The French Connection

Regina Wundel, Peggy’s third great grandmother, was born on June 30, 1821, in Rosenwiller, Alsace, France. The town is located not far from the Rhein River that separates France from Germany. A long-disputed region, the Alsace territory was ceded by France to Germany in 1871 after the Franco-German War, then retroceded to France in 1919 after World War I. It was ceded again to Germany in 1940 during World War II, but was again retroceded to France at the end of the war in 1945. At the time of Regina’s birth, the town of Rosenwiller had a population of about 784. In 2011, Rosenwiller’s population was 670.

On January 29, 1842, at the age of 20, Regina married Lorenz Marxer, a 29-year-old carpenter from Altenheim, about 35 kilometers north of Rosenwiller. Later that year, the couple welcomed their first child, a son, Joseph Marxer. In 1844, a daughter, Mary, was born.

New Orleans Passenger List for Regina Wondel June 1845New Orleans Passenger List - Regina Wundel (Lorenz Marxer's wife) arrives June 2, 1845In June of 1845, Lorenz, Regina, their two children and Regina’s brother Joseph departed for their new life in America aboard the ship Columbia from the port of La Havre in the Haute-Normandie region of northwestern France. The first passenger list pictured here shows the five listed in sequence, Lorenz (Laurent), Regina (note that she is listed using her maiden name), son Joseph, daughter Maria (Mary) and Regina’s brother, Joseph Wundel. They landed in the port of New Orleans, Louisiana. The second list shows brother Joseph and Regina listed at the top. Lorenz and the children are probably listed on a separate page.

Interestingly, Gary Beaumont, in his history of the Marxer family, has this to say about the voyage:

They came across the ocean in a sailboat headed for Galveston, Texas, because the French had told them to go there. However, when they reached New Orleans, they decided to continue up the Mississippi River.

1850 US Census for Lorenz and Regina MarxerThe Marxers made their way up the Mississippi River and settled in Centerville, St. Clair County, Illinois. The 1850 U.S. Census shows Lorenz (Lawrence), Regina (listed as Rachel), Joseph, Mary and another daughter, Regina (listed as Rachel, as well).

1860 US Census for Lorenz and Regina MarxerBy the 1860 U.S. Census, the family had grown considerably. Lorenz is listed as a brickmaker. The 39-year-old Regina was raising seven children: 17-year-old Joseph, 15-year-old Maria, 11-year-old Regina, 8-year-old Catherine, 6-year-old Magdalene, 3-year-old Alois and 6-month-old John. Another daughter, Rosa, was born in 1862. Two years later, Regina’s oldest daughter Mary would marry the widow Leo Reinhardt.

Headstone of Regina Marxer (June 1821 - June 1864)

Headstone of Regina Marxer (June 1821 – June 1864)

Regina Wundel Marxer died June 7, 1864, at the age of just 42. She is buried in the St. James Cemetery just outside of Millstadt, Illinois.




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