Allison-Antrim Museum

Maria Ziegler Part 1 of 2


What are the odds of a mother dying on March 17, and 17 years later, her daughter at the age of 17, dies on March 17?


Maria (with a long i) Ayres Fatzinger Ziegler, wife of George W. Ziegler, died on March 17, 1847, less than a month after giving birth to their only daughter Maria Elizabeth Ziegler, on February 20, 1847. She was 29 years old. Seventeen years later, through a terrible twist of cruel fate, the Angel of Death again visited the Ziegler family, when Maria Elizabeth died, at the age of 17, on March 17, 1864. March 17, 2014 is the 150th anniversary of Maria Elizabeth’s death.


George W. Ziegler (born 4.30.1810) came to Greencastle from Leitersburg, MD in 1833. He immediately became a partner with Mr. Stonebraker, a merchant in town, by buying out the interest of John G. Miller. By 1838, Ziegler was the sole owner of the business and through the succeeding decades of the century, he became one of the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest, men in Greencastle and Franklin County. He married Maria Ayres Fatzinger (born 8.2-.1817; died 3.17.1847) on March 22, 1842. They had three children: George Frederick Ziegler I (born 2.2.1843; died 4.25.1926); Theodore Frelinghuysen Ziegler (born 12.16.1845; died 5.9.1849); and Maria Elizabeth Ziegler (2.20.1847; died 3.17.1864).


Maria E. Ziegler was the only daughter and third child of George W. Ziegler and his wife Maria Fatzinger Ziegler. After George’s wife passed away, his sister-in-law, Louisa Catherine “Cassie” Fatzinger, moved into the Ziegler household to care for the children. She was affectionately called Aunt Cassie. Maria’s older brothers were George Frederick “Fred” Ziegler I and Theodore. Theodore died in 1849, at the age of three and a half, when Maria was only two. Each of the children lovingly called their father “Papa.” The following is a portion of a letter, which George W. wrote to his sister-in-law, Cassie, from Philadelphia on September 14, 1848, eight months before Thesy’s death. In his salutation George refers to Cassie as his “sister,” a term of endearment. In it he writes very poetically about the loss of his great love. Writing eloquently, the love George felt for his three young children is, also, very evident.


“There is not an hour that I do not think about you all_ My sweet, little family, is daily increasing in interest to me and the thought of remaining from them so long makes me feel lonely and unhappy_ but I am much consoled by the reflection, that they are well cared for and in the hands of those, who are deeply interested in their welfare and happiness. Dear little children, I know they miss me, and will gladly welcome my return_ my heart swells and thrills with emotions of joy and pleasure, at the thought of soon meeting them again. Tell my sweet and charming, little Maria_ (Oh what hallowed and sacred recollections, cluster and turn around, this dear and honored name - I have never written it, without a tear since the memorable 17th of March, 1847 - and its mention, will continue to swell and fill my soul with sorrow until the last pulsation of my heart.) that I will buy her a nice little_ hood, a pair of shoes, and gloves_ Tell my dear boys, Freddy and Thesy - that - if they are obedient to you, that I will bring them new caps and boots, and some other pretty things when I come home_ I am very anxious to hear from home and hope you will not delay writing to me longer than Monday_ Kiss my children for me and tell them I love them with all my heart, give my love to sister Eliza and to Anna and Lavina _ and David and Jacob _ and to all my friends_ not forgetting to reserve a share for yourself That God may protect and preserve you all is the wish and prayer of Yr. Friend and Brother George W. Ziegler”


What did a little girl do during the day with her time? What did she wear? What were her interests? How was a little girl from a privileged family of the era raised and how did she spend her days as she grew into young womanhood? From the booklet, “The After-Life, Mourning Rituals and the Mid-Victorians,” by Karen Rae Mehaffey, “Beyond being a visual display, that could be morbidly interpreted as the celebration of death, for the Victorians, it was a celebration of the love they shared with one another, and a celebration of the spirit world they continually sought.”


Maria’s story is woven from items that belonged to her, which were lovingly kept, after her death, by her father, in a little, red Moroccan leather trunk. The inventory of items in the little red trunk included: a pair of pierced earrings, two tortoise shell hair combs, one pair of silk stockings, one pair of undersleeves, one pair white kid leather gloves, one single brown kid leather glove, one pink, machine-embroidered silk collar, one lace overlay collar, one organdy collar with medium Moroccan red machine embroidery and lace edging, two beaded half collars, two chemisettes (one fluted (accordion pleated) collar and one with machine embroidery and lace), 1 ½ yards of one-inch wide lace edging, fancy German 5 ½” silver scissors, two letter openers (one silver and one Mother of Pearl), three calling card boxes with cards (two Mother of Pearl, one tortoise shell), one leather change purse with store tokens, one leather sewing kit with thimble, large needle, small needles, spool of thread, one blue needle case, one ivory punch, one cross stitched book mark on perforated paper, one string of green beads, one smelling salts bottle, one well-used quill pen, one pen knife, one daguerreotype of George W. Ziegler, and finally one letter written by George Frederick Ziegler I.


The transcription of the letter, in the red trunk, written by Maria’s brother G. Fred Ziegler I (Civil War veteran) reads: “To my dear Son Fred, or to his Successor: I regard the little red trunk, a gift from Father to my little sister Maria, as the most precious memento I am leaving behind me as my Inheritor, keep it sacred and do not permit its contents to be used, or worn, or scattered. For my sake, & for the sake of my Mother and for the sake of Sister, and that of my beloved Aunt Cassie Fatzinger, and for my Father’s sake I make this request, which I hope and pray will be both respected and granted. From 1847 to 1925 is a long, long time. Every person with an interest in this trunk I have loved always as my own soul. Geo. Fredk Ziegler, Sr. April 9th, 1925”


The articles of clothing, in the trunk, were worn by Maria as she grew into young womanhood. The two chemisettes would have given a more demure look to lower cut necklines. Calling cards of two men were found in one of the calling card boxes, indicating she may have received them at her home, under supervision of Aunt Cassie, her Papa, or Fred. Every young girl was taught how to sew. Maria’s sewing kit was used and if it wasn’t a significant part of her weekly life, her father would not have kept it. A “Friendship” book mark, which she cross-stitched on perforated paper, demonstrates her sewing talent. What little girl throughout the centuries has not liked beads? A string of partially strung green barrel-shaped beads was found in a box, separate from the red trunk, along with other matching beads.


Maria was likely educated in a girl’s school in Greencastle. The level of her education is evident in her letters. Besides reading, writing, and sewing skills, young ladies were also taught to draw and appreciate the fine arts. In addition to the items in the red trunk, drawings done by Maria, a talented young artist, were also saved in another box. She evidently liked animals as she held a rabbit when her portrait was painted with her brothers and a cat when she was photographed, as a teenager, in a daguerreotype. The Ziegler’s were well-to-do and the average family in Greencastle, most likely, did not have the money to hire a portrait painter or to have their photograph taken. There are several daguerreotypes of Maria that were lovingly saved – two from early childhood, one with her brothers and one by herself, and one where Maria appears to have been in her teens. The latter is likely one of the last photographs taken of her. In it, Maria is dressed in the style of clothing, which was worn by ladies during the Civil War.


In the small leather change purse are Civil War tokens. Because U.S. coins were hoarded during the Civil War, which caused a shortage of money for commerce, merchants contracted with private mints to make the tokens. Even though tokens contained less than one-fourth of a cent’s worth of copper, they were used for a limited time as one cent pieces. Civil War tokens were mainly manufactured during 1863. Manufacturing, which was likely illegal from the beginning, ceased on April 22, 1864 when the tokens were outlawed by Congress. There were two kinds of tokens – patriotic and store “cards.” Patriotic tokens, such as one in Maria’s purse, were usually minted with a patriotic slogan like, “The flag of our Union. If anyone attempts to tear it down, shoot him on the spot.” An image of the flag appears on one side of the token. Store cards such as the one for B.W. Titus, E. State St., Trenton, N.J. was an advertisement for his dry goods, oil cloths, carpets, etc. It could only be used in Titus’ store as legal money in exchange for goods. Other change purses were found in a small empty box of Whitman’s sugar plum candies, along with another penknife. One of the purses is faced, front and back, with Mother of Pearl. On the front, inscribed in French, is the word for money.


Maria Elizabeth grew into young womanhood about the time the Civil War began. Six and a half months after the beginning of the Civil War, George Ziegler had to make an extended trip to Philadelphia, in November 1861. During that time, he wrote the following letter to Maria, the apple of her father’s eye.


“Page 1: Philadelphia Nov 1st/61 My Dear & beloved Daughter

When I arose this morning I had not, the most distant idea, that, I would spend part of

the evening, in writing to you, to give you the unwelcome news, that I can not reach, Home by, the morrow. But must, now, remain until Monday morning, az [sic] I do not travel on Sunday. You will now have to wait until Monday afternoon, for a sight of your absent Papa. I had not

the least idea that I would be away so long when I gave you good-bye I am sorry for the long delay and am quite az [Sic] anxious to get home as, you are. To greet my arrival.

Page 2: I bought your dress this morning & also one for your Aunt Cassie, I do not know wether [sic] it will suit your taste but I am sure I took pains enough in making a selection. I also bought you a nice pair of school gloves & a very pretty pair of Zephyr winter wristlets.

Please tell your brother, that I bought 2 Rifles & a double barreled shot gun to day out of which he can have his choice. I also bought him a blue cloth cap (somewhat military in style) and two pairs of woolen drawers, and I also bought the boots he desired me to buy for you. You can also tell him & your aunt Cassie, az [Sic] they are both great friends of Henry Ward Beechor, that I had the extreme pleasure of listening to him for one & three fourth hours last

Page 3: in a lecture upon war. there were over three thousand persons present and I do not think a single being of his vast auditing enjoyed himself more or was more highly pleased and gratified, than your papa. I could have listened to him with pleasure until midnight. I most certainly was in luck to be here on the occasion. Gov. Curtin was present (and seated by his side,) (and so were many other distinguished persons) he seemed to enjoy it very much, and I think every word that, was uttered met his approval. I am sure it did mine.

Once more good bye. my love to you and all, and that a kind and gracious Providence, may continue to bless and protect you is as ever, the prayer of, Your devoted Father”


To be continued…


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