Herman was born 17 June 1906 in Christopher, Franklin County, Illinois to Joseph Steinbuchel (Steinbeigle) and Elizabeth Ann Wallwork. Both parents were immigrants with Joseph arriving from Germany around 1883 as a young boy of about five, and Elizabeth “Lizzie” arriving 6 June 1887, about 9 years old, on the ship Alaska. Elizabeth came with her mother, Jane, brothers Joseph and George and sister, Victoria. Their father, Joseph Wallwork, came a month later in July.
Joseph Steinbuchel/Steinbeigle enlisted in the army during the time of the Spanish American War and served for a short time; long enough to receive a pension later in life when he was shot in the arm at the facility he owned in southern Illinois. Since Herman’s father, Joseph, mustered in and out in Alabama, it is presumed this is where he met Elizabeth Wallwork, whose family was also living in Alabama at the time. Both Elizabeth’s father and Joseph Steinbeigle were miners so may have had this connection. Joseph and Elizabeth married 26 May 1900 in Blocton, Bibb County, Alabama and were there for a few years before moving to Murray, Alameda County, California, where Joseph’s parents, Conrad and Francisca had been living.
By 1920 the family was located in Franklin County, Illinois and this is the area Grandpa Herman remembered most.He attended school in Christopher with his brother Francis (Uncle Doby) and sister, Vivian.
At least eight children were born to Joseph and Elizabeth Steinbeigle, but only three lived to adulthood.
Conrad LeeRoy was the eldest born 4 February 1901 and died about 18 months later.
Lillian May was next, born 6 May 1903 and died 27 December 1911. Two sweet pictures of her and Herman has been preserved through the years.
Lillian and Herman Steinbeigle
Herman was the third child, followed by Francis Jorelin, born 23 December 1908. Francis became affectionately known as Uncle Doby to his great nieces and nephews and was a cheerful man like his brother.
Victoria Helan was born 12 May 1911 and died at the age of six.
The third child who lived to adulthood was Vivian Jane, who was born 15 November 1914 and eventually married George Voelz. This couple were very influential in the life of my father, Ray. Ray writes about George:
“It was his garage where we lived. He wrestled with me, played with me, introduced me to the Lutheran Church, and saw to my religious training.”
The last two children were Elizabeth, born 4 December 1916 who died about the age of four, and Sadie Rosalie who was born 8 Jan 1919 and died before 1921.
Not too much is known about Joseph Steinbeigle since he died at the fairly young age of fifty-four. However, Elizabeth lived with Herman and his family, so more of her personality is learned through stories Grandma Nettie told as well as those told by Elizabeth’s grandson, Ray.
According to Grandma Nettie, Elizabeth had a bit of a temper, swore like a sailor, and was known to have chased Grandma Nettie with a chair. But, her grandchildren could do no wrong and she would do anything for them. Like the day her grandson, Ray, wanted his toy cork gun which was on the third floor of the house and he was on the ground floor.
Ray tells the story:
“After several minutes of strenuous yelling, Grandmother Steinbeigle answered my call. I asked her to lower the gun in my Easter basket. Good old Grandma was always a willing accomplice. The gun did not fit the basket too well. AS she was lowering the basket, gravity took over, the basket tipped and the gun toppled out. As the gun plummeted in my direction, grandma yelled for me to move…I sheepishly grinned at the two ambulance attendants. Six stitches later I was on the road to recovery.” Ray continued the story by telling about how Grandma Steinbeigle ran down the stairs and was furious at the gun for hurting her grandson.
Elizabeth died in 1954 at the age of 76.
Herman, Elizabeth and Nettie Steinbeigle