|Origins of this electronic display
Page 1 Preface
Page 4 Original Index of Contents
Page 5a Origin of the Nenno Family in Europe
Page 5b The Passage to America
Page 5c The Early Years in a New Country
Page 5 The Mickel Nenno Family History
Page 7 The Pax Papers
Page 9 The Black Nenno
Page 9 The "Miracle Well"
Page 15 Alsace-Lorraine
Page 16-26 Census forms for Mickel Nenno Family
Page 17 Mickel and Catherine Nenno Biography
Page 27 Nickolas and Barbara Nenno Biography
Page 29-41 Census forms for Neno-Forness family
Page 46-61 Census forms for Oliver Vincent Nenno
Page 62 Victor and Mary Anne Nenno Biography
The Story of George Finger (Victor's first son)
Page 75 Clyde W. Sr. and Cathryn Nenno Biography
Page 84 Man of the Year '73 : It's Nenno
Page 85-114 Census Forms for family of Clyde Wm Nenno Sr
Page 116-7: Maps of Allegeny, 1869 (not reproduced here)
Page 118 Joseph J. Nenno : Autobiography of his early life
Page 138 John (Jean) Nenno Immigrant family
Page 144 Genealogy Records of the John Nenno Family
Page 147 Naturalization Papers of the John Nenno Family
Page 163 Joseph Nenno Immigrant Family
Berus Church Records (separate page)
Sources of information
The Nenno Family History
How They Lived
by Elizabeth Nenno Wilson
1923 - 2005
Dedicatet to the Memory of
my Father Clyde W. Nenno Sr.
and his brother Richard Nenno
|Betty Wilson said that the coat of arms above left was found by Orma Carls in the Alleghany library, and hand-copied to this form. However in 2005, this library could not locate the coat of arms, and Orma could not remember details of her search. No coat of arms was listed for the surname Nenno in several other sources examined in the libraries of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. An alternate coat-of-arms, probably drawn about 1900, was found by Betty's brother Leo, and is shown at the above right. Orma's drawing appears to show a dog holding a book, but other old coats of arms depict a lion in a similar pose, as excerpted from the coat of arms for Charles V at the right
Preface [Pages 1 through 3 newly written in 2003]
If a person doesn't know where he comes from, he will never know how far he can go. This Book is not a Geneology History of the Nenno Family. It is a History of "How They Lived", what kind of people they were, what they accomplished in their lifetimes, their Origin in Europe, their Passage to America in 1833 on a "Packet" (sailing ship), their Journey to the Eastern Frontier and their early life in America. The Eastern Frontier was Buffalo, N.Y. "The Gateway to the West". This book tells of the John Nenno Family and their relocation in 1834 to the North Collins, the Langford Area of New York State, where they carved large farms out of a wilderness. It tells of his nephew, Michael Nenno, who came to the United States, with him, who would stay in Buffalo and Cheektowaga, N.Y., for thirteen years, working as a carpenter, building churches, before he moved to Allegany, N.Y., in 1856. His sons and his grtandsons would be "Pioneers" in the Oil Fields of West Virginia, Ohio and The "Bradford" Oil Fields, North Western Penna. and South Western New York State.
This book was the wish or should I say obsession of my father, Clyde W. Nenno, Sr. and his brother, Richard F. Nenno, that a History should be written about their ancestors, their fame in the Oil Fields, but primarily "How They Lived". They were not interested in the Geneology of their family, they did not think the time of their birth, marriage, who they married, their childrens' birth, who they were, or the time of their death was important. They kept after me for a few years, I am not a writter, as anyone can tell, who reards this. I started to write it in the late 1970s, many people had the original history, I wrote, but with the involment of so many people, especially Paul Doherty, who works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., his hours of research, even hiring researchers, who found their origin in Europe and so many records not available before he began his research. In 1990, I started to work on the book again, wrote about their history in Europe, even after much much research, found a picture of a "Packet" in the [book] Port of New York Harbour, dated 1830-1840. It is now 2003, I was contacted by Tom McFarland, a Professor at the University of Wisconsin, a descedant of the John Nenno Family, who urged me to finish the History, and send it to him. This would insure that someone else has the History, however I did have to write it over, we knew so much more in 1990 and even more in 2003.
This Family History is not the result of Alex Hailey's book, "Roots", or the television series based on his book, that created a craze in the United States, of people seeking their "Roots". This History was started in 1933 by Joseph J. Nenno, 1867-1942, a grandson of the immigrant, Michael Nenno. Joseph was a very successful business man, who wrote a History of his family, and how it was to grow up in Allegany, N.Y., in the 1800s, as one of a family of ten sons and two daughters. His History is in this book. It is a beautiful tribute to his parents. It goes into great detail about, "How They Lived".
The Geneological Record of The Nenno Family was started many years ago by Orma Bloomingdale Carls, who lives in Allegany, N.Y. Her husband, James R. Carls, is the great, great grandson of the immigrant, Michael Nenno, he is my first cousin. We decided to work together on the Nenno Family Research, we agreed there would be no lies, no fairy tales, family lore would have to be a matter of record. She had seen too many "stories" that people made up, about their ancester. So while Orma was out stumbling over tombstones in St. Bonaventure Cemetary, and searching records and calling descendants, I was in Erie County Hall in Buffalo, going thru musty old ledgers, searching thru Census Records, that were hand written, not in alphabetical order, I found land records, that is when I realized there had to be another Nenno Family, besides the Michael Nenno Family, I found Naturalization Papers, but when I found out about the Mormon Library, it was so much better. And of course with the involment of Paul Doherty, we learned their Geneology in Europe, back to the 1700s, starting with Andreas Nenaut (Nenno). born in the late 1600s, his wife, Katherine Aulinger, and their six children. There were so many people involved in the Geneology, as you can see by the "Sources of Information" listed in this book. However, the complete Geneology written by Donald Gentner , a PHD, who worked in the "Silicon Valley" in California, is the most complete. It even has "mini-Biographys" of the Nennos, that he had any information on.
A large contributor to the Geneology and the History of the Nenno Family was Edward Nenno, of Deming, New Mexico, a descendent of the Michael Nenno Family, who was a retired Air Force Career man. He admited spending as much as $600 a month, calling Nenno familys across the United States. He never lived in Allegany or even knew any Nennos except his own immediate family, yet he was looking for Nennos, even overseas during his Air Force career. To him goes the credit of finding many of the Nennos who contributed so much to the Nenno Geneology. He got us all aquainted.
The information for the Biographys in this book, I wrote about my ancesters, was contributed by many people and came from many sources, largely the information is based on the memorys of my father, my uncle and my grandfather, Victor, that I saw nearly everyday of my youth. However, everything was authenticated with records, no "fairy tales". Never have I found any descrepancys in that information. However, in doing this book, I have heard many "fairy tales". Victor bought his father's home, after he died. His siblings would gather around his massive dining room table on Sundays, and talk about their family and about the Oil Fields. My father even had memorys of his great uncles, the sons of the immigrant, Michael. He was interviewed many times when the Village of Allegany wrote their Sesquintenial Book in 1981. Some of the Credit for this book should be given to my husband, D. James Wilson, he contributed the money.
Elizabeth Nenno Wilson
September 16, 2003
Page 1 Preface 
Page 4 Sources of Information 
Page 5a The Origin of the Nenno Family in Europe 
Page 5 The Mickel Nenno Family History
Page 17 Mickel and Catherine Nenno Biography
Page 27 Nickolas and Barbara Nenno Biography
Page 62 Victor and Mary Anne Nenno Biography
Page 75 Clyde W. Sr. and Cathryn Nenno Biography
Page 116-7 Maps of Allegeny 1869
Page 136 Early Real Estate Records of Nenno Familys
Page 118 Joseph J. Nenno Autobiography and story of his early life (1933)
Page 84 Man of the Year 73) : It's Nenno
Page 138 John Nenno Immigrant family
Page 144 Genealogy Records of the John Nenno Family
Page 147 Naturalization Papers of the John Nenno Family
Page 163 Joseph Nenno Immigrant Family
Last page Future research
Photograph albums dating back to 1888 in the possession of the Leo Nenno family, Olean, N.Y.
The Nenno Family has it's origins in the small village of Beckerholz, in the province of Lorraine in France. Beckerholz is located close to the German border, a few miles northwest of the town of Bouzonville, and was in the Duchy of Lorraine, one of the smaller independent states, that comprised The Holy Roman Empire, until the French under Louis XIV seized the area about 1680. Historically, this part of Europe was populated principally by Germanic Peoples. In the early 1700's, Andreas Nenaut, (Andrew Nenno), born in the late 1600s, settled in Berkerholz with his wife, Katherina Aulinger, and at least one son, Johann George. There may have been other children, born elsewhere. At this time, 1990, we don't know, and may never know, where they came from, before they settled in Berkerholz. Andrew and Katherina had five more children, born in Berkerholz, between 1715 and 1724, according to Baptismal Records in Berkerholz. Two of Andrew and Katherina's sons, Johann George and Johann, settled in another village in Lorraine, about twenty miles to the east, called Berus. This village is located directly on The French Border, in southeastern Saarland, a few miles south-southwest of the city of Saarlouis in the province of Saarland in Germany.
Betty Wilson writes (in October 2003) that the following was related to her by Thomas Collins of Olean, New York, and may not be an accurate account, but is nevertheless interesting. The story relates that "at one time there was a mention of the Nenaut family in Colliers Magazine that said they [the Nenaut family] were the bodyguards for the Pope, when he was exiled to France. It stated they were known for their large stature and 'flaming' red hair. Orma Carls tried to look into The Ides of The Vatican, but could find no access to them. It would be interesting if we had the actual records. However, she did try. She thought she could access them thru St. Bonaventure University. They don't have 'The Ides of the Vatican'. Unless we have a record, we can't say it is true. In the same article, it was mentioned that in the earlier centurys, it was believed that the Nenaut were part of the 'Lombard Tribe' that roamed between France and Italy."
Lorraine remained in French hands throughout the 18th Century and the Era of Napoleon. In 1825, The Treaty of Paris, ending the Napoleonic Wars, ceded the area to Prussia, and Berus became part of the Prussian Province of Rheinland-Pfalz. The Rulers of Prussia consolidated their power over other German States and formed The German Empire in 1871. The Saarland, which at that time was part of the Province of Rheinland-Pfalz, was once again returned to The French in 1919 at the end of World War I, but was rejoined to Germany in 1935. After another change of hands following World [War] II, The Saarland, by now a separate province, once again reverted to Germany.
Although much of The Saarland has traditionally been heavily industrial, Berus is located in a more rural and agricultural area. The population consisted principally of ethnic Germans, although a few French surnames were found in the area. The records of St. Martin's Roman Catholic Church in Berus exist from 1681 and were microfilmed by the Mormons in 1967. The Berus records show baptisms from the earliest date, marriages from 1768, and burials from 1773, until the end of the nineteenth century. The records were written in French until 1819, from which date Latin was used. Nenno was not a common name in the area, and all those, recorded by that name are likely descended from the two Nenno Brothers, who came to Berus from Berkerholz. The name appears generally as Neno in the earlier records and from the early nineteenth century as Nenno. It has also been recorded as Nenne, on The Ship's Passenger Lists, when they came to this country, also as Nenneau. The name is pronounced Nen-no, apparently it was written in different records, as the recorder, thought it sounded, and pronounced in French, it would sound different, than the English pronunciation. The records reveal that there were Nenne Familys still living in Berus, at the end of the nineteenth century. It is therefore very likely that there are members of the family or their descendents with other surnames living in Berus today.
The first Nenne Generation in Berus, consisted of the two brothers, Johann Georg Nenno (d-1774) and Johann Nenno (1715-1787), who came from Berkerholz and were both "Wool-Spinners". Johann Georg settled in Berus about 1730 and shortly after, married Anna Maria Nisen, a Berus native. His younger brother, Johann, came to Berus in the early 1740's and married another Berus woman, Elizabeth Schneider (1721-1776), Johann Georg and Anna Marie Misen had seven children, Johann and Elizabeth Schneider had nine children.
The youngest of Johann Georg's sons, Joseph Nenno (1746-1814), a Cavalier in the Artois Regiment in The French Army, "in the service of The King of France", married his first cousin, Anna Nenno (1714-1814), the oldest daughter of Johann. The record of the wedding is quite long, it is recorded in another part of this book, in French, and later translated to English by Paul Doherty. It was written by Father Joseph Bruch, the priest of St. Martin's Church in Berus. Joseph and Anna had two children before they were married. However, don't think twice about the illegitimacy in The Nenno and other related familys. Research will tell you, it was very widespread and much more accepted than it came to be in The Victorian Age. And then, Joseph was away with his regiment and probably made hasty visits to Anna, without time to marry. Their marriage took place on October 25, 1774. However, before this time, on September 13 1774, they recieved a Dispensation from Pope Clement XIV, so that they could marry. Prior to the marriage, on October 18, 1774, their two children, born before the marriage were "Legitimized" by Apostolic Letter, executed by Mr. Desaintignon, General Official of Metz. A Dispensation of two Bans for marriage was granted by The Bishop of Metz. Apparently The Nennos of the era "knew the 'right' people". Or The Nennos were important people. Joseph, also, had to obtain permission from The Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of The French Army.
There were never Matrons of Honor or Bridesmaids in Wedding Ceremonys of that time. Witnesses were John Schneider, maternal uncle of the bride, of The Royal Legion, in The Garrison at Sarrequemines; John William Nenno, brother of the groom, laborer of Berus; George Wirt, maternal cousin of the bride, laborer, also of Berus; and Johann Nenno, father of the bride and paternal uncle of the groom, Wool-Spinner of Berus.
Joseph and Anna had eleven children. Three of the oldest children, Katherina, Wilhelm, and Karl, died in the year 1779, between May and June, at the age of 7, 5, and 2 1/2. There were many epidemics at that time in history, where whole familys perished. Among other children, John Nenno (1783-1865) and the son, of his brother Nickolas (1786-1858), Michael Nenno (1809-1866), would later immigrate to the United States. Joseph and Anna died within 6 days of each other. Both of their funerals are recorded in this book, from the records of St. Martin's Church in Berus, as well as those of his parents.
At this time in history, funerals were conducted on the evening of the day of death. They were always given The Last Sacraments on that day, by the priest of Berus, who conducted the funerals, which were always witnessed by two men, sometimes relatives, but it seems the school teacher was a witness at many funerals. The Nenno males were able to write and sign their names, but the Nenno women, and other women of that time, signed everything from baptisms to marriages with "their 'customary' mark", according to the priest's records. Apparently the boys attended school, but not the girls.
Baptisms were always held on the day of birth, with the hour of birth, noted on The Baptismal Records. It seems the priest was at the home of the parents, at the time of birth. As in Michael Nenno, the immigrant, later of Allegany, N.Y. His hour of birth was 10 a.m., September 9, 1809. A Father Hass was the priest at his Baptism. Michael's father, Nickolas, was not at home at the time. He was a carpenter, presumably at work. Michael Nenno, his paternal uncle was his grandfather, Catherine Barr his Godmother. All children, with few exceptions, were given the name of one of the godparents, even after they came to the United States. The Godfather, Michael Nenno, could sign his name, but not the Godmother, She made her customary mark.
Most of the occupations of the Nenno Family were listed as carpenters, with some occupations listed as laborers or members of The French Army. Some were in Napolian's Army.
In the second quarter of the nineteenth century, there was widespread emigration from the southern and western parts of Germany to The United States. Among the reasons for this growing tide of emigration were overproduction, overpopulation, unavailability of land and increased mass production which replaced the individual artisan worker. Many of the Nennos were skilled carpenters. It was also a time of prosperity in the United States. Undoubtedly, influenced by these forces and the fact that Berus was in an area of traditional conflict between France and Germany, John Nenno, his nephew, Michael Nenno, son of his brother, Nickolas, his daughter Hannah and her husband Nickolas Bodewein (Boardway), and many other related familys and friends, that show up in Baptismal and Marriage Records in The United States, decided to emigrate to The United States. We know other members of The Nenno Family, and many Nenno women, with different surnames because of marriage, came to this country. Of them we don't have much knowledge. We can only follow the lines of John Nenno, and his nephew, Michael. Other related familys can use the origen of these two men, and follow on with the accomplishments and history of their individual familys. There was only one Nenno Family. Our earliest record of them, started with Andreas Nenno of Beckerholz, more than three hundred years ago.
|Alsace-Loraine (red arrow) and the port of Havre (green arrow)
We don't know on what date John Nenno, his wife and seven children, ranging in age from 18 years old to two and a half years old, his oldest daughter, Hannah, and her husband, Nickolas Bodewein (Boardway in The United States), their nine month old infant, plus his nephew, Michael Nenno, later of Allegany, N.Y., left the Port of La Havre in France. We know that they left on a Packet, a sailing ship, from The Records of The Port of New York on August 21, 1830 to 1840. The name of the ship was "The Ange Guardian". It arrived at The Port of New York on August 21, 1833. All names are listed on "The Ship's Passenger List" with The French spelling. As for instance : Nenne, Jean; accompanied by Barbara, Andrie, Mickel; Nenne, Mickel, accompanied by Barbara, Mickel, and Pierre; Nenne, accompanied by Catherine and Mickel. The names seem to be repeated over and over, Mickel is listed no less than six times, there were two Mickel Nennes on the ship, John's father and his nephew. Jean is listed four times, Jean was the father, Jean was his infant son. We could only learn about their passage to The United States, from the book, "The Rise of The New York Port", 1815 to 1860", written by Robert Greenhalgh Albion. Evelyn Albright, an Historian, a descendant of The John Nenno Family, did the research on the book.
The trip on a "Packet" took normally in good weather, five to six weeks. The first steam ship was not employed until 1848, and then the immigrants continued to use the Packets, a sailing ship, until 1858. The steam ships, until 858, took over mail and other communication services. It was not until 1848, that the first one thousand ton Packet, came to The United States. The Packets were quite small until that time.
The Packets would contract for the whole "tween decks" space of a westbound vessel for a fixed note and then proceed to fill it up with immigrants at somewhere between fifteen dollars to twenty-five dollars a head, twenty dollars, being the average steerage fare for that period in history. Of course, there wasa $140.00 fare for above decks, but it can be assumed that this Nenno Family, because of their very number, were not above deck. The immigrants were normally carried in the "tween decks" between the upper and the lower. The "Orlap" beneath the lower deck, was ordinarily used for heavy freight, but there were times, when even it's musty space was utilized for immigrants.
There was less than six feet between decks, so that most men could not stand erect. That must have been more of a problem for The Nennos, since their children grew to be between 6'2" and 6'8", as in the case of the sons of Michael Nenno, John's sons, no doubt, were the same. Seldom were there any port-holes, the ony ventilation came through the hatchways, which were generally fastened down in bad weather, a few hanging lamps gave a fitful light in an atmosphere which grew more foul by the hour. Eager to make the most of space which they chartered, the shippers erected tiers of wooden bunks, so close together, that there was barely room to pass between them, and that small space was inevitably clutted with luggage. Naturally, the number of immigrants, who could be crowded into the bunks, was not as great as the number of slaves, who chained together and lying "spoon fashion" had been jammed into Liverpool Vessels of similar size. However, it could not have been comfortable.
Each immigrant adult would have a space some 6 feet high, two feet wide, and not quite seven feet long, most of that room, being taken up by his rough pine bunk. These early steerage quarters made no allowance for privacy. Both sexes and all ages were jammed indiscriminately into the hold. Adequate toilet facilities were lacking and the stench became almost unbearable.
Food, too, was another source of difficulty. The Packets carried thteir "farmyards" with a cow for milk and sheep, pigs, and poultry ; but those were for the cabin passengers, who were fed bountifully, and served by negro stewards. None of that was for the immigrants between decks. Water, too, was a problem. Each adult was allowed only a gallon a day for drinking, washing, and all other purposes.
The immigrants passage money entitled them only to bread, salt, meat, and a few other supplies. They not only had to bring most of their food, but everything themselves. Grates were arranged on thr deck, but only a few might crowd around them at a time, and the less aggressive might have to wait for hours to get near a fire. We can assume that the Nennos, were not among the "less aggressive", because of their size, and the fact, that they were "aggressive" people. In stormy weather, the grates were too exposed to be used at all and no fires were allowed below decks, it was a case of eating uncooked food or going hungry. It must have been quite a feat to get food, or bring food with them, for a family that large. The fact that The Nenno Family arrived here, under such circumstances, is testimony of their strength. Many immigrants, especially infants, never reached The United States. Many of those passages stretched out for ten weeks in foul weather, with many passengers arrivinghere in a state of starvation. Since The Nennos arrived at The New York Port in August, it is unlikely, they suffered those privations.
The next passage for The Nenno Family, was the trip to Western New York on The Erie Barge Canal. It was the route the immigrants took from New York City to the west. It went as far as Buffalo. They rode on flat bottom boats called barges, with a cover for protection from the elements. The barges were pulled by oxen or mules, from a pathway beside the canal. The Erie Barge Canal was only completed in 1825, just eight years before The Nennos arrived in this country. The Canal was started in the time of Govenor Clinton. It took eight years to build that canal, 3000 men, 500 horses, and 200 yoke oxen. It cost seven million dollars to build. Steam locomotives were only in the experimental stage in 1825, it was many years later before they were in use. The Erie Barge Canal cut travel time one third, shipping costs nine-tenths, and opened The Great Lakes Area, the passage to the far west. It also made New York City the cheif Atlantic Seaport. The usual time envolved, for the trip from New York City to Buffalo was ten days.
The destination of The Nenno Family was South Buffalo. No doubt, many of their friends, who came before them were in this area. At this stage in history, Buffalo was inhabited primarily by ethnic German people. South Buffalo at this time was a huge forest. It was refered to as "The Piney Woods". It was owned by The Holland Land Company. It was up to the immigrants to clear the land and build farms or homes. Buffalo was a thriving sea-port, "The Gateway to The West".
Above is a "Packet", that is, a ship resembling
the Ange Guardian, this image an oil painting
Packet Ship UNITED STATES by Robert Salmon, 1817, Peabody Essex Museum.
|Betty Wilson supplied a photocopy of a drawing of "The Piney Woods", originally done by Karl Bodmer in 1833, but the detail of this photocopy was so poor that it is not reproduced here
Names as they appear on the passenger list of the ship Ange Gardien
Embarked from Le Havre, France
Arrived Port of New York, August 21, 1833
Country of origin : Germany ; Occupation : Carpenter (on each card)
Researched at the Mormon Library, Williamsville, NY, from the Microfilm of the ship's passenger lists for the Port of New York, by Elizabeth Nenno Wilson (May 15, 1979)
The Nenno Group of thirteen, including John Nenno, his family, his nephew, Michael, plus his oldest daughter, Hannah, and infant son must have arrived in South Buffalo in early September 1833. South Buffalo would be their home for the next few years, while they earned enough money to buy the land they wanted. We don't know where they lived in South Buffalo, it had to be near, what we call "downtown" Buffalo. South Buffalo, at that time was a dense forest. It was called "The Piney Woods". The Nenno's did not buy any land in South Buffalo, so they either rented homes or they built them, but they did have to have a strong shelter, very soon, to survive the terrible winter weather, that is common to Buffalo. and bad weather would be coming soon.
No doubt, since they were carpenters, they had employment. Work was plentiful at that time. Since "Family Lore" indicates that Michael helped build churches, it might be assumed that they worked on the building of St. Mary's Church at Broadway and Pine Streets, not far from where they lived. It was completed in 1843. It was a massive church, built in part by volunteer labor of The German Immigrants, but for such an ediface as St. Mary's, many skilled carpenters had to be employed in it's building. It was closed by The Bishop of Buffalo in 1981, it could not be supported by it's parishoners, the area had changed, The Germans and The Polish People had moved east, the area was now inhabited by Black People. It's beautiful artifacts were sold at auction. It burned in 1986, preservationists would not allow it's demolition until the stained glass windows, imported from Germany could be removed. It's walls were seven feet thick, it's bell tower, three feet thick. It was a testimony of The German Immigrants skill and artistry.
The Nenno Family, at this time, attended St. Louis' Church in Buffalo. It is the oldest Catholic Church in Buffalo, and still stands today, at Main and Best Streets. Michael Nenno, later of Allegany, N.Y., would marry Catherine Berwanger, also born in Prussia, on April 1, 1836, at this church. They were married by Father John Nickolas Mertz, the first Pastor of St. Louis' Church. Three of their eight children were baptized at this church, the Godfather of Nickolas, Michael and Catherine's first born, was his father's cousin, Nickolas Nenno, later of Nenno, Wisconsin, and his wife, Margaret Bauer. Baptized by Father A. Pax. Second child, Michael's Godfather was Michael Nenno, later of North Collins, same Pastor, however Michael would die ten months later, his funeral was held at that church. First daughter, Catherine would be baptized, at this same church on February 6, 1842, the last of their children to be baptized at St. Louis' Church. Five baptized at St. Marys.
Micheal and Catherine Berwanger Nenno would buy land in Cheektowaga, N.Y. They state in the 1855 Census, that they had been in Cheektowaga for twelve years, that would be 1843. However in the Land Records, researched at Erie Co. Hall, on February 21, 1979, they purchased their first land in Cheektowaga on August 22, 1847. The deed was filed on September 13, 1847. Purchased from Israel Ehrisman, Lot # 11, in the seventh range, part of The Holland Land Grant. Price $380.00. Family Lore says John Nenno and his family went to theNorth Collins area in 1834. However in The Land Records of Erie County, researched on the same day as the above date, he did not purchase land there until March 1, 1851. He bought the land from James Brown for the sum of $1968.56, it was also part of The Holland Land Grant. He would have been nearly 67 years old, at this time. He was 51, at the time he came to The United States. His daughter, Hannah Nenno Boardway and her husband would also go to North Collins. In 1844, they purchased a large acreage of land. I did not research that land purchase, we didn't know about them at that time. We can assume that Michael had made up his mind, not to go to North Collins with his uncle, because he wanted to work as a carpenter. My father was certain that Mickel built the first alter at Our Lady, Help of Christians, in Cheektowaga. He recognized his work. Mickel Built furniture. My father saw it. The Land Records of The Nenno Family, from 1809 to 1859, were researched by Elizabeth Nenno Wilson on February 21, 1979, at Erie County Hall. There were only four people by the name of Nenno, or any derivation of that name with a "fine hand", his wife signed with an "X", as did John Nenno.
The John Nenno Family appears to have moved to the Langford, North Collins area soon after their arrival in Buffalo. This area is approxamately 27 miles south east of Buffalo. In the 1855 Census, all of that family stated that they resided in the town of Collins for 21 years. That would have been in the year 1834. That would have been the year after they came to this country. Land Records indicate that they started to buy land there from 1838 on. Another fact supporting the 1834 arrival of the Nenno Family in LAngford was the marriage of Andrew and Michael to the Johengen sisters, Mary Magdalena and Elizabeth. Andrew's oldest child was born there in 1836. However for a long period of time, the marriages and baptisms were still held at St. Louis Church in Buffalo. However the John Nenno Family were heavily envolved in the building of the churches in New Oregon, Langford, and in North Collins, donated many church windows. One of the churches would be named St. Martins after St. Martins Church in Berus.
Michael Nenno, Kohn's nephew, and his family would stay on in the Buffalo Area and then later, the Cheektowaga area. He probably worked as a carpenter in churches and other buildings. Emp;loyment was very high in Buffalo at that time. Family Lore indicates he was a Church Builder. In December of 1856, he sold his land in Cheektowaga and would move to Allegany, N.Y., He bought the land in Allegany in December of 1856, but did not move there until 1857. His youngest son was two years old at the time.
The History of the Mickel Nenno Family in 2003 is quite different than the one I wrote in 1978 and 1979, when I also wrote biographys of my ancesters in the United States. We know so much more now because of the time, money and research of so many people.
Mickel Nenno came to this country on August 21, 1833, to the Port of New York, on a Packet, from La Havre, France. He was twenty four years old. He came with his uncle, John Nenno, aged 51, his wife Barbara, eight children, including his daughter, Hannah, her husband, Nickolas Bodewein, and their infant son. They traveled to Buffalo, New York, on the Erie Barge Canal, their final destination. At first they lived in what is now known as South Buffalo, it was then called "Piney Woods". Mickel worked as a carpenter and as a Church Builder according to Family Lore, as did his uncle and cousins.
Mickel married Catherine Baerwanger, born in Prussia, Germany in 1816, on April 17, 1836, at St. Louis Church in Buffalo. They were married by Father John Spenser. Remarkably their witnesses were Joseph Knapp and Phillip Horjehan. No bridesmaids or Matron of Honor, just the same custom as they followed at St. Martin's Church in Berus, France at that time.
In the 1855 Census, Mickel Nenno states that he and his wife were born in Alsace-Lorrainne, Prussia, that he was a carpenter, and that he and his family had been in Cheektowaga for twelve years. His oldest child, Nickolas was born in Buffalo in 1837, his second oldest child died in infancy, is buried in the cemetary at Our Lady, Help of Christians in Cheektowaga, His name was Michael. Six other children would be born in Cheektowaga, the eighth child would be born in Allegany, N.Y. in 1856.
The land records at Erie County Hall indicate that he bought property on the Old Cuyuga Creek Road, now Dick Road, on Sept. 13, 1847 for $380. On June 6, 1853, he purchased adjoining land. He sold a small piece of the property to the New York Central Railroad.
The old tracks can be seen there today. On both deeds, his signature is written with a fine hand, his wife Catherine signed with an "X". Note, he signed his name , Nenno. In the index records, the name Nenno, is listed with many different spellings.
The people in the community, he settled in, called themselves, Alsatian-French, but they spoke German. It was evident in the book "The Chapel", they all came from the same vicinity in Alsace, they were devout Catholics. The Forness Family, called then Fornes, would also live in the same community, see Census records 1855, but they were not landowners in Cheektowaga.
Nenno Family Lore has always held that Mickel Nenno helped build a church. (It turned out to be a chapel) He lived in Cheektowaga at the time the chapel was started, and in the immediate vicinity, right around the corner. Land Records.
The Chapel has since been made a National Historic Site in 1978. I attended the Dedication Ceremonies and also purchased the book " The Chapel", co-authored by Dr. Ronald Batt.
It is a matter of record (land deeds) that Joseph Batt donated three acres of land to Bishop Timon on April 1, 1851, for the construction of a Chapel, School, and cemetery, with Bishop Timon's stipulation, it could not be used as a church. The people were still obligated to be members of St. Peter and Pauls Church in Williamsville. The was to be no Sunday Masses and week-day Masses and Burials were to be at the descretion of the priest in Williamsville. In later years, Bishop Timon was to have so many problems with those Alsation-French, he was known to state, he wished the place would burn down.
By June 14, 1851, a school was completed at a cost of $76.39, built by about thirty citizens in the immediate vicinity, on July 10, 1853, the cornerstone for the chapel was layed. Only the Sanctuary of the Chapel as we see it today, was built from used bricks, hauled from the old St. Peter and Paul Church in Williamsville. Joseph Batt was a stone mason.
The "Pax Papers", the only written records from that time, written in German, translated, say, quote "They (regulations) prove that Bishop Timon gave permission to Mr. Batt, alone, to build the chapel and to no others, although it is PROVED that Mr. Batt did not build it alone and did NOT more, than others of that settlement." Joseph Batt and Mickel Nenno were immediate neighbors. In accordance with a 45 minute telephone conversation with Dr. Ronald Batt on April 16, 1979, he states most of the book was written from Family Lore and that of other familys in the area at that time. There are no official records from that time except the "Pax Papers" written by a priest of that era, a Rev. George Pax. These papers were written in German. An interpreter was allowed to copy them for the book. The name, Nenno, was not mentioned in the book, but Mickel Nenno left Cheektowaga in 1856, as did Dr. Batt said and also the Historian, Julia Rhinestein, most of the book was written from the family lore of the familys, who stayed in the area. Fr. Setlock, the priest in charge of the chapel, says there is a Nenno buried in the chapel Cemetery, but I haven't had time to look for it. It could be a child of Mickel Nenno.
On October 1, 1856, (Land Records) Mickel and Catherine sold their land in Cheektowaga for $2,620, the same land he had bought for $460, minus #175 tract he had sold to the N.Y.C. Railroad. Historians in Niagra County and Cheektowaga have told me, he was a very wealthy man, at the time, considering in those times, the wages for a farm hand were $5 a month.
Family Lore relates that they walked to Allegany, but historians tell me, the adults walked but their belongings and small children rode in a "dog cart" pulled by a horse or an ox. The trails were not wide enough for a wagon. We don't know what month. Their last child was born in Allegany in 1857.
We don't know what month they bought the two tracts of land on the South Nine Mile Road in Allegany, the mortgage was satisfied in December of 1856. Land records. I've always wondered if the Forness family didn't come at the same time, Joseph Fornes was to buy the neighboring property on the south Nine Mile. Have never checked the records, of when he bought the property. In the 1855 census, he too was in Cheektowaga. On April 15, 1859, Nickolas Nenno, the oldest child was to marry the daughter of Joseph Forness.
In April of 1860, Mickel was to turn all his property in Allegany over to his second oldest child, Catherine Nenno (Land Records), she was 17 years old at the time. She later married Michael Zister. On the 1869 Maps (after the death of Mickel and Catherine) the owners of the property were listed as Zister. We do know that Mickel's wife, Catherine was to die the next year, July 4, 1861 and leave six children under the age of 15. To Catherine, must have fallen the duty of raising them, Mickel died in Allegany 5 years later, July 2, 1866. Both are buried in St. Bonaventure's cemetery.
Land records are incompete, we don't know what year Nickolas and Barbara bought the land for their home on the Birch Run Road, it is on the 1869 map. However, Records show they bought more land in March of 1870 and May of 1876. They were to be the parents of ten sons and two daughters, they were large stature people, the girls were over 6 feet tall. Joseph Nenno's account of how his father bought food and shoes for his family is astounding. He did a lot of living in his 52 years. He was a carpenter, a farmer, a lumberman, even ran a ferry across the Allegany River, before there was a bridge, held public office, and was very much a part of his children's lives. He died when he was building a pump house over an oil well, he was a victim of heart disease, and the fumes killed him. There are two accounts of Nickolas, written is this book, one by his son, Joseph, and one by me.
There is another interesting story about Nickolas, for the people, who found some black people with their name. The account is that when he was floating a large log raft down the Allegany River to Pittsburg, (thats how they moved logs in those days) he found an escaped slave along the river bank, near Pittsburg. He took the escaped slave on the raft, with the provision, he would help unload the logs. He did, and after the logs were sold, he walked back to Allegany with Nickolas. He stayed on being Nickolas's carpenter's helper until the Civil War. It is said that Nickolas paid this former slave $600 to go the the Civil War in his place. That was no disgrace in those days, all Centennial Historys tell how much one man paid another to go in his place. Today you have to be a Congress Man's son, then it was a matter of affluence and choice.
After the Civil War, the black man walked back to Allegany, with a Mr. Atherton, a neighbor of Nickolas, also a carpenter, and he worked for both of them. In later years, the black man wanted to move to the north-eastern part of the state. Before he left, he asked Nickolas if he could have his name and Nickolas agreed to it. He must have had descendants. They show up all over the United States, as do the Nennos of our own family.
I don't have much knowledge of the other children of Mickel. The only one I ever saw was Uncle "Big" Mike, he lived with my randfather for a time, we saw him every day, then. He was even bigger than granddad, and my grandfather was bigger then my father, and that's big. He was a handsome man, with pure white hair, not heavy, like the other Nennos. He went south with the sons of Nickolas Nenno to the oil fields of West Virginia and Ohio, but returned to Allegany because of illness. His only son would die at age 44 from drinking poisonous well water. Son, Lewis was a farmer and an oil man, he lived on the Birch Run Road, too. His family will have to write his story.
The son I heard the most about was Peter. He was a giant of a man, reportedly, between 6'6" and 6'8" tall. He owned a stockyard along the Allegany River, and also a retail meat business. My father always talked about the cleanliness of the market, he also sent fresh meat out every day on wagons. All Nennos talk about his great strength and the way he ate. He could pick up a full barrel. The Nenno's size must have been out of the ordinary in those days since the Historian from Niagara County told me the average height of a man, during the time of the Civil War was 5'6.5".
|This well, drilled in 1883, was the first, in the Allegany Area. It was drilled by the sons of Nickolas Nenno, on his homestead, on the Birch Run Road. They were Contractors in the Bradford Oil Fields, and also pioneers in the Oil Fields of West Virginia and Ohio. The derrick was made of wood. The building, in the foreground, was the power house, wood was burned to make steam for power. In the right rear of the picture, was the "tank house", for storing oil. Since the men, are so well dressed, it can be assumed they were celebrating the success of the well and for this picture.
We have our own story about Peter Nenno. When my father and mother became engaged to be married, my mother had to go to Sunday Dinner at my father's home to meet his family. Apparently, she rode the streetcar from Olean to Allegany. When the family had gathered around to meet the prospective bride, my mother had to tell of her experience on the streetcar, when this huge man had got on the streetcar, and had tilted the whole streetcar. She told how enormous he was, had the biggest face, the biggest nose, and the biggest ears, she had ever seen. Of course the family all laughed, they knew she had seen uncle Pete. He must have been a giant among men in those days. Note, my Mother was used to seeing big people, her father was 6'4" tall. They had to remove the front bay window to get his casket in and out of the house, the door wasn't wide enough. For the benefit of the young, wakes were held at home in those days.
Peter's son Raephel continued his father's retail meat business.
The daughters of Mickel and Catherine stayed in Allegany with the exception of Barbara, who married William Nesselbush, and moved to Buffalo. Catherine married Mickael Zister, Mary married Joseph Riehler, and Lena married Albert Green.
Of the children of Nickolas and Barbara, I know a little, their son Victor was my grandfather. Most of the sons, like my grandfather were to be Pioneers in the oil fields of West Virginia, Virginia, and Ohio. However, they all returned to work in the Bradford Oil Fields and the Oil Fields of Wester N.Y., also the gas fields. Most of them were owners of their own drilling companys. They, for the most part owned large farms, but most of them were primarily business men. My grandfather also owned a feed and grist mill, he later owned an Oil Contracting Business with my father, Clyde Nenno and his son, Richard, Victor J. Nenno and Sons, Oil Drilling Contractors.
They were deep well drillers and had big steel derricks, I can remember them. Joseph Nenno was taken out of school at an early age and apprenticed to a store keeper, Nickolas thought one of hos sons should be a merchant. He was indeed a very successful one. He owned one of the biggest clothing stores in Olean. He owned a large home in Olean, a beautiful cottage at Cuba Lake, with the biggest power boat around. He started to write the Nenno Family History but all we can find is his autobiography, and the story of his youth, it is in this book. He had no children. Nickolas oldest son, John died at age 36, and left small children. Of the family life of the others, I know very little, my father used to talk of them, and of course I grew up knowing most of the people I saw every day were related to me in one way or another, the only thing I didn't realize was just how many were. I didn't know until Orma started her genealogical research, some of the people I was related to.
Not only were the descendants of Mickel and Catherine Berwanger Nenno to become doctors, lawyers, and merchant chiefs, they were to be oil men, farmers, supervisors in industry, power and light and telephone companys, nuns, teachers, writters, businessmen, bankers, career Army men, ship masters, politicians, newspaper people, orange plantation owners, even "Man of the Year".
I wish I knew the story of all of them, I like to think of my father as a culmination of all of them. He did so many things in his lifetime, my brothers and sisters are in awe of him even today. I am including his story in this book, of course the whole thing was written because I think he is so great.
William Nenno, son of Nickolas, drilled the second "Miracle" gas well, for the famed Fr. Baker. There were two wells, behind where the Hospital now stands. There are no official records on either well, they were destroyed in a fire in the Administration Building in 1913. We don't know if Will Nenno drilled the first "miracle" Well in 1891, but we do know he drilled the second well after 1900. Of course, most writters deliberately leave out the second well, it spoils their story of a "Miracle". However one of the earliest memories of Clyde Nenno, born in 1900, when automobiles were few, was as a small boy, he had his first ride, a long one, to Lackawanna, to see the gas well his Uncles were drilling for Fr. Baker, it was a day indelibly etched in his mind.
Because of the discrepencys in the storys, I started inquiring around the older familys in Lackawanna, I found my father's account to be true, then when the "Anthonian" Magazine came out, written by the Franciscan Friars, devoted to the story of Fr, Baker, there was further proof.
Quoted from the "Amthonian", "The first well drilled by Fr, Baker, he called "The Victoria Well", in honor of Our Lady of Victory. The well provided gas for several years for the institutions and also to homes in the immediate vicinity, to whom Fr. Baker sold the gas. The well went dry. He drilled again, and to this day, the second well continues to provide fuel for the institutions that comprise Our Lady of Victory."
Anyone, who has ancestor, that lived in Lackawanna at the time knows other wells were drilled, and were productive, the Beres Family Well, for instance, it is still producing gas. However, in most of the accounts written about Fr. Baker, only the first well, that failed, was written up, and as a "Miracle".
Mr. William Emmerling and Mr. John Osbourne are both "Official Historians" of the City of Lackawanna, and devoted a part of their book, "The History of Lackawanna" to the story of "The Miracle Well". Mr. Emmerling was responsible for having a "Plaque" erected on Ridge Road, commemorating the drilling of "The Well".
I can remember My father showing us the location of The Well his uncles drilled behind the O.L.V. hospital, more than 30 years ago, when I first moved to this area.My father years ago, when he visited us, would show us where his uncles drilled wells in Orchard Park, Hamburg, along The Lake Shore Rd. He said they even drilled in Delaware Park. He was even able to remember where the old wells were drilled on St. Bonaventure University Land, and who drilled them, and when, approximately, and his information turned out to be correct, Fr. Irenaeus Herscher wanted the information for "Historical" reasons. He was a great Historian, but I knew him as a great priest. My father and The Priest were both ill at the time, so he had to come and see my father, but my father outlived Fr. Irenaeus.
Another interesting story about the sons of Nickolas Nenno concerns his son, Charles, who moved to California. The date of the newspaper is January 6, 1929. The headline is "Nenno Purchases Citrus Property". The article says, " Believing in the future of Anaheim, Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Nenno, long residents of this city today announced the purchase of the G.M. Simpson citrus ranch on South East Street, about one mile south of the city. Mr. and Mrs. Nenno expect to move with their family some time this week to take up residence in the modern 8-room jouse which stands on the property. There are eight acres on the property, all planted to bearing orange trees. While the consideration was not made public, it was announced the deal was strictly cash. Several years ago, the late G,M. Simpson was reported to have paid $65,000 for the property." (Newspaper Clipping received from his son Clifford Nenno of Sedonia, Arizona, on June 20, 1980.)
It makes you wonder how he came up wih that much cash, that is a lot of money in 1929. Several of Charles brothers visited this ranch from Allegany, later in his life, Will Nenno went every year, he might have been an investor in the ranch. Will Nenno's adopted son, Glen, was to make his home in California. Nothing more is known of him or his family.
Original History Written March 18, 1981
Revised History Written August 23, 2003 (This document)
Elizabeth Nenno Wilson
Page 15 (Description of Alsace-Lorraine photocopied from an encyclopediua)
Page 16 moved 2 pages down
March 8, 1979 Elizabeth Nenno Wilson Information at the time
[Pages 17 through 137 have not been altered in 2003]
[Pages 17 and 18 contain information on the Michael and Catherine Nenno family unstated above]
Michael and Catherine Nenno state in the 1855 New York State Census that they were born in Prussia, however, it is known because of the Franco-Prussian wars, Alsace-Lorraine was under the rule of Germany at the time they came here. Michael was born in 1809 and Catherine was born in either 1814 or 1816, the age on the census records vary, from 1855 to 1860. All family lore indicates they came from Alsace, the part of Alsace-Lorraine that kept the German customs, however the name is believed to be French in origin. Many Germans and Alsatian were known to come to this country at that time because of the oppressive conditions that existed in Germany at that time in History.
Michael became a Naturalized Citizen, and was able to write beautifully, his wife, Catherine, signed her name with a mark on Real Estate Papers.
Michael stated in 1855 Census he was at [the] same address for 12 years, but also states his son, Nickolas was born in Cheektowaga in 1837, in Erie County, he bought his first land in Cheektowaga on September 13, 1847, part of the Holland land grant, Lot # II in the 7th range for $380. On January 6, 1853, he bought # IO in the II/7 range for $80. The land was bounded by the Cayuga Creek Road, the main trail or road that led to every where in the area. It was once the major Indian Trail. This was researched by Elizabeth Wilson in the land Records at Erie County Hall on Feb, 21st and March 8th 1979.
In accordance with records at the Erie County Library in the Historical Records of Cheektowaga, the territory belonged to the Iroquois Indian Nation, but was taken over by a group of men, who formed the Holland Land Company, who surveyed it and divided it up into Lots of many acres, with different ranges. They sold the land from 3 cents and acre to $2 and acre. The land was dense forest, and they were primarily interested in getting it cleared . The land was covered with Crabapple trees, besides the huge Oaks and Beechnut trees.
The population at this early time in the 1830s was of German and Alsatian-French descent. They lived in log cabins covered with bark or split lumber called shakes. There was a bounty on wolves and the pioneers were paid 75 cents for wolves ears.
There were no churches in the area in that time, however there were many Franciscan Priests, who were there trying to convert the Indians, it can be assumed they christened the children of the early settlers. A chapel was built by the donation of Joseph Batt, Our Lady, Help of Chistians, for Thanksgiving for a safe journey to this country. It was a stormy voyage. He was from Morschweiler, Alsace, Germany, left Havre, France October 20, 1836 and reached the Port of New York February 2, 1837. Michael Nenno might well have helped build that chapel, he was a carpenter by trade, and he was known to be in Cheektowaga at the time.
Michael and Catherine were to be the parents of eight children, seven were born in Cheektowaga and the last in Allegany, N.Y. in 1857. Their oldest son, Nickolas, was 18 in 1855 and in that year, he walked to Allegany, N.Y., at the time called Burton, he must have convinced his father to come there, because on October 1, 1856, Michael sold all his land in Cheektowaga to George Van Campen for the sum of $ 2,620. He had sold a small srtip earlier in February of 1854, 66 ft. in width and 86 1/2 feet long to the New York Central Railroad for $170. He must have started for Allegany in that year with small children and what he could take with them.
Michael Nenno is thought to have been closely associated with the Joseph W. Forness family, they were in Cheektowaga the same number of years, although Joseph Forness was not a land owner in Cheektowaga. They must have come to Allegany at about the same time, maybe even together because on April 15, 1859, Nickolas, son of Michael and Catherine, the daughter of Joseph Forness were married in Allegany. Joseph Forness was born in Strasbourg, Alsace, Germany at that time, when he came to this country. He left from Bordeaux, France.
There was another Michael Nenno in Cheektowaga at the time of the 1855 census, he also states he was born in Prussia, he was the son of John Nenno, who settled in the town of Langford area. He was a farmer. John states he was born in Alsace-Lorraine, Prussia. This Michael returned to the Town of Langford before 1858.
Catherine died in Allegany on July 2, 1861. Michael Nenno died also in Allegany on July 4, 1866. Both are buried in St. Bonaventure's Cemetery in Allegany, N.Y.
Page 16 a census form for the family of Michael Nenno and Catherine Berwanger and their 8 children. See family tree
Page 19 Census form for family of Nickolas Joseph Nenno and Barbara Forness
Page 20 Census form for family of Michael Zister and Catherine Nenno
Page 21 Census form for family of Joseph Riehler and Mary Nenno
Page 22 Census form for family of Louis Nenno and Frances Riehler
Page 23 Census form for family of Albert Green and Lena Nenno
Page 24 Census form for family of Peter J. Nenno and Barbara Dewes
Page 25 Census form for family of Michael C. Nenno and Margaret C. Klice
Page 26 Census form for family of William Nesselbush and Barbara Nenno
Note: An account was written of the lives of Nickolas and Barbara Nenno by their son, Joseph J. Nenno, in the year 1933. His profile of Nickolas and Barbara Nenno was a more intimate rememberance of the life, he and his brothers and sisters lived with their parents. It can be found in its entirety, in the back of this book.
This profile of Nickolas and Barbara Forness Nenno is more of an historical account.
Standing (L to R): Frederick, John, Frank (Francis), William, Victor, Joseph
Seated : Magdalena, George, Edward, Barbara Forness, Nickolas, Charles, Mickael, and Mary
Photo taken 6 September, 1889
Nickolas Nenno was born June 5, 1837 in Cheektowaga, N.Y., a suburb of Buffalo in Erie County. He was the eldest child of the eight children of Michael and Catherine Nenno, Immigrants, who came to this country in the year 1833.
In the 1855 New York Census of Cheektowaga, Nickolas was listed as being eighteen years old and living at that address for the last twelve years, as were his parents and brothers and sisters. In accordance with research conducted by Elizabeth Nenno Wilson on February 21, 1979 at Erie County Hall, that land was a Part of the Holland Land Grant, and consisted of lot #II, in the 7th range purchased in 1847, and lot #IO in II/7 range purchased in 1853 by Michael and Catherine Nenno.
The same year, 1855, at the age of eighteen, Nickolas walked to Allegany, N.Y., which at that time was known as Burton. Allegany was to become his home, and also that of his parents. Michael and Catherine were to come to Allegany the next year, with their remaining six children. Their last child was born in Allegany in the year 1857. Family Lore has it that they walked to Allegany with all these young children, as recounted by their son, Michael, who was born in 1854, who must have been a small child at the time.
On April 15, 1859 Nickolas married Barbara Forness in Allegany. Barbara was also born in Cheektowaga, the eldest daughter of Joseph Forness (Joseph W. Fornes- also Furnace), who is a biographical Sketch, states that he was born in Strasburg, Prussia (Germany). Barbara was born January 12, 1838. The two familys were known to have been closely associated in Cheektowaga, and known to have come to Allegany at the same time.
Nickolas and Barbara were to be the parents of twelve children, ten sons and two daughters. They were all to be over six feet tall, including the girls, and all would weigh over two hundred pounds. Nickolas was known to be of stern temperment with his children, he was an industrious man and meticulous about his personal apprearance, he demanded the same qualitys of his children. His children went to school, were well fed and clothed. Most of the childrens clothes were made by Barbara, she colored the yarn to make stockings, mittens, sweaters, and caps for all those children. She baked the bread to feed them and cooked huge quantities of food everyday. They consumed a barrel of flour evry month, besides 10 pounds of sugar, a pound of tea and coffee every month. Nickolas was known to be a keen shopper for his family. He carried a notebook and a ruler in his pocket, he measured his children's feet, recorded the measurements in his notebook, and bought shoes and boots in quantities, at a good price. With the expence of raising such a large family, he was still known to lend money to storekeepers at 4% interest when the banks were allowing 3%.
Nickolas Nenno was a farmer, a lumberman, and a carpenter. He operated a ferry boat across the Allegany River before the bridge was built, his Homestead and many other were separated from the Village of Allegany by the river. He is believed to have bought the Homestead of the Birch Run Road, where they raised their family around 1867. They cleared the land and built the home and also cleared the land for farming. In accordance with old maps in existence in Allegany, he was also known to own tracts of land in the upper Birch Run area, and also in Chipmonk, N.Y., downriver from Allegany.
On February 15, 1890 Nickolas Nenno was killed by a fall from the top of a tank house, he was building on the Zinc Farm on an oilwell site. He was fifty-two years old. He left five children under the age of twenty-one, the youngest being only eleven years of age. His funeral was held at the church he was said to have built in the Village of Allegany, St. Nickolas Church, he is buried in St. Bonaventure's Cemetery.
Barbara Nenno died April 26, 1918 at the age of 80, surviving Nickolas by 28 years. She is also buried in St. Bonaventure's Cemetery, in Allegany.
Page 29 Census form for family of John N. Nenno (son of Nickolas J. Nenno and Barbara Forness)
Page 30 Census form for family of William F. Nenno and Margaret Firkel
Page 31 Census form for family of William McCabe and Mary M. Nenno
Page 32 Census form for family of George L. Nenno and Mayme Murray (Jane)
Page 33 Census form for family of Michael W. Nenno and Catherine Murray (no children)
Page 34 Census form for family of Joseph J. Nenno and Vita Hall (no children)
Page 35 Census form for family of Victor Joseph Nenno and Mary Anne Martiny
Page 36 Census form for family of Thomas Hughes and Lena K. Nenno
Page 37 Census form for family of Francis (Frank) A. Nenno and Elizabeth Dinsmore
Page 38 Census form for family of Frederick S. Nenno and Catherine O'Meara
Page 35 Census form for family of Charles J. Nenno and Marie Kenney
Page 40 (paraphrase of census form for family of Charles Nenno and Marie Kenny)
Page 41 Census form for family of Edward W. Nenno and Nellie McNeary
Page 42 Additions to data for families of
 Catherine Nenno and Michael Zister,
 Theresa Zister and Wm. Riehler  Lena Nenno and Albert Green,
 Ernest F. Green and Verdabel Spencer,  Ernestine Green and John Forness
 Edwin C. Green and Marie Simmons
Page 43 Additions to data for families of
 Oliver Nenno and Margaret C.
 Mildred Nenno and Charles Sullivan,  Gertrude Nesselbush,
 Regina Neselbush and James Tabb,  Frank Nesselbush and Nell Sirdevan,
 Charles Nesselbush and Jesse
Page 44 Additions to data for families of Julius P. Nenno and Evelyn,
 Leo Nenno and Mayme Hatfield,  Ida Nenno and Patrick O'Meara,
 Rose Nenno and John Nutt, Raphael Nenno and Magdalena Karl
Page 45 Additions to data for the 4 children of Louis, son of Catherine and Michael Nenno, and the 3 children of Lena Nenno and Albert Green
Page 46 Partial hand-drawn tree for family of Oliver Vincent Nenno
Page 47 Census form family of Oliver Vincent Nenno and Clara Oaks
Page 48 Census form for family of Robert W. Stephens and Ruth Murriel Nenno
Page 49 Census form for family of Claude Michael Nenno and Pauline Emma Ronolder
Page 50 Census form for family of Robert W. Nenno and Rita Sheridan
Page 51 Census form for family of Donald Nenno, M.D. and Barbara Bathke
Page 52 Census form for Mary K. Nenno, unmarried
Page 53 Census form for family of William C. Nenno, M.D. and Shirley Richter
Page 54 Census form for Donald J. Nenno
Page 55 Census form for family of Richard W. Nenno and Mary Ellen Volk
Page 56 Census form for family of Nathaniel Hatford Winship and Marianne Nenno
Page 57 Census form for family of Joseph Nenno and Geneva Forness
Page 58 Census form for family of John Pounds and Teresa Nenno
Page 59 Census form for Beatrice Nenno (no children)
Page 60 Census form for family of John Nenno and Veronica McCabe
Page 61 Census form for family of Jacob L. Farrell and Genevieve Nenno
Dedication: October 10, 1923 - Family of Victor J. Nenno and Mary Ann Martiny Nenno
Front Row - Clyde, 23 yrs., Victor, 54 yrs., Mary Ann, 52 yrs., Richard, 28 yrs..
Second Row - Margrete, 20 yrs., Veronica, 25 yrs., Mary, 18 yrs., Henry, 29 yrs..
Victor J. Nenno was born in Allegany, N.Y. on July 25, 1869 on the Nickolas Nenno homestead on the Birch Run Road. He was the seventh child of the ten sons and two daughters of Nickolas and Barbara Forness Nenno. His early years were spent in school and working around the family homestead under the stern discipline of his father, but the family ate well and were dressed well. The entire family was of exceptional height and large stature, a trait inherited from their immediate ancestors.
In those early years, the Nenno brothers loved to fight, especially Victor, it was their favorite pastime. His nickname became "The Drake". Even in his old age, when he caused many an automobile accident, by the manner in which he drove a car, the other people envolved, were only too eager to insist that the accident was all their fault when this huge man would alight from his car, waving his cane aound to express himself, and he was a big man even in his old age, he stood straight and tall.
In his teen years, his father sent Victor to the West Virginia Oil fields to join his older brothers, who were pioneers in opening up the Oil fields in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio, with instructions to his older sons "Not to let Victor get killed." They wrote back to their father, they could not even keep track of Victor. He was a very strong young man and became known in the Oil towns and Camps as a great fighter (Bar room style), a Bar Room Fighter in those days meant boxing, wrestling, kicking, gouging, biting, just anything as explained by his sons years later, to this writter, and by Victor himself when he told the stories of his youth. As his reputation spread thru out the Oil Camps, there had to come a time when it would be an honor to fight Vic and win. A problem developed when Victor was in a bar-room one night and a man challenged him to fight and Victor knocked him out with one blow. "His Secret", as he told in later years, was to get in the first blow. However, this particular man got up and came back with a gun. Victor tried to dodge the bullets from behind a pot-bellied stove, but was shot up badly.
He carried a few of those bullets in his legs all his life. He recovered and went on to work in the Oil Fields. His skill was in being able to drill an oil well in West Virginia and not have it cave in and for that ability, the Leonard Oil Company gave him a share in a successful well.
On October 25, 1893, he married Mary Ann Martiny, the daughter of John and Mary Kemmer Martiny at St. Nickolas Church in Allegany. Mary Ann was born in Allegany [on] March 13, 1871. Victor and Mary had eight children, two of whom died in infancy.
After their marriage, Victor and Mary returned to the Oil Fields of West Virginia and Ohio where he built a home. Their first two sons were born in Witten, Ohio. In 1897 they returned to Allegany and bought the old Homestead from his mother. The rest of their children were born there. He worked in the Oil Fields and farmed. In 1907 he was injured badly in a drilling accident and was years recovering, after a long hospital stay. He eventually returned to the oil fields and ran his farm. He bought a Feed and Grist Mill on the western edge of Main Street in Allegany that he operated with the help of his sons for many years.
Mary Ann Martiny Nenno graduated from St. Elizabeth;s Academy in Allegany, and will be remembered always for her pictures and portraits, that hang today in the homes of her children and grandchildren. They are prized possessions. When her family thinks of her, they think of flowers, she covered the lawns of the farm with them. Mary Ann died November 24, 1933 at the age of 62 of Congestive Heart Failure, an ailment she suffered from for years.
Victor and his sons Richard and Clyde formed the "Victor J. Nenno and Sons Oil Well Drilling Company" in 1924. They lost their business in 1933 in the great depression, as did so many others at that time.
After the death of Mary Ann, Veronica, one of his daughters, and her family lived with Victor for a short time, and then bought a home of their own and resumed their own family life. Victor lived on in the homestead, spending part of each day with the children of his son, Clyde, Victor had a weakness for children, he loved them and they loved him. He would keep them entertained for hours, with his storys of his early days in the Oil Towns of West Virginia and other parts of the South. He was an integral part of their lives, when Clyde's children were young. He had his own place at the table. There were six children, so he never ran out of children to talk to.
On February 7, 1935 Victor married Augusta Hamm, who was born in Allegany on February 7, 1895. The marriage was short lived, Augusta died five years later at the age of forty-five in August of 1940. While married to Augusta, Victor lived in her family home in the village of Allegany and rented the homestead. After Augusta died he sold the homestead and built a home on the 10 acres of land he owned next to the home of his son, Clyde. After Clyde moved to Olean, because he needed a bigger house for such a large family, Victor continued to live in that houser for a few years and in 1947, sold it and bought the "Barney Mayer" homestead at 31 East Main Street in the Village of Allegany. At his age he could not handle such a large place and in that year sold it to his son, Clyde.
On August 13, 1947, his son, Clyde, was on vacation and he spent the day with Victor, fixing up the apartment in the house, where Victor made his home. Victor was happy that day, whistling and singing as father and son hammered and sawed all day long. He loved being with Clyde. Clyde went home for dinner with his family in Olean and was shortly summoned back. Victor had been sitting in his rocking chair on his porch, on a pleassant summer evening with an old friend talking about old days. His last words were " when I was down in West Virginia" and he stopped. He died of a massive stroke at the age of 78, he outlived all his nine brothers and two sisters.
Victor is buried in St. Bonaventure's Cemetery, next to his Mary Ann, the Mother of his children.
Page 65 Census form for family of Harry Joseph Nenno and Hazel Allen
Page 66 Census form for family of Richard Nenno and Suzanne Daugherty (no children)
Page 67 Census form for family of Richard Francis Carls and Veronica E. Nenno
Page 68 Census form for family of Clyde William Nenno and Catherine Isabelle Wilson
Page 69 Census form for family of Cecil Toennis and Margrete Nenno (no children)
Page 70 Census form for Mary E. Nenno
Page 71 Census form for William Nenno (died at age 6 months)
Page 72 Census form for Eugene Nenno
Page 73 Census form for family of James Richard Carls and Orma B. Bloomingdale
Page 74 Census form for family of Andre Lepine and Geraldine Carls
Standing (L to R): Clyde W. Nenno Jr., Teresa M. Meyers,
Leo Joseph Nenno, Mary L. Diffenderfer, William E. Nenno
Seated : Clyde William Nenno Sr., Elizabeth H. Wilson, Catherine Isabelle Wilson Nenno
Photo taken 18 October, 1979
Clyde W. Nenno Sr. [seated left above] was born in Allegany, N.Y. on September 17, 1900, The fourth child of the six children of Victor J. Nenno and Mary Ann Martiny Nenno. He was to spend the greater part of his life in Allegany. He attended St. Bonaventure's Parocial School, He attended high school at St. Bonaventure's College that had a high school at that time. While in high school, he played football and boxed, however he left high school at the age of sixteen, his family needed his financial aid because his father was unable to work for many years because of a severe injury his father suffered working in the Oil Fields. After Clyde had to leave school, he worked in the Feed Mill his family operated, drove Teams of Horses, worked the family farm, and later started to work in the Oil Fields in that region and the Pennsylvania Oil Fields.
On June 6. 1922, Clyde married Cathryn Isabelle Wilson [seated right above], Daughter of Matthew C. and Catherine Linehan Wilson. They were married at St. John's Church on Olean, the home parrish of Cathryn's parents. Cathryn was the fourth child of the nine children of Matthew and Catherine, one of the two daughters of that large family. Catherine graduated from Olean High School in January of 1922, the same year, she was married.
After they were married they moved into their very own home that Clyde had built while they were engaged to be married. He built that home on the site, he had always dreamed of building a home on, since he was a child. That home was on the South Nine Mile Road in Allegany, N.Y., on the banks of the Allegany River. Four of their six children were to be born while they lived in that house.
In the year 1924, Clyde, his brother Richard, and his father, Victor formed a partnership in a "Deep Oil Well Drilling Business", under the name "Victor J. Nenno and Sons". In the year 1928, Clyde built another house at Knapps Creek, N.Y., to be closer to the Bradford Oil Fields. Two of their sons were to be born while they lived in that town. At the time five of his brothers and sisters lived on one side of thestreet. His business, like most others, failed during the "Great Depression" and they lost their drilling equipment. Clyde lost both his homes too in 1933.
Clyde and Cathryn moved their family back to Nine Mile Road in Allegany, he had to rent the very house that he had built. Their last child was born there.
The following years created many struggles and heartaches, trying to feed and care for a large family of six children, with no work available. At this time Cathryn became critically ill and after many hospital stays, Clyde had to raise the money for Cathryn to have surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. After a period, when her children thought she would never return, she recovered to raise her children.
Their children did not have to bear the privations that other children suffered at that time in history, there was no work too menial or too difficult for Clyde to work at to feed his family. He cultivated huge gardens to feed his family and to sell at the markets, he raised and slaughtered cattle to sell and feed his family. He even worked on a road gang, building roads for the "Public Works Dept." for $15 a week. There was no welfare or Unemployment Insurance in those days, if you couldn't find any work, you stood in soup lines or sold apples on street corners and many people went hungry. Clyde and Cathryn's children never knew hunger and were well clothed. As one son said later in life "I never knew we were poor." Because of Clyde's great love of horses, the family even owned a horse, a "Pekins", at this time that Clyde entered in "Horse-Pulling Contests" and that the children could ride. Clyde's children thought he was the "greatest", they would all stand at the window waiting for his arrival home to shower him with love and affection.
Clyde and Cathryn were much loved and respected by their family. Clyde had the opinion that if a child did not believe what you said at the age of two, he never would believe you. Their children also believed that if they told you something once, there was no way you could change their minds, as to what you were allowed to do. Yet years later, one of their sons said "That's one thing about Daddy, he always had time to talk". They had no problems with their children.
As the "Depression" eased, Clyde was employed by the "Freeborn Equipment Company repairing "Diesel" engines for a number of years, and then returned to the Oil Fields. In the year 1942, he was employed by Dresser Clark as a power and light Supervisor and retired in that capacity in September of 1965. In the year 1942, they had moved their family to Olean. About this time the older children started to get married.
In 1956, Clyde built a cottage at Rockville Lake for the enjoyment of his children and their many grandchildren. There were many good times at that place, many family gatherings, nearly every week-end, something was going on. There were two power boats, one for water skiing, and a smaller one for the enjoyment of the smaller grandchildren. One grandson was known to call the place, "Paradiseville". There was always lots of food, lots of beer, lots of people, and so many kids, not just their own grandchildren. Clyde was called "Popeye" by many of his Grandchildren, an affectionate name, thought of by his two younger sons, because of his resemblance to the cartoon character, of the time, known for his strength, when they saw their huge father with his big hands, carrying around his bald, nightgown-clad infant grandchildren.
In the year 1947, he bought the house at 31 East Main Street in Allegany from his father, Victor, and in 1948 Clyde and Cathryn moved their family into this big house. He made this big home into three apartments, continuing to live there until his retirement in 1965, thereafter they spent the winters in Bradenton, Florida and back to Allegany in the summer months. In 1978, they sold this house to their son Clyde Jr. and his wife Delores, but maintained a summer home in one of the smaller apartments.
Clyde and Cathryn lived at a time of more Social and Economic changes than any generation in the history of the world. They lived from the age of gaslights and travel by horses and trains, to the modern age of electricity, to the age of the automobile, to the infancy of airplanes, to the building of the massive jet planes, thru the development of Atomic Energy to the time astronauts would travel in outer space, and man would walk on the moon, and would put "Outer-Space" Missles on Mars to send information to our space laboratories. They lived to see many changes in their lifetime.
On June 4, 1972, Clyde and Catherine celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary. A Wedding Mass was celebratewd at St. Bonaventure's Church in Allegany, attended by all their children, their spouses, their grandchildren and many relatives and friends, their Wedding Vows were not renewed, as is customary on such an occasion, because as Clyde explained to the Pastor, Father Ronald, "I never broke my original Vows". A breakfast followed at the Holiday Inn.
Later in the day, Clyde and Cathryn were honored by their children at a large Reception, given by their children, with hundreds of people attending at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Allegany. Formal Invitations were sent out, Newspaper Invitations were written, Signs were posted, everyone who ever knew them was invited to attend and honor them on this Great Occastion. There was a catered Buffet and an Open Bar, everyone had a good time. People came from all over. One of the greatest points of interest at the reception was a large bulliton board with pictures of their life together, there was even a picture of their first date. It was a great day in their lives.
The last two and a half years of Clyde's life, he suffered with cancer. He lived to enjoy many good days, he was a very strong man, with the love and support of his family. His mind was good, until the end. He was a great help to the Allegany Sesui-Centenial Committee, and to The Historians at St. Bonaventure's University. He could name off the big familys in Allegany in chrological order, he knew so much of the history of Allegany, from listening to his father and uncles, at family gathering, when he was a child, he had a great memory. The Historians said they learned so much from him, because he remembered things, as they were, not as he might have wished, that they were, which is true, of most older people. Everything he told them, checked out, with Official Records, but first, the historians had to know what to look for, in their history.
Clyde lived to be 82 years old, he missed by a few months, of being the oldest living male, of The Nenno Family, in their History, for 300 years. He died on November 20, 1982, at his home, where his father had died. His Funeral was at St. Bonaventure's Church. He was buried at St. Bonaventure's Cemetary on November 23, 1982.
Clyde and Cathryn lived to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, and were honored in the same way by their children. Clyde died the same year.
After Clyde died, Cathryn's health failed rapidly, she really died with him. Cathryn died on June 26, 1986, in a Nursing Home, surrounded by most of her children at 6:30 A.M. Her Funeral was July 28, 1986, She is buried at St. Bonaventure's Cemetary.
The six children were Elizabeth Nenno Wilson, Mary Nenno Diffenderfer, Teresa Nenno Meyers, William E. Nenno, Clyde W. Nenno, Jr., and Leo J. Nenno.
Page 79 Census form for family of Donald James Wilson and Elizabeth Helen Nenno
Page 80 Census form for family of Brenton Harold Diffenderfer and Mary Lucille Nenno
Page 81 Census form for family of Gordon William Meyers and Teresa Marie Nenno
Page 82 Census form for family of William Edward Nenno and Sonya Lee McInroy
Page 83 Census form for family of Clyde William Nenno, Jr. and Delores Moszak
Page 84 Photocopy of a newspaper page from the (Olean, N.Y.?) Times Herald showing Leo Nenno and his 3 sons skiing. Leo Nenno was awarded the Times Herald Man of the Year award by this newspaper in 1973. For dating puposes, son Tommy is age 16, Jerry is age 15, and Mike is age 13.
Page 85 Census form for family of Leo Joseph Nenno and Patricia Sowenski (subject of Pg 84 above)
Page 86 Census form for family of Michael Brenton Wilson and Katherine Helen Ritzmann
Page 87 Census form for family of Warren Fabian and Joan M. Diffenderfer
Page 88 Census form for family of James Brenton Diffenderfer and Anne Marie Kendzior
Page 89 Census form for John Clyde Diffenderfer
Page 90 Census form for family of Raymond Paul Diffenderfer and Julie Hall
Page 91 Census form for Gordon Owen Diffenderfer
Page 92 Census form for family of James Leo Banks and Mary Catherine Meyers
Page 93 Census form for Timothy Nenno
Page 94 Census form for family of William Jay Nenno and Roberta Warner (no children)
Page 95 Census form for Kim Marie Nenno
Page 96 Census form for Daniel Nenno
Page 97 Census form for Amy Jo Nenno
Page 98 Census form for Patrick William Nenno
Page 99 Census form for Nancy Ann Nenno
Page 100 Census form for Edward Michael Nenno
Page 101 Census form for Thomas Nenno
Page 102 Census form for Gerald Nenno
Page 103 Census form for Michael Nenno
Page 104 Census form for Adam David Wilson
Page 105 Census form for Kristoffer James Wilson
Page 106 Census form for Warren Fabian
Page 107 Census form for Vincent O'Keefe
Page 108 Census form for Michael James Diffenderfer (son of James Brenton)
Page 109 Census form for Stephen Diffenderfer (son of James Brenton Diffenderfer)
Page 110 Census form for Dionna Marie Diffenderfer (daughter of Raymond Paul Diffenderfer)
Page 111 Census form for Molly Jo Diffenderfer (daughter of Raymond Paul Diffenderfer)
Page 112 Census form for Kristine Diffenderfer (daughter of Raymond Paul Diffenderfer)
Page 113 Census form for Jennifer Ann Woehrle (daughter of Nancy Ann Nenno)
Page 114 Census form for family of Edward H. Nenno and Margaret Gibbs
Page 115 Census form for Joseph Forness (Furnace)(Fornes) and Hellen Forness (parents of Barbara Forness (maiden name not given)
Page 116 and 117 are 1869 Plat maps of Allegany, showing the locations of property owned by Victor Nenno, Clyde Nenno Sr., Clyde Nenno Jr., M. Nenno, and N. Nenno
Page 118 Title page for what follows, with only words "EULOGY dedicated to my Father and Mother" together with a photocopy of a photo of about 15 barely visible people, signed "JN"
With the coming of the New Year, I have thought I might write a new chapter upon the white pages of Lifes book. This is my first attempt to write anything regarding our Family Tree.
I trust my efforts will not be criticized to severely. You appreciate this is all Home-Made and briefly sketched of less than three thousand words, to the interest only of my Brothers and Sisters.
And it is my wish that the contents here enclosed will not go outside the immediate members of our Family circle.
To My Father
Only A Dad with a tired face,
Only A Dad with a brood of Twelve,
Only a Dad neither rich nor proud,
Only A Dad but he gives His all,
IN the dark womb where I began,
[It is not clear who authored the above 2 poems. Superimposed on Page 121 is the note: "It was the reading of this poetry that inspired me to write this Eulogy to my Mother and Father. JN"]
TO Our Dear Mother who gave birth to twelve Children, All were physically perfect. All lived and grew to Manhood and Womanhood, each weighed two hundred pounds and upward. All were Married and owned a Home. They were all cared for, Nursed, Bathed, and dressed Not by a nurse or Maid but by Our Own Dear Sweet Mother.
Who was it that made your clothes and mended the holes and sewed on the buttons. It was none other than Our Dear Mother.
Who was it that colored the yarns and knit the stockings, Mittens and Caps too, for fourteen, It was Dear Mother.
Who was it that came up stairs to your chamber long after you had been asleep at night and bent over you and breathed a prayer, and tucked in the blankets that kept you warm thru the long cold night of a half century ago.
Our own Dear Mother
Who was it that combed you hair and filled your lunch basket and put your books in your hand and got you started for school on time. It was Dear Mother.
Who's hands was it that kneaded the dough and baked the bread that nourished your body that made you physically fit to go out into The World and "Do Battle".
There will be Many Stars in Her crown. Our Dear Mother. She died on April 26, 1918. That beautiful spring Morning at the age of eighty one years, Thirty years after the passing of Our Dear Father. His sudden death was such a shock to all and came at the age of fifty two, while He [was] in the prime of Life. (the first death in Our Family). Now the first limb was severed from Our Family Tree. In September 1889 was the last roll call for Our Family, all responded to roll-call and A Family-Reunion and a Family photograph was taken. When Father died the light in our Home went out. All became very sad. There was a new responsibility for each and every -
How vividly do I recall that beautiful bright day of February 13th 1890. The last time I saw Father alive. He had driven to Olean and on his return He got two letters from the Post Office, both of them urgent business letters and required prompt answers. He came into the store (at Allegany) and asked me to read them, after reading them I asked Him if he wanted me to reply to them. Yes said He you are my Secretary. In less than ten minutes replies to both were in the mail. The manner in which I scratched the paragraphs on paper did please my Dad, And that smile he gave me, and "Thank you". I shall never forget it. This was over two score of years ago and my fingers were nimble and letter writing was easy then. While Dad did much serious thinking He always enjoyed Wit and humor to the utmost. Father had limited advantages in the way of education, but he was endowed with more than the average Mentality.
Dad was a good provider, seldom did we ever have a shortage of Flour, Sugar, Coffee, and vegetables. Never complaining.
I have heard every month ten pounds of sugar, a pound of Coffee and a pound of tea every week. Our Family larder was always well stocked. Father was a good buyer, and never was He in the market for cheap merchandise. No silver toungued Salesman could "Kid Him" into buying something He did not want even at a reduced price. Dad always carried a memorandum book in His (podah?). I recall His taking measurements of our feet with a ruler and these measurements were all registered in order on his book, so when He went to purchase Boots and Shoes for The Family He had a knowledge of the sizes wanted. He often bought from Six to ten pairs at a time, and seldom did we have to make exchanges. This was a great source of enjoyment to Dad. Father as The Head of a Family of 14 realized His position keenly and never faltered The responsibility that was His.
A family of fourteen living under one roof is like a vast organization of Men working in a factory. It must have a manager and a well perfecred organization and one responsible at the...
...Always smoothe in the Nenno Household, But with love and cooperation the turbulent waters were soon calmed. Father a carpenter by trade died with a Saw-in-hand, working for His children. Father was kind, industrious, sober, patient, and of stern temperment. His word was law to His Children. He was deeply interested in every one of them. His one greatest desire and ambition in life was to see His Sons and Daughters work and prosper. I am sure this desire was fulfilled to His Satisfaction. In the latter years of Fathers life He gave much time as a servant of the public. (His Sons were not so inclined) He took a great interest in civic affairs. He held many public offices, (Commisioner?) of Highways and was a member of the Town Auditing Board. And was Overseer of the poor at the time of His death. in Feby 1890. The writer of this epistle was appointed to fill the the unex[ired term of His Office. Father was active in Fraternal affairs being President of the C-M-B-A at the time He passed away. Father was a charitible and efficient officer of the Poor. No Man, Woman, or Child ever came to..
Our Home and received the utmost consideration. The best evidence that Father died happy, was given by Mother. She said as Father was leaving the house (to go to the Oil Well to build a tank house), He was throwing a hammer up in the air and catching it while walking up the road.
If Dad was ever unhappy It was when he had no work to do, and none in view. No Father ever had greater love for his Family, Nor is there anything more to be admired in A Man than He who makes a Home and rears a family. Works and plans and wants to see his children all advance to something a step higher than the ordinary walks of life. I owe a debt of gratitude to my Father and Mother that I can never pay. I am exceedingly greatful that my Dad insisted on my taking a job as a clerk in a store when I was only fourteen years of age, to leave school then and to have only two winters of night school as a finish of my education was very hard.
But it was Fathers wish and I could not refuse him. He said he wanted one merchant in the family. "Oh how flattering that seemed".
Of all the errors that I made, and there were many, Dad backed me up on everyone to the limit. I shall never forget an incident that happened while I was with Willard and Smith. I was about 18 years old this was about in 1895. The Skating Rink in Allegany was about the only place of pastime and pleasure. I had been in the habit of going over a week and coming home about 10-30 P.M. (Then living at Willards) I never had a night key so Erastus Willard would get up and let me in. One night on returning home I was unable to awaken anybody, so I went into the store and stayed with the Boys. Erastus did not like this, and the first time Father came into the store, Willard called Him into the office and had a talk with him. When I came home the following Sunday, Father invited me out on the lawn. We sat under a tree. (I recall this all too vividly) He asked me if I knew what Mr. Willard wanted of him, "Now I thought I was in for it". He told me what Erastus had said about my staying out nights at the Skating Rink until 10-30. Then Father said what do you think I told Him (Now my knees were striking together).
My Boys and they had never gotten me into any trouble. Now my heart grew lighter and I was breathing normal again.
Dad always wanted all of us to have a good time. And He demanded something more than that, of every one of us. A few months ago we were invited to Willards Home for a dinner. I asked Mrs. Willard if I might sit at the same end of the table that I did when I was there (Then a youth of 16) that was over fifty years ago. She granted my request and when we entered the dining-room I saw she had stacked the plates at my end. You can sit right there and serve all. And so I did sit at the very table that I did over half a century ago. Oh if I could but turn back the pages of time, To the Golden days of yesterday.
Many of us have exceeded the average allotted time of Man (three score and ten). Father and Mother is waiting for us at the end of the road, soon we will be on our Journey to meet them on the other shore and all that will be left behind in memory of us will be the footprints in the Sands of time.
Fathers personal apperance was always good. I have reference to his dress, His clean face and hands, and his well groomed head of hair. He set a very good example for his many Sons and Daughters to follow. I have always felt that a good personality was a great asset to anyone. I am sure that every human being has more respect for self and you are better physically for being clean and well groomed. You never saw your Dads Clothes hang over the back of a chair from day to day - but were in his wardrobe in an orderly manner. He provided a large closet for his sons at the head of the stairs with ample Shelves and Hooks to take care of all our requirements. Dad would never go to town unshaven, and I recall just before leaving home, he always would put a clean linen handkerchief in his pocket. Brother Charles once said (when a youth in school) that when God made The world and made one-fourth land and three-fourths water, that was a good hint for people to wash and keep clean. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Dad did all kinds of work and labor, and I dont recall that I ever saw him....
I am very sure that my Brothers and Sisters will bear me out in this statement. Many times I became uneasy in the store and wanted to quit and tackle something else, but Dad would always reason with me. Never once did he say that I must stay. My Dad was the best friend I ever had.
Once he clipped some little verses out of a magazine, and gave them to me to read. It compared Labor to Business and ran as follows, ("Stick to the Bush") you get into a ditch, dig and shovel dirt all day, that is called labor -- you take a piece of goods off from the shelf worth a dollar a yard and sell it for one dollar and twenty five cents, that is business.
Dad was always encouraging me by telling me how well I was getting on, and that I was next in line for advancement. These words had carried much weight and did much to influence me to hold my position. When Willard and Smith disolved partnership in 1886, I went to live with Mr. Smith with an advance in salary to $37.50 per month, or $450 per year and my board. (and my board was much) I ate as only "A Nenno" can, The quality and quanity was not lacking and so I ....
...Only took up what I needed to exist on, and at the end of each year I had a complete settlement. Mr. Smith paid me in gold. One year the largest amount I had coming was $85.00. This I received all in gold and as I was not twenty one years of age I took it Home and gave it to Dad, he gave me back ten dollars. Then before I left home that day he asked me what I was going to do with the ten dollars. He had it all planned out, and it worked well, and it was not very long before I had a certificate in Dye Brothers Bank drawing 3 percent interest. This was my financial start in life. Financing Our Home and keeping The Family pocket-book filled was no small task. In the latter years instead of Father having big bills at the stores, overdue. I recall that he was loaning money to Mr. Smith, taking his notes at different times for sums up to two hundred dollars at 4 per cent interest. I never remember of any of us going to a store for groceries or supplies, that there was any question about our credit. Dad always valued his credit....
In conclusion, I want to say that I have read somewhere that the pen is mightier than the sword.
I have had some ambitions to master the pen, and if I had pursued it more in my youth. It might been valuable to me now in my declining years, you will recognize the Family photograph on the front cover.
Read - Reflect - Remember - Return to
The Situation today
If you should ask me, I would tell you, I am sure that every citizen of these United States is effected by the Shrinkage of resources and incomes. It hit very hard here.
We can thank our lucky Stars that we have had Men like Our dear President Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt - at "The Helm" in Washington to guide the Ship thru the present crisis. They have had the situation well in hand. There is one way as I see it, that we can regain that lost confidence in all Mankind. That is, for all the Powers of the World to disarm.
Then there will arise a new confidence and faith in Our People. I have listened to many very bright, and scholarly Men discuss The present day situation. Their Arguments were very sane, but not....
It is all an Act of Providence, and is to deep for Man to fathom. I have a deep conviction that the one wise and omnipotent God has brought His Judgement upon the Wicked - Wayward - World. I say this with all sincerity and with the utmost reverence for He, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift.
1933 J.J. Nenno
Joseph J. Nenno
Page 135 and 136 Real Estate transactions of the Nenno Family in Erie County (N.Y.), 1809-1859
Page 137 (or some earlier page) may be missing
Pages 138 to 143 An account of the John Nenno family, re-written in 2003.
Also see a history written by Emily Covert Roscoe (1980)
All records indicate the John Nenno Family, accompanied by John's nephew, Mickel, was the first Nenno Family to immigrate to the United States.
The Ship's Passenger List of the Packet (a sailing ship) the "Ange Guardian", states they arrived in the Port of New York, from La Havre, France, on August 21, 1833. John, 51 years old, was accompanied by his wife, Barbara, 47 yrs. old, eight children, including his oldest daughter, Hannah, her husband, Nickolas Bodewein (later Boardway), and their infant son. As mentioned previously, his nephew, Mickel Nenno, age 24, was also with them. Mickel was 24 yrs. old at the time. John's Children ranged between the age of 20 yrs to 20 months old. It is really remarkable that two infants, under the age of two years old survived the voyage, in accordance with the book "The Port of New York", very few infants arrived here. The voyage to this country averaged about six weeks.
Some "Family Lore", said they left six older children in Europe. However the records of St. Martin's Church indicate this is not the truth. John's first marriage was to Barbara Kunzler on July 7, 1812. Their first child, Hannah, was born December 23, 1812. John was a "Cavalier" in the French Army. That might explain why he was 29 yrs when he got married. However Barbara was 25 yrs old. This "Family Lore" was stated in the 1970s, before anyone did research in Europe. That is why I mentioned it. So many people picked up on it, and it wasn't true. That is why anyone has to have ligitimate records, to do Fammily History. We tried to only state records. However, Family Lore can't always be discounted.
The Ship's Passenger List listed all names in French, such as Jean for John, Andrie for Andrew, and Pierre for Peter. The name Nenno was spelled "Nenne". John listed his occupation as carpenter, and stated his country of origin as Germany, exactly the same as did his nephew Mickel Nenno. There were two Mickel Nennos on that list. However both Nenno Familys in later years in Census Records, stated that their country of origin was Alsace-Lorraine. Both John and Mickel Nenno called themselves "Prussians".
As stated in the Chapter "The Early Day in a New Country", John and his large family would leave Buffalo, N.Y. area about a year after they arrived here. They would move to the Town of Collins and Langford Area. That would have been in 1834. There is certainly enough documentation in that earlier Chapter. Hannah Nenno Boardway and her husband, Nickolas, would also move to that area. The rest of her children would be born there. They purchased a large acreage of land there in 1844. However Nickolas would die that same year. Hannah would follow him in death a year later in 1845. Their children would be raised by her brother, Michael. He would have eleven children of his own. Their land purchases and the dates are recorded in the same Chapter.
John Nenno became a "Naturalized Citrizen" on October 6, 1842, having applied for Naturalization Papers on June 10, 1837, at Erie County Hall, in Buffalo, N.Y. In this document, he renounces his allegiance to the King of Pupia, (Prussia) and the name is now spelled Nenno, his surname is listed as John (not Jean). His sons, Andrew and Michael received Their Naturalization Papers on March 3, 1848, having applied for them on MAy 15, 1840. The name is now Nenno and the surnames Andrew and Michael, not Andrie and Mickel. Both could sign their own names, John Nenno signed with an X.
In 1834, The Town of Collins had to have been a very wooded area, but it must have been known as great "farming country". I have no record of when the first settlers arrived there, however the John Nenno Family certainly would have been one of the first. They must have had to clear for farming. I can remember seeing tree stumps for fences on the property Nickolas Nenno developed in Allegany, N.Y. They were still there when my grandfather, Nickolas's son, bought the property, after the death of his father.
As previously mentioned, John and most of his children would leave the Buffalo, N.Y. area and buy land about twenty seven miles south east of Buffalo. The area was called the Town of Collins, however there were many different communities in this area, where they bought land. For the most part, this area was a farming community, and remains so to this day. Their "Claim to Fame" is that this area is the "Draft Horse Capital" of the country. There are many "Competitions" held in this area for Draft Horses, for people, that don't know, these are the largest of horses, on the order of the "Budwiser Horses", that you might see in parades. My brother, Clyde Nenno, Jr., owned Belgian Draft Horses, one year he won the "Award for Horsemanship", a great honor for him.
This area has many localities. In the Towns of Langford, New Oregon, North Collins, and Lawton, there are four Catholic Churches, all a separate enity. In every one of these Churches, there are stained glass windows donated by different members of the John Nenno Family with their names on them. It was awsome to see, this many years later. I visited them, all those churches, with Lewis Nenno and his wife Irma from Texas. He is the son of Mickael Benjamin, the son of Peter. We talked with the priests at all these churches, it was so interesting.
John Nenno, his wife, and many of their children are buried in the cemetary
in New Oregon. The Cemetary adjoins the church. John and Barbara's Tombstones
are the oldest in the cemetary. I have pictures of them.
The house owned by Michael, a son of John, is still there. Many sections had been removed, according to the present owner, he took us through the house and gave us a history of the house. The barns and corrals were still there, but they were "falling down". The house looked to be a duplicate of the Nickolas Nenno house in Allegany, N.Y. The porches were on the opposite side, only difference.
John's oldest son, Andrew, was born in 1813, in Alsace-Lorraine, he states in Census Records, his wife, Magdalena Jahanssan, in 1817 also in Prussia. Her family also immigrated to the Town of Collins Area. They were to be the parents of eight children, some of whom's descendants still reside in that area. Andrew died in 1863, killed by a falling tree.
Son, Mickael, born in Prussia in 1818, married Elizabeth, also born in Prussia in 1821. They were to be the parents of eleven children. In the Census of 1855, he along with the other Mickel Nenno, were both listed as living in Cheektowaga, N.Y.
Son, Peter Nenno, a farmer and a lumberman in his youth, was later a hotel keeper in North Collins and in the Town of Evans. He was born in Prussia in 1827, he married Nary Ann, born in France in 1825. They were parents of five children. The oldest child, Peter, listed on Census Records, was born in Niagra County, Nickolas was born in Michagan, where Peter worked as a lumberman, and Mickael Benjamin was born back in Erie County. Nickolas owned a Fish Market of Chippawa St. in Buffalo, son, Peter owned a hotel in Concord, N.Y., and son Mickael Benjamin shows up in Joliet, Illinois. He married Lydia Theuer, they had eight children, they were to live most of their life in Missouri.
There is an interesting story about the birth of Nickolas in Michagan, it seems that Peter and Mary were out in a boat on one of the many lakes in Michagan, where Peter worked as a lumberman, and Mary Ann went into labor for her child. Mary Ann promised St. Nickolas, the Patron Saint of the Alsatian French, that if she could just get back to shore before her baby was born, she would name the child after him. There were many Nickolas Nennos in both Nenno Familys.
It is reported that the youngest son, John moved west, but nothing more is known of him at this time. There is no further record of daughters, Barbara and Catherine.
Son, Nickolas, was born in Prussia in 1822. He married Margaret Bauer in Buffalo, N.Y., at St. Louis Church in 1844. Their Wedding Attendants were Michael Nenno, his first cousin, later of Allegany, N.Y. and his wife, Barbara. Their oldest child, John Nickolas was born in Buffalo in 1845. They were to be the parents of seven children. Nickolas was known to be in Wisconsin in 1846. In the book "Township of Addison" 1846-1946, (a township is a County in Wisconsin) it states that the Town of Addison had it's origin in the early 1860s when Mr. Nick Nenno started a brewery and a tavern on the North West Corner. It was later sold to the Weber Brewing Company. In the same book, on a plat map of 1859, it can be seen, that Nick Nenno owned a sixty acre of land in the town of Addison. The old buildings stand today, whether built by Nick Nenno of the man he sold the property to. He sold this land after 1860, and purchased five acres of land, east of what is now St. Peter and Paul Church. Nickolas would build that Church and a Catholic School too on that land. He also built a store, a hotel, and a Post Office. When the Post Office was established in the hotel, the town was named Nenno, Wisconsin, as it is today. The book shows a picture of the Hotel. It is still operated today, as a store and a tavern. There is no longer a Post Office in the building. Nickolas also built a large shed to the north of the store, which was used as a horse stable for church attendants, shoppers at the store, and travelers staying at the hotel.
Eventually Nickolas and his wife would yake up residence in Addison. He built a large home there, that at the present time is a "bed and breakfast". Donald Gentner and wife Judith visited that Bed and Breakfast a few years ago. Nickolas would live to the age of 54, he died on September 22, 1876. He did a "Lot of Living", in his time.
As a matter of interest, when my husband was close to the end, a retired priest by the name of Father Warren J. Schmitt used to visit him in Sun Lakes, Arizona. He said that he had been the Pastor of the Church, Nickolas built for 40 years. He said that he built the Church, but I put the "Gold Cross" on the steeple of the church.
John Nickolas Nenno, the eldest son of Nickolas, was born in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1845, went to Wisconsin in 1846 with his parents. He enlisted for Civil War Duty on September 7, 1864 from Rock County, Wis. He volunteered for one yeare , with the U.S. Volunteers, 43 Regiment, Comp. D, Wis. Infantry as a Private. Gave his occupation as a clerk, probably a Hotel Clerk. His pay with the Army was $35 a month. He was wounded on the Picket Line during action November 28, 1864, just prior to Sherman's March to the Sea. He was hospitalized and saw no action after that. The injury was a flesh wound to the left hand. It resulted in permanent disability, and in time the hand and arm withered and became useless. He received a Permanent Disability Pension from the Army. He was mustered out of the Army on June 24, 1865, and returned to Nenno, Wis.
John Nickolas Nenno married Agatha Berchler in March of 1868 in Nenno, Wisconsin. A son was born to them, John J., but John Nickolas left after about a year, because Agatha would not leave her parents, and he did not want to live with them.
In 1870, he purchased a farm in Minnesota, he tried in vain to get Agatha to move there but she refused. On March 19, 1874 a divorce was granted, having been applied for in 1872. Nick Nenno testified for his son's divorce in Nov. 1873. The divorce was granted on the grounds of the willful desertion of the defendent. In later years John Nickolas was to refer to the action as an annullment because of his strongly Catholic Family. In those days, divorce was quite unacceptable.
On July 7, 1874, in New Ulm, Minnesota, John Nickolas married Margaretha Ellen Lynch, who was a hotel chambermaid. He was 29 and she was 20. Their work was always that of Hotel Operators. In addition, John Nickolas would own a brewery. It is still in operation today. There is a museum in the Brewery, depicting the History of the Brewery, and about John Nickolas. The Brewery is on the river bank, and it is now owned by Leon Olson. I have met him twice at Ethenic Festivals. However I didn't know he owned the brewery in New Ulm, or any connection to John Nickolas.
John Nickolas and Ellen would have twelve children, they would operate hotels in New Ulm, Sanborn, and Mankato, Minnesota. They still stand today. That locality is the site of the Television Series, "Little House on The Prairie", and the book it is adapted from, is the same period in History, that John Nickolas and Margaretha operatred their hotels. They lived there until 1907, moved to Springfield, living there until 1910. In 1910, they moved to North Mankato, where they lived with a daughter until they died. John died July 21, 1924 at age 79. He made many trips back to Wisconsin, to reconcile with his oldest son, John J. Nenno, his son with Agatha Berchler, but his son would never forgive his father [this according to Mary Lu Nenno in 1981]. Margaretha died March 7, 1932, both are buried at New Ulm, Minnesota. Most of their descendants are still in that area. There is a complete Geneolgy of their many descendants.
John J. Nenno married Bertha Zastrow, ran a large dairy farm in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, near Nenno, Wis., that had been the property of his mother. He had seven children. He died September 27, 1937.
Original History written March 18, 1981
Revised history (here) written August 23, 2003
Elizabeth Nenno Wilson
Page 144 Census form for family of "Jean" Nenno and Barbara Kunzler
|Unnumbered Page Census form for
family of Andrew Nenno and Magdalena Johanssen
and for family of Michael Nenno and Elizabeth (?)
and for the family of Peter Nenno and Mary Ann (?)
Page 145 Census form for family of Andrew Nenno and Magdalena Johanssen
Page 146 Census form for family of Frank Nenno and Catherine (?)
Page 147 Naturalization papers for John Nenno
Page 148 Naturalization papers for Andrew Nenno dated March 3, 1848 (similar to papers for John above) photocopied from Erie County (N.Y.) Hall
Page 149 Naturalization papers for Michael Nenno dated March 1848 (similar to papers for Andrew above) photocopied from Erie County (N.Y.) Hall
Names as they appear on the passenger list of the ship Ange Gardien
Embarked from Le Havre, France
Arrived Port of New York, August 21, 1833
Country of origin : Germany ; Occupation : Carpenter (on each card)
Researched at the Mormon Library, Williamsville, NY, from the Microfilm of the ship's passenger lists for the Port of New York, by Elizabeth Nenno Wilson (May 15, 1979)
Page 151 A review of the immigration of Jean Nenno, and a list of those family members
who immigrated with him
Page 152 appears to duplicate information on unnumbered page between 144 and 145 above
Page 153 Census form for family of Frank Nenno, son of Andrew and Magdalena Nenno, (8 children incl Edward A. and Leo N.)
Page 154 missing
Page 155 Census form for family of Nicholas Nenno and Margaret Bauer
Page 156 Census form for family of John Nicholas Nenno and Agathe Berchler and Margaretha Lynch
Page 157 Census form for family of John J. Nenno and Bertha Zastrow
Page 158 Census form for family of Michael Benjamin Nenno and Jydia Theurer
Page 159 Census form for family of Clarence Michael Nenno and (?)
Page 160 Census form for family of Charlie Adam Nenno and Marie Sinclair
Page 161 Census form for family of Lewis Martin Nenno and Irma (?)
Page 162 Map showing Beaver Dam and Nenno, Wis., contributed by Mary Lou Nenno
Page 163 Census form for family of Joseph Nenno (born in Germany) and Miss Rickter
Page 164 Census form for family of Clayton Edward Nenno and Elizabeth Bertha Richardson
Page 165 Census form for family of Clayton Edward and Virginia Lee Mosher