The graves of Karl Barth, his family, and his assistant

Charlotte von Kirschbaum, in Basel, Switzerland.


My doctoral dissertation at the University of Virginia, from which I graduated with a Ph.D. in 1991, was “The Social Ontology of Karl Barth.” It was subsequently published with the same title by Christian Universities Press (International Scholars Publications) in 1994.  It is out of print, and according to WorldCat.org it is found in 62 libraries.

Here is the description that I wrote for Amazon.com:

“The theme of the “Other” dominates post-Cartesian thinking. Specifically, what is the relation of the knowing subject to the Other (who is neither object nor alter ego), if both self and Other are supposed to be counterparts and partners–a Thou meeting the other’s I–and if each exceeds the other’s experience? Twentieth-century theology, too, has reconsidered the Cartesian basal subject from which the existence of others and God proceeds. Karl Barth (1886-1968) is a major representative of one approach to this theme. Throughout his theological career Barth tries to overcome a subject-centered theology wherein God is not allowed to appear as God and wherein the claim of the human Other goes unheeded. In Barth’s earliest theology, the believer’s subjectivity is the locus for God’s otherness yet the claim of the Other is said to lodge in God’s kingdom as manifested in social democracy. During his “dialectical” period, Barth rejects cultural and social norms, as well as the objectification of God, so that he may affirm the total divine otherness and the divine freedom to speak the Word. In the Church Dogmatics, Barth locates God’s otherness in God’s triune being, the divine self-correspondence and the divine correspondence to human beings. Human otherness is defined in terms of the human being’s being-determined as covenant partner with God and being-for and being-with others in analogous correspondence to the divine self-othering in Christ. During all of Barth’s theological periods, otherness is grounded in the unique otherness of Christ, so that the conditions of subjectivity and intersubjectivity alike are grounded in the Incarnation. Stroble suggests lines of dialogue between Barth’s theology and postmodern thought, showing paths for future theological reflection.”

Wow!  That’s deep. 🙂 But the exploration of Barth’s philosophy of human interrelatedness was formative for my subsequent interests in ministry and service.

Since the work is copyrighted in my name, and since it is out of print, I thought I would scan and then post here the two chapters pertaining to Barth’s mature theology, along with the introduction and bibliography.  This way, anyone doing research on these aspects of Barth’s theology may have an additional chance to find my modest work.

Anyone wishing to read the other chapters, concerning Barth’s pre-Church Dogmatics philosophy, may find the book on interlibrary loan. I should tell you, however, that there are other, excellent books (published before and after 1994) that more thoroughly address topics in Barth’s theology of the 1909-1931 period than my two chapters, which are more like preludes for chapters 3 and 4.

The original doctoral dissertation—which is in manuscript at the University of Virginia—had an additional chapter that discussed Michael Theunissen’s book, The Other: Studies in the Social Ontology of Husserl, Heidegger, Buber, and Sartre, translated by Christopher Macann (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1984), and my own chapters (the fourth, especially) placed Barth in additional dialogue with these four philosophers.







Among my many family roots in Fayette County, IL, the Washburns were early settlers of the area later known as Otego Township. My 3-great-grandparents, David and Esther Washburn, came to that area in about 1830 and are buried in the Pilcher Cemetery near Brownstown, IL. In this 2014 post, https://paulstroble.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/my-family-the-washburns-back-to-the-pilgrims/ , I summarized another genealogist’s research to trace the Washburns back to my 9-great-grandparents, John (1566-1624) and Martha (Stevens) Washbourne (c. 1573-1626), of St. Peter’s Parish, Bengeworth, Worcestershire, England. Their son John (1597-1671) and Margery (Moore) Washbourne (b. c. 1586) sailed to New England in 1631 or 1632 and settled in Duxbury in Plymouth Colony; John and Margery’s son John married the granddaughter of a Mayflower passenger, Francis Cooke.

img_4938.jpgThis past winter, I found some wonderful books that trace generations of the Washbournes prior to this John:

James Davenport, The Washbourne Family of Little Washbourne and Wichenford in the County of Worcester (London: Methuen & Co, 1907).

R. E. M. Peach (ed.), The Washbourne Family: Notes and Records, Historica nd Social of the Ancient Family of Washbourne of Washbourne, Wichenford and Pytchley from the 12th Century to the Present Time (Privately printed by John Bellows, Glouchester, 1896).

E. A. B. Barnard, Some Notes on the Evesham Branch of the Washbourne Family (Evesham: W. &. H. Smith Lit., 1914). [Evesham is adjacent to Bengeworth; Little Washbourne and Wichenford are villages in Glochestershire, and Stanford and Pytchley are towns in neighboring Northamptonshire.


This portrait, purportedly of Sir Roger Washbourne, was published in Davenport, but he argues (pp. 192-193) that it may be one of the later Wichenford John Washbournes, who died in 1633.

Fortunately all these books are scanned and readable online: do an internet search and you’ll easily find links to the complete texts. I encourage anyone interested in the early Washbournes to do so!

The following are just a few notes from those books, to summarize my own probable ancestry. (There were a lot of John Washbournes! I had to differentiate a few by adding their dates of death.)

* Sir Roger of Little Washbourne and Stanford, married Joan. He was living in 1299. If John Washbourne (d. 1546) below was the son of John Washbourne (d. 1517), then Sir Roger and Joan are my 18-great-grandparents, living during the reign of the Plantagenet kings Edward I and Edward II. Davenport called Sir Roger “the first authentic Washbourne” (p. 17).

Peach writes, “The Washbournes, of Washbourne, were generation after generation of Knightly degree, previous to the reign of Edward II., and ranked in point of descent with the most ancient families in the kingdom… Sir Roger Washbourne…married two wives: by the first, Joan, daughter and heir of Sir John Mustard, Knt., he had an only daughter Isolde, who became the wife of John Salwey, of Kanke, and by the second, Margaret, daughter and Heir of John Poher, or Power, a son, Norman Washburn, who retired to his mother’s estate in Wichenford, where his descendants continued to reside for several generations, enjoying the highest respectability, and intermarrying with the houses of Kynaston, Mytton, Stapylse, Tracy, Lygon, &c” (pp. 3-4).

(Here is the Find-a-Grave page for Sir Roger, with links to his descendants: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=83958149

The next generations:

* Sir John, son of Sir Roger and Joan, and knight of the shire, died in 1319. Married Isabella Cassy. (Peach, p. 12, Davenport, pp. 3-6)

* Sir Roger, married Margaret, not later than 1316. Roger was still living in 1358. (Davenport, 7, 17; Peach, 33)

* Peter, married in 1355 to Isolde Hanley (Peach, 34).

* John, the last of Stanford and first of Wichenford; knight of shire and vicecombs (sheriff). Married Margaret Poher of Wichenford (Peach, 33, Davenport, 8-17).

* Norman, vicecomes. Married Elizabeth Kynaston. Peach gives her name as Kynaston, a daughter of the High Sheriff of County Worcester (p. 34). Davenport (p. 24) quotes a course indicating that the name is also written Knifton, Knivton, Knyveton, and Kniveton.  Here is Elizabeth’s Find-a-Grave page, with links to her family: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=101434504

* John, born as early as 1454, died May 1517, first marriage to Joan Mitton of Weston, County Stanford (Davenport, 30-34; Peach 36ff). John is buried in Wichenford Church, although Davenport writes that the monument is gone (p. 34-35).

* John, who according to Davenport, is the ancestor of Bengeworth branch (and therefore the ancestor of the American descendants), died 1546. Married Emme, d. 1547. They are my 11-great-grandparents. 

Davenport writes, “At the time when registers became compulsory (1538) he [John] appears on the scene with his wife Emme, residing at Bengeworth, which adjoins the town of Evesham and is a few miles distant from Little Washbourne. They were then quite middle-aged persons, having four grown-up children and several grandchildren. John was buried there in 1546 and Emme in 1547. It is not difficult to imagine the reasons why and the circumstances under which John struck out from Wichenford and migrated to the neighborhood of Evesham to seek his fortune in the town, as younger sons had, and still have, to do away from the paternal roof, though the exact date of his departure can only be guessed. Perhaps he left in his father’s lifetime when his prospects cannot have seemed very rosy, inasmuch as, in addition to two younger brothers, he had an elder brother with a son destined to become the head of the family, and saw the introduction into the family home by his father of a second wife, and in due course of two more brothers, Anthony and Richard. More probably he left in 1517, when his father died. He found himself overlooked in the will, and saw his young nephew of seventeen become owner of Wichenford and Knight’s Washbourne, with the management of affairs left in the hands of a son younger than himself, viz. Walter, and the stepmother, Elizabeth Monington. At any rate, he went forth and became progenitor of the branch which flourished at Bengeworth for a long period, and from which came the famous John who went to America, sending for his wife Margery and their two sons to follow him in 1635 (pp. 35-36).

E. A. B. Barnard, however, questions that John (d. 1546) was the same John who was the son of John (d. 1517). He writes on pages 42-43: “In his excellent History of the Washbourne Family (first published in 1907) the Rev. J. H. Davenport states that the second son of John (8) of Wichenford, was identical with John Washbourne of Bengeworth, Evesham, husband of Emme, from whom he shows, by singularly complete evidence, that the American branches of he Family are descended. it must be admitted, however, that although this identification seems a reasonable probability it is by no means a certainly. Mr. Davenport give strong hypothetical reason for his statement and, with his wide knowledge of the subject any other theory may be plainly untenable, but it has still to be borne in mind that there is no direct evidence for it in the Visitation pedigrees of the Wichenford branch of the famly [sic]. Moreover, we have seen that Washbournes had lived in the neighbourhood of Evesham for at least two hundred years before John of Benegeworth had lands there, and further there is the evidence of a Fifteenth Century Washbourne tile in Evesham Abbey, to say nothing of the possibility of a somewhat later Washbourne coat-of-arms in a window in Old St. Peter’s Church, Bengeworth.” And he goes on from there.

But I found this site—-http://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/washburn/4390/ —-that disagrees with Barnard and connects these Johns with the Wichenford line. The people who wrote the family pages on Find-a-Grave for Sir Roger and his descendants also connect the Wichenford line to the Bengeworth line.

So… from John and Emme, we have:

*John and Emme’s son, John of Bengeworth, died 1593. He married Jone Whitfield. Among their children was the son:

* John Washbourne, born August 1, 1566 in Bengeworth, Worcestershire, England, died August 3, 1624. Married Martha (Timbrell) Stevens in St. Peter’s Parish, Bengeworth. She was born there about 1573 and died May 9, 1626.

The rest of this information, which traces the family to my 3-great-grandfather in my native Fayette County, IL, can already be found at the other blog site:

* John Washbourne, baptized July 2, 1597 in St. Peter’s Parish, Bengeworth, died March 17, 1671. He married Margery Moore on Nov. 23, 1618 in St. Peter’s Parish Bengeworth. She was born about 1586. John sailed to New England in about 1631 or 1632, and settled in the town of Duxbury in Plymouth Colony, where he was a tailor. He and Margery were the immigrant ancestors, my 8-great-grandparents, although Margery apparently died not long after they arrived in Plymouth.

* John Washburn, born about Nov. 20, 1620 in Bengeworth, died Nov. 12, 1686 in Bridgewater, Pymouth Co., MA. He married Elizabeth Mitchell in Plymouth on Dec. 6, 1645. She was born about 1629 in Plymouth and died before Dec. 5, 1684 in Bridgewater, MA.

Elizabeth was the granddaughter of a Mayflower passenger. Her parents were Experience Mitchell and Jane Cooke, and Jane Cooke was the daughter of Francis Cooke, who sailed on the Mayflower and signed the Mayflower Compact. Francis Cooke and his wife Hester (who came to the colony a little later) are my 9-great-grandparents. There is much online concerning Cooke and other Mayflower passengers. 

*James Washburn (5/15/1672-6/11/1749), married Mary Bowden (about 1670-12/18/1745). They were from Bridgewater. They married Dec. 20, 1693

*Moses Washburn (9/9/1702-10/31/1765), married Hannah Cushman (12/25/1705-after 7/29/1750). They married May 23, 1727 in Kingston, MA. She was the daughter of Robert Cushman and Perusus Lewis.

* Bezaliel Washburn (about 1740-10/5/1813), married Patience Sollard, his third wife, on July 10, 1795 in Darmouth, Bristol County, MA. (What cool names! “Bezaliel and Patience, table for two…” The biblical Bezalel was one of the artisans on the Tabernacle in Exodus 31.)

*David Washburn (8/12/1785-3/13/1852), married Esther Griffith. David was born in Dartmouth. Esther was born in 1789 in New York. They both settled in Fayette County, IL in the 1830s, and died there. They are buried in the Pilcher Cemetery near Brownstown, IL.

David and Esther’s granddaughter, via their son George, was Abagail [sic] Washburn Pilcher, the mother of maternal grandma, who in turn first got me interested in genealogy.

Last fall, when we were in London, I considered taking the train to Evesham and investigate Bengesworth. I wimped out and instead visited Charles Darwin’s grave in Westminster Abbey and shared in the noon Eucharist. But I do plan to visit these towns and hopefully Wichenford, as well. When I do, I’ll blog about it!


Here is the genealogical chart included in Davenport:


Here is a book review that I wrote for Springhouse magazine, published in the October 1996 issue. Thomas Ford was t220px-governor_thomas_fordhe Illinois governor in 1842-1846, during which time he faced the issue of the Mormons in Nauvoo (which didn’t go well) and also helped solve Illinois’ indebtedness crisis from the failed 1837 internal improvements projects. Ford died in 1850, and his history of Illinois was posthumously published in 1854. It is a classic of Illinois history and political analysis, one of the first books I read about early Illinois history and still a favorite. See the scan below.



The 1854 edition of Governor Ford’s History, with the state seal on the spine.


This first edition-first printing has “1814” instead of the correct “1818” on the title page, and it also has a few pages inserted to replace original pages. The rarest first editions contain those original pages. The date on the title page was corrected in the second printing.


Following several printings of the first edition, the second edition was the 1946 “Lakeside Classics” set.


A new printing of the first edition was published to coincide with Illinois’ sesquicentennial in 1968, along with other classic historical works. I begged my parents to buy me the whole set (about $50), and they gave them to me for Christmas in 1975. I still have that set.


The third edition was the annotated volume that prompted my book review.

547297_10151369726078519_733469114_nHere is a series of eight pieces of mine from Springhouse magazine, published in the June 1998 through August 1999 issues. They describe the political campaigns and important legislation during the time my hometown, Vandalia, was the Illinois state capital. Editors Gary and Judy DeNeal did such a wonderful job editing the pieces and adding pictures, really bringing the narrative to life.

The introduction to the first piece explains the circumstances of the writing, and the folks whom I wanted to remember in publishing them. I also remember my parents, Paul and Mildred Stroble, whom I thanked in my 1992 book (referred there) and who helped make my research and writing possible, since I was fairly young when I undertook the project.

These pieces dovetail with my genealogical posts here, because several of my ancestors and their families lived in Vandalia during the 1819-1839 period, a fact that first inspired my interest in this subject.

Here is Illinois Politics, parts 1-4:


And here is Illinois Politics, parts 5-8:


This post connects to my several other genealogical posts on this blog, especially those related to the Crawford, Pilcher, Gatewood, Williams, and Washburn families.

During the summer of 1974, when I was 17, I finished compiling all the information I had on the Pilcher Cemetery and Winslow Pilcher Family Cemetery, in Fayette County, IL south of Brownstown, in Otego township. The information included all the inscriptions on the tombstones in both cemeteries, locations of unmarked graves (which had been identified to me by older relatives), information about some of the people buried there, and family charts that connected many of the people.  I was not a good typist, but I did my best, and shared the information with relatives.

Here are scans of my work. I’m in the process of placing some of this material on findagrave.com, but posting it here will also make it available for family researchers. Remember that this information is current only to 1974; burials have continued in the Pilcher Cemetery, though not its smaller neighbor. Also remember that the tree, which once stood in the middle of the Pilcher (and which provides a landmark on the maps of graves) was cut down at about that same time.

Here is the Winslow Pilcher Family Cemetery:


And here is the Pilcher Cemetery:





Vandalia in 1836, by John Matthew Heller. The mural hung in the restaurant at the Hotel Evans in Vandalia from 1954 until the hotel burned in 1969.

My first book was a history of my hometown when it was the Illinois capital, entitled High on the Okaw’s Western Bank: Vandalia, Illinois, 1819-1839 (University of Illinois Press, 1992). Mostly researched in 1975-1979, while I was in college, the book’s first draft was completed in 1983-1985. The publisher liked it but requested a reorganization of the manuscript, which I did in 1989-1991. By then I was also writing my doctoral dissertation in theology.

The following PDF file (a print-out from our old Kaypro computer on which my wife Beth and I worked back then) is a list of all the businesses I could discover that operated in Vandalia while it was state capital. This was to be an appendix to the book but, instead, I published it separately in a 1985 issue of Fayette Facts—the quarterly of Vandalia’s genealogical society—and in the book I discussed the businesses and what they reflected about the local and state economy as well as local settlement.

This material may still have importance for genealogical and historical purposes, so I’m adding the file to this blog—which has gotten quite a lot of views from genealogists during the past few years.



Mary Burtschi (1911-2009) lived in my hometown, Vandalia, IL, for most of her life and was a beloved teacher in nearby Effingham, IL. She was also an author who wrote books about early Vandalia history and the life and career of Western author James Hall (1793-1868). My wife Beth wrote her master’s thesis at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville on Mary’s life. She got to know Mary well and conducted interviews with her on numerous occasions.  In 1997, Beth published three articles about Mary in Springhouse magazine, a periodical to which I’ve long contributed (including several posts on this blog). Here are PDF files of the articles, published in the August, October, and December 1997 issues.