Remembering Our Ancestors: William David Christman

William David Christman, our 2nd great-grandfather, was the son of Daniel and Hannah (Sultwover) Christman.  He was born on 19 Sep 1845 in Washington County, MD.

WD Christman
William David Christman (1845–1940)

His own 2nd great grandfather Daniel Christman (1705–1760), after whom his father was named, had immigrated from the Palatine (to be more precise, from the modern Kaiserslautern district) in Germany to what is now Montgomery County in the south-eastern corner of Pennsylvania, in September of 1730.

William David Christman was 17 when the Civil War came around, so he enlisted as a Private on 5 Dec 1861 in the State of Ohio and joined Company E of the Ohio 78th Infantry Regiment on 03 Jan 1862.  He survived – good for us, or else we wouldn’t be here! – and was mustered out on 11 Jul 1865 at Louisville, KY.

After the war it was time to marry, and so he married Margaret Kirkbride, daughter of Ebenezer and Elizabeth (Ames) Kirkbride, on 13 Jun 1868 in Morgan Co., OH.  They had at least one son, but Maggie died early, on 28 Feb 1873.

in the mines
In the mines

At age 35 (in 1880) William David was making a living as a farmer.  He could read and write, the census data states, having completed 5 years of schooling as a child.  The above picture, however, has very likely been taken between the Civil War and 1880 because it shows William David, on the left, in the coal mines where some of his sons and grandsons after him earned their keep in later years.  So did he for a while, it seems.

William David was remarried on 16 Jun 1881 to Rebecca Ellen Longstreth, daughter of Levi and Sarah (Moore) Longstreth, in Perry Co., OH.  They had at least five children:

– Mary Francis Christman Loomis (1882-aft. 1940)
– Burgess Orlando Christman (1884-1982)
– Susie Ann Christman Sexton (1886-1943)
– James Dallas Christman (1892-1969), our great-grandfather
– William Henry Christman (1894-1989)

William was also a minister, which, incidentally, was obviously not his means of earning a livelihood.  The featured picture shows him in front of his first church.  He is the tall man with the impressive beard standing in front of the door.  Going by the beard, the featured picture and the family picture below could have been taken around the same time.

Christman family
William D. Christman and his wife Rebecca Christman, nee Longstreth, sitting. Children, left to right: Susannah Ann, Burgess Orlando, William Henry, (possibly) Mary Francis, and Dallas, our great-grandfather.

In 1900, William David was still farming on his own farm in Perry County, OH.  By 1910, however, at age 64, he was working odd jobs as a laborer and lived in Trimble, Athens Co., OH, in a rented home.  One has to wonder if he went back into the mines off and on at that age because Athens County was coal-miner country at the time.  By 1920 though, at age 74, he was retired.  Here is a picture of him and his wife Rebecca in their older age:

WD and Rebecca
William David and Rebecca

Ten years later, in 1930, William David was widowed – Rebecca died in 1928 – , and he was to live for another ten years.  Here he is with one of his great-grandsons:

william D christman with paul snyder
William D. Christman (with Paul Snyder, one of his grandsons)

William David Christman died at the age of 95 on 2 Dec 1940 in Trimble, Athens Co., Ohio.  Rest in Peace, dear Great-Great-Grandpa!

WD grave stone





6 Replies to “Remembering Our Ancestors: William David Christman”

      1. Wonderful write up of the Christman Family. I am descended thru His daughter Susannah Christman Sexton. I have many of these photo originals as well as some others but was delighted to see the coal mining photo. I have numerous newspapers articles written about William and his service to our country.


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