History of the Sauer Family


This article, which has been handed down through the family, first appeared in the Defiance Co., OH history, 1883.

Henry Sauer was born on September 10, 1812 in Cassel, the capitol of the former electorate of Hesse-Cassel, now a part of Prussia, Germany. He immigrated to America at the age of 19, arriving at New York in the summer of 1832 after a long and tedious voyage on a sailing vessel. Being without means, or friends to assist him, he immediately started to work his way westward until he arrived in Cleveland, Ohio, in the fall of 1834. He was a saddler by trade.

In Cleveland he found two families that had immigrated a few years before from his neighborhood in Germany. They were the families of George A Hoftrichter and Frederick Lesh. On May 10, 1835 he married Wilhelmina, daughter of George and Julia Hoftrichter. There were three other Hoftrichter children: William, John and Margaret (Mrs. Lesh).

While residing in Cleveland, Henry was employed as a harness maker for the street car company. At that time all street cars were drawn by horses.

In 1836, the family of George Hoftrichter moved westward from Cleveland to Pleasant township, Henry County, Ohio. Henry liked living in Cleveland and would have preferred staying there but his wife Wilhelmina wanted to follow her parents so the Henry Sauer family also moved westward to Henry County.

Arriving at Independence, Defiance County, Ohio, their only road to their newly acquired land was a lonely Indian path. This land had been represented to them as not being far from Cleveland. (Actually it is approximately 150 miles). Upon arriving at their new home, they found nothing but dense forest, wild beasts and Indians. The Indians, however, by this time were peaceful and did the newcomers no damage.

By untiring and persevering energy, Henry set to work and soon had several acres of land cleared of the big timbers and ready for planting. The cleared land was plowed by oxen, or sometimes only one ox. At times the one ox was assisted by a man. After planting, they raised a beautiful crop of wheat. As the wheat was about to be harvested, a Government Inspector came and told them that the grain must not be used for flour, etc., as the wheat had not received enough sunshine.

A few years later, when the Miami-Erie canal was being built through Defiance, Henry left his little farm consisting of 40 acres and helped construct the canal from Defiance to Delphos, Ohio. By continuing hard work on the canal, Henry was able to gain means to procure more land and increase his holdings from 40 acres to 240 acres. The land today is located in the garden spot of northwestern Ohio.

Indians often came to visit the Sauer residence. When Wilhelmina was alone, the first time the Indians came, she refused to let them into her house. When they left, the Indians chopped the gate to pieces. A friend told her that she was fortunate that the Indians did not kill her, and that she should let them in if they insisted when visiting in the future. The next time the Indians came to visit she let them into her home. Each Indian carried a knife. The leader ordered the rest of them to lay their knives upon the table and then motioned Wilhelmina and the children to go to the loft. The Indians then drank her vinegar and ate everything that was in the cupboard. The vinegar was made of whisky, rain water and maple sugar. Wilhelmina did not sleep at all that night while the Indians were having their party. However, in the morning they were all gone. Later the Indians bought skins of animals that the Sauer family had trapped and hunted. Also ‘Indian Jack’ brought the family many of his medicines. He had gathered all kinds of plants and herbs to make medicines for his cures.

A tragedy occurred when Julia Hoftrichter disappeared, never to be seen or heard of again. One day Julia came to Wilhelmina’s house because on the previous day Wilhelmina had been ill. Julia came for the children so that Wilhelmina would be able to get some rest. However, on that day Wilhelmina was doing the washing and she said that she was able to take care of the children. Julia then left for her home. She carried a small pail and had planned to pick up some nuts on her way home which was nearby.

At noon, Frederick her husband came seeking for her. He said that the bread dough, that Julia had prepared, was now running all over the table at home. Julia was afraid of Indians and some folks thought that she might have been scared by them and crawled into a hollow log and was unable to get out. Some thought that she might have been carried away by the Indians and perhaps died of shock. Others thought that she might have been attacked by bears but no trace of her was ever found.

Henry and Wilhelmina had fifteen children. William, Adam, Andrew, Henry, Margaret, Anna, Wilhelmina, Anna Maria, Magdalena, Julia and Elizabeth. Several children had died in infancy. William, the oldest, was the third white child born in Pleasant township, Henry county, Ohio.

Henry and Wilhelmina celebrated their golden wedding anniversary quietly on May 10, 1885. Henry died on July 26, 1885, at the age of 73 years, 10 months and 16 days. Wilhelmina died on May 12, 1907. She was 88 years, 9 months and 28 days of age. She was born in Mannheim Baden, Germany. They were both charter members of Emanual Reformed Church. They were regular in their attendance at the house of God and active in church and mission work. Their children were all brought up in the Reformed church. Henry and Wilhelmina were both laid to rest in the Reformed cemetery, east of New Bavaria, Ohio.

The Sauer Family

William Sauer was married to Eliza Beiderwill. Their union was blessed with nine children; four sons, Henry, George, William, Charles and five daughters, Wilhelmina, Anna Maria, Julia, Elizabeth and Margaret.

Margaret Sauer was married to Wolf Bauer. Their union was blessed with two daughters. Mrs. Bauer died in Minnesota as did one daughter. The other daughter was brought back to Ohio after her mother’s death, and died at her grandparents Sauer.

Anna Sauer was married to George Troeger. Their union was blessed with seven children. Three sons: William, Louis and Michael. Four daughters: Ottille, Catherine, Elizabeth and Magdalena.

Wilhelmina Sauer was married to Adam Troeger. Their union was blessed with nine children. Five sons (one died in infancy) Ernest, Frank, Andrew and Elias. Four daughters: Anna, Julia, Eliza and Wilhelmina.

Anna Maria Sauer was married to Henry Foss. There were no children.

Magdalena Sauer was married to Daniel Stephens. Their union was blessed with nine children. Three sons: Henry, Fred and Andrew. Six daughters: Anna Maria, Elizabeth, Minnie, Sarah, Margaret and Bessie.

Julia Sauer was married to Jacob Hornung. Their union was blessed with twelve children. Eight sons: Charles, John, Herman, Walter, Albert, William, Andrew and Ora. Four daughters: Margaret, Anna, Edna and Ruth.

Henry Sauer was married to Louise Pfau. Their union was blessed with eight children. Three sons: Vernon, George and Harmon. Five daughters: Elizabeth, Lydia, Margaret, Anna and Cora.

Elizabeth Sauer was married to William Kehnest. There were no children.

Adam Sauer was married to Minnie Steinmaier. Their union was blessed with one daughter, Emma.

Andrew Sauer was married to Ella Smith. Their union was blessed with three children: Henry, Phoebe and Minnie.


Sauer family pictures

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