Julianna “Julia” Maria Wilhelm Muffley

Julianna “Julia” Maria Wilhelm (1820-1894) (pictured with her grandson Albert) and Thomas Muffley (1821-1862) were wed on January 30, 1849, at the Poke Run Presbyterian Church , near Mamont in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Their life after their marriage is somewhat known, but the years before that less so. This connection with Poke Run Church has helped with the understanding of Julia’s family. There are in that cemetery the graves of some Jacob and Sarah Wilhelm, probable kin to Julia. Their dates, if correct, do not seem right for them to be the Jacob and Sarah Weister Wilhelm thought to be her parents: This investigation continues. Poke Run was also the scene of the 1854 wedding of a brother of Thomas Muffley: Israel Muffley married Rebecca Emeline Thompson there (but were buried at nearby Pine Run Church, co-founded in 1861 by Elizabeth Muffley, mother of Thomas and Israel and others). Otherwise, the Muffley clan at that time were associated more with St. James German Reformed Church, to the east of Poke Run, beyond Muffley Hollow (and west of Salina). There was an Edward Wilhelm associated with St. James too, buried with several Muffley persons. Rev. David Kirkpatrick was the minister at Poke Run at the time of the marriage of Julia and Thomas. Rev. Kirkpatrick had been associated with the Milton Academy, and it may not be coincidence that Julia and Thomas named a son Jacob Milton Muffley. Rev. Kirkpatrick appeared on the same page in the 1840 census as some Jacob Wilhelm, who had a female in Julia’s age group in his household. This Jacob Wilhelm, probable father of Julia, was likely the Jacob Wilhelm on the same page in the 1830 census as Jacob Muffley, known father of Thomas Muffley.

Thomas and Julia Wilhelm Muffley were still in Westmoreland County in the 1850 census, but by 1860 were living in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. They had children born at both locations. This Muffley family farmed, and had a mill on Muffley Run in the north of Clarion County. Robert Pierce Muffley (father of Gary Muffley) found some traces of the mill. Thomas’ and Julia’s son Joseph Pierce Muffley (great-grandfather of Gary Muffley) lived to the age of 101 and recalled visits back to Westmoreland County. Tragically, Thomas Muffley died of cholera in early 1862. The widow Julia had 6 children for which to care, but her daughter Mary Katherine Muffley then died in 1865, the year of the end of the Civil War. The 5 remaining Muffley kids were: Jacob Milton (b. 1851), Franklin Biddle (b. 1853), Joseph Pierce (b. 1854), Sarah Elizabeth “Sadie” (b. 1857), and William Edward “Will” (b. 1859). By this time, Julia’s brother Adam Biddle Wilhelm was already in Illinois, and working as a harness maker. Adam and a brother reportedly had gone to the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush (began in 1858), where the brother (not yet identified) died. Adam then returned to Quincy, Illinois. On May 7, 1866, some Jacob Wilhelm died and was buried at Poke Run Presbyterian Church. This may have been Julia’s father. That same year, Julia reportedly took her 5 remaining children by riverboat to Quincy, Illinois. Their steam riverboat may have resembled the one at this web site. In Quincy, Julia and her kids lived near her brother Adam Biddle Wilhelm, and two of the boys (Joseph Pierce Muffley and Franklin Biddle Muffley) worked with harness and saddles. Joe pursued this trade for all of his working life. Adam Biddle Wilhelm was listed in the 1866 Quincy directory for the Welton and Wilhelm saddlery. In the Quincy 1868-1869 directory, A.B. Wilhelm had a harness shop at 117 Hampshire; he reportedly had bought this building on January 8, 1868.

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