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ORTH FAMILY HISTORY

Version: Revised December 2008

THE ORTH STORY

 

 

 

(For background information, readers might like to refer the history section in this Website providing some

history and maps regarding Germany, Hessen-Darmstadt and the village of Fürstengrund)

 

 

Table of Contents:

 

 

A. Early Ancestors

B. Johann Peter Orth ("Peter" Orth) - The Fürstengrund Years

C. Emigration to North America 1853 - 1854

D. The Orth Family - The Waterloo County Years

E. The Wallace Township - Perth County Years

F. The Children of Peter and Anna

G. Peter Orth's Siblings Who Also Emigrated to North America

I.   Other Orths Living in Wallace Township

H. Notes

A. Early Ancestors

The earliest references to the Orth family from which Johann Peter Orth was directly descended comes from a book entitled "Familienbuch Eschau 1644 -1698" which is a family history book researched and written by Karl Eidenmüller around 1974 and based on Eschau church records.(1)  This history pertains to families in the town of Eschau that, today, is located in the German state of Bavaria (Bayern), very close to the border with the state of Hesse.  More specifically, the town lies in the Spessart region in the district of Miltenberg.  However, in the time period covered by this particular research, Eschau came under the jurisdiction of Erbach, part of the Odenwald district of Hesse. (2) 

The early to mid-1600s would have been a very tumultuous time for the Orth family living in Eschau due to the dramatic impact of the Thirty Years War that took place largely in central Europe from 1618 - 1648.  The war caused severe damage to agriculture, industry and commerce and devastated the German peasantry through economic ruin, famine and disease.  It is known that the area in which Eschau was located suffered a severe reduction in population due to the war and epidemics.  One estimate puts the decrease in population at more than 66 percent.  As such, it is more than likely that that the Orth family would have experienced a great deal of dislocation and insecurity during this period.

The "Familienbuch Eschau"  indicates a Christmann Orth, son of Hans Orth, being born about 1614.  His birthplace is unknown.  Christmann died on April 14, 1688 in Eschau.  There are no details concerning Hans Orth regarding his birth date or place of birth nor of the identify of his wife.  Although, there is evidence pointing to the nearby village of Wildensee which is part of present-day Eschau.  There is no definitive evidence of any of the other children that Hans Orth may have had in addition to Christmann.  However, there is a very good indication that another son was Martin Orth, born about 1625 in the nearby village of Wildensee.  Martin married Ursula Müller on October 26, 1646, in Eschau.   Christmann was married twice.  Christmann's first marriage was in 1643 to Catharina Bock of Wildensee (Spessart), Grafschaft Erbach.  She died in 1649 in Eschau.  There were two children of this union, both of whom died in infancy.  His second marriage was on October 2, 1649, to Margretha Haas.  Her date of birth is unknown.  She died on April 6, 1685, in Eschau.

The family history indicates that Christmann Orth and his wife, Margretha, had seven children.  Details concerning these children can be found in the Orth Family Tree.  One of these children was Barthel Orth who was born in 1656 in Eschau.  Barthel married Anna Margretha Hertel on November 14, 1687.  She was a daughter of Georg Hertel and his wife, Barbara.  Anna Margretha was born around January 1658 in the nearby village of Hofstetten (Spessart), Graftschaft Erbach.  The family history indicates that Barthel was a blacksmith.

The family history indicates that Barthel and his wife, Anna Margaretha, had two children, Barbara, born about 1688 in Hofstetten or Eschau and who died a year later in 1689.   She is buried in Hofstetten or Eschau.  Their second child was Johannes, born or baptized about February 6, 1691, in Hofstetten or Eschau.

It appears that Barthel and his wife, Anna Margretha, may have moved to the village of Hofstetten from where Anna Margretha had been born and where their first two children may have been born.  Later they moved to the village of Wiebelsbach (Odenwald), Herrschaft Breuberg, that today is located in the Odenwald district of the German state of Hesse.   The family history indicates that Barthel died in March 1736, in Wiebelsbach and is buried in nearby Lützellbach.  Anna Margretha died in February 1734, also in Wiebelsbach and buried in Lützelbach.  (3)

Johannes Orth married Maria Magdalena Schnellbacher who was  born on April 11, 1693 in Lützelbach, Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany, daughter of Johannes Schnellbacher and Anna (nee Schäfer). They were married on November 26, 1716, in Lützelbach.

Johannes Orth was a great-great grandfather of Johann Peter Orth.  Information concerning Johannes Orth has also been independently obtained by the author from a researcher (Jakob Koch) in Germany who has worked on the Orth family tree. His research connects at this generation with the information obtained from the "Familienbuch Eschau". This research confirms that Johannes Orth was born on February 6, 1691, in Hofstetten and died on March 21, 1753 in Wiebelsbach.

One of the children of Johannes and Maria was Johann Leonhard Orth I, born on April 20, 1725, in Wiebelsbach and died on January 13, 1805 in Wiebelsbach. On July 14, 1744, in Breitenbrunn, he married Eva Elisabeth Marquardt. Eva was born on January 11, 1729 in Breitenbrunn and died on August 23, 1798, in Wiebelsbach. Johann Leonhard Orth was a great-grandfather of Johann Peter Orth. (It should be noted that Johannes and Maria actually had two sons named Johann Leonhard Orth. The first son was born on July 30, 1720 and died on April 6, 1725. His name was obviously passed on to his brother, Johann, who was born on April 20, 1725).

Johann Leonhard Orth I and Eva had eight children during their marriage, details of whom are available in the family tree. They had a son, Johann Leonhard Orth II who was born on September 15, 1757, in Wiebelsbach and died in 1806 in Fürstengrund. Johann Leonhard Orth II married Eva Katharine Kunkelmann, born on September 6, 1766, in Wiebelsbach and died on June 16, 1827 in Fürstengrund. Johann Leonhard and Eva Katharine had several children, one of whom was Johann Friedrich Orth, the father of our subject, Johann "Peter" Orth. Their other children, Peter's aunts and uncles, included, Johann Peter I (b. February 8, 1787), Johannes (b. October 14, 1792), Johann Michael (b. October 24, 1795), Katharine Elisabeth (b. December 4, 1798), Anna Maria (b. April 5,1802) and Johann Leonhard (b. March 6, 1806).

There is only a little material available regarding Peter's aunts and uncles. Peter seemed particularly close to his uncle, Johann Peter Orth I, and there is more information below concerning this person. The history of Fürstengrund indicates that there was a Michael Orth living in Fürstengrund in 1816 and his occupation is listed as "soldier". This was probably Peter's uncle, Johann Michael, who married Katharine Elisabeth Schäfer. Johann Leonhard Orth died shortly after his birth in 1806. Anna Maria died in 1807 at the age of four and Katharine Elisabeth died in 1815 at the age of sixteen. There is no indication of what happened to Johannes who had been born in 1792.

A map showing the various villages in which the Orth family lived in Germany can be found here.

B. Johann Peter Orth ("Peter" Orth) - The "Fürstengrund Years"

Peter was born in Fürstengrund, (Odenwald), Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany on December 18, 1818, at 5:30 in the morning. His parents were Johann Friedrich (Friedrich) Orth and Maria Elisabetha (nee Rodenhausen). He was baptized on December 21, 1818, and his godfather was his uncle, Johann Peter Orth I, who also lived in Fürstengrund. Since Peter had the same name as his uncle, Peter became known as Johann Peter Orth II. Peter was the third of ten children born to Friedrich and Maria. His brothers and sisters were Philip Jacob (b. 1814), Johann Michael (b. 1817), Eva Margarethe (b. 1820), Johannes (b. 1823), Katharine Elisabeth (b. 1824), Johann Philip (b. 1827), Elisabeth Katharine (b. 1829), Maria Elisabeth (b. 1831) and Catharina Elisabeth (b. 1835).

Peter's father, Johann Friedrich Orth, was born on October 2, 1789 and was the first generation of Orth's actually born in Fürstengrund. Peter's mother, Maria Elisabetha, was born on January 19, 1794, in the nearby town of König.

Peter's paternal grandparents were Johann Leonhard Orth who was born on September 15, 1757, in Wiebelsbach, (Odenwald), Herrschaft Breuberg, and Eva Katherine (nee Kunkelmann) who was born on September 6, 1766, also in Wiebelsbach. Peter's maternal grandparents were George Adam Rodenhausen, born in 1767 in Eschau (Spessart), grafschaft Erbach, Germany, and Regina Elisabeth (nee Schäfer) born on December 6, 1767 in König (Odenwald), grafschaft Erbach, Germany.

Johann Leonhard Orth moved to Fürstengrund in 1785 from Wiebelsbach, a nearby village.

The Fürstengrund municipal archives have records of the merchants and peddlers in the village. The records indicate a number of people who traded partly from their own home and partly door-to-door. In 1838, Johann Friedrich Orth is shown as trading in flour and in 1839, his son, Philip Jakob Orth, is doing likewise. Philip is also listed in 1839 as a vendor of wood/timber.  Other vendors sold products such as salt, potatoes, bread, butter, fruit and vegetables, baskets, earthenware and china, yeast and home-made combs.

The Fürstengrund history indicates that in 1821 Johann Friedrich Orth was listed as the municipal collector and assessor (perhaps tax assessor or collector - the German phrase is "Verzeichnis der Gemeinde-Einnehmer und Geminderechner von Fürstengrund"). In 1823, Friedrich Orth was among the local citizens who belonged to the first recorded council in the village. Other members included Leonhard Kabel, Adam Koch (Fü Str. 84), Georg Adamn Hartmann, Johannes Sauer, Philipp Helmstädter, Peter Nickel, Adam König and Adam Koch (Fü Str. 88). (4)

What type of issues occupied the village council in 1823?  The history of Fürstengrund indicates that the issue of baking ovens seemed to be a very important issue.  Apparently, many of the baking ovens found in the village homes were a fire hazard given the nature of their construction and this posed a danger to neighbouring buildings.   It appears that the regulations were imposed on the village concerning the construction of the ovens and the need to make them more safe.  At the same time, bread baking was prohibited in the unsafe ovens and, apparently, government officials of the region proposed in 1823 that Fürstengrund should build a community baking house.  This suggestion was met with opposition from the village council.  The council responded with a letter, signed by the village councillors including Johann Friedrich Orth, that this was an unreasonable request arguing that the village was too small to support this expense. Because of the small number of villagers, the oven would not be used constantly and it would require a great deal of wood to bring it up to the required temperature.  The council also argued that many villagers would continue to bake their bread at home and would not make any use of the community bake house.

There are also church records from the period which list Johann Friedrich Orth as being a "Schulvorstand" which apparently translates as the chairman of the school board or principal or head of a (small) school. After Johann Friedrich's death in 1846, the designation is then associated with his brother, Johann Peter Orth I. It is not known what this position signified.

Not too much is known about Peter's life in Fürstengrund. The village history indicates that Fürstengrund first got a school around 1759 so Peter probably had some level of education from the local school. Peter and his family were members of the Lutheran Church so they probably had a social life which revolved around the church and other activities typical of German rural village life in the early nineteenth century. The history of Fürstengrund indicates that Peter, at the time of his emigration, was a shoemaker. Other official records indicate, however, that he was a farmer. Both statements are probably true since he most likely farmed and carried on a trade in order to make a living given that farming alone may not have been adequate to support him and his family, particularly given the small size of the farms maintained by the villagers and the lack of available land to expand the farms to achieve a commercially viable operation.

This is a picture of a painting of peasants working in the fields outside the town of König that was done around 1843.  As such, it provides a very good sense of rural life at the time of when Johann Peter Orth was living in the nearby village of Fürstengrund (Fürstengrund is now a part of the present day town of Bad König).  Another scene from this painting and the source of the photo can be obtained here.

Of particular note is the fact that a depression and famine, largely due to crop failures, occurred in Fürstengrund during the period of 1837 to 1857 that appeared to have a significant impact on many of the villagers.  The history of Fürstengrund records the relief measures undertaken in the village to help the unemployed and hungry.  In 1846, a soup-kitchen was established in the old schoolhouse where hundreds of servings of soup and bread was made and distributed to the poor and hungry.  There is no indication how these economic problems affected the Orth families but, presumably, because they were somewhat larger landowners than many of the other villagers, it is possible that they managed to survive on their own resources during this period but it must have been a very difficult time for all of the residents.

We have no known pictures of Johann Peter Orth but there is a physical description of him contained in his application for a passport (Paß-Bericht) giving him and his family permission to emigrate. At the age of 35, Peter is described as being "6 foot 9 inches" tall (6 Schuh 9 Zoll), blond hair, high forehead, blond eyebrows, gray eyes, pointed nose, normal mouth, no beard, oval chin, oblong face, healthy complexion, slender body and no special marks. (It is important to note that Peter's height would not be 6 foot 9 inches in our measurement system. The German measurement system "schuh" differed from locale to locale. Prior to the introduction of the metric system in Germany, there were more than 100 different "foot" measures, between 25 and 34 cm. The foot was usually divided into 10 or 12 "Zoll" (inches) of 10 or 12 "Linien" (lines) each). It is not yet known what the metric equivalent was of the "schuh" used in Peter's area of Hessen in 1853 when he applied for his passport).

On April 8, 1845, when he was 26, Peter married Eva Margarethe Orth, the daughter of the late Johannes Orth and the late Maria Elisabetha (nee Raab). The marriage occurred at the Evangelischen Kirche (Church) in König.  Eva was nineteen years and eleven months old at the time of marriage. Witnesses to the marriage were Peter's father and his uncle Peter. Eva's father, Johannes, had been a farmer and lived in Lützel-Wiebelsbach.  According to research done in Germany, Peter and Eva were second cousins as they had a common great-grandfather, Johann Leonhard Orth (b. 1725). 

On December 7, 1845, Peter and Eva had their first child, Elisabethe. She was baptized on December 14 and her godmother was Elisabetha Nast, wife of Philipp Nast, farmer and local resident of Lützel-Wiebelsbach. Elisabethe became known as "Mary Elizabeth" later in life.

On August 22, 1846, Peter's wife, Eva, passed away. There is no information currently available as to the cause of death. It is very likely, however, that she may have died in childbirth since this was not uncommon at the time.

On June 1, 1847, Peter remarried when he was 28 years old. He married Anna Elisabethe Fitzky, 27 years old, daughter of Johann Leonhard Fitzky and Elisabetha Catarina (nee Kumpf). The Fitzky family came from the village of Dorf-Erbach which is about 12 km. south of Fürstengrund. The witnesses to the marriage were Peter's uncle, Johann Peter Orth I and Johann Leonhard Fitzky.

Peter and Elisabethe then had three children born to them while they were still living in Fürstengrund. The first child was Maria Sophie Orth, born June 14, 1848, her godmother being Maria Sophia Fitzky, wife of Leonhard Fitzky of Erbach. It is not known how Leonhard Fitzky and Maria Sophia Fitzky are related to the parents of Peter's wife, Elisabethe. The second child was Leonhard Orth, born on May 19, 1850, his godfather being Leonhard Fitzky. The third child was Johannes Orth, born June 28, 1853, his godfather being Johannes Laub of Fürstengrund.

The Orth family has always been known as being Protestant (Lutheran), probably since the time of the Reformation.  The history of Fürstengrund indicates that in 1829, the village consisted of 330 Lutherans and 36 Catholics.  The Lutherans in Fürstengrund attended the church in nearby König as there was no Lutheran Church in the village at that time.

Property and Residences

It is of interest to examine, in general, the property and residences of the Orth family in Fürstengrund since this will provide an interesting view of their economic well-being and how their estates and inheritances affected their personal lives and it also provides an interesting example of rural settlement patterns in a village such as Fürstengrund in the 18th and 19th centuries.  To date, a certain amount of information has been collected about the Orth family in this respect although much still needs to be learned.

To gain a better appreciation of this matter, it is first useful to review some of the key events in the lives of the Orth family from their original time of settlement in Fürstengrund to the mid 19th century, when a number of the family chose to emigrate to North America.

Year

Event

1785 Johann Leonhard Orth, grandfather of Johann Peter Orth II,  moves to Fürstengrund from the nearby village of Lützel-Wiebelsbach.
1785 Johann Leonhard Orth marries Eva Regina Katharina Kunkelmann.
1787 Johann Peter Orth I is born (first-born son to Johann Leonhard Orth).
1789 Johann Friedrich Orth, father of Johann Peter Orth II,  is born (second-born son to Johann Leonhard Orth).
1806 Johann Leonhard Orth dies.  His wife, Eva Katherina, dies in 1827.
1813 Johann Friedrich Orth gets married to Maria Elisabeth Rodenhausen.
1814 Philip Jacob Orth is born (first-born son to Johann Friedrich Orth).
1816 Johann Peter Orth I gets married to Elisabeth Margaret Lang.
1817 Johann Michael Orth is born (second-born son to Johann Friedrich Orth) and dies in 1828.
1819 Johann Peter Orth II is born (third-born son to Johann Friedrich Orth).
1838 Philip Jacob Orth, oldest son of Johann Friedrich Orth, marries Katherine Susanne Trockenbrod.
1838 Eva Margarethe Orth, oldest daughter of Johann Friedrich Orth, marries Johann George Rexroth.
1843 Johann Adam Orth (born in 1825 and sole remaining child of Johann Peter Orth I) dies.
1845 Johann Peter Orth II marries Eva Margarethe Orth (who dies in 1846).
1846 Johann Friedrich Orth dies.  His wife, Maria Elizabeth, dies in 1848.
1846 Johannes Orth (b. 1827), a brother of Johann Peter Orth II, emigrates to the United States.
1846 Philip Jacob Orth (b. 1814) and family emigrates to Canada.
1847 Johann Peter Orth II marries Anna Elizabeth Fitzky (his second marriage).
1848 Eva Margarethe Orth, widow of Johann Friedrich Orth dies.
1849 Johann Philip Orth (b. 1827), a brother of Johann Peter Orth II, emigrates to the United States.
1852 Johann Peter Orth I dies.  His wife, Elisabeth Margaret, dies about 1855.
1853 Johann Peter Orth II and his family emigrates to Canada.
1853 Katharina Orth emigrates to Canada with her brother, Johann Peter Orth II.

The first record of Johann Leonhard Orth in Fürstengrund has him living at Fürstengrunder Straße 40.  In the 19th century, Fürstengrunder Straße 40 was apparently numbered as 9 1/2 and it is described as a "half a one-story dwelling with stable and cellar, barn and pigsties".   There is no indication whether this was his first residence in Fürstengrund or the amount of his initial landholdings. 

Johann Leonhard Orth died in 1806.  There is no material currently available to indicate how the estate was settled.  For example, it is not known what form of inheritance was common in Fürstengrund and in the surrounding region.  It could have been a partible inheritance system in which the estate was divided between or among the heirs or it could have been a primogeniture inheritance system in which the estate passed to the oldest son or to a single heir.  The type of system used had important social and economic consequences.  Where a partible inheritance system was used, family estates and farms tended to get smaller and less economically viable as they were divided and subdivided upon the death of the owner.  On the other hand, while a primogeniture system may leave the estate or farm intact, it often leads to certain children having no economic prospects because they did not inherit any property or wealth.

The village history indicates that Johann Friedrich Orth (b. 1789), the second oldest son of Johann Leonhard Orth,  was living at at Fürstengrunder Straße 40 in 1816.  At the same time, Johann Peter Orth I, the first-born son of Johann Leonhard Orth, was living at Fürstengrunder Straße 42, which was numbered as 14 and 15 in the 19th century. This house being described as a "half a one-story dwelling with barn and cellar and shed.  This seems to indicate that Johann Peter Orth I must have received some settlement from the estate but decided to move to another property in Fürstengrund while his brother, Johann Friedrich Orth, remained in their family home.

According to village records of individual land, in 1816, Johann Friedrich Orth owned 9.2729 hectares (ha) of land consisting of .1737 ha of garden, 6.1162 ha of cultivated fields, .2593 ha of meadows/pastureland and 2.7237 ha of forest. (One hectare is equivalent to about 2.47 acres). His older brother, Johann Peter Orth I, had a total of 9.2383 hectares of land. This placed the Orth's among the more significant landowners in the village since many people owned less than one hectare of land.

The history of Fürstengrund indicates that at the beginning of the 19th century, the number of farms in the village had doubled. In 1804, there were 16 farms listed in the statistics. By 1843, 27 farms were listed, all of which originated from the original 8 Hides of the village (in German "hide" is known as "Hube" or "Hufe") (N.B. a "hide" was originally the share of a free farmer's ownership in the community's commonly held land, calculated to the family's requirements. It later became simply a field measure, on average about 10 hectares or 24.4 acres). In 1843, Johann Friedrich Orth is shown as owning 1/4 hide (about 2.5 ha) and his brother, Johann Peter Orth I, owning another 1/4 hide.

It is not clear how to reconcile these land records since the information from the 1816 listing shows Johann Friedrich Orth owning 9.2729 ha of land while the 1843 data is describing his farm as 1/4 hide (about 2.5 ha). The same situation exists for this brother, Johann Peter Orth I.  Perhaps, there is a distinction between their share of community-owned land and privately-held land or, perhaps, between 1816 and 1843 both brothers had sold some of their land. This has to be researched further.  It must also be borne in mind, however, that land measurement units at this time tended to be somewhat questionable given that there could be local or temporal variations in the various land measurement systems.

In 1839, Johann Friedrich Orth sold a one-half share of his house at Fürstengrunder Straße 40 to his son-in-law, Johann Georg Rexroth who had married Friedrich's oldest daughter, Eva Margarethe Orth, on April 1, 1838.   There is no evidence that this transaction involved any farmland or whether it only involved a share in the house.

There is also evidence that Johann Friedrich Orth's oldest son, Philip Jacob, had purchased one-half of the farm at the time of his marriage in 1838 with some financial assistance from his parents.  Philip and his family apparently lived on the farm for four years.  On September 20, 1842, he borrowed a sum  from a minister's wife to pay off the mortgage on the farm.  For collateral, he put up his immovable goods.   Only one payment was ever made on the farm.  Philip and his wife and four children emigrated from Fürstengrund in 1846, heavily in debt.  This was the year in which Johann Friedrich Orth died.  In August of 1854 legal steps were taken and all of the immovable goods of Philip Jacob Orth were signed over to the mortgagee.   It is assumed that the sale of the immovable goods settled the outstanding debt.  It is also not clear why there is this gap between 1846 and 1854 regarding the legal action taken to recover the debt.

On August 12, 1846, Johann Friedrich Orth died at the age of 57. No information is available as to his cause of death nor is it known how Friedrich's estate was settled in terms of the heirs to the property.  It is assumed that Johann Friedrich's wife, Maria Elizabetha (Rodenhausen) Orth, continued to live at Fürstengrunder Straße 40, along some of her children, until her death on February 23, 1848.

The death of Johann Friedrich Orth in 1846 seemed to trigger a number of events in the life of the Orth family.

In 1846, Johannes Orth emigrated to the United States at the age of 23.  It appears that he was unmarried at that time.  Johannes was a younger brother of Johann Peter Orth II.  It is presumed that perhaps Johannes received some settlement from his father's estate and that this helped to finance his journey to America.  Likewise, as noted above, Philip Jacob Orth also emigrated to Canada in 1846 (although some records suggest 1847).  It is not definite whether he emigrated at that time with his wife and children or whether he left first and his wife and children followed.  Again, it is speculated that the death of his father, Johann Friedrich Orth, must have somehow sparked Philip Jacob Orth's departure from  Fürstengrund.

The death of his first wife and of his father in 1846 also seemed to coincide with Johann Peter Orth II moving from father's home at Fürstengrunder Straße 40 to Fürstengrunder Straße 42 in 1846. The Fürstengrund history appears to indicate that Johann Peter Orth II purchased or otherwise acquired the property in 1846.  This had been the home of his uncle, Johann Peter Orth I, and it is not known if his uncle and aunt continued to live at this house or whether they moved elsewhere.  It is assumed that Johann Peter Orth II may have received something from his father's estate that permitted him to acquire his uncle's property.

Johann Peter Orth I, died in 1852 and his wife, Elisabetha Margarethe, died about 1855.  The Fürstengrund history indicates that the property at Fürstengrunder Straße 42 was sold in 1854 to Phillip Jakob Schäfer IV at the time that Johann Peter Orth II emigrated to Canada.  At the time of his death in 1852, Johann Peter Orth I had no children that could be heirs to his estate since his sole remaining child, Johann Adam Orth, had died in 1843.  This raises the question as to how the estate was settled.  Perhaps as his nephew and godson, Johann Peter Orth II benefited well from the settlement from his uncle's estate.

In 1848, Eva Margarethe Orth, the widow of Johann Friedrich Orth dies.  This seems to have set the stage for the final settlement of the estate, or at least the sale of the remaining half of the home.

There is some evidence from the Fürstengrund history as to how the sale of the house was handled.  The history states that on May 1, 1848, the municipality acquired a "new" school house by means of a trade. It stood directly beside the "old" school where the "new" school house was torn down in 1872 to build a yet newer school house (this last school house built in 1872 is still standing in Fürstengrund). The 1848 school house had been half-owned since 1839 by Johann Friedrich Orth and half by his son-in-law, Johann Georg Rexroth I. After Friedrich died in 1846, his heirs were interested in selling the house. The estate received 800 fl (Florin guilders) from the municipality and Johann Georg Rexroth I received the "old" school house which was in danger of collapsing as part of the trade. The history states that it was no problem for Rexroth, who was a blacksmith, to completely renovate the house and make it liveable. The municipality had to pay another 800 fl to convert the newly acquired building into a proper school. To finance this, Johannes Schäfer, owner of the Scholzehof farm, lent the money to the municipality.

The placing of the Orth "homesteads" in the current village of Fürstengrund appears to be as follows (using the current house numbering in the village rather than the 19th century numbering):

Johann Friedrich Orth and his family lived at Fürstengrunder Straße 40 which had been the property of his father, Johann Leonhard Orth.  The house was sold/traded to the village in 1848 which then converted it into a school. This school was then demolished in 1872 for the construction of a two-story school with a steeple and bell. This continued to be the village school until 1970, at which time it was sold and today it is a private residence. In 1848, Johann Georg Rexroth I and his family would have then moved next door to Fürstengrunder Straße 46, the site of the old school house which he converted into a liveable residence.  Johann Peter Orth I and, later in 1846, Johann Peter Orth II, lived at Fürstengrunder Straße 42.

(A photo of the property, shows the 1872 school, now a residence, at Fürstengrunder Straße 40, the house immediately to its right is Fürstengrunder Straße 46.  Fürstengrunder Straße 42 is not located directly on Fürstengrunder Straße but is set back a distance from these homes.

In 1849, Johann Philip Orth emigrated to the United States at the age of 22.  He was a younger brother of Johann Peter Orth II.  It appears that he was unmarried at the time of his emigration.  While it is only speculation, it is possible that Johann Philip Orth received something from the sale of his father's home to the village in 1848 or from the settlement of his father's estate in 1846.

In December 1853, Johann Peter Orth II and his family left Fürstengrund and emigrated to Canada.  There is no record of his financial situation at this time.  One can only speculate as to his financial state of affairs.  As the oldest son remaining in Fürstengrund after the death of his father and the emigration of his older brother, Philip Jacob Orth, in 1846, he may have felt some sort of familial obligation to look after his mother and his younger brothers and sisters while, at the same, time looking after his own wife and children.  Given the financial obligations this might have imposed on him plus the fact that the economic situation in Fürstengrund  and that area of Germany was desperate at this time, marked by crop failures and depression, it is quite possible that Johann Peter Orth II was not in the best of financial situations.  Of course, this depends to a certain extent what inheritances he received from his father's estate and perhaps from his uncle, Johann Peter Orth I.  This is unknown.

The Fitzky Family

Anna Elisabethe Fitzky was born on March 1, 1820, in the village of Dorf- Erbach (now part of the town of Erbach).  Her father was Johann Leonhard Fitzky, born April 4, 1789, in Erbach and died on March 15, 1863, in Erbach.  Her mother was Elisabethe Katharina Kumpf who was born on September 24, 1796, in Schönnen and died on November 28, 1863, in Erbach.  Anna's paternal grandparents were Johann Leonhard Fitzky, born November 29, 1751, in Erbach and died on July 4, 1805, in Erbach.  His wife was Anna Margarethe (Maria) Hauck who was born on July 8, 1747, in Vielbrunn, and died on February 5, 1813, in Erbach.  Anna's maternal grandparents were Adam Kumpf, born in 1750 in Schönnen, and his wife Anna Margaretha Hüffner, born in 1751, in Haisterbach.

See picture of Anna Elisabethe Fitzky.

Other members of the Fitzky family also emigrated to North America.  Some of their descendants have been located in the United States.  The family name of those living in the United States has been changed to "Fitzkee".   More information is available about the Fitzky Family at this page.

Peter's Brothers and Sisters Who Remained in Germany

This section provides a brief background on Peter's brothers and sisters who remained living in Germany.  There is more information below about Peter's other brothers and sisters who emigrated to Canada or the United States. 

Eva Margarethe Orth 

Eva Margarethe Orth  was born on October 10, 1820.  She married Johann Georg Rexroth I on January 4, 1838 and she died on June 3, 1894, in Fürstengrund. Her husband, who was from nearby König, was born February 24, 1809, and died on May 7, 1860, in Fürstengrund. The history of Fürstengrund indicates that Eva Margarethe and Johann Georg moved into a half of the house at Fürstengrunder Sraße 40 in 1839, the home of Eva's father, Friedrich Orth.  In 1848, they moved to Fürstengrunder Straße 46, which had been the old village schoolhouse which they then renovated into a liveable residence.  We know of two children of this marriage but there were likely more.  They had a son, Philip Jakob Rexroth, who was born on November 15, 1838, in Fürstengrund, and died on February 10, 1873, in Fürstengrund.  He married Anna Katharine Hoffart on February 7, 1869, in König.  

Based on information received from another researcher (this information has not been verified), Eva and Johann also had a daughter, Anna Elisabeth Rexroth, who was born on June 7, 1847, in Fürstengrund, and died on December 18, 1913, in Eight Mile Grove, Cass County, Nebraska, U.S.A.   Anna Elisabeth married Johann Dieter Thierolf in 1872.  Johann was born on May 15, 1843 (probably in Fürstengrund) and died on November 19, 1907, in Eight Mile Grove, Cass County, Nebraska, U.S.A.   Johann is said to be the son of Johann and Maria Thierolf.   (The history of Fürstengrund indicates that there were several Thierolf families living in that village in the early 19th century).  Also, the listing of emigrants from Fürstengrund from  the history of Fürstengrund and as also complied by Ella Gieg, notes that an Adam Thierolf, son of Heinrich Thierolf, emigrated to America in 1845.  He was accompanied by his wife and a son, Johann Dieter, age 3.  This would suggest that this could be the same Johann Dieter who married Anna Elisabeth Rexroth in 1872.  However, this is unclear since various unverified sources indicate that Anna Elisabeth and Johann Dieter were married in Hessen and not the United States).  There is no indication as to when and how Anna Elisabeth Rexroth made her way to the United States bearing in mind that her parents never emigrated.

Katherine Elisabeth Orth 

Katharine Elisabeth was born on December 26, 1824, in Fürstengrund.   She married Johannes Laub II on March 30, 1851.   Johannes Laub was born on April 12, 1820, in Fürstengrund, and died on March 27, 1874 in the same village.  Katharine and Johannes lived in Fürstengrund and raised a family of seven children, all of whom were born in Fürstengrund. Katharine died on January 23, 1918.  Their children were:  Maria Elisabeth, born March 11, 1850; Georg, born June 3, 1853; Elisabeth Katharine, born June 11, 1856; Johannes, born July 30, 1859; Katharine Elisabeth, born April 19, 1862; Johann Georg, born March 6, 1865; and one child stillborn November 3, 1869.

Maria Elisabeth Orth    

Maria Elisabeth  was born on December 24, 1831, died on March 16, 1851. There is no further information about her.

Johann Michael Orth

Johann Michael was born on July 16, 1817, and died on November 13, 1828 at the age of eleven. 

C. Emigration to North America 1853 - 1854

In 1853, Peter formally applies to emigrate to America (at the time "America" could refer to either the United States or Canada). His passport application was made on October 26, 1853 to The Grand-Ducal Hessian District Administrator for the District of Neustadt. The passport application was signed by a Mr. Koch who was the Grand-Ducal Mayor of Fürstengrund. The mayor reports in respect of Peter (translated from the German):

``It is noted that he and his wife and four children wish to emigrate. The oldest child is 7, the second child is 5, the third child is 3, the fourth child is 3/4. The above described Peter Orth of Fürstengrund (occupation/trade: shoemaker), born in Fürstengrund, has the wish to go to America with the intention of making a better life for himself, and he is asking that a passport be issued, valid for two years. His conduct is good, and there are no reasons for denying his application."

The mayor signed the application on October 31, 1853. There appears to have been a charge for the application or passport since stamped on the application is a seal which indicates 6 kr. (crowns).

Why did Peter and his family emigrate? The exact reason is not known but it is safe to assume that it was generally for the same reasons that hundreds of thousands of his fellow countrymen also left Germany for North America and other parts of the world in the 19th century - overpopulation, bad harvests, famine, unemployment and political repression. Land in the United States and Canada was plentiful and cheap which must have been an amazing thing for many of the rural German inhabitants who were trying to survive on very tiny plots of land. The size of the farms was made even more problematic by the custom in some parts of Germany, such as Hessen, of partible inheritances. This was the practice of dividing the house and farmland on inheritance among the children, causing the farms to become increasingly smaller and less economically  viable.

The Fürstengrund history notes that emigration was encouraged by a Hessian statute of May 30, 1821, according to which few obstacles were presented to those who were willing to leave.

The history also notes that by 1830, Bremen, Germany, was still the leading emigration port. First, the emigrants were transported in cargo wagons to Hannoversch-Münden, and from there by Weser River barges to the seaport of Bremerhaven, which had been built in 1837. The sailing ships were 9 meters wide and 30 meters long. They offered room for 200 passengers. By the early 1870's, they had been almost completely replaced by steamships.

Agents arranged for the overseas voyages. A principal agency was in the city of Mainz (west of Frankfurt on the Rhine River). In the middle of the 19th century, there was a sub-agent in the town of König, a man by the name of Lorenz Büchner. Most of the emigrants from Fürstengrund traveled from Mainz via Rotterdam, Netherlands, to Le Havre, France, and from there aboard one of the 16 mail-carrying ships that sailed regularly across the Atlantic to New York. On those ships, beds, space in the galley for cooking, wood, light, drinking water and a ship's apothecary were made available to the passengers. They had to bring their own bags, pots and pans and bedding. The adults were allowed to carry free of charge 200 pounds, each child up to 12 years old, 100 pounds of baggage. For extra weight, 2 guilders, 30 kreuzer per 100 pounds had to be paid on the route via England. In New York, the newcomers would then be told as to how they might arrange for their continued voyage to the country's interior (or to Canada) in the best and cheapest manner.

Peter was not the first of Johann Friedrich Orth's children to emigrate. The records indicate that Peter's brother, Johannes Orth emigrated around 1846. The record indicates that he left by himself (i.e. no wife or children). This was followed in 1846 or 1847 by Peter's older brother, Philip Jakob Orth, who emigrated with his wife and four children. In 1849, his brother Johann Phillip Orth, emigrated to the United States by himself.  Peter and his wife and four children emigrated in 1853 accompanied by his sister, Katharina, and her future husband, Johann Nickel (John S. Nickel).

The records indicate that Johann Peter Orth and his family arrived in the port of New York City on Monday, February 13, 1854, after an ocean voyage of 63 days.  They arrived upon the Belgian Bark "Koophandel" that had left from the Antwerp, Belgium, on or about December 12, 1853.  The ship manifest records the family as Peter Orth and his wife, Elisabeth Orth, and their children, Maria, Sophia, Leonhard and Johannes (Maria being from Peter's first marriage).  Also, traveling on this voyage with Peter was his sister, Catharine Orth ("Katharina").  As well, the manifest indicates that Johann Nickel that was also on-board.  This was the John S. Nickel to whom Katharina would marry sometime later (exact marriage date and place unknown).

The New York Times (Marine Intelligence) reported the arrival of the "Koophandel" in its February 14, 1854, edition.  It reported that the Bark Koophandel (Belg.) arrived in New York on February 13, 1854, whose captain was Captain Loerenwitz, sailing from Antwerp after 63 days  carrying merchandise and 214 passengers, with shipping agents, Funch & Meincke.  The article further notes that one death occurred on board during the voyage.

The passenger list for this voyage indicate that every passenger had their place of origin listed as Germany.  It is quite possible that some of the passengers on board could have come from the same area in Germany as Peter Orth and is family. 

Given that Peter and his family arrived in New York, the most typical route to Canada would have been either up the Hudson River, either to a port on Lake Ontario (Oswego, Sackett's Harbour) and by boat across to Ontario, or up the Erie Canal to Buffalo and across the Niagara River to Ontario.

D. The Orth Family - The Waterloo County Years

There is little material available so far concerning the arrival of Peter Orth and his family in Canada. It is quite likely, however, that they arrived in New York since that appears to be the typical port of arrival for many of the Odenwald immigrants to the United States and Canada.

It is assumed that Peter and his family came directly to Canada since his brother, Philip Jakob Orth, had arrived around 1846 or 1847 and settled in Waterloo County in southwestern Ontario. The first record we have of Peter and his family in Ontario is the 1861 census for Woolwich Township, Waterloo County, which shows Peter Ort (note the spelling), and his wife and children living on a 13 acre farm which was part of Lot 48. This was located a couple of kilometers west of the village of St. Jacob's. Township assessment and tax records indicate that all of Lot 48 was owned by a Ludwig Weis. Peter was likely working the 13 acre section on some kind of sharecropper basis. The 1861 census placed a value of $200 on the property and showed a further value of $110 for implements and machinery. The census also showed seven acres of pasture which produced three tons of hay, four acres of peas with a yield of 60 bushels, 2 acres of oats yielding 50 bushels and 100 bushels of potatoes from the remainder of the land.

Peter's pattern of settlement in Waterloo County and working on an existing farm was typical of many of the German settlers which came to Ontario in the 1840's and 1850's. In the early to mid-1800's, Waterloo County had been settled in large numbers by Mennonites who had come to Canada from Pennsylvania. Later, waves of German immigrants came directly to Waterloo County from Europe. Before the 1850's, most of these were Catholics from southwestern Germany and Alsace. After the 1850's, most of the settlers from the Lutheran regions of Germany. Obviously, Waterloo County was a magnet for German immigrants since there was a familiarity in terms of language and culture which would make them feel more at home in this new land. Being able to work on the Mennonite farms as labourers or sharecroppers provided them with a chance to earn money which would enable them to buy their own farms.

Given that Peter Orth arrived in Woolwich Township in 1854 to an area that had seen settlement starting in the early 1800's, it is likely that much of the land had already been cleared and under cultivation by the original settlers.  That probably spared Peter from the very difficult task of clearing virgin forests.  Likewise, nearby urban settlements were already established and growing with commercial and industrial enterprises and rural schools and churches had already been established.  The closest village to Peter would have been St. Jacobs (or "Jakobstettel" as it would have been called prior to its official naming of "St. Jacobs" in 1852).  It is assumed that Peter and his family would have went into St. Jacobs on a regular basis to buy supplies and to sell their farm produce. 

Peter's brother Philip Jakob Orth and his family, appear to have first settled in Bridgeport, Ontario, when they arrived in Canada (now a part of Kitchener, Ontario). On May 3, 1859, Philip purchased a farm made up of parts of Lots 22, 23 and 24, Concession A, Wellesley Township in Waterloo County, Ontario. The farm consisted of 156 acres, of which 115 were good farming land. The property, which included a solid brick house, was purchased for $2500. Philip and his family resided at this farm for 12 years and on September 28, 1871, he sold the farm to John M. Brubacher for $7250.

It is interesting to note that when Philip and his family settled in Wellesley Township, he and  Peter then lived within three kilometers of each other in Waterloo County so it is assumed that they and their respective families saw a great deal of each other in those days, socially, in church and school and around the community.

While living in Woolwich Township, Peter and his wife, Anna, had four more children. They were Jacob (b. May 31, 1856), Anna Eva (b. November 16, 1857), Wilhelm (b. October 1, 1859) and Albert (b. March 7, 1861).

Peter Orth and his family first settled in Woolwich Township in Waterloo County in 1854.  One of the nearest villages to their home was St. Jacobs which was first settled around 1830 but significant development did not occur until the early 1850s.  Shown above are two businesses that would have existed at the time that Peter was living in the area and of which he and his family may have patronized.  One was the "People's Store" owned by George W. Eby (top left) and another was the "Farmer's Inn" (top right), established in 1853, that was later renamed "The Dominion Hotel". 

E. The Wallace Township - Perth County Years

By the mid-1850's land was opening up for settlement in the north part of Perth County which bordered Waterloo County on its western boundary. This provided an opportunity for many of the settlers in Waterloo County to acquire their own land. Located in the northern end of Perth County is Wallace Township. A description of Wallace Township is found in Magnified Memories: The History of Wallace Township:

"Wallace Township was one of the many townships which in the 1840's were carved out of the heavily-wooded, unsurveyed crown land, commonly known as the Queen's Bush, which lay to the north of the Huron Tract and south of Georgian Bay. the boundaries of Wallace itself first appear sketched on a map of Canada West (i.e. Ontario) dated 1846. The Township's triangular shape is unusual, but it is the result of it being the left-over piece when lines were drawn parallel to Lake Huron and to existing lines further east. The "left-over" heritage also meant that it was the very last township of the Queen's bush to be surveyed and opened up for sale". (P. 135).

The first survey of Wallace Township was undertaken in 1847. As of September 16, 1856, Crown land in Wallace Township became available for sale. Notice of this sale occurred on July 4, 1856. Previous to this time, there were "squatters" living in Wallace Township. So many of these squatters put in claims for the land on which they were living that it appears that only several lots actually became available for sale. The terms of sale were 10 shillings per acre, payable in 10 equal annual installments, with interest, actual occupation to be immediate and continuous. In order to receive the Crown Patent which made ownership complete, the settler had to pay the full price, plus interest, at ten shillings (about $2.00 per acre). Therefore, the first Patent in Wallace was not issued until May 7, 1859.

Peter and his family were among the original pioneers in Wallace Township, apparently moving there sometime in 1861 or 1862, just after having been recorded in the 1861 Census living in Woolwich Township in Waterloo County.  The first record of Peter in Wallace Township is found in the 1862 Tax Assessment Roll for Wallace Township.  Peter is listed as "Peter Ort" living at Concession 2, Lots 55 and 56, and owning 50 acres of land valued at $150.00.  His taxes for that year are recorded as $2.35 ($1.82 County Tax and $.53 Township Tax).  As of 1866, Peter is still found in the Tax Roll at this property and listed as "Peter Ort".  By that time, the property is now valued at $230.00 and his taxes are $2.70.  However, it appears that sometime in 1866 - 1867, Peter moves to a farm located at Concession 5, North Parts of Lots 49 and 50.  He appears in the 1867 Wallace Township Tax Roll, again as "Peter Ort" owning 50 acres of land valued at $150.00 with a total tax assessment of $3.37($2.11 County Tax, $.26 Township Tax and $1.00 dog tax for one male dog - bitches were taxed at $2.00).  

Unlike his experience in Woolwich Township in Waterloo County, Peter and and his family would probably have encountered and endured a more "pioneer" existence in Wallace Township given that it had only come under settlement starting in the late 1850's.  This would have meant that many of the original settlers would have faced the difficult task of clearing virgin forests, draining swamps and building shelter, most typically log cabins as well as constructing roads and establishing the basic amenities of a rural community including the establishment of churches and schools and early businesses.

Peter's Land Transactions in Wallace Township

Wallace Township land records indicate that Peter and Anna and their family eventually settled on Lots 49 and 50, Concession 5, Wallace Township, Perth County. The various land transactions from 1866 to Peter's death in 1893 are as follows:

June 2, 1866 - Peter takes a mortgage from Thomas Gibb for $450.00. The mortgaged land includes 25 acres in each of the north part of Lots 49 and 50. As a matter of interest, Thomas Gibb appears in the Ontario 1871 Census as being a 32 year old English-born farmer living in Elma Township, Perth North.

September 21, 1868 - Crown Patent issued to Peter Orth for 25 acres in each of the north part of Lots 49 and 50 in Concession 5. The fact that Peter obtained the Patent in 1868 suggests that he must have used the money borrowed from Thomas Gibb to pay for the land earlier than he had to under the original terms of purchase. At a price of $2.00 per acre, Peter's purchase price would have been $100.00. Presumably, he may have used the rest of the money he borrowed to build a house and farm buildings and acquire equipment and livestock.

February 14, 1872 - Mortgage from Thomas Gibb is released indicating that Peter had paid back the borrowed money.

April 16, 1873 - Crown Patent is issued to James Mulvey for 125 acres in the south part of Lots 49 and 50.

January 31, 1874 - Peter takes a mortgage from the Ontario S&L Society (Savings and Loan) for the amount of $8896.00 The mortgaged land indicates 175 acres consisting of Lots 49 and 50 of Concession 5.

Date Unclear, 1874 - Peter purchases 125 acres consisting of the south parts of Lots 49 and 50 in Concession 5 from James Mulvey for $5000.00.

February 22, 1877 - Peter sells 110 acres consisting of the south parts of Lots 49 and 50 in Concession 5 to August and William Mahnke for $4700.00. This leaves Peter with 65 acres of land in the north part of Lots 49 and 50. It is interesting to note that in September of 1880, William Mahnke became Peter's son-in-law when he married Peter's daughter, Anna Eva.

February 28, 1881 - Peter takes a mortgage from The Ontario Loan and Debenture Company for $1200.00. The mortgaged land is described as 175 acres consisting of Lots 49 and 50 in Concession 5 except for 55 acres in each of the south parts of Lots 49 and 50, owned by August and William Mahnke.

March 13, 1881 - The mortgage Peter took in 1874 is released.

February 23, 1886 - Peter takes a mortgage from John Duckering, a nearby farmer living in Wallace Township, for $550.00. The mortgaged land is the 65 acres in the north parts of Lots 49 and 50.

February 25, 1886 - The mortgage Peter took in 1881 is released.

February 23, 1893 - The mortgage Peter took in 1886 is released.

October 7, 1893 - Peter sells his 65 acres to his son, Albert, for $2600.00

October 7, 1893 - Albert Orth takes a mortgage from his father for $2500.00. The mortgaged land consists of the 65 acres in Lots 49 and 50.

Peter's Life in Wallace

Peter was very active in his church while living in Wallace Township indicating his devout Lutheran faith. Peter was one of the founding members of St. Paul's Lutheran Church located on part of Lot 30, Concession 5, near the village of Shipley which is near the present day village of Gowanstown. The land for the church was donated by Johannes Nickel on which a log church was built. The congregation was organized as of April 30, 1864. The first twelve people to sign the register were: Johannes Nickel, Valentine Esch, Johannes Kraft, Henrich Koeniche, George Nickel, Peter Orth, Johann Nickel, Henry Fries, Daniel Hotel, Conrad Nuhn, Peter Fries and Henrich Ludwig. The congregation was started by the Missouri Synod with Rev. Wiechmann of Flordale who served the families by holding services in the homes every three weeks.

In 1874, a number of people, including Peter Orth and most of his family, left St. Paul's Lutheran Church and followed Pastor H. Bruer in the founding of Trinity Lutheran Church located in the village of Kurtzville, very near to Peter's home. In 1882, Trinity Lutheran joined the Missouri Synod. The congregation remaining at St. Paul's Lutheran Church asked the Canada Synod for a clergyman. The split in the church at that time was very divisive for the community and for many families, including Peter's, since two of his sons remained with St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Likewise, Peter's brother, Philip Jacob, who was also now living in Wallace Township, remained with St. Paul's.

Peter and Anna's children probably attended school at S.S. 4 Wallace. The first school was a log building constructed in 1858 at a cost of $101.50 and located at Lot 35 of Concession 5, Wallace Township.

Peter's only known occupation during his years in Wallace was that of farming. Knowing that Wallace Township was heavily wooded, it is assumed that Peter and his family and neighbours spent a great deal of their time clearing the land so that it was available for cultivation. Chances are that he traveled very little distance from his home in Wallace, probably just to Listowel or Palmerstone, the nearest towns of any size.

The 1871 Census provides an interesting snapshot of Peter's assets and farm production.  The following information is in respect of his farm at Concession 5, Lots 49 and 50:

50 Acres of Land Owned

1 Dwelling House

1 Barn/Stable

1 Carriage/Sleigh

1 Plough

1 Fanning Mill

Number of Acres Improved - 18 Acres

Number of Acres in Pasture - 3 Acres

Number of Acres in Garden/Orchard - 1/4 Acre

Wheat - 10 Acres (Producing 140 Bushels of Spring Wheat)

Oats - 40 Bushels

Peas - 40 Bushels

Potatoes - One Acre (Producing 90 Bushels)

Turnips - 150 Bushels

Mangels/Beets - 25 Bushels

Hay - Three Acres  (Producing 7 tons)

50 Pounds of Maple Sugar

Livestock 

No colts or fillies

No Horses over three years of age

Two working oxen

Four Horned Cattle

Six Sheep

Four Swine

One cattle killed or sold for slaughter or export

Six sheep killed or sold for slaughter or export

Four swine killed or sold for slaughter or export

200 Pounds of butter Produced

25 Pounds of Homemade Cheese Produced

40 Pounds of Wool Produced

10 Logs/Spruce Sold

It is also assumed that Peter probably lived very much in a German culture and milieu until he died. The large concentration of German settlers in Wallace Township would have made it very easy to function in German on a day-to-day basis. Church services during his lifetime were believed to have been conducted solely in German and most of his reading material would likewise have been written in German. In fact, most of the tombstones in the Wallace Township cemeteries for the German residents were engraved in German script and language until early in the 1900's.

Likewise, Peter probably felt "at home" in Wallace Township since there were other people living in the township who had also come from Fürstengrund, such as the Nickel family. More details about the Nickel family are provided later. The practice of immigrants from a particular village or district in Germany settling together in North America appears typical of German settlement patterns in the United States and Canada in the nineteenth century. This provided a sense of continuity between the old country and their new lives and kept family connections together since many of their children continued for the first generation or so to marry fellow villagers who their families knew in Germany.

Records indicate that the Orth family were involved in local politics.  The history of Perth County notes that a Philip Orth was a Wallace Township councilor in 1876 and that a P. Orth was a township councilor in 1877.  It has not been confirmed as to which Philip Orth this was (i.e. Peter's brother, Philip Jacob, or his nephews) nor is it known to whom the reference is to "P. Orth" - this could be Peter any of the other P. Orth's living in Wallace Township at that time). 

Peter died on December 28, 1893, following a three month bout with pneumonia. Under the terms of Peter's last will and testament which was made on December 23, 1893, John S. Nickel, Peter's son-in-law, was appointed the executor. Peter bequeathed to his wife, Anna, as long as she lived, the interest which was due and payable from the mortgage he was holding for the farm, now owned by his son Albert but mortgaged to Peter. The will further indicated that if Anna survived the term of the mortgage, the principal of the mortgage was to be invested and the interest paid to her. After the death of Anna, the will stipulated that Peter's property was to be allocated among several of his children and the children of his daughter, Mary Meisinger.

Peter's widow, Anna, continued to live with her son, Albert and his family until her death on May 10, 1896. Both Peter and Anna were buried in the cemetery at Trinity Lutheran Church in Kurtzville. Unfortunately, their gravestones today are almost illegible because of the erosion of the stones from the elements. The graves are located in Section A, Row 5.

When Peter and his family settled in Wallace Township in the early 1860's, the township had just opened up for settlement.  Most of the land would have been heavily forested with very rough roads leading through them.  The first home for most of the settlers would have been log cabins such as those shown in the above pictures.  Obviously, log homes were the most logical choice given the abundance of trees that had to be felled in order to cultivate the land.  These are photos of log homes in Wallace Township that would be typical of what Peter and his family first lived in.  By the 1880's, it appears that many of the original settlers were constructing more substantial wood frame, stone or brick homes, most of which are still standing in Wallace Township today.

F. The Children of Peter and Anna

The following is a brief summary of the lives of the eight children of Peter and Anna. Unfortunately, there are still a number of missing gaps in our knowledge of their children, particularly those who moved to the United States. However, research is continuing and excellent contacts are continuing to be made with descendants now living in the United States so, hopefully, more information will become available to fill in the missing gaps. It should be noted, however, that for some of the children, much more information is available then that shown below. The author should be contacted for more information concerning these children.

A detailed listing of the children and grandchildren of Peter and Anna can be found in the family tree in this Website.  Also, much more information about the family can be found in the excellent Orth family history compiled by Les Orth of New Hamburg, Ontario,  in 2001, entitled "An Orth Family History:  Johann Peter Orth - His Ancestors and His Descendants".  Les can be contacted at lorth@golden.net

Mary Elizabeth (b. 1845)

Mary was Peter's first and only child of his first wife, Eva Margarethe Orth. Mary probably never lived in Wallace Township for very long since she moved to the United States and married John George Meisinger on January 31, 1867, in Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois, U.S.A. John George Meisinger was born on May 31, 1840, in Böllstein, Hessen, Germany, a small village only a few kilometers west of Fürstengrund. Members of the Meisinger family were also living in Fürstengrund at the same time as Peter so the Orth and Meisinger families almost certainly knew each other from Germany. Mary died on June 12, 1891, in Green Valley, Tazewell County, Illinois, U.S.A. Mary and John had eight children. 

There is an excellent history of the Meisinger family from 1575 to 1987 which has been written by Eldon Meisinger of Plattsmouth, Nebraska. Readers should contact Mr. Meisinger or refer to his book if they want more information. A Meisinger Web site is also available.

A short biography of John George Meisinger has been located.  Also, there have been a number of marriages involving Orth and Meisinger family members.  Both of these are detailed in the linked page concerning the Meisinger family.

Maria Sophia (b. 1848) 

Maria "Sophia" also left Canada to get married. She married John Kraeger on November 15, 1870, in Tazewell County, Illinois, U.S.A. John was born in 1844 in Hesse-Darmstadt.

The family name of Kraeger was known as "Kräger" in Germany. Information concerning emigration from the Odenwald in Germany indicates that a Johannes Kräger (Widow) came to America in 1864 when she was 50 years old (b. 1814) and settled around Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois. It further indicates she was joining her brother-in-law, Philipp Meisinger and his wife and their family of seven children who had come to America in 1854 and were living in Pekin, Illinois.  The widow Johannes Kräger was a Hallstein before she married.  Her sister was Anna Margaretha (Hallstein) Meisinger, the wife of Philipp Meisinger.  The Hallstein family came from Sandbach in Hessen.  The parents of the widow Kräger and Anna Margartha were Johann Leonhard Hallstein and his wife, Anna Eva Hartmann.  Johann and Anna Eva emigrated to the United States in 1856 along with another son, Johannes and his wife and children.  There were also other children already living in the United States at that time.

Two children accompanied Mrs. Kräger to America in 1864, Adam, aged 25, and Johannes, aged 20, so this would most likely be the John Kraeger who married Sophia as this would make his birth date 1844. The Kraeger family came from the village of Sandbach in Hessen which is only about six kilometers north of Fürstengrund.

A number of Philipp Meisinger's other brothers and sisters were also living in Tazewell County at the time. Philipp Meisinger had a brother named Johann Baltazer Meisinger living in Tazewell County. One of his children was John George Meisinger (b. 1840) who married Mary Elizabeth Orth (see above). 

It appears that Sophia and John had eleven children. It is interesting to note that two of their children married Meisinger's and two other of their children married Engelkemier's, this family also having connections with the Meisinger family. Around 1879, Sophia and John and their family move to Cass County, Nebraska, around the town of Plattsmouth. Sophia died in 1904 and John died in 1920.  They are both buried in Cass County, Nebraska.

An interesting article concerning Sophia and John Kraeger was found at the Nebraska GenWeb Project Website which was reprinted from the "Portrait and Biographical Album of Otoe and Cass Counties, Nebraska" (Chicago, Chapman Brothers, 1889). 

JOHN KRAEGER is one of those earnest, hard-working German-American citizens who have contributed so largely by their perseverance and skill to make the State of Nebraska the fruitful garden it is to-day. He resides on his fine farm of 320 acres located on section 2 of Mt. Pleasant Precinct. He is a native of Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, where he was born April 5, 1854. There he lived with his parents, John and Eve Krueger, attending school until he reached the age of fifteen years, when he began learning the trade of stonemason, which trade he followed for six years. His life from that time to the present has been passed in farming. In the fall of 1864 he took passage for America in a sailing-vessel from the port of Bremen, and after a voyage of thirty-one days landed at New York City.

After he had reached that city our subject went direct to Tazewell County, Ill., where he lived until 1878, in which year he came to Cass County, Neb., where he has since lived. He was married to Sophia Orth, Nov. 15, 1870, in Illinois. The lady was born in Germany, June 16, 1848, and is the daughter of Peter and Elizabeth Orth. She came to America with her parents when she was five years old, and settled with them in Canada, where the parents still reside. In 1867 she came alone to Illinois. They have become the parents of nine children: Elizabeth was born Aug. 27, 1871; George, Jan. 12, 1873; Adam, June 8, 1875; John, Jan. 9, 1877; Annie, Jan. 9, 1879; Louisa, Nov. 8, 1882; Jacob, Dec. 28, 1884; Mary, Nov. 6, 1886, and Henry, in 1887.

Mr. Kraeger emigrated with his family to Cass County, Neb., in the spring of 1878, and settled on the farm where he now lives, to the improvement of which he has from that time to the present devoted his every energy. His buildings, provided for general farm purposes, barns, sheds, etc., are among the best in the precinct; his residence is large and tastefully designed and handsomely furnished. The grounds about the house are ornamented with evergreens and shrubbery. A thriving orchard of choice varieties of fruits, and both natural and planted groves, add value to the premises.

When our subject arrived in America he had no means with which to help himself. He contracted a debt of $20 to tide him over his necessities until he could settle down to work at something. He is truly a self-made man, and in gathering the fine property together which now surrounds him, he has shown an immense amount of energy and perseverance. In all things he has been ably assisted by his wife, who has at no time ever hesitated to assume any responsibility or enter upon the discharge of any duty, however hard or unpleasant it might be, that would forward the interests and welfare of husband and family, and now having attained the fulfillment of their hopes and desires, they are enjoying a full competency, which they have striven so long and hard to reach, and have been so richly rewarded.

The friends and neighbors of the subject of this sketch have frequently solicited him to accept official positions at their hands, which he has invariably refused, except the office of School Director, in which position he felt that he could accomplish the greatest amount of good, and the duties of which office he has filled in a highly acceptable manner. Himself and wife are valued and honored members of the Lutheran Church. He is a Republican in politics, and is an earnest worker in behalf of that party. He is one of the leaders in the social life of the precinct. 

The obituary for John Kraeger also provides some very useful information concerning John and his family:

DEATH OF JOHN KRAEGER, AN OLD RESIDENT PASSED AWAY YESTERDAY AFTERNOON AT HIS HOME WEST OF MYNARD

CAME TO COUNTY IN 1878

Born in Hessen-Damarsdt, Germany, April 5, 1844 - Came To
This County in 1864.

 From Saturday's Daily

Another of the old residents of Cass county who have played an important part in the development of the county and was numbered among the most estimable citizens of the community, John Kraeger, has been called to his last long rest. Mr. Kraeger, who has been in poor health for quite a long period, suffering from diabetes, has gradually been growing weaker until death came to his relief yesterday afternoon at 1 o'clock at his farm home in Eight Mile Grove precinct. John Kraeger was born April 5, 1844, in Hessen Darmstadt, Germany, where his parents, John and Eva Kraeger, were numbered among the leading residents of their home community, and at the age of 15 years John took up the trade of stone mason which he followed for a period of six years, and then entered the pursuit of agriculture which he has made his life work and at which he was very successful. In the fall of the year 1864 he took passage in a sailing vessel from Bremen, Germany, and after a voyage of 31 days landed in the new world at New York. After reaching America Mr. Kraeger came direct to Tazewell county, Illinois, where a large number of his friends and countrymen were located and where he made his home until 1878, when he came to Cass county, Nebraska, and located on the farm where he resided until his death. Enduring the privation of the early years and struggling for the betterment of himself and family, Mr. Kraeger made a great success of his work and was numbered among the most successful farmers of the county at the time of his death. He was married to Miss Sophia Orth November 15, 1870, in Illinois. the wife was also a native of Germany and came to Illinois in 1867 from Canada where her parents had settled. To Mr. and Mrs. Kraeger were born ten children, two of whom preceded the parents in death, those remaining to mourn the loss of the father being Elizabeth, George, Adam and John, residing at Fort Collins, Colo., Mrs. Louisa Engelkemeir, Jacob, Mrs. Mary Meesler of Denver, and Sophia and William Kraeger. The loss of this grand good man is one that will be deeply felt in his home community and his family will have in their hour of grief the deepest sympathy of a host of friends. The funeral services will be held on Monday afternoon at 1 o'clock from the Eight Mile Grove Lutheran church and the body laid to rest in the cemetery near the old home.  2 - 23 - 1920 Monday

(Obituary kindly provided by David Gochenour (Coordinator for USGenWeb Cass County, Nebraska, Website).

Historical research from Germany shows that another person, also named Johannes Kräger, emigrated to America in 1853 from Sandbach. Likewise, material sourced from Tazewell County indicates that there was a John Kraeger living in Pekin, Illinois, who died on in 1920. His obituary from the Pekin Times of December 14, 1920 states: John Kraeger was born November 23, 1832, Sandbach, Hessen, Darmstadt, Germany, the son of Balthazer and Magdalena Orth. Kraeger came to this country August 13, 1853. He married Mary Herget in 1870. Children were Philip A., Mrs. J.H. Bauer, Edward J., George O., Mrs. A.A. Sipfle, Mrs. Fred L. Bergstresser, Carl E., Bertha and John. It is not known how this John Kraeger is related to the Kraeger family referred to above, but given that both families came from Sandbach, it is almost certain that there is a relationship. Also, it is noted that John Kraeger's mother was Magdalena Orth. No record is yet available to link this person to the Orth family which is the subject of this history.

George Leonhard (b. 1850)  (See Pictures)

George Leonhard Orth left Wallace Township and moved to Illinois when he was about seventeen years old. The 1870 U.S. Census indicates that he was working as a farm labourer on a farm owned by Phillip Fornoff in Sand Prairie Township, Tazewell County.  Also, working on the farm as a domestic servant was was his sister, Sophie Orth.  Later that year, Sophie was to marry John Kraeger (see above).  After four years of living in Tazewell County, George returned to Wallace Township.  In the 1871 Canadian census, he is back living with his parents in Wallace Township.  He married Catherine Fischer on January 15, 1876, in Wallace Township. Catherine was the daughter of Conrad Fischer and Margaret Tippel. Catherine was born on December 2, 1853, in Canada, and died on February 22, 1939.

In the late 1870's, George and Catherine moved to Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois in the United States where members of George's family were also living. They had one child while living in Wallace Township and then another four children while living in the United States.

The family returned to Canada in 1892. Upon their return George acquired and began to farm Lot 29 Con. 4 of Wallace Township. In 1919 this farm was passed to their oldest son Noah. George and Catherine retired to Listowel, Ontario, where they lived the rest of their lives. George died on January 14, 1944, and is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Listowel, Ontario.

Johannes Orth (b. 1853)

Not a great deal is known of the life of Johannes Orth. He left Wallace Township and moved to Jefferson County in Nebraska. In 1885 he married Christine Seitz. They had two children, both of whom died in infancy. Johannes died on May 17, 1889, in Plymouth County at 35 years of age. In 1890, his widow married Jacob Fleischhauer.  It is of interest that Jacob Fleischhauer originally came from Canada where his parents, Jacob Fleischhauer and Catharina Michel first settled upon their arrival from Germany. They first settled in Blenheim Township, Oxford County, Ontario and later in North Easthope Township, Perth County, Ontario.  Jacob and Catharina are buried at First St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery, Wellesley, Ontario.  Some of their children homesteaded in Colorado and some of them went to Nebraska.

Jacob Orth (b. 1856)  (See Pictures)

Jacob Orth was the first of Peter and Anna's children who were born in Canada. Jacob married Mary Anna Wipfler in Wallace Township. Mary was born on March 29, 1855, in Woolwich Township, Waterloo County, the daughter of John and Margaret Wipfler.

In the late 1870's the village of Kurtzville in Wallace Township began to take shape as the road-fronting portions of Lots 47 and 48, Concessions 4 and 5 (i.e. both sides of the road) were separated into smaller building lots. The village evolved around a sawmill which was begun on the Concession 4 side of the road by John Kurtz who not only gave his name to the community but was also instrumental in the building that took place.

The first registered owner of Lot 28 Plan 458 Concession 4 was Philip Orth who purchased the Lot in 1879 and sold it the next year to Jacob. Philip, the son of Philip Jacob Orth and a first cousin of Jacob, had arrived in Wallace in about 1868, coming from Wellesley Township at about the same time that Peter and his family had made the move to that area. The 1881 Ontario census for Wallace shows that Jacob had left home and was living with John and Lydia Zurbrigg on Lot 30. Jacob was single at the time and his occupation was listed as that of carpenter. This ties into the fact that John Zurbrigg, who was a brother-in-law of John Kurtz, was the principal builder in the village over the next several years.

Jacob's wife, Anna, as she was known, was the daughter of John and Maggie Wipfler, German immigrants who settled in Wellesley Township, Waterloo County. They were enumerated in the 1861 census with their children Mary, age 6, Catharine 4, and John 2, each of whom were born in Ontario. In 1869, John acquired 35 acres in Wallace Township, specifically the north part of the south half of Lot 31, Concession 3. Ownership of this farm passed to John Jr. in 1887 and three years later he acquired the other 15 acres of the south half of this lot.

Jacob and Anna lived in the house on Lot 28 until about 1895 during which time Anna gave birth to seven children. Jacob's bible, with a date of 1883, contains a stamping that states "Jacob Orth, Dealer in Groceries, Crockery, Provisions, Kurtzville Ontario." It is not known if he conducted this business from his home or another building in the village. However, associated with this business, he served the village as Postmaster from 1891 to 1899.

In 1895, Jacob bought a farm on Lot 41, Concession 4, Wallace Township, just a short distance to the east of Kurtzville. In 1902 he acquired the adjoining farm on Lot 42, and the south half of Lot 43 as well. Jacob passed away on Nov. 29, 1911, just four weeks after the marriage of his oldest daughter Frieda to George Ott. In 1915 the farm on Lots 42 and 43 was passed to his oldest son, George, and in 1917 the original farm on Lot 41 was passed to his next oldest son, Alfred. Alf did not have any sons to pass the farm to, but it was kept in the descendency when it was acquired by his son-in-law, Waldon Schade in 1942.

Jacob and his wife are buried in the cemetery at Trinity Lutheran Church in Kurtzville, Ontario.

Anna Eva Orth (b. 1857)

Anna Eva Orth married William Carl Frederick Mahnke on September 28, 1880, who was born on February 12, 1850, in Germany.

Anna and William lived their lives in Wallace Township, living on land which William had purchased from his father-in-law in 1877. They had four children, all of whom were born in Wallace Township.

Anna died on January 7, 1895, in Wallace Township and William died on October 9, 1930, in Listowel, Ontario. 

Wilhelm (William) Orth (b. 1859)

William was born in Woolwich Township on October 1, 1859. He was the seventh child in the family of Peter and Anna Orth.  At about the age of sixteen, William contacted typhoid fever, apparently the result of drinking contaminated water from a spring.  This resulted in open sores which never healed and were stated as the cause of his death which occurred on March 8, 1884.  He never married.  His occupation at death was given as farmer.  Most likely he worked on his father's farm.  William is buried in plot 3, row 3 of Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Wallace Township (Kurtzville), in Perth County, Ontario, Canada.

Volbrecht (Albert Orth) (b. 1861)  (See Picture)

Albert Orth married Margaret ("Maggie") Barbara Fries in Tazewell, County, Illinois on December 20, 1887. The marriage record indicates that Albert and Maggie were living in Cincinnati Township in Tazewell County.  Maggie was the daughter of Peter Fries and Louise Lohr.  Maggie was born on April 15, 1864, and died on February 13, 1943. 

There is no information as to when Albert moved to Tazewell County or when he returned to Canada.  The 1881 Canada Census indicates that Albert was living with his parents at that time.  Likewise, by the time of the 1891 Canada Census, Albert and his wife and children were living with his parents on the family farm.  Therefore, it appears that Albert must have only been living in Tazewell County, Illinois, for a relatively short period of time.

While it has not yet been confirmed, it is believed that Barbara's parents, Peter and Louisa Fries, as listed in the wedding announcement, were the same as the Peter Fries that had lived in Wallace Township in the 1860's.  There is a Peter Fries, age 25, married, listed in the 1861 Canada Census as living at Concession 4 of Wallace Township and a Peter Fries and a Henry Fries are also listed as founding members of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Wallace Township.  In the1871 Canada Census, there is no Peter Fries found living in Wallace Township, but there is a Peter Fries, age 38, living in Howick Township, Huron County.  As Howick Township immediately adjoins Wallace Township, Perth County, it is assumed that this is the same Peter Fries.

It is not known why Albert was living in Tazewell County, Illinois, at the time of his marriage and why Margaret Fries would be there, as well,  if her parents were the Peter and Louisa Fries living in Ontario, Canada.   However, given that Albert had immediate relatives living in Tazewell County, it is assumed that he may have been involved with them in some way.   As well, there were also Fries living in Tazewell County at this time so it is possible that Margaret had relatives living in Tazewell County, the same as did Albert.  This is quite possible since Canadian census data indicates that her mother, Louisa, was born in the United States.  However, there is no information, to date, which indicates that Margaret was related to these particular members of the Fries family.

Albert and Margaret had three children, of whom, one son, Theodore, moved to Detroit, Michigan, and another son, Solomon Philip, moved to London, Ontario, where he owned and operated a clothing store.

As noted above, Albert bought his father's farm in 1893 and continued to live there until his death on October 18, 1897, at the age of 36. Albert and Margaret are buried in the cemetery at Trinity Lutheran Church in Kurtzville, Ontario.   

G. Peter's Siblings Who Also Emigrated to North America

It is known for certain that three of Peter's brothers and a sister also emigrated to North America and it is very strongly believed that there was another sister, as well.  This would mean that six children, in total, emigrated to either Canada or the United States in the late 1840's and early to mid-1850's.  

Katharina (Orth) Nickel    

As noted previously, Peter's sister, Katharina (also referred to as Catherine) born on September 18, 1835, in Fürstengrund, Hessen, emigrated from Germany in 1854, most likely at the same time as Peter. There is no indication as to where she lived before coming to Wallace Township. Around 1857 - 58, she married John S. Nickel (Johannes) who had likewise emigrated from Fürstengrund around 1855. John S. Nickel was born on September 15, 1829, the son of Georg Nickel. The Fürstengrund history gives his address as Fürstengrunder Straße 111 and his occupation as a baker ("bäcker). The history also indicates that Johannes emigrated in 1855 in a party of three people. There is no indication as to who these people might be if, in fact, this is accurate.

Katherina and John S. Nickel had several children, all of whom were born in Ontario. They were: John C. Nickel (b. November 12, 1858), Gustave Nickel (b. July 18, 1863), Frederick Nickel (b. August 24, 1865), Regina (b. January 24, 1868), Sophia Nickel (b. April 15, 1870), Otto Nickel (b. January 8, 1873) and Catherine Elizabeth Nickel (b. January 7, 1877).

Tracing the Nickel family from Fürstengrund to Wallace Township and keeping all of the individual members straight can be somewhat confusing since the Nickel family was quite large and a number of Nickels emigrated to Canada. However, what makes the genealogy more complicated is the fact that two daughter of Peter's brother, Philip Jacob Orth, also married into the Nickel family. These were Elizabeth Margaret Orth who married Johannus M. Nickel and Katherine Elizabeth Orth who married Johann George Nickel.

For a more comprehensive history of the Nickel family, see the "Nickel - Orth Families of Wallace Township".

Philip Jacob Orth

Philip Jacob Orth was on July 1, 1814, the oldest child of Johann Friedrich Orth and Maria Elisabetha Rodenhausen.

Information concerning Philip Jacob Orth's emigration to Canada and his first years in Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada, is provided earlier in this document. 

Philip Jacob Orth moved to Wallace Township in 1871 after selling his farm in Wellesley Township, Waterloo County. On December 30, 1871, Philip purchased a house at Lot 38 in Concession 7 of Wallace Township. He remained in the residence until he passed away on May 31, 1879, at the age of 64. Philip in buried in the cemetery at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Philip's wife was Catherine Trockenbrod who was born on December 1, 1815. After Philip died, Catherine moved to Nebraska with her daughter, Marie Emilie and son-in-law, John George Weichel. Catherine died on June 30, 1906, near Plymouth, Jefferson County, Nebraska, at the age of 90 years.

Philip and Catherine had nine children. The following is a very brief profile of each child.

Eva Margarethe Trockenbrod Orth

Eva was born on December 31, 1837, in Fürstengrund, Hessen. She married Heinrich Ludwig and she died on June 7, 1867. They had three children; Catherine (b. about 1859), Aaron (born April 7, 1863) and Mary (born about 1865).

Katherine Elizabeth Orth    (See Picture)

Katherine was born on May 3, 1839, in Fürstengrund, Hessen. She married Johann George Nickel. Katherine and Johann had thirteen children. Katherine died on February 19, 1913. Johann George Nickel died December 15, 1922. Both Katherine and her husband, Johann George, died in Wallace Township.

Peter Trockenbrod Orth  (See Picture)

Peter was born on June 24, 1842, in Fürstengrund, Hessen. He married Katharine Gabel on March 19, 1867, daughter of Jacob and Elisabeth Gabel. Peter and Katharine first lived in Wellesley Township, Waterloo County. Around the late 1860`s or early 1870`s, Peter T. Orth and his wife moved to Wallace Township. Wallace Township land records indicate that Peter owned various properties in the township. These included Lot 29 of Concession 4 (1871 - 1879), north half of Lot 31 of Concession 4 (1879 -1881) and the south half of Lot 37 (1868 - 1872) (dates are approximate). In 1880, Peter and his family moved to Plymouth, Nebraska, U.S.A. They had eleven children, six of whom were born in Waterloo County and five born in Nebraska. In 1908, Peter returned to Canada to live with his son, Edward, who was then farming in Laird, Saskatchewan. Peter's wife did not return with him but stayed in Nebraska with her daughter, Ida, never returning to her husband nor to Canada. Peter died on November 5, 1931 and Katharine died in Belvedere, Nebraska, at the age of 69 on June 25, 1918. At the time of Peter's death, he had 47 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild.

Elizabeth Margarethe Orth    (See Picture)

Elizabeth was born on October 2, 1844 in Fürstengrund, Hessen. She married Johannus M. Nickel, born January 1, 1840. They lived on the family homestead located at Lot 30 of Concession 4 in Wallace Township. They had ten children. Johannus died on April 8, 1915 and Elizabeth Margarethe died on March 18, 1837. They are both buried in the cemetery at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Wallace Township.

Philip Theodore Orth  (See Picture)

Philip Theodore Orth was born on November 24, 1848, in Bridgeport, Waterloo County. On November 15, 1870, he married Catherina Schneider who was  born on June 30, 1854, in Woolwich Township, Waterloo County, Ontario.  Philip and Catherina had three children before Katharine died on July 19, 1876. Catherina is buried in St. Paul's Lutheran Church Cemetery in Wallace Township, Perth County.  Peter remarried on March 5, 1878 in Preston, Waterloo County, this time to Catherine Doersam, daughter of Jacob F. Doersam from Beerfelden, Hessen-Darmstadt. Catherine was born on August 15, 1853, in Waterloo County. Philip moved to Wallace Township around 1874. He acquired the south half of the south part of Lot 47 of Concession 5 (1874 - 1879) and the south half of the south part of Lot 48 of Concession 5 (1874 - 1879). In 1880, Philip T. Orth and Catherine moved to Nebraska and settled near Plymouth, Nebraska. Philip and Catherine had twelve children. Catherine died on January 9, 1937, and Philip died at his home in Plymouth on November 24, 1925.

More information concerning Philip Theodore Orth and his wife, Catherine Doersam, and their family may be found at "The Doersams of Waterloo County" Website.

Katherina Orth    (See Picture)

Katherina Orth was born on February 28, 1851. She married George Adam Weichel on February 2, 1869, and they had ten children. George Adam Weichel was born on October 30, 1841, in Fürstengrund, Hessen. His parents were Michael and Elisabeth Trockenbrod Weichel. It appears that Katherina and George and their family, with the exception of two children, moved to Wilcox, Oklahoma, U.S.A.

Marie Emily Orth    (See Picture)

Marie Emily Orth was born on January 10, 1854, in Wellesley, Waterloo County, Ontario. On October 24, 1870, Marie married J. George Weichel. George was born on October 6, 1851, in Fürstengrund, Hessen. His parents were Michael and Elisabeth Trockenbrod Weichel. He had three older brothers, Fritz, Adam and John and a sister, Marie. George and Marie Emily lived in Ontario for nine years where they had three children. In 1879, they moved to Jefferson County, Nebraska. George and Marie Emily had four more children. George died on September 16, 1939. Marie Emily died on April 22, 1948. Both were living in Plymouth, Nebraska, at the time of their deaths.

Regina Orth

Regina Orth was born on November 17, 1855, in Wellesley Township, Waterloo Country, Ontario. Very little is know of Regina - she was mentioned in her father's will, written in 1877, but by the time of her mother's death in 1906, she is not listed as a surviving child.

Marie Magdalena Orth    (See Picture)

Marie Magdalena Orth was born on February 3, 1858, in Wellesley Township, Waterloo County, Ontario. She married John Carl Germer on October 30, 1883 in Nebraska. John was born on July 20, 1861, in Clinton County, Iowa. Marie and John had eleven children. They first lived on a farm two miles north of Plymouth, Nebraska and, later, around 1926, moved into town. John Carl died on May 25, 1941 and Marie Magdalena died on June 14, 1942.

Johannes (John) Orth

Johannes Orth was born on February 5, 1823, in Fürstengrund, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany.  Emigration records indicate that he emigrated to North America in 1846.  At the time, it is indicated that he emigrated alone which suggests that he was not yet married.

The first record of Johannes in North America comes from the 1850 United States Census for New York State.  At that time, John Orth is listed as living in Pamelia, Jefferson County, New York State.  He is shown with his wife ("Mrs. Orth") and one son, Philip, age 3.  His occupation is given as a distiller.  Using an 1864 map of Pamelia that shows the names of residents and based on the 1850 Census, it appears that John Orth and his family was living in North Watertown.  In the 1860 United States Census, John Orth and his family are listed as living in the Town of Alexandria, Jefferson County, New York State.  The Post Office for John is shown as the village of Plessis.  John's age is given as 37 and his wife is listed as "Maria".  Her age is not clear, it could be 37 or 39 years of age.   Both John and Maria are shown as having been born in Germany.  John's occupation is listed as "farmer".  Their children are listed as: Phillip, age 14 (born in Germany); Maria, age 10, Catherine, age 8, Elizabeth, age 6, Susette, age 4; and, Phillipine, age 1.  All of the children with the exception of Phillip, are listed as being born in New York State.   There is also a John Eckert (?) living with the family, age 28, being a farm labourer and born in Hesse Darmstadt.  

In the 1860 Census, John Orth's neighbours include E. Swann and Amos Holcomb.  These names are found on an 1864 map of Alexandria, although John Orth is not shown.  These individuals were living very near to Redwood Village on what would today be Route 192 on the way to the town of Alexandria Bay, about half-way between the villages of Plessis and Redwood..

It is of interest that John Orth first settled in Jefferson County, New York State.  In her book, Auswanderungen aus dem Odenwaldkries - Band 2, Ella Gieg notes that many immigrants from the Odenwald area of Hesse-Darmstadt, including Fürstengrund, settled in Jefferson County during the early to mid-1850's.  Some of the surnames of the German settlers included: Bickelhaupt, Blatz, Leitermann, Hartmann, Kabel, Koch, Küfer, Schnauber, Flath, Hofferberth, Pilger, Nikolaus, König, Hild, Merkel and Gölz.

A marriage record for John Orth and his wife, Maria, has not yet been found nor a confirmation of her maiden name.  However, other information strongly indicates that it was "Hofferberth" and that the marriage occurred around 1853 in New York State.  This would tie into the fact that there were a number of settlers in Jefferson County named Hofferberth and which had come from the same area of Hesse-Darmstadt as did John Orth.

Sometime after 1860, John Orth and his family leave Jefferson County.  His oldest son, Philip H. Orth, probably moves to Canada at this time (see section below).  The next record of John Orth is found in Tazewell County, Illinois.  In the 1870 United States Census, John Orth, aged 48, and his wife, Maria, aged 50, and family are listed as living in the town of Pekin in Tazewell County.  Their children include Phoebe, aged 11, John, aged 9 and Adam, aged 7.  John's occupation is given as labourer and Maria is keeping house.   In the 1880 United States Census, John Orth and his wife, Maria, are listed as living in Pekin, Tazewell County.  John is shown as 58 years of age and born in Hesse-Darmstadt.  Maria is shown as 60 years of age and also being born in Hesse-Darmstadt.  There are still two children living with them: Phoeba H. Orth, age 20, born in New York State and Adam Orth, age 17, also born in New York State. John's occupation is given as being a janitor at a school house.

Not very much is known about the time that John and Maria Orth spent in Tazewell County.  John died of tragic circumstances on June 17, 1884 at the age of 61, in Elm Grove Township in Tazewell County.  Maria died on October 12, 1885 at the age of 68 in Pekin, Illinois.  Her place of burial is apparently in Peoria, Illinois.  John's burial location is not known.

However, research to date has revealed more information about some of their children, in addition to that already known about their oldest child, Phillip H. Orth.  This includes:

Mollie Orth

There is some evidence that there is a daughter named, Mollie, who was a daughter of John and Maria Orth.  However, there is little information on this person.  A summary of Illinois state marriages indicates a marriage of a Molly Orth to Henry C. Davis in Cook County, Illinois.  The United States 1880 Census shows a Mollie Davis married to a William Davis.  Her age is given as 29 and her place of birth is New York State.  That would place her birth around 1851.  Her husband, William Davis, is 30 years old and born in Michigan.

Katharina Orth

Katharina (Orth) Lohnes appears in the 1880 United States Census as the wife of Henry Lohnes.  Her age is given as 27 which would place her birth around 1853.  Her place of birth is New York State and her occupation is given as "keeping house".  Henry's age is given as 37 meaning that he was born around 1843.  He was born in Hesse Darmstadt.  His occupation is given as "driving job wagon".  In 1880, Katharina and Henry were living in 2nd Ward, Paola, Miami County, Kansas.  Marriage records indicate that they were married on January 27, 1870, in Tazewell County, Illinois.  In the 1880 Census, it is indicated that Katharina and Henry Lohnes had several children: Elizabeth, age 9, born in Illinois; Rosa Lohnes, age 6, born in Kansas; Norah Lohnes, age 4, born in Kansas; Henry Lohnes; age 2, born in Kansas; and an unnamed baby daughter, age 1 month, born in Kansas.  Also living in the household was Katherina's sister, Rosa Orth, age 23, born in New York State.

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Orth

In the 1870 United States Census, Elizabeth appears as "Lizzie Ort", age 16, placing her birth around 1853.   Her place of birth is given as New York state.  She is living in the household of Peter Berger in Pekin, Illinois, and working as a domestic.  Elizabeth (Orth) Conrad next appears in the 1880 United States as being married to Lewis Conrad.  Elizabeth's age is given as 24 and her birthplace as New York State.   This would place her birth date around 1856.  Lewis Conrad is listed as being 31 years old and being born in Indiana.  Their place of residence is as West, McLean County, Illinois.  The census lists two children: John J., age 1, born in Illinois; James H., age 1, born in Illinois.  A marriage record indicates that Elizabeth and Lewis (Louis) were married on February 17, 1876, in Tazewell County, Illinois.  At some point, the family moved to Minnesota.  The 1920 United States Census indicates that Lizzie Conrad, age 65, widowed, born in New York State, is living in Luverne, Rock County, Minnesota, with a single daughter, age 35. 

No further information is available concerning this family, including the names of all of the children and the dates of death of Lizzie and her husband. 

Rosa Orth

Rosa was born around 1857 in New York State.  At the time of the 1880 United States Census she was living with her sister, Katharina Lohnes and her husband, Henry Lohnes, in Paola, Miami County, Kansas.  On January 29, 1885, she married Joseph Baier in Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois, son of John Baier and Mary Bandler.   Her marriage license indicates that she was living in Tremont Township in Tazewell County at the time of her marriage.   She and her husband apparently spent their lives in Tazewell County.  Both Rosa and her husband apparently died in 1905. 

Phoebe H. Orth

Phoebe H. Orth appears in the 1880 United States Census living with her parents, John and Maria Orth, in Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois.  Her age is listed as 20 years, single and being born in New York State.  On February 1, 1881, she married John H.  Zuckweiler in Tazewell County, Illinois.  An obituary for Phoebe H. Orth provides a fair amount of detail about her life.  It states:

"Mrs. Phoebe Zuckweiler Dead"  "Well known Pekin Woman Passed away at her home, 400 Main Street, Sunday Night.  Mrs. Phoebe A. Zuckweiler a well known Pekin woman, passed away at her home, 400 Main Street, at 11:42 p.m. Sunday, June 6, 1915.  She was a daughter of John and Margaret Orth and was born at Watertown, New York, October 11, 1859.   She was married to John. H. Zuckweiler, February 1, 1881, in Pekin, Illinois, and this city has been her home continuously ever since.  She is survived by the following children:  Mrs. Phoebe Thurman, Pekin; Albert Zuckweiler, Pekin; Mrs. Kate Welty, Pekin.  One child died in infancy.  There are eight living grand children and the following brothers and sisters:  Mrs. Lizzie Conrad, Minnesota; Philip Orth, Michigan; Mrs. Kate Lohnes, Kansa; John Orth, Iowa; and Adam Orth, Green Valley, Illinois.  Deceased was a member of the Lutheran Church.  The funeral will be held from the residence, 400 Main Street, at 2 p.m.   Rev. O.C. Bolman will officiate and internment will be at Lakeshore". 

Further information on the children of Phoebe and John include: Phoebe, born May 8, 1882, died July 5, 1918; Eddie, born October 2, 1884, died February 7, 1887; Albert John, born September 26, 1886, died November 22, 1957; and, Kathryn (Kate), born July 26 ?, died July 17, 1974.

(Obituary and family information supplied by Roland D. Tomlinson)

Phoebe and John Zuckweiler are buried in Lakeside Cemetery, Pekin Township, Tazewell County, Illinois.  There are a number of Zuckweiler's buried at the plot but the relationship of all of these individuals to Phoebe and John is not known.  The cemetery transcription indicates that John Henry Zuckweiler was born on August 3, 1858, and died on March 17, 1923.  His wife, Phoebe Orth, was born on October 11, 1859, and died on June 6, 1915.  Their daughter, Phoebe M. (Orth) Thurman is buried in the same cemetery in the Thurman plot with her husband, Richard H. Thurman.  She was born in 1882 and died in 1918.

John Orth

John and Maria Orth had a son named John. However, no information about John's early life can be found nor of his marriage.  The first record that has been found for John Orth is in the 1870 U.S. Census where he is living with his parents in Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois.  His age is given as 9 placing his date of birth around 1861 or 1862.  The next reference for John Orth is found in the 1920 United States Census for Scranton, Greene County, Iowa.  That record indicates that John, age 58, was born in New York State.  That would place his date of birth around 1862.  The Census record indicates that his wife's name is Carrie, age 58, and born in Iowa.  Carrie's maiden name is unknown.  There are no other persons living in the residence.   The parents of John and Carrie are all reported to have been born in Germany.  John's occupation is given as farmer.  John and Carrie appear again the United States 1930 Census where they are living in Milford, Dickinson County, Iowa, where John's occupation is now given as a labourer.  

No information is available about any children that John and Carrie Orth may have had or their dates of death.

Adam Orth

Adam Orth appears in the 1870 United States Census as living with his parents in Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois.  His age is given as 7 years.  He is also shown in the 1880 United States Census as living with his parents in Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois.   His age is given as 17 years, single, and his place of birth is New York State.  This would place his year of birth around 1862 - 63.  On July 26, 1888, Adam married Mary Urish (also spelled Uhrich) in Tazewell County, Illinois.  The 1920 United States Census shows that Adam and his wife and family were living in Sand Prairie Township in Tazewell County.  Adam's occupation is listed as a farmer.  Living in the household at that time was their son, Henry, aged 27, single, occupation is given as a farm machinery merchant and their son Edward, aged 21, single, occupation is given as a farm labourer and Elizabeth M. Urish, Mary's mother, aged 84, widowed and born in Germany.  According to a Tazewell County cemetery transcription, Adam was born on May 18, 1862, and died on May 2, 1941.   His wife, Mary Urish, was born on December 6, 1864, and died on August 16, 1941.  There is also a daughter, Lillie Louise, born August 31, 1895 and died on January 31, 1912.  As well, their son Henry is buried there.  He was born on March 30, 1892 and died on November 24, 1936.  It is noted that he was a Private in the ILL. 38 INF, 3 Div. in World War I.  The family is buried in Green Valley Cemetery in Sand Prairie Township. 

Johann Phillip Orth

Johann Philip Orth was born on May 5, 1827, in Fürstengrund, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany.  He was the seventh child of Johann Friedrich Orth and Maria Elisabetha Rodenhausen.  None of the available emigration records officially indicate that he emigrated.  This may suggest that he emigrated without permission which was not uncommon at that time.  On March 25, 1855, he  married to Catherine (also "Katherine") Shafer (also "Schäfer" or "Schaefer").  Katherine was also born in  Fürstengrund on April 23, 1837.  The marriage is reported to have taken place in Waterloo, Canada.  Katherine's parents were Johannes Shäfer III and Eva Katherina Bischoff.

A brief biography of Philip Orth appears in an 1879 History of Tazewell County, Illinois.  It states that Philip Orth, farmer, section 4 of Washington Township was born in Germany in 1827 and that he emigrated to America in 1849.  He settled in Jefferson County, New York, until 1856 when he came to Tazewell County.  He married in 1855 to Miss Catherine Shafer who was born in Germany in 1836.  His children include John, Theodore, Emma, Lizzie, Philip Jr., living.  All members of the Lutheran Church.

The first reference to Philip Orth is found in the 1850 United States Census.  At that time, he is listed as "Phillip Ort" and is living in Cortlandt Township in Westchester County, New York.  His age is given as 22 years and being born in Germany.  His occupation is given as labourer.  He is living in a boarding house with a number of other people, all of whom are reported to have been born in Germany.

This suggests that Philip emigrated to America around 1849 and probably lived for a very short period of time in Westchester County before he made his way to Jefferson County, New York, where his brother Johannes (John) Orth was already living with his family.  To date, no record of Philip Orth in Jefferson County has been located.  However, given that he was probably only there from around 1851 to 1855, he would not appear in any U.S. Censuses.

The fact that Philip and Katherine were married in Waterloo County, Canada, in 1855 and that their first son, John F. Orth, was born in late 1855, also in Waterloo County, Canada, suggests that the family lived in Canada for a brief period.  The obituary for their oldest son, John F. Orth, indicates that he had come to Washington, Illinois, with his parents at the age of one year.   No Canadian records have yet been located that indicate when and where Philip and his family lived in Waterloo County.

It is not clear why Philip came to Canada to marry.  In this respect, it is quite possible that his wife, Katherine, may have been living there with her family.  Emigration records indicate that Katherine came to "America" with her parents and her older brother, Johann, in 1853 when she was sixteen years old.  Since "America", in German emigration records, could refer to either the United States or Canada, it is possible that the Schaefer family settled in Waterloo County.  Philip would have known Katherine from Fürstengrund and, possibly, the marriage had been arranged for them between their respective families.  However, to date, no record has been found of the Schaefer family, either in Canada, or in the United States, so it is still not clear where the family initially settled but Waterloo County seems to be the most likely candidate.

Phillip Orth and his wife, Catharine, and their children appear in the United States 1870 Census for Washington Township, Tazewell County in Illinois.  At that time, the family consisted of Phillip, age 42, born in Germany, occupation, farmer; his wife, Catharine, age 33, born in Germany; John, age 15, born in Illinois, occupation, farm labourer; Theodore, age 11, born in Illinois; Emma, age 8, born in Illinois; Lizzie, age 7, born in Illinois; and, Phillip, age 2, born in Illinois.  (It is noted that in this census, John Orth, is shown as being born in Illinois.  However, a number of other sources confirm his birth in Canada).

The 1880 United States Census continues to show Phillip and his family living in Washington Township in Tazewell County.  That census continues to indicate that Phillip was born in Germany but that Catherine was born in Hesse Darmstadt.

After settling there, it appears that Phillip and Catharine spent their entire lives in Tazewell County.  A cemetery transcription for Glendale Cemetery in Washington Township indicates that Phillip died on November 1, 1891, and that his wife, Catharine Shafer, born in 1837,  died on August 21, 1919.

See the note for Catherine's husband, Johann Phillip Orth.

There is an unverified entry in Ancenstry.com that indicates that Katherine Schaefer was born on April 25, 1837 and that her parents were Johannes Schäfer abd Eva C. Bischoff.

This information seems to be borne out by a couple of sources. In Auswanderungen aus dem Odenwaldreis - Band 2 by Ella Gieg, at page 129, it is indiated that Johannes Shäfer III and his wife Eva Katarina, age 60, emmigrated to America in 1853. Accompanying them were their children Katharina, age 16, and Johann 19. This would place Katherina`s birthdate as 1837. In addition, the History of Furstengrund (Dorfchronik Von Fürstengrund) at page 134, indicates that Fürstengrunder Straße 94 was acquired in 1833 by Johannes Shäfer III (*1791) who married Eva Katherina Bischoff (1792) in 1818 and that the family went to America in 1853. This would appear to reinforce the parentage and background of Caterina, married to Phillip Orth.

The following is the obituary for Katherine:

Mrs. Philip Orth
Tazewell County Reporter
August 28, 1919.
Page 1

Death of Mrs. Philip Orth Last Thursday

Mrs. Katherine Orth, nee Schaefer, was born in Furstengrund, Hessen, Darmstadt, Germany, April 23, 1837, and died at Washington, Ill. Aug. 21, 1919, at 6 p.m., at the ripe old age of 82 years, 4 months and 28 days.

Katherine Schaefer emigrated to this country in the year 1854 and on March 25, 1855, was united in marriage to Philip Orth at Waterloo, Canada. They were blessed with six children – John, Louis, Theodore, Emma, Frederick, Elizabeth Reich and Philip. Four of these survive her, Louis and John having preceded her in death. The others all reside in Washington. Beside her four children she is survived by twenty-three grandchildren and twenty-four great grand children.

The deceased was a faithful and consistent member of St. John’s Lutheran church of this city. She died in the faith in which she had lived. Blessed are the dead who in the Lord. Death always brings a sense of loss, and yet a life well lived according to the will of the Lord and a passing out in that faith that makes sure the rewards of eternity are a heritage of blessing to those she leaves behind.

The funeral was held on Sunday afternoon from the church, the services being conducted by her pastor Rev. Carl Rodemann assisted by Rev. L.J. Powell of St. Mark’s Lutheran church.
 

The following information is known about the children of Phillip and Catharine Orth:

John F. Orth 

The United States 1880 Census indicates that John F. Orth is living in Hassan, Hennepin County, Minnesota, at the residence of Henry Ebner, a 27 year old farmer.  John is listed as 24 years of age, labourer, and having been born in Canada.  His marital status is given as single.  This would place his date of birth around 1855 - 56.  John's parents are listed as being born in Germany.  There is no indication as to when, how or why John was living with this family in Minnesota.  Perhaps there was some relationship to this family but this is not yet known.  The census indicates that John's relationship to Henry Ebner was "other".  By 1882, it appears that John returns to Illinois since he marries Katie Poehlman  (also spelled as "Phillmann") on December 26, 1882, in Tazewell County, Illinois.  In subsequent years, it appears that John and his family lived around Pocahontas, Iowa and in Colorado.  John's obituary reports that he and his wife had eight children.  The Glendale Cemetery, Washington Township, transcription indicates that John F. Orth was born in 1855 and died in 1918.  His wife, Catherena Poehlman, was born in 1858 and died on June 18, 1938. 

Theodore E. Orth

Theodore Orth appears with his parents in the 1870 and 1880 Censuses.  In 1870, his age is given as ten years and being born in Illinois.  On March 24, 1885, he marries Anna Hoker in Tazewell County, Illinois.   He was also found in the 1920 United States Census living in Washington Township, Tazewell County, Illinois.  In that census, he is listed as 59 years of age.  His wife, Harriet is listed as 55 years of age.  There is a son, Jessie, age 19, living with them at that time, as well.

An obituary for Theodore Orth has been obtained which provides a great deal of information concerning Theodore Orth who died on December 29, 1924.  It states:

"Theodore Edward Orth was born near Washington, Illinois, 10 March 1860, and died 29 December 1924, at the age of 61 years, 9 months and 19 days.  He was the son of Phillip and Catherine Orth and was one of a family of six children - John, Louis, Phillip, Mrs. E. J. Reich and Mrs. Emma Frederick.  John and Louis are deceased and the others all live in our community.

Mr. Orth was married to Anna Hoker of Cruger Township March 24, 1885.  Five children were born to them, all living - Silas, William, Jesse, Theodore, and Mrs. Leslie Smith.  There are 15 grandchildren.  Mrs. Orth died on May 24, 1903.

He was married to Harriet Parsons 16 February 1905 and is survived by her.

Mr. Orth lived his entire life in our midst, and was one of our prominent citizens.  He was interested in civic affairs and kept abreast of the times.  He was a man of settled convictions and was open and above board in all his dealings.

On June 21, 1903, he transferred his church membership to St. Mark's Lutheran of which he continued a member until his death.  He was a member of the Lutheran Brotherhood.  As long as possible he was found in his place in church and Brotherhood class, and after it became impossible for him to move about he often spoke of his wish to be present in the House of God.

A man never in robust health, he has spent many years of suffering.  Frequent physical pain urged him to an operation a year ago last August.  He grew better for a season, but graver complications set in and he declined to his demise.

The funeral services were conducted by the Rev. L. J. Powell from the home at 1:30 Thursday afternoon and from St. Mark's church at 2:00 o'clock.  Ben Esch, an old boyhood friend of the family assisted in the service."

(Obituary provided by Tammy Russell

Theodore and his first wife and second wife, Anna Hoker and Harriet E. Parsons, respectively, are buried in Glendale Cemetery in Washington Township.  Theodore's birth date is given as March 10, 1860 and his date of death as December 29, 1924.  Anna's birth date is given as February 9, 1869, and he date of death as May 24, 1903.  Harriet's year of birth is given as 1864 and her year of death as 1931.

Amelia (Emma) Orth

According to the 1870 and 1880 United States Censuses, Amelia or "Emma" Orth is living with her parents in Washington Township in Tazewell County.  She was born in Illinois and her year of birth would be around 1862.  On July 25, 1882,  she marries a Wilson Frederick.  However, in the 1920 United States Census, Emma appears in the census with her marital status listed as divorced.  It is not known when the event occurred.  In 1920 United States Census, Emma Frederick is shown as living in Washington Township in Tazewell County.  She is listed as being the head of the household and there is a son, Elmer, age 21, single, living with her.  Both of Emma's parents are listed as being born in Hesse Darmstadt.  In the 1930 United States census, Emma Frederick is then shown as living alone.  The transcription for the Glendale Cemetery, Washington Township, Tazewell County, indicates that Emma Frederick was the wife of Wilson Frederick and that she was born on August 7, 1861, and died on November 23, 1937.  No further information is yet available about her children.

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Orth

According to the 1870 and 1880 United States Censuses, Elizabeth or "Lizzie" Orth is living with her parents in Washington Township in Tazewell County.  She was born in Illinois and her year of birth would be around 1863.  At some point, she marries Edmond J. Reich.  There is no other information yet available about Lizzie and Edmond.  However, the 1930 United States Census for Washington Township, Tazewell County, Illinois, shows Lizzie living with her son-in-law (appears to be a Charles "Cullom" or "Carllom") and his wife, Daisy.  In 1930, Lizzie's age is given as 67 and her marital status as widowed.  The transcription for the Glendale Cemetery, Washington Township, Tazewell County, indicates that A. Elizabeth ORTH, was the wife of Edmund J. Reich and that she was born in February 1863 and died on March 17, 1937.  Edmund J. Reich was born in 1862 and died in 1911.

Philip William Orth  

According to the 1870 and 1880 United States Censuses, Phillip (also spelled "Philip") Orth is living with his parents in Washington Township in Tazewell County.  He was born in Illinois and the year of his birth would be around 1868.  On December 16, 1890, he marries Hattie Elizabeth Moehl (also spelled "Mohl") in Tazewell County, Illinois.  In the 1920 United States Census for Washington Township, Tazewell County, Philip W. Orth is listed as being 54 years of age, married, with both parents being born in Hesse Darmstadt.  His wife is Elizabeth H. Orth, age 48, with both parents being born in Hesse Cassel.  Their children are: August E. Orth, age 26, single, born in Illinois; Henry R. Orth, age 21, single, born in Illinois; and, a daughter (name difficult to decipher - starts with an "E" and ends with an "a"), age 12, single, born in Illinois.  In the 1930 United States Census for Washington Township, Tazewell County, their son, August, is shown as now being married, his wife's name is Elva, with two children, Lucille, age 8, and Philip, age 5.  The cemetery transcription for Glendale Cemetery in Washington Township, indicates that Philip W. Orth was born on January 29, 1868, and died on June 3, 1945.  His wife, Elizabeth Moehl, was born in 1871 and died in 1922.  Their son, August E. Orth, is also buried in that cemetery.  He was born on March 29, 1893, and died on September 23, 1954.  His wife, Elva M. White, was born on August 1, 1894, and died on July 19,1980.

Louis Orth

The obituary for Theodore E. Orth (see above) indicates that he had a brother, Louis.  However, no information to date has been found concerning this person.   Neither is there any person named Louis buried with the family of his parents,  Phillip and Catherine (Shafer) Orth in Glendale Cemetery.   Research on this individual continues.

Elisabetha Katherina Orth:

Elisabetha Katherina Orth was born in Fürstengrund, Starkenburg,  Hesse-Darmstadt on October 30, 1829, a daughter of Johann Friedrich Orth and Marie Elisabetha Rodenhausen.  There is no information available in Germany concerning her marriage or death so it is strongly believed that she emigrated to North America like some of her brothers and sisters.  If she did emigrate to North America, it is possible that she may have settled near her brothers and sisters, either in Tazewell County, Illinois, U.S.A. or in Perth or Waterloo Counties, Ontario, Canada.  Research is continuing to try to identify more information about Elisabetha Katherina Orth.

I.  Other Orths Living in Wallace Township

Philip H. Orth "The Mystery Orth"

The 1871 Census for Ontario reported a Philip H. Orth living in Wallace Township. His birthplace was given as Germany, his religion as Mennonite and his occupation as pump maker. County marriage records for Perth County record his marriage at the on November 26, 1866 to Veronicka Kurtz, he was 19 years of age and Veronicka was listed as 17 years of age. Philip is listed as being born in Hessen Darmstadt, the son of Johann and Eva Margaretha (Hoferbt). Veronicka was listed as being born in Rheinbargen, the daughter of Gerhard and Veronicka. Land records for Wallace Township show Philip H. Orth owning Lot 38, Plan 458, Concession 4 in Kurtzville, Ontario, from 1879 to 1880. In 1880, this property is sold to Jacob Orth, the son of Johann Peter Orth.

For sometime, there was no indication as to who this person was or where he had come from - truly a mystery character. Fortunately, in the last several years, some letters came to the author's attention which had been written by Philip H. Orth to Jacob Orth in Shipley, Ontario, in 1909 and 1910. In those letters, he refers to Jacob as his cousin and to Peter Orth as his uncle. This established that Philip H. Orth was a nephew to Peter so he probably was the son of either of Peter's brothers, Johannes Orth (b. 1823) or Johann Philip Orth (b. 1827). The letterhead on the letters indicate that Philip H. Orth was a honey producer and living in Sears, Michigan, U.S.A.

Enquiries in Osceola County, Michigan, turned up a relative of Philip's wife, Frances ("Fanny") who he had married in 1866. This information indicated that Philip and Fanny had left Wallace Township in 1880 along with Joseph Kurtz and his wife and settled in the Sears, Michigan, area. Philip and Fanny had several children, Armour Victor, Elmer, Anna, Hanna, Sarah, Arthur, Abe, Maye and Aaron. Amour joined the Canadian forces to fight in World War I and then later moved to Alberta, Canada, where he took up farming.  Hanna also moved to Alberta where she was married to Lawrence Hunter. Philip and Fanny also had a daughter, Catherine, who died in 1876 at 10 years of age. Catherine is buried in the Brotherston Mennonite Cemetery in Wallace Township.

Other information has indicated that his wife, Fanny, was the daughter of Gerhardt Kurtz and Maria "Francisca" Meinsinger. Fanny's brother, John Kurtz, is recognized as the founder of the village of Kurtzville, Ontario, as he build most of the original village himself. One of his businesses was a pump factory which used tamarack trees eight to ten inches in diameter to build wooden pumps.

In the 1871 Census, Philip H. Orth's occupation is listed as a "pump maker" and in the Schedule referring to the Returns of Industrial Establishments, Philip H. Orth is listed as the proprietor of a pump factory.  This suggests that Philip H. Orth may have assumed ownership of the factory after his marriage to Fanny Kurtz in 1866.  The census provides some interesting details about this business.  It had a fixed capital investment of $60.00; floating capital employed was $10.00; the factory worked for four months per year; it had one employee; the aggregate yearly wages was $12.00; the raw material consisted of logs valued at an aggregate value of $14.00 per year; the factory produced 25 pumps per year at an aggregate value of $168.00. 

In the 1880 United States Census, Phillip H. Orth and his family are found to be living Sylvan, Osceola County, Michigan.  He is listed as being 35 years of age and born in Hesse-Darmstadt.  His wife, Fannie, is shown as 27 years of age and being born in Canada.  There are four children listed: Abraham, age 10, born in Canada; Anna, age 7, born in Canada, Sarah, age 4, born in Canada; and, Hannah, age 11 months, born in Canada.  There is a also a Thomas Plazford living with the family, age 30 and born in Canada (most likely a farm labourer).  It is interesting to note that there was a Thomas Playford living in Wallace Township (Kurtzville - Lot 26 - Plan 458) in 1880 so it is assumed that this is the same person.  He probably accompanied Philip H. Orth and family when they left Canada and moved to Michigan.

It is interesting that all of the United States Censuses in which Phillip H. Orth is found indicates that his place of birth is Germany.  This is of note since his father, Johannes (John) Orth, left Germany in 1846 and his emigration record indicates that he left alone.  In addition, there are no marriage records found to date in Germany for Johannes nor a record of the birth of Phillip H. Orth in Germany.  However, his obituary and also, some of Philip H. Orth's children list their father as being born in New York State in some of the U.S. Censuses.  This is an interesting situation that requires more research - perhaps Philip H. Orth was born on-board ship while coming to America making his birthplace somewhat difficult to determine. 

Philip H. Orth's obituary reported that he died at his home in Sears, Michigan, on April 17, 1922, at the age of 76 years. The obituary reported that he had been born in New York in the year 1847. His death certificate indicates that he had been born in New York State and that his father's name was John Orth, birthplace in Germany, and the maiden name of his mother is listed as "Unknown" but her birthplace is also listed as Germany. The obituary indicates that at the time of Philip's death, he was survived by eight grandchildren, two sisters and two brothers.

Research at this point stalled since there was no real evidence in order to start searching for Philip H. Orth's family in New York state, especially just going on the name of John Orth, Philip's father. Fortunately, a book published in Germany concerning emigration from the Odenwald noted that many Odenwald emigrants had settled in Jefferson County, New York (including some from Fürstengrund). A search of the 1860 U.S. Census for Jefferson County, New York, proved successful. It listed a family living in Alexandria, headed by a John Orth, age 37, occupation "farmer", his wife, Maria, age (31 or 39), son Phillip, age 14, all born in Germany, and Maria (age 10), Catharine (age 8), Elizabeth (age 6), Susette (age 4), Phillipina (age 1). The younger children were listed as being born in the United States. There was also a John Eckert (age 28) living with the family. He is shown as a farm labourer and having been born in Hesse-Darmstadt. The age of John Orth suggests that he was born around 1823. This coincides exactly with the birth date of Johannes Orth, Peter's brother who had emigrated from Fürstengrund around 1846.  Likewise, the census material suggests that Phillip would have been born around 1846 or 1847. Again, this matches with Philip's known birth date of 1847.

An interesting question is why Phillip would have left his family in Jefferson County, New York, around the mid-1860's to go live with his relatives in Wallace Township, in Ontario, Canada. One possible explanation is the American Civil War which was fought from 1861 to 1865. Perhaps he wanted to avoid fighting in the war as he would have been of an age to be enlisted so he moved to Canada.

Philip's marriage record indicates that his mother's maiden name had been "Hoferbt" but this is not known for sure since there seems to be a number of errors in the compilation of marriage records used by the author. The correct maiden name could be any variation of that name and more research is required to discover this plus more information about Johannes Orth and his family and life in Jefferson County. 

The children of Philip H. Orth and Francisca are:

Catherine Orth - Born February 11, 1866, in Wallace Township and died October 18, 1876 in Wallace Township.

Aaron Orth - Born about 1868 in Wallace Township.  Died in Petoskey, Michigan, date of death unknown.  His wife was Anna, born about 1877 in Michigan.  In the 1930 U.S. Census, the family is living in Petoskey Township, Emmet County, Michigan.  There are two children: Sylvia, born about 1912 and Billie, born about 1919.

Abraham Orth - Born February 23, 1870, in Wallace Township and died about 1941.  He never married.  The 1930 U.S. Census indicates that Abraham was living in Sylvan Township, Osceola County, Michigan.

Anna Orth - Born September 3, 1873, in Wallace Township and died on September 23, 1948, in Michigan.  Anna never married.

Sarah Orth - Born June 13, 1876, in Wallace Township.  Her date of death is unknown.  She was married to Jesse Thomas.  The 1920 U.S. Census indicates that she was living in Petoskey City, Emmet County, Michigan, and was a widow.  At that time, there are three children living with her.  They were: Jesse Thomas, born about 1904  in Michigan; Philip Thomas, born about 1904 in Michigan; and, Donal B. Thomas, born about 1909, in Michigan.

Maye F. Orth - Born about 1881 in Sylvan Township, Michigan and died November 19, 1964 in Michigan.  She was married to Bret H. Moore who was born in 1881 and died in 1956.  There are two known children: Emmett Moore, born June 12, 1916, in Sears, Michigan and Wendell Moore, born January 12, 1918 in Evart, Michigan.

Arthur Orth - Born March 4, 1885, in Sylvan Township, Michigan and died on April 10, 1951 in Michigan.  He married Cora Gardener McDougall on October 12, 1925, in Calgary, Alberta.  At the time of his death, Arthur was back living in Sears, Michigan.

Hannah Orth - Born about 1879.  Date of death unknown.  She married Lawrence Hunter and lived in Alberta, Canada.

Elmer Orth - Born on September 30, 1886 and died on February 11, 1958.  Elmer moved to Illinois and never married.  In the 1910 U.S. Census, Elmer is shown as being a hired man living in Sand Prairie Township, Tazewell County, Illinois, on the farm of George D. Frink and his wife, Grace M. Frink.  

Armour Victor Orth - Born October 1, 1894 in Sylvan Township, Michigan and died on December 20, 1972 in Michigan while there on a visit.  He is buried in Woodlock, Alberta, Canada, where he lived and worked as a farmer.  He married Lena Wood on October 12, 1925, in Alberta, Canada.  Armour served in the Canadian Army during World War I.

The "Rimhorn" Orths in Wallace Township

Records from Wallace Township indicate that there was an Orth family living on Lot 33 of Concession 4 (NE Corner 1/2 Acre). This family consisted on Friedrich Leonhard Orth, born January 27, 1842, in Rimhorn, Hessen, Germany, his wife, Maria Elisabetha Bischoff, born October 17, 1850, in Fürstengrund, Hessen, Germany. Their children included Philip Jakob (Bischoff) Orth (b. about 1870), George H. Orth (b. April 26, 1873), Leonhard Orth (b. December 22, 1875), Barbara Orth (b. July 2, 1877), Elizabeth Orth (b. about 1881), John Orth (b. about 1882), Otto Orth (b. May 26, 1884), Frederick Orth (b. December 29, 1885), Regina Orth (May 31, 1887) and Christina Orth (b. November 1, 1888).

Research in Germany indicates that Leonhard Orth and his family emigrated from Germany in May or June of 1883 from Hummetroth, Hessen (today a suburb of Höchst). Leonhard was a Lutheran and was born in Rimhorn, Hessen, and his occupation is indicated as a wainwright (wagon builder). Rimhorn is today a part of the town of Lützelbach, which is only several kilometers from Fürstengrund. Leonhard and Elisabetha Bischoff were married on April 28, 1872. Elisabetha was born on October 17, 1850 in Fürstengrund. She is the extramarital daughter of Wilhelm Bischoff, widower and Roman Catholic, and Anna Margaretha Laub (nee Wassum), a widow.

Elisabetha Bischoff had an extramarital child, Phillip Jakob Bischoff, born in 1870. There is no indication as to the identity of his father.

Leonhard Orth was the son of Johannes Orth and Anna Maria Reeg. Johannes was the son of Michael Orth of Höchst. Anna Maria was born on September 14, 1801, in Rimhorn and died on November 8, 1878, in Rimhorn. She was the daughter of Johann Georg Reeg and Anna Catharina (nee Mohr).

The German research also indicates that a nephew of Leonhard's also emigrated to North America in 1865. His name was Friedrich, born February 6, 1869, in Rimhorn, the son of a Johann Peter Orth, an older brother of Leonhard. There is still no evidence of where Friedrich lived, it could have been Canada or the United States.

A brother of Leonhard also came to Canada and settled in Wallace Township. His name was Johann Orth and was known in Wallace Township as "Railroad" John Orth. He was born in 1833 in Rimhorn and died on February 8, 1920, in Wallace Township. There is no indication as to when John Orth came to Canada. He is buried in the cemetery at Trinity Lutheran Church, Wallace Township.

It appears that Leonhard and John also had a sister, Elisabeth (Orth) Weber, living in Normanby Township, Grey County, Ontario. Elisabeth was born on April 15, 1824, in Rimhorn, Hessen, Germany. Descendants of her family have indicated that her parents were Johannes Orth and the former Anna Maria Rek. This is may be a mistake or just a variation on the spelling of the name surname of Reeg. Elisabeth married Jacob Weber of Heubach, Hessen, on January 11, 1847, in Heubach. The marriage record indicates that her father was Johannes Orth, wheelwright, and the witnesses to the marriage were Bernhard Orth and Jacob Weber III. Jacob and Elisabeth had several children in Germany and emigrated to Canada in 1861. Elisabeth died on June 22, 1899, and is buried in St. Paul's Lutheran cemetery in Neustadt, Ontario, in Grey County.

The 1871 Ontario Census indicates that there was a John Orth living with the Weber family in Normanby Township. The census indicates that he was 38 years of age, religion Lutheran, born in Germany and his occupation is that of farmer. His age would indicate that he as born around 1833 and this matches with the John Orth from Wallace Township. Presumably, he must have lived with the Weber family for some years. However, at the time of his death in 1920, his will indicates that he was living in Wallace Township. He apparently did not marry and he left his estate to Joseph Henry Gilkinson, Henry L. Holman, Philip Schinbein and George Ruppel.

To date, no relationship has been established with the "Rimhorn" and "Fürstengrund" Orth's of Wallace Township. However, given the proximity of these villages in Hessen, plus the fact that Elisabeth Bischoff Orth came from Fürstengrund, there is a strong suspicion that there was a relationship. The fact that Leonhard and Elisabeth chose to move to Wallace Township also suggests that they may have had some connection with the Orths of that area. Research into this matter is still continuing.

H. Notes

Problem With Christian Names

Genealogical research involving German names can become quite confusing since most Germans who emigrated to America typically anglicized their names (e.g. Johannes to John) and sometime middle names were adopted as their common name rather than their first given name (e.g. Johann Peter Orth). In other cases, names were spelled differently in the English variation. For example, in Germany, the name "Elisabeth" is always spelled with an "s" but this typically becomes a "z" in North America. Likewise, "Phillip" in German can become Philip in North America and "Jakob" typically become "Jacob" in North America. Also, the name "Elisabeth", for example, may very well have been Elisabethe or Elisabetha in Germany but was shortened to Elizabeth in North America. The author hopes that he has done justice to using the correct name, depending on the context (i.e. used in the German form when referring to their life in Germany and then switching to the North American variant when appropriate).

"The Orth Story" Ó Don C. Orth, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Revised December 2008)

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