Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Gustavus Ang Voelkler, Another Stellar Musician, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #41

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“Gustavus”, “Gu-sta’-vus!”, I wish you could hear me say this, because I think of his name as being said with a guttural German accent, with a deep baritone voice, and a great deal of dignity! Why I think of him this way I do not know, because I never met the man, but I heard about him, and I know he was highly respected in the family! Gustavus Ang Voelkler was born in 1834 in the Kingdom of Saxony, whose King John he swore allegiance to, before he came to America in 1864. I am not sure where in Saxony he was born, nor have I been able to identify his parents! He arrived in America in 1864 and settled in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, along with his wife Louisa Voelkler, b. 1836 in Saxony, and two of his seven children. His oldest child and daughter, Helen Marie Voelkler, 1849- 1914, became my great-grandmother, and her portrait, seen above, hung in the dining room of my parent’s house, all of my life! She married Robert Fulton Hogue, b. 1850, of the Hogue family from Scotland, a family I have written about often. His son Ludwig, born in Saxony in 1861, grew up to be a dentist in Pennsylvania! They all overcame the culture shock of moving to America, leaving behind the German language and daily life there, and melding, indeed thriving here in America. The other children, born in America, were: John F. Voelkler, 1866;  Louisa, called Lizzie S. Voelkler, 1868;  Ernest J. Voelkler, 1870;  Max Gustavus Voelkler, 1872, ; and Julia Voelkler, 1876. I have pictures of Gustavus’s wife Louisa, his daughter Helen Marie, and his daughter Lizzie. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of Gustavus, I wonder if we can tell what he might look like from his descendants’ portraits?

I say thriving because that is what they obviously did! Gustavus was an extremely talented musician, a pianist and vocalist, among other things. He arrived in the States in 1864, and by 1870 can be found teaching music at the Dickinson Seminary in Williamsport, Pennsylvania!  The short obituary I found says that he served as the principal of the music department at Dickinson, so obviously his talent and managerial abilities were  recognized! There is a book titled History of Lycoming College and Its Predecessor Institutions–Williamsport Academy, Dickinson Seminary, Williamsport Dickinson Junior College, by Charles Scott Williams.  You can read it online and even download it at this link: https://archive.org/details/historyoflycomin00will .  Gustavus Voelkler is listed in this book as being part of the Music Faculty starting in 1870 as far as I could trace.

Dickinson Seminary, Williamsport , Pa, Gustavus Voelkler, completion 1850 History of Lycoming College...


Gustavus A. Voelkler, Obituary

Published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, Saturday, Nov. 24, 1900.

Vol. 143, Issue 147, pg.4, Source: GenealogyBank.com.

“TAMAQUA, Pa. Nov. 23.– Professor G. A. Voelkler, aged 66, died at the residence of his son-in-law, Victor Fisher, today. Deceased was well-known in musical circles and until recently was principal of the musical department of Dickinson Seminary, at Williamsport, resigning owing to ill-health. He was born in Germany where he received his musical education.”

As it turns out, his daughter Louisa, called Lizzie, became a music teacher at the seminary herself when she was an adult! She obviously followed in her father’s footsteps! I have also found listings in the City Directory that show that Lizzie and Gustavus taught students in their homes. Just two weeks ago, I wrote a post about Marie Kerse Maher, another talented musician and teacher. She was on my mother’s side, and the Voelklers are on my father’s side, so no wonder my brother and sister and my daughters are talented musicians vocally and instrumentally! Actually, we have many musicians in the family, I will list posts about them below. Too bad those musical genes skipped some of us! LOL

On Tuesday afternoon, July 19, 1893, according to the article seen below,  from the Wilkes-Barre Times in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Issue 1087, Page 5,  we see that Gustavus Voelkler won first prize  in a concert , a Saengerfest, or Songfest.  He performed the piece “Waldeinsamkeit” which means Forest Solitude which is a poem written by Ralph Waldo Emerson and put to music. I have included the words by Emerson, and a recording from youtube.com of  Helene Lindqvis and Philipp Vogler singing! Vogler/Voelkler, could they be kin, I will have to investigate!


Ralph Waldo Emerson

Waldeinsamkeit (Forest Solitude)

I do not count the hours I spend
In wandering by the sea;
The forest is my loyal friend,
Like God it useth me.

In plains that room for shadows make
Of skirting hills to lie,
Bound in by streams which give and take
Their colors from the sky;

Or on the mountain-crest sublime,
Or down the oaken glade,
O what have I to do with time?
For this the day was made.

Cities of mortals woe-begone
Fantastic care derides,
But in the serious landscape lone
Stern benefit abides.

Sheen will tarnish, honey cloy,
And merry is only a mask of sad,
But, sober on a fund of joy,
The woods at heart are glad.

There the great Planter plants
Of fruitful worlds the grain,
And with a million spells enchants
The souls that walk in pain.

Still on the seeds of all he made
The rose of beauty burns;
Through times that wear and forms that fade,
Immortal youth returns.

The black ducks mounting from the lake,
The pigeon in the pines,
The bittern’s boom, a desert make
Which no false art refines.

Down in yon watery nook,
Where bearded mists divide,
The gray old gods whom Chaos knew,
The sires of Nature, hide.

Aloft, in secret veins of air,
Blows the sweet breath of song,
O, few to scale those uplands dare,
Though they to all belong!

See thou bring not to field or stone
The fancies found in books;
Leave authors’ eyes, and fetch your own,
To brave the landscape’s looks.

Oblivion here thy wisdom is,
Thy thrift, the sleep of cares;
For a proud idleness like this
Crowns all thy mean affairs.


You can hear this read aloud at  http://www.repeatafterus.com/title.php?i=1342&p=t


Newspaper article re. Songfest of  1893 where Gustavus A. Voelkler won first prize!  See source in body of post.



Not only was Gustavus Voelkler a talented musician, but I believe he must have cared a great deal for his family, because I have learned that his family did, his children. I have been told that his son Max  was a favorite uncle of my uncle Fulton, son of Helen Blanche Youngblood, grandsonof Helen Marie Voelkler and  and Robert F. Hogue. In fact, I  understand that my great-uncle R.Clay Hogue visited them often while growing up. Later, in his young adulthood, when Clay decided to attend medical school,  the other Voelkler children got together and paid his way to medical school! What a sacrifice that was, what an incredible way to show your love and committment to family! All the evidence I can find indicates that Gustavus Ang Voelkler was a good  man, a talented man, and an ancestor one can claim with pride. 


Gustavus Ang Voelkler (1834 – 1900)
is your 2nd great grandfather
daughter of Gustavus Ang Voelkler
daughter of Helen Marie Voelkler
son of Helen Blanche Hogue
You are the daughter of Cecil Hogue Youngblood

Gustavus Ang Voelkler

Your 2nd great grandfather,   Birth May 1834 in Sachsen,Kingdom of Saxony   

Death 23 Novermber 1900 in Tamaqua, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania

Other posts about ancestors or descendants with great musical talent:

1.  Marie Botto Kerse Maher- the Magnificent Musician–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #39

2.  “On the Tweflth Day of Christmas my True Love Gave to Me, Twelve Drummers Drumming…”

3.  “On the Ninth Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to me…nine ladies dancing…”

4.  The Spangler Old time Fiddler Musicians, Babe, Tump, and Dudley



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Andreas Holtzhousen, 1741-1810, brings the Holshousers to North Carolina—52 Ancestors in 52 weeks, #21


Last week I told you about Casper Haulzhaufen, my husband’s 5th great grandfather coming to America aboard ship, and landing in Philadelphia in 1731. Casper married Margaretha Bingham, and had five children, three sons and two daughters: Johannes Jacob Holtzhauser, b.1732; Anna Margaretha Holtzhauser, b. 1737; Andreas (Andrew) Holtzhauser, b. 1741; Michael Holtzhauser, 1743; and Catharina Holtzhauser, b.1745.

Andrew was the first of this immediate family to move to North Carolina. He married Anna Maria Wiand while in Pennsylvania and had twelve children in all. Andrew and three of his siblings and their families joined other German settlers in leaving Pennsylvania. They traveled arduously down the main highway back then. It was honed from an Indian trail, called the Wagon Road, or Staunton Road. In fact, Andreas, or Andrew as he became known, was a wagoner who became well-known for his craftsmanship in making Conestoga Wagons. From the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, we learn that “in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries-long before the era of tractor trailers, and before the development of a railroad system-Conestoga wagons were the primary vehicles for hauling freight. These wagons carried flour and other farm products from the hinterland to the cities, and they brought back commodities needed by the farmers and their families. This was especially true during the period from about 1750 to 1855, particularly in Pennsylvania and the neighboring states of Maryland, Virginia, and Ohio.

 Skilled workers were needed to build these wagons. And around 1770, Lancaster included among its craftsmen five wheelwright, thirteen blacksmiths, seven turners, and twenty woodworkers.” Among those skilled craftsmen, one stood out– Andreas Holshouser! In fact, we are truly blessed to have one of his Conestoga Wagons still here in North Carolina today! It is displayed in the N.C. Museum of Transportation in Spencer, NC. We can hardly wait to take our grandchildren to see this wonderfully designed invention! In fact, the design of the wagon is so intricate and interesting, I am going to include the link for this article from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission about the building of the Conestoga for my woodworking family and friends so that they might enjoy reading the specifics of how this hard-working but artistically designed vehicle was made.


In those wagons the settlers hauled their household and farm equipment  down the trail, herding their animals before them. The trail passed through the wilderness from Pennsylvania to Georgia, through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, along the Blue Ridge, following the Staunton River southward across the Dan River to the Yadkin River and Rowan County, North Carolina which at that time stretched from mid state to the Mississippi river.

From land records and censuses, it looks like Casper stayed in Pennsylvania along with his son Jacob. In his will in 1785, Casper stated his intention to move to North Carolina with his other children, but he never had the opportunity to do that.

We don’t know exactly when Andrew arrived in North Carolina, but we see his name on a property deed in 1774 when he bought 200 acres of land from Christopher Rendleman on “the north fork of Dutch Second Creek”. At least six of his twelve children would have been born by then, can you imagine traveling with six little children in a covered wagon from Pennsylvania to North Carolina?- with no air conditioning? -No bed? Hostile Indians in the area? Over the next twenty years, Andrew added over 400 acres to his farm. The area Andrew settled was part of a larger community of settlers of German descent, with names that included Miller, Meisenheimer, Clutts (Klutz), Lintzs, Yost and others who became good friends and intermarried over the years. These families were descended from Palatinate Germans also and lived up to their reputations of intelligence and industriousness. The Holshousers are credited with helping establish up to four churches in the area.

Of Andrew’s twelve children, John moved to Texas and others moved to Illinois. Many of the Holshouser families stayed in North Carolina however. Andrew’s son Casper became the most well-known when he married Sarah Sally Barger and had ten children of his own. Casper’s son Charles is my husband’s second great-grandfather, and his son James moved to Blowing Rock, NC with his family—pushing and pulling those wagons up the narrow mountain roads! While Blowing Rock is one of the premiere tourist attractions in North Carolina today, the Holshouser family was responsible for paving the streets and establishing two stores and a lovely home which helped create the beautiful little mountain town. James’s great grandson, James Eubert Holshouser, Jr., became the Governor of North Carolina in 1972.

Every year in the Spring in North Carolina we have a Holshouser reunion of the families of Max’s grandfather, John Calvin Holshouser, his wife Ila Victoria Sides, and his ten children and their families. We lost the last of the ten children in 2011, and it was very hard to see that whole generation go. We “children” are now the old folks who have to keep the reunion going until our own “children”, the middle agers, take over.  Each year we meet at Grace Lower Stone Church in Rockwell, NC, a church where the land was given by the Holshousers and the Lingles, cousins who moved to Illinois.  We were there just last week and I had the opportunity to tour the graveyard with my grandchildren. What a wonderful experience that was, seeing it through the eyes of a child. My six-year-old grandson Liam tried to count all the Holshouser stones, but gave out long before he reached the almost 100 Holshouser stones there out of the almost 700 total. It did not feel dark and spooky, just the opposite, it felt peaceful and as if it were a safe place– embracing the children and me in family history. I noticed the other stones were full of family names like Klutz, Meisenheimer, and the other families of German ancestry who moved to the area along with our Holshousers over 200 years ago! It is such an incredible feeling to walk where your ancestors have trod.

Grace Lower Stone Church

Grace Lower Stone Church, Rockwell, NC

I am especially indebted for some of this information to our original family researchers and authors: Dr. Grace Duff in her A Casper “Holtzhauser” Holshouser Genealogy,  and Patricia Beck who shared much of the family history she had painstakingly collected with me. How blessed I feel to have been part of this family for almost 43 years now and to have helped raise two Holshouser daughters and grandchildren. Thanks for sharing this journey with me, I look forward to hearing from you. Helen



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