Susan’s Widmer Genealogy Page

The Widmer Family


Kathryn Frantz (top) and John Widmer (below), on a bridge, in a horse and buggy, sometime before their wedding.


Kathryn Frantz (right) and Margaret Hill (left)

John Widmer, about age 16.


On February 9, 1910, at 6:30 p.m., at the home of the bride, Kathryn Royal Frantz, 24, and John Gilbert Widmer, 29, repeated their marriage vows before a gathering of about seventy-five relatives and friends.

Kathryn was the daughter of William Henry and Julia Alice Royal Frantz. Her parents grew up on neighboring farms near Dayton. When they were married at Dayton in 1882, they were described as a popular local couple. They settled on the Frantz farm, there to raise Kathryn and her sister.

John’s parents, Frederick and Katherine Schwegler Widmer, lived just west of Dayton. Frederick and Katherine, both born in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, grew up, met, and married in Tippecanoe County. They lived at several other locations in the county before moving to the farm in Sheffield township in 1891, bringing with them John and his brothers and sister.

The Lafayette Journal and Courier described Kathryn and John as “two of the most popular young people of this county.” Although the comments were formulaic, the couple did have many friends. Included in their circle were Margaret Hill, George Rowe, Wilma Hill, Earl Rogers, Jim Sims, Charlie Brand, Bob Friend, Lottie Rogers, Dora Hill, and Frank Allen, as well as their own brothers and sisters.

Dayton in 1910 was a town of 400 inhabitants nestled between the hill on the west and a ridge on the east that sloped down to the Wild Cat Creek, which was crossed by an aging covered bridge. John’s brother Fred Widmer owned the drug store in the center of town. Other businesses listed in the 1909–10 business directory included Niceley’s Store, Glaze and Sons grocers, the Dayton House (a hotel), Lentz carriage manufactory, Rohler meat market and restaurant, Rycraft grocery, a barber, a blacksmith, and a lumber yard. Alvin Baker was the undertaker. There were three doctors (Drs. McBride, Motter, and Nesbitt) and two churches (Methodist Episcopal and Presbyterian). The streets were dirt or gravel, but a few cement sidewalks had been put in the previous summer. Telephones had been installed, and in 1903 a line was run north of town. The Interurban ran beside the state highway, and the train brought freight and mail.

Kathryn and John grew up within a few miles of each other. After high school, they both explored interests—she, music; he, carpentry—that would remain with them through their lives. After a few years of courtship, they decided to marry. Their marriage laid the foundation for those of us who are descended from them.

For the complete narrative, email me here.


WIDMER, Frederick. Born 29 Sept. 1839, Wynigen, Switz. Married 25 Dec. 1867, at Lafayette, IN, Katherine Louise Schwegler (b. May 13, 1848, in Lichtensteig, Canton St. Gall, Switzerland-d. 10 Jul. 1936, in Dayton, IN), dau of Rudolph Schwegler and Elizabeth Krebser; Died: 11 May 1925, Dayton, IN; Parents: Johann (John) Widmer and Anna Barbara Christen;Siblings: Anna Barbara, Elizabeth, and John Widmer; Children: Frederick Rudolph, Elizabeth (Lizzie), unnamed child, Carrie Louise, John Gilbert, and William Ernest Widmer. Occupation:farmer;

Other information: Frederick Widmer came to this country at about age 10 in 1851 with his parents. The family settled first in Ohio before coming to Tippecanoe County in 1860.Katherine Louise Schwegler came to this country at age 7 in 1855 with her parents. The family settled first in Connecticut, then came to Tippecanoe County about 1860. Frederick Widmer served in the Civil War in Co. K, 150th Indiana Volunteer Infantry from 28 Feb. 1865 to 5 Aug.1865. Katherine's brother William Schwegler, was also in the Army during the Civil War, in the 16th Battery Indiana Volunteer Light Artillery; he was said to have been in the theater when Lincoln was shot. After Frederick and Katherine were married, they lived first in Shelby Township,then Wabash Township, before coming to Sheffield Township in 1891. Frederick retired and they moved into Dayton in 1910. Frederick became a naturalized citizen on 31 Aug. 1920, and Katherine, as his wife, was naturalized at the same time. Both were active members of Dayton Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Sources: Dayton Cemetery, tombstone records; Naturalization records, Tippecanoe County Genealogical Association, Alameda McCollough Library, Lafayette,IN; Gould, Marian A., The Schwegler Family from Switzerland to America, 1769-1979, 1979 (contains copies of records from National Archives, Switzerland, etc.); The Source, a Guidebook to American Genealogy; Federal censuses for Indiana; Biographical Record and Portrait Album of Tippecanoe County, Lewis, 1888; Obituary of Katherine Louise Widmer, Lafayette Journal, July 11, 1936; Glazier, Ira A., and P. Wm. Filby, Germans to America/Lists of Passengers Arriving at US Posts, 1850-55, Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, Inc.


SCHWEGLER, Rudolph. Arrived New York 1855 and went to Connecticut; settled Tippecanoe Co., IN, before 1860.
Born: 9 Dec 1804, Switzerland; bapt. Wattwill; Married: 4 June 1833 in Switzerland, Elizabeth Krebs(er) (b. 14 Aug. 1811 – d. 8 May 1880, Lafayette, IN, bur. Greenbush Cemetery), dau of Albrecht Ludwig Krebser (1777-1817) who married Maria Sommer/Sanner in 1798, both of Switzerland; Died: 9 Feb 1861, Lafayette, IN, bur. Greenbush Cemetery; Parents: Rudolph Schwegler, of Bundt, St. Gallen Canton, Switzerland, and his wife, Anna Katharine Keller, of Weinfelden, Switzerland; Siblings: Joh. Jakob, Joh. Georg, A. Elisabetha, A. Katharina, Johannes, Susanna Barbara, Anna Magdalena, Salomon, and two deceased sisters; Children: 11; Rudolph Jr., William G., Katherine Louise Schwegler (m. Frederick Widmer), Jacob, Ernst, and 6 infants who died in Switzerland (2 unnamed boys and Ludvig Albrecht, Elisabetha Katharina, Maria Luise, and Eduard); Occupation: farmer

Other information: The family arrived in New York 1855 and settled first in Connecticut, then came to Tippecanoe County about 1860, where son Rudolph Jr. worked for druggist Henry Lawrence. Rudolph later became a druggist himself and owned Schwegler’s City Drug Store, 50 Main Street, Lafayette, IN, about 1890. There is a picture of him in front of his store above the produce stands in the Payless grocery store at Tippecanoe Mall. He sold the store in 1903. He had been in the drug store business for 35 years.

Sources: research of Marian Widmer Gould, The Schwegler Family from Switzerland to America, 1769-1979, 1979 (contains copies of records from National Archives, Switzerland, etc.); arrival records; censuses; Glazier, Ira A., and P. Wm. Filby, Germans to America/Lists of Passengers Arriving at US Posts, 1850-55 (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, Inc.). Krebser information compared with Sandy Krebser of Great Britain and Madeleine Thiessen of South Africa and South Carolina.


FRANTZ, William Henry: Born: 18 July 1860, Wabash Township, Tippecanoe Co., IN;Married: 27 Sept. 1882, Julia Alice ROYAL (b. ca. 15 Sept. 1859, near Dayton, IN, d. 19 Nov.1940, near Dayton, IN), dau of William ROYAL and Eunice Emeline WITHROW; Died: 14 May 1953, near Dayton, IN.; Parents: Eli[as] Frantz (1817-1888) and Lavina Edris (1823-1906); Siblings: John Peter, Melinda, and Emma Leina; Children: Kathryn Royal Frantz and Helen LOUISE Frantz; Occupation: farmer;

Other information: Eli and Lavina Edris Frantz moved from Berks Co, PA, to Wabash Township, Tippecanoe County, IN, in 1852, then to Sheffield Township in 1862. Their families were Pennsylvania Dutch of German and Swiss descent. Eli was killed in a farming accident: when the team bolted, he was thrown and run over by the heavy farm wagon he was driving.William Henry Frantz was a successful farmer and was Clerk of Session of Dayton Memorial Presbyterian Church, Dayton, IN, for 55 years. Julia Alice Royal Frantz attended Dayton Academy at Dayton, Indiana, and the Ford School, Lafayette, IN. She was a member of the Dayton Memorial Presbyterian Church and was active in the Ladies Home and Foreign Missionary Society and the Ladies Aid Society of the church.She was a charter member of the Wednesday Afternoon Club.

Sources: Wedding announcements, Julia Royal and Will Frantz, Dayton, IN Square Dealer and Lafayette, IN Morning Journal; hand-written obituary of Julia Alice Royal Frantz, written by William H. Frantz; obituary of Eli Frantz, Lafayette, IN Weekly Courier, 11 Sept. 1888; obituary of Lavina Edris (incorrectly spelled Lavinda), unidentified newspaper clipping belonging to William Henry Frantz; Bible records of Lavina Edris Frantz;Dayton, IN, cemetery, tombstone inscriptions; family letters; Biographical Record and Portrait Album of Tippecanoe County, Chicago: Lewis, 1888; Federal census records, Berks County, PA,and Tippecanoe County, IN; Batdorf, Virginia F., The Batdorf Family History, Pottstown, PA:Charles R. Batdorf, 1990; Walborn, Herman W., Walborn (Walburn) Genealogical History of America: Descendants from the Settlement of 1710, St. Paris, OH: Walborn, 1975; Frantz, E. H., King, R. F., and Frantz, L., Genealogy of the Matthias Frantz Family of Berks Co., PA, Lebanon,PA: Boyer, 1972; records of the Edris family by Walter Perry Edris and Edward Edris, unpublished manuscript (one page).

Compiled & Submitted by: Susan Yost Clawson. Posted on Rootsweb.

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Last updated 14 September 2012.