John Oesterling (1796-1865)

A Brief Biography

John Oesterling was born in 1796 and resided in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany in 1831 when he decidedto emigrate with his family to America.

Darmstadt was then a small rural community located about fifteen miles south of Frankfurt, Germany and, as their father had done, John and his two brothers, Peter (1797–1876) and Leonard (1802–1872) earned their livelihoods from farming.

About 1818 or 1819, John took Elizabeth Ripper in marriage and four children were born to them prior to their emigration. These were John (1820–1872), Catherine (1825–1866), Elizabeth (1828–1899), and Leonard (1831–1916).

As many other Germans had done before him, John chose to settle in western Pennsylvania and his first purchase was for about 700 acres near the little town of Herman, PA. While there, a daughter Anna Eliza (1833–1869) and a son Peter (1835–1920) were born.

Possibly because he wanted to be nearer a trading center, he sold his land in Herman and purchased 400 acres in Summit Township, three miles east of Butler, PA. There his last two children were born, Adam (1837–1912) and Margaret (1839–1860).

It is difficult to imagine the hardships of the early settlers who had to clear land for farming and then farm it for subsistance, cutting timber for building a house and then having to build the house, and to also provide for the necessary amenitites. This, together with raising eight children, were some of the difficulties that John and Elizabeth Oesterling had to overcome.

That this was done so successfully in the raising of a happy, caring and productive family is testimony to all their hard work. Descendants of their eight children and seventy-one grandchildren, in tribute and loving appreciation of their accomplishments, have in 1959 erected this monument commemorating the original homestead.

The above information has been taken from the book entitled The Oesterlings, Your Family and Mine published in 1949 by Sara Bachman and Emma Keck, and is available in the Bulter Area Library, Butler, PA.

John and Elizabeth Oesterling Decendents

Click for a larger image
Chart of Decendents

Ellis Island

The name of John Oesterling is registered and on display at Ellis Island in the American Immigrant Wall of Honor "as a testatment to the heroism and triumphs yur family experienced in (his) coming to America ..."

This quote is from a letter dated February 9, 1989 that was received with the certificate below from the Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. addressed to the Oesterling descendents.

Ellis Island Certificate