Old Dayton houses on East Third Street

I've been driving East Third Street almost daily since the first classes at Wright State University in June. As I drive through, I wonder what the street must have looked like 100, 150, and 200 years ago.

I'm especially interested in the old angled house at the corner formed by Third Street and Springfield Pike. It looks like it has been there since before 1900. Perhaps much earlier than that.

I just found maps that are online with the Dayton Public Library, in their Dayton Remembers archive. First treasure: the 11th Ward plat maps from 1875.

While wandering around that neighborhood, 1875 map in hand, I realized that once the area was dominated by Dayton Hydraulic Company and was served by a canal system. A 1942 article by Charles F. Sullivan describes the canal operation to some degree. Judging by the age of the buildings that fill in the areas, the canal was filled in after 1900. Since then, the area developed as light manufacturing as the city of Dayton's housing surrounded it.

Adding bookmarks to PDFs

Perhaps you've seen a list of headings at the left side of a PDF you've opened. Maybe not, since the feature is optional, and usually the bookmarks occur while converting a professionally written document into PDF format. In that case, the bookmarks are automatically made, because the various headings have background information that the PDF building uses. You can also add bookmarks to a PDF, if you have Adobe Acrobat or similar software.

When bookmarks are available but not displayed, you'll see something like these icons to the left of your page of text. In order, the icons allow you to open...

  • A displayed set of icons that represent the pages of the PDF
  • A displayed list of the headings or other bookmarks found in the PDF
  • A list of signatures of reviewers who have approved the PDF

When you place the pointer on the bookmark icon, it looks like this:

Then after you select the icon, the left side of your PDF file looks like this:

(Careful! Your display may not look exactly like this, since I am working from Adobe Acrobat.)

The great thing is that you can use Adobe Acrobat to add bookmarks to a PDF file. All you have to do is display a desired page, add the bookmark and add a name. Then, if you want, you can place the bookmark as division within another bookmark or color its text to help readers understand the bookmarks. 

Here's a PDF of the 7th Kirchenbuch from the St. Dionysius parish in Igel, Germany.

Since the original microfilm included images from several small Kirchenbücher together, the top-level bookmarks link to each Kirchenbuch. The second-level bookmarks link to divisions for baptisms (green text), marriages (blue text), and burials (black). The open page here shows—on the left page—the notations about the document that were typed and inserted while the Bistums-Archiv or the LDS was microfilming the book and—on the right—a page of baptisms for the year 1787, with the title "Nomina Baptizatorum" and the baptism record for Peter Becker on 26th January 1787, all in Latin.

This set of Kirchenbücher is pretty well ordered, one book for each year. Other Kirchenbücher aren't so careful. —It's a matter for another post, but there is a reason.— One I have worked with have entries for different years appearing on the same page, and all the entries for one year occur on many pages. The bookmarks can be moved up and down to bring them in chronological order, though they still link to strangely separated pages.

© Thomas G. Kohn, 2013.


Scanning my files

We recently bought a printer-copier-scanner that has a sheet feeder, and that is my opportunity to digitize the huge amount of paper records I have. Especially the photocopied Kirchenbücher (German term for Parish Registers) for the German towns that my ancestors called home.

The Igeler-säule, a monument
to a textile trading family of the
Roman era in Igel, Germany. The
monument stands next to the
hotel owned and operated by
my cousin Oskar Blasius.
I've begun with the full set of early Kirchenbücher from Igel in Rheinland-Pfalz that were microfilmed into the Bistums-Archiv Trier and the Latter Day Saints Family History Library (FHL) as film 0585855. This film includes several large divisions that are called "Items" in the FHL catalog. The Items contain the Kirchenbücher in these groupings:
  • Item 1. Hüffelsheim. (registers of Hüffelsheim, not photocopied)
  • Item 2. Gemeinde Hümmel, Dekanat Adenau, Regierung Bezirk Koblenz. (registers of Hümmel, not photocopied)
  • Item 3. Gemeinde Hümmel, Dekanat Adenau, Regierung Bezirk Koblenz. (not photocopied)
  • Item 4. Gemeinde Hümmel, Dekanat Adenau, Regierung Bezirk Koblenz. (not photocopied)
  • Item 5. Gemeinde Hümmel, Dekanat Adenau, Regierung Bezirk Koblenz. (not photocopied)
  • Item 6. Gemeinde Hümmel, Dekanat Adenau, Regierung Bezirk Koblenz. (not photocopied)
  • Item 7. Gemeinde Igel, Dekanat Konz, Regierung Bezirk Trier. KB1.
    • Taufen (baptisms) 1706-1713, 1720-1732, 1738-1778. 
    • Einzelne (various)1794, 1800, 1804, 1806. 
    • Heiraten (matrimonies) 1706-1713, 1748-1778 (sehr Lückenhaft). 
    • Sterbefälle (deaths) 1706-1722, 1749-1778. 
    • Einzelne 1790-1796.
    • 9951 [Contents page] Taufen 1706-1713 (p. 4); 1720-1732 (p. 11); 1738-1778 (p. 35); 
    • Einzelne 1794, 1800, 1804, 1806 (p. 122). 
    • Heiraten 1706-1713 (p. 125); 1748-1778 (sehr Lückenhaft) (p. 127). 
    • Sterbefälle 1706-1722 (p. 141); 1749-1778 (p. 142); 
    • Einzelne 1790-1796 (p. 161). 
    • Spirituale testamentum pro vita et morte. Verschiedene Nachträge 1732-1754 (p. 166).
The old St. Dionysius church of Igel, built in 1759. Note the
Igeler-Säule in the foreground right. The church became a
chapel with the building of a new church along 
  • Item 8. Gemeinde Igel, Dekanat Konz, Regierung Bezirk Trier. KB2.
    • Taufen 1752-1759, 1784-1794, 1797. 
    • Sterbefälle 1790/92.
    • 3913 [Contents page] Taufen 1752-1759 (p. 1); 1784-1794 (p. 19); 1797 (p. 88). 
    • Sterbefälle 1790/92 (p. 89).
  • Item 9. Gemeinde Igel, Dekanat Konz, Regierung Bezirk Trier. KB3.
    • Heiraten 1753-1761, 1784-1795.
    • 3914 [Contents page] Heiraten 1753-1761 (p. 1); 1784-1795 (p. 5). 1752: no matrimonies performed. 
  • Item 10. Gemeinde Igel, Dekanat Konz, Regierung Bezirk Trier. KB4.
    • T. H. St. (baptisms, matrimonies, deaths) 1779-1783 (1779, 1781, 1782, 1783) Doppel.
    • Taufen 1794, 1797-1800. 
Stairway to the chapel
    • Heiraten 1797-1798. 
    • Sterbefälle 1797, 1792/3.
    • 3915 [Contents page] T.H.St. 1779-1783 (p. 1); 1779, 1781, 1782, 1783 Doppel (p. 57). 
    • Taufen 1784 (p. 119); 1797-1800 (p. 119). 
    • Heiraten 1797-1798 (p. 133). 
    • Sterbefälle 1797, 1792/3 (p. 137).
  • Item 11.Gemeinde Igel, Dekanat Konz, Regierung Bezirk Trier. KB5 through KB 13.
    • T.H.St. 1784-1793.
    • 3916 [Contents page] T.H.St. 1784. 
    • 3917 T.H.St. 1785-1786. 
    • 3918 T.H.St. 1787. 
    • 3919 T.H.St. 1788. 
    • 3920 T.H.St. 1789. 
    • 3921 T.H.St. 1790. 
    • 3922 T.H.St. 1791. 
    • 3923 T.H.St. 1792. 
    • 3924 T.H.St. 1793. 
View of Igel from the old Reinig neighborhood
of Wasserliesch, across the Mosel River. My
great-grandmother Susanna Reinert was born
in Igel, and my great-grandfather John M. Kohn
was born in Wasserliesch.
It has taken about two days to scan each group of 35 pages into one PDF file after another. The resulting 17 files range from about 60 to 275 MB, generally depending on the number of pages. Using Adobe Acrobat, I slim down the file size to the range of 7 to 20 MB and rotate pages as needed, if the photocopies changed orientation at some point. Then I merge each packet of 35 pages back into a single file that represents the full Item.

But the work isn't quite done with these steps. I still must go through each file, add PDF bookmarks to ease navigation, and add comments where I have had post-it notes that contain translations, summaries, orother information.

Update 2013.06.23: All the Igel documents are completely scanned.

For future work, I have digitizing for these locations:
  • USA KS Mitchell county 19th-C censuses
  • USA KS Mitchell county research trip in 2001
  • USA KS Mitchell county maps, church registers, cemetery canvasses, deeds, news articles
  • USA KS Osborne county maps, deeds, censuses
  • USA MN Houston county maps, deeds, censuses related to families Arnoldy, Gillen, Reinert, Schandler, and Schwinden
  • USA OH family documents for Brandon, Cosiano, Coscignano, Deneke, Derry, Flauto, Gast, Hoon, Iacano, LoPiccolo, Maxwell, Morton, Nanik, Pounds, and Ventura
  • USA PA Allegheny county documents for families Elliott, Ohnsat, Rahenkamp, and Rothamel
  • USA WI Dane county documents for families Butler, Kennedy, and Ryan
  • USA WI La Crosse county documents for familes Bauer, Becker, Beranek, King, Kohn, Petrick, and Troyanek
  • Igel from above, about 2001

    DEU (Germany) B-W (Baden-Wurttemberg) Breisach documents for families Salinger and Vogel
  • DEU B-W Main-Tauber-Kreis Königheim documents for Stephan family, primarily Kirchenbücher 
  • DEU N-W (Nordthein-Westfalen) Kr. Höxter Brakel documents for Deneke, Franke, and Wiethase families, primarily Kirchenbücher 
  • DEU R-P (Rheinland-Pfalz) general documents, some from Landesarchiv that includes Entlaßungserkundigunge (Permits to emigrate)
  • DEU R-P Amerikaauswangerungen aus dem Landkreise Trier Rheinland 1855-1900 by Josef Mergen (Update 2013.06.23: scanning complete)
  • DEU R-P Krieg am Westwall by Khristoffel
  • DEU R-P Kr. Saarburg Saarburg-Filzen Kirchenbücher 
  • DEU R-P Kr. Saarburg Wasserliesch Kirchenbücher 1752-1797
  • DEU R-P Kr. Saarburg Wasserliesch Kirchenbücher 1752-1907
  • DEU R-P Kr. Saarburg Wasserliesch Familienbuch monograph by Peter Kohns
  • DEU R-P Kr. Trier-Land marriage extracts from Kirchenbücher  near Igel, 1840-1870 (Update 2013.06.23: scanning complete)
  • DEU R-P Kr. Trier-Land Igel Kirchenbücher 1818-1908 (Update 2013.06.23: scanning complete)
  • DEU R-P Kr. Trier-Land "Familienbuch" monograph by Franziska Kandel (Update 2013.06.23: scanning complete)
  • DEU R-P Kr. Trier-Land Langsur Kirchenbücher 1758-1900 (Update 2013.06.23: scanning complete)
  • DEU SCSN (Schlesien, a part of former Ostpreußen) Kr. Falkenburg Grüben extracted records from Kirchenbücher
  • LUX (Luxembourg) Canton Fôret/Grevenmacher Wasserbillig Registres Paroissiaux

If you, my reader, have a special interest in the digitized or photocopied records, please leave a comment on this posting.

© Thomas G. Kohn, 2013.


The Emigration Journey of Anna Maria Stephan

I've pursued some questions with Stefan Lindtner of Königheim, from where my great-grandmother Maria Anna Stephan (married name Deneke) emigrated in 1873.

First contact

From: tabs6469
To: tgkohn
Sent: Thu, May 5, 2011 3:51
Subject: Maria Anna Stephan
angeschlossen ein Auszug aus der Passagierliste des Schiffs Algeria. Die zweite Frau Maria Stephan kam ebenfalls aus Königheim und reiste zu ihrem Bruder. Das Schiff fuhr auf der Route Liverpool-New York und erreichte New York am 04.04.1873.
Wenn Sie weitere Informationen benötigen melden Sie sich bitte,
Stefan Lindtner
"attached is a portion of the passenger list of the ship Algeria. The second Frau Maria Stephan came from Königheim and was travelling to her brother. The ship took the route from Liverpool to New York and reached New York on 4 April 1873. If you need further information, please contact me.
"Stefan Lindtner"


Am 22.05.2012 04:27, schrieb Tom Kohn:
Guten tag Herr Lindtner!
Ich glaube daß ich noch nicht Ihren Brief geantwortet habe. Entschuldige für die lange Ziet dazwischen.
Seit einem Jahr, weiß ich gar nicht wie wir uns diese Familiengeschichte zusammen gebastelt haben. Ich muß unterallen ein herzvolles Danke sagen.
Da ich nicht weiß, wovon Sie schreiben, und wie Sie diesen Shiffszahl gefunden haben, stelle ich einige Fragen, obwohl Sie möglich gar nichts davon wissen.
1. Wie hat die Maria Anna Stephan von Königheim nach Liverpool gereist?
2. Gibt's vielleicht eine Auswangerungsverständniß dazu?
3. Wie ist die Quelle dieses Shiffszahls?
Trotzdem bin ich glücklich bei Ihrem guten Tat.
Mit schönsten Grüßen!
Thomas Kohn
"Good day Mr. Lindtner,
"I believe I haven't replied yet to your letter. Excuse me for the long time between our correspondence. A year later, I don't know what we did to build this family history. Nevertheless, I give you heartfelt thanks.
"Since I don't know where you're writing from, nor how you found the ship manifest, I have a few questions. Perhaps you also don't know the answers.
"1. How had Maria Anna Stephan travelled from Königheim to Liverpool?
"2. Is there perhaps a document that permits her emigration?
"3. What is the source of the ship manifest?
"Nevertheless, I'm lucky because of your good deed.
"With best wishes,"


From: Tabs6469
To: Tom Kohn
Sent: Sun, Sep 23, 2012 11:27 am
Subject: Re: Maria Anna Stephan
from other documents and books I know that the emigrants from Baden first made a trip to the river Rhein. There they they used a passenger ship to come to the coast. From the coast of the North Sea they used a ship to come to England and Liverpool. In Liverpool they entered the emigrant ships. In the 1850's more than 150 people from Koenigheim made this trip on one ship and the story was written down.
The emigrants needed a permission for the emigration. But a lot of of them left Baden without this permission. I don't know if Maria Anna Stephan had this permission.
I found the Passengerlist of the Algeria on ancestry.com during my research for the emigrants of my village Koenigheim to the USA.
That's it.
Stefan Lindtner

More information

The following information is not edited to a final form. It is primarily a list of resources to use for a final text.

Rhein ship travel
See 1911 Encyclopedia entry. If you have patience, look in this source to find possibly contemporary information about Rhein travel and Rotterdam.
The Rhine Gorge is a popular name for the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a 65 km section of the River Rhine between Koblenz and Bingen in Germany. It was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in June 2002 for a unique combination of geological, historical, cultural and industrial reasons.

The gorge produces its own microclimate and has acted as a corridor for species not otherwise found in the region. Its slopes have long been terraced for agriculture, in particular viticulture which has good conditions on south-facing slopes. Most of the vineyards belong to the wine region Mittelrhein, but the southernmost parts of the Rhine Gorge fall in Rheingau and Nahe.

The river has been an important trade route into central Europe since prehistoric times and a string of small settlements has grown up along the banks. Constrained in size, many of these old towns retain a historic feel today. With increasing wealth, many castles appeared and the valley became a core region of the Holy Roman Empire. It was at the centre of the Thirty Years' War, which left many of the castles in ruins, a particular attraction for today's cruise ships which follow the river. At one time forming a border of France, in the 19th Century the valley became part of Prussia and its landscape became the quintessential image of Germany.Rotterdam, NL port
An excellent contemporary map of lower Holland. Use these selections to the left of the map: Nederland, Zuid-Holland, Rotterdam.
Potentially, another contemporary map is at http://www.rat.de/kuijsten/atlas/zh/. However, the specific page results in an error. The home page http://www.rat.de connects to an active weblog.
This website is the Rotterdam municipal archive's image library. Use the product names provided on this webpage.

Liverpool, UK
This source includes a small amount of information for both Rotterdam and Liverpool. I found an isolated statement that Liverpool emigration records before 1890 are not available.

The embarcation and sea travel.
An abundant assemblage of detail at Maggie Blanck is not well documented.

Arrival at New York
Castle Garden, about 1888
Castle Garden, today known as Castle Clinton National Monument, is part of Battery Park, a 25-acre waterfront at the southern tip of Manhattan. From 1855 to 1890, Castle Garden was America's first official immigration center, a pioneering collaboration of New York State and New York City. Unlike Ellis Island, which was to be operated by the United States Bureau of Immigration, the New York State Board of Emigration commissioners were in charge of Castle Garden. The national monument of today includes an educational website that offers a database on 11 million immigrants who were received at Castle Garden from 1820 through 1892, the year Ellis Island opened. The park also served the citizens of New York as a concert hall and park until the early 20th Century. Other images of Castle Garden. Thanks also to Lynda Jean Reyst Klema and her excellent summary.

This source refers to other websites that may list immigrant arrivals.

Finally, the travel inland has spotty documentation in this source.

© Thomas G. Kohn, 2013.


Information about Mathias Kohn 1829-1888

One of my great grand-uncles led two brothers in emigrating from Waaerliesch, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. He settled in La Crosse WI as that town was first developing, and he became a notable businessman in the community. His success attracted his two brothers who emigrated in 1865 (John M. Kohn, my great-grandfather) and 1871 (Michael). Both John M. and Michael lived some time in La Crosse, but both also resettled to Kansas

I know these facts about Mathias Kohn.
  • 1829.08.16, he was baptized at St. Aper Catholic Church, Wasserlisch, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. The godparents were Mathias Hoffman of Wasserliesch and Christina Sturm-Kohn of the upper mill (about 2km west of Wasserliesch).
  • 1849.04.25, he was confirmed at St. Aper Catholic Church, Wasserlisch, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. No sponsor is identified.
  • Before 1855, he emigrated from Germany to the U.S. No information is available on the exact date or ship.
  • 1856.05.18, he purchased patent land identified as Section 23, Town 15, Range 5, documented in volume 89. The full description is SW 1/4 NE 1/4 S 23 T 15N R 5W and NE 1/4 NW 1/4 S 23 T 15N R 5W in the actual patent, dated 10 August 1858. The payment certificate for the same 80 acres was issued on 15 May 1856. The parcels are located in the extreme southeast corner of La Crosse county.
  • 1859.11.14, he sold land by warranty deed to Martin Voegele—the same 80 acres at SW 1/4 NE 1/4 S23 T15N R5W and NE 1/4 NW 1/4 S23 T15N R5W for payment of $200. Recorded 1862.09.25.11:00.
  • 1860.06.08, he was recorded in the U.S. Federal Census.
  • 1862.09.25, the deed transfer was recorded, in which Mathias sold 80 acres at SW 1/4 NE 1/4 S23 T15N R5W and NE 1/4 NW 1/4 S 23 T 15N R 5W . Certificates 13274 and 13276 United States for the certified register deposited in the General Land Office by Matthias Kohn. Recorded 1862.09.25.11:00.
  • 1865.09.18, he married Josephine Becker at St. Mary Catholic Church, La Crosse WI.
  • 1866, he was a saloon keeper and restaurateur, beginning before or in 1866. The saloon and restaurant had several locations, the first of which was on Pearl Street between Second and Third Streets. (Articles from The La Crosse Tribune and Nord Stern for the following news items: - "Matth Kohn & Jak. Ricker ...  Bier-Saloon ... [Pearl Street]" 30 Dec 1865. - "Neue Salon-Firma -- Hr. John Walter ... u. Kohn werden jetzt den Salon an der Pearl Straße" 20 Jan 1866.
  • 1866, he resided at the same address as his saloon and restaurant, on the north side of Pearl between Second and Third.
  • 1866.08.01, he owned land N 20 feet Lot 7 Block 19 in the city of La Crosse WI. (Agreement on 1868.08.01 between Philipp Koth and Mathias Kohn. Owner P.K. of middle 20 feet Lot 7 Block 19 of original plat of La Crosse and owner M.K. of N 20 feet Lot 7 Block 19 have built in equal share a wall on the line between the two parcels. P.K. desires to raise the wall of a two-story structure on that line, and M.K. agrees to pay 1/2 of the cost of that wall when he desires to build a structure using the same line. Recorded 1869.04.16.)
  • 1870, he was a saloon keeper, and was noted as sole owner beginning this year.
  • 1870, he and his family should be in the U.S. Federal Census.
  • 1875.06.01, he was recorded in the Wisconsin State Census. The entry at the bottom of page 21 reads "Mat. Kohn 4 white males, 3 white females." The members of the household that are accounted for: Mathias, Josephine, Ferdinand, Katherine, Frank J., Matt (Jr), and Clara Elizabeth. The five heads of household before and after his listing are John Bauer (4, 2), John Willing (4, 4), Ole Wanger (5, 0), Mrs. A.B. Osborn (0, 2), Phill Knoth (1, 4); Mat. Kohn; [page 22] Ryland Partier (7, 3), J.C. Durbough (2,5), T.J. Gile (1, 0), Sivace Wilson (7, 3), George Feathirter (1, 0).
  • 1880, he and his family were recorded in the U.S. Federal Census.
  • 1881.01.30, he was godfather for the baptism of Catherine Josephine Kohn, daughter of John M. Kohn and Susanna Reinert.
  • 1883, his business was included in city directories for several years through 1888 with Mathias the proprietor and statements that his residence was the same address, 111 North Third Street.
  • 1885.06.20, he and his family were recorded in the Wisconsin State Census.
  • 1888.10.15, he died within one day of a probable stroke that caused paralysis.
  • 1888.10.18, he was buried in La Crosse, Catholic Cemetery.
His children were
  • Katherine (1866-1949), not married, no known children.
  • Frank J. (1868-1920), not married, no  known children .
  • Matt (1870-1899), not married, no  known children .
  • John (1872-1940), not married, no  known children .
  • Clara Elizabeth (1874-1932), not married, no  known children.
  • Helen (1876-1929), married George Johnson, no known children.
  • Josephine M. (1877-1962), not married, no  known children. 
  • Herman J. (1879-1922), married Della Petrick before 1908, three known children (Charlotte, Archie, Bernice).
  • Charlotte (1881-1958), not married, no  known children 
  • Ferdinand (1883-1940), married Julia Louise Euler, one known child (Georgia L.). Ferdinand died in Los Angeles CA in November 1940. His daughter married John Lewis Harley (1910-1996), and they had one daughter.
  • George (1885-1940), married, childen may be Richard Walrath and an unnamed daughter.
  • Helen V. DeFrance (1889-1960?) (by adoption).
  • Carl DeFrance (1893-1940?) (by adoption).
The descendants who I know are from the children of Herman J. Kohn and Della Petrick-Kohn, Charlotte and Archie. Charlotte married Vincent Troyanek in Winona WI, and they had four known children. I am in contact with their grand-daughter. Archie married Leona [family name unknown], and they had three known children. However, I have not made contact with this family.

Helen Kohn married George Johnson (about 1870-1930), but any children are unknown.

Ferdinand Kohn married Julia Euler, and they had at least one daughter Georgia, who married John Lewis Harley. The family of Ferdinand lived in Los Angeles CA, and the Harley family lived in Union City CA. Any later descendants are unknown.

George Kohn married Matilda [family name unknown], and a stepson Richard Walrath came from another marriage and an unnamed daughter married Merlin P. VanDyke.

Any corrections or additions are welcome. Please write a comment!

© Thomas G. Kohn, 2013.


Using a city directory

A city directory can be a useful tool for a genealogist who is researching a family or person in the United States, Canada, Australia, or the United Kingdom. Often a city directory is published as an annual project of a newspaper, and this sort of publication may be available when a town reaches a population of several thousand inhabitants. Sometimes the publication schedule varies from annual; biennial, quintannual, and irregular periods are all possible. In larger cities, two or sometimes more publications may exist for the same year.

Similar to the city directory is a county directory for rural locations. This type of directory is typically published by a land abstractor or realty company. The detail about each resident may not identify whether the family owns or leases land, and it may not identify land owners who live in nearby towns.

A city directory usually lists only heads of household and people who are "gainfully employed." Thus, through the 1960s, you might expect a city directory to contain a large majority of men. The few women listed before the mid-20th Century may be piece workers at home or owners of small shops that cater to women's needs, such as dressmakers, milleners (hat makers), cooks, and proprietors of boarding houses. Some publications offer lists of residents, some list businesses by category, some list both residents and categories of businesses. Some publications include ancillary information, such as lists of organizations, schools, churches, hospitals, and professionals by group. Many publications include street maps and voting ward maps. Almost all city directories include paid business advertisements, which is the primary source of income for the publisher. Sales of the directories is a secondary source of income.

The date of publication marks the end of a period of data gathering. The published information may be as much as as two years old, and almost certain to be at least a few months old. The data was usually amassed from responses to in-person interviews for smaller towns or a mail survey. Because the data was self-reported, it is relatively accurate for name spelling, occupation, and address. The absence of an expected name may not mean that the person has moved, but just that a respondent may have missed the deadline or decided not to participate.

The worth of directories for a city increases by comparing the listings over several years. A person may be skipped in one year and reappear at the same address—or a new  address—the next year. Several years' directories help record the financial growth of a family, in which the children become part of the workforce and gain listings separate from their parents.

The future of city directories

Perhaps the city directory will become less important or harder to use as demographics change in the United States. When fewer women take the family name of a husband, when blended families present two or even three surnames, the tracing of a family can become much harder to follow.

Several online sources have made inroads to the function of a city directory, most notably the White Pages and Yellow Pages. However, these alternatives are dynamic, and—as far as I know—no historical database has yet been developed as an online resource that may supplant the published city directory.

Where to find city directories

Many libraries hold a full series of the city directories published for local cities, and most local historical societies hold local city directories. Several large libraries also have acquired a large holding of city directories, in physical books, microfilms, digitized records, or a combination of these media. The Family History Library of the LDS Church holds many city directories in its microfilm collection, and you can arrange for renting and viewing the microfilms at a local Family History Library.

Several online genealogy services include a search of city directories that are logged in their storage (e.g., Ancestry, Family Search).

Further research

Topic: Are city directories available for European cities and cities in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa?

Additional links

Duke University Library
Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Family Trees
ProGenealogists Education
Genealogy Research Associates listing of online and physical resources, in collaborative development
Distant Cousin online archive of searchable city directories
Miriam J. Robbins online listing for historical alumni, business, city, county, farm, Masonic, rural, social, and other types of directories

© Thomas G. Kohn, 2013, revised 2014.05.08 and 2014.06.22.


A Kohn family: lost, found, lost, found, and repeat

The Familienbuch 1 Pfarrei St. Aper Wasserliesch 1752-1899 (the first family book for the St. Aper parish in Wasserliesch, Germany) has a similar notation beside the baptism entries for Matthias Kohn (b. 1829.08.16), Johann Matthias Kohn (b. 1839.01.10), and Michael Kohn (b. 1844.07.19) that reads "nach Nord-Amerika ausgewandert." Before reading this, I had known only of my great-grandfather Johann Matthias as the emigré from Germany. Afterwards, I knew I had two other emigrés to account for.

With a bit more research, I found that in addition to my great-grandfather's emigration in 1865 were Matthias Kohn's emigration around 1855 and Michael Kohn's in 1871. Because of information from Irene Streit-Keller, I found evidence of Matthias Kohn's life in La Crosse, Wisconsin quickly. He owned a saloon, which he operated as a restaurant and hotel. He married Josephine Becker, the "oldest settler of La Crosse," (as reported in the La Crosse obituary for her) and had 11 children and adopted 2 children who had been orphaned by a family friend. I found a descendant of Matthias, Cindy Bistodeau, who supplied ever increasing detail about the family and introduced me to the last Kohn family member still living in La Crosse, her grandmother Charlotte Kohn-Troyanek.

But Michael Kohn was apparently lost.

With more detailed research, I found Michael Kohn in La Crosse. He had been a Schreiner in Germany, and he continued his trade as a carpenter in La Crosse. I believe he worked at first for a furnniture maker, but he had a business listing as a cabinet maker in the city directory of 1876-1877. The only other evidence of his life in La Crosse was a marriage in 1874 to Theresa Loerscher, who was born about 1854. And their names were not in the 1880 census of La Crosse.

Again, lost.

Then I happened to find a Michael "Cohen" in the 1880 census. In Beloit, Kansas. So much matched correctly: age 36, occupation carpenter, born in Prussia, parents born in Prussia, wife "Tressa." Her age was given as 27, and they had 3 boys: Theodore age 5, Matt age 3, and Mike age 2. I felt enough matched to have confidence that I had found the Michael Kohn family again.

I asked the Mitchell County Historical Society to request a search of the church records for any baptisms for children of Michael and Theresa Kohn through the next ten years. Nothing. I asked also for a search of city directories and tax records for the next few years. Nothing.

Again, the family seemed to be lost.

Then I searched the 1900 census nationwide for Michael Kohn and his family. There seemed to be matches in Leavenworth, Kansas. I wrote a query on the Leavenworth county message board hosted by Ancestry.com. Within a day, a fellow researcher provided summaries for the state and federal censuses of 1885, 1895, 1900, and 1905. Found again!

But the family seems to have little presence there after 1905. Are they lost again?

Update, 27 June 2013.

Further online research suggests these facts:
  • Wife Theresa Loerscher-Kohn died in Leavenworth on 22 Nov 1891 (age 37).
  • Daughter Gertrude Kohn married Arthur Wales on 26 Dec 1900 (ages 20 and 35). They had at least one child, Millie T, born in 1903.
  • Son John R. Kohn died in Leavenworth on 24 Jul 1905 (age 21).
  • Son Mike Kohn died in Leavenworth on 4 Sep 1905 (age 27).
  • Husband Michael Kohn died in Leavenworth in 1905 (age 61).
  • Son Theodore Kohn died 29 Sep 1924 and was buried at the Ft. Leavenworth National Cemetery.
  • Children Matt, Peter, Leo, and Annie are not accounted for. 

Update, 8 May 2014.

Further online research in the census databases available from the Family History Library suggests these facts:

  • Gertrude Kohn-Wales and her husband Arthur and child Millie are enumerated in the 1910 census. Their address is in Ward 4 (ward locations are not known, not identified in 1878 and 1903 plat maps of the county and city). I note the transcription error "Anthin" for "Arthur.
  • It's unclear whether the Kansas censuses of 1915, 1925, and 1935 exist or whether the enumeration included city residents.
  • Gertrude remarried to a BROWN, who is not enumerated with her and daughter Millie Wales in the 1920 census. Their address is in Ward 1. A changed family name implies that Arthur Wales was divorced from Gertrude or deceased. The name "Brown" could be a transcription error, since no husband is enumerated. I presently feel trying to uncover further linkages is not worth the return.

  • Neither Gertrude nor Millie appears in the 1930 or 1940 censuses.

I have planned a research stop in Leavenworth for May 29-30. At the city library, I will review and photograph entries in the City Directories and their databases of births, marriages, tax returns, school records, and deaths. I plan to visit the Mt. Calvary cemetery to see if more burials are there than the seven reported in the county database of burials. I will take a bike or auto tour of the city's historical locations and the six locations of family homes. Finally, I'll visit St. Joseph Catholic Church and request scans of their sacramental registers for known family dates.

Chronology of the Leavenworth Kohn Family

© Thomas G. Kohn, 2013, 2014.


The Ohnsat mysteries on the National Road

Catheritne Ohnsat-Bulthaup told me a family story that my great-grandfather John Robert Ohnsat took his family by Conestoga wagon from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Tipton, Kansas in 1877. Her story was not detailed. It did not tell why the family made the 1100-mile move, why Tipton was the chosen destination, nor how difficult was the trip.

The Ohnsat Family in the United States

John Robert Ohnsat (known in our family as Robert) was born 18 September, 1835 in what was then called Grüben, East Prussia, in the province of Silesia (Ostpreußen, Schlesien, Kreis Falkenberg; today named Graben, Niemodlin county, Opole province, Poland/Polskie). He was baptized in the Catholic church there two days later. At age 36, he emigrated with his brother Joseph, who was about 30. They both immigrated to the United States and lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from about 1872. It is possible other members of the family also emigrated, as the family name appears for a few years in the Detroit area.

Robert was identified as a butcher in the City Directories of Pittsburgh PA (in publications dated 1872-73, 1876-77, and 1877-78); he lived at 135 Nineteenth, East Birmingham in 1872.

Robert married Leopoldine Salinger (b. 29 May 1839, Deutschland, Baden-Württemberg, Kreis Breisach-Hochschwarzwald, Breisach am Rhein) on 26 November 1872 at St. Michael Catholic Church by Father Fredericus with witnesses Joseph Ohnsat and Jacob Müller. Leopoldine emigrated from Breisach am Rhein, Baden-Württemberg probably in the early 1870s, perhaps with her sister Anna Maria Josephine and brother Anton Hermann. A family anecdote says that she was a nurse in an insane asylum, and that the experience there was so harsh that she made her children promise neither to become nurses nor to allow their children to do so. Robert became a naturalized citizen on 7 February 1873 in the Court of Common Pleas, Pittsburgh, Allegheny county.

Two children were born in Pittsburgh: Frank Robert on 19 October 1873 and Louise Katherine on 2 December 1875. Around the time Louise Katherine was born, the family moved to 75 Seventeenth, S.S. —perhaps this is Shady Side—as reported in the 1876 city directory. Then, within the next year or so, they moved to Brownsville Road, Mt. Oliver, 27th ward, according to the 1877 city directory.

Sometime in 1877, when Robert was 42 and Leopoldina was 38, they resettled to Kansas. Their third child Bernard O. was born near Tipton Kansas in April 1878. Soon after their arrival, John Robert bought land in Bloom township, in the southeast corner of Osborne county, Kansas. The family is entered in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census of Osborne county, Kansas as the "Robert Ohnsol" family that included Leopoldina (wife, age 31), Frank (son, 6), Louiza (daughter 4), and Barney (son, 2).

The gently rolling, rocky land is more suited to cattle grazing than crop farming. Robert died on the ranch as a result of being kicked by a horse, four days short of his 62nd birthday, in 1897. His widow Leopoldine lived on the ranch for a short while and then lived with her daughter Louise, who had married a neighbor boy, John Michael Kohn. Her granddaughter Isabella Kohn (Sister Edna Louise) remembered Leopoldina's fretting that her children just wanted her land and her money. She died in 1919 from dropsy (probably a cerebral stroke) at age 80.

The brother who emigrated with Robert was Joseph Ohnsat (born 3 July 1842). He also lived in Pittsburgh and worked also as a butcher on Larimer Avenue near Broad Avenue. Joseph died in 1880, as a result of being struck by a metal piece that flew from a tanning factory he was walking by, leaving a wife Elisabeth and children Charles (age 6), Dorothea (5), and Catherine (1). The widowed Elizabeth married Matthew Elliott within a few years, and the children were adopted by him. Others have researched this line. Another brother Carl Anton (born 13 October 1844) may have emigrated to live in or near Detroit, Michigan; however, more research is needed to verify that he is the same person as the husband Charles Ohnsat to Helena Kauf and father of Mary Ohnsat-Bargo (1875-unknown), Annie H. Ohnsat-Priemer (1884-1920), Martha Ohnsat (1891-unknown), and Charles J Ohnsat (1893-1960). 

The National Road

The National Road was envisioned to provide a paved roadway from Washington DC first to Wheeling, West Virginia and then, with Congressional direction in 1825, to St. Louis, Missouri. The National Road construction continued from 1806 until 1839, up to Vandalia, Illinois, some 65 miles short of its planned terminus.

The road construction reached Wheeling WV in 1816, and construction in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois occurred roughly simultaneously. In Ohio, the completed road reached Columbus in 1833 and Springfield in 1838. Surveying in Indiana was being completed in 1827, construction was begun to the east and west from Indianapolis IN, and construction was completed in Richmond IN in 1834. The State of Indiana funded the completion of its part of the road through 1850. The Illinois segments were left as hardened clay, in part because of a lack of stone and for a greater part because of the cessation of federal funding.

The National Road.was most active from the 1830s to the 1860s. The traffic was especially heavy in the 1840s. "Stage coaches and freight wagons contended for running room with families traveling in Conestoga wagons, people walking, snappy carriages, hand drawn carts, hand pushed carts, and improvised vehicles beyond description." [Harry G. Black, Pictorial America: The National Road, 1984, HMB Publications, Hammond IN.]  Various sources estimate the speed of travel between 7 and 15 miles per day, depending on the mode of travel. The stage coach lines traveled as fast as 110 miles in a day. [Black cites a published schedule, "The Mail Pilot Line leaves Columbus for Wheeling daily at 6 a.m., reaching Zanesville at 1 p.m. and Wheeling at 6 a.m. next day, through in 24 hours, allowing five hours repose at St. Clairsville."] During this period, way stations, inns, taverns, hotels, and stage liveries enjoyed a great influence on local and interstate trade. Locals could often see as many as 20 coaches in a row on the road.

Following this active period, use of the National Road diminished with the rise of the railway systems. Rails were set to Wheeling from the east by 1853. [Norris F. Schneider, The National Road: Main Street of America, 1978, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus OH.] The Illinois Central line arrived in central Illinois near East Dubuque in 1855, and the transcontinental railway was authorized in 1862.[3] These two milestones indicate the quick growth of the railways that supplanted the National Road. By the 1870s, several train routes were laid from the eastern states into the plains states. However, most routes followed short-run schedules that required several train changes for a long interstate trip.

Little of the original National Road route is evident today, because the individual states turned their attentions elsewhere and the road fell into ever greater disrepair. Where I live in Dayton OH, some road remnants are visible but not celebrated. A small bridge exists in the Englewood Reserve park, an inclined stretch of road leads up from Taylorsville Reserve to Vandalia, a crossing of canal locks has earthworks remaining, and the ruins of bridge abutments are visible near the Great Miami River and Stillwater River.

By 1870, parts of the road had become little more than a country road in stretches. Beginning in 1925, federal funds were allocated for the building of U.S. Highway 40, which generally follows the path of the National Road. The surveying of the National Road was a solid foundation for the purposes of U.S. 40  Many bridges were replaced, earthworks were removed or expanded, and the filigree of the National Road was stripped away. From Washington PA through St. Louis MO, the 1960s routing of Interstate 70 followed the National Road, and the construction further obliterated remaining vestiges of the National Road.

Few of the hotels, inns, taverns, and stage houses still exist. I have begun to search for guest registers that might include the Ohnsat family. However, their supposed travel by Conestoga wagon—or, more likely, by the wagon called a "Prairie Schooner"—could have made such overnight accommodations unnecessary or infrequent.

Many questions arise about the family's resettling to Kansas, and these are the Ohnsat mysteries on the National Road.
  • Why did Robert decide to leave Pittsburgh in 1877, at age 42, when he was apparently well established as a butcher?
  • When exactly was the trip begun? Logically, it could have started in the Spring, or perhaps as late as September 1877, when Leopoldina might have known she was pregnant.
  • How did the family choose Tipton as their goal? Were advertisements published or books for sale in Pittsburgh that encouraged settlement in Tipton or Kansas in general? 
  • Were any tracts of land available along the path of the National Road in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, or eastern Kansas?
  • Was land still available in Kansas from the federal Land Grant program?
  • Did Robert bring any cash that would allow him to set up his home and purchase land? 
  • Why did Robert decide to drive a wagon instead of using the railways? Rail travel was available through at least Abilene and west of Salina.
  • What was the cost in 1877 of a Conestoga wagon and team of horses or a Prairie Schooner and a team of oxen?
  • What would need to be packed for the trip by wagon? 
  • Would the wagon mean only occasional need to stop in an inn or hotel? Would there be need to stop for a mid-day meal, and to leave the evening meal at the time of stopping for the night, with breakfast before setting off the next morning?
  • What was the condition of the National Road in 1877-78? (Contemporary plat maps of Ohio and Indiana show that roads did exist from Wheeling WV through St. Louis. The contemporaneous plat maps for Indiana I have found so far are not detailed to parcel owners, but only to township divisions, and do not clearly indicate any road-worthiness of the route.)
  • What is revealed about the route by plat maps of detail for Indiana, and any type of maps for Illinois, Missouri, and eastern Kansas?
  • What was the time needed for the trip? I guess that easy routes could be traveled at 15 miles per day, or more on long days of summer. Unpaved roads likely were the rule in Missouri and Kansas, and average speed would be slower because of rains and ruts after the rains.
An interesting historical footnote is that the closest town to the Robert Ohnsat ranch is Tipton, Kansas. It lies about 10 miles to the northeast of the Ohnsat ranch, in the southwestern corner of Mitchell county and was originally named Pittsburgh. The name was chosen about 1871 because its founder was named Pitt, and the spelling of "burgh" was taken from the spelling of the Pennsylvania city. However, the name Pittsburg was already in use by another town in Kansas, some 120 miles to the southeast. In deference to clarity for the mail system, the town fathers decided to change the name to Tipton, although the town is still situated in Pittsburgh township.

© Thomas G. Kohn, 2013, revised 2014.05.08.

The Kansas leg from Kansas City MO to Tipton KS

This post is a stub entry, which is constantly being added to with raw research data about the availability of train travel and the existing roads in the period 1865 (the immigration of John M Kohn) through 1877 (the resettling of the Robert Ohnsat family) and 1883 (the resettling of the Anton Deneke family). This posting records what information I find. If you have further information or know of websites that may provide something, please leave a comment.

I guess that the trip to Tipton and Osborne county could have been made most easily by train, at least from about 1870 on. However, the traveler by train might have limits on how many possessions they could bring. If a family was moving their household belongings, perhaps the more efficient means would be by wagon.

  • I know nothing of how John M. Kohn came to Kansas. His first home in the U.S. was likely La Crosse WI.
  • According to family anecdote, the Robert Ohnsat family came to Kansas from Pittsburgh PA via Conestoga wagon.
  • I know nothing of how the Anton Deneke came to Kansas. Their first home in the U.S. was Cincinnati OH.

Trails and Rails

Santa Fe Trail Research documents a lot of information about the forts established to protect wagon trains, stage coaches, and other travel across Missouri and Kansas. The site also has an index of articles found in the periodical Wagon Tracks, including a number of references to the forts Riley, Leavenworth, Ellsworth, Haysrailroads, stage coaches, Salina KS, Saline county MO, and the Solomon River, wagon trains, and many other topics. A fort existed near Leavenworth KS from about 1827, as reported on the site. Detail there about Fort Ellsworth says, "In June 1864, "Fort Ellsworth, Kansas" was established at the site of the Page Ranche. The fort was one of several that served to protect the area of Central Kansas and the Santa Fe Trail." So far, I have not found a map of the pioneer trails on the site, and its greatest lack is illustrative material in general.

The Legends of America site has detail about the Smoky Hill Trail, which connected travelers from Fort Leavenworth to Denver. Following this trail, the Butterfield Overland Dispatch could travel from Atchison to Denver in about 3.5 months (for example, from 4 June to 23 September in 1865). The stage line was active only from 1865 through 1870, after which train travel obviated its need.

The Legends of Kansas site documents a list of railroad service to the state. However, no maps show clearly  which railway came close to Osborne and Tipton.

The Thompson Family History site records a history that states "On Oct. 18, 1916 the Salina Northern Train arrived in Tipton. It ran between Osborne and Salina." from a history compiled by Adeline Arnoldy. The Tipton municipal site has the same historical record.

According to Solomon Valley Heritage, the first rail to reach the area was to Downs in 1879 and then to Osborne, its terminus. Tipton received service much later from a line that came from Salina. The site also provides a bit of detail about other travel in the period 1865-1880. A detailed early-history of Solomon Valley towns brings new information about the location where my great-grandparents married. Heretofore I had thought they were married at the hotel of Waconda Springs. But now I realize a town named Waconda was begun about two miles south of Cawker City, and it did not survive for many years beyond 1875.


Another blog entry holds information about the route the Ohnsat family took through Missouri to Jackson County and Kansas City. In 1877, Kansas City MO was a booming town for about 50,000 citizens who knew it as the Town of Kansas, its incorporated name from 1853. (The city would be renamed in 1889 to Kansas City.)
The bridge across the Missouri River built in 1867 by the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad indicates the growing importance of the city over others in the area, especially St. Joseph MO and Leavenworth KS to the north. The bridge allowed the first rail service to crossing into Kansas and connected Chicago to Texas by a direct link.
Topic: wagon and foot bridges at Kansas City available in 1877


The exact route of travel for the resettling family is easy to dispute, since the state was still developing its infrastructure in the last quarter of the 19th Century. As a starting point, I assume the path was relatively a straight line from Kansas City to Salina. This route parallels the modern-day U.S. 40 and Interstate 70. From Salina, the family could have traveled west to Ellsworth and then north or northerly through Lincoln, Mitchell, and Osborne counties. An alternate path from Salina could take them north through Ottawa, Cloud, and Mitchell counties.

Wyandotte County

A plat map of Wyandotte County from 1887 is available. Although many roads exist by then, their alignment to the meridians at one-mile intervals leads me to believe that their quality was low and purpose was farmland access. The most likely throughfare followed the north bank of the Kansas River westward through Muncy, Edwardsville, and Bonner Springs. The road from Bonner Springs is uncertain.

The county population grew five-fold from 10,015 in 1870 to 54,407 in 1890.

Leavenworth County

A plat map of Leavenworth County from 1878 is available. Again, most roads are aligned to the meridian grid, and a clear throughfare is not clear. But a section of road between Le Mare and Stranger that bends in parallel to the railway may indicate its importance as a throughfare from Bonner Springs in Wyandotte County. I would presume the due-west road from Stranger was the continuation of the throughfare.


A fellow researcher cited the importance of Tonganoxie, which in the 1878 map is a stop on the Leavenworth Branch of the Kansas Pacific Railroad. However, roadway use as a throughfare is less clear.


Topic: Could the family have chosen to go north first to Leavenworth from Kansas City? Where would that path lead them in a westerly journey?

Douglas County

Plat maps only from 1873 are available.


Shawnee County

Plat maps only from 1873 and 1898 are available.


Wabaunsee County

Plat maps from 1885 are available.


Geary County

Plat maps only from 1909 are available.

Junction City

Dickinson County

Plat maps only from 1901 are available.


Saline County

Plat maps available for 1884 and 1903. Because of a difference of only three years, I present the 1884 maps here.


Ellsworth County

Plat maps only from 1901 are available.


Ohio National Road Association lists some Ohio historical societies.

Lincoln County

Plat maps only from 1901 are available.

Osborne County

Plat maps only from 1900 and 1917 are available.

Mitchell County

Plat maps from 1884 and 1902 are available.

Cloud County

Plat maps from 1885 are available.
Ottawa County

Plat maps [supply dates] are available.

The Missouri leg from St. Louis to Kansas City MO

This post is a stub entry, which is constantly being added to with raw research data. If a reader has further information or websites that may provide something, please leave a comment.

Several parts of my forebears resettled from eastern states to Kansas from about 1870 to 1885. One of them, the Robert Ohnsat family, produced a family anecdote that their journey was by "Conestoga wagon along the National Road" in 1877. This post follows the likely journey westward through Missouri.

Previous post

The National Road actually ended in Vandalia IL, and National Road travel was eclipsed by the railway system, beginning as early as the 1860s. The federal funding provided for a paved high road to the Mississippi River, though the dispute between the legislatures of Missouri and Illinois obstructed actual surveying and construction beyond Vandalia. Their dispute lasted nearly two decades, with one state desiring a terminus at Alton, just above the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. and the other state desiring a terminus at St. Louis.


In practical terms, with the engineered road end in Vandalia, travelers could take two options to continue into Missouri. Mississippi River crossings were available by (ferry ? / bridge ?) at Alton IL to West Alton MO—just above the confluence of the Missouri River and Mississippi—and by bridge from East St. Louis IL directly into St. Louis MO.

St. Louis County

If their route preference took the Ohnsat family through the city of St. Louis, they would continue into St. Louis County and pass through Florissant, prior to crossing the Missouri River. Though Florissant is now a suburban part of St. Louis, it was very separate from the city in 1877, and its population was only 817 in 1880. (Other named suburbs were founded after the Ohnsat family journey: Ferguson in 1893 and University City in 1903.)

So far, no information is available on possible wayhouses in Florissant.

Topic: crossing the Missouri River at Florissant to St. Charles, in St. Charles County.

St. Charles County

Perhaps the more likely route would have been through Alton and West Alton, since then only one river crossing would be necessary. The way from West Alton allows the two paths to join at St. Charles, about a dozen miles west-southwest. The route west from there would go through St. Peters, O'Fallon, Wentzville, and Foristell in St. Charles County.

Topic: crossing the Mississippi River at Alton to West Alton, in St. Charles County.

St. Charles

Topic: wayhouses in St. Charles.


Topic: wayhouses in O'Fallon.


Topic: wayhouses in Wentzville.

Topic: when the road became known as Boone's Lick Trail, and if the identity extended all the way to St. Charles.
Quote from correspondent: "The Boonslick Trail, aka the St. Charles Road, went from St. Louis to St. Joseph, MO. One stage/mail/lodging stop was Sexton's Station, located about six miles WNW of Columbia, MO, where I live. It seems the station wasn't used as such after the mid-1800s "

Warren County

Topic: Warren County topography, distances.

Wright City

Topic: wayhouses in Wright City.


Topic: wayhouses in Warrenton.

Montgomery County



Callaway County



Boone County



Sexton's Station, located about six miles WNW of Columbia, MO

Cooper County



Pettis County



Saline County


Sweet Springs

Lafayette County



Jackson County


Lee's Summit
Kansas City, Missouri

Next post

The Illinois leg from Terre Haute IN to St. Louis MO

This post is a stub entry, which is constantly being added to with raw research data. If a reader has further information or websites that may provide something, please leave a comment.

Several of my forebears resettled from eastern states to Kansas from about 1870 to 1885. One of them, the Robert Ohnsat family, produced a family anecdote that their journey was by "Conestoga wagon" in 1877. This post follows the likely journey westward through Illinois.

Previous post—the Indiana leg 


The National Road in Illinois passes from east to west through Clark county, Cumberland county, Effingham county, and Fayette county, where the completed road ended in Vandalia. Travelers could continue to St. Louis through Bond county, Madison county, and St. Clair county or to Alton through Bond county and Madison county.

Clark County

This map of Clark county from 1875 shows The Vandalia Terre Haute Railroad already in use that roughly parallels the National Road.


Not served by the railroad, but a small inhabited area just west of Big Creek.









Cumberland County

This map of Cumberland county from 1875 shows the Vandalia Terre Haute Railroad already in use that parallels the National Road.







Effingham County

This map of Effingham county from 1875 shows the Vandalia Terre Haute Railroad already in use that parallels the National Road.













Fayette County

This map of Fayette county from 1875 shows the Vandalia Terre Haute Railroad already in use that parallels the National Road.

St. Elmo


Howards Point




Bluff City



Actual terminus of historic National Road



Lutz Spur

Bond County

This map of Bond county from 1875 shows the Vandalia Terre Haute Railroad already in use that parallels the National Road.

Mulberry Grove





Likely point where the routes diverge, with one heading due west toward Alton and the other southwest toward St. Louis.





West to Alton:

New Berlin


Old Ripley


Madison County

This map of Madison county from 1875 shows the Vandalia Terre Haute Railroad already in use that parallels the National Road.
Southwest to St. Louis:



St. Jacob







West to Alton:











St. Calir County

This map of St. Clair county from 1875 shows the Vandalia Terre Haute Railroad already in use that parallels the National Road.



East St. Louis


Next post—through Missouri