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October 20, 2021

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John F. and Barbara Habegger Steiner

Our Swiss connection - part 19

This is the 19th installment in this series. Click here for the previous installment.

John F. Steiner married Barbara Habegger on March 15, 1832, in France. John was also known as “Buchwald Hans” because of the area where he was born.

Click here for a column on John's brother and sister-in-law, Peter and Barbara Schumacher Steiner.

Barbara was the daughter of Peter and Elisabeth Sprunger Habegger.

John and Barbara had 10 children. Barbara died on Jan. 31, 1853, just 11 days after her first-born, Christian, died at age 19. On April 17, 1853, another daughter, Fannie, died.

John’s second marriage was to Katherine Neuenschwander on Feb. 18, 1854. They had one child, Anna, who married Johannes A. Sutter and later Ulrich Bucher.

John F. is buried in the St. John Mennonite Church cemetery. Barbara is buried in the Old Mennonite Cemetery. Children (details below) Katherine, Elizabeth, Andrew and Magdalena remained active in the Swiss Mennonite Church.

Stories of John F. and Barbara’s children
Peter T. and John J. (details below) joined the Reformed Mennonite Church. The obituary for Peter T. stated that he was one of the few remaining pioneers. “His departure removes another of that generation, which witnessed the transforming of the wilderness into productive fields and his farm reflected is forward looking attitude on agriculture and farm life.”

John J. died at age 73, as a result of a farm accident. He was caught between a barn and a runaway team hitched to a hay wagon.

Elizabeth’s husband, Gotthard Althaus, was a farmer. The German correspondent in the Aug. 11, 1910, issue of The Bluffton News reported, “A group of gypsies camped on the Hilty school grounds.” (This school still stands at the corner of State Route 696 and Columbus Grove Road.)

The story continues: “Their presence and meandering caused annoyance to some farmers and complaint was filed with the township officers and they had to change their quarters, Sunday.

“Gotthard Althaus said it was a shame to molest the gypsies and chase their wives and children on the streets. Those people are not like we are and those called upon the law for help, he says, if there is such a law, know no more about the world than a wooden Indian before a tobacco store.”

John F. Steiner “Buchwald Hans”
Born: Sept. 12, 1807, La Charme Cme Florimont, France
Died: April 22, 1900, Riley Township, Putnam County
Buried: St. John Mennonite cemetery, Pandora

John’s father: Rev. Christian Steiner (1774-1846)
John’s mother: Katharina Luginbuhl (1781-1848)
John married Barbara Habegger: March 15, 1832

Barbara Habegger
Born: Dec. 1, 1806, Trunda Roche, Bern, Switzerland
Died: Jan. 31, 1853
Buried: Old Mennonite Cemetery, Bluffton

Barbara’s father: Peter Habegger (1764-1833)
Barbara’s mother: Elizabeth Sprunger Bethli (1785-1853)

Children of John F. and Barbara

Christian Steiner
Born: June 5, 1833, La Charme Cmer Florimont, France
Died: Jan. 20, 1853, Riley Township

Katherine Steiner
Born: June 5, 1833, LaCharme Cme Florimont, France
Died: May 4, 1916
Spouse: Frederick Welty
The couple had 17 children

Peter Steiner
Born: Oct. 20, 1834, La Charme Cme Florimont, France
Died: March 4, 1835, La Charme Cme Florimont, France

Elisabeth Steiner
Born: Oct. 21, 1837, Riley Township
Died: Nov. 12, 1916, Richland Township
Spouse: Gotthard Althaus
The couple had 11 children

Barbara Steiner
Born: March 4, 1840, Riley Township
Died: April 4, 1871, Riley Township

Peter T. Steiner
Born: Dec. 30, 1841, Riley Township
Died: July 1, 1931, Riley Township
Spouse: Magdalena Diller
The couple had 10 children

Spouse: Verna Schumacher
The couple had 2 children

John J. Steiner
Born: Oct. 11, 1843, Riley Township
Died: July 6, 1916, Riley Township
Spouse: Mary Magdalene Koenigsecker
The couple had 4 children

Fannie Steiner
Born: Jan. 7, 1845, Riley Township
Died: April 17, 1853, Riley Township

Andrew Steiner
Born: Oct. 5, 1847, Riley Township
Died: March 6, 1923, Pandora
Spouse: Marie Wehrly
The couple had 5 children

Magdalena Steiner
Born: Dec. 18, 1848, Riley Township
Died: Jan. 11, 1871
Spouse: Rev. Benjamin Diller
The couple had 1 child 
Benjamin then married Barbara Steiner and the couple had 12 children

John F. Steiner “Buchwald Hans”Second marriage
Spouse: Katherine Neuenschwander
Born: May 21, 1811, Cme Boron, France
John and Katherine were married Feb. 18, 1854
Died: Sept. 24, 1878, Riley Township
Buried: Old Mennonite Cemetery

Katherine’s father: Daniel Neuenschwander (1785-1816)
Katherine’s mother: Barbara N. Schumacher (1779-?)

Children of John and Katherine
Anna Steiner
Born: March 23, 1855, Riley Township
Died: Dec. 7, 1939
Spouse: Johannes A. Sutter
Spouse: Ulrich Bucher

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