Adam Pfaffenberger
Adam & Sarah Wilson Pfaffenberger Family Late 1870s
Adam and Sarah Wilson Pfaffenberger Family Tree
Farm Properties Purchased By Adam Pfaffenberger 1856 - 1874

Adam Pfaffenberger was born on March 15, 1832 in or near Petzmannsberg, Bavaria. (16) He was the fourth son of Andrew J. and Catharine Pfaffenberger.  In the summer of 1837, at the age of five, he migrated with his parents, four brothers and a sister to the United States.  He and his family arrived at Philadelphia on September 16th that year. (4,146) He spent the next three to five years in Pennsylvania, where his brother Joseph and sister Margaret were born.  He reached his final boyhood home on Chestnut Ridge Road in Washington Township of Jackson County, Indiana in 1842.  His eleventh birthday was likely spent helping his father prepare the soil for their first crop in the state of Indiana.  As he reached his teenage years his services on the family farm were growing increasingly important as his older brothers were beginning to leave home.

By the time he was 18, his brothers John, George, and John Andrew and sister Elizabeth had left home to begin their own families and careers.  The 1850 U.S. Census which reached the Andrew Pfaffenberger residence on September 17, 1850 bears this out. (2 ) The excitement at home during these early years had to include the construction of the Jeffersonville and Indianapolis Railroad about one quarter mile east of the farm.  Completed in 1852, the J&I provided a means to explore wider areas that had been reasonably possible before. 

Adam remained on the family farm at least through the 1856-growing season.  However, by September 16, 1856, Adam had saved enough money to purchase his first farm.  He purchased 160 acres in Scott County from Louis Schneck for $550. (111) (See the map above)  This farm, lying north and west of what is now County Roads 200 West and 100 North, was flat exhibiting only five or ten feet of drop from south to north.  The land, drained by the Big Ox Creek and small tributaries, is very flat and was likely prone to flooding.  Thus, there was not a good site for a home.  Based on the tree growth in the area, it was likely completely wooded at the time of acquisition.

Two years later, September 9, 1858, Adam purchased approximately 25 acres from C. A. Bennett for $170. (112)  This property, located on the south side of C. R. 100 North, was higher ground and either contained an existing house or had a good location for one.  (Only the indexes of the Scott County deed books were available to the author, therefore, a precise location of the property is not given.)  It was likely during his trips to Scott County to clear his new farm, Adam met his wife-to-be Sarah Ann Wilson, the daughter of Joseph and Catharine Ardrey Wilson. (16)  Adam and Sarah were likely married shortly after the acquisition of the Bennett property.

Sarah was only 15 or 16 years old when she and Adam married.  In late December of 1859 or January of 1860, their first son, Columbus Franklin (Frank), was born.  The 1860 U. S. Census taker reached the Pfaffenberger house on July 3.  The residents included Adam, 28 (listed as 26), Sarah, 17, Columbus F. (Frank), 7 months, and John H. Hazzard, 12 (probably helping on farm).  Adam and Sarah were living adjacent to her parents' home, which was the very next listing.  Included were Joseph, 42, Catharine, 37, and their sons John, 14, and Lewis, 12. (113)

Over the next twenty years, Adam and Sarah worked the farms that he had purchased in the late 1850's.  In addition to crops, he and Sarah produced a large family.  On November 8, 1861, their first daughter, Emma, was born.  Following Frank and Emma were George W. in 1864, Joseph A. on August 21, 1865, Oliver P. M. in 1868, Luella in 1870, Henrietta Eliza in April 1872, Horace G., in 1874, John M. on April 19, 1877, Clara on July 29, 1878 and Walter on July 2, 1880. (114)  Clara and Walter both died in infancy. (147 ) 

Adam expanded his land holdings by 80 acres on March 17, 1874.  On that date he purchased two forty-acre parcels from the Sheriff of Scott County for $405. (116)  Where present U.S. 31 crosses Stucker Fork Creek and the rail road north of Scottsburg is in the center of this land.  Since only half of this parcel is currently cleared, we may assume that Adam only farmed a small portion of the overall property.

Adam became ill in October of 1879, and grew worse over the next 18 months.  He died on March 30, 1881 at the age of 49 years and 23 days. (115)   His death left Sarah a 38 year old widow with nine children at home.  Oral history suggests that Frank, 21, took a job with the railroad in Indianapolis to support the family financially while George, 17 managed the farm.  Joseph, 15, and Oliver, 13, probably provided much support. (148)  Adam was buried in Zoah Church Cemetary beside his last two children Clara and Walter who had died in infancy.

Sarah's brother, John Wilson, was the administrator of Adam's estate. (116 ) It appears that Adam and Sarah's land was divided into lots for distribution to Sarah and her children.

Sarah lived only two years and three months after Adam’s death.  The year of Sarah’s death is difficult to distinguish on her tombstone, however the tombstone information establishes her age at 40 years, 6 months and 5 days old at the time of death.  The legible tombstone data coupled with US Census data establishes that  she died on July 11, 1883.  Sarah was buried beside Adam in Zoah Church Cemetary, west of Scottsburg, Indiana.

The next year on March 27, 1884, Frank bought his sibling's share of his parents’ land that purchased in 1874.  He paid his uncle John Wilson $375 for a 2/3 share of this land. (117)  On June 21 of that same year, he purchased another six acres south of his father's property for $32 from Elizabeth Robbins. (117)  In 1886, his grandfather, Joseph Wilson, appears to have given Frank 40 acres in Section 11, just south of Adam's property. (118 )

Over the next twenty years Adam's children bought, sold and traded property.  It appears that Frank and George W. purchased a considerable amount of farm property, while Joseph, Horace and John M. liquidated their share of the estate.

Over the years many of Adam's children migrated north from Scott County.  Frank, who never married, lived in Indianapolis. He died on September 21, 1937 and was buried in Riverview Cemetery, in Seymour.

Emma married Charles T. Deal on April 13, 1884. Henrietta married William F. Adam on March 1, 1896, in Jackson County, and subsequently lived in Columbus. (126)  She was the mother of Edith, Glenn, Lucille and Paul. (149)

George W., who was a life-long Scott County farmer.  He married Jennie Wardell and was the father of Walter.  George died in 1931.  (He was the grandfather of Walter Pfaffenberger who has substantially contributed to this chapter.) (149)

Joseph was married in 1897 to Eva J. Crabb, who died on December 4, 1905.  It appears he married Carrie Bennett on March 6, 1912. He lived in both Lawrence and Jackson Counties after leaving home.   He died on April 20, 1940, and was buried in Riverview Cemetery.

Oliver P. M. moved to Indianapolis, where he became an Indianapolis policeman.  He married Anna B. Crabb on March 6, 1888 and was the father of three children, Minnie, Walter H. and Herbie.  Oliver died on May 6, 1938, and was buried in Seymour’s Riverview Cemetery.  Oliver’s family is chronicled in Minnie May Hough’s book, A Backward Glance At 80. (149, 168)

Luella married John Cooley and was the mother of Roscoe, Lester and Cecil. (149) 

Horace, a veteran of the Phillipians theater in the Spanish-American war, married Phema Morris and was the father of Ernest, Mary, Irene, Margaret, Evelyn, Horace, Jewel and Alta. (149)

John M., the youngest son, migrated to Jennings County, where he had a North Vernon address. Later he migrated to Seymour.   He married Clara P. Adams, the daughter of John and Mary Spray Adams on February 26, 1905.  John M. and Clara had the unusual experience of have two sets of twins in their family.  On January 21, 1906, twin sons, Roy E. and Robert E., were born.  Later came twin daughters Marie and Marian.  In addition to twin sons and twin daughters, they were blessed with sons Lennie and Lynn. (167)

I wish to thank Carol Smith Prather, daughter of Marian, and Carol Flynn Jones for additional information that helped me make this chapter more accurate than originally drafted.


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