This post is intended as a tribute to all our female immigrant ancestors. It is much more difficult to trace them back. They usually leave no trace of themselves, and once they are gone from this earth it is up to the family to keep them in their memory. Once their memories are gone, they are gone.
So this story will be incredibly brief. Maria Magdalena Kunkle was born most likely in Germany, came to America, married Johannes or John Sensinger and then after he was killed by Indians, Johann Casper Schnerr. She had at least four children with her first husband and four with her second husband. Dates of the children are not clear so I am only giving her "credit" for children that were noted as born within 9 months of her first husband's death, or after the supposed marriage to her second husband. It it possible that there were more children.
We don't even know when she died, but it is thought she died prior to her husband, who died in 1790. We know that the family were Lutheran, that they lived through exciting times in the New World, with both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War during their lifetime, and we know that they were a good pioneer family. We know they lived in what became Adams and York County, Pennsylvania.
What we can't know or understand is the amount of hardships she, as all pioneer women, would have suffered. She likely associated only with other German speaking women, and may not have associated with those of the Reform church, as opposed to the Lutheran church. There are many stories of neighbors not speaking to each other for years because of their religious differences, but it must have been difficult to be so isolated. As the children grew and gradually moved away, it must have been a sad time.
I'd love to be able to talk to her, to hear her tell the story of her life. Maybe I am reading too much into the little that is known, maybe she had entirely different emotions than I, 250 years later, think she would have had. But most of all, I'd like to thank her, and all the other unknown women, for doing everything they did to raise their families and help their new country grow. They are all awesome!
The line of descent is
Maria Magdalena Kunkle-Johann Casper Schnerr
Julia Margaret Schnerr-Simon Essig
George Essig-Catherine Shollenbarger
Susannah Essig-Daniel Kemery
Adam Kemery-Nancy Buchtel
Della Kemery-William H Withers
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks