File 105 - Schantz Russell photograph album 3.

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Schantz Russell photograph album 3.

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1 album

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Biographical history

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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Biographical history

Sophie was born to Tobias and Mary Schantz on May 4, 1869 in or near Campden, Ontario and raised alongside her seven siblings; Orpheus Moyer Schantz, Etta Lydia Mary Schantz, Austin Tobias Schantz, Franklin Abram Schantz, Arthur Benjamin Schantz, Florence Annie Catherine Schantz, and Herbert Cecil Palmer Schantz.

In 1870 Sophie and her family moved to the village of Hawkesville in Waterloo County. In 1877 Sophie and her family moved to Conestogo, Waterloo County and later to Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario in 1884.

As a young adult, Sophie worked as a dressmaker. In 1884, she stayed with her brother Orpheus and sister-in-law Carrie in Chicago, Illinois. In 1897 she enrolled in a two year kindergarten course at the Chicago Froebel Association’s Jones School in the city. She received a license to teach in Chicago in 1899 and taught there for a short period.

Sophie returned to Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario following the death of her sister Etta in 1900. She planned to help Ward White, Etta’s husband, raise his infant daughter Dorothy. Around 1902, Ward proposed marriage to Sophie and asked her to move out west to homestead with him in Alberta. Sophie declined his proposal and remained in Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario.

Sophie was unable to teach in Ontario with her license from Chicago, Illinois. Instead, she worked at Woolworth's Five, Ten & Fifteen Cent store. She helped her sister Florence acquire a job in this store as well during the 1920s.

Sophie retired in the 1930s and subsequently kept house at her family home at 43 Schneider Avenue in Kitchener, Ontario.

Sophie owned and played a reed organ. She enjoyed quilting on large frames in her home with friends from church.

By 1950, Sophie suffered from dementia and was confined to a wheel chair. She was eventually taken to Scott Pavilion at the Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital (now the Grand River Hospital) where she stayed until she died on October 8, 1958.

Custodial history

Scope and content

A photograph album belonging to the Schantz Russell family. The album is bound in brown leather with gilt decoration. The album originally belonged to Sophie Emma Schantz.

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Donated by Harold and Lynne Russell in 2013.


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  • English

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Described by JB in 2013.
Revised by NM in January 2019.

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  • English

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