Monday, May 19, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #20 Christian Peter Bosseck and the Year Without Summer

Why would a parent indenture a baby? Ever since a cousin shared the indenture of Christian Peter Bosseck, that question has nagged at me. I can't find the original record, so I won't share exactly what I've been told. If the Botetourt County records are filmed or preserved in the future, I hope to find and share that indenture.

But let's assume that the researcher shared a true transcription and that the 18-month-old Christian Bosseck was indeed indentured to Jacob Peter in December of 1816.

For some years I've been vaguely aware that 1816 was known as "The Year Without Summer." I've identified some migrations in my family history that happened in 1816 and 1817. Just recently I've learned much more about the impacts of that awful year.

A dramatic book cover caught my eye while I was wandering in a bookstore. It's "The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano that Darkened the World and Changed History," by William K. Klingaman and Nicholas P. Klingaman. It's not a hard book, nor is it an easy one. If you see marriages, deaths and migrations in your family history in 1816-1817, you may want to check this book out at your local library. The authors have written about events in the British Isles, Europe, Canada and the United States, as well as the damage and destruction in Indonesia.

In the United States, the summer of 1816 brought crop failures, cold weather and drought. I can imagine that the parents of young Christian Bosseck might not have been able to feed him or their other children. Jacob Peter was a man of some substance in Botetourt County, Virginia. Indenturing Christian may have been his parents' best hope for saving him from starvation.

Christian Bosseck showed up in Montgomery County, Indiana, when he married Elizabeth Rettinger on August 23, 1838. Elizabeth was part of a community of Swiss-Americans who were known as German Baptists, now Church of the Brethren. Members of the community had migrated from eastern Pennsylvania down into the area of Roanoke, Virginia, then to the area of Ladoga, Indiana.

Christian was a farmer and a minister. He and Elizabeth migrated on from Indiana, through Illinois, to Kansas. Again, there was a family community who settled together in Labette County, Kansas.

The Bossecks had eight children, losing two sons in the Civil War and two others as children. Another son served in the Civil War and never married. Two daughters and one son married and gave them grandchildren who soon spread through Kansas and beyond.

Quick drop page from Comfort Zone, ClubScrap

Christian died in 1896 and Elizabeth in 1892. They are buried together in Elston Cemetery, near Altamont in Labette County.

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