Anna Merner (name variant Muerner) was the seventh of eleven children born to Jacob Emanuel Merner and Susanna Schluchter. I married Anna’s great-great granddaughter 179 years after Anna took her place in the Merner household in the Canton of Berne, Switzerland in 1824.
I don’t know when Jacob and Susanna Merner brought there family to Canada but they had arrived by the time the delayed Census of 1851 covering Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia was compiled in January of 1852. The family can be found in the village of New Hamburg, located in the County of Waterloo in what is now the province of Ontario. The Merners would come to be long associated as one of the leading families of this community for years to come.
While New Hamburg may have served as the family ‘seat’, it was also the launching pad for family members seeking adventure and prosperity in other parts of North America. For example, in 1875, Jacob and Anna’s son Johan set off for the United States where he settled on a farm of his own in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
While a number of Merners ventured shorter distances to surrounding towns and villages in what is now southern Ontario, some saw the opening of Canada’s west as their ticket to a better way of life.
And so it was that Levi Merner struck out with his young family in the late 19th century. It is believed that Levi died enroute to his dream, probably in 1900 in what is now the province of Manitoba. His widow, Mary Merner however ‘soldiered’ on and can be found living with her children in Didsbury, Alberta in 1901. Levi and Mary Merner’s descendants can still be found enjoying the beauty and richness of Canada’s western provinces today.
I owe a debt of thanks to Ellen’s fourth cousin Glenn Swanson for contacting me, through this blog, and providing some of the breakthrough information that assisted in deepening my knowledge and understanding of the family.
One thought on “The Merner Family Goes West”
I live in Cedar Falls, Iowa. My house was built by William Merner, Son of John and Mary Merner (from Switzerland) . According to the 1885 census, they had a daughter and 2 sons (born in Canada). They were farmers. William was a layer and a mayor. I find it interesting that the neighboring city to Cedar Falls is Waterloo, and the Merner family came from the county of Waterloo. We have discovered a large family plot in one of the older cemeteries.