An American Family History

Eliza Louisa Branstetter Heller


Branstiter Table of Contents
Other spellings--Brandstatter, Brandstetter, Brandsteter, Brandstaetter, Bransletter, Branstatter, Bransteeter, Branstetter, Branstiter, Branstitter, Branstitre, Branstudder, Broadtsteddler, Bronstetter, Brunstetter, Brunsteter, Brunstautton

American pioneers migrated west to settle areas not previously inhabited by European Americans.

Clark County, Ohio was formed March 1, 1817, from Champaign, Madison and Greene Counties. The first settlement was in 1796. The inhabitants of German Township were German Lutherans who came from Virginia.

A blacksmith forges and shapes iron with a hammer and anvil.

Eliza Louisa Branstetter Heller was born on November 4, 1814 in Heidelberg Township, Northampton County, now Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Daniel Branstetter and Christina Bauman.

She came with her family to Ohio about 1818 where they were early pioneers.

After her father's death, in 1831 her brother, John Branstetter, was appointed her guardian.

When she was 19, she married Elias Heller on June 26, 1834 in Clark County, Ohio. Elias was born on October 19, 1810 in Pennsylvania and was the son of Daniel Heller and Barbara Nause. Daniel was a blacksmith and had a shop in Clark County in 1836.

Their children included:
Rebecca J. Heller Kiblinger (1836, married Lemuel Kiblinger),
Mary Elizabeth Heller Tilbury (1837, married Oliver Tilbury),
Charles Marion Heller (1839, married Angeline Allene Fling),
Benjamin F. Heller (1842, married Harriet Alford),
Eliza Jane Heller Fincham (1845, married Henry Mathew Fincham),
Hester Ann Heller Rockel (1847, married William Rockel son of Adam Rockel and Mary Baker),
Squire Heller (1848, married Mary Jennie Owens), and
William Coke Heller (1853, married Emma J. Horney).

Elias Heller appeared in the 1840 census for German Township Clark County, Ohio. The household had one man between 30 and 40, a woman between 20 and 30, a boy less than five, a girl between five and ten and a girl less than five.

Ohio 1840
From an Ohio newspaper in 1840.

In 1850 they were still in German Township. The household consisted of Elias age 41, Eliza age 36, Rebecca J. age 15, Mary E. age 13, Charles age 10, Benjamin F. age 8, Eliza J. age 6, Hester A. age 3, and Esquire age 1. Elias was working as a blacksmith.

In 1855 they went to McLean County, Illinois by covered wagon where they bought 80 acres in 1866 east of Towanda from William Sowards for $2,550.

The family appeared in the 1860 census of Towanda Township, McLean County, Illinois. The household consisted of Elias age 50 who was a farmer, Eliza age 44, Mary age 23, Charles age 20, Benjamin age 17, Hester A. age 13, Squire age 10, and William C. age 6.

They remained in Towanda Township during the Civil War. At the time of the 1870 census, they were in Blue Mound Township, McLean County, Illinois. The household consisted of Elias age 59, Eliza age 54, Squire age 21, and William age 17.

In 1880 Elias and Eliza were living in Blue Mound, McLean County, Illinois.

Elias died April 1, 1888 and Eliza died on December 18, 1898. Elias and Eliza are buried together in Smith Grove Cemetery in Towanda.

Children of Daniel Branstetter, Sr.
and Christina Bauman
  • Daniel Branstiter
  • Henry Branstetter
  • John Brunsteter
  • Sarah Branstetter Rogers Neville
  • Mary Branstetter Enoch
  • Elizabeth Branstetter Wallace Morris
  • Rebecca Margaret Branstetter Hullinger
  • Charles F. Branstetter
  • Eliza Branstetter Heller
  • William Branstetter
  • Nathan Branstetter
  • Heidelberg Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania originally included Washington Township and Slatington. It is located on Trout Creek and Jordan Creek.

    Northampton County, Pennsylvania is on the eastern border of the state in the Lehigh Valley. It was formed in 1752 from parts of Bucks County. Easton is the county seat.

    Illinois became a state in 1818. A large influx of American settlers came in the 1810s by the Ohio River.

    Squire's obituary


    Buildings in Clark County, Ohio ranged from simple log cabins to sophisticated Italianate and Gothic Revival structures.
    Sudden Death of a Well Known Lexington Woman.
    Funeral Wednesday.

    Mrs. William Rockel died suddenly of acute indigestion at the family residence Monday morning at 1:30 o'clock. She had not been in her usual health for a few days previous to her death, but nothing of so serious a nature was anticipated. Sunday evening she was taken with a severe attack of indigestion and in spite of every effort made for her relief, she passed away as stated above.

    Hester Ann Heller, daughter of Elias and Eliza [Branstetter] Heller, was born in Clark county, Ohio, April 11, 1847. She came with her parents, by wagon, to McLean county, Illinois, in 1855, where the family settled on a farm east of Towanda. She was married to William Rockel, Feb. 4, 1868, Rev. Stephen Morrill, who is still living here, performing the ceremony. Mr. and Mrs. Rockel lived almost all of their married life on the farm. For twenty-one years they lived on a farm seven miles east of Towanda. From there they moved to what is known as the G. W. Hiser farm, near Lexington, which Mr. Rockel purchased. Here they lived until 1908, when, because of her husband's failing health, they moved into Lexington. Her husband died Dec. 23, 1908.

    Mrs. Rockel was one of a family of eight children, and is survived by four brothers; Charles M. Heller, of Towanda; Squire Heller, of Normal; Coke Heller, of Cooksville, and Benjamin F. Heller, of Altoona, Ia., also by one sister, Mrs. Jane Fincham, of Towanda. Of her own immediate family, she is survived by two daughters: Mrs. Alice Jones, of Bloomington, and Mrs. Emmett Douglass, of Lexington, and one son, Clement W. Rockel, of Dunlap, Ill., besides ten grandchildren and one greatgrandchild. Mrs. Rockel was converted in early life and was a consistent and faithful member of the M. E. church for more than fifty years. The funeral was held from the M. E. church Wednesday at 2 p.m. The pastor, Rev. D. S. McCown, conducted the service, assisted by Rev. W. H. Storm, of the Christian church. Interment was made in the Lexington cemetery.

    About fifty out of town people attended the funeral, including her brothers and their wives, her sister and a cousin, Mr. James Baker, of Jacksonville. (from Lexington Unit Journal)
    Guardianship is when a court gives an adult custody of a child and/or the responsibility of managing the child's property. Before women could own property, guardians were appointed for their minor children if their husband died.

    The first Europeans settled in the Northwest Territory in 1788. Migrants came from New York and New England. Ohio was admitted to the Union as the 17th state on March 1, 1803.

    The first U.S. railroad opened in the 1830s. In 1869 the first transcontinental railway was completed.

    Transcription Heller Family History 1856 - 1918 from Illinois Digital History
    Elias Heller and his wife Eliza Branstetter were born in Pennsylvania. They came via Holland to Ohio and then to the Towanda area by 1856. They bought 80 acres in 1866 east of Towanda from William Sowards for $2550.

    They had four daughters-Rebecca Kiblinger, Mary Tilbury, Eliza Fincham and Hester Rockle and four sons-Charles, Benjamin, Squire and William Coke. Elias died April 1, 1888.

    Charles Marion Heller, born October 2, 1839, married Angeline Allene Fling whose family owned property near Towanda. They had 11 children. The youngest died in infancy. The other 10 lived on the family farm near Towanda. All attended Smith Grove School. Some went on to higher education. Most of the family are buried in Smith Grove Cemetery. The 120 acre homestead was sold to clear estate. The Charles and Angeline Heller children are:
    Fannie Mae Heller married Judson Stover and had four children;
    Minnie Heller married Charles Hilts and had two daughters;
    Charles T. Heller (Jim) married Minnie Cameron and had two children.
    One infant died;
    Clara Heller married William (Billy) Hilts and had three children; Edwin E. Heller married Myrtle Scott and had three daughters---one died in infancy;
    Annette Grace Heller married Charles Moffett, but was divorced;
    Della Leora Heller married Herbert Wakefield and had two children and lived near Heyworth;
    Ethel Heller never married.. She was a talented artist and lived at the family homestead;
    Leila Heller married Herschel Payne and had one son;
    Imogene Angeline Heller married Elmer E. Kenyon and lived in Towanda. They had one daughter, Angeline, a graduate of ISNU and a teacher for many years, married to William Burnell, who lived in Mountain Home, Arkansas.

    Benjamin Heller was born in 1842 and died in December 1927. He was a fireman on the C and A Railroad from Bloomington to Chicago. Ben saw Harriet Alford one day while up on a car and waved at her and nearly fell out the cab. He courted and married her in Towanda. He was in partnership with George Hanna raising pure-blooded Norman Horses and Aberdeen Angus cattle. He and Harriette had nine children:
    "Mamie" Josephine Heller was the ancestor of Timothy Kraft;
    Eliza Luvina Heller married Will Hall;
    Franklin Benjamin Heller married Anna Gossard;
    Hester Ann "Daisy" Heller married Joe Oglevie;
    George Daniel Heller married Florence Bellenger;
    Charles Marian Heller married Pearl Ogden;
    Elias Webster Heller married Edna Schafer;
    Mary Heller married Warren Owens.

    William Coke Heller married Emma Homey. Coke and Emma had two children, a boy who died at birth and a daughter, Buelah, who died at six months. Harve Heller, born 3-28-1877, son of George and Mary Margerum, born in 1854 in New Jersey, came to live with Coke and Emma after the death of his mother when he was 7 years old. Harve's sister Sadie lived with the Margerum grandparents, but Harve was not happy there. His father George was a blacksmith nearby in Bloomington. Coke and Emma welcomed him lovingly. Emma thought Harve was sent to her from heaven.

    Harve Ellsworth Heller, married Maude Duncan, born 6-24-1881 in Pennsylvania, October 7, 1903. They had two children, Duncan Coke, born March 7, 1905, and Ayliffe Eleanor (James Haley). Harve and Maude farmed near Fletcher. Harve died in the flu epidemic May 6, 1918. Maude and Harve are buried in Smith Grove Cemetery.

    The 1918 influenza pandemic was also called the Spanish flu. It was caused by an unusually deadly strain and most victims were healthy, young adults. The pandemic lasted from March 1918 to June 1920. One third of the world's population, became infected.

    Women played an essential role in American society as mothers and homemakers.
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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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