Abels family active in journalism, politics
The Eudora News will be running a series of stories profiling families important to the community's history. Eudora resident Cindy Higgins collected and contributed the family histories.
Planning to settle in California, the J. M. Abels family, originally from Alsace-Lorraine and Bremen in Germany, instead came to Eudora in 1859. Son Henry Abels said when his family traveled to Eudora by boat from New Orleans, the stern wheeler boat stopped in St. Louis, and Caroline Schneider boarded on her trip to Eudora to meet her fiance, Charles Lothholz. At Booneville, Mo., August Gabriel also got on the boat to come to Douglas County. Lothholz met the boat at Kansas City to bring his soon-to-be bride by stagecoach to Eudora. The Kansas River was in flood stage with a swift current and driftwood, causing the captain to tie up at Shawnee. Camping Indians, Abels said, yelled wildly and the coyotes howled, frightening the boat passengers. When the Abels family arrived June 4 and left the boat at the mouth of the Wakarusa River, most of the town met them, including Charles Lothholz and his bride, Charles Achning, Fred Pilla, Charles Durr, A. Summerfield, Anton Getker, a Schuricht, Peter Hartig, Prang Vogel, a Meyer, a Deichmann, and others. Henry married Louisa Fieldler on March 4, 1868, and was a Eudora postmaster for 16 years. Their children were Will, Benjamin, Lydia, Ollie, Mrs. George Seybold, Mrs. Homer White, and Mrs. Carl Lundberg. Henry Abels' brother, Ernst Jakob Heinrich "Ernest," born in New Orleans, was 6 years old when the family came to homestead on the first quarter section in Johnson County along what is now old Kansas Highway 10. Ernest married his neighbor, Rosena Eisele. Their first child, Alfred, died at age one when his high chair turned over and his head hit the ground. Their other children were Karl, Ester, Ludwig Arthur, Edwin Friedrich, and Johannes Heinrich. Edwin, born September 15, 1891, married Marie Robinson, daughter of W.H. Robinson; became editor of the Lawrence Outlook (originally called Douglas County Republican); and served four terms (House, 1937; Senate, 1939-1947) in the Kansas Legislature.
Source: Ernest Abels' obituary (1917), Henry Abels' obituary (1918), and "Biographical Sketches," prepared by Lauretta Trabant in Eudora Community Heritage (1977); "House Resolution 6136," Journal of the House of Representatives, Kansas Legislature; and Eisele Family and Hornberger Family (March 1, 1977) by Clifford Eisele