I created this website for my cousins so they can enjoy what I have learned about our Frantz/France family. It has been a wonderful and rewarding experience for me to see where our family has lived, meet other France family members and share family history with the other France family researchers. There are 2 books about early Schoharie co. New York history, one by Jeptha Simms, the other by William Roscoe, which can be found on the Schoharie co. GenWeb page. I encourage you to read through them to find more about Sebastian and the life and times of that period. They are great books and you can use the site's search function to bring up all the information about the France family.
My intent with this webpage is to just give you a quick overview of who our family is. Most of the information is supported by sources and where I have used "UKN" means unknown and the information is not supported by fact or not known at this time. Some information has not been proven but is generally accepted by other researchers so I have used that information freely. In the generations lists I have included basic information only. To save space I have used the following: "b" for born, "d" for died and "m" to indicate marriage with m and a number, ie. m1, meaning the first marriage, m2 = second marriage etc.
I hope you all enjoy looking through this very small twig of our family tree. My thanks and warm hugs to all you cousins who have shared information, and your research with me to make this possible. You probably still have headaches from me "pickin" your brain; you know who you are. I hope this page will continue to grow so check back on it every now and then. You never know what you might find. Enjoy. Your cousin, PeterAnn
Rev. Henry Haines France
Dow Gardner France
Henry David France
Grant C. France
Old Stone Fort Museum
Sebastian Frantz was born in Wurtemburg, Germany on 4 October, 1732. On June 6,1752, at the age of 19 he married Maria Magdalena "Anna" Fretz. Sebastian could read and write. Considering the history of the area at that time, one of war and devastation on a huge scale, I find that amazing! His German family bible, which he brought to America has his name printed in large letters and contains his family record. He also inscribed these words in it which translate from the German, "The blood of Jesus Christ the son of God makes me clean from all my sins." His bible was donated to the Old Stone Fort Museum in Schoharie, Schoharie co. New York. Sebastian owned the first bible in the town of New Durlach which he read for the congregation until their church was built and they could get a permanent minister.
Sebastian and Anna have not been found on any ships passanger lists but it is known they landed in New York in October, 1753. Their first child, Maria Magdalena, was born October 1753 on the ocean. Church records from the Reformed Church of New Rhinebeck, Dutchess co., New York state she was baptised on 24 October, 1753. This record gives a birthdate of 14 October, 1753. (Note: Sebastian's bible gives her date of birth as 20 October, 1753.)
Their party, which included Anna's brother Ernst Fretz and two brothers, Michael and Christopher Merckley, then proceeded up the Hudson river to Albany. From there Sebastian went west into what was then considered the Frontier to find a suitable place to settle and decided on the area which is now Schoharie county. Anna and others in their party remained that winter in Albany and in the spring of 1754 Sebastian sent word and they proceeded to their new home at New Durlach, now called Seward. Sebastian and Anna's second child, Ernst Christopher, was born on March 12, 1755, the first white child born in New Durlach. Their family grew to 12 children; 6 girls and 6 boys. Except for Maria born at sea, all were born at the homestead and all were brought up in the Lutheran religion. Sebastian was instrumental in the formation of the New Rhinebeck Lutheran Church which was erected in 1760.
During the Revolutionary War Sebastian's named was on the list as having served in Capt. Jacob Miller's Company; as Private, Albany Co. Militia and served on the Committee of Safety. In October 1780 a party of Indians and Tories raided the Schoharie Valley. Being a Whig (pro independance) in a mostly Loyalist (pro English) area, Sebastian was one person in particular that the raiders were looking for. On October 18, 1780 the raiding party killed Michael Merckley and his niece Catharine who was affianced to Sebastian's son Christopher. They then made their way to Sebastian's house. Sixteen year old John was killed and the barn and 2 large storehouses called "barracks" each 100 feet in diameter, were burned to the ground. John had been tomahawked. His body was buried on the homestead. Anna and the younger children had fled after the raid and spent 3 days and nights in the woods on Gravel Mountain just east of the village of Seward. Another son, Henry age 13, had also been taken prisoner to be killed and scalped but he had escaped. When the family was back together, Sebastian took them to Watervliet, near Albany, until the close of the war. He then returned to his land and re-established himself. Some of the original land purchased in 1754 is still in the France family. All that remained of Sebastians'original homesite on the banks of the Westkill in 1989 were stones from the old foundation. Just 10 years later the overgrowth was so thick I was not able to find them.
Sebastian Frantz prepared his will in 1801. He gave each of his sons a portion of his land except for Jacob. Jacob had settled an area called France's Corners. It later was called Cobleskill Center and in the 1860's was named Mineral Springs which it is still called today. Each brother was to pay a sum to Jacob for their share of what would have been his. The sisters were also given payment in lieu of land. Sebastian died in 1805. Anna died 11 years later in 1816. At the time of his death Sebastian and Anna were living with their son Lorentz on the old Philip Crysler farm. Crysler was a known Tory during the Revolution and his farm had been confiscated and sold. Sebastian and Anna were both buried on that farm. On November 20, 1891 Gilbert G. France, a son of Henry and grandson of Sebastian, had John, Sebastian and Anna exhumed from their graves and reinterred in Zion Rural Cemtery, Seward Center, Schoharie county, New York.
France monument. Zion Rural Cemetery
I do not have very much information on Maria Magdalena "Anna" Fretz, the wife of Sebastian and mother of these 12 children. She was born in 1733 in Wurtemburg, Germany. I do not know for sure who her parents were. One theory is that Johan George Fretz and Anna Maria Blind were her parents but that has not been proven to my knowledge. There is a death record from the Lutheran Reformed church in Schoharie for Ernst Fretz who died July 2, 1776 age 76yr. That would give him a birth year of 1700. I think this could be her father, or perhaps an uncle. Anna's brother Ernest was in the group that traveled with Sebastian and Anna from Germany. His name was Johan Ernst Frederick Fretz and was born about 1720 in Wurtemburg, Germany. He married Catharine Krausler and they were parents of 9 children. Ernest died in January of 1830 in Sharon, Schoharie co. New York. There was also a Jacob Fretz who lived in the Schoharie county area and could be a relative of Anna. There is a lot to still uncover about who her family was.
Henry France was the 9th child and 4th son born to Sebastian and Anna Frantz. He was born at the homestead August 15, 1767 and lived on Sebastian's original homestead all his life. I have found 3 different dates for the marriage of Henry to Maria Horn of Albany. The most widely accepted date being used is 13 July, 1791 although 13 July 1795 is very tempting to me. The number of children born to Henry and Maria is also a matter of controversy. Depending on what you read the number falls anywhere from 12 to 15. I have 13 children for this union and can not prove but strongly feel that another child named Christopher can be attributed to this union. The first child of record born to Henry and Maria was Henry H. France. He was born 5 January, 1798 and is our direct line. Now consider a marriage date of 1791 and the first child being born in 1798. Pretty amazing at a time when large families were wanted and needed to work these large farms. This is where Christopher comes in. A Christopher France of Sharon was married 16 December 1813 in Albany to Mary Horn. Lets put an age for Christopher of about 20 years. That would make him born about 1793. Christopher and Mary had 3 children baptised in the St.John's Lutheran Church in Sharon and the sponsors of the oldest one was Henry and Maria France. Christopher and Mary were sponsors at the baptism of Elizabeth France in 1807 and in 1809 for Daniel France both were children of Lawrence Frantz. It seems that Christopher left NY and possibly went to Pennsylvania. In January, 2000 I recieved an e-mail from another France researcher who is a descendant of this Christopher and he is also of the opinion that this Christopher is a child of Henry. This still leaves a gap between children but if what was written is true that 15 children were born to Henry and Maria, that only 14 lived to maturity, and only 13 of them had children then there would be one infant death to consider and the rest are accounted for. This is just one of those wonderful mysteries that keeps you researching. With luck one day the facts will be known and we can welcome more France cousins to the family.
It has been said that all 15 of Henry and Maria's children were born on their homestead. In 1795 Henry built the frame house pictured which was one large room with a loft and an enormous fireplace with bake oven. An addition was later added for their growing family. This house still stands today where Henry built it without the addition which was removed many years ago. In 1989 the fireplace was in a heap on the dirt floor. Since that time the house has been restored as accurately as possible to the original building. The fireplace has been rebuilt and a few wonderful treasures from the past give it a homey look.
It seems that education and religion were of great importance in the rearing of Henry's children. As well as being farmers, many of them were leaders in the community and held different posts or commissions. Of Henry's 10 sons, 2 became Methodist ministers and 7 were class leaders of the church. Two sons, William and Gilbert, left Schoharie co. New York in the mid 1840's to help settle the Wisconsin Territory. These settlers named their new town Sharon after their old hometown, in an area which was to become Walworth county, Wisconsin. Both were organizers of the Sharon United Methodist Church. William remained in Wisconsin the rest of his life but Gilbert returned to New York about 1856. Henry H. and David H. were the two who became Methodist ministers. Both lived in Otsego co. NY for a while, then David moved to Steuben co. NY and Henry moved to Montgomery co. NY. Another son Jacob, left Schoharie co. about 1838 and moved to Herkimer co. where he remained the rest of his life. He taught himself German by reading his grandfather Sebastian's bible. The remaining sons all stayed in the area of the old homestead.
Henry's wife Maria died in 1845 at the age of 69. Henry died 9 years later on December 10, 1854. Both are buried in Zion Rural Cemetery, Seward Center. Their son Joseph remained on the farm and about the year 1856 a new 17 room house was built about 20 feet from Henry and Maria's cabin. A beautiful hutch which Henry built sits in the dining room. It stands 6 feet tall and I was told the earthen floor at the door of the cabin had to be dug away for it to fit out to me moved to the new house. Joseph's family has passed this house down son to son and so it remains in the France family on Sebastian's original land. I feel fortunate that I have been able to spend time in this house, to sleep in its rooms, to walk down to the creek and look upon a scene that my ancestor once might have gazed upon in a brief, quiet moment 250 years ago.
France family home on Sebastian's land.
Henry H. b 5 Jan. 1798 homestead, m1 8 March 1818 Hannah "Nancy" Moak, 9 children; m2 Catharine UKN, no children, d 26 Sept. 1867 Minden, Montgomery co. New York, buried Freysbush Cemetery, Minden.
John b 26 Nov. 1799 homestead, m 10 Jan. 1821 Harriot Horn, d 1 March 1870 Schoharie co., buried Zion Rural Cemetery, Seward Center. 6 children.
Joseph b 27 Sept. 1801 homestead, m 28 Feb. 1827 Maria Diefendorf, d 17 Jan. 1872 Seward, buried Zion Rural Cemetery, Seward Center. 6 children.
David Henry b 23 Feb. 1803 homestead, m1 13 Nov. 1823 Eliza Farquharson, 4 or 5 children; m2 Nancy (Bates) Fortner, widow, no children, d 26 Oct. 1883 South Canisteo, Steuben co. New York, buried in Jasper Cemetery, Jasper, Steuben co. New York.
Peter b 9 jan 1805 homestead, m abt.1830 Elizabeth Diefendorf, d 29 Dec. 1878 Seward, buried Zion Rural Cemetery, Seward Center. 4 children.
Jacob b 20 June 1806 homestead, m1 12 May 1828 Lucy Robinson,5 children; m2 abt. 1875 Leonora C. (Buell) Walker, widow, no children, d 18 Oct. 1880 Cold Brook, Herkimer co. New York, buried Poland Cemetery, town of Poland, Herkimer co.
William G. b 24 Dec. 1808 homestead, m abt.1835 Elizabeth UKN, died 3 June 1892 Sharon, Walworth co. Wisconsin, buried South Grove Cemetery, Sharon, WI. 2 children.
Maria b 9 Feb. 1811 homestead, m abt. 1830 Austin Sexton, d 3 March 1889 Spring House, Montgomery co., Pennsylvania, buried Zion Rural Cemetery, Seward Center, New York. 6 children.
Magdalena b 1812 homestead, m psb. David Ackerson, d 5 May 1837, buried Zion Rural Cemetery, Seward Center.
Christina b 16 Feb. 1813 homestead, m Matthias A. Hallenbeck, d 21 Jan. 1844, buried Zion Rural Cemetery, Seward Center.
Henry Sebastian b 11 March 1815 homestead, never married, was idiotic, was cared for by family and lived his life on the homestead, d 28 March 1896 Seward, buried Zion Rural Cemetery, Seward Center.
Gilbert G. b 28 Dec. 1816 homestead, m 1840 Angeline Ottman, d 5 April 1898 Seward, buried Zion Rural Cemetery, Seward Center. 9 children.
I do not have any information on the family of Maria Horn the wife of Henry Frantz. I believe her father was John Horn, a butcher from Albany. Maria was born in Albany, New York on March 1, 1775. One of her sisters married David Frantz, the brother of Maria's husband Henry.
Rev. Henry Haines France was born 5 January 1798 in Schoharie co. New York. He married Hannah "Nancy" Moak March 8, 1818 and on 25 December of that year their first child Mary Ann was born in Cherry Valley, Otsego co. New York. By 1828 Henry had moved his family back to Schoharie county. They had 4 daughters by this time and on March 16,1828 their first son, William Henry was born. Another son Peter Rosenberg was born in 1830. The name Rosenberg was the maiden name of his maternal grandmother. In 1831 Henry's family was living in France's Corners. A section of the Cobleskill Times newspaper dated November 1934, republished articles about the 90th year anniversary of the Mineral Springs Church. One article tells of the hardships this church endured in the beginning. (France's Corners was renamed Cobleskill Center in 1853 and became Mineral Springs in 1863.) Here are excerpts of that article.
"...the beginnings of Methodism in the town of Cobleskill centered around Mineral Springs and Barnerville...1820 a prayer meeting was an unknown quantity in the life of France's Corners people and when David Shank's brother Sebastian called a meeting of this nature in the school house there, he met with stout resistance and the school building was closed against him. A great deal of prejudice existed against the Wesleyan faith at that time... In 1831 Henry H. France and family took up residence in France's Corners. They were Methodists and in company with John Shank attended Methodist meetings in the Barnerville schoolhouse...they had to endure sneers and snubs of neighbors and were frequently disturbed in public worship...the time came when arrests were made and bitter feelings intensified..."
I don't know how long Henry lived in France's Corners but daughter Nancy was born in 1833 and died in 1835 at the age of 1y 9m 17d. She is buried in the Mineral Springs Cemetery. Another daughter was born in 1836 and she was also given the name Nancy. On July 21, 1837 Dow Gardner France was born. Two days later his mother Nancy died at the age of 38. She was buried in the Mineral Springs Cemetery.
In about 1838 Rev. Henry H. France married a woman named Catharine. By 1840 he might have been living in Montgomery co., New York. He is named the Grantee in 1840, Book 46, page 254, General index to Deeds, Montgomery County Clerks Office, Fonda, New York. He is still in Montgomery county on the 1850 census, but is found on the 1855 and 1860 census' in Warren, Herkimer co. New York. In the 1865 census he is back in Montgomery county living with his son William in Minden. Both Henry and his son William died in 1867, Henry in September at the age of 70 and William in November at age 39y 7m 18d. Both are buried in the Freysbush United Methodist Church Cemetery.
Two of Henry's daughters, Ann Eliza and Harriet went to Wisconsin. They may have gone with their uncles William and Gilbert in the mid 1840's. Both stayed in Wisconsin and are buried in the South Grove Cemetery. Son Peter stayed in New York although not in one particular place. He was a house painter and moved about. The 2 oldest daughters, Mary Ann and Catharine, stayed in the Cobleskill area. In about 1856 at the age of 19, Dow G. France left New York and went to Wisconsin.
Mary Ann b 25 Dec. 1818, Cherry Valley, Otsego co., New York, m 6 Nov. 1836 Schoharie co. to David Borst, d 5 Jan. 1899 Cobleskill, Schoharie co. New York, buried Cobleskill Rural Cemetery. 10 children.
Catharine b 8 March 1821 Cherry Valley, m 20 July 1839 Cobleskill her 2nd cousin David DeWitt France, d 1 Sept. 1881 Cobleskill, buried Cobleskill Rural Cemtery. 2 children.
Harriet b10 Jan. 1822 NY, m abt. 1849 psb.in Wisconsin to Harvey Borst, d 18 Dec. 1897 Sharon, Walworth co. Wisconsin, buried South Grove Cemetery, Sharon, Wisconsin. 1 child.
Ann Eliza b 10 Oct. 1824 NY, m 23 Dec. 1847 Levi George Auchempaugh in Sharon, Wisconsin, d 17 June 1905 Sharon, Walworth co. WI, buried South Grove Cemetery, Sharon, WI. 4 children.
William Henry b 16 March 1828 Schoharie co., NY, m abt. 1853 Lany Dillenback in Montgomery co., NY, d 3 Nov. 1867 Minden, Montgomery co., NY, buried Freysbush Cemetery, Minden, Montgomery co., NY. 5 children.
Peter Rosenberg France b abt. 1830 Schoharie co. NY, m abt. 1853 Mary Margaret Yerdon, death date, place, buried UKN. 4 children.
Nancy b 1 Nov. 1833 Schoharie co. NY, d 18 FEb. 1835 France's Corners, buried Mineral Springs Cemetery, Schoharie co. New York.
Nancy b 1836 Schoharie co. NY, m1 Hiram House; m2 Levi Eckler d 29 Aug. 1923 Medford, Jackson co. Oregon.
Dow Gardner France b 21 July 1837 Schoharie co., NY, m 12 March 1857 Julia Ann Pramer in Sharon, Walworth co., Wisconsin, d 1 Sept. 1896 Lynn, Lawrence co., Arkansas. 12 children.
Hannah "Nancy" Moak was born 10 March 1799 in New York, the 2nd born of 6 children, to Jacob Moak and Mariah Rosenberg. The Jerusalem Church baptismal records has her name Annatje. This was a commonly used name which later became Hannah. It further Americanized to Nancy. Nancy's mother died abt. 1816 when Nancy was 17 years old. Her father married Margaret Fenner and in about 1835 they moved White Pigeon, St.Joseph co., Michigan. Margaret died in 1842 and sometime after that Jacob and son Peter moved across the Michigan state line into LaGrange co., Indiana where Jacob died in 1855. He is buried in the White Pigeon Cemetery, Michigan.
Dow Gardner France was born 21 July, 1837, possibly in France's Corners, Schoharie co. New York. On the 1855 census for Herkimer co. we find Dow age 17 a student, living with his father, sister Nancy and step-mother. Dow left New York and went to Sharon, Walworth co., Wisconsin where he married Julia Ann Pramer on March 12, 1857 at the age of 19. The 1860 census dated 20 July, 1860 shows them living in Jackson, Adams co., Wisconsin just 10 days before their 2nd child Henry David France was born.
Dow enlisted as a Private in Co.K, 10th Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers on September 16, 1861. These service records state that he was 5'11 inches tall with brown curly hair and blue eyes. Wheather Dow was involved in any actual combat during the war is not stated. He seems to have been sick for most of his service. For the year 1862 the muster roll on March 14 show he was sick at Bowling Green, May-Aug. he was detailed for extra duty in regimental hospital, on June 3 he was sick at Nashville, Sept.-Oct. states that he was listed as a deserter on the Aug. 18 muster roll but rejoined the company Sept. 8. In the year 1863 he was sick for the Jan.-Feb. muster, was detailed as a nurse in the Field Hospital at Murfeesboro, Tennessee from March 8 till June. From June 1863 until June 1864 he was detailed at the General Field Hospital at Stevenson, Alabama. I am not sure where he was from then until he was mustered out in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November3, 1864.
On Valentine's Day, 1870 Dow and Julia's 5th child was born in Kelly, Story county, Iowa. This is where the rest of their 12 children would be born. Their house was situated between Kelly and Ames. In writing her memories, daughter Millie states that Dow was a school teacher and cabinet maker. It is not known if he actually taught school. I have not found any records that show him in the public schools. Dow did teach all his sons carpentry. He cut his own lumber, built his own homes and most of the furnishings in them. He had a shop with fine tools and made furniture out of black walnut, cherry and birds-eye maple. Dow had timberland and would take out hickory to make axe handles.
One summer a cyclone came through the area and although no one in the family was hurt, many neighbors were and that is when Dow and Julia decided to leave Iowa. In 1884 Dow and two or three sons went to the Dakota Territory and took up a homestead - a pre-emption and a tree claim. You had to live three years on the homestead to "prove up" the claim so Dow would go there in the summers and in the winter send one of the older boys to stay there. In 1888 Dow moved his family to the homesteadin the Dakotas. By this time 2 sons were married and they stayed in Iowa.
The new residence was 3 miles from Harrold, in what would become Hyde co., South Dakota. The closest neighbor was 3 miles away. Their neighbor to the south was an uncle of Wilber and Orville Wright. The two Wright bothers would come out west to spend summers. Their own father thought their ideas of flight just a fancy but thier uncle and Dow encouraged them saying "he thought they had something there."
Life was hard on the Dakota prairie and the climate was unpredictable. Crops would grow good for a couple years but then drought came for several years. During the worst drought years in South Dakota Dow went down to Iowa where he had lived and asked his former neighbors for aid. He returned with a freight car full of food.
The climate in the Dakota's was not suitable for Dow. He suffered rheumatism and had weak lungs. His doctor advised him to move someplace warmer so in about 1891 Dow moved his family to Lynn, Lawrence co., Arkansas. The property had an old log house on it so they lived in it and began building a new house. They built it southern style with a fire place, and shake shingles which Jess and LaRoy writhed out of blocks they sawed from large trees. The inside was "finished off with gum wood dressed down till it looked like marble." Dow died there on the 31st of August, 1896 from a hemmorage of the bowels. Ellsworth came down to Arkansas from South Dakota and took charge. He and LaRoy built an office building in payment to the doctor. When the office was finished the family dispersed. Jess went back to South Dakota, LaRoy went to stay with Jennie who was married and lived in Hardy, AR not far away. Ella went to live in South Dakota with Flora. The youngest child, Clyde, went with Julia to live in Washington state where Orpheus lived. Ellsworth and Millie were the last to leave Arkansas. After selling everything off Millie went to Washington and Ellsworth went to South Dakota.
Three of Dow and Julia's children married and settled in the Dakota's. One had married in Arkansas and lived there a short while but left and went to South Dakota to be with her sister. Seven of the children eventually ended up in Washington state and one never left Iowa having died there at the age of 42.
Orpheus Gardner b 29 July 1858 Jackson, Adams co., Wisconsin, m 13 Oct.1890 to Mary Irene "Mamie" Blair in Wenatchee, Chelan co., Washington, d 15 April 1947 Wenatchee, Chelan co., Washington, buried Wenatchee City Cemetery. 4 children.
Henry David b 30 July 1860 Jackson, Adams co., Wisconsin, m 13 April 1883 to Laura Jane Wiltrout in Jefferson, Greene co., Iowa, d 27 April 1901 in Iowa, buried UKN, psb. Greenbrier Cemetery, Greene co., Iowa. 5 children.
William D. b 4 Nov. 1861, Geneva, Walworth co., Wisconsin, m 19 Aug. 1886 Julia Marie Howe in Guthrie co., Iowa, d 26 March 1908 Sheridan, Madison co., Montana, buried in Wenatchee City Cemetery, Wenatchee, Washington. 3 children.
Charles Austin b 30 June 1867 Geneva, Walworth co., Wisconsin, m1 8 June 1887 Hyde co., South Dakota to Hattie Welch; m2 abt.1920 to Viola UKN., d 9 Dec. 1935 Yakima, Yakima co., Washington. Tacoma Cemetery, Yakima, Washington. No children.
Ellsworth Elmer b 14 Feb. 1870 Kelly, Story co., Iowa, m 12 March 1907 to Emily Patterson, d 16 June 1932 Dreyden, Chelan co., Washington, buried in Hollywood, California. 2 children.
Flora Lillian b 21 Aug. 1872 Kelly, Story co., Iowa, m 31 Jan. 1889 in Highmore, Hyde co., South Dakota to Max Weniger, d 1 May 1957 Highmore, Hyde co., South Dakota, buried Highmore Cemetery. 6 children.
Jess Horas b 13 July 1874 Kelly, Story co., Iowa, m abt.1903 Highmore, Hyde co., South Dakota to Mary Ellen Sweeney, d 30 Sept. 1955 King co., Washington, buried UKN. 4 children.
Mildred Viola b 27 Aug. 1876 Kelly, Story co., Iowa, m 14 Feb. 1899 Waterville, Washington to Leroy Wright, d 21 Sept. 1961 Olympia, Washington, buried UKN. 3 children.
Jennie Ethel b 15 Dec. 1877 Kelly, Story co., Iowa, m 18 Aug. 1896 Lawrence co., Arkansas to Alexander Jackson, d 29 Nov. 1902 Highmore, Hyde co., South Dakota. 5 children.
LaRoy Hande b 25 Jan. 1880 Kelly, Story co., Iowa, m 26 June 1902 Highmore, Hyde co., South Dakota to Dollie Odessa Stolnaker, d 1 Dec. 1954 in Rapid City, Pennington Co. North Dakota. He is buried in Mt.View Cemetery in Rapid City. 5 children.
Ella May b 4 May 1882 Kelly, Story co., Iowa, m 15 Sept. 1900 Highmore, Hyde co., South Dakota to Delbert G. Smith, d 1968 psb. Pierre, Hughs co., South Dakota, buried UKN. 6 children.
Clyde Shields b 9 June 1884 Kelly, Story co., Iowa, m 25 Dec. 1918 to Elsie W. Sandmeyer, d 3 March 1956 Yakima, Yakima co., Washington, buried UKN. No children.
Julia Ann Pramer was born 1 March 1841 in New York to David Pramer and Sally Troutman. By 1845 David and Sally had moved to Sharon, Walworth co., Wisconsisn where 3 more children were born to them. In the summer of 1850 an epidemic swept through the area and in a matter of 12 days Sally and the youngest 3 children died. David then married Helen Dudley in July of 1853 when Julia was 12 years old. In March of 1857, just 11 days past her 16th birthday, Julia was married.
Millie and Ella's memoires say that Julia had a wonderful sense of humor, loved music, gardening and taught all of her children to cook and sew. There were 5 boys before a girl was born and the older ones, made their own long-johns among other things. Julia grew herbs and used them for both culinary and medicinal purposes. She made soap, butchered animals and smoked or dried the meat. She grew vegtables for canning and had many kinds of fruit trees and berries to keep the family fed. They made maple syrup from the trees in their timberland.
After Dow's death in 1896, Julia and Clyde went to live in Washington state. She died in Winthrop, Washington on February 5, 1931 and is buried in the Wenatchee City Cemetery.
Henry David France was born on July 30, 1860 in Jackson, Adams co., Wisconsin. His family moved to Iowa when he was about 10 years old. Iowa was miles and miles of corn fields and one of young Henry's jobs was to tend the cows during the day to keep them out of the corn. When he grew older he and his brother Orpheus made money by catching prairie chickens in wooden lath traps. They would kill, clean and freeze them, then send them to Chicago where they were sold to fancy restaurants. They also trapped fur animals and sold the skins.
In April of 1883 Henry David married Laura Jane Wiltrout in Jefferson, Greene co. Iowa. They had 5 children all born in Bagley, Guthrie co., Iowa. Only 4 lived to maturity. Henry was a carpenter by trade and he loved baseball. He died from pneumonia in his early 40's. I don't know exactly when he died but it was possibly April 27, 1901 or 1903. I also don't know for sure where Henry died or where he is buried. He and his family were living in Perry City, Dallas co., Iowa on the 1900 census. Family tradtion states that he is buried in the Greenbrier Cemetery but there is no headstone. Members of the Wiltrout family are buried in the Greenbrier Cemetery so that is probably the likely spot.
Cora Blanche b 22 Nov. 1883 Bagley, Guthrie co., Iowa, m 3 Sept. 1905 Staples, Todd co., Minnesota to Maynard Avery, d 2 March, 1974 in a nursing home in Walker, Minnesota. No children.
Raymond Edward b 28 Aug. 1885 Bagley, Guthrie co., Iowa, m1 abt. 1906 place UKN to Cecil Maude Edwards, 2 children; m2 23 Oct. 1917 Verndale, Wadena co., Minnesota to Anna Petroske, 3 children, d 11 Nov. 1968 Staples, Todd co., Minnesota, buried in Evergreen Hills Cemetery, Staples, Minnesota.
Walter George b 13 July 1887 Bagley, Guthrie co., Iowa, d 27 Sept. 1888 Bagley, buried Greenbrier Cemetery Greene co., Iowa.
Grant Clarence b 14 April 1893 Bagley, Guthrie co., Iowa, m 3 May 1920 St. Paul, Ramsey co., Minnesota to Bernice Iva Maude Hendershot, d 2 May 1951 Palmer, Alaska, buried Palmer Pioneer Cemetery, Palmer, Alaska. 5 children.
Forrest Virgie b 12 Jan. 1895 Bagley, Guthrie co., Iowa, m 20 May 1915 Wadena, Wadena co., Minnesota to Harry Gilbert Fielder, d 30 June 1982 Staples, Todd co., Minnesota, buried Evergreen Hills Cemetery, Staples. 2 children.
Laura Jane Wiltrout was born October 22, 1861 in Viola, Richland co., Wisconsin to James Monroe Wiltrout and Susanna Knable. After the death of her husband Henry, Laura Jane moved her family to Staples, Todd co., Minnesota where her brother John Wiltrout had moved. I don't know exactly when she might have moved her family but they were there by 1905. Laura Jane worked as a seamstress out of her home to make a living for her family. She married again about 1922 to Anton Molle, the widower of her sister Elizabeth. He lived in Iowa. The marriage did not last long. I don't know if they were living in Minnesota or Iowa but Laura lived out her life in Staples. She died there on May 27, 1942 and is buried in Evergreen Hills Cemetery, Staples, Minnesota.
Grant C. France was born on April 14, 1893 in Bagley, Guthrie co., Iowa. When Grant was 8 or 9 years old his father died and his mother moved the family to Staples, Minnesota where some of her family had settled. Grant and his brother Ray went to Washington state about 1910 or 11 and worked with their uncles in the construction trade. He returned to Staples and was a fireman, psb. for the railroad.
Grant enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 27, 1918 at Long Prairie, Minnesota. He served as Corporal in 157 Infantry. He was shipped out of the U.S. on August 11, 1918, was in the battle of the Argonne in France and returned on April 11, 1919. His service record states that he was 5'11 3/4" tall, had blue eyes, brown hair and he had an excellant character. He was discharged from the Army at Camp Dodge, Iowa on April 24, 1919.
Grant met Iva Hendershot at a dance one night where she and her brothers were the musical entertainment. They were married at the Ramsey county court house in St. Paul, Minnesota and lived in Staples for about 7 years. The first three of their 5 children were born in Staples and by 1926 they were living in Troumald, Crow Wing co., Minnesota. Grant got a book and taught himself to be a steam locomotive engineer. He drove trains hauling iron ore from the mines. By 1928 they were living in Grand Rapids, Itasca co., Minnesota. Grant had built a house along the Mississippe River out of timbers from an old railroad trestle.
In 1935 Grant and Iva were selected as a colonist family for the Matanuska Settlement in Alaska. One hundred settlements were created in the United States by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration to give relief and a fresh start to farmers and tradesmen during the Great Depression. On April 25, 1935 the Grant France family boarded a train in Grand Rapids which took them to St. Paul where they boarded another train which took them through to San Francisco, California. At San Francisco they were put on board the U.S.S. St. Mihiel and sailed into Seward, Alaska on May 9, 1935. While standing on the dock after departing the ship, Grant heard his name being called. He thought to himself, "who in the world knows me here?" and turning around he saw Carl Green, one of his fireman when he drove locomotive in Minnesota.
From Seward the family boarded the train which took them to their new "homes" in what was to become Palmer, Alaska. The "city" was made up of walled tents; temporary housing until lots for land were drawn and houses could be built.
Grant did not stay a farmer for long. With his knowledge of steam engines he got a job working in the steam plant in town which provided heat and power for the CO-OP buildings, school and dormitory. He helped work on the Glenn Highway when it was being built. One of his favorite songs was "Moonlight Bay" and his favorite singer was Rosemary Clooney because "you can understand every word she says". He loved to sing, but didn't like to dance and he enjoyed a "nip" now and again. A Gibson Girl wearing a swimsuit was tatooed on his forearm. I wonder if he grew tired of her being there all the time? I have never seen a picture of him with short sleeves. He had a great sense of humor and easy going nature. Once he had gone hunting and shot a sheep. Grant and Iva spent hours laboring to can the meat and while processing the cans in a make-shift canner, a 55 gallon drum filled with the cans and covered with water, they fell asleep by the fire and failed to keep water in the drum. They woke to the sound of cans exploding, and meat flying everywhere; littering the yard, hanging on tree limbs...When they realized what was happening and that they weren't under attack, they ran for cover then collapsed on the ground laughing hysterically. He loved the out of doors, liked going places and seeing new things. His mechanical abilities were very keen and he was an excellant carpenter. He built a dory and took it out to Goose Bay where he held a permit for netting salmon. Grant died on 2 May, 1951 of stomach cancer at the age of 58, 1 day befor his 31st wedding anniversary. He is buried in the Palmer Pioneer Cemetery Palmer, Alaska.
Vernon Henry b 25 Oct. 1920, Staples, Todd co., Minnesota m1 3 March 1940 Lucille O'Donnel Ring, 3 children; m2 abt. 1952 Karen Bryant, 2 children, d 21 March 1986 Palmer, Alaska, buried Palmer Pioneer Cemetery, Palmer, Alaska.
June Delores b 7 Aug. 1924 Staples, Todd co., Minnesota, m1 6 Oct. 1944 Wilbur Lloyd Granger, 4 children; m2 17 May 1949 Albert Elias Withey, no children, d 22 Feb. 1971 Palmer, Alaska, buried Palmer Pioneer Cemetery, Palmer, Alaska.
Norman Edward b 30 Aug. 1928 Grand Rapids, Itasca co., Minnesota, m 7 March 1953 Lyla Jean Rapley, d 1 March 1985, buried Palmer Pioneer Cemetery, Palmer, Alaska. 3 children.
Bernice Iva Maude Hendershot was born December 21, 1897 in Wrightstown, Ottertail co., Minnesota to James Hardy Hendershot and Bertha Louise Beard. Music seemed to be a way of life for the Hendershot family. One of Iva's ancestors made and sold violins. He made one for each of his children and taught them all how to play. A cousin played guitar and sang on radio shows. Iva played the harmonica, accordion, piano, violin and had a whistle that would make your ears ring. She and her brothers had a band and played at dances which gave her some spending money and attracted her future husband.
When Grant and Iva decided to move to Alaska in 1935 she didn't think about the hardship of leaving her family and home. Of traveling for endless days and nights by train and boat to a tent city in the middle of nowhere. Of having to start over, clear land, build a home, scratch out a living and all without electricity. She thought of the grand adventure it was going to be.
Iva's door was always open to anyone who needed a place to stay or a hot meal. She took care of kids all her life. After Grant died Iva worked as a clerk in Koslosky's department store. When she retired she baby sat for others and took care of grandchildren. There was always someone coming or going from her house. It was a haven full of laughter, house plants, outside flower beds and lots of cakes and cookies.
Iva died on August 2nd, 1971 in Providence Hospital in Anchorage of congestive heart failure. She always said that when she died she wanted to be driven through her town one more time so after her funeral the hearse drove through Palmer on its way to the cemetery. She is buried in Palmer Pioneer Cemetery.
This is a photo I took in 1989 of Sebastian's will. It was handwritten on both sides and is under glass. As you can see it has been taped with cellophane tape where the folds were tearing. This is the backside and you can see Sabastian's dark signature on the right side just below the wire for hanging and above the tape.
His will was written the 7th of September, 1801. He spells his name Sabastian and note in the description of the parcel of land given to his son Christopher he refers to a stone marked S.B.F. I have seen his name spelled SaBastian Frantz which made me think that is why the S.B.F on the stone. There was little punctuation used in the original and although I did add a comma here or there, I left it pretty much without punctuation. I did however spell some of the words differently such as the word "lott" in describing tracts of land I left off one "t". Some words I could not make out and have used brackets to indicate such. Some words were capitalized in the middle of a sentence; I did not capitalize them. Lastly all words with double "ss" were written in old German script which I did not duplicate. Perhaps someday I will. It would be a nice reminder of Sebastian and Anna's German roots.
In the name of God Amen. I Sabastian Frantz of Sharon in the county of Schoharie and the state of New York being weak in body of sound mind and memory do this day on the seventh day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and one make and publish this my last will and testament in manner following. That is to say first and above all I give and bequeath my dear soul into the hands of Almighty God who first gave it me, and my body I recommend to the earth from whence it first was taken, to be buried in a Christian like descent burial at the descretion of my Executor herein after named, there to rest in full assurance to rise again in the general resurrection, through the merits of Jesus Christ our lord in the last day.
Secondly I will and order that all my lawful debts and funeral charges be paid and adjusted and as to such worldly estate as it hath pleased God to bestow on me in this world I will give and dispose of in manner following. Viz - I give and bequest unto my son Christopher Frantz and to his heirs and assigns for ever all that certain westerly part or tract of land of lot No.seven whereon he now dwells-lying and being in Sharon on the west side of stone set upon the north line of said lot marked S.B.F. and from there south easterly to the nearest [?]of the middle of the crick then down keeping the middle of the crick to the division line of the said lot No.seven-Subject never the less to the rents and reservations thereon contained.
Item - I also give and bequeath unto my son Christopher Frantz his heirs and assigns for ever the just and equal full half of a fifty acre lot of land situated lying and being in Sharon in a patent granted to William Spurnheyer and William Heintz better known and distinguished by the most southerly half of the most westerly fifty acres of a lot in said patent conveyed formerly to Elijah Babbit and a survey and map thereof made by John Melich surveyor.
Item - I will that my son Christopher Frantz pay or cause to be paid unto my daughter Anna the wife of Lodwick Kling or to her respective heirs of my daughter the just and full sum of twenty dollars and to the respective heirs of my daughter Eva wife of Wilhelm Sommer deceased the sum of twenty five dollars to be divided amongst them share and share alike.
Item - I give and bequeath unto my son Henry Frantz and to his heirs and assigns for ever the easterly part and full half twenty four whereon the said Henry Frantz liveth.
Item - I also will and order that he shall pay or cause to be paid unto my son Jacob Frantz or his heirs the just and full sum of one hundred and two dollars and fifty cents.
Item- I give and bequeath unto my son Lawrence Frantz and to his heirs and assigns for ever the easterly part of lot No.seven whereon he and I now dwell and live together-Subject never the less to the rent reservation therein.
Item -I also give unto my son Lawrence Frantz his heirs and assigns for ever the just and full equal northerly half of the fifty acre lot in the patent granted to William Spurnheyer and William Heintz afor described.
Item - I also will and order that my son Lawrence Frantz pay or cause to be paid unto my daughter Elizabeth wife of Paul Shank or her respective heirs the sum of twenty five dollars and to my daughter Catharine twenty five dollars or to her respective heirs as also to my Lana wife of Adam Shafer or her respective heirs the just sum of twenty five dollars.
Item - I give and bequeath unto my son David Frantz and his heirs and assigns for ever the just and full westerly half of lot No.twenty four whereon he now dwells.
Item - I also will and order that the said David Frantz pay or cause to be paid unto my son Jacob Frantz or his heirs the just and full sum of one hundred and two dollars and fifty cents.
Item - I also will and order that my son Lawrence Frantz pay or cause to be paid unto my daughter Margaret or her respective heirs the full and just sum of twenty five dollars.
Item - I give and bequeath unto my dear and loving wife for and during her natural life the full and equal one third of all my real estate [ ? ] [making] no wants or des[?]ton thereof as also her bed and bedding cloth, linen woolen her wearing apparel and also my household stuff and furniture to her own proper use and behalf for ever.
Item - I give unto my son Lawrence Frantz and to his heirs my potash kettle all my hogs horses all my farming utensils of whatever name that may be to his own proper use benefit and behalf forever.
Item - I will that all my cattle and sheep shall be equally divided into six equal shares and be distributed amongst my six daughters or their respective heirs share and share alike.
Item - I will and positively order and it is hereby reserved that each of my sons shall fully grant and allow unto the other free and open roads to their lands to the wood and to the public highway. And lastly I make and ordain my trusty and well beloved sons Christopher Frantz, Henry Frantz, Lawrence Frantz and David Frantz my sole executors of this my last will and testament and trust for the intents and purposes therein contained to take care that the same be punctually performed according to my true intent and meaning and I do hereby revoke all former wills gifts and grants whatsoever by me made heretofore in witness whereof I the said Sabastian Frantz have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first above written. Sabastian Frantz
Signed sealed pronounced and declared by the said Sabastian Frantz as and for his last will and testament in the person of us who were present at the signing and sealing thereof and set our names as witnesses at his request at Cobuls Kill at the home where he then was.
Mary x Brown (her mark)