The Hidden Surprise

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I sent for information on Joseph and John West’s Civil War pension records in the hopes that I could uncover information on their father’s family. I found out a lot of information on piles (hemorrhoids), ruptures (hernias), and the number of times a person can mail the government in a life time asking for a pension increase.


The big surprise was that I would find information that would help break through the brick wall on their mother’s family. It would have seemed like an inconsequential document in Joseph’s file at first glance. After his death Joseph’s wife had sent in as proof of her marriage and his life both their marriage certificate, that gave me the exact date of the ceremony and his baptismal certificate. The baptismal certificate would throw the doors open wide.


Bernardina Eyth West’s brother Jordan Eyth signed the baptismal certificate along with her sister Theresa Stehle. I was pretty sure that the spelling on the certificate of their last name was incorrect as Eid. I started doing searches on Jordan to see what I could find.


Census records showed that Jordan lived in the Butler area, where his sister was located. I searched further. The history of Butler county would shed more light on the siblings, their immigration to the United States and their father.


History of Butler County Pennsylvania – 1883

Chapter 18 — Butler Township



Marcus EYTH came from Germany and settled in Butler Township in 1839. He remained on his farm till 1850, when he removed to Centerville. His son Francis carried on the business of making ambrotypes and daguerreotypes in Butler from 1850 to 1861. He is now proprietor of the EYTH House, Centerville. Marcus EYTH had five sons and five daughters — Roman (deceased), Jordan, John, Martin and Francis, Theresa (STEHLE), Barnhartina (WEST), Wendelina (SMITH — deceased), Martha (BERG) and Sophia (KELLY).

With the date of their immigration I did a search for their ship records and found them spelled Eith in 1839 on the ship Ville De Lyon. The record would show Marcus’ wife’s name as Elizabeth.  I went back to the census records and searched for Marcus and found him in Centreville and Butler, living with his children.


The Eyth family would take a large part in the building of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Butler, Pennsylvania. They would operate the Eyth hotel in Centerville, Pennsylvania and Marcus and his son Francis would be the ones that introduced the West family to photography.


It also seems that my third great grandmother might have been a twin with her sister Theresa, the second signature on the baptismal certificate.


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