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Great Black Swamp
1835 | Washington Township, Sandusky county, OH
Black Swamp, a term once applied to much of northwestern Ohio but more accurately to an area lying chiefly in the drainage basin of the Maumee River, including all or parts of a dozen present-day counties. Glacial Lake Maumee once covered this area, leaving behind a level and poorly drained landscape. Drainage difficulties, malarial diseases, and general inaccessibility discouraged whites from settling here long after they had moved into surrounding areas. However, the swamp underwent rapid development after 1850 when German immigrant farmers began draining and settling the land. Today the former Black Swamp constitutes one of the richest farming areas in the state. Jones, Robert Leslie. History of Agriculture in Ohio to 1880. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1983.
The Black Swamp was located in the northwestern part of Ohio. Native Americans refused to live in the forbidding region. It consisted of dense forests, and for much of the year, the land was flooded. By 1820, most of Ohio was settled and no longer was part of the frontier. The only exception to this was the Black Swamp area. Later in the nineteenth century, Ohioans drained the swamp. This area now consists of some of the most fertile agricultural land in the entire United States. "Black Swamp", Ohio History Central, July 1, 2005, http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=654
The Great Black Swamp area was so murky and mosquito infested that it was questionable whether it would ever be inhabitable by humans. Those who did came were predominantly Germans and British, and while settlement began in the mid 1830's, the fastest growth came 1850--1900. It's about those courageous, determined German souls who came before 1850 that I will write. Most of these folks left Bavaria 1828-1830. The last, Philip Andreas Paul, left with his wife, Elizabeth, & children in 1849 from Nassau. Every family came on sailing vessels--their journeys lasting several weeks. Those who arrived c1828-1830 first settled in Bethlehem or Allentown PA, before removing to Sandusky County. It is very interesting to note that all the Bavarian families, the Hornungs, Schlemmers, Anstetts, and Siegenthalers, are descended from Johann Jacob Anstett, born Abt. 1602 and Barbara Pfeil, born 1606 of Donsieders.
It was between 1830 and 1870 that Germans from Pennsylvania began to populate the Black Swamp. Land could be purchased very cheapily from the federal government. They were not afraid of hard conditions. From The Ohio Farmer in the 1850s, speaking of the German immigrants "They are almost always good tenants--neat, industrious and saving, and fond of working the ground." The image above shows a typical farm house of the later 1800's. Today it is a MEGA farm.
On a small portion of Washington Township ownership map for 1874 one finds the names Hornung, Slemmer, Ansted, Auxter and Paul. All five families were to become connected by marriage. The first four families were in Northampton, Pennsylvania together and undoubtly travelled together to the Black Swamp in Sandusky County. Mary Ann Siegenthaler Auxter's obituary decribes their journey which took three months by oxcart and canal.
I am grateful to Paul Zimdars-Swartz firstname.lastname@example.org for sharing his research on the Pauls & allied families and to Jim Kimble email@example.com for posting the information on Rootsweb.com in the database entitled vkngprints. Without their efforts I would not be aware of most of the ancestral information about these hardy Germans. Additional information on the Valentin Schlemmer and Maria Kettering lines came from Rootsweb database kyoas1 a product of Carl Yoas. Links to these sites appear on the left and are a good source for information on the descendants, as well as the ancestors, of these Ohio farmers.
Valentin Schlemmer or Valentine Slemmer
Bavaria, Germany | 1809
Valentin Schlemmer, born 17 Aug 1809 in Canton Pirmasens, Rhineland-Pfalz. (Probably in Donsieders). He died 1868 in Washington Twp, Sandusky County, Ohio. He was the son of Johann Valentin Schlemmer and Catharina Charlotta Martin. He was christened 21 August 1809 in Waldfischbach, Pfalz. He married Margaretha Siegenthaler in 1836, in either Pennsylvania or Ohio. She was born 1816 in Ruppertsweiler, Pfalz, Germany, and died 1877 in Washington Twp., Ohio. She was the daughter of Heinrich Nickolaus Siegenthaler and Anna Catharina Hornung.
Canton Pirmasen, from 1798-1814, was part of the First French Empire and was occupied by France. It included the ancestral villages of Donsieders, Hohenoid, Ruppertsweiler and others in the surrounding area. It later became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria. The parish records in Waldfischbach and those of the family in Ohio reflect a year's difference in Valentine's age. This could be the result of an oral mistake on his part or a mistake in trancribing the German record. There were only 207 Lutheran souls in Donsieders in 1802 and in all the viilages of Canton Pirmasens there were only 2565 Lutherans. So the likelihood of there being two Valentine Schlemmers born on the same day a year apart in that area is nil. (Statistics from Michael FREY: Versuch einer geographisch- historisch- statistischen beschreibung des kön. bayer. Rheinkreises Band 4, Speyer 1837.)
Valentin's father died in 1811 and Charlotta remarried Jakob Anstett in 1813. In 1828 Valentin sailed with them and his two half brothers, Adam and Jacob, for America. They stopped first in Pennsylvania where the family is found in 1830 census of Northampton, PA--another brother, John having been born in 1830. They left about 1835 for the Great Black Swamp in Sandusky County, Ohio.
The Siegenthalers arrived at the Port of New York, December 28, 1830. They had left their home in Ruppertsweiler in April and had spent the summer in the Le Havre, France before sailing. They were caught in a horrible storm at sea on Christmas Day. Margaretha and her sister, Maria Anna, vowed to fast every Christmas if God delivered them, which they did.
The Siegenthalers stopped in Allentown, Pennsylvania before going to Ohio. Here their daughter, Mary Ann, married Christian Auxter in 1833. Before leaving for Ohio the family was joined by their daughter, Elizabeth and her husband, Jacob Hornung who accompanied the settlers to Washington Township. Henry and Catharine Siegenthaler lived with the Hornungs until they died in 1859 and 1856, respectively. They are buried in Lindsey Cemetery as are Valentine and Margaretha.
The Schlemmers are recorded as Family #35 in the Emmanuel Lutheran Church register in Hessville Ohio. Valentin became Valentine Slemmer and settled near his parents and brothers. He served as administrator of his stepfather's estate when he died in 1852.
Ancestors of Valentin Schlemmer
Valentin Schlemmer, born 1763; died 1811 in Donsieders, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. He was the son of Johann Valentine Schlemmer and Maria Eva Kettenring. He married first in 1787 Katharina Barbara Hirschelmann b: 1768 in Donsieders, died February 1809. He married (2) Catharina Charlotta Martin 1809 in Canton Pirmasens, Rhineland-Pfalz.Catharina Charlotta Martin, born 1785 in Höheinöd, Sudwestpfalz, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany; died Aft. 1860 in Washington Twp, Sandusky County, Ohio. She was the daughter of Johann Adam Martin and Catharina Charlotta Anstatt. She married second Johann Jakob Anstett in 1813 Hohenoid, Pfalz.
Johann Valentine Schlemmer, born 1725/26 in Donsieders, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany; died 1779 in Donsieders, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.. He was the son of 8. Johann Marx Schlemmer and 9. Rosina Barbara Heilbrunn. He married Maria Eva Kettenring 1746/47 in Salzwoog, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany..
Maria Eva Kettenring, born 1728/29 in Landstuhl, Rheinland-Pfalz, GERMANY; died 1794 in Ruppertsweiler, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.. She was the daughter of Johann Balthasar Kettenring and Anna Margaretha Zimmer.
Johann Adam Martin, born 1755 in Höheinöd, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany died 1799 in Hohenoid, Pfalz, Germany. He was the son of Johann Adam Martin and Anna Catharina Wolff. He married Catharina Charlotta Anstatt.
Catharina Charlotta Anstatt, born 1755 in Hohenoid, Pfalz, Germany; died 1818 in Hohenoid, Pfalz, Germany. She was the daughter of Johann Peter Anstatt and Eva Elisatha Gampfer.
Ancestors of Margaretha Siegenthaler
Heinrich Nickolaus Siegenthaler, born 1781 in Ruppertsweiler, Pfalz, Germany; died 1859 in Lindsey, Sandusky County, Ohio. He was the son of Georg Wilhelm Siegenthaler and Maria Margaretha Krämer. He married Anna Cathrina Hornung.
Anna Cathrina Hornung, born 1775 in Hoenoid, Pfalz, Germany; died 1856 in Sandusky County,Ohio. She was the daughter of 6. Johann Jeremias Hornung and Anna Margaretha Anstätt.
Georg Wilhelm Siegenthaler, born 1737 in Ruppertsweiler, Pfalz, Germany. He was the son of Johann Michael Siegenthaler and Anna Katharina Meyer. He married Maria Margaretha Krämer 1774.
Maria Margaretha Krämer, born Abt. 1740 in Heltersberg, Pfalz, Germany.
Johann Jeremias Hornung, born Abt. 1735 in Hoenoid, Pfalz, Germany; died 1786 in Hoenoid, Pfalz, Germany. He was the son of Johann Ludwig Hornung and Sophia Darmstädter. He married Anna Margaretha Anstätt.
Anna Margaretha Anstätt, born 1742 in Hoenoid, Pfalz, Germany; died 1788 in Hoenoid, Pfalz, Germany. She was the daughter of Johann Jakob Anstätt and Anna Ottilia Matthil.
Phillip Andreas Paul or Andrew Paul
1804 | Singhofen, Nassau, Germany
Phillip Andreas Paul, born 1804 in Singhofen, Nassau, Germany; died 1860 in Washington Township, OH. He was the son of Johann Philipp Paul and Anna Wilhemina Clos. He married (2) Elisabetha Magdalena Heymann in 1837. She was born 1809 in Nassau, Germany, and died 1882 in Washington Township, OH. She was the daughter of Johann Phillip Heimann and Elisabetha Margaretha Freund.
The Paul family left their home in Gutenacher, Nassau, Germany in April of 1849 for Antwerp, Belgium. From here they departed on a 47 day sailing voyage. The family arrived in the port of New York on the "Louisiana" on July 3, 1849. By 18were born50 they had settled in Washington Township, Sandusky County, in the Great Black Swamp, where their twin sons Edward (Heinrich Wilhelm Edward ) and Lewis (Johann Ludwig) June 24, 1850 .
From Fremont Democratic Messinger, on Fri. June 29, 1860. Sad Casualty: On last Tuesday morning Mr. Andrew Paul of Washington Township, this county, while on the way to Fremont with a wagonload of furniture, when some distance on the road his horse took fright, and he was throne [sic] from the wagon, upon his head, and the wagon passed over him, causing immediate death. We learn that Mr.Paul was one of the early settlers of this county and had the confidence and respect of all who knew him. He leaves a family. According his son, Edward's, obituary he was helping a neighbor move to the neighboring village of Clyde.
Ancestors of Phillip Andrew (Andreas) Paul
2. Johann Philipp Paul, born 1759 in Singhofen, Nassau, Germany. He was the son of 4. Johann Fredrich Paul and 5. Elisabeth Margaretha Veldenz. He married 3. Anna Wilhemina Clos 1791.
3. Anna Wilhemina Clos She was the daughter of 7. Siegfried Clos.
4. Johann Fredrich Paul, born 1727; died 1791. He was the son of 8. Johann Melchior Paul and 9. Maria Margaretha Koehler. He married 5. Elisabeth Margaretha Veldenz.
5. Elisabeth Margaretha Veldenz She was the daughter of 10. Johann Veldenz.
7. Siegfried Clos
Ancestors of Elisabetha Magdalena Heymann
1. Elisabetha Magdalena Heymann, born 1809 in Nassau, Germany; died 1882 in Washington Township, OH. She was the daughter of 2. Johann Phillip Heimann and 3. Elisabetha Margaretha Freund. She married (1) Phillip Andrew (Andreas) Paul. He was born 1804 in Singhofen, Nassau, Germany, and died 1860 in Washington Township, OH. He was the son of Johann Philipp Paul and Anna Wilhemina Clos.
2. Johann Phillip Heimann, born 1781. He was the son of 4. Johann Georg Heimann and 5. Christina Philippina. He married 3. Elisabetha Margaretha Freund.
3. Elisabetha Margaretha Freund, She was the daughter of 6. Johann Adam Freund.
4. Johann Georg Heimann, born 1765. He was the son of 8. Johann Wilhelm Heimann and 9. Anna Margaretha Broeders. He married 5. Christina Philippina.
6. Johann Adam Fruend
Edward Paul and Sophia Slemmer
Hessville, Ohio | 1872
Edward (1850) and Sophia (1852) were the youngest children of their German immigrant parents, although Edward had a twin brother, Louis. German traditions were maintained and German was their first language. Edward was only 10 when his father died in a tragic accident. After that he helped his mother on the farm and went to school in the winter.
Sophy and Edward were married in December, 1872, and died within a few hours of each other almost 60 years later. Nine children were born to them: Lucinda, Perry, Helen, Cornelius, Anna (Beiler), Edith (Brinkker, Carrie Stots, Arthur, and Clarence. They had farmed near Hessville but were in Madison township by 1888. They moved to E. Madison St. in Gibsonburg several years before their death. Here they were the much loved "Grandma and Grandpa Paul". A double funeral was held and they were burried in a single grave. Zion Lutheran Church was crowded as they had an extremely large circle of friends--each was the last member of their respective families.
Many of the descendants of the Pauls and Slemmers remained on the farms in Sandusky and surrounding counties. Others left to pursue a more urban life. Cornelius "Neil" attended a one room school and then Ohio Northern University where he prepared to be a teacher and met Elizabeth Hustead. They married and lived in Gibsonburg until 1915. Here their children, Edward, Mary Cathrine, Clare and Auleen were born. Mary Cathrine died in the Spanish flu epidemic.
Neil was a captain in the Gibsonburg Volunteer Fire Dept. and Superintendent of Lime Quarry until moving to Fremont in 1915. All their children left Sandusky County. Edward went to Cleveland to became a cost accountant for GE; Clare to Lima to work for Standard Oil and Auleen to Columbus to become a nurse.
Edward carried with him the fondness of "working the ground." On the three acres where he built his home and raised his family, he planted every tree. His victory garden during WWII was magficient and its aspargus grew for twenty years after.