Union and West End Cemetery

The Union and West End Cemetery is located in center city Allentown. The main entrance is on 10th Street at 10th and Chew Streets. The cemetery is mantained by a dedicated group of volunteers. Ten board members (also volunteers) serve the cemetery association and manage the finances, make application for grants, solicit donations and participate in the maintenance of the cemetery.

Friday, June 04, 2010

 

Joseph Clauser Family




In Section M' of the West End portion of the Union and West End Cemetery there is a small obelisk stone. On three of its four sides it is inscribed with the names of four children of Joseph P. and Mary Ann Clauser. The Clauser family lived in Allentown's 8th Ward at 748 N. Lumber Street.

Joseph Clauser was born in Pennsylvania in july, 1859. Mary was born in Pennsylvania, also in 1859. Joseph and Mary were married in 1882.

The circumstances of Joseph's birth are somewhat of a mystery. When he was just 11 months of age, he was enumerated in the 1860 census in the home of Peter and Anna Frantz. Peter and his wife were in their late fifties. Also in the household in addition to Joseph was their daughter, Mary, who was 25 and their son, Elias, who was 18. Several young men with the surname Frantz lived nearby with their families; Charles Frantz, age 25 years, lived next door with his wife Mary and their family.

In 1860 Peter was employed as a day laborer. His wife was at home keeping house and taking care of Joseph. Peter's daughter, Mary, worked as a domestic and Elias, his son, was employed as a Postman. There is no explanation as to why Joseph P. Clause is in the Frantz household. Possibly adopted or perhaps the son of a relative; unfortunately, the circumstances are not known.

Joseph Clauser, upon reaching manhood and marrying, was employed as a day laborer, but by 1910 he is shown working as an engineer in a boiler works.

Mary Clauser, Joseph's wife, gave birth to six children as follows:
Edward J., born April 20, 1888.
Eva A., born 1890
Maggie M. A., born and died 1892
Jennie C., born April 1894
Charles P., born June 10, 1898
Joseph A., born June 1899

Edward died July 12, 1928 at age 40. during his life he worked as a finisher in a furniture factory. He later was a laborer in a boiler works, presumably the same boiler works that employed his father.

Eva died in 1894, just four years of age.

Maggie, as noted above, was likely still-born.

Jennie, at age 16 years, was a quilter in a knitting mill. She would later marry Harry C. Fritch, who worked for the railroad. They lived at 339 Union Street and they had two daughters.

Charles died on Christmas day, December 25, 1888, aged 6 months 15 days. It must have been a very sad Christmas for the family in 1888.

Joseph A. Clauser, at age 21 years, was living in Philadelphia in 1920. He is married to Lucy M. Sherildan, employed as an optician in a retail optical store and he and his wife are living in the 46th Ward at 25 Salford Street in the home of Lucy's mother, Mrs. Mary Sherildan.

Mary Clauser died in 1917. Shortly there after, Joseph P. Clauser was found living with his daughter, Jennie, in 1920 and was still employed at the boiler works.

It is not known when Joseph P. Clauser died, he is buried along side his wife in the family plot, but his death date is not shown on the stone. The four children whose graves are marked by the oblelisk lie across from their parents; They are: Charles P., Eva A., Maggie M. A., and Edward J.


Joseph P. Clauser's headstone is on the left, his wife, Mary Ann on the right.

It must have been difficult for Joseph and Mary, and most particularly for Mary, to lose three of her six children during her lifetime. She predeceased Edward, who died at age forty.


Lying in graves to the right of Peter and Mary Clauser is the grave of Charles Frantz and his wife, Mary. Their headstones are shown above. The eight graves are in an area that would normally accomodate ten graves. There is no evidence of more than the eight graves. Since Mary Frantz died on July 13, 1892 and Charles Frantz died on August 30, 1903, it is believed that the plot was originally purchased by Charles Frantz. Cemetery records show that the owner of record was Joseph P. Clauser, with an entry date of November 18, 1903: a few months after Charles' death and long after all cemetery plots had been sold.

It should be noted that Charles Frantz served with Company G' 176th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment during the Civil War.

Joseph Clauser was not selected for inclusion in this blog because of any particular good deed or for any great accomplishment in his lifetime. He was, for the most part, a hard working father and husband, living in a difficult time, trying to provide for his family. What drew me to this particular family was the obelisk with the names of so many of their offspring. It is the tragedies that befell this family that draws one to them. That is the only reason for singling them out. May they rest in peace for all eternity.



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