born 1840, Unterseen, Switzerland
son of Jakob
was born Dec 10, 1840, Unterseen, Switzerland; christened Dec. 20. At
right is the Unterseen church where he probably was baptized.
(pictured at left and
[Family stories said that he was 16 years old when he joined the
army in 1861 during the Civil War--which would make his birth date in
1844. His tombstone says 1844. He put on his pension application papers,
filled out in 1913, that he was born Dec. 18, 1841, but other military
records also show his birthdate as 1842 & 1843, so he seemed unable
to remember his birth year. But his birth record was finally found in Unterseen,
Switzerland -- Dec 10, 1840.]
Below is a copy of the birth record for John VonAllmen, Unterseen
parish, Switzerland. All this family’s records were at the “Evangelish-Reformierte
Kirche” (Evangelical Reform Church) in Unterseen. (Except that Jakob Sr’s
marriage record was at the Gsteig church.) All Swiss records were kept
in the parish (church) in the village where the family held their citizenship,
even if they lived in another village. Thus, “von hier” means the village
where their citizenship was, and “in hier” or “zu hier” is where they resided.
At the top of the page for this record is “1840.”
To the right of the record reads: “Johannes nat (born) Dec 10” -
“22” is the entry number in the registry.
It says in German:
“Eltern: (parents) Jakob vonAllmen, Johannes S. (son), Schuhmacher
(shoemaker) inhier (lives in Unterseen)
Margarita vonAllmen, Jakobs sel (deceased) T. (daughter) von hier
(from another village) cop (married) Gsteig 1832, Jul 13
- Johannes vonAllmen, das Kinder Grossvater (child’s grandfather),
an der (on the) Spielmatte (name of the Alpine meadow in Unterseen where
- Heinrich Michel, von hier, im Dorf (in the village)
- Barbara vonAllmen geb (born) Steiner, das Vaters Schwaegerin (father’s
sister-in-law/wife of Christian), im Dorf
In 1850 when he was 9 years old, he emigrated from Switzerland
with his parents, settling in Richland County, Illinois. In 1847,
previous to their immigration, the family lived through a short (1 month)
religious civil war in Switzerland. Perhaps they emigrated to escape the
civil unrest, more likely to escape the poverty in Switzerland. However,
10 years after moving to America, John & his brother, Jacob, were involved
in another civil war.
1860 IL census - Richland Co, Olney twp, p 44:
VanAlman, Jac - 51, b Switz, farmer, 1200/300
. . . . Marg't - 54, b Sw
. . . . Jac - 24, b Sw, laborer
. . . . Eliz't - 19, b Sw
. . . . Jno - 18, b Sw
. . . . Susan - 16, b Sw
. . . . Mary - 13, b Sw
John joined the Union Army Dec. 1, 1861 (right before his 21st birthday)
and served in Company I, 63rd Illinois Infantry. His military records
describe him as 5'7", dark complexion, brown (or hazel) eyes, and black
hair. He was discharged Dec. 31, 1863 in Huntsville, AL, then the next day,
Jan. 1, 1864, he reenlisted as a veteran. During the War he was in
Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and in Nov-Dec, 1864, his company
was with Gen. Sherman in his famous "March to the Sea" to Savannah, Georgia
through Maryland, Virginia, North & South Carolina. At the end
of the War his group passed in review in Washington, D.C. in May, 1865.
He was discharged July 13, 1865 in Louisville, Kentucky.
John became acquainted with Mary Elizabeth Heral before the
War. On Nov. 1, 1866 in Olney, Richland Co., IL they were married by
Jacob Berry, Justice of the Peace. See also Heral family.
In 1870 they should be in Richland Co, IL, but I haven't been able
to find them there yet.
Here were the VonAllmen families in Richland Co, IL in 1870:
Olney twp - none,
Olney wards 1 & 3 - none
Olney ward 2 - p605: J.C. Vonalmen
German twp, PO Stringtown, p 527: Conrad, Peter, Christ
Preston twp, PO Dundas - p639: William & John VonAlmen (not the
right John), p 642: Christ & Fred Vonalmen
[This John in Preston twp. was born 1818 Switz, wife Annie, b 1838
Switz; ch: Mary A.-1862, Elizabeth-1863, Susan-1865]
John & Mary VonAllmen made their home first in Richland County,
IL where their first 5 children (Edward, Wesley, Mary Ellen, Alfred &
Millie) were born. In 1874 they buried 21-month-old Mary Ellen in
In 1878, they moved to about 10 miles NE to Oblong, Crawford Co.,
IL [NE of Richland Co], where their remaining 5 children were born. The
next year they buried 9-year-old Wesley.
1880 Martin, Crawford Co, IL:
Venalman, John - 34 (1846 Switz, par b Switz) - farming
. . . . Mary E. - 31 (1849 IL, par b OH)
. . . . Edward - 12 (1868 IL, par b Switz/IL)
. . . . Riley - 4 (1876 IL)
. . . . Milley - 3 (1877 IL)
In 1884, 5-month-old David died. They lived in Oblong for 18 years.
John was a small man in stature but fearless. As one story
goes, one of the houses he bought in Illinois was supposedly haunted.
One night after the family had moved in someone tried to scare them, but
John was not to be run off. He jumped up and ran around the house
in his underwear with a shotgun.
In 1896 John traded his 80 acres in Crawford Co., IL for 200 acres
in Oregon Co., Missouri. He wanted more land so he could give each
of his sons a farm when they were grown, but having never seen the land
in southern Missouri, he didnÙt realize it was not nearly the quality
of farmland that he had owned in Illinois. Leavi
ng their oldest son Edward, who was married,
behind, they moved to Oregon Co., MO. in 1896 and into a house on their
new property which, unknown to them, had been occupied by a family with typhoid
fever. Several of their children contracted the disease and Alfred
died from it soon after their arrival.
1900 MO - Oregon Co, Highland twp, p 5b, June 6:
Vonalmen, John (head) - b Dec. 1844, age 55, m 34 yrs, b Switz, par
. . . . . Elizabeth (wife) - b Oct 1846, age 53, 10 ch 5 liv, b IL,
par b OH
. . . . . Elmer F (son) - b Oct 1889, age 19, b IL
. . . . . Charley O (son) - b July 1885, age 14, b IL
. . . . . Harlin A. (son) - b Mar 1888, age 12, b IL
. . . . . Lilla E. (daug) - b July 1891, age 8, b IL
In about 1903 when Elmer married he bought (or was given) about 40
acres of John & Mary's farm. In 1909 they gave the rest
of their farm to their son Harlin who was getting married, and they moved
into West Plains.
In the 1911-12 West Plains City Directory, they are listed as:
VanAlman, J., retired farmer, 515 Worchester Av.
VanAlman, Mrs. Mary Herl, 515 Worcester Av.
John died June 1, 1913. Right before he died he called again
and again to his son Elmer, who was not a Christian at the time, "Elmer,
come quick; the Lord's coming! Do you see him?"
He also told Elmer, "You take your mother and keep her," so
Mary lived with Elmer & Nora about 3 years before she died Aug. 10,
1917. Mary may have suffered from Altzheimer's before she died. John
& Mary were buried at the Jolliff Cemetery, across the road from their
Jacob VonAllmen, 1867-98; m Marietta Dickey
4b) Wesley O. VonAllmen, 1870-79
4c) Mary Ellen VonAllmen, 1872-74
4d) Alfred Riley VonAllmen, 1876-96
VonAllmen, 1879-1969; m George Spencer
Franklin VonAllmen, 1880-1967; m Nora Bell Jolliff
4g) David A. VonAllmen, 1883-84
Orey VonAllmen, 1885-1968; m Ollie May Sparks
Albert VonAllmen, 1888-1972; m Ethel Judd
Rosetta VonAllmen, 1891-1920; m Elijah Jolliff
Edward Jacob VonAllmen and his wife and children, Ansel, John
Earl & Goldie.
Millie VonAllmen Spencer (with Mable)
Elmer and Nora VonAllmen and family
Charlie & Ollie
Harlin & Ethel VonAllmen, 1956
Lillie VonAllmen Jolliff
Below is Michl School in Oblong, IL with Elmer, Harlin & Charley.
Go to the link to see a better picture.
This picture was taken about 1896, probably right before John VonAllmen
and family moved from Crawford Co, IL to Oregon Co, MO. They were
probably visiting relatives in Richland Co. for the last time.
Elmer VonAllmen is the young man sitting in the front. He's about
The woman beside him looks like his aunt, Sarah Emma Heral Hinderliter
(see below left). She would have been 38 years old.
The man on the back left is probably Emma's husband Wm. Hinderliter.
I can't figure out who the woman behind Emma is. She looks a little bit
like John VonAllmen's sister, Mary Steward (see picture on right)
Maybe the couple behind Elmer is Wes Heral and his wife Nannie.
Mary's parents, David & Mary Ann Heral, and her brother Will &
Rosina Heral had moved to Colorado around 1890, where David died in 1894.
Elmer's niece, Fay, says that Elmer always wore a suit when he dated
Just to compare pictures, here are Elmer's Heral aunts & uncles:
Sarah Emma Hinderliter (below left). Next is his aunt Martha Ransom, then
Uncle Wes Heral, then Uncle Will Heral.