1851 — United States of America
Known residences of Anton: 1826 Baden, Germany > 1851 Bridgeport, CT > 1860 Philadephia, PA 1860 > 1866 Evansville, IN > 1868 Milwaukee, WI > 1871 Evansville, IN > 1873 Louisville, KY > 1878 Cincinnati, OH > 1885 Chicago, IL.
Anton Ditt immigrated to the United States before 1851. It is unknown if he came with family or alone. Very little is known about his early life. After his arrival in the United States, he never stayed in one place for very long . Anton mostly lived in cities where there were large German populations. There are many periods of time where Anton's whereabouts are unknown. His known resident locations have been identified from original documents or photographs taken in specific cities and confirmed with city directories. Online resources have also been invaluable in tracking Anton's journey throughout the United States. But there are two attributes that make Anton easier to track than most individual who moved frequently, his rare name, "Ditt" and his uncommon occupation of safe maker or locksmith.
The first possible record that has been found for Anton is in Bridgeport, CT. Antoin Ditt married Margarite Fisker (Fisher?) on 4 Nov 1851 by Rev. Gurson S. Coit, Rector of St. St. John's Church (Episcopal), Corn. Broad and Cannon Streets, Bridgeport, Connecticut. The bride's first name is the most inconsist fact that this is the marriage Anton Ditt and Catharine Fischer. Many people of German descent had four or five names. Is Margarite one of Catharine's names? Well quite possibly. The ages and dates match very closely with Catharine Ditt's death record discussed below. In the 1850 Federal Census, Catharine Fisher, 26, f, Germany was enumerated in the 1st Ward of Bridgeport City, Fairfield, Connecticut p. 454 line 3 living in a bording house. Anton has not been found in the 1850 Federal Census. There were no Ditts, Fiskers, Fishers listed in the 1855/56 Finning's Bridgeport town and city directory... by Pomeroy & Morse.
Anton and Catherine were found in the 1860 Federal Census in Philadelphia, PA enumerated in the Fourteen Ward, by H. G. Sickel on July 2, 1860 on p. 86, line 26 under Anthony Didd, 38, safe maker, b. Baden; Catharine, 34 b. Baden; Mary Larceny, 12, servant, b. Pennsylvania.
Catharine Ditt nee Fischer wife of Anton Ditt in Evansville, IN died on 22 Oct 1866 source LDS FHL US/CAN Film 1481055 Items 9-10. The following is a transcription and translation of the death record for Catherine Ditt from St. John's Evangelical United Church, Evansville, Indiana:
Catharina Ditt, nee Fischer, was born in Nürnberg in Bavaria, came single into the land(province) in the year 1844, married Antoni Ditt in 1852, died near Dalas(?) on 22nd October 1866, was buried 23 October 66.
Catharina Ditt, geborene Fischer, war geboren zu Nürnberg in Bayern, kam ledig ins Land im J. 1844, verheirathete sich 1852 mit Antoni Ditt, starb bei Dalas(?) am 22. Oktober 1866 u. wurde beerdigt am 23. Oktob. 66
I believe what the translator thought was"bei Dalas" is really kinderlos meaning childless.
She is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, 1400 East Virginia St, Evansville, IN 47711.
Ditt, Catherine, Burial No. 3489, Sect 32, Age 41, Date of Death 10/22/1866, Date of Interment, 10/1866, Female, Place of Birth Germany, Cause of Death, Hydropo Pectoris, Dr. Flling, medical att, Comments "Old Part".
After Catharine's death in 1866, he married Friedericke (Fredericka) Schreck nee Heiliger in Evansville, Indiana in 1867. It is not know whether Friedericke had any children with Mr. Schreck. Mr. Schreck's possible given name may be Peter who may have been a brewer. Fredericka's parents and siblings are a mystery as well. On the back of a family photo, it says that Fredericka was born in Gelnhausen, Hesse (thanks to my cousin Pat R. for photos and several other original documents mentioned in this story).
Fredericka and Anton had one daughter, Juliette (aka Julia) Wilhelmina Ditt born on 16 November 1868 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her baptismal sponsors were Wilhelm Heitmann and Juliette Fueger who became Mr. and Mrs. Heitmann. Their daughter, Alma Heitmann was the baptismal sponsors to Julia Ditt and Theodore Eberle's son, Alfred, who were born in Chicago. This is a bit ahead of the story but an important fact none the less. There is no evidence that the Ditts spent more than a couple of years in Milwaukee yet they kept in contact with a family for more 25 years.
Anton and Fredericka have not been found in the 1870 Federal Census. They were found enumerated in the 1880 Federal Census in Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio. p. 17, supervisor's district 3, enumeration district 138, line 7. Anton Ditt, W, M, 60, Safe Maker, Baden, Baden, Baden; Fredricka, W, F, 50, wife, housekeeper, Hesse, Baden, Baden; Julius, W, M, 11, son, at school, Wisconsin, Baden, Hesse. Obviously, the census taker bungled Julia's name and sex. The ages of Anton and Fredericka are not accurate here either. But then, it is difficult to tell what their actual years of birth were because neither had a consistant age in their records.
Next is a list of city directories where Anton has been found. There are gaps and sometimes large gaps. Anton and Fredericka moved every few years. It is not known where they lived during these gaps. Were they near family? There are other Ditts in Cincinnati and Chicago. The Ditts in Chicago seem to be from the Catholic religion and not related. How do the Heitmanns and Fuegers fit in? There was obviously a connection. Relatives seem to the more likely answer than friends. And what about his partner in Evansville, Stephen Schreiber?
Anton finally settled down in Chicago during his later years. His daugher, Julia, married another safe maker's son, Theodore Eberle, son of Friedrich Eberle b. 6 Oct 1830 and Gertrud Staib b. 14 Feb 1836, an immigrant born in Broetzingen, Baden, Germany. Fred and Gertud Eberle came to Chicago cir. 1882, maybe shortly after Theodore immigrated. Fred died in Chicago in 1889 and is buried in Walheim Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois. It is not known what happened to Gertrud. She may have gone back to Germany. A cousin of Theodore's, Charlie Eberle immigrated to the US. He later changed his name to Edwards and may have lived in Pennsylvania. To the family, he was known as "Uncle Charlie". There are pictures of him but the connections have been lost.
Anton and Fredericka lived with Theodore and Julia in Chicago and saw four grandson's born. The oldest, Theodore, died of pneumonia when he was six years old. The other three grandsons grew up to be successful men in their careers. Anton died in 1900 at the approximate age of 73 according to his death certificate. A few years after Anton's death, Theodore's job took him to Butte, Montana. Fredericka went with the family and died there in 1908. She is buried along side of Anton and her grandson, Theodore Eberle. Their burial plot in Waldheim Cemetery, Forest Park, Illinois is near the grave of the anarchist, Emma Goldman, and the Hay Market Square Massacur Monument. Fred Eberle is also buried in Waldheim Cemetery but his plot was moved when the interestate was constructed and the current site has not been confirmed.
Many, many questions to be answered. Where in Baden was Anton Ditt born? Who are his family members? Why was his age so inconsistant in the records? And WHY did he move so often? Better jobs? Fired from jobs? Business opportunities? Failed businesses? Did he install bank safes or were they the smaller personal ones?
New Haven CT City Directory 1849 p. 69
Ditt, Anthony, spring maker, h 127 Hamilton
New Haven CT City Directory 1853-54 p. 72
Ditt, Anthony, blacksmith, h 91 State
New Haven CT City Directory 1854-55 p. 71
Ditt, Anthony, blacksmith, h 111 Olive
New Haven CT City Directory 1856-57 p. 66
Ditt, Anthony, spring maker, h 68 Greene
Burch and Polk's Evansville City Directory
no Ditt 1861, 1865
1866-1867 p. 93
Ditt, Anthony, (Schreiber & D.) h s w s 6th b Sycamore and Vine
p. 209 SCHREIBER & DITT, (Stephen S. & Anthony D.) Manufactureers of Fire and Burglar Proof Safes, Locks, &c. n w Sycamore b 5th and 6th
p.14 German Evangelical Church United (St. John's) corner Third and Ingle. Rev. Chas. L. C. Runck, Pastor.
no Ditt listing 1868-69 or 1870-71
Milwaukee City Directory, John Thickens publisher
1868-9 no listing for Anthony Ditt
1869-70 p. 107 Anthony Ditt, locksmith res 614 Market
Burch and Polk's Evansville City Directory
1871-1872 p. 104
Ditt, Anthony, stove polisher, res s s High, bet Leet and Goodsell.
Carson's Directory of Louisville
1873 p. 174
Ditt, Anthony, lab, Hackett Mnfg Co. r. 372 Market nr Shelby
Hackett Mnfg Co. 153 Main bn 4th and 5th, mnfrs mantels, grates and burial caskets
No Ditt listing in 1874
1875 p. 187
Ditt, Anthony, finisher Bridgeford & Co., r ? Market, nr Jackson
Bridgeford & Co., Lou. Stove and Grate Foundry, 30 6th nr. Main
no Ditt listing in 1876 or 1877
Cincinnati City Directory, Williams & Co. Publisher
no Ditt in 1873 or 1874
1878 p. 270 Anton Ditt, safe maker h 74 W. court
H. Ditt, patter maker, wks swc Plum and Pearl
1879-80 Anton Ditt, Mach, h nec Court and Vine
1880 p. 288 Anton Ditt, pattern maker h. 78 W. Court
no Ditt listing in 1881 or 1882
1883-84 p. 322 Ditt, Anton, pattern mkr. h. 404 Vine
Ditt, Julia, saleslady, 469 Main, h. 404 Vine
1885-1886 p. 356 Ditt, Anton, mach. h. 35 Carter al
Ditt, Julia, saleslady, 461 Main, h. 35 Carter al
1885 Chicago Directory, The Lakeside Annual Directory of the City of Chicago. 1885.
Ditt, Anton, patternmkr. House 155 S. Clark
no Theodore or Fred Eberle
No listing in the 1888 Chicago Directory for either Anthony Ditt or Theodore Eberle.
1889 Chicago City Directory
Ditt, Anthony, safemkr. h. 159 N. Halsted
Eberle, Theodore, machinist, h. 159 N. Halsted
1900 Death Certificate lists Anton S. Ditt as 73 years, 8 months, 11 days and occupation as machinist. This means that he was born in 1826.