See also 2006 update below (on this page)

From Vivian Foley, Dec 1989:

Dear Loren:

I thought you might lilke to hear about my latest discovery. I was looking through the membership list of people belonging to Will Cope an organization of folk with Parkinson Disease (Mervin has PD). I found lilsted Earl and Ella Meissner. I called them and sure enough Earl is the grandson of George Henry Meissner who got a leg shot off during the Civil War. He had a peg leg.

... later we went to visit them. They are a lovely couple, Ella is 86 and Earl is 88 and he has PD.

[ Children of George Henry Meissner ]

George Henry homesteaded near Webster City IA. He married a ? Law. She had terrible rheumatism. George decided to put an ad in a San Francisco newspaper to see if he could find his sister Mary Blake [sic; actually, Mary was his daughter; sisters were Wilhelmine (married M. Ryan) and Leonore]. He found her in Petaluma CA. Her daughter wasn't going to let him in, but he barged in anyhow. Sister Mary [sic] was ill. To identify himself, he showed her the Medallion which he had taken off the wall as the family had left Florida with G. Grandfather F. A. Meissner.

Earl's folks left IA and moved to Berkeley. Earl was born in Redlands, CA. They have lived in Portland for many years and was in radio and TV business. They don't have children.

GH's sister got the medallion and she willed it to Duane Blake who now has it. For several years Earl had the medallion but he has sent it to Duane. Duane is Edgar Meissner's sister's son. He lives in Texas.

The medallion is a portrait of a young man in court dress. It is in a frame.

2 Kerr Avenue
Kensington CA 94707
16 December 1989

Dear Vivian,

I was very pleasantly surprised to hear about your recent contact with some Meissners who were previously unknown to us. As far as I can tell, the last previous contact with George Henry Meissner is hinted in the letter from Friedrich Adolph Meissner to his son Ernest dated 1-2-79 (see p. 53 in the "Meissner book" that you have distributed): Ernest "consulted" his "step brother" (which must have been George Henry Meissner) who evidently suggested that he go and join his uncle in Utah; Ernest was living in Tyrone (Monroe County) Iowa at the time. (However, my map shows that Webster City, where Earl says GHM homesteaded, is not too close to Monroe County.) There is no record of any direct communication between GHM and FAM after 1864 (just after GHM returned from the Civil War: see p. 46-47).

George's sisters were Wilhelmine (b. 1834; m. Ryan) and Leonore (b. 1836); they both left Florida and went to California soon after their mother died in 1853. GH (b. 1838) stayed with FAM. It seems likely that GHM would try to look them up later on, and that he found one or the other of his sisters in California.

I am quite interested in the part about the medallion. "A young man in court dress" would likely be the young FAM; he worked for his uncle at the court in Dresden after his father died when he was 13 (May 1817: see p. 61).

FAM was some kind of a lover - note that he married his first wife 3 months after daughter Caroline was born. I would bet about 50/50 that George Henry was also his son, born when he took up with Doris Runtzler Sennewald (who already had 3 older children) after he had been married to Elise von Mithofen (Caroline's mother) for 12 years. About the only clue on this subject is the letter FAM wrote to GHM in 1864 (p 46-47): "... that you since you was a year old slept in my arm, that I carried you with me to field to work and every where, that it was only because I could not part with you that I took your Mother with me to America." GHM was 7 years old when they went to America, so FAM had been "carrying him around" for about 6 years. Maybe during the first year he was too afraid of his wife to visit the other woman too often? On the other hand, he says later in the same letter "I hope you will also asume your true name and dont disgrace mine any further": if his true name was not Meissner could he be FAM's son? We will never know, unless GHM's birth record (in Germany) tells: if Doris Sennewald's husband was already dead when George Henry (Georg Heinrich) was born, it might list FAM as father.

The older son Wilhelm (20 years old in 1852) did not go with them from New England to Florida. When the mother Doris died (1853), the girls were 17 and 19. Wilhelmina said "I will never leave you" (see p. 64) and he washed her when she was sick. My guess is that after the mother died, FAM tried to start something with Wilhelmina: that is why the girls left soon afterward and went to live with the neighbors and later to California. But the girls left their little brother with him: does that strengthen the case for GHM being his natural son, or was it only because the girls had no choice? They could not get back in contact with him after that, because the lad did not know where his sisters had gone (but it now seems he must have had some idea it was near San Francisco), and they did not know where he and FAM had gone (Wisconsin).

Peggy and I were in East Germany again in July (1989). We spent a whole day in Johanngeorgenstadt. We met Kurt Burkhardt, the church historian who in 1984 had sent me the information linking the founders of Johanngeorgenstadt with the later Meissners. Also Christian Teller, the town historian of Johanngeorgenstadt and his son Frank, both of whom we had also met in 1983. Frank speaks pretty good English. He has been gathering information about the early mining claims in the region, and since he met us previously he has been on the alert for the name Meissner. He gave me a list of several Meissners (various spellings) who had filed for mining claims between 1650 and the early 1700's. [Mining_Records] One mystery was, where did the first Meissners in Johanngeorgenstadt come from? When the religious refugees from Platten came there in December 1653, they lived temporarily in some cabins occupied by Meissner and a couple of other miners, and in a glass factory. (Apparently the Bohemian glass tradition extended that far into Saxony.) The FAM version (see p 3) has it that they had come previously from Platten; but Frank Teller has found that they came from Eibenstock, which is a mining town in Saxony about 10 miles west of Johanngeorgenstadt. So it now appears that the Meissners were already in Saxony when the Löbels and our other ancestors came there. Herr Burkhardt also gave me a booklet published in the 1800's about the history of Johanngeorgenstadt: I think the minister of Schönbach must have had a copy of this book when he wrote about it to FAM in America. It is written in German, which I am learning but slowly, and the best historical parts include a lot of quotations from 17th century documents that are in an older dialect and are very hard for me to translate.

A few days later we went to Schönbach (sometimes spelled Schoenbach. Note: the oe in German is an alternative spelling for ö; the oe is easier to do on a typewriter, but in Germany where they have different typewriters it is usually written as ö. The best way I have found to pronounce this sound is to make the ö rhyme with the oo in "book", so Schön is somewhat like "shun" or a little bit like "shern". It means pretty or lovely or handsome etc. The "bach" is just like Johann Sebastian Bach: it means brook.) It is just a village about 50 miles east of Dresden - not especially picturesque or anything. The church is quite obvious in the middle of the village, and the parsonage is across the street. We couldn't find anybody at first; the pastor was on vacation and was not home at the moment. Finally we found the "church mother" who takes care of the place. She showed us all around the church. The walls are over 4 feet thick: it gets quite cold there, and in January and February they meet in the parish hall that is on the lower floor of the parsonage. On the left side wall of the church is a portrait of Martin Luther, and opposite it on the right is a portrait of Christian Frederick Meissner, who was pastor in 1780 when the church was built. The portrait was donated some years later by a relative who lived in Dresden. The bell tower was added in the early 1800s. Near the end of World War II the bells had been taken down and were on a railroad car on the way to the foundry to be made into cannons, but just then the war ended and the bells came back. We looked in the churchyard but did not find any marked graves older than about 1850, when the Meissners had long gone. By the time we had looked all around, the pastor had come back. The parsonage where he lives has been rebuilt, but is on the same site where FAM was born in 1804 and his father in 1764. There is a little artesian spring behind the house, from which these ancestors must have carried water when they were young. The pastor showed us the record books of the period around 1800 to 1810, and we turned right to December 1804 where FAM's birth had been recorded. The pastor gave us some booklets about the history of the church and the parish, and a very nice woodcut of the church.

We also went to visit Platten (now called Horni Blatna: Horni means mountain), which is about a half hour's drive from Carlsbad (or Karlsbad; now Karlovy Vary) in Czechoslovakia. This border town has been alternately in Saxony (Germany) and Bohemia (Czechoslovakia) for centuries. One episode was in 1650-1653 when the Löbels and others left and founded Johanngeorgenstadt. After World War I it was part of the new state of Czechoslovakia that was formed by combining Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia. In the 1930's and 1940's the "Sudetenland" (as this part of Bohemia was called) was conceded by Chamberlain to Hitler at Munich for "peace in our time". It was German during World War II, and was given back to Czechoslovakia in 1945. At that time there were several thousand residents, mostly Germans, in Platten. The Germans were persecuted by the Czechs after the war, and most of them left. It is almost a ghost town now. We had the names of a couple of Germans who still live there, and we met one family. We did not stay in Platten more than an hour, but I wanted to see what the place looked like.

You can see from Platten to Johanngeorgenstadt and vice versa, 4 miles across the border that is marked by a little creek, a couple of strands of barbed wire, and a threatening sign. In July the threat was real. Anyone could have crossed the border, but nobody did. You had to go 30 miles to get to a place where you could cross by foot, and cars had to use another checkpoint even farther away. (People leaving East Germany for the west had no trouble getting to Czechoslovakia, but until October there was no way to get from Czechoslovakia to the west.) By now, only a few months later, crossing between Czechoslovakia and East Germany is easy, and the barbed wire is coming down all over eastern Europe. We got a chance to talk at some length with some of the people of East Germany, especially young people such as Frank Teller, and the son of a professor who was our host in Dresden. So we have not been totally surprised to hear what is happening in those countries, but we are quite amazed that it happened so quickly.

Well I think I have gone on with this long enough. Love (and Merry Christmas),



George H. Meissner - Co. F, 3rd Wisconsin Infantry

Summary from records of Civil War Veterans, Sonoma Co, CA,  compiled by Vernon Piccinotti - some notes by LPM below

George H. Meissner was born in Hamburg , Germany on February 23, 1838.  At age 7, in 1845, he came to the United States  with his widowed mother settling first in Northern New York  where he was placed in an orphanage for a time.  His mother went to work to contribute to his support, moving to Massachusetts before going to Florida where she died in 1853, when her son was 15. Following her death, Meissner moved to Minnesota where he lived with distant relatives on a prairie farm.  From there he went to Wisconsin where he again followed the farming occupation until responding to army service in 1861 following the call of President Lincoln for 75,000 volunteers.

While with his mother in Florida, Meissner is reported to have witnessed the brutal flogging of a slave and to have been moved by the cruelty of the incident to an unyielding hatred for the institution which made such brutality possible.

Suffering the loss of a leg amputated as the result of wounds sustained on July 22, 1864 during  the Battle of Atlanta,  Meissner attended Professor Worthington’s Business College at Madison, Wisconsin with a view to acquiring a means of livelihood less physically demanding than that of farming.  The lure of farming prevailed, however, and in 1868 he purchased 240 acres of land in Hamilton County, Iowa where he established a home .He prospered raising cattle for the Chicago market and over time acquired in excess of 1000 acres of farm land.

During this time he married Ida Louise Law, a native of Olney, Richland County, Illinois.

Ida Law, through the line of her mother, was descended from the Calhouns of North Carolina and was a relative of John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War and Vice President of  the United States. Ida Meissner died at Petaluma on November 21, 1910.

In February, 1903 Meissner sold his Iowa interests and moved to California.  He settled in Petaluma and purchased a 1000 acre spread in Chileno Valley and stocked it for dairying.  The Petaluma Argus, April 18, 1903,  as “The Biggest Deal Yet On Record” in noting that the entire Walker Tract in Chileno Valley had been sold to Meissner for $50,000 cash.  This article describes Meissner as “a prominent G.A.R. man, bank president and capitalist of Webster City, Iowa.  He came here a week ago seeking a long lost sister.  He found her, became infatuated with the country and climate and bought the ranch.  The ranch consists of 1000 acres, well stocked and improved and the famous Chileno Valley Laguna is on the place.” The article further noted that Meissner had left for Oregon, where his family is visiting.  They will return to Iowa to conclude their affairs then return to Petaluma permanently.

The sale of the property was brokered by the firm of Brainerd, Veale and Rodehaver.  Partner Henry Paine Brainerd, was a prominent political leader of Petaluma and a member of Antietam Post, Grand Army of the Republic, being a veteran of  Co.D, 31st Massachusetts Infantry.

Document  (“Petaluma Argus,” 18 Apr 1903) received 2006 from Vernon S Piccinotti, Petaluma Civil War historian:



The Entire Walker Tract in Chileno Valley Sold for Cash to Wealthy Easterner the Consideration being about $50,000

It is not often that a cash real estate deal aggregating $50,000 is made in a country town the size of Petaluma, but that is just what the firm of Brainerd, Veale & Rodehaver did on Friday and not one of the popular firm will hereafter listen to the assertion that Friday is an unlucky day.

They sold for cash to George H Meissner of Webster City, Iowa, the famous L. W. Walker ranch in Chileno valley, seven miles west of town. Also all of the live stock and implements on the place. The consideration was $50,000 and the money has been paid over.

Mr. Meinner [sic] is a prominent G. A. R. man, bank president and capitalist of Webster City, Iowa. He came here a week ago, seeking a long lost sister. He found her, became infatuated with the country and climate and bought the ranch. The ranch consists of 1000 acres, well stocked and improved and the famous Chileno valley laguna is on the place.

Mrs. Belle Offutt, daughter of Mr. Walker has been running the ranch. The place is one of the best known in Marin county. Mr. Meissner left on Saturday for Oregon, where his family is visiting. He will take them home, close up his business affairs and in a month will be here to reside permanently. He thinks this country a paradise and says that he will induce many friends to come out here to locate. Mr. Meissner is a man of refinement and of great wealth - just the kind of man needed in any community, and the firm which located him here deserves the thanks of the entire community.

In 1987, the late Petaluma historian, Edward Fratini, reported to the Petaluma Historical Society that “old timers will well remember Meissner as a Civil War veteran with a wooden leg.  He had a beautiful carriage drawn by a fine horse and would ride through the city with a person who seemed to be an invalid”, possibly the sister referred to above. [Actually his blind daughter Katherine (Kitty) - LPM]

Fratini noted that the property involved was later and for many years owned by the Ghishletta family. This property has been more recently known as the Antonio Ranch on which is located one of the highest elevations in the region, Antonio Mountain.

After one year he rented the property and moved to Petaluma where he purchased a house on Howard Street but shortly moved to a home at 519 B Street.  He joined Antietam Post 63, Grand Army of the Republic, on July 11, 1903.

Meissner’s death occurred in Petaluma on January 10, 1924.  His funeral was one of the most elaborate military funerals ever held in Petaluma.  It was conducted by the Grand Army of the Republic in association with the United Spanish-American War Veterans,  the American Legion and the Boy Scouts of  America  at Cypress Hill Memorial Park.

Harold Farquar of the Boy Scouts sounded “taps”.  A firing squad of Joshua B. Dickson Camp, United Spanish-American War Veterans, fired the last salute.  The active pallbearers, all Spanish-American War veterans, were James Kenneally, James Armstrong, Bert Doss, Willett Hopkins,  J.H. Renz, F. Emenegger, Joe A. Anderson and William Deiss.

The honorary pallbearers, all veterans of the Civil War and members of Antietam Post, Grand Army of the Republic, were, Theodore K. Jones,  Charles W. Seeley,  Peleg B. Washburn, Frank Ridell, Joseph B. Tunzi, William H. Bush, Merritt S. Parker, Thomas Kearns and Charles Wesley McDade.

George Meissner was survived by George Lafayette Meissner, born July 15, 1867 at Madison, Wisconsin and engaged in the lumber business in Lodi, San Joaquin County; Edgar Dwain Meissner, born January 5, 1872, in the restaurant business in Oakland; Mary Priscilla Blake, Mrs. Ralph Blake, of Iowa; and, Miss Kittie Irena Meissner of the family home, who in spite of blindness from birth, had become an accomplished musician and typist.

George H. Meissner enlisted in Co. F, 3rd Wisconsin Infantry, as a Private, at Boscobel, Wisconsin on May 12, 1861.  His enlistment occurred just a few weeks after the outbreak of the war and shortly after Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers.

The 3rd Wisconsin Infantry regiment was organized at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and mustered into service on June 19, 1861. It was ordered to Hagerstown, Maryland, July 12, 1861, thence to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, July 18, 1861 where it was attached to Patterson’s Army to October, 1861, the Army of the Potomac to March, 1862, the Army of Virginia to September, 1862, the Army of the Potomac to October, 1863 and the Army of the Cumberland to July, 1865.

The regiment moved to Darnestown, August 18, 1861 then to Frederick, Maryland, September 12, 1861 where it remained on duty until February 25, 1862.  It first saw action at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia on October 11, 1861. It participated in the occupation of Winchester, Virginia, March 12, 1862 and the Battle of Winchester, March 23, 1862,  continuing in operations in the Shenandoah Valley until June 17, 1862, during which time Meissner was wounded on May 25.  The unit was on duty at Front Royal, Virginia to July 6, 1862 and at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Virginia, August 9, 1862.

The 3rd Wisconsin was part of Pope’s Campaign in Northern Virginia from August 16 to September 2, 1862, being assigned to guard the trains of the army during the Battle of Bull Run, August 27-30, 1862.  As a part of the Maryland Campaign, September 6 – 22, 1862 it was engaged in the Battle of Antietam, Maryland, September 16-17, 1862, followed by duty at Maryland Heights to October 30, 1862 and in the defenses of the Upper Potomac at Antietam Iron Works until December 10, 1862.  About this time Meissner was captured and held by the Confederacy for four months until released.  He was exchanged and rejoined his unit in time for the campaigning of Spring, 1863.

The regiment was on duty at Stafford Court House until April 27, 1863 when it entered upon the Chancellorsville Campaign, April 27 – May 6, 1863 including the Battle of  Chancellorsville, May 1-5, 1863.  This was followed by action at Brandy Station, Virginia and Beverly Ford June 9, 1863 and the Gettysburg Campaign, June 11-July 24, including the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 1-3, 1863 and the pursuit of Lee’s forces to Manassas Gap, Virginia, July 5 – 24, 1863. The unit was posted to  duty in New York during draft resistance disturbances, August 16-September 5, 1863 following which the regiment moved to Bridgeport, Alabama, September 24 – October 3, 1863.

The regiment was assigned  at Stevenson, Alabama and Decherd, Tennessee to guard the railroad to December, 1863, following which the veterans were furloughed from December 25, 1863 to February 9, 1864.  They returned to duty at Fayetteville, Tennessee to April 28, 1864 when the entered upon the Atlanta Campaign, May 1 – September 8, 1864.  Action during this campaign involved the Battle of Resaca, May 14-15, 1864;  Cassville, May 19; New Hope Church,  May 25; operations on the line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills, May 25-June 5, 1864. 

Operations were continued around Marietta and Kennesaw Mountain June 10-July 2, 1864 involving the assault of  Kennesaw Mountain, June 27, 1864.  This was followed by the Siege of Atlanta, July 22-August 5, 1864.  During this siege, Meissner suffered a wound which necessitated the amputation of his right leg just below the knee.  While this condition ended his active  role as a soldier he was carried on the company rolls and was mustered out with his command in 1865.

The regiment was active in the occupation of Atlanta, September 2-November 15, 1864 and Sherman’s March to the Sea, November 15- December 10, 1864 and the Siege of Savannah, December 10-21, 1864.  This was followed by the Campaign in the Carolinas from January to April, 1865 during which the unit was in action at the Battle of Bentonville, March 19-20, 1865; the advance on Raleigh, April 10-14, 1865 and the occupation of Raleigh, April 14, 1865.

The 3rd Wisconsin was present at the surrender of Johnston’s army and thereafter marched to Washington D.C. via Richmond, Virginia,  April 29-May 19, 1865 where it participated in the Grand Review , May 24, 1865.  It thereafter moved to Louisville, Kentucky, June 11-16, 1865 where it was mustered out of service on July 18, 1865.

During its service the regiment lost 9 officers and 158 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 2 officers and 113 enlisted men by disease.  Total 282.

LPM emai to Vernon Piccinotti (5 Sep 2006):

I have a few comments.

1. The part about the orphanage does not correspond very well with information I have from letters of my great-grandfather (George’s father or stepfather) Friedrich Meissner.

The original surnames of George’s mother (Doris) and his siblings (Wilhelm, Wilhelmine, and Leonora) was Sennewald – and Frederick always referred to her as “Mrs Sennewald” when he wrote to his married daughter who he left behind in Hamburg. However, they all very consistently used the surname Meissner in the US. Here is an excerpt from the immigration record 22 Oct 1845 at Castle Garden, port of New York, which was a predecessor of Ellis Island:

First name Last name; Occupation; Age; Sex; Arrived; Origin; Ship
F.a. Meisner; Unknown; 40; M; 22 Oct 1845; Germany; Franklin
U Meisner; Unknown; 39; F; 22 Oct 1845; Germany; Franklin
Wm. Meisner; Unknown; 12; M; 22 Oct 1845; Germany; Franklin
A.e.w. Meisner; Unknown; 11; F; 22 Oct 1845; Germany; Franklin
E.m.h. Meisner; Child, Youngster; 8; M; 22 Oct 1845; Germany; Franklin
Ehinrich Meisner; Child, Youngster; 7; M; 22 Oct 1845; Germany; Franklin

Note that the surname is misspelled with one “s.” From the ages it is obvious that F.a. Meisner is Friedrich; U Meisner is Doris; A.e.w. is Wilhelmine, E.m.h is Leonora or Eleonore etc, and Ehinrich is Georg Heinrich.

What happened next is documented in Friedrich’s letters, which I have partly transcribed and posted at:
From his “biographical summary” (letter to Sallie Stafford): [In Kummerfeld, near Hamburg,]
I toiled hard and succeeded well. I planted a large orchard, I built a new house 72 feet long and 52 feet wide (80,000 bricks was used so) and may have now reaped the fruit of my labors and dwelled in comfort, but owing to some dissatisfaction, the idea took hold of me to start for America again. My first born daughter Karoline married a young man who was gardener with me. I put her in possession of my property. [When they married, Friedrich was already in America - LPM]

I left with my wife [not actually married to her — LPM] and four children William, Wilhelmina, Leonore, and Henry [aka George — LPM], and arrived … at New York (Oct 20 1845). In New York I got acquainted with a gentleman who owned a large farm and tracts of land in Essex County N.Y. There I went with my family but finding after 1-1/2 years experience that the soil was too poor and the winter too long I resolved to leave again. But many a pleasant evening I recollect at Woodwardsville. Mr. Radcliff, a gentleman from New York, and his sister, who owned a saw mill and large tracts of land here, was our neighbor; a Vermont family (Mr. Este, his wife, three full-grown daughters and some sons) kept house for him; this with my own family made a pretty nice company — either we spent the evenings there or all came to my house and you may believe it was sometimes very lively.

Trying to please my wife, who didn’t like the wilderness, and finding an opportunity I went to Cape Cod Massachusetts

Here and elsewhere in the letters (including a letter from Doris to her brother in Germany) nothing is mentioned about an orphanage, nor that Doris “went to work to contribute to [George's] support,” either in Woodwardsville or at Barnstable, Cape Cod where they lived for four years before moving to Florida. However George and his siblings may have been in an orphanage at Hamburg before they came to America.

One possible scenario that occurs to me is that in Kummerfeld after her husband's death Doris "went to work to contribute" to the support of her 4 children (some of whom could have been in an orphanage part of the time), and at some point she was employed by Friedrich.

2. There is a bit of confusion about leaving Florida. According to Friedrich’s chronology:

1845, Sep 1, Departed from Hamburg.
1845, Oct 20, Arrived in NY.
1845, Nov 14, arrived in Woodwardsville, Essex, NY.
1847, May 15, arrived in West Barnstable, MA.
1852, Jan 24, arrived in Enterprise,
FL. Wilhelm had gone to sea.
1853, Aug 17, Doris died.
1854, May 23, Friedrich became a citizen.
1854, May 27, Wilhelmine left for CA (with Ryan family; she married a son of the Ryan family, and had a child named Joseph b abt 1857).
1855, End of May, Leonore left for CA (where she lived with a child named Charles Solms b abt 1858; she disappeared after 1960 census).
1855, Aug 24, Friedrich and George moved to Sammis
1856, Jun 19, Friedrich and George left Jacksonville
FL for WI.
1856, Jul 19, Arrived in Big Spring in Monroe County, WI (later Friedrich’s homestead, near Cashton).
1857, Jan 1, “[George] Henry left my house.”

Almost 3 years after Doris died, George traveled from Florida to WI with Friedrich and stayed with him (?? is stepfather a "distant relative"?) for a few months. After that he left and worked at various places, probably including Minnesota. In 1860 he was living at the Laws house (at Richland WI), but their daughter Ida (who married George after the war) was working and living (at Richland in the Van  Deusen household) a little distance away.  His Civil War enlistment shows him as a resident of WI, but he never lived with Friedrich after Jan 1857. A few letters passed between Friedrich and George during the Civil War years and for some years afterward — I don’t have any record of communication between them after 1870.

3. Some records state that George purchased or homesteaded land in Iowa about 1868, but he did not move there until 1871. At the time of the 1870 census, George was married to Ida and living at Madison WI, working in the land office.

 = Loren

LPM emai to Vernon Piccinotti (5 Sep 2006):


Vernon, I just picked up my mail and found your packet of material relating to George Meissner. I’m kinda overwhelmed. I didn’t know he was such a grand fellow when he lived at Petaluma.

As you pointed out, several documents mention George driving around the city with an invalid. This would be his daughter Kitty, who lived with George after his wife Ida died in 1910, until his death in 1924. There is more in the “History of Sonoma County” article you sent, right at the end:

Miss Kitty Irena Meissner, who since the death of her father has continued to maintain the old home at Petaluma, has been blind from the days of her childhood. When nine years of age she was entered at a school for the blind at Vinton, Iowa, where she was given special training in music and from which institution she was graduated as an accomplished musician. Miss Meissner reads fluently both the New York point system for the blind and the revised Braille and is also an expert operator of the typewriter. She takes an active and helpful interest in local community affairs and her gentle influence ever is exerted in behalf of all good things hereabout.

I had noted somewhere that she was blind, but this is a lot more than I ever heard before about her childhood. I'm still not sure whether she was blind from birth or due to some disease or accident during her early childhood. The 1930 census shows her at age 64, head of household at 519 B St, Petaluma, with Jessie Coggins, “companion.” Kittie died 1942 at San Joaquin Co: my guess is that she finally went to live with (or near) her brother George at Lodi.

Wilhelmina (Meissner) Peterson was George’s sister who he came to California to find. She was 4 years older than George and died in 1926 at Sonoma County (possibly at Petaluma). Her husband Charles had died in 1903. That’s the same year George came from Iowa: maybe I’ll be able to find out whether the two events were related.

I’ll ask the “Midwestern” descendants if any of them has ever heard stories of George’s Civil War experiences – meanwhile, the papers you sent go into quite a lot more detail than anything I had heard before. I suppose he had become quite a story teller in his later years.

 = Loren

According to Vernon Piccinotti, Civil War researcher in Sonoma County, CA:

George H Meissner is buried at Cypress Hill Memorial Park, 430 Magnolia Ave, Petaluma CA. The Meissner plot is on the north side of Lot No 335, Section 1. It was apparently purchased on or about 23 Nov 1910 by GH Meissner for the burial of Ida Meissner. Inspection of the plot discloses 4 monuments (horizontal cylindricals) respectively denominated “Mother” (presumably Ida Meissner), “Father” (presumably George H Meissner), “Kitty” (daughter), and “Edgar” (son).

In October 2006 I drove through Chileno Valley. The surname Dolcini appears on some mailboxes along Chileno Valley Road. I addressed a letter  of inquiry to Robert Dolcini, one of the names I saw on a mailbox. I received a reply from a lady who had married into the Dolcini family. If my identification is correct, she was born in 1927 and her husband was Robert's brother or uncle.

Dear Mr Meissner

I live on Chileno Valley Rd and have done some history of Chileno Valley, but I don't know the new people who have moved in.

I knew the Harold Ghisletta family. [Brother of Katherine who m Douglas Dolcini in 1981?] They had built a new house also on the property. After they left, the owners remodeled the old house. The barns are still there and sheds. Don Moreda rents the land for his cows and beef cattle.

Toni [(1983-1965) ?] Ghisletta was Harold's father. When he died, Harold had the dairy and later he sold out.

The address of the new house is 2901; the home place is 3053. The ranch is on the right just past Laguna School. The school is on the ranch; it was donated years ago for the school. It was known as Antonio Ranch. ...

My first husband was [Charles Elmo Dolcini, Jr (1919-1979)]; he passed away 27 years ago but I'm still here.

Robert and Leroy Dolcini were Charles's brothers. They all had dairies, but all sold out. Hope this helps a little.