Jacob P. Yuncker & Anna Margaret Pohl

My great great-grandparents were Jacob and Margaret Yuncker.

Jacob P. Yuncker
Jacob P. Yuncker

Jacob P. Yuncker was born December 23, 1837 in Kirrberg, a small village in the Alsace region of France, near Strasbourg. He was a son of Hubert Yuncker and Barbara Goßé (Goss-SAY). His birth record has the name Jacques Junker. Jacob is the German form of the French Jacques. Jacob's father signed his name as "Hubertt Juncker," with a "c". The family changed the spelling of their name to Yuncker when they emigrated to America. The "Y" is more in keeping with how the name is pronounced in German. Jacob's middle name may have been Peter. His grandfather was Peter Juncker.

Although Kirrberg is now in France, the region has had political turmoil throughout the centuries. At times Germany laid claim to it, and at other times it was under French control. Prior to the French Revolution and Napoleon, the people of Kirrberg probably spoke Alsatian, a dialet of German. The Juncker and Goßé families were likely of German descent.

For reasons unknown, the family decided to emigrate to America. Hubert's first cousin, Christian Yuncker, had previously emigrated to Wooster, Ohio in the 1830s. Hubert and Barbe and their six children arrived at the Port of New York on June 22, 1847 aboard the ship Ambassador. They had departed from Le Havre, France. The family settled in or near the town of Alden in Erie County, New York, near Buffalo. Many families from Alsace settled near Alden.

Jacob married his first wife, Rosa Werner September 6, 1859 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Alden, New York. In the 1860 census Jacob, age 22 and Rosa, age 20 are listed as having been married within the prior year. Tragically Rosa died May 12, 1864 at the age of 23. Her death may have prompted Jacob to move west. By 1865 Jacob had come to Westphalia, a tight-knit German community in Clinton County, Michigan.

Jacob's parents eventually moved to Lancaster, closer to Buffalo, where they appear on the 1870 census. His father died in Erie County and his mother came to Michigan to eventually live with Jacob's sister Louisa Hettler, who lived in Bingham Township, Clinton County, Michigan. Jacob had a brother, George, who served in the New York Infantry in 1862, and who also came to Michigan.

Anna Margaret Pohl
Anna Margaret Pohl

Jacob married his second wife, Margaret Pohl in Westphalia, Michigan on January 9, 1866. Anna Margaret "Maggie" Pohl was born November 21, 1843 in Clinton County, Michigan. She was a daughter of Nicolas Pohl and Anna Catharina Mauren from Müsch, Germany. Her parents immigrated to America in 1840.

Jacob was active politically. He served as Westphalia Township supervisor from 1869 to 1872. On the 1873 plat of Westphalia Township, he owned what was the Nicolas Pohl farm in section 5. He most likely acquired the farm from Maggie's father.

By 1881 the Yunckers, or at least initially Jacob, moved to Beal City in Nottawa Township, Isabella County, Michigan. According to the deed index, Jacob purchased 80 acres of land there in 1881. This was just south of the land owned by his future son-in-law Joseph Voisin.

Jacob purchased his land from Byron A. Ackerman and his wife. The Ackermans purchased it from land speculator John W. Hance in 1877. Apparently Jacob deeded this land to his wife Maggie in 1883 and she later sold it to Caroline "Carry" Elias in 1896.

Jacob served as Nottawa Township highway commissioner in 1882 for two years, school director in 1884 and township supervisor from 1888 to 1892.

In a letter to Jacob's daughter Mary, Joseph Voisin indicates that Jacob was planning a trip to Oregon in April 1884. Joseph had already asked Jacob for his daughter's hand in marriage and now he feared that if Jacob liked Oregon, he would move his family there. Jacob was probably still the Nottawa Township school supervisor at the time. Perhaps he planned to leave after the school year finished. But it is doubtful Jacob made his trip to Oregon.

In 1890 Jacob bought land in section 21 from John Pohl, who was probably Maggie's brother. There the Yunckers built the building that became the Beal City post office. It was located next to the first general store, built by Nicholas Beal, for whom Beal City was named. Jacob and Maggie lived there and operated a cobbler's shop as well. Jacob was a shoemaker, like his father before him. Curiously, many members of other Yuncker branches from Alsace were shoemakers too. Jacob was postmaster starting in 1892 when the office was first established until 1896. Then Maggie took over and she was postmaster until about 1909. The Yunckers had to go two miles by horseback or on foot to Van Decar to get the mail. Later it was brought by stagecoach. The post office closed in 1910 when Rural Free Delivery routes were established.

Jacob and Maggie attended St. Mary's Catholic church when they lived in Westphalia and St. Philomena's when they lived in Beal City. They had a large family. Tragically their sons Joseph, age 17, and Edward, age 5, both died of typhoid fever in October 1888. My great-grandmother Mary Ann Yuncker was their oldest child.

Maggie went on to buy other parcels of land in the township, which presumably she transferred to her children as they came of age. The following table summarizes Yuncker land transactions in Nottawa Township as listed in the deed index:

Year Grantor Grantee Section Description

1872

United States

Ne-be-nay-ge-zhe-go-quay

21

S½ SE¼

1872

United States

Jacob Kay-che-shaw-way

27

E½ of NW¼

1877

Jacob Kay-che-shaw-way

John W. Hance

27

E½ of NW¼

1877

John W. Hance

Byron A. Ackerman

27

E½ of NW¼

1881

Byron A. Ackerman & wife

Jacob P. Yuncker

27

E½ of NW¼

1883

Jacob P. Yuncker

Margaret Yuncker

27

--

1884

Jacob P. Yuncker  & wife

Hubert Ellias

--

¼ acre

1890

John Pohl

Jacob P. Yuncker

21

SE¼ of SE¼

1894

William Brown, et. al.

Margaret Yuncker

27

NE¼ NW¼

1896

Margaret Yuncker

Caroline Elias

27

E½ of NW¼

1896

Caroline Elias

Margaret Yuncker

35

NW¼ of SW¼

1897

Ke-o-eum-o-quay

Maggie Yuncker

8

NE¼ of SE¼

1897

Jackson, Moses et. al.

Maggie Yuncker

8

NE¼ of SE¼

1897

Isaac Jackson & wife

Maggie Yuncker

8

NE¼ of SE¼

Jacob's pioneer spirit is evident. At the age of 9, he immigrated to New York with his family. As a young adult he came west to the wilds of Michigan were he served as Westphalia township supervisor. Several years later he moved to Nottawa Township, as that area was being settled. He was township supervisor there as well. He planned a journey to Oregon, but finally settled in Beal City. Maggie was also industrious, having conducted several land transactions and having served as postmaster.

Jacob died March 18, 1905 of a stroke. Later after his death, Maggie may have lived with her daughter Laura, who she mentions in closing a post card to her grandson Ernest. Maggie's occupation is listed as a telephone operator in the 1920 census. She died May 1, 1921 of heart failure. They are buried in St. Joseph the Worker cemetery (formerly St. Philomenia) in Beal City, Michigan.

-- Mike Voisin

Credits

  • Weber, Ben, Beal City Michigan Area Centennial 1875-1975. Photos of Jacob & Margaret from page 20.
  • Portrait and Biographical Album, Isabella County, Mich. Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1884, page 431.
  • Register of Deeds, Isabella County Michigan Deed Index, 1838-1927. LDS microfilm #1003889 and #1003890.
  • St. John the Baptist Parish Records, Alden, New York. LDS microfilm #1292868.

Contact: Mike Voisin

Revised: November 16, 2010
Copyright © 2000-2010 Mike Voisin. All rights reserved.