Hegner Family History

Descendants of William Hegner and Anna Mary Romans

of Wietingen, Wurtemburg;
Alsace Lorraine/Germany,
Ohio and Wisconsin

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William Hegner was born in 1820, in Wiedingen, Amt Sigmaringen, Germany.  No record has been found to indicate just when he emmigrated to America 

Anna Mary Romans was born 2 June 1828 in Stundwiller, Alsace Lorraine, France, the daughter of Antoine Romens and Marie Barbe Fischer.  On  30 June 1830 the Romans family docked in Baltimore, and found their way to Columbiana Co. Ohio. 

William Hegner married Anna Mary Romans 22 Apr. 1847 in St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, Dungannon, Columbiana Co. Ohio, and their first four children are born here.   Anna Mary's family, including a brother and sister, migrated to Fond du Lac Co. WI ca. 1854, and William and Mary followed. 

The Hegners resided in the Town of Ashford, Fond du Lac Co. WI for 10 years, before tragedy struck the family.  While returning home from the local village, after celebrating the birth of his newest daughter, William's horses bolted and he was thrown from the wagon and killed.   Mary was left with 7 surviving children, the oldest was Elizabeth, age 15, and the youngest was Sarah, only seven days old.   With the aid of relatives and neighbors, the family managed to survive until 1872, when Anna Mary Hegner died. 

On her deathbed, Anna Mary Hegner pleaded with the local priest to take her two youngest daughters, ages 7 and 9,  under his charge, and oversee their care personally.   It was at this time, that the priest was attempting to secure a religious order of nuns, to establish a boarding school for the children of his parish.   Anna Mary's death put additional pressure on him, to complete this quest, and so a short time later, when two nuns arrived in New Cassel to establish a new religious order and school,  Father Michels presented them with two boarders, ready and waiting to be placed in their permanent care. 

Four of the five remaining Hegner orphans were also under age 18, and had a guardian appointed for all.  They were placed with various farm families in the area, and in this area of large families and struggles to survive, some of their experiences as orphans were not pleasant.  Oral family history indicates that the family that Philomena Hegner was placed with, treated her as a slave, and would lock her in her room when they went to barn dances or other social events. 

Theresa Hegner, the second youngest, was placed in the boarding school with her youngest sister, and raised by the Sisters.   She immediately asked to join the religious order, but was told she should re-apply when she was a little older.  But Theresa never waivered, and was soon recorded as the first new member of School Sisters of St. Frances, a religious order that Theresa would remain with, and eventually become Superior General.

*** St. Philip Neri Catholic Church records, Dungannon, Columbiana Co. Ohio
*** He Sent Two, a History of the School Sisters of St. Francis.
***Stanislaus...with feet in the world, by Barbaralie Stiefermann, OSF  published 1990