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The Danner Family

Edward Cooley

The Danners, early settlers of Emmitsburg, resided in that community as it grew into a town, then a city for over a century. They owned property there, and they were instrumental in promoting its progress, both civically and financially, they attended its Lutheran and Presbyterian churches. About thirty Danner children were reared within its boundaries. While there, their lives encompassed three wars: the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the War between the States. The Danner family intermarried with the Agnews, the Gambles, the Crooks, and the Potterfields; with thirty Danner children, I'm sure there were many more Emmitsburg surnames involved.

Dietrich (Teter, Deter, Teator) was the David Danner on page 12 of Helman's "History of Emmitsburg, Maryland." the name David was undoubtedly a "fraktur" of Dietrich. Dietrich and his brother Michael arrived in the Philadelphia port in 1742 from the area of Frankfort on the Rhine, Germany. They were probably part of the emigrants fleeing the Palatinate mentioned by Helman. Dietrich, a blacksmith, settled in a community called Bridgeport, located between Taneytown and Emmitsburg in Frederick County. Dietrich and wife Barbara were members of the Tom's Creek Lutheran Church. (Elias Lutheran Church was located at Tom's Creek from 1757 to 1797 - ed.) Barbara bore Dietrich seven children: five daughters and two sons, Jacob and David, to carry on the Danner name. Dietrich died in 1768 and is buried in the Tom's Creek Lutheran Cemetery. Helman says his tome is said to be the oldest in the community.

Dietrich's sons Jacob and David purchased lots in Emmitsburg in 1785. Jacob (1763-1791) is the next in my direct Danner ancestral line. His avocation was listed by Helman as a merchant in the tailoring trade in Emmitsburg. Jacob married Rachael and reared five children in Emmitsburg, three sons and two daughters. Jacob passed away in 1841 and Rachael a short time later in 1842. They are both buried in the Emmitsburg (Elias) Lutheran Cemetery.

Joseph Danner (1796 1840), son of Jacob and Rachael, is my next direct descendent in the Danner family. He was the first to break from the Lutheran ranks to join the Presbyterians when he married Martha Agnew, a Scottish lass from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in January, 1824. He purchased a lot in Emmitsburg in an area formerly known as the Shields Addition. I assume his trade was that of a builder. Helman backs into establishing Joseph's trade on page 82 of his book by referring to the location of Lowherd's Tavern "where the store-house now stands, erected by Joseph Danrier in 1838."

Joseph's untimely death in 1840 at the age of 44 years left his widow with several young children, ranging from one born the year of Joseph's death to a seven-year-old son, Joseph Warren Danner, my next direct ancestor in the Danner family tree. Joseph and Martha had ten children, all born in Emmitsburg. Martha died in 1894; she was 92 years old. Both she and Joseph are buried in the Emmitsburg Presbyterian Cemetery.

The 1850 Emmitsburg, Frederick County census shows Joseph Warren Danner, now seventeen years old, as being in the dwelling of one David Gamble. David and brother William Gamble were saddlers in Emmitsburg in the early and mid-l8th century. It is believed that Joseph Warren Danner was a harness and saddle making apprentice with the Gambles; harness-making was the avocation that took Joseph Warren into the cavalry of the Confederate States during the Civil War.

Private Joseph Warren Danner enlisted in the North Carolina Troops in Wayne County, North Carolina, at the age of 25 on June 20, 1861. He was captured in early skirmishes with Union troops at Urbana, Maryland, on October 11, 1962, but was paroled and exchanged at Aiken's Landing, Virginia, on November 10 of that year. He was captured again at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1863, and was imprisoned at Fort Delaware, Delaware, until transferred to Point Lookout, Maryland, on October 18, 1863. He was paroled and exchanged on November 22, 1864, when he joined his unit at Camp Lee, Virginia, to continue fighting. The war was over for Joseph Warren Danner on April 9, 1865, at the signing of Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

Joseph Warren was part of J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry as they made their way up through Virginia, Maryland, and into Gettysburg. Ironically, the reports of Stuart's charge led Joseph right through Emmitsburg. His mother, Martha, was still alive; it is reported that brothers and cousins (Agnews) of Joseph were fighting the same war, only for the Federal Union. Another piece of irony is that Joseph was imprisoned for more than a year in one of the worst Northern prisons of the war, Point Lookout, Maryland.

Joseph returned to North Carolina after being paroled to rejoin his wife whom he had married during one of his leaves; he picked up the trade he had learned from the Gambles of Emmitsburg. He, his wife, and their three children migrated to Texas after an unsuccessful attempt to make a living in North Carolina. The war and imprisonment had taken their toll on Joseph, however, and he spent the latter part of his life in deep depression. In 1901 he died in the local asylum in Terrell, Texas. A veteran's tombstone in memory of Joseph Warren Danner has been placed next to that of his wife Mary Elizabeth Jordan Danner in Greenwood Cemetery, Dallas, Texas.

Read Ed Houck's: Remembering George Danner

Read other family histories

Do you know of an individual who helped shape Emmitsburg?
If so, send their story to us at: history@emmitsburg.net

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