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The Peter Metzger family PDF Print E-mail
Monday, April 11, 2011 5:37 AM

All families have some good stories to tell.  Some are funny, some are sad, but everyone has a story to tell

The Metzger Family of Delphos and Fort Jennings has a large three ring binder of their family history. This beautiful book, which was compiled by Kelly Fields, contains pictures, birth certificates, obituaries, newspaper articles and more.
Milly Metzger, of Fort Jennings is the matriarch of the family. Her husband, Carl, passed away 18 May 2009. The book also   features the Schneider, Kinast and Ziegenfelder families.

It all started with Peter Metzger, who came to America in 1896. Peter was born 3 September 1851 in Nitzkydorf, Hungary to George Metzger and Veronica Zimmerman Metzger. They were both born in Germany.
Peter was the grandfather of Carl Metzger and many other area residents. Peter married Eva Rastadter on 12 January 1875. Eva was born 29 August 1855 in Austria – Hungary to John Rastadter and Katherine Schmadl Rastadter. Her parents were born in Germany also.

George Metzger, the father of Peter, moved from Germany to Austria to avoid conscription in the Army. Many young men emigrated to America years ago for that same reason.
Peter later moved from Austria to Hungary when free land was given to them by the rulers of Austria. Austria needed a buffer zone, because the Slaves and the Turks were known as invaders of other countries.

In the 1890’s Eva (Rastadter) Metzger owned a flour mill and Peter Metzger was a farmer. They were unhappy in Nitzkydorf, Hungary because all their boys would have to go into the Army and they didn’t want them to go.

Kelly Fields, the granddaughter of Carl and Milly and author of the family history gave the following account:
“Peter Metzger came to America in the spring of 1896.  He came to Philadelphia and went with a friend to Georgia.  He didn’t like Georgia because the land was poor, the people were unfriendly and the climate was bad.  He went back to Philadelphia and took the Pennsylvania Railroad to Chicago on the way to North Dakota.  The train passed through Delphos, Ohio on the way. He saw the big church of St. John’s and thought how big a Catholic community this must be with such an impressive church. When he got to Dickinson, North Dakota he stayed with a cousin, who had a ranch. He made hay for his cousin. He took a horse, wagon, gun and fork and went out on the prairie and cut hay until about noon. In the afternoon he would load up the hay that he cut the day before when it was dry. He didn’t like it there because the weather was too cold and windy and you had to have a gun because the Indians would try to steal the horses or his equipment. The Indians were not hostile. So he stayed there one year and decided to come back to Delphos. He was made welcome by the German Community. He went to the Commercial Bank and found out that there was an 80 acre farm for sale for $300.00.  He took a horse and buggy out to look at it and thought it was a good deal.” This farm is still in the Metzger family, located on Road U-20, just north of Delphos and at the very southern edge of Jennings Township. It is the site of the Metzger Popcorn Company. Peter returned to the bank and purchased the farm.

Kelly continues: “In the autumn of 1896 he returned to Hungary for his family. He sold his farm but kept the mill in case things didn’t work out in America. He sent his two oldest boys, Matt and Martin, who were teenagers ahead to get the farm ready. A few months later, in the spring of 1897 the family left Europe and came to Philadelphia and then to Delphos to settle on the farm northeast of Delphos. It took three weeks to cross on the boat each way. His wife, Eva, got very sick on the way to America and never went back to Hungary. They lived in a hotel in Delphos until the farm was vacated.” Most of the Metzger children were born in Europe. Catherine and John were born in Ohio. After all the moving the Metzger families had done to get out of the wars, Peter had two sons in the U.S. Army during World War I. If the war had lasted another six months, he would have had another son in the war.

When the Metzger family moved to the farm, there was a house with four rooms – two up and two down. Shortly after they moved Peter built what was known as the living room and the boy’s room. They had a separate building outside, known as the summer kitchen. This was common on many farmsteads. The women did the cooking and canning in the summer kitchen to keep that extra heat out of house. In 1917, Peter added on the kitchen and pantry and put in a basement. Years later, John Metzger made a bathroom out of the pantry.
The history of the farm goes back to the 1840’s. Kelly continues: “During the 1840’s, the United States was in war with Mexico and they needed soldiers so they had a draft. On 11 February 1847, congress approved a Bill to compensate soldiers who served in the Army during the war with Mexico by giving them land in the Ohio Territory. On 1 July 1851, President Millard Filmore signed a deed for the farm to James Hillyard, a private in the Ohio Company. He started to develop the land and built a cabin and barn in about the center of the farm. Hillyard gave the farm to his daughter, who married Penrose Herring. He built a house and barn at the present building site. Penrose Herring sold the farm to Peter and Eva Metzger in 1896.  Peter sold the farm to John Metzger in 1922 and John sold the farm to his son, Carl Metzger in 1979.”

Peter returned to Hungary once or twice. “When Peter had to pay the taxes on his farm, he had to go to Ottawa, Ohio, the county seat. He would follow the railroad tracks and it would be quite a journey.”

Kelly continues: “A couple of stories about the war have been told. The first was when Peter went off to war in Hungary, his mother-in-law gave him a prayer book as he was leaving town for the war. He kept this prayer book in his pocket. One day he could feel the bullets whizzing past him and felt fortunate that he was not hit. Later he pulled his prayer book out and found a bullet had nearly pierced it, saving his life. The other war story was that Peter’s company had been without food for four days of marching. They came upon a garden, the only edible thing being onions. He hated onions, but ate them that day. He always liked them after that.”

Kelly related another story: “Peter liked to drink beer and would go uptown to the bar and drink. He would talk of the war. People thought he was against America, so they went to his house with sticks. On 3 May 1918, Peter was going to be white capped, but never was. Katie Allemeier (his daughter) hit one of the men with a stick and left a mark on his head that was there until he died. This was a separate incident from the first white capping that happened in 1897 in which the article was printed in the Delphos Herald. Peter was in a Nursing home in Findlay when he died. They brought him back to his house for the funeral. Someone would sit up with him in the casket with it open all night.” Kelly mentioned that John was 23 years old and that Carl was six months old when Peter died.

Children of Peter and Eva were: Mathias, 1875-1932 who married Josephine Osting, 1879 – 1938; Anna, 1880 – 1966 who married William Stauterman 1874 – 1958; Veronica 1881 – 1970, who married Anthony Hilvers 1878 – 1945; Emma M. 1885 – 1974, who married John F. Osting 1883-1942; Martin (who died young) 1887 – 1925; Peter Metzger, 1894 – 1967 who married Anna C. Hageman 1894 – 1973; Catherine, 1898 – 1997, who married Leo J. Allemeier 1897-1990 and John Mathias 1900 – 1979, who married Eugenia Kinast 1900 – 1976.

John later remarried Catherine (Wagner) Metzger in 1978.  Three of Peter and Eva’s children died in infancy.

Stories of the attempted white capping in 1897 were printed the Delphos Herald in 1901. They will be featured in Part II of the Metzger story in two weeks.


Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:21 PM

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