The Farms of Anton and Frank Nuwer

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Date: 1844 to 1925
Location: Lancaster, New Yorkmap
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by Michael Nuwer
June 17, 2020

Anton Nuwer and his wife Margarethe Ludwig arrived in New York City on October 24, 1844. They were accompanied by their son, Francis X. Nuwer, and their daughter, Celestina Nuwer. Their oldest son, John Nuwer, had arrived in Lancaster the year before.

Erie county records find that Anton Nuwer purchased land on December 11, 1844. The parcel was the "east part of lot 48 ... containing 58 acres." This land was in Alden on the Erie road (today it is called Kieffer road). Anton paid $712.[1]

In April 1847 Anton Nuwer purchased the adjoining 100 acres to his west. The deed says there were three buyers of this parcel: Anthony Nuwer, John Kieffer, and John Nuwer. Although it is not clear, "John Kieffer" was probably the John senior. They paid $1,000 for the land.[2]

The 1850 Agricultural Census reported Frank Nuwer working 90 acres of land and John Kieffer (assumed junior) was working 71 acres, both in Alden. These 161 acres are most likely the two parcels of land in lot 48 that Anton Nuwer purchased.

Five years later, in 1855, John Kieffer, Jr. was living in Lancaster and the New York State Census for Alden reported Frank X. Nuwer farming 100 acres while Anthony Nuwer was farming 50 acres. Again these are likely the two parcels of land in lot 48.

John Kieffer, Sr. died in 1852 and his last Will gave his real estate to John Nuwer. We presume this included the Alden land. Anton Nuwer died in 1857. He has no probate folio in Erie county records, but his widow and three children were heirs and they would have inherited Anton's interests in the land.

Indeed, in 1859 a series of land transfers were made. In February, "Francis Nuwer and Catherine his wife, Margaret Nuwer (widow) ... and John Kieffer and Celestina [Nuwer] his wife..." sold 35 acres (the eastern part of lot 48) to John Nuwer for the sum of $800. Then in April the remainder of Anton Nuwer's land was transferred to John Kieffer, Jr. Kieffer paid John Nuwer, Catherine [Kieffer] Nuwer (his wife), Frank Nuwer, Catherine [Bach] Nuwer (his wife), and Margaret Nuwer (widow) $2,000 for the 100-acre parcel. In addition, he paid the same people $800 for 25 acres out of the 58-acre parcel. (Of course, John Nuwer's 35 acres and John Kieffer's 25 acres is more than 58 acres. I don't know what to make of that discrepancy.) [3]

John Kieffer retained and farmed the same 125 acres of land for the remainder of his life (he died in 1905). His son Henry inherited the farm and worked it until his death in 1929.

The parcel owned by John Nuwer was sold in March 1893 to Ferdinand Mathis for the sum of $2,300. John Nuwer's estate (probated in 1897) included a mortgage to Ferdinand Mathis for $1,400.[4]

Image: A section from an 1880 land map showing lot 48 in Alden. Town Line road is on the east, Westwood road is on the north. Erie Road (and the railroad) cut through the lot. Today Erie road in Alden is called Kieffer road and was extended to the east (Two Rod Road was not there in 1880). John Kieffer, Jr. and John Nuwer (spelled Noover) were the owners of eastern most parcels in 1880.

Part 2

Francis Xavier Nuwer arrived in New York along with his father, mother, and sister on October 24, 1844. He was 20 years old. His older brother John had arrived a year earlier. Frank’s father purchased land in 1844 and an additional parcel in 1847, both were in Alden.

Frank X. Nuwer married Catherine Bach in 1849. The 1850 population and agricultural censuses found him living in Alden. He was in the same place in 1855 according to the New York State population and agricultural census schedules. Frank’s father died in 1857, and in 1860 both the population and agricultural censuses found him living in Lancaster.

Information from Erie County property records adds some color to these facts. The first parcel of land Frank X. Nuwer purchased was in Lancaster. It was lot number 51 on the east side of Schwartz road. He paid $848 for this lot containing 106 acres of land. More interesting is that the deed was dated March 18, 1853, which means he did not immediately move onto this farm.[5]

I’m pretty sure Frank’s sister and brother-in-law, John Kieffer and Celestine Nuwer, moved to the Schwartz road land in the early 1850s. The 1855 New York census found John Kieffer living in Lancaster and his neighbors in the census schedule were Joseph Voegele and Martin Halter (both known to be living on the west side of Schwartz road on lot 57). Also, the New York State agricultural schedules for the 1855 Census found John Kieffer working 106 acres of land, which is both an unusual number and the same acreage as contained in lot number 51. Finally, we know from the same Census that, in 1855, Frank Nuwer was living in Alden.

By 1860, however, Frank X. Nuwer had moved to his Schwartz road farm. The population census found him in Lancaster; the agricultural census found him working a 106-acre farm; and the census found John Kieffer living in Alden. It appears the two families (Frank X. Nuwer and John Kieffer) swapped farms in or before 1859. John Kieffer moved back to the farm on lot 48 in Alden and Frank X. Nuwer moved to his farm on lot 51 in Lancaster.

Map 2.1

A new finding revealed by the Erie County property archive is that Frank Nuwer may have planned to expand his farm in the south western part of Lancaster, some distance from his farm on Schwartz road. In 1857 he purchased 17.4 acres of land in lot 85 and in 1863 he purchased another 8 acres in the same lot. When the 1865 agricultural census was taken, Frank was found working 130 acres of land, presumably 106 acres in lot 51 and 25 acres in lot 85. Then, in 1867, he purchased another 25 acres of land in lot 85 for a total of 50 acres in south west Lancaster. Together he paid $2,150 for the three parcels. When the 1870 agricultural census was surveyed, Frank X. Nuwer reported that he was farming 156 acres of land.[6]

Map 2.2

The next, year, in 1871, it appears Frank Nuwer changed his plans. He purchased 53 acres of land on Schwartz road and leased his 50 acres of land in lot 85. Both transactions were recorded in the Erie County property archives. On Schwartz road, Frank Nuwer purchased the northern part of lot 56 in March 1871. He paid $3,675 for 52.64 acres of land. This lot was directly across the road from lot 51. At about the same time (April 1871) he leased his 50-acre farm in lot 85. The lease was for five years at a rate of $170 per year plus the road tax. After the lease expired Frank X. Nuwer sold this parcel of land. George Sorg paid $3,700 in October 1876 for the 50 acres of land contained in the western part of lot 85.[7]

Frank Nuwer’s lease agreement was as follows:

“For the term of five years to commence on the first day of April 1871, and to end on the first day of April 1876, at eight o’clock in the forenoon. The said party of the second part [Frank C. Schaefers] agrees to pay to the said party of the first part [Frank X. Nuwer], the yearly rent of one hundred and seventy dollars in two equal payments, to one eighty five dollars the first day of December and eighty five dollars the 1st day of April of each and every year. The second party agrees to make the road tax, to keep the premises in good order, to use all the straw on the farm and remove not any manure or straw from the farm after the expiration of this lease and to work the farm in good workmanlike manner, by leaving the farm there shall be 15 acres sowed in grass.”

Finally, in October 1876 Frank X Nuwer acquired an additional 120 acres of land. He purchased lot number 53 on Schwartz road from Francis Acquard and Joseph Acquard for a sum of $6,500. Along with his other two lots of land, Frank X. Nuwer then owned 279 acres of land (106 + 53 + 120).[8]

A land map from 1880 identifies these three properties and the map associates “J. P. Nuwer” as the owner of the northern 50 acres of lot number 53. John P. Nuwer was Frank X. Nuwer’s oldest son. The 1880 agricultural census also reported J. P. Nuwer working a 50-acre farm and his father Frank X. working 236 acres of land. The acreage reported in the Census and the acreage reported in the deeds differs by only eight acres. However, there was no entry in the Erie County archives conveying 50 acres of lot 53 to John P. Nuwer. Nor was J. P. Nuwer named when the lot was sold in the 1890s. The evidence for who owned the northern part of Lot 53 is conflicting and must remain unresolved for the time being.

Frank X. Nuwer died June 16, 1888. His last will and testament left all his property to his wife Anna Catherine Nuwer.

Part 3

When Frank X. Nuwer died in June 1888, his heirs at law were his widow Anna Catherine (Bach) Nuwer, and his children, Felicitas Stephan, John P. Nuwer, Catherine Ott, Magdalena Burgasser, Frank X. Nuwer, Aloysius Nuwer, and Jacob Nuwer. His Last Will and Testament, dated April 26, 1883, left all his property to his widow.

Catherine Nuwer chose to give the family land to her children before her death. In October 1888 she executed the first transfer. She gave the northern 40 acres in lot 53 to her son Frank X. Nuwer, Jr. He was 26 years old. Two years later, in June 1890, Aloysius (“Eli”) Nuwer and Jacob Nuwer were given some land. They received a joint interest in the northern 40 acres and the southern 40 acres of lot number 51, plus 12.64 acres in lot number 56. Aloysius was 25 years old while Jacob was 21 years old. Map 1 illustrates these transfers.[9]

Map 3.1

Within a few years, it appears that Catherine and her family modified their plans for the farmland’s distribution. First, in October 1894, Frank, Jr. and his mother sold 60 acres of land in the northern half of lot number 53. The land was the 40-acres deeded to Frank, Jr. in 1888 plus another 20 acres. The deed did not disclose the dollar amount of this sale. The following year Aloysius Nuwer and Jacob Nuwer deeded back to their mother the three parcels of land they received in 1890. Catherine then owned 218 acres of land that she could distribute to her children.[10]

In December 1895 a series of deeds were signed that transferred all of Catherine Nuwer’s land to her children. These transfers are illustrated in Map 2. First, Magdalena Burgasser, Catherine’s daughter, was given 40 acres of land in the southern part of lot 53. Frank X Nuwer, Jr. was given the remaining 20 acres of that lot. With the 40 acres he received in 1888, his total distribution was 60 acres of land.[11]

As was noted above, the land maps from both 1880 and 1909 conflict with the deeds. The maps claim that the northern parcel of lot 53 contained 50 acres while the southern parcel contained the remaining 70 acres of land. The deeds claim the lot was divided evenly with 60 acres in the north and 60 acres in the south. The northern 60 acres were sold in 1894 and the southern 60 acres were given to Frank, Jr. and Magdalena.

Second, Catherine’s son, Jacob Nuwer, was given all 52.64 acres of land in lot 56. Finally, lot 51 with 106 acres of land was given to Catherine’s son Aloysius Nuwer and her daughter Felicitas Stephen. Aloysius was given the northern 66 acres of the lot while Felicitas was given the remaining 40 acres. The land directly to the south of Felicitas’ parcel was the farm of her and her husband.[12]

Map 3.2

Absent from this distribution of the family properties were John P. Nuwer and Catherine (Nuwer) Ott. The available data doesn’t let use complete the inheritance story of Frank X. Nuwer, Sr. Sometimes, in order to assure an equitable distribution of an estate, land was monetized (actually sold to someone outside the family or credited against a child’s share), and then the proceeds could be equally distributed. This way some of the children could use their distribution to pay for the land they received while others simply keep the cash distribution.

It is difficult to know what happened in the case of Frank Nuwer’s family. First, all the deeds were conveyed for the sum of $1, which hid the assessed value of the land. Second, there are no probate records for Anna Catherine Nuwer’s estate after she died in 1907. This absence probably means she gave away all her assets, both real property and financial accounts, before she died. Unfortunately, it also means there is no record of how the assets were distributed. John P. Nuwer and Catherine (Nuwer) Ott may have received nothing, or they may have received a money share of the estate. The information currently available doesn’t tell us what happened.

The final land shuffle came in 1898. Frank X. Nuwer, Jr. sold his 20 acres of land in lot 53 to his sister Magdalena. That left the Burgasser family with 60 acres and they farmed that land into the 1930s. At the same time, Frank, Jr. purchased Felicitas’ 40 acres in the southern part of lot number 51.[13]

Frank X. Nuwer sold these 40 acres in two parcels. The first, 27.29 acres, was sold in 1901 and the remaining 12.71 acres were sold in 1909. Jacob Nuwer sold his Schwartz road farm, 52.64 acres of land, in 1910 and moved to a farm in Aurora. Finally, Aloysius Nuwer sold his 66 acres farm in lot number 51 in June 1921.[14]

Frank X. Nuwer, Sr. made his first purchase of land on Schwartz road in 1853. His family sold the last parcel of that land 68 years later.

Further information

For more details see Planting Roots: A Nuwer family history by Michael Nuwer

See also
John Nuwer's farm
The Voegele and Halter Farms


  3. Land to John Nuwer: Land to John Kieffer:
  5. Joseph Fellows to Frank X. Nuwer
  6. 1857:
  7. 1871 deed lot 53:
    1871 lease:
    1876 deed lot 85:
  8. Francis Acquard and Joseph Acquard to Frank X Nuwer
  9. Anna C Nuwer to Frank X. Nuwer, (Jr.) Anna C Nuwer to Aloysius Nuwer and Jacob Nuwer
  10. Aloysius Nuwer and Jacob Nuwer To Anna C Nuwer Frank X Nuwer, Jr. and Catherine Nuwer to Peter Woldmiller, 1894
  11. Anna C Nuwer to Magdalena Burgasser, 1895 Anna C Nuwer to Frank X Nuwer, Jr., 1895
  12. Anna Nuwer to Jacob Nuwer, 1895 Anna Nuwer to Aloysius Nuwer, 1895 Anna C Nuwer To Felicitas Stephan, 1895
  13. Frank X Nuwer, Jr to Magdalena Burgasser, 1898 Felicitas Stephan to Frank X Nuwer, Jr., 1898
  14. Frank X. Nuwer to John Fonchie Jacob Nuwer to Joseph Brauza Aloysius Nuwer (index only)

Images: 4
Map 1
Map 1

Map 2
Map 2

Map 1
Map 1

Map 2
Map 2

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