Tombstone Tuesday–Johann Christopher Michael Lotter

Johann Christopher Michael Lotter, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Johann Christopher Michael Lotter, located in row 7 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Hier Ruhet
Christopher M.
Gest 17 Oct
Alt 15 Jahr
10 Tag

“Here rests Johann Christopher M. Lotter, died 17 October 1894, aged 15 years and 10 days.”

There are only two entries in Zion Chatt’s records for Johann Christopher Michael Lotter—when he was confirmed and when he died.

According to the church death and burial record Johann Christopher Michael Lotter was the son of John Lotter and wife. The wife was not named. The record goes on to tell us that Johann Christopher Michael was born 17 October 1879 in Wapakoneta, Ohio, and died of typhoid on 27 October 1894 in Adams County, Indiana, at the age of 15 years and 10 days.  He was buried on the 28th.  Survivors included his parents and siblings.

Who were his parents? It is complicated because there were actually two John/Johann Lotters mentioned in Zion Chatt’s records and they were both married to women named Catharine–Catharine Eichler and Catharine Kniesel. It appears that one man went by the name of John/Johann and the other went by the name of John “Peter.” I suspect the two were brothers.

It appears that Johann Christopher Michael, was the son of John Lotter and his wife Catharina Kniesel. Several records, including a couple entries in Zion Chatt’s records point to this:

Johann Christopher Michael Lotter was confirmed at Zion Chatt in 1893 and his father was shown as John Lotter. In that same confirmation class was John George Lotter, born 20 January 1878 in Adams County, Indiana, the son of John P. Lotter. John Lotter was differentiated from John P. Lotter in this record.

The church records document that John Peter Lotter and his wife Catharine (Eichler) had a son Lorenz, born 6 June 1880, and baptized at Zion Chatt on 18 July 1880. His birth would have been about 7½ months after the birth of Johann Christopher Michael Lotter. It is possible that Catharine (Eichler) gave birth to another child after 7½ months, but not very likely.

In 1880 Johann Christopher Michael Lotter, indexed on as Christoff Latter, was living with his parents John and Catharina in Wapakoneta. Their household in 1880: John, 39; Catharina, 36; Christoff, 8 months, and Anna, 73. John was born in Bavaria, Catharine in Württemberg, Christoff in Ohio, and Anna in Bavaria. The 73-year old Anna was John’s widowed mother. [1]

This 1880 census was actually a very good find because it shows where the mother Anna was living in 1880. Plus, since Anna is listed as John’s mother in the 1880 census and Anna is identified as John Peter’s mother in Zion Chatt’s records, that information from both records indicates that John and John Peter were brothers.

Their mother Anna eventually went to live with John Peter in Adams County, Indiana, shortly before her death and she is buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery, next to her son John Peter.


[1] 1880 U.S. Census, Wapakoneta, Auglaize, Ohio, ED 3, p.369A, line 46, John Latter; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 8 Jan 2017); NARA microfilm T9, roll 993.


Skip to comment form

    • Andy Gappa on January 10, 2017 at 9:18 am
    • Reply

    You finally hit on one of my relatives–kind of. You mention in this article that a John Lotter was married to a Catherine Kniesel. Catherine was my GG Grandmother’s sister (Johann Jasper Byer’s second wife was Margaret Rosine Kneisel after his first wife-Sophia Gugel who you profiled once before-passed) . The family has been going round and round about the correct spelling of that last name. Some of us have it at Kneisel and others have it as Kniesel. Maybe you can help solve the mystery. Can you tell me with any certainty from those church records exactly how it’s spelled? And, is there a marriage in the church between Johann Jasper Byer and Margaret Rosine Kneisel–it would be around 1872/1873? Thanks for any answer you can provide.
    Andy Gappa
    P.S. My GG Grandmother’s obituary says she is survived by a sister Katherine Lotter so I know I’m on the right trail here. Also, if you get a chance, check out Katherine M. Lotter’s findagrave memorial in LaPorte, Indiana. Now there is a crazy spelling of her maiden name.
    P.P.S. After I read my GG Grandmother’s obituary (she died in Starke County, Indiana), I tried to make that Catherine Eichler Lotter fit my tree. After all, she died in Starke County, too. It just wouldn’t work no matter how hard I tried. Now, thanks to you, it’s beginning to make sense. Two Catherine Lotters!! What the heck?! Thanks for all you’ve done!!

    1. Hi Andy! I do have some answers for you. I looked at the original church records just to make sure, but the name was always spelled with the i before the e. The name is most always spelled Kniesel but a couple times it is spelled Niesel in the records. There were references to Jasper Byer and his wife Margaretha nee Kniesel in the church records but they were not married at Zion Chatt. I looked on and they were married 9 November 1872 in Auglaize County, Ohio. Some of their children were baptized at Zion Chatt. Also, from entries in the church records I see that Nicholas Hoehamer was married to Friederike Kniesel, and there was death/burial entry for Philip Kniesel, 16 Dec 1812-3 Dec 1891. I hope this information helps!

    • Andy Gappa on January 11, 2017 at 12:51 pm
    • Reply

    Huge help!! Thank you very much! That’s the kind of stuff I was looking for. Philip Kniesel is my GGG Grandfather so any info on him is greatly appreciated. You say he died 12/3/1891. Where did he die? Is he buried behind the Zion Chattanooga church or somewhere else? You’re right about some of Jasper’s children being baptized in the Zion Chat church–I’d think they all were. As an example, I’ve got a copy of Ludwig Heinrich Beyer’s baptism certificate–despite the name being spelled differently than the usual Byer. Thanks, again, for everything.
    Andy Gappa

    1. Amazing that Philip is your ancestor. All the record says is that he was born 16 December 1812 in Wuerttemberg, and died 3 December 1891 in Chattanooga. He was 79 years, 11 months, and 22 days old. Rev. J. Oelkers was in charge of the service. It does not say where he was buried and to my knowledge he is not buried in Zion’s cemetery. I also wonder where he would be buried. Glad I could provide some information!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.