The Adam Gantz Story – Part 5

(The following was written by WIlbur Gantz, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

Planting equipment for corn was developed to replace hand planting. Horse-drawn planters of various design were used until the check row planter was perfected and came into general use by 1880.

Small grain had been seeded by hand either by throwing the seed or using a device to help throw until grain drills were developed after 1850. Almost all seating was done by drills by 1870.

It was during the active farming time of Adam Gantz that many of these changes from all hand labor came about. The mechanical equipment still left much hard work to be done in the harvest of corn and hay. Corn was still cut, shacked, and husked. The hay harvest was particularly mechanized by the mower’s replacing the scythe and by various types of rakes for field work in hay.

The Adam Gantz family grew to number 14 children with the birth of the youngest son Albert on 14 March, 1857. The family had dependent on the spring water from the spring below the home for all their drinking water all this time, and this was blamed for the death of two sons from what was believed to be Typhoid fever. These two boys died on the same day 9 February, 1866. John, the older, was 17 years old that day while his brother William was 11 years old. These deaths led to the purchase of two Lots at the Green Lawn Cemetery (Lots 80 and 81 Sec. S.), where these boys became the first of the family buried there.

The mother of this family, Catherine Pennix Gantz, was the next to be buried on the family plot. She died 24 May, 1874, aged 60 years and 60 days. Another son, Jeremiah P. Gantz, died 9 August, 1877, on his 32nd birthday also from Typhoid fever. The father, Adam Gantz, died 16 December, 1877, being 72 years 7 months of age. There are 10 other members of this family (15 in all) buried on this lot. Some are sons-in-law and one grandson, who died from injuries from the sheep and cattle wars of Wyoming in 1905.

According to the records of early Grove City and ”The Story of St. John’s Lutheran Church”, The families related to Adam Gantz were quite active in the development of the English speaking portion of the congregation. George Weygant and Jonathan Gantz were quite active in this capacity. And we can assume that the Adam Gantz family were also. The English speaking portion divided from the German Lutherans in 1856 and established the Presbyterian Church. The Adam Gantz family held membership in the Presbyterian congregation. Some of the sons and daughters continued this membership for their lifetimes.

Adam and Catherine left 11 living children at the time of their deaths, with a total of 57 grandchildren born to their sons and daughters. Many descendants are still in Franklin County, while others are scattered worldwide.

The Adam Gantz Story – Part 4

(The following was written by WIlbur Gantz, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

John Gantz served as Justice of the Peace for Jackson Township from 1836 to 1842. Adam Gantz became involved with the building of the Columbus and Harrisburg Turnpike. The company was incorporated in 1847 and the road was built in 1848 and 1849. The cost was $35,602. Adam Gantz was one of the five directors.

Adam Gantz sold a 30-acre portion in 1839 to his brother-in-law Jacob Harsh for $210. This was part of the 100 acres purchased from his father in 1837. The letters that John Gantz wrote to Pennsylvania in 1848 suggest that this could have been involved in a settlement between brother and sister for some money borrowed from their father. The Harsh family made the third member of the Andrew Gantz family to be in Franklin County. Another brother, Jonathon, came to the area and purchased property from the Smith family. He lived on Demorest Road west of Grove City. The last of the five children of Andrew Gantz to come to the Grove City area was Rachel Weygandt with her husband George and their children.

The older children of Adam and Katherine Gantz began to marry and leave home. The first was Elizabeth, who married Wm Paxton White in 1849 at the age of 18 years. The 1856 property owner map of Franklin County shows that Adam Gantz owned 35 acres of land next to the 50 acres William P. White owned just east of Young Road on the north side of S.R. 665. Later we find that Adam Gantz owned a 100 acre farm on the north side of Home Road that was later owned by his son George Gantz. From these records and by oral history we can feel certain that Adam helped his children become established in their own farm operations.

The two decades from 1850 to 1870 show many changes in the development of farming methods of planting and harvesting of agricultural crops. A hard-working man could harvest up to 3 acres per day with a cradle if someone else came along behind to bind up the sheaves. These were then stored until later to be threshed by hand with flails to beat out the grain. Then the chaff had to be separated by hand before the grain was ready for use or for sale. Reapers developed before and after the Civil War until they resembled the type or style that was used from 1880 until about 1940.

Mechanical means for threshing grain had begun to appear after 1830 as small hand powered flail-type machines.This threshing system grew into larger machines of the cylinder type that were operated by horsepower. Portable steam engines began to replace horsepower when they were developed in the late 1850’s. The greater power available led to threshers that would also clean the grain so that it could be stored in sacks or hauled in wagons for sale at the market place.

The steam traction type of engine was developed after 1860 and replaced horsepower for moving the separators from place to place, as well as furnishing power for the threshing process.

Soil preparation for planting corn and other crops was changed from the plow-harrow system when the disc harrow was invented near the end of 1870. Horsepower was still the main source of power for field work as well as transportation.

(The conclusion of this story in the next blog entry.)

The Adam Gantz Story – Part 3

(The following was written by WIlbur Gantz, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

With this beginning in 1830 with a new wife and the starting in 1831 of a family that was to total 14 children born by 1857, two horses and a cow, Adam Gantz managed to buy the 100 acre farm In 1832 and while clearing and cropping it–and likely portions of his father’s 200 acres–was able to build the brick home where the family grew to adulthood.

Adam and his brother John then purchased, from their father, 100 acres each for $6 per acre.

John’s letter written to Pennsylvania in 1848 indicates that he had been in Carroll County and was promised this 100-acre at ”what is right” if he would leave Carroll County and help improve the Franklin County Land. John had stayed home helping his father until 1831. The three years’ labor that he worked on the Franklin County land seemed in vain because he had to pay to get what he was promised. The letter is reproduced in the story of John Gantz and must be read to get this true feeling of his. John sold his 100 acres to Adam in 1844 for $1,308.

The history of Ohio agriculture to 1880 by Robert L. Jones indicates that in the period from 1830 to 1840 Franklin County became one of the top 10 counties in Ohio in the production of corn and wheat. The farm work in this decade was done by oxen or horses plowing the clear ground or between the trees that have been killed by girdling. The plough and the harrow were the main farm implements other than the hand tools: the hoe, rake, fork, scythe, and cycle.

The canals were built during this decade, creating a price increase for farm produce by an easier route to market. Hog production increased until Franklin County was the top hog producing county in Ohio by 1850. “Loads of pumpkins and corn are brought out twice a day and the hogs are amply fed till fat enough to go to the market, and it is amusing enough for a stranger to be present at the scene. In wheels to the hog pasture a great heavy Dutch Wagon with four strong horses, the driver astride the near hind one, casually whistling some air and keeping time with the flourishing of his whip in loud pistol cracks, while another genius standing on top of the load commences pitching it to the right and the left, stopping and standing up now and then to give the long-drawn roll call at the top of his voice, of whoo-oo-ho. Or perhaps more poetically from a horn slung by his side, he drives fourth a clear tremulous blast that raises the whole grunting field from their recumbent position and sets them on the move.”

Sheep had increased by 1840, making Ohio the No. 2 state for sheep production. Many were brought to Ohio from Pennsylvania, and the increase became the source of supply for the herds being built in the western states.

Hand labor for farm help was plentiful, due to the rapid increase of settlers coming into Ohio. This remained the situation after the canals were complete until the building of the railroads and highways made farm help more expensive before and during the Civil War.

(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)

The Adam Gantz Story – Part 2

(The following was written by WIlbur Gantz, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

Their first child, Elizabeth Gantz White, was born on 21 October, 1831. Oral history of the family says that Catherine became afraid for herself and her child. She traded a cow for a shotgun to protect themselves from the wolves that roamed ”Wolf Ridge”, the local name for the area. The second child, Andrew Jackson Gantz, was born 9th January, 1833.

We find in the abstract of the Gantz land a record of purchase by Adam Gantz,  dated 25 June, 1832, of “100 acres of land and other property for a consideration of $7.50.” This land had changed hands after being defeated by President James Madison to Henry Massie for consideration of the services of Thomas Snead and James Craig during the Revolutionary War. The first record of transfer to person from government is dated 20 February, 1813. Massie and his wife Helen sold to John O’Harra in March, 1814. O’Harra and his wife Priscella transferred to Wm. McMillen and Joseph Barker in August, 1819–who in turn sold to Henry Shurtz in October, 1825. Evidently Shurtz was unable to pay for the land, and it was returned to McMillen in 1831, who then sold to Jacab Stimmell In 1832. Thus when Adam Gantz purchased from Stimmell in June of 1832 he became the sixth owner in a period ff 19 years. It would be interesting to know the details of the transaction where he bought “100 acres and other property for consideration of $7.50.” This portion of the farm was located in survey 6839 lying across Hoover Rd. to the east of the land owned by his father, Andrew. It was on this parcel that the brick home was built and became the center of operations for the farm and the family.

The settlers of the early Franklinton area where often victims of disease that was blamed on the mosquitoes that were coming to the low swampy land near the rivers. Our folks seemed to think that if they came to the higher ground away from the river they would be more healthy. This was told to our parents as the reason for settling on “Wolf Ridge” rather than near the river area.

I have been curious about the method of farm operations that took place in this time span. The Ohio Historical Library has a film of the 1832 land and personel property ownership with values and ton records of the Franklin County population.These records indicate that Adam Gantz owned two horses and one cow. Cows were valued at $8 each while horses were valued at $40 each. This value was recorded for all other persons who owned this livestock, which were the only species counted for record.

This census must have been taken early in the year of 1832. Adam purchased his 100 acre farm in August of 1832 and it was not reported in the census. I did find that Andrew Gantz was the recorded owner of 200 acres of land being a part of the original 2000 acre grant to the Washington family as described in survey 1388.

A welcome item of information was found in the real estate portion of the Franklin Township records when I saw the record of Edward Pennix’s owning a 100 acre farm in survey 2442. Evidently this was the Edward Pennix whose daughter Catherine married Adam Gantz in 1830. If this is true, it suggests that the families knew each other from Washington County, PA, where the names appear in census records. This information suggests to me that Adam Gantz came to Franklin County before 1830 when he was married.

(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)

The Adam Gantz Story – Part 1

(The following was written by WIlbur Gantz, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

Adam Gantz was born 10 May 1805, the fourth child and oldest son of Andrew (Goose) Gantz and Margrett Harn, in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

His father raised a family of eight children in the rough terrain of Washington County. At that time most farm families, by hand work, provided for their families and lived on the produce of their farms. Their extra grain and other products would likely be sent to market to the east coast cities. The grain could be processed into whiskey and transported by horseback to the markets beyond the mountains.

Andrew Gantz became prosperous enough by 1817 to buy 200 acres of land in Franklin County, Ohio, by paying Joseph Foos $1,000. This land was deeded by President Andrew Jackson to the heirs of Bailey Washington in 1836 on November 10th, though not filed for recording until May 30th, 1839.

These dates are interesting in that they show the speculation in trading of land before the titles were cleared and before permanent settlers came to live on the parcels. The Washington heirs sold first to Aaron Kendall in 1812, who transferred title to Daniel Richardson January 10th, 1815, for the 200 acre parcel for $475. Richardson then sold this same 200 acres to Joseph Foos, a merchant in Franklinton, on 25 December, 1815, for $1,200. Richardson thus gained $525 on his investment from January to December the same year. Foos sold to Andrew Gantz on 17 July, 1817, the 200 acre parcel that was to be the first foothold of the Gantz family in Franklin County, Ohio. The price at this time was $1,000 for the 200 acres, or $5 per acre. This parcel is located at the northeast corner of survey 1388, awarded by military Grant No. 2263 to the Washington heirs. This survey is bounded on the east by Hoover Road and on the North by Home Road.

Adam Gantz was 12 years old when his father purchased this land. We have no record of the family living on this land before 1830. We know from the 1830 census that Adam was with his sister Salome Gantz Harsh, who lived with her family in Carroll County, Ohio. Adam Gantz was married the 30th day of September, 1830, to Katherine Pennix. The Green Lawn Cemetery records say that she was born in Washington County, PA, and that her parents were Edward and Mary. Catherine was 16 years old when married. Family tradition suggests that they first lived in a cave or other primitive type of lean to dwelling until a home could be built for them. This site was likely near a spring by the creek that flows from east to west through the property. I can only assume that this first temporary dwelling was near a spring by the west side of the property. We used to water cattle at this spring. It is near what is now north of Independence Way and south of the Walden Bluff subdivision of Grove City off Home Road.

(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)

New Hay

(The following was written by Yvette L. Maurey, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

Sis and I pulled out the tractor
and the hay rake from the barn.
The hay was dry and ready
to take in from the field on our farm.

We hitched the tractor to the rake;
Annie, the driver, was only nine.
I was eleven.  The job of working
the rake lever was mine.

‘Round and ’round the field we worked–
The dust and smell of hay in my nose;
the sun shone brown upon my back–
I raked the hay in neat, long rows.

When the rows were piled long and high,
we unhooked the rake from the Farmall Cub.
Brother Russ got the pitchforks out,
and hitched the trailer up.

Annie, still in the driver’s seat;
Russ and I pitched the twisted clover
under the trailer until we cleaned
up the hey the field over.

Russ and I rode back to the barn,
and there we both jumped down.
Dad was there to help Russ toss
the stuff up to the hay-mow.

At times we did sneak up to that mow
and hide ‘til someone poked with a pitch.
Mom guessed our secret hiding place,
‘cause we’d acquire an awful itch!

Food of the Early Settlers in Our Area – Part 7

(The following was written by Marilyn Gibboney, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

In the “Sweets” category fudge, toffee and caramel were the special candy treats. sometimes the children would sneak a lump of sugar from the sugar bucket for a treat. My father told me they would wait until Grandma was busy and then sneak a lump of sugar. In the winter popcorn was a treat and enjoyed by children and adults. Before Christmas the children would string popcorn for the Christmas tree for decorations.

A special dinner with trimmings was fixed for Christmas dinner. Roast goose was the meat and the meal built around that. Thanksgiving it was duck or wild game. Easter was special but the meat was varied.

Not all people had this much variety and certainly not each year. There were good years and bad years. If there was a drought or heavy freeze, then that particular produce would not be available. When the vegetables and fruits were ripe and ready to process it was a very busy time. The daily chores made everyday a long hard one, but everybody was in the same situation. That was the lifestyle. If you wanted food to eat you planted, tended, harvested and preserved it. That was the only way. Nothing was ever wasted.

My father said nothing smelled any better than coming into the house on a cold winter morning after milking cows, and smelling large skillets of mush frying on top of the stove. At the same time from the oven would come the aroma of soupbeans baking in the oven with sowbelly on the top of them. These memories stayed with the early residents of our area all their lives and gave them stories to tell their children and grandchildren.

Food of the Early Settlers in Our Area – Part 6

(The following was written by Marilyn Gibboney, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

Refrigeration before electricity was an icebox. Some fortunate people had a spring house. In any of the milk houses there would be water tanks to cool milk. My maternal grandfather and his brother shared a ice house for many years. They would cut the ice on Darby Creek near Georgesville in the winter and haul it to the ice house where was packed in sawdust. They piled straw around the ice house to retard the thawing of the ice. The ice was used in the summer to cool food but not used for human consumption.

The recipes grandmother used were a “pinch” of this or that– the feel of the thing–the looks of it. The recipes were handed down and shared with friends. There were not many printed cookbooks. The stove did not have a temperature gauge so she just knew when it was hot enough and when it was time to take out the bread. Most recipes were given in pounds and ounces for basic ingredients.

In an old cookbook, 1890 Royal Baker and Pastry Cook, All the frosting and icing recipes use pulverized sugar. The following is an example using the terms of the day. 1 1/2 lbs. of white sugar dust, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/4 oz. rose extract.  Place whites of 4 eggs and sugar in a bowl with juice and extract. Beat with a wooden spoon until letting some run it maintains the threadlike appearance for several minutes, then use as icing. Another read as follows: Place 1 lb. of pulverized white sugar in saucepan with 1/2 pint water, boil until consistency of mucilage, then rub sugar with wooden spoon against side of pan until it assumes a white milky appearance. Stir in 2 tablespoons extract of vanilla.

My grandmother’s and every other woman in her day baked bread. It was done every other day but not on Sunday. The flour came from the wheat that was taken to the mill and ground. The cornmeal used in cooking was also a product that was ground at the mill. Coffee cake was a staple food and eaten at all meals not only breakfast. They were variations on this called kuchens and baked regularly. Different kinds of fruits were placed on top of the raw coffee cake dough, punched down and sugar and sour cream added to this. It was Delicious, Pies were made with lard crusts and fruits that were grown on the farm. Milk was plentiful so many custards were made. Cakes were for special occasions. They were usually a sponge or pound cake variety, jelly rolls were also a favorite.

My grandmother told me a story about her young days–maybe 1890. She went to a house dance and, as custom dictated, the girls would bring something baked. After the dancing was over, they would have a Dutch lunch. She baked a 2 layer sponge cake and spread jelly between the layers for icing.

(The conclusion of this story in the next blog entry.)

Food of the Early Settlers in Our Area – Part 5

(The following was written by Marilyn Gibboney, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

Every established Farm had an orchard. It was part of the scenery; the trees were planted by the early arrivals. There were many kinds and varieties but the popular ones included cherry, peach, plum, pear, quince; but apple topped the list. The apple was to the fruit family what pork was to the meat. It had so many uses and could be stored during the winter. The list is long for ways to use apples but the common ones included sauce, baked, pie, dumplings, cakes, stewed, kuchen, schnitz (dried), jelly, apple butter, and cider, which next year became the vinegar.

The cherries were canned, made into pies, jelly, jams and wine. The peaches and other fruits had about the same uses, and all were carefully taken care of each year. Another feature of the farms was a grape arbor. The grapes were also used in many ways and grape wine was the most popular kind made.

In the early spring the rhubarb was the first fruit ready to eat and everyone ate some to purify the blood after the long winter. Sassafras was available and made into tea which also cleansed the blood.

Citrus fruits were not readily available but were given as a special treat at Christmas. The children were thrilled when they received an orange as a Christmas present. A cousin told me the following story. One of the girls in the one-room school had a brother who was ill for a whole year. A lady came out from Columbus to visit him and brought him a grapefruit. None of the children had ever heard or seen a grapefruit and were very curious about this new fruit. The date was between 1905-1910.

A special part of the garden was devoted to the herb family. Herbs and found their way into the Germans’ medicine chest. The most common kinds of herbs grown were sassafras, basil, catnip, comfrey, fennel, sage, wintergreen, hops, lavender, and several varieties of mint. They were used in many different ways, most of which were effective.

It is necessary to mention the equipment and tools the housewife used to prepare her meals. There was the stove; a coal or wood burning monster that had to be fired constantly. It provided a source of heat in the winter but made the kitchen very hot in the summer. An important part of the stove was the oven which was used for much of the cooking including roasting, baking, frying, making butters, and drying children’s wet gloves. Later models had a warming closet set on top that kept meals hot and crackers fresh. The reservoir on the rear when filled with water was a source of hot water.

The cooking utensils were heavy cast-iron, granite, crock, and Ironstone. There was always a tea kettle on the stove. These skillets and pans were cast iron, and food tasted special prepared in them. The crocks included bowls, jars in all sizes including a 10 or 20 gallon crock for making sauerkraut, dill pickles and wine. The water jugs were used by the men in harvest time or when working in the fields during planting time. The kitchen utensils included choppers, egg beater, potato masher, greater, knives, ice pick, large ladle, spoons, three-pronged fork and a coffee grinder.

(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)

Food of the Early Settlers in Our Area – Part 4

(The following was written by Marilyn Gibboney, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

Every farm had poultry, and this was also the responsibility of the farm wife. The “setting hen” would hatch her brood and care for them during the summer. The roosters were fried and it was a special treat when fried chicken graced the Sunday dinner table. The pullets grew and became the ”layers” the next season. In the winter the old non laying hens ended up in the soup pot or one of many chicken dishes. Any extra fat was rendered and used in baking.

The eggs from the layers were sold for cash. They were used very sparingly in the home most of the time. My mother told me a story about how my grandmother would save four eggs to bake her Christmas cookies. Because chickens did not lay much in the winter, eggs were in short supply. Grandmother would pack before eggs in oats and store them in the pantry until time to bake cookies.

Ducks and geese were a familiar part of the poultry scene. The ducklings and goslings were hatched in the spring and let run with the mother. There were slaughtered at Thanksgiving and Christmas and provided the meat for the holiday table. Nature provided the ducks and geese with an excess amount of feathers and the farm wife knew when it was time to “pick” the geese. This was a task required faith and fortitude. Experienced hands were needed, as the animals did not want to give up their extra coats and this was performed upon live animals. There was a market waiting for the down to make pillows and featherbeds.

Squabs also provided a source of meat. The pigeons roosted in the barns and other outside buildings. These squabs were “dressed” and baked.

Each farm would have a grove of trees or woods. Here the nut trees and wild berries grew. When it was time for blackberries to ripen the parents took the children and they would have an outing and pick berries. Some were eaten fresh; remainder made into jams, jellies, pies, canned and wine. The same was true for raspberries and elderberries which grew along the fence rows. The wild strawberries grew along the road size. The tame strawberries had a special “patch” and were tended carefully.

After the first frost it was time to pick walnuts and hickory nuts. The gathering of the nuts was a fun time. Children and parents would take large sacks and set out for the woods. The nuts were brought home and chilled. On the long winter evenings the children would sit around the kitchen table and pick out nut meats that were used in making cakes, cookies and candy.

(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)