Monthly Archives: March 2015

Finding Caple Oklahoma Or How I Got Bit By The Genealogy Bug

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I pulled the thick packet out of the mailbox – return address National Archives, Washington  D.C.  The Civil War military and pension records for my  great  grandfather, Samuel Hugh Caple, had arrived. I crossed my fingers  and opened it hoping the information my Dad wanted was within.

Growing up both my Dad and I had listened to stories about how his grandfather, Samuel Hugh Caple, had survived being a prisoner in the notorious southerns Civil War prison – Andersonville.  My Dad had even spent a day spent a day touring the former prison site.  There he learned if he could show documentation of Samuel’s being a prisoner his name would be added to the the list  of survivors.

Unfortunately the papers from the National Archives did not have the record he desired but it did contain other valuable family information.

Other than the civil war stories I never heard tales about my Caple ancestors, except one.  My grandfather said the family had once been plantation owners somewhere in the south and had moved north because they didn’t believe in slavery. He didn’t know which state nor had any idea what country they may have come from from originally.  Someone said the name sounded German so he thought maybe they had come from Germany.

Among the many papers in the packet were affidavits from several people who said they had known Samuel while living in Caple, Oklahoma.

I recalled my grandfather mentioning he had lived in Oklahoma for a time while a boy.  But he had also said his father was a wanderer and they never lived anywhere long. So where exactly was Caple, Oklahoma?  How come I had never heard of it?  If my great grandfather had lived there, once upon a time, was this the southern state  the family had come from? Wy was it called Caple?  Outside of my family I had never even met another Caple.

  I set out to find the answer. I told myself I’d just find out where Caple was and how it got it’s name. I had no intention of doing more.

The archive’s papers showed Caple as being in Beaver county, Oklahoma.  I looked for it in a current atlas.  It wasn’t there but an 1899 Atlas, I had purchased at a yard sale, did  have a Caple,  Oklahoma.  It was in the southern portion off Beaver county (now Texas county), south of Hardesty, near the Texas border.

But I still didn’t know why it was named Caple?  And what had happened to it?

Today a search on the internet would give me the answer but in 1993 other avenues had to be pursued. I needed to learn how to trace my family history and thus began my affliction with the genealogy bug.  



The Schleiss Family


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Maria Schleiss Uelmen

It has been a while since I made a posting. Life changed for me and my siblings when we lost our beloved Father two days after Christmas.This will be my last installment (for now anyway) on the extended Meyer/ Uelmen family. Next I will turn my attention to my fraternal side of the family.

Josef Schleiss b. 1819 and Catherina Prausa b. 1825 — Maria Schleiss b. 1857 – Rosalia Uelmen b.1891

Year: 1868 

Place: a village somewhere in the Pilsen region of Bohemia (now the Czech Republic).

The family: Josef Schleis, wife Katherina Prausa and their 5  children – Anna b. 1850, Catherina  b.1852, Maria b. 1857,  Franz, b. 1859 and Josephine b. 1864

Eleven year old Maria Schleiss skipped home on the way she noticed the men, who came every year telling of the good fortunes to be had in America, had returned. They made her think of her uncle who  lived there. She had never met him but from time to time he wrote letters glowing with the reports of the good farmland. and the ease of obtaining citizenship. Two years ago, after Prussia had begun to occupy their country, her aunt Barbara’s family had joined him. Maria thought the place was called Wisconsin. Her mother and father had discussed going with them but lacked the funds to make the move. Maria hadn’t minded she wasn’t so sure she wanted to move to a strange place so far away, even if they did have family there.

Once home Maria opened the door of her house. How strange, her parents and two older sisters were sitting at the table even though it wasn’t meal time. Her father held a letter and another piece of paper. Seeing Maria her sister Catherina jumped up. “Uncle Prausa has sent us a bank draft. We  are going to America.” From that moment on Maria’s life would never be the same.

The next weeks and months were busy ones. Very little could be taken along so most of their property needed to be sold or given away. Finally the day had come for final tearful good-byes. Maria looked longingly at the village she’d been born in and the friends and family gathered to say good-bye.  With tears in her eyes she to took one last look and then turned and left her life in Bohemia forever.

The family made their way to a train station where they boarded a train that would take them to Bremen (now in Germany). There they boarded the ship Gessner for the voyage to America.

Below is the ship passenger record for the Josef Schleis family. The ship Gessner departed from the port of Bremen and arrived in NY on July 15, 1868.  Josef’s occupation is listed as a weaver.

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Like the Uelmen and Meyer families they most likely made their way to Northwestern New York where they boarded another boat that would take them across the great lakes to her uncle in Kewaunee county, Wisconsin. Since Kewaunee borders Lake Michigan they were probably met by family or were able to arrange for immediate transportation to Katherina’s family in Carlton township.

In  1870 the census, shown below, shows the family living in Carlton Township of Kewaunee county.4268465_00741

Josef and his wife are listed as laborers. Directly above his listing is one for Katherina’s sister Barbara and her husband Mathias Rutka. The Shleiss family carries over to the next page where child Frank, age 11 is listed as well as a new child, Theresia, age one. Also on this page  is Katherina’s brother Josef Prausa.

The 1880 census shows the family is still living in Carlton township. Joseph is now listed as farming. Maria is no longer living with the family as she married Peter Ulemen in 1877 and was living in Auburn township, Fond du Lac county.

In 1896 Maria’s mother, Katerina died and is buried in St. Joseph’s cemetery, Norman, Kewaunee County,  Wisconsin. Her  father, Josef  is found living with his son Frank in Carlton township, Kewaunee county. He died died in 1908.

From The Kewaunee county Enterprise News from Carlton.

Mr. Joseph Schleiss an old resident of the town died last Saturday night after a short illness.  The deceased was 89 years old and buried in St. Joseph’s cemetery. Mr. Schleiss moved to this county from Bohemia forty years ago. He is survived by three daughters and one son.

notes: Although I have no absolute proof that Joseph Prausa and his sister were Catherina Prausa’s siblings the evidence for it is strong. Maria’s children said her uncle Prausa provided the money for their passage to America. There are no other Prausa’s living in Kewaunee county during the time period of their immigration. Joseph Prausa had emigrated about 1855 giving him time to save enough money for the family’s passage. Further more they are found living within close proximity of each other in both of the 1870 and 1880 census.