File 1 - Descendants of Abraham Bechtel Moyer and Mary Gross Nash.

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Descendants of Abraham Bechtel Moyer and Mary Gross Nash.

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Biographical history

Orpheus was born to Tobias and Mary Schantz (nee Moyer) on May 27, 1864 in Port Elgin, Ontario and raised alongside his seven siblings; Etta Lydia Mary Schantz, Sophie Emma Schantz, Austin Tobias Schantz, Franklin Abram Schantz, Arthur Benjamin Schantz, Florence Annie Catherine Schantz, and Herbert Cecil Palmer Schantz.

From September to December 1864, Tobias, Mary and Orpheus lived in Poughkeepsie, New York while Tobias attended the Eastman National Business College. Tobias completed his schooling in the spring of 1865 and the family returned to Port Elgin, Ontario in 1866.

In 1870 the family moved to the village of Hawkesville in Waterloo County. In 1877, the family moved to the village of Conestogo in Waterloo County.

In 1881 Orpheus moved to Cedar Falls, Iowa to work as a clerk in his uncle Levi. N. Moyer’s dry goods business. Orpheus initially lived with his uncle but eventually moved into a boarding house.

Orpheus married Cornelia (Carrie) Caroline Flagler (1864-1922) in Ottumwa, Iowa on January 30, 1889. The couple had two children; Ruth Schantz (1892-1976) and Worth Flagler Schantz (1902-1964).

Once married Orpheus and Carrie lived in Iowa Falls, Iowa but later moved to Chicago, Illinois because Orpheus acquired a job working for the department store Carson Pirie Scott & Company. Between 1912-1917 Orpheus acquired an elected position as Treasurer of the Cicero Area School Board.

Although he made his living as a dry goods merchant he had an abiding interest in ornithology, botany , geography and geology. He was president of the Illinois Audubon Society, secretary-treasurer of the Chicago Geographic Society and a popular author and lecturer.

In 1918 Orpheus visited the Great Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. He later formed a company called Schantz Tours that organized trips around the mountain range for over 20 years.

After he retired, Orpheus moved to Riverside, Illinois to live with his son Worth. In 1943 he moved with Worth and his family to Red Bank, New Jersey.

Orpheus died on September 2, 1951.

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The Schantz Family in North America is large and widespread; alternative spellings of the last name includes variations such as Tschantz, Shantz, Shonts, and Schanz. The family descended from Jacob Schanz (June 12, 1710-February 5, 1781) who emigrated to the United States of America in 1737 and settled in Pennsylvania. In 1810 Jacob’s son Christian Shantz (1769-1857) came to Waterloo County and settled at Freeport on the Grand River.

Christian’s son Benjamin Shantz (1811-1868) was an early Waterloo County inhabitant and one of the founders of Port Elgin, Ontario where he settled in 1854 and established a grist and flour mill. Benjamin married Lydia Kolb (1814-1862) on April 10, 1842 and together they had ten children; Josiah K. Schantz (1834-1913), Catharine Schantz (May 17, 1836-February 28, 1917), Hannah Schantz (April 1, 1838-August 20, 1841), Christian Schantz (January 20, 1840-?), Tobias Schantz (1842-1925), Abraham K. Schantz (September 20, 1844-?), Benjamin K. Schantz (December 5, 1846), Menno K. Schantz (January 31, 1849-July 6, 1888), Lydia K. Schantz (August 17, 1851-July 16, 1900), Sarah K. Schantz (April 1, 1854-April 10, 1878), and Enoch K. Schantz (October 7, 1856-May 25, 1888).

When Lydia died in 1862, Benjamin remarried his housekeeper, Margaret Swinton. Benjamin and Margaret left Port Elgin, Ontario and settled in Dallas County, Missouri. Correspondence in the collection between Benjamin and his son Tobias recount Benjamin’s settler experiences in Dallas County, Missouri.

The Schantz Russell Family Papers centre around Tobias Schantz, his wife Mary Schantz and their descendants, drawing together primary sources relating to several early white settler families of Waterloo County, primarily the Schantz, Moyer/Meyer and Bowman families, and material relating to descendants of the Moyer settlers of Lincoln County, Ontario.

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Decorated family tree showing the descendants of Abraham Bechtel Moyer and Mary Gross Nash.

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Donated by Harold Russell in 2022.


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  • English

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Created JB 2023.

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  • English

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