52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #23 – Caroline (Bonser) Repsher

Relationship: 2nd Great-grandmother
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Since I talked about John Joseph Repsher (http://wp.me/p4WHi0-4W) last week, it only seems fitting to talk about his wife Caroline Bonser this week. Like many of the woman who appear as early ancestors in my tree, the information about her is sparse as a fully developed person and she is defined quite a lot by her husband and family.

Like her husband, Caroline Bonser was born in the rural hills of eastern Pennsylvania. She was born on 23 April 1858 in Pocono Lake, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, to parents Daniel Bonser and his wife Emmaline.[1]

There are alternative birth dates for Caroline though. Working back from the death death on her death certificate, 69 years 6 months and 22 days puts her birthdate as 22 April 1857.  The death certificate lists the actual date as April 21, 1857.[2] Family records lists her birthdate as 23 April 1858.

According to family group sheet records prepared by Caroline’s daughter-in-law, Anna (Karthaeuser) Repsher, Caroline’s mother Emmaline was married twice.

  1. Emmaline’s first husband’s name was John Heckman and they had four children together. The children from the first marriage were John, Joseph, Sally and Lydia.
  2. Emmaline’s second husband was Daniel (note: the family records listed in the citation below have him as James) Bonser and they also had four children together. The children from the second marriage were Caroline, James (a bachelor who died in 1911), Lewis and Anna.[3]

There are some discrepancies when comparing this information to U.S. Census records.

Caroline was first found in the 1860 U.S. Census with parents Daniel and Emmaline Bonser.[4] She was 2 years old and her 1/2 brother Joseph (7) and 1/2 sister Sally (5) were listed before her. There was no listing for either John or Lydia.

Next, the Bonser family was found in the 1870 U.S. census. In the household are Daniel (45) and Emmaline (40) along with children Caroline(12), Anne (9), Malinda (7), Lewis (4) and 1/2 sister Sally Heckman (15).[5] That means Caroline, Anna and Lewis match the above information about the second marriage but Malinda does not. Could this be Lydia and she was incorrectly identified as a child of the first marriage? More information would be needed to make this assumption. Also, James was no where to be found.

About five years after the 1870 census, Caroline (now 17 or 18 years old) sets up her own household when she marries John Joseph Repsher around 1875/76. They have a large family, 14 children in all with twelve surviving to adulthood and two stillborn children. (A complete listing of the children is in her husband John’s biography, just click on the link above.) Having a large family means that Caroline was pregnant or nursing from February 1876 to late 1901, a span of 25 years!

She was a housewife and as far as I can tell never worked outside the home. Taking care of the family was more than enough to keep her busy, I’m sure.

Caroline’s death certificate showed that she died on 13 November 1926 of a cerebral hemorrhage.[6] She was laid to rest next to her husband, John Joseph Repsher, in the Analomink United Methodist Churchyard on 17 November 1926.[7]

REPSHER John J and Caroline - Find a Grave

John J. and Caroline B. Repsher’s grave marker, Find-A-Grave memorial #18041315


[1]Anna (Karthaeuser) Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr. and Caroline Repsher nee Bonser”; (Handwritten family group sheets, Netcong, New Jersey, 1911-1970), p. 2; privately held by blog author, Tucson, AZ, 2015.
[2] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate file no. 111239 (1926), Caroline Repsher; Division of Vital Statistics, New Castle.
[3] Anna (Karthaeuser) Repsher, compiler, p. 196.
[4] 1860 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Tunkhannock Township, p. 147 (penned), dwelling 887, family 942, Daniel Bonser; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2006); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 1142.
[5] 1870 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Jackson, p. 8 (penned), dwelling 49, family 55, Daniel Bonser; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 June 2015); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1376.
[6] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate file no. 111239 (1926), Caroline Repsher; Division of Vital Statistics, New Castle.
[7] Tipton, Jim, compiler, “Analomink United Methodist Churchyard,” digital image, Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 29 June 2013), entry for Caroline B. Repsher, memorial #18041315.


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