Perhaps today is the Bicentennial Birthday of the woman highlighted in this post. On the other hand, perhaps it is not. Yes, I have another one of those situations in which the date of birth is debatable. However, the two possible dates of birth are not a day or two apart. Nor is it a case of the year of birth being questionable. The two possible dates of birth are May 30, 1822 or August 15, 1822. I lean toward believing that the August date is correct, but I am writing the story on May 30th anyway.
You will be reading the story of Barbara Fath and her husband today. She was the daughter of John Thomas and Anna Catherine Fath. I do not know the maiden name of her mother. There is a baptism record for a Barbara Fath from the parish in Queichheim, Germany. That record says Barbara was born on August 15, 1822. Queichheim is located in the Bavarian region of Germany.
There is a passenger list for the ship, Austerlitz, that has a Fath family included. Several of the names seem to fit, except the mother is not named Anna Catherine. She is called Maria. That ship arrived in New Orleans in 1835. Her later obituary states that Barbara came to America in 1839. Barbara’s age is smudged, but if this is the correct Barbara Fath, she would have been 13 years old.
Now, we will take a look at the man who would become Barbara’s husband. His name was Heinrich Hooss, who was born on September 9, 1810. I was unable to find out his parents’ names. There is a passenger list that gives the names of two young men with the surname, Hooss, who arrived in Baltimore in 1836. These two were named George and Henry. The age for Henry is about right.
Henry’s later obituary confirms the fact that he came to America in 1836. That obituary also says that Henry worked as a carpenter and bridge builder in Virginia and Illinois before eventually settling in Perryville, Missouri.
Henry Hooss married Barbara Fath on April 19, 1841. We can view an Illinois marriage record for this event. It is also reported that this marriage took place in Kaskaskia, Illinois.
After their wedding, we find this couple living in Perryville. It was there that Henry and his father-in-law, Thomas Fath, built a hotel which for a while became known as the White House Hotel. That building was located right across the street from the Perry County Courthouse. A photo was taken of the White House from the roof of the courthouse. It was indeed an impressive building.
As you can see, a saloon was part of that business. In this tax assessment form from 1863, you will see that plenty of barrels of beer must have been sold out of that saloon.
Our German Family Tree lists 9 children born to Henry and Barbara. However, in Barbara’s obituary, it says she had 13. The first two, born in 1844 and 1845, have their baptism records in the books of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. That may just mean that they were baptized by Rev. Gruber, Uniontown’s pastor. The first census in which I found Henry and Barbara was the one taken in 1850. He is called a tavern keeper and living in Perryville.
The only other census in which we find Henry Hooss was the one taken in 1860. Not only is Henry listed as a hotel keeper, this entry has all the looks of being one for a hotel. Back in those days, a hotel often served as a more or less long-term residence for people who had jobs in town.
The ad placed in the Perry County Weekly Union shown here promotes what was then called the Hooss Hotel.
Henry Hooss died at the end of 1868 at the age of 58. His obituary is displayed below. Nowadays, I don’t think you’d ever see a person who died at the age of 58 called an old man.
Based on this obituary, which describes Henry’s membership in a lodge, I am somewhat surprised that Henry was buried in the Peace Lutheran Cemetery in Friedenberg. I know of other stories in which lodge membership disqualified someone from having a church wedding or a burial in a Lutheran cemetery.
After the death of Henry, his son, Thomas Hooss, took over running the hotel. Barbara Hooss never remarried, so she remained a widow the remainder of her life. We see her in the 1870 census
Next, we find Barbara and her household in the 1880 census. Three sons were still living with her.
The last census in which we find Barbara Hooss was the one taken in 1900. She was living with her daughter, Mary, who was then a Kiesler.
Barbara died in 1905 at the age of 82. Her obituary can also be read. This is another document that states Barbara was born on August 15, 1822. It also mentions her funeral services taking place at the Presbyterian church.
Barbara Hooss is buried in the Home Cemetery in Perryville. Her gravestone has May 30, 1822 as her date of birth. I notice something about this marker. It looks like one of those stones that is placed on a gravesite long after the burial because the original gravestone got old or fell over.
Perhaps when this marker was placed at a later date on this grave site, when someone looked into the date of birth, they ran across the same sources that we have in our German Family Tree that state Barbara was born on May 30th.
Maybe later this year, on August 15th, I will repost this story. That way, I know I would get this story published on her 200th birthday….either on May 30th or August 15th.
One thought on “White House Builder’s Bride’s Bicentennial Birthday?”
I think you’re right about the Barbara Fath’s August birthdate. Several of the other Faths who showed up in Perry County had baptism records in the same parish with the same parents. This group arrived in New Orleans aboard the Marengo on 24 Dec 1840 from Le Havre, France. Mother, Anna Katharina Niess, appears to have died before they made the voyage:
Thomas Fath 50
Marguerite* 15 (other records refer to her as Magdalena, which would have been “Madeleine” in French)
Henry Hooss’s brother, George, appears loosely consistent with an entry from the 1850 US Census mortality schedule of Cinque Hommes Twp., Perry Co., MO (line 30):
Click to access 1850_0627.pdf