Thursday, September 8, 2016

Henry Koewler's Obituary

Maplewood Cemetery, Ripley, Ohio

Henry Koewler was an older brother of my great-great grandfather, Anthony Koewler. His obituary was published in The Ripley (Ohio) Bee on March 28, 1906. It read

"Mr. Henry Koewler died last Wednesday evening at 6 o'clock at the home of his son John in the country, after an illness of several months duration. 
He was born in Schoenau, Germany, in 1832, and had he lived until May he would have been 74 years of age. The funeral was held Friday morning from St. Michael's Church, Rev. Father Theodosius officiating, burial in Maplewood.
His wife preceded him to the great beyond just three years ago, and the youngest son, Frank just two months ago. He leaves eight sons and one daughter to mourn the loss of a kind and indulgent father.
 Mr. Koewler came from Germany to Ripley in 1852. He obtained work here and later engaged in flatboating produce to New Orleans, making a number of trips. He afterwards went to Kentucky where he was engaged on the construction of the Kentucky Central Railroad. He again returned to Ripley where he formed a partnership with the late J. P. Helbling in the butcher business which lasted for over thirty years. He always maintained the confidence and respect of his fellow citizens as an upright and honorable business man. 
The later years of his life have been spent on a farm, but failing health prevented his taking any active part in that life.
The sympathy of the community is extended the relatives."  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Brickwall Busted! Nicholas Becker's Family Is Found!

There was a wall, a brick wall, sitting on my family tree behind the name of my great, great, great grandfather, Nicholas Becker. As recorded in his biographical sketch found on page 52 in the 1883 History of Brown County, Ohio, Nicholas was born about 1828 in Lorraine, France, and, with a portion of his family, came to this country about 1854, settling in Decatur County, Indiana. He later moved to Cincinnati and, in 1866 with his wife, Catherine Thill Becker, to Ripley. His parents and another portion of the family arrived in 1855. Apparently, the Becker family had more than several members, but their names were unknown to me...until Tuesday. 

That morning, an email arrived in my inbox from a cousin announcing the fact that The Ripley Bee and other Brown County newspapers were available online through the Digital Archives of the Union Township Library. After replying with a very grateful thanks, I forced myself to continue my morning chores because my parents had taught me that work should come before play. I'm not sure just how well those chores were completed that morning, but I was soon searching for family names that I knew would be in the Ripley papers. One of the very first was Nicholas Becker, Sr. and, with just a click, the brick wall came tumbling down!

Professor Nicholas Becker, as he was called in the newspaper, was a teacher of the German language in the schools of Ripley, Ohio during the latter half of the 1800's. He also owned a hat and cap store on Second Street in Ripley which his son, Nicholas, Jr. managed. Catherine Thill Becker, the wife of Nicholas, Sr, operated a millinery shop at the same address. 

On page 3 in the May 22, 1879 issue of The Ripley Bee there was a small article that was originally published in the Cincinnati Gazette the week before on May 15. It read
"Fatal Accident
At half-past 8 o'clock last night Mary Ann Becker who resides with a brother, living at No. 238 West Sixth street, while on a visit to her sister, a Mrs. Gross, who lives at No. 522 Elm street, fell down a flight of stairs and broke her neck, causing almost instantaneous death. It appears that she had started down the stairs, when her sister called her back and in turning, made a misstep, with the result above chronicled. Dr. Ratterman was called in but nothing could be done. Mrs. Becker was a native of France, and leaves one son. - Cin. Gazette. Mrs. Becker was the sister of Mr. N. Becker of this place."
One short little article about a very sad situation and I knew the names of Nicholas' two sisters and where they were living in 1879! After researching the census and city directories, I determined Mary Ann's sister, Mrs. Gross, was Rosa Becker Gross and with that discovery, I also found the brother, Victor and another sister Katherine. There is a much younger Nicholas Becker also living with the family in Cincinnati who is possibly the surviving son of Mary Ann mentioned in the newspaper article, but that will take more research to determine his relationship to the others.

As more and more newspapers, documents, and blogs appear online, I imagine numerous genealogy brick walls will start tumbling down. I have others that need blasting, but I am so happy to see the Becker one go. I can hardly wait to see what else I can find in the Ripley area newspapers!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Last Will and Testament of Francis Xavier Haitz

The following is the transcription of pages 502 through 507 in Volume 8 of the Brown County, Ohio Record of Wills book which is the record of the probate proceedings for the Last Will and Testament of my great great grandfather, Franziskus Xavier Haitz.  I transcribed it exactly as it is written except for a few periods and commas that I added where the writing might get confusing without them. 

It is interesting to note that punctuation was of no great concern and neither was the spelling of names. You will notice that Haitz is spelled several different ways within the document. Heitz was fairly common as it is also seen on Frank's headstone and several other documents that I have collected. However, I have never seen it spelled Haizht nor Haight! Valentine Kubler's name is also spelled differently a couple of times. I can only guess that with all the writing that was required together with the lack of "white out", correct spelling just did not matter!  

Nicholas Lang, one of the executors of the will was Frank's brother-in-law. He was married to Elizabeth's sister, Mary. The other executor, Joseph Pfeffer, just happens to be my husband's great-great grandfather.  Charles A Linn, the attorney for Frank's family is also related to me. He is my 1st cousin, 4 times removed. His father, Charles Anton Linn, and my three greats-grandfather, Michael Linn, were brothers. 

Another thing that I find interesting about this document is the fact that the original will was written in German. Frank had been in the country for about thirty years, more or less, but was presumably more comfortable using his native language. It makes me wonder at what degree, if any, was he proficient in the English language. 

There is a question about the residence status of the Haitz family. This document states that he is late of Huntington Township which according to the 1870 census is true, but the family was recorded in the 1880 census as living in Union Township. It is possible, of course, they moved several times. My to-do list now includes looking at land records for Frank.

Volume 8
Page 502
No. 788 1/2  
Francis Xavier Haitz 
Probate Court held at the Court House in Georgetown, Brown County, Ohio before the Hon George P Tyler sole judge of said Court in and for said county on the 13th day of December AD 1886
Brown County, ss
Be it remembered that heretofore to wit on the 4th day of December 1886 an entry was made on the journal of said Court in the words and figures following to wit:
In the matter of the will of 
Francis Xavier Haitz, decd
This day C A Linn filed here a paper writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Francis Xavier Haitz, late of Huntington Township, Brown County, Ohio and application made to probate the same. Ordered by the Court that all the next of kin of said Testator resident of the 
Page 503
state of Ohio have legal notice of the filing and time for hearing the same which time is fixed by the Court for the 13th day of December 1886 at 10 o’clock AM.
Said application to probate will in the words and figures following to wit:   
In the Probate Court Brown County, Ohio
In the matter of the will of Francis Xavier Haitz deceased  .. To the Honorable the judge of said Court
And now comes Charles A Linn and produced for admission to probate in said Court the last will and Testament of Francis Xavier Haitz late a resident of the Township of Huntington in said County, who died on the ____ day of November AD 1886
Said Testator died leaving Elizabeth Heitz his widow and the following named persons, all of his next of kin resident in the state of Ohio
Name Degree of Kinship PO Address
Elizabeth Heitz daughter Aberdeen, Ohio
Anna Heitz daughter “      “
Frank Heitz son “     “
Barbara Heitz daughter “     “
George Heitz son “      “
John Heitz son “      “
Nicholas Heitz son “      “
Joseph Heitz son “      “
Mary Heitz daughter “      “
The State of Ohio    Brown County  ss
The above named Charles A Linn being first duly sworn says the statement of the foregoing applications are true as he verily believes    Charles A Linn
Sworn to before me and subscribed in my presence this 4 day of December AD 1886   
George P Tyler  Probate Judge 
Thereupon was the same day that is to say on the 4th day of December 1886 notice to next of kin of said decedent was issued in the words and figures following to wit
Notice to Next of Kin
The State of Ohio
Brown County SS        In Probate Court
In the matter of the last will and Testament of Francis Xavier Haitz deceased  To Elizabeth, Anna, Frank, Barbara, George, John, Nicholas Joseph and Mary Heitz, the children of Francis Xavier Heitz deceased late of Huntington Township Brown County, Ohio    You are hereby notified that on the 4” day of December AD 1886 an instrument of writing purporting to be the last Will and Testament of Francis Xavier Haizht late of Huntington Township in said County 
Page 504
deceased was produced in open court and an application to admit the same to probate was on the same day made in said Court Said application will be for hearing before this Court on the 13th day of December AD1886 at 10 o’clock AM.  George P Tyler Probate Judge
Dated at Georgetown, Ohio this 4th day of December 1886
Said will was by Charles A Linn translated in to the English language an is in the words and figures following to wit
Copy and Translation of the last will and Testament of Francis Xavier Haitz decd
In the name of God  Amen
I, Francis Xavier Haitz residing on Eagle Creek Brown County Ohio, being of sound mind and memory and in view of the uncertainty of the Frail and Transitory life do make, order publish and declare the following as my last will and Testament. Namely, after all my just debts have been paid, I, grant, devise, and bequeath the residue of my estate real and personal without the least exception to my beloved wife Elizabeth Heitz whose maiden name is Germann. I also make appoint and constitute Joseph Pfeffer Sr. and Nicholas Lang Sr as Executors of this my last will and Testament and revoke all former wills by me made
In witness whereof I have subscribed my name this 27th day of October in the year one Thousand eight hundred and Eighty six  - signed Frank X Haitz
The above Testament is signed by the said Francis Xavier Heitz in our presence and by him in the presence of each of us being completed, is acknowledged and at the same time he published and declared that is his last will and testament and at the request of this Testator and in his presence we have subscribed our names as witnesses and opposite our names our names have written our respective places of Residence signed
Valentine Kuber   Eagle Creek  Brown County Ohio
Frederick Wucher  Brown County Ohio  Eagle Creek
Said will being written in the german language is in the words and figures following to wit:
(This section is the will written in the German language)
Page 505
The Testimony so taken and reduced to writing filed and ordered to be recorded is in the words and figures following to wit
The State of Ohio   The Probate Court
Brown County  Geo
Personally appeared in open Court, Valentine Kubler and Frederick Wucher the subscribing Witnesses to the last will and Testament of Francis Xavier Haitz late of Huntington Township in said Brown County deceased who being duly sworn according to law, to speak the truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth in relation to the execution of said will, depose and say. That the paper before them bearing date the 27th day of October AD 1886 purporting to be the last will and testament of Francis Xavier Haitz now deceased is the will of said of said (sic) will and at the request of the Testator respectively subscribed their names to the same as witnesses, in his presence; that they saw the said Francis X Haitz deceased sign and Seal said Will 
Page 506
and heard him acknowledge the same to be his last Will and Testament and that the said Francis Xavier Haitz at the time of making signing and sealing said will was of full age of sound mind and memory and not under any restraint
Valentine Kuebler
Frederick Wucher
Sworn to and subscribed by said witnesses in open Court this 13” day of December AD 1886
George P Tyler
Probate Judge
On the 13” day of December 1886 in said notice to next of kin of said deceased testator was returned in to said Court and filed, endorsed as follows
The State of Ohio  Brown County ss
Nicholas Lang Sr. being duly sworn say that on the _____ day of December 1886 he served the written notice by delivering a true copy thereof to the within named Elizabeth, Anna, Frank, Barbara, George John, Nicholas, Joseph and Mary Haitz subscribed in my presence and sworn to before me this 13” day of December 1886  Geo P Tyler
The undersigned persons within named hereby acknowledge service of the within notice this 6” day of December AD1886 Lizzie E Haitz, Anna Haitz Barbara Haitz Frank X Haitz George Haitz, John Haitz Nick Haitz Joseph Haitz Mary Haitz
on the 13” day of December 1886 the following entry was made on the Journal of said Court to wit
In the matter of the will of
Francis Xavier Haight decd
This day this matter coming on further to be heard on the application heretofore filed here to admit to Probate a paper writing purporting to be the last will and Testament of Francis Xavier Haitz, late of Huntington Township, in the County deceased and it appearing to the satisfaction of the Court that due and legal notice of the filing and time fixed by the Court for hearing the application to probate the same had been given to all the next of kin of said Testator resident of Ohio pursuant to a former order of this court. Thereupon this day came Valentine Kubler and Frederick Wucher the subscribing witnesses to said will who being duly sworn to speak the Truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth testified to the due execution and attestation of said will whereupon the Court finds that the aforesaid instrument of writing in the Last Will and Testament of the said Francis Xavier Haitz deceased That the same was duly executed and attested : and that the said Testator at the time of making signing and sealing said will 
Page 507
was of full age of sound and disposing mind and memory and not under any restraint. It is therefore by the Court ordered that the said will be admitted to Probate and that the same together with the Testimony of the witnesses above named as well as the proceedings had thereon by entered of record in this Court.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Obituary of Franziskus Xavier Haitz

The death of Franziskus Xavier Haitz occurred on November 24, 1886.  His passing did not seem to give cause for a long and flattering obituary, but he was remembered in the Ripley, Ohio newspaper of the time, The Bee & Times
"Frank X Haitz, a German aged about 50 years, died at his home in this township, on Eagle Creek, Thursday, of heart trouble, and was buried in Maplewood Cemetery, from the Catholic Church, Saturday morning. He leaves a wife and several children."

"Untitled obituary for Frank Haitz," obituary, (Ripley, Ohio) Bee and Times, 1 December 1886, Frank Haitz, page 3, column 3.

Francizkus (Frank) Xavier Heitz (Haitz); Maplewood Cemetery, Ripley, Ohio
Francizkus Xavier Heitz
Maplewood Cemetery
Ripley, Ohio
Franziskus is buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Ripley. The epitaph on his headstone is written in German, his native language. 

Franziskus Xavier Heitz
Born 3 September 1824

Died 24 November 1886  
Here sleeps in this grave until on the last day when God calls you. The trumpet of mercy calls you. Out of your grave He calls you into the land where death is not to separate, where no one knows pain and sorrow.

Friday, April 8, 2016

1928 Employees of Becker's Department Store in Ripley, Ohio

Pauline Clotworthy Illustration

In 1928, Becker's Department Store in Ripley, Ohio was owned and operated by Louis Linn Becker.  Among the items for sale were various articles of clothing for men and women.  These were purchased wholesale in Cincinnati. In a section for news from Ripley in the March 4, 1928 issue of The Cincinnati Enquirerwas the announcement that four Becker's employees, Neva Yearsley, Bernice and Corrine Ladenburger, and May Boatman attended a fashion show in Cincinnati. Perhaps they were scouting out the latest trends in fashion for the store and the citizens of Ripley!

Photo courtesy of Bidzer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (],via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The First American Haitz

The first Haitz family member who could call herself an American citizen was Elizabeth, daughter of Frank and Elizabeth (Germann) Haitz. Elizabeth was born December 20, 1859 in Boston just nine months after her parents were married in the same city. She was born at 100 Everett Street which I assume was the house where the family lived. Frank was employed at the sugar house.

If you search for Everett Street in Boston on Google Maps, there are several roads and avenues which are named Everett. After researching where the sugar house might have been located in 1859, I determined that it was most likely the Boston Sugar Refinery in East Boston on Lewis Street between Webster and Sumner Streets. There is still a Lewis Street today, although Webster and Sumner Streets no longer extend as far as they did in 1859. Nearby, a street called Everett is still in existence. Going on these two facts, I would place the Haitz family residence in East Boston. There is no way to tell which house Frank and Elizabeth lived in as address numbers have most likely changed since 1859, but Everett Street today is a narrow road with houses lined up side to side. A current look at the street can be seen here - Everett Street, East Boston, Massachusetts

To view the birth record of Elizabeth Haitz, please follow this link to Family Search. You may need to register for a free account to see the actual document. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Beginning of the Haitz Family in America

F Xavier Haitz and Elizabeth Germann
1859 Marriage Record -  F. Xavier Haitz and Elizabeth Germann
Boston, Massachusetts

On Sunday, March 6, 1859, F. Xavier Haitz and Elizabeth Germann were married at the Holy Trinity (German) Church in Boston, Massachusetts. The Reverend Father Ernest Reiter officiated. 

Frank Haitz, who was born in France, was thirty-four years old while his bride was twenty-two. She named her birthplace as Germany. It was the first marriage for both of them. The marriage record states that his parents were John U. and Elizabeth F. Haitz while John G. and Mariana M. were named as the parents of Elizabeth. Unfortunately, there are no maiden names given for either of the mothers. 

A History of Holy Trinity German Church, Boston