Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, October 17, 1999, pg. 12
Continuing with our "one the road" theme this week, another Homer-area pioneer family was the Ansterburg Family. Frederick Ansterburg (b. 1790 Lancaster, PA; d. 1858 Albion) and his wife Polly (b. ca. 1794-1859) came to the South Albion area in 1833. They are buried in the South Albion (Benham) Cemetery. Their 180-acre farm was the northeast quarter of Section 34 in Albion Township (later taken over by John Ansterburg), and an additional 80 acres on the east side of today’s M-99. A daughter of Frederick and Polly, Nancy, was married to Richard McMurtrie and were the first persons married in Homer Township.
The Henry E. Ansterburg (I am assuming him to be a son of Frederick) farm was located a half mile west of today’s M-99 along M-60. The family owned 80 acres on the north side of the road in Section 34 of Albion Township, and 50 acres on the south side in Section 3 of Homer Township. This past March 31 a spectacular fire destroyed the landmark barn--this was on the old Ansterburg farm at 27585 E. M-60.
Henry Ansterburg and his wife were early settlers of the area. A farmer by trade, Mr. Ansterburg froze his foot while operating a clover threshing machine, and died of his injuries. This left Mrs. Ansterburg to raise the family starting when they were all under 10 years of age. There were nine children, and they all attended the nearby Benham School, the structure of which is still standing there along M-60 at M-99.
One son, William Ed Ansterburg (1856-1943) continued the family farm and was one of the Homer area’s prominent farmers of the early 20th century. He was married in 1881 to Melissa Covert. William was active in politics, and served as an Albion Township supervisor in the early 1900s. He also was quite a collector of Indian artifacts which he found on his farm and collected elsewhere. He died on the family farm, which by then had been taken over by his daughter, Mrs. Elsie (Ansterburg) (Ernest G.) Payne (b. 1894). William also had one son, George Ansterburg, (1882-1975) who was an area grain thresher and sawmill operator.
A sister of William, Blanche (Ansterburg) Marteeny, recalled in 1944 that M-60 was just mud and snowbanks during the winter months. Her brothers had to supply wood to keep the farmhouse warm every day, but their mother kept them in school, meaning afternoons were cold at home until the boys would arrive back from school to put more wood on the fire.
Another Ansterburg was Michael W. Ansterburg (1866-1943). Michael grew up there on the family farm, and later went on to graduate from the Weltmer Institute of Suggestive Therapeutics at Nevada, Missouri. He operated a woodworking shop in Homer for several years.
This week we present a photograph of William E. Ansterburg, courtesy of Clifford C. Ott. The Ott family purchased the old John Ansterburg farm in Section 34 of Albion Township. There are still Ansterburg descendants in the area today.
William Edward Ansterburg
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic