Posts Tagged With: Shanesville

Saddling up with Karl Ley – Shanesville, Ohio | Ley Family History

Ley Karl Shanesville Front 2012

The front of the house that sits on the property Karl Ley called home in Shanesville in the 1800s. Could this be the very structure in which he lived and conducted his saddlery business? Maps comparing 1875 to 2012 suggest so.

Cruising the Streets of Shanesville – 1875 vs. 2012

This year marks the 205th anniversary of the birth of our first Ley ancestor to immigrate to America.

The life and trade of Charles Ley, a prominent saddler in Shanesville, Ohio, has been chronicled at least a few times in this space. In an early post two years ago, I guessed at the origins and family makeup of Charles and his wife Susanna Carolina Vogelsang Ley, and shared several key birth, marriage and census records, and excerpts from local histories. Now, thanks to the wonderful — and authoritative — history compiled by distant cousin Doris Eileen Hill, The Carl Frederick Ley Family, all the facts and names line up.

Doris also shares some great photographs and maps from back then. The primary focus of this post will be to share with you the location of my fourth great-grandfather’s saddlery and horse stables back in 1875, and show you the location today. But I’ll summarize the high points of his history first.

Born in Bavaria

My great-great-great-great-grandfather was born Karl Gottleib Ley on Dec. 11, 1807 to Karl Friedrich Ley and Charlotha Elisabetha Engel. His father was a second-generation minister, and baptized Karl Gottleib in the Evangelical church at Pfalz, St. Alban in Bavaria.

This was the same church Karl Gottleib’s grandfather John Frederick Ley, great-grandfather George William Lauckhardt and great-great grandfather John Nicholas Lauckhardt led from the 1690s through John Frederick’s death in 1788. Karl Friedrich Ley had been installed there in 1801.

Karl Gottleib learned the saddler’s trade and emigrated from Bavaria in 1833, entering the United States through New York City. He settled in Ohio in 1834, establishing himself in Shanesville.

Marriage and Life in Tuscarawas County

On May 25, 1835, Charles (the name he was known by in America) married Susanna Carolina Vogelsang in Canton, Stark County, Ohio. Susan Caroline was from Neuhof, near Waldmohr in the Rhine Palatinate, Germany, and was born there on March 27, 1818.

In 1836, Charles and Caroline bought the land on which they would live for the next 54 years. They built the family home on lot 9 in Shanesville, where it appears Charles also housed his saddlery business.

It was there that they raised eight children: Frederick (born 1836), Louisa (1837), my third great-grandfather Augustus (1839), Emilia (1841), Lewis (1844), Minnie (1847), Emma (1855) and Karl (1858).

Minnie has the unique distinction of being twice a Ley. Karl Gottleib’s brother back in Germany, Friederich Christian Ley, followed in his ancestors’ footsteps and studied theology. One of his four sons, Carl, born Nov. 15, 1844, immigrated to America in 1867. He spent a few years living with his cousin Frederick (see above) in Washington, Ill., where they ran a drug store. In 1870, he returned to Shanesville and married cousin Minnie on May 19. These Leys, among others, carried the family name westward, settling with their 10 surviving children (two died in infancy) in Illinois, Iowa and eventually, New Mexico. Minnie and Carl are buried in Missouri Valley, Iowa.

As for Charles and Caroline back in Shanesville, Doris Ley Hill relates:

The Ley families were well known for their harness and saddlery, and even supplied the government during the Civil War. Charles served on the school board, and in 1848 was instrumental in moving the log school building into the village as a dwelling, and building a brick two-room schoolhouse on lots 52 & 53. The apparently were active members of the First German Reformed Church; the Ladies’ Guild was formed and held its first meeting in the Ley home, with Caroline being elected President’ and, all their children were baptized in the church.

Many of Charles’s sons went on to become successful businessmen. Augustus, my third great-grandfather, established dry goods stores in Bakersville and Port Washington. It is to Port Washington that Charles and Caroline moved in 1890 and where they spent the rest of their days. Caroline died Jan. 12, 1896 at age 77; Charles followed on Feb. 10, 1896. He was 89. They are buried in Union Cemetery, Port Washington, next to the distinguished family plots of Augustus, my great-great-grandfather Charles Henry Ley and Augustus’s son, Lewis Emery Ley and his family.

Ley Karl Shanesville side 2012

The side of the Shanesville property which Charles and Caroline Ley called home from 1836 to 1890 as it appeared in February 2012.

Charles Ley’s Shanesville — Then & Now

Shanesville, some 115 years after Charles’s death, still retains the same basic layout as you drive in on Ohio 39 headed west through Sugarcreek.

According to the (undated) plat map below, the town fathers began their numbering just after the intersection of what is now Route 39 to the north and Main Street to the south. On the north side of where those avenues combine to form Main Street, they began counting 1, 2, 3… westward.

Charles and Caroline’s old place is former plat 9, located at the the west end of the third block from that intersection. This 1875 Shanesville plat map — while not bearing the names of the owners as the one below — shows the lot numbers clearly.

Examining the structures on the detailed business map and comparing to the 2011 aerial view from Google Maps, I can’t help wondering if the essential bones of the house today are indeed built upon the one Charles and Caroline shared from 1836 to 1890. Granted, the home may have been rebuilt during their tenure there, and has obviously been updated in the last decade or so.

Still, it’s a fine feeling to be walking up the same street your ancestors did so many years ago, and know the general layout has remained consistent through the centuries.

Ley Karl home Shanesville 1875

Lot #9 in Shanesville, Ohio -- shown in this 1875 map -- belonged to Charles and Caroline Ley from 1836 to 1890.

Shanesville 2011

Lot #9 in Shanesville, Ohio as it appears today, in this 2011 aerial view from Google Maps.

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For the Record: Ley Obits Wrap-Up

Leys Summer 1978

Circa 1978. This hung in my grandparents' kitchen for a long time. Front, from left, Colt, grandpa Robert Jr., Dan, grandma Sue, Jennifer, Liz. Back: Nikki, David, Andrea, Doreen.

What We’ve Learned About the Leys

It’s been awhile since I began a series of posts exploring the lives of our ancestors, as revealed in their obituaries.

And a good week (or longer) since I published a catch-up post, explaining the absence of activity in this space. Intending, of course, to carry on immediately from there.

So, let’s just dispense with all otherwise flashy intros and get down to business. Because I still have a lot of goodies to share from a March trip home to Ohio. And while life pauses a moment to let me set the fingers twirling again and the lines of type doing their fruitful little march, we should only pause a moment to take stock.

Our agenda? Obits. Lives lived. Places traveled. Families fruitful and multiplying.

First stop were the Leys of Port Washington and, later, New Philadelphia and Dover, Ohio. Second down the trolley path were the Johnsons, my Grandmother Foutz’s family, to be followed by visits with the Foutzes and Weibles.

Before moving on, I thought I’d gather up the fabric a bit and share some of what stood out to me about the family members we remembered on the Ley side.

Ley Lives Revealed – Some Points to Consider

Ley RE TR Obit

Robert Earl Ley Sr.


1. Death came swiftly

At least for the men directly in the Ley line. And often while at work!

Newspapers of the day spared no details:

My great-grandfather, Robert Earl Ley Sr., died of a heart attack at 65 while treating a patient in the dental practice he shared with my grandpa.

His father, former Tuscarawas County treasurer Charles Henry Ley, succumbed to a heart attack at 59 while carrying a garden hose to his barn. The kind of physically-tasking chore his doctor had advised him against, only to have great-great grandpa “refuse to heed the warning.”

Just as my grandfather witnessed his father’s death, my third great aunt Minnie was on hand as my great-great-great grandfather Augustus Ley dropped dead of a cerebral hemorrhage in his Port Washington general store. He licked a stamp and fell dead to the floor before he could affix it to the envelope, according to the newspaper account. He was 61.

By contrast, our first Ley ancestor in America, Charles Ley (or Karl Gottleib Ley) lived to a hale and hearty 89 — same age as my grandpa Bob when he passed away in 2009 (some 112 years later).

Guess the genes had a different story to tell by then.

Charles Henry Ley

Charles Henry Ley

2. A family of “independent contractors”

For the better part of six straight generations in America, Ley males were their own bosses in my family. And many of the “off-shoots” in my line can boast the same.

Karl Ley was a saddler.

Augustus Ley, a dry goods store owner.

Charles Ley may have served at the behest of the county as treasurer, and for a firm as traveling salesman (still in the dry goods business), but he seemed every bit his own man.

Both my great-grandfather Robert Ley and my grandfather Robert Jr. maintained their own dental practice in Dover. And my uncle, Robert III, only just this year retired from his own family practice as M.D.

As far as the dry goods biz went, it seems the first Leys in America opened stores across the country as they spread westward. Doris Ley Hill’s book details the business travelings of the children and descendants of Karl Gottleib Ley and his brother Frederick Christian Ley. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!

3. From Lutheran to Moravian to Lutheran to Moravian again

The way I’d usually put it to my (Scandinavian) Lutheran in-laws whenever I was first getting introduced around is: the Moravian Church, like the Lutheran Church, is an early Protestant demonination, and it falls pretty close to the Catholic tree.

When I was in more of a feisty mood, I’d point out that the Unitas Fratrum actually started before Luther nailed his theses to the church door… only we kind of died out a bit when the Roman Catholics burnt our leaders at the stake facing west (toward Constantinople).

The brethren recovered, of course, and in the 1700s their missionaries were the first to settle Ohio, in Schoenbrunn and Gnadenhutten, just up the road a piece from where our Leys called home. But my grandmother’s family — the Weibles — always had such a longterm claim on membership it seemed that the Leys must have followed them into that branch of the faith.

Well, not so.

Go back to our fifth great and sixth great grandfathers Ley and there you have two ministers who led the same Lutheran church in tiny Pfalz, Bavaria in the 1700s. Whether Great-great-great-great Grandpa Karl Gottleib Ley carried this faith with him to America in the early 1800s is not known.

But by the time we get to Great-great Grandpa Charles, his wife, Minnie Hammersley is a lifelong Moravian (of the church in Port Washington), and his funeral services are held at the First Moravian Church in Dover (the very same congregation of the Weibles his grandson, Robert Jr. would marry into, and where I would be confirmed).

Next up, Robert Ley Sr. is a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Dover, as were my great-great grandmother and grandparents Foutz (the Foutzes were apparently Lutheran from the time they settled in Ohio, and probably before).

And from Bob Jr. on down, we’ve been Moravian. Well, except for now I’m married to a Lutheran and that’s the church of my sons. Seems to make sense, though, right?

4. 180 years in Tuscarawas County

The Weibles also get props in my family for being first in the county, settling south of New Philadelphia in Crooked Run about 1812. My great-great-great grandmother Susan (Schrock) Weible’s family were among the first five settlers there; my great-great-great-great grandfather Jakob Weible and his family followed about 1817.

The Leys didn’t arrive on the scene until the early 1830s, when fourth great grandfather Karl Gottleib Ley emigrated from Bavaria and established his saddlery in Shanesville. From there, they wound through Port Washington, New Philadelphia and eventually Dover, becoming prominent citizens in the professions noted above.

So, the score, either way you tally it, is impressive. Seven generations of Weibles called Tuscarawas County home for nearly 200 years. Seven generations of Leys did the same forbetter than 180.

Of course, the current generation wised up and moved on. (Sorry, Mom.) But not a bad run, in one place.

Robert Earl Ley & Jonah Robert Foutz

From 2007: An ailing Robert Earl Ley Jr. and his great-grandson, Jonah Robert Foutz.

5. What’s in a name?

By my research, the Ley surname hasn’t changed spelling — not from our misty early days in the Netherlands, through our centuries in Germany, and not since our first ancestors came to America.

Whereas, with the Weibles we get Waiblel and Wible; and with the Foutzes there are Foutses and Pfoutses (and perhaps even the dreaded Pfauts).

But it’s interesting to note how given names have been handed down, through the generations.

Our oldest named Ley ancestors are the ministers John Frederick (6th great) and Charles Frederick (5th great). So, maybe it’s more than coincidental that although I get my first name, Frederick, from my Foutz father, Frederick Charles, the name honors the Leys as well.

My second great grandfather Charles Henry Ley seems to have drawn his handle from his grandfather Karl Gottleib, which was Americanized, on census forms and on his gravestone, as Charles. (The Henry comes from maternal grandfather Henry Charles Powell.)

Minnie is another popular name for women in the Ley line. There was Minnie, daughter of Karl Gottleib Ley, who married her first cousin, Carl (son of her father’s brother Frederick) after he emigrated to America, and headed with that branch of the Leys to a successful and enterprising life out west.

My third great grandfather’s daughter, Minnie Mae, married Edwin Frederick Weible (nephew to my great-great grandfather Franklin Eli Weible), foreshadowing a later marriage of my (unrelated!) grandparents Bob Ley and Sue Weible.

Finally, my great-great grandfather Charles Henry Ley married Minnie Eillene Hammersley. They didn’t carry on the name Minnie (their sole daughter was named Irma Haines Ley, after the owner of the company Charles worked for), but they did come up with a name that had theretofore been original among the family tree. They named their third son Robert Earl, who was followed, in subsequent generations, by Robert Earl Jr. and Robert Earl III. (A name not continued directly in the latest generations, but honored in grandson (Robert Jr.) Robert Earl Leatherbury and great-grandsons Jonah Robert Foutz and Robert William Leatherbury.

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Charles Henry Ley Family | Hunting Dogs & Horse Flesh

hunting dog oil painting

This hunting dog oil painting, available at, reminds me of one my grandpa Ley had hanging in his basement rec room. His father - and a few generations of Leys before him - were avid hunters and dealers in horses, chickens and other animals.

Hunting Dogs & Horse Flesh | Early Leys in Ohio

Earlier posts in this space have covered the lives of my Ley ancestors in 1800s Shanesville and Port Washington, Ohio.

My great-great-great-great grandfather Charles Ley (Karl Gottleib Ley) emigrated from Bavaria about 1833 and plied his trade as a saddler in Shanesville.

His son, my third great-grandfather, Augustus Ley, made his living as a grocery store owner in Shanesville and Port Washington.

My great-great grandfather, Charles Henry Ley, started out in the dry goods business with his father, but then went into politics, serving several local posts and as Tuscarawas County treasurer. But he still had a hand in agriculture, as we discovered in ads he ran for buying and selling horses, and of course, Charles Ley’s famed minorcas.

Which brings us to fourth in the line, my great-grandfather, Robert Earl Ley Sr.

A Letter from 60 Years Ago

In early spring 2007, about a month or so after my grandma Sue (Weible) Ley died, I sent my grandpa Bob Ley Jr. a book to help him pass the time.

It was one of many titles I’ve enjoyed by the critically-acclaimed — and cross-genre prolific — Rick Bass. Writing for more than the least two decades from his adopted state of Montana, Rick is a superb craftsman of fiction and nonfiction, employing the forms of memoir, short fiction, narrative essay and other flourishes of the pen to bring his beloved Yaak Valley (among other scenes, urban and natural) to vibrant life on the page.

The book I sent grandpa was Colter. In brief, it’s a love story between Rick and the runt pup he buys, trains, hunts with, comes to adore and never forgets.

I remembered the hunting scene Grandpa had hanging in his basement rec room, and the various hunting dog designs on other trinkets down there — steins, etc. — and thought this story might help him while away the hours and bring back some sunnier memories of his youth.

Grandpa responded with a letter of thanks late that April — count on the older generation to observe the gracious, affectionate customs. In the envelope, he folded a yellowed, crumbling piece of correspondence. Of it, he wrote:

Enclosed is a copy of a letter my father received from a dog trainer when he had English setters he was entering for bird dog field trials. I noticed the similarity to some in the book you sent me. … Thank you for this enjoyable book. My very best to you, Katie, and my little great grandson Jonah.

Robert Earl Ley Sr. and Son

A very young Robert Earl Ley Jr. and his father, Robert Sr. My grandpa would sometimes accompany his father as they worked their bird dogs in the Ohio prairie country.

His Range is Increasing; He Applies Himself Intelligently

The letter, dated May 27, 1947, was from Great-Grandpa Ley’s dog trainer in Harpster, Ohio. Curiously, the trainer’s name, Pat, is the same as the dog’s. That may have been a custom back then, or even now. I don’t know. But here’s what the letter said:

Dear Mr. Ley,

It is my pleasure to report that I was able to win Pat’s confidence quickly & have worked him judiciously all of this month. It is my professional opinion that all of his trouble is due to inexperience as he has shown a great deal of improvement in this short time.

His range is increasing & he applies himself intelligently to this type of country. Has flash pointed quail on several occasions & has had daily opportunities on pheasant & woodcock but has failed to point on them.

Am giving him plenty of fresh meat & milk & vitamin powder, codliver oil to build up physically as he is a little short on stamina. I am confident I can have him ready for derby competition when the fall trials start & will advance him in the handling of game to the extend he will permit without loss of character.

Will appreciate very much if you will mail copy of his registration to me. Am still short on dogs and will be most grateful for any dogs you care to refer to me for boarding or training. I have leased more ground here making a total of 5,000 acres prairie country, few fences.

PS. Statement enclosed.

Been thinking of adding a dog of our own to the suburban mix lately. Albeit an older rescue lab, good with the two little kids, as game to chase a ball around the backyard and accompany me on runs as he is to gnaw on a good bone and lounge in the living room. But it got me thinking of Grandpa and Great-Grandpa and all those Leys of the past two centuries.

No plans to keep Chicago chickens yet, though.

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Know Thy Patriarchs | 10 Ley Generations

Robert Earl Ley Jr. Dover Elks

Grandpa Robert Earl Ley Jr.

Ancestral Anthology, Part 1 – Ley Family

When I kicked off Whispering Across the Campfire last April, one of the blog’s stated goals was to share my family’s history, and the ancestors who starred in it, in the form of stories.

Rather than the tedious formality of traditional genealogy, which generates as much excitement (for me, anyway) as your average high school essay outline, we would look at the way previous generations of our family lived, as well as died. The places they moved through, and from. The neat-o legacies they wrought. The mysteries they, at times, left behind.

And we’ve done that, through eight months and nearly 75 posts.

We’ve traveled the rolling farmlands of 19th century Harrison County, and the muddy gridiron of the Tuscarawas County fairgrounds, circa 1931. We’ve popped into the home of Vance and Laura Foutz for Thanksgiving dinner, 1949, and stood outside the Ley-Fisher household in New Philadelphia on a tragic February, 1920.

We’ve overnighted in the Hotel Morgan in Carnegie, Pa; ventured deep into the coal mines with Clement and Charles Johnson. We’ve saddled a horse with Charles Ley; set more than 50 years of Moravian Christmas trees alight with Frank Abbott Weible. We’ve been there for the assembling of Michael Pfouts’s living descendants a month after he drew his last breath, in May 1851. And we’ve ridden through five miles of screaming sleet with Henry Powell, just to make a prayer meeting.

In 2011, you can count on more stories. About relatives you’ve known well, or at least heard about. And some you’ll only just discover.

But for now, I thought I’d revert, at least a bit, to a list of sorts. To put some of what we’ve explored in context. And set the stage for the history we’ll reveal in posts to come.

In the next four posts, we’ll take a quick tour of the known ancestors of each branch of my family — Leys, Foutzes, Weibles, Johnsons. Consider it the opening utterance for campfire whispering to come.

Ley Ancestry – Looking Back 10 Generations

1. Jonah Robert Foutz and Benjamin Peter Foutz

Born in Illinois, Sept. 6, 2006 and Sept. 9, 2008.

2. Frederick Colt Foutz (married Kathryn Marie Knutson)

Born in Dover, Ohio, June 2, 1976. Educated at Carnegie Mellon University and Columbia College Chicago. Newspaper reporter and columnist in Ohio and Illinois, freelance writer, musician. Currently manages a creative team at a Chicago advertising agency. Married Sept. 21, 2002 in Olathe, Kansas. Katie was born Dec. 8, 1977 in Rochester, Minn. Parents of Jonah Robert, Benjamin Peter.

Janet Louise Ley

Janet Louise Ley

3. Janet Louise Ley (married Frederick Charles Foutz)

Mother. Born in Dover, Ohio, May 25, 1952. Educated at The Ohio State University, Kent State University, Ashland College. Teaches art. Married Dec. 21, 1975 in Dover. Fred was born June 5, 1952 in Dover. Parents of Frederick Colt, Daniel Morgan, Jacob Ley, Samuel Chase.

4. Robert Earl Ley Jr. (married Suzanne Abbott Weible)

Pictured above. Grandfather. Born Sept. 30, 1918 in Dover, Ohio. Died July 28, 2008. Educated at Ohio Wesleyan University, Baldwin Wallace College, The Ohio State University. Lieutenant, U.S. Navy during World War II. Dentist. He was a member of Dover Kiwanis, Dover American Legion, past president of Dover Lions Club, past exalted ruler of Dover Elks Lodge No. 975, a 32nd degree Mason, member of Dover Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite Valley of Canton, Tadmor Shrine, Royal Order of Jesters, and Chef de Gare of the 40 et 8 Voiture 117. Married Oct. 16, 1943 in Oxford, Ohio. Sue was born July 6, 1918 in Dover. Died Jan. 15, 2007 in Dover. Parents of Robert Earl III, Sally Ann, Jeanne Abbott, Suzanne Elizabeth (Betsy), Janet Louise, Mary Lynn (Pinny), Heather Beatrice.

Robert Earl Ley Sr. and Son

5. Robert Earl Ley (married Mary Zula Lucrece Fisher)

Great-grandfather. Born Aug. 17, 1893 in Port Washington, Ohio. Died Feb. 7, 1959 in Dover, Ohio. Educated at Western Reserve dental college. Dentist. First married June 27, 1917 in Wellsburg, West Virginia. Zula was born Dec. 24, 1895 in New Philadelphia, Ohio. She died Feb. 1, 1920. Parents of Robert Earl Jr. and Mary Zula (stillborn). Second marriage to Florence Wilma Jones (1901-1984), with whom he had one son, Richard Earl, born Sept. 20, 1927 and died Sept. 9, 1933.

Charles Henry Ley

6. Charles Henry Ley (married Minnie Eillene Hammersley)

Second great grandfather. Born June 1, 1866 in Bakersville, Ohio. Died Nov. 22, 1925 in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Began working at his father’s dry goods store at 16, then worked as a salesman for James B. Haines & Son and Pittsburgh Dry Goods. He was also a politician, serving on the city council and board of education before being elected to two terms as Tuscarawas County treasurer. Married June 22, 1888 in Port Washington. Minnie was born Aug. 20, 1865 in Port Washington. She died Aug. 10, 1929, in New Philadelphia. Parents of Walter Augustus, Lester Herman, Robert Earl and Irma Haines.

Augustus Ley Union Cemetery Port Washington

7. Augustus Ley (married Harriet J. Powell)

Third great grandfather. Born Oct. 11, 1839 in Shanesville, Ohio. Died Dec. 17, 1900 in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Educated at Duff’s Commerical College in Pittsburgh, Pa. Clerked at a general store in Bakersville, Ohio before taking ownership. Built his county’s first creamery and established a second store, in Port Washington, Ohio, in 1869. Served Salem Twp. as treasurer and clerk. Married June 1, 1865, in Coshocton, Ohio. Hattie was born Feb. 22, 1845, in Bakersville. She died Sept. 24, 1915 in Dover, Ohio. Parents of Charles Henry, Francis Washington, Lewis Emery, Howard Augustus, Albert Walter and Minnie Mae (who would marry Edwin Frank Weible).

Charles Ley Union Cemetery Port Washington

8. Charles Ley, aka Karl Gottleib Ley (married Susanna Carolina Vogelsang)

Fourth great grandfather. Baptized Dec. 11, 1807 at the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Alban, Pfalz, in what was then Bavaria. (For more info on how to find this town today, read the profiles of his father and grandfather, below.)  He died Feb. 10, 1897 in Salem Township, near Shanesville, Ohio. He was a saddler, and emigrated from Germany in 1833. He settled in Shanesville the next year, and was married there May 25, 1835. Caroline was born in 1817 in Neuhoff, Rhine-Palatinate, south of where her husband’s family was from. She died Jan. 12, 1896 near Shanesville. They were parents of eight, according to A Short History of the Ley Family, published in Shanesville — four sons, four daughters; we know of the following: Frederick, Augustus, Lewis, Maria and Amelia are named in census records; Emma and Louisa are named on a gravestone in Port Washington. The name of the fourth son is unknown.

9. Frederick Charles Ley, aka Karl Friedrich Ley (married Charlotha Elisabetha Engel)

Fifth great grandfather. Baptized Dec. 16, 1771 in the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Alban, Pfalz, Bavaria. Died 1818, according to Ley family history. His father was pastor of the church (see below), and after a brief period during which the congregation was led by a man named Chelius, Frederick Charles took the pulpit from 1801 until his death. He was married Jan. 3, 1803 to Charlotha Elisabetha Engel. She was born in Nassau, a village more than 100 km north, where her father was treasurer for the prince. They were parents to four: Johannetta Katharina (Jeanette), Friedrich Kristian (Frederick), Karl Gottleib (Charles) and Elisabetha Louisa (Lisette).

10. John Frederick Ley, aka Johann Friedrich Ley (married Maria Philipinna Dorothea Lauckhardt)

Sixth great grandfather. Born May 6, 1738 in Kaiserslautern, Rhein-Palatinate. Died April 1, 1788, in St. Alban. He studied theology and first became a minister in the town of Imsbach, northeast of where he grew up. He served as minister of the evangelical church in St. Alban from 1765 until his death, succeeding his father-in-law, George William Lauckhardt (1715-1765) and his wife’s grandfather, John Nicholas Lauckhardt (c. 1690-1715) in leading the congregation. He married Maria Philippina Dorothea Lauckhardt on Nov. 25, 1764. There is no information about her birth or death. They were parents to nine, 3 of whom died young. The remaining six are: Karl Friedrich, Andrew, George, Judith, Katharine and an unknown daughter.

And now we gaze into the swirling mists….

We know only a little about the 11th, 12th and 13th generation of Ley ancestors — but that’s something.

We know, for instance, that John Frederick Ley’s father maintained a large, rural estate, and was mayor of the city where he lived. Kaiserslautern? Perhaps….

And “Mayor Ley”‘s father was first to settle in Kaiserslautern, where he built and ran a cloth manufacturing business. He was first of the family to move to Germany from the Netherlands, where it is said the Ley name originates.

Of our little southwestern corner of Germany, we know quite a bit. The area our ancestors claimed as home was part of Bavaria back then.  But for the 500 years prior to the formation of Rheinland-Pfalz (following World War II), Kaiserslautern and the surrounding region had been occupied by France, Spain and Croatia, among other warring groups. The city got its name in the 1100’s from the Roman emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who often hunted there, and built two castles to guard it. The city’s coat of arms is displayed below.

The Pfalz as a state is bordered by Luxembourg, France and Belgium, and is famous for the wine grown there. Today, a nearby American military base makes Kaiserslautern the largest community of Americans outside, well, the United States. The army’s overview of Kaiserslautern history is loaded with details. And you can also consult an English translation of the German Wikipedia page on Kaiserslautern.

As for Saint Alban, or Sankt Alban auf Deutsch, it is actually a community within the city of Rockenhausen and the county of Donnersbergkreis. It lies about 38 km northwest of Kaiserslautern. The closest big cities are Mainz, Wiesbaden and Frankfurt am Mein.

Kaiserslautern Coat of Arms

Kaiserslautern Coat of Arms. The Leys emigrated there from The Netherlands sometime in the 1600s.

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A Short History of the Ley Family

Charles & Caroline Ley marker, Port Washington

In a post a few weeks back, I detailed the history of our oldest Ley ancestor in America, Charles Ley.

While visiting my parents this week, I’ve been afforded access not only to my Grandma Foutz’s archive of family photos, clippings, etc., but to my mom’s folder of genealogy research as well. She went through her own bout of family record-hunting in the mid-1970s. Among the great items she preserved was a 6-page booklet detailing Charles’s lineage from the time the Leys moved from the Netherlands to the Rhineland Palatinate area of Germany.

I’ve transcribed the text of the pamphlet and posted below. A nice little happenstance is that this family history jibes exactly with the records I dug up in the International Genealogy Archives and detailed in my post on Charles. One sidenote: the family history printed in Shanesville features American spellings of German Ley names. That’s true of their grave markers as well. But international records — particularly from the church where Charles’s ancestors were ministers and where he and his siblings were christened — preserve the German spellings. Thus, Charles Ley as we know him becomes Karl Gottleib Ley, and Frederick Charles Ley in the record below was Karl Friedrich Ley.

In the profile entries on and, I’ve tried to indicate the German spellings alongside the American ones.

A Short History of the Ley Family

printed by John Doerschuk, Shanesville, OH
This comes from Janet Ley Foutz’s photocopied record of the original.
Transcribed by Colt Foutz, June 2010.

According to trusty tradition the family LEY comes from the Netherlands.

1. The first Ley came from thence to Keiserslautern, in the Rhine Palatinate, and erected at this place and carried on a cloth manufactory. his name, birthday, etc. are unknown.

2. He had but one son, who conducted at the same place a large rural estate. He was highly esteemed and held for many years the office of mayor of the city. his name, birthday, etc. are also unknown.

3. To him a son John Frederick was born May 6th, 1738.

He studied theology and became a minister of the gospel at Imsbach, county Falkenstein, Rhine Palatinate.

He was married to Maria Philippina Dorothea Lauckhardt, Nov. 25, 1764, and in the following year, 1765, he was installed as minister of the gospel in St. Alban, succeeding his father-in-law, the Rev, Geo. William Lauckhardt.

a. The aforesaid Rev. George William Lauckhardt was minister in St. Alban from 1715.

b. His father John Nicholas Lauckhardt was also a minister of the gospel and had charge of the same congregation from the 1690s.

John Frederick Ley had nine children, three of whom died at an early age. His three sons were George Ludwig, a wine grower; Frederick Chas., a clergyman; and Andrew, a Jeweler. His three daughters were Judith, wife of Dr. Koeppel, M.D.; (name unknown), wife of Dr. Rocker, M.D.; and Katharine, wife of a Mr. Brecher, the steward of an estate.

John Frederick Ley died April 1, 1788; consequently this one congregation was for almost a hundred years under the care of one family.

After his death a pastor by the name of Chelius had charge of the congregation for thirteen years.

4. Frederick Charles Ley, the son of the aforesaid John Frederick Ley took charge again of the same congregation as minister of the gospel, and held this position for 17 years, until his death in 1818.

He was married to a Miss Engel. She came from the principality Nassau, where her father was a receiver and treasurer for the prince’s revenues.

She had three sisters who were all married to civil officers. The first one was united with a Mr. Senft, and had two sons, who became ministers, and one daughter.

The second one was the wife of a Mr. Ebhardt, the children of whom, all held divers high civil and military offices.

The third one was married to a Dr. Fabel., who practiced in the Rhine Palitinate.

Frederick Charles Ley had four children, two sons and two daughters. His oldest son, Frederick, studied theology and died as dean in Muenchweiler. His oldest daughter Jeannette, was married to the Rev. George Fleischmann and had three sons, of whom two became ministers.

The youngest daughter, Lisete, was the wife of REv. Charles Bauman.

5. His youngest son, Charles Ley, was born Dec. 11, 1807 in St. Alban, and learned the saddler trade.

In 1833 he came to the united States, and in 1834 he established himself in Shanesville, Ohio. On May 25, 1835, he was united with Caroline Vogelsang from Neuhof, near Waldmohr, Rhine Palatinate. Eight children were born to them, four sons and four daughters; they lived a long and happy married life of sixty years.

This ends the record. If you have interest in seeing the record scanned and uploaded page by page onto Geni, just let Colt know.

Categories: Ley, quickie post | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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