I did not find Christian Gerner in the 1860, 1870, or 1880 U.S. censuses. However, I found a man named Christian Garner in the 1880 census living in Fairview Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania. His age was 60 (therefore born about 1820). His family included wife, Elizabeth; children Charles, 27; Lizzie, 29; Christian, 25; and John, 23.
This man and his family are of interest to me for the following reasons:
- Lizzie Gerner is named as the witness of the marriage of Fred Gerner and Elvira Bartley on 24 Jul 1872 in Sugar Creek, Venango County, Pennsylvania. The marriage was officiated by Abner Dale. (Abner Dale was the pastor of St. Peter's Reformed Church from 1856-1860 and again from 1869-1875. The History of Butler County, Pennsylvania noted that Christian Gerner was affiliated with St. Peter's Reformed Church.)
- Charles Gerner, brother of Fred Gerner, would have been about the same age as Charles Garner in 1880.
- One of Fred Gerner's daughters remembered that Fred had 3 brothers: Christian, John, and Charles.
I love a good mystery!