52 Ancestors: Happy Father’s Day to Theobald Meisberger

Posted by: Eileen A. Souza

Photo of modern Steinbach, Ottweiler, Saarland, Germany, birthplace of Theobald Casper Meisberger

Photo of modern Steinbach, Ottweiler, Saarland, Germany, birthplace of Theobald Casper Meisberger

All my grandfathers and those before were deceased when I was born so I never knew them. Although I love him and miss him, I did not want to focus on my Dad again, when I so recently featured him for the Military theme. The next ancestor who stands out to me for the Father’s Day theme is Theobald Meisberger. Everything I have found out about him makes me believe that he placed family, religion and community as his upmost priorities.

According to his birth certificate, my 2nd great-grandfather, Theobald C. Meisberger was born in Steinbach, Rhenish Prussia on the 25th of December 1837. He was the eldest son of Michel Meisberger [Sr.] and Margarethe Bettinger. Today, Steinbach is probably considered a suburb of Ottweiler, Saarland, Germany.

As stated by his Declaration of Intent, Theobald Meisberger emigrated from Prussia, departing Havre and arriving in New York on 23 June 1854. Michael Meisberger, [Jr.], his brother, arrived in New York on 4 September 1854. Theobald and Michael, [Jr.] were both naturalized on the same day—6 August 1860. Michael Meisberger, [Sr.], their father, was their witness. Michael [Sr.] arrived in the US prior to his sons and was naturalized in 1 November 1858.

Theobald married Mary Catherine Strausser, daughter of Peter and Sarah (Mumma) Strausser, on 15 April 1860 at St. Edward’s RC Church in Shamokin, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Their nine children are: Eva Mary Gunther (1861 – 1941), John A. (1862 – 1936), Emily Margaret Madara (1864 – 1928), Elizabeth Sara M. Depner (1866 – 1948), Clara Ida (1867 1871), William T. (1869 – 1929), Johanna Burns (1871 – 1957), Clara Elizabeth (1873 – 1876), and David Theodore (1886 – 1955).

The 1860, 1870 and 1880 US censuses all display Theobald’s occupation as a miner. The 1900 US census lists his occupation as grocer. This census was enumerated only 12 days prior to Theobald’s death.

In 1873, Theobald was elected Constable of Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania and he, also, purchased his first lot, partitioned it, and built a house on the second lot.

In the 1880 US census, Peter and Sarah Strausser, his wife’s parents, and their family were living in Theobald’s household. In 1881, he sold the second lot to his mother-in-law, Sarah Strausser. My conclusion from Theobald’s property sale to them is that he was trying to help them by enabling them to gain back their privacy and independence. In 1890, he purchased this lot and house back from them right before Peter’s death on 11 December 1890. Sarah followed Peter in death on 26 May 1891.

During his lifetime, Theobald managed to acquire sufficient land to bequeath a house and lot each to Andrew and Eva Mary (Meisberger) Gunther, George and Sarah Magdalena (Meisberger) Depner, Dennis and Johanna (Meisberger) Burns, William Theodore Meisberger, and David Theobald Meisberger.

R12-L21 Theobald Meisberger on monument. Photo courtesy of John HaileIn an 1897 Souvenir of St. Edward’s Church booklet, Theobald is listed as one of the founding church members, who was present and contributed to the church from 1866 until his death. Theobald C. Meisberger died on 13 June 1900 and is buried in range 12, lot 21 of St. Edward’s cemetery in Shamokin. Photo courtesy of John Haile.

Theobald cared for his wife and nine children and provided for their futures on a coal miner’s wages. In addition, he contributed to his church and community. I don’t really know what kind of man he was, but his actions proclaim him to be someone who cared very much for the welfare of his family as a father should. Happy Father’s Day!


The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, initiated by Amy Johnson Crow, is a series of weekly prompts to get you to think about an ancestor and share something about them. The guesswork of “who should I write about” is taken care of. This week’s theme is Father’s Day.




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