Shantz Pioneers of Waterloo County

Family Register of Isaac E. Shantz, written in German.
Source: From Pennsylvania to Waterloo: A Biographical History of Waterloo Township

The original Shantz families that pioneered in Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada in the early 1800's were all related.

The first Shantz pioneer to arrive in May 1806 was Christian R. Shantz (1779-1856), son of Isaac E. & Barbara (Reiff) Shantz.  He brought his wife Magdalena (Cressman) and their 3 children on the journey from Pennsylvania.  Christian settled on Lots 52 & 55 in what is now Kitchener, in the area around Sunnyside school and Eastwood Collegiate.  Shantz Lane is on Christian's original property, and the house he built later in his life not only still stands, but is still in use as a private residence.  Christian & Magdalena had 12 children.

Some of Christian's immediate family came in subsequent years.  His widowed mother Barbara arrived in 1808, bringing Christian's younger siblings Isaac, David, Fanny and Joseph.  Brother Abraham had arrived in 1806, but he didn't appreciate the Canadian winters and returned to Pennsylvania in 1817.  Brother Jacob along with his wife Maria (Yost) came to Canada in 1810.  Christian's widowed sister Maria (Shantz) Shoemaker also came to Waterloo County in 1829 along with her children.

A second Christian Shantz arrived in Waterloo County with his family in 1810.  Christian (1769-1857) & Hannah (Paul) Shantz settled in Freeport and raised a family of 10 children.  This Christian Shantz was an uncle to Christian R. Shantz, a half-brother of Isaac E. Shantz.


Isaac E. Shantz's parents were Jacob Shantz (1710-1781) and Magdalena, possibly maiden name Erb.  The mother of Isaac's half-brother Christian Shantz (1769-1857) was Catherine Beery.

Jacob Shantz's pedigree is not known.  Published books and family trees mention a discovery by Dr. Homer Leroy Shantz in 1924 in Switzerland that showed a Jacob Shantz requesting permission from the authorities to leave in 1737.  This Jacob was a son of Ulrich Tschanz.  However, Richard Davis ( has shown that this Jacob (1719-1795) lived in Berwick Twp., York Co., PA. and is not the Jacob Shantz who died in Pottstown in 1781.

Therefore, it is likely that "our" Jacob arrived on the ship "Charming Nancy" in Philadelphia on Oct. 8, 1737.  (Others believe it was the ship "Townsend.")  To date, this Jacob has not been connected to any Shantz families in Switzerland, but family tradition as recorded by Ezra Eby in 1895 states Jacob was a Swiss Mennonite who spent 15 years in Holland before arriving in America.

Jacob Shantz was buried in the Sprogel Cemetery in Pottstown, his stone reading "Hier Liegt Der Leib Von Jacob Shantz Gestarbim Februarius 1781".  That cemetery was moved to a new location in 1906 and the only visible stone on the new site at Hanover and Prospect Streets is for Mr. Sprogel.  According to an email from the Pottstown Historical Society (Aug. 9, 2005), the remaining stones are likely under the ground at the new site.  The old cemetery site became part of the Bethlehem Steel property.

Family Trees

Ancestors of Isaac E. Shantz

Descendants of Christian R. & Magdalena (Cressman) Shantz

Descendants of Jacob & Maria (Yost) Shantz

Descendants of Isaac & Esther (Bechtel) Shantz

Descendants of Joseph & Catherine (Schneider) Shantz

Descendants of Christian & Hannah (Paul) Shantz

Biographies, Documents, and Heirlooms

1930 Shantz Reunion Photo
This is a HUGE photo of hundreds of people at the 1930 Shantz Reunion at Waterloo Park, Waterloo, Ontario.  See if you can identify a face.

Will of Christian R. Shantz
The first Shantz pioneer in Waterloo County.

Will of Noah C. Shantz
A son of Christian R. & Magdalena (Cressman) Shantz.  Noah died after a stone wall fell on him and crushed his lower body.  During the few hours between the accident and his death, he dictated this will.

"Narrative of a Journey to Manitoba" by Jacob Y. Shantz, 1873
This pocket-sized booklet helped convince many European emigrants, including Russian Mennonites, to settle in the Canadian prairies during the late 1800's.

Can you add any info to this website?

Please email me.

  Darren Arndt

Last updated August 01, 2007