Eising Family comes to America

Eising Family

John Bernard Eising Family in America (1845-1888)

After spending two years in the New Orleans area, Bernard and Elizabeth settled in Quincy, Illinois by about 1847. Their first child born in Illinois was Henry Bernard EISING, on 18 March 1848. A daughter, Catharine, was born in April 1849, but she died 18 months later on 6 October 1850 [Footnote E2-1]. Eizabeth was born in 1850 and Frances was born in 1853. On 30 January 1854, Mary Christine died at the age of 10 years [Footnote E2-1]. It must be assumed that 6 of their 11 children died at a young age as a result of difficult childbirth or from normal childhood diseases that were often fatal at that time.

Later in 1854, Bernard and Elizabeth purchased a farm in Marion County, Missouri and returned to their German farming background. After a year and a half they abandoned agricultural pursuits and returned to Quincy [Footnote E1-10].

In 1859 the Quincy City Register listed John B EISING as living “on the north side of Broadway, east of 20th Street”. The 1860 census for the Sixth Ward of Quincy, Adams County, Illinois lists Bernard EISING (age 40, born in 1820 in Germany, employed as a “day laborer”), Elizabeth EISING (age 35, his wife born in 1825 in Germany), Henry EISING (age 12, a son born in 1848 in Illinois), Elizabeth EISING (age 10, a daughter born in 1850 in Illinois), and Frances (age 7, a daughter born in 1853 in Illinois). Note that the ages for Bernard and Elizabeth are incorrect in this census, but are changed in subsequent decades.

In 1863, at the age of 15, Henry Bernard EISING ran off to join the Civil War on the Union side. Being too young to engage in battle, he was made a cook. In 1865 the Eising family moved from Quincy to nearby Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois to be closer to their daughter, Mary Ann, and her children when son-in-law, William GIESE, enlisted as a member of Company H, Forty-third Illinois Infantry to fight in the Civil war. Although William was honorably discharged from service after one year, the Eising family remained in Warsaw.

The 1870 census for Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois lists the three children (Henry - aged 23 working as a “day laborer”, Elizabeth – aged 19, and Frances – aged 17). Note that all of the children’s ages are consistent with the 1860 census data. The head of the household is listed as Bernard EISING – aged 72 (born 1798 in Germany); Elizabeth EISING is “keeping house” and is aged 67 (born 1803 in Germany). In the 1880 census data, Henry is the only child still at home – aged 33, working in a woolen mill. Bernard is listed as a “laborer” – aged 84 (born 1796 in Germany). Catharine is listed as “keeping house” – aged 68 (born 1812 in Germany).

On 12 Sep 1884, Catharine Elizabeth Stening EISING died at the age of 71 in the home of her daughter, Francis TURNHOFFER in Walker Township. Her obituary indicates, “Elizabeth was the mother of 13 children, only four of whom survived her” [Footnote E2-2].

On 8 Dec 1888, John Bernard Henry EISING died in St. Mary’s Hospital in Quincy. He was nearly 93 years old [Footnote E2-2].


Mary Ann EISING was born in Germany on 28 Mar 1836. At the age of 17, she married William Bernhard GIESE in Adams County, Illinois on 19 Apr 1853 [Footnote E2-3]. William had been born in 1828 in Hanover, Germany – the son of Bernhardt and Angela Schultz GIESE. As a youth he had enlisted in the German Army, but deserted after two years in order to immigrate to America. After their marriage, Bernhard and Mary Ann lived in several towns, but all seven of their children were born in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois.

Bernhard and Mary Ann eventually settled in Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois. Although Warsaw was a relatively small village with a population of about 1700, it was a focal point for political activity. With the start of the Civil War in 1861, Warsaw was selected by Colonel William Bishop to be the site for recruiting and training for the Black Hawk Battalion of cavalry for the Union. Warsaw was also the hometown of John Hay, Lincoln’s personal secretary and Secretary of State under presidents McKinley and Roosevelt. In 1865, William enlisted as a member of Company H, Forty-third Illinois Infantry and fought for the Union until the end of the war.

In 1892, William GIESE was awarded a pension in the amount of twelve dollars per month for his service in the Civil War. In 1895, the GIESE family left Warsaw and moved to nearby Hamilton, Hancock County, Illinois. There they purchased four lots in Oakwood, Safford’s addition to the city. The 1910 census indicates that Mary A GEISE (74) continued to live in Hamilton, Hancock County, Illinois with her daughter, Elizabeth GEISE (53), and granddaughter, Louise GEISE (33). Elizabeth had been born in Illinois and was a carpet weaver. Louise had been born in Missouri. Mary Ann GEISE died on 29 Aug 1914 at the age of 78. She and William are buried in the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Warsaw (lot #166 - no stone).

Henry Bernard EISING was born in Quincy on 18 Mar 1848. At the age of 33, Henry married Sophie TURNHOFER in Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois on 23 July 1881. Their lives are described in the next chapter. <<<

Elizabeth EISING was born in 1850 in Quincy. At the age of 23, she married Louis RICHARDSON in Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois on 23 October 1873 [Footnotes E2-3, E2-4]. Louis had been born in Ohio about 1848 – the eldest of 8 children. Louis and Elizabeth RICHARDSON had two children listed in the 1880 census – Ida born in 1874 and John born in 1876. At that time Louis, his father Thomas, and his brother John all worked as coopers, likely providing barrels for the Popel & Giller Brewery in Warsaw.

Louis’ parents were Thomas and Margaret Crain RICHARDSON, married 27 May 1847 in Scioto County, Ohio. In 1849, Thomas traveled with an ox team to California in search of gold. He remained there for several years, leaving his wife and two children in Ohio. Margaret worked at dressmaking in order to support her children while he was gone. One of the two children died before Thomas returned to his family. Between 1855 and 1860, Thomas, Margaret, and Louis (the one remaining child) moved from Ohio to Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois. Thomas RICHARDSON died 10 Dec 1899 and Margaret RICHARDSON died 8 Apr 1901. They were survived by 4 children: Lewis continued to live in Warsaw; John lived in Cord, Arkansas; Thomas lived at Slaton, Texas; and Nellie, who married Professor James W. Gibson, founder of Carthage College.

Frances EISING was born in Quincy in 1853. At the age of 27, she married William TURNHOFFER in Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois on 17 October 1881 [Footnote E2-3]. William died in 1894 (age 40) and Frances lived another 40 years and died on 9 Dec 1934 (age 81). Both are buried in lot #105 in the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Warsaw and share a common stone [Footnote E2-5] . See image above.


Bernard and Elizabeth Eising exemplified the hardy immigrant family during the 19th century. They lived roughly half their lives in Prussia and then came to America, looking to improve their opportunities. They suffered great hardships along the way (six of their eleven children died at a very young age). When they arrived in America, they could neither read or write and could only speak German. But they weathered the difficulties and lived to an old age.

E2-1 - “St. Boniface Catholic Church Death Register Entries from 1837 through 1906”, page 27. Located in Quincy Public Library.

E2-2 - Warsaw Bulletin, Sept-Oct, 1884. Articles collected by J A Gordon in Scrapbook #2, located in Historical Society of Warsaw County, Illinois in Carthage.

E2-3 - Illinois Statewide Marriage Register, www.sos.state.il.us/departments/archives/marriage.html

E2-4 - Charles J. Scofield, Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois & History of Hancock County Vol 2, Munsell Publishing Co, Chicago, 1921, page 1209.

E2-5 - Ruth Reuter, Sacred Heart Cemetery, 1985. Available at Carthage Illinois Public Library.

Frances EISING and William TURNHOFFER