|Insheim Catholic Church|
Barbara and Joseph had nine children, all of whom were born in Insheim: Nicholas b. 1842, Anna Maria b. 1843, Barbara b. 1846, Elizabeth b. 1849, Magdalena b. 1852 and died 1852, Joseph b. 1853, Rosina b. 1856, Johannes b. 1859, and Peter b. 1862. On 27 September 1862 Joseph Henry Metz died, reportedly from a bee sting. He was only 43, and my great-grandfather Peter was just four months old.
|SS Arago, sister ship to the SS Fulton|
photo from US National Archives
Family lore has it that once Barbara and her family arrived in Cincinnati, they did not know where to go. So they all gathered around a Metz meat truck, hoping to get assistance. This Metz was not related to her deceased husband, but it was a name she recognized. I’m not sure if there is any fact to the story, but it is a fun one nonetheless.
Barbara was 73 when she died in Cincinnati on 29 April 1893.
If I had an opportunity to dine with Barbara, I would ask her about her husband Joseph’s death, and how the family survived in Insheim for nearly four years without him. I would want to know what it was like to leave the only town she had ever known, and what relatives were left behind. What was the voyage by ship like? How did they get to Cincinnati from New York - train? What did she think of her new country when she arrived in Cincinnati? Did they really sit by a Metz’s meat truck hoping someone could direct them in their new city? And finally, I would want to tell her how amazing I think she was for giving up her life in Germany to hopefully provide her children with a better life in the United States.