Remember, Remember, the Days of November
Recently, Linda and I attended a birthday party for our four-year-old grandson, William. Not long after this, we were treated to a birthday meal for my nephew, Tom Huffman, who was born on November 8, 1963. Tom is the son of my sister, Barbara (Hagenbuch) Huffman. Also, around the same time, I was thinking of my father’s birthday. Homer Sechler Hagenbuch was born on November 4, 1916. These events got me wondering of how many others in my family have important dates that land in November. I went through Beechroots to research this information and found at least 17!
The farthest I went back was to my third great grandfather, Henry Hagenbuch, who was born on November 13, 1772. I’ve written several articles about Henry. He was born on the homestead in Berks County, PA, but in 1802 decided to purchase land in what is now Columbia County near the Hagenbuch church of Hidlay Lutheran (where we hope to have the 2024 reunion). Henry was married to Anna Maria “Mary” Wolf in 1796 and they had eight children, one of which was my great great grandfather William (b. 1807). Henry was a farmer, and I’m sure he was quite the character. He died in 1850 and was buried beside his wife Mary at Hidlay Church Cemetery.
Henry’s son, Isaac, also has a November birthdate. He was born on November 16, 1801, in Berks County where his parents (Henry and Mary) were living before moving north. Isaac married Salome Knepper and they had four children. Isaac was a farmer and not much is known about him. From those 4 children there were a few descendants, and they mostly lived their lives in Columbia County, PA. Isaac and Salome are buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery, Orangeville, PA.
My great great grandmother, Rebecca (Muffley) Hagenbuch was born in Columbia County on November 1, 1816. Her parents were Christian and Catherine (Delong) Muffley from Briar Creek in Columbia County. She married my great great grandfather, William Hagenbuch (b. 1807), in 1840. It was his second marriage; his first wife, Anna Knorr, died in 1839. Together they had nine children, one of which was my great grandfather, Hiram (b. 1847). We know little about Rebecca. Researching her on Ancestry, she appears in the census with no personal details which is not uncommon for housewives in the 1800s. She died in 1896 and is buried beside her husband, William, in the Oak Grove Lutheran Cemetery.
Rebecca’s and William’s eldest daughter, Catherine, was born in 1841 and died on November 10, 1863. Being as she was a female, unmarried, and 22 years old when she died, nothing is known about her. She is buried at Hidlay Lutheran Church cemetery.
My great grandparents, Hiram (b. 1847) and Mary Ann (Lindner) (b. 1853) Hagenbuch had 12 children. Four of those children had November dates in their lives. Their oldest child, Joseph William, was born in 1873 and died on November 28, 1880. No other information is known about him. He is buried at Oak Grove Lutheran Church cemetery next to his parents.
The second oldest child, Henry Bruce Hagenbuch, was born on November 19, 1875, and died the day before his father, Hiram, in July of 1897. Henry Bruce and Hiram both died of typhoid fever most likely because of contaminated water from one of the many floods which were the results of living near the Susquehanna River at Milton, PA. An article about the death of father Hiram and son Henry Bruce was published on April 9, 2019. It had to be an exceptionally tragic time for my great grandmother Mary Ann and the rest of the Hagenbuchs. Like Joseph William, Henry Bruce is buried at Oak Grove next to his parents.
From tragedy to joy is what I feel as I write about the next November date. My great Uncle Percy Hagenbuch was born on November 23, 1880. Several articles have been written about my “Uncle Perce” who was a unique character in our family. He was the first person to pique my interest in family history. He joked with me, especially about his missing thumb which he blamed on sucking it too much! I was excited each Sunday after church to get his cane and his hat and I would meet him coming out of church to hand those items to him. He not only put smiles on the faces of those he met, but he was also widely respected for his wisdom and strong will.
Great Uncle Perce was the fifth child born to Hiram and Mary Ann (Lindner) Hagenbuch. He was 16 when his father and brother died of typhoid and his life changed after that. Before that, the family lived in the large—and at that time modern—”house on the hill” north of Milton. After the deaths of Hiram and Henry Bruce, they had to move to the old homestead house which was located near Oak Grove Church where Perce’s grandfather, William (b. 1807), relocated to in 1852. This must have been a dreadful change for a 16 year old, yet Uncle Perce would have kept his good humor that continued into his old age. To this day, I remember him well and I’m glad I had a relationship with him.
The youngest child of Hiram and Mary Ann (Lindner) Hagenbuch was Luther. Luther was born in October of 1896. He was only nine months old when his father and brother died of typhoid. When I was growing up, my great Uncle Luther and his wife Carrie (Beaver) lived near Danville as did most of their six children. Our family never really visited with Uncle Luther and Aunt Carrie. However, my father would run across their oldest son, Jim, because of farming and my brother, Dave, got to know their son, Glen, through an interest in cars. I got to know their youngest son, John, because I would purchase school-related items from his business when I was an elementary principal.
My great Uncle Luther died on November 1, 1982. A few years before his death, my father and I visited with him and Aunt Carrie. That’s when he told me the story of the penny. To stop him from rutching around when he was a year old and his photo was being taken, Uncle Luther was given a penny. The photo I have of him clearly shows that penny in those little hands and Luther’s big smile for the photographer. My great Uncle Luther and my great Aunt Carrie are buried near Muncy, PA.
Interestingly enough, my Uncle Charles Clarence Hagenbuch, brother to my father Homer, was born in November, as were my father (November 4th), Uncle Charles’ two children, my Aunt Florence, and my Aunt Lera! Uncle Charles was born on November 14, 1915 in Montour County, the eldest child of my grandparents: Clarence (b. 1889) and Hannah (Sechler) Hagenbuch. Uncle Charles lived much of his life in Worcester, Massachusetts as did his two children, my first cousins, Gary, who was born on November 10th and Gail born on November 16th. My Aunt Florence (Hagenbuch) Robb, sister to my father and Uncle Charles, was born on November 21, 1925. My Aunt Lera (Laidacker) Hagenbuch, who was married to my Uncle Lee—the brother to my father, Uncle Charles, and Aunt Florence—was born on November 8, 1925.
That’s a lot of my immediate family with important November dates: father, uncle, first cousins, two aunts, a nephew, a grandson, great uncles, and others. I don’t believe there is anything mystical about this, except being a bit uncanny! But, taking one month and listing the folks with birth and death dates (I didn’t even research marriage dates) gives one a different perspective on our relationships. Of course, it’s also interesting to find famous people who are born on one’s birthday or who died on this day too. There are so many possibilities when working as a genealogist!