John Muster Genealogy
6/22/1830 - 10/16/1887

October 1, 1861, Confederate forces seized the steamer Fanny in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and all those onboard. My great-grandfather, John Muster, was a private in Company I of the 20th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, after having come over from Switzerland. Thus, John began his years in Confederate prisons that day. After the South captured the Fanny, they used it to patrol that area for the rest of the war, so it was a big loss for the North.

Many men died in the Civil War, and the suffering of prisoners was notorious. However, I am grateful John Muster lived through it and had his eleven children with his wife Barbara. If not for that, none of us Musters would be here. John and Barbara's first child, William (March 1868 - Jan. 30, 1926), was my grandfather. To find out more about him, go here: genealogy-muster-moldenhauer.html

After the war, John Muster returned to Valparaiso, Indiana, and married his wife Barbara Burkhart in 1866. Barbara (7/27/1848 - 10/10/1931) had turned eighteen and John turned thirty-six in 1866; he was twice her age, eighteen years older than her. That's just the type of thing you don't want to find in your family history, but it was more than 150 years ago. What can I say? When you search your ancestry, I hope you like what you find.

After getting married, John and Barbara had their first child, my grandfather William Muster, in 1868. After that they had ten more children over the next nineteen years until John died in 1887. Thus, they had a child every year-and-half or two years. Barbara died in 1931, outliving John by forty-four years. Thus, she raised her younger children as a single mother. Barbara lived in the same house her entire life after coming to America with her parents as a child.

I learned from my great-grandfather fought in the Civil War, but the story came to life when historical researcher Lee Oxford contacted me. He asked if I knew my great-grandfather was captured at the beginning of the war. Lee's book on the battle is now available: The Civil War on Hatteras: The Chicamacomico Affair and the Capture of the US Gunboat Fanny, new in May 2013. Lee organized a reunion of the descendents on both sides of the battle, which I wanted to attend. He later told me Hurricane Irene ran the reunion out of town, so I didn't miss much! He still wants to organize another one, and I would love to attend.

Directly following the book's release, I met Daniel Swacina, whose wife is a descendant of John Muster, and Jean Renfro, another descendant. Dan and Jean are gathering family information. Jean gave me this obituary for John Muster.


Dan Swacina said:
I recently received a copy of my wife's Great-Great Grandfather's obituary (John Muster) from another family member and discovered that he was a Private in Co. I 20th Ind. Vol. Inf., and was captured on the Fanny, and was later paroled. Just 91 days after his parole from Libby Prison he enlisted again on August 15, 1862 as a Corporal in Company I, 5th Cavalry, 90th Indiana Regiment. He was captured again when his unit failed in their attempt to rescue the prisoners being held at Andersonville, and ended up a prisoner there himself along with a number of other members of his unit and transferred a couple of times until the end of the war.


Editor's note: Jeanne Miller* sent me these obituaries and other clippings concerning the death of John Muster's wife, Barbara Muster, October 10, 1931.







Also one concerning her son, George Howser:


Genealogical information:
Barbara Burkhart Muster - b. 7/27/1848 in Colmar, France. It was sometimes part of Germany, but when she was born it was the Kingdom of France. She came to America in 1852 (according to at four years old; obituary above says nine years old), d. 10/10/1931 Valparasio, Indiana.
Scroll down for more research on Barbara's family roots in Europe.

John Muster - b. 6/22/1830 in Switzerland, d. 10/16/1887 in Valparasio, Indiana
John and Barbara were married in 1866, had eleven children and numerous grandchildren. See below for more details.*

Children of John and Barbara Muster:
William Muster (March 1868 - Jan. 1926)
Albert R. Muster
Alberta Muster
[still searching for the names of all the children]

Grandchildren present at Barbara Muster's funeral:
Bruce Stansell
Mason Muster
DeForest Muster
George Howser, Jr.
John Muster
Emmett Muster
Helen Fitzgerald
Leota Daniels
Florence Martin
Alberta Harding*
Barbara Alice Muster
Margaret Muster
Grandson not present: Bill Muster, then five years old, living in Chicago with his mother Emma Moldenhauer Miller Muster, and older half-brother, Ed Miller.*

G-grand Children
Grandchildren of William Muster Sr.: Nori Muster (1956), Bill Muster (1958)
Grandchildren of Albert Muster: John Scott Harding (1938), Robert Brooks Harding (1942) , and Paul (1944, lived only a few months)
[still searching for names of more great-grandchildren]

Kathy Swacina
Audrey Jean Muster Renfro
[still searching for full list of g-g-grandchildren]

Further Research on Barbara Burkhart Muster

Born December 9, 1847 in Colmar, France

Came to America in 1852 with her parents and two siblings

Married John Muster January 2, 1867 - age 19

Died October 10, 1931 Valparasio

Barbara's parents:
Anton Burkhart, b. May 4, 1827, and Barbara Weitmann Burkhart

Anton and Barbara had four children:

Maria Anna, December 1, 1846, Barbara (our ancestor), December 9, 1847; Franziskus, February 11, 1849; and Anton November 21, 1849 (died at birth)

Barbara's grandparents:
Anton Julius Burkhart b. May 4, 1827 and Louise Gartner

All these people come from Colmar France (on the border of Switzerland / sometimes part of Germany) or Schwaben, Bavaria, known as Swabia - near Munich

There were three Burkhart brothers who had "Anton" in their name who all lived in Swabia.

Joseph Anton Burkhart (parents Pelagius Burkhart, Katharina Winkler)

Augustus Anton Julius Johann Burkhart (parents Johann Baptist Burkhart and Jospahine Drekle)

Anton Julius Burkhart (parents Anton Burkhart and Louise Gartner - our G-G-Grandfather Anton Burkhart III)

Anton Burkhart III and Louise Gartner Burkhart (our g-g-gs) named their last child Anton, but he died at birth or was born dead in 1849, so no Anton IV.

Next I want to look for John Muster's parents. They are listed as being born in France (father) and Switzerland (mother).

Alberta Muster Harding Branch

More about the Alberta Muster branch of the family, details supplied by Dan Swacina.

On May 31, 2013, at 4:58 PM, D.S. wrote:

Alberta Muster married Ross Harding 31 July 1926 in Valparaiso. Alberta was born 2 July 1905 in Valparaiso and died there on 20 Oct 1967. Her Husband, J.E. (as I knew him) was born in Fort Wayne, IN on 6 Nov 1899 and died in Valparaiso 7 Jan 1990. He went by several first names, Ross, Ross Errol, Roswell, J.E., and Jack and I have seen "official" documents with all of those names on them, but no birth certificate that would solve what his first name ACTUALLY was. Alberta Muster was the 3rd of 10 children born to Albert R. Muster (May 1873?) and Margaret A. Mason (May 1875?). They were married about 1892. Alberta & J.E. had three boys, John Scott Harding (Kathy's dad) born Sep 1938, Robert Brooks Harding born in 1942 , and Paul born in 1944 (who died within a few months of his birth).

John married Antonia DeGrazia (Toni) in Valparaiso 15 Jun 1957. Toni was also born in Valparaiso in 1938. Kathy was born in Cambridge, MA in Mar. 1958 while John was attending Harvard. He graduated from Harvard and attended medical school at Northwestern University in Chicago. He then served as a flight surgeon in the Air Force. His first assignment was in San Antonio, TX, where Kathy's brother Scott Anthony Harding was born.

On Aug 2, 2013, at 4:30 PM, D.S. wrote:

Albert Muster (son of the Civil War John Muster) had the following kids (room for correction, Jean Renfro has the best info):

Helen D. Muster b: abt.1899
Alberta Muster b: 2 Jul 1905 (this is my wife's grandmother)
George Mason Muster b: abt.1907
Margaret Muster b: abt.1909
John R. Muster b: abt.1911
Robert A. Muster b: abt.1913
James R. Muster b: abt. 1913 twins?
Barbara Muster b: abt.1915
Mary Estelle Muster b: abt.1920

John and Barbara Muster had all their children in Valparasio, Indiana. If you have, or can find, further information on our distant relatives, please contact me. Here's a link to specific questions I'm working on - click here.

Screen shot 2013-04-26 at 8.31.24 AM

The Civil War on Hatteras: The Chicamacomico Affair and the Capture of the US Gunboat Fanny, by Lee Thomas Oxford
See also:click here to buy it directly from the publisher.

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