Phillip Eisworth in the 1860 U.S. Census
Our 2nd Great Grandfather Phillip Eisworth was an orphan in St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum in New Orleans in the 1860 U.S. Census (age 10).
Presumed Family on the 1850 U.S. Census
We cannot locate Phillip on the 1850 Census (the assumption is he wasn’t born yet). However, there exists a “P & Catherine Eisworth” in New Orleans with children Mary and Catherine in the 1850 U.S. census.
My Dad always suspected this was Phillip's family. There are very few Eisworth's in the census and these people were in the right place at the right time, but there were no documents making a connection.
Below, we detail some documents that help connect Phillip to his sisters Mary & Catherine and also back to Phillip and Catherine Eiswirth.
Smoking Gun #1 - Disposition of Destitute Orphans Documents
Document 1 - The Transcription
Todd located this transcription of New Orleans (La.) Office of the Mayor Records of the Disposition of Destitute Orphans showing that a Catherine, Mary and Phillip "Eisvert" were 'disposed of' to St. Joseph Orphan Asylum 4th District by a George Block (more on him later).
Evidence from this document that fits:
St. Joseph Orphan Asylum in the 4th District is the same orphanage where Phil is listed as living as an orphan boy in the 1860 census.
The ages and first names fit for Phillip being a sibling of Mary & Catherine Eisworth of the 1850 census.
The last name represents how Eiswirth is pronounced in German.
Document 2 - The Microfilm Version of the Disposition of Destitute Orphans
The data from the transcription above is found in two places on microfilm --- here and here.
One of the microfilm versions of the transcription above shows a more ambiguous spelling of "Eisvert" that could be closer to "Eiswirth". It also shows their ages. Because it has more information, it is assumed to be the earlier document of the 2.
The other more important piece of information is that a "George Klock", not "George Block" brought them to the orphanage and submitted the affadavit.
To see how George Klock is connected to Peter & Catherine Eisworth, see the documents below.
Smoking Gun #2 - The Succession Documents of Michael Steinger
Todd (and Google) found mention of Peter Eiswirth in Probate Documents from Louisiana, Jefferson Parish, Judicial-District-Court 1845-1862 in association with his wife Catherine Steinger and her siblings, Mary, Julia and Jean Baptiste concerning the succession of their father, Michael Steinger.
This supports that P and Catherine Eisworth on the 1850 census are likely Peter & Catherine. There is also a marriage record of "Peter Eiswirth and Catherine Stenger" in Jefferson Parish on March 8, 1842.
In researching the Steingers further, we found more information on them including 28 pages of documents related to the succession of Michael Steinger in 1850.
Jean Baptiste Steinger was the administrator of his father's estate, but by 1852, he still had not distributed the proceeds. (see documents below)
April 1852 - Petition to Distribute Proceeds from Michael Steinger's Succession
The court documents show that on April 17, 1852, Peter Eiswirth and his wife Catherine Steinger Eiswirth petition the court to require Jean-Baptiste Steinger to distribute the proceeds from the succession of Michael Steinger.
George Klock at J.B. Steinger's Residence
The court documents also show that the petition was received May 17, 1852 by the clerk and delivered May 18, 1852 to Jean Baptiste Steinger's residence where they were received by a George Klock, who resided there.
More Evidence Associating George Klock with the Steingers/Eiswirths
George Klock is also listed on the 1850 Census as residing with Jean Baptiste Steinger in what we believe was likely the Grocery Store/possible Coffee House and former residence belonging to Michael Steinger that is detailed in his succession documents.
Besides Jean Baptiste and his wife Odile (also mentioned in the succession documents), there are 6 additional adults living in the residence at the time of the census which was taken November 23, 1850...7 months after Michael Steinger's death. This seems to suggest the residence was of a sufficient size to serve as a boarding house or similar.
What happened to Peter and Catherine Eiswirth?
We don't know yet what happened to Peter and Catherine Eiswirth that made it necessary that their children be placed in an orphanage in 1857.
The "New Orleans Guide" by James S. Zacharie, published in 1885 had the following passage concerning orphans:
Some children, who are left without mothers, are often placed in the asylums by their fathers for education and religious training, and these " half orphans," as they are called, pay a small sum for their maintenance. The asylums are open to inspection at any time and are well worthy of a visit.
Yellow Fever or Half Orphans?
It is possible that both Peter and Catherine died in one of the many Yellow Fever epidemics in New Orleans prior to 1857 and the children's uncle, Jean Baptiste Steinger, had them placed in an orphanage via George Klock.
It's also possible that Phillip, Catherine and Mary Eiswirth were "half orphans" with Peter having them placed in an orphanage via George Klock. We have located a "P Eisvert" listed in both the 1855 and 1861 New Orleans directories for McDonough (which is the correct location for the family) that could conceivably be our Peter Eiswirth.
Either way, the fact that they were brought to the orphanage by George Klock, who is associated with the brother of Catherine Steinger Eisworth, Jean-Baptiste Steinger, seems like more than a coincidence and serves as additional evidence that they are connected to Peter Eiswirth and Catherine Steinger Eiswirth.
We haven't located death records for either Peter Eiswirth or Catherine Steinger Eiswirth, but we're still looking! 🙂
A Note About Names & Dates
The signatures of Phillip and Catherine from Michael Steinger's succession documents demonstrate how the spelling of Eiswirth/Eisworth was not rigid, as it appears 2 different ways on the same document.
Based on the German records we've located, we think the original spelling is Eiswirth, but we'll save that for another post.
Inconsistencies in Dates
Phillip Eisworth's headstone shows that he was born in 1848, but it is very common for people born in the 19th century to not know precisely when they were born often making 2 or 3 year discrepancies common. Dates on census documents may vary depending on how the census taker phrased the question. In Phillip's case, this is likely even more pronounced, since he was an orphan at a young age. We're confident his date of birth in 1850 is within normal ranges for discrepancies at this time.