Catharine (Auxer) Niess

Catharine Leader (Auxer) Niess (1844 - 1921)

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Catharine Leader Niess formerly Auxer
Born in Elizabethtown, Lancaster, Pennsylvaniamap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married in Harrisburg, Dauphin, PAmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Harrisburg, Dauphin, Pennsylvaniamap
Profile last modified | Created 1 Apr 2013
This page has been accessed 643 times.

Categories: Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania | Harrisburg, Pennsylvania | Harrisburg Cemetery, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania | Fourth Street Church of God, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania | Arteriosclerosis | Nephritis.




19 APR 1844
Elizabethtown, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Death and Burial

27 May 1921
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
She joined her husband and young children in the Harrisburg Cemetery on June 1, 1921
From The Church Advocate, June 8, 1921 -
NIESS.-Mrs. Catharine L. Niess, died at her home, 117 Dock street, Harrisburg, Pa., May 27, 1921. She is survived by three sons: Edwin A., and John E. Niess, both of Washington, D.C., and B. Frank Niess, of Harrisburg, Pa.; one daughter, Mrs. Lewis (sic) J. Houseal, of Harrisburg; also by two sisters.
Mrs. Niess was a charter member of the Nagle Street church of God. For many years she was deaconess of this church, and in this capacity she served with unusual efficiency. She lived an exemplary Christian life, and will be missed many days.
Funeral services were held at the above address on June 1st, conducted by her pastor, assisted by the Rev. George R. Hoverter. Interment was made in the Harrisburg cemetery.
From Harrisburg Patriot, 30 May 1921
Page 10
Mrs. Catherine Neiss
Mrs. Catherine L.Neiss, aged 77, widow of Ephraim Neiss, died Friday afternoon at her home, 117 Dock street. She is survived by thre sons, Edwin A. and John E. Neiss, both of Washington; and B. Frank Neiss, of Harrisburg; one daughter, Mrs. Louise (sic) J. Houseal, and two sisters, Mrs. Ann M. Lehman, of Camden, N.J., and Mrs. Sue Lucas, of Harrisburg.
Funeral services will be held at the home, Wednesday afternoon at 1 o'clock, the Rev. E.E. Kauffman, pastor of the Nagle Street Church of God, officiating. Burial will be made in the Harrisburg Cemetery.


5 OCT 1837
Elizabethtown, Lancaster, Pennsylvania


  • Information on Catherine Auxer Niess' death certificate, filed in Dauphin, County, 1921.
  • Marriage Information from Records of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Elizabethtown, page 178
  • Copy of Marriage Certificate found in Ephraim Niess' Pension File

A Story from Catharine's Diary

Ephraim and Catharine Auxer Niess lived at 117 Dock Street in Harrisburg. Ephraim could walk to work at Bailey Iron Works and the Susquehanna River was their neighbor. The area today is known as Shipoke, and a trendy neighborhood. It was a working class neighborhood at that time. Today there is no longer a Dock Street. Dock Street is now the Dock Street Bridge and their home was razed for that bridge. As you travel west on I 83, crossing the Susquehanna, you travel over the area where Catharine once had her garden and Ephraim and Catharine raised their family.
You have the background, now I’ll give you Catharine’s view of the 1889 flood from her diary. Any of my comments will be in italics. Everything I write will be Catharine’s words and style.
May 31st – The weather is very unpleasant, has been pouring down rain all day last night and yesterday and still raining very fast this month all through was wet there is fear of a heavy flood. The grain is flattened on the ground, little do we know what is before us. . . Preserve, me, O God: For in thee do I put my trust.
June 1st – We have had a wonderful flood (wonderful does not have the same meaning that it does today!) a lake at Johnstown gave way and drowned over 13,000 people, bridges gave way, and went down with trains. Oh! it was wonderful, it rained powerful the streams swelled every place it reached our city. done great damages only a few lives lost. May 31st (Friday) the flood at Johnstown, on Saturday the waters began to rise very high here, the Paxton creek back of us rose higher than it ever had been, the Susquehanna river in the front came up so high until it swept many things away what was left was in a frightful condition. it left very heavy mud a great many are getting sick. it is feared that we may have a great deal of sickness, but the Lord knoweth best. On Saturday night the waters began to come over the door sils (sic) front and back. Then we were surrounded. We have taken almost everything to the second story, by eleven o’clock we all had to go up and were obliged to stay there until Monday. On Sunday noon the waters began to fall very slowly. Every body seemed glad they had several sand flats in the street. At night they had torches so they could see the boom logs coming, and guide them straight through so they would do no damage to the buildings. Poor men they wished for the day. It was frightful scene, but nothing to compare with Johnstown. Many other towns were swept away with that flood. Water is very powerful and will take it course. Gods ways are not our ways and his ways are past finding out.
June 12th – Am very tired today. We washed a very large wash. Mrs. Blessing helped. Since the flood we have a great deal to do and so much company. On Monday we had six for dinner. The floors are still bare. Orders were given not to lay carpets this week. It seems very unpleasant, but we must bear up with it all. It is all right.
July 9th – I will now make another attempt to write in my Journal. Since the flood my time was so taken up, and besides we had so much rain that were unable to do our out side cleaning and sellers. (sic) Edwin (my great grandfather) white washed the seller to day, the weather has become more settled is very warm, and the farmers are very glad. They can scarcely get hands enough to get the grain away so much rain has caused it to ripen very fast and much of it falls out. A great deal of hay had turned black and it is unfit for use. The heavy rains has caused another flood at Johnstown, not so bad as the first, it was dreadful. A great many came to our city that were saved there. A family of five, husband, wife and three children. It is awful to hear tell when the water came, it came up as fast that it very soon drove them to the roof of the house. Next the house began to move off, they broke a hole through the roof and got on the outside from there to another roof and that way they struggled for life for sixteen hours, and were almost frozen and starved. Some others were 24 hours in the water almost to the neck. Several woman (sic) are here that the rest of the family were lost they are almost insane. Mrs. Blessing was here to day. We washed and ironed. . . . We have not laid our parlor carpet but all the rest. It takes the walls so long to dry.


Catharine found on the 1860 census:
East Donegal Twp, page 292, line 40:
Catharine Axer, 15, f, domestic
She was a domestic for
Christian Graybell,72, M
Mary Graybill, 70, f
The Church Advocate, Lancaster, Pa., May 12, 1864:
On the 8th inst., by the same (Elder D.A. L. Laverty), Ephriam H. Neiss of Donegal, Lancaster county, to Kate Auxer, of Harrisburg.
1870 Census
1st Ward, Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania
2 July 1870
Nasse, Efram, age 28, male, white, works in rolling mill, born in Pennsylvania
Nasse, Catherine, age 26, female, white, keeping house, born in Pennsylvania
Nasse, Edward, age 2, male, white, born in Pennsylvania
Nasse, Mary, age 1, female, white, born in Pennsylvania
1880 Census
Dauphin County, Harrisburg
117 Dock Street
Nice, Ephraim H., age 39, married, works at Roller Mill
Catharine, age 36, wife, keeping house
Edwin A., age 12, son, at school
Catharine A, age 9, daughter, at school, and she had malaria
Lehman, Emma, age 14, maid
All born in Pennsylvania
1890 Diary Entry':
May 8th -- Twenty six years to day I was married, many were the changes since then, Buried six dear little children, four sons and two daughters, a dear old Father, Mother and Grand Mother, and brother.
1900 Census
Dauphin County, Harrisburg, First Precinct
117 Dock Street
Niess, E.H. Oct 1841, age 58, m, 36 yrs, Bricklayer
Catharine L, wife, Apr 1844, age 56, m 36 years, had 10 children, 4 still living
Benjamin, son, Aug 1885, age 14, attended school
all born in Pennsylvania
From a newspaper clipping in Catharine Auxer Niess' album:
At a congregational meeting held in the Nagle Street Church of God last evening, the following persons were elected: Elders, B.F. Smith, W.H. Maxwell, Robert Cooper and Joshua Charles; deacons, George Dickey, w.H. Fry, H.C. Nitchman and Evan Gabriel; deconesses, Mrs. Catharine Niess and Mrs. Joseph McCool. These officers will be installed at the regular services on Sunday evening at 7:30 o'clock.
Written above this in her handwriting it says: Oct 29 - 1919, these officers were elected."


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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Catharine by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Catharine:

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Images: 11
Ephraim and Catharine Niess in their Backyard
Ephraim and Catharine Niess in their Backyard

Niess Family Farm?
Niess Family Farm?

Niess Headstone, Harrisburg Cemetery
Niess Headstone, Harrisburg Cemetery

Sisters Anna Lehman and Catharine Niess in Mourning
Sisters Anna Lehman and Catharine Niess in Mourning

Catharine Auxer Niess and her sisters
Catharine Auxer Niess and her sisters

view all


Catharine is 23 degrees from Robin Helstrom, 24 degrees from Katy Jurado and 22 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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