This article took not months, but years to prepare. I have written and rewritten the story of Jacob several times now, and even yet this week while preparing the final draft, I made new discoveries as additional records have come on-line. We have so little information about Jacob directly, although we do have some. Most of what we have comes from other sources. Suffice it to say, Jacob’s story was not one I would describe as low hanging fruit, and we still don’t have all the answers we want – like where he was born, for example.
So…please get a nice cup of coffee or tea and join me on an absolutely incredible journey, much further back in time than I ever imagined possible. And yes, I’m saying that – me, doing what I do for a living with genetics. Even I’m amazed.
Much of this research is courtesy of numerous cousins, one way or another, several of whom I’ve been remembering posthumously and fondly as I’ve written. Collaboration is a fabulous tool. I hope that those who have passed over can somehow “see” this or know. They would be so excited and proud of their contribution. And if they are listening…well…I still have some questions that need answers that I think can only come from beyond:)
It’s not many ancestors that have a tribute written about them. At least not in my family. My family is either very quiet (pietist) or notorious, and not in a “tribute” sort of way.
I wish I had found this tribute early on. I didn’t, but I’m going to introduce you to Jacob Lentz via his tribute, sent to me a few years ago, written by his grandson. This same basic story has descended through two different lines of his children, one that went west and one that stayed in Ohio. My line that went North? We didn’t even know about Jacob Lentz. We were the clueless line!
The following tribute was sent by the descendants of Johann Adam Lentz, Jacob’s son. The first portion was written by George William Lentz, Adam’s son, a grandson of Jacob, for his son Roscoe. George was a Church of the Brethren evangelist and elder and traveled extensively throughout the Midwest in his endeavors. The Lentz family is very indebted to him for this document. As I look at the photo below, I can’t help but wonder if he looked like Jacob Lentz or Fredericka, his wife.
This document was 12 pages in length, with page 5 missing, although the missing page appears to be in Adam’s generation detailing the trip west, not during Jacob’s lifetime. I have omitted the rest of the letter as it is not relevant to Jacob’s lifetime.
A second account of this same letter later surfaced sometime later from another cousin who descends from a separate son of Jacob. The accounts are quite similar, but not exact. This second version was transcribed Oct. 17, 1989 from the original letter written by George W. Lentz. Our thanks to cousin Laura Hall for sharing it with us. I’ll begin with the first letter and note the relevant differences in the second letter with brackets ().
A Tribute to Jacob Lentz
Jacob Lentz was born in Wuertemburg, Germany May 5, 1783 and he died in Dayton Ohio April 10, 1870 and is buried 13 miles northwest of Dayton. He married Frederica Mosselman who was born in Wuertemburg, Germany March 8 1788. She died March 22, 1863.
When a boy Jacob heard with great interest the wonderful stories about the wonderful land to the west, beyond the sea and the unlimited opportunities that were open to everyone in the young rising nation that was dedicated to the principle that all men are created free and equal and that everyone has the inalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own heart and conscience, as the reading of God’s word would lead them. He was so impressed with what he was constantly hearing that he found himself with a great desire to emigrate to this land of limitless opportunity and many times he would watch the setting sun, he would find himself saying, “Someday I am going there.”
But that someday did not come until he was almost 34 years of age and had 3 (4) children in his home to care for. (Those children were Jacob, Fredericka, Elizabeth and Barberry. The other children were born in America.)
Finally all arrangements were completed and bidding farewell to all their relations he and his family with his wife’s sister began their journey in 1817 (the words “in 1817” are omitted in the second version) to the land of his dreams. Thus they left Wuertemburg, Germany to return no more.
Ships were very different then than what they are now, and as their finances were limited. They did not have the best accommodations that were furnished to the more favored, even in that early day. But they were willing to endure the hardships of an ocean voyage that they might come to the land about which they had heard so much. Strange as it may seem to us now, they were to spend about 3 months on the ocean before landing on American soil (the words “on American soil” are omitted from the second version). But now comes a very strange and trying part of their experience.
They experienced much of the ocean storm and the time seemed long. As the time came that they could reasonably expect to end their journey and set foot on the new world, everyone was making preparation to quit their ocean home.
But many days passed by and no land came in sight. Everyone became restless and there were many misgivings. They sought explanations from the captain of the ship but his explanations were not satisfactory. One part of their diet was a large kettle of soup or hash of which they all partook. Some actions on the part of the captain as he was about where this food was being prepared at a certain time aroused suspicions of those in charge of preparing the food and instead of serving this food it caused the arrest of the captain of the ship.
A sample of the food was preserved and found to contain poison enough to kill many more than were on board this vessel. The captain’s purpose was to poison the crew and turn the ship over to pirates. He was later executed for this.
The ship without a captain wandered around in the northern waters for some time and finally landed (shipwrecked) way up on (the western coast of) Norway where they have six months of day and six months of night; thus were your (my) early ancestors brought to a disappointment in life that they were never able to find words to express. Landing in Norway where conditions were very unfavorable and where but few people live, instead of in America. Their money all gone, strangers in a strange land, unable to speak the language, without (a) home (and) friends or prospects (“or prospects” omitted from second copy), a sad condition.
Fishing and weaving were the only things in sight and this they did, thus managing to get along for a few months. It was not possible for them to save anything out of the meager rewards for their work, but they still kept their steadfast purpose, to finally in some way reach America. (Second copy says “It was not possible for them to kept their steadfast purpose, to finally in someway, reach America.”)
After 6 months of weary waiting in that northern climate, an opportunity came their way. A certain ship was to leave their port for the new world and proposed to enter (so they entered) into a contract, stipulating that they should be bound out to services to anyone that would pay their passage and food expense. The time of service was to be determined by the bidding of interested employers after landing in America. They would be indentured servants. (Previous sentence not in second copy.) It was stipulated that the family was not to be separated.
With this contract they set sail the second time for the land beyond the sea, not knowing what would befall them or how they would be dealt with in the future (rest of sentence not in second copy) that was veiled with clouds that seemed to be very dark. All they knew was to commit their all into the hands of the overruling Providence “That doeth all things well, patiently labor, and wait for the future to unroll whatever was in store for them.”
(The passage was $30 each for mother and father and $15 each for Jacob and Fredericka. Elizabeth died on the ocean and Barberry was a baby.)
They landed in New York on the 1st day of January 1819 (rest of sentence omitted in second copy) some 18 months or more after leaving Germany. Very soon after landing advertisements were sent out giving contract notice, description of the family, amount of money to be paid and setting the date when they would be bound out to the one that would pay the money for the least period of service.
The momentous day soon came. They were placed on a platform before the crowd, the contract read, the amount of money to be paid was stated and the bidding began. Of course anyone had the privilege to talk with them before hand. The bidding was in time of service. One bidder would offer to pay their fare for 10 years services, another for nine, another for 8, another for 7, and so the bidding continued until finally their service was declared to the successful bidder for 3 years and 6 months. They went with him to his home at Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, wondering, wondering, wondering what it all meant to them.
They worked with a will and did their best to please their employer so he would have no just cause to hold them for service longer than the specified time.
They soon found that their employer and his wife were very good people asking reasonable work and supplying them with a comfortable home and an abundance of food. Contrasting this kindness with what they had to meet in the two preceeding years, they were content and the future looked brighter to them, as they were now sure that in a few years of time they would be free to start life over again in this land where they had longed (long hoped) to be.
After they had worked about 8 months their employer invited them into his parlor one morning and kindly explained to them that according to customary wages, they had earned enough to pay their fare across the ocean and that was all he wanted, that he appreciated very much their faithful service. There were at the liberty to do for themselves and to work for who or where they would and their wages would be theirs to do with as they wished.
Freeing them of over two and a half years of service was so unthought-of on their part that they could never thank those people enough for their great kindness. So he often told it to his children and asked them to tell it to their children – that they might know and appreciate this kindness that was shown to them at the time it meant so much.
(The following 2 paragraphs were only in the second letter, not the first.)
This was about the time Adam was born so he had a special reason to remember the story as he heard it from his father. They remained in that community some nine or ten years and then moved to Dayton, Ohio, locating ten miles northwest on land they purchased from the government. This was in 1829. They cleared and improved the land and there they raised their children. They spent almost 40 years of their last in comfort. This was a homestead.
Adam was born August 30, 1819 in Shippenburg, Pa. to Jacob and Frederica. There is a question of any other children born in America and of those they brought with them from Germany and the sister who came with them. Jacob took his family to Dayton, Ohio in 1829 where be bought land from the government and made a homestead. There Frederica died March 22, 1863 at 75. She was buried 13 miles Northwest of Dayton. Jacob died there April 10, 1870 at the age of 87. Tribute to them and gratitude that they made the trip to America.
(Next resumes text in both letters.)
He often talked of how kindly America has dealt with him, and exhorted his children to always think well of America. Even the storms of life seemed to overwhelm him for a time with crushing force, but the time finally came when they all were made to subside, and he was made to feel and say that the good Father above, surely loves and cares for his own in his own way and time.
They were members of the Lutheran Church when they came to this country, but in the course of time united with the Church of the Brethren in which faith they closed their earthly pilgrimage, prepared we trust, for their home above.
The things herein related are the real living experiences of the long ago and I hope you will find a message in it that will do you good in life.
George W. Lentz
Of note, a third cousin was told that the place where they spent “nearly a year” was “Bergen, Norway,” shown on the map below.
The western part of Norway borders the Atlantic and the few cities that exist are utterly stunning with the fingers of the sea reaching into the mountains as fjords. Houses are snuggled into the lowlands bordering the sea, where any lowlands exist. Jacob would have had to have been in a port city to arrange for transport to the US, and there are only a few cities that would have qualified, Bergen being among them. The photo below is a photochrom from the 1800s and would have looked similar to what Jacob would have seen.
Another Letter Surfaces
Two cousins, Laura and Dana, independently wrote to me some years ago with another letter. Their commentary appears below, followed by the letter itself.
“I remembered the story my Grampa (Ray) told me about the trip from Germany to America. He gave me his copy of the hand written notes from George to write up on my PC. We never knew about the 12 pages George wrote, we only had 3 pages. Grampa added a fourth page. Grampa’s 4th page talked out the land donated to the city of Dayton where the VA center was built. You have no idea many times we kids heard about the “dairy” stories. Grampa actually ran the dairies in Dayton in his early adult life through WW1. Sorry about rambling on, but he was very dear to us and I miss him and Grandma so much. By the way, Grandma was a Bookwalter. I noticed that the Lentz’s bought land from the Bookwalters. They must have been in kahutz together.
Jacob’s son (who wrote these notes) name was George. George had a son named Isaac who married Ida Beeghly who had a son named Ray Lentz who is the author of the following letter:”
Abraham Lincoln was president of the USA from 1861 to 1865 when he was assassinated, vice president Andrew Jackson then became president. He was from Greenfield, Tennessee, age 56 and was president for 4 years.
During his presidency he decided to build a hospital for war veterans in central USA. The railroad which had a big depot came to Dayton. President Jackson looked the town over and saw an attractive hillside three miles west of Dayton. He liked the location so well that he decided to purchase the land, 400 acres, offering $113.00 per acre. Jacob Lentz owned 120 of the 400 acres of land. When President Jackson made the offer to Jacob, he said no, no way he would sell the land, but he would donate it, telling him what a time he had getting here to America, and how much he appreciated America. So two years later the Central Branch of Dayton (Soldiers Home) Hospital opened. The date was December of 1867, at the cost of $212,900.60. $20,000 was donated by the citizens of Dayton. In the first year 1249 veterans arrived. On March 1869, there were 224 bed patients and 700 barracks. The chief surgeon received $50 per month and the nurses received $8 per month. 4000 were buried there. In 1896, the same year Nebraska became a state, and Atlanta telegraph was completed, there were 7,141 enrolled in the hospital.
End of letter.
The Soldiers home is shown on the map above today at 4100 W. Third St, Dayton, Ohio.
From the Veteran’s Facility to Happy Corners where Jacob is buried is about 10 miles.
The National Home For Disabled Volunteer Soldiers now known as The Veterans Administration is located at 4100 W. 3rd St. [which is U.S. 35] in Dayton. This address is on its north side. The 1875 Atlas of Montgomery County shows it taking nearly the entire of section 1 in Jefferson Township containing 490 acres. It was created not long after the War Between the States. There is a 35 bypass that runs on the south side of the grounds off of which you would turn north on Lyscum Rd. which is on the western edge of the complex. The only other earlier atlas is for 1851 in which this land was then owned by Henry Reasor, Jac. Wolf, Dan Kinsey and the D. Reasor heirs.
Given how far the Soldier’s Home, now the Veteran’s Families is located from where Jacob lived and this 1851 atlas information, it calls into question the accuracy of this family story.
The Soldier’s Home
It was a good story, but like many family stories, it was slightly mistaken – but not without some merit.
However, it’s a generation offset with the facts slightly askew.
The letter stated that Jacob Lentz donated the land to the Dayton Soldiers Home, now the large VA complex, in thanks for his opportunities here in the US. I contacted the VA historian, because if this was indeed true, I wanted our Jacob to take his rightful place in history, and I thought perhaps they would have some correspondence from Jacob in this vein that might be enlightening. Not to mention, they might have a document with his signature!
The historian, Tessa Kalman, was indeed very nice and helpful, and provided the early deeds for the property. They have the original deeds there at the Veterans facility. And yes, Jacob Lentz is involved, but it’s Jacob F. Lentz and his wife Sophia, the son of the original Jacob. And Jacob F.’s involvement isn’t as direct as was originally noted, but let’s take this one item at a time.
The land for the VA complex was purchased from several farmers. There is a map of the land of each individual. Jacob’s grandson’s recollections mention President Jackson, but Johnson followed Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and there is no record of him ever having visited the facility or the land prior to the facility. In fact, a lawyer named Lewis Gunckel, a German, was responsible for putting the deal together feeling it would be good for the area. It was then and is yet today, employing thousands and providing much needed care for our veterans.
The various deeds read like this, extracted:
- March 12, 1850 Jacob Wolf Jr., executor for Jacob Wolf Sr., decd, to Jacob F. Lentz, 80 acres, recorded March 14, 1850 in record book 2 pages 418 and 419. Jacob Wolf Sr. wrote his will in May 1849 and it was probated in Aug. 1849. Sold to Jacob F. Lentz for $1800, the best offer, all of the south half of the northeast quarter section 1 twp 3 range 5e of a meridian drawn from the Great Miami River and containing 80 acres. Signed and witnessed by Jacob Wolf Jr, and wit John Soltherin? And D.A. Haynet?
- Following that deed, Elizabeth Wolf, widow of Jacob Sr., separately conveys her dower to Jacob F. Lentz for $500. She signed with her mark.
- James Crosby for $12,000 from the National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, in Jefferson Twp, all the south half of the NE qtr of section 1 twp 3, r5e, 80 acres more or less, conveyed by Jacob Lentz and Sophia Lentz to said James Crosby by deed dated Sept. 9, 1858 and recorded in deed book E # 3 page 465.
- Elizabeth Cole and John C. Cole her husband formerly of Montgomery Co., Ohio and now of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. $1100 paid by the National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers the following real estate in Montgomery Co. Ohio the SE quarter of section 36 twp 4 range 5e and the ne quarter of section 1 twp 3 range 5e….(metes and bounds)…containing 7.98 acres of land.
- The next document is a survey which shows this piece of land south butting up against D&E (Eaton) Turnpike Road and shows the township line dissecting this land. This survey further divided this land into 4 quadrants of which the one sold above was one. The survey date as Oct 28 1861.
- James B. Oliver and wife to Henry Reesor deed recorded in Book O page 85 and 86, date illegible on outside but inside it says Aug. 23, 1831, 100.17 acres for $800 SE corner east half sect 36 twp 4 range 5e on the Eaton Road. Mary Oliver release dower.
- Followed by “I hearby release the within mortgage the notes secured by the same being all paid and cancelled. Dayton June 20, 1860 signed Jacob F. Lentz assignee of Henry Reeser. This is on the back of a mortgage deed from John C. Cole and wife to Jacob F. Lentz assignee of Henry Reesor. Recorded April 12, 1838 (is that 1858). I believe it is 1858 given later dates. Recorded May 17, 1858 in Book P pages 155 and 156. Inside deed says tract of land on SE quarter of sect 36 twp 4 range 5e…metes and bounds….along road to a stone in Jacob F. Lentz’s land, H. S. Williams 10 acre tract, 108.8 acres. Mortgage amount is $363 and it is to be paid two years later.
- Another mortgage deed from James Crosby and Lydia Crosby to Jacob F. Lentz. Jacob signs a note on the packet that says it is for $625 payable April 1, 1864 (4 is smeared) and that it has been assigned to Henry Caylor for the principle, the interest being paid to March 1, 1860. Then there is a second note that says the notes secured by this mortgage are paid in full this April 4, 1865 and signed by Jacob F. Lentz.
- Then a deed from Jacob F. Lentz and his wife Sophia for $6500 paid by James Crosby for the NE quarter of sect 1 twp 3 of range 5w 80 acres. Signed by Jacob F. Lentz and Sophia Lentz. Sophia released dower. Sept. 9, 1858.
- James Crosby and Lydia Crosby conveyed to Jacob F. Lentz for $4500 the south half of the NE quarter of sect 1 in twp 3 r5e, 80 acres. Sept. 9, 1858 This is a mortgage and it has verbiage about 6 promissory notes and interest and such.
- The last thing in the packet from Tessa is a map of the various lands purchased for the lands for the Soldier’s Home.
So the net net of this is that Jacob F. Lentz seems to have a little side business financing mortgages or notes for his neighbors. He bought the 80 acres in 1850 for $1400 and sold it in 1858 for $6500, taking a note for $4500, which was paid. Then in the mid-1860s, the Crosby’s sold that same land for $12,000 to become part of the land for the Soldier’s Home. One thing we know for sure, Jacob F. Lentz didn’t have a crystal ball, or he would have held onto that land a few years longer.
Sigh, another family story debunked. But it was SUCH a good story!
What Do We Know?
Now that we know that Jacob Lentz did not donate the land for the Soldier’s Home, let’s take a look at what information we have been able to collect about Jacob Lentz.
Let’s begin with a timeline of the early years, then work our way forward in the records.
- 1783 – May 15, 1783, Jacob born in Wurttemberg, according to the letter.
- 1809 – If Jacob had 4 children in 1817, then he was likely married about 1808 or 1809, or possibly earlier. This would have made Fredericka about 20 or 21 when they married.
- 1817 – If he was 34 when he left for America, that would have been in 1817.
- 1817 – Letter says they left for America in 1817.
- 1817 or 1818 – Shipwrecked in Norway for at least 6 months, plus at least 3 months trip, so at least 9 months delayed, plus a second trip across the Atlantic.
- 1819 – Landed in New York January 1, 1819 according to the letter. That was indeed a Happy New Year!
- 1819 – Indentured for 3 years and 6 months, but released after about 8 months by a family in Shippensburg, PA.
- 1819 – son Adam born Aug. 30, 1819 in Pennsylvania.
- Not present on census
- 1828-1829 – lived another 9 or 10 years in the Shippensburg community, according to the letter, which would be about 1828-1829
- 1829 – Jacob moved his family to Montgomery County and purchased land from the government 10 miles north of Dayton, according to the letter.
- 1830 – Not present on census.
Let’s begin with the Wurttemberg location. What, if anything, do we have to verify Jacob was born in Wurttemberg?
As it turns out, there is quite a bit of information that points to Wurttemberg, just not exactly where in Wuerttemburg.
In the 1860 census, Jacob and Frederica tell us themselves that they were born in Wurttemburg.
In 1860, Jacob and his wife were living with son, George, born in 1824 in Pennsylvania.
I also used Wurttemberg to help reassemble Jacob’s children, since he didn’t do us the favor of leaving a will.
We know that son, Adam, was born in 1819, per the letter, and marriage records tell us that he married Margaret Whitehead January 3, 1843. They moved to Elkhart County, Indiana before she died in July of 1844.
Another Lentz female, Margaret, married Valentine Whitehead Dec. 31, 1840 and they too migrated to Elkhart County, Indiana. Valentine died in 1851, and on March 30, 1856, Margaret remarried to John David Miller, also a widower.
In the 1880 census, Margaret tells us that her parents were both born in Wurttemberg. Margaret is my ancestor through her second marriage to John David Miller.
Adam, first having moved to Elkhart County, Indiana, but then having moved on to Montgomery Co., Illinois tells us that his parents were born in Wurttemberg too.
Benjamin Lentz who migrated to Kosciusko County, Indiana, abutting Elkhart County, Indiana, also tells us that both of his parents were born in Wurttemberg. Benjamin’s death certificate tells us his father was Jacob Lentz.
George Lentz living in Montgomery County, Ohio tells us that his parents were born in Wurttemberg too.
Jacob F. Lentz living in Montgomery County, Ohio tells us he and his parents were born in Baden.
This might be a good place to discuss Jacob’s children, because it’s through the children’s records, in part, that we verify the Wurttemberg location. Conversely, because Jacob gave that location himself in the census, it’s also through this location that we verify, as best we can, some of his children.
Jacob did not leave a will, so we’ve had to reassemble his family through other means.
Here are the children of Jacob Lentz and Fredericka Mosselman as I know them so far:
- Jacob Franklin Lentz born Nov. 28, 1806 in Baden (1880 census) Germany, married Sophia Schweitzer. In the 1880 census he is listed as a real estate agent census and shows parents born in Baden. He is identified as Jacob’s son in a local history book.
- Fredericka Lentz, born in Germany July 3, 1809, married Daniel Brusman in Pennsylvania and is identified by her son Lafayette’s death certificate as Fredericka Lentz.
- Elizabeth Lentz born in Germany, died in 1818/1819 at sea, per the letter.
- Barbery Lentz, born in Germany, a baby when they sailed. Sister Yost is mentioned in Jacob’s obituary. Barbara married Henry Yost and her death certificate in Elkhart County, Indiana gives Jacob’s name as her father. Based on her death certificate, she was born August 21, 1816.
- Adam Lentz born August 30, 1819 in Pennsylvania, married first in 1843 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Margaret Whitehead who died in 1844 in Elkhart Co. He then married Elizabeth Neff in 1845 in Elkhart County, then left and went to Montgomery Co., Illinois where he was listed the 1880 census with his parents having been born in Wurttemberg. The tribute letter written by his son states he was the son of Jacob.
- Margaret Elizabeth Lentz born December 21,1822 in Pennsylvania, married Valentine Whitehead December 31, 1840 in Montgomery County, Ohio. He died in 1851 in Elkhart County, Indiana. She remarried to John David Miller March 30, 1856 and died July 4, 1903. She identifies her parents as being born in Wurttemberg in the 1880 census. Her death certificate names her father as Adam Lentz, who was actually her brother.
- George W. Lentz born Feb. 11, 1824 in Pennsylvania, married Sarah Spitler or Spitzler about 1845. She died in 1853 and George married Catherine Blessing in 1855 in Montgomery County, Ohio. He shows his parents as having been born in Wurttemberg in the 1880 census. Jacob is living with George in 1880.
- Benjamin Lentz born May 7, 1826, married first Sarah Overlease (Overlees) in Montgomery Co, remarried to Catherine Halderman in 1859 in Elkhart Co., Indiana. In the 1880 census, gives his parents birth location as Wurttemberg. His death certificate gives Jacob as his father.
- Mary Lentz born May 9, 1929 in either Pennsylvania or Ohio, married Henry Overlease on December 1, 1848 in Montgomery Co., Ohio. In the 1850 census, the couple was living with Jacob and Fredericka (misspelled Hannah) Lentz. Mary died on May 18, 1918 in Bartlesville, Washington Co., Oklahoma. In 1860, they too were living in Elkhart County, Indiana. In 1880, in Neosho Co., Kansas, she gives her parents’ birth location as Wurttemberg.
- Possibly Lewis Lentz born in 1832.
Every one of Jacob’s living children that we can identify in 1880, says their parents were born in Wurttemberg (shown in red below), Germany or Baden.
The Kingdom of Württemberg was a state in Germany that existed from 1805 to 1918, located in the area that is now Baden-Württemberg. The kingdom was a continuation of the Duchy of Württemberg, which existed from 1495 to 1805.
It looks like we’ve pretty well proven Wurttemberg, so what about Shippensburg?
Shippensburg, Cumberland Co., PA
Shippensburg could be a tougher nut to crack.
Fortunately, a cousin, Paul Lantz, was able to make a trip in 2004 to Cumberland County, PA where Shippensburg is located. Actually, Shippensburg spans the county line between Cumberland and Franklin Counties. Franklin County records were not reviewed.
Paul reviewed the deeds and other records, including tax lists in Cumberland County, and was only able to find one record with Jacob Lentz’s name, and that was in 1828, as follows:
#158 Lentz, Jacob Potter
As Paul said after his research, “If Jacob Lentz spent nine years there and didn’t get on any of the records we searched, then he sure was an elusive cuss.”
There is a Lantz family living in the area during this time, but not in Shippensburg and there is, thankfully, no Jacob.
It’s truly unfortunate that Jacob, while so very grateful to the family who released him from his indentured servitude early, didn’t share with us their name.
He could have been living on their land the entire time, working for them so therefore not taxed on his own.
Montgomery County, Ohio
The book titled, “Biographical Sketches, City of Dayton” provides us with the following information about Jacob Lentz’s son, Jacob F. Lentz. It appears from this and other documentation that Jacob Lentz (Sr.) moved to the Dayton area in 1829, but he is absent from the 1830 census. The article below provides information about his son, Jacob F. Lentz, including that he arrived in 1830 and at one point, he was a potter. It’s interesting that the one record from Shippensburg that we do have about Jacob refers to him as a potter. It makes me wonder if the 1828 record of Jacob in Shippensburg is for Jacob F. Lentz and not Jacob, the father, although the father could clearly have been a potter as well.
The other interesting item in this article is that Jacob F. was a member of the Lutheran Church, not the Brethren Church. We don’t know when Jacob, the father, converted to the Brethren faith, but Jacob F. Lentz may well not have been raised Brethren.
There were both Brethren and Lutheran Churches in Shippensburg, ironically, utilizing the same church building for many years.
Did Jacob, as per the story, purchase land from the government after arriving in Ohio? What do we know about Jacob in Montgomery County?
When I visited Montgomery County in 2004, I found information about the family, but no land records prior to 1836. Cousin Paul Lentz had the same experience.
In 1835, on the tax roll, there is one Jacob Lantz who had 2 horses and one cow and in 1836 Jacob Lense with the same number of animals, and no land. This is in Madison Township, the same township where the Whitehead family lives as well and where Jacob would eventually purchase land.
From the tax records, it appears that Jacob F. Lentz, the son, obtained 100 acres of land in 1838, range 5e section 3 twp 4 (which is where his land is always located), noted as the the S part of the E 1/8th. In 1840 he is shown the same but with 3 cows and 3 horses.
In 1841, 42 and 45 it looks like Jacob and his son, Jacob F. both owned 50 acres, but by 1850, only Jacob (Sr.) is shown with land in Madison Township.
In the 1840 census, there is a Jacob Lints shown in Madison Township with several family members. I’ve noted Jacob’s children where they would fit according to their known birth dates and the census categories.
- Male 50-60 (born 1780-1790) Jacob
- Female 50-60 (born 1780-1790) Fredericka
- Male 5-10 (born 1830-1835) unknown, possibly Lewis
- Male 10-15 (born 1825-1830) Benjamin born 1826
- Male 15-20 (born 1820-1825) George born 1824 married in 1846
- Male 20-30 (born 1810-1820) Adam born 1819 married 1843 to Margaret Whitehead
- Female 10-15 (born 1825-1830) Mary born 1829, married 1848
- Female 15-20 (born 1820-1825) Margaret born 1822, married December 1840 to Valentine Whitehead
Valentine Whitehead and Margaret Lentz were married Dec. 31, 1840 in Montgomery Co, Ohio. Margaret and Valentine would subsequently move to Elkhart County, Indiana, along with Margaret’s brother Adam, brother Benjamin and her nephew Cyrus, son of Jacob F. Lentz. Valentine Whitehead died, and Margaret remarried in Elkhart County to John David Miller in 1856.
On October 17, 1840, we find a record in Montgomery County for Jacob Lenz taking an oath of citizenship, denounced Frederick II King of Wurttenburg. It is unclear whether this is either Jacob Lentz, the father, or Jacob F. Lentz, or neither. Wright State has these originals and was unable to find this citizenship application. There is an 1856 application as well which is clearly neither man based on the age of 32.
Based on the following deed, Jacob, the father, bought land from Jacob F., the son, in 1841.
Deed 1 – Jacob F. Lentz to Jacob Lentz (Sr.)
Record Storage Center
Montgomery County, Ohio
Deed Book F-2 Page 524-525
Jacob F. Lentz to Jacob Lentz
Received for Record November 2nd 1841 and Recorded November 20th 1841
By this deed it is witnessed that Jacob F. Lentz of the County of Montgomery and State of Ohio for the consideration of nine hundred dollars the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, doth grant, convey and confirm to Jacob Lentz of the same County and State his heirs and assigns. All that certain tract or parcel of land bound as follows to wit, Beginning at the South East corner of Section three(3) in Township four(4) of Range Five(5) East of a Meridian line drawn from the mouth of the Great Miami River, and running from thence North four degrees West with the Eastern boundary of said section twenty five chains and Twenty two links to a post from which a White Oak twelve inches in diameter bears North thirty eight and a half degrees east forty five links distant and a Burr Oak twenty inches in diameter bears North Ten and a half degrees West Sixty three links distant thence South Eighty five and a fourth degrees West Thirty nine chains and Eighty nine links to a post from which a Sugar tree fourteen inches in diameter bears South Sixty six degrees East Seventy links distant another Sugar tree thirteen inches in diameter bears North Forty eight degrees East fifty one links distant thence South Three and three fourths degrees East Twenty five Chains and twenty two links to a post in the Southern Boundary of said section from which a White Oak fifteen inches in diameter bears South Sixty six degrees East twelve links distant (being the original witness tree) thence North Eighty five and one fourth degrees East thirty nine chains and sixty five and a half links to the place of beginning. Containing Fifty acres being the North half of the above described land and the division line running east and west through the middle of said land be the same more or less situated lying and being in the County of Montgomery and State of Ohio and being the same land that was divided to Mary Hood in and by his last will and testament of her Father Andrew Hood deceased late of the County aforesaid which Mary Hood afterwards intermarried with Robert Means and said Robert Means and said Mary his wife conveyed said land to John Means by deed bearing date on the ninth day of February in the year 1836 and said John Means conveyed the same to said Henry Herrman by deed bearing date the twenty fourth day of March in the year 1837 and the said Henry Herrman conveyed the same to said Jacob F. Lentz by deed bearing date on the twenty fourth day of March in the year 1838. And all claim and title in law or equity, of the said Jacob F. Lentz to the said premises; the said Jacob Lentz to have and to hold the same to the of himself and his heirs and assigns forever, and the said grantor for himself and his heirs and legal representatives covenants with the said grantee and his heirs and assigns, that he the said grantor is the owner of the said premises, and hath lawful right to convey the same in manner of aforesaid ; and also that he the said grantor doth warrant, and with his heirs and legal representatives will forever defend the said premises, and their proper appurtenances, and every part thereof, to the said grantee and his heirs and assigns against all lawful claimants. In testimony whereof, the said Jacob F. Lantz and Sophia Lentz the wife of the said Jacob F. Lentz who hereby forever relinquishes all right of dower in the said premises, have hereunto set their hands and seals, on the ninth day of June in the year eighteen hundred and forty one.
Signed and sealed in the presence of “interlining from the word North to the word ten on the fourth line was done before signing”
Jacob F. Lentz (seal)
Sophia Lentz (seal)
The State of Ohio SS
Montgomery County Before me, a Justice of the Peace within and for the County aforesaid, personally came Jacob F. Lentz and Sophia his wife the above named grantors and acknowledged the signing and sealing of the above deed to be their voluntary act for the uses therein expressed. And the said Sophia Lentz begin examined by me separate and apart from her said husband in the contents of said deed being fully made known to her she upon such separate examination declared that she did voluntary sign, seal and acknowledge the same, and that she is still satisfied therewith. Witness my hand, this ninth day of June in the year eighteen hundred and forty one.
Abraham Niepman J.P.
Jacob (Sr.) bought his land from his son, Jacob F. Lentz. This makes me wonder if perhaps Jacob F. Lentz could speak both German and English, and his father could not speak English. There is no record that Jacob bought or was granted land from the government.
The deed also correlates with the tax lists that show both Jacob and Jacob F. owing 50 acres each – this deed says that Jacob F. sold Jacob half the land described.
In the 1850 census, Jacob and Fredericka are living with their daughter Mary and their son-in-law, Henry Overlees. The 1850 census shows Mary born in Ohio, and if that is true, then Jacob and Fredericka were in Ohio by May 9, 1829. Of course, the census has been known to be wrong.
Jacob continues to pay tax on the land be bought from Jacob F., his son, until he sells the same land to his son George in 1865 for $2500. In 1860, Jacob is living with his son George. I wonder if the entire family group is living on Jacob’s land. In 1865, the deed where Jacob sells his land to George is recorded, but note that Fredericka has been dead for 2 years by 1865, and in her release of dower, the year is recorded as 1855, not 1865. So this actual transaction occurred 10 years before the deed was recorded.
Deed 2 – Jacob Lentz to George W. Lentz
Record Storage Center
Montgomery County, Ohio
Deed Book V-3 Pages 681-682
J & F Lentz to Geo. W. Lentz
Received for Record October 12 1865 and Recorded October 13 1865
Know all men by these presents, Jacob Lentz and Frederica Lentz his wife of the County of Montgomery & State of Ohio in consideration of the sum of Twenty Five Hundred Dollars to these paid by George W. Lentz of said County and State the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged do hereby bargain Sell and convey to the said George W. Lentz and to his heirs and assigns forever the following Real Estate viz. All that certain tract or parcel of land bounded as follows to wit, Beginning at the South East corner of Section three(3) in Township four(4) of Range Five(5) East of a Meridian line drawn from the mouth of the Great Miami River, and running from thence North four degrees West with the Eastern boundary of said section twenty five chains and Twenty two links to a post from which a White Oak twelve inches in diameter bears North thirty eight and a half degrees east forty five links distant and a Burr Oak twenty inches in diameter bears North Ten and a half degrees West Sixty three links distant thence South Eighty five and a fourth degrees West Thirty nine chains and Eighty nine links to a post from which a Sugar tree fourteen inches in diameter bears South Sixty six degrees East Seventy links distant another Sugar tree thirteen inches in diameter bears North Forty eight degrees East fifty one links distant thence South Three and three fourths degrees East Twenty five Chains and twenty two links to a post in the Southern Boundary of said section from which a White Oak fifteen inches in diameter bears South Sixty six degrees East twelve links distant (being the original witness tree) thence North Eighty five and one fourth degrees East thirty nine chains and sixty five and a half links to the place of beginning. Containing One Hundred Acres be the same more or less. Excepting however the South half of the foregoing described premises. The premises hereby conveyed is the North half of the above described premises containing fifty acres more or less and being the same that was conveyed by Jacob F. Lentz and Sophia his wife by deed dated the 9th day of June AD 1841 recorded in Book No.2 Page 524 of the Montgomery County records, Said premises are situate in said county and state; together with all privileges and appurtenances to the same belonging; to have and to hold the same to the only proper use of the said George W. Lentz, and of his heirs and assigns forever. And the said Jacob Lentz and Frederica Lentz his wife for themselves and their heirs, executors and administrators do hereby covenant with the said George W. Lentz and with his heirs and assigns, that they are the true and lawful owners of the said premises, and have full power to convey the same; and that the title so conveyed is clear, free, and unencumbered; and further, that they will warrant and defend the same against all claim or claims of all persons whatsoever. In witness whereof, the said Jacob Lentz together with said Frederica Lentz his said wife who hereby releases her right and expectancy of dower in the said premises. Have hereunto set their hands and seals on this twenty ninth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty five.
Signed, Sealed, Acknowledged Jacob Lentz (seal)
and Delivered in presence of us: Frederica Lentz (seal)
Daniel P. Nead, Youngs V. Wood
State of Ohio, Montgomery County; SS
Be it remembered that on this twenty ninth day of December in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and fifty five before me, the subscriber a Notary Public in and for the county personally came Jacob Lentz and Frederica Lentz wife of said Jacob Lentz, the grantor in the above Conveyance and acknowledged the same to be their voluntary act and deed for the uses and purposes herein mentioned. And the said Frederica Lentz wife of the said Jacob Lentz being examined by me separate and apart from her said husband and the contents of said Deed, being by me made known and explained to her, as the statutes directs, declares that she did voluntarily sign, seal and acknowledge the same and that she is still satisfied therewith as her act and deed for the uses and purposes therein mentioned. In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my notorial seal at Dayton on the day and year last aforesaid.
Interestingly enough, George conveys the land back to Jacob and Fredericka the following year for their “natural lives,” in other words, this was a life estate which ended at their deaths. I wonder if this was to make them feel better about the transaction, or there was some friction within the family.
Deed 3 – George W. Lentz to Jacob and Frederica Lentz
Record Storage Center
Montgomery County, Ohio
Deed Book Z Page 358
George W. Lentz to Jacob Lentz
Received for Record February 12th 1856 and Recorded March 5th 1856
Know all men by these presents that George W. Lentz of the County of Montgomery and State of Ohio in consideration of the sum of five hundred dollars to him paid by Jacob Lentz and Frederica Lentz wife of said Jacob Lentz of the same place receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged does hereby bargain, sell and convey to the said Jacob Lentz and Frederica Lentz for and during their natural and the natural life of the survivors of them. The following Real Estate viz: All the South half of al that certain tract or parcel of land to wit. Beginning at the South East corner of Section three(3) in Township four(4) of Range Five(5) East of a Meridian line drawn from the mouth of the Great Miami River, and running from thence North four degrees West with the Eastern boundary of said section twenty five chains and Twenty two links to a post from which a White Oak twelve inches in diameter bears North thirty eight and a half degrees east forty five links distant and a Burr Oak twenty inches in diameter bears North Ten and a half degrees West Sixty three links distant thence South Eighty five and a fourth degrees West Thirty nine chains and Eighty nine links to a post from which a Sugar tree fourteen inches in diameter bears South Sixty six degrees East Seventy links distant another Sugar tree thirteen inches in diameter bears North Forty eight degrees East fifty one links distant thence South Three and three fourths degrees East Twenty five Chains and twenty two links to a post in the Southern Boundary of said section from which a White Oak fifteen inches in diameter bears South Sixty six degrees East twelve links distant (being the original witness tree) thence North Eighty five and one fourth degrees East thirty nine chains and sixty five and a half links to the place of beginning. Containing One Hundred Acres be the same more or less, the north half of the same hereby conveyed as aforesaid containing fifty acres more or less. Situated lying and being in the township of Madison County of Montgomery and State of Ohio together with all privileges and appurtenances the same belonging to have and to hold the same to the only proper use of the said Jacob Lentz and Frederica Lentz for and during their natural life and the natural life of the survivors of them and the said George W. Lentz for himself heirs executors and administrators does hereby covenant with the said Jacob and Frederica Lentz wife of said Jacob Lentz and with their assigns that he is the true and lawful owner of the said premises and has full power to convey the same and that the title so conveyed is clear for and unencumbered and further that he will warrant and defend the same against all claim and claims of all persons whatsoever. In witness the said George W. Lentz together with Catherine Lentz his wife who hereby releases her right and expectation of dower in the said premises have hereunto set their hands and seals on this thirty first day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty five.
Signed sealed acknowledged and delivered in presence of us.
Daniel P. Nead George W. Lentz (seal)
Youngs V. Wood Catherine Lentz (seal)
State of Ohio, Montgomery County; SS
Be it remembered that on this first day of January in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and fifty six before me, the subscriber a Notary Public in and for the county personally came George W. Lentz the grantor in the above Conveyance and acknowledged the same to be their voluntary act and deed for the uses and purposes herein mentioned. And the said Catherine Lentz wife of the said George W. Lentz being examined by me separate and apart from her said husband and the contents of said Deed, being by me made known and explained to her, as the statutes directs, declares that she did voluntarily sign, seal and acknowledge the same and that she is still satisfied therewith as her act and deed for the uses and purposes therein mentioned. In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my notorial seal at Dayton on the day and year last aforesaid.
Daniel P. Nead Notary Public for Montgomery County Ohio
The 1860 census shows Jacob and Fredericka living with son George. It shows Jacob’s real estate as worth only $200.
An 1875 plat map shows the SE corner of section 3 then belonging to A. Sanger and the portion that Jacob F. Lentz originally retained belongs to M. Hyer. George owned other land and apparently sold Jacob’s land not long after his death.
The Whitehead family with whom the Lentz family intermarried still owns the land in section 12 in 1875, just a short distance away.
The Montgomery County GIS system shows this land today, and I’ve utilized red arrows to point to the corners of Jacob’s land.
The section of land in the exact same size and shape just below Jacob’s belonged to his son, Jacob F.
Today, this land is located just north of the intersection of Shiloh Springs and Olive Roads on the west side of Olive Road, just north of the developed quadrant of land. That developed quadrant would have been the portion retained by Jacob F. Lentz.
You can see the area on a larger map, above.
A satellite view of Jacob’s land shows that while his son’s land has now been entirely developed, Jacob’s portion has not been.
A church sits close to the road today on Jacob’s land. The field behind the church is farmed. Near the road, a modern home has been built south of the church, but south of that, at 5175 Olive Road, we see an older structure.
Could this be Jacob’s home, remodeled?
Sometimes one gets lucky with homes and they have a relatively recent realtor listing that includes the year they were built. This property has not been sold since 1996, so no luck there.
Jacob and several of his children were Brethren. It’s unclear when and where Jacob converted. We know that Jacob Franklin Lentz, Jacob’s oldest son, was not Brethren from the age of 17, which would have been about 1823. There is also no indication that eldest daughter Fredericka was Brethren, or married Brethren. On the other hand, “Sister Yost,” born in 1816, would not have been referred to as such were she not Brethren.
Margaret, born in 1822 and most of the younger children were Brethren, which may suggest that Jacob’s conversion occurred in the late 1820s or perhaps even when or after he arrived in Montgomery County. I had wondered if the family Jacob was indentured to in Shippensburg was Brethren, but that is unlikely, both from the standpoint of how the Brethren felt about any kind of servitude, and the fact that Jacob would likely have converted earlier, during his indenture, influencing his older children.
In Montgomery County, Ohio, Jacob attended the Happy Corners Church of the Brethren and is buried in the Happy Corner cemetery down the road from the church. This was the first Brethren Church established in Montgomery County.
The church was about two and a half miles from where Jacob lived, shown on the map above.
This is the building that stands at the church location today, but Jacob wouldn’t recognize it. The history, below, is taken from the church website:
The Happy Corner congregation began as a body of about 50 members in 1811. The members met in various homes and made up what was known as the Lower Stillwater congregation. In 1818 the first meeting house was built out of logs near Salem pike and was the first meeting house in the Miami valley. A second meeting house was erected in 1860 on the corner of Wolf Creek and Salem pike. This became known as the lower house of Lower Stillwater. The upper house was where Happy Corner Church now stands. Services during this time alternated between the upper and lower houses.
Beginning in 1875 three more buildings of worship were built in the next two decades at the upper house location. The first burned before it was completed and the second destroyed by a tornado the same year it was built. Later that same year the white framed building on the corner of Old Salem and Union was built.
Jacob and Fredericka would have been in the cemetery before this church, as it stands today, was built. They would have attended when the church was a log structure. In fact, they would have attended this church exclusively for 30 years, from the time of their arrival until the second church building was built in 1860. Beginning in 1860, they would have alternated between this building and the church building at Wolf Creek Pike for services. The congregation was not large, so it would have been more like an extended family – the perfect scenario for Jacob and Fredericka who had no known family in America, aside from their children. In 1909, the two churches combined only reported about 150 members.
The second church would have been about equidistant from Jacob’s land, shown below, and that church had a cemetery as well. I’m sure Jacob’s cemetery choice when Fredericka died in 1863 was reflective of his comfort with his home church, the one he had attended for more than 3 decades.
The second church was eventually known as the Fort McKinley Brethren Church and a cemetery was associated with that church as well. The church no longer exists, but the cemetery remains. The family who owned Jacob F.’s land, south of Jacob’s, in the 1870s is buried in this cemetery, along with many of Jacob’s neighbors.
Ft. McKinley Cemetery is located on the south side of Free Pike, 500 feet west of Salem Avenue (SR 49) at the southeast corner of North Gettysburg Avenue.
Based on the burials, you can see that the church building sat on the corner, with the cemetery behind the church.
Many of the people Jacob knew are buried here as well. Jacob likely attended both church services and funerals in this very location for the last decade of his life, between 1860 and 1870.
Jacob died on April 10, 1870 and was buried in the Happy Corner Cemetery near Fredericka.
This aerial map shows the location of the white Happy Corner Church with the small grey pin on the southwest corner of Salem Road and North Union. The newer Happy Corner church is north of Salem Road at the end of the blue line.
The Happy Corner Cemetery is not immediately adjacent to the church, but is about 700 or 800 feet east of the intersection of Old Salem Road and North Union, on the north side of the street, marked below with a grey pin below. The 1875 plat map for Randolph Township shows the Happy Corner church, a second church across the road diagonally, and the cemetery tucked in-between two orchards on what looks to be a commercial orchard enterprise.
The Gospel Visitor index shows Jacob’s obituary in the May 1870 issue, and gives his age as 86 at the time of death – here is the exact text.
May 1870 page 160, Gospel Visitor:
Died near Dayton, O., April 10th, Brother JACOB LENTZ, aged 86 years, 10 months and 25 days. Disease palsy. He was sick but 10 days and was almost speechless during that time. He died at the home of one of his children several of whom are living here, sister Yost being one of them. He was from Wuertemberg and came to this country in 1817.
Funeral services from 2 Cor. 5:8 by brethren Bauman and Nead.
Second Corinthians 5:8 says: “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
Apparently, at almost 87 years of age, Jacob was ready to go and join Fredericka whom he had buried just slightly more than 7 years earlier.
Who is Sister Yost?
However, Jacob’s obituary raises an intriguing question.
Who was sister Yost?
Jacob’s daughters are accounted for, except for Barbery. But there is no Barbara Yost in the 1870 census in Montgomery County except for Barbara Yost, born in 1819 in Switzerland. We know where Jacob was in 1819 and it wasn’t Switzerland. That Barbara Yost doesn’t seem to fit well. The census has been known to be wrong, and this is the only Barbara Yost showing, so let’s see what we can discover about Barbara Yost, wife of Henry.
The 1850 census shows us a Henry Yost (indexed as Tost), a tinner, wife Barbara, living in Dayton, and living with them we find one Lewis Lentz, age 18, the exact age of the child unaccounted for in the 1840 census living with Jacob and Fredericka. Have we found Jacob’s daughter, Barbara? And maybe a previously unknown son?
The 1860 census shows her listed as Mary B., born in Germany in 1815.
The 1870 census shown Barbara as born in Switzerland in 1819.
In 1880, Henry and wife Mary B. have moved to New Paris, Elkhart County, Indiana, with their nephew, Cassius. Mary B. is shown as being born in Germany in 1815, and both parents as well. Henry is still shown as a tinner, so we have the correct family.
In the 1900 census, there is no record of either Henry, Mary B. or Barbara.
FindaGrave shows no Yosts at all in Elkhart County, BUT, Indiana Death Certificates for 1899 show Mary Barbara Yost, age 83 years, 2 months and 19 days, died on November 9, 1899 and her father is listed as Jacob Lentz – so indeed – this “sister Yost” is the long lost daughter, Barbary, of Jacob Lentz.
By subtracting her age as shown, we calculate Barbara’s birth date as August 21, 1816. She is also buried in the Baintertown Cemetery, along with her sister Margaret, but sadly, neither Barbara nor her husband have a marker in the cemetery.
The fact that her name vacillates between Barbara and Mary Barbara means that she was likely baptized Maria Barbra Lentz in Germany (or Switzerland). This is the only record showing any of Jacob’s children connected with Switzerland, so while I keep it in the back of my mind, it may be irrelevant.
We also find Lewis Lentz, born in 1832, in the 1860 census living in Peru, Miami County, Indiana, not far from Elkhart County. He is a tinner, just like Henry Yost, so we have the correct Lewis Lentz. He died in Peru, Indiana on January 21, 1918 but his death certificate in Peru lists the day as January 25, 1918. His death certificate is not indexed in Ancestry’s Indiana Death Records data base, but I found it by reading the Miami County entries page by page.
Lewis Lentz’s death certificate shows his father’s name as George. This cannot be Jacob’s son, George, who would only have been 8 years old when Lewis was born. There is no candidate George Lentz in Montgomery County or anyplace else in Ohio in the 1830 or 1840 census. It’s possible the death certificate is incorrect, or it’s possible that Lewis is not Jacob’s son, although the connection through the Yost family seems too close to be circumstantial. It’s clear that is Lewis was living in Indiana by 1860, his children never knew their grandparents.
Jacob and Fredericka are both buried in the Happy Corners Cemetery.
Cousin Steve Lentz visited this cemetery several years before I had the opportunity. That’s a good thing, because otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to see Fredericka’s stone at all.
Jacob’s stone is located to the right center – the light one with a rounded top. The short stone to the left center 1 row in front of Jacob’s is Fredericka’s stone. Photo above and below courtesy of Steve Lentz.
Close up of Fredericka’s stone, above. In 2004, when I visited, this stone was obscured by a large yucca type plant.
In the photo above, Fredericka’s stone is just beneath the white blooms.
Jacob Lentz’s stone.
Jacob had no will or estate papers upon his death, as he had already sold his land to his son, George, years before. Jacob lived his final years with George and his family. George owned other land as well, and by 1875, Jacob’s land was in the hands of another family.
However, Jacob’s legacy didn’t end there, because, thanks to his descendants, we have his DNA today, or at least part of it!
In 2003 or 2004, Mother and I attended the Lentz family reunion in Ohio. It was fun to meet our cousins that we never knew we had before discovering the identity of the parents of Mother’s grandmother, Evaline Miller Ferverda. Evaline’s grandfather was Jacob Lentz. The chart below shows the path of descent from Jacob to mother.
At the reunion, we met our cousin, Bill Lentz, who descended from Benjamin Lentz who lived in Kosciusko County, Indiana. Kosciusko County neighbored Elkhart County where Margaret Lentz who married John David Miller lived, where Adam Lentz lived before moving westward and where Barbara and Henry Yost lived, all children of Jacob Lentz. Furthermore, Cyrus Lentz, son of Jacob Franklin Lentz also moved to Elkhart County and married a Whitehead. Cyrus was a grandson of Jacob Lentz.
Benjamin Lentz’s death certificate, in 1903, identifies his father as Jacob Lentz.
Bill was kind enough to take a DNA test. In the early years of DNA testing, autosomal DNA tests weren’t yet available, so Bill took a 12 marker Y DNA test.
At that time, William didn’t match any other Lentz men. Few had tested. However, we thought we might have been related to another group of Lentz men out of Pennsylvania, and perhaps a second group out of NC. Those were both red herrings as proven by subsequent DNA tests, but we didn’t know that at the time. In fact, we spent a whole lot of effort trying to connect dots that weren’t there. Thank goodness for DNA and people who will test, make their results public, and share.
In the Lentz DNA project, the NC group is group B, E. Our Jacob Lentz group is F,G.
And speaking of red herrings, there was another Jacob Lentz found in Pennsylvania that we thought might be connected. He was found in Berks County and died there in 1789. One of his descendants had a prayer book that descended from that Jacob, and one of our cousins dutifully hunted it down and took photos. We later discovered, via DNA testing, that the Jacob Lentz of Berks County is group I, above, so also not related to us either.
However, Cousin William did match two Lantz men, as shown on YSearch below.
The common ancestor of these Lantz men was Michael Lantz born about (or before) 1773 in Baden, Germany and according to the information provided by his descendant, lived in Washington County, MD. Unfortunately, neither of these Lantz men have taken the Family Finder test, and one has since passed away.
Paul Lantz, one of the testers, unfortunately now deceased, did a prodigious amount of research on this line and was unable to determine who the parents or Michael were, or even where he was born, although the information in YSearch says Baden. Paul was, however, able to tell that in the book, “The Lantz Family Record” by Jacob W. Lantz, G1 Jacob Lantz of Washington County, Maryland has a son John Lantz. The children listed for John are the children of Michael Lantz who settled in Porter Township, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania around 1810 according to all records found in Washington County, Maryland and Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. So the children are attributed to the wrong parent, as confirmed by DNA testing.
The earliest mention of Michael in Washington County, Maryland is when Susanna, Michael’s daughter, was born January 13, 1794 and baptized April 12, 1794 in Jacob’s Church, Washington County, Maryland. The next mention of Michael is on the 1800 Census in Williamsport, Washington County, Maryland. This is the last mention of Michael in Maryland. All other information was found in western Pennsylvania where he is found in the 1850 census stating he is 77 years old and born in Pennsylvania (via ditto marks down the entire column.” Michael Lantz died in 1854 in Porter Township, Jefferson County, PA. Michael’s son John is the ancestor of both Lantz men, above, who tested and match both William and C. Lentz, who you haven’t met yet.
I am documenting what Paul Lantz provided in regards to Michael Lantz, here, in the hope that it will prevent other researchers from having to repeat this research and also with the hope that someday additional information will become available about Michael Lantz who is descended from a common ancestor with the Lentz line. By googling Paul Lantz Genforum you can view additional postings made by Paul.
When the autosomal test became available, sadly, William Lentz had passed away, but his kit was upgraded with the permission of his widow. I am still hopeful of contacting Paul’s cousin who was the second Lantz male to take the Y DNA test with the intention of asking him if he will take the Family Finder test. It’s possible that Michael Lantz was a brother to Jacob Lentz, and if so, Michael’s descendant should match some of Jacob Lentz’s descendants as well.
The chart below shows the path of descent from Jacob Lentz to 4 cousins who have tested. Mother’s first cousins, Don and Cheryl, are not shown on the chart, below. Their father is the brother to John Ferverda. Only the more distant relationships are shown because they are the least likely to match and those matches are the ones we need to prove descent from a common ancestor.
William Lentz matches R. Miller, Mother and both of mother’s first cousins (Don and Cheryl) through Evaline Miller. Not only that, but William Lentz matched the various cousins on several of the same segments, shown on the chromosome browser, .
The largest triangulated segment is on chromosome 2 for about 7 cM between William, mother and her first cousin, Don.
The matches to William with the various known cousins are shown below, including C. Lentz who has not yet been introduced, but who did not match William at Family Tree DNA. More about this part of the story in a minute.
Based up on the chart above, these match relationships fall within the expected ranges and the triangulated DNA between William, Mother and Don confirms the common ancestor.
It would be another 12 years before a second Lentz male cousin, C. Lentz, was found. He too was willing to take a DNA test, and he matches William on the 12 marker Y test, with one mutation difference.
Adding the C. Lentz results to YSearch (top row) shows the following comparative information.
It’s certainly worth noting that the Lantz/Lentz match does hold at 25 markers, but unless one of the Lantz men tests above 25 markers, we won’t know if it continues to hold with only one mutation.
Let’s see how C. Lentz stacks up relative to matching the known Lentz cousins utilizing the Family Finder test.
As you can see, in the above table, C. Lentz also matches all of the known cousins.
On chromosome 3, Mother, Don and C. Lentz triangulate for about 9cM.
It’s unfortunately that C. Lentz does not match William Lentz, but about 10% of third cousins don’t match at this threshold. I’m guessing that if we were to lower the threshold a bit at GedMatch that they might match. Let’s see.
Not only do they match, but that’s the same segment where C. Lentz matches my mother, so we have achieved triangulation as well between William, Mother and C. Lentz for a 7cM segment and about 900 SNPs on chromosome 22. Not only is this triangulation, but between the descendants of 3 of Jacob’s children. Yippee!!!
The relationship from all of the known cousins is proven back to Jacob and Fredericka. This DNA where the cousins match came either from Jacob or Fredericka, through the generations to the descendants who carry it today. I wish we had the ability to sort out which segments belonged to Jacob and which to Fredericka, but we don’t without people from Jacob’s line and Fredericka’s line to test as well. And clearly, if we don’t know who their parents were, we don’t know who their siblings are either.
But some things, thanks to the DNA, we do know. We know that the Y DNA came exclusively from Jacob, without any admixture from Fredericka, because the Y chromosome is passed exclusively from father to son.
What Does the Y DNA Tell Us?
Because Y DNA tracks a male’s direct paternal ancestor back in time, there is a story to be told that is detailed and relevant only to that paternal line. Thankfully, C. Lentz was gracious enough to take the Big Y test as well, so not only do we have his STR markers for comparison, we have a deeper dive into the Lentz heritage that descends from our common ancestor, Jacob Lentz. For those of us who don’t have a Y chromosome, this is truly a Godsend.
The Lentz STR markers, meaning the panels of 12, 25, 37, 67 and 111 markers, are very unique. Translated, this means that we don’t have matches to men, other than those by the surname of Lentz and Lantz except for one Hays at 37 markers with 4 mutations difference, and no genealogy information provided. The Hays we’re not concerned about, but the Lantz/Lentz matches are quite exciting.
Many times, you can look at the locations of solid high level matches, meaning 36, 67 or 111 markers, and look for patterns of where your matches ancestors are from. But, you can’t look for patterns if you don’t have matches, so we’re a bit out of luck on this one.
Fortunately C. Lentz was kind enough to agree to the Big Y test, which is in essence a research test, looking for both known and previously unknown mutations. By unknown, I mean unknown to mankind, not just unknown to us.
C. Lentz’s Big Y test showed that he has 618 known SNPs, or mutations, that have already been documented, plus 42 novel variants, meaning mutations that will be named as SNPs if they appear in enough men so that they aren’t considered “personal SNPs.”
Of his novel variants, some have a high number of people whom he matches, but one novel variant is found in only one other person.
Not only that, but while he has virtually no STR matches (except Lantz and Hays), which reflect matches within a genealogically relevant time frame, normally up to about 500 years, he has 35 Big Y matches which reflect matches generally before the advent of surnames, unless another known Lentz male were to test, of course – and we would expect two related Lentz men to match exactly on the Big Y, since this test is testing ancient (or at least much older) ancestry.
C. Lentz’s Big Y matches are as follows, with the fewest SNP differences, meaning the closest relationships, being shown first:
These results are very divergent and truly unexpected. There are 6 German, 4 Russian and several Middle Eastern and Caucasus matches. There seems to be a theme here that suggests eastern Europe and western Asia.
Sometimes one just strikes it lucky in genetic genealogy, and this is one of those times. One of the administrators of the haplogroup project that C. Lentz has joined is a geneticist. He evaluated the raw data and found a fascinating correlation.
If you’re a Lentz descendant, and you’re not sitting down…well, sit down now.
The Lentz paternal line, along with two other men, has formed a new branch of the haplotree, as follows:
“Under Z2109, his haplotype and 2 other ones form the new branch, KMS67.”
This means that discoveries were made and thanks to C. Lentz and two other testers, a new branch has been added to the tree of mankind. This is very much pioneering research.
The two screen shots below show that portion of the Family Tree DNA haplotree.
The green line is the terminal SNP, KMS67, or new branch of the tree, beneath Z2109 shown above. Unfortunately, we can’t name it “The Lentz Branch,” but I’d like to!!
The other two men are more closely related to each other but our Lentz line is distantly related to both of them and we do share a common ancestor, long before genealogical surnames, in the hundreds to thousands of years ago timeframe.
Here’s the kicker. These two men that C. Lentz matches belong to the Burzyan Bashkir people.
The geneticist says:
The relationships between Lentz and these Burzyan Bashkir men is very ancient. For example, the KMS75 marker was found in aDNA (ancient DNA) samples of the Yamnaya culture. Thus, the separation of Lentz’s line from the Bashkir line could have occurred even before the Yamnaya culture appearance. At the moment, the distribution of R-KMS67 line in Europe is completely unknown. It will take time to understand it. It is clear that this line is very rare. Germany could be an important place for the Z2109+ people because several different subclades of R-Z2109 were found here.
So, now the question is who were the Burzyan Bashkir and what is the Yamnaya culture? We’re moving further back in time now.
The pin on this map shows the Burzyan district of the Republic of Bashkortostan in Russia.
Looking at this map, now, the Iran, Turkey and Russian Big Y matches for C. Lentz make more sense don’t they!
The Bashkir people are a Turkic people indigenous to Bashkortostan, extending on both sides of the Ural Mountains, on the place where Eastern Europe meets North Asia.
This map shows the main settlement areas of the Bashkirs in the late 18th century extending over the Kama, Volga, Samara and Tobol Rivers.
The Ural Mountains divide Russia north to south, and also divide Europe from Asia.
On this larger map, you can see the Ural Mountains, in yellow, dissecting Russia.
Most Bashkirs speak the Bashkir language, which belongs to the Kypchak branch of the Turkic languages and share cultural affinities with the broader Turkic peoples. In religion the Bashkirs are mainly Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi madhhab, having converted from Tengrism in the 9th century. However, our connection reaches back before that time.
Tengrianism is a Central Asian religion characterized by features of shamanism, animism, totemism, both polytheism and monotheism, and ancestor worship. Historically, it was the prevailing religion of the Turks, Mongols, and Hungarians, as well as the Xiongnu and the Huns.
Early records on the Bashkirs are found in medieval works by Sallam Tardzheman (9th century) and Ibn-Fadlan (10th century). Al-Balkhi (10th century) described Bashkirs as a people divided into two groups, one inhabiting the Southern Urals, the second group living on the Danube plain near the boundaries of Byzantium – therefore – given the geography and date – referring to either Danube Bulgars or Magyars. Ibn Rustah, a contemporary of Al Balkhi, observed that Bashkirs were an independent people occupying territories on both sides of the Ural mountain ridge between Volga, Kama, and Tobol Rivers and upstream of the Yaik river.
The Bashkir on the Danube plain may explain our Lentz DNA.
This Danube Plain flood risk map is probably the best example of the extent of the Danube Plain that I’ve been able to find.
Achmed ibn-Fadlan visited Volga Bulgaria as a staff member in the embassy of the Caliph of Baghdad in 922. He described the Bashkirs as a belligerent Turk nation. Ibn-Fadlan described them as nature worshipers, identifying their deities as various forces of nature, birds and animals. He also described the religion of acculturated Bashkirs as a variant of Tengrism, including 12 ‘gods’ and naming Tengri – lord of the endless blue sky.
The first European sources to mention the Bashkirs are the works of Joannes de Plano Carpini and William of Rubruquis in the mid-13th century. These travelers, encountering Bashkir tribes in the upper parts of the Ural River, called them Pascatir or Bastarci, and asserted that they spoke the same language as the Hungarians.
During the 10th century, Islam spread among the Bashkirs. By the 14th century, Islam had become the dominant religious force in Bashkir society.
By 1236, Bashkortostan was incorporated into the empire of Genghis Khan who was very successful in uniting the nomadic tribes of Asia. Using his massive army, he set out to conquer most of Eurasia, including what is now eastern Europe. This is another possibility of how the Bashkir DNA found its way into Germany to become the Lentz DNA.
This map shows the Mongol empire in the 13th century, following Genghis Khan’s raids. As you can see, the arrows continue into Europe.
The Mongol invasion of Europe in the 13th century involved the severe and rampant destruction of East Slavic principalities and major cities, such as Kiev and Vladimir. Mongol invasions also affected Central Europe, warring with the Kingdom of Hungary (in the Battle of Mohi) and causing the fragmentation of Poland (in the Battle of Legnica).
The operations were masterminded by General Subutai and commanded by Batu Khan and Kadan, both grandsons of Genghis Khan. As a result of the successful invasions, many of the conquered territories would become part of the Golden Horde empire and go on to invade yet other territories and nations including Russia, Poland, Thrace, Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia.
You can read more about the Mongol invasion of both Poland and Hungary here.
This medieval manuscript drawing from the National Library of Budapest depicts the Mongol invasion of Hungary in 1285, but it does not depict the extent of the devastation in which half of the population was killed.
In 1242, the Mongols were resting on the Hungarian plain when they began to withdraw. The reason is unclear, but many think it was because word reached them by messenger that the Great Khan had died in December 1241 and they returned so that the princes of blood would be present to elect a new “great Khan.” Others believe they retreated due to the fact that they were making little progress and even though they had been successful, they had lost a lot of fighting men and didn’t have the strength for the next step which would have been taking on the princes and fortifications of Germany. Furthermore the winter of 1241/1242 had been particularly brutal, and they were camped on the Hungarian plain. Perhaps many of these factors played a part, but they did withdraw. However, some of their DNA remained in the region, one way or another, and would become part of the European population after their withdrawal.
However, thanks to the C. Lentz DNA, we can go back yet another step in time. Before the Bashkir, our Lentz ancestor was part of the Yamnaya culture.
The Yamnaya People
I must admit, I’ve been fascinated by the Yamnaya since they first came to my attention as the elusive “ghost population” that founded Europe in addition to the known hunter-gatherers and the farmers from the Middle East. I wrote about them here. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I have any idea that one of my lines might have a direct link back in time to this fascinating culture.
The Yamna or Yamnaya culture, also called Pit Grave Culture and Ochre Grave Culture, was a late Copper Age/early Bronze Age culture of the Southern Bug/Dniester/Ural region (the Pontic steppe), dating to 3,500 – 2,300 BCE. The Yamna culture is identified with the late Proto-Indo-Europeans, and is the strongest candidate for the Urheimat (homeland) of the Proto-Indo-European language that would eventually evolve into the European languages of today, including German and English, although through different branches of the language tree.
The names “Yamna culture” and “Yamnaya culture” are from Ukrainian: Ямна культура and Russian: Ямная культура, both meaning “pit-grave culture”, from Russian/Ukrainian яма meaning “pit”
These beautiful items were found during excavation of the Yamna culture pit grave sites, now on display at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
I can’t help but look at this beautiful jewelry and wonder if our ancestors wore something similar, or if this type of adornment was only for shamans and leaders. Perhaps our ancestors were shamans and/or leaders. Perhaps they carved items like this.
This beautiful corded-ware pattern was clearly used to adorn pottery. Their lives may have been rather primitive, compared to ours, and perhaps somewhat brutal, but the spark of creativity had clearly ignited.
These points probably served the the dual purpose of protection and hunting.
A hammer is a hammer in any culture, but this one is quite beautiful and far from the crude hammers of a rock lashed to a stick.
The Yamnaya-people were the likely result of admixture between eastern European hunter-gatherers (via whom they also descend from the Mal’ta-Buret’ culture or other, closely related people) and hunter-gatherers from the Caucasus. Their culture is materially very similar to that of the people of the Afanasevo culture, their contemporaries in the Altai Mountains; furthermore, genetic tests have confirmed that the two groups are genetically indistinguishable.
The Yamnaya are also closely connected to later, Bronze Age cultures which spread throughout Europe and Central Asia, especially the Corded Ware people, but also the Bell Beakers as well as the peoples of the Andronovo, Sintashta, and Srubna cultures. In these groups, there are present several aspects of the Yamna culture (e.g., horse-riding, burial styles, and to some extent the pastoralist economy). Studies have also established that these populations derived large parts of their ancestry from the steppes.
The Eastern-European hunter gatherers were part of a forager population complex that prevailed in Mesolithic Europe, from the Iberian peninsula to Russia, before a farming population entered from the Middle East during the Neolithic. Remains of the Eastern European hunter gatherers have been found in Mesolithic or early Neolithic sites in Karelia and Samara Oblast, Russia. Three such hunter-gathering individuals of the male sex have had their DNA results published. Each was found to belong to a different Y-DNA haplogroup: R1a, R1b, and J. R1b is also the most common Y-DNA haplogroup found among both the Yamnaya and modern-day Western Europeans, but not just any R1b, R1b carrying the same ancient SNP markers are our Lentz DNA.
Haak et al. (2015) conducted a genome wide study of 69 ancient skeletons from Europe and Russia. They concluded that Yamnaya autosomal characteristics are very close to the Corded Ware culture people, with an estimated a 73% ancestral contribution from the Yamnaya DNA in the DNA of Corded Ware skeletons from Germany. The same study estimated a 40–54% ancestral contribution of the Yamnaya in the DNA of modern Central & Northern Europeans.
The Lentz SNPs match the Bashkir SNPs and the Big Y file is currently being analyzed to determine whether or not our Lentz family descended from the Yamnaya or preceded the Yamnaya, according to our geneticist. If our ancestor preceeded the Yamnaya, it means that our ancestral DNA did not come from the Yamnaya, but the Yamnaya DNA came from our ancestor, as did ours. Once we derive the answer, I will include those results here. We are very fortunate to have ancient DNA results to compare with contemporary DNA and a geneticist to make that detailed comparison.
Whoever would have guessed that the Y DNA of C. Lentz could tell us so very much about our ancient ancestors. I can’t help but think of them as they rode across the steppes on their way to settle in what is now Germany. Looking at the sky above the steppes, I can understand why one of their Gods was Tengri – Lord of the endless blue sky.
The steppe, shown in red, below, was the passageway from Asia to Europe, as well as the path for cultures. Along this path rode the domesticated horse, rolled the wheel and the chariot, and along with them, our ancestors.
What a journey the Lentz DNA has made – across the steppes, finding its way one way or another into Germany, leading to us, today.
C. Lentz, I can’t thank you enough for testing and providing the only path available into our deep ancestry. What a legacy for you to leave, not only to your own family, but to all of Jacob’s descendants! Thank you!!! You’ve done Jacob proud!