George Nicholas Troeger was born in Bavaria, Germany, November 24, 1797. The name of his wife is not known. They were blessed with six surviving children, namely: John Ernest 1824; Margaret 1827; Katherine 1829; John George 1836; Anna 1838; and John Adam 1842. John Ernest was born in Neudorf, Bavaria, Germany. There is no record of the birth places of the other children but apparently they were all born in or near Neudorf.
George Nicholas and his wife made plans to bring their family to the United States as they did not believe that their sons should be raised to train for war. It was the law at that time all young men must serve time training in the military service. They sold all of their possessions, except for a few of their household and personal effects, and made ready for their long journey to the new land. However, misfortune struck at that time when the mother was stricken with a fatal heart attack. They buried her in her native Bavaria.
Their departure was now delayed until sometime after the funeral. Their relatives and friends tried to persuade the family to now remain in Germany but to no avail as they had definitely made up their minds to go to the United States. Nicholas and the children, with a few of their treasured possessions that they had gathered together before the death of the mother, now started on their long journey to the new land.
Upon their arrival in Hamburg, Germany, the youngest - a baby of two years of age - became ill with the measles. Since their passage had already been paid to the sailing vessel and since the sick infant was not allowed aboard, Nicholas made arrangements for the oldest son and oldest daughter to remain in Hamburg to take care of the sick baby. Shortly thereafter the sick infant died. The remaining children made arrangements for the funeral and burial. They then took passage on the next vessel sailing to America. The voyage took seven weeks.
In the meantime, Nicholas and the four children arrived in New York City. From there they took a steamboat to Albany, NY. From Albany they took a canal boat to Buffalo, NY. In Buffalo they stayed with a German family by the name of Beyer. There they remained with the Beyers until the two children, that had remained behind in Hamburg, caught up with them. Mr. Beyer was a baker by trade. He kept his bakery until the unions moved into the area. rather than to follow the demands of the union, he sold his business. It was from that bakery the recipe for Christmas Pffefferkicken was given to the Troeger family.
After the arrival in Buffalo of the two children that had remained behind in Hamburg, the family now made plans to go westward to make their new home. They had originally made plans to settle in the state of Wisconsin. On his way to explore the new lands in Wisconsin, Nicholas stopped in Defiance County, Ohio, to visit with some friends by the name of Greenler. From Buffalo he traveled by steamboat on Lake Erie to Toledo, Ohio. From Toledo by way of the Miami-Erie canal to Independence, Ohio. He was so impressed by the fertility of the soil on the South Ridge, where the Greenlers had settled, that he decided to locate his family in Ohio rather than in Wisconsin.
Upon returning to Buffalo for his family, Nicholas found that his daughter Katherine had decided to stay in Buffalo and marry Henry Beyer. He and the remaining children then journeyed to Ohio to settle on the South Ridge. This was in 1847. He obtained a large tract of land for his original farm which was later divided. His three sons all were given farms of approximately 120 acres each.
A large log house was built on the original homestead. This house had two large rooms on the first floor, three rooms on the second floor and an attic above the second floor. The first Lutheran church services in this area were held in this house. The services were held in the afternoons when the Rev. Detzer from Defiance rode out on horseback to officiate. When the congregation became too large to hold services in the house, the services were held in the barn. The congregation consisted of people from the South Ridge all the way to New Bavaria and also from the Standley area. Planks were placed in the barn for the people to sit on. There was no organ at that time but that did not keep the congregation from singing hymns in the service.
From all this, St. Stephens Lutheran Church of the South Ridge was founded, (1852). Nicholas donated tracts of land to build a church as well as a place for the church cemetery. The new church building was used as a school. There were desks located in the front while benches made of boards nailed together were located in the back. The interior was plastered and white washed. White muslin curtains covered the windows.
Some of the people walked to attend services while others came in spring wagons - a light wagon with seats. Some of the larger families had spring wagons with two or three seats. Wooden hitching posts were located near the church where the horses were tied.
Nicholas died November 9, 1876.
Troeger photo page