In 1989 I started the Mower Family History Association, which has about 100 Mower related families in it, with the intent to research the Mower roots. That of course led me over a period of time to many families from which I descend. We have learned that we come from Jungholzhausen, Germany -- in Wuerttemberg, Germany. We have pushed the family to its origins I believe, as it appears no further records exist. The earliest known MAURER of our line is Hans MEURER born about 1568.
Our immigrating ancestor was Johann Michael MAURER of Goggenbach, Jagst, Wuerttemberg, Germany, born about 1720. In 1738 he came to America on the Charming Nancy, with Hans Philip MAURER, his cousin. Michael eventually settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Philip settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Michael died about 1768. The family of Andrew MAURER, son of Michael, from which I descend, moved to Loudoun County, Virginia following the Revolutionary War. Andrew had served in the Revolution and eventually moved into Pennsylvania again settling in Bedford County, Pennsylvania during George Washington's second term of office -- about 1796.
Andrew MAURER died in Bedford County, Pa in 1813, and his son, Michael and Catherine (Geissinger) MAURER (MOWER) continued to live in the county. Catherine was the daughter of Charles GEISSINGER, also a Revolutionary War veteran and has a very interesting history. We have traced his origins to Goetzis, Austria. (See the section on "Life Stories" for a history of him and others of our line.)
Michael and Catherine MOWER had a son, Henry MOWER Sr. who was living with his family in 1829 in Bedford County when Michael, his father died. Henry joined the Mormon Church in 1836 and subsequently moved the family to Illinois and then later to Utah. Many of the descendants of Henry live in the west today and are affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
My line of descent from Henry MOWER Sr. is through his son, Henry MOWER Jr. born in 1824, who was the father of John Lisbon MOWER born 1859, who was the father of Winston MOWER born 1896, who was the father of my father, Thomas MOWER born 1924.
I am Jerry MOWER, born in 1949, and a history teacher at a local high school in Afton, Wyoming. My wife Tedi Jeen and I live on a 14-acre "ranch" in Bedford, located about 15 miles north of Afton. We have about 500 people who live in our community, which covers an area of about 15 square miles. We are basically rural farming people, a lot of cattle and some dairy farming here. Many raise alfalfa and barley as ranch crops. We live in prime elk and mule deer habitat, being located only 60 miles from Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Parks.
Our part of Wyoming is dramatically different than most of the state. If you drive from east to west on Interstate 80 you see the Wyoming desert and that is what most people think Wyoming is -- sagebrush. We however, live at 6500 feet elevation in a mountain valley 5 miles wide and 40 miles long on the western border of Wyoming. We are completely surrounded by pine and aspen national forests. It is really a gorgeous place to live and many people from all over the country retire here.
We have a resident elk herd that lives in the valley all winter and can be frequently seen in the mornings feeding with the cattle on ranches near our home. My wife was raised here and has 6 brothers and 1 sister. Her father is a retired science teacher who taught 33 years at our school and her siblings are all grown, married, and have children of their own. My father-in-law has remarried since my wife's mother died. The lady he married had 10 children herself, so between those 18 children of the combined marriages my in-laws have over 90 grandchildren (and increasing)! I mean grandchildren, not great grandchildren! Rather incredible for today's age I believe.
About 13 years ago I became seriously interested in researching my ancestors. I have always been interested in history, having majored in it in college. I went to Weber State College 1967-1974, taking two years out for an L.D.S. mission to Germany.
I started collecting family history information, but with the struggle of being a beginning school teacher, earning a living and accompanying responsibilities, such as obtaining my master's degree, I didn't do much other than collect information. In 1987, I moved from the classroom into an administrative position for 8 years, but have since gone back to teaching in order to have a life again. Since 1989 I have sought to investigate my family heritage. My wife is also of German heritage.
We have researched the origins of the MAURER and GEISSINGER lines and have collected many pedigrees on the descendants of those lines as well. I have all this on computer and would be glad to share with anyone what information I have.
We are working on the origins of the BRILL family and have sent our researcher back to Germany several times. We believe Martin BRILL, whose son, Christopher BRILL married Anna Margaret MAURER, daughter of Michael MAURER the immigrant, lived in Niederasphe, Kreis Wetter, Hessen-Kassel, Germany. (See 3rd Quarter Newsletter 2005)
I encourage anyone with connections to Bedford County, PA, or to these surnames to contact me:
MAURER, MOWRY, MOWERY, etc., BRILL, GEISSINGER (GUISINGER), GRISSO, DIEHL, AMICK, HALL, TUTTLE, BLACKHAM, COCKERHAM, KOLB, EAST.
615 Co. Rd. 123
Bedford, WY 83112