Krotzer: The First American Generations

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German and Pennsylvania Ancestors § Krotzer Maternal Line § Eisenhour § Miller / Mueller § Schellhammer / Schöllhammer § Krotzer Paternal Line § Klingler § Krotzer/Kratzer § Move to Ohio § Kratzers in the Civil War § John F. Krotzer

German and Pennsylvania Ancestors – circa 1700-1830

The Krotzer family roots spread broadly in 17th– and 18th-century Germany and are traceable back at least six generations into the late 1600s. Alfred Casander Krotzer (1873-1952) might be considered the patriarch of the Ohio Krotzers (his biography is detailed below). Most of his 4th and 5th great-grandparents were natives of southwest Germany between Barweiler to the north and Weingarten to the south. Many hailed from the Baden-Württemburg region of Germany, near Stuttgart, about 170 miles east of the border with France. Some of the other “native” cities included Contwig, Lörch, Hof, Pfahlbronn, Oberbronn, Weschnitz, Freudenstadt, and Baunach.

Thanks to the Teutonic penchant for record-keeping, scores of Krotzer ancestors can be identified by name along with place and dates of birth and death. Beyond those rudimentary facts, though, there are little data to construct a biographical sketch for each of these bygone relatives. In lieu of a tedious recitation of birth and death dates, I have included here four abbreviated “family trees” for Alfred Krotzer’s paternal and maternal great grandparents to supplement the ancestral narrative that follows.

A Note on Names

I transcribe personal names here as they appear in original documents, sometimes having to decide among multiple variations. It is very common to see names like John, Johan, Johann, Johannes, and the like referring clearly to the same person. I choose one that appears in an original source, if available, or one that seems to be most often transcribed by researchers before me. These kinds of dissimilitude’s are no less frequent for some surnames.

Rheinland-Pfalz Ancestors

The region bordering Luxembourg, Belgium and France and along the banks of the Rhein River was the homeland of many 17th-century Krotzer ancestors. Now known as Rheinland-Pfalz, it was the motherland of countless Palatine families who joined the great migration to North America. There is scant documentation for these families. Then as now the Rhineland was a fertile agricultural center and extant records suggest these forebearers were indeed farmers. Lacking the land holdings, wealth, political entanglements and bellicose tendencies of the Jackson English and Norman ancestors of the period, their genealogical records are limited almost exclusively to birth, baptism, marriage and death dates.

Krotzer Maternal Lineage

Some genealogies suggest that the oldest Rhineland Jackson ancestors are likely Johann Jacob Weill (1630-1697) and his wife Anna Margaretha Ruehl (1630-1720). They were both natives of Neider-Hilbersheim, Germany, just south-west of Mainz, an area famous now as it was then for its viniculture. The correct names and dates of their parents and children have not been indubitably established but it is rather certain that their grandson, Johann Heinrich Reidenbauch (1697-1762)[1] was the first of this familial line to migrate to America. He sailed from Rotterdam on the ship Glasgow with wife, Anna Appolonia Riegel (1700-1769), and eight children, disembarking in Philadelphia in September of 1738. In Germany, Heinrich was a “farmer and vineyardist”; in America he took up the trade of weaver. These are Bonnie Jackson’s 5th great-grandparents.

The Reidenbach children settled in Berks County, Pennsylvania, except for third son Adam Radabaugh (1725-1806), who sometime in the late 1760’s moved his family southwest to an agricultural area in what today is Hard County, West Virginia.[2] Heinrich and Anna Applonia’s daughter, Anna Maria Radebach (1732-1976), married Palatine immigrant, Johan Nicolaus Haag (1733-1797). Their daughter, Maria Elizabeth Haag (1759-1839) wed Peter Klingler (1756-1833) in 1781. They are the parents of Rebecca Klingler —Bonnie Jackson’s 2nd great-grandmother—, who married into the Krotzer line in 1828 (see Krotzer Paternal Line below).


The Eisenhour branch of the family[3] finds early relatives as far back as the mid-1500s in Germany and Switzerland with surnames like Strubel, Waltz, Bucher, Wueck, Hofferbert, and Meyer. Most were natives of the region in or adjoining the Rhineland Palatinate in southwestern Germany. The oldest documented European Eisenhauer ancestor is Hans Nicholas Eisenhauer (1600-1671), a native of Eiterbach, Germany, a municipality just north-east of Heidelberg. Hans Nicholas and his wife Margaretha Hofherbert (1604-1671) are Bonnie Jackson’s 8th great-grandparents.[4] Like the later Clink and Krotzer generations, they had very large families.

Hans Nicholas’ grandson, Hans Nicholaus Eisenhauer (1691-1759), Bonnie’s 6th great-grandfather, a blacksmith, was among the thousands of German families that emigrated to America between 1710 and 1765. He was already fifty years old when in the fall of 1741 he took his wife and three children by boat or raft up the Rhine River to Rotterdam, then after a brief stop in England, sailed for Philadelphia on the ship Europa, arriving on November 17. Their journey was recorded as an especially tortuous one, lasting more than three months. The passage was so taxing that the captain of the ship died during the trip. What prompted people to uproot their families and undertake such a daring and perilous transition? One historian provides some context for this journey:

Economic conditions in the Odenwald during the century preceding Hans Nicolaus’s emigration were hopelessly unstable. The Thirty Year’s War, 1618-1648, which began as a struggle between Catholic and Protestant rulers, became a struggle for sheer power and economic advantage. Mercenary soldiers from any and every region roved through the German empire like so many wolves, robbing inhabitants, burning their towns, and ruining their fields. No region suffered worse that did the Odenwald. After enduring the devastation of war, many residents died of a terrible plague, only the sturdiest survived.[5]

Once established in the Colony, Hans Nicholas settled in what is now Bethel Township, Berks County. He acquired 168 acres of land near Fredericksburg and became a successful farmer.

Johannes Eisenhauer (1727-1789) (Bonnie’s 5th great-grandfather) accompanied his father on the 1741 Atlantic crossing. He married twice and may have been the father of as many as eighteen children. His brother, Martin Eisenhauer (1727-1760), was injured in an Indian attack in December of 1759 and died shortly thereafter. He too was a blacksmith by trade and was at the time referred to a “Iron Cutter” in documents. Following his death, his wife and sons joined other relatives in North Carolina. Martin is the great-great-grandfather of President Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969). Johannes was reportedly a firm believer in astrology.

Charles and Lydia Eisenhour

George Phillip Eisenhauer (1754-1828). Bonnie’s 4th great-grandfather, married twice, and fathered sixteen children (including two sets of twins), the last born when he was 66 years old. He also was a blacksmith.

Martin Eisenhauer (ca. 1795-ca. 1859), Bonnie’s 3rd great-grandfather, carried on the family tradition of blacksmithing. I note that a probably distant relative of this Eisenhauer clan, Pittsburgh native William J. Eisenhauer (1863-1911), was still carrying on the blacksmith trade at the turn of the century.

Martin’s son, and Bonnie’s 2nd great-grandfather, Charles Eisenhour (1816-1894), moved from Berks County, Pennsylvania to Butler County, Ohio in 1835, and then on to Wood County in 1843 where he was active in civic affairs. Charles married Lydia “Lettie” Miller (1824-1902), whose family had also migrated from Berks County in 1843. The Eisenhauer farmstead was nearly adjacent to the of another recent Pennsylvania émigré, Daniel Kratzer (see Krotzer/Kratzer, below). They continued the propensity for large families producing twelve children between 1824 and 1869. It was the second of these offspring, Susanna Eisenhour (1845-1885) who married into the Krotzer family in 1867 (see the John F. Krotzer section, below).


The Eisenhour line had quite a proclivity for military service.

  • Johan Peter Eisenhour (1727-1789), Hans Peter’s son, was a Revolutionary War veteran, serving in the Lancaster (Pennsylvania) County Militia.
  • Martin Eisenhauer (ca. 1795-ca. 1859) served in Company B of the Pennsylvania Militia in the War of 1812.
  • The most renowned of the family’s warriors, however, was President Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969), Hans Nicholaus’ 3rd great grandson.

I wish my father, Paul, had known about this family connection to President Eisenhower. Dad was an enthusiastic supporter of “Ike.” I recall him taking me to see the President at some kind of campaign-like speech in downtown Toledo, probably in the fall of 1954 or 1955.[6]


The Miller/Mueller ancestors are difficult to confidently establish. One cluster of Millers/Muellers are traceable back to about 1600 to towns in southwest Germany around Württemberg. The first immigrant to the Colonies seems to have been Christian Mueller (1670- ?), a native of the Rhineland, who sailed from Rotterdam on the ship Joyce disembarking in Philadelphia with his wife and three children in September of 1730.[7] However, I have been unable to determine with certainty that these are the ancestors of Lydia Miller (1824-1902) (Bonnie’s 2nd great-grandmother), who married into the Eisenhour family around 1840 (see Eisenhour just above). Records clearly establish that Lydia was the daughter of George W. Miller (1776-1858) and Mary A. Schellhammer (1776-1865) and that George was the son of Henry Miller (1756-1824) and Elizabeth Stahler (1754-1827), Bonnie’s 4th great-grandparents). Both of these couples were among the early settlers of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Earlier Miller lineages are too murky to trust although a few family trees suggest that Henry Miller’s father was John Andrew Miller (1717-1792) (Bonnie’s 5th great-grandfather), characterized by one historian as an annoying neighbor and an “abusive drunk who fell to his death.”



The Schöllhammers (and Höfers and Lutzs) were natives of the area just a bit east of Württemberg, Germany, from towns like Ilsfeld, Lörch and Pfahlbronn. Hans Georg Schöllhammer (1727-1797) journeyed to America aboard the Richard and Mary, landing in Philadelphia in September of 1753. He was accompanied by his wife, Anna Margaretha Lutz (1728-1798), and their three children, ages 7, 5 and 3. The family eventually acquired some 300 acres of property in Penn Township, approximately 35 miles west of Philadelphia. Their son, George Schellhammer, Jr. (1750-1780), was killed on September 11, 1780 in a famous French and Indian War skirmish known as the “Sugarloaf Massacre.” The last of the Schöllhammers in the Krotzer family tree was Mary A. Schellhammer (1776-1865) who married George W. Miller (1776-1858), Bonnie’s 3rd great-grandfather. Both families lived in Pennsylvania until 1843. It’s not known what circumstances impelled them to move to Ohio, but the 1850 U.S. Census shows Hans Georg and Anna Margaretha living in Freedom Township, Ohio, on farmland adjacent to their daughter, Lydia, and son-in-law, Charles Eisenhour.

Georg, Anna Margaretha, and Georg, Jr. are buried, along with several other descendants, in Zions Stone Church Cemetery, New Ringgold, Pennsylvania. Part of their land eventually became the village of Schellhammersville, today commemorated by an historical marker in West Penn Township.[8] Charles Eisenhour and Lydia Miller are both buried in the Eisenhour Cemetery in Pemberville, Ohio.

Krotzer Paternal Lineage

On the paternal side, Krotzer roots can be traced back to early 18th-century Germany through two families: the Krotzers (and earlier, Kratzer) and the Klinglers.


Alfred Krotzer’s paternal grandmother (and Bonita Billick’s 4th great-grandmother), Rebecca Klingler (1807-1883), had roots back to Johan George Kling (1653-1716), a native of Contwig, Germany, a hamlet adjacent to Zweibrücken, just a few miles north of the French border. Johan Georg’s grandson, Theobald Klinger (1714-1788), came to North America on the ship Friendship in September of 1738 accompanied by his wife of eleven months, Maria Catharine Gölbert (1714- ?). The couple passed some months in Philadelphia where Maria Catharine gave birth to their son, John Klingler (1738-1787),[9] among the first Krotzer ancestors born in the New World. They later settled in Berks County. John Klingler married Anna Maria Duegener (1735-1802) around 1753.[10] Tax records show that John possessed a few horses, cows and sheep and farmed about 25 of the 100 acres of their land holdings along the Tulpehocken Creek just west of Reading. John served in the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment during the Revolutionary War from roughly 1777 to January 17, 1781.

John and Anna Maria’s third son, Peter Klingler (1756-1833), was born in June of 1756 in Berks County. As a young man, Peter served as a private in the 2nd-Batallion of the Berks County Militia guarding prisoners in the Reading area. This was most likely the well-documented Hessian POW camp.[11] In March of 1781, he married Maria Elizabeth Hoag/Haag (1759-1839), the granddaughter of German immigrants. Their marriage produced twelve children. Rebecca was the last of these, born when her mother was forty-seven and her father fifty years old. Peter and Elizabeth spent their final years in Union County, Pennsylvania, where they and several of their sons worked adjacent farms. They are both buried in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Kratzerville, Pennsylvania.[12]


The oldest Krotzer ancestor for whom records are available might be one Egydius Kratzer ( 1677-?).[13] His son, Johan Philip Kratzer (1695-1788), Bonnie Jackson’s 5th great-grandfather, was the first Krotzer to come to America. Born in Heidelberg, Germany, he arrived in Philadelphia in September of 1737 on the ship Snow Molly with his wife Elizabeth Dauber (1694-1745) and son, Johan George Frederich Kratzer (1727-1803).[14] Johan George married another German immigrant, Anna Maria Dorstlinger (1734-1780)[15] and it was their son, Daniel, who moved the Kratzers from Pennsylvania to Ohio.

Daniel Kratzer (1774-1853),[16] was born in Allen Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Daniel first married in 1796 but his wife’s name has not been recorded. They had three children: Magdalena Kratzer (1797- ?), Samuel Kratzer (1799-1862) and Peter Kratzer (1801-1878). He was granted 247 acres of land in Northumberland County (now called Snyder County) where he lived and farmed. His wife passed away in 1801 or 1802. Daniel then married the daughter of another German immigrant, Pennsylvania-born Anna Maria Spangler (1780-1837), in April of 1803. Daniel and Anna Maria (sometimes referred to as Mary), had four children: Joseph Kratzer (1804-1839), John F. Kratzer (1808-1848), an unnamed son who died at age 8, and Isaac Kratzer (1818-1904).[17]

Move to Ohio – 1831

For unknown reasons, Daniel Kratzer moved his family from Pennsylvania to eastern Ohio in 1831, settling first in Columbiana County, just across the state line, about 14 miles south of Youngstown. Daniel’s sons migrated farther west into Sandusky and Wood Counties in 1834 and Daniel also obtained tracts of land in Woodville Township in 1835 and 1837. Daniel lived out his years in Sandusky County where he died on May 31, 1853, at age 78.

Deaths and remarriages then take a novel genealogical path. One of Daniel’s sons, Joseph Krotzer, Sr. (1804-1839), married Rebecca Klingler (1807-1883) in 1828. They had five children in ten years: William Heinrich Krotzer (1828-1904), Joseph Krotzer, Jr. (1831-1898), Peter King Krotzer (1833-1922), Rebecca Krotzer (1835-1892), and Isaac Ervin Krotzer (1838-1923). When Joseph Sr. died in 1839, Rebecca became a widowed mother of five at the age of 32. Rebecca then married John Krotzer (1808-1848), her deceased husband’s younger brother and, formerly, her brother-in-law. The marriage produced three more children, John F. Krotzer (1841-1934), Mary Ann Krotzer Sanders (1844-1921), and Leah Elizabeth Krotzer Henline (1846-1910) before John also passed away at just 40 years of age, leaving Rebecca a widow for the second time at age 42. Rebecca lived another thirty-four years, residing with her children (mostly with Isaac), until her death in 1883 at age 76. She is buried along with her two husbands in the Eisenhour Cemetery in Pemberville.

Kratzers in the Civil War

It appears that none of the direct Kratzer/Krotzer ancestors of Dorothy Krotzer and Bonnie Billick fought in the Civil War, but several members of the Brown County Ohio branch of the family served in that conflict. A particularly poignant vignette of the era are the children of James Madison Kratzer (1810-1854) and Temperance Pindell (1815-1876), distant uncles of the Freedom Township, Wood County, John F. Krotzer, who will be mentioned immediately below. Five of their sons were Union soldiers. Wilson Kratzer (1841-1862) was just 21 years old when he enlisted in the 48th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 1862. Tragically, the tall, brown-eyed lad was killed during the first day of the Battle of Shiloh, in Tennessee, on April 6, 1862.

At least six Kratzer relatives fought in various Pennsylvania regiments and one of them also became a war casualty. John Clay Kratzer (1839-1862), a native of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, died in the Battle of Bull Run on August 30, 1862.

John F. Krotzer

John F. Krotzer

Two prominent Pennsylvania pioneer family lines joined with the union of John F. Krotzer (1841-1934) and Susannah (“Susan”) Eisenhour (1845-1885) in 1867. Bonnie’s great-grandfather, John F. Krotzer, illustrates the characteristics of the Krotzer males: short and robust in physique, hard-working, long-lived and a prolific producer of children. John’s two wives bore him twelve children in twenty years, including twins Martha and Lester born in 1877. Their child-bearing was not without tragedy, however. Their first daughter died at birth in 1868. Daughter, Cary Amelia Krotzer (1880-1884), died before her fourth birthday. And daughter Cora May Krotzer (1884-1885) died at age 8 months. One obituary remembers John thus:

He was jovial in disposition and well-liked by his many friends and acquaintances.  His fondness for children and his pains to please them were among his distinguishing characteristics.

John suffered a very difficult year-and-one-half period beginning with the death of his mother Rebecca Klingler (1807-1883) in December of 1883.   Two months later, his four-year-old daughter, Cary Amelia died. Daughter Cora May was born three days before Christmas of 1884. Exactly three months later, Susanna passed away at age 39, leaving John a widower with eight children between the ages of fourteen and three months. A final tragedy stuck the family with the death of baby Cora May, not yet eight months old.

John remarried in September of 1886, to widow Lucy Keller Bowe (1851-1923), adding two stepsons to the Krotzer household. She bore three more sons with John. There’s an odd footnote to Lucy’s bio-graphy. In May of 1888, a probate judge declared her insane and she was sent for treatment at the “Ohio Hospital for the Insane” in Toledo.[18] But in 1900 Census, recorded in June of that year, she appears living back in the Krotzer home in Freedom Township. She is listed in the Krotzer home in the 1910 and 1920 Censuses as well. She is interred with husband John in a plot in the Bradner Cemetery just off US-23 south of Pemberville. John’s first wife, Susannah, is buried in about four miles to the north, in the Eisenhour Cemetery, in Pemberville.


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[1] There are many variants of this surname: Radabaugh, Rodebaugh (certainly just a mis-transcription) Radebach, Reidenbach, Radebach, Rathebach. And as seen elsewhere, many males bore “Johann” as their first given name.
[2] As colonial families grew in size, subdividing farmlands among sons became impractical. Adam was part of a group of German settlers from Berks County to seek their own properties further west.
[3] Developing an Eisenhauer genealogy is challenging. First there are the many surname permutations and the repetition and variations in given names. Secondly, there are a handful of Eisenhauers in the 14th and 15th centuries but their relationships are not all that clear. Thirdly, they were a prolific lot remarrying two and three times and often spawning broods of a dozen or more offspring. In addition to the Pennsylvania clan there was a large branch in North Carolina and later Kansas.
[4] Hans is often an alternate form of Johan or Johannes; a large number of Eisenhauer males bear some version of “John” as a first or middle name. Adding to the genealogical challenge are the surname variations: Eisenhauer, Eisenhour, Eisenhouer, Eisenhower, Eisenhouwer, Isenor, Icenhour, etc. The name is derived from Old German words meaning literally “iron cutter.”
[5] Heinz F. Friederichs, “The Eisenhower Genealogy: A Post Script.” In Genealogies of Pennsylvania Families from the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine. Arnold Hertzel, ed. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1982), p. 459. There were cycles of plague outbreaks in 17th-century Europe that rivalled the infamous Black Death outbreak of the 1300s. The outbreak of 1623-1632 included the Rhineland region referred to here.
[6] Documents from the Eisenhower Presidential Library show DDE made a stop in Toledo in mid-November of 1954.
[7] There are numerous “Muellers” listed in the many Palatine passenger lists for this period so it is impossible to be fully certain this is the great-great grandfather of Lydia Miller. Nearly every ship arriving from Rotterdam during this period had one or more Mueller/Muller/Miller passengers. See Rupp 1898 in Sources.
[8] Pennsylvania phone directories are full of “Schellhammer” surnames.
[9] Called “Johannes Henrick” in some documents.
[10] Birth dates for both John and Anna are uncertain. family trees also give 1743 as the year of their marriage, surely an error as both Anna and John would have been eight years old at the time. Since their first son was born in 1754, I estimate a wedding date around 1753-54.
[11] This former prisoner camp is now a trendy neighborhood east of central Reading called “Hessian Camp.” An estimated 5,000 Hessian troops remained in the Colonies after the end of the War in 1783.
[12] Kratzerville, a little community straddling Pennsylvania highway 204, about 40 miles north of Harrisburg, is named after Daniel’s cousin, (yes, another) Daniel Kratzer (1798-1869).
[13] This unusual name is a shortened form of the Greek “Aegidius,” modernized to “Giles” and meaning “wearer of goatskin,” referring to a hermit or holy man. It is more common as a surname,
[14] In some documents called simply Frederich or Frederick. Many Kratzer males bore the Christian name Johan and were more commonly referred to by their second given name.
[15] This surname has several variants such as, Dorfflinger, Dörstlinger, Dörsflinger.
[16] Also called John Daniel Kratzer.
[17] The Kratzers/Krotzers were/are generally a long-lived group. I have found no explanation for the early passing of these few males.
[18] Later referred to as Toledo State Hospital the facilities had just opened in January of 1888.
{last update: 3-Mar-2020}