When early pioneers came to America they could speak or understand very little English. You can see the difficulty the immigration officers had when asking their names.
This was also an issue with the persons taking early census records. The census takers may not have understood the particular language, so they often put down what the names sounded like.
So, today Bösiger is Basinger, Thüler is Diller and there are many ways to spell Luginbuhl and other names in Bluffton and Pandora.
This column's focus is on Bishop Christian and Elizabeth Steiner Bösiger
Christian Bösiger was born Nov. 24, 1770, in Rumisberg, Belfort, Alsace France. His father was Hans Johanne Bösiger (1742-?) and his mother, Marie Magdalena Lugibihl (1750-?)
Christian’s wife, Elizabeth H. Steiner, was the daughter of Buchwald Johannes Steiner (1720-1812) and Verena Habegger (1722-1809).
Many of the early settlers developed nicknames to identify themselves. With so many Christian, Johannes and Peters in the Swiss Settlement, they were often identified by their appearance or where they came from. Buchwald, or in French, Ferme de la Charme, referred to the Normanvillars area in Alsace France. Then there was Old Eye Patch Bösiger and Black or Red Beard Bösiger.
Another example of nicknames involved three Noah Steiners. In the Settlement there was a Pig Noah (pig farmer), Chicken Noah (chicken farmer) and Fat Noah (nephew of Pig Noah).
The Christian Bösiger family included six children who came to America in 1824. Christian’s wife, Elizabeth, died in January 1824, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Later, after Elizabeth died, Christian, along with his children moved to a Mennonite community in Ontario, Canada.
His daughter, Elizabeth married Ulrich Steiner and they remained in Ontario. Daughters A. Marie and Verena also stayed in Ontario and we have no further information about them.
After six years in Canada, Christian and his sons, John, Christian and Ulrich, moved to Wayne County, Ohio. One and one half years after they moved to Putnam County.
Before Christian came to America, he was a deacon in the Florimont Mennonite congregation in Alsace, France. Coming to this area, he became active in the community and helped organized the first Swiss Mennonite Church, built in the Swiss Settlement in 1840.
After 16 years, a larger church was built on the same location. A monument showing this location is located on Road 4, one half mile north of the Allen-Putnam County Line.
Bishop Christian Bösiger Born: Nov. 24, 1770, Rumisberg, Emmental Bern, Switzerland Died: Jan. 23, 1847, Richland Township Buried: Old Mennonite Cemetery, Bluffton Occupation: First deacon of Swiss Mennonite Settlement church
Christian’s father: Hans Johannes Bösiger (1742-?) Christian’s mother: Marie Magdalena Lugibuhl (1750-?)
Other spouses: Barbara Kurtz Married: Feb. 15, 1791, Alsace Loraine, France
Spouse: Elizabeth H. Steiner Born: 1758, Signau Bern Switzerland Died: Jan. 29, 1824, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Elizabeth’s father: Buchwald Johannes Hans Steiner (1729-1812) Elizabeth’s mother: Verena Habegger (1722-1809)
Children John Hans Bösiger Born: Feb. 6, 1792, Alsace Loraine, France Died: March 1860 Spouse: Sarah Mary Berner
Marie Bösiger Born, Aug. 25, 1793, Alsace Loraine, France
Christian Black Beard Bösiger Born: Oct. 9, 1795, Alsace Loraine, France Died: April 20, 1880, Putnam County
Spouse: Catherine Lugibuhl Spouse: Mary Sutter
Ulrich Red Beard Bösiger Born: Oct. 4, 1798, Alsace Loraine, France Died: Dec. 11, 1875, Bluffton Spouse: Elsie Kirchhofer
Elizabeth S. Bösiger Born: April 22, 1800, Alsace Loraine, France Died: March 26, 1880, Blandford Township, Oxford, Ontario, Canada Spouse: Ulrich Steiner
Verena Fannie Bösiger Born: Nov. 24, 1802