The Definitive Dwiggins no. 85—W.A. Dwiggins’ Ancestry, Part II: Benjamin Y. and Sarah Siegfried
W.A. Dwiggins’ maternal grandparents were Baptists, the Rev. B.Y. Siegfried and his wife Sarah.
The pastor of the First Baptist Church in Wilmington in 1878 was the circuit-riding Rev. Benjamin Young Siegfried. He was born September 25, 1816 in Buck’s County, Pennsylvania. In his early life Ben was “engaged in the newspaper business,” wrote the editor of The Clinton Republican, “and like every one else that has once felt the magnetism of life editorial, feels perfectly at home in a printing office.”  However, at age twenty-one he abandoned the newspaper business to become a minister of the gospel. For the remainder of his life Ben moved from pastorate to pastorate criss-crossing central Ohio: Cambridge, Kirkersville, Cumberland, Loudonville, Fredericktown, Dresden, New Concord, New Lexington, Hillsboro, New Vienna, Brookfield, McConnelsville, Adamsville, Washington township, Fultonham, Georgetown and—on three occasions—Wilmington. At first he traveled around “conducting funerals and assisting other ministers in conducting protracted meetings in the country churches” before securing his own pastorates. By the 1870s he had become one of the most respected Baptist ministers in Ohio and a leading figure at statewide Baptist gatherings. 
Rev. Siegfried was an Immersionist, meaning that he believed in adult baptism. He himself must have been baptized as an adult. Before becoming a Baptist minister Rev. Siegfried may have been raised as a Mennonite since that sect was settled in Pennsylvania. 
Ben married Sarah E. Muzzy (b. 1822) on December 29, 1840 in Cambridge—a town seventy-five miles due east of Columbus that figures prominently in WAD’s adolescent history. Sarah was born January 31, 1822 in Cumberland, Ohio. Her parents were Thomas N. Muzzy (1789–1883) and Lorinda J. (Bacon) Muzzy (1791–1886), both originally from Massachusetts. 
Rev. Siegfried and his wife Sarah had eleven children of which Eva, the seventh, born in 1855, was the mother of WAD. Her story will be taken up in future posts which will include additional information on the lives of WAD’s maternal grandparents.
Rev. B.Y. Siegfried died “of infirmities” on January 7, 1901 in Zanesville. Although his mind and memory had left him in his final years, he was described as still coherent and powerful at prayer. The obituary in The Daily Jeffersonian said of him:
He seemed the very incarnation of nervous energy. No storm, nor heat, nor cold, nor discouragements hindered him from filling every appointment and at roll calls and experience meetings more Christian people announced their conversion as under his ministry and their baptism by him than fell to the lot of any other preacher of the Baptist denomination in all the section where he lived and preached. 
After his death Sarah went to live with Eva and her son Willie in nearby Cambridge, Ohio. She died of arteriosclerosis on December 14, 1912 at her daughter’s home. 
1. The Clinton Republican, 9 March 1871 (microfilm, roll no. 13961 Clinton Republican from November 17, 1870 to September 14, 1876; Ohio Historical Society)
2. Information on Rev. Siegfried’s career as a minister is taken from two unidentified newspaper clippings in Folder 13, Box 25, 2001 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library. One is an obituary of Rev. B.Y. Siegfried c.1901 [not 1900 as marked in the files] and the other was apparently occasioned by his eightieth birthday. The two clippings do not agree in all particulars, such as the age at which Ben was ordained a minister. The obituary says nineteen while the other clipping says twenty-one. I have accepted the latter since it better accounts for his time as a newspaperman. For Rev. Siegfried’s statewide activity see The Clinton Republican, 26 October 1871 and 6 June 1878; and The Wilmington Journal, 30 October 1878 (microfilm; Ohio Historical Society). Oddly, none of Ben’s pastorates included Chillicothe, the town where both he and Sarah sat for the portraits included here.
3. Mennonites, the immediate forerunners of English Baptists, practiced adult baptism. See the entries on Baptists and Mennonites in The New Columbia Encyclopedia edited by William H. Harris and Judith S. Levey (New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1975).
4. Genealogical notes, Folder 1, Box 25, 2001 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library.
5. Ben’s obituary is in The [Cambridge] Daily Jeffersonian, 8 January 1901. Microfilm roll no. 20889, Ohio Historical Society.
6. See Sarah E. Siegfried Probate Index 12015 Will, Guernsey County, Ohio Genealogy Probate Court, Cambridge, Ohio.