The Children of George and Elizabeth Bittinger Hollabaugh
Eliza Jane (1838 - before 1918)
Mary Elizabeth (1840 - 1941)
George Washington (1844 - 1924)
David William (1847 - 1936)
Alice Catharine (1849 - 1916)
Jacob Bittinger (1852 - 1943)Georgianna Hannah (1856 - 1944)
|Photo courtesy of Rodger Dohm, a descendent of David|
According to the baptismal records of the St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, George and Elisabeth Hollabaugh named their third son who was born on July 24, 1847, David. Just David. He was baptized on February 9, 1848 as such.
In the 1850 and the 1860 censuses, he was listed as David. But as we follow his life, we see that he referred to himself as William David or W. D. One source said that he gave himself the name, William. It does seem unlikely that his parents named two children, William. So, for the purposes of this recounting of his life, I will refer to him as David to distinguish him from his older brother William Levi.
David was fourteen, just days away from his fifteenth birthday, when the Battle of Gettysburg took place near his home in the first days of July 1863. In a letter posted online, a letter written by David's youngest daughter, Ethel Elaine (Niemann) to her descendents, Ethel (who referred to her father as David) recounted how her father and a friend watched the battle from the relative safety of a tree limb until the the fighting became so intense, they were forced to take shelter in a cellar. At the end of the third day of fighting, July 3, 1863, David said (according to the letter), that “between Seminary Ridge, where Lee’s Army was stationed, and Cemetary Ridge, across the mile-wide valley where Meade’s Army waited for Pickett’s Charge, dead men and horses were so numerous that, ‘I could have walked from ridge to ridge without stepping off a body.’” David witnessed the battle at the west end of Gettysburg when Lee’s army met Meade’s. He saw the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg turned into a hospital for wounded Confederates. David said he knew the legendary Old John Burns who grabbed his squirrel rifle and joined the Union Army on the spot, fighting so valiantly that legend and song have grown up around his bravery. Young David Hollabaugh, and his brothers and sisters were in the midst of this chaos, death, and destruction.
We know that David was still in Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, because his daughter reported that he was witness to the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery and heard Lincoln’s address that day. The statesmen of Pennsylvania had to move quickly to provide a resting place for the plethora of bodies that rested on the fields of Gettysburg and the surrounding area. By the end of July, measures were being taken to identify the bodies using whatever items the soldiers had on them. Markers on the graves were rough boards with names written in lead pencil. It must have been a gruesome sight for old and young citizens alike.
His daughter noted in her letter that David headed for the west sometime in 1864 or 1865 to Fort Wayne and Spencerville, Indiana briefly, and then on to Nebraska City, Nebraska. Nebraska became a state in 1867, so he was in what was known then as the Nebraska Territory. In his brother, George's, obituary, it stated that George came to Indiana in 1871, after marrying in PA, and brother, William, married in Indiana in 1870. Did any of the brothers come west together or did the younger David set out alone?
In the 1870 census of Nebraska City, Otoe County, Nebraska, A. Holabaugh, 25, a carpenter, was enumerated in the boarding house of D. and E. Cinnamond. Seventeen young men were living in that house, which led me to think that perhaps the landlord gave information to the enumerator, causing some mistakes. The Hollabaugh man was said to be born in Ohio, a fact that a landlord probably wouldn't know. The age was appropriate for David,as was the location and occupation, as we will soon learn, but someone has given the first initial as A.
I, personally, think this was our David Hollabaugh, but can not be absolutely sure.
In 1873, David made the almost seven hundred mile trip back to the Spencerville, Indiana, area where he married Margaret Jane Furnish, a teacher, on April 10. Had he met her on an earlier trip back to visit his brothers? Or did the brothers arrange this marriage in some way? All that is left to the imagination. Margaret was the daughter of David and Mary Caroline Davis Furnish. Born on January 21, 1847 in Ohio, Margaret was 27 when she married and David was about a half year younger.
The young couple left Indiana to make their home in Nebraska City, Nebraska.
By the 1880 census on June 11, they were settled in the Third Ward of Nebraska City where W.D. Hollabaugh worked as a carpenter at 31, and his wife Margaret, 30, kept house and cared for their two sons, William, 6, and Albert, 4, both born in Nebraska. William's age and birthplace put the family back in Nebraska by 1874; however a land transfer from W. D. Hallabaugh to G. W. Cooper is noted in the Nebraska Advertiser newspaper on May 29, 1873, suggesting David and Margaret were probably back in Nebraska soon after their wedding. Their first child, Caroline Elizabeth, born December 26, 1873, died of cholera in August 1874.
The 1885 Nebraska census of June 4, 1885, again showed David as a carpenter at age 37 and he and Margaret had added a few more children. Listed were
William, 11, and John (John Albert), 9, along with Horace, 4, and Mabel 11/12.
Daughter Ethel wrote, "David worked with John Wales as a skilled cabinetmaker and interior finishing man. He did the greater part of the interior finishing of the Post Office building at 8th Street & Corso, Nebraska City, which was erected in 1886 - 1888, a building which still stands today in perfect condition as of June 17, 1956."
|This post office is now on the National Register of Historic Places.|
In 1900, William and Maggie (Margaret) were on the farm with all of their children.
This census disputes the church record, giving William's birthdate as July 1846, rather than 1847. The children were: William, born December 1873, age 26 and at college; Albert, born March 1876, age 24; Eugene, born September 1880, age 19; Mabel, born July 1884, age 15; Lulu, born January 1887, age 13, and Ethel, born October 1891, age 8.
I've found some articles in historic newspapers that revealed much about this Hollabaugh family.
The oldest daughter,Mabel Maud Hollabaugh, married Ross McWilliams on 20 October 1903 and this announcement appeared in the Omaha Daily Bee on the next day:
"Nebraska City, Neb., Oct. 20 - Mr. R. McWilliams of Pennsylvania and Miss Mable Hollabaugh of this city were married this afternoon at the Cumberland Presbyterian church. After the ceremony, the couple left for Pennsylvania to make their future home. The bride is the daughter of W. D. Hollabaugh, a well-known fruit grower southwest of this city."
Again in the Omaha Daily Bee of August 6, 1904, we learn of the high esteem given to W.D. Hollabaugh and his talents as a fruit grower.
"Peach Trees Make a Change
Nebraska City, Neb., Aug. 5 - Several of the best known fruit growers in this section of the county claim that peach trees that bore freestone peaches heretofore are bearing clingstone peaches this year. W. D. Hollabaugh and Emery Sherfey, two very successful fruit growers, say their freestone peach trees are bearing the clingstone variety. They are at a loss to explain this phenomena and can give no explanation of the transformation. Some of the trees, they claim are bearing both the free and clingstone varieties."
|Lulu Grace Hollabaugh married Chester Dwyer|
In 1906, another Hollabaugh daughter, Lulu Grace, was married. The Omaha Daily Bee reported the event on June 8, 1906:
"Nebraska City - At high noon today at the home of the bride's parents, two miles southwest of this city, Mr. C. E. Dwyer and Miss Lulu Hollabaugh, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Hollabaugh, were united in marriage by Rev. C. A. Mastin, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church. The ceremony was performed on the lawn under a group of old trees. Mr. and Mrs. Dwyer left this evening for an extended trip to Massachusetts."
In the 1910 census, only the youngest daughter, Ethel E. (Elaine) was at home at the age of 18. William D., 62, and Margette J., 63, were living back in Ward 2 of Nebraska City.
That same year, tragedy struck the oldest Hollabaugh son, William Edmond, who never married and apparently had very diminished eyesight.
The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, NE) - February 4, 1910 -
"STRICKEN BLIND AT WORK
Piano Tuner Loses His Sight Unexpectedly at Talmage, Neb.
Nebraska City, Neb. - Feb. 3 - William Hollabaugh, whose sight had been failing for a number of years, was suddenly stricken blind while at work tuning pianos at Talmage. He was brought to his home here. Oculists who have examined his eyes give him no hope that he may ever recover his eyesight."
Then, in the Valentine Democrat of Valentine, Nebraska of February 10, 1910, this article appeared:
"Piano Tuner Partially Blind - William Hollabaugh, for years partially blind, and a graduate as a piano tuner from the Institute for the Blind, was suddenly stricken totally blind while tuning a piano at Talmage."
William did continue his work as a piano tuner. In the 1930 census, he was renting a room for $5 a month in Nebraska City. He was single at 55 and still working. The census noted he could not read or write...yes, because he was blind.
And more trouble followed, according to the Omaha Daily Bee of January 28, 1911:
"Nebraska City - Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Hollabaugh have been called to Freona, Tex. to attend the bedside of their daughter, Mrs. Ross McWilliams, who is dangerously ill with appendicitis."
Thankfully, Mabel survived this ordeal and lived on until 1962.
By the 1920 census, William D. and Margaret J. were living in the same home on 8th Street. With them were Lulu G. Dwyer (called Laura by the census taker), 32 years old and a widow, and her children Raymond C., 12, and Paul, 9. Lulu had a salaried job as a mail clerk at a packing plant. William and Margaret, at 72, were retired.
The Evening State Journal and Lincoln Daily News of March 15, 1924, reported this finding:
"Nebraska City, March 15 - While tearing down part of the fresco work on the old Bishof building in this city, workmen found a board with the following information on it in pencil: 'Built by W. D. Hollabaugh July 8, 1880.' The writing was legible in spite of being forty -four years old. W. D. Hollabaugh is still a resident of this city. The board will be kept by Earl Brust, a contractor, as a memento."
|This invitation was sent back to the Indiana Hollabaughs and was in the possession of brother George's family. I wonder if any relative from Indiana attended.|
On July 17, 1934, Margaret Jane Furnish Hollabaugh died of a stroke. She would have been 87. A book exists about her Furnish family which may contain her obituary and more information about her, but it was unreadable online. I hope to eventually find the book at the Allen County Public Library. If anyone has a photo and/ or obit for Margaret, I would love to post it.
About a year and a half later, On January 4, 1936, David died of a coronary, at almost 90. I have an obituary from an unknown source:
"William David Hollabaugh, 88, who as a youth, watched the battle of Gettysburg from a point of vantage in a tree and a few months later heard President Abraham Lincoln speak his immortal words at Gettysburg, dropped dead in Nebraska City Saturday morning. He died in the post office, a building he helped build as a skilled carpenter, before his sudden death came. William married Margaret Jane Furnish (daughter of David Furnish) and they were the parents of seven children , had a good life, and spent many anniversaries together, their 59th being their last."
They are buried in the Wyuka Cemetery, Nebraska City, along with others of their family.