Sent by Alan Klawitter and Cathy Callahan

The History Of The Klawitter Family

by Robert Edward Klawitter - revised 26 May 1989

Johann Michael Klawitter & Eva Rosine (Gassmer) Klawitter

The story of the Klawitter family in the United states begins with Johann Michael Klawitter and his wife Eva Rosine (Gassmer) Klawitter. These pioneers immigrated from Prussia along with 3 of their children between 1883 and 1884, and settled in the Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania area. The family tree starts with Johann Michael, who was the father of Frederick August, who was the father of Elmer George, who was the father of Clair Raymond, who was the father of those three delightful children; Warren Allen, Robert Edward & Paul Raymond; all of whom now are married & have children (at last count 7, cumulatively).

Johann Michael Klawitter

Johann Michael Klawitter was probably born in the 1830's in the area of the town of Hermansdorf, in the state of Posen, Prussia. He probably died in the late 1890's in Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania. Very little is known about John (or Johann Michael) Klawitter. He is only mentioned in passing in various baptismal records, marriage applications, death certificates, and obituaries. No direct record has yet come to light. From these secondary sources, however, it is possible to piece together some of his life story, (including his German place of origin) but it is uncertain as to where and when  he was born, and where and when he died.

German Origins

The first recorded mention of Johann is at the baptism of his daughter, Wilhelmine Henriette, on June 20, 1858, in a church in the town of Lobsens, in the state of Posen, in Prussia. Lobsens is now the town of Lobzenica, in the state of Bydgoszcz, Poland. The nearest big towns are Bromberg (now Bydgoszcz), about 33 miles away and Posen (now Poznan) about 60 miles away . Historically, this part of Europe has been traded back and forth between Prussia, Poland, Russia, & Germany, for the last 400 years. The Polish Empire was "partitioned'' by Austria, Prussia and Russia, in three sections between 1790 & 1800. The Lobsens area became part of Prussia in the year 1792 (the "second partition”. There was a great influx of German immigrants into the captured Polish territory in the late 1790ts. The first record of the Klawitter family in the area was the record of the Marriage of Christoph Klawitter to Anna Maria Bartz on February 25, 1788. As Johann Klawitter was probably born in the 1830's, Christoph is the right generation to have been his grandfather, but no connection has as yet been made.

The earliest 'Klawitter' record that I've been able to find is the baptismal record of "Anna”, by "Peter and Sophie Klawiter" (note   only 1 "t", not 2) on January 11, 1659 in the town of Hitzdorf, in the state of Brandenburg (Germany). Hitzdorf is a small town about 100 miles Northeast of Berlin, and is now also part of Poland, as the town of "Rebusz". No connection has as yet been made between the "Hitzdorf Klawiter's" and the Lobsens Klawitter's".

Getting back to Johann Klawitter, it is likely that he was born in the 1830's, as his wife was born in 1833, and his 1st daughter was baptised in 1858, which would make him between 18 & 28 years of age (these are obviously quite approximate dates). It is also likely that he and his family lived about 7 miles away from Lobsens, in the town of "Hermansdorf". Hermansdorf is now the town of "Radzicz", in the state of Bydgoszcz, Poland, and is located on the Orla river (in German   I do not know the Polish name for this river), where there is a bridge on the road between Lobsens & Nakel (now Notecia). Fred Klawitter, Johann's son (and father to Elmer Klawitter), listed that he was “born in Hermansderf" on his Marriage Application, and that his parents were "John & Eva Klawitter". The only other clue as to the location of the Johann Klawitter family, is the Hamburg, Germany, emmigration record of Julius Klawitter, who was also a son of Johann (and also settled in Mt. Carmel). In Julius's emmigration papers, he has listed his “place of origin" as "Tergusen, Posen”. I have not been able to find a town by that name on the map, however, so this clue is not yet factored in. From the baptismal records of the Lobsens Church, the Klawitter family was in the area between 1858 & 1873. This record includes the baptism of Julius in 1859, therefore the “Tergusen" location is only a matter of curiosity, not a real key in placing the origins of the family.

The next mention of Johann Klawitter comes from the obituary of his son, Fred Klawitter. Here it is stated that Fred "and his parents immigrated in 1883”. Fred actually arrived in the U.S. about the 18th of April, 1884 (from his citizenship application). So if Johann traveled with Fred, he also arrived about 1884. The last mention of Johann is in the obituary of his wife, Eva on November 11, 1896, which states that "She is survived by a husband and three children . . .", so it seems that Johann was still living in 1896. He is not listed in the census records for 1900 as living with any of the three of his children living in Mt. Carmel, so either he died between 1896 & 1900, or he was not living with his children. John's surviving grandchildren; Albert Klawitter (born 1894), Mary Roadarmel (born 1898) and Ida Tisch (born 1901), when questioned in 1983, have no recollection of ever seeing or hearing of him, therefore, it is quite likely that he had died before 1902 (when Albert was 8 years old). He is not however, listed in the Northumberland County Record of Death's (as is his wife, Eva), so it is uncertain as to when and where he actually died.

Eva Rosine (Gassmer) Klawitter

Johann Michael Klawitter was married to Eva Rosine Gassmer. This is shown in several sources, including the baptismal registry of the Lobsens Church (where they are listed as the parents of 5 children). This church record is the source of Eva's maiden name of "Gassmer". Eva was born between November 1832 & November 1833, and died on November 10, 1896. She also was an immigrant to the U.S., in about 1884, as related above. Her possible birth dates are calculated back from her age at death of 63 years, as listed in the Northumberland County Record of Deaths. In the county records, it also shows that she was buried on November 12, 1896, in the Alaska Cemetery, which is outside of Mt. Carmel. Her obituary was printed in 2 Mt. Carmel newspapers; the "Semi Weekly Item"; and the "Daily News". The Item obituary is quite interesting, genealogically, so I am quoting it in it's entirety:

"Mrs. John Klawitter, an aged lady residing on Walnut street died yesterday morning, the cause of death being cancer. She is survived by a husband and three children, Mrs. William Rutz, Fred, and Julius Klawitter, all of whom are married and residents of this city. Rev. J. A. Danner will conduct the funeral services, which will be held at one o'clock tomorrow in the Grace Reformed Church. Interment will be made in the Alaska Cemetery, undertaker Irvin officiating."

(the Semi Weekly Item   vol 9 No. 63, Wednesday Nov 11, 1896)

Her death is also listed in the records of the Grace Reformed Church in Mt. Carmel (although here it shows that he was buried on the 10th of November, not the 12th) and in the Northumberland County Death records. Although 3 records show that she was buried in the Alaska cemetery, I have been unable to find her grave, and the cemetery has no record of it.

Children of Johann Michael Klawitter & Eva Rosine (Gassmer) Klawitter

Johann Michael and Eva Rosine Klawitter had 7 known children:

Given NameBornDiedMarried to
Wihelmine HenrietteJun 1858????????
Heinrich JuliusDec 1859Nov 1927Wilhelmina Goetzke
PaulineMar 1863????William Ruths
Frederick AugustOct 1865Mar 1938Rosalie Goetzke
August GustavOct 1868????????
AugusteJun 1871????????
Albert JohannJun 1873????????

Five of the seven are listed in the baptismal records of the Lobsens church, in Posen, Prussia. Not listed in this record are Pauline ~ Frederick. These two & Julius are listed as Eva's children in her obituary (quoted above). In the Northumberland County records, the Marriage application for Fred Klawitter shows his parents as "John & Eva Klaweitter,'. Finally, the Death Certificates (state of Penna.) for both Julius & Fred show “John Klawitter” as their father. Three of these children immigrated to the United States, and settled in the Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania area.


Frederick August Klawitter was born on October 21, 1865, as the second son of Johann Michael and Eva Rocine (Gassmer) Klawitter. He was born in the town of Hermansdorf, in the state of Posen, Prussia. Hermansdorf is now the town of "Radzicz", in the state of Bydgoszcz, Poland, as related above (under Johann Michael Klawitter). He died of heart disease on March 23, 1938 and is buried in the Alaska Cemetery

Side branches of the Klawitter family

In the course of investigating the Klawitter family, I have developed some interesting data on side branches of the family, particularly on the siblings of Frederick Klawitter who came to America; Julius and Pauline. This information is not as complete as that of the Fred Klawitter family, but helps to fill in the picture, as they also immigrated in the mid 1880's and also chose to settle in Mount Carmel.

Heinrich Julius Klawitter and Wilhelmina (Goetzke) Klawitter

Heinrich Julius (or Julius H., as he was known after he immigrated to the U.S.) Klawitter was born on the December 19, 1859, as the first son of Johann Michael and Eva Rosine (Gassmer) Klawitter. He was born near the town of Lobsens, in the state of Posen, Prussia. Lobsens is now known as the town of Lobaenica, in the state of Bydgoszcz, Poland (as related above under Johann Michael Klawitter   German origins). He died from emphysema on November 6, 1927, and is buried in the Alaska Cemetery, Mt. Carmel, Pa..

Julius' parentage is recorded in several sources. Most importantly, his baptism is recorded in the registry of the church at Losens, which shows that "Heinrich Julius" was baptised on December 25, 1859, as the son of "Johann and Eva Klawitter". Elsewhere in the church records, (in the baptism of his sibling August Gustav) his parents full names are shown as Johann Michael Klawitter and Eva Rosine Gassmer Klawitter. Julius' death certificate, from the State of Pennsylvania, lists "John Klawitter" as his father. He is also listed as one of three surviving children in the obituary of his mother (cited above).

There is a slight confusion in his exact place of birth. His record of baptism places him in Lobsens 6 days after his birth. On his Emigration record, in Hamburg, Germany, Julius listed his "Place of Origin" as "Tergusen, Posen". Posen is the same state of Prussia in which Lobsens is located, but I have been unable to locate any town named "Tergusen". It is possible that "Tergusen" is the name of a small village near Lobsens, as it is clear that the Johann Michael Klawitter family was in the Lobsens area between 1858 & 1873, because of the baptismal records of five of their children.

Julius was born on December 19, 1859. This date was calculated from his death certificate, but also is supported by his baptismal record and his tombstone. The 1900 census record, however, shows his birth month and year as December 1860, a difference of 1 year. The 1910 census shows his age as 50 on the 19th of April, 1910, which works out to a birthday between April 1859 and April 1860. This supports the 1859 year of birth. His emigration papers from Hamburg show that he was 24 in April, 1883, which implies a birthdate between April 1858 and April 1859, which is 1 year earlier. His Application for U.S. citizenship (on file at the Northumberland County Courthouse) shows his age as 29 on September 26, 1889, which implies a birthdate of between September 1859 & September 1860, which matches the December 1859 date. His tombstone shows his vital dates as "1859   1927", so it seems likely that the 1900 census record and his emigration papers are incorrect.

Julius' date of death, November 6, 1927, is found on his death certificate. His cause of death, as given on the death certificate, is "pnuemonia, superimposed on chronic emphysema". This is what is now known as ''black lung's disease, and was caused by the inhaling coal dust, in his job as a miner. He was buried on November 10, 1927, in the Alaska Cemetery, Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania.

Julius was an immigrant to the U.S.. He emigrated from the port of Hamburg, Germany, on April 1, 1883, on the ship "Bohemia", bound for New York. This information is shown in the Hamburg Emigration records, found in the ''Museum fur Hamburgische Geschichte", in Hamburg, Germany. These records also show that traveling with him {was) Wilhelmine, age 23, (his wife). His “Place of Origin,” is listed as "Tergusen, Posen" (discussed above) and his "occupation" is listed as a “labourer". His wife’s brother, August Goetzke, also traveled with them. On Julius' application for citizenship, in .the Northumberland County Courthouse (dated Sept 26, 1889), he stated that his "time of arrival in the U.S. {was} April 15, 1883”, and that ''whence he emigrated was) Hamburg", and that his ',intended place of settlement was) Mount Carmel, Pa.". Julius was admitted as a citizen of the United States on July 19, 1892, in Sunbury, Pa.. The only confusion here is the 1900 census, which shows his year of immigration as 1884. The 1910 census, however, shows 1883, so it seems clear that the 1900 census data was wrong.

Wilhelmina (Goetzke) Klawitter

Wilhelmina Goetzke was married to Julius Klawitter about 1883. They were probably married just prior to emigrating, as they are listed in their emigration papers as husband and wife as of April 1, 1883. The 1900 census of Mount Carmel, Pa., shows that they were married "17 years" as of June 1900, which implies a marriage date of June 1882 to June 1883. The 1910 census shows that they were married "26 years" as of April 19, 1910. This would imply a marriage date of April 1883 to April 1884. No marriage record for them exists in Mount Carmel or in the Northumberland County Courthouse. From all of this somewhat conflicting data, it seems likely that they were married just prior to emigrating, in early 1883.

Wilhelmina (or ''Minnie'') was born on 8 October 1856, probably near Lobsens in the state of Posen, Prussia. She was the daughter of Johann and Wllhelmina (Kienitz) Goetzke. As cited above, Minnie emigrated from the port of Hamburg, Germany, on April 1, 1883, on the ship "Bohemia,", bound for New York, with her husband, Julius, and her brother August Goetzke. They settled in Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania, where Minnie died on July 23, 1939. She was buried on July 26, 1939, in the Mt. Carmel cemetery, next to her husband. '

Minnie's date of birth of October 8, 1856 is probably accurate, as the date is found on her death certificate on file in Pennsylvania. This date is supported by the 1900 census for Mt. Carmel, which shows her birth date as October 1856. The only source of confusion is the 1910 census, which gives her age as 54 years on April 19, 1910, which would place her birthdate between June of 1855 and June of 1856. This is about 1 year earlier than the October 1856 date.

No birth record for Minnie has been found in Germany, which is rather unusual, as the baptismal records of her 5 known siblings have been found. The baptisms of the last 4 of her siblings, born between 1850 and 1863, are recorded in the church in Lobsens. Since she was born in 1859, it is unusual that her baptism is not recorded there. Also complicating the story is the fact that her death certificate lists her father as "Otto Yetski", instead of Johann, who is presumed to be her father. The death certificate information was provided by her son, Charles, and so should be accurate. Two possible explanations are that "Otto" was her fathers' middle name (i.e. Johann OTTO Goetzke), or that her son was mistaken. It is family tradition that "Minnie" was Rose's sister, as the event of 2 brothers (Julius and Fred) married 2 sisters (Minnie and Rose). The other possibility is that Minnie was Rose's close relation, like cousin or niece, but not her sister, as family tradition also states that Rose was raised by an older sister, after the death of her parents. Minnie could have been the daughter of that older sister, which would make her Rose's niece, although they were raised as sisters. This all of course is pure speculation on my part, to rationalize what probably is a simple mistake.

Minnie's date of death (July 23, 1939) is shown on her death certificate from the State of Pennsylvania, as is her burial date. The cause of death is reported as ''secondary anemia, chronic myocarditis, {and) arterio sclerosis''. Her tombstone in the Alaska cemetery, outside of Mt. Carmel, Pa., is common with her husband Julius and lists her vital dates as "1856   1939".

This report was compiled by Robert Edward Klawitter, Madrid, Spain revised 16 February 1989 revised 26 May 1989.

Descendants of Julius and Wilhelmina Klawitter, 7 children

compiled by Betty Zimmerman 1998
  1. August Klawitter 1884 - 3/22/1945 Married to Dena Hirsch one daughter Eleanor unmarried
  2. Pauline Klawitter Eveland married to Irwin Eveland 2 children Elmer and Ester:
    1. Elmer married to Agnes Krum 2 daughters Beverly (Cromley) and Marie
    2. Ester married to Connie Whitenight no children
    Elmer, Agnes, Connie, and Ester are deceased.
  3. Emma Augusta Klawitter 1/27/1890 - 11/22/1974 first married to Foster Moyer 3 children
    1. Clarence married to Harriet Bollinger both deceased
    2. Grace died of diptheria at age 5
    3. Edith married to Walter Shuey 4 children:
      1. Walter killed at the age of 16 in a truck accident 5/5/1959
      2. Daniel married to Nancy Wolfgang 2 children Daniel and Melissa
      3. Phillip married to Beth Smith 2 children
      4. Paul married to Bonnie DeCastro 2 children Jessica and Paul
      Phillip and Paul are twins
    Emma married Clarence Weikel 11/29/1922 they had 5 children
    1. Beatrice married to Chester Applegate no children
    2. Dorothy married to William Hampton 3 children
    3. Carol married to Timmie Gunther 2 children Annette and Tammie
    4. Raymond died in infancy
    5. Edgar married to Claudette Planky 8 children
    6. Ethel married to Alfred Carpenter 6 children
  4. Minnie Klawitter married to Lawrence Mace Female 2/28/1894 - 11/4/1960 3 children
    1. Norman
    2. Willard
    3. Evelyn
  5. William Klawitter married to Minnie Kraftchack 1 son Lamar
    1. Lamar Klawitter married to Betty Jean Ebling 5 children
      1. Jean,
      2. Alan,
      3. Dale,
      4. Gail,
      5. Susan
    Minnie died with flu William remarried Mary Wolfgang Thomas 3 children:
    1. Glenwood Klawitter married Irene ? 3 children
      1. Janet,
      2. Glen,
      3. Wayne
    2. Harold
    3. May
  6. Charles Klawitter married to Louise Wolfgang 6 children:
    1. Robert,
    2. Irene,
    3. Arthur,
    4. Ronald,
    5. Alma,
    6. Charles Jr.
  7. Mable Klawitter married to Warren Zimmerman 2 daughters
    1. May married to William Sauere 2 daughters
      1. Sandy
      2. Marsha
    2. Betty married to William Julus 2 children
      1. Linda
      2. Karen.

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Last modified: Tue Feb 26 15:11:27 CET 2002