The family of Martin Heiner and Adelgunda Dietzel, early settlers in Morgan, Utah, are being spotlighted in an exhibit at the museum of Wasungen, Germany. The exhibit, entitled “Wasungen Emigrants Overseas,” opened on November 6 2011 and will run through January 6, 2012.
The museum exhibit has generated a great deal of interest and on the opening day it overflowed with visitors. The history club in Wasungen has found over 500 people in their archives who immigrated to all parts of the world from Wasungen. Besides America, they will also discuss emigrants to Brazil and Australia.
Martin Heiner was born in 1818 in the small village of Walldorf, Germany. Beginning at age four, he completed fourteen years of state required education. He was a gifted musician, playing the zither, a stringed instrument that rested on the musician’s lap. By age ten he was playing for family and friends and at community dances.
Martin apprenticed to be a weaver. He obtained employment with Michael Dietzel, a master weaver in the town of Wasungen, 4 miles from Walldorf. There, he met and married Herr Dietzel’s daughter, Adelgunda. They made their home in Wasungen.
Martin and Adelgunda Heiner were the first people in the town of Wasungen to apply for emigration to the United States in 1845, following the repeal of anti-emigration laws. The couple and their four children endured forty days of bad weather on the open sea, landing in Baltimore. They soon moved to Thomastown, Pennsylvania, where they met LDS missionaries and joined the church. Martin was the area church leader until 1859 when they made the trek to the Salt Lake Valley. In 1863 the family settled in Morgan.
In Morgan Valley, the family prospered. Martin was a prominent citizen in the community and is recognized for building the first rock house in Morgan. He also served several years on the city council. The three Heiner sons, Anthony, George and Daniel were also community leaders, building the Morgan Hotel, and Como Springs resort. Daniel became the mayor of Morgan and a state legislator. George served many years as the postmaster. Anthony and Daniel also ran a large ranch in Echo Canyon. A daughter, Mary, married Arza Hinckley, brother of President Gordon B. Hinckley’s grandfather.
After receiving news of the museum exhibit in July, Scott Heiner contacted as many of Martin and Adelgunda Heiner’s descendants as possible. Many Heiner families have sent photos and histories as well as current pictures of their families with summaries of where they now live and what they do. This event has generated so much excitement that in October, a meeting of representatives from the branches of the Heiner family met and organized a Martin Heiner Family Organization. A Martin Heiner Family reunion is scheduled for 14 July 2012 in Morgan.