Alfred Krotzer and Tillie Clink

On this page…Alfred Casander Krotzer § Matilda Mae Clink § Clink & Krotzer Oil Men

“Al” Krotzer and “Tillie” Clink are Bonnie Billick’s maternal grandparents.

Two  prominent Pennsylvania pioneer family lines joined with the union of John F. Krotzer (1841-1934) and Susannah (“Susan”) Eisenhour (1846-1885) in 1867.

Alfred Casander Krotzer

When their son, Alfred Casander Krotzer (1873-1952), was born on June 23, 1873, in Pemberville, Ohio, his father was 31 and his mother was 27.  Alfred was the eighth of his father’s fourteen children. His mother, Susan, was a native of Pennsylvania. Al was not quite 12 when Susan died leaving his father to care for five youngsters ages 7 to 14. His father remarried in 1887, to Lucy Anna Keller (1851-1923), a Pemberville area native. It was her second marriage as well, having had three children by her first husband. John Krotzer passed away in November of 1934. He is buried with Lucy Anna in the Bradner Cemetery, just off U.S. Route 23, about ten miles south of Woodville.  Al’s mother, Susannah, is buried in the Eisenhour Cemetery, in Pemberville.

What about that name? There are no obvious ancestral links to explain the origin of either Alfred’s first or middle name. “Casander” is of Spanish or Greek origin, an alternate form of the name of a king of Macedonia, contemporary of Alexander the Great. The name does not appear explicitly in the Bible but is alluded to in the Old Testament Book of Daniel (chapter 8, verse 8) describing the demise of Alexander’s empire. It is an unusual but not unheard of 19th-century name, and still appears nowadays, often in the Southern region of the U.S.

Youth and Family

Nothing is known about Alfred’s childhood or schooling though he may have attended either the local public school or the nearby Solomon Lutheran School, in Woodville. He married Matilda Mae “Tillie” Clink on November 10, 1897, in Ohio. The Clink and Krotzer families were close neighbors, perhaps even residing on adjacent farm plots; so, in a sense, Alfred married the girl next door. Their first child, Dorotha, was born in 1899 and by the following year (more of Dorotha, below), Al and Matilda had their own home next door to Caleb and Addie Clink, Al’s father and mother-in-law; and not far from Jacob Clink, Matilda’s uncle.  By then, Alfred was already established in his life-long profession of oil driller for the Sun Oil Company.

Over the next twenty-one years, Matilda bore twelve more children; eight boys and four girls. The last, Paul Wallace Krotzer (1921-2002), was born when “Tillie” was forty-two years old. By February of 1921, the Krotzers had twelve children living in their Gibsonburg home at 205 Patterson Street.[1]

Al registered for the draft in 1918 but never served. He suffered from diabetes the last few years of his life and eventually succumbed to a cerebral hemorrhage on September 16, 1953. He was buried at the Eisenhour Cemetery. He was 80 years old.

Matilda Mae “Tillie” Clink (1878-1962) was born on September 22, 1878, in Woodville, Ohio, the oldest of five siblings. Her father, Reuben, was 26, and her mother, Adelaide, was 19. It’s likely she passed her entire life in the confines of the Pemberville-Woodville-Gibsonburg area. Records suggest “Tillie” had no formal education. She married Alfred Casander Krotzer on November 10, 1897 at the age of 19. They had 13 children in twenty-one years. In ill health for some ten years, Matilda died on April 29, 1962, in Pemberville, Ohio, at the age of 83. At the time of her death, she had thirty-eight great grandchildren.  She is buried alongside her husband at the Eisenhour Cemetery on Bradner Road in Pemberville, Ohio.[2]

Ohio Oil Boom

Oil was first extracted in southeast Ohio in 1859. By 1865, an investor named John D. Rockefeller had wells in the northern parts of the state near Cleveland. In the 1880s, major reserves were found along a major fault line between Lima and Toledo, encompassing all of Wood County. By 1909, U.S. oil production was greater than that of the rest of the world combined and Ohio ranked fifth among oil-producing states, behind Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and California.[3]

Clink & Krotzer Oil Men

Once the Clink and Krotzer ancestors got their initiation into the oil business in Ohio, several of them followed the petroleum industry expansion in other regions.

Wood County Oil Field, 1885
  • Caleb Clink’s grandson, Lester Wilson Clink(1880-1946), initially labored in the Ohio fields before moving on to petroleum operations in Los Angeles, California, around 1920,[4] and lived there until his death in 1946. Another grandson, Claud Clink (1876-1949), followed a similar path from oil well pumper in Gibsonburg to Los Angeles.
  • Alfred Krotzer had a life-long career as an oil driller for Sun Oil Company and worked the wells in Muskegon County, Michigan for a few seasons as well.
  • Several of Alfred’s brothers were oil field laborers. Younger brother, Samuel Krotzer (1871-1946), spent his whole career in the northwest Ohio fields. Lester Krotzer  (1877-1938) worked briefly in the oil fields as well before moving on to the lime plant.  Morgan Krotzer (1881-1968) and Clayton Samuel “Clete” Krotzer (1889-1966) headed for the burgeoning petroleum industry in Oklahoma (around 1910 or so) and remained there the rest of their lives.[5]
  • Al’s first son, Wayne W. Krotzer, Sr. (1900-1973) probably had his first job working alongside his father in the Ohio wells before moving on to a position in the National Gypsum Company plant in Gibsonburg.

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[1] The 1920 Census has the Krotzers at 205 Webster Street. This seems like it must be a mistake. They are placed at 205 Patterson Street on the 1910 and 1930 Censuses and the house numbers for Webster Street don’t extend as far as those listed on the 1920 Census pages. A newspaper account of a 50th wedding anniversary in 1947 notes that they lived at the Patterson Street address for over 45 years.
[2] The Eisenhour Cemetery was established by the family of Susannah Eisenhour Krotzer (Alfred Krotzer’s mother) in 1841.
[3] “Oil Industry” at Accessed 26 January 2018.
[4] The first well in California had been drilled in 1892.
[5] There’s an interesting aside to Clayton Krotzer’s biography. His son, Clayton Samuel, Jr. (1924-2012), married Oklahoma native, Ramona Sue Spess (1931-2016). When the coupled divorced, Ramona Sue acquired twenty-two oil leases. She set up her own oil production company, Candy Oil, and became a very successful owner-manager.
{last update: 3-Mar-2020}