Peter Zehler was born in Nuhweiler, Rhine Province, Prussia, and came to America in 1852.  About 1859 he married Mary Magdalena Differt and settled in Bennington, New York, where they raised a family of fourteen children.  Tragically, seven of these children died young.
The children of Peter and Magdalena are:
|i.||Peter M. Zehler||Peter was born on July 4, 18601, and he died on April 28, 193928.  Peter married (1) Hattie Mapes and (2) Eunice Rich.|
|ii.||Michael F. Zehler||Michael was born on November 20, 18611, and he died on December 23, 19362.  Michael married Mary Phillips.|
|iii.||John Zehler||John was born on June 5, 1863 1, and he died on August 4, 1946.  John married Mary Riedl.|
|iv.||Joseph John Zehler||Joseph was born on August 8, 18661, and he died on September 15, 192829.  Joseph remained simgle.|
|v.||Frederick William Zehler||Fred was born on November 2, 18701, and he died on November 6, 193130.  Fred married Theresa Sauer.|
|vi.||Jacob Innocent Zehler||Jacob was born on October 13, 18732, and he died on April 9, 18822.|
|vii.||Maria Magdalena Zehler||Maria Magdalena was born on December 27, 18752, and she died on April 29, 18822.|
|viii.||Alois Martin Zehler||Alois Martin was born on May 1, 18772, and he died in 18822.|
|ix.||Philip Zehler||Philip was born on November 22, 18782, and he died in 18822.|
|x.||Catherine Zehler||Catherine was born on March 4, 18802.|
|xi.||Lawrence Joseph Zehler||Lawrence was born on January 13, 18822, and he died on January 20, 193231.  Lawrence remained single.|
|xii.||Martin Alois Zehler||Martin was born on March 16, 18832, and he died in 18832.|
|xiii.||Gertrude Maria Zehler||Gertrude was born on March 30, 18842.|
|xiv.||Thomas Edward Zehler||Thomas was born on October 10, 18882, and he died on August 6, 196931.  Thomas remained single.|
|Peter's Baptismal Record|
Peter Zoehler was born July 31,
18335, in the tiny village of
Nuhweiler, the second child of Peter Zehler and Anna Maria
Klasen.  His birth was registered with the civil authorities at Wadern the
following day5.  Peter's
baptismal record, however, indicates that he was born and baptized on the
same day, that is the first of August4.  This
discrepancy would normally be considered an error in recording the baptism, expect the same
discrepancy is also found four of his siblings.  In every case, the date of birth found in the
baptismal record is the date on which the birth was registered in Wadren and in each case the
actually birth date in the civil records is one day earlier.  It is very unlikely this was an
error, but a choice.  Whether this was common practice or peculiar to the Zehler family is
Birthl Record of Peter Zehler
Sometime in the late 1850s, Peter married Maria Magdalena Differt.  They initially settled in Murray, where Peter continued to work as a day laborer on local farms.  This time as a laborer undoubtedly allowed Peter to save the money needed to purchase his own property and probably also allowed him to help when his parents and the rest of the family moved to Bennington.  In November 1860, shortly after the birth of his first child, Peter purchased a small piece of land in Bennington, bordering on the property owned by his father23.  This seven acre property, known as the Mill Lot, straddled the north branch of the Cayuga creek where it meets the Allegany road and was the site of a mill pond.  Today this property is part of the small wedge on the north side of Manley Rd. where it ends at Route 77.
With purchase of the Mill Lot, Peter became the owner of a saw mill powered by the waters of the creek.  Not surprisingly, the 1870 Census lists his occupation as Sawyer46.  At the same time, he probably also worked with his father on the family farm.  The location of Peter's house and the Saw Mill can be seen on the 1866 map of Bennington.
Then in 1875, Peter partnered with his father in the purchase of 130 acres of land lying on the west side of the Allegany road and across from their other property 23.  Peter purchased the north half of the lot and his father purchased the south half.  It appears, Peter was concentrating on farming as his main occupation.  To complete this transition, Peter and Mary sold the Mill Lot to Elias Holt in 188023, apparently turning to full time farming with his father.  The reason for this change is not clear; it may have stemmed from poor economic conditions or simply a personal preference.
However, Peter was soon back in the sawmill business when, in 1887, he purchased the Mill Lot from the heirs of Elias Holt23.  This time, however, Peter was likely acting on behalf of his sons, to provide them with an economic livelihood as, in 1889, he sold the property to sons, Michael and John23 . Eventually, John sold his share in the operation to Michael, who maintained the business well into the 20th century.
In the early 1870s, Peter Zehler, Jr. was one of the leaders in founding the Sacred Heart of Jesus parish, leading to the building of the parish church in Bennington Center.  Prior to this time most families attended St. Cecilia's church in Sheldon or the small mission church, Mary Help for Christians, in East Bennington.
Peter apparently continued to farm for the remainder of his life.  He died on August 18, 19122, at the age of 79 years.  Mary Zehler died April 10, 19152.
1848-9 Church Record
Joseph Zehler was born about 1867, the fourth child of Peter and Mary Zehler, and, like his siblings, grew up on the family farm.  Joseph remained single throughout his life and worked as a farm laborer.  In 1910, Joseph was still living with his parents, who were retired, and working at "odd jobs"52.  Then in 1920, he was living alone in a rented residence and working out as a farm laborer49.  Joseph died on September 15, 192850, from a subdural hemorrhage, possilbly from a work related accident.  At the time of his death, he was working in the Town of Collins, although his address was still in Bennington.  Joseph was buried in the Hospital cemetery at Gowanda, New York.
Lawrence Zehler was born January 13 18822, the eleventh child of Peter and Mary Zehler.  He was baptized Joseph Lawrence at Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Bennington, New York.  Lawrence also remained single and worked as a farm laborer, although he may have spent some time as a sailor.  In 1900, Lawrence was living with his brother33, Michael and probably helping at the sawmill.  By 1910, however, he was living in Darien, New York on the dairy farm of Frank Mingle, working as a hired hand51. Then in 1920, he was living in Sheldon, New York on the farm of John Almeter52.  This time he is listed as a servant, but also as "working out", presumably as a farm laborer.  Lawrence died January 20, 193231, as a result of a farm accident.  His leg had been caught in a mowing machine and became infected40.  Lawrence was buried in Bennington Center, presumably in the Sacred Heart of Jesus cemetery.
Thomas Zehler, was born October 10, 188831, the youngest child of Peter and Mary Zehler.  He grew up in Bennington and, like his brothers Joseph and Lawrence, remained single throughout his life, working as a farm laborer.  In 1910, Thomas was still living with his parents, who were retired, and working at "odd jobs"52.  Then in 1920, he was living on the farm of Edward Beechler, working as a hired hand49.  Thomas died in Warsaw on August 6, 196931, at the East Side Nursing Home, after a length illness, Warsaw, New York.  He is buried in St. Michael's cemetery in Warsaw, New York.
|Top | Zehler Surname Index | Zehler Page | America Main Page | Site Main Page|
These pages are our initial attempt to capture the history and genealogy of the Zehler family.  If you have comments or additional information which would add to this story, please contact us at the following address: