Bonifacius Wisser (5/14/1840 – 1/18/1903)


Born in Mexico in 1840, where his father Peter “followed contract work in the silver mines”, Boniface was the second child born  to Peter and Maria Wisser.  The family returned to their home town of Herdorf, Prussia sometime between the birth of Boniface and the birth of his younger sister, Elizabeth (who was born in Herdorf in 1846), due to military and political unrest in Mexico.  Upon their immigration to America, the family eventually settled in Guth’s Station, Pennsylvania, where Peter continued his mining career.  Bonifacius (Bonifacio,  Boniface, Fassio, Fasse) was 12 when in 1852,  Peter was killed in a mining accident.  We don’t know exactly how long the family stayed in Guth’s Station after the accident,  but we do know they eventually resettled in Allentown.  The earliest evidence of Bonifacius in Allentown is a record of his confirmation in the Catholic church in 1858, 6 years after the death of his father.

Bonifacius is the 5th person listed in one of the five name variations we have found in records.  His sister Elizabeth (Elisae) is also on this list (#12).  An interesting side note is that the bishop who conducted the Confirmation was Monsignor John Neumann, later to be canonized a saint in the Catholic church.

In 1862, Bonifacius married Genevieve (Jane) Latzer, the daughter of Andrew and Magdalena (Delch)  Latzer.

Note: Click on any image to enlarge.

Boniface and Jane had six sons and an infant daughter (Anna Maria Magdalena, who did not survive).  We were able to find the Baptismal record for the baby girl, but there is no record of her after that.

Above: Baptism record at Immaculate Conception Church for Anna Maria Magdalena Wisser.

Gopsill’s Allentown Directory 1864-1865 lists Fassio Wisser, occupation, blacksmith living in a house on Front St.   Maria Wisser (Maria Margaretha), widow of Peter is listed at the same address.   The 1869-1870  directory lists Fasse Wisser, occupation, engineer at a house on the corner of Law and Gordon (526 Gordon).  History of Lehigh County (published, 1914), states Bonifacius ” was a stationary engineer at the Allentown Rolling Mills, where he was employed for more than a quarter of a century.”  By 1877, Bonifacius  has moved to a larger house at 406 Ridge Ave, a block from his mother.     He would live here until his death in 1903,   After his death, the family continued to reside at 406 Ridge until 1909, occupying the house for over 30 years.

The Allentown Leader, Tuesday, January, 20, 1903

B WISSER In this city, January I8, 1905, Bonafacies (sic) Wisser, aged 61 years, 7 months and 3 days. Funeral on Wednesday morning at 8.30 from his late home. No. 406 Ridge Avenue. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. High mass will be sung in the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at 9 o’clock. Interment In German Catholic Cemetery.

The Allentown Leader, Wednesday, January, 21, 1903

The funeral of Bonafacies (sic) Wisser took place Wednesday morning from his late home at 406 Ridge Avenue with high mass in the Church of the Sacred Heart by Father Nerz and Interment in the German Catholic Cemetery. Many friends of the deceased attended.

Wisser. Allentown City        Directory 1899

Wisser. Allentown City
Directory 1899

Above: 526 Gordon St. today

Above: 406 Ridge Ave today. Like his mother, Maria Margaretha, Boniface lived in the section of Allentown known as the 1st ward (zoom feature at bottom of screen).

Above: The grave of Bonifacius and Jane Wisser.  Their son Charles A. (5/30/1869-2/12/1902) is listed on the other side of the stone.   There is a separate stone for their son Joseph F. (1875-1955)  next to the big stone.  We believe the birth date on the stone for Bonifacius to be off by two years.  His sister Pauline was born September 22,1838.  There is documented proof of this date from the church records in Herdorf.  As other records confirm that Pauline was two years older than Bonifacius, they could not have both been born in 1838.  Therefore, Bonifacius must have been born in 1840.

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