History of the Dayton, Ohio Ohmers

by Susan Catherine Ohmer

This supplement to the Ohmer Family Tree compiled in 1951 by Rose Ohmer Leach, daughter of Michael Ohmer, was written in 1970 – 71 by Susan Catherine Ohmer in response to a number of requests to know “what those people in the Family Tree did.”

Much of the information was obtained from a biographical sketch of Nicholas Ohmer in the Montgomery County (Ohio) Atlas of 1875.

The rest was compiled by Susan from family diaries, letters, and personal reminiscences. As Susan says on page 2, this chapter of family history is concerned mainly with the descendants of Nicholas Ohmer. For her it was a labor of love. She gives it to succeeding generations to carry on. She is now working on a collection of family stories and anecdotes which promises to go on– and on.

Michael engaged in the manufacturing of fine furniture, specializing in office furniture. Later with his sons he opened a retail furniture store. Articles of household furniture bearing his stamp have become collectors’ items. (For a detailed account of the prominent part he played in Dayton’s early history, see Michael Gibbons’ notes, and the Montgomery County Atlas of 1875.)

Michael’s son John Francis Ohmer founded the Ohmer Fare Register Company which made streetcar registers and later taxi meters and cash registers. The company passed out of the family, but Ohmer meters can still be seen in many taxis. Another son, Wilfred Ignatius (“Will”), manufactured recording and computing machines during World I.

Peter Ohmer opened an amusement park in Cincinnati along the Ohio River. Augustus was a kind and gentle man with an inventive turn of mind. One of his most successful inventions was a handy flour bin with a sifter attached underneath– to be hung on the wall.

François (Francis) and Margarette FLOQUET Ohmer

The first Ohmer of whom we have any record was Nicholas Ohmer, a native of France, and a tailor by trade. He married Marie Ann Thuiller. Their two sons were François (“Francis”) and Jean Christophe (“Christopher”). The latter was killed by lightning in Germany. Francis was born August 19, 1796 in the village of Langet, six miles from Bispang, Department of Melch, France. He married Margarette Floquet, daughter of a French fruit grower and wine maker on May 2, 1822. With their five children, they emigrated to America from Lorraine, France, arriving in New York January 8, 1832. The children’s names were Nicholas, Mary, Michael, Margarette, and John Peter. Nicholas, the oldest, was born in Bispang, France April 18, 1823.

The family remained in New York until the Erie Canal thawed in the spring, then sailed for Buffalo, and by steamer to Sandusky. From there they went by wagon to Cincinnati where they remained several weeks. A probable reason for coming to this area is that they had acquaintances here.

Like his father, Francis was a tailor by trade. To get milk for· his children on the voyage from France he had made suits for the captain and crew of the sailing vessel. Unable to get work at his trade in Cincinnati, on the advice of acquaintances he went to Hamilton, walking the entire distance, as money was running out. His family remained in Cincinnati.

At Smithman’s Tavern he met persons with whom he had been acquainted in France. They advised him to go to Trenton, a few miles north of Hamilton, then called Bloomfield. Having arranged for a house he brought the family to Trenton and there he hung out his shingle for the first time in America as a tailor.

He soon had more work at good prices than he could perform, so pressed his wife and son Nicholas into service. The boy, however, showed little interest in the work. One day his father said “Nick, you have been working on the bench for nearly a year, and you are not learning as fast as you ought. I’ll give you my watch (a bull’s eye London watch) if you will make a pair of pants without further instructions.”

In about a week Nicholas was the only boy in town who sported a watch. Sometime afterwards hie father said. to him, “I’ll give you my shotgun (an old double-barrel he had brought from France) if you will make a vest and roundabout (a short coat much worn in those days) without being shown.” A few days afterwards he was banging away at flickers, red birds, and other game in an orchard where the depot now stands.

Nicolas Ohmer with his son-in-law James Sage

That was as far as Nicholas got in the tailoring business. Since he didn’t like that work, he was apprenticed to a confectioner where he learned a business in which he later became successful. After the family moved to Dayton in 1837, he and his father opened a confectionery shop on Second Street. Later his father operated the Madison House–subsequently renamed the Dayton Hotel — at Third and Madison Streets near the canal boat landing. Nicholas set up his own confectionery shop and was the first to introduce Daytonians to a new delicacy — the ice cream soda.

Nicholas was the oldest of nine children. Four were born in this country. They were Augustus, George, Joseph, and Rosella (“Rosa”). This supplement to the Ohmer Family Tree compiled by Rose Ohmer Leach, is concerned mainly with Nicholas Ohmer and his descendants.

Under the name N and G Ohmer, Nicholas and his brother George took over the management of the restaurants in the depots of the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad at Columbus, Xenia, Indianapolis, Muncie, Terre Haute, East· St. Louis, and Lafayette, Indiana. Later George secured the concession for dining cars on the same railroad. He operated the first dining cars west of the Alleghenies.

At the age of 34 years Nicholas’s health began to fail. His doctor told him it was either the country or the graveyard. He concluded to try the country. He knew little about farming but had a natural taste for growing fruits and flowers. So, in 1857 he purchased from Peter Lowe 34 acres, 20 more from Klopfer, and 50 more from Samuel Edgar, a total of 104 acres of land southeast of Dayton, now called Ohmer Park. In the early days he called it Floral Hill and began to study what was to him a new profession– that of growing fruit. It became his principal work.

Nicholas pitched in at the start, bound to in, and win he did. The first and second years he planted 2,000 pear trees, 1,000 cherry, 1,500 peach and 1,000 apple trees as a starter, besides acres of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. There was also a maple grove and a pasture. People wondered what he would do with all the fruit he expected to raise. Time proved that he had made no mistake, as he was always able to sell all of it, at a good profit. From the second year his net· profit was from $1500 to $7000. He always kept an accurate account of products, receipts, and expenses. Locally he sold to the Kiefaber Produce Company, and also shipped fruit to all parts of Ohio. It was impossible to make longer shipments since refrigerated cars were unknown then. It was also before the day of blights and insect pests, and spraying was unnecessary.

Nicolas and Susanna SPRATT Ohmer

In 1847, Nicholas had married Susanna Spratt, a gentle, sweet-tempered girl of Greene County, who made a very fine wife and mother. For a time they-lived in a house on West Third Street which they had built. Then in 1864 they built a 12-room Brick house on Floral Hill; where Nicholas lived the life of a country squire. He worked hard on the farm, but when he drove into town, he rode in a carriage drawn by two spirited horses, two spotted Dalmatians running under the rear of the equipage. Succeeding generations gave the stately house loving care. In 1964 Nicholas’s grand­daughters, Susan, Alice, and Ruth Ohmer, celebrated its 100th birthday with a reunion of members of the Ohmer clan. Later the Montgomery County Historical Society included it among “landmarks worthy of preservation.”

The family were members of St. Joseph Church, and later attended the new Sacred Heart Church in Dayton. Nicholas was president of the School Association of that school. Though having little formal education, be read and studied constantly and was one of the strongest supporters of public schools in the County. He was Vice President of the Calvary Cemetery Association, a Director of the Merchants National Bank ( now the First National Bank), President of the Montgomery County Farmers Club, Vice President of the Southern Fair Association, President of the Montgomery County Horticultural Society in which office he served until his death in 1903, being elected to it 45 times, and Vice President of the Ohio State Horticultural Society. In the last-named office he traveled widely in the United States, lecturing on horticulture and studying fruit-growing methods elsewhere. He developed a new strawberry, bearing his name. Ohio State University honored him as a pioneer horticulturist by hanging his picture in its department of Agriculture. In politics he was Whig. He was active in civic affairs and was esteemed as a man of substance and sterling character.

With the household work done by a cook, a maid, a nursegirl, and a seamstress, Susanna Ohmer was free to devote herself to rearing a fine family of 13 children. They were Francis Bernard(“Frank”), Edward James, Laura, Emma, Mary, Charles Thomas, Eugene, Anna, Harry Sebastian, Margaret, Albert, Lillian Rosalia, and Louis.

Eugene died at the age of 4. Albert at 15, of a goiter. Margaret at 23 died of brain fever. The rest of the children married. Names of whom they married will be found in the Family Tree, which Rose Ohmer Leach compiled. Mention will only be made here of the five surviving brothers, and their occupations.

Frank became Mayor of New Castle, VA. Edward ran away and enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War. He was underage, however, and his father brought him home. Later he and Harry operated hotels in several States. Louis was a Pullman conductor on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Charles engaged in wheat farming in Northwest Minnesota three miles from the village of Argyle.

Nicholas and Susanna were visiting in Washington, D.C. in 1876 when Susanna died of a stroke at the age or 48. At that time Francis was 29, Charles 19 and the youngest, Louis, only 7. A few years later Nicholas married Jennie Hassler. There were no children of that union. He died in 1903; Jennie in 1905.

Charles Thomas and Emma ALTHOFF Ohmer

Charles helped his father on the fruit farm for a few years, then, after a trip through the West, went to Minnesota where his brothers Edward and Harry were farming. The latter two soon left, as neither they nor their wives liked the cold winters. Charles bought the farm of 752 acres and later added 640 more. Then he went back to Dayton and on January 25, 1882 married Emma Althoff, a beautiful young woman of 24. He was 25. They had known each other since their school days at St. Joseph’s. Their wedding trip was back to the farm. It was January and the ground was covered with snow. It was a different life from the one the bride was used to. but she adapted herself to it. They stayed 23 years.

Charles and Emma were blessed with six children: Earl Nicholas, Susanna (Susie) Catherine (after both grandmothers), Carrie Althoff, Alice Editha, Ruth Mary, and Paul Pius. The first few years the family went back to Dayton for the winter. On the first trip Earl was born. On the second, Susie arrived. The rest were born in Argyle, Carrie, Alice and Paul on the farm, Ruth in town. The first few years the family lived on the farm. When the children were old enough to go to school, they moved to town during the school year.

In the Spring they would move out to the farm to get the spring plowing and wheat planting started. Two men were always left on the farm during the winter to look after the cattle and hogs, as well as the chickens, ducks, dogs, and cats. As years went by the farming operation increased. They had 23 horses, seven cows, about 100 chickens, many white ducks and five dogs. Two were hunting dogs named Bruce and Riley, a stag hound called Snag, a Russian wolfhound named Clipper, and a shepherd dog, Rover.

Earl was very fond of animals, especially dogs and horses. He had a riding pony named Lucy that he really loved. It was hard for him to part with her when the family left Minnesota.

Earl Nicholas Ohmer

Now a little history about Earl. He was born in Dayton, Ohio Nov. 17, 1882 in a large red brick house on Warren Street where his Grandpa and Grandma Althoff lived. The house is still standing but has passed out of the family’s hands. As a boy he had high grades in school. Everybody liked him. He was obedient to his parents and teachers, and with his sisters built castles in a large pile of sand. He was courteous and was the first boy in Argyle to raise his hat when meeting a lady acquaintance. Soon other boys followed his example. He was a devout Catholic and served Mass on Sundays. He grew up to be a fine young man, always willing to help others. He liked to hunt prairie chickens, which made very tasty eating. He loved to play ball and was good at other sports as well.

When he finished school in Argyle he was sent to St. Boniface College (taught by the Jesuits) near Winnipeg, Canada. Why there? Because it was the nearest Catholic college to Argyle. He took a business course, along with other studies including French. Earl was very homesick for a while. It was the first time he had been away from home, and nearly everybody on the playgrounds spoke French. At first, he knew nothing of that language. Finally, that changed, and he grew to like school. He took a four-year course in three years and graduated with highest honors. The Governor General of Canada presented the awards, and remarked to the other graduates: “Don’t you feel ashamed to have a boy from the States carry off all the honors?”

Earl learned to play hockey in Canada, became a star player, and introduced the game to the boys in Argyle. When they played teams from other towns his father refereed.

After graduation Earl was made foreman of his father’s “Riverdale Farm.” They raised barley, wheat, flax, oats, and corn — the last named for feed. Middle River flowed through the farm– which was fine for the ducks.

Seven men worked on the farm during the summer; two in the winter, and a large crew during harvest time. Earl was one of the two to stay on the farm in the winter after he was made foreman.

Some evenings when the weather was good and there was lots of snow, Earl would hitch two horses to a bobsled, drive into town, and take us and a few friends for a ride. We would cover up with robes to keep warm. The group enjoyed it very much. After the ride he would go back to the farm. When we went to dances, he would inquire if any of the girls among our friends were without escorts, and if so, even if he had his own girlfriend, he would take the others along to the dance. ‘that was just Earl’s way– always kind and considerate.

In 1905 Father sold the farm and moved the family to Dayton. His father Nicholas had died two years before. His second wife, whom we called Aunt Jennie, died the year we moved to Dayton. Father wanted the house to stay in the family, and as Grandpa Nicholas had planted his fruit farm, we came to Dayton so Father could develop the suburb called Ohmer Park.

But Earl didn’t like living in a city. Soon after the family came to Dayton, he took a trip out West and spent some time hunting in Colorado. Then he came back and went to work for the Apple Electric Company. He didn’t like that either. As he said, he went to work while it was dark and came home when it was dark. People worked longer hours in those days. So, after a while he gave it up and went out West again– to a cattle ranch in Oregon where he became expert in breaking broncos and using the lasso.

A year or so later he went to work on the Pat Burns Ranch in Canada. While there Earl contracted typhoid fever and was in a hospital in Canada for some time. Arter recovering his health he returned to Dayton and found employment as a receiving and shipping clerk with the American Tobacco Company operated by William Stroop, who became very fond of Earl. Mr. Stroop remarked that he wished his son would be as fine a young man as Earl. He was a natural mechanic. On one occasion when a demonstration of a machine was to be held at the Stroop farm, the demonstrator became ill. Ear! was asked to substitute. After a few minutes of inspection, he successfully gave the demonstration.

But his heart was in the West, so when his brother-in-law, Karl Sifferman, sold his fish market in Dayton, the two young men decided to go West to see what openings there were in that line along the coast. While in Seattle they heard about the shrimp industry that was developing in Southeast Alaska. A trip north convinced them Petersburg was the place to start. They returned to Seattle to have a trawler built. Earl remained there to oversee it while Karl went back to Dayton to get his wife, Carrie Ohmer Sifferman, and their three children: Karl Irwin, Jr., Emma Catherine, and Earl William. They settled in Seattle where Karl was to have charge of the selling and distributing of the shrimp, crabs, and clams which would soon be shipped down. Earl waited for the boat to be finished, then he and a pilot took it up to Petersburg where the fishing and canning were to take place. The Alaskan Glacier Seafood Company which the two partners founded proved a successful business.

In Alaska Earl found an environment to his liking. He became one of the Territory’s most prominent citizens, and in 1952 was named Man of the Year by an Alaskan newspaper. He saw the importance of conserving Alaska’s natural resources, and for many years served as Chairman- of the Alaska Fish and Game Commission under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior. He was also President of the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, and for a time, Mayor. He entertained many distinguished guests who came to see Alaska. He was a friend of rich and poor alike and treated the Indians fairly. As a mark of their appreciation they made him a Chief of the Eagle Clan of the Klingket Tribe. Earl’s activities and colorful personality made him a part. of the history of Alaska. A professor from the State University included in a history which he was writing, filmed letters of Earl’s which were on file in Washington, D.C.

Earl married Loyla Henriette von Osten in 1918 in Petersburg. They had four children– Robert Charles, David Paul, Patricia Henriette, and James Lewis. Earl died of a heart attack October 25, 1955 and was buried in Petersburg.

Of the four children Robert (Bob), the eldest, became superintendent for a construction firm in Juneau, Alaska. He married Betty Vaschull. Four children were born to them– Earl Robert, Pamela Ann, Lance David, and Arthur Gary. Bob died of a heart attack in 1963. His son Earl Robert married Susan Abbott. They lived in Ketchikan. Earl worked on a tug out of that port. He had a son– Gregory. Bob’s daughter, Pamela married Dick Crueger, a barge loading supervisor at Coos Bay, Oregon. They adopted a daughter, Rachelle Marie. In 1970 a daughter, Kristel Rae Lene, was born to them.

David became General Superintendent of the Alaskan Glacier Seafood Company and captain of the trawler Charles W after the death of his father.

Earl’s partner, Karl Sifferman, had died in 1930. David married Gloria Anderson. Their children were Judy Maxine, David Norman, Rebecca Marie, Penny Doreta, and Susan Patricia.

Judy is secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska at this writing and plans to attend college. The other children are still in school.

James (Jim) Lewis married Jacqueline Leslie Hemnes. They had two daughters, Christi Lynne and Jody Patrice. Christi married Richard Howard Taylor in 1968. They live in Dallas where Richard is an art student at Dallas University. Christi works in an office.

Jim is Representative of the National Foundation for the State of Oregon, and lives in Portland. He majored in public relations at college.

Patricia (Patti) married Arvid Norheim. Their children are Susan Henriette, Sally Jo, and Kraig Jorgen. Patti was employed as office manager at the Alaska Communications Systems (AOS) in Petersburg, also as private secretary to Leonard Hopkins who travels through Alaska selling many exclusive lines of merchandise. In 1971 she and Gloria Ohmer purchased a variety store in Petersburg which they operate.

Patti’s daughter Susan entered Western Washington State College in Bellingham preparatory to taking a nursing course. Sally and Kraig are still in school. Arvid Norheim died in 1971.

Loyla’s second marriage was to Eiler Wikan, a fisherman. Betty’s second marriage was to Lou Ferrions, a contractor. Betty was employed in the office of the Foss Alaska Line.

Carrie and Susie Ohmer

Susanna (Susie) Ohmer, daughter of Charles and Emma Ohmer, was born March 12, 1884 in Dayton, Ohio. She went to school in Argyle, Minnesota and left in her sophomore year because of ill health.

(This supplement to Susie’s brief reference to herself was slipped in by her sister Ruth, who volunteered to type Susie’s notes): Susie lived quietly at home, doing household tasks and looking after the comfort and welfare of the family, with complete forgetfulness of self. Her life was one of work and prayer. By word and example, she was an inspiration to others. She carried on a huge correspondence with relatives and friends and possessed a spiritual quality that made many people turn to her for prayers, comfort, and advice. Her brother Paul called her “St. Susie”, and said she held “an umbrella of prayer over the whole family.”

Carrie was born June 19, 1885 in Argyle, Minnesota. She and Lee Peck were the first graduates of the Argyle High School. She was an excellent student and while still in high school substituted for a teacher who was ill. After moving to Dayton in 1905 she married Karl Irvin Sifferman on October 4, 1909. Karl worked in his father’s fish market in Dayton and succeeded his father as its owner. In 1916 he and Carrie’s brother Earl Ohmer formed a partnership and founded the Alaskan Glacier Sea Food Company with headquarters in Seattle and Petersburg. Karl moved his family to Seattle where he was in charge of distributing the firm’s products. Carrie and Karl had seven sons and four daughters: Karl Irvin Jr., Emma Catherine, Earl William, Raymond Francis, Ruth Mary, Thomas Charles, Edna May, Stanley Joseph, Carrie Teresa, John Stephen, and Paul Ohmer. Karl Sr. died in 1930 before Paul was born. Carrie assumed the heavy responsibility of raising her large family. Daily Mass and Holy Communion gave her the strength and courage to carry on. Her business interests were looked after by her brother Earl. All her children grew up and married. Her seven sons all graduated from Seattle Prep (Jesuit) with a record of unbroken attendance for 25 years.

Karl Jr. took his father’s place. He is General Manager of the Alaskan Glacier Sea Food Company, and owner of the West Transfer Company in Seattle. He is an authority on rhododendron culture. In 1934 he married Dorothy Iris Parks. They had four children: Dorothy Iris Karlene, Frances Jean, Susan Carol, and Karl Irvin III (Nick). The three daughters married. Karlene is a receptionist in a hospital in Seattle. On June 27, 1953 she married Joseph James Lacher, Purser on a Pan American airliner. Five children were born to them: Carol Jean, Jolene Sue, Stephen Joseph, Jill Marie, and Joseph James, Jr. Frances Jean married Richard Freitas in 1956. He is employed at the West Transfer Company. Their six children are Douglas Richard, James Joseph, Nancy Ann, Paul William, Mary Ann, and John Charles.

Susan married Scollin Daniel Cash on June 18, 1960. Scollin (Chic) is with the FBI stationed at this writing in Tucson, Arizona. They have three children: Cathleen Sue, Christopher David, and Shawn Daniel. Karl (Nick) is working in the office of the Bell Telephone Company, Seattle.

Emma Sifferman married Harry Mulcahy in 1932. Their two children were Diane Marie, born January 15, 1933 and Michael Joseph, February 9, 1947. Diane teaches school. In 1954 she married Edward Murray. They had one child, Katherine Diane, born October 26, 1955. In a second marriage Diane became the wife of Fred Dick, employed in the office of the Puget Sound Power and Light Company. Michael graduated from the University of Washington, majoring in marketing. He married Susan Kay McClellan, a Pan American stewardess, December 27, 1968. He is with the Reserves, and he and Susi have been managing a ski school at Alpental and attending the University of Washington. For a time, Mike was a teacher of skiing and swimming.

Harry Mulcahy died October 4, 1948 in a shipyard accident. In 1951 Emma married Harold Tollefson. Harold is in the purchasing and sales department of the Fisheries Supply Company in Seattle. Emma, who has been employed at the same place for many years, does invoicing, filing, stenographic work, accounting, switchboard, and phoning. Their son, Karl Brynjulf was born January 10, 1952. He attends the University of Washington and is majoring in accounting.

Earl Sifferman is Vice President of the Kodiak Fisheries Company in Seattle. During the summer he goes to Port Baily, Alaska as superintendent of their salmon cannery there. Earl married Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Williams in 1938.

They have a cottage on Mason Lake near Seattle where they, their family, relatives and friends enjoy week-end vacations. Earl and Betty have a daughter and five sons. Kathleen Mary teaches school. She has traveled extensively—to Europe and elsewhere. Stephen Karl, a Sergeant in the US Army, suffered a knee injury in Vietnam. He is temporarily working as a mechanic at a filling station in Seattle where his brother, Earl Jr. is also employed.

James Philip attends Seattle University. An accomplished pianist, he won a scholarship at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada. Charles William is a senior at West Seattle High School; Edward Joseph a sophomore at O’Dea High.

Raymond Sifferman went to Hoonah, Alaska in 1937 where he worked for the Alaskan Glacier Seafood Company, canning crab meat. After graduating from high school, he married Pearl Hudnutt in 1940. They had one child, Raymond

Francis Jr. After a few years in Alaska Raymond returned to Seattle where he was an expert in precision tool: making with the Tool and Die Casting Com­pany. Pearl died and in 1957 he married Lillian Tippery, a widow with two children. They had three children: Jeffrey Paul, and twins, Michael John and Carolyn Jean.

PFC Rex, Lillian’s son by her first marriage, served in Vietnam. He is now out of the service and is attending computer school. The twins are in high school. Jeff is in Uncle Sam’s service.

Ray Jr. married Marlene Ann Marcyes in 1960. Their children are Donna Rae Ann, Kimberly Ann, and Kenneth Patrick. Ray works for an intercity trucking company. Raymond Sr. died December 13, 1968 of Asian flu.

Ruth Sifferman married Jack Radford Kearny February 14, 1941. He is a property manager and land developer. They had six children: Stephen Joseph, Christopher John, Mary Ohmer, John Radford Jr., Mark Thomas, and Matthew Charles. Steve was Sp/5 in the Army Intelligence Reserves and joined the Air Force in 1967. He married Kathleen Ann Christenson March 19, 1966. Their children are Patricia Marie and Laura Arm. Steve is now with the Safeco Insurance Company.

Chris served in the artillery Sp/4 and was in Germany three years. He is now with the Xerox Company. He married Helen Marie Davidson September 4, 1965. They have two children: Paul Christopher and Michael Charles.

Mary married Joseph Garfield MacNeill January 16, 1965. They have two children, Gregory Joseph and Bradly Garfield. Joe is with the Harrison Construction Company, at present working in Miami, Florida. John Radford Kearny has been with the State Farm Insurance Company since leaving the army. For a time, he was a cadet at West Point. Mark joined the army in 1969. He is a Sp/5 in Army Transportation. He served in Vietnam and is now in Germany. Matthew is a junior in high school.

Tom Sifferman is head of the Sales Department of the Chain Gear Company and travels through western Canada and Alaska. He married Martha Elizabeth (Bette) Loggins in 1942. They have seven sons and four daughters, the same as his mother had, which pleased them very much. The children are Christine Marie, Thomas Raymond, David Joseph, John Karl, Mary Elizabeth, Sheila Marie, Philip Edward, Richard Francis, James Lawrence, Gregory Alan and Theresa Marie.

Christine was named beauty queen of Capitol Hill during a Seattle pageant. After returning from a trip to Europe she married Joseph Allen Hauser in 1967. Their children are Joseph Allen Jr., and twins, Kimberly Denise and Kevin David. Joseph is a teacher at the University of Bellevue, Washington. Christine teaches part time.

Thomas married Barbara Ann Petschl in 1966. They have a son, Scott Thomas. David entered the Order of Franciscan Friars of the Atonement (Graymoor Friars); He is studying for the priesthood in their seminary in Washington D.C. John served in the Navy in the Pacific in 1967. At present he is employed at the Boeing Company.

Mary Elizabeth (Marilee) married Timothy D. Briffett August 16, 1969. He is a salesman for Procter and Gamble, on the West Coast. Sheila graduated from high school and is working in California. Philip, Richard, James, Gregory, and Theresa are still in school.

Edna Sifferman married George G. Lemeshko in 1941. They adopted three children– Jeanne Marie, George Stephen, and Michael Peter. George Sr. is Assistant Manager and Member of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Car and Foundry Company, Seattle. Jeanne married Arthur Allen Pennebaker October 8, 1966. She died in 1967.

George Jr. joined the Coast Guard and served at Attu, Alaska and at Governors Island, New York. He is now attending Western Washington State College at Bellingham, Washington. Michael is still in school.

Stanley married Mary Kathleen Sheehan, a nurse, November 20, 1948. Of their five children Mary, the oldest, lived just long enough to be baptized. The others are Joseph Andrew, Robert Matthew, Margaret Ann (Peggy), and Mark Stephen. Joseph and Robert are in college; Peggy and Mark in high school. Joe plans to become a doctor. Stanley served in the marines. He is a Professional Personnel Interviewer in the Aero Space Division of the Boeing Company. At present they are working on the applications of men for the moonshots. Stanley majored in meteorology and for a time was employed in that field.

Carrie Sifferman married Frank J. Johnson June 16, 1944 at Beaufort, North Carolina near the marine base where Frank was stationed. Frank served in World War II in the USMC Air Force. They live in San Diego where Frank is Program Manager, Fleet Air Control and Surveillance Facility, Naval Air Station, North Island, and Assistant Program Manager, Command and Control Division, Naval Electronics Systems Command, Southwest Division. He is sent by the Navy to service equipment at US bases in all parts of the world. For a time, the family lived in Anchorage, Alaska, while Frank was inspecting and servicing stations along the White Alice Radar line. Carrie for some years was Registrar and General Secretary at St. Augustine High School, San Diego.

Carrie and Frank have three children: Mary Teresa, Julie Ann, and Paul Gregory. Mary married Steven Michael Smith May 7, 1966 while he was a Sea bee in the Navy. He is now a carpenter and is attending college. Their two children are Carrie Teresa and Julie Esther. Julie was active in “Up With People!” She traveled with one group and helped raise money for this patriotic organization. Later she entered college and in 1968 married John Frederick Hernly, a sergeant in the US Air Force. They lived in Germany while John was stationed there.

Paul is attending the University at night and working as an apprentice electrician during the day as a start for the basics of electronics which he plans to major in at college.

John Sifferman married Eileen O’Hara in 1948. They have four children of their own, and adopted a little girl, Karen Marie. Their own children are Katherine Ann, Gerald Anthony, Andrew Michael, and Daniel Joseph. Since leaving the service John has been with United States Steel, in the sales-service department. He is living in Pittsburgh. Katherine is married and is living in Concord, California. Jerry works in the mailing room at US Steel in Pittsburgh and attends college.

Paul Sifferman also served in the Armed Forces. He is Senior Representative in Distribution with the Shell Oil Company now stationed. in Conroe, Texas. In 1954 he married Louise Elizabeth Quinn. They adopted two boys, Mark Frederic and Gregory Paul. Then twin boys, Paul and Karl were born. To their sorrow, Paul lived only a few minutes, Karl a few days. A year later in 1967 Diane Marie was born to gladden their hearts.

As the years have flown by, we have noted with satisfaction that an impressive number of honors, trophies, and scholarships have been won by our nieces, nephews, and grand nieces and nephews. They have been a credit to the family, and we are proud of them.

Alice Editha Ohmer

Alice Ohmer was born in Argyle, Minnesota November 27, 1887. She graduated with honors from the high school there, and won a scholarship to a college in Minnesota, but did not use it as our family was about to leave Argyle and move to Dayton. In Dayton she was asked to teach a fourth grade of boys at Holy Angels School. After one year there she entered Normal School. Upon graduating she began teaching at Emerson public school while attending evening classes at the University of Dayton, and graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Education. She continued teaching at Emerson for 40 years, working most of the time with slow learners. The Principal chose her for this work from among 35 members of the faculty because of her special qualifications including her patience. When she retired the faculty gave her a dinner and entertainment. No one before or since has been honored in that way at Emerson. The Junior Chamber of Commerce named her Teacher of the Month, another honor no other teacher in her school had received. She and Ruth took a summer course at the University of Chicago. Before and since retiring Alice and Ruth have taken trips to Alaska, through the Panama Canal, Mexico, Europe and the Near East. On this trip they made the Way of the Cross on Good Friday in Jerusalem, walking in the same path Our Lord took on His way to Calvary, and on Easter Sunday they attended Mass and received Holy Communion in Our Lord’s tomb. Alice is an excellent cook and loves gardening. Two high school boys of the neighborhood helped her in this task.

Ruth Mary Ohmer

Ruth Ohmer was born October 20, 1892 in Argyle, Minnesota. She attended St. Rose of Lima School taught by the Sisters of St Joseph. On coming to Dayton, she enrolled at Notre Dame Academy, taught by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Her aunt, Sister Editha, had been a member of this Order. Ruth graduated from there with 100 per cent for her senior year. When our sister Carrie Sifferman and family moved to Seattle, Ruth went with them and remained a year. Upon her return she became Society Editor of the Dayton Herald and Journal. She resigned after seven years and graduated from Miami­Jacobs Business College. She then became news editor of the George A. Pflaum publication, the Young Catholic Messenger, a post which she held 34 years. During this time, she took a summer course at the Catholic University, Washington, D.C. as well as courses in international affairs and world economic history at the University of Dayton. For her 25th anniversary the Pflaum Company gave her a trip to Europe and while there she attended the canonization of Maria Goretti in Rome. When Ruth retired as editor the Company gave a luncheon for her to which Susan and Alice were invited. Several priests and the publisher, George Pflaum gave talks. She was presented with the Medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from Pope John XXIII for Catholic journalism in the juvenile field. Ruth also received from the Pflaum Company a silver bowl “in appreciation for 34 years of loyal and devoted service.” She is now editor of the St. Anthony Briefs, a four-page weekly bulletin giving the news of the parish. She belongs to a number of clubs and was president of the Poetry Reading Circle.

Paul Pius Ohmer

Paul Pius Ohmer was born April 7, 1898 in Argyle, Minnesota. He attended school there, then finished grade and high ·school and college in Dayton. He graduated with honors in chemical engineering at the University of Dayton. He was in the ROTC.at the University in World War I and was about to be called to active duty when the war ended. After graduating he was employed in the chemical laboratory of the Proctor and Gamble Company in Cincinnati where he brought glycerin up to a higher standard of purity than had been believed possible. Paul liked dealing with men, so was made supervisor of the North End of the P and G plant– a position he held until his death in 1958. In the meantime, during the Second World War P and G was asked to take over a Government plant making ammunition in Milan, Tennessee. Mr. Earl Pruden, an official of the Company, agreed if he could have Paul with him. So the two with their families moved to Milan. Putting the plant on an efficient basis proved a hard task. Paul’s health broke under the heavy strain and he was taken to a New Orleans clinic for a serious operation. He recovered and resumed his work, but his health was never fully restored. In 1925 Paul had married Mary Cecelia McTernan. Three children were born to them: Paul Pius Jr., Charles Thomas II, and Mary Frances.

Paul and Charles were born in Cincinnati and attended grade school there. Paul graduated from high school in Milan, Tennessee, then joined the Navy during World War II. He was in very secret communications work in the Hawaiian Islands. After his honorcable discharge he came to Dayton to attend the University of Dayton, taking mechanical engineering. Before he graduated, he had signed up with United States Steel and he has been with that company ever since. He advanced rapidly to General Supervisor Process Engineering at the Chicago plant, a position which requires him to travel a great deal. In 1957 Paul married Anne Margaret (Peg) Karmett. They have one son, Paul III who is now in school.

Charles attended grade school in both Cincinnati and Milan. He graduated from Chaminade High School in Dayton and from the University of Cincinnati. He served in the Army in Korea and while there was transferred to the Air Force and promoted to First Lieutenant. Afterwards, in the National Guard, he was promoted to Major. After leaving the service he was employed as Union Relations Contract Administrator with the General Electric Company in Cincinnati. In 1954 he married Roberta Margaret Rector (Bobbe). They have one daughter, Susanna Catherine, and six sons: Charles Thomas III, David Paul, John Steven, Michael Gregory, Mark Robert, and Richard James. All except Richard were born in Cincinnati. He was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Charles was transferred in 1968 by GE. In 1970 he was transferred back to the Cincinnati plant. While in Albuquerque Susan won the City spelling championship and was runner-up in the State competition.

Mary Frances (Bunny) was born in Milan, Tennessee August 11, 1943. The family moved back to Cincinnati where she graduated from Regina High School-and Our Lady of Cincinnati College (now Edgecliff). While still in school she used to go to an orphanage on Saturdays to help take care of the children. After graduating she taught school. With her Aunt Susie Ohmer she took a trip to the West Coast, stopping at San Diego and Seattle to become acquainted with numerous cousins she had never met. The trip was cut short when she received a phone call that her mother had broken her hip. Mary married James John Molloy August 26, 1967. They live in Louisville where Jim is a mechanic with Naval Ordnance. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville. They have a daughter, Mary Kathleen (Kelly), born July 27, 1968. Bunny is teaching half days in their parish school in Louisville.

To conclude this part of the family tree, there is an unusual incident that occurred in 1958. Paul Ohmer and a friend, Joseph Schaefer, went through high school and college together. Both were in the same class. Both were excellent students. First one would be ahead in class; then the other. Paul became ill with scarlet fever. Later Joe contracted the same disease. The entire school was watching those two boys. They graduated from the University of Dayton, Paul just a fraction of a percent ahead of Joe. Paul’s name was read first as diplomas were handed out; then Joe, equally good, received his. Paul went to Cincinnati with Procter and Gamble, Joe to a firm in the East.

In April 1958 both died. Both were brought to Dayton for burial, in the same cemetery at the same time. As Paul’s procession was entering the cemetery, Joe’s was leaving. The priest who said the prayers for Joe walked across to Paul’s grave to say the prayers. This strange series of coincidences will never be forgotten by the two families.

By request I shall give a brief description of the Nicholas Ohmer home in Dayton, Ohio– in which my sisters and I live. Its grounds cover 1¾ acres. It was built in 1864 during the Civil War– of red brick with natural stone trim and green shutters. But with passing years it was painted and is now ivory with white trim. It has six chimneys, six porches and a latticed summer kitchen, 25 windows, nine outside doors. Inside are 12 rooms, a bath and a half, three halls, seven marble fireplaces, a front and back stairway. The basement has five rooms. There are two gas furnaces. Ceilings downstairs are 11½ feet high; 12 feet upstairs. The house is much as it was in Grandfather Nicholas’s day. To date seven generations of the family have stayed here. There are some interesting antiques– and a great many memories. Today, as in our father’s and grandfather’s time, the old house extends a welcome to all members of the family — of all generations.


It is believed that all OHMERs are descendants of Peter Aumer who was born in Steinweiller about 1630. The first five generations have been reconstructed by Gerard Ohmer which include about 37 OHMERs born through the period of about 1785. OHMERs have been found in France, Germany, Holland, with descendants of various lineage’s in the United States including Louisiana; Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; Cincinnati, Ohio; Erie, Pennsylvania; and Alaska.
The German OHMERs are known to come from two areas in Europe. One is in and around Herxheim, Germany which is in the Palatine, close to the Alsace-Baden border. The other area is about 60 miles to the southwest in Lorraine, France, a few miles west of Sarrebourg (Saerburg). It is thought that the Lorraine OHMERs immigrated to that area from Herxheim.

The first records of the OHMER name that appear are:

In Germany:

• In 1684 – the birth of Mathias OHMER in Herxheim, Pfalz recorded in the records in Speyer. He was the eldest son of Hans Jakob OHMER (Aumer); Hans Jakob is the only recorded child of Peter Aumer.

• In 1691 – the marriage contract between Hans Jakob and his second wife, Anna Bierher, recorded in the archives in Lauterbourg, France.

In France:

• In 1706 – the marriage of Anthonius OHMER recorded in the Gosselming, France Parish records. He was probably the son of Andoni OMER one of the witnesses.

• In 1738 – the death of Jean-Georges in Langatte. He was born about 1689, a brother of Antoine.

In France —

The first migrant relocation from Herxheim occurred when Johann Michael (Jean-Michel) married in Epinal, France in 1790. Many OHMERs now live in the Moselle area of France, but other than the line to Lechrist, they have not responded to queries and are not represented in this story. There are other OHMERs in France, but they are not now connected with Peter Aumer.
There is another branch of the french OHMERs centered in Dayton, Ohio. These OHMERs are believed to be the descendants of Jean Nicolas OHMER, husband of Maria Ann Thuillier.

The civil records for Gosselming include the marriage of Antoine OHMER and Anna Maria Scheidbach and the birth of their first two children, Pierre born 20 March 1843 who died at birth and Madeleine born 9 March 1844. Their marriage is recorded as number 3 of rec. 12 April 1842. The record shows Antoine as a 28-year-old weaver born in Langatte. He was the son of Nicolas OHMER also a weaver in Langatte where he died, and of Catharine HENRY, then 56 and living in Langatte. Anna Maria Scheidbach is recorded as the widow of Nicolas Schaeffer, age 39, born 14 Pluviose in year 11. She was the daughter of the deceased Nicolas Scheidbach and Catharine Hollerich, who was then 78 and living in Gossetming. Madam P.r.s’ report begins with the birth of the second Pierre in 1845. This birth is confirmed in advice by Gilles Pfruner. Other information shows Antoine arrived in New Orleans with his wife and two children. He moved up the Mississippi and settled in Illinois.

In Germany —

  • Karl OHMER of Freiburg, Germany is a descendant of Johannes in the 5th generation. Johannes is also the ancestor of most of the Cincinnati OHMERs.

In Holland —

No direct contacts are yet available to the Holland string of OHMERs.


In Louisiana —

All the OHMERs in this area trace their lineage back to a single immigrant:

  • Tobias Ambre OHMER – born 18 March 1832, Neupotz, Pfalz, Germany – migrated to New Orleans 15 Apr 1851

Tobias is the 4th great-grandson of Peter Aumer. Tobias was born in Neupotz, Pfalz, Germany, on 18 March, 1832. He migrated to the United States by way of La Harve, France on the Ship Carrack and arrived in New Orleans on June 16, 1851. The ship’s passenger list states he was 19 and a farmer, was travelling with only a single trunk. He made his way to Assumption Parish, and settled in an area called Four Mile Bayou. There he met and married Jeanette Suzanne Acosta around 1852. He filed for naturalization in 1892, and became an American citizen. Descendants are now in Napoleonville, New Orleans, Thibodaux, Denham Springs, Westwego, Amelia, Morgan City, and Dulac.

In Michigan —

There are three groups:

Clara arrived in NY with 4 to 6 children. (One of which is believed lost at the port of entry). She is believed to have migrated from the Duchy of Baden. Clara is said to have been born on 1 Jan 1807 probably in Baden. She was the widow of Wilhem Ohmer at the time she arrived in the United States. She migrated in 1852 and settled in Michigan. It has been impossible to make a proper linkage to established Ohmer lineages. Wilhelm’s descendents have not been linked to any other OHMER family groups.

In Missouri —

Three known immigrants:

These are three brothers. Gustav was the second of three brothers, the only one where knowledge of descent exists. Their father, Franz Carl OHMER, a forest warden, married at age 40 to a bride 22-years old. There were two older sisters who died at birth. All three boys were sent to school in St. Louis, apparently under the guardianship of an Uncle, who has not been identified, and who was possibly their mother’s brother. The reason for their move may have been the mandatory conscription into the newly militaristic Germany after the Franco-Prussian war. Karl and Gustav arrived in the United States in 1885 at about age 15. Jacob born in 1873 and arrived a few years later. The three brothers were third cousins, once removed, of both Theodor and Appolonia (see Pennsylvania below). One record shows their mother, Anna Maria Knoll Ohmer, living in St. Louis. She probably joined one of her sons after the death of her husband.

In Ohio—

There are OHMERs in Cincinnati who are descendants of the Peter Aumer lineage.

Michael was a brewmaster, and he’s named in a record in 1862 in Cincinnati. His descendants are centered in Cincinnati and across the river in Kenton and Campbell Counties near Covington, Kentucky. He is a one-half fourth cousin of both Theodor and Appolonia (see Pennsylvania below). His great-great grandfather, Johann Jacob was a half brother of Johann Adam by Hans Jacob’s second wife.

François arrived in New York with his wife and five children. They continued on by the Erie Canal to Lake Erie, by boat to Ohio and then to Hamilton in Butler County where he continued his trade as a tailor. He moved to Dayton in 1837 after learning of the French community and the possibilities of starting a business as a confectioner. His second son Michael (Michel), exerted major influence in the development of Dayton. He became the historian for the French community. His records of the family became the basis of the Dayton OHMER genealogy. François’ son Nicholas was one of the founders of the Catholic cemetery, Calvary and started a very successful furniture manufacturing business. His farm property became the section of Dayton now know as Ohmer Park. This was updated and published by his daughter, Rose, in 1951.

In Pennsylvania —

Four OHMERs are known to have migrated from Herxheim to this area:

Carl may have been the earliest OHMER migrant from Herxheim to the United States and a true pioneer. He migrated in 1858 at age 19 to Girard, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Erie. His wife is said to be from Stuttgart, Germany, but the date and place of the marriage and his various movements are obscure. They had eleven children whose days of birth occurred between 14 February 1865 and 11 January 1888. The locations of the births are known for only four. Carl died in Mayville, Tuscola County, Michigan. This was also the place of birth of his second and eleventh children. He may have been attracted by the beginnings of the petroleum boom and his third child was born in Oil City, Venango County, Pennsylvania. He is in the 1870 United States census for Girard, Pennsylvania. It might be fair to say that this branch never established a hometown. A dispersion through southeastern Michigan occurred with his children’s deaths occurring in five Michigan Counties between Detroit and Saginaw Bay. Appolonia was his second cousin.

Carl and Theodor were 1st cousins, their fathers having been born in 1798 and 1796 respectively. Theodor and Appolonia migrated together and married in Erie. They had a son born in Herxheim in March 1863 that died at birth. They were second cousins both born when their mothers were forty-six. They had nine children following their marriage. Jacob was the son of Theodor’s oldest brother, Franz, who was born 1827. When Franz died about 1884 Theodor brought Jacob to the United States and he was raised as a tenth child. The other children even forgot he was not a sibling. Theodor was entrepreneurial and started a number enterprises including a cooperage and a hardware store in Erie.

In Alaska —

This string of OHMERs are descendants of the French OHMERs, particularly :

Earl migrated from Dayton after spending the first years of his life on his parents’ wheat farm, and is a descendant of the Dayton (French) OHMERs. He arrived in Alaska in 1915. He was an operator of a shellfish cannery and was Mayor of Petersburg 1920, 1930 and 1931. For 20 years he was president of the Chamber of Commerce, and was Chariman of the Alaska Fish and Game Commission for 23 years. Thus, I’ve understood that as being the reason several Parks and Lakes in Alaska bear the OHMER name.
Earl’s Grandson Dave now manages a shrimp cannery that he founded in Petersburg, Alaska in 1916. Earl is son of Charles Thomas OHMER, and is of the yet unconnected french line of Andoni OHMER.

Earl had four children:

A contact had been made with a direct descendant of this line, but further information from her never came. This new info is courtesy of Dave OHMER, Katelyn OHMER Markley and Roberta OHMER. THANKS for the info, guys!

Chapter 7 – Emigration

Emigration is part of the population development. 491 Neupotzers left their village in the 19th century and mainly looked for a new home in America.

Helmut Sittinger from Leimersheim, a good expert on the emigration movement in general, was personally in America, visited the descendants of the emigrants, and also has the emigration from Neupotz processed. I put his report verbatim in our home book:

Emigration in the 19th century

“The neighbors gathered early. The loaded cart tumbled out of the gate. Mother and Gretl sat on the large chest, a colorfully painted heirloom. As they climbed up, Schorsch (a nickname for Georg) came and gave Gretl a bouquet.  She uttered a heart-breaking hiccoughing sob. He stepped aside, blew his nose and discharged the feelings into the short words: ‘Deihenker noch emol!’  (dialectal and literally means “Devil once again!”)

The cart was piled up with all sorts of bundles, the clothes pressed into wooden boxes, the beds, which would likely come in handy in between-decks, bound in sacks. A wobbling spinning wheel rocked back and forth over a bale of cloth. And then Michele (a nickname for Michael) shoved a small cage with his chaffinch (a small bird native to the region) into the tangle.

The crowd became denser. Hands were shaken with a lot of weight from callused fists. Many tears shone. And the two boys climbed onto the cart and stowed away their canvas travel bags. Again, they started to hum: “We’ll travel to Havre de Grace, because we’ll only need money and no passport there.” Though it sounded nice, it really wasn’t, and the two frequently wiped their eyes with the back of their hands.

The agent arrived, prancing as always, a smile upon his burgundy face. He drove with us to Weissenburg (a village in northeastern France). There, an Alsatian was supposed to pick up the cargo and escort it to Havre. He soothingly jested with the onlookers and the aggrieved. But there was no real merriness – the horses were harnessed. The coachman had magnificent horses. Badger pelts hung from the horse collars. Brazen rings and disks had been weaved into the horses’ mane. His blue blouse was freshly laundered. A colorful ribbon flew with the whip. He climbed up. Father, Sepp (a nickname for Josef), Schorsch, and Michele after him. Mother and Gretl were already seated.

Dozens of hands reached up… A waving of handkerchiefs … “Goodbye … Goodbye …” Tearful voices … A sharp crack of the whip between all that and a short shout: “Gee up!” and the cart moves onwards, and the friends, relatives, and neighbors follow with slow steps…”

Thus ends the surviving impressions of an emigration to America from Rheinzabern in the 19th century. An image that wasn’t a rare sight in Neupotz either, as we will see below.

When looking at the Neupotzer population statistics of the 19th century, two fundamentally different development trends immediately become apparent: While the population more than doubled from 1800 to 1840, after a temporary stagnation there was a slight but steady population decrease until 1890. At the turn of the century, a gradual increase in population could be recorded again.

This development corresponds to that of some neighboring villages (e.g. Jockgrim and Wörth) but above all it is similar to the population development of Leimersheim, which is already described in detail in Chapter 2. The main cause of the striking stagnation and decline in population turns out to be the extremely high emigration to the United States in all cases. 

According to the written documents, a few individual emigrations started the Neupotz emigration movement at the beginning of the 19th century. Unsatisfied and wary of the French administration back then, 6 or 8 inhabitants of Neupotz (compared to more than 100 people from Leimersheim) followed the lures of the Russian Czar Alexander I, who promoted the settlement of the unsafe strip of land at the Black Sea that had been conquered in the previous decades. In Tauriam” or “in Bessarabiam.” Pastor Labbe noted in his family book with these 2 or 3 families who settled in Rastatt near Odessa.

A further 8 persons (two families) moved in the direction of “Bessarabia”, one of which ended up in Poland and returned to Neupotz along with at least three others. Johann Georg Loesch from Leimersheim and Michael Höfer from Hördt were also among those disappointed returnees, and reported the following in a travel report: 

“In Odessa, we were sent to various places in the colony in order to spend the winter there, and to await the construction of a new village and the allocation of the land designated for us. We came upon our compatriots, some of whom had moved there one year ago, some of whom had move there several years ago, in miserable huts covered with reeds and clothed in rags. It didn’t take long to convince ourselves that we had been cruelly deluded and cheated in all our expectations…”

Thus, a new start in distant lands didn’t turn out to be that easy, and the reports from the returnees got so deeply under the skin of those who had stayed at home that nobody dared to move away for a long time. Due to various changes, the emigration movement got going again in the 1930s: 

In those years, a ban on emigration in Bavaria (the Rhenish Palatinate was a part of Bavaria) gave way to an approval and promotion of emigration. Education on emigration through the increasingly common emigration agencies and associations, some of which had nationalist (early Colonialism), some social (fighting unemployment and overpopulation) ambitions, facilitated the decision to emigrate. Although the political and social dissatisfaction in these years had loosened the emotional bond to the homeland, and the conscription to military service had become a reason for secret emigration for many a young man since 1835, the main causes of emigration were of an economic nature in Neupotz, too. 

The misery that went hand in hand with the strong increase in population until 1840 was great: the housing availability was insufficient, and there was a lack of jobs. In agriculture, the division and fragmentation of property reached ever new heights in the middle of the 19th century, due to the lawful and customary inheritance rights. The yields from the tiny plots that had thus emerged were barely enough for the sustenance of a family. 

Labor as a family and part-time occupations were necessary, but didn’t ease the misery, especially since the flooding of the Rhine and potato diseases during the 1940s, other bad harvests, and sales problems for agricultural products in times of disrupted trade further exacerbated the situation. 

As a result of the increase in population, the surplus in craftsmen of all kinds increased as well. Also, the decline of the small farmers put further pressure on craftsmen who had to “exchange” their goods and services for excess agricultural products.  Some branches of craftsmanship died out, as they could no longer keep up with the foreign industry that had developed. Thus, it is hardly surprising that Neupotz’ emigration lists contain almost exclusively contain annotations like the following:

“The cause of emigration is to create a better existence” (1845), “Because of lack of income” (1854) or “To improve their existence” (1857). In 1836 – as far as is known – the first two Neupotzers moved to America: Maria Barbara Burck (24) and Georg Adam Gehrlein (29). The 25-year-old Johann Daub followed them on May 12, 1839. The “courage of young people” moved ahead. Perhaps also because of the positive descriptions in letters to her parents, the movement took off in 1840 – 55 Neupotzers emigrated – and in some cases assumed the extent of mass emigration.

From then on, year after year, small and large groups turned their back on the homeland in order to seek their fortune in the “New World”.

One of the many advertisements from emigration agencies in the 19th century.
(From Pfälzer Zeitung No. 89 of April 17, 1882)

Emigration statistics from Neupotz (still incomplete):

Emigration to Russia and Poland:

1809: 8 people – 1816: 8 people.

Emigration to Algeria:

1845: 53 – 1853: 36 – 1854: 5.

Emigration to America:

Emigration from Neupotz to America

That the emigrants were – at least initially – impoverished families or youngsters without future prospects can be established through reports like the following:

“Neupotz, 30th of July 1840. – 8 families (the document lists them by name) are intent on secretly emigrating to America and have to this end sold all of their belongings, partly by means of public auctions, partly in person. Since they owe the parish’s treasury substantial amounts of money and one can expect that they haven’t paid any of their other creditors, and the latter one (Tobias Gehrlein ) by all accounts intends to leave his family behind, which will then inevitably become a burden on the parish, we have asked for favorable orders of conduct…”

The answer from the regional commissariat was as follows:

“Returned with the order to prevent the secret emigration of the persons mentioned next to this with all available lawful measures; especially to make sure that the debt to the parish will be covered through seizure of the emigrants’ personal possessions or by claiming them as securities for their debt, in accordance with the parish treasurer.”

The ban on secret emigrations could not be enforced. All emigrations from Neupotz except for the occasional one took place in secret and without permission from the authorities. They even found support from the village constable, as we can conclude from the following warning letter:

 “Germersheim, 10th of August 1853. – People say that many secret emigrations are taking place in the parish of Neupotz and even with the support from the constable who was recently seen helping an emigrant to move their belongings at night, after closing time. He was said to have carried away a flour storage cabinet, which he likely had purchased. The constable is to be stripped of his responsibilities, and a report on his behavior is to be submitted along with the protocol.” 

Later on, the secret emigrations became less common, as many of those willing to emigrate got sent the necessary money to pay for debts and travels by their relatives in America. Now, many were able to leave the parish in broad daylight, after one last church service together. Eduard Feth was able describe similar memories for Neupotz as Pfeiffer did for Rheinzabern:

“I can still vividly remember a scene from my youth, around 1888, when a horse-drawn carriage stood in the church alley, laden with pieces of beds, kitchen utensils and boxes filled with clothes, covered with a rainproof canvas the shape of a barrel. Husband, wife, and children took their seats. ‘They are travelling to America, but first to Havre de Grace’, I was told. We cried and waved good-bye…”

Before 1867, almost all emigrants from Neupotz took the route via Weißenburg to the port of embarkation in Le Havre (Havre de Grace), except for two persons who likely travelled to Rotterdam via Mainz. Hamburg only gained increasing importance as port of embarkation thereafter. 

Sadly, only relatively unreliable (and even then incomplete) records exist for the emigration from Neupotz via America (more than 480 can be verified). The actual meaning of this strong movement can only be determined through further thorough research. 

On the other hand, we have complete information on the three emigration spurts via Marseille and Toulon to Algeria:

By contrast, we have complete information on the three emigration waves to Algeria via Marseille or Toulon, respectively: 

Following the official incorporation of Algeria into France in 1842, France undertook an attempt at colonization, comparable to the Russian one of 1804: Benefits and travel support was promised to the settlers, and only labourers or farmers with a minimum wealth of 500 Francs were admitted. The offer was mainly reacted to by people who deemed the passage to America too expensive. In 1845, 53 persons from Neupotz followed the call (38 from Leimersheim), in 1853 only 36 (29 from Leimersheim), and in 1854 only a family of five (19 from Leimersheim). – Warnings issued by the German government and negative reports from Algeria resulted in Algeria quickly losing attractiveness as a target country of emigration.

However, the individual should not be forgotten while considering so much numerical data and general statements. That is why we will not forego a full list of each emigrated persons and families; before that, we shall report on the fates of some people from Neupotz in America. Franz Peter Wünschel described his exact way of travelling in his family bible, a rarity of a very special kind: 

“…On the 10th of March 1858, my wife Maria Eva Lanzet from Herxheim and I left my place of birth Neupfotz in the Kingdom of Bavaria and embarked onto the ocean in Le Havre on the 24th of March. We arrived in New York on the evening of the 5th of May and disembarked on the 6th of May. On the 14th of May, we arrived in Port Washington, Wisconsin; later on, we travelled away from Wisconsin and arrived in Greencastle, Indiana, on the 17th of December 1858.”

Franz Peter Wünschel died in Salt Lake City, Utah, on the 2nd of August 1883. His descendants are still living there today. The unmarried Johann Jacob Loesch, who emigrated without permission in February 1852, took another route; on his return to Neupotz in 1855, he reported “that he had first stayed in the state of Illinois and had then returned on the urgent plea from his mother living here (in Neupotz) after his step-father had died…, that he had embarked from New York and docked in Rotterdam.” 

The overwhelming majority of emigrants from Neupotz and Leimersheim, however, ended up in Erie, Pennsylvania. The old church books of this town at the shore of Lake Erie, but also todays’ telephone books, street names, and so on, bear witness to the exceedingly large proportion of people from Anterior Palatinate settling the area. From New York, people travelled up the Hudson River and through the Erie Channel, to the shores of Lake Erie, which can be compared to our region in terms of climate. Many obituaries and other reports in the then much-read newspaper “Der Pfälzer in Amerika” ( The “person from Palatinate” in America), along with specialized literature and the archives of Erie proper, give us an impression of the importance that the town had as a settling area for the emigrants from Neupotz:

“On the 4th of February 1899: John A. Antony from Neupotz died in Erie, Pa., at the advanced age of 81. He had settled here along with his family in 1860 and everyone who came in touch with him over the years loved him. His wife had preceded him in death nearly 5 years ago, and since then, the old gentleman had his abode with his son Jacob, who dutifully cared for him until his departure. Five children mourn him. In the same town, the locally generally well-known pioneer John A. Veit, more than 80 years old, died last week. He was born in Neupotz and had come to this land more than 50 years ago.”

“14th of March 1903. – Mr. Bernhardt Heidt, nearly 54 years old, born in Neupotz and emigrated here a couple of years ago, passed after a serious illness. The deceased leaves behind his wife and a half-brother here, as well as a couple of siblings in the old homeland, including the well-known mayor of Neupotz, Mr. Josef Heidt.”

Many such obituaries of people from Neupotz settling in Erie followed, until we could read the following notice in one of the last issues of the newspaper:

“On the 21st of June (1917), Mr. Stephan Antoni, 79 years old, one of the most well-known citizens of the town, died in the abode of his nephew, Mr. Emil Decker, No 3121 West 26. St. in Erie, Pa. The deceased had come to Erie from Neupotz in 1854 and had been living here without interruption ever since…”

Apart from the numerous obituaries, the following short report from the same newspaper bears witness of the numerous people from Neupotz living in Erie: 

“(August 11, 1906) – In honor of their dear guest, Ms. Philippine Wünschel, née Gehrlein, from the southern part of Pittsburg, who stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Philipp Chor on western 21st Street in Erie, Pa., for a couple of days, the aforementioned married couple hosted a picnic at Glen Wood Park (near the town of Erie) on the 1st of August; only people who saw the day of light in the God-blessed corner of the Earth – named the beautiful Rhine Palatinate – or descendants of people from the Palatinate born here showed up. Present were: (26 women from Neupotz and 9 others are listed) … the nice celebration, dubbed Neupotzian picnic, had been organized wonderfully. … When darkness rose, people went home, all of them knowing that they had experienced one of the merriest days in the history of the Palatine-American picnics. …” 

As the Neupotzers who settled in Erie rode the wave of the industrial boom of the rapidly growing city, they were also gradually able to bring their relatives who were left behind to join them. The aforementioned Tobias Gehrlein, who emigrated in 1840, should be mentioned here as an example. In 1845 he sent his wife and three children the necessary travel money so that they could follow him via Le Havre. And in 1851 Regina Gehrlein justified her plea for an emigration permit for her son Ferdinand (18) with the words:

“As I think that this will be his fortune, especially since his two brothers who are already living in America are calling and want to care for him …”

Not only as a document speaking for itself, but also as an aid to the many German Americans who are in pursuit of their distant relatives in the old homeland today, the emigrants from Neupotz identified thus far shall be listed below.

I. Emigration to Russia and Poland


  1. Valentin Daub (or Jakob), born approx. 1793, son of Franz; moved to Worms through marriage – his wife Bernhard Elisabeth. The couple moved to Katharinenthal in 1809 and later lived in Rastadt near Odessa.
  2. Johann Georg Gehrlein, born 1784, and his wife Eva Catharina Gehrlein, born 1784, emigrated to “Bessarabia” with their children Johannes, born 1811, and Johann Georg, born 1816, around 1816. While the two children died there, the couple returned to Neupotz with Christina, who was born in Bessarabia in 1825.
  3. Salomon Hammer, born 1788, son of Johann Adam, emigrated “in Tau-riam”.
  4. Conrad Keller, horse shepherd – his wife Fichter Catharina, their daughter Maria Catharina, born 1784, and their illegitimate child Maria Eva, born 1809, moved in May 1809 “in Tauriam” and settled in Rastadt near Odessa.
  5. Johann Petrus Keller, born 1786, son of Conrad (see 4) and his wife Maria Eva Liebel also moved to Rastadt near Odessa in May 1809.
  6. Franz Michael Weber probably left Neupotz in 1816 with his wife Gehrlein Magdalena and their children Regina, born 1805, and Eva Catharina, born 1810, with the aim of “Bessarabia”. However, he went to Poland and returned from there to Neupotz in 1818. Eva Catharina moved to the USA in 1840.

II. Algeria emigration in 1845, 1853 and 1854:


  1. Maria Eva Burck, day laborer.
  2. Barbara Gehrlein, day laborer.
  3. Johann Adam Gehrlein VI and his family of 8, day laborer.
  4. Barbara Heid, day laborer.
  5. Simon Heintz, day laborer.
  6. Lorenz Hoffmann, day laborer.
  7. Johann Martin Keller and his family of 4, Shoemaker.
  8. Johann Adam Pfister and his family of 8, day laborer.
  9. Johann Adam Schaaf and his family of 5, day laborer.
  10. Johann Georg Schaaf, day laborer.
  11. Franz Xaver Wünschel and his family of 7, day laborer.
  12. Georg Peter Wünschel and his family of nine, farmer.
  13. Johann Georg Wünschel IV and his family of 3, day laborer.
  14. Johann Jakob Wünschel and his family of 3, day laborer.


Of the 23 emigrants in total, the following is known:

  1. Jacob Anton Gehrlein, born 1819, day laborer, son of Peter III “To be accepted as colonists in Algiers” that year applied:
  2. Andreas Antoni (with family?).
  3. Johann Georg Heid VI (with family?)
  4. Johann Martin Keller, born 1814 (shoemaker) his wife Gehrlein Maria Barbara, born 1816, and their children Rosalia (born 1840), Lorenz (1850) and Karl Jakob (born 1853).
  5. Michael Kuhn (with family?).
  6. Johann Georg Wünschel III (with family?).

Of these applicants, the following certainly emigrated:

  1. Johann Kaspar Burck, born 1816, farmer – his wife Gehrlein Magdalena, born 1815, their children Simon (born 1846), Jakob (born 1850) and Theresia (born 1852).
  2. Maria Eva Gehrlein.
  3. Johannes Heid II, born 1805, farmer – his wife Wünschel Katharina, born 1824, the children from the first marriage: Elisabeth (born 1834), Karolina (born 1839) and Eduard (born 1842); the children of the 2nd marriage: Karl (born 1848), Ottilia (born 1849) and Michael (born 1852).


  1. Georg Michael Wünschel, born 1809, farmer – his wife Keller Maria Ottilia, born 1813, their children Agnes (born 1841), Simon (born 1848) and Jakob (born 1850). While all of Neupotz’s Algerian emigrants embarked in Toulon in 1845, at least this family was translating from Marseille to Algiers.

III. Emigration to America from 1836:


  1. Maria Barbara Burck, born 1812, daughter of John.
  2. Georg Adam Gehrlein, born 1807, son of Johann Georg.


  1. Johannes Daub, born 1814, son of Johann Georg; left Neupotz on May 12, 1839.


April 1, 1840:
  1. Georg Jakob Kuhn, born 1818, son of Franz Philipp, lived in Erie.
  2. Georg Adam Stein, born 1814, son of Georg Karl.
  3. Regina Veith, born 1820, daughter of Georg Adam.
  4. Eva Catharina Weber, born 1840, daughter of Franz Michael.
April 22, 1840:
  1. Eva Elisabeth Röther
August 1, 1840:
  1. Nikolaus Gehrlein, born 1811, son of Johann Valentin.
August 12, 1840:
  1. Johann Philippp Antoni, born 1817, son of John.
  2. Apollonia Burck, born 1818, daughter of Johannes, and her sister Anna Catharina, born 1814.
  3. Catharina Elisabeth Malthaner, born 1818, daughter of Georg Adam.
  4. Cacilia Schaaf, born 1819, daughter of Solomon.
August 13, 1840:
  1. Tobias Antoni, born 1801, farmer, his wife Wünschel Barbara (born 1808) and the children Eva Katharina (born 1830), Karolina (born 1831), Maria Eva (born 1833) and Elisabeth (born 1838).
  2. Johann Adam Daub II, farmer, born 1799, son ofJohann Caspar – his wife Antoni Barbara, born 1804, their children Philipp Jacob (born 1828), Johann Adam (born 1829), Apollonia (born 1831), Franz (born 1833), Theresia (born 1834) and Richard (born 1838). The family lived in Erie.
  3. Cacilia Hesselschwerdt, born 1820, daughter of Johann Wendel; she lived in Erie.
  4. Eva Catharina Hoffmann, born 1814, daughter of Johann Petrus.
  5. Georg Franz Hoffmann, born 1813, son of Johann Georg.
  6. Franz Philipp Kuhn, farmer, born 1786, son of Georg Michael -Wife Heid Eva Catharina, born 1785, her children Maria Elisabeth (born 1812), the wife of Schaaf Franz Anton (see below), Johannes (born 1814) and his wife, Jacob Georg already preceded (see above), Wendel Georg (birb 1823) and Maria Anna (born 1826).
  7. Franz Anton Schaaf, shoemaker, his wife Maria Elisabeth (p. 16) and 2 children.
  8. Johann Adam Schaaf, born 1810, son ofAndreas.
  9. Georg Adam Veit, farmer, born 1794, son ofJohann Petrus – his wife Antoni Eva Margaretha, born 1798 and the children (Regina already went ahead on April 1st, see above), Elisabeth (born 1823), Andreas (born 1825), Caspar (born 1830), Johann Georg (born 1833), Ottilia (born 1835) and Carolina (born 1838).
  10. Peter Veit, farmer, born 1792, brother to 19. – his wife Gehrlein Catharina, born 1790, +12. 9. 1859 in Erie, her children Johannes (born 1818, t 1899 in Erie), Margaretha (born 1822), Maria Anna (born 1825), Regina (born 1831) and Barbara (born 1834). The family lived in Erie.
August 14, 1840:
  1. Georg Michael Gehrlein, born 1811, son ofJohann Wendel.
August 25, 1840:
  1. Tobias Gehrlein, day laborer, born 1799. His family followed him in 1845.


March 9, 1841:
  1. Franz Philipp Heid, born 1815, son ofGeorg Wendel. Lived in Erie.
  2. Johann Adam Heid, born 1818, son ofGeorg Adam.
  3. Johann Georg Heid, born 1815, son ofAdam.
  4. Simon Kirnberger, born 1818, son ofGeorg Jakob Kirnberger.
March 29, 1841:
  1. Maria Ottilia Burck, born 1816, daughter of John.
  2. Johann Peter Daub, born 1787, son ofJoh. Caspar.
  3. Franz Anton Gehrlein.
  4. Johann Georg Heid, born 1814, son ofJohann Wilhelm.
  5. Jakob Anton Knoll, born 1788, son ofJohannes – his 2nd wife Schaaf Catharina and the child 1st marriage Georg Michael (born 1817).
  6. Catharina Desire.
  7. Johann Michael Wünschel with his wife.
August 31, 1841:
  1. Franz Peter Stein, born 1820, son ofGeorg Karl, and his sister Maria Ottilia, born 1816.


April 20, 1844:
  1. Caspar Hammer, born 1821, son ofJohann Georg.
  2. Regina Loesch, born 1818, daughter of Johann Wilhelm.


August 27, 1845:
  1. Tobias Gehrlein, wife and their three children. “To follow her husband, who emigrated a few years ago and from whom she received travel money, via Havre de Grace.”


  1. Tobias Heid, born 1824, son ofGeorg Adam. Left Neupotz on October 12, 1846/47:
  2. Johannes Gehrlein.
  3. Valentin Heid, son of Franz.
  4. Simon Heintz.
  5. Margaretha Hoffmann.
  6. Peter Hoffmann.
  7. Franz Peter Cellar, his wife Antoni Catharina Elisabetha and their children Eduard and Regina.
  8. Apollonia Stein (nee Gehrlein), widow of Karl Stein.
  9. Johann Georg Stein, his wife Malthaner Maria Elisabeth and their children Catharina, Maria Eva and Ludwig Alois.
  10. Johann Adam Veit, a “pioneer” in Erie.
  11. Johann Peter Wünschel.


  1. Elisabeth and Margaretha Antoni.
  2. Georg Adam Becker.
  3. Catharina Elisabeth Burck.
  4. Franz Anton and Georg Adam Hauber.
  5. Elisabeth and Wendel Heid.
  6. Valentin Heintz.
  7. Peter Hoffmann.
  8. Peter Gehrlein.
  9. Jacob Röther.
  10. Simon Wünschel and his wife Elisabeth Heid, who lived in Erie.
  11. Josef V. Wünschel and his wife Elisabeth Schaaf, as well as their children Wünschel Catharina and Benedict.


  1. Lorenz Gehrlein (emigrated with permission).


April 14, 1851
  1. Tobias Ohmer, farmer, born 1832, son of Andreas.
April 15, 1851
  1. Lorenz Hammer, his wife Hoffmann Catharina and their children Jacob and Simon.
June 1851:
  1. Johannes Schloss, farmer, born 1831, son of Johann Jacob, and
  2. Ferdinand Gehrlein, Schneider, born 1833, son ofAdam V, probably moved to the seaport of Rotterdam via Mainz.
August 22, 1851:
  1. Franz Heid, farmer, his wife Malthaner Maria Eva and his son Jacob (farmer) settled in Erie.
  2. Barbara Burck.
  3. Maria Anna Daub.
  4. Margaretha Heid, maid.
  5. Anna Elis Hoffmann, Maid.
  6. Maria Anna Loesch.
  7. Jacob Schloss, blacksmith.
  8. Franz Veit, Tobias and Adam, all field workers, as well as Elisabeth Veit.
August 30, 1851:
  1. Georg Adams Heid widow as well as Franz, Andreas and Peter Heid, all farmers; they lived in Erie.
October 19, 1851:
  1. Maria Eva Hoffmann, maid, also settled in Erie. October 22, 1851:
  2. Michael Heintz, tailor, moved to live with relatives in America.
  3. Johann Georg Heintz, shoemaker.
November 17, 1851:
  1. Johann Georg Hammer III, farm worker.


January 29, 1852:
  1. Peter Antoni

February 1852:

  1. Johann Jacob Loesch, who lived in Illinois and returned to Neupotz in 1855.

In the same year:

  1. Georg Michael Heid, born 1832, son of Wilhelm.
  2. Johann Peter Pfister and his wife Eva Margaretha and the children Eva Katharina (born 1833), Maria Eva (born 1839), Simon (born 1841), Sophie (born 1844), Rudolph (born 1846) and the first daughter of Elisabetha Wünschel (born 1831).


  1. Andreas Antoni, born 1833 (to Africa?).
  2. Georg Antoni Jakob, born 1836.
  3. Peter Antoni, born 1834.
  4. Franz Peter Burger, born 1834.
  5. Michael Hammer (born 1835) and his sister Maria Eva (born 1833), children of Georg Peter.
  6. Michaels Röther widow with 3 children.


  1. Johannes Hoffmann I, his wife Eva Catharina Burck (farmers) and their children Maria Anna, Regina, Georg Wendel and Apollonia. The widow of Georg Adam Hoffmann (day laborer), Maria Eva (nee Malthaner) moved with them. Georg Wendel Heid (day laborer) and Paulina Gehrlein (maid).
  2. Johannes Burck, day laborer, his wife Irma Eva Heid and their daughter Theresia Burck. Moved with them was Adam Georg Gehrlein, a craftsman.


March 24, 1856:
  1. Johann Adam Antoni III, farmer, and his wife Franziska Settelmayer.
  2. Johann Adam Heid, day laborer.
September 24, 1856:
  1. Georg Wendel Heid, a craftsman.


  1. Peter Anton Antoni, craftsman.
  2. Jacobs Antoni widow with another person (child?).
  3. Barbara Behr, maid.
  4. Apollonia Burck, maid.
  5. Franz Burck, maid.
  6. Theresia Burck, maid.
  7. Johann Adam Gehrlein, son of Jacob III, craftsman.
  8. Joseph Gehrlein, craftsman, son of Johann Georg IV.
  9. Josephina Gehrlein, farmer’s wife.
  10. Georg Hauber, craftsman, with his family of 7.
  11. Karolina Kuhn and Maria Eva Kuhn, both maids.
  12. Michael Kuhn, farmer, with his family of 5.
  13. Josephina Meerckel.
  14. Simon Schloss, day laborer.


March 10, 1858:
  1. Franz Peter Wünschel, craftsman, with his wife Maria Eva Lanzet from Herxheim (see excerpt from the family Bible).
    In the same year:
  2. Paulina Burger.
  3. Georg Adam Deissler, craftsman.
  4. Georg Adam Gehrlein III, day laborer, and his family.
  5. Georg Merckel, craftsman, and his family of 7.
  6. Lorenz Trapp, farmer.


  1. Franziska Gehrlein, maid. “To improve their existence. Received her travel money from her American relatives. “


  1. Johann Adam Antoni, craftsman, and his family of 7 settled in Erie.
  2. Wendei Burck’s widow, a day laborer, received her travel money from her children.

October 22, 1860:

  1. Barbara Antoni, maid.
  2. Maria Anna Burck, maid.


August 25, 1865:
  1. Anna Eva Antoni, maid.
  2. Stephan Hammer, farmer.
  3. Valentin Heintz (and Karl Ludwig?), craftsmen.
  4. Maria Eva Ohmer, maid.
  5. Stephan Schloss, craftsman.
    October 6, 1985:
  6. Tobias Burck, day laborer, with another person (wife?).


April 5, 1866:
  1. Daniel Schloss, craftsman.
April 24, 1866:
  1. Heinrich Hammer, craftsman.
July 2, 1866:
  1. Friedrich Propheter, craftsman, with another person (woman?).
September 3, 1866:
  1. Franz Peter Gerhrlein, day laborer, with his family of three.
  2. Elisabeth Liebel, day trainer.


March 28, 1867:
  1. Leopold Behr, craftsman.
  2. Peter Kreger, day laborer.
  3. Ferdinand Veit, day laborer.
  4. Paulina Wünschel, farmer.

In the same year emigrated via Hamburg:

  1. Margaretha Daub, maid.
  2. Theresia Hammer, maid.
  3. Reinhard Heid, craftsman.
  4. Johann Georg Madlehner, craftsman, and Maria Eva, maid.
  5. Anton Schaaf, day laborer.
  6. Henrietta Schwab.
  7. Philippina Wünschel, maid.

August 29, 1867

(via Le Havre):

  1. Georg Adam Deissler, craftsman, with family of 3.
  2. Apollonia Gehrlein, maid.
  3. Elisabeth Walter (?).


  1. Peter Antoni III, farmer.
  2. Karl Jacob Hammer, born 1848, son ofJohann Anton.
  3. Magdalena Heintz, maid.
  4. Max Heintz, born 1843
  5. Michael Kreger.
  6. Johann Georg Merz, craftsman, his wife Gehrlein Philippina and a child.
  7. Schwab Johann Jacob, shoemaker, with his wife and two sons.


  1. Jakob Daub (born 1847) and Karl Gehrlein (born 1853).
  2. Philippina Liebel (21 years).
  3. Franz Xaver Wünschel, linen weaver.


  1. Leonhard Behr, farmer, born 1850.
  2. Simon Gehrlein IV, farmer (32 years).
  3. Jacob Hammer, shoemaker.
  4. Heinrich Heid, born 1844. 1871: May 12.


  1. Jacob Anton Hammer, farm worker, with wife and daughter.
  2. Bernhard Heid, single surgeon.
  3. Regina Wünschel.
May 16, 1871:
  1. Catharina Schiindwein, maid.
June 9, 1871:
  1. Eva Catharina Behr, maid, and Theresia Behr, maid.
  2. Ferdinand Behr’s widow Regina (nee Antoni) with her three underage children Josephina, Maria Eva and Adam.
  3. Philippina Gehrlein, maid.
  4. Theresia Heid, farmer’s wife.
  5. Susanna Liebel, maid.
  6. Helena Ohmer, maid.
August 8, 1871:
  1. Helena Gehrlein, maid, and Gehrlein Ottilia, farmer’s wife.
    August 26, 1871:
  2. Ludwig Antoni, day laborer.
  3. Johann Georg Heid, day laborer.
  4. , Theresia Liebel, maid.
October 4, 1871:
  1. Franz Wünschel, craftsman.


  1. Johann Georg Heid VI (53 years old), Ackerer, his wife Flick Franziska (49) and their children Leonhard (24), Maria Anna (22) and Daniel (17).
  2. Karolina Heid (22), daughter of Franz Peter.
  3. Michael Heintz (24).
  4. Eugen Kreger (16), journeyman bricklayer.
  5. Johann Georg Liebel’ widow Regina (nee Friedebach) (54) and their children Johann Georg (21), Thersia (23), Andreas (19) and Adam (11).
  6. Carolina Madiener.


  1. Andreas Heid’s widow Elisabeth (nee Friedebach) (64) and their children Daniel (22) and Friedrich (18). Elisabeth died in Erie in 1899.
  2. Salomon Schaaf (24), farm worker. (see copy).


  1. Nikolaus Antoni (59), carriage carpenter, his wife Katharina Gehrlein (57) and their children Eduard (28), Jakob (16) and Georg (13).


  1. Eugen Burck.


  1. Jakob Schwab, born 1872, basket maker, emigrated to Newark.


  1. Theresia Heid with her children Jacob (died on November 27, 1909 in Erie), Philippine, Maria Eva and Karl. The family lived in Erie, where Jacob ran a library.

John Francis Ohmer, Jr.

John Francis Ohmer, Jr.

OHMER, John Francis, Jr., engineer, was born in Dayton, Ohio, July 3, 1891, son of John Francis and Anna Katherine (Beckman) Ohmer and grandson of Michael and Rose Marie (Welty”) Ohmer. His grandfather, a native of Alsace, France, came to this country in 1831 and settled in Dayton the following year. His father (q.v.) was a manufacturer and inventor. John F. Ohmer received his education at St. Marys Institute, Dayton, the University of Dayton, and Cornell University, where he was graduated M.E. in 1913. Joining the Ohmer Fare Register Co., Dayton, which had been founded by his father in 1902, Ohmer was an apprentice until 1914, a member of the salt’s department for two years, an engineer during 1919-21, and a member of the production export department from then until 1927.

During this period he spent a year in South America, an­other in New Zealand and Australia, and shorter periods in a number of other foreign countries. In 1927 he was named Pacific district manager and continued in that capacity until 1940, having served also from 1938 as the company’s first vice-president. In 1945 he was the organizer and from then until his death the sole owner of Ohmer Me­chanical Engineers, Beverly Hills, Calif., dealers in cash registers, taximeters, parking meters, and vibracorders. Of these items mentioned, Ohmer imported, introduced, and sold the SWEDA Cash Register, manufactured by L. M. Ericcson Co. in Sweden, to the American market.

He also imported from Germany the Kienzle Vibracorder, an instrument used to record time and speed on any moving machine or vehicle. The other imported item which he not only sold, but which he assembled from imported parts in a special department within Ohmer Mechanical Engineers, was the HALDA Taximeter, manufactured by Haldex, A. B. of Halmstad, Sweden. In making this taximeter practical for the American mar­ket, it was necessary for him to re-design the de­vice, and it was on this task that much of his engineering ability was displayed. His first sales promotional efforts upon returning from military service in 1945 was with the MI-CO Parking Meter, manufactured by The Michaels Art Bronze Co., Covington, Ky. He also held many patents in his own name.

Ohmer first entered military service in 1909 when he enlisted in the Ohio National Guard as a bugler, attended summer training camps, and was on active duty during the Dayton flood of March, 1913. In 1916 he took training at Plattsburg, N.Y., and then served as  a lieutenant and battalion adjutant on the Mexican border with the 148th Infantry, Ohio National Guard. He was later in command of the Mounted Scouts Border Patrol. Shortly after the entry of the United States into the First World War he was appointed a 1st lieutenant in the Engineer Officers Reserve Corps, U.S. Army. He held a number of assignments with the 404th Engineers and was discharged from active duty in 1918 while serving in the rank of captain in the office of the Chief of Engineers. Between the First and Second world wars he became interest­ed in the problems of camouflage and, as a reservist, in 1938 formed the 604th Engineers Battalion a camouflage unit of the 4th Army. In this connection he organized an enlisted reserve auxiliary of cameramen in the motion picture industry and created camouflage study groups.

Officers trained under his direction gave outstanding service with camouflage units during the Second World War. Another of his outstanding contributions was the development of techniques for the camouflage of large scale industrial plants, the first subject of which was the Douglas Aircraft plant. Later in 1939 and in 1940 he was in charge of camouflage training, instruction, and experiment at various posts on the West coast and during Army maneuvers. At about this time he first devised the procedure of camouflage posters for use during maneuvers, these later becoming a standard tech­nique for determining camouflage instruction. In March, 1941, Ohmer, then in the rank of major, was ordered to active duty in the office of the Chief of Engineers, Operations and Training Sec­tion, Washington, D.C. He was sent to the Ha­waiian Department in connection with camou­flage planning for the islands.

In addition to military camouflage training he organized a civilian group for the purpose of studying industrial camouflage. He was later sent to Kodiak Island, off the coast of Alaska, and while en route to this assignment he camouflaged the Alcan Highway which was then under construction. While on Kodiak, he recommended the building of air hangars into the sides of the hills. Upon his return to 4th Army Headquarters, the Pre­sidio, San Francisco, in 1942, he was put in charge of camouflage for the entire West coast from the Aleutians to California. In April, 1943, he received a promotion to colonel, and through the development section of his organization, was active in devising new camouflage techniques, particularly operational camouflage for use in attack. He introduced the subject of operational deception and gave the opening lectures at the Army and Navy Staff College (later National War College), at the senior officer s course at the U.S. Air Force base, Orlando, Fla., and at the Com­mand and General Staff School, Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.

In September, 1944, he accomplished a secret mission in China and Burma. This was his fourth overseas mission. On Feb. 3, 1945. Ohmer was assigned as commandant of the Engineer Camouflage School, Aviation No. 1, at March Field, Calif. Although a non-flying officer, he had over 1200 flying hours. He was released from active duty in 1945. During the last year of his life he served on the Beverly Hills Traffic Com­mission. He belonged to the Society of American Military Engineers, Sigma Chi, Rotary International, and the Jonathan and Bel Air Bay clubs. His religious affiliation was with the Roman Catholic church, and politically he was a Republican. He had many interesting hobbies, among which were photography, tricks of magic, and self-designed musical instruments. In 1945 he was awarded the U.S. Legion of Merit. Ohmer was married in Los Angeles, Feb. 16, 1927, to Virginia Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Cornish Dymond of St. Louis. Mo., and Los Angeles, and had three children: John Francis, Letitia Ann, and Thomas Dymond. His death occurred in Beverly Hills, “May 18, 1950.

From Who’s Who in Engineering
New York, N.Y. :: Who’s Who Publications, 1925

OHMER, John Francis, Jr, Ohmer Fare Register Co.; res. 354 West First St., Dayton, Ohio. Mech. Engr; b. Dayton, Ohio, July 3, 1891; s. John Francis and Anna K. (Beckman) Ohmer; grad. high school and coll., St. Mary Coll., Dayton; M.E., Cornell Univ., 1913; Sigma Chi. Apprenticeship through all depts of Ohmer Fare Register Co., including installation and sta. work, now Vice-Pres. and mgr. taximeter dept. Patented a zone registering and calculating machine, and several additions or impvts. in fare registers and taximeters. June, 1910, Lt. 3rd Ohio Inf in Mexican Border, service at El Paso, Texas, until German War, 1917, transferred to engrs, assigned to 9th U.S. Engrs (mounted), promoted to Capt. Engrs. discharged Dec, 1918. Mem. A.S.M.E.. Soc. Am. Mil. Engrs, Am. Legion; Major Engrs’ Officers Reserve Corps. Recreations; Horseback riding, tennis, camping, hunting. Clubs: Engineers. Dayton Country (Dayton), Cornell (New York).

Civic Arms of Bavaria


 The present arms were officially installed on June 5, 1950.
The small arms of Bayern

The arms are a combination of : the lion of the Pfalz, representing the area of the Oberpfalz ; the arms of Franken (Franconia); the panther of the Counts of Ortenburg in Niederbayern; the three lions of the Dukes of Schwaben and the escutcheon with the arms of the Wittelsbach family (the longtime ruling family in Bayern)

The arms of Wittelsbach were taken from the arms of the counts of Bogen, who became extinct in 1242. The Wittelsbach family was related to the counts of Bogen and inherited their possessions along the Danube between Regensburg and Deggendorf. The first members of the family to use the arms were Ludwig and Heinrich, sons of Duke Otto, who used the arms in their seals around 1240. (see fig.) The arms have ever since been the arms of the family and thus appear in numerous arms in Bavaria, but also in surrounding States and even abroad (f.e. in Nieuw-Beijerland in Holland, a possession of Jacoba of Bavaria). The number of fields was already in the 15th century fixed as 21, but in 1806 the number was increased to 42 to symbolise the larger Kingdom of Bavaria at that time. The colors are also already known and unchanged since 1330.

History of Bavaria / Bayern

Map of Bavaria

Bavaria (German Bayern), a state in southeastern Germany, is bounded on the north by the states of Thuringia and Saxony, on the northeast by the Czech Republic, on the southeast and south by Austria, and on the west by the states of Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. Munich is the capital and largest city. Other important cities are Nuremberg, Augsburg, and Regensburg. Bavaria is the largest state of Germany. It is drained by the Main River in the northwest and by the Danube River and two of its tributaries, the Inn and Isar rivers, in the southern and central regions. North of the Danube the land is a rolling upland. Along the border with the Czech Republic is the Bavarian Forest, which reaches an elevation of 1457 m (4780 ft). South of the Danube the land is a rising upland cut by numerous river valleys. In the extreme southern part of the state are the Bavarian Alps, the highest mountains in Germany. Area, 70,546 sq km (27,238 sq mi); population (1990 estimate) 11,448,800.

Bavaria was conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BC and resettled by Germanic tribes in the 5th and 6th centuries. It became a possession of Charlemagne in 787 and was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty until the 10th century. In 1180 it passed to the Bavarian family of Wittelsbach. During the Reformation Bavaria remained staunchly Roman Catholic and was consequently ravaged by Protestant forces during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). The fertile soil and strategic position of the region made it a highly prized possession, and it was frequently invaded by foreign armies in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Coat of Arms of Bavaria

The War of the Bavarian Succession, (1778-79), conflict was caused by the opposing claims that arose to various parts of the kingdom of Bavaria on the death of Maximilian Joseph, elector of Bavaria (1727-77). With his death the electoral house became extinct, and the legal heir to Bavaria became Charles Theodore, head of the elder branch of the house of Wittelsbach. Austria, then ruled jointly by Maria Theresa and her son, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, had an old claim to Lower Bavaria and part of the Upper Palatinate, together constituting about one-third of the electorate. Charles Theodore wished his illegitimate issue accepted as princes of the Holy Roman Empire; to induce Joseph II to do so, he recognized the Austrian territorial claims. In 1778 Austrian troops occupied the territories.

Flag of Bavaria

Frederick the Great of Prussia, however, would not accept any move that would strengthen Austria’s power and influence in southern Germany; particularly, he feared that a strong Austria would interfere with his intention of uniting with Prussia the margravates of Ansbach and Bayreuth. Accordingly, he induced the next in line for the Bavarian succession, Duke Charles of Zweibrücken, to protest the elimination from his future kingdom of one-third of its territory; and, likewise at Frederick’s request, the elector of Saxony Frederick Augustus III (later king of Saxony as Frederick Augustus I), who had another claim to part of Bavaria, also protested the partition arranged by Charles Theodore.

Austria refused to withdraw from Bavaria despite these protests, and in July 1778, Frederick the Great and Henry, prince of Saxony, invaded the Habsburg kingdom of Bohemia; the Austrian forces under Joseph II held strong positions along the boundary between Silesia and Austrian lands. The war was of short duration; as neither side wished to risk a battle, it consisted largely of brief skirmishes. It was settled by personal correspondence between Frederick and Maria Theresa and mediation by Russia and France.
Because of the hostile attitude of Russia toward Austria during the negotiations, the latter country made most of the concessions in the Treaty of Teschen (1779) that ended the war. The treaty provided that Austria return to Bavaria all the territory it had acquired in the previous year except a small district on the east side of the Inn River; that Austria agree to the future union of Prussia with Ansbach and Bayreuth; and that the elector of Saxony was to receive a money indemnity in lieu of his claims to Bavarian territory.

Because the opposing forces had concentrated on trying to cut off each other’s supplies, the conflict was humorously called the Kartoffelkrieg (“Potato War”).

During the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), Bavaria was made a kingdom by Napoleon. In the 19th century, Bavaria tended to support Austria against Prussia. After being defeated with Austria in the Seven Weeks’ War (1866), however, Bavaria sided with Prussia and in 1871 joined the new German Empire. After World War I (1914-1918) a Communist-led group belonging to the Independent Socialist party seized power, but troops of the central government assisted by Bavarian volunteers crushed the rebellion. In the 1920s Bavaria was able to retain a large degree of autonomy, which it lost in the 1930s with the rise of Adolf Hitler. Munich became the headquarters of the National Socialist (Nazi) party during the Hitler regime.

After World War II (1939-1945) Bavaria was included in the United States Zone of Occupation. A new constitution was drawn up in 1946, and in 1949 Bavaria became a constituent state of West Germany. In 1990, West and East Germany united and became the Federal Republic of Germany.

“Bavaria,” Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 97 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1996 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Civic Arms of Rheinland-Pfalz


Civic Arms of Rheinland-Pfalz

The arms were granted on May 10, 1948.

The arms are a combination of the lion of the Pfalz, the wheel of Mainz and the cross of Trier. The major part of the present State belonged to either the Pfalz or the bishops of Trier or Mainz.

The lion of the Pfalz is the lion of the Staufen family, who used the lion in their arms for the Pfalz. The family ruled the County (later Principality) of the Pfalz from the 11th century until 1214. In 1214 Ludwig I of Bayern (Bavaria) came into possession of the Pfalz. He adapted the lion as the symbol for the Pfalz and the lion still forms part of the arms of Bayern. The lion is crowned, to symbolise the special rights of the Princes of the Pfalz as chairman of the council that decided on the appointment of the new emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The lion can also be seen in many civic arms from towns in the Pfalz.

Trier was a major city in the area. In the 3rd century a Bishop of Trier was appointed, who in the 8th century became an Archbishop. The diocese had many possessions between the Saar area and the Rhine, mainly along the Mosel river and in the Eifel mountains. The State of Trier existed until 1803 when all wordly possessions of the church were abolished. The patron saint of Trier is St. Peter (see also the arms ofthe city of Trier), and the old seals of the State show the keys as his symbol. The cross first appears on seals of Archbishop Heinrich von Finstingen in 1273. Later archbishops all used the cross, sometimes combined with the keys. The colors were first mentioned in the Codex Balduini Trevirensis, dating from around 1340. The cross of Trier can also be seen in many civic arms from the area.

The history for the wheel of Mainz is similar to the cross of Trier. Mainz became a bishopric in 550 and an archbishopric around 800. The archbishops of Mainz also played a major role in the appointment of the new emperor. The bishops owned large possessions in the present states of Rheinland-Pfalz, Hessen and Bayern. The State of Mainz also existed until 1803. The arms with the two wheels combined with a cross, appear at the end of the 13th century in the seal of Bishop Sigfried III. The Zürich Roll of Arms from 1335 shows for the bishops of Mainz a banner with a white cross, with in each upper corner a white wheel.

The banner of Mainz from the Zürich Roll of Arms.

From 1340 onwards the arms show a single wheel on a red shield. In the 13th century a Bishop’s hat was added, but it was later removed. The origin of the wheel is not qute known, it has been explained as the wheel of the carriage of God in the prophecy of Ezechiel, or as a germanic solar wheel.

Literature : Stadler, K. : Deutsche Wappen – Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Angelsachsen Verlag, 1964-1971, 8 volumes.

© Ralf Hartemink, 1997, 1998

Earl Nicholas Ohmer

1882 – 1955

By Judy and Susan Ohmer, granddaughters

Earl Nicholas Ohmer made his way west from Dayton, Ohio, then north from Seattle, arriving in Petersburg in 1914.  His Alaska-bound map was the words of a new friend Mr. DeArmond, “keep the land on your right.”  With these directions Earl made his way slowly into the Territory of Alaska, following the entire coastline without a chart.  Arriving in the developingNorwegian fishing village of Petersburg in 1914, he pioneered the shrimping industry in Southeastern Alaska.

Earl began to experiment with the catching and processing of shrimp aboard the Osprey, and by 1916 he and his brother-in-law were in business, Earl in Alaska and Karl in Seattle.  They added boats to their fleet over the years – boats of character and colorful historyOne of their first was the Kiseno that took its name from a combination of their initials: Karl I. Sifferman and Earl N. Ohmer.  There was the Charles W., a schooner they noticed when a crowd had gathered on a Seattle dock for a Marshall’s sale; they realized bidders were deliberately keeping the price of the boat low and that that was a sad and wrong thing for the widow who had little else.  Earl and Karl went to opposite sides of the crowd and began bidding the price higher – until they realized that they were bidding against themselves and finally bought the boat, dubbed it the Charles W. after Karl’s grandfather.  Soon after they purchased another boat, and named it the Charles T. after Earl’s grandfather.They painted the boats gray, with red trim, a tradition that stood throughout the history of the shrimping business in Petersburg.

Earl had the ready appearance of a pioneer scouting new territory; and he ran his business in the same manner.  He expanded from shrimping into salmon, halibut, and butter clams, fur farming and gold mining.  At one point he had 12 cannery boats in the shrimping fleet and another processing plant in Cordova.

Generations of many families have worked along side the Ohmers in the shrimping business.  Most notably are the Kainos, the Greiners, and the Kawashimas.

Earl Ohmer was dubbed the “Shrimp King of Alaska.”  His cannery, Alaskan Glacier Sea Food Company, with its label “Frigid Zone” set the gold standard for quality of handpicked shrimp across the country.  He took great pride in his product, the crew who produced it, and the nomenclature on his window and stationery: “Earl Ohmer and Sons.”  A sense of family, community, and legacy were important to him.

Earl was adventurous, industrious, and hospitable – a one-man chamber of commerce, employment office, museum curator, and 24-hour loan officer.  He served on the City Council, was elected Mayor, was chairman of the Alaska Game Commission, was sought out as Territorial Governor, and in the words of his granddaughter Penny/Katelyn Ohmer “Any other thing he could get into for the good of the city, his neighbors, and friends.”

He was accepted and respected outside the town he called home.  The Martins of Kake, Tlingets of the Eagle clan, adopted Earl; his Native name was “Tatuten,” meaning “Still Waters Run Deep.”  National and territorial politicians, stateside businessmen/ industrialists, and movie stars also welcomed him.  To all, he answered the telephone, “Ohmer talkin’.”

He was easily recognized, sporting a winsome smile, a twinkle in his eye, and blue smoke that he blew from his pipe.  While a description of Earl may sound like one of Santa Claus, he looked like a cowboy – clad in riding breeches, leather leggings and a ten gallon hat, his seal skin vest open to show his gold watch chain, gold nugget, and along with various ivory-handled jack knives dangling from his belt.

His cowboy appearance was real.  Prior to venturing to Alaska, Earl graduated from St. Boniface University in Canada where he’d planned on being a Royal Mounted Policeman.  He was disqualified as being too short, but spent five years breaking horses for the men who rode.  Earl then packed up, headed west, and settled into ranching in Eastern Oregon.  He roped and wrangled for many years, and served as deputy sheriff along the way.  But then people began building fences, and cowboys don’t like fences.  It’s then that Earl set out for new territory in Alaska and what became his home.

In 1943 a fire destroyed his cannery at Citizen’s Dock.  Earl rebuilt, determined to provide jobs for the many workers who relied on him.  By all counts he should have been a rich man.  But, he added things up differently than most, and people came before profits.  Earl believed it was more important to extend a loan or provide a job (even if he had more workers than were needed to get the job done) than it was to see his profits soar.  He knew the dignity that work affords.

Earl came from a long line of entrepreneurial, hardworking businessmen. When Earl first departed Dayton, Ohio, he left behind a family tradition in manufacturing and invention (Ohmer cash registers, taxi meters, trolley car fare boxes, and lawn mowing machines). He also left a family history of horticulture from wheat farming in Argyle, Minnesota, to the developing and propagation of the Nick Ohmer strawberry.  His family home at 1350 Creighton Avenue is on the National List of Historic Houses.

He loved the Territory of Alaska and knew he was home.  He’d often sit on the porch in the evening, smoking his pipe and commenting, “It’s 60 degrees, best temperature in the world, by golly. We’re living in God’s country.”

Earl Ohmer married Loyla Von Oston in 1918.  They raised three sons and a daughter:  Bob, Dave, Jim, and Patti. 

When Earl passed on in 1955, his son Dave assumed the leadership and presidency of Alaska Glacier Sea Foods. Dave left his father’s office untouched, even to the last ashes in Earl’s pipe.  In 1983 this office, a landmark on Main Street, was repositioned at the Clausen Memorial Museum.  This decision came with an unknown blessing, for in 1985 the cannery burned to the ground again, taking with it all historical memorabilia and family treasure.  Earl’s collection ranged from Native totems and carved fishing hooks to machine wax recordings, from pocket watches to pipes, from a gun collection to baleen carvings, from furs and flying fish wings to glass balls.  His office wall was a community bulletin board completely covered with pictures of friends and visitors, cartoons, and certificates.

Earl’s artifacts and the spirit he created around him can be experienced at the museum, or you can glimpse it in a talk with family members who carry on some of his traditions.

Neupotz, Rhineland-Pfalz, Germany

Civic Arms of Neupotz

The village of Pfotz was first mentioned in 1270. In 1522 the shores of the old fishing village of Pfotz were washed away when a dam was built near Jockgrim, causing the Rhine to change course. In 1535 the inhabitants of Pfotz built a new village on the western boundary of the district called Neupfotz. The name comes from the Latin purteus , German puddle, marshland .

Civic Arms description : A blue background with a golden bell, below a silver fish bent towards the left. The arms was authorized August 31st 1841 by Ludwig I., the first king of Bavaria.

Previously, the oldest seal of Neupotz, verified from 1724 until 1729, shows an object looking like a bell with 2 stars next to it, one on the left and the other on the right side next to it, probably a special device to catch fish with, called “Spreitgarn” [an old German word not in use anymore, but “Garn” is the German word for yarn].

When drawing up a new court-seal in 1744, the “Spreitgarn” became a bell, above which a crown was hanging, and the fish was no longer bent towards the left but towards the right. This seal was still in use in 1839. The bell was a device used to catch fish and the fish represents an early fisherman village.

Neupotz flag description: from blue and white and blue devided in a ratio of 1:3:1, with the seal in it, and authorized February 11th, 1985 by the county government in Neustadt.

The Legend of the Bell
“The old village of Potz was once eaten away by the floods of the Rhine, it sank into the waters and has since rests in the dark depths. But when a fisherman drives over the spot where the village used to be on a Sunday morning, he can clearly see the village, the church, the fishermen’s huts in the water and hear the bells of the little St. Nicholas church ringing below.

Aerial view of Neupotz, Rhinelan-Pfalz, Germany

Panoramic view of Neupotz, Rhinelan-Pfalz, Germany

ST. BARTHOLOMÄUS CATHOLIC CHURCH (1725-Present) – Neupotz, Pfalz, Germany.

St. Bartholomäus Catholic Church extierior
St. Bartholomäus Catholic Church interior

The first church was built in 1570 without a steeple. It was destroyed in the 30 Years War (1618-1648) by vandals. A new church was built with a steeple in 1725 and has undergone several remodels.

The ancestral house of the Loesch family dates back to the 1500s and is in remarkable condition.

1650 to 1900’s Neupotz Inhabitant SURNAMES
























2000’s Neupotz Inhabitant SURNAMES


©2000 – 2002 Mitch Roll

Origins of the OHMER surname

By Gerard E. Ohmer – from his OHMER Genealogy book



What does the OHMER name mean?

  • from an agent derivative of Middle High German ?ame?ome ‘standard measure’, hence an occupational name for someone who checked and sealed weights and measures.
  • (Öhmer): topographic name (mostly Swiss), for someone who lived or owned a farm in a wider, flat part of a valley, a variant of Ebner.
  • status or occupational name from Middle High German ebenære ‘arbitrator’, ‘judge’.

Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4

Is there a basis for the OHMER name? The information is neither definitive nor satisfactory. Quite understandably my contacts have frequently asked concerning the origin or meaning of the OHMER name. Neither the origin nor meaning of the name has been determined. I believe the name is unique because it is without meaning and was the creation of various notaries using phonetics as their basis. Also, I believe it was originally “AUMER” and from the immediate area of Munich, Bavaria (München, Bayern).

The earlier form of “Aumer” would have no meaning in the German language. The difference between “Ohmer” and “Omer” is only old high and old low, German. The form “Omer” appears in the area near Belgium. AUMER does appear in parts of the Bavarian Alps. A similar name, ALMER, in Switzerland is described as a dairy farmer from high pasture. In French, Aumer would mean “From (or to) the sea.” This makes no sense for a name in the Rhine Valley. Further research through 1998 leads me to assume that prior to about 1650 the name was AUMER or AUMEIER. There may have been no difference in the pronunciation. Of necessity, I must resort to speculation. One unlikely theory has to do with the name OHMER being the occupation of the noun “ohmen” where an obscure meaning is an oaken beer barrel with a capacity of 159 liters. From this, an OHMER would be a man who calibrated such barrels. One reason this interpretation might have occurred is that AMER can have the meaning “to measure” or “to gauge.”

One AUMER from the immediate area of Munich suggested it had the meaning of a broad, high meadow near a river. This could be a valid since AU (and similar words such as awa, ouwa, and ouwe) originally meant water or stream and later wetlands. I must choose the judgment of two multilingual persons from Alsace, the area where the name seems to have first occurred. By multilingual I mean individuals who are fluent in German, French, Latin and English. It is complicated and the name must be deconstructed.

The name starts with two elements. “AU” meaning a meadow and “MEIER” meaning the head of a farm, that is the supervisor or manager of a farm or farmland depending on situation or location of the farm property. AU combined with MEIER can have the meaning of “manager of the meadow property.” AU phonetically became OH in the Pfalz. MEIER was contracted to MER. Thus the name became OHMER in the Pfalz and Lorraine.

My multilingual contacts agree that OHMER, AHMEIER, AUMER, AUMAYER, AUMEYER and similar surnames are all derived from AU and MEIER. There is no reason to believe that persons with these names are related; only that their names were derived from the same occupation some 300 years ago. Ins Strasbourg, one reference book on names in the genealogy library mentions a Laurent AUMEIER from about 1300.

In France —

Pierre Lechrist, of Lyon, is a descendant of Johnannes Michael in the 5th generation.  Jean Michael married in Epianl, France in 1790.  His contact to that area is as yet unknown.
There are other OHMERs in France, but they are not now connected with Peter Aumer.
There is another branch of the french OHMERs centered in Dayton, Ohio.  These OHMERs are believed to be the descendants of Nichola OHMER, husband of Maria Ann Thuillier.  Look for this family tree to be up on the site soon thanks to Susan Ohmer of  Petersburg, Alaska.

Anthony – born ?
Peter – 24 August, 1845

Nichola – born ?

In Germany —

Karl Ohmer of Freiburg, Germany is a descendant of Johannes in the 5th generation.  Johannes is also the ancestor of  most of the Cincinnati OHMERs.

In Holland —

No direct contacts are yet available to the Holland string of OHMERs.


In Louisiana —

All the OHMERs in this area trace their lineage back to a single immigrant:

  • Tobias Ambre Ohmer – born 18 March 1832, Neupotz, Pfalz, Germany – migrated to New Orleans 15 Apr 1851

Tobias is the 4th great-grandson of Peter Aumer. Tobias was born in Neupfotz, Pfalz, Germany, on 18 March, 1832. He migrated to the United States by way of  La Harve, France on the Ship Carrack and arrived in New Orleans on June 16, 1851.  The ship’s passenger list states he was 19 and a farmer, was travelling with only a single trunk.  He made his way to Assumption Parish, and settled in an area called Four Mile Bayou.  There he met and married Jeanette Suzanne Acosta around 1852.  He filed for naturalization in 1892, and became an American citizen.  Descendants are now in Napoleonville, New Orleans, Thibodaux, Denham Springs, Westwego, Amelia, Morgan City, and Dulac.

In Michigan —

There are two groups:

  • Carl – 6 April, 1839 – first located in Girard, PA
  • Clara, widow of Wilhelm – 1 January, 1807

Clara arrived in NY with 4 to 6 children.  (One of which is believed lost at the port of entry).  She is believed to have migrated from the Duchy of Baden.
Clara is said to have been born on 1 Jan 1807 probably in Baden. She was the widow of Wilhem Ohmer at the time she arrived in the United States. She migrated in 1852 and settled in Michigan. It has been impossible to make a proper linkage to established Ohmer lineages.

In Missouri —

Three known immigrants:

  • Karl – 16 May, 1869 – migrated 1885
  • Gustave – 29 November, 1885 – migrated 1885
  • Eduard – 19 July, 1873 – migrated 1889

These are three brothers.  All came to the US about the age 16.  Their parents married late and there were two older girls who died in infancy.  Their uncle Jacob married much earlier and had 3 sons and 2 daughters.  The eldest son (whose name is not yet known) migrated to the US.
Jacob’s son, who would have been an older 1st cousin of the three brothers, may have settled in the St. Louis area, and may be the reason for the boys’ location.  At his death, he left a legacy to his brother’s descendants in Germany.

In Ohio

There are OHMERs in Cincinnati who are descendants of the Peter Aumer lineage.  Most are descended from:

        Michael OHMER – 4 June, 1839 in Herxheim, Pfalz, Germany

    Michael was a brewmaster born in Germany, and the first reference in Cincinnati is in 1862. His descendants are now centered in Cinicinnati and across the river in Kenton and Campbell counties near Covington, Kentucky.

In Pennsylvania—
Four OHMERs are known to have migrated from Herxheim to this area:

  • Carl – 6 April 1839 – migrated ??
  • Theodor – 22 June 1843 – migrated 1863
  • Apollonia – 27 June 1843 – migrated 1863
  • Jacob – 1869 – migrated 1884

    Carl and Theodor were 1st cousins, their fathers having been born in 1798 and 1796 respectively.  However, Theodor was the youngest child and it is believed Carl migrated earlier.
Theodor and Apollonia married in Erie, PA in November of 1863.
Jacob was a nephew of Theodor.  He was raised in Erie as if her were the 10th child.

In Alaska

This string of OHMERs are descendants of the French OHMERs, particularly :

  • Earl Nicholas OHMER – born in Dayton, Ohio 17 Nov 1882

Earl migrated from Dayton after spending the first years of his life on his parents’ wheat farm, and is a descendant of the Dayton (French) OHMERs. He arrived in Alaska in 1915. operator of a shellfish cannery and was Mayor of Petersburg 1920, 1930 and 1931. For 20 years he was president of the Chamber of Commerce, and was Chariman of the Alaska Fish and Game Commission for 23 years. Thus, I’ve understood that as being the reason several Parks and Lakes in Alaska bear the OHMER name.
Earl’s Grandson Dave now manages a shrimp cannery that he founded in Petersburg, Alaska in 1916.  Earl is son of Charles Thomas OHMER, and is of the yet unconnected french line of Andoni OHMER.

Earl had four children:

  • Robert Charles “Bob” OHMER (deceased)
  • David Paul OHMER (deceased)
  • James Lewis “Jim” OHMER (deceased)
  • Patricia Henrietta “Patti” OHMER (still residing in Petersburg, AK)

     A contact had been made with a direct descendant of this line, but further information from her never came.  This new info is courtesy of Dave OHMER, Katelyn OHMER Markley and Roberta OHMER.  THANKS for the info, guys!