copright © 2003 by Jeffrey L. Thomas
My own research on the Christman family of Monroe County, Pennsylvania began in the late 1980s and continued through the early 1990s. In the absence of solid family tradition regarding our ancestors, I still managed to uncover a number of vital details about the family during this period. After giving genealogy a rest for a number of years, I returned to my old hobby in late 2002. Since then I have succeeded in gathering additional information about the descendants and ancestors of my great-great grandfather Aaron Anderson Christman.
We now know that our earliest family member was a man named Heinrich Christman, who was among a group of immigrant passengers who arrived at the port of Philadelphia on 20 November 1741 on board the ship "Europa". According to descendant George Christman:"In a List of German Immigrants to the American Colonies from Zweibruecken in the Palatinate 1728-1749, published in volume 1 Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society. There appears the name of Heinrich Christman, as leaving the village of Quirnbach, Oberant Lichtenberg in 1741 for Pennsylvania. An advertisement is the Sower newspaper Germantown Oct. 16, 1750 contains still further information relative to his origin (sic). "Heinrich Christman, linen weaver, age 35 years with his family left Quirnbach, two hours Tearbach, in northwest governing district of Lichtenberg in the Duchy of Zweibruecken, of the Bavarian Rienish Palatinate, lying west of the Rhine River; that the he qualified at Philadelphia November 20, 1741. That his sister Maria Margaret with her husband Anthoni Graeber followed him to Pennsylvania in 1750, that he settled in Chestnut Hill Township, Northampton County now Monroe County, where he made a his will under the date of March 19, 1768. The will is in reality an agreement of the sale of the plantation to his eldest son Christopher, on condition that he maintain the (sic) him and likewise the two younger children, Sophia and Henry, until they become fourteen years of age..."Heinrich Christman's date of emigration to the U.S. is also found in the book "Early Immigrants from Germany and Switzerland to Eastern Pennsylvania, by Russell George LaVan, Gateway Press, Baltimore, MD, 1990. These sources help firmly establish our immigrant ancestor in colonial America, while his will of 1768 helps establish the next generation of Christman family members.
Heinrich Christman married a woman named Anna and they raised seven children in Chestnuthill Township in what would eventually become Monroe County in 1836. (Prior to 1836 that area of Pennsylvania was still a part of Northampton County.) Their children were Elizabeth, Magdalena, Christopher (b.1741), Catherine (b.1743), Sophia (b.1755), Henry (b.1758), and Margaret. In Chestnuthill, the Christmans were neighbors of the Kresge family, another Monroe County pioneering family. When our ancestor Aaron Christman married Anna Kresge in the 1860s, they were repeating a long tradition of Christman-Kresge intermarriage.
Given the general lack of population, it was not unusual for cousins to marry in colonial times, and this was true with the Christman family. Our Aaron Christman was actually descended from two of Heinrich's children, Christopher and Henry. As such, until we reach Aaron's father William Christman, it will be necessary to list our ancestors from both branches! In one branch we have Heinrich's son Christopher Christman who was born 31 Oct 1741 and died in 1813. He married a woman named Eve and had a total of 11 children, including our next ancestor, Christopher II. In the other branch we have Heinrich's son Henry Christman who was born 29 Oct 1758 and died circa 1836. Henry married Eve Kleintop, (d. 6 Mar 1828), daughter of Joseph Kleintop and Catherine Keoser. Christopher II's son Melchior (b.1801) married Henry's daughter Sarah (or Salmi), who was born 25 Apr 1802. Melchior and Sarah Christman were the parents of Aaron Christman's father William. To make things a bit more clear, here's the line of descent on both sides leading to Aaron Anderson Christman:
As the chart above indicates, Aaron was a 6th generation Christman on his paternal grandfather's side, and a 5th generation Christman on his paternal grandmother's side! Again, close marriage within one's family was not unusual in colonial times, although today there are laws in place that prevent marriage between first cousins, once-removed.
Our Christman ancestors have appeared in every U.S. census since the very first, taken in 1790, and these returns establish our ancestor's places of residence in colonial America. Family tradition that claims immigrant Heinrich Christman first settled in Chestnuthill, Northampton County, is supported by the fact that his son and grandson, Christopher Sr. and Christopher Jr., are both present in Chestnuthill in the 1790 census. Also present among the 709 residents of Chestnuthill is Conrad Kresge, the founder of the Kresge family and near neighbor of the Christmans. The census indicates that the family of Christopher Christman Sr. included 1 male 16 and over, 3 males under 16, and 5 females, while the family of Christopher Jr. included 1 male 16 and over, 2 males under 16, and one female.
By 1800 Henry Christman had joined his father Christopher Sr. and his brother Christopher Jr. in the returns for Chestnuthill. Henry's family includes 1 male under 10, 1 male 26-45, (Henry), 3 females under 10, 1 female 10-16, and 1 female 26-45. Christopher Sr.'s family includes 2 males 10-16, 2 males 16-26, and one male 45 and older (Christopher Sr.), 1 female 16-26, and 1 female 45 and older, (Christopher's wife Anna Margaret), while Christopher Jr.'s family includes 2 males under 10, 2 males 10-16, 1 male 26-45, (Christopher), 1 female under 10, and 1 female 26-45, (Christopher's wife Anna Eva).
Ten years later in the census of 1810 only Henry and Christopher Jr. appear in the returns for Chestnuthill. Henry's family included 1 male under 10, 1 male 26-45 (Henry), 1 female under 10 and 1 female 26-45, while Christopher's family includes 1 male 10-16, 3 males 16-18, 1 male 45 and older, (Christopher), 2 females 10-16, and 1 female 45 and older, (Anna Eva). Then in 1820 something odd happens. The Christman family seems to disappear from Chestnuthill. Although there were probably still family members living there, no one named Christman is listed as the head of a household in 1820. It appears that sometime between 1810 and 1820, much of the family moved to nearby Towamensing Township in what would eventually become Carbon County. (In 1820, like Chestnuthill, Towamensing was still a part of Northampton County.) The distance between the two communities is about 15 miles. In 1820 we find the families of Henry and Jacob Christman Towamensing Township. Henry was likely the same individual we found in the returns of 1800 and 1810, (the son of Christopher Sr.), while Jacob was likely the son of Christopher Jr.
Ten years later in 1830 we get our first glimpse of our next ancestor, Melchior Christman. He is present in Towamensing Township, and his family includes 2 males under 5, 1 male 5-10, and 1 male 20-30, (Melchior), 2 females 5-10, and 1female 20-30, (Melchior's wife Sarah Christman). Records indicate that Melchior and Sarah Christman were the parents of 13 children: Millie, Ruben, Levina, (b.14 Nov 1822), William, (b.17 Apr 1824), Aaron, (b.1 Dec 1825), Stephen, (b.17 Feb 1830), Henrietta, (b.26 Jan 1835), Mary Anna, (b.8 Feb 1838), Elizabeth Anna, (b.17 Jan 1840), Maria Anna, (b.3 Jun 1842), Nathan, (b.6 Jan 1843), Louisa, (b.abt 1846), Anna Julianna, (b.9 July 1850). Baptism records indicate that while some of Melchior and Anna's children were born in Chestnuthill, others were born in Towamensing, indicating that the family was for a time in transition between the two communities. By examining the baptism records of Melchior and Sarah's children, it appears that the family's permanent move to Towamensing occurred shortly after 1840. Specifically, daughter Elizabeth was baptized in Kresgeville in Monroe County in 1840, while son Nathan (born 1843) and his younger siblings were all baptized in Towamensing Township.
In the 1840 census we again find Melchior and his family living in Towamensing Township. The returns list Melchior as the head of a family that included 2 males 5-10, 1 male 10-15, 1 male 15-20, 1 male 30-40, (Melchior), 2 females under 5, 1 female 5-10, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 15-20, and 1 female 30-40, (Sarah).
By 1850 it appears that Melchior and most of his family had settled permanently in Trachsville, Upper Towamensing Township. The 1850 census lists Melchior Christman as a 40-year-old farmer owning real estate valued at $900.00. The family included wife Sarah, (also age 40), and children Stephen, (age 20), Nathan, (age 17), Harriet, (age13), Mary, (age 12), Mariah, (age 10), and Lavinia?, (age 4). Living next door is the family of Catherine Christman, (widowed), whose husband was likely a cousin of either Melchior or Sarah. Notable by his absence is our next ancestor, son William Christman. While William's parents and most of his brothers and sisters were living in Carbon County, by 1850 William and his family were living back in Monroe County.
Melchior's son William Christman was born 17 April 1824 in Saylorsburg, Monroe County. He married Elizabeth Koch and their first child (and our next ancestor) Aaron Anderson, was born 7 May 1845. There is conflicting information regarding the number of children in the family. While certain sources list only seven children, my own census research indicates that William and Elizabeth had a total of nine children; Aaron, Francis, John, Barbara, Alvesta, Catherine, Cyrus, Ellen, and William. We get our first glimpse of the family of William and Elizabeth Christman in the 1850 Census for Tobyhanna Township, Monroe County. The returns list William as "William Crisman", age 31, a laborer owing real estate valued at $600.00. The family includes his wife Elizabeth, (age 27), Aaron A., (age 4), Francis, (age 2), and an unknown 10-year-old male named Shane Coker.
1850 Census, Tobyhanna Township, Monroe Co., Pa.
Name Age Occupation Value/Real Estate Place of Birth William Christman (Crisman) 31 Laborer 600 PA Elizabeth 27 PA Aaron (Aron) A. 4 PA Francis 2 PA Shane Coker(?) 10 PA
The 1860 census is the first to provide useful information regarding the Christman family. Although William and Elizabeth were still residing in Monroe County, by 1860 the family had moved from Tobyhannah Township to nearby Tunkhannock Township. By then William and Elizabeth's family was complete with the exception of son William who was born in 1864. The returns list William Christman, (age 44), as the head of the household. He is shown owning property worth $200.00 and personal property valued at $200.00. The decrease in value of real estate from 1850 ($600.00 to $200.00) is perhaps the best indicator that the family had moved. William's wife Elizabeth is next, (age 38), followed by children Aaron, (age 15), Francis A., (age 12), John, (age 10), Barbara, (age 8), Alvesta, (age 6), Cyrus, (age 4), and Ellen, (age 1). Two other individuals are present in the household, Fanny Koch, (age 19), and Susanna Christman, (age 3). Fanny was likely a relative of Elizabeth's, as Elizabeth's maiden name was also Koch, and Susanna was likely William's niece. William occupation is given as "lumberman" and future census returns would indicate that members of the Christman family were often engaged in the lumber trade, an important industry in 19th century Monroe County.
1860 Census, Tunhannock Township, Monroe Co., Pa.
Name Age Occupation Value/Real Estate Value/Per Prop Place of Birth William Christman 44 Lumberman 200 200 PA Elizabeth 38 PA Aaron 15 Laborer PA Francis A. 12 PA John 10 PA Barbara 8 PA Alvesta 6 PA Cyrus 4 PA Ellen 1 PA Fanny Koch 19 PA Sunannah Christman 3 PA
In 1860 we also find that William's father and mother Melchior and Sarah Christman were still living in Trachsville in Carbon County. The returns describe Melchior, (age 55), as a farmer, owing real estate valued at $2,000.00 and personal property valued at $900.00. The family includes wife Sarah, (age 54), daughter Mariah, (age 18), and an 8-year-old female named Angeline (who is too young to have been Sarah's daughter). Son Nathan, (age 24), and his wife Rebecca are also present in the family along with their young children Fred and Alice. Living next door are the families of Lynford and David Christman, who were likely Melchior and Susan's nephews.
By 1870 our next ancestor, Aaron Anderson Christman, had married and started a family of his own in Monroe County. According to his death certificate, Aaron Christman was born 7 May 1845 in Saylorsburg, Monroe County. Circa 1865 he married Anna Kresge, daughter of Samuel and Catherine Green Kresge of nearby Chestnuthill Township. Anna Kresge was the great granddaughter of Conrad Kresge, generally referred to today as "Conrad Kresge, the Pioneer".
Below: Aaron Christman and his wife Anna Kresge
Aaron and Anna Christman had a total of 7 children; Oresdes, or "Reed" (1867-1911?) married Flora Bond and raised a family of eight children. Ella (1869-1939) married Allen Utt, and had one child Gertie, who lived to be 104 years old. Asher (1878-1928) married Esther Whalen and raised a large family of ten children in Sonestown, Sullivan Co., Pa. Celestia (1872-1948) married Joseph Hooker Boorem and raised a family of 5 daughters in Scranton, Pa., including my grandmother, Dorothy. Burlington (1874-1935) married Jennie Larson and raised a family of four children in Kushequa, McKean Co., Pennsylvania. Lillian (1878-1963) married Thomas Campbell and they had one son, Thomas. Thomas Campbell died in a tragic hunting accident in 1897 soon after he and Lil were married, and his widow eventually remarried Frank Buxton and had three additional children for a total of four. Dollie (1880-1963) married Edward Keller, and had two children, Edward and Wayne. She eventually divorced Edward and married secondly, George Kresge, by whom she had an additional three children.
The 1870 returns show that Aaron and Anna were living next to Aaron's parents, William and Elizabeth Christman, in Tunkhannock Township, Monroe County. At this point it seems logical to assume that this was the same community where we found William and Elizabeth living in 1860. The census lists Aaron, (age 25), as the head of the household, occupation, "laborer." Next is his wife Anna, (age 22), followed by son Oresdes, or Reed Christman, (age 4), Ellen, (age 1), and Henrietta, (age 5 months). Henrietta is something of a problem because she is absent in the next set of returns in 1880, leading to the conclusion that she died as a child. However, the 1900 census indicates that Anna gave birth to only seven children, all seven of whom were still living and accounted for in 1900. Henrietta would have been an eighth child. Was she the daughter of Aaron and Anna Christman, or was she perhaps a niece simply staying with the family? At this point in time we can't be certain.
Next door to Aaron and Anna were Aaron's parents William (age 52), and Elizabeth Christman (age 49). The family also includes children Alvesta, (age 17), Catherine, (age 16), Cyrus, (age 12), and William R. , (age 6), the last of the Christman children. William is described as a laborer, owning real estate valued at $500.00 and personal property valued at $300.00. The fact that Aaron is not shown owning any real estate is an indication that he and his family were probably living on his parents land.
1870 Census, Tunkhannock Township, Monroe Co., Pa.
Name Age Occupation Value/Real Estate Value/Per Prop Born Christman, William 52 Laborer 500 300 PA Elizabeth 49 PA Alvesta 17 PA Catherine 16 PA Cyrus (Syrus) 12 PA William R. 6 PA Altimuse, Amanda 16 PA Christman, Aaron 25 Laborer PA Ann 22 PA Orides 4 PA Ellen 1 PA Henrietta 5/12 PA
In 1870 we get one final "census look" at the family of Melchior and Sarah Christman in Trachsville, Carbon County. The returns list Melchior as a 68 year old farmer in possession of land valued at $2,800.00, wife Sarah, (Sallie, age 65), daughter Julia, (age 19), and sons Aaron, (age 46), and Nathan, (age 34), and their families. Aaron's family includes his wife Mary and their children Adam and Eve, while by 1860 Nathan's family had grown to include children Edwin, Alice, Augustus, Erastus, John, and Martha. There is no trace of either Melchior or Sarah Christman in the next census, hence the likelihood that they both died sometime prior to 1880.
The 1880 Census would find both William and Aaron Christman and their families in different parts of Monroe County. By 1880, but more likely shortly after the 1870 census, Aaron and his young family moved from Tunkhannock Township to Cresco in nearby Barrett Township. We know this because Aaron's daughter, Celestia, born in 1872, was born in Cresco. By 1880 all of Aaron and Anna Christman's children had been born, with the exception of Dollie, who would be born later that year. The 1880 return lists Aaron as the head of the family, age 35, occupation, "hauling." Next is wife Anna, (age 30), and children Oresdes, (age 13), Ellen, (age 11), Asher, (age 10), Celestia, (age 8), Burlington, (age 6), and Lillie, (age 2). The returns also indicate that Oresdes, Ellen and Asher were all attending school.
1880 Census, Barrett Township, Monroe Co., Pa
Name Age Relationship Occupation Place of Birth Christman, Aaron A. 35 Hauling PA Anna 30 Wife Keeping house PA Oreddes S. 13 Son at home PA Ellen E. 11 Daughter at home PA Asher A. 10 Son at home PA Celeste C. 8 Daughter PA Burlington Wm. 6 Son PA Lillie Agnes 2 Daughter PA
By 1880 Aaron's mother and father had also moved from Tunkhannock Township and relocated in Coolbaugh Township in Monroe County. The family included William, age 68, occupation, "laborer," Elizabeth, (age 58), and son John, (age 27), also listed as a laborer. This would be the last set of returns for William and Elizabeth Christman. Although I have yet to discover the date of Elizabeth's death, William Christman died before the next census was taken in 1890.
William Christman died in Coolbaugh Township on October 11, 1884. His final resting place is unknown. His estate papers, on file at the Monroe County courthouse in Stroudsburg, provide a valuable and intimate glimpse into the Christman family. Among other things, the papers give us William's date of death, and his middle initial, "D". The first item in the estate file is a letter dated October 15, 1884, signed by William's widow Elizabeth, renouncing her rights to administer her husband's estate in favor of her son Aaron, as follows:To John Appenzeller, Register of Wills of Monroe County, Pennsylvania:
I, Elizabeth Christman, widow of William D. Christman late of Coolbaugh Township, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, deceased, do hereby renounce my right to letters of administration on his estate and request that the same be granted to Aaron A. Christman, Esq. of Barrett Township of said county.
And further request that you enter this record in your office.
Witness my hand this Fifteenth day of October A.D. 1884.
Elizabeth X Christman
Aaron then pledged a bond of $1,400.00 to administer his father's estate, and signed several documents, giving us valuable samples of his handwriting. An inventory of William's possessions was taken, his goods were sold at auction on November 15, 1884. It is this inventory that gives us our intimate look into the lives of William and Elizabeth Christman, as most of the items they owned and used in their day-to-day lives are listed. The inventory tells us that several items were purchased family members, Elizabeth herself, along with Aaron's sons Reed and Asher Christman. The amount realized by the sale was $93.16. Further credits to the estate were added for a final estate value of $151.21. Against this credit were charges of $159.60, most items having to do with the sale of William's goods. The largest expense item was $35.05, granted to William's widow Elizabeth as her rightful share of her husband's estate. The final account of the estate was entered and confirmed on December 23, 1885, with a balance of $9.49 due the administrator.
The census of 1890 was destroyed by fire, however, because we know that Aaron's daughter Celestia married Joseph Hooker Boorem in Cresco, Monroe County, in 1892, we know that the Christman family was still in Cresco in 1890. However, by 1900 the family of Aaron and Anna Christman had moved once again.
The 1900 census tells us that Aaron and Anna Christman, along with other family members, had moved from Monroe County to the village of Kushequa in far north McKean County, Pennsylvania. In fact, I have identified about 40 individuals living in Kushequa in 1900 who were somehow related to Aaron and Anna, including members from the Christman, Kresge, and Boorem families. This included the large family of Aaron and Anna's son Burlington Christman. Living at the Boorem household were Hooker, Celeste, Ina, Anne, Hooker's half-brother Sedgwick Boorem, and two borders that were working at the local cloths pin factory. Hooker's occupation is listed simply as "laborer" although Hooker's daughter Anne definitely remembers that her father worked as a lumberman. It is thought that the Christmans and the Boorems moved to Kushequa to find work, possibly at the local cloths pin factory, or in the area's thriving lumber industry. The census shows that in Kushequa Aaron was listed as the head of family that included ten individuals, eight family members and two borders. The family included Aaron, age 54, occupation, "day laborer," wife Annie, (age 50), daughter Lillie Campbell, (widowed, age 22), and her son Thomas, (age 3), daughter Dollie, (age 19), her husband Edward Keller, (age 19), and their son Creson, (age 3).
1900 Census, Hamlin Township, McKean Co., Pa
Name Relationship Birth Date Age Born Occupation Crissman, A.A. May 1846 64 PA Day Laborer Annie Wife Jul 1848 47 PA Campbell, Lillie Daughter Mar 1878 22 PA Maker of Clothspins Campbell, Thomas Grandson Mar 1897 3 PA (s/b Keller), Dolly Daughter Aug 1880 19 PA Keller, Edward Son-in-law Aug 1880 19 PA Carpenter Keller, Creson Grandson May 1899 1 PA Wagland, Henry Border May 1879 21 PA Farm Laborer Schanler, William Border - - PA Farm Laborer Crissman, Robert Grandson Apr 1884 16 PA Clothespin Factory
Recently I have come across research indicating that Aaron's brother Francis A. Christman and his family moved from Monroe County to Kushequa about the same time that Aaron and his family made the move. It appears that Aaron and Francis were also near neighbors in Tobyhanna Township in Monroe County. Francis Christman married Carolyn (Cary) Custer, and had the following children: Beulah, Sherman, Grover, Alfred, Earl and Mildred. Unfortunately, Francis died in 1895 at age 46, and was buried at Nebo Lutheran Cemetery, Hamlin Township, McKean Co. Consequently, we are deprived of seeing this branch of the family alongside Aaron and his large extended family in Kushequa in the 1900 census. It's been difficult to trace the family of Francis Christman following his death, although I did find his son Sherman and his family living in Bradford, McKean Co., in the 1920 census.
By 1910 Aaron and Anna Christman and much of their family had moved yet again, this time to the village of Sonestown in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania. Although we don't know how long the family remained in Kusuequa, their previous residence, Sonestown would be the place most closely associated with the family for the next 30 years.
In his final set of returns, the census lists Aaron Christman, age 64, as the head of a household that included his wife Anna, (age 61), and their grandson Thomas Campbell, (age 13). Aaron's occupation is given as "laborer - cloths pin factory." Living close by was the large family of their son Asher Christman. The family included Asher, wife Esther, and children Lila, Nellie Russell, Harry, Norman, Alice, and Gladys. Asher and his descendants would remain in Sonestown for many years.
The 1910 census also reveals that Aaron and Anna's daughter Dollie was living in Sullivan County with her second husband George Kresge. The family included Dollie's son from her first marriage to Edward Keller, Edward, and her children from George Kresge, Bessie and Clarence. Son Lawrence Kresge was born in 1912, and soon after George Kresge and Dollie split up.
By 1910 Hooker and Celeste Christman Boorem had moved from Kushequa to the Hyde Park section of Scranton in Lackawanna County. Daughter Dorothy (my grandmother) was born in 1906, followed by Gertrude in 1908. In the census of 1910 the Boorem family is shown renting a house on Sloan Avenue. The family included Joseph H., (age 38), wife Celestia, (age 38), and daughters Ina, (age 15), Annie, (age 12), Dorothy, (age 3), and Gertrude, (age 1). Hooker's occupation is difficult to make out, although "boiler shop" is legible. We know that he worked for the railroad company (the D.L.&W) repairing and maintaining boilers for locomotives.
Back in McKean County we find the family of Burlington Christman, his wife Jennie and children Chester, Howard, Ethel and Lawrence. Burlington's occupation is given as 'fireman - brick works".
The 1910 Census for East Stroudsburg Borough, Monroe Co., Pa., shows us Reed Christman's wife Flora had remarried a man named William Howe. The circumstances of Flora's second marriage have yet to be explained, as family tradition claims that Reed Christman did not die until 1911. In 1910 the family of William Howe included his wife Flora, and his stepsons William, John, Reed, Peter, and George Christman. The returns also indicate that Flora was the mother of 11 children, 9 of which were living in 1910. To date only 8 of her children have been identified. Recent research has also shown that Reed's wife Flora Bond was the sister of Emma Bond, 2nd wife of John Boorem. Reed's sister Celeste was married to John Boorem's son Hooker, and Emma Bond Boorem was Hooker's stepmother. In other words, Hooker's step mother Emma and his sister-in-law Flora Bond Christman, were sisters.
Aaron Anderson Christman died at his home in Sonestown on 1 June 1915 at an age of 70 years. His death certificate, though difficult to read, lists the cause of death as "chronic heart disease" although my grandmother says she was always told that her grandfather died of a stroke. He was buried a few days later in Hillcrest Cemetery in Sonestown. Although I don't know how soon after, Aaron's widow Anna eventually moved in with her daughter Dollie Kresge and her family in Scranton, which brings us to the census of 1920.
My grandmother Dorothy Boorem Thomas-Kott and her sister Anne Boorem Dawson remember their grandfather Christman. One story was that he used to keep a pet bear for entertainment! They also remember that their grandfather was considered something of a "home remedy" doctor, as Aaron was known to successfully treat a variety of illness and injuries using his own special concoctions. On one particular occasion after one of his sons was cut deeply with an axe, Aaron applied a "cow-flop" (dung) to successfully stem the bleeding and save the arm.
There were apparently a lot of cats around the Christman household too, because Aaron always gave the kids a new kitten when they came to visit. As for family history, for some reason Aaron used to tell people that he and his family were from Bavaria in Germany, while the records clearly show that Aaron and his father were born in Pennsylvania. Dorothy and Anne also remember that the Christman family held a large family reunion almost every year while they lived in Sonestown, and we have several photographs of these large reunions. However, these annual reunions apparently began after Aaron's death.
The 1920 census shows us that Anna Christman was living with her daughter Dollie Kresge and grandson Edward Keller in Scranton's 15th ward. Edward was Dollie's son from her first marriage. Edward Keller, (age 20) is listed as the head of the family, followed by his mother Dollie Kresge, (age 38), and her children Bessie, (age 14), Clarence, (age 9), and Lawrence, (age 7). Listed last is Dollie's mother Anna Christman, listed as Mrs. Anna Christman. Unfortunately the returns are not very readable and therefore I have been unable to decipher Edward Keller's occupation.
As was the case in 1910, Anna's daughter Celeste Christman Boorem and her family were also living in Scranton. The 1920 census lists Joseph H. Boorem, (age 48), as the head of the household and the owner of 816 and 818 Archbald Street. Also present at 816 are wife Celeste, (age 48), and daughters Dorothy, (age 13), Gertrude, (age 11), and Jean, (age 7). Hooker's occupation is given as "Flu Welder - Coal Shops." In 1920 we also find Burlington Christman living in Kushequa with his wife Jennie and his children Howard, Ethel and Lamont. This is the same Kushequa in McKean County where we found Aaron and Anna Christman and their extended family in the 1900 returns. Burlington is listed as "B.W. Crisman," age 45, occupation, "foreman - tile plant." Brother Asher and his family were still living in Sonestown.
In 1930, 80-year-old Anna Kresge was still living on south Main Avenue in Scranton with her daughter Dollie Kresge and her children Edward Keller, and Bessie, Clarence and Lawrence Kresge. This is the exact same family group and the exact same location where we found the family ten years earlier in 1920 (which something of an oddity in census research). Again, Edward Keller is listed as the head of the family, age 30, occupation, Salesman - Cigar Store," followed by Dollie Kresge, (misnamed "Dorothy" age 49) and her children Bessie, (age 23), Clarence, (age 19), and Lawrence, (age 17). Anna is again listed last, as Anna Christman. At 80 years old, Anna still had some ten years left to live, and still had a long way to go to beat her mother, Catherine Green Kresge-Brong, who had passed away in 1925 at the age of 97!
In the 1930 census we find the family of Hooker and Celeste Christman Boorem on Archbald Street in the Hyde Park section of Scranton. The family was living in a duplex at 816 and 818 Archbald Street. In 816 we find Hooker, (age 57), Celestia, (age 57), and daughter Jeanne (Gene, age 17).
Son Asher Christman died in 1928 and was buried in Hillcrest Cemetery in Sonestown. In 1930 his widow Esther and children Gladys and Carl were living with their mother in Sonestown, as was son Russell Christman and his family. By 1930 some of Asher and Esther's children moved to upstate New York. Harry Christman and his family, his sister Nellie and her husband Dewey Whipple, and brother Percy Christman, were all living in Horsehead's Village in Chemung Co., New York. Harry was living with his wife and four children, while Percy was living with his sister Nellie and her husband.
Back in Kushequa in McKean County we find Burlington Christman and his wife Jennie living with two of their children. Next-door are their sons Chester and Lamont Christman and their families, and Robert Christman and his wife Mabel, son of Burlington's older brother Oresdes.
The 1930 Census also shows us that daughter Ella Utt, her husband Allen, their daughter Gertie (Gertrude), and her daughter Ina, were all living on Davis Street in Bradford, McKean County. Allen Utt was the head of a household that included his wife and three boarders, while the widowed Gertie Farquhar and Ina were living next door. Her Boorem cousins knew Ina as "Little Ina." Over in Franklin Township in Venango County we find the family of Lillian Christman and her husband Frank Buxton, including daughters Frances and Delores.
So, by 1930 the status of the Christman family was as follows: Aaron Christman and his sons Reed and Asher were dead; wife Anna was living with her daughter Dollie Kresge in Scranton; most of Reed's children were living in Stroudsburg; Celeste was living with her husband and family in Scranton; Asher's widow Esther and some of her children were still living in Sonestown (others had moved to New York); Burlington and family were living in Kushequa close to Ella and her family in Bradford, and Lillian and her family were living in Vanango County in Western Pennsylvania. Burlington Christman died in Kushequa in 1935, and Ella and her husband Allen Utt both died in Bradford in 1939.
Anna Kresge Christman died 2 March 1940, at the age of 90 years, 7 months. According to her death certificate, she died of a "coronary artery occlusion," or a heart attack. She was still living at the home of her daughter Dollie Kresge at 606 South Main Avenue in Scranton at the time of her death. The informant on her death certificate was Mrs. Ruth Kresge, wife of Dollie's son Clarence. Anna was buried next to her husband Aaron Christman and close to her son Asher, in Hillcrest Cemetery, Sonestown, on 5 March 1940.
Daughter Celeste's Husband Hooker Boorem died in early 1948, and by that time Celeste herself was also in failing health. She had been suffering from a series of small strokes for years, and by the 1940s they had begun to take a serious toll on her health. Six months following the death of her husband, Celeste succumbed to one of these strokes while being cared for by her daughter Ina in Scranton. She was buried with her husband in Abington Hills Cemetery in nearby Clark's Summit.
Dollie Christman Kresge was the last of the children of Aaron and Anna Christman to pass away. She died in 1963 and was buried close to her mother and father and brother Asher in Hillcrest Cemetery, Sonestown.
We thus conclude the story of our Christman ancestors. The family has come a long way since Heinrich Christman first set foot in America (or rather the British colonies) in 1741. As the years passed his descendants put down strong roots in their native Monroe County, in Kushequa in McKean County, in Sonestown in Sullivan County, and in Scranton, in Lackawanna County. Although today the descendants of old Heinrich Christman can be found across America, the family will always be linked with their intrepid pioneering ancestors of Monroe County, Pennsylvania.
Jeffrey L. Thomas
Below: 1920s Christman family reunion photo, Sonestown, Sullivan County. Pa.
Descendants of William Christman & Elizabeth Koch (Acrobat .pdf file)
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