Updated April 17, 2001 Listenfelt Family Reunion

4/17/01 Update. At the suggestion of a dedicated Listenfelt researcher I have decided NOT to complete the "book" in time for the reunion, but to do so afterwards. In this way I can collect and compare what others have at the reunion and incorporate that information into the "book".

Please send this notice to anyone who might be interested ˜˜˜ As many of you know, nearly 20 of the Listenfelt descendants gathered at the home of Wilford and Carla Listenfelt last summer. We had such a grand time, and shared so much with one another that the idea for this gathering was born.

Since that time more information has become available, to include the marriage record of Conrad and Susan, and the births and baptisms of Daniel and Jacob.

We will meet at Hontz Hall on South Rodgers Avenue, at the City Park in Gas City, IN, on Saturday, June 23, 200, from noon until we decide to call it a day, to meet one another and share information (including photos) of our family. Because we have no idea of the attendance it seems simpler to ask everyone to bring their own food, tableware, and beverage. We have an indoor location, so weather is not an issue. We will arrange to have some grills going for those who would like to barbeque.

Local motels include: Super 8, Upland, IN, off I-69, Exit 59, on SR 22, (765) 998-6800, and Best Western, Upland, IN, off I-69, Exit 59, SR 22, (765) 998-2331. Addition lodging is available in Marion.

For more information contact Sue Billbe at (765) 674-4333, Diane Billbe-Whitesell @ mailfordiana@cqimail.com or Pat Harris Jones, (410) 635-6215, patriciajones52@hotmail.com.

Hope you can come!

Last year I made a trip to Indiana where about 18 of Conrad's descendants gathered in Noblesville at the home of cousin Wil and Carla Listenfelt. What a great time we had, and what gracious hosts Wil and Carla were. (Wil is the cousin I met on the construction site in Arizona many years ago. His father and my great grandmother were half brother and sister, children of Daniel and his two wives and MANY years of producing progeny! My great grandmother was born when Daniel was very young, and she, in turn had children at an early age. Wil's father was born when Daniel was probably about 80 (!) and he, in turn, fathered Wil in his old age.)

Five of us had private use of the Cecil Beeson genealogical library (where I had done my original research 22 years ago). We went through it like a bunch of termites, devouring information from every publication in the library.

Everyone left the reunion determined to scour family records, and we planned a reunion for June 23, 2001, in Gas City, IN. The details are now (as of April, 2001) included in the information at the beginning of this text.)

One of the neatest items that surfaced during this gathering was a picture of Daniel's home (said to be haunted, but that's another story). Conrad's will was also circulated, as was a document from the library in Richmond, which seems to point to the identity of Conrad's younger brother, who emigrated with him.

Just before leaving for Indiana I received confirmation that Conrad and Susanne's marriage record and the birth records of Daniel and Jacob were on their way from Germany. They are here and while the original handwritten documents have not yet been translated, the synopsis has, as follows:

Here's the translation.

"In regard to your email of April 30, we were able to find the origin of the family Lichtenfels from our lists of emigrants. The family originated from Spielbeg, close to Ettlingen, not far from Karlsruhe. Today, Spielberg is part of D-76307 Karlsbad (*the number is a zipcode and the D is for Germany.)

In the records of the Lutheran community of Spielberg, we found an entry of marriage of Conrad Lichtenfels with Susanne Bittman, dated 12/12/1824. Conrad Lichtenfels, born in Spielberg on Sept. 9, 1797, was employed in Karlsruhe as a soldier in the guards regiment (*of whomever was the governing authority at the time) at the time of his marriage. His parents were the Spielberg citizens, Conrad Lichtenfels and his wife Anna Maria, maiden name, Karcher.

Susanne Bittman, too, was born in Spielberg, on Nov. 27, 1801. Her parents were Jacob Bittman and Catharine, maiden name, Karcher. Birth entries of the sons of Conrad and Susanne were found in the same documents from Spielberg: Jacob, April 12, 1824 and Daniel, Nov. 26, 1826.

We have only records of marriage from Spielberg for the period from 1810 to 1869. For this reason, we cannot research the requested entries of birth for the parents of Conrad and Susanne. We recommend you contact the Lutheran parsonage (Evangelisches Pfarramt) in Germany at D-76307 Karlsbad, or the local government (Gemeindeverwaltung) in Karlsbad-Spielberg. There is a possibility that the young family researcher from Spielberg, Helmut Muller, Dobeistr.2, D-76307 Karlsbad-Spielberg may be able to help you with further research."

The asterisks are information added by my translator. The three original documents are handwritten and I must sit down with her to get them translated as they are too big to fit in the fax, and wouldn't be readable if reduced. There is one error in the letter from Germany, which I corrected. It lists the marriage year as 1828. By checking the original document I can ascertain that it was 1824.

We really need to hear from all the clan, especially those whose email addresses I have lost so that we can share what we found. I am especially anxious to hear from the Rhode Island branch, and the Florida folks.

I have also set up a gedcom file with a link (included here)on the Rootsweb's Genconnect. It includes my entire family, as I know it, the center surname being Harris.

History of this website

In 1978 unexplainable events led me on a pilgrimage from Arizona to Blackford County, Indiana. My quest was to find the roots of my great grandmother,Susan Listenfelt Fear. Grandma Susan lived long enough to meet me, her first great grandchild, but died when I was less than a year old. The only living relatives available to give me any information were a Harris aunt and uncle in Huntington.

The trip was almost surreal in the way that doors mysteriously opened revealing stories and possessions long thought lost.

I spent three days with Mr. Cecil Beason, an eighty-something year old curator of the Blackford County Historical Society, gathering wills, obituaries, photographs and bible records. I visited gravesites, scavenged in dusty attics, listened to family stories and, finally, traced and documented the Listenfelt history back to Conrad and his wife, Susan, who emigrated in 1828.

Having found all this I returned to Arizona, tucked the information safely away, and all but forgot it until another strange event in 1983.

I was scheduled for a newspaper photo shoot at the site of a still-under-construction nursing home in Flagstaff, Arizona, documenting my selection as administrator of the facility. When I contacted the Indiana based company's local office to arrange the shoot I found the foreman to be a previously unknown to me Listenfelt "cousin". During the course of our working together I gave him copies of the results of my five year old journey.

Again, I tucked the file away and, for fifteen years, it gathered dust. I moved it from Arizona to Nebraska, back to Arizona, and finally, three years ago, it found a permanent home (as did I) in a 1732 farmhouse in rural Maryland.

Recently, perhaps because of this historically wealthy area where I live, and perhaps because I am largely retired with time to devote to a project, I began my family's genealogy. In searching genweb sites I came across a querry on a Baden, Germany, site, regarding the descendants of great great great grandfather Conrad. E-mail correspndence with that gentleman (another "cousin") stirred my interest once more in the Listenfelt history. Through him, and information he sent I have found others who have begun the search. In fact, the fifteen year old copies I shared with my Indiana cousin actually came back to me!

PLAN: As time permits I will enter the family chart and update it as new information becomes available.

PLEASE USE MY GUESTBOOK! (or my e-mail: patriciajones52@hotmail.com) and send me anything you have on the clan

Family Oral Histories

A HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE LIESTENFELTZ FAMILY By Dr. Charles M. Liestenfeltz (Supplied by Theatta Culbertson)

Prior to 1828 Conrad Liestenfeltz was a general in the principality of Leichtenstein, then under the control of Austria. The family was then called Leichtenstein, but was later changed to Liestenfeltz, when they came to America. Had Conrad Liestenfeltz not fallen in love with his cousin, Susan, he would have become Prince of the Province. But, this led to serious consequences, since the collector from Austria was also in love with the same young lady. Conrad married Susan and later accepted a challenge to a duel from the Austrian collector. he overcame the collector and being fearful of difficulties with the Austrian government, he and his younger brother fled to America. Conrad homesteading on a farm nine miles east of Hartford City, Indiana, on the Hartford City-Pennville Pike. He later entered the hotel business in Richmond, Indiana. There is now a very popular historical novel being widely read in the Province about this daring general who eloped to Switzerland and married the Austrian collector's sweetheart. Then gave up a principality and worked his way across France and endured the hardships of pioneer life in a strange land. The Province of Leichtenstein is now an independent Province and succeeded in keeping neutral throughout the World War.

SKETCH OF SUSAN AND CONRAD LISTENFELT By Hattie Listenfelt - Chicago, December, 1958 (as told by them to their children)

We have no record of their family history except their statement that Grandfather Conrad's grandfather was an officer in the English army and fled to Germany at the time of civil war in England. When he got to Germany that would be safety "light on a rock" - Listenfels, Lichtenfeltz, Liestenfeltz, Listenfelt - as it is pronounced and as many of the family now spell it. Later this Listenfelt married a French girl who had escaped from France during religious disturbances there. (Her maiden name is unknown).

Grandfather Conrad did his required army service in Germany and in addition was conscripted by Napoleon and was in the terrible retreat from Moscow. (The gun he carried in this army service [march to Moscow] was brought to America and was blown to bits by an enthusiastic young member of the family at a ‘belling' [charivari]. What a relic that gun would be now!) All told Conrad served seven years in the army. He married Susan Bitman in the year (?) in Baden, Germany near Karlsruhe. It was almost an impossible task to obtain the money for the ocean passage. Grandfather told many times that he worked for ten cents a day to get the money necessary. Grandmother sold her best clothing - including two silk dresses. Good clothing in those days lasted for two generations at least, so we can see what a sacrifice she made. In 1828, taking their two little boys - Daniel, two years old, and Jacob, four years old, they walked from Baden to Paris. When they arrived in Paris they found that they could not continue their journey at once as the children had not been inoculated for small pox. So they remained in Paris for three weeks until the work was done and the children had recovered. We wonder with their scanty supply of money how they managed to live for this extra time. The ocean voyage lasted six weeks but finally they landed in New York. (The voyage had been stormy and a portion of their scanty store of goods had to be thrown overboard, as had that of other passengers).

They spent six days learning enough English so that they could get about by themselves. Then they walked the streets of New York for three weeks hunting work. They took turns at this, one staying with the children while the other looked for work. Finally they were fortunate, finding a place in New Jersey where they could both work - on the farm of Peter Nevins. During their stay here another son was born whom they christened Peter Nevins. Grandfather's wages were $90.00 a year. Out of this amount they paid $10.00 a year to send the little boys to school. (Have any of their descendants ever paid such a proportion of their income for such a purpose?) Twice a year Grandfather went to the city to buy clothing - mostly from second-hand stores. In six years they had saved enough so that they could move on westward to Warren County, Ohio, where they rented a farm. This farm belonged to the Janney brothers. The friendship between the two families continued for many years with visits back and forth after our family had left Ohio.

After some years they moved on again - this time to their permanent home in Blackford County, Indiana where they bought the farm we know as the Allmon farm which was inherited by their daughter, Catherine, after their deaths. When they came to Indiana cash was very hard to get. Grandfather used to walk from seven to ten miles to earn the tax money which at first was one dollar a year, but it had to be money. At that time there were vast tracts of forest land, well stocked with oak and hickory. Nuts from these trees were called by the general name of mast. For some weeks in autumn, hogs were well fed by merely letting them run in the woods. With a short time feeding of corn they were ready for hog killing time. The only holiday was when Grandfather went to Richmond with a load of meat. In those days there was no government inspection. The grocer was supposed to know good meat and that was all that was necessary for prompt sale. Their children - Jacob, Daniel, Peter Nevins, Conrad and Catherine grew up and established homes in the neighborhood so that it became known as the Listenfelt neighborhood. It came to be said in time that everyone who attended Olive Branch Church was either a Listenfelt or married a Listenfelt.

A great adventure had come to two of the sons. Jacob and Peter Nevins joined the gold rush to California in 1851. They enjoyed the experience and loved to tell of their adventures. (The compiler of these lines remembers with pleasure how her father, Jacob, Jr., used to tell of the preparations for the big time - the night the boys came home! The family and neighbors gathered at the Listenfelt home to welcome them and hear of their adventures. In the course of the evening the younger of the two boys produced a "fiddle" and started to play a lively tune. His mother interrupted him saying sternly, "Put that sinful thing down!" - The fiddle was associated with dancing which was frowned on in this household. There were, however, other amusements of which the spelling bee was one of the most popular. The writer recalls a story which belongs to a later generation but perhaps indicates something about the good times of this period. My father was a representative of the Linstenfelt school in a "bee" and the contest finally narrowed to one between him and a representative of the other school. Father's younger brother (our Uncle John) was an attentive witness of the proceedings and he did not like what he saw. The opponent had his coat bunched around him in a peculiar manner and he kept looking down at the coat every time he spelled a word. So Uncle John walked up to him and gave him a good poke in the stomach. An open spelling book fell out of the folds of the coat, someone blew out the light and a big fight followed. The story never told who won but we will hope the Listenfelts were as good fighters as they were honest spellers.

The children of this family had all been reared with the idea that they should be proud to be citizens of the United States. The father and mother took a newspaper printed in English rather than German which would have been easier for them to read. They knew the English papers would be of special benefit to their children.

Grandmother never quite outgrew the feeling that a good day's work would bring good luck, and events seemed to prove that she was right. She had the first cook stove in the neighborhood, rode to church on Sunday in the first "top" buggy in the county with her husband in broadcloth suit and stove pipe hat. (Tradition does not say whether she ever got a silk dress but we will hope so!)

(The foregoing account is compiled from a report my (Hattie Listenfelt) mother, Lucy Sawyer Listenfelt, gave at a family reunion. Her authority was from my father, Jacob Listenfelt, Jr., the oldest grandson of Conrad Listenfelt and his wife Susan Bitman Listenfelt.)


1. Conrad Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz)

Spouse: Susan Bittman Birth Place: Germany

Children: Jacob Daniel Peter Nevins Catherine Conrad

1.1 Jacob Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz)

Birth Date: 12 Apr 1824 Birth Place: Baden, Germany Death Date: 14 Sep 1906 Burial Place: Pennville, Jay County IN Occupation: Farmer

Spouse: Lucinda Duffy

1.2a Daniel Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz)* Birth Date: 18 Nov 1826 Birth Place: Baden, Germany Death Date: 30 Jan 1908 Death Place: Blackford County, IN Burial Place: Pennville , Jay County, IN Maple Lawn Cemetery

Notes: (1) From: History of Blackford County:

Daniel Listenfeltz, a representative of one of the old and respected pioneer families of Blackford County, is a native of Germany, born November 18, 1829, a son of Conrad and Susan Listenfeltz. They came to America when our subject was eighteen months old, locating in New Jersey, where they made their home for six years. They then removed to Warren County, Ohio, and in 1837, came to Blackford County, Indiana, locating in the woods of section 36, Harrison Township, the parents living there until their deaths. They had a family of six children...Jacob, Daniel, Peter Nevins, Catherine, Conrad and Susan, who was burned to death at the age of four years. Daniel Listenfeltz was reared to manhood in Blackford County, to the avocation of a farmer and received his education in the district schools. When twenty years old he married Miss Rhoda Havens, a daughter of James and Phoebe Ann Havens, of Blackford County. Eleven children were born to them, of whom eight are still living...Jacob, Jonathon, Phoebe Ann, Sarah, Rebecca, Susan, Elizabeth and Clement. Mr. Listenfeltz was bereaved by the death of his wife in February, 1879. The maiden name of his present wife is Martha Ann Wheeler. She was born in Henry County, Indiana, and is a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Trueblood) Wheeler. By his second marriage Mr. Listenfeltz has two children named Orville and Orliza. Mr. Listenfeltz is one of the well to do farmers of Harrison Township, where he has a fine farm of eighty acres of well improved land, his residence being a good two story house, built in 1877. In politics he is a Democrat. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church,

(2) (OBITUARY) Daniel Listenfelt Dies After a Long Illness

Daniel Listenfelt, a Blackford county pioneer, residing northeast of Hartford City, passed away Thursday evening at 6 o"clock after a long illness. He had been having a severe cold early in the fall which later developed into pneumonia, which with a severe case of heart trouble eventually caused his death.

Mr. Listenfelt came to this country from Germany when he was but a few years of age and when quite young was married to Miss Rhoda Havens. He resided on his farm northeast of town since that time until his death. About thirty years ago his wife died and he was later married to Mattie Wheeler.

Mr. Listenfelt was the father of fifteen children: Jake, who resides south of Pennville; John of Marshall County, Indiana, Clem, deceased; Sarah White of Keystone; Anna Strait of Parke City; Rebecca Beeler of Downing, Michigan; Mary Taylor of Glenfflora, Michigan, and Susan Fear of Montpelier, by his first wife, and seven by his second, who all reside at home.

Mr. Listenfelt was 83 years of age and was a man highly respected in the community in which he resided.

Mr. and Mrs. Will Allmon and Pierce Havens attended the funeral of Daniel Listenfelt at Pennville Sunday afternoon. The funeral was one of the largest ever held in Jay County, the deceased being one of the oldest and most highly regarded men of the county. Rev. George Jackson, a nephew of Mr. Listenfelt, conducted the funeral.


Daniel Listenfelt, son of Conrad and Susan Listenfelt, was born in Baden, Germany, Nov 18th, 1829, departed this life January 30th 1908, aged 81 years, 3 months.

He was married to Rhoda Haven April 27 1848. Had he lived five days more it would have been the 30th anniversary of the death of this wife. On January 19, 1884, he was married to Mattie Wheeler.

One of the delights of the late years of his life, was to tell in detail of coming to America. The family at that time consisted of his parents and older brother, Jacob and himself. They first settled in New Jersey 1828, later in Ohio and in 1837 in Blackford Co., on the Allmon farm.

He leaves a wife, seven children by his first marriage and six by his last marriage, one brother and one sister besides a whole community to mourn his loss. His first wife and five children preceeded him to the better world. Only a few of the older people can remember the help Mr. Listenfelt was always glad to render in homes afflicted with sickness and death. Before this country was blessed with undertakers, he was the only man his community prepared to render that part of the last sad rites to the dead.

The deceased had many striking traits of character, but one stood out above all the others was that he never let anything mar the great pleasure he took in the success and prosperity of other people. It could be truly said of him "He rejoiced with them that did rejoice." In 186? he, with his wife, joined the ME church at Pennville, later when the Olive Branch church was organized he attended that place of worship most faithfully. He always took a great interest in hearing of the work of the church.

Mr. Listenfelt has again and again expressed his hope and faith during his last illness. He knew the summons was near and anxiously awaited it. Funeral services held Feb. 2nd, by the Rev. Jackson, who paid a high tribute to his high moral influence.

Spouse: Rhoda Havens Birth Date: 1826 Birth Place: Ohio Death Date: 18 Feb 1877 Burial Place: Pennville IN Maple Lawn Cemetery (Jay Cnty)

Marriage Date: 27 Apr 1848 Marriage Place: Blackford County IN

Children: Jacob Jonathan Phoebe Anna Sarah S Louis Rosaline Rebecca Elizabeth Susan Clement

Other Spouses Martha Ann Wheeler

1.2a.1 Jacob Listenfelt Birth Date: 14 Jan 1849

1.2a.2 Jonathan Listenfelt Birth Date: 19 Sep 1850

1.2a.3 Phoebe Anna Listenfelt Birth Date: 19 Jan 1853

1.2a.4 Sarah S Listenfelt Birth Date: 28 Mar 1855

1.2a.5 Louis Listenfelt Birth Date: 3 Sep 1857

1.2a.6 Rosaline Listenfelt Birth Date: 11 Aug 1859

1.2a.7 Rebecca Listenfelt Birth Date: 1 Mar 1861

1.2a.8 Elizabeth Listenfelt Birth Date: ?

1.2a.9 Susan Listenfelt Birth Date: 18 Apr 1863

Spouse: Henry F. Fear Birth Date: 1859/1861 Birth Place: Franklin, KY Death Date: 1919 Occupation: Grocer Spouse Father: Henry Newton Fear (1831-) Spouse Mother: Mary Ann Updike (1832-)

Marriage Date: 3 Jul 1880

Children: Myrtle Merle Della B. Earl Ray

1.2a.9.1 Myrtle Fear Birth Date: May 1885 Birth Place: Indiana

1.2a.9.2 Merle Fear

1.2a.9.3 Della B. Fear Birth Date: 31 Jan 1888 Birth Place: Jay County, Indiana Death Date: 26 May 1974 Death Place: Huntington, Indiana Occupation: Saleswoman

Spouse: Harry S. Harris Birth Date: Mar 1883 Birth Place: Winchester, Indiana Death Date: 22 Feb 1943 Death Place: Huntington, Indiana Burial Place: Mount Hope Cemetery, Huntington, Indiana Occupation: Barber Spouse Father: Pleasant Harris (1840-) Spouse Mother: Lucinda Hinshaw (1847-1918)

Marriage Date: Jan 1906

Children: Dallis Lee Violet Lou John Harold

1.2a.9.4 Earl Ray Fear Birth Date: May 1893 Birth Place: Indiana

1.2a.10 Clement Listenfelt Birth Date: 11 Jun 1872

1.2b Daniel Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz)* (See above)

Spouse: Martha Ann Wheeler Birth Date: 26 Oct 1861 Birth Place: Henry County Indiana Death Date: 26 Nov 1926 Spouse Father: John Wheeler Spouse Mother: Elizabeth Trueblood

Marriage Date: 1 Jan 1884

Children: Orville Orlando Othel John E. Edna Marie Lillian Esther Beatrice Blanch

Other Spouses Rhoda Havens

1.2b.1 Orville Listenfelt Birth Date: 21 Jan 1885

1.2b.2 Orlando Listenfelt Birth Date: 25 Oct 1886

1.2b.3 Othel Listenfelt Birth Date: 25 Apr 1888

1.2b.4 John E. Listenfelt Birth Date: 28 Dec 2889

1.2b.5 Edna Marie Listenfelt Birth Date: 20 Apr 1893

1.2b.6 Lillian Esther Listenfelt Birth Date: 14 Jul 1895

1.2b.7 Beatrice Blanch Listenfelt Birth Date: 28 May 1898

1.3 Peter Nevins Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz) Birth Date: 11 Jun 1832 Birth Place: Somerset County, New Jersey Death Date: 4 Feb 1922 Burial Place: Pennville IN Maple Lawn Cemetery Occupation: Farmer

Spouse: Martha Keziah Bliss

1.4 Catherine Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz) Birth Date: 1838 Birth Place: Warren County Ohio Death Date: 1918 Burial Place: Pennville Jay County IN

Spouse: Aaron Allmon

Marriage Date: 31 May 1855

1.5 Conrad Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz) Birth Date: Mar 1841 Birth Place: IN

Spouse: Delilah Cortright

Children: Susannah

1.5.1 Susannah Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz) Birth Date: About 1846 Death Date: About 1850 Death Place: Blackford County IN

Notes: Died at age four in a bonfire...family was making bricks for the house.


Fear, Della B. 1.2a.9.3 Fear, Earl Ray 1.2a.9.4 Fear, Merle 1.2a.9.2 Fear, Myrtle 1.2a.9.1 Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz), Catherine 1.4 Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz), Conrad 1. Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz), Conrad 1.5 Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz), Daniel 1.2a Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz), Jacob 1.1 Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz), Peter Nevins 1.3 Listenfelt (Liestenfeltz), Susannah 1.5.1 Listenfelt, Beatrice Blanch 1.2b.7 Listenfelt, Clement 1.2a.10 Listenfelt, Edna Marie 1.2b.5 Listenfelt, Elizabeth 1.2a.8 Listenfelt, Jacob 1.2a.1 Listenfelt, John E. 1.2b.4 Listenfelt, Jonathan 1.2a.2 Listenfelt, Lillian Esther 1.2b.6 Listenfelt, Louis 1.2a.5 Listenfelt, Orlando 1.2b.2 Listenfelt, Orville 1.2b.1 Listenfelt, Othel 1.2b.3 Listenfelt, Phoebe Anna 1.2a.3 Listenfelt, Rebecca 1.2a.7 Listenfelt, Rosaline 1.2a.6 Listenfelt, Sarah S 1.2a.4 Listenfelt, Susan 1.2a.9

Link to "My Indiana Harris Roots": patrushka Database

Patricia Jones

Westminster, MD

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