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15 June 2015

William Lange/Lang/Long (1846-1928) from Germany to Illinois to Iowa

The life of William Lange/Lang/Long is as varied as his surname. According to his personal testimony from his Civil War Pension, William was born 7 May 1846 in Rakow, Mecklenburg, Schwerin, Germany. Family history offers that William and his sister Sophia immigrated about 1862. I have not found either of their names on a passenger list. Many lists have been lost. At this time, I have found no other prior family history.

On 21 January, William Lange enlisted for the Civil War. The progression of his surname from Lange to Lang to Long is documented from his pension files on in five articles. Lange or Lang is the German equivalent of Long. William enlisted, served and mustered out with other men from Frankfort. John Herbst was one of these men. 

John Herbst married Sophia Elsner and William Long married Louisa Elsner; the ladies were sisters. On March 1, 1867, he married Louisa Elsner (1849-1931) in Frankfort, Will County, Illinois.
According to his obituary, William was the last Civil War Veteran from Remsen, Iowa. He died March 11, 1929. Several obituaries are online, on Find A Grave and in the newspaper collection for My Heritage. Williams death certificate is included with his widow's Civil War Pension application. The pension application is available from the National Archives, Washington, D.C. "Disposition of Claimant, 23 June 1928, Louisa Long, widow's pension application no. 1609472,certificate no. a6-23-28 service of William Long (Pvt., Co. F. 64 IL Infantry, Civil War.) Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs; Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C."

After the war, he returned to Frankfort, Will County, Illinois, acquired a wife, started a family and worked as a farmer. Also, he learned to speak English and write his name, at first Wilem and later William always Lang to Long.

  • 1864 - resided in Frankfort, Will County, Illinois
  • 1867 March 1 - married Louisa Elsner in Will County, license number 2830
  • 1868 May 4 - birth Anna eventually married Tenhoff
  • 1870 January 15 - birth Mina eventually married Koerner
  • 1873 January 26 - birth Will or W.C.
  • 1876 March 15 - birth Fritz or F.W.
  • 1879 - resided Monee, Will County, Illinois
  • 1880 March 30 - birth Ludwig or Louis deceased by 1915
  • 1882 - resided Matteson, Cook County, Illinois
  • 1883 March 27 - birth Emma eventually married Copps
  • 1886 - resided Plymouth County, Iowa
  • 1888 - resided Remsen, Plymouth County, Iowa
  • 1888 May 23 or 27 - birth John
  • 1916 July 10 - son, John F. enlisted at Ft. Logan, Colorado, 4th Co., Coast Artillery; 1920 July 10 discharged at Ft. Douglas
  • 1922 March 19 - extended stay in Sioux City, Iowa hospital with surgery
  • 1926 January 12 - applying for pension increase due to mental weakness and unable to care for self, poor hearing
  • 1926 February 9 - "Loss of memory so that he has to be told and shown what to do, " wife continues, "He need aid in changing clothes. He does not know his own clothes from those of another person. His mind is very dull."
  • 1928 March 16 - Died at Remsen, Iowa of cerebral hemorrhage and arteriosclerosis. He was buried in the Remsen Cemetery.
  • 1931 - Louisa, William's widow dead.
William and his family leave many research questions. Also, I have no photos of this family. Lots of questions yet so little time to research. What family stories do you have to share? contact me, Selma Blackmon.

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