Johannes was born July 29 and baptized July 30, 1807 in the community of Reinheim, Kingdom of Bavaria (Bayern). He was the fifth and last child in the family of Nikolaus and Anna Maria (Wilbert) Feuerstein. Johannes was the second child of this family to be named "Johannes". The first child named "Johannes Valentine" had died at age two years. Johannes II was born two and a half years later. The occupation of Johannes' parent was "Farming" and that became Johannes life time occupation.
Johannes was baptized a member of the Roman Catholic religion and became a life member of this religion as were his parents, grandparents and great grandparents before him. (Note: Birth-Baptismal records from the Reinheim community indicate a child was baptized the day of or the day following its birth.)
When Johannes was born, Reinheim was part of the "Confederation of the Rhine", a French (Napoleon) Dependency. After Napoleon's demise in 1815, the Kingdom of Bavaria became part of a German Confederation, loosely aligned with Austria until well after the family emigrated to America. During this period in history there was much jockeying for domination by Austria, Prussia, and other kingdoms. What effect his had on Johannes of the family is not known. Reinheim is no longer part of Bavaria but is presently located in the German province of Saarland, southwest of the German city of Saarbruken.
Johannes mother, Anna Maria, died in her late thirties on 29 June 1818. It is probable he received some formal schooling and military service but there is no record of either.
Johannes married Apollonia Kempf on 13 Jan 1835 at the Roman Catholic Church in Reinheim.
Apollonia Kempf was born on 25 Jan 1816 in the community of Reinheim. Her parents were Paul and Franziska (Kuhn) Kempf. She was baptized in the Roman Catholic church on the day she was born. Apollonia was the second child in a family of eight. Two of Apollonia's younger siblings were named Elisabeth. The first died at age three weeks. The second died at birth and her mother, Franziska, died five days later on 07 April 1830 at age 31. Her father, Paul Kempf, died in 1833 at age 46.
At the time of her marriage to Johannes Feuerstein, Apollonia would have been 12 days shy of her 19th birthday. The couple's first child, Apollonia (Adeline), was born two years later in 1837. Their second child, Anna Maria, was born 28 Sep 1838 and died 15 May 1841. Two more children, Jacob (2 Feb 1840) and Kaspar (15 Sep 1841), were also born in Reinheim.
Johannes' father, Nicholas Feuerstein, died on 04 Dec 1841 at age 42 years.
The family of five emigrated from Bavaria to the United States in 1842. They brought all of their possessions contained in three trunks. One descendant many years later recalled seeing a table which they brought from Bavaria. Two of Apollonia's brothers, Peter and Johann Georg (John) Kempf, ages 24 and 19 years respectively, made the journey with them. The date they left Havre, France, is unknown, but the ship was the Rowland, and the port of arrival was New York. They were processed at Castle Garden at the far tip of Manhattan Island on May 23, 1842. (Ellis Island was not opened until 1892.) The recorded destination of the Feuerstein party was Indiana.
Note: In 1842, 104,000 emigrants entered the U.S., approximately 40,000 of German descent. Many destitute German families of this era had their passage paid by the local community to save increasing costs to local government. In the early 1840s many Emigrant Societies (Auswanderungsverein) were established to provide advice and money in aiding families to move to the United States. It is not known if one of these organizations assisted the Feuersteins and Kempfs, but it would be likely.
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