Kensington CA 94707
16 December 1989
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
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
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.
I think I have gone on with this long enough. Love (and Merry Christmas),
George H. Meissner - Co. F, 3rd
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,
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.
(“Petaluma Argus,” 18 Apr 1903) received 2006 from Vernon S Piccinotti,
Petaluma Civil War historian:
DEAL YET ON RECORD
VEALE AND RODEHAVER MAKE A BIG SALE
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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;
Wm. Meisner; Unknown; 12; M; 22 Oct 1845;
Unknown; 11; F; 22 Oct 1845; Germany; Franklin
E.m.h. Meisner; Child,
Youngster; 8; M; 22 Oct 1845; Germany; Franklin
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
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
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
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,
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. http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/ia/hamilton/history/hamiltonp.txt
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
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.
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.