Monday, October 5, 2015

Lead Mining: Drawing Ancestors to the Midwest

I have covered the 13 colonies, the Northwest Territory and Kentucky in recent posts. That leaves one state that drew my ancestors, even for a brief time: Missouri. The attraction, the lead mining district of Southeast Missouri.

The region was rich in lead deposits and attracted German settlers from the east. Among these settlers were the Wagners and Laubschers, recent immigrants from Baden. John Wagner and Catherine Laubscher married in Philadelphia in 1841. The couple, along with Catherine's brothers Lewis and George, settled in the heart of the lead mining region, near Fredericktown, Madison Co., Missouri.

By the early 1850s, John Wagner was in Lafayette Co., Wisconsin part of the SW Wisconsin lead mining region. He was joined briefly by George Laubscher, who would return to Missouri.

Lead may have also attracted my Irish McHugh family. From the coal fields of Pennsylvania, they headed for Galena, Illinois during the late 1840s. Galena was lead mining territory as well. From Galena, the McHughs went to Lafayette Co., WI. Although both John and his elder brother Daniel were  stone masons and, later, farmers, both may have spent time employed by the mines.

Search for lead mining in each of the states to learn more about the industry.

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