The farm of Sebastian Gundy

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Date: 1846 [unknown]
Location: Alden, New Yorkmap
Surname/tag: Gundy
Profile manager: Michael Nuwer private message [send private message]
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The farm of Sebastian Gundy (1805-1886)

On December 14, 1846 Sebastian Gundy, Joseph Gundy, and Stephan Kagler purchased a 50-acre parcel of land in Alden, New York. The property was located on the north side of Westwood road in lot number 43. The three men purchased the land at a foreclosure auction held at the courthouse in the City of Buffalo, “the sum of three hundred dollars … being the highest sum bidden.”[1]

This purchase was a “family-affair.” Sebastian Gundy and Joseph Gundy were obviously brothers. Additionally, Stephen Kagler’s wife, Helena Clor, and Joseph Gundy’s wife, Marie Anne Clor, were sisters. They were all from the town of Fulleren, Haut-Rhin, Alsace. (Most Alsatian immigrants were from Bas-Rhin (lower Rhine), but, interestingly, this group was from Haut-Rhin (upper Rhine).)

Sebastian Gundy, Joseph Gundy and Stephan Kagler were legally “tenants in common.” That is, they owned an undivided interest in the 50-acre parcel of land. Neither of them owned a specific piece of the property. Instead they each owned an equal share (or “interest”) of the rights, benefits, and obligations in the entire 50-acre property.

On December 14, 1846, the day the deed was signed, Sebastian Gundy was two days shy of his 41st birthday, Joseph Gundy was 48 years old and Stephen Kagler was 49 years old.[2]

The New York Census of 1855 reported that Sebastian Gundy, his wife Margarite, and seven children arrived in Alden eight years earlier. The Census also tells us that Sebastian and Margarite had two children born after they arrived in New York—Joseph and Theresa. The Census was taken on that segment of Westwood road June 12, 1855 and that day was eight years, five months, twenty-nine days after the Alden property was purchased. Stephen Kagler and his wife were also found in the 1855 Census along with three children. They too had been living in Alden eight years.[3]

The agricultural schedules of the 1855 Census report that Sebastian Gundy was working a 16-acre farm with a value of $400. It was a small farm. He milked only one cow. That milk produced 75 pounds of butter and the buttermilk fed two hogs. Sebastian grew two acres of wheat, two acres of corn, and one acre each of potatoes and hay.

Joseph Gundy had died September 11, 1851 and his wife Mary Ann inherited his one-third interest in the land.[4] The 1855 Census found her living in Stephen Kagler’s household and the 1855 Agricultural Census found Stephen Kagler farming 33 of the 50 acres of land owned in common. His farm was valued at $1,320.[5]

Mary Ann Gundy sold her one-third interest in the 50-acre parcel to Stephen Kagler in March 1867, which was sixteen years after her husband had died. Stephen may have been paying rent to his sister-in-law for the use of her land. This type of relationship within a family was not uncommon. It was often a widow’s only source of income.[6] Stephen Kegler died in November 1868, about 20 months after this transaction. His son, Nicolas, became the farm’s operator and the owner of the 33 acres of land.

Sebastian Gundy’s one-third interest in the property was sold to Jacob Sprenger in October 1860. Jacob Sprenger was Sebastian’s son-in-law, the husband of Barbara Gundy Sprenger. Jacob paid $600 for the deed. But Jacob and Barbara Sprenger were living in the Village of Lancaster, and they did not work the farm. A mere six months later, on April 26, 1861, Jacob Sprenger sold the land back to his father-in-law for the same $600 sum.[7]

In April 1867, a month after Stephen Kagler acquired Mary Gunty’s interests in the farm, Sebastian Gunty purchased a 50-acre farm adjoining his existing property. Sebastian acquired this land from the heirs of his late neighbor Conrad Hoeffler. He paid $2,513.50 for the property. Sebastian Gundy was 62 years old when he made this purchase.[8]

About two and one-half years later, Sebastian Gundy gave the entire farm to his son Joseph. Joseph Gundy had married Theresia Nuwer on October 17, 1869 at St. John’s Church in Alden Center. In December 1869 he became the owner of his father’s 66 acres of land.[9]

Over the next few years Theresia gave birth to two sons. John was born April 17, 1872 and Joseph was born April 19, 1873. Then on October 29, 1873, at the age of only 26, Joseph, Sr. died. He and Theresia had been married only four years.

There is a deed in the Erie County archived with the same date, October 29, 1873, conveying the original 16 acres of land purchased in 1846 back to Sebastian Gundy. The legality of that transfer is not altogether clear. But the result was that Sebastian Gundy was given a resource he could use to fund his retirement. He probably had planned on his son Joseph’s support. But that was no longer available. Thus, on December 8, 1873 Sebastian sold the 16-acre parcel of land to George Roll, Jr., a neighbor to the east. Sebastian was then able to live off the $800 proceeds of the sale.[10]

Sebastian Gundy moved to the Village of Lancaster and lived with his daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Jacob Sprenger. Theresia Nuwer Gundy inherited the remaining 50 acres of land—the land Sebastian acquired from the Hoeffler’s in 1869.


  1. Sebastian Gundy, Joseph Gundy and Stephan Kagler
  2. Sebastian Gundy
    Joseph Gundy
    Stephen Kegler
  3. Census of New York State, 1855
  4. Joseph Gundy probate file, March 3, 1852
  5. Census of Agriculture, 1855
  6. Mary Ann Gundi to Stephen Kegler
  7. Sebastian Gunti to Jacob Sprangar
    Jacob Springar to Sebastian Gunti
  8. Eva Hoeffler (widow) to Sebastian Gundy
    Four minor children to Sebastian Gundy
  9. Sebastian Gundy to Joseph Gundy
  10. Joseph Gundy to Sebastian Gundy
    Sebastian Gundy to George Roll, Jr.

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Categories: Westwood Road Farms