Mary Anna was truly a member of a mid-nineteenth century “Brady Bunch.” She was the eldest child of seven siblings, had two brothers from her mother’s first marriage and three brothers and a sister from her father’s first marriage. Between yours, mine and ours of Julianna Leppert Karrer Risch and Mathias Risch, Jr., there were 13 children. My great grandmother, Mary Anna Risch Kuhn, must have learned to share and negotiate in her blended family.
This Risch family lived in the farming community of New Alsace, Dearborn County, Indiana. Mary Anna’s grandparents, Mathias Risch, Sr. and Maria Weiss Risch, immigrated from Hugstetten, Baden about 1828. Her maternal grandparents, John Leppert and Susana Kaprin, came to New Alsace from Bavaria in 1836.
Mary Anna was born 9 Jan 1851 and lived in New Alsace until some time after her father died in 1876. By the time her father’s estate was administered, she had a small inheritance. Perhaps that money allowed her to make her way to Indianapolis. All we know is that she married Charles Anthony Kuhn on 29 May 1879 in Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.
I only recently scored this fine photo of Mary Anna with her husband, Charles, through a newly found cousin on ancestry.com. Isn’t it nice when that happens! I am guessing from the attire that this is a wedding photo. In that case, they are both 28 years old. So far, this is the only photo I have of either one of these ancestors. I would appreciate very much any additional photos that cousins of the Risch or Kuhn family might share?
Mary and Charles began their family in Indianapolis soon after their marriage. A year later, in the 1880 census, the couple are enumerated with their 3-month-old son. They lived next door to Mary’s half brother and his wife, Joseph and Mary Risch, on High Street. Joseph and Charles worked together at the nearby brewery. After losing their son in July of 1880, Mary gave birth two seven additional children between 1881 and 1894. All of these children were raised in the home on High Street.
Unfortunately, I don’t have information about Mary’s personal characteristics or her everyday life at this point. Nor are the specific details known of Mary’s influence in her children’s lives, only the results that are passed along generationally. There could have been many ways she taught them. One characteristic that I learned about from a family history written by Mary Cathryn Zimmer entitled The Louis Risch Family, is that the Risch family passed along a strong tradition of playing musical instruments. Perhaps Mary taught her children. For instance, my grandmother, Tillie, played the piano and taught my mother and her sisters. Her impact as well was evident in the affiliation she maintained with Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Her children remained close, carrying on family togetherness as they grew older.
Mary Anna Risch Kuhn died at their High Street home at the age of 60 on Jan 21, 1911. As was the custom in 1911, the funeral was held in their home, followed by the services at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Mary is buried in St. Joseph Cemetery on South Meridian Street in Indianapolis, only a few miles from that home.
I would like to know more about Mary Anna Risch Kuhn. Was the acquaintance with her husband in Indianapolis through her brother, Joseph’s occupation at the brewery? Or did she and Joseph know Charles before they all came to the big city?
There is history in another town, Connersville, Fayette County, Indiana. Members of the Risch and Kuhn families lived in Connersville before Mary and Charles married in 1879. Charles’ sister, Wilhelmina, and her husband, John Scherrer, were married in Connersville and moved to Indianapolis, along with other family members. They all lived on High Street, just a few houses from Mary and Charles and Joseph and his wife.
And to complicate the puzzle more, Mary’s mother, Juliana Leppert, and the Scherrer family both immigrated from Bavaria. Did Mary meet Charles through the Scherrers in Connersville? Or perhaps, they had deeper connections going back to their hometowns in Germany. My research in Germany may give me answers eventually.
I will keep digging through the records and trying to discover more family. Are there cousins out there who might have information or would like to talk? Let me know.
Thanks to Mary Anna Risch Kuhn for participating in bringing us all together.
Note: For more of Mary Anna Risch’s family history go to my Family Lines page. There you will find a report on four generations of ancestors and six generations of descendants. CLICK HERE and then page down to the Joseph Risch and Barbara Oberietor Descendant Report.