John Sebastian Trares Saga: Part 3

Well, I really hit pay-dirt while trying to figure out what had happened to John Sebastian TRARES!

Knowing what staunch Catholics the TRARES family was/is, I searched to find the cemetery records for the Diocese of St. Louis. I am happy to report that the Church has made it quite easy to search online for anyone buried within the diocese. It took about ten minutes to locate all of the TRARES clan buried there.

What a treasure trove! You can click on the thumbnail image shown below to see a larger version of what I found.

So now I know that John Sebastian Trares died in September 1922 and he was buried at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, along with several children and his second wife.

I found him, some of his children and – surprise! – his second wife living in St. Louis on the U.S. Federal Census. He married second wife, Frances Cordelia Winchester 17 Feb 1887 after first wife, Josephine Gerber, died in Edwardsville.

I also located a copy of the The History of Madison County, Illinois, which included the following biographical sketch of John Sebastian TRARES. He was quite the influential man within his community, a very successful businessman and wealthy.

JOHN S. TRARES was for many years one of the most successful merchants of Edwardsville, but retiring from business in 1892, has since devoted his attention to his extensive real estate interests in Madison County.

A native of Kirschhausen, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, he was born December 27, 1834.

His parents, Matthias and Elizabeth (Helmling) Trares, were also natives of that village, the former born in 1790, and the latter in 1792.

The father, who was a farmer by occupation, served in the army of Napoleon, having been conscripted into service by that general after his return from Moscow. Emigrating to the United States in 1839, Matthias Trares settled in Suffield, Portage County, Ohio, where he engaged in farming. The property which he purchased on going to the Buckeye State he continued to cultivate until his death, in 1882.

In politics, he supported the platform of the Democratic party, and in religious belief he was a Catholic. His wife, who was also a member of the Catholic Church, died at the home place in 1854.

They were the parents of eight children, of whom Peter died in Ohio at the age of twelve years; Agnes, the wife of John Knapp; Barbara, who was married to John A. Cline; and Margaret, the wife of Henry Long, reside in Ohio.

Brought to the United States by his parents, our subject was reared upon the Ohio farm, and in boyhood attended the district schools.

At the age of fourteen he left home to make his own way in the world.

Going to Akron, he was there employed in a grocery store for two years, and in a drug store one year.

At the expiration of three years he went to Cleveland and was engaged in the drug business. From there he went to Maumee City and embarked in the same business, remaining two years.

Leaving Maumee City, he went to St. Louis, where he clerked in a drug store one year, and then opened a store of his own. After one year he sold out and removed to Edwardsville, where he bought out two drug stores and a book and toy store, starting the business on a more extensive scale.

In 1863 Mr. Trares moved the store up town, having purchased a lot and built a store on the corner of Purcell and Main Streets. He remained there for ten years and then erected a large store on Main Street, where for seven years he conducted a profitable trade.

At the expiration of that time, on account of ill-health, he disposed of the store to Harnist & Cook, binding himself not to resume business for five years. He fulfilled his part of the contract, and after remaining out of business for eight years, bought out Henry Bickelhaupt and again entered business, occupying one of the stores that he owned.

Two years later he sold to Mr. Bickelhaupt and immediately bought out Mr. Harnist, then in business alone.

Taking into partnership John Judd, he conducted business for two years, and then sold to Burroughs & Judd in 1892, since which time he has been retired from active business.

The management of his extensive real-estate interests now occupies a considerable portion of Mr. Trares’ time. He owns three farms in Edwardsville Township, containing about three hundred acres, and also owns two hundred acres in Ft. Russell Township, all of which he rents.

He has property in St. Louis and Springfield, Mo., and owns the business block adjoining the opera house, as well as other property in Edwardsville. His residence on St. Louis Street was erected in 1892, and contains all the modern appliances.

September 24, 1863, at Edwardsville, John S. Trares and Miss Josephine Gerber were united in marriage. Mrs. Trares was the daughter of Martin and Elizabeth Gerber, the former a native of Alsace, and at one time a merchant of Edwardsville; he died in March, 1893, at the age of eighty-two; his wife passed away in 1875.

Mr. and Mrs. Trares became the parents of six children: Bertha, Annie, Josephine, August, Frank and Mark, all of whom reside at home except August, who is engaged in business in St. Louis. The wife and mother died November 27, 1884.

The second marriage of Mr. Trares united him, February 17, 1887, with Frances Cordelia, daughter of E. C. and Ann C. (Dorsey) Winchester. Her father was a native of Louisiana, while her mother’s people were originally from Kentucky; they now reside in Bunker Hill, Ill.

In religious belief both Mr. and Mrs. Trares are members of the Catholic Church. Politically, he is a Democrat. For several years he has served as a member of the School Board, and is also identified with St. Boniface Benevolent Society.

This entry was posted in Family History, Genealogy How To's, Local History. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to John Sebastian Trares Saga: Part 3

  1. Christoph Trares says:

    About the “spanish connection” of the TRARES family…

    In the “Thirty Years’ War”, the Starkenburg* was taken 1621 by Spanish troops**. The Starkenburg is a castle on the Hill next to Heppenheim (Kirschhausen is a suburb of Heppenheim, and by the way “Sebastian Vettel”, the current Formula 1 race car world champion is from Heppenheim too).

    My grandpa worked for the city hall and found one day after research a document which says, that a spanish “trares” which came with the spanish troops, married a woman from heppenheim (~1630/35)

    This is the latest date I know regarding the name Trares. So at least the trares from my side are not entirly german :). Spanish google doesn’t find any trares in spain… :-/

    My grandparents told me that there was a Trares who wanted to emigrate to the US, but nobody know if he made it… Now I know he did 🙂

    ** source:


  2. Christoph Trares says:

    “A native of Kirschshausen…”
    it’s spelled Kirschhausen (lit. “home of the cherries” – in ancient times in this valley were hundreds of cherry trees).
    it’s a tiny but lovely village in the middle of Germany. Approx. 60km south of Frankfurt

    My grandfather found out, that the Trares family of this area came originally from spain during wartime in the 16th century.


    • knappnotes says:

      Thanks for correcting the spelling error! I will have to check my source document and see how it is spelled there. I think I copied and pasted from the source…it may be misspelled there, too.

      I would like to know more about the Trares family originating from 16th century Spain. This is the first time I have heard about a Spanish connection. How intriguing!

      Please email me at: to discuss this further. Are you located in the U.S. or in Germany? It would be great to reconnect with the German branch of the family.

      And thanks for writing!


      • Christoph Trares says:

        I’m from Germany, I’m from Kirschhausen (so no need to check the name) originally since 1200 it was named Kirsehusen (veeerrrryyy old German word for Kirschhausen)

        What’s really interresting. Relatives of mine have also the name Knapp. Seems that these two names are really bound together 🙂

        On May 14th (3 weeks ago) we had a reunion of our family (we do that every 2 years). What we did there is we draw a family-tree since beginning of the 20th century, where all ~250 family members are on. I’m not sure if this tree is already converted some kind of electronic format (it was a quite huge picture on the wall) but with some patience I can send you that as soon as I got it.



        • knappnotes says:

          That would be terrific if you are willing to share the information with us. Yes, there is definitely a Knapp – Trares connection. And I am most curious about the Spanish connection. As far as we knew, the Trares family all came from Germany. Thank goodness for the internet that allows us to connect with people everywhere. I will send you an email, too!

          Great to hear back from you! Looking forward to seeing how we may be related!

          Ann Richardson-Knapp


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.