Updated September 2011
Christoph Preyss, the earliest known ancestor of the Price family of Hancock County, Ohio, lived in southern Germany
in the first half of the 17th century.
Christoph is known from only one record, the October 1651 marriage records of his son Hans Preyss in the records of
the Protestant church of Brenz an der Brenz. The town is about 20 miles northeast
of Ulm in what is now the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
However, this record tells us several things about him. Christoph lived
in Brenz at some time. He was probably a Protestant because the records appears
in the Protestant church. He died before October 1651 because he is listed as
Although Christoph’s occupation is unknown, it seems likely that he held some status in the community because
his son married the daughter of a schoolmaster and member of the local court in Stotzingen.
Because of the stratified nature of contemporary German society, it is unlikely a member of the lower social classes
would be able to marry into the middle class. However, it is possible that the
area was so depopulated during the 30 Years War that women would take anyone as a husband.
The war, which ran from 1618 to 1648, left Wuerttemberg depopulated and poor.
The records from Brenz were uncovered and translated by Friedrich R. Wollmershaeuser, an excellent genealogist from
Oberdischingen. He said the parish records for Brenz start in 1649. Aside from
church records, few other documents concerning common folk exist from this era. Because
of this, there is little hope that further research will turn up much on the Preiss family.
Since so little is known about Christoph, it is possible that he came to Brenz from another area. He may have traveled as a soldier in the wars or as a refugee. In
the latter part of the 17th century, Christoph’s grandson, Matthaeus, moved more than 100 miles north to Erbach, which
is in the Odenwald region near Darmstadt. It is possible that this represented
a return to the ancestral home. A Christopher Preiss appears in records in Erbach
before 1586 and a Hans Philipp Preiss appears in Erbach records in 1605. (1) However,
it may be impossible to prove or disprove that the Preisses originated in Erbach.
(1) “Familiennamen aus dem Hessischen Odenwald” (Family Names Out of the Hessian
Odenwald), by H.W. Debor, page 37.
HANS and CHRISTINA PREYSS
Hans Preyss, the son of Christoph Preyss, was born about 1629. (1)
Married Christina Kastler. (See below.)
Matthaeus, born 1653. (2)
Possibly Christoph, born about 1650. (3)
Although his birthplace is unknown, Hans lived in Brenz an der Brenz in Wuerttemberg in the mid-17th century.
In October 1651, Hans married Christina Kastler at the Protestant church in Brenz.
Christina’s father was the late Paul Kastler, schoolmaster and member of the local court in Stotzingen. She was born about 1630. (4)
Hans’ occupation is unknown but it is possible he was a smith. Many
of his descendants were blacksmiths. Trades were closed to virtually everyone
but the sons of guild members so it seems less likely that later Preisses would be blacksmiths unless Hans was one, too. At any rate, he was probably a member of the small middle class and had some degree
of social standing because he married the daughter of a schoolmaster and court member.
People usually married others in their own social strata. However, it
is also possible that the recently completed 30 Years War left the area so depopulated that family were glad to marry their
daughters off to anyone.
The marriage record of Hans’ son Matthaeus says that Hans was a resident - “Einwohner” - of “Prenz
in Wuerttemberg.” (5) This
would seem to indicate that Hans lacked full citizenship rights since he wasn’t listed as a citizen of the town. However, the Erbach record may be incorrect because inaccuracies often crept in when
someone moved from one town to another.
Hans died on April 2, 1675. Christina Preyss died in April 1678.
(1) Almost all information on Hans comes from the Brenz Church Books. Hans’ death record
says he was 46 years old when he died in 1675. His father’s name is known
from Hans’ marriage record. His mother’s name is unknown. The records from Brenz were uncovered and translated by Friedrich R. Wollmershaeuser, an excellent genealogist
from Oberdischingen. (2) The Brenz Church Books say he was baptized on the second
of either November or December, the writing is difficult to read. (3) A Christoph
Preiss from “Vrenz in Wuerttemberg” appears in Erbach records beginning in 1674, a few years before Matthaeus,
according to “Familiennamen aus dem Hessischen Odenwald” (Family Names Out of the Hessian Odenwald), by H.W. Debor,
page 37. Christoph also appears in several baptismal records alongside Matthaeus
Preiss in Erbach. If Christoph was not Hans’ son, he was probably a very
close relative. Christoph first appears as a shoemaker and later as a butcher
for the Count of Erbach. His probable birth year come from the Erbach Church
Books, which list him as 88 years old at the time of his death on Feb. 27, 1738. Perhaps
additional research in Brenz will locate Christoph and other siblings. (4) Wollmershaeuser
believes Stotzingen is probably the present Niederstotzingen, whose 17th-century records were destroyed in a town fire in
1725. Christina’s probable birth date comes from her death record, which
says she died at age 48 in 1678. (5) Erbach Church Books, page 179.
MATTHAEUS and MARGARETHA PREISS
Matthaeus Preiss was born in 1653 in Brenz an der Brenz, Germany, to Hans and Christina (Kastler) Preyss. (1)
Married Margaretha Schaefer on March 8, 1683, and Maria Elisabetha Rexrodt on Nov. 19, 1705. (See below.)
Children with Margaretha: (2)
Anna Margaretha, born July 21, 1683.
Hans Wilhelm, born May 23, 1688.
Children with Maria Elisabetha: (3)
Anna Eva, born Feb. 1, 1706.
Maria Elisabetha, born Feb. 7, 1708.
Henrietta Juliana, born Dec. 19, 1709.
Johann Balzer, born June 19, 1713. Died Feb. 12, 1734.
Susanna, born Oct. 25, 1715.
Johann Christoph, born Jan. 15, 1719.
Johann Thomas, born Feb. 3, 1722.
Johann Baltasar, born Feb. 13, 1727. Died May 10, 1731.
Matthaeus was born in Brenz an der Brenz, a town about 20 miles northeast of Ulm in what is now Baden-Wuerttemberg. He moved to Erbach in the Odenwald region south of Darmstadt sometime before 1683. It is impossible to say why he moved to the town more than 100 north of his birthplace. Perhaps opportunities were better is Erbach.
Perhaps there was a family connection there, as noted above.
On March 8, 1683, Matthaeus married Margaretha Schaefer, the daughter of Hans Schaefer of Erbach, who was the gardener
for the Count of Erbach. Margaretha was born in 1646. (4)
Matthaeus’ occupation and status are not mentioned in either his marriage record or the record of the birth of
his first child, a little more than four months later. By 1688, when his son
Hans Wilhelm was born, Matthaeus had become a Buerger of Erbach, a citizen with full rights.
And by 1705, when Margaretha died, Matthaeus had become a messenger for the count’s chancery. It is possible that Matthaeus received his job with the count’s administration through his father-in-law,
who worked for the count.
Matthaeus’ rise from total obscurity to a position of minor importance in the town of Erbach is interesting. The marriage record only says that he was the son of a resident - not a full-fledged
citizen - of a town more than 100 miles away. However, within five years Matthaeus
became a Buerger of Erbach. In the 17th century, Germany was still a very stratified
society and citizenship rights were either inherited or earned; they didn’t not come automatically. This rise in status may be the result of a number of things such as marrying well, family connections or
striking it rich. It is just as difficult to say how Matthaeus obtained the position
of chancery messenger. This probably meant that he was little more than a glorified
mailman, but it was still a position within the count’s administration and those were very difficult to obtain, especially
for someone with no connections to the area before the 1680s. The difficulty
an outsider would face in gaining this position is demonstrated by the fact that Matthaeus passed it on to his eldest son,
who then passed it on to his eldest grandson (whose father had already died).
Margaretha died July 2, 1705.
Four months after her death, Matthaeus married Maria Elisabetha Rexrodt
on Nov. 19, 1705. Maria Elisabetha was the daughter of Hans Philipp Rexrodt,
master tailor of Erbach. She was born about August 1684. (5)
Less than three months after the marriage - seven months after Margaretha’s death - the couple had their first
child, Anna Eva. Widowers with young children rarely waited very long to remarry
in those days and births quite often followed marriages by less than nine months. However,
it is rare to find a birth to a second wife following so closely on the death of the first wife.
By this time Matthaeus seems to have situated himself in a clique of minor servants of the count. This can be seen in the baptismal records of Erbach’s City Church, which was Lutheran. Baptismal records are a very good indication of who is related or associated with whom. Usually close relatives were selected as godparents. Sometimes
very close friends were picked. Among the relationships that come to light in
the records of Matthaeus’ children are connections with: Christopher Preiss, the count’s butcher and very likely
Matthaeus’ brother; Hans Wilhelm Eisenhauer, horseman; and Friedrich Preiss, tenant of the count’s cattle farm
and probably a son of Christoph. Baptismal records from Christoph’s family
also show links to the count’s valet, the groom on the count’s farm and the count’s laundress. Matthaeus was able to marry his son Hans Wilhelm to the daughter of a man who was a citizen, a member of
the local law court and a church elder. None of this is impressive by modern
standards, but at a time when most people were semi-free peasant farmers these jobs must have seemed wonderful.
Maria Elisabetha died Jan. 11, 1729. Matthaeus died Jun 14, 1740. (6)
(1) Brenz Church Books. He was born on the second of either November or December, the writing
is difficult to read. This record was uncovered and translated by Friedrich R.
Wollmershaeuser, an excellent genealogist from Oberdischingen. (2) Erbach Church
Books, pages 25 and 33. (3) Erbach Church Books, pages 65, 67, 73, 83, 92, 104,
116 and 1. Baltasar’s death is listed on page 425 and Baltzer’s is
on page 430. It was not uncommon for Germans to give children such similar names. (4) The marriage is in Erbach Church Books, page 179.
Hans Schaefer’s occupation is difficult to read. Margaretha’s
death record in the Erbach Church Books says she was 59 years old when she died on July 2, 1705. (5) Erbach Church Books, page 186. Maria Elisabetha’s
death record says she was 44 years, 5 months old when she died Jan. 11, 1729. Erbach
Church Books, page 422. (6) Erbach Church Books, page 440. The record says he was 77 years, 22 weeks, but he was actually 87 when he died.
HANS WILHELM and LOUYSA MARIA
Hans Wilhelm Preiss was born May 23, 1688, in Erbach, Germany, to Matthaeus and Margaretha (Schaefer) Preiss. (1)
Married Louysa Maria Spiess on June 10, 1717; Eva Rosina Schild on July 12, 1725; and Elisabetha Lauth on June 21,
1746. (See below.)
Children with Louysa Maria: (2)
Johann Matthaeus, born April 11, 1718.
Anna Cordula, born April 7, 1720.
Anna Maria, born Sept. 9, 1721.
Johannes, born March 18, 1725.
Children with Eva Rosina: (3)
Johanna Charlotta, born June 16, 1726.
Conrad Christian, born March 11, 1731.
Johann Jacob, born Aug. 20, 1734.
Sophia Charlotta, born December 1737. Died Jan. 15, 1741.
Children with Elisabetha: (4)
George Christian, born April 28, 1747.
Georg Wilhelm, born Jan. 13, 1749.
Hans Wilhelm probably spent his early years training to be a blacksmith. He
was listed as a citizen of Erbach and a smith at the baptism of his first child in 1718.
He became a master smith sometime before the birth of his third child in 1741.
In 1717, Hans Wilhelm married Louysa Maria Spiess, who was born March 26, 1692 to Johann Heinrich Spiess and his wife
Anna Margaretha.. Heinrich was a wagon maker, member of the local law court,
church elder and citizen of Erbach. Heinrich, at the time a widower, had married
Anna Margaretha Wiessman on Feb. 16, 1687. The bride was the daughter of Johannes
Wiessman, smith of Erbach. (5)
Louysa Maria died March 24, 1725, just six days after giving birth to Johannes. (6)
Following the custom of the time, Hans Wilhelm married soon afterward. On
July 12, 1725, he married Eva Rosina, the daughter of Johannes Schild, master taylor and citizen of the nearby town of Michelstadt. Rosina was born Dec. 8, 1695. (7)
Matthaeus Preiss died in June 1740 and Hans Wilhelm took over his father’s job as messenger for the Count of
Erbach’s chancery. (8) This position seems to have been hereditary because
when Hans Wilhelm died it fell to his grandson Johann Wilhelm - the eldest son of Johann Matthaeus, who had died previously.
Rosina died Dec. 21, 1745, and Hans Wilhelm married Elisabetha Lauth the following June 21. Elisabetha was the daughter of Johann Lauth, citizen of the nearby town of Unter-Mossau. Elisabetha was born in 1712. (9)
Hans Wilhelm died Feb. 27, 1771. Elisabetha died May 21, 1772. (10)
(1) Erbach Church Books, page 33. (2) Erbach Church
Books, pages 104, 109, 114 and 130. (3) Erbach Church Books, pages 134, 20 and
34. I missed the birth of Sophia Charlotta, but her death record on page 441
says she was 3 years, 3 weeks old when she died on Jan. 15, 1741. (4) Erbach
Church Books, pages 90 and 97. (5) The marriage is listed in Erbach Church Books,
page 193. Louysa Maria’s birth is listed on page 39. (6) Erbach Church Books. (7) Marriage is listed in Erbach
Church Books, page 198. Rosina’s death record on page 50 says that she
was 50 years, 13 days old when she died Dec. 21, 1745. (8) Sophia Charlotta’s
death record lists Hans Wilhelm as master smith, citizen and chancery messenger. (9)
Marriage listed in Erbach Church Books, page 374. Elisabetha’s death record
says she was 60 years old when she died on May 21, 1772. (10) Hans Wilhelm’s
death is in Erbach Church Books, page 495.
JOHANNES and MARIA MAGDALENA
Johannes Preiss was born March 18, 1725, in Erbach, Germany, to Hans Wilhelm and Maria Louysa (Spiess) Preiss. (1)
Married Maria Catharina Weber on Dec. 12, 1752; Maria Elisabetha Platt on April 26, 1757; and Maria Magdalena Braun
on April 19, 1763. (See below.)
Children with Maria Catharina Weber, all born in Erbach: (2)
Johann Nicolaus, born April 2, 1753. Died Jan. 29, 1762.
Johann Leopold, born June 25, 1754. Died April 7, 1756.
Johann Simon, born Aug. 5, 1756. Died Sept. 4, 1756.
Children with Maria Magdalena, all born in Gadernheim: (3)
Christian, born Aug. 17, 1764.
Johann Philipp, born July 12, 1768. Died Jan. 7, 1770.
Anna Margaretha, born Oct. 14, 1771.
Johann Peter, born Nov 13, 1774.
Johannes spent his early years in Erbach, where his father served as the messenger
for the Count of Erbach’s chancery. He was confirmed at Erbach’s
City Church, which was Lutheran, in 1742. (4)
Johannes became a blacksmith, which was the trade most Preiss men followed at that time. It appears that the oldest Preiss son inherited the job as chancery messenger and the younger sons were
admitted into the blacksmith’s guild. At the time of his first marriage
in 1752, Johannes is listed as a Buerger of the city and a smith. (5) As a Buerger,
he was entitled to full citizenship rights.
On Dec. 12, 1752, Johannes married a daughter of Simon Weber, the bell-ringer of Erbach. There seems to have been much confusion over her name, which appears in church records as Maria Margaretha,
Maria Catharina and Anna Margaretha. However, it is certain that the records
refer to just one woman. Her name was probably Maria Catharina. Simon Weber’s daughter Maria Catharina was born Jan. 18, 1719, which matches the birth date that
can be determined from the death records of Johannes’ wife. Also, Catharina
is the name used in most of the records relating to Johannes. At the time of
Catharina’s birth, Simon was a tailor in the Erbach suburb of Dorf Erbach. (6)
Confusion also surrounds the death of Johannes’ wife. She is listed
as dying on July 24, 1756, but also having a son on Aug. 5, 1756. Obviously the
minister, who appears to have been a poor record keeper, made a mistake in listing one of the months. The archivist at the Erbach City Archives said it is impossible to tell which date is incorrect.
No matter how the dates and names work out, it appears that Johannes had lost his wife and two of his three sons between
April and September of 1756. It is possible an epidemic swept through the area
in those months, but further research is necessary on the matter.
On April 26, 1757, Johannes married Elisabeth Platt, the daughter of the late Bernhard Platt, a roofer and Buerger
of Erbach. (7) Elisabeth was born Oct. 7, 1710, which made her almost 15 years
older than Johannes. Her mother was Maria Barbara Preiss, the daughter of Christoph
Preiss, Buerger and shoemaker of Erbach. (8) Christoph Preiss, who later became
the butcher for the Count of Erbach, appears to have been the close relative - probably a brother - of Matthaeus Preiss, Johannes’
grandfather. It seems rather odd that a recent widower would marry a first cousin
who was 15 years his senior, but that seems to be the case here.
At least one of Johannes’ wives must have been a widow because in 1761 a Wilhelmina Alzfeld is listed as the
step-daughter of Johannes. This is recorded in the baptismal record of her illegitimate
son Johannes Preiss. (10) It seems most likely that Elisabeth was the widow because
she was almost 47 years old when she married Johannes. Further research may show
that she had been married to an Alzfeld.
On Jan. 29, 1762, Johannes’ last remaining son died.
Within a year Johannes and Elisabeth moved to Gadernheim, which is about 15 miles to the west of Erbach.
It is unknown why the Preiss family moved away from Erbach. Perhaps it
held too many sad memories following the deaths of so many of Johannes’ children.
Perhaps opportunities appeared brighter in the countryside.
Although Gadernheim still fell within the territory of the Count of Erbach, the entire area was absorbed by the Grand
Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt when Germany was reorganized in the early 1800s. That
is why the Preisses who immigrated to the United States - Johannes’ son and grandson - were listed as coming from Hesse-Darmstadt.
Although it is set in the attractive Odenwald hills south of Darmstadt, Gadernheim itself is rather nondescript. It suffered severely in an artillery bombardment in March 1945 after a German soldier
was stupid enough to attack the oncoming Americans from within its boundaries. The
Americans pounded the town to convince others down the road that resistance would be costly and futile. Even before that incident, Gadernheim lacked a hilltop castle, stone walls and abundance of quaint half-timbered
buildings that make other towns in the area attractive. It has always been a
small town and didn’t even rate its own church until the beginning of this century.
Gadernheim has been linked to nearby Reichenbach for most of its existence. Reichenbach was the site of the area’s parish church in past centuries and thus
the place where families from Gadernheim worshipped and were married. Reichenbach
is still the administrative center for the municipality that includes both towns - Lautertal.
The oldest building in town is said to be the 17th-century smithy building across the street from the town hall, which
also dates from that century. Although it is possible that this was the building
where the Preisses worked, I have not been able to check into the matter.
Misfortune seems to have followed Johannes to Gadernheim. Elisabeth died
on Jan. 17, 1763. (1)
A few months later, on April 19, 1763, Johannes married Maria Magdalena Braun, who was the daughter of Johann Dieter
Braun, citizen of Gronau. She was probably born around 1734. (12)
Although Johannes retained his status as a master smith, he never became a citizen of Gadernheim. At his death, he was listed as simply an “Einwohner,” or resident, even though he had lived
in the village for more than 30 years and his children had married into the families of citizens (Gemeinsmann) and later became
Magdalena died March 9, 1794. Johannes died Aug. 11, 1796. (13)
(1) Erbach Church Books, page 130. (2) Erbach Church Books, pages 115, 121, 461, 136 and 481. Johann
Simon’s death is listed in the index. (3) Reichenbach Church Books, pages
146 and 708. The page number is missing from my copy of Christian’s birth record.
Anna Margaretha and Johann Peter’s births are listed in the index under their deaths. Their relationship to Johannes is documented in the record of the illegitimate birth of Anna Margaretha’s
son Johann Peter on March 10, 1798, on page 208. (4) Erbach Church Books, page
292. (5) Johannes is actually listed as a “hoof-smith” (Hufschmidt),
which may indicate that he had not yet attained the status of master smith. The
record of the birth of his first child in 1753 notes that he was a master smith. However, the minister who kept the records
switched back and forth between smith and master smith in subsequent years, so it is difficult to determine when he became
a master smith. This is the first of many discrepancies that appear in Erbach
records concerning Johannes. (6) Marriage is listed in Erbach Church Books, page
381. “Maria Margaretha’s” death is listed in Erbach Church
Books, page 461, and says she was 37 years, 7 months old at the time of her death in July 1756. Concerning the name confusion, the Weber family seems to have been rather large and this may have confused
the minister. In addition, Simon Weber had a daughter named Catharina Elisabetha
who marries Johann Matthaeus Preiss, brother of Johannes. It is certain that all of the records relate to the same woman because each name refers to the wife of a Johannes
Preiss who is a Buerger and smith of Erbach. No other Johannes Preiss appears
in the church records until the birth of an illegitimate son to Johannes’ stepdaughter in 1761. In 1766, four years after Johannes moved from Erbach, no Johannes Preiss appears on the Buerger list. Finally, a Weber served as a sponsor at each baptism.
Maria Catharina’s birth listed in Erbach Church Books. The archivist
at the Erbach City Archives also reached these conclusions independently. (7)
Erbach Church Books, page 384. (8) Birth listed in Erbach Church Books, page
74. Marriage listed in Erbach Church Books, page 182. (10) Erbach Church Books, page 167. (11) Reichenbach Church
Books, page 644. (12) Reichenbach Church Books. The page number was cut off my
photocopy. Johann Braun actually had a middle name that was unreadable on my
photocopy. That is actually the most important name in most cases because it
is the one that they were known by. Magdalena’s age was listed as
59 years, 6 months, 27 days at her death on March 9, 1794. Magdalena’s
death is listed in the Reichenbach Church Books, page 708. This records lists
her as Anna Magdalena. This discrepancy in the first name is one of many involving
Preiss women. Ministers apparently weren’t very careful with women’s
names. (13) Johannes’ death is listed on page 719.
CHRISTIAN and ANNA PREISS
Johann Christian Preiss was born Aug. 17, 1764 in Gadernheim, Germany, to Johannes and Maria Magdalena (Braun) Preiss. (1)
Married Anna Margarethe Ripper. (See below.)
Anna Elisabetha, born Dec. 14, 1797.
Johann Georg, born Nov. 15, 1799. Died April 16, 1801.
Anna Margaretha, born June 25, 1802.
Johann Nikolaus, born July 7, 1805.
Anna Maria, born Feb. 24, 1807. Died Feb. 24, 1807.
Anna Susanna, born April 3, 1808.
Anna Christina, born March 25, 1811.
Christian married Anna Margarethe Ripper on Feb. 9, 1796, in Reichenbach, the site of the parish church for Gadernheim.
(3) Anna Margarethe was born Dec. 28, 1777 in Gadernheim to Johann Nikolaus and
Anna Margaretha (Wiener) Ripper. Johann Nikolaus was a carpenter. The Rippers were married on Aug. 15, 1775 in Reichenbach. (4)
Christian followed his father into the trade of blacksmithing. He is listed
as a master smith at the time of his marriage in 1796, which would normally entitle him to run his own business. He is also listed as an “Einwohner,” or resident of the village. People classified as residents didn’t hold full rights of citizenship. Christian may have attained the status of “Gemeinsmann,”
or village citizen, later because he is listed as a citizen in the 1827 marriage record of his son Johann Nikolaus. However, it is also possible that this was a mistake by the minister.
In 1831, Christian and Anna Margaretha, their son Nicholas and daughter Anna Margaretha immigrated to the United States
with a party from Gadernheim and neighboring villages in the Odenwald region. Much
of the party crossed the Atlantic on a ship they called the Famous Dove, which ran aground in a storm off Virginia. A second ship carrying members of the party missed the storm and arrived safely. (For a full account of the journey, see the item on Nicholas Price.)
Most of the immigrants in the Odenwald party made their way to Baltimore, then moved on to Washington County, Pa.
In 1835, Christian, who is listed as living in Washington County, bought 80 acres of land in Hancock County, Ohio. The land was purchased from the state of Ohio on Dec. 30, 1835. He sold the land for $100 on Feb. 22, 1837. These records
show how quickly German names became anglicized. They list “Christian Price
and Margarite, his wife.” (5)
“History of the Saint Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Jenera, Ohio” lists Christian among the first members
of the Hesse-Darmstadt party to settle in Hancock County, arriving in 1834. However,
as noted above, the 1835 deed lists him as being “of Washington County.”
The 1840 Census lists Christian as living in Van Buren Township, surrounded by many of those in his immigration party. His household contained one male age 70-79 and one female age 60-69.
Christian died in November 1848. Margaretha died Feb. 13, 1862. They are buried at the St. Paul Lutheran Church cemetery in Jenera. (6)
(1) Reichenbach Church Books. With his birth record, there is a notation that Christian left
for North America in 1831. (2) Reichenbach Church Books, pages 207, 214, 737,
223, 235, 245, 762, 42 and 14. (3) Reichenbach Church Books, page 591. There are also indications in some secondary sources that the Preisses had a daughter named Katharina on
Jan. 28, 1817, but I have not been able to find this record. (4) Anna Margaretha’s
birth and her parents’ marriage are listed in “... wir ziehen nach Amerika,” page 119. The German book – whose title means “... we are moving to America” – contains letters
from people who had emigrated from the Odenwald region to America. The book also
contains a good amount of genealogical information about the survivors of the shipwreck that the Prices experienced. It was compiled by Marie-Louise Seidenfaden of the Odenwald and was published in 1988. (5) Hancock County Deed Book 69, page 263, and Book 2, page 159. Christian also appears in “Early Land Records of Hancock County, Ohio,” Hancock County Chapter
of the Ohio Genealogical Society, page 74. The source says that his transaction
was entered on May 20, 1834. Perhaps there was a delay in Christian’s actual
purchase of the property. (6) Tombstone inscriptions.
NICHOLAS and ANNA ELIZABETH
Johann Nikolaus Preiss was born July 7, 1805 in Gadernheim, Germany, to Johann Christian and Anna Margaretha (Ripper)
Married Anna Elizabeth Reimund. (See below.)
Johann Georg, born April 5, 1828, in Gadernheim.
Elisabetha Catharina, born July 6, 1830, in Gadernheim.
Peter, born in 1831 in Pennsylvania.
Nicholas E., born in March 6, 1836 in Ohio.
Margaret, born about 1838 or 1839 in Ohio.
John, born about 1842 in Ohio.
Elizabeth, born March 31, 1845 in Ohio. Married a man named Fellabaum.
Mary, born about 1845 or 1849 in Ohio.
Philip, born about 1851 in Ohio.
Nicholas, as his name came to be spelled in America, married Anna Elizabeth Reimund on Nov. 13, 1827 in Reichenbach,
the site of the parish church for Gadernheim. (3) Anna Elizabeth was born Aug.
26, 1808 in Gadernheim, Germany, to Johann Peter and Elisabeth Margarethe (Wendel) Reimund.
Peter Reimund was a citizen of Gadernheim and a court official who was responsible for setting the boundary stones
between properties. The Reimunds were married on March 18, 1800 in Reichenbach,
Nicholas was trained to be a blacksmith like his father. At the time of
his marriage in 1827, he was listed as a citizen of the village of Gadernheim and a smith.
A year later, in the birth record of his first child, he was listed as a master smith, a designation that would allow
him to run a business.
In 1831, the Preiss family and others from neighboring villages in the Odenwald region decided to join a party immigrating
to the United States. A poor economy, high taxes, compulsory military service
and general dissatisfaction were primary reasons for leaving Germany at that time.
The immigrants’ saga is recorded in “History of the Saint Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Jenera, Ohio.”
“The summer of 1830 was decided on for the voyage; but, due to unavoidable circumstances, it was twice postponed.
“And so it was in the middle of May 1831, a group started on the 400 mile trip through Darmstadt and Kassel to
Bremen, where they finally sailed for America on July 14. They severed all the
ties that bound them to their homeland and relatives left behind. Those sailing
on the British vessel ‘Famous Dove’ were bound for Baltimore, Maryland.
Families onboard were named Arras, Beach (‘Bietsch’ in the original German), Bosse, Essinger, Gossman (Gassmann),
Heldman, Luniak, Price (Preisz), Traucht (Tracht, with 22 individuals so named), Wilch (Willisch), and others. Land was sighted on the 65th day of the voyage and the people rejoiced.
Despite inferior food and the usual hardships of ocean travel in those days, everyone was in good health. An infant had been buried at sea; otherwise the trip was uneventful.
“The emigrants were on the water several months when a northwest storm caught them when they were close to the
shore of America. They were cast about and blown off their course, losing first
the mast and then the rudder. The wind changed to the northeast with heavy seas
washing the decks. For two days and two nights they drifted helplessly. On September 16, the ship started to fill with water faster than the sailors could
pump it out. At about midnight, all had to move to the upper deck, and waves
were running high. In the darkness on the ocean, no one knew just where, the
ship was sinking.
“Some were praying, but the captain, having been under the influence of liquor from the time the ship left Bremen,
became sober in the face of disaster and ordered the mates to launch a lifeboat in which he intended to escape from the sinking
vessel. However, the leader of the expedition, Johann Adam Tracht, was inured
to danger; he had not campaigned with the mighty Napoleon for naught! He was the owner of seven guns which he was bringing
to America – not for the purpose of shooting Indians, but in anticipation of hunting game, a pleasure which was ‘verboten’
to the common people of Germany. Perceiving that the captain intended to abandon
the ship and leave the passengers to their fate, he armed six men of his party, keeping a gun for himself. His orders were to shoot either captain or sailor who tried to go over the side of the boat. None tried.
“In the midst of all the confusion, nine-year-old Margaret Arras said that Christ stilled the waves and saved
the disciples from drowning. ‘Maybe He will save us also.’ A sailor
standing nearby said to ‘slap that dumb girl in the mouth for talking so foolishly, that anyone could see that the ship
was sinking and all will be drowned.’ The girl started singing a hymn ‘A Mighty Fortress is Our God’; her
faith was contagious, and the emigrants were soon singing, with even most of the sailors joining in. The ship sank no further, and the waves began to be smaller.
“When daylight came, they found that they were close to land (about one-half mile away). The ship had blown off course to the sand bar off the coast of Virginia, east of Norfolk, close to Cape
Henry. The unmarried men remained aboard the wrecked ‘Famous Dove’
until the children and parents were landed ... Many, on reaching shore, knelt
down and poured out their hearts in gratitude to the Savior for deliverance. They
solemnly vowed that annually on that day a ‘Schiffbruchsgottesdienst’ (ship-wreck thanksgiving festival) should
take place in remembrance of the abject terror and the wonderful rescue.”
Descendants of the shipwreck survivors still hold a celebration each Sept. 17.
The Famous Dove ran aground on Sept. 17, 1831. The Norfolk Herald on Sept.
19 reported: “The brig James Beacham, Galt, of & for Baltimore fm Bremen whence she sailed 1st Aug. with 160 passengers went ashore about 15 miles to the S. of
Cape Henry on Friday night last at about 11o’clock in a gale fm N.E. the
crew & passengers have got ashore - vessel bilged and nearly full of water. When
our informant left the wreck exertions were making to save the baggage of the passengers, cargo, &c.” (6)
Customs records in the National Archives provide a brief description of immigrants’ arrival in listings for Virginia
under the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1831. It reads: “Brig, James Beacham,
Galt, Master, from Bremen (wrecked near Cape Henry) – a list of names.” Many of the names are illegible, but of
those that can be read include people known to have been aboard the Famous Dove, including Nicholaus Preisz, Adam Arras, Peter
Arras, Johs Arras, Adam Tracht and P. Tracht.
None of the records explain the discrepancy in the names of the ship (ie. Famous
Dove, James Beacham). (7)
The immigrants made their way to Baltimore, then to Washington County, Pa., where journeys to the West began.
Nicholas Price was naturalized in 1834 in Washington County. This is the
first record that spells the name Price. German names were commonly anglicized
upon arrival in the United States. (8)
In 1834, Nicholas paid the U.S. government $100 for 80 acres of land in Hancock County, Ohio. The deed, which is dated June 25, 1834, says he lived in Washington County at the time. (9)
It is uncertain exactly when the Prices moved to Hancock County. Information
in a pamphlet compiled by descendants of the shipwreck survivors says the Prices moved to Madison Township in the fall of
1835. (10) The St. Paul account
states that the Prices were among the first families to arrive in the area, doing so in 1834.
“History of Hancock County,” published in 1886, says the family settled in the western end of Madison Township
in the fall of 1835. This book also says that the Prices where among the first
Nicholas’ son George was interviewed by The Findlay Daily Courier just before his death in 1909. He had been 3 years old when his parents came to the United States and about 7 when they moved to Hancock
County. He told of how his parents and the John Rauch family loaded their possessions
into two wagons and headed west.
“Mr. Price was taking the lead when his team reached what was then
called Potato Creek Swamp, near Mount Blanchard. Here one horse sank to his sides
in the mud and could not move. Darkness was already settling over the unhappy
immigrants, and surrounded as they were by a howling wilderness, the women broke down and cried in despair. But the animal was finally pried out of the mud and the travelers moved on to Mount Blanchard and put up
for the night. The next day they were able to get seven miles farther west and
spend the night at the tavern on Eagle Creek, kept by Mr. John Diller.”
Many of the Odenwald families settled in the area of Jenera. There were
few other settlers in the area at that time.
“When the settlers first arrived, the region was a vast wilderness,” according to St. Paul’s history. “The aim was to clear the land
for farming and rid it of beasts of prey, such as bears and wolves. It is noted
in an Essinger family history that Indians still camped in this area at that time. Log
cabins were the homes of the people. Wagons were made by the settlers themselves,
as were the two-wheeled carts. These were usually drawn by oxen moving sluggishly
and awkwardly through an almost pathless country. The women spun, wove and dyed
garments from wool.”
Trading posts were few and the settlers made or grew most of what they needed.
Some of this process is described in an article published in a German historical magazine that took an interest in
the immigrant party.
“In the beginning, flour was especially scarce since there were no mills.
Nikolaus Preiss, from Gadernheim, solved the problem: from a small creek near his home he got a large ‘niggerhead
stone’ which he cut in half. The surface of the stones was made smooth,
then holes were drilled. A pole was passed through the holes and through an opening
in the ceiling to the upper floor of the house. There a diagonal pole was attached
which was turned by his two sons. This was the first mill in the settlement,
and they ground flour from corn, wheat and buckwheat.
“The settlers also had to fight against other difficulties. In the
1840s a small pox epidemic broke out, followed by cholera. An old cemetery
near Findlay, the cholera cemetery with 75 graves still reminds us of this time.” (13)
The 1840 Census lists Nicholas Price as living in Van Buren Township. His
household contained one male under age 5, one male 5-9, one male 10-14, one male 30-39, one female under age 5, one female
5-9 and one emale 30-39,
In 1843, the families banded together to establish a church, which eventually became Saint Paul Evangelical Lutheran
Church. Nicholas Price was one of the church’s first councilmen. As the congregation grew and changed, he remained active as a church official.
In the 1860 Census, Nicholas is listed as a farmer who owned real estate valued at $3,200 and personal property valued
at $671. In the 1870 Census, he is listed as a farmer owning real estate valued
at $3,000. This household still contained Mary, 21, and Philip, 19.
U.S. Census records list him as a farmer. However, according to Hancock
County death records, Nicholas was a blacksmith, his occupation in Germany.
Anna Elizabeth died July 26, 1869. Nicholas died Dec. 19, 1879. “History of Hancock County” says they died on the “old homestead.” (14) Both are buried at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church
(1) Reichenbach Church Books, page 235. There
is also a notation that Nicholas left for America in 1831. Nicholas’ name
was spelled a variety of ways during his life. His birth record lists him as
“Nickolas.” Later, the Lutheran minister in Reichenbach spelled his
name “Nicolaus” in the records, while the signature at the bottom spelled it “Nikolaus.” Upon arrival in America, the name was spelled “Nicholas.”
His last name was generally spelled “Preiss” in Germany and “Price” in America. (2) The records of the births of Johann Georg and Elisabetha Catharina are recorded in the Reichenbach
Church Book, pages 29 and 73, respectively. The birth date for Nicholas E. is
recorded in Hancock County Record of Death 4, page 74. Information on Elizabeth
is recorded in her death certificate from Hancock County, Ohio, dated March 8, 1915.
Other dates come from the 1850 and 1860 Censuses of Madison Township, Hancock County, Ohio. The censuses disagree about several children’s birth years.
(3) Reichenbach Church Books, page 16. Ella Gieg, a genealogist from Luetzelbach,
Germany, helped me with several translations and advice. (4) Anna Elizabeth’s birth is recorded in Reichenbach Church
Books, page 52. The Reimunds’ marriage is listed in “... wir ziehen
nach Amerika,” page 119. The German book - “... we are moving to
America” - contains letters from people who had emigrated from the Odenwald region to America. The book also contains a good amount of genealogical information about the survivors of the shipwreck that
the Prices experienced. It was compiled by Marie-Louise Seidenfaden and published
in 1988. (5) Information on the shipwreck comes from “History of the Saint
Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Jenera, Ohio.” This account is taken
almost verbatim from “The Tracht Family Tree,” pages 17 to 19. Information
on the early settlement of Hancock County and church activity also comes from the history of
St. Paul’s. (6) The Herald of Norfolk, Va., Sept. 19, 1831. Theron Arras of Columbus, Ohio, has done a tremendous amount of research on the shipwreck
and the families who survived it. He originally uncovered most of this information. (7) Information in this paragraph comes from a pamphlet written by descendants of
shipwreck survivors and members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Jenera. (8) “Naturalizations
From Circuit County Court Proceedings, Washington County, Pa.,” page 78. (9)
“History of Hancock County,” page 446. (10) The pamphlet is called
“The Shipwreck Story: A Supplement” and was compiled for the 150th anniversary of the shipwreck, which was held
at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Jenera.
(11) Hancock County Deed Book 56, page 280. (12) Shipwreck pamphlet. (13) From an English translation of “Odenwald Emigrants in Hancock County, Ohio,”
in the Geschichtsblaetter Kreis Bergstrasse, Band 19, 1986, compiled by Goldie E. Wilch and Heinz Bormuth. (14) Nicholas’ death listed in Hancock County Record of Death 2, page 30. Administration of estate is in Hancock County Probate Court Case No.
NICHOLAS and MARGARET PRICE
Nicholas E. Price was born March 6, 1836 in Ohio to Nicholas and Anna
Elizabeth (Reimund) Price. (1)
Married Margaret Tracht. (See below.)
John William, born March 19, 1860.
Adam, born Feb. 5, 1866.
George Henry, born Feb. 10, 1870.
Peter, born about 1874.
Emma, born about 1877.
William Edward, born December 1879.
Nicholas married Margaret Tracht on Feb. 17, 1859. (3) Margaret Tracht
was born in Ohio on Nov. 27, 1839, in Madison Township, Hancock County. She was
almost certainly the daughter Johann Philipp and Anna Katharina (Schaller) Tracht. (4)
In the 1860 Census, Nicholas is listed beside Margaret’s parents in Madison Township. The Prices probably lived on the Tracht’s property since Philip is listed as a “Farm Manager”
and Nicholas as a “Farm Laborer” and Philip is listed as owning real estate but Nicholas is not. Nicholas is listed as owning personal property valued at $200. His
household also contained Margaret and John, age 8 months.
The 1870 Census lists Nicholas E. Price as living in Madison Township, but doesn’t mention an occupation, which
is odd because everyone else in the household older than 10 has “Keeping house” or “Working on farm”
after their names. Perhaps Nicholas was incapacitated at this time.
In addition to farming, Nicholas owned a mill, according to information supplied by his grandson Elsworth Price Sr. (5)
“At one time, Grandpa Nicholas E. Price and Margaret (Tracht) Price
owned a grist mill or flour mill – just south of Arlington, take Waterloo Drive west to Eagle Creek. The Price farm was on the south side of the road and this was where Dad (George Henry Price) was raised. The mill was run by water power. A raceway
carried part of the water form the main stream to the water wheel; the wheel turned the machinery that ground the wheat to
make flour. I remember my mother saying that Nicholas never turned anyone away
empty-handed, not caring if they could pay or not.”
A newspaper reporter visited the site of the Price mill and interviewed Nicholas’ son Edward in 1952. The resulting story describes the mill, which had long since fallen into disrepair and was being used for
grain storage. (6)
“Although small, Waterloo, in Madison township, a half mile south and three miles west of Arlington, was a busy
place back in the mid-1800s. A saw mill, a grist mill, a general store and a
scale house for weighing cattle enroute to market constituted Waterloo’s business district. The village might have been called a one-man town. For it
all revolved around Edward Price’s father, Nicholas. It was he who ran
the mills, owned the general store and weighed the cattle for the farmers. It
was his oldest son, John, who rode horse back to get the mail for the little settlement. ...
“‘We always had good business on mail day,’ he (Edward Price) mused.
‘When the neighbors would see John approaching on his horse they’d flock in to the store. John would dump the contents of the mail pouch into a box and then the addresses on the letters and papers
would be read and the different people would step forward and claim their mail.’ ...
“The grist mill was built and operated by Martin Funk and was then called Funk’s mill. It was first put into operation in the early ‘50s. It
was a water mill, the shaft being perpendicular and three water wheels transferred the power to the machinery above. So elated were the people of that neighborhood at the prospect of having a grist mill
so close to home that they donated their time and labor in digging the mill race. ...
“The mill was bought my Mr. Price from Mr. Funk soon after it was in operation and, until his sons were old enough
to help, he ran it alone. The mill was a large one, two stories above the power
room. A large hand bell was in the building near the door. When a customer came he rang the bell to call the miller up from below or down from the upper floor.
“The old saw mill stood just south of the grist mill and was in use many years.
The Price family purchased the Funk home when they purchased the mills and the mill yard was in front of the house,
which otherwise was surrounded with a primeval forest typical of Hancock county in that long ago day. Mrs. Price remembers that for many years after she came there as a bride huge logs were strewn over the
“All that remains of this activity is a deep impression the logs made in the yard, after they were dragged there
by oxen. The mill itself is gone with its saw which Mr. Price described as ‘An
up and down saw – it worked so slowly it was up today and down tomorrow.’
“The grist mill was dismantled nearly 70 years ago. Peter Traucht
purchased the saw mill building, had it dismantled and removed to Arlington where it was rebuilt and steam power put in.”
The newspaper story also recounts Edward’s description of the general store: “‘This curved piece
of walnut,’ he pointed out, ‘is a corner of the original counter. Here
we sold square-headed cast iron nails, sulphur matches and beeswax. Over there
sat the whiskey barrel, and over there the cracker barrel. They dipped into the
whiskey barrel oftener than they did the cracker barrel,’ he laughed.” The
story later noted that some people claimed the village was named Waterloo “because so many men met their moral ‘waterloo’
at the spirits barrel in the general store during the early days of Hancock county.”
Today there is little evidence to indicate a thriving business center once existed at the site along Eagle Creek.
The Prices worshiped at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jenera.
Margaret died July 4, 1899. Her obituaries reads: “Mrs. Margaret
Price, of Arlington, met death Tuesday in a peculiar manner. She was preparing
to attend the Fourth celebration at Arlington, when she ruptured an ulcer on her limb, death resulting from a hemorrhage before
medical aid arrived.” (7)
Nicholas died March 28, 1910 of an “obstruction of bowels.” (8)
Nicholas’ obituary read as follows: “Nicholas Price, well known in this city and throughout this county,
of which he was for at least the last half century a resident, died at him home, two miles west of Arlington, Monday afternoon
at four o’clock, of Bright’s disease (a kidney disease) from which he had suffered for some time. Mr. Price was seventy-four years of age and had spent a large
part of his life upon his farm near Arlington. ...
“Since early youth Mr. Price has been a member of the German Lutheran church with which organization he was connected
at the time of his death. He was an earnest Christian worker and always had a
kind word for a friend.
“He was well like by his neighbors and had a wide circle of close friends.
Mr. Price was industrious and left as a monument to his industry a large farm on which he died.” (9)
The Prices are buried at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jenera.
(1) Hancock County Record of Death 4, page 74. Also
named as son in Nicholas Price’s papers of administration, Hancock County Probate Court Case No. 3380. (2) The birth date for Adam is listed on his death certificate
in Hancock County, Ohio, dated Sept. 28, 1938. George’s is listed in his
death certificate in Wyandot County, Ohio, dated Feb. 9, 1938. John’s is
listed on his death certificate in Hancock County, Ohio, dated Dec. 27, 1942. Other
children and approximate birth years come from 1880 Census of Hancock County, Ohio.
(3) Hancock County Marriage Record 3, page 503. (4) Date comes from Hancock
County Record of Death 2A, page 200. The previously mentioned marriage record
doesn’t mention the name of Margaret’s father. However, other evidence
strongly points toward Phillipp Tracht. “The Tracht Family Tree,”
Page 23, lists the same birth date for a Margaret who was the daughter of Johann Philipp Tracht. Philipp’s daughter was the only Margaret Tracht of the right age, in the area, at that time, according
to the 1850 Census for Hancock County. The 1880 Census for Hancock County says
Margaret Price’s parents were born in “Hess-Darm” - where Johann Philipp Tracht and his wife were born. Also, this Tracht family and the Prices attended the same church and lived near each
other. (5) Elsworth Price Sr. wrote
a letter concerning his parents and grandparents in 1990. (6) The Courier of
Findlay, Ohio, July 22, 1952. (7) Death record and obituary in July 6, 1899 edition
of Findlay Union. (8) Death record. Administration
of estate is in Hancock County Probate Court Case No. 9434. (9) The Republican
Jeffersonian, Thursday, March 31, 1910.
GEORGE and MARTHA PRICE
George Henry Price was born Feb. 10, 1870 in Madison Township, Hancock County, Ohio.
His parents were Nicholas E. and Margaret (Tracht) Price. (1)
Married Martha May Tracy on March 26, 1891. (2) Martha was born May 30,
1873 near Arlington in Hancock County. Her parents were Joel H. and Eliza (Beagle)
Louie Edward, born Oct. 17, 1891.
Lida M., born in 1892. Married Earl Pever.
Clara, born 1894.
Pearl LeRoy, born April 9, 1895.
Joel Nicholas, born Sept. 22, 1896.
Anna Belle, born 1898. Married a Wolford.
Marion, born August 1899.
Edna Marie, born 1901. Married Harvey Haas.
George Everett, born 1902.
Lester Robert, born 1905.
Elsworth Raymond, born 1907.
Francis Floyd, born 1914.
George was a farmer and worked various tracts in the Arlington area, according to his son, Elsworth, who described
his parents’ way of life in a letter written in 1990.
Things were difficult for the Prices in the early years.
“When Louie was just a small boy, eight or ten years old, he went to live with Bert Reinhart. Mr. Reinhart was a farmer and lived a couple miles north of
Arlington. I guess you could say Bert and his wife raised Louie. I remember my mother saying they would take Louie to the end of the dirt lane and leave him off, and Lou
would walk up the lane to the house, a distance of about one-half mile. It was
heart-breaking for them to leave him, my mother said, but with several kids and more coming it seem the best way, as we were
financially burdened. The Reinharts gave him a good home and were good to him.
“I (Elsworth) was born in Arlington in 1907. Dad worked for Bob
Dorney at the time. Mr. Dorney was a prominent farmer who lived just west of
Arlington. Dad worked on a hay bailer and bought hay.
“My father liked his drinks now and then, but Mother would not touch it.
This caused problems at times. When I was two years old, we lived about
three miles east of Arlington on one of Bob Dorney’s farms. We lived there
about four years. During that time Dad gave up drinking, or nearly so. He worked very hard and was in good financial shape.”
The 1910 Census lists George H. Price as a farmer who rented a farm in Delaware Township, Hancock County. In 1920, his is again listed as a farmer renting property in the same township.
Elsworth Price outlined the methods of farming used in the early 1900s.
“The following was a typical day on the farm while I was growing up. We
were living on the Abe Chase farm, three and one-half miles south of Mount Blanchard.
We lived on the same farm twice, once when I was five or six years old and again when I was 16 years old.
“In 1912, when I was five a typical day would begin about 6 a.m. We
had about 12 horses and approximately eight milk cows. Dad would feed the hogs,
Pearl would feed the horses, and Joe was in charge of the milking with Marion, Anna, Edna and George helping. I did not help with the milking until I was eight years old.
“The cows were milked, the milk was put through the separator - the milk came out one spout and the cream came
out another spout. The skimmed milk was fed to the hogs and the cream was put
in a cream can and stored in an upground cellar. A few days later it was taken
to town and sold. We churned butter for our own use. Sometimes Mother would make a roll of butter weighing six or seven pounds and sell it to the store.
“After breakfast and all chores were done in the morning, they were ready for a day in the fields. The first crop to be planted was corn. Dad used a two-row
planter and no fertilizer attachment. He checked the corn in such a way you could
plow it both ways: lenghtways and crossways. The
farm consisted of 240 acres. There were 40 acres of woods, and about 40
acres of pasture land along Potato Creek. This left about 160 acres off arm land. We planted about 60 acres of
corn, 30 acres of oats, 35 acres of hay and 35 acres of wheat. Most farmers used
a four-crop rotation: corn to wheat, wheat to hay, hay to oats and oats to corn.
“The corn was cut by hand and put into shocks. The corn was then
husked by hand and the fodder shocked and fed to the cattle.
“Wheat was cut by a wheat binder. The binder cut the wheat and put
it into bundles. The bundles were then shocked: ten in a shock and one on top
called the cap. You took one sheaf and spread it out for the cap. Later the sheaves were put through the threshing machine. In
the 1800s, before the threshing machine, the wheat was cut with a cradle and bound into bundles by hand. It was then threshed out by hand using a flail. A flail is
a wooden staff about four feet long, from the end of which another piece of wood about two feet long is tied with a rope and
hangs free. This is used for striking grain and thus threshing it by hand. The grain was spread out on the floor and beat
with the flail.
“Oats were reaped the same a wheat.
“Hay was mowed with a five- or six-foot mowing machine, left to dry two or three days, then loaded on a wagon
by a hay loader that was pulled behind the wagon. The hay was put into the hay
mow and later baled or fed to the animals.
“At noontime you unhitched the horses, tied them in their
stalls and fed them hay and grain. We ate dinner, then it was back to work in
the afternoon. About 6 p.m., the horses were unhitched, unharnessed and fed. Then they were turned out to pasture in the summertime or kept in their stalls in
“The milking was usually done just after the evening meal, the milk separated and the hogs fed. Work ended for the day.”
George farmed until about three years before his death in 1938, according to his obituary.
In the early years of the 20th century, the horse was still an important form of transportation as well as key to farming,
Elsworth Price explained.
“My dad never owned an automobile until Judy (Lester) and I were seniors in high school (1925). It was a used Model-T Ford and you had to crank it by hand. Dad
never drove an automobile. Before we got the Model-T, we used to drive a horse
and buggy to school at Mount Blanchard, which was three and one-half miles away. At noon we went to a nearby barn and fed the horse hay and corn.”
Religion played a mixed role in the Price family life, according to Elsworth Price.
“My father was a Lutheran. My mother was a Dunkard. The Lutheran church was located two miles west of Arlington. The
Dunkard church was near New Stark ... about six miles south of Arlington. The only way to travel was by horse and buggy.
To my knowledge, my parents did not attend church often. Mother did not
want to go to the Lutheran church. I don’t think my dad wanted to go to
the Dunkard church, so it was very difficult for them both. Mother saw to it
that we attended church regularly and all the children became Methodists.”
Martha’s obituary gives some more insight into her life and beliefs: “Mrs.
Price was converted in early youth and became a member of the Dunkard church.
In this denomination she lived a faithful and consistent Christian life, growing grace and goodness until the last
hours of her days on earth. ...”
“Unfortunately from her early married life, impaired health, home responsibilities, and excessive fleshy condition,
made it an impossibility for her to attend public church services and hindered her doing many other things she would have
delighted in doing. But she never lost her ambition. Many times she would sit and work when unable to stand.
“She was the ideal mother, giving her entire life unselfishly to properly caring for her children, spending a
part of the time reading good literature to them, being content to give all of her time and attention to her family.”
Martha died April 30, 1922. Her death certificate list the cause of death
as “Fatty degeneration of heart,” which is mentioned as a “family characteristic.”
In the 1930 Census, George H. Price, age 60, appears as a “Roomer” in a boarding house run by Olga Schwab
on North Main Street in Findlay, Hancock County, Ohio. Under “marital condition,”
a “D” is marked, which would normally indicate a divorce. He worked
as a laborer in a “Ditcher Factory.” [This seems to be “our”
George H. Price since he isn’t listed elsewhere and the age is right.]
George died May 9, 1938 in Richland Township, Wyandot County. His obituary
says he died at his son Pearl’s home. “He had been in ill health
for the last year and seriously so for the last five weeks from heart trouble.” George and Martha are buried at Houcktown
Cemetery near Mount Blanchard. (5)
(1) George’s death certificate in Wyandot County, Ohio, dated Feb. 9, 1938. Parents also named in “St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Jenera, Ohio, Church Record Book, 1891-1971.” Also named as son in Nicholas E. Price’s papers of administration, Hancock County
Probate Court Case No. 9434. (2) Hancock County Marriage Record 8, page 170. (3) Martha’s death certificate from Hancock County, Ohio, dated May 1, 1922. Some information on Martha is from an undated and unidentified newspaper. Parents also listed in 1880 Census, Hancock County, Ohio. (4)
Names of children and the daughter’s husbands are listed in the obituary of Louie E. Price, from an unidentified, undated
newspaper clipping. The birth dates of Louis, Joel, Marion and Pearl are recorded
on their World War I draft registration cards. However, Marion’s actual
birth day is illegible on the copy I have. Other dates are listed in George Price
family genealogy compiled by Bonnie Jean Almy Price of Findlay, Ohio. (5) George’s
obituary clipped from undated and unidentified newspaper.
LOUIE and FAYE PRICE
Louie Edward Price was born Oct. 17, 1891 in Arlington, Ohio, to George Henry and Martha May (Tracy) Price. (1)
Married Golda P. Sampson and later Faye Isabella McDaniel. (See below.)
Children of Louie and Golda: (2)
Thelma, born Feb. 22, 1916. Married Stanley C. Smith.
Dortha, born Oct. 12, 1918. First husband, Domer Oman, was killed in World
War II. He died Feb. 21, 1945 in Italy when serving with the 85th Infantry Regiment
of the 10th Mountain Division. (3) Second husband was Ralph Cole.
Children of Louie and Faye:
Thobern, born Sept. 28, 1923.
Lowanda Lou, born Jan. 8, 1939. Married the Rev. Theodore E. Bowers.
On Oct. 28, 1914, Louie married Golda P. Sampson. Golda was born Sept.
19, 1894, in Delaware Township, Hancock County, to Albert and Lucy (Hay) Sampson. (4)
On June 5, 1917, Louie registered for the draft for World War I. He listed
himself as a farmer living in Mount Blanchard with a wife and child. The form
also records that he was tall and of medium built and had blue eyes and light brown hair.
When he registered for the World War II draft on April 27, 1942, he was listed as 6 feet tall and weighing 200 pounds.(4a)
The 1920 Census lists Lewie E. Price as a farmer who was renting a farm in Delaware Township, Hancock County. His household contained Golda P.; Thelma, age 3 years, 11 months; Dortha, age 1 year,
3 months; and Edith E. Kirk, 17, who is listed as a lodger.
Louie bought his first car, a Model-T Ford, in about 1921 for $400. He
ordered the car in Columbus and had to take the train there to pick it up. He
then taught others in the area how to drive.
About this time, Golda became very ill, so a nurse was hired to care for her.
The nurse was Faye Isabella McDaniel.
Golda died March 24, 1922. Louie needed someone to care for his young
daughters because he couldn’t care for them and work at the same time. He
married Faye on May 15, 1922, with the blessings of Golda’s parents. (5) Louie
told Thelma and Dortha to refer to Golda as “Momma” and Faye as”Mother.”
Faye was born April 13, 1900 in Amanda Township, Hancock County, Ohio, to Thomas Calvin and Olive Elnora (Frederick)
McDaniel. (6) She studied nursing in Cleveland and completed her work Nov. 10,
1921 at the City Hospital School of Nursing. Caring for Golda was one of her
first jobs. (7)
Louie was a farmer until he and Faye started a livestock transportation business in the 1920s. They both drove livestock trucks to Cleveland and Faye did the accounting.
Louie later managed a cooperative stockyard and grain elevator.
The 1930 Census still shows Louie E. Price as a farmer renting a farm in Delaware Township. At this point, his household contained Faye, Thelma, Dortha, Thobern and Frances, Louie’s 16-year-old
In 1949, Louie bought a grocery store in Mount Blanchard. (8) He operated
Price Grocery for two years and Faye again did the books. They sold the store
when they decided it required too much additional effort.
After selling the store, Louie kept busy by farming a 40-acre plot until the early 1960s. (At one time, he also owned land in Mount Blanchard that had been owned by “Johnny Appleseed”
Chapman in the 1830s.)
Faye and Louie enjoyed raising and training horses. They owned matching
show horses and often went to rodeos to display their riding skills. Louie and his brothers sometimes staged their own private rodeos.
Louie also served on the Mount Blanchard Village Council and as a volunteer firefighter. Louie was a charter member of the Mount Blanchard Lions Club. (9)
Louie was a member of Mount Blanchard Methodist Church but didn’t usually attend worship services unless his
daughter Wanda was singing a solo with the choir. Louie read the Bible every
Sunday but believed that overly pious people were the least trustworthy and he could get close to God by spending time outdoors.
The Prices also enjoyed singing. Faye would play the piano and the children
would gather around to sing while Louie listened.
Both Louie and Faye were very reserved. However, they were very nice to
their grandchildren. Faye always had favorite treats on hand and Louie took them
to the stockyards and the zoo to see the animals.
Louie died Nov. 18, 1968, in Findlay.
His obituary notes that “Mr. Price had been ill several years and seriously ill for the past three weeks.” Faye died Nov. 18, 1979 in Findlay. They
are buried at Pioneers’ Repose Cemetery in Houcktown, outside Mount Blanchard. (10)
(1) “St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church,
Jenera, Ohio, Church Record Book, 1891-1971.” Unless noted, information comes from interviews with Lowanda Bowers, Thelma
Smith and Thobern Price. (2) Obituaries clipped from unidentified, undated
newspapers and funeral books from Louie and Faye. Dates provided by Lowanda Bowers. (3) Obituary clipped from unidentified, undated newspaper. (4) Hancock County Marriage Record 14, page 538. (4a) The
World War I draft registration is available at the National Archives website at archive.gov and the World War II registration
is available at familysearch.org. (5) Hancock County Marriage Record 16, page
561. (6) Unpublished McDaniel genealogy.
(7) Faye McDaniel’s Certificate of Education in Nursing. (8) “Mount
Blanchard Sesquicentennial 1830-1980,” page 33. (9) Obituary clipped from
unidentified newspaper. Lions information comes from “Mount Blanchard Sesquicentennial,”
Page 102. (10) Louie’s will is in Hancock County Probate Court Case No.