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Fritz Reith Family

 
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roger.pape
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Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:19 am    Post subject: Fritz Reith Family Reply with quote

One of the familiar surnames in the Concordia area was the Reith family. I remember the family from my childhood, primarily because Walter Reith worked with my father at Concordia Creamery. I went to St. Paul’s School with Walter’s children. James was a year older than my brother Don, Douglas was a year older than me, and Martha was younger. Recently, Jim Reith has been sending me some reminiscences of his family. I have attempted to summarize his comments below.

The story begins in the area of Selsingen in northern Germany, only a few miles from where my grandfather Jacob Pape was born. Claus Reith was born March 13, 1823, in or near Haaßel, just a few miles east of Selsingen, where he married Maria Wilhüsen. He and Maria raised raised three sons and attended the Lutheran church in Selsingen. A painting from the interior of that church is shown below. The oldest of these boys was Johann, born about 1857; next was Friedrich (Fritz), born Dec. 29, 1860; and Claus, born Jan. 1864. After Maria died, Claus married Margarethe Hinck and one more son, Tietje (Theez) born Dec. 1871, was added to the family. It is not clear if Tietje was Claus’s natural son or Margarethe’s son from an earlier marriage. The Reith family history indicates that Margarethe was married previously and had a child by that marriage.

Claus decided to emigrate to the U. S. with his wife and four sons in 1872 when Tietje was still less than one year old. They arrived in New Orleans on the Bark Christel in November of that year.

Claus and his family came to Concordia soon after they arrived in America. St. Paul’s Church records show that Fritz was confirmed there in 1874, less than two years later, and his younger brothers were also confirmed there in subsequent years. But they were not the first Reiths to settle in the Concordia area. The 1870 census records list a 39 year old Friedrich Reith and his family, a 29 year old Henry Reith and his wife, and two single John Reiths (25 and 21), all living in Freedom Township and listed as coming from Hanover. There are also various Reith baptisms, marriages, and deaths in the St. Paul’s Church records as early as 1868. The relationship between Claus and these other Reith families is not known, but Claus probably came to Concordia because he knew they and possibly others from Selsingen were living in the area.

A photo of the Claus Reith family is posted below. Based on the age of the children, it appears to be from the 1880s. The identification of the boys in this picture is not certain, but the most logical would be that the young boy between the parents was Tietje and the oldest (on the rear right) was Johann. However, Jim Reith was told that his grandfather Fritz was the person on the right. [Note that the photo was taken by G. L. Collier. See the posting Early photographs and photographers for more information about that photographer.]

When Fritz was a young man, someone suggested that he should become a preacher. He went to the seminary in Springfield (or Ft. Wayne?) until health problems sent him back to Concordia. The 1880 census lists Fritz as a 19 year old working as a hired hand for William Flandermeyer back in Concordia. The census for that year included a column to indicate health problems. There rarely is an entry in that column, but for Fritz it listed “Chills & fever”. This was in June 1880. Could he have just returned from the seminary then? After working for a few years to lay up some money, he finally married Margaretha Meyer (9 years younger than he) whose family worked in the wilds of Cole Camp. Margaretha came to Fritz’s attention when she was working at a restaurant in Sedalia.

Johann (John) could not be traced in the census records, so it is not known where he wound up. Claus Jr. married a Martha Kessner at St. Paul’s in 1891. He and Martha are listed in the1900 Elmwood Township (Blackburn area) census, in the 1910 Freedom Township census records, in the 1920 Henry Co., MO census, and in the 1930 Crawford Co., Kansas census. They had a 11 children; Anna, Ida, Stella, Harry, Laura, Hilda, Lydia, Elmer, Norbert, Edna, and Herbert. Theesz lived with the family until 1904 when he became emotionally disabled and was institutionalized in St. Joseph, MO. He died there in 1920.

Fritz Reith operated a dairy on a small farm just east of Concordia next to the property that became Shady Rest. He also bought the property across the road (Old US 40) from the estate of John Euler. This land was just east of St. Paul’s cemetery and the old brick church. It included an old house that is believed to originally be the home of Teacher Hamm. This house can be seen in an old photo of the north side of Concordia. Fritz would pasture his cows on either the north or south acres. There was a windmill and water tank for the cows on the south side. Grandpa Fritz frequently drove the cows (Jerseys!) from one side to the other, but the daily milking was done in the milking barn to the north. Crossing the highway with cows became increasingly perilous as traffic picked up; he lost a cow in a collision with a truck one time.

For a number of years, Fritz was the church sexton when the church was still on the cemetery. He'd start the fires to warm the church up on cold winter Sundays.

Fritz and Margarethe were blessed with nine children, five daughters and four sons. A picture of the family taken about 1918 is shown below. Hulda Marie (Dec. 16, 1895 ~ Feb 22, 1981) married Oscar Frerking. Frieda Adelheid (Nov. 1, 1896 ~ Apr. 17, 1983) married Lorenz Heermann. Mabel Catharina (Aug. 5, 1898 ~ Nov. 6, 1986) married Leonhard Frerking. Heinrich Claus (Apr. 7, 1900 ~ Oct. 23, 1919) died of typhoid fever as a young man. Pauline Marie Elizabeth Dorothea (May 10. 1902 ~ Oct 21, 1990) married Jacob Behnken. Flora Marie Martha (Mar. 21, 1904 ~ June 26, 1999) married Heinrich Fuehring. Walter Johann (Jan.18, 1906 ~ Aug. 30, 1976) worked at Concordia Creamery for many years. Paul Johann (Dec. 22, 1907 ~ Oct. 30, 1953) became a pastor, one of five Reiths from the St. Paul’s congregation, and eventually became a professor at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Emil John (May 5, 1910 ~ June 3, 1973) had various occupations in the Concordia area, the latest operating the Phillips 66 service station on old Highway 40 and Main St.

The Reith family led a peaceful life on their farm outside Concordia except for an incident reported in The Concordian in 1928. (See the clipping below.) When Walter married, he and Paula moved into the old house next to the cemetery and began raising their three children; James, Douglas, and Martha. Eventually, they settled in their new home on Main St.

As with many of the familiar German surnames, there are only a few Reith families still in the immediate Concordia area. In recent years. the Reith descendants have scattered across the U.S. However, a number of blood relatives of Claus and Fritz Reith are still located in the area. Let’s hear from some of them.[/url]



SelsingenChurchPainting.jpg
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Painting of the interior of the Lutheran church in Selsingen, Germany
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Klaus Reith Family.jpg
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Claus Reith family ca. 1880
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FritzReithFamily.jpg
 Description:
Fritz and Margaretha Reith Family – ca.1918
Row 1, from left: Walter, Fritz, Emil, Margaretha, Paul
Row 2, from left: Mabel, Pauline, Frieda, Heinrich, Flora, Hulda
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FritzReithFamily.jpg



ReithShooting.jpg
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Article for 1928 issue of The Concordian
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ReithShooting.jpg




Last edited by roger.pape on Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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roger.pape
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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 408
Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:25 am    Post subject: Cow accident Reply with quote

Nothing seems to have escaped the relentless reporting of The Concordian. Check the article below that Jim sent me. It gives the details of the cow that Fritz lost when crossing US 40. That may have been the big news for the week. Wink


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