Our Bachman Family Background

by Kenneth Leroy Bachman, Sr.

This sketch has been prepared to summarize information I have accumulated on our branch of the Bachman family. In particular, I thought it might be of interest to my son Ken and his family. Usually at some stage of life there is a desire to know more details of your family background but this often occurs after the opportunity has passed.

Information from my sister Eva and my nephew Edwin and his wife Mary was particularly helpful in preparing this summary. My wife, Audrey, helped with her writing and editing skills.

More information would no doubt be available but for a fire in 1977 which destroyed my great grandfather's personal effects stored in the attic of his son Michael's house in Havaland, Kansas. The fire occurred about a month before Edwin contacted Michael's granddaughter to obtain any early family records that might exist. Michael had died in 1961 at the age of 96.

My great grandfather, Lewis Bachman, was born in Pennsylvania in 1817. In the 1880 census he reported that his father was born in Maryland and his mother in Pennsylvania. I have been unable to find any definitive information about the names of his parents and their ancestors.

Identification of earlier ancestors is complicated by the surprisingly large number of Bachman families in America before the Revolutionary War. According to my count, more than twenty-five adult (over 16 years) males had immigrated to Pennsylvania before 1775. In addition, a number of Bachman names were apparently transcribed as Bauman, Baughman or Bowman, because of the German-English differences in pronunciation of the name.

Most of the Bachmans were reported as coming from the Palatinate section of Germany, Heidelberg, being the usual port of embarkation of emigrants from Southern Germany and Switzerland. Many of the Bachmans originally came from Switzerland. The large influx, first to New York, and later to Pennsylvania arose because of religious stress and persecution during the period of about 1700-1775.

The earliest listed Bachman immigrant in the "Passenger and Immigration List Index" was Michael in 1712. He settled in Lancaster. George Bachman received a land grant of about 1000 acres from the Penn family in the early 1700s. He reportedly served for a time as a private secretary to William Penn, although no precise records exist to show this. Two of the Bachman arrivals had the name of Ludwig (Lewis). One of these came in 1754; the other in 1773. The latter apparently represented the end of the early stream of Bachman Immigrants.

It seems probable that my great, great grandfather was born In Carroll County, Maryland area, then designated as part of Baltimore and Frederick counties. A number of the given names noted in that area were also among those in my great grandfather's family or real estate transactions In Ripley county, Indiana in the mid 1800s. The earliest Maryland reference was in 1772 to the death of a John Adam Bachman. Lewis, Abraham, William, Michael, and George were names reported in the 1850 census by Jacob Bachman and in a subsequent related will. Another reference indicates a Revolutionary War soldier by the name of Jacob Bachman reportedly came to Maryland after the war.

A large number of Germans settled in the rolling, scenic countryside of Carroll County in the 1700s including several Bachman families. Four Bachman families were reported in the 1790 census and eight families in the 1810 census. This included the alternate Baughman spelling. The 1800 census was not taken in this area. The census taker was later prosecuted for omitting these areas.

Several landmarks in the county attest to the early presence of Bachmans. One of the early Lutheran churches still active in that area was first known as Bower's church, then later, Bachmans Church. In the late 1790s it was renamed the Jerusalem Church.

Across the road is the site of "Bachman Mills", until recent years listed on the maps of that area. The Bachman Valley Road still runs from this area to Westminster, Maryland. The Bachman Valley Railroad operated in the area from the late 1800s to a period after World War I.

Clarence Bachman, owner of the "Bachman Mills" land, is now retired and living in Florida. In reply to a letter I wrote, he indicated that we were not from the same specific family but probably had a common ancestor. The given names of Bachmans in the church graveyard also seemed to suggest separate but probably related families.

Edward Bachman is the only one of the early Bachman descendants still living in Westminster County. He had been orphaned at an early age. His grandfather, George, is buried at the Silver Run Lutheran Church.

In 1841 my great grandfather, Lewis Bachman, married Sally Eaton in Napoleon, Indiana. He lived there the rest of his life owning and operating a tannery. After his first wife's death in 1847, he married Eleanor Eaton, the mother of my grandfather, Edmund. She died in 1859 when ray grandfather was 10 years old.

Lewis married 3 times and had 7 children, Amos, Edmund, Abraham, William, Michael, Laudica and Talitha. He was buried in the Lutheran Cemetery at Napoleon where his gravestone remains.

Edmund was named after his maternal grandfather Edmund Eaton. The Eaton family were of English descent and came to Napoleon in 1819 from Steuben County, New York. Members of the family were still in Napoleon in 1970 at the time of the town's 150 year celebration. One was a lawyer and three other members of the family operated an excavating business. Shortly before her death in 1859 my great grandmother, Eleanor, drew up one of the early wills in Indiana leaving her inheritance from her father to her son Edmund.

Edmund grew up in Napoleon and in 1871 married Lydia McKee. The McKees apparently were also one of the pioneer families in Indiana. Her father and mother were born there in 1807 and 1817, respectively.

After spending a few years in Southern Illinois my grandfather and grandmother returned to Napoleon. Then in 1884 they moved to Conway Springs in south central Kansas. While living there, he became a minister of the Christian Church.

Much of Oklahoma was opened for settlement by "runs" in 1889 and 1893. The settlers lined up on the Kansas line and at the sound of the gun rode or drove off to stake a claim for 160 acres of land on a first come first served basis. Ownership was established by farming the land for 5 years.

My grandfather participated in the Cherokee Strip Run starting at "high noon" September 16, 1893. He settled on a claim near Jefferson, Oklahoma in Grant County about 30 miles from the Kansas line. In addition to operating the farm he also served as a pioneer minister and established several churches in Northern Oklahoma. He became the first regular minister of the Christian Church at Medford, Oklahoma, the county seat of Grant County. In 1917, at the age of 68, he retired from the ministry and moved to Tonkawa, Oklahoma where we visited them frequently and I carried away many memories.

Particularly, I remember the Edison phonograph which played cylindrical records. Later it was replaced with a Victrola which played the more modern flat records. The records included such items as comedy dialogue by "Uncle Josh", Mr. Gallagher & Mr. Shean, songs by Homer Rhodeaver, Caruso and Hary Lauder, orchestra music by Paul Whitman and marches by John Phillip Sousa. My uncle Clarence, who held a job equivalent to vice president of the Kansas City Paper House, had given the phonograph and records to my grandparents.

In the garage converted from a buggy shed was a Model T Ford with a gleaming copper radiator. The age of the auto was underway and my grandfather had bought his about 1914. Later when I was about 5, we bought our first-car a Ford. My grandfather and grandmother had a family of six children, 2 girls and 4 boys. Clarence as noted earlier, was a business executive; George operated the St. Croix Hotel in Wichita, Kansas. His oldest daughter "Mollie" married a farmer and lived in Western Oklahoma.

Three children, Lewis, Ellen, and Albert (my father) died of tuberculosis. Tuberculosis was one of the most common causes of death in the late 19th and early 20th century. A major source of the disease was unpasteurized milk.

In 1925 ray grandmother died. My grandparents had been very devoted to each other and it meant a great change for ray grandfather who was then 77. He lived about 10 years after her death, dividing his time among his three living sons. His visits provided a chance for me to get better acquainted with him.

When he visited us, he would regularly walk down the creek to where the water was deep and go fishing. Sometimes I would go with him, though I found it boring partly because we fished with a cane pole and cork and there was little action. Frequently we would walk out to the mail box on the road to get the mail he would sometimes talk about his life and his philosophy of life. We often would play checkers which he enjoyed, but I never mastered. One of the surprising things I remember his showing me was a radium burn on his stomach from the treatment of a cancer by the famous Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

My mother Mary Trekell came from a large family of 12 children. She and her Harry were twins. Emery became a doctor and lived at Liberal, Kansas.

Her father, Franklin, had been a Lieutenant in the Union Army during the Civil War. He married Elizabeth Currell and lived for several years south of Kansas City in Cass County, Missouri. Elizabeth was the first white child born in Kansas. The only picture I have of my grandfather Trekell is one in which he is carrying two pistols and looks like he might be a marshall or early Western gunslinger.

Franklin's grandfather, Christopher, was one of three brothers listed in the 1790 census as living about 20 miles west of Baltimore, Maryland. The family had come originally from Scotland. Christopher was reported as having 10 slaves. My uncle Will Trekell who looked into the family history thought their parents also lived in Maryland. He found a Stephen Treakle in the area who was married in 1778. The spelling of the name at that time was Treakle or Treacle.

When my mother was a small girl her family moved to southern Kansas. My mother and father met when she came to Conway Springs about 30 miles east of her home to live with her brother Will who was teaching school there. Later, as a girl of 15, she participated in the Cherokee Strip race of 1893 by accompanying one of her brothers who made the Run.

My father and mother were married in 1900 at her home near Wellington, Kansas. My father had been teaching school near Medford, Oklahoma. In 1904 they bought a farm in what would be Caddo County in southern Oklahoma when Oklahoma became a state in 1907. He farmed there for 5 years before moving back to near Tonkawa, Oklahoma where the type of farming was more compatible, and to be nearer his parents. While in Caddo County, he made part of his living by hunting and selling the meat and game to the Army Camp at Fort Sill. By the time I was a boy the choke in his shot gun was worn out but he still managed to shoot the most game.

My parents bought a farm near the village of Eddy where I was born. After buying and selling several farms during World War I they bought a farm near Deer Creek and built the eight room home in which I grew up. This is now the home of my nephew, Edwin. They also retained the other farm from which I had started to school in a one room school house.

The 1920's were a period of mechanization and prosperity in our family. Farming was expanded and made easier by the purchase of two Ford tractors. We became a "two car" family. My oldest brother Merble started to college.

The prosperity was rudely rocked in 1931 by ill-health and the onslaught of the depression. My father was incapacitated by tuberculosis complicated by a chronic asthmatic condition. At the same time our income was decimated by an unprecedented drop in farm prices accompanying the depression. Wheat, for example dropped from an average of about $1.50 a bushel in the 1920s to 25 cents per bushel in 1932. Fortunately there were no debts on our property.

A move from the farm was necessary since to cure tuberculosis an extended program of complete rest would be required. Also recommended, particularly where asthma was involved, was a desert type climate. As a result, in August, 1931 we made a trip to New Mexico and Arizona in an un-air conditioned Chevrolet. As neither Las Cruses nor Tucson was acceptable to my father we returned to rent a house in nearby Tonkawa, where I also enrolled in college.

The next summer my father felt much better and we moved back to the farm. I agreed to stay out of school and run the farm for a year.

These two years burned a deep bias against the use of credit in my mind. Mortgages on several farms in the area were foreclosed and the farms sold for very little. I especially remember one of the owners of the 101 ranch (101 thousand acres) stopping a local livestock sale because of the low prices being paid and then some weeks later committing suicide.

When I returned to college in the fall of 1933, a hired man was employed. His wages were for board and room plus one dollar a day when he worked. With millions not working and farm prices still low this was considered a fair wage. Affected with crippling arthritis, my mother employed a maid from time to time. Her wages were even lower.

My father had always been a very active person. Idleness was not in his nature. Not doing anything was repulsive to him. As a result, he was never completely cured of tuberculosis. He died in 1938 when I was in my second year of graduate study in Illinois. My mother died in 1949 having spent her later years with her daughter Eva and her family. My parents had a family of six children: Eva, Clarence, Merble, Ruth, Albert, and Kenneth. Clarence died of croup, another dreaded disease of that time and region.

In our family life great emphasis was given to education, religion and work. We were expected to excell in school. All went to college and three of us graduated. All my brothers and sisters were at one time school teachers. We all had our dally chores such as milking the cows, bringing In the wood for cooking and heating, and feeding the chickens, hogs and horses. Full time jobs were scheduled for Saturday during the school term and Monday through Saturday during the summer. We had Bible readings each evening and on Sunday went to Church both in the morning and evening.

Our recreational activities were limited. Frequently we would gather around the piano to sing on Sundays or holidays. We would visit with our relatives from time to time. In particular I looked forward to visit usually on Sundays with my cousin Jesse who was about my age. Also we had a good library and subscribed to several magazines. Later, when I was in high school we had my grandfather's phonograph. Our lights were a Coleman gas lamp and several kerosene lamps. Indoor bath, toilet, and running water came after I went to college. Rural electricity and septic tanks were great steps forward in country living.

Eva, as the oldest child was some 14 years older than I. I first remember her when she was teaching at a local school. When I was eleven, she married Houston Moore and they began to farm his parent's homestead. They lived in the large two story house his father had built for over 40 years, before retiring to Medford.

Houston had graduated from Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College where he had been a National Collegiate Wrestling champion. Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College was established under the provisions of the Land Grant Act of 1862 which granted land to the states to help support colleges for agriculture and mechanical arts. Unfortunately, in my judgement, medical science was not included in this Act. Okla A & M later was renamed Oklahoma State University.

Houston and Eva had four children: Samuel, Willard, Laurence, and Wayne. Sam is an accounting officer with Getty Oil Company at Tulsa, Oklahoma. Willard and Wayne are farmers operating farms in the local Oklahoma, Kansas area. Lawrence operates a machinery repair business at Liberal, Kansas.

At this time Eva has 12 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. She continues to lead an active life but she no longer competes for prizes in sewing and embroidery.

Merble was the oldest son, he spent one year in college and one year staying with his uncle George in Wichita, Kansas and going to business school. In 1924, he married Helen McCall whom he had met in college. They began farming, he also taught in a country school to provide some income the first year. They had 3 children: Edwin, BebeJean and Merlene. BebeJean and Merlene are both married and live respectively in Abiline, Texas and Pryor, Oklahoma.

Merble's business school education was of considerable help to him in becoming a successful farmer, particularly in the early years when he combined farming with cattle buying and running a custom wheat threshing business. In 1964 he moved to Blackwell turning over most of his farming operations to his son Edwin. He died in 1973. Helen still lives in their home there. After moving to Blackwell, Helen began painting china. She has produced many lovely pieces of painted china and taught china painting for several years.

My sister Ruth became a Home Economics teacher after she graduated from Okla State University. She served in the Army as a WAC during World War II, serving as a recreational therapist at the Army Hospital at San Antonio. While in the army she met and later married George Giffey. They lived in Minnesota where she continued to teach until her death in 1969.

Al was my next older brother. He was a very kind person and most helpful in advising me on my college major and career. After graduating from Okla State University he taught vocational agriculture at Carrier & Fairview Okla. In 1935 he joined the Soil Conservation Service and worked in it for a total of 26 years. He also operated the Bachman Smith Implement Co. at Chickasha, Oklahoma for three years.

While teaching vocational agriculture in Garfield County, Oklahoma, he met and married Cora Schultz. They had two children, Dick and Dee Ann. Dick is pursuing an electronic engineering career with Rockwell International in Dallas, Texas. Dee Ann lives with her husband Malcolm Grey in Prescott, Arizona. She recently has completed her master's degree and has become a social Counselor. A few years after Cora's death in 1967, Al married Cora's Aunt Elsa. He died in 1984 at the age of 77.

As a child I was very much on my own. My brothers and sisters were much older I remember that when I was seven my brother Al who was the next oldest was 14. Playmates were scarce. All lived more than a mile away. A pony and a dog were my main playmates at home. I rode my pony to school for several years, until horses and buggies became unfashionable. My father and I were never close as companions. He was nearly forty when I was born, was very busy and tended to be impatient with my left-handedness.

I always read a lot. This tendency was reinforced when in high school I broke my leg and spent the next month or so in bed reading all the books in the home library including the Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

No doubt this background helped me place first one year and second the next in Southern University essay contests while in college. I think this in turn had a substantial influence on my career in economic research where reading and writing are important to success. Also the monetary prizes were important to continuing in college.

My decision to leave farming and go to Oklahoma A & M (O.S.U) reflected my interest in more intellectual activities. I enjoyed planning the farm business activities but spending the day riding on a tractor to plow 5 acres seemed pure drudgery to me. The farming experience, however, had the effect of making me a serious student in college. Moreover I was happy to find a job starting at 20 cents an hour to pay most of ray expenses. This was much more than I earned farming.

My adult life has been a varied and satisfying one. After getting my master degree at the University of Illinois, I started working as a research economist in the very challenging period of the 30's when great changes were taking place in agriculture. Fortunately at one stage I was stationed at Louisiana State University where I met and married a lovely girl, Audrey Torrence on August 16, 1941. She was teaching English and speech at Hammond High School. She had finished her M.A. at L.S.U.

In the fall of 1967 we left Washington, after more than 25 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to join the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy. Rome gave us a chance to get acquainted with people from many countries and to visit several, of them our visits to Egypt, India, Thailand, Pakistan and Lebanon were particularly interesting. I served as Director of the Economic Analysis Division until 1972 when I become Director of the Statistics Division.

We retired from FAO in mid 1975 and again returned to the Washington area, arranging to spend our winters in Florida. For several years I worked part time as a consultant with the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C. Audrey has taken time to identify her illustrious ancestors and become active in the DAR. We are now pleasantly dividing our time between our homes in Reston, Virginia and Cocoa Beach, Florida. We also take many trips to see more of our country and both eastern and western Canada. This year we will broaden our range to include England, Scotland and Wales.