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October 20, 2021

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Bishop Christian and Elizabeth Steiner Bösiger

Our Swiss connection - part 15

This is the 15th installment in this series. Click here for the previous installment
When early pioneers came to America they could speak or understand very little English. You can see the difficulty the immigration officers had when asking their names.

This was also an issue with the persons taking early census records. The census takers may not have understood the particular language, so they often put down what the names sounded like.

So, today Bösiger is Basinger, Thüler is Diller and there are many ways to spell Luginbuhl and other names in Bluffton and Pandora.

This column's focus is on
Bishop Christian and Elizabeth Steiner Bösiger

Christian Bösiger was born Nov. 24, 1770, in Rumisberg, Belfort, Alsace France. His father was Hans Johanne Bösiger (1742-?) and his mother, Marie Magdalena Lugibihl (1750-?)

Christian’s wife, Elizabeth H. Steiner, was the daughter of Buchwald Johannes Steiner (1720-1812) and Verena Habegger (1722-1809).

Many of the early settlers developed nicknames to identify themselves. With so many Christian, Johannes and Peters in the Swiss Settlement, they were often identified by their appearance or where they came from. Buchwald, or in French, Ferme de la Charme, referred to the Normanvillars area in Alsace France. Then there was Old Eye Patch Bösiger and Black or Red Beard Bösiger.

Another example of nicknames involved three Noah Steiners. In the Settlement there was a Pig Noah (pig farmer), Chicken Noah (chicken farmer) and Fat Noah (nephew of Pig Noah).

The Christian Bösiger family included six children who came to America in 1824. Christian’s wife, Elizabeth, died in January 1824, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Later, after Elizabeth died, Christian, along with his children moved to a Mennonite community in Ontario, Canada.

His daughter, Elizabeth married Ulrich Steiner and they remained in Ontario. Daughters A. Marie and Verena also stayed in Ontario and we have no further information about them.

After six years in Canada, Christian and his sons, John, Christian and Ulrich, moved to Wayne County, Ohio. One and one half years after they moved to Putnam County.

Before Christian came to America, he was a deacon in the Florimont Mennonite congregation in Alsace, France. Coming to this area, he became active in the community and helped organized the first Swiss Mennonite Church, built in the Swiss Settlement in 1840.

After 16 years, a larger church was built on the same location. A monument showing this location is located on Road 4, one half mile north of the Allen-Putnam County Line.

Bishop Christian Bösiger
Born: Nov. 24, 1770, Rumisberg, Emmental Bern, Switzerland
Died: Jan. 23, 1847, Richland Township
Buried: Old Mennonite Cemetery, Bluffton
Occupation: First deacon of Swiss Mennonite Settlement church

Christian’s father: Hans Johannes Bösiger (1742-?)
Christian’s mother: Marie Magdalena Lugibuhl (1750-?)

Other spouses: Barbara Kurtz
Married: Feb. 15, 1791, Alsace Loraine, France

Spouse: Elizabeth H. Steiner
Born: 1758, Signau Bern Switzerland
Died: Jan. 29, 1824, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Elizabeth’s father: Buchwald Johannes Hans Steiner (1729-1812)
Elizabeth’s mother: Verena Habegger (1722-1809)

John Hans Bösiger
Born: Feb. 6, 1792, Alsace Loraine, France
Died: March 1860
Spouse: Sarah Mary Berner
Click here to read a column posted earlier
about John and Sarah Mary Berner Bösiger.

Marie Bösiger
Born, Aug. 25, 1793, Alsace Loraine, France

Christian Black Beard Bösiger
Born: Oct. 9, 1795, Alsace Loraine, France
Died: April 20, 1880, Putnam County

Spouse: Catherine Lugibuhl
Spouse: Mary Sutter

Ulrich Red Beard Bösiger
Born: Oct. 4, 1798, Alsace Loraine, France
Died: Dec. 11, 1875, Bluffton
Spouse: Elsie Kirchhofer

Elizabeth S. Bösiger
Born: April 22, 1800, Alsace Loraine, France
Died: March 26, 1880, Blandford Township, Oxford, Ontario, Canada
Spouse:  Ulrich Steiner

Verena Fannie Bösiger
Born: Nov. 24, 1802