Saturday, October 13, 2012

Surname Saturday- Wiese

A German family in New Orleans

My grandmother was one of three children, all girls, born to James Allen Wiese and Edna Cecelia Delherbe. Unfortunately James A. Wiese was the only son in his family with two living daughters. His name died with him. Or so we always thought.

My mother had always told me that there were no other Wiese families in New Orleans. Her grandfather was the only one. Other than family in Germany the name here in the US had died out. My mother would stress that the family spelled their name Wiese not Weise. Ours was pronounced WHEEZ while the other was WISE. They were two different families and we were the only ones. However, when I began the search for the father of James A. Wiese I began to discover there were many others with the Wiese surname living in Louisiana. 

Since my grandmother never knew her grandfather there was not much to go on. He had passed away long before she was born. We knew his name was Joachim, or Joseph. He was from Germany, came over to the US before 1860 and lived and died in Plaquemines Parish, La. He also fought in the Civil War.

I had to sit and go through each page of the 1860 census in Plaquemines Parish before I finally found him. He was born about 1835 in Holstein, Prussia. He also had listed with him a son named John. 

My mother was shocked when I told her this news. She declared that this could not be true. They were never told. They would have know if there was an Uncle John. I then showed her the many other Wiese families also living in and around New Orleans. There was a Wiese Soap Factory in New Orleans itself that burned down in the early 1900's.

By 1870 Joachim Wiese had married the widow Margaret Conrad Booth who had two children from her first marriage. In the 1870 census he was listed with his family and his son John Wiese was living several houses down. Joachim is also listed in the 1880 census with his wife, two daughters, and his son James. He apparently died sometime between the 1880 census and the one in 1900 as Margaret is listed as a widow in 1900.

James A. Wiese was born in 1877. He went on to own several stores, both liqueur and grocery stores throughout Plaqumines and New Orleans. He was an elected board member of the grocer's union. He ran a lotto as did many grocers. He was as my mother remembers a jolly sweet man who liked a good joke.

I continue to work on the little pieces of this German family of mine. I want to know more about Joachim and his son John. I want to know where in Germany he was born, who his parents were. I hope to find out more about John, and what happened to him. Did he have a family as well? Are the other Wiese family in Louisiana somehow connected to mine? 

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