My great-great-grandmother, Maria Elizabeth Rusch, was born on Christmas 1859 in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Her parents were J. A. and Maria (Scheuerman) Rusch. In her early years Maria worked in one of the lace embroidery factories in St. Gallen.
Then on 3 March 1885, George John Hunkler, who had been born in St. Gallen on 20 September 1862 and emigrated to America in 1883, paid $19.78 (the equivalent of approximately $500, according to one inflation calculator):
for the passage of Miss Maria Rusch in the Steerage of one of the Steamers of the “RED STAR LINE” from ANTWERP to NEW YORK/PHILADELPHIA and for the Railroad Fare from Bassel Schweiz. to ANTWERP and from NEW YORK/PHILADELPHIA to Washington [Illinois]
Maria’s ticket was good for one year, and on 14 December 1886 in Peoria, Illinois, Maria and George were married by Gottlieb Traub, a Lutheran pastor. By 1900 the Hunklers had five children; the family was enumerated in Washington, Illinois in June of that year:
June 4 1900 Washington Twp Tazewell Illinois
13 13 Hunkler George J Head W M Sept 1862 37 M 13 Switzerland Farmer
—Mary Wife W F Dec 1859 40 M 13 5 5 Switzerland
—Berely [Bertha] Daughter W F May 1887 13 S Switzerland
—Matilda Daughter W F Oct 1888 11 S Switzerland
—John G Son W M July 1891 8 S Switzerland
—Lenie Daughter W F Dec 1892 7 S Switzerland
—Huldy Daughter W F Feb 1896 4 S Switzerland
“Lenie” was Lena, my great-grandmother. By 1910 only John and Hulda remained at home, and in 1920-1930 George and Maria are living alone in Elmwood, Illinois. George died in 1934, and in 1940 “Marie,” age 80, is enumerated living alone on Lilac Street in Elmwood. She would die 8 years later on 27 September 1948 in Dowell Nursing Home in El Paso, Illinois, of acute cardiac failure. She and George are buried in Glendale Cemetery in Washington, Illinois.