Wishful Wednesday: John Springsteen and Family

St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. John and his family would have known this landmark, as it was built in 1860s. Via Wikipedia, see Notes.
St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. John and his family would have known this landmark, as it was built in 1860s. Via Wikipedia, see Notes.

Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

Just a bit more clarity, just a bit of proof, plus some snippets of information and matching DNA for the John Springsteen family…that is our ‘Wishful Wednesday’ Wish.

The name early on was spelled ‘Springsteel’, then changed to ‘Springsteen’ in Ohio and Indiana. One branch later used ‘Springston.’ So the use of wild cards in searches can be very beneficial with this family.

The name “Springsteen” is Northern Germanic or more likely Dutch in our family. The Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press states it comes from a type of stone called a ‘springsteen’ which was “…used as a stepping stone in unpaved streets or between two houses.” Ancestry.com shows the most Springsteens in New York in 1840, followed by New Jersey; then Maryland, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, with numbers decreasing in that order. By the 1920 census, Springsteens had spread out to over one-half the states.

With DNA matching and old-fashioned and online genealogical sleuthing, we have learned that the family seems to have come to the early colonies- very early- as Dutch Springsteens were in New York in the 1600s. There are a number of Springsteen researchers who are using DNA to try to sort out all the Springsteens/Springsteels in New York, New Jersey, and further west, so please contact us if you have some DNA or other information to add to our project.

John Springsteen was born in New York, possibly around 1782, but we know nothing definite about his parents except that he visited his father in New Jersey around 1837. (See “Those Places Thursday: Indianapolis and Jefferson Springsteen’s Obituary“.)

John Springsteen has not yet been found in the 1800 (he would have been ~ 18 years old) or 1810 US Federal Censuses (about 28 yrs. old). He married Mary Logan, who was born about 1800 in Pennsylvania per the 1850 census; we have not yet found a marriage record or details about her parents or early life, since her maiden name was just recently found. Maybe they met as John migrated west, since Pennsylvania is on the way to Ohio, and sometimes migrants would stop for a while in a place as they worked their way west to their final destination. The couple were most likely married a year or two before 14 February 1820 when son Jefferson Springsteen was born in Harrison, Ohio. The “John Springsteel” family was enumerated in Crosby Twp., Hamilton Co, OH at the 1820 census. That census household had 2 females, one under 10, and one age 10-16, in addition to three individuals who are probably John, Mary, and Jefferson. Could one of these ‘extra’ girls be a daughter who did not survive into adulthood, or who is not known to researchers? (If Mary was born about 1800, she would have been about 20 in 1820, so only the youngest could be their daughter. Or was Mary actually older, or a second wife raising the daughters of John’s first marriage?) Or were these girls family or neighbors who were boarding with, and working for, the Springsteel family? Only one person in the family was engaged in manufacturing, which was most likely John who was a skilled craftsman in later years (and possibly in 1820). If not children of John, the two girls may have been helpers for home, baby Jefferson, a very large garden, and probably a cow, chickens, and maybe a couple of hogs- all ‘women’s work’- to help support the family, since John was not a farmer. Finding a marriage record for John and Mary might help answer some of these questions.

Son Abraham Springsteen was born next (we believe), in 1824 in New York per his 1863 Civil War Draft Registration, but Ohio per his 1860 and 1870 US Federal Census entires. The family was in Ohio in 1820 and again in 1830, so the birthplace is likely wrong on the draft registration.

On 16 October 1830 a daughter was born to John and Mary, and they named her Sarah Emily Springsteen. She was born in Cincinnati, Madison, Ohio, which is about 20 miles from Harrison. In the 1830 US Federal Census, we find a John Springsteen living in Cincinnati Ward 5, Hamilton, Ohio. The household included one male 40-49 (presumably John), one female 30-39 (Mary), 1 male 10-14 (Jefferson), one male 5-9 (Abraham), but also a male under 5 (possibly a son who died young? as there was a 6 year gap after Abraham). There was also one female under 5 (newborn Sarah Emily?), but also an unknown female aged 10-14. The unknown female could have been a daughter born before or after Abraham, or outside help boarding with them. Jefferson had run off to join the circus much earlier and was in Indianapolis in 1835 according to his obituary, so would not have been counted in this household.

The Springsteens may have stayed in the Cincinnati area a bit as daughter Missouri E. Springsteen was born in Ohio about 1834, but the city/county is not known. The family was on the move again after that, with daughter Eliza (Analiza) Springsteen born 16 May 1839 in Buck’s Creek, Hancock, Indiana. (We do need to check county boundaries, though, as the family might not have moved but the county line might have!)

Sometime between about 1835-1837, Jefferson, AKA “Jeff,” had persuaded his father to visit him in Indianapolis. That may have been the reason for the family’s move west from Ohio, as Buck’s Creek is only about 16 miles from the center of Indianapolis, Indiana. The community chided John for buying a lot in the wilds of Indianapolis back then, but that lot is probably prime city real estate today.

The year 1840 found the family in Lawrence Ward 1, Marion, Indiana. (Indianapolis is in Marion County.) One person was employed in manufacturing and trade, presumably John. Trying to fit this family to the known children of John and Mary leaves us with two ‘extra’ males, aged 10-14, 1 female under 5, and one female 20-29. So is this the same family, again with additional children, or extended family or neighbors living with them?

Some Springsteen researchers believe that there were more children in the family, possibly up to 11, but we do not yet know their identity if that is true. It would explain the ‘extra’ children on these early censuses.

John and Mary’s three known daughters (Sarah, Missouri, and Eliza) were living with them in 1850, when the federal census enumerated them in Buck Creek, Hancock, Indiana. John was listed as a carpenter with $800 in real estate.

A John Springsteen lived in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1860 (per the US Federal Census) and was listed as b. NY. He was 76, so b. about 1784. Is this ‘our’ John Springsteen? Neither Mary nor the daughters were listed with him. The girls had married by that date: Sarah to Robert Ogle in 1852, Missouri E. to William C. Scotten (after 1850 when enumerated with parents, and before 1860 when enumerated with her husband, marriage date and place unknown), and Eliza to George A. Hanna in 1855. Mary may have passed away by 1860 as we have been unable to find her in a census, but we haven’t found her in any death records, though they did not keep them in Indiana at that date. The death of a woman was not always listed in the newspaper, either, especially in a big city where the newspapers required payment for obituaries.

John was 78 and listed as a ‘Sash maker’ (a highly skilled job) in 1860. He had 2 women by the name of DeWolf living (boarding?) with him: Agnes, age 56 and Susan, age 30; the occupation for both was listed as ‘tailoress.’ John’s real estate was valued at $4,000, with a personal estate of $200. (Agnes had $1,000 in real estate.) Possibly they cooked and cleaned for the elderly widower in exchange for their board.

The 1862 Indianapolis City Directory listed a John Springsteen as a barkeeper who boarded at 31 Spring St., where Jefferson and his family lived. Could this be Jeff’s father at age 80? Jeff’s son John William Springsteen was about 17 in 1862, so it appears more likely that it would be the younger John instead.

In 1865, the elder John would have been 83. The City Directory listed a John who boarded at Jeff’s as a painter; since Jeff was listed as a painter and his son Thomas Jefferson as well, who also lived at home, it suggests that these are the younger generations. There was a John Springsteen included in the City Directory who lived on Market St., but no occupation was given. This would most likely be the elder John, it seems.

A death notice was given in the Indianapolis Herald newspaper for John, stating he died 19 March 1867. The Springsteen family bible stated that he died in 1872; it was written naturally (not squeezed in) between entires for 1862 and 1873. (These bible pages will be posted in the near future.) Crown Hill Cemetery records state the John Springsteen buried with the headstone posted yesterday was buried on 21 November 1876. It would seem that the contemporary account in the newspaper would be the most accurate, but why the different date? Cemetery records are probably less accurate than some other records (though not always) so we are using the 1867 newspaper date as his death for now, especially since it lists his sons Jefferson and Abraham.

Please contact us if you know more about this family. We are eager to make more connections!


Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. A special “Thanks!” to Kimberly Platt, Genetic Genealogist, for sharing her work on the Springsteen/l family. You can contact her at k.platt@jacksonandplattgenealogy.com. She does more than just genetic genealogy, and has very reasonable prices. Kimberly actually found the maiden name of Mary (Logan) Springsteen in the new Ancestry.com database of Indiana deaths as she has been doing the Springsteen/l research for newfound (to us!) cousin Carol H. I am so glad that the three of us can now collaborate!
  2. St. John the Evangelist Church image by Nheyob (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
  3. See also “Matrilineal Monday: The Springsteen Family Origins” and “Those Places Thursday: Indianapolis and Jefferson Springsteen’s Obituary“.
  4. There is a baptism record at Corland Church, Montrose, New York for a John Springsteen, born 14 July 1788 to Samuel Springsteen and Mary Lent – could this be ‘our’ John and his parents? http://interactive.ancestry.com/6961/43103_356231-00252?pid=2334663&backurl=http://search.ancestry.com//cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc%3DPAe4%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource%26usePUBJs%3Dtrue%26indiv%3D1%26db%3Dnydutchchurch%26ssrc%3Dpt_t4049043_p-1645375695%26srchb%3Dr%26gss%3Dangs-d%26rank%3D1%26tid%3D4049043%26pid%3D-1645375695%26gpid%3D%26gsfn%3DJohn%26gsln%3DSPRINGSTEEN%26msbdy%3D1782%26msddy%3D1867%26msbpn__ftp%3DNew%2520York,%2520USA%26msdpn__ftp%3DIndianapolis,%2520Marion%2520Co.,%2520Indiana,%2520USA%26cp%3D12%26cpxt%3D1%26msrpn__ftp%3DCrosby,%2520Hamilton,%2520Ohio,%2520United%2520States%26msrpn1__ftp%3DIndianapolis,%2520Indiana,%2520USA%26msrpn2__ftp%3DIndianapolis,%2520Indiana,%2520USA%26msrpn3__ftp%3DIndiana,%2520USA%26msfng%3DJohn%26msfns%3DSPRINGSTEEN%26msmng%3DCatharine%26msmns%3Dvan%2520PELT%26msbng0%3DWilliam%26msbns0%3DSpringteen%26msbng1%3DMary%26msbns1%3DSpringsteen%26msbng2%3DElexander%26msbns2%3DSpringteen%26mssng0%3DMary%26mssns0%3DLOGAN%26mscng0%3DJefferson%26mscns0%3DSPRINGSTEEN%26mscng1%3DAbraham%26mscns1%3DSpringsteen%26mscng2%3DSarah%2520Emily%26mscns2%3DSpringsteen%26mscng3%3DMissouri%2520E.%26mscns3%3DSpringsteen%26mscng4%3DEliza%2520Analiza%26mscns4%3DSpringsteen%26_83004003-n_xcl%3Df%26MSAV%3D1%26pcat%3DBMD_MARRIAGE%26fh%3D0%26h%3D2334663%26recoff%3D%26ml_rpos%3D1&ssrc=pt_t4049043_p-1645375695&treeid=4049043&personid=-1645375695&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=PAe4&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true
  5. The information used in this post was also used for John’s Find A Grave memorial- no plagiarism since this author wrote both! http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=27909566


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