Judas Thadius Böniz (Thad) was born on 26 Feb. 1805, in Endingen, Baden, Germany; the son of Anton Böniz and Maria Ana Wagner. He continued in the family trade as a cooper. He was not doing well financially during the early 1850’s and his younger brother Wilhelm (William) sent him funds from California. Wilhelm wrote in June, 1853:
“I will also send you a check for 1250 Gulden [about US$500] through Rothschild, but I can not send it before I go to the bank at San Fco. which will be in a few month's time, but you can rely upon the fact that you will get the money this year; it will be of some help to you. Your letter made me and my wife nearly cry, I've never thought your situation was as bad as that.”
From the letters, it appears the money may not have arrived until December of the following year, 1854! In later letters (1855, 1863) it seems Thad was doing better, though in 1863 Wilhelm gives him his share of an inheritance, amount unspecified but large enough that brother Franz Xavier and sister Nany wanted their shares.
Thad married Magdalena Seilnacht (on 29 Jan. 1836); they had 6 children, all christened at the Catholic church in Endingen (Sankt Petri-sankt Martin-katholisch, Endingen); 3 died as infants.
Thad’s brothers wrote letters to him in which they described their experiences in America during the 1850's and 1860's. Many of these letters were given to Alfred A. Benitz (Thad’s nephew, son of Wilhelm) when he visited Endingen in August, 1904. It was probably Theodore Lederle who gave the letters to Alfred. Several of the letters have since been translated into English – the originals in German have been lost. In his diary, Alfred wrote of his visit:
“went ... to the house of Barbara Benitz Jerg, an old lady, who is the daughter of Thadeus Benitz, Father's brother. She has a son called Franz, also a daughter (ugly). Theodore Lederle is the son of Anna Benitz Lederlie (dead) who was the daughter of Thady [Thadius] Benitz. Theodore is a fine chap, and is married with two children.”
© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)