Select Kaiser Miscellany

 

Here are some Kaiser stories
and
accounts over the years:

 

Kaiser, Kiser, Keyser, and Kayser in America

The
principal American spellings have been Kaiser, Kiser, Keyser,
and Kayser.  The household numbers today
are approximately:

  • Kaiser
    – 15,000, with a high concentration in Midwest states
    such as Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
  • Kiser
    – 9,000, with the largest
    numbers today in North Carolina.
  • Keyser
    – 4,000, with the largest numbers today
    in Pennsylvania.
    (these were among the
    earliest arrivals, including some from Holland and England).  
  • and
    Kayser – around 2,000, the smallest
    contingent with the highest numbers in Ohio and Iowa
    .

 


Dirck Keyser, Early Settler in Germantown, Pennsy;lvania

The
following words were attributed to Dirck Keyser, an
early settler in the Germantown community in Pennsylvania.

I
have lived a life of great change.  Our Dutch family of
Keyser, descended from our Bavarian line, was first represented in
Amsterdam by
my grandfather, Gerrit Keyser.   I was destined to lead our
family to
the new country where I became the founder of the Keyser family in
America.
My
grandfather on my mother’s side was a Mennonite minister.  I
too am a
Menist or Mennonite.
Yes,
I knew William Penn, founder of
Pennsylvania.  Penn visited Germany and Holland to invite all
to join
him in his new settlement in America and to enjoy free religious
thought.
My sons Dirck and Pieter Dirck and my daughter Johanna joined me and
other
Amsterdam Mennonites in our 1688 emigration to Germantown,
Pennsylvania.
In
Holland I was a manufacturer and dealer in silks and had
enjoyed being a man of some prominence.  Our strong work
ethic
contributed to making our new hometown become a prosperous center of
trade, a
most unusual distinction for a rural town near Philadelphia.” 


Dirck Keyser was born in Holland in 1635 and
died in Germantown in 1714.  During his
time in Germantown he was said to have always worn a silk coat,
something which
his neighbors initially found as too showy
.

 

The Keysers in the Schoharie Valley



In
the
1750’s two German families – the Keysers and the Schaeffers – made a
new
settlement at Keyser Kill, now called Breakabeen, where the Breakabeen
stream
fed into the Schoharie river.  Barent
Keyser built a small grist mill there around 1765.

Barent’s
family being large,
he “worked out” by the month among the farmers of the valley.  He thereby managed to put away a few dollars
each
month with which in time he was able to be the owner of the farm.

While
his
labor began on the farm, he said that the woods around him abounded
with
deer.  During one winter, when the snow
was very deep, a neighbor killed over seventy deer with his ax.  Bears were also numerous and plagued the
farmers by killing their hogs and sheep
.

 

 

Lucien Kaiser in Northern Michigan


Lucien,
born in Switzerland in 1852, had come with his parents Frederick and
Martha
Kaiser when they had emigrated in America in 1869
They were among the first settlers of the
Elk Rapids township in Antrim county when it was still virgin country.  Their first task was to build a log cabin and
clear the land, making some money from the sale of the timber.  Lucien would frequently walk to Elk Rapids
for supplies which he would carry on his back, often bearing a load of
as much
as 150 pounds.

Lucien later secured his own tract of land in Milton township
and began clearing the land.  His first
major purchase was a yoke of oxen, for which he paid two hundred
dollars.  His homestead comprised 192 acres.  He grew crops and raised cattle there.   He had married in 1873 and his son
George
continued to farm on the land after Lucien’s death.

 

Henry J. Kaiser’s
Upbringing

Following
their marriage in
1872, Franz and Mary Kaiser settled in Sprout Brook, New York where Frank as he became opened a cobbler’s
workshop.  After three daughters were
born, Mary gave birth to a son in 1882 who was given a Protestant
baptism two
years later with the name of Heinrich Kaiser.

There
are no indications from any
element of Henry Kaiser’s subsequent career that his German origins
were at all
important to him.  How early his family’s
assimilation was completed is underscored by the quick change of his
first
name, from Heinrich to Henry.  Although
it can no longer be dated precisely, it must have occurred well before
World
War One.

In
1943 Kaiser’s oldest sister recalled that in her childhood she never
ate a meal without saying a prayer, and as the first-born she often had
to lead
the benediction.  It was initially in
German,
but soon in English.  Though his father
was Catholic, Henry Kaiser was raised in his mother’s Protestant faith
and
attended services at the local Methodist church
.

 

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