Born on 27 March 1847 in Uberlingen on the Bodensee near Lake Constance in Baden, Germany, Johann George Kessler was the son of Martin Kessler and Anna Maria Hahn.

A Germans to America volume indicates George Kessler, age twenty-six, a farmer, traveled on the ship David Hoadley arriving from Antwerp docking in New York on 16 September 1854. George traveled with his two brothers. Gustave, known as August, was a brewmaster and unfortunately drowned in a beer vat—“was cooked in the brew”; and John, aka Joseph, was a gardener who died of pneumonia.

George Kessler married Genevieve “Genovefa” Barghardt on 4 October 1857 at St. Mary’s Church. This couple had ten children and lived at 2308 Lemp Avenue, previously named Buena Vista. The Kessler family lived at this location from 1855 to 1920 when Genevieve died.

When the Civil War broke out in April 1861, President Lincoln called for volunteers to “quell the rebellion” and Germans in St. Louis were among the first to respond. George was a corporal in the cavalry in the 1st Regiment in the U.S. Reserve Corps; 1st Regiment, Company L, under Capt. William Rotermann from 7 May 1861 to 20 August 1861 when he mustered out at the St. Louis Arsenal.

George was attached to Lyon’s Army of the West at the capture of Camp Jackson, (corner of Grand Ave. and Lindell) in St. Louis, on 10 May; he served on provost duty in St. Louis and at the Arsenal until 20 June.

George received a pension for his service. He was identified as:

    • 1860: “George Kessler, machinist, residence at Buena Vista between Arrow and Ohio”
    • 1864–1866: “George Kessler, tobacconist and machinist, Christian Peper Tobacco, 181, N. Main”
    • 1870: George Kessler: born in Baden, the will was written by hand in German, with an English translation available.
    • 1903: George Kessler probate was filed.

George was buried at Sts. Peter & Paul’s Cemetery in the family plot. This plot includes Anna (an infant), John (an infant), Joseph (infant), John Kessler, buried 1863; Augustin Kessler, buried 1864; George Kessler, buried in 1903; Genevieve Kessler, buried 1920; Elisa Kessler, buried 1922; Julia Kessler, buried 1940; and Sophia M. Kessler, buried 25 June 1947.

Written by Judy Broleman
June 2020

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Last Modified: 04-Sep-2020 10:40