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Munsinger
This drawing of his 2nd-gr-grandparents and the story of how they met and married was submitted by Don Boyd.

My gg grandfather John Munsinger brought his second wife Julina Fuller and all 14 children (4 from his first wife and 10 with Julina) from Oberlin, Lorain County, Ohio to Olin in 1866. The attached drawing in chalk of John and Julina was probably made in the early 1860s. John was born 18 Dec 1817 in Palatinate, Germany and Julina Fuller was born 8 Nov 1822 in Ashtabula, Ohio. Here is the story of how they were married:

John Munsinger married his first wife, Sarah Fowl, in Lorain County on 4 July 1840. They had 4 children: George, Edwin, Sarah, and Mary. After the birth of Mary in September, 1849, Sarah realized that she was not going to recover. She asked her best girlfriend, Julina Fuller, to please marry John and help him raise the little ones.

Julina was attending Oberlin College as one of the first female students there, by caring for the children of Professor Rev. John Morgan in exchange for room and board. So, Julina and John were married in Professor Morgan's home in January, 1850 and that was the end of her college and the beginning of her career as a mother.

She and John had 10 more children together, all of whom they raised to adulthood with the 4 from his first marriage. The entire family relocated to the Olin area in 1866 and lived there until the early 1880s. Julina died in May, 1880.

With the children mostly grown and on their own, John sold out his farm in Rome Township and relocated to Smith County, Kansas where he bought land and apparently boarded with various children during the next 30 years. One son, my great grandfather James Monroe Munsinger, established a coal and grain business in Ames, Iowa and John was living there in the 1900 census.

John Munsinger lived until September, 1917, when he passed away in Howard, Elk County, Kansas at the age of 99 years and 9 months. In accordance with his request, he was buried with his mother Eve and his wife Julina in Green Center Cemetery, Rome Township, where a fine headstone stands today.

I hope you enjoy the picture and story.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I noticed that Don says John Munsinger died at the age of 99 years and 9 months, but his headstone says 104 years and 9 months. I wrote to Don about this and got the following answer:

I can prove beyond reasonable doubt that John Munsinger, christened "Christian" in Germany, was born in Bruchmühlbach, Palatinate, Dec. 18, 1817. Also I have documented that his parents, Johann Christian Adam Münzinger and Maria Eva Krick, were married March 25, 1813, and had two daughters, born 1813 and 1815, before John was born.

Here is my theory on the fabrication of his age:

John told a story that probably has an element of truth in it. The story is that Napoleon Bonaparte, on his way to Moscow to conquer Russia, stayed the night at the Münzinger home in Bruchmühlbach. Now, if you look at an atlas of Germany, you will see that the main road from France east toward Russia runs up through Saarbrücken, Kaiserslautern, and so on through Germany and Poland. Well, Bruchmühlbach is on that road, about midway between Saarbrücken and Kaiserlautern. It is certainly a reasonable point for a stop-over on a horseback trip under the conditions of 1812.

However, in re-telling the story in the early 1900s, as I found in a Kansas newspaper clipping, old John elaborated that "as a baby, he had kept the emperor Napoleon and Josephine awake." Now, if that were true, he would have had to have been born by 1812. So, in order to make the story come out right, it was necessary to add 5 years to his actual age to get back to 1812.

In the 1850 census of Russia Township, Lorain County, which you can see online at the Oberlin College web site, John said he was 33. In the 1880 Jones County census, which was taken about a month after he lost his wife Julina, he said he was 64. However, by 1900, he suddenly was 88. So they had a huge 100th birthday party for him in Howard, Kansas in 1912 when he was supposedly 100, and I have that newpaper clipping also. But as you see, the exaggeration happened sometime between 1880 and 1900 to support the story that he had kept Napoleon awake at night. The only part that I still don't understand is, why did his 14 children all go along? Surely most, if not all, of them knew the truth. It may have been that he was simply such a strong, curmudgeonly personality that no one wanted to contradict him. My grandmother (John's granddaughter) told my father that John was almost intolerable to live with until after he turned "100," which in reality was his 95th birthday.

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Last updated on Monday, 25-May-2015 14:39:25 MST