Frédéric Guillaume "William" Kohler

 

He and his younger step-brother, Charles Ernest Kohler, both emigrated to Louisiana, but at different times, and both married the same woman: Angelica "Angelique" Rabalais.

William married her first – in 1874 – and had 3 children by her: Emile Paul (1873), Jules (1879) and Jeanne “Jane” (1883).

After William died in 1887 Angelica married Charles Ernest a year later and they had two boys: Eustis William Kohler (also called "E.W.", "Popee" and "Yo") in 1889 and Ernest “Pete” (1893). My family were friends with the family of E.W. Kohler over several decades, so I have included that family in the Kohler-Davies family tree.

This is the family in the original handwritten and  transcription forms of the 1880 US census. He was his father's oldest child.

He immigrated at port of New York from France, arriving 1 May 1872 (manifest signed 6/29/1872), aged 17, on board the R.M.S. Abyssinia, from Liverpool and Queenstown.

He settled in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana about 29 Oct 1872.  Became a US citizen on 5/23/1877, aged 23, file # 5923. He appears on the 1880 census: age 26, origin: Prussia, occupation: clerking, home: Marksville, Avoyelles, LA, married, origin of parents: Prussia. The census states that he could read but not write !?

We are not sure why he went straight to Avoyelles Parish and settled there. [See First Settlers of Avoyelles Parish] There does not seem to be anyone living near him on the 1880 census who came from Alsace. Perhaps in the 1870's rural Louisiana had a reputation for being receptive to French-speaking Catholics. According to an account given to Lela Kohler by her father-in-law Eustice (or Eustis) William Kohler:

"My father Ernest Kohler, his older brother William Kohler, and a Kohler cousin came to America from Alsace; they were 3 months in a sailboat. They settled around Lake Pearl near what is now Hessmer, Louisiana. The cousin didn't like the heat and humidity of Louisiana, so he left and went north. William cut cypress trees from Lake Pearl and hauled them by mule to a saw mill, made them into lumber, and built the old wooden Catholic church in Hessmer, LA. [Lela later noted that this sounds like the old wooden church in Echo, which all the Kohlers attended, and which no longer exists.]"

The only document on him in the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse is his marriage to Angelica Rabalais in 1874.