Werts,   b. 18 Oct 1876, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Jan 1946, Des Moines, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location
     13. Oliver Osmond Werts,   b. 17 Nov 1878, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Dec 1956, Russell, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified  7 Oct 2012 
    Family ID  F926  Group Sheet

  • Photos
    John Jackson Werts and Esther Ann Wymer
    John Jackson Werts and Esther Ann Wymer
    John was born February 6, 1831 in Muskingum County, Ohio to George Peter and Margaret Maple Werts, Jr. He died October 27, 1901 in Russell, Iowa. He married Esther Ann Wymer on August 29, 1854. She was born September 18, 1937 in Muskingum County and died December 14, 1912 is Russell. Both are buried in Russell Cemetery, Russell, Iowa.

    Photo courtesy of Sharon Lynn Amore
    John Jackson Werts (1831-1901) and Esther Ann Wymer (1837-1912) Family Photo
    John Jackson Werts (1831-1901) and Esther Ann Wymer (1837-1912) Family Photo
    Photo courtesy of Sharon Amore

  • Notes 
    • The Chariton Herald Patriot, Decmeber 12, 1912

      Esther Ann Wymer was born September 18th, 1837, in Muskingum county, Ohio. She was the daughter of John and Rebecca Wymer, being one of a family of seven children, two sisters and two brothers of whom are still living.

      Her marriage to John Jackson Werts took place August 29th, 1854, in Muskingum county. Five years later, Mr. and Mrs. Werts moved to Coshocton county, Ohio, where they lived until their removal to Iowa in 1864. With their six children they came west and established their home on a farm two miles southwest of Russell. This was the family home until 1891, when a new home was built in the town of Russell, and here Mrs. Werts lived the last years of her life, and here also John Jackson Werts, the husband and father, passed away October 27th, 1901.

      Thirteen children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Werts, nine of whom survive their mother. The last few weeks of Mrs. Werts' life were spent at the home of her son, Jacob L., in Garland, Wyo., where she went in September on a visit. On November 25th, while apparently in the best of health, she suffered a stroke of apoplexy. A period of consciousness followed, and hopes were entertained for her recovery, but a few days later she became unconscious, and on December 4th, at 7 a.m., her soul passed away to meet its maker.

      Mrs. Werts was born in a christian home, her parents being members of the Lutheran church, in which church she also remained until with her husband and children she entered the Presbyterian church in Russell thirty-seven years ago. She taught her children at her knee the religion of Jesus and thus passed on to them her own wonderful faith, so that they have all gone forth into this world christian men and women.

      Besides her children, thirty-two grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren are heirs to the memory of her beautiful christian life.

      Funeral services were held at the Presbyterian church, conducted by the pastor, P. A. Tinkham, attended by a large circle of friends and relatives. The floral tributes were profuse and beautiful. Interment was made in the Russell cemetery.
      From the book: The John Jackson and Esther Ann Werts Family History, compiled by Philip W. Allen, 1994

      When Esther was growing up, everyone worked in order to feed the family. A four-year-old learned to set the table and stood on a stool to wash and dry the dishes. Children would help in planting and cultivating a garden; gathering the produce; preparing and canning it over a hot stove (a relatively new process); raising livestock and helping with the butchering and canning, or preserving the meat with salt of smoke, and rendering lard in a large iron kettle over an outside fire. Helping the family meant exploring the woods for such wild fruit as raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and plums. It meant raising chickens which included feeding them, gathering the eggs, and cleaning and cooking a chicken for a special dinner. Therefore, long before she became a teenager, Esther knew how to accept responsibility.

      Three weeks before she reached he 17th birthday, Esther married John Jackson Werts, a red-haired and bearded 23-year-old farmer whose parents lived in the county. There were eight children in his family and John was only 14 when their mother died. In those days, a young man lived with his parents until his 21st birthday, "paying his debt to his parents." Only them was he free to make a life of his own. At the age of 21, John took a job as a farmhand for $13 a month. He saved his money and the next year rented a 50-acre farm in adjacent Coshocton County, Ohio. After a year he returned to Muskinghum County, his home and also the home of Esther Ann Wymer. John and Esther married on August 29, 1854.

      The couple live on a rented farm for the first three years of their married life and brought three children into the world. The first John Quincy who soon became his fathers right -hand man and the second was a son who lived only a few days. Women grieved in a private way in those days and there was little time to weep. In less than a year their first daughter, Mary Eveline, was born.

      Esthers husband John had been looking for more land and eventually purchased an 80-acre farm nearby Coshocton County. This meant a move for Esther, a separation from her family, finding new friends and a new church. Lydia, her latest child, was about a year old when the move to the new farm was made in 1860. Later that year Alfred Riley was born. Jacob was born in 1862 and William Clement in 1863. Their daughter Mary (and probably the other children) was vaccinated at age 4 in Ohio to prevent smallpox, using the vaccine of that period. Such vaccines had begun in the late 18th century but only progressive and daring (live virus was used, somewhat risky) people consented to use them through most of the 19th century.

      John and Esther were both descended from families who were dedicated Christians. Both families were members of the Lutheran faith. History contains the names of several of their ancestors who were instrumental in the establishment of Lutheran churches from Virginia through Pennsylvania and Ohio. Whenever they moved to a new area, Esther and John looked for a church and if none was found, they were among the first to organize one.

      By the year with six children and the loss of one baby, they could probably see the necessity of having more land in order to feed a growing family. John made a trip to the new state of Iowa where his uncle Maple had homesteaded a farm on the prairie, paying the government $1.25 per acre. He was favorably impressed with the land and the prospects for future settlement and growth. He purchased 160 acres of prairie included 20 acres under cultivation and a newly-built house. He also bought 40 acres of timber for fuel, fence posts and lumber and the entire package cost him $2,100. The farm was half a mile north of Ragtown, a village having a store, sawmill, and a few houses. A school was added in a few years.

      John hurried back home to Ohio to move his family and what possessions could be carried across the prairie to Iowa. He was proud of his flock of sheep and was determined to move them to Iowa together with the most essential farm and household equipment. John needed a large wagon and a man to drive the team. What a busy summer that must have been. We can assume that crops were grown and harvested as usual because the profits would be needed for the trip. The land also had to be sold as well as the livestock and equipment that could not be taken. All of these tasks had to be completed soon so the trip could be made before the stormy weather of winter. With the fall of 1864 came the big move to Iowa with six children and all the household goods they could pile on one wagon. The family was to ride on a train. The sheep were to go, and the children loved the wooly lambs that grew up to be favorite sheep. Excitement reigned in the household as each child would have a favorite homemade toy or animal he or she would want to take.

      Esthers sister Lydia was married to Alex McCurdy. They had five children and the McCurdys decided to move to Iowa at the same time. Alex drove his own team and wagon with their household goods and John found a young man who wanted to go west and who would drive their team and wagon with their goods. All the women and children went on the train.

      When all was ready, the sheep were loaded into a railway car. They would have been driven from the farm to the railroad, probably at Adamsville, and the family transported to the city. We do not know whether John Jackson and his carload of sheep were a part of the same train that carried the family but there is a good chance they rode together at least as far as Chicago. John would have spent most of his time with the sheep, watering and feeding them and keeping them as comfortable as possible in order to prevent costly losses.

      In those days the train engines burned coal for energy. The tracks were rough, the seats were hard, straight, and uncomfortable. While the windows were opened for air, coal soot and cinders blew in. The train stops were often and were always jerky. Little children would get sick and lose a meal with no water available to clean their clothing. The 500-mile trip must have taken at least two days and nights. Mary, the older daughter, remembered that her step grandmother Wymer and two of her mothers younger sisters accompanied them to help care for the younger children. We can certainly believe that Esther and Lydia would need their help. The sisters were Becky who was 22 ad Alzina who was 19. Those three may have returned from Chicago or Eddyville.

      In Chicago it was necessary for passengers to move from one railway station to another board a train to Eddyville, Iowa, the end of the line and about 40 miles from their farm. The carload of sheep, on arrival in Chicago, could probably be switched from one road to the other. John Quincy remembered finding a man with a spring wagon who would move their luggage and the women and children to the new station, about a mile away. In, Ohio, Mary and her older brother, John Q. had been trusted helpers who held the hands of younger sister and brothers to keep them from wandering away or lagging behind whenever the family went somewhere. On the trip west the older children did not have that responsibility because their mother's unmarried sisters and their step grandmother Wymer went along to help carry luggage. When changing trains in Chicago, crowded with Civil War traffic, Mary Eveline remembered that the adults ordered her and John Q. to tightly hold each other's hands and stay near the rest of the group every minute from getting off the train all through the ride in a spring wagon to the other train station and until they were all safely on board. There was no chance to have a closer look at the huge locomotives puffing smoke and snorting steam, their powerful rumbles vibrating everything underfoot. Mary resented the hand holding even more than her older brother for she was demoted from being a responsible helper to being helped and protected.

      At Eddyville the two weary families crowded into a stagecoach which took them on another dirt road to Lagrange, Iowa, a village which was still a good 10 miles from their farm. We do not know whether it was possible for William Maple to help them move from Lagrange to the farm but we can be sure they were welcomed with open arms by the Maple family. After living on the prairie far from town and seeing no relatives for years, what would it have to have 11 children and four adults suddenly appear. As cornbread is said to have been the staple of pioneer families, how much stone-ground corn meal would it take to make cornbread for 15 hungry people.

      The sheep were unloaded in Eddyville and the flock driven out on the prairie. John J. Werts drove them to within a few miles of the farm. It seems there was a trail and they could follow it during daylight hours. But the sheep had to stop to rest. John Quincy who was nine years old at the time remembered that he went with his Uncle Alex McCurdy to get the sheep and bring them the remainder of the way to the farm.

      They could not find the trail in the darkness and prepared to stay the night. Then they heard a dog barking so were able to find a house where a man showed them the trail and they completed the journey, arriving about daybreak.

      We can only wonder how the sheep were cared for on arrival at the new farm. It must have been essential to build a shelter for sheep and horses, and the family must have needed cows to provide milk for the children. It may have been easy to employ help to quickly build a barn and to fill it with hay from the prairie. Johns judgment was sound so he probably had made plans for all the necessary activities for the winter weather.

      Having arrived in the fall of the year, the first winter must have been a difficult one for Esther and her children. The men had to work hard to begin preparing the land for a crop the following year. Prairie sod was deep and tough and their tools were primitive but they were able to turn over a good-sized plot before the weather became severe. The young boys worked along with the men and all were hungry. Finding food was a full-time job for everyone. Those were the days when neighbors helped neighbors and all worked together to provide for the needs of the community. Labor was shared and food was shared; there was little but no one went hungry.

      There was no town of Russell, IA, for another three or four years. The first store there opened in 1865. Until then, staples of food and equipment were hauled from Eddyville to Chariton and the farmers drove their teams and wagons the five or six miles to Chariton for their necessities. In 1867 the railroad tracks were completed through Lucas county and a first train came through July 3, 1867. Soon afterward a general store was built and women were able to buy cotton fabrics for dresses, buttons and thread. What a joy! By the time that store arrived, the clothes they brought from Ohio were surely in sad shape. The town of Russell grew and Ragtown, the village which had been a half a mile south of the farm disappeared, except for the schoolhouse. There was no Lutheran Church nearby but in 1860 a Presbyterian church was organized in Russell. The Werts family were among its first members.

      By 1867 a daughter, Flora Ann, had been born and William Clement had died at the age of two. Flora Ann died at 4 1/2 but Clifton had arrived in 1868 and Susna in 1871. After a period of four years Esthergave birth to three more children Mabel in 1875, Charles in 1876 and Oliver in 1878. Now Esthers family consisted of 10 living children, but the oldest daughter, Mary, had already married and had two children of her own.

      By the year 1870 John and Esther had purchased more land for a total of 575 acres and had built a larger house, a barn, and several buildings to store the crops and to house the machinery and the livestock. Esthers life revolved around her home, her children and grandchildren, and her church. As her children grew and left the family home, she spent more time in such leisure pursuits as reading and sewing. She visited her married children and did what mending and sewing were needed by them. Esther had taught her children the Bible and passe on to them her strong faith in the love and strength of her Lord Jesus. Both were very active in all the social, religious, and political activities of the community. John was almost always the leader in anything that was for the good of the community, county or state. Politically he was a Democrat. He was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church in Russell for the 27 years from the time of its organization until his death. His council ws very often sought by those with whom he came in contact. John was highly esteemed by those who knew him.

      The Werts family members were known for their skill in performing ordinary tasks. They seemed able to do things better and more easily than others. Several of the young men went into medicine and became surgeons. Some invented better farm machinery. John Jackson, the father, was rather slow in speech but wise in he judgements. He would take so muck time to answer a question that the questioner would almost give up before the answer came. At one time he had a load of cattle for sale. In order to get the best price he took them to Chicago by train. When he arrived the price had dropped. While he waited for the price to rise, he took a trip to Buffalo to see Niagara Falls, a picture some of his descendants have kept. When he returned the price was up more than enough to pay for his trip.

      In 1891, after 27 years of thrift, hard work and good judgment, John and Esther built a fine house in the west end of Russell and retired, leaving the farm in the hands of the grown children. Three children were still at home, Mabel, Charles, and Oliver. They spent a quiet 10 years, Esther keeping busy with her housework and entertaining family and friends, and John never losing interest in the farm he had created with loving hands. John died of pneumonia on October 27, 1901, and Esther stayed on in her home until her death on December 4, 1912. She visited her children frequently and was at the home of her son Jacob in Garland, Wyoming when she suffered a stroke and lived only a few more days. She was buried in Russell.