Family Section

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Births and Marriages Surnames starting with Letter A

The list is also comprised of part of the county marriage index, church records, newspaper microfilm, other family researchers, and Washington County Biography and History Books. It is far from a complete listing of early residents of Washington County. As I get more information, I add it. Hopefully you can find who you are looking for. Use the site search to locate all the pages that contain your surname. Don't forget to try alternate spellings.

If you have any Washington County Marriages/Births/Baptisms/Confirmations that you would like to add to this page - send submissions to me using the form to the right and I will be glad to put them online as time permits. Please "ONLY" send information of deceased persons.

To facilitate your search the surnames of the wife, when known have been cross indexed.

If i know the source of the information, I have noted it as Source:
If no source is available it may have been from an anonymous donor.

Key to Abbreviations b: = Date Born
res: = Residence
m: = Date married
p: = Parents
wit: = Witnesses
bap: = Baptised
sp: = Sponsors
occ: = Occupation
d: = Date/place died

The De Bar Tragedy

Source: The History of Washington and Ozaukee Counties, Wisconsin, Western Historical Company, 1881 pg. 356.

One of the most shocking tragedies that has ever been enacted in the State, occurred in Washington County in the summer of 1855, comprising in its horrid details, murder, arson, and swift and fatal retribution to the leading character at the hands of a mob, who, in a frenzy of indignation, heaped on the crime of murder the further horror of a lawless and brutal execution of the murderer.

George De Bar, born somewhere in the United States and a native American, was, at the time the tragedy occurred, a resident of the town of Barton, where his parents had formerly resided, and, as is stated by some old residents, were then living. He had always been deemed an inoffensive and harmless though rather shiftless young man. He was of medium height, light hair, and blue eyes, which were wandering whenever he was directly addressed, giving him the air of diffidence. He walked with a somewhat shambling gait, and altogether had the make-up of a more than ordinarily harmless young man. He worked about by odd jobs among the farmers of the vicinity, never long in one place. He had, during the summer, worked for some weeks for a farmer named John Muehr, who lived then, and still lives, on a farm in the town of Trenton, on the Newburg road, not far from the old "Young" saw-mill. The family consisted of Muehr, his wife and a boy, Paul Winderling, some sixteen years of age. He left Muehr's employ some time in July, and went to work for Christian Young at the mill. On the evening of August 1, it being a sultry night, De Bar left Young's house, saying he would sleep in the barn where it was cooler. He, however, went to the house of Muehr, as he himself afterward said, to collect a small amount still due him for work. While in the house, Muehr went into the cellar for beer; on his reaching the head of the stairs in returning, he was met by De Bar, who dealt him a murderous blow with a hammer or some other hard weapon, and fell, stunned and senseless, back into the cellar. De Bar then turned upon Mrs. Muehr, who was making frantic outcries for help, and attempted to dispatch her with a knife, stabbing her, and inflicting horrid but not fatal gashes on both sides of her neck. She fell fainting from loss of blood. The outcries of the woman had awakened the only other member of the family, the lad, who had already gone to bed. He came into the room while De Bar was dispatching the woman, and attempted to escape. He ran, pursued by De Bar, into a corn-field a few rods away, where he was overtaken by De Bar, who, cutting his throat from ear to ear, dispatched him on the spot. Dragging the halfdecapitated and lifeless body of his victim to the house, within which he supposed were the dead bodies of the Muehrs, he set fire to the house and fled. Muehr recovered from his blow and succeeded in getting his wife, still alive, though horribly mangled, from the burning building. Her wounds were dressed by Dr. Kleffler, then and still a resident of West Bend, and she survived the horrors of the night for several years. De Bar, having as he supposed covered up the traces of his threefold murder, made his way to Milwaukee, where he was discovered the following day by John Wagner, of West Bend, arrested and lodged in the county jail to await trial.

The news of the butchery, so deliberately perpetrated, and that, too, without any apparent motive to prompt it, sent a chill of horror throughout the county, which was followed by a deep-seated and general determination that the murderer should not escape the Mosaic penalty of death, despite the recent abolishment of the death-penalty in the State. Other circumstances conspired to incite the people to take the law into their own hands; but a few months before, Mayberry, after trial and conviction for a no less atrocious murder, and after the extreme sentence of the existing law—imprisonment for life—had been pronounced on him, had been taken from the jail, where he was confined, in Janesville, and deliberately hung by a mob of infuriated lumbermen, and no attempt had been made to bring the lynchers to punishment. Thus public opinion seemed to tacitly justify the illegal execution and to condemn the recent law whereby all murderers, however atrocious their crime, were shielded from the retributive punishment of death.

On August 7, Judge Larrabee held a special session for the speedy disposal of De Bar's case. Threats were general and open that De Bar should not leave the county alive, and the opinion expressed by many who would shrink from aDy overt act, that whatever might be the outcome, he deserved hanging. The Judge, fearing the worst, had ordered two military companies, one from Port Washington and one from Milwaukee, to West Bend during the trial. The companies were both present. The grand jury found the indictment for murder; De Bar was arraigned, and having pleaded not guilty, was being taken back to jail till the jury panel could be brought in by the Sheriff. As the Sheriff and his assistant guards came out upon the court house steps, they were met by the infuriated and frenzied mob, who overpowered them, seized the prisoner and commenced to wreak vengeance on him. He was first knocked down, and rendered senseless by throwing a heavy stump and stones upon him. He was then seized by the feet and dragged down the street, being kicked in the head and pelted with stones as the crowd moved on. At one point it was proposed to draw and quarter him, but better counsels prevailed, and with ropes tied to his feet, he was dragged to a point nearly in front of the old grist-mill, and there hung, head downward, on a maple tree. There he dangled for a short time, when some citizens, who had not participated in the execution, cut him down. He was, at this time, as was testified by Dr. Hayes at the trial of the lynchers, " alive, and breathing quite naturally." Other witnesses gave conflicting testimony on that point; at any rate, the mobwere determined to leave no doubt, and seizing the rope, dragged him across the bridge, and again hung him to a tree near the eastern bank of the river; this time he was hung by the neck, and when cut down, an hour after, there was no conflicting testimony as to the fact that he was dead.

The body was taken down by William T. Barnes and others, and buried in Barton. The military, being no longer required, were dismissed.

Fifteen participators in the lynching affair were indicted and tried for the murder of DeBar in May, 1856. They were acquitted, as the testimony did not sustain the allegation that "he came to his death by hanging," there being a reasonable doubt as to his being alive when he was hung the last time.

The affair ultimately cost the county a large sum, as besides the trial of De Bar and the lynchers, much litigation grew out of claims made for services, all of which were at first denied.. Later, most of them were paid or compromised. Among the many recorded were the following : William T. Barnes, for services at the burial of De Bar, and materials furnished for fitting the body for burial, $9; Robert Wasson, Deputy Sheriff of Milwaukee, claimed $100 reward offered for De Bar's arrest; S. Culber, for watching jail, and helping bury De Bar, $8.50; Edwin Smith, for ordering men to watch for De Bar, and watching himself, $17; E. Bordwell, for washing and dressing the body of De Bar, including burial services, $27.50; S. Conover, for services getting military, $26; B. Goetter, for provisions furnished military, $79.02 ; Capt. Liebhaber, for services of his company from Milwaukee, to attend the trial of De Bar, $202.50. Capt. Silberman also presented a bill for the services of his company. These are only a few of the many appearing on the records.

It was, as the reader can discern, a most lamentable affair from beginning to end. The completion of the history involves the necessity of a plain recital of the horror. Moralizing can be left to the reader, without detracting from the merits of this work.

The crime stands almost alone in the criminal annals of the county, which is and always has been, with this one exception, remarkably free from crime. The citizens of no county in the State are more orderly or more peaceably disposed.