The Shelbyville Republican
Descendants of John and Mary Elizabeth Seisz gathered at the home place in Union township, one-fourth mile south of Ray's Crossing, Sunday, for the centennial reunion. There were 107 persons present.
Monday, August 29, 1932
CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION HELD BY
DESCENDANTS OF JOHN & MARY SEISZ
The original purchase of 200 acres was made one hundred years ago today, August 29, 1932, and the homestead is occupied at the present time by four grandchildren of the couple, Caroline Witz, Louisa, Wilhelmina and Edward Rapp. Mr. and Mrs. Seisz came to this country in 1832 from Langen Caldel in the province of Bavaria, Germany.
The Rev. J.W. Dickmann, pastor of the Zion Evangelical Church, in Union township, compiled and read the following family history at the event yesterday.
Seldom is man, who by nature is a transitory being, short lived, ever in the state of passing on, privileged to observe such an event as has occasioned us to come together at this place for this unique centennial. One hundred years ago, on August 29, 1832, John George Seisz, a native of Langen, Caldel, Bavaria, Germany, homesteaded 200 acres of land, which is still in possession of the immediate descendants, the four only living grandchildren; Mrs. Caroline Witz who owns 100 acres of said land; Louisa, Wilhelmina and Edward Rapp, joint owners of 60 acres, and Edward Rapp, sole owner of 40 acres. Mr. Zeisz, the original owner, was born on December 28, 1787 and spent most of his life in the old country, where he acquired a good education and mastered a profitable trade, that of weaving (linens woven by him were on display during the gathering). In early manhood John George Zeisz was married to Mary Elizabeth Rapp, who was born November 13, 1798. Three daughters were born to this union: Marie Barbara, born July 5, 1822; Mary Catherine, born November 27, 1826; and Henrietta born may 17, 1838.
Mr. Zeisz was 45 years of age when he became the owner of this place, which was at the time one great forest. Trees had to be removed before a place could be found to erect a small log house. We can only imagine the dangers facing these early pioneers, and the many hardships confronting them and the many sacrifices they made to make our existence more comfortable.
Mary Catherine, second oldest daughter, married Henry Haehl, whose only living daughter is Mrs. Witz. Their many grandchildren are prosperous farmers of this community. Henrietta Zeisz was married to John George Rapp; 3 children of this union, who are living on the original home place today, are active in the affairs of their community.
The old family Bible, surely a comfort and guide to our forefathers, records an unusual occurrence which took place on the night of November 13, 1833, when stars showered down from heaven.
During the span of 100 years many interesting things have taken place. It might be mentioned that after Mr. Zeisz had lived in the community 14 years, the first railroad came thru this nearby village known as Ray's Crossing (1846). One can imagine what this meant to the welfare of the farming community, where shipping heretofore had to be done by foot, driving cattle and hogs as far as Cincinnati, crossing dangerous streams, for bridges across rivers then were few if any.
Before thinking of railroad convenience our early forefathers thot [sic] of something more important. Eleven years before the first railroad came thru, or three years after they had homesteaded, a log church building was erected, a small congregation organized, which was the seed sowing and germinating process of what is now known as Zion Evangelical Church. How proud they must have been of their place of worship. Oh that we might appreciate their faith which was brought with them from across the water and their sacrifices which was made on American soil.
The Zeisz family is only a sample of the fine stock which Europe loaned America to help her become the nation she is today. “The Gem Of The Ocean”.
Surely our forefathers prayed with the pilgrims of old.
Those present yesterday were: Louisa, Wilhelmina, Edward Rapp, Mrs. Caroline Witz, Emma, Lena, Rosie, Edna, Ed, Maude, Carol, Henry, Loris, Sarah, Winifred, Henrietta, Virginia, Henry Jr., Caroline (Witz); Maggie Zimpelmann, of Louisville, Kentucky; John R. Haehl, Nora and Floyd, Dorothy, Wilbur, Maurice, Alma, Frances Haehl, Albert Callahan, Flora, Glen, Freda, Lucille; Walter Haehl, Irene; Robert Haehl, Viola, Verl, Norma; Bert Gardner, Mary; Scott Fuchs, Ella, Thelma; Rev. and Mrs. J. W. Dickmann, Helen, Paul; Marjorie Norvell; Jacob Gahimer, Lena; Lotis Linville; Dervin Day Parker; Henry Haehl, Laura, Wallace, Kathryn; Laura Theobald, Raymond, Robert, Everett, Alta; Howard Binford, Betty Jean Mabel; Mae Rose Holbrook; Margaret A. Rapp; Frank Holbrook, Katie; Irma Rapp, Inez, Kenneth, Doris; Bert Curson, Ella, Farrell; Paul Scholl; Con Theobald; Julius Theobald, Gordon, Robert, Grace, Duane; Earl Young.
The following were from Indianapolis: Norman Hicks, John Rapp, Carrie, John Jr. Austion, Mary Alice, Frances Clair; Earl Mayme and Earl Rapp.
Submitted by Barb Huff for Jann Rapp DeMeire