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Mary (Trisler) Houser and Susannah "Susan" (Trisler) Cawby -- Daughters of Dr. Peter Trisler


Mary (Trisler) Houser:

There is no direct evidence that proves that Mary Trisler, born about 1776, married to Abraham Houser, Jr. in Jessamine County, Kentucky in 1797, and died 64 September 1838 in Logan County, Illinois, is the daughter of Dr. Peter Trisler. There is some circumstantial evidence that leads to the conclusion that she is the daughter of Dr. Peter Trisler.


Between the years 1789 and 1803, there were only two men surnamed Trisler living in Jessamine County, Kentucky, who were of an age to have a daughter born about 1776. Those men were Dr. Peter Trisler and his brother, Michael Trisler. Each man was married and had children. Michael Trisler’s children have been documented in a family Bible passed down to one of his sons, John Trisler. The Bible does not contain the name of Mary Trisler as a daughter of Michael Trisler and his wife, Catherine. Michael Trisler died in Jessamine County, Kentucky, about 1803.


Dr. Peter Trisler is known to have had at least eleven children, based on a court document filed in Jessamine County, Kentucky, in April 1806 when the legal wife of Dr. Peter Trisler sued him for abandonment. She stated that they had ten children, and that he also had an illegitimate child. Elizabeth Trisler did not name her children, or state how many were still living. Based on various records in Jessamine County, including census records, tax records, and marriage records, six children have been identified as being the children of Dr. Peter Trisler and his legal wife, Elizabeth. Those children include Mary (Trisler) Houser.


On 8 October 1813, Peter Trisler, Jr. wrote a letter to his “Dear Father,” Dr. Peter Trisler from The Moravian Villages following the battle in which the Indian leader Tecumseh was killed. At the close of the letter, Peter Trisler, Jr. asks his father to “present my compliments to Grandfather Howser.” Peter Trisler, Jr. was not married to a daughter of Abraham Houser, Sr., but his sister, Mary Trisler was married to Abraham Houser, Jr. That may explain why Peter Trisler, Jr. made reference to “Grandfather Houser.” Abraham Houser, Sr. was the only man of an age to be a grandfather living in Jessamine County at the time.

In 1820, Mary Houser’s husband, Abraham Houser, Jr. and she were involved in a court case with Dr. Peter Trisler. In a statement made a part of the case, Dr. Peter Trisler alleges that Mary Houser said of him “You (meaning sd [said] Peter) are an old Rascal, and she meaning the sd [said] Mary could penitentiary him for acts that he had been doing for these thirty years”; thereby meaning, and intending to make others believe he the sd [said] Peter had been guilty of crimes so black, and violations of the laws of his country so high & flagrant that had he been prosecuted, therefore, [his] punishment would have been ignominious confinement in the Penitentiary.” This could be a reference to his adulterous behavior alleged by his wife Elizabeth in her 1806 course document. Subpoenaed as a party to this case were siblings of Mary (Trisler) Houser: Peter Trisler, Jr. & wife, Elizabeth Trisler, Sr., Susanna Canvy [common misspelling of Cawby], and John Trisler.

Another possible item supporting that Mary (Trisler) Houser is the daughter of Dr. Peter Trisler is indicated in the names she gave to her children. Her second child, and first son, was named Peter, perhaps after her father and her brother. None of her other sons were named Michael, further indicating that she is not a daughter of Michael Trisler, brother of Dr. Peter Trisler, and one of only two men who could likely be the father of Mary Trisler. Mary (Trisler) Houser’s female children were given the names of her mother, Elizabeth, and sisters, Susan/Susannah and Catherine. The names of other children of Mary (Trisler) Houser and Abraham Houser, Jr. are included in the names of close family members of Abraham Houser, Jr.


Susannah "Susan" (Trisler) Cawby:

For Susannah/Susan (Trisler) Cawby, the evidence given in the first three paragraphs above apply to Susannah as well. Susannah Trisler was born about 1788; she married Martin Cawby on 6 November 1809 in Jessamine County, Kentucky. Peter Trisler was bondsman for the marriage.


A descendant of Susannah (Trisler) Cawby, Richard Cawby, has in his possession a Bible, dated 1744, that belonged to Dr. Peter Trisler, and was passed down to him through the Cawby family. Inscribed at the top of a page near the front of the Bible is this statement: “This was the property of Dr. Peter Trisler Born in Sustersbachville in Germany 1745 And now the property of his grand Son J. T. Cawby Born 1 September 1810 in County of Jessamine and state Ky.” John Thomas Cawby is the eighth child and fourth son of Susannah (Trisler) Cawby and Martin Cawby. Susannah (Trisler) Cawby died in 1858 in Franklin County, Indiana. Her son, John Thomas Cawby died on 22 March 1888 in Independence, Missouri. He is the grandfather of Richard Cawby, who now owns the 1744 Bible that once belonged to Dr. Peter Trisler. Unfortunately, there is no further family information recorded in the Bible beyond the statement that was written by J. T. Cawby.


Throughout his time in Jessamine County, Kentucky, between 1789 and his death in 1821, Dr. Peter Trisler was involved in a number of court suits, including several within the family. Many of those suits have subpoenas for parties to the cases, including Mary (Trisler) Houser and Susan/Susannah (Trisler) Cawby.

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