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Sharing geneology with an old friend, Highland’s Albert O. Felchlia

Albert O. Felchlia of Highland, called me, to give me some of his genealogy for my columns.

We started talking genealogy, in early 1980. From there we talked about grape vines, as I had heard that he was a big grower. I purchased assorted grapes vines, for the north line of our new back yard garden, after we purchased a new home on St. Raphael Lane. I was working for the First National Bank and not writing any columns but still keeping up with Highland History. Al let me know that he was writing his own genealogy book. Al called me when he had printed his book, “Decendants” in 1984, which covered all four sides of his decendants.

Albert (Al) O. Felchlia formerly of Holiday Manor, Highland, was originally from Centralia, but his descendants had been from Looking Glass Prairie, now the Highland area. Al and I had a lot in common, as we both entered World War II in 1943, both served in the South Pacific and both saw active duty. Al was with the Army Air Force, receiving his Navigators Wings and I with the Army Field Artillery, a staff sergeant in charge of four 105 mm Howitzers on Leyte Island of the Philippean Islands, South Pacific.

(Russ Hoffman in his April 25, 1995 column for Shopper’s Review, wrote the following:

“Al Felchlia was the Navigator for Col. Paul Tibbets, in training, but Al was now with the C-54 Transports, while Tibbets had been assigned to the B-29’s, his was called Enola Gay. Both Al and Tibbets, had been stationed on Tinian, the small island, where a new airport had been built, on Tinian, the closest airbase to Japan. Tinian was where the two B-29 planes, the Enola Gay, piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets and later followed by the Bocks Car, both took off for their runs over Japan from Tinian, dropped their atomic bombs. (I have always said that the dropping of the atomic bombs saved my life and the lives of probably a million more service men, as all we were doing the previous two months on Leyte Island was practicing landing on Japan.)

“Al had made six flights into Tinian before the atomic bombs had been dropped, as they both were in the 509 Composite Squadron, based on Tinian Island.

“Al Felchlia was back on Tinian later in October, 1945, as their plane was chosen to fly the officers of the 509th to fly into Tokyo and then to the tour the bombed city of Nagasacci in a Jeep, driving miles and miles through rubble.

“We were all strapped with our 45s, as we didn’t know what to expect. Instead of using weapons, we used money to dicker for souvenirs, from the surviving Japanese.”

Al had given his first book, “Descendants” and his story of his wartime experiences, called “Into the Wild Blue Yonder”, then four additional genealogy books that he completed, to the Louis Latzer Memorial Public Library before he died in 2003. [The Hirsch information, one of the four families of Al’s book and the following quotes are from Al’s book “Descendants.”]

“The family of John Jacob Hirsch came on the sailing ship Oceana, landing at New Orleans on June 15, 1841. They were part of the group of 72 German people who came to Highland in 1841. They settled in Saline Township, northeast of Highland and east of Pierron, on the Greenville road.” (Called the National Trail, then U.S 40 and now Interstate 70.)

“John (Johan or Johannes) Hirsch (1784-1865), was the second or third son of Johannes Philip Hirsch and his wife Magdalena Deschner Hirsch. John was born in Oestringen, Baden, Germany and in 1810 married Maria Johanna (went by Johanna) Weigenant, also of Oestringen. (Al Felchlia had this information on Page 19 and 20 of his book, “Decendants.”)

“John Hirsch resided in Oestringen, where he was a master shoemaker of Baden, but was listed on the Oceana ship’s passenger list as ‘farmer’. For a time he farmed his own land in Saline Township, however, he moved to Highland after his wife died (prior to 1850, time, place and burial are unknown). Later his son Felix, left Saline Township and moved near Jamestown. John Hirsch moved with his son Felix and died in Jamestown, Clinton County on March 7, 1865.”

“ John and Johanna ( sometimes written Hannah) Hirsch, had 8 children: (A) Maria died, (B) Rosilia and her oldest daughter listed on the registry of the ‘Oceana’ as Madaline, age 24 and probably her two children, (i) “Carl, age 3,” (later became Charles), born March 25, 1838 in Oestringen and (ii) “Berthine, age 1,” (Al Felchlia’s records show her name as (ii) “Albertina, born Nov. 5, 1839.) (C) Anna Magdalena Hirsch (1816-1898).

(Then on Page 20 Al Felchlia wrote: “Hieronimus J. Weidner (1814-1863), was a member of the Karbiner Battalion at Karlsruhe, Baden, Germany, when his first two children were born. The Weidner Family, emigrated to the U.S. in 1842, landing at New Orleans, in December 1842.”…. (C) “Anna Magdelena Hirsch and Hieronimus Weidner were married April 16, 1843 at Shoal Creek, Clinton County, Illinois. Anna Magdelena Hirsch Weidner and her husband Hieronimus Weidner, had 7 children that were born in Jamestown, Clinton County. “Hieronimus Weidner served with the Union Army, but died Sept. 21, 1863 at Quincy, Illinois, prior to seeing action in the Civil War.” (Hieronimus Weidner is in our Highland Home Museum, in the Civil War Veterans Cabinet. Do you have any Veterans that served during War time, that should be in our Cabinet? Call 303-0082, for more information.)

(C) Anna Magdelena Hirsch Weidner (Her tombstone at St. Joseph cemetery just shows “Magdelena Hirsch Weidner’.) (D) “Philip) age 22,” (1819-1851) in 1845 married Mary Anna Pfiffner and their daughter, Mary Anna Hirsch, was the first baby baptisted in the “New” St. Paul Catholic Church in Highland, in December 21, 1847; (E) “Johan age 20.” was really Johanna Marie (1822-1898), who in 1843 married Heinrich Kaune in Greenville, most of their family settled in the Bond County area. (F) “Felix age 17,” (1824-1881) married Anna Maria Rohr and he died in Yamhill, Oregon. (G) “Gregor Hirsch age 14”, (1827-1869) in 1859 married Mary Anna Ammann, their daughter Maria Elizabeth Hirsch, married Franz Felchli, Jr. and their grandson was Albert O. Felchlia, who died in 2003 and his widow Frances Felchlia, of Highland. (See Page 18 of Roy Worstell’s genealogy.)

Prior to the establishment of St. Paul’s Church in Highland, the priest from St. Boniface Catholic Church of Germantown held services in Highland and surrounding communities. Records of marriages, births, deaths etc. were kept at Germantown, where early records for the Hirsch family was found. (All the early Catholic families of our area, may be found at Germantown, prior to the building of St. Paul Church.)

Al wrote: “The first recorded baptism at St. Paul Catholic Church was for Mary Anna Hirsch, daughter of (D) Philip and Mary Anna Pfiffner Hirsch, on 24 December 1847.”… “Al also found the marriage record of his great grandparents, Regina Marti and Franz Felchli, Sr. at St. Paul’s and found that it included the names of Al’s great, great grandparents. At that point the ‘bait’ was swallowed, as the old saying goes, ‘hook, line and sinker’. Al had reached the point of no return and became totally involved in researching, not only my father’s family, but those of my mother and wife’s as well.” Albert O. Felchlia, 1984.

“The name Felchlia was spelled ‘Felchli’ on the passenger list of the ship ‘Manchester’ in 1852, when the family landed in New Orleans on, 16 March 1852.”

A big thanks to Al, as he had all four of the primary families, Ammann, Felchlia, Hirsch and Marti, that he descended from, in book form, for all future genealogist and relatives to add, their family information.

It would be great if every family had recorded this information, I know it would make my writing of columns, much easier. Don’t put it off any longer, it is great information, your decendants will thank you, for years to come. Why don’t YOU do this for your family!