Children of Johann Michael Zwiebel and Magdalena Schneeberger

Submitted by Gary Carlsen -

Magdalena Lana Zwiebel
George William Zwiebel
Philip Zwiebel
Sophia Zwiebel
Michael Zwiebel
Louis Arthur Zwiebel


Magdalena Lana Zwiebel was the first of six children born to Johann Michael Zwiebel and Magdalena Schneeberger in Rothbach, France. Born in 1830, she came with the family on the voyage to America, and at age 21, she married Louis George Koch in Auglaize County Ohio on the 18th of December 1851.

It is uncertain what became of Louis or exactly how many children the couple had. St. Marks Chuch records show a Ludwig Koch dying in 1859, and Auglaize County birth records only show one child born to the couple in that same year. Magdalena appears in the 1860 U. S. Census as head of household living in Pusheta Township, Ohio, and working as a farm governess. She apparently owned property in Pusheta, as her real estate value at the time of the census was $3000.00 and her personal property was valued at $400.00. This same census shows her with four children, Lewis age 7, George age 5, Sophia age 4, and Magdalena age 1, all born in Ohio and all having Koch as their surname.

In 1861, Magdalena married George Mann, and the 1870 U. S. Census shows George born in Baden, Germany, and the family living in Pushetta Township. George was listed as a farmer and Magdalena as a housekeeper. It is uncertain whether they owned property, as no value was given for real estate, but their personal property was valued at $795.00. The census shows four children with the last name of Mann living with the parents, ranging in age from 8 years to 6 months and all born in Ohio. Also enumerated with George and Magdalena are George Koch, age 16, and Magdalena Koch, age 11. These two children appear to be from Magdalena's marriage to Louis Koch.


The first of four sons, George William Zwiebel was born on the 13th of September 1832 in Rothbach to Johann Michael and Magdalena. George grew to manhood living with the family in Auglaize County until 1854 when he married Sophia Elsass from the same area. Six months after the birth of their first son, Michael, in April of 1856, the couple left Ohio and headed for a new frontier in Nebraska.

Traveling by train to St. Louis and then up the Missouri River by steamboat, the couple landed in a small trading post known as Bellevue. George located a piece of land about eight miles southeast of Papillion, Nebraska in Sarpy County, and here the family set up housekeeping. He soon erected a stone house for the family and set to work farming.

In the next six years, three more sons, George in 1857, Philip in 1860, and John in 1863, were born at the farmstead. Following George's death in 1878, his four sons continued working the farm until 1884, when it was divided between them. Sophia lived with her son Philip in the stone house until 1890, when she moved into Papilion. She remained there until her age forced her to return to the old homestead where she died on the19th of February 1921 at the age of 86 years.


Born in Rothbach in 1836, Philip came with the family to their home in Ohio where he grew to manhood. At age 22, he would leave home for the new frontier in Nebraska, staying only six months before returning to Ohio, where he would marry Anna Barbara Elsass. who was born in Auglaize County in 1841. In April of 1858, following their marriage, the couple would return to Nebraska, settling southeast of Papillion where they lived until 1892.

After arriving in Nebraska, the couple would have four children, the first, a son George, being born in 1859 in Sarpy County. He would be followed by another son and two daughters in the next six years. Records are unclear, but show the couple adopted three more children, following the birth of their last daughter. Two of the children, Caroline and Benjamin, were born in New York, and the third, Tilda, was born in Nebraska.

Between 1858 and 1892, Philip would amass several acres of land in Sarpy County, purchasing his first 160 acres for $150.00. He soon followed with the purchase of another 160 acres in sections 19 and 20 in the LaPlatte precinct. This was followed by the addition of 371 acres from J. F. Payne, and the tolal farm consisted of over 1000 acres at one time. Sarpy County Court records show Philip and Anna separated in 1892, and the land was divided between the both of them. Philip does not appear in the 1900 or 1910 Census for Sarpy County, but does reappear living with his daughter, Caroline, in 1920 in Omaha. Anna Barbara apparently remained in Papillion, as she appears in the 1900 census with two daughters, and in 1910 with her oldest daughter.

Philip and Anna Barbara would become just two of the pioneers who would help develop the new frontier and see it grow from immense prairies to the towns and cities it is today. Philip died in 1921 on the 9th of January in Omaha, and exactly three years later on the same day in 1924, Anna passed away at the home of her son, Frank, in Waco, Nebraska.


Born in France in 1838, Sophia was the fouth of the six children to leave the country with her parents and make the journey to the new world. Growing up in Ohio, she married Christopher Klopfenstein in 1858, and the couple settled in Pusheta, Ohio.

Records regarding Sophia's family are somewhat confused, and it is not certain exactly how many children she had. The 1860 U.S. Census shows her and Christopher Klopfenstein farming in Pusheta Ohio, he at age 39, and her at age 22. Enumerated with the couple are two children, Sarah Klopfenstein, age 11, and Christian H. Klopfenstein, age 9 months. Auglaize County records show no birth for Christian or Sarah, and the first child to appear in these same records is John Adam, born to Christopher Klopfenstein and Sophia Zwiebel in 1860.

The 1870 U.S. Census for Pusheta Township lists a Christopher and Sophia Klopfenstein still farming on real estate valued at $2000.00, having personal property valued at $635.00, and both born in France. Listed with the couple are 5 children ranging in age from 10 years to 4 years, and a Magdalena Swivel, age 60, born in France and working as a domestic servant. With the exception of the son Christian, now 10, the other four children listed match both Auglaize County and St Marks Church records for children born to the couple. The census does not show Maria Elizabeth, who was born in 1866, and since a record of her death has not yet been located, she may have died prior to the census being taken.


Michael was the first child born to Johann Michael and Magdalena after their arrival in Ohio. Auglaize Country birth records show he arrived on the 24th of June 1848 in Clay Township, and was christened at St. Marks Lutheran Church in July of that same year. Following his father's death in 1852, he lived with his mother until his marriage to Sophia Scherer in 1868.

By 1870, the U. S. Census shows Michael had moved to Montra, Jackson Township, in Shelby County with his wife and only son, Lewis, age one. At age 23, his occupation was dry goods merchant, and his personal estate was valued at $2300.00. The same census shows he and his wife Sophia, age 20 and a housewife, were both born in Ohio. By the 1880 Census, Michael Zwiebel had moved to Dinsmore Township in Shelby County and was working as a saloon keeper. Michael and Sophia had added four daughters and another son to the family, bringing the number of children to six.

Sophia would have three more children, the last one born in 1893, bringing the total number to nine. By the 1900 Census, Michael and Sophia had moved back to Jackson Center, where they owned their own home on Pike Street. Michael was still working as a saloon keeper, and the couple had been married 32 years. Michael was well known in the area and, apparently, was quite in involved in real estate dealings. Shelby County land records show fifteen land transfers between Michael and other members of the community prior to 1900.

William Ambos, one of Michael's grandsons, relates how in later years Michael sold Raleigh products, driving throughout the area with his team and wagon. Sophia died in 1912, and it is uncertain when Michael retired, but when he did he moved to Ralston, Nebraska where he lived with his daughter, Anna Ambos. Shortly before his death in 1932, he moved back to Ohio, where he lived with his daughter, Emma Adelaide, near Dayton. It was here, on the 2nd of June, that he passed away during the night. In his obituary. it was noted that Michael was a progressive citizen and one who took a keen interest in civic matters. He was a good neighbor and friend, generous to a fault, and never refused help to an unfortunate friend.

According to arrangements he had made with undertaker Charles Snyder at Jackson Center some years past, no matter where he died Mr. Snyder was to bring his body back to Jackson Center for burial. His service was held the following Tuesday morning at the Montra Lutheran Church, and his body laid to rest in the family plot in the Montra Cemetery.


Louis Arthur Zwiebel was born on 7 September 1851 in Montra, Shelby County, Ohio, and was the last of eight children born to Michael Zwiebel and Magdalena Schneeberger. With the loss of his father in 1852, he was raised with his brother Michael by their mother, who never remarried. At age twenty-three, he married Christina Heintz, the daughter of a local merchant and farmer, George Heintz, on 6 April 1875.

Louis and Christina began their family with the birth of their first child, Martha, on the 16th of June, 1876, in Montra. In the next thirteen years, seven more children would be born to the couple, two dying in infancy.

In 1891, Louis decided it was time to leave Ohio and follow his two brothers, George and Philip, who had earlier settled on the plains of Nebraska. Along with his wife, Christina, and their six remaining children, the family moved to Papillion, in Sarpy County, Nebraska, where his brothers lived.

Staying in Papillion only one year, in March of 1892 he moved the family to the Zwiebel farm south of Valley near Waterloo, Nebraska. Soon to become known as 'The Old Home Place' to all in the family, it was here he started farming and continued raising his children, the last of whom was born in 1894. Known as an excellent carpenter and master barn builder, he built the family home and all of the outbuildings on the farm. The house, though remodeled, still stands today in its original location.

Developing kidney trouble in 1922, Louis died the 15th July at the age of seventy years. He was buried in the family plot at Prospect Hill Cemetery outside Elkhorn, Nebraska. Louis was remembered by all as a man of strong convictions and high ideals. Eight years later, at age seventy three, Christina joined him, dying of bronchial pneumonia on 5 December 1930.

For more information on the descendants of Johann Michael Zwiebel and Magdalena Schneeberger, contact Gary Carlsen -
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