John VonAllmen was the son of Jakob von Allmen, both born in Switzerland in the village of Unterseen (right next to Interlaken).

JOHN was born Dec 10, 1840, Unterseen, Switzerland; christened Dec. 20.  

See Swiss birth record at top right:

The birth record for John VonAllmen, Unterseen parish, Switzerland. 

All this family’s records were at the “Evangelish-Reformierte Kirche”

(Evangelical Reform Church) in Unterseen.

(Except that Jakob Sr’s marriage record was at the Gsteig church.)

All Swiss records were kept in the parish (church) in the village where the family held their citizenship, even if they lived in another village. Thus, “von hier” means the village where their citizenship was, and “in hier” or “zu hier” is where they resided.  

At the top of the page for this record is “1840.” 

To the right of the record reads: “Johannes nat (born) Dec 10” - “22” is the entry number in the registry.

It says in German: 

“Eltern: (parents)  Jakob vonAllmen, Johannes S. (son), Schuhmacher (shoemaker) inhier (lives in Unterseen)

Margarita vonAllmen, Jakobs sel (deceased) T. (daughter) von hier (from another village) cop (married) Gsteig 1832, Jul 13

Zeugen: (witnesses) 

- Johannes vonAllmen, das Kinder Grossvater (child’s grandfather), an der (on the) Spielmatte (name of the Alpine meadow in Unterseen where he lived)

- Heinrich Michel, von hier, im Dorf (in the village)

  1. -Barbara vonAllmen geb (born) Steiner, das Vaters Schwaegerin (father’s sister-in-law/wife of Christian), im Dorf

[In 1844 Barbara and Christian emigrated to America and settled in Richland County, IL. In 1850 Jakob followed his brother to America with his family.]

At right is the Unterseen church where he probably was baptized.

[Family stories said that he was 16 years old when he joined the army in 1861 during the Civil War--which would make his birth date in 1844.  His tombstone says b 1844. He put on his pension application papers, filled out in 1913, that he was born Dec. 18, 1841, but other military records also show his birthdate as 1842 & 1843, so he seemed unable to remember his birth year. But his birth record was finally found in Unterseen, Switzerland -- Dec 10, 1840.]


In 1850 when he was 9 years old, he and his family emigrated from Switzerland with his parents, settling in Richland County, Illinois.  In 1847, previous to their immigration, the family lived through a short (1 month) religious civil war in Switzerland. Perhaps they emigrated to escape the civil unrest, but more likely it was to escape the poverty in Switzerland. However, 10 years after moving to America, John & his brother, Jacob, were involved in another war, the American Civil War. 

I don’t see any land purchases by John or his father (Jacob) or his brother (Jacob) or his uncle (Christian) in Illinois

1860 IL census - Richland Co, Olney twp, p 44:

VanAlman, Jac - 51, b Switz, farmer, 1200/300

. . . . Marg't - 54, b Sw

. . . . Jac - 24, b Sw, laborer

. . . . Eliz't - 19, b Sw

. . . . Jno - 18, b Sw

. . . . Susan - 16, b Sw

. . . . Mary - 13, b Sw

John joined the Union Army Dec. 1, 1861 (right before his 21st birthday) and served in Company I, 63rd Illinois Infantry.  His military records describe him as 5'7", dark complexion, brown (or hazel) eyes, and black hair. He was discharged Dec. 31, 1863 in Huntsville, AL, then the next day, Jan. 1, 1864, he reenlisted as a veteran.  During the War he was in Arkansas, Mississippi (Vicksburg), Alabama, Tennessee (Chattanooga), and in Nov-Dec, 1864, his company was with Gen. Sherman in his famous "March to the Sea" to Savannah, Georgia through Maryland, Virginia, North & South Carolina.  At the end of the War his group passed in review in Washington, D.C. in May, 1865.  He was discharged July 13, 1865 in Louisville, Kentucky. 

John had become acquainted with Mary Elizabeth Heral before the War, being a local girl from Richland County. On Nov. 1, 1866 in Olney, Richland Co., IL they were married by Jacob Berry, Justice of the Peace. See also Heral family.

1870 Richland Co, IL, Claremont twp. HH# 136 -

Vanolman, John - 24 Switz, farmer

. . . . . Elizabeth - 23 IL

. . . . . Jacob - 2 IL

. . . . . Wesley O - 2 mos

(In the next dwelling is Elizabeth’s cousin, Jacob Leathers)

John & Mary VonAllmen made their home first in Richland County, IL where their first 5 children (Edward, Wesley, Mary Ellen, Alfred & Millie) were born.  In 1874 they buried 21-month-old Mary Ellen in Olney.

In 1878, they moved to about 10 miles NE to Oblong, Crawford Co., IL [NE of Richland Co], where their remaining 5 children were born. The next year they buried 9-year-old Wesley. 

1880 Martin, Crawford Co, IL:

Venalman, John - 34 (1846 Switz, par b Switz) - farming

. . . . Mary E. - 31 (1849 IL, par b OH)

. . . . Edward - 12 (1868 IL, par b Switz/IL)

. . . . Riley - 4 (1876 IL)

. . . . Milley - 3 (1877 IL)

In 1884, 5-month-old David died. These are 7 VonAllmen burials at Oblong Cemetery taken from the cemetery plot book. It looks like (below) that there were 3 unnamed babies of John VonAllmen (including David) at Oblong Cemetery. But if there were, 2 of them must have been stillborn because they were not included on a family framed chart of children, while 5-month-old David was.

Section 2, Row 14 (page 76) -

Space 12, grave #1190 - "child of John Van allman ... no monument ... central head of the grave east of the established line 1-2, south of the SE corner of the Daniel Kintner monument 34-2”

Space 12a, grave #1191 - "child of John Ping ... no monument ... (same as above) 37-8” [child of daughter-in-law Etta and her 2nd husband]

Space 15, grave #1192 - "Goldie Van allman ... no monument ... central head of the grave east of the established line 1-9 ... (rest as above) 51-4” [daughter of Edward]

Space 15a, grave #1193 - "Edward Van allman ... no monument ... (same as above) 55 ft”

Section 2 Row 11 (page 77) -

Space 8 - vacant or unknown

Space 8a, grave #1194 - “child of John Van allman, no monument, central head of the grave west of the established line 6, south of the established lines? 99-7”

Space 8a, grave #1195 - “child of John Van allman, no monument, central head of the grave west of the established line 6 in south of the established lines? 103 ft.”

Space 9, grave #715 - “Wesley O. Von Alman, son of John and Mary E. Van alman, etc., monument small white marble slab (broken), dates unreadable, west of the established line 10 in, south of the ? R McLain momument 106-5”

They lived in Oblong for 18 years. John was a fairly small man in stature but fearless.  As one story goes, one of the houses he bought in Illinois was supposedly haunted.  One night after the family had moved in someone tried to scare them, but John was not to be run off.  He jumped up and ran around the house in his underwear with a shotgun.

In 1896 John traded his 80 acres in Crawford Co., IL for 200 acres in Oregon Co., Missouri.  He wanted more land so he could give each of his sons a farm when they were grown, but having never seen the land in southern Missouri, he didn’t realize it was not nearly the quality of farmland he had owned in Illinois. Leaving their oldest son Edward, who was married, behind, they moved to Oregon Co., MO. in 1896 and into a house on their new property which, unknown to them, had been occupied by a family with typhoid fever.  Several of their children contracted the disease and Alfred died from it soon after their arrival.

In Feb. 1897 daughter Millie married in Oregon Co, Mo and soon moved to Iowa.

In Nov. 1897 John’s sister Mary Steward died in Richland Co, IL.

In Oct. 1898 their son Edward died in Illinois in a drowning accident.

1900 MO - Oregon Co, Highland twp, p 5b, June 6:

Vonalmen, John (head) - b Dec. 1844, age 55, m 34 yrs, b Switz, par b Switz

. . . . . Elizabeth (wife) - b Oct 1846, age 53, 10 ch 5 liv, b IL, par b OH

. . . . . Elmer F (son) - b Oct 1889, age 19, b IL

. . . . . Charley O (son) - b July 1885, age 14, b IL

. . . . . Harlin A. (son) - b Mar 1888, age 12, b IL

. . . . . Lilla E. (daug) - b July 1891, age 8, b IL

In about 1903 when Elmer married he bought (or was given) about 40 acres of John & Mary's farm.  In 1909 they gave the rest of their farm to their son Harlin who was getting married, and they moved into West Plains.  

In the 1911-12 West Plains City Directory, they are listed as:

VanAlman, J., retired farmer, 515 Worchester Av.

VanAlman, Mrs. Mary Herl, 515 Worcester Av.

John died June 1, 1913.  Right before he died he called again and again to his son Elmer, who was not a Christian at the time, "Elmer, come quick; the Lord's coming! Do you see him?"  

He also told Elmer, "You take your mother and keep her," so Mary lived with Elmer & Nora about 3 years before she died Aug. 10, 1917.  Mary may have suffered from Altzheimer's before she died. John & Mary were buried at the Jolliff Cemetery, across the road from their old farm.     

Find A Grave Memorial# 44294105


4a)    Edward Jacob VonAllmen, 1867-98; m Marietta Dickey

4b)    Wesley O. VonAllmen, 1870-79

4c)    Mary Ellen VonAllmen, 1872-74

4d)    Alfred Riley VonAllmen, 1876-96

4e)    Millie VonAllmen, 1879-1969; m George Spencer

4f)     Elmer Franklin VonAllmen, 1880-1967; m Nora Bell Jolliff

4g)    David A. VonAllmen, 1883-84

4h)    Charley Orey VonAllmen, 1885-1968; m Ollie May Sparks

4i)     Harlin Albert VonAllmen, 1888-1972; m Ethel Judd

4j)     Lillie Rosetta VonAllmen, 1891-1920; m Elijah Jolliff









John VonAllmen 1840-1913

Church in Unterseen, Switzerland

Ship “Lemuel Dyer” that brought the VonAllmen family to America in 1850.

Olney, Richland County, Illinois

Oblong, Crawford County, Illinois

Edward Jacob VonAllmen and below is his wife and children, Ansel, John Earl & Goldie, after his death in 1898.

Millie VonAllmen Spencer (with daughter Mable)

Older Millie

Elmer & Nora and family

Charlie & Ollie

Harlin & Ethel VonAllmen, 1956

Lillie VonAllmen Jolliff

Charlie & Ollie

Michl School in Oblong, IL with Elmer, Harlin & Charley.

This picture was taken about 1896, probably right before John VonAllmen and family moved from Crawford Co, IL to Oregon Co, MO.  They were probably visiting relatives in Richland Co. for the last time. Elmer's niece, Fay, says that Elmer always wore a suit when he dated Nora.

Elmer VonAllmen is the young man sitting in the front. He's about 16.  

The woman beside him must surely be his aunt, Sarah Emma Heral Hinderliter (see below left). She would have been 38 years old.  

The man on the back left is maybe Emma's husband Wm. Hinderliter.

I can't figure out who the woman behind Emma is. She looks a bit like John VonAllmen's sister, Mary Steward (see picture at bottom of screen)

Maybe the couple behind Elmer is Wes Heral and his wife Nannie. (Or just neighbors and friends.)

Mary's parents, David & Mary Ann Heral, and her brother Will & Rosina Heral had moved to Colorado around 1890, where David died in 1894.

Just to compare pictures, here are some siblings of Mary Heral:

Sarah Emma Heral) Hinderliter (below left). Next is his aunt Martha (Heral) Ransom, then Wes Heral,

Elmer & Nora

Mary VonAllmen Steward & family (sister of John VonAllmen)


John & Mary VonAllmen

Children (back) Elmer, Edward, Riley, Millie

(front) Harlan, Lillie, Charlie