Caspar Grauer – Pastor and furniture dealer

Painting of Kusterdingen 1683
Painting of Kusterdingen 1683 © Geschichtsverein Haerten e.V.

A few weeks ago, Juegen Schrade, a researcher from Nuremberg, Bavaria contacted and asked me whether I have information about Kaspar Grauer from Kusterdingen, who emigrated as Pastor to the United States. Although I have recorded all known emigrants from the Haerten area, I couldn’t find him in my database.

This was the start of a research project which was filled with questions and mysteries which we have resolved most of them in cooperation with the Historical Society from my hometown area and my international network (Grauer researcher in the US).

Parents of Kaspar Grauer

After intense research in the church records of Kusterdingen  we could find the marriage record of Kaspar Grauer with Rosa Holzschuh in Kusterdingen. They married on Sep 16, 1879 and the marriage records states his parents as Johann Georg Grauer and Anna Maria Friesch. Interestingly there is no family register entry for the new couple. We assume that Kaspar Grauer was already on a missionary task in the U.S. for the Basel Missionary organization and just was back in Germany just for the marriage. Immediately after their marriage they must have been on their way to the U.S. because they arrived in New York on Oct 18, 1979. The passenger list of the arrival was the last evidence of their existence.

Kaspar Grauer became Carl Grauer

Despite intense research in all availabel ressources (newspapers, ancestral trees, censuses) in the U.S. there was no hint about the whereabout of Kaspar Grauer. This was even more irritating as in the past in nearly every obit the pastor holding the service was mentioned. Juergen Schrade and I were completelely frustrated and started developing crazy options. Then we decided to follow two paths. He contacted the Basel Missionary organization whether they can provide additional information about Caspar Grauer’s in the U.S. – their answer is still outstandingr. Juergen at least could find two pictures of Kaspar Grauer in the archives of the Basler Missionary organization. They can be accessed with the following links: https://www.bmarchives.org/items/show/100208503 and https://www.bmarchives.org/items/show/100207471

I decided to contact my Grauer researchers in the U.S. whether they came across  Kaspar Grauer during their research. At first noone had heard of him but they started with some research and finally Dick Kreitner came up with the important hint. He found  a Carl Grauer in the 1880 Census of New Buffalo, Michigan and traced him down to Toledo, OH. Was this Carl Grauer the searched Kaspar Grauer? In the meantime we are 100% convinced that is the case as all the data fit together. The last doubt were swept away when Juegen discovered the death certificate for his daugther Mildred. Her mothers name is shown is Rosa Schrade. Schrade is the last name of Rosa’s mother after her second marriage.

The pastor became a furniture dealer

In the 1900 census for Toledo, Ohio the occupation of Carl Grauer is stated as furniture dealer. When and why hte changed his profession is still in the dark.

Kaspar/Carl Grauer and his wife had seven children (1 son, 6 daughters). Three of them were born in Michigan and the others in Ohio. He passed away on June 20, 1912 in Toledo. Two months before his death his daugther, Mildred (*1890) died on April 7, 1912 from tubercolosis. Sso it is very likely that he was also infected by this desease. Two of his children, Frieda (*1880) and Arthur (*1882) died already in 1906.

His wife Rosa died on June 10, 1917 and his daughter Helen on January 7, 1921.

We haven’t found any trace of his remaining three daughters Alice (*1825), Tillie (*1887) and Bertha (*1893).

Kaspar and his family is buried in the Woodlawn cemetery in Toledo. The tombstones can be found on  https://Findagrave.com :

Kaspar/Carl Grauer

Rosa Holzschu Grauer

Frieda Grauer Groß

Arthur Grauer

Mildred Grauer

Helen Grauer