NOTE: Script that is shown in color are links to Photographs of Members of the Crusse Family
Part 1: Word of MouthNOTE: Script that is shown in color are links to Photographs of Members of the Crusse Family
According to oral family tradition, passed down through his grandchildren, Theophilus Crusse was born on 23 Jul 18231 in Germany to the family of a Roman Catholic Baron. (The family name was understood to have been Von Crussen). Theophilus entered the Catholic priesthood, but after an undetermined amount of time, left the priesthood and married. His father, being of sufficient authority, or influence, had the marriage annulled and sent his embarrassing son to America where he became a Lutheran Minister, married again, had a family, and taught German in school.
The oral story states that Theophilus married Christina Reiniger and had 7 children: Theodore, Herman, Louis, Lydia, Mathilda, Pauline, and Marie (also known as Mary). Of these children, all are known to have had children except Herman and Marie. Except for Mathilda's descendents, all of the grandchildren of Theophilus & Christina contacted during the course of this research (1975-2008) had heard, and passed on to other family members, the above story in remarkably similar versions.
Margaret Crusse Chrisman, a daughter of Theophilus' eldest son Theodore, had made an attempt at collecting genealogical information in the 15 years prior to her death in 19791 . In these notes she had written next to Theophilus' name "1823- Sept 9, 1883 60 yrs-1 mo-9 days". Next to Christina's name she wrote "1843- Oct 30, 1893 50 yrs-6 mo-29 days". In 1975, when asked about this, she could not remember from where, or from whom, she had received the information. The dates with accompanying ages give the impression of coming from either headstones or county death registers, though county records would have probably have clearly stated the entire date of birth. In her notes, Margaret had also listed all of her grandchildren, so it is possible, by looking at the birthdates of the last grandchild she listed, compared to the birthdate of her next grandchild not in the list, to figure that this genealogical attempt was made sometime between 1965-1967.
From the recollections of Margaret's sister, Marie Crusse Richard (in the period from 1985-1988), it was remembered that their father's sister, Pauline Crusse Stamm, made a visit to the Aurora/Lawrenceburg, Indiana area in the early to mid 1960's. It seems probable that the dates for their grandparents' births and deaths were obtained from their Aunt Pauline, either at the time of the visit or through later correspondence. This is corroborated by the fact that Pauline's birthdate is contained in the Chrisman notes, but none of her siblings except Theodore had their dates of birth recorded.
None of the grandchildren of Theophilus, nor their descendents, have any knowledge of where he died or is buried.
Another interesting facet of the oral Crusse Legend is Theophilus' son Herman. He is shown in the Chrisman Notes2 as "Herman Crussen (Capt) went back to Germany to claim estate, not heard from since" (there were no dates or other references as to when this trip took place). Marie Crusse Richard remembered "Uncle Herman coming around to ask my father [Theodore Crusse] 3 for some money to help with the passage fare back to Germany". Marie was unsure how old she was at the time, but she was born in 1898, and her father died in 1913, so it had to have been within this timespan.
Margaret's notes4 contain information on Theophilus' last child Marie Crussen. It is recorded that she married a Charles Brown and that they did not have any children. No other information on her is contained in the notes, nor did the children of Lydia Crussen Drout and Pauline Crusse Stamm ever recall hearing about her.
The grandchildren of Theophilus & Christina who are known to have perpetuated the preceding oral story to their descendents are: Margaret Crusse Chrisman, Lydia Crusse Edwards, Kathryn Drout Herbert, Marie Crusse Richard, Frances Crusse Shehane, John Paul "Jack" Stamm, and Buelah Drout Wray. All are now deceased.
Part 2: The Facts:
The marriage records of Jackson County, Ohio show that Theophilus performed 9 marriages between 31 Oct 1862 to 23 Jan 18665. Two of the marriage records show him to be a minister in Scioto Township, another showed him to be a minister in Beaver, Pike County, Ohio.
Theophilus and Christina took out a marriage license on 31 Oct 18626 in Jackson County, Ohio. They were married on 06 Nov 18627 by Henry Weber, a Justice of the Peace for Jackson County. (A little odd that a minister would be married by a JP?)
The records of St. John's Church on Christopher Street in New York City contain a letter penned by "Rev. Theophile Cruse", written on behalf of the church council of the German Evangelical Church at Jackson, Ohio as a testimonial in favor of the candidacy of Rev. C. A. Behrends as a potential minister for the St. John's congregation. This letter was written prior to 04 Dec 18638 (Rev. Behrends did get the job!).
The county marriage records of Pike County, Ohio show that Theophilus performed 3 marriages between 07 Apr 1864 through 31 Jul 18659. All of the marriage records show that he was "Minister at the Evangelical Church in Beaver, Pike County, Ohio".
The family Bible of Theodore Theophilus Crusse and his wife Philomena Amelia Armbruster states that their son Theodore was born on 26 Jun 186510 in Portsmouth, Ohio.
In the "Early Court Records of Scioto County, Ohio", Theophilus is shown as registering as an Evangelical Protestant minister on 01 Aug 186611 . (In German, Lutherans are called Evangelische Protestantische.)
The second child in this family, Herman Crussen, was born about 186712 in Ohio.
The county marriage records of Clermont County, Ohio show that Theophilus performed two marriages on the 17th & 18th of November, 186813.
The 1870 US Census of the city of Madison, Jefferson County, Indiana, taken on 14 Jun 187014 , shows the following:
|Crusse, Theophilus||43 M W||Lutheran Minister||born: Island of Malta|
|Crusse, Christina||30 F W||Keeping House||born: Würtemberg|
|Crusse, Theodore||05 M W||born: Indiana|
|Crusse, Herman||02 M W||born: Indiana|
The records of St. Nicholas Lutheran Church of Peppertown, Franklin County, Indiana show that they had a minister by the last name of Crusse from 1870 to 187215.
According to Bernard E. "Butch" Crusie, his grandfather Louis Henry Crusse was born on 07 Sep 187016 in Franklin County, Indiana.
The county marriage records of Franklin County, Indiana show that Theophil Crusse performed 12 marriages between 01 Nov 1870 to 11 Mar 187317 . Ten of these marriages include "minister at Peppertown, Franklin County, Indiana" after Theophilus' name.
The parish baptismal register of St. Lawrence Catholic Church of Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, Indiana shows that Mathilda Sophia, daughter of Theophilus and Christina nee Reinecker Crusse, was born on 27 May 187318.
According to Franklin County marriage records, Theophilus performed a marriage on 08 Jan 187619 and was shown on the minister's return as "minister at Laurel".
Theophilus' next child, Lydia Indiana Crussen, was born on 12 Sep 187620 in Laurel, Franklin County, Indiana.
On 07 Apr 187821 Theophilus confirmed 8 members of St. John's Lutheran Church in Napoleon, Indiana.
Paulina Christina Crusse was born in Somerset, Franklin County, Indiana on 27 Apr 187822.
The county marriage records of Ripley County, Indiana show that Theophilus performed seven marriages between 20 Jun 1878 and 14 Oct 188023 . Three of the returns show his last name as Crussen instead of Crusse. One of the returns shows "Minister Theoph. Crusse at Napoleon, Ripley County, Indiana".
The 1880 US Census of Franklin Township, Ripley County, Indiana, taken on 24 Jun 188024 , shows the following:
|Crusse, Theophalas||52 head||minister||born: Eng||fa: Bav. mo: Würt|
|Crusse, Christina||39 wife||housewife||born: Würt||fa: Würt mo: Würt|
|Crusse, Theodore||15 son||farm labor||born: OH||fa: Eng mo: Würt|
|Crusse, Herman||13 son||at home||born: OH||fa: Eng mo: Würt|
|Crusse, Julius||09 son||at home||born; OH||fa: Eng mo: Würt|
|Crusse, Mathilda||07 dau||at home||born: IN||fa: Eng mo: Würt|
|Crusse, Lydia||04 dau||at home||born: IN||fa: Eng mo: Würt|
|Crusse, Paulina||01 dau||at home||born: IN||fa: Eng mo: Würt|
The parish records of St. Lawrence Church show that Marie Philomena, daughter of Theophilus and Christina nee Reinecker Crusse, was born on 27 Mar 188125 . No place of birth was shown, but presumably it was Ripley County, Indiana.
The death records of Scioto County, Ohio show the death of Christina Cruse (sic) on 30 Oct 189226 (one year different, to the day, from the date shown in the Chrisman Notes). She died in Clay Township, of typhoid fever, and her birthplace was shown as Germany.
Theodore, Pauline, Mathilda, and Marie were converts to the Catholic Church. According to the St. Lawrence Parish Records27 , Theodore converted on 10 Nov 1892, Pauline on 05 Mar 1895, Marie on 29 Mar 1899, and Mathilda on 01 Jul 1899. They all used the surname Crusse, while Herman & Lydia (both of whom didn't join the Catholic Church) used the surname Crussen.
Theodore Theophilus Crusse married Philomena Amelia Armbruster on 09 Oct 189328 in Lawrenceburg, Dearborn, Indiana. They were married by John F Sonderman, rector of St. Lawrence Catholic Church. They had eight children, all born in Lawrenceburg: Lydia Ann (1894-1973); Eleanora Pauline (1896-1969); Marie Margaret (1898-1990); Richard Louis (1900-1960); Frances Josephine (1902-1978); Helen Augusta (1904-1962); Margaret Elizabeth (1906-1979); and Thelma Mary (1908-1978)29.
Mathilda Sophia married Herman Steigerwalt either in late 1889 or early 189030 . The first child, Charles was born in Oct 189031. Daughter Susan Agnes was born 02 Feb 189332 . Their next child, a son, Francis (Frank) Nicholas was born 13 Mar 189933. Both younger children were baptized at St Lawrence Church on 11 Jun 189934. On almost all records after the church conversions, Mathilda went by her middle name Sophia.
Louis Crusse married Mary A Wilson on 13 Oct 189435 in Decatur County, Indiana. They were the parents of six children: Lawrence (1896-1969), Clarence (1899-1968), Mary (1900-1980), Virgil (1902-1984), Raymond (1907-1998), & Glenn (1912-1973). All of their children used the surname Crussen except for Raymond. He legally changed his last name to Crusie.
Lydia Indiana Crussen married Charles Rector Drout on 12 Jun 189636 in Newcomb, Champaign County, Illinois. They were married by Rev Melancthon Crews and one of the witnesses to the wedding was Herman Crussen. Lydia & Charles had 12 children: Valley Alford (1897-1952) born in Manchester, Indiana; Dewey Schley (1899-1967) born in Blue Ridge, Illinois; Phoebe Marie (1900-1975) born in Osmond, Illinois; Buelah Mae (1903-1993) born in Dearborn, Illinois; Blanche Elizabeth (1906-1973) born in Blue Ridge, Illinois; Lulu Katherine (1907-1994) born in Blue Ridge, Illinois; Cary Crussen (1910-1990) born in Blue Ridge, Illinois; Harry Laverne (1911-1977) born in Mark Center, Ohio; John Sherman (1914-1914) born in Mark Center, Ohio; Helen Gertrude (1917- ) born in Bryan, Ohio; and Kathryn Lucille (1919-1995) born in Bryan, Ohio. There was also an unnamed, stillborn, child born, and buried in 1902 in McLean County, Illinois37.
Pauline Christine Crusse married Paul Stamm on 30 May 190038 in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. They were married by Michael P. Seter. They had seven children, all born in Lawrenceburg: Catherine (1900-deceased); Marie (1901- ); Anna (1903- ); John Paul "Jack" (1907-1988); Loretta (1909- ); and Joseph who died in infancy 39.
The March 1st, 1905 Census of Caldwell, Kansas showed Herman living with H.B. Schrader and family. His occupation was shown as laborer. His birthplace was shown as Ohio and he was listed as having come to Kansas from Illinois, as were H.B. Schrader and his family.40
In 1908 Mathilda married her second husband, Iziah Howell, in Iroquois County, Illinois41.
According to the 1910 US Census of Precinct 5 (Craig), Routt County, Colorado, taken on 04 May 191042 , Herman was living with the family of Herman Schrader (a homesteader) as a "hired man". Herman's birthplace was shown as Indiana.
Theodore Theophilus Crusse died on 05 Dec 191343 at St. Mary's Hospital in Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana of exhaustion and diabetes mellitus. He was buried in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery on 10 Dec 191344.
The 1920 US Census of Precinct 1, Moffat County, Colorado, taken on 11 Mar 192045 , shows Herman living alone as the owner of his own farm. His birthplace was shown as Indiana.
Lydia Crussen Drout died on 05 Aug 193446 in Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio of heart disease. She was buried in Schiffler Cemetery in Pulaski, Williams County, Ohio.
Louis Henry Crusse died in Dec 195347 in Champaign, Champaign County, Illinois.
Pauline Crusse Stamm died on 28 May 197348, at the age of 95, of heart failure due to arteriosclerotic heart disease at Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka, Iroquois County, Illinois. She was buried on 02 Jun 197349 in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Kankakee, Kankakee County, Illinois.
PART 3: THE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
Where was Theophilus really born, Germany or England or Malta?
In all his marriage records, Theophilus reported his first name as Theophiel (or a variation thereof). The census records, and oral family tradition, state Theophilus.
Was there a falling out among his children? Why did some of them use Crussen as their last name and some of them use Crusse? Was there an issue over religion?
If there really was an inheritance, why did Herman go to get it? He wasn't the eldest, odds are he wasn't Catholic. If his father had been sent from Germany in disgrace over the priesthood/marriage business, why would the family want to possibly upset the Catholic German relatives by sending Theophilus' protestant son? Was it because he was the only unmarried member of the family and therefore had the freedom to travel?
If Herman collected any inheritance, there was no disbursement with the families of Theodore & Pauline as some of each of their children were sent to Catholic orphanages in Terre Haute & Vincennes, Indiana as the families were too poor to feed them. The children were all ultimately returned to their families, but the experience left lasting scars on many of them.
Why was Herman living, and moving, with the family of Herman B Schrader? An assumption that he was close to the family, and possibly even related to them, would seem to be supported by the fact that he moved with them from Illinois to Kansas, and finally to western Colorado.
When did Herman, Mathilda, and Marie die and where are they buried?
This compilation on the family of Rev Theophilus Crusse, and his wife Christina Reiniger, was done by:
|Kurt Cook (great-great-grandson)
2618 S 500 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
3 compiler's insertion
4 Chrisman Genealogical Notes compiled by Margaret Crusse Chrisman between 1965-1978. (In possession of Kurt Cook).
5 Jackson County, Ohio Marriage Register, 1857-1870. FHL film # 0301044.
8 The History of St. Paul's Ev. Luth. Church, Brooklyn, NY., from 1853-1903. Rev. Hugo W. Hoffman, M.A., Ph.D., Wartburg Printing House, Mount Vernon, NY, 1903, pages 74 & 75.
9Pike County, Ohio Marriage Register, 1857-1888. FHL film # 0292749.
Page 3- 10 Photocopy in possession of Kurt Cook.
11 Probate Records of Scioto County, Ohio (Ministers list), Shoemaker, V2, page 24. Copy obtained from Laura Vogel, Cincinnati, Ohio.
121870 US Census of Madison, Jefferson County, Indiana, FHL film # 0545827 and 1880 US Census of Franklin Township, Ripley County, Indiana, FHL film # 12454307.
13 Clermont County, Ohio Marriage records, V10-11, 1868-1872, FHL# 0,327,565.
14 1870 US Census of Madison, Jefferson County, Indiana, page 351, dwelling 590, family 623. FHL film # 0545827.
15 Microfilmed church records of St. Nicholas Lutheran Church, FHL film # 1510509.
16 Correspondence with Bernard E. "Butch" Crusie, Elkhart, Indiana.
17 Franklin County, Indiana Marriage Register. FHL film # 0549351.
18 Microfilmed Church records of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, Indiana. FHL film #'s 1535796 items 7 & 8 and 1535797 items 1 - 6.
19 Franklin County, Indiana Marriage Register. FHL film # 0549351.
20 Family Bible of Charles R & Lydia Crussen Drout in possession of Betty Wray, Walnut Creek, California.
21 Microfilmed church records of St. John's Lutheran Church, Napoleon, Ripley County, Indiana FHL film# 1510223.
22 Copy of 95th Birthday announcement for Pauline C Stamm obtained from John P. "Jack" Stamm, Michigan City, Indiana.
23 Ripley County, Indiana Marriage Register. FHL film 1311947,
24 1880 US Census of Franklin Township, Ripley County, Indiana VOL 29, ED 155, heet 38, Line 21. FHL film # 12454307.
25 Microfilmed Church records of St. Lawrence Catholic church, Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, Indiana. FHL film #'s 1535796 items 7 & 8 and 1535797 items 1 - 6.
26 Scioto County, Ohio Death Register. FHL film # 0292722.
27 Microfilmed Church records of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, Indiana. FHL film #'s 1535796 items 7 & 8 and 1535797 items 1 - 6.
29 Information obtained from Marie Edwards Seitz, Harry H. Warburton, Marie Crusse Richard, Robert W. Richard, Rheu Hill Crusse, Shirley Shehane Murphy, Margaret Crusse Chrisman, & Thelma Crusse Gregory.
30 1900 US Census of Whitewater Township, Hamilton County, Ohio SD 1, ED 328, sheet 1A, dwelling 4. FHL film # 1241283.
32 Microfilmed Church records of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, Indiana. FHL film #'s 1535796 items 7 & 8 and 1535797 items 1 - 6.
35 Decatur County, Indiana Marriage Register
36 Family Bible of Charles R & Lydia Crussen Drout in possession of Betty N Wray, Walnut Creek, California
37Correspondence with Betty N. Wray, Walnut Creek, California.
38 Microfilmed church records of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, Indiana. FHL film #'s 1535796 items 7 & 8, and 1535797 items 1 - 6.
39 Correspondence with John P. "Jack" Stamm, Michigan City, Indiana.
40 1905 Kansas State Census, www. Ancestry.com, on-line database.
41 Iroquois County, Illinois Marriage Register Brides Index.
42 1910 US Census of Precinct 5 (Craig), Routt County, Colorado, SD2, ED 136, sheet 2B.
43 Indiana Death Certificate 1913-1962.
45 1920 US Census of Precinct 1, Moffat County, Colorado SD4, ED 106, Page 5A.
46 Ohio Death Certificate 1934-50199.
47 Correspondence with Bernard E. "Butch" Crusie, Elkhart, Indiana.
48 Illinois Death Certificate 1973-025586.