Johann Philip Werner, Christine Elizabeth Oehler,

and their Children

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Figure 1.  Pedigree of Johann Philip Werner



Figure 2. Pedigree of Christine Elizabeth Oehler



Johann Philip Werner and Christine Elizabeth Oehler arrive in the United States


Johann Philip Werner was born 1 Aug 1837 in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. His father was Philipp Dieterich Werner, born 8 Oct 1798, Großgartach [1] , Württemberg, Germany, died 3 April 1854, Großgartach, Germany; his father is listed as “citizen and wine grower” as is his two grandfathers. Johann Werner's mother was Juliana Bierle, born 10 Aug 1808, Germany and died 27 Dec 1869, Großgartach, Germany. [2]


According to research by Norman W. Kellerhals, great-grandson of Johann Werner, Johann Werner “. . . worked as a coachman in a large city, believed to be Stuttgart. He also worked on a large estate or farm.”  Stuttgart is about 30 miles south of Heilbronn. Also, from Norman W. Kellerhals:


John Werner’s working years weren’t many until he was called to serve in the German military forces as a young man, probably in the late 1850s. About a decade later Germany was well prepared for the Franco Prussian War in which Germany, led by Bismarck, won the war and united the many small German kingdoms into a powerful Germany. Werner knew that at that time a rich man’s son did not have to serve in the military or could even be released from service if another would enter in his place, receiving extra pay from the rich man’s son. When Werner was fitted for army clothing, prior to or along with military induction he became angry at the rude remark of a German officer, who had so very rudely told him to pull in his farmer stomach, and he decided to flee the service and Germany itself. He went through Alsace-Lorain (part of present-day France), which is just across the Rhine from Germany and where he found French sympathizers and took ship to the United States [3]


The Franco Prussian war began 14 July 1870 two years after Johann Werner left Germany. It is not clear why he went to France, if he really did. He left by ship from Bremen, Germany.


Figure 3 shows the record of his arrival at the Castle Garden immigration center, New York City on 14 Apr 1868 on the ship S.S. Bremen from Bremen, Germany. (Johan Werner is the 5th entry on this page and shown as Joh. Waerner, age 30).

Figure 3. Record of passengers on the S. S. Bremen arriving at New York City 14 Apr 1868 from Bremen, Germany.

The S.S. Bremen was owned by Norddeutscher Lloyd Co. with “clipper bow, 1 funnel, 3 masts (barkentine rigged)”, about 300 feet long, and typically carrying about 570 passengers.



Figure 4. “Sailing Steamer Bremen”, 1858, by Fritz ller, German painter and captain.


Traveling with Johann Werner were (in order of appearance on the document show in figure 3):

1. Christine Oehler, age 27, who is Christine Elizabeth Oehler, born 13 Jun 1841 in Botenheim, Heilbronn, Wurttemberg, Germany, who married Johann Werner a year after their entry into the US.

2. Gotfried Oehler, age 20, is Christine Oehler’s brother, born 15 Aug 1848 in Botenheim, Germany, died 31 Oct 1918 Wells, Faribault, MN [4] .

3. Gottlieben Rosine Oehler, age 24, is Rosine Gottliebin Oehler, a sister of Christine Oehler, born 23 May 1844, Botenheim, Heilbronn, Germany, died 29 Sep 1918 Morristown, Rice, MN.

4. Wilhe. Oehler, age 22, is Wilhelmine Margarethe Oehler, born 3 Feb 1846 in Botenheim, Heilbronn, Germany, a sister of Christine Oehler.

5. Joh. Waerner, age 30, is Johann Philip Werner, born 1 Aug 1837 in Wurttemberg, Germany, who married Christine Oehler within a year.

6. Unknown; perhaps Jacob Frey, age 22, butcher.

7. Christine Keller, age 25, is Christine Keller, born 17 Feb 1843 in Hattenhofen [5] , Wurttemberg, Germany, who married Gottlob Oehler, born 30 Aug 1842 Botenheim, Heilbronn, Germany. Gottlob Oehler, a brother of Christine Oehler, had come to the United States in 1867.

8. Joha. Keller, age 20, is Johanna Veronika Keller, born 21 Jun 1849 in Hattenhofen, Wurttemberg, Germany, sister of Christine Keller.

Thus, the group consists of four Oehler siblings, Johann Werner, and two Keller sisters.


   Johann Werner married Christine Oehler 20 Sep 1868 in Blooming Grove, Waseca Co., MN.

   Gottlob Oehler married Christine Keller 31 May 1868 in Blooming Grove, Waseca Co., MN

   Rosine Gottliebin Oehler married Ernest William Nordmeyer Jr. in Blooming Grove, MN on 16 May 1868.

   Johanna Veronika Keller married Jacob Rudolph Reeble Sr. on 11 Aug 1868 in Warsaw, Rice Co., MN; Warsaw is about 15 miles north-east of Blooming Grove, MN


It looks as though all of the individuals show in figure 3 who came together to the United States in 1868 probably went directly to Blooming Grove, MN. The group most likely came to Blooming Grove because of the presence of Tobias Oehler, Gottfried David Oehler, and Gottlob Oehler.


Tobias Oehler, born 8 Sep 1822 in Botenheim, Heilbronn, Germany, was an uncle of the Oehlers who went to Minnesota in 1868. Tobias arrived in the United States on 23 Feb 1854 on the S. S. Bavaria, and was living in Blooming Grove, MN in 1868 when the group arrived. Gottfriend David Oehler was a brother of Tobias, born 4 Jul 1827 in Botenheim. Gottfried David Oehler [6] arrived in the United States about 1851, and was in Morristown, Rice Co., MN for the 1865 Minnesota Census. Gottlob Oehler was a brother of Christine Oehler living in Blooming Grove, MN; he came to the United States in 1867.


Christine Oehler and some of her ancestors


Christine Oehler was born 13 Jun 1841 in Botenheim, Germany. Her father was Gottlieb Martin Oehler, born 31 Mar 1813 in Botenheim, Germany and died 29 Oct 1863 (five years before Christine Oehler went to the United States) in Botenheim, Germany. Her mother was Christine Magdalena Mueller, born 4 Nov 1815 in Botenheim, Germany.


Christine Magdalena Mueller arrived in the United States 22 Mar 1881 with Christine Oehler’s sister Johanne Oehler, born 25 Jul 1857 in Botenheim, Germany. With them was Gott. Oehler, age 39. He was probably Gottlob Oehler, brother of Christine Oehler, who returned to Germany to aid his mother and sister in coming to the United States.


Christine Oehler came from a long line of apparently successful Oehlers living in Botenheim, Wurttemberg, Germany. According to one source, [7] in describing Christine Oehler’s brother Tobias Oehler:


Martin Oehler, the father of Toby Oehler, was born in Germany on March 31, 1813, and died on 26 October 1863. He was a farmer in his native land and never came to America. He married Christine Magdelene Mueller, who was born on Nov 4, 1815, and died on April 27, 1895.


Johann Jacob Oehler, the paternal grandfather, was born on August 8, 1785. He was a prominent man of his community and served in the council and was for a time probate judge. He died on August 14, 1850. On February 1, 1809, he was united in marriage to Maria Magdelena Schiedel, who died on March 2, 1839, the daughter of George Martin Schiedel, a successful grape raiser.


Johann David Mueller, the maternal grandfather of Christien Oehler, was born on November 7, 1789, and died on November 21, 1858. On July 25, 1812, he was united in marriage to Eve Christine Oehler, who was born on October 15, 1788, and died on March 15, 1815.


The great-grandfather, Tobias Oehler, was born on January 15, 1754; he was a member of the council and engaged in farming. He died on December 27, 1811. On February 21, 1775, Tobias Oehler was united in marriage to Barbara, the daughter of George Doffel, who was probate judge. Barbara Doffel was born on February 20, 1753 and died on December 17, 1798.


Hans Jacob Oehler, the great-great-grandfather, was born on September 7, 1714, and died on March 29, 1776. He was a member of the council, an assessor of Botenheim, and a prominent man in the community. On May 8, 1736, Hans Jacob Oehler was united in marriage to Anna Barbara, the daughter of Jacob Bihler, the proprietor of a hotel in Botenheim. Anna Barbara was born on August 14, 1708 and died on July 15, 1760.


The great-great-great-grandfather, Hans Michael Oehler, was born on April 10, 1686, and died on June 20, 1752. He was also a member of the council and the mayor of Botenheim. On May 8, 1708, he was married to Agnes May, the daughter of Philip Eberlin, who was a farmer and a councilman. Agnes May Eberlin was born on August 14, 1686 and died on February 13, 1765.


Hans George Oehler, the great-great-great-great-grandfather was for many years an attorney and the mayor of Botenheim. He married Anna Magdelena Schilling, on November 7, 1682. Mr. Oehler died on December 30, 1712, and his wife on February 2, 1707.


Hans Georg Oehler was born 24 Jun 1662 and died 30 Dec 1712. His father was Michael Oehler (1618 -1678), who married Appolonia Zimmerman (1620 - 1688), et alia.


The family of Johann Werner and Christine Oehler


The 1870 census shows John Werner and Christine Werner in Morristown, Rice Co., MN with their son John.


The 1 May 1875 Minnesota census shows John Warner, age 38, Christine Warner, age 31, John, age 6, Ernest, age 4, William, age 3, and Philip, age 0, in Blooming Grove, Waseca Co., MN.


Johann Werner and Christine Oehler had six children while in Minnesota:


   Johann Werner Jr., born 28 Jul 1869, Blooming Grove, MN, died of diphtheria ~1880, in Cresco, Kossuth, IA.

   Ernest Werner, born Jul 1871, Morristown, Rice Co., MN, died 5 Apr 1952, Silverton, Marion Co. OR.

   William Werner, born 8 Feb 1872, Morristown, MN, died 13 Dec 1941, Marion Co., OR.

   Phillip Werner, born 28 Jul 1874, Blooming Grove, MN, died of diphtheria ~1880, West Bend, IA.

   Wilhelmina Werner, born 4 May 1876, Faribault, Rice Co., MN, died 3 Jun 1952, Silverton, OR.

   Lydia Werner, born 28 Apr 1878, Morristown, MN, died 5 Sep 1966, Silverton, OR.


Pauline Mauer (daughter of Wilhelmina Werner) describes life in Minnesota:


My mother was born in Faribault. I don’t know when they moved to Kansas. They went to Sabetha, Kansas and the mother died there. There was no cemetery and she was buried there in the corner of a field.


They must have gone back to Faribault, because my mother said she went to school there. She does not remember her mother at all. She (Wilhelmina Maurer) was three when she died. So, they must have gone back to Faribault. She said how cold it was, and they had so far to go to school. It was so cold they piled manure around the house up to the windowsills to keep the house warm. My mother was born May 4, 1876. They were farming in Faribault.


The passing of two sons and Christine Oehler


Christine Oehler died 19 May 1879 in Bern or Sabetha, Nemaha Co., KS, and is buried in the Strahm Cemetery near Bern. The very small cemetery is at the corner of a field, and she is one of four people buried there, one being Mathias Strahm. Mathias Strahm was one of the founders of the Apostolic Christian Church in Bern, KS, along with Adolf Marti, brother of Nick Marti, who married Christine Oehler’s sister Lydia Oehler in 1876.




Figure 5. Strahm Cemetery in Bern, KS. The small stone laying at the left is probably her gravestone.


It is not clear why she was in Kansas.


It may be that Johann Werner and Christine Oehler became members of the Apostolic Christian Church at some time after they arrived in the United States. This church was a split off of an Anabaptist sect of Lutherans which originated in Switzerland; the church was brought to America mostly by Swiss and German immigrants. There were Apostolic Christian Churches in the vicinity of Bern and Sabetha, KS. Johann Werner eventually became more and more associated with Apostolic Christians. There are a number of Apostolic Christian Churches in locations associated with Johann Werner's movements. E.g.:

The first American church was formed in Lewis County, New York, in 1847, by Benedict Weyeneth (1819–87), who had been sent by Froehlich at the request of Joseph Virkler, a Lewis County minister in an Alsatian Amish-Mennonite church. In 1848, a church was formed in Sardis, Ohio.

The church experienced primary growth in the Midwest, where many congregations gained membership from local Amish and Mennonite churches.

Though sometimes referred to as the New Amish, these believers generally called themselves Evangelical Baptist. In 1917, the church adopted a uniform name: Apostolic Christian Church. . .

The German Apostolic Christian Church has several congregations in the United States and Europe. There are about 150 members in the United States, primarily in Illinois and Oregon. This German Apostolic Christian Church is the result of a relatively small group splitting away from the Apostolic Christian Church in 1932 and 1933 with currently four congregations: Cissna Park, IL; Fairbury, IL; Peoria, IL; and Silverton, OR. Formerly it had also a congregation in Sabetha, KS, this became one of the Christian Apostolic Churches after 1955. Until 1955 this church was known as Christian Apostolic Church, afterwards it named itself German Apostolic Christian Church. [8]


“From November, 1879, to February, 1880, an epidemic of diphtheria swept the colony (Morristown, MN), and many children died.” [9]


In May of 1880, Johann Werner Jr. age 10 died of diphtheria in Cresco, Kossuth Co., IA. According to the 1880 U.S., Federal Census Mortality Schedule for Cresco, IA. He was a resident of the county for 8 days indicating the family had just arrived in Cresco. Philip Werner age 6, also died of diphtheria in Cresco, IA in 1880. (Some records indicate West Bend, IA about 150 miles away, another Apostolic Christian Church location.)


The 17 Jun 1880 census shows Johann Werner and his children Philip age 10, Ernest age 12, William, age 7 Wilhelmina age 5, Lydia age 3, all listed as boarders. Ernest is listed as Maimed, Crippled, Bedridden or otherwise disabled.” They were boarding with Frederick Minger age 46, and wife Mary age 42 in Cresco, IA. Frederick Minger and his wife were probably Apostolic Christians from Switzerland.


It is not clear why the Werners were in Cresco, IA, 100 miles from their home in Blooming Grove, MN. Lydia Oehler [10] , sister of Christine Oehler, was in Cresco, IA in 1900.


There is another census record for 16 & 17 Jun 1880 with Johann Werner, with children Ernest, Willey, Minie, and Lydia living with Ernest and Gottlieben Nordmeyer in Blooming Grove, MN.  Gottlieben Nordmeyer is Rosine Gottliebin Oehler, sister of Christine Oehler. Notice: Philip and Johann Jr. are not listed as a member of the family on this 1880 census, as they had passed away in May 1880.



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Figure 6. Locations associated with John Werner travels.



If Pauline Maurer’s recollections are correct, and Wilhelmina Maurer attended school in Minnesota, then the family must have been in or near Faribault, MN circa 1881-82 after the passing of Johann Werner’s two sons.


Johann Werner marries Emma Isch


Frederich Minger [11] , whom Johann Werner stayed with in Cresco, IA, was born 1853 in Switzerland. He was married to Maria Helena Beer, born Switzerland in 1836. Maria Helena Beer had a niece Emma Isch; see figure 7. Widowed Johann Werner would take Emma Isch as his second wife.


Figure 7. Emma Isch relation to Maria Beer.


Emma Isch was born 5 Feb 1858 in Elgin, Fayette Co., IA. Her parents were Johannes Isch and Verena (Fanny) Beer. Elgin is also home of one of the central Apostolic Christian Churches. Johannes Isch, born Schnottwill, Solothurn, Switzerland 18 Oct 1824, and family were in Cresco, IA for the 1885 census.


In 1880 Emma Isch was working as a servant in Eureka, Woodford, IL for Jane Sanderson. Note: Eureka, IL was also home of one of the central Apostolic Christian Churches in the mid-west.


Johann Werner married Emma Isch on 2 Apr 1883 in Marion, IA, about 6 miles from Elgin, IA. Elgin, IA is about 50 miles from Cresco, IA, where two of John’s sons died of diphtheria.


Johann Werner and Emma Isch moved to Silverton, OR in October 1883 by train with children Ernest, William, Minnie (Wilhelmina) and Lydia. Emma’s sister Caroline [12] (Lena) Isch Plattner was in Silverton, OR at the time with her family. There was a large congregation of Apostolic Christians in Salem and nearby Silverton, OR.

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Figure 8. Emma Isch in 1948 at the age of 90 years in Salem, Oregon.


Johann Werner and Emma Isch had children:

   Henry Werner, born 17 Feb 1884, OR, died Jan 1970

   Lena Werner, born 9 Jun 1886, Silverton, Marion Co., OR, died 22 Mar 1976, Lester, Lyon Co., IA

   Emma (Amy) Werner, born 7 Oct 1891, Silverton, Marion Co., OR, died 2 Aug 1973, Salem, Marion Co., OR

   Clara Werner, born 24 Sep 1893, Silverton, Marion Co., OR, died 12 Sep 1987, Salem, Marion Co., OR

   Ester Madelina Werner, born 27 Feb 1897, near Silverton, Marion Co., OR, died 26 Dec 1991, Salem, Marion Co., OR.

The children of Johann Werner and Christine Oehler that went to Oregon in 1883:


   Ernest Werner married Bertha Kuenzi 10 Oct 1900 in Portland, OR. He died 5 Apr 1952 in Silverton, Marion Co., OR.

   William Werner, single, died 13 Dec 1841 in Marion Co., OR.

   Wilhelmina Werner married Wilhelm Maurer 9 Nov 1903 in Lamar, MO. She died 3 Jun 1952 in Silverton, Marion Co., OR.

   Lydia Werner married Otto Emil Gehring on 15 Jan 1911 in Silverton, Marion Co., OR, and died 5 Sep 1966 in Marion Co., OR


Wilhelmina Werner meets and marries Wilhelm Maurer


Christine Oehler’s sister Lydia Oehler went from Blooming Grove, MN to Elgin, IA where she met and married Nick (Nicholas) Marti, born 2 Feb 1851 in Bern, Switzerland. Nick had come to the United States with his family in 1863; they were members of the Apostolic Christian Church:


In 1902 Nicholas and Lydia purchased and moved to a 320 acre farm near Lamar, Barton Co., MO. The farm is located one mile south and one mile west of Oakton. The farm later became the homeplace for the Ben Banwart family.



Figure 9. Lydia Oehler

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Figure 10. Wilhelmina Werner and her husband Wilhelm Maurer on their farm near Silverton, OR in 1938.

In about 1903 Wilhelmina Werner and her sister Lydia Werner took at trip from Oregon to Lamar, MO to visit their aunt Lydia Oehler. While there Wilhelmina Werner met Wilhelm Maurer. She returned to Silverton, OR and Wilhelm Maurer received permission from the Apostolic Christian Church for him to marry her. They were married 9 Nov 1903 in Lamar, MO.

Johann Werner and Emma Isch


Johann Werner died 8 April 1918 in Marion Co., OR.


Emma Isch died 4 Jun 1951 in Silverton, Marion Co., OR.


[1] Großgartach in 1970 united with Schluchtern and they became Leingarten. It is about 40 miles north of Stuttgart, Germany and about 5 miles west of Heilbronn, Germany.

[2] The reference on the website misreads the birthdate of Johann Philip Werner on a photostat document, and lists, wrongly, it as 1 Aug 1831. All the other births shown on the photostat of the document are from 1837-1839, and his does not show a birth year. Further Philipp Dieterich Werner and Juliana Bierle had a son, Philip Dieterich born 31 Aug 1831, which again means their son Johann Phillip Werner could not have been born on 1 Aug 1831. The identification of his father as Philip confirms that the document does indeed refer to Johann Philip Werner born 1837—not 1831.

[3] from a booklet, entitled Werner, distributed to family in about 1983 by Norman W. Kellerhals.

[4] He married Anna Maria Mosher on 13 May 1874 in Blue Earth, Faribault, MN. She came to the U.S. in 1869.

[5] Hattenhofen, Germany is about 160 miles NE of Botenheim.

[6] It is interesting that his son, Albert Oehler, born 30 May 1865 in Fort Atkins, Fayette Co., IA farmed in Polk Co., MN, Fayette Co., IA, and then in Salem, Marion Co., OR. He died in Salem on  8 Sep 1945.

[7] History of Chippewa and Lac Qui Parle Counties Minnesota, L.R. Mayer & O.G. Dale, Vol. II; B.F. Bowen and Co. Inc. (1916), transcribed by Susan Geist.

[9] History of Rice and Steele Counties Minnesota, compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge, H. C. Cooler Jr., & Co. 1910.

[10] Lydia Oehler (Christine Oehler sister) came to America by herself in 1875 at the age of 21 years. She stayed with “her sister” in Morristown, MN. Soon after she went to Elgin, IA. Lydia Oehler married Nick Marti in Elgin, Clayton Co., IA in 1876.  Lydia and Nick are in Garfield, Kossuth, IA in 1900 close to Cresco, Kossuth, IA

[11] Frederick Minger died in Eureka, Woodford, IL. Emma Ischs mother died in Roanoke, Woodford, IL, both central locations for the Apostolic Christian Church in the mid-west.

[12] Caroline Isch married Henry Plattner, who came from Switzerland to Roanoke IL in 1874. Roanoke, IL is close to Eureka, Woodford Co., IL, also home of a central Apostolic Christian Churches in the mid-west. Note also: Henry Plattner’s brother John Plattner was a Reverend, starting in 1882, at the Apostolic Christian Church in Bern (near Sabetha), KS.

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Other Hartley Stories 

This document prepared in 2021 by Charles Hartley,

great-grandson of Johann Philip Werner & Christine Elizabeth Oehler.