All of the following information has been kindly given to us by Mr. Allan Grady, Kingston, Ontario, a cousin and a fine researcher. In 1980 he published a book entitled "The Nicholas Beehler Family c. 1680 to 1980". We are proud to be related to Mr. Grady and one day we hope to be able to meet him in person.

BEEHLER EMIGRATION TO NORTH AMERICA
The 1850 decade brought an increasing number of Germans across the Atlantic. In 1847, 82,473 Germans entered the United States and by 1854, this figure had swollen to 229, 562. The Baden area of Germany was one of the worst areas affected. The pressure to leave Baden was so heavy that when a society to furnish information and assistance to prospective emigrants was organized in that State in 1849, it received three thousand applications in a few days. Government and private agencies provided funds to help the poor and the undesirable to depart and in the local records, beside the name of many emigrants stands the notation "the cost was paid by the parish". Such financial assistance usually included money for travel and gifts of food and clothing.


Mainz apparently was the principal rendezvous for emigrants from South Germany and Switzerland, whereas those from the north and central Germany the usual route followed the Elbe and the Weser rivers to Hamburg and Bremen. In Mainz they were loaded on to small river vessels and transported down the Rhine and into the Netherlands (Holland) where they boarded larger vessels at either Havre (The Hague), Rotterdam, or Antwerp in Belgium. The Beehler Family origin is German. In the German language the name is "Buhler" with the accent over the "u". The proper English spelling is "Buehler". Spelling variations are quite common when one attempts to anglicize many European names. Such variations as Beiler, Beeler, Beelher, and Beiler can be found in North America.With the exception of one or two families now residing in the Sarnia/Guelph area in Western Ontario, all the Beehlers in Canada are descendants of Nicholas and Amelia Beehler, from the village of Gamshurst, Township of Buhl, State of Baden-Wurttemburg.

THE VILLAGE OF GAMSHURST

*List Of Emigrants From Gamshurst 1854*


Not far from the borders of France and Switzerland, in the south west corner of Germany, there is the village of Gamshurst. The Beehler roots dating back at least three centuries have been traced to this tiny German village. Gamshurst is situated between the Rhine River on the west and the famous Black Forest Mountain range on the east. Sheltered from the cold east winds, many of Germany's magnificent wines are produced in the lower west slopes of the Black Forest, only 8 to 10 kilometers from Gamshurst. The area is also noted for its ancient castles, romantic buildings, and scenic views. The town dates back to 900 A.D. and most of its inhabitants are industrial workers, although there is very little industry in Gamshurst itself. The local population has always been predominately Catholic. Their church is called St. Nikolaus, and its origin dates back to around 1300 A.D. Today's church records date back to the year 1663. Four generations of Buhlers have been traced through these records. The church and most of the village was destroyed during the German-French War of 1674-1678. The construction of the new village and the church was only completed in 1728. The church tower in its present form was built in 1776. On May 6, 1926 lightening struck the tower and the entire church burnt. It was in this building that our early Beehler ancestors had worshipped. The present church is larger than the previous one, however the tower is said to be an exact replica of the original. The graves of our ancestors no longer exist as every 30 years the old graves are destroyed to make way for new ones. A number of Buhler families still reside in and around Gamshurst.

Numbered among the residents of the small village of Gamshurst were Nikolaus Buhler and Amelia Brunner. They were the parents of seven children. It is interesting to note that Amelia's relatives in Canada went by "Prunner" whereas the family surname in Germany is Brunner (pronounced Brooner). Apparently, the "B" is pronounced softly so that you hear a "P". By the year 1854, the people in the Baden area of Germany were experiencing difficulties and needs in the agricultural sector. There was no industry in the village and the families with many children were poor and desperate. The Beehler family was no exception. They began, with the help of the State, to make preparations to leave their homeland. One of Nicholas' father's first cousins had immigrated and settled in Mercer County, Ohio in the year 1830. They spelt their name Buehler and some of the descendants still reside in that state. With the exception of two or three Beehler families now residing in the Sarnia/Guelph area in Western Ontario, all the Beehlers in Canada are descendants of our ancestors, Nicholas and Amelia Beehler.  The church records in Gamshurst confirm that Nicholas' occupation was "Bauer u. Polizeidiener", which means "farmer and community servant". A community servant is one who is employed by the village Mayor. He performs some of the duties of a constable but does not have the power to prosecute. He kept his boss informed of incidents and walked through the village ringing a bell when the Mayor had an announcement to make. Beside Nicholas Beehler's name in the parochial register in Gamshurst there is recorded "Emigrated to America 9th. August 1854. Passage paid by local Gamshurst authorities". Their destination was British North America, to be more exact, the village of Morrisburg in Upper Canada West. About 150 Gamshurst villagers emigrated to America during the famine and revolution between 1847 and 1855. This figure probably represented about 50% of the town population during that period.  The Beehler family probably first set foot on land in Montreal. There, they boarded a small steamer for the last leg of their journey up the St. Lawrence to Morrisburg. Unfortunately there are no immigrant lists in the Canadian Public Archives dated prior to 1868 so there is absolutely no way in which we can confirm the Beehlers' arrival in North America, apart from the fact that we know it was in the fall of 1854. As near as can be determined, Nicholas Beehler and his family, upon arriving in their adopted country, occupied a log house on either the first or second Concession of Williamsburg Township, just west of the Dundas-Stormont boundary. In other words, just north east of the familiar landmark we now know as Upper Canada Village. In fact, many of the old buildings in the area where the Beehlers first settled eventually became the nucleus of Upper Canada Village. On October 28, 1870, Nicholas purchased a 50 acre farm in the Community of Connaught (west of Crysler, Ontario) for the sum of $620.00. At last the Beehlers found their true home. This was to be the only parcel of land that Nicholas would own during his lifetime.  Nicholas Beehler was reputed to be quite blunt and often got right to the point. When someone called at his door he would say "Vhat you vant". If it was to visit, then it was okay. If he doubted the caller's motive he would send that person away promptly and decisively! On the other hand, the couple were said to be very sociable and enjoyed having the grandchildren and their friends travel up to Connaught from Crysler for dancing parties in the kitchen. Candles were placed in opposite corners and a fiddler provided the music. Nicholas sold his farm on July 17, 1895 for $1000.00, when Amelia became ill. She passed away on October 5th of that year. After selling their farm, they are believed to have taken up residence with their son Felix near Crysler. Nicholas survived his wife by four years before passing away on September 26, 1899.  Nicholas' death in September 1899 closed the chapter on a very brave and courageous couple . Endeavouring to secure prosperity for themselves and their children, they challenged incredible odds by adopting a new country. If it were possible for this first Beehler couple to return to life today, we all know that they would take pride in the fact that, down through the generations, their Beehler descendants, within their own community, have always been prosperous and highly respected citizens. Although their tombstones are no longer in evidence, it is believed that Nicholas and his wife Amelia, were interred in the old Catholic cemetery behind the Crysler Catholic Church.

 

home
 
Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind

Site search Web