Elise (Lissie) Diehl

ID # 6877, (1817-1881)
BirthElise (Lissie) Diehl was born on 28 October 1817 at Germany. 
MarriageShe married Jacob Hespeler, son of Johann Georg Hespeler and Anna Barbara Wick
DeathShe died on 14 October 1881 at Preston, Waterloo Co., Ontario, at age 63. 
BurialShe was buried at Sec. B, New Hope Cemetery, Hespeler, Ontario. 
NoteFor the moment, our information as to the wife (or wives) of Jacob Hespeler is problematic. The 1851 census taken at Preston names Jacob's wife as Lissie, age 35, and born Germany. The 1861 census at Hespeler shows her as Mrs. Jacob Hespeler, age 44 and born Germany. The 1871 census at Hespeler shows her as Elizabeth Hespeler, age 53, born Germany. The 1881 census at Preston apparently shows the same person, Elizabeth Hespeler, age 65.

(Lissie Hespeler's date of birth, 28 October, 1817, appears on her gravestone in Section B of New Hope Cemetery, Hespeler.)

The 1881 census was begun on the 4th of April. Jacob died on March 22nd of that year and so does not appear in this census enumeration. Elizabeth died on October 14th of that year and, hence, she does appear in the 1881 census as noted above.

A marriage registration for Jacob and Lissie has not been found. The City of Cambridge Hall of Fame, however, has a biography of Jacob Hespeler and they name his wife as Eliza 'Lissie' Knoth and that he later married an Elise Diehl.

A slightly different story is told in the 1995 publication, Waterloo County Councillors, A Collective Biograpy, Elizabeth Bloomfield and Linda Foster. In their biography for Jacob Hespeler, the authors tell that 'Eliza Knoth (d. 1881?) and Elise Diehl (d. 1892?) The question marks shown are per the text. If indeed Eliza Hespeler who died in 1881 was a Knoth, and since her husband died earlier that year, then it isn't reasonable that he 'later' married Elise Diehl.

Further, W. H. E. Schmalz, at the time a past president of the Waterloo Historical Society, wrote an extensive biography of the Hespeler Family and this begins on page 21 of the 1969 (volume 57) edition of the society's annual publication. In this (page 24), he makes but brief mention of Jacob's wife, Eliza Knoth, and shows her as the mother of Jacob's known children. Elise Diehl is not mentioned.

The W.H.S. 2014 publication (volume 102) has an article, Hespeler's Hespelers, by Prof. Kenneth McLaughlin, and he makes no mention of Jacob Hespeler's wives.

Just where Elise Diehl might fit into the narrative isn't known, but the 1851 census shows a woman, Laura, living in the Hespeler household in Preston. Laura is shown as a widow, age 75, and though at first glance her surname is illegible, once it is found that Jacob's wife is probably a Knoth, then the entry may be reasonably interpreted that this, or something very like it, is Laura's surname.

Laura was still living at the time of the 1861 census in Hespeler, though here she is shown as 'Mrs. Hespeler', age 87, born Germany. (Her daughter is also shown as Mrs. Hespeler, age 44, born Germany.)

The Waterloo branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society provides a transcription of Section B of New Hope Cemetery in Hespeler. Jacob's wife Lissie is buried here with Jacob and her date of death is shown as 14 October 1881. Also present is 'Unser Grossmutter' (our grandmother), Laura, age 87, died 12th December, 1863, almost certainly the Laura 'Knoth' of the 1851 census.

We may mention here that both Ancestry and Familysearch have marvelous databases relating to births, marriages and deaths in Germany in the 1800s and these have been searched for Knoths, Knauths, and Diehls, against the date of Lissie's birth as shown on her gravestone (28 August, 1817) in New Hope Cemetery, Hespeler. Nothing has been found.

To this point, a weak argument can be made that names Elizabeth, or Elise, or Lissie, the mother of Jacob Hespeler's known children as a Knoth. Save the entry for Laura Knoth, age 75, widow, who is with the Jacob Hespeler family in Preston in the 1851 census - the lady who died 12th December, 1863, and is buried with Jacob and his wife and described as 'our grandmother' - we have little else to go on. Marriage and death records of the children leave virtually nothing by way of a maiden name for Elise, the wife of Jacob Hespeler Sr.

There is one sole exception, however. Ellanora (Laura) Hespeler Walker died in Los Angeles in 1935, and her daughter, Laura Dixon, filed her mother's death registration and names Ellanora's mother as Lisa Diehl. Hence, we must believe that Elise, or Lissie, Diehl was the mother of the Jacob Hespeler children at least from Ellanora, born in 1845, onward. Add to that, George Hespeler, in the 1871 census has in his household a Henry Diehl, age 61, born Germany, widower. George's grandfather he certainly isn't, but he is probably an uncle.

Just what was the original source for a Knoth being a wife of Jacob Hespeler, your researcher has no idea and, putting it mildly, the above is subject to correction. If indeed Laura (last name apparently Knoth) who is with the family in 1851 and, according to the family's gravestone inscription, is evidently a grandmother, then it's possible that the mother of Jacob's children, pre 1845, was a Knoth. Or it may be that Laura Knoth of 1851 was indeed the mother of Elise Diehl and that she'd simply remarried, hence a different surname.

For the moment, the argument that Elise, wife of Jacob Hespeler, was a Diehl is the stronger one. Again, this is obviously subject to correction.

Death reg. 018779-91 Preston, Waterloo Co.
Lizzie Hespeler died 14 October, 1881. Age 63 yrs., 11 mos. Widow. Lutheran. Born Germany. Physician and informant Hugh R. Folsom, M.D., Preston.

A note here:

The staff of the Kitchener Public Library did translations from the Berliner Journal, for the year of 1881. Their edition of 20th October records the passing of Elise Hespeler, widow of Jakob Hespeler, in Preston, at age 65, on October 14th, 1881.

This agrees with her date of death as shown on her gravestone, as well as her death registration, but does not otherwise mention the passing of Jacob. 

Children of Elise (Lissie) Diehl and Jacob Hespeler

Last Edited11 May 2020