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What we know about Joseph Kellenbarger, aka Stormer or Von Stormer.

Here is a summary of the story that has come down to, and is told by, a variety of Kellenbarger and Schmelzer family members:

At some point when the boys were young, someone came to town and "uncovered" Joseph Kellenbarger's past: That he was married and had children in Germany. Some say that his wife from Germany showed up, and others said it was an official of some sort, or a Priest.  Some say that the wife showed up with either the official or the Priest. Once this was revealed, Joseph took off (probably 1871 or 1872).  Whether voluntarily or at Barbara's insistence we do not know. The family story is that it was revealed that Joseph's real last name was Stormer or Von Stormer.  One of the descendants recalls that Joseph came over on a ship called the Silver Moon - however to date no record of a ship called the Silver Moon has been found.  In addition, it has yet to be found where he came from before he came to Fairfield Co., OH - and where he went when he left. Another mystery is why he chose the name Kellenbarger to assume.  Some guess that it may have been his mother's maiden name.

Here is a timeline of what we know based on available records:

1828-1830: According to the 1860 and 1870 Censuses, he was born in Germany.

24 Jun 1858: Two weddings - from the register at St. Mary's, Lancaster and assumed to be from Sacred Heart Church:
Joseph Otto Schmelzer married Catherine Runzer and Joseph Kaellenberger married Barbara Smelzer [the widow of Jordan Schmelzer, who died about 1855]. This is the first record confirming him here. Where did he come from?

9 Jul 1860: From the US Census:
Joseph Kelebargar, age 32, and wife Barbary, age 31, live in Hocking County, Marion Twp. (Hocking, Marion abuts Fairfield Rush Creek to the south). Both were born in Germany. Joseph is a Farmer. Real estate value $1000, Personal estate value $200. Also in the home are Anthony, age 12, William, 10 and Olfons, 7; all three shown as ditto'd last name even though they are sons of Barbara and the late Jordan Schmelzer. Barbara was born 4 Nov 1827 so she would have actually been 32.

Nov 1861: son George J. Kellenbarger born.

2 Apr 1862: Four baptisms - from the register at St. Mary's, Lancaster - assumed to be from Sacred Heart Church.
Francis Xavier, born Jan 10, of Leopold and Susan Schmelzer, spons. Blasius & Walburga Schmelzer.
Joseph, born Mar 19, of George & Mary Ann Sherr, spons. Joseph Kellenbarger & Margaret Meyers.
Caroline, born Feb 24, of John & Gertrude Smelzer, spons. Adam & Catherine Bach. [John is Barbara Schorr's first husband's brother, who shot and killed her 27 Apr 1873].
Mary Ellen, born Mar 29, of Joseph & Magdalena Gerhart, spons. Otto & Catherine Schmelzer.

18 Nov 1863: son Joseph Kellenbarger born.

1868: son August (Gus) Kellenbarger born.

27 Jul 1870: From the US Census.
Joseph Killberger, age 40, and Barbara, age 42 live in Fairfield County, Rush Creek Twp. Joseph is now a general laborer. Real estate value $300, personal estate value $100. Place of birth for both looks like "Fenner". Also in the home is George, Joseph, age 6 and August, age 2.

Between 27 Jul 1870 and 30 Apr 1873: At the time of Barbara Schorr-Schmelzer-Kellenbarger's death, Joseph was gone...so sometime between the enumeration date of the 1870 census and the date of Barbara's death, the uncovering of Joseph Kellenbarger's "past life" occurred and he left the area...where did he go? The family stories are that he "went west". A close look at local newspapers of the area between these dates might reveal more details.

1880 Census:
Nothing close searching by Stormer or Kellenbarger Soundex.

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