Saturday, March 16, 2013

St. Louisville

The name Metzner is interesting.  While I’ve never met another person by that last name outside of my immediate family, an uncle and his children, a set of grand- parents, and of course Aunt Helen – I get very excited when someone I meet asks me if I’m related to so-and-so. Then I find out that it’s a Metzger or Metzler – not a Metzner they know – ah, bubble burst! And yet, in all the research I’ve done, I’ve come across hundreds of Metzners in genealogy records, especially in Indiana and Ohio.  Most, I imagine, are distant cousins, aunts, and uncle.
Left: Metzners settled in Jay County, Indiana (circled in red) and Licking County, Ohio (circled in green).

Indiana and Ohio are the states most of our Metzner ancestors settled when they arrived in America. Generations later, many still call these states "home."  

John Metzner (1805-1888) arrived in 1838 and eventually settled in Jay County, Indiana after a few stops along the way. His brother, and our direct ancestor, William Metzner (1807-1882), also set up homesteads in Indiana and Ohio. 

While it’s not certain when William arrived in America, we do know he was here by 1847 because he purchased a piece of property in St. Louisville, Ohio in November of that year.  It was Lot 12 of Coffman’s Addition in the heart of the little village – likely a convenient location to set up his harness-making business.  

In this 1875 map of St. Louisville, Ohio, Coffman's Addition is in the center of town. Lot 12, the first piece of property purchased by William Metzner in 1847, is the rectangle of land marked by the "C" in COFFMAN."

William’s circumstances must have changed around 1854.  That November he purchased 40 acres of farmland in Jay County, Indiana – the same county his brother John was living – so he left St. Louisville and for the next 12 years raised his family on that farm.
The gray square at the center (above) is the location of the William Metzner farm in Bearcreek Township, Jay County, Indiana. In the detail map below, notice a W.F. Metzner owns property just southwest of William's.  

We can also trace where our William Metzner family lived based on the births of his eleven children:

-          William Henry               b. 9 June 1848             Licking County, Ohio
-          James                             b. 16 Dec 1849             Licking County
-          Washington                    b. 1852                         Licking County
-          John                               b. 7 March 1854           Licking County
-          Jasper                             b. 4 April 1856             Jay County, Indiana
-          Delana                            b. July 1859                 Jay County
-          Lafayette                        b. 27 Sept 1862             Jay County
-          Caroline                         b. February 1866           Licking County
-          Henrietta                        b. April 1868                 Licking County
-          William                          b. May 1870                  Licking County
-          Louis*                             b. 26 May 1872             Licking County

*our g-grandfather

Their births tell us that the family was in Licking County, Ohio from at least 1848 to March of 1854, then Jay County, Indiana by April of 1856.  By the close of the Civil War, April 1865,  they were in their final year in Jay County. Circumstances again must have changed, causing William to sell the farm in March 1866 and move his family back to St. Louisville. 

William and wife Barbara bought and sold several pieces of property in St. Louisville between 1866 and 1871. They owned Lots 5, 6, and 14 in Coffman’s Addition until Barbara’s death in 1908. It is presumed the family home was on one of these lots.
Above: : Lots 5, 6, and 14 were purchased in 1866 after returning to St. Louisville. 
Lot 12 was their original lot, purchased in 1847. 

I visited St. Louisville in 1997 – I wish I had taken some photo of this interesting little town or knew, at the time, where Lots 5, 6, and 14 were situated.  I would have taken a few pictures and perhaps found the old homestead.  Good reason for another genealogy trip – my favorite kind of vacation. 

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