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Our Family’s 20th Century History in Biographies .. 1
Alison D. (Berger) Boor

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Emmanuel Berger, Jan 27, 1836 - Jan 23, 1907, age 71
Christina (sometimes Christiana) Sontag (or Sunday) Berger, June 7, 1841 - Nov. 18, 1912, age 71
Buried at Zion Blue Mountain, Strausstown
Seven children: George, Katie Rutter, Benjamin, Henry, Sally Feick, Amos, and Mary.

 Emanuel & Christina Not much is known about Emmanuel Berger, although it looks like instead of marrying a local woman who was “in trouble,” he left for McLean county, Illinois, in 1859, where he farmed until 1862, when he returned to the old family homestead to farm. The homestead had been built in 1767 by immigrant Herber Berger, and consisted of about 152 acres in Upper Tulpehocken Township. Emmanuel was the third generation to be born there and farm the land. His own father, George, was married three times, the last to a Marie Balthaser, widow of Benjamin Sontag, Emmanuel’s mother-in-law, in 1870.

We don’t know what happened to the first woman Emmanuel was involved with, but it appears the baby might have been one Leanda Miller, who is listed in his will as an “alleged” daughter; she received a full child’s share of the estate.

Family legend abounds about the woman he did marry (on October 10, 1864), Christina Sontag. Poppop always called her a “shrew.” She sold the family farm after her husband died when her son Benjamin would have liked to have continued to farm it. She moved around with her various children for awhile, including long spells with Grandma and Grandpa Berger, and was “a thorn in their side until the day she died” according to Doris. Doris tells a horrible story of how Christina frightened Benjamin’s three oldest children by telling them their mother would probably die as she was giving birth to Albert (who was a breech baby). Uncle Albert’s favorite story about Christina and Emmanuel was the time all three of them were in a sleigh and the horse got frisky, the sleigh got upset and Christina fell out. She said, “The next time, the little one stays home!” and Emmanual muttered to Uncle Albert, “The next time, the old one stays home!” She died of cancer at the home of her son-in-law, Samuel Feick, where she lived
her last few months. The family name is sometimes spelled “Sunday,” which is how it is listed in her obituary; her tombstone, however, reads “Sontag.”

According to the “Book of Biographies,” Emmanuel was a “stanch Democrat,” a member of the Reformed church (Christina was Lutheran), a judge of elections, school director and served in “several minor township offices.” He was called to fight in the Civil War, but paid someone to go in his place, which apparently was not uncommon.

Several of their children lived on in the area. One was Kate Berger Rutter, whose daughter Ada (Mom remembers her as a jolly person) married Earl Birkenbine and lived on a farm, the only farm my mother remembers visiting as a child.

Amos and Henry Berger were millers in Bernville, Jefferson township, along the Tulpehocken. When they retired the mill closed, and was eventually demolished; the area is now partly under water. Mom remembers going to get flour at the mill with Grandpa Berger. Amos had two girls: Flora, who married Charles Kline (a knitter). Henry had a son Walter who had a teacher agency in Allentown and was very well off!

George was Christiana’s favorite!

Linked to  Alison D. (Berger) Boor
Emanuel Berger (40055)
Christiana Sontag 
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