Michael Raab Family Approx. Date of Michael 1814
I have a pamphlet on the Michael Raab family I will type some of it for you the name "Raab" and its varying forms, such as "Raab, Raabe, Rabe, is a Teutonic origin and means, "A raven." Records show that members of the family came to America as early on the middle of the 17th century and that many achieved prominence in the events of Colonial and Revolutionary history. The genealogy however concerns only the descendants of Michael Raab of Germany. He married Anna B. Miller and they spent all their days in that country. They had six sons the oldest John and the youngest Casper, all born in Barvara (Bayeern) Germany, and it was there that John lived and died.
John married Sophrona Mappes and three children were born to them - Margaret, Jacob and Adam Jacob and his uncle Casper came to America together, settling near Columbus, Ohio. It is known that Jacob returned to Germany at least once, for, after the death of his father, he brought his mother and his brother Adam to America with them. They all lived in Ohio for several years before finally setteling in Michigan.
Some of the family went to Salem Michigan, for a brief time and then returned to Ohio for a year or so, In 1854, or 1855 Casper, Jacob, and Adam went back to Mi and settled permanently in Salem. A few years later Margaret Raab Smith, with her husband and family settled near her brothers. The journey from Ohio was made by ox cart and seemed never ending it is said.
Casper, Jacob, & Adam were married in Ohio to the Esterly sisters who had previously lived in Pennsylvania.
Casper was born in 1811, married in 1850 and died in 1893. He spent nine years in the German army, served in the Mexican War in 1847-48 and also served three years in the Civil War with Company I 5th Michigan Cavalry. His wife was Mary Magdaline Esterly Hilderbrand, widow of Jacob Hilderbrand. They had six children. Several of their daughters died when quite young and one Helen, was adopted and called Anna Christina by her foster-parents. Mrs. Casper Raab, who died in 1858 also had two children by her first husband Jacob and Sarah Elizabeth Hildebrand.
While Casper was serving in the Civil War his daughter married John Smith, son of Margaret and Philip Smith, was taken care of by Jacob Raab, a cousin who was also as uncle by marriage. He having married her mother's sister. Upon Casper's return from the war Mary went to keep house for her father and after her marriage she and her husband remained with him on his farm.
Casper Raab and John Smith were among the charter members of the German Lutheran Church located a half mile north and a quarter mile west of Burnips in the township of Salem. The building was torn down in 1930. It was erected in 1869 or 1870 on ground, which was owned bb y Charles Hopp, and Christian Bachman, father in law of Isabella Raab Bachman was the builder. Casper Raab's daughtter, Mary Raab Smith was lifelong members of the church.
Margaret, the oldest child of John and Sophrona Mappes Raab, was born in Germany in 1825, and died 1872. As has been said, she married Phillip Smith, and they had five children. Like her brothers she and her family came to America and settled first in Ohio and later in Michigan. A son John married Casper's daughter Mary.
Jacob Raab, second child of John and Sophrona Raab, was born in 1827 and died in 1891. He was married in Ohio to Elizabeth Esterly by whom he had seven sons and five daughters.
Adam Raab, who was born in 1830 and died in 1903, came to this country to escape military training in Germany. He tried to enlist in the Union Army during the Civil Was but was rejected. He was later drafted but was again rejected. He married Louise Esterly in 1854 during his sojourn in Ohio. Eleven children born to them.
Not much is known of the like of Casper and Jacob in Ohio but there is one incident in the life of Adam which may be of interest.
On one occasion he entered in a contest with his employer, the owner of a brickyard to see who could throw the most bricks upon a wagon without dropping any. The boss was considered a very good thrower, tossing first two then four then eight bricks at a time. At length one handful fell off and then it was Adams turn and the real throwing of the day began. Adam won the contest and the boss, instead of being angry as the onlookers supposed he would be, went home and returned with a watermelon, which he presented to Adam.
The Goodman, Strickfaden and Miller families settled in Salem a year or so before the arrival of the Raabs, Adam and his wife stayed with the Millers while he made a clearing in the woods and put a house. This house, which was built of logs, was later used as a schoolhouse for one year, during, which time the present site of District No. 5 was selected and another building erected. Adam's son John claimed the distinction of being the first child born in Salem.
The Raabs laid out the cemetery in Salem and Anthony Esterely, bbrother - in - law of Casper, Jacob and Adam was the first person to be laid there. That was in 1857.
At first, church services were held in private homes, and Quarterly Conferences was held at least once in Jacob Raab's barn. Later, after the schoolhouse had been built church services were held there. In 1868 a church was erected on Market Street. Jacob gave one acre of ground for this purpose and a pine tree - the largest tree in Salem at that time was used for timbers in the framework of the structure. This church was called "Zion Church" and was used until 1906, when it was torn down to make way for the present edifice, which was built, by Frank Buege and Charles Raab.
Market Street was so named by William Goodman because of the fact that it was used as a through fare by people carrying their market baskets to and from the store on Motherey Center, nine miles away.
Waling was preferable to riding for it was quicker than driving a team of oxen the most common method of transportation in thoes days. A trip to the mill of Allegan a distance of 16 miles, consumed two days. An ox barn was provided at the mill for the teams while the drivers themselves were permitted to sleep in the mill.
The contrast in the mode of transpiration is typical of the many changes that have come about since our forefathers first settled in Salem. Another is found in the method of providing lights for the homes. At first there only illumination they had was obtained by lighting a piece of braided rag, placed in a bit of grease or tallow in a shallow dish or saucer. Then came the tallow candles made at home and the oil lamps. Today at a touch of a button many enjoy the benefits of electric light.
Surely, if our forefathers could come back today and see the many comforts and conveniences their descendants are privileged to enjoy and contrast them, with the hardships they had to endure, they would dobtless feel that the age of miracles is not yet passed.
The information was compiled by Oscar F. Raab and Martin J. Raab in 1941.
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