William CLIMENHAGE’S (1832-1894) Mystery Children

question_mark_150_x_150There appears to be a mistake as to the number of children of William and Annie (Acker) Climenhage.[1] Although many family trees list the following children (Elmore, Solomon, Ezra, Priscilla, and Eliza Jane) no evidence is provided for these associations. It is believed that through error the children of Samuel Winger were mistakenly attributed to William Climenhage.

First, some background information about William. WILLIAM CLIMENHAGE was born August 7th 1832 at Willoughby Township, Welland County, Ontario[2] and died June 10th 1894 at Humberstone Township from dropsy.[3] William was a son of Henry Climenhaga junor and Susanna Pickard. On November 10th 1862 at Haldimand County[4] he married ANNA MARGARET “ANNIE” ACKER. Annie was the daughter of Henry Acker/Ecker and Charity Overholt. She was born October 15th 1846 at Wainfleet Township and died April 7th 1926 at Humberstone (Lot 9, Con 4).[5] William’s final resting place isn’t known at this time but he may be buried at Shisler’s Point cemetery.[6] Annie is laid to rest at the Mennonite Cemetery in Stevensville.[7] Records indicate that William and Annie had only one child named Henry (b 6 Jul 1866), and later an adopted daughter named Dora (b abt 1885).

William was living in South Cayuga at the time of his marriage in 1862. A decade later William Climanhager, age 35, appears in the 1871 Canadian census living in Wainfleet Township.[8] Like his father and grandfather before him, William was of the Tunker faith. He was a labourer all his life, and like many at that time neither he nor his wife Annie were able to read or write. In the 1871 census only one child is named—Henry—age 4. Boarding with William and his family at this time were William’s brother Abraham and wife Sarah A. (Sider), age 20 and 16, respectively.

In the 1881 Canadian census William Climinghague, age 48, was living in Humberstone Township, along with Anne M. (age 34) and Henry (age 14).[9] They again appear living in Humberstone in 1891–William Climenhague, age 58, and Anna M., age 44. William’s son Henry, now 23, was lodging with them along with Henry’s new bride Margaret (Vanderveer), age 15. Margaret is often named as a daughter of William but a careful reading of the census data clearly indicates that she is Henry’s wife. In 1891 William also had an adopted daughter named Dora, age 6. [10]It is believed that Dora is a daughter of Henry’s from his first marriage to Lydia Ann Storm. Lydia died young (abt 1889) as did a son of Henry’s named Joel (d 1888). Dora does not appear with her adopted mother in the 1901 census and is presumed to have died in childhood.

According to the records it is clear that William and Annie Climenhage had only one child. So how do we account for additional children for William and Annie found in other family trees? Of interest are the children of Samuel Winger listed in the 1871 Canadian Census in which the names, birth order and years of birth coincide exactly with William Climenhage’s mystery children. SAMUEL WINGER was born in Bertie Township April 4th 1842 and died in Bertie July 2nd 1912. He was the son of Peter Winger and Elizabeth Pickard (possible aunt or cousin to William) and was wed September 16th 1862 in Bertie to Miss ELIZABETH FRETZ (b 30 Jan 1842 d 15 Jun 1929).[11] Members of Samuel’s household named in the 1871 census for Bertie Township are as follows:[12]

  • Samuel, age 29
  • Elizabeth, age 29
  • Elmor, age 7
  • Solomon P., age 6
  • Ezra, age 4
  • Prazilly A. (Priscilla), age 2
  • Eliza Jane, age 7 months

From this finding, and the lack of evidence for any additional children of William, I can only conclude that Samuel Winger’s children were, in error, attributed to William Climenhage.

Footnotes    ((↵) returns to text)

  1. In the few records known to exist that mention William, he is always listed as  Climenhage, Climenhague, Climenhagge, etc. rather than Climenhaga.(↵)
  2. Henry Climenhaga junior, William’s father, is named in an informal list of Willoughby residents in 1837 found amongst the papers of Michael Gonder. Therefore it is likely that William was born in Willoughby Township; Fretz, Joseph C. The Early History of the Mennonites in Welland County, Ontario. The Mennonite Quarterly review, January 1953. Digital images. http://www.mhso.org/publications/EarlyHistoryWellendCounty.htm(↵)
  3. Archives of Ontario. Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938. MS 935, reel 73, p 564. Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.(↵)
  4. Ontario, Canada. County Marriage Registers, 1858-1869. MS 248, reel 7. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.(↵)
  5. Archives of Ontario. Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938. MS 935, Reel 42, p. 146. Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.(↵)
  6. William likely died at Sherkston and is probably buried at Shislers Point cemetery where many other members of his familiy are buried. He may have been employed at Empire Limestone Company as a labourer in the limestone quarry located there.(↵)
  7. After William’s death Annie was twice remarried: 3 Aug 1894 to Christian Jacob Burger [1836-1909], and again 29 Oct 1911 to Adam Young [1846-1923].(↵)
  8. 1871 census of Canada, Bertie,  Welland,  Ontario, p. 22, family 85; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa; Roll C-9919.(↵)
  9. 1881 census of Canada,  Humberstone,  Welland,  Ontario; p. 46, family 218; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa; Roll C_13253.(↵)
  10. 1891 census of Canada, Humberstone, Welland, Ontario, family 128; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa; Roll T-6376.(↵)
  11. Wenger, Daniel Lee. Hans and Hannah Wenger North American descendants. Found online at http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=dlw-wc&id=I38515(↵)
  12. 1871 census of Canada, Bertie, Welland, Ontario, p. 22, family 85; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa; Roll C-9919.(↵)
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