Christian Wisser (also called Christopher) was the maternal two times great grandfather of my husband. He was born the 17th of May 1848 in Erbach, Nassau, Germany to Henry Wisser and Wilhelmina Lipps. Henry and Wilhelmenia had five other children, Louisa, William, Louis, Margaret, Charlotte and Henry.
According to the 1920 census, Christian Wisser came to the US in 1868, so he would have been about 20 years old. Christian came to America with his parents, and siblings, as well as with his paternal grandmother Christina Wisser (nee Guelich)-his grandfather, Johannes Wisser, had already passed away in 1843, and his uncle William’s (his father’s brother) family which included his wife Elizabeth and their children Louisa, August, Jacob, Charles, and William.
The family settled a bout a mile away from Dravosburg, PA in the area now known as Bettis Road.
In 1878 Christian married a woman named Wilhelmina Elster, they had 6 children: Fred (1874), Mary (1877), Albert (1879), George Henry (my husband’s great grandfather) born 1880, Edward (1882), and Florence (1884). In the 1880’s the whole family moved to Dravosburg. Wilhelmina died on January 30, 1894 when she was about 43 years old.
Christian re-married to a woman named Mattie Hillias in September 1896. He was 46 years old at the time but she was only 24. The couple, along with 4 of Christian’s sons with his first wife, lived in Elizabeth Township, Alleghaney County, PA. When they divorced, sometime around 1906, Christian moved back to Dravosburg and lived at 30 Park Avenue (where he built a beautiful Victorian style house) along with his daughter Mary (who was also divorced) and her two children Hazel and Chris, they can be found living together in the 1910 census.
I was fortunate enough to be sent a copy of the page about Christian Wisser from my husband’s aunt. The information was from the book All About “The Burg” The Story of Dravosburg, PA 1903-2003.
a beautiful stained glass window in his house on Park Avenue
The property next door- 26 Park Avenue – was a rental property that Christian also owned.
In 1912 Christian married his third wife, a woman named Nellie R. Castner who was only 28 years old to his 63 years. The couple had two children eleanor (1915-1937) and Christine (1921).
I also have a newspaper article from the Washinton Post, dated August 16, 1913.
This is what the article says:
Miss Hopkins Asks $50,000 Damages from C.H. Wisser
Charges Pittsburg Coal Operator with Breach of Promise–He Use of Revolver Justified by Cout.
Pittsburg, PA., Aug. 15–Suit was entered today by Miss Alice M. Hopkins, of 3233 Fifth Avenue, against Christopher H. Wisser, a coal operator of Dravosburg for $50,000, alleging breach of promise to marry.
This is the climax of one of the most sensational situations ever developed in Pittsburg police courts.
On the afternoon of Sautrday, July 26, the residents of Fifth Avenue, near Miss Hopkins’ home, were startled at the sight of the young woman pursuing and shooting with a revolver at a man who was fleeing from her home. The man started for his automobile, which was waiting at the curb. Miss Hopkins fired the revolver once. Then the chauffeur leaped at her and twisted the revolver from her grasp. The man jumped into the automobile and was driven away.
Miss Hopkins was arrested, as was also the man, who was found to be Mr. Wisser. The later gave bond, but Miss Hopkins stayed in jail over night. At the hearing before Magistrate Winters Miss Hopkins told a story of love and a broken heart, which led Magistrate Winters to give his now celebrated decision:
“Since Mr. Wisser and you have lived together for eleven years, since he does not deny he is the father of your child, since the wold is taking more cognizance of the single standard of morals and believing that a woman should not stand all the blame and disgrace of a love intrigue, I discharge you. I don not condone any one, but in this case, it almost seems as though you were justified: at least you should not be punished.”
The bill filed alleges that in the later part of March, 1910, Mr. Wisser promised to marry Miss Hopkins. It charges that in 1901 plaintiff met Mr. Wisser, who posed as a widower, and that the friendship between them ripened into affection.
Christian was a very wealthy man in Dravosburg and owned quite a few coal mines around PA and WV. As his sons came of age, he gave each of them a coal mine. His son George Henry was given a coal mine in West Virginia which is where my husband’s grandfather was born.
Christian died on June 20, 1927 in Dravosburg, PA.
I especially love this photo of Christian in his cool looking old car!
and finally his scrapbook pages: