From the beginning this plot with several graves was a mystery. Two last names were involved – both German – Ziegler and Poenitz. I think, after a few hours of research, I know most of these people well enough to tell their story!
Two of Friedrich and Caroline’s children died early in life – Friedrich was five and Katharina was less than one year of age. Another daughter, Caroline, was born in November of 1858. Charles was born in 1860 and Henry in 1863.
Friedrich died July 15, 1864, leaving a will written just a month before. My belief is that he died from wounds fighting in the Civil War. I could be wrong, perhaps he was ill. But to be a young man of 35, I think the former is more likely.
I give and devise to my beloved wife Caroline all of my estate of whatever kind or description or wherever same may be situated for and during her natural life and also rents and profits from the same arising during the time.
After the death of my said wife I give and devise all said Real Estate of whatever kind or description of wherever same may be situated to my children Caroline Matilda, Charles and Henry and their heirs forever in fee simple to each one of my children to receive an equal share or portion thereof.
I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Caroline my Personal Estate wherever the same may be situated or in whoever hands or session the same may be. And I do hereby nominate my beloved wife Caroline Guardian of my three children. I do appoint her sole executrix of this my last will and testament and having full faith and confidence in my said wife hereby request the proper Court not to require any bond of such. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand the 9th day of June 1864.
Signed and acknowledged by Frederick Ziegler as his last will and testament in our presence – Samuel Geisler, Michael Blesch.
State of Kentucky, Campbell County Court, August Term 1864
The foregoing last will and testament of Friedrich Ziegler was produced to the Court at the above term and by the oaths of Samuel Geisler and Michael Blesch, subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded and is accordingly done in my office. John J. Thomas
At the age of 33 Caroline has lost her husband and two children, and is left with three children between the ages of 1 and 6. Within a year she marries Hermann Poenitz, a 1st Lieutenant in Company A of the 9th Ohio Infantry.
Hermann enlisted May 27, 1861, as a private, and soon worked his way up to through the ranks to 1st Lieutenant on February 1, 1864. He mustered out June 7, 1864. Again I wonder – was he wounded during the war? He lived another seven years, but dying at the age of 38, he was still a young man.
Hermann’s gravestone is a true memory to his heroism during the war. An infantry hat rests on a laurel wreath atop a draped rifle and sword. In the first photo notice there is a drape atop the stone, also with a laurel wreath.
Caroline and Hermann had one son, Emil Poenitz.
In the 1880 Census of Campbell County, Caroline, 49, widow, Hotel Keeper, born in Bavaria, Germany, lives with her three children from Friedrich – Caroline, 22; Charles, 19, Bar Keeper; Henry, 17, Hostler. And her son by Hermann, Emil, 13.
In the 1900 Census of Campbell County, Caroline, 69, widow, born February 1831, arrived in United States 1840, gave birth to five children, three living, lives with her widowed daughter Caroline Eyer, 41, widow, born November 1858, gave birth to six children, 2 living; Emil Poenitz, 34, born February 1866, married two years and his wife, Alice, 25, born October 1876, gave birth to one child, one living. I don’t know why the child was not listed – perhaps she was visiting Alice’s parents? Caroline actually gave birth to six children and only two are living in 1900 – Caroline and Emil. Sons Charles and Henry Ziegler died in the early 1880’s.
After the original stone was laid for Caroline’s two husbands and two small children who died young, there are additional stones for the husbands, much like the one shown above.
In the 1904 city directory of Covington, Alice Poenitz, wife of Emil, and her mother-in-law, Caroline Poenitz, lived together at 33 E. 9th Street. By 1908 they had moved to 207 E. 3rd Street where they lived until Caroline’s death in 1914. Perhaps after Caroline’s death Alice had the individual stones laid for the family members. Alice lived on, in the same home, until 1940.
Caroline died in 1914 at the age of 83. Her two husbands and all her children except daughter Caroline predeceased her. She must have had gumption! What did she think about the changes that took place in her world during those 83 years? She started her life riding in a buggy pulled by horses, and ended it riding in Model T’s! What a fascinating life! But, don’t forget, each of us live a fascinating life! It’s just a different story! Our individual story!