The Last Germans

Who were the last German immigrants in the congregations of Zion Chatt and Zion Schumm?

I am talking about immigrants from Germany, not the local families with the surname German.

Our area was settled primarily by German immigrants. There were several major waves of German migrations to America. My Schumm ancestors emigrated from Wuerttemberg in 1833. My Breuningers immigrated about 1840 and the Schinnerers about 1850. The Miller side of my family came over later. Jacob Miller (1843-1918) immigrated in 1871 and his wife Christina Reuck (1858-1945) immigrated about 1880. 

These German immigrants on both sides of my family were Lutheran. (I am about 75% German. Most of my Grandma Gertrude (Brewster) Miller’s branch of my family were not German. That branch had been in America much longer, some going back to Revolutionary War times and before.)

These German Lutherans brought their values, customs, traditions, and their faith with them. The constitutions of Zion Lutheran Chatt and Zion Lutheran Schumm were both written in German, written in the old Gothic Script. That was their language. They spoke, read, and wrote German although they were living in America.

Even though I have a number of German immigrant ancestors, I obviously never knew any of them. They had all passed away before I was born. My last living family immigrant was my dad’s grandmother Christine (Rueck) Miller, who died in 1945. She died seven years before I was born but my dad knew her. She lived with my dad’s family when he was a boy growing up near Chatt.

The Schumms immigrated in 1833 and the last living Schumm immigrant was Fredrick Schumm (1814-1902). My direct Schumm immigrant ancestor, Fredrick’s brother Louis Schumm (1817-1855), died rather young and had passed away before the Millers and Ruecks immigrated. Some of my other immigrant ancestors on my Schumm branch also passed away over a century ago: Louis Breuninger (1819-1890), his wife Maria (Seckel) Breuninger (1827-1910), and Fredrick Schinnerer (1824-1905).  

I am most familiar with the German immigrant ancestors in my family but of course there were many other German immigrants in both Zion congregations.

Thinking about all this brings up the question, who were the last living German immigrants at Zion Chatt and at Zion Schumm? I believe I have identified the last immigrants in the congregations. They all immigrated in the late 1800s and died between 1935-1962.

Mike & Maggie (Rueck-Miller) Kallenberger (1879-1962)

From Zion Chatt, Maggie (Rueck-Miller) Kallenberger (1879-1962) was born in Steinbach, Wuerttemberg, 26 March 1879, and immigrated about 1880, when she was just an infant. Maggie died in Van Wert County on 27 October 1962, aged 82, and is buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery. She was married to Michael John Kallenberger (1871-1952).  

From Zion Lutheran Chatt, Henry Philip Bender (1866-1946) was born in Germany 6 April 1866 and immigrated about 1886. Henry died 10 January 1946, aged 79 years, and is buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery. He was married to Mary Allmandinger (1872-1949), who was born in Ohio.

Also a member of Zion Chatt, Christina (Rueck) Miller (1858-1945), my great-grandmother, was born in Steinbach, Wuerttemberg, on 29 December 1858, and immigrated about 1880. Christina died near Chatt on 17 June 1945, aged 86 years, and is buried in the Chattanooga Mausoleum. She was married to Jacob Miller (1843-1918), also a German immigrant and she was the mother of Maggie (Rueck-Miller) Kallenberger.

From Zion Lutheran Schumm, Leonard G. Stegmeier (1856-1940) was born in Steinbach, Wuerttemberg, 13 May 1856 and immigrated about 1879. Leonhard died in Convoy on 16 December 1940, aged 84 years, and is buried in Zion Schumm’s cemetery. Leonard was married to Katharine Rettig (1860-1927), who was born in Willshire Township.

Also from Zion Schumm, Anna Katharina (Meisinger) Sauer was born in Germany 23 July 1855 and immigrated about 1895. Anna died near Schumm on 12 July 1935, aged of 79 years, and is buried in Zion Schumm’s cemetery. She was the wife of John Sauer (1850-1900), who was also an immigrant.

I notice that several came from Steinbach. Also interesting that my great-grandmother Christina (Rueck) Miller was one of the last German immigrants in Zion Chatt’s congregation.

Christine (Rueck) Miller with Clara (c1900)

It would be so very interesting to talk with these German immigrants. Imagine the family history they knew! 




    • Judy Edmonds on February 4, 2022 at 9:03 pm
    • Reply

    Karen, I am trying to find more information about my Grandfather W.F.H. Heuer who was the pastor at Chatt. I know he came to America at the age of 13 and first lived in Columbus, Ohio where he lived with his parents. The Lutheran Church in Germany sent him and provided for them to come to America. His parents had dedicated him to go into the ministry, when he was born. He was their only child, born to them in I believe their early 40’s. I think he died in 1963, here in NE. I believe they left Chatt when my mother Anne C. heuer was 3 and she was born in Chatt in 1917. There is no birth certificate for her in OH and she was probably brought into this world by a midwife from Indiana and we have never checked to see if there might be a birth certificate in Indiana. When she applied for a Passport, is the first we realized she did not have a Birth Certificate. By then her parents were no longer living. By getting a copy of her Baptism from Chatt, she could see that all of their children were baptized on the first Sunday, after being born. Mother was the last of their 7 children and the only one born in Chatt. The 3 closest children along with 2 others who died at a very young age. That is when Grandpa was a pastor at a Lutheran Church somewhere between Chatt and Greenville, Ohio. I think close to a town named Brock, OH. I am trying to get in touch with my Mothers cousin’s daughter in California and see what date Grandpa came to America. Let me know if this information might fit into this search of people immigrating to America. Thank you, Judy Edmonds, Omaha, NE

    1. Nice to hear from you again, Judy. I wrote a blog post about Rev. Heuer ( and I am sure you have read it already. But it probably does not contain all the information you are looking for. I will do a little more looking and get back with you. At any rate, this is a very interesting family story and part of Zion Chatt’s history. Thanks for writing!

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