We have a photograph of the GOVERNOR family, taken perhaps about 1896, when the youngest son was 6. I believe the children are (back row) Elizabeth (married Eli TAICLET about 1902), Nicholas Jr. (married Alice PATTON in 1899), Catherine (married Frank SECHLER in 1899), John William (married Clara BALLEY about 1904), Margaret (Maggie, married Andrew HEAPS in 1895), (front row) Johanna (married John CLAIR about 1895), Katherine KRANTZ GOVERNOR, William Peter (born in 1890), Nicholas GOVERNOR, and Mary Elizabeth (married Joseph WITT in 1890).
The GOVERNOR families got together frequently in Vienna, north of Youngstown, Ohio. The picture below is from a GOVERNOR family reunion about the end of 1913, when Nicholas was still alive (he died in 1914). The family has been identified as follows: (Standing, Back Row) Eda WITT LUCAS, Mary and Nick GOVERNOR Jr., Clara BALLEY GOVERNOR and John William GOVERNOR, holding John B. (Bud) GOVERNOR, Elizabeth GOVERNOR TAICLET and Eli TAICLET, Blanche CLARK WITT and Richard WITT, Katherine GOVERNOR SECHLER, Joseph WITT and Mary Elizabeth GOVERNOR WITT; (Seated, Third Row Adults) Cecelia WITT, Hannah GOVERNOR CLAIR and John William (Will) CLAIR, Katherine KRANTZ GOVERNOR and Nicholas GOVERNOR, Maggie GOVERNOR HEAPS and Andrew HEAPS, Leo WITT; (Seated on Ground, Second Row Children) Louis TAICLET, Francis WITT, Alvy WITT, Carrie HEAPS, Clarence HEAPS, Richard Ira (Dick) GOVERNOR; (Front Row Children) Betty CLAIR, Catherine CLAIR, Helen HEAPS, unidentified toddler, possibly Carl CLAIR, Katherine TAICLET.
Some of the GOVERNORs and WITTs were together in 1930 for the picture below. They included (back row) Eda WITT LUCAS (daughter of Joseph), Joseph WITT, Leo LUCAS (husband of Eda WITT), (next row) Blanche WITT (later Sister Mary Alquin, daughter of Richard WITT and granddaughter of Joseph), Blanche CLARK WITT (daughter-in-law of Joseph, widow of Richard), Governor WITT (son of Francis and grandson of Joseph), (next row) Catherine GOVERNOR SECHLER (sister-in-law of Joseph), Ruth WITT (daughter of Francis and granddaughter of Joseph), (front) William WITT (son of Francis and grandson of Joseph), Mary Elizabeth GOVERNOR WITT (wife of Joseph), and Francis WITT Jr. (son of Francis and grandson of Joseph).
The next picture is of a GOVERNOR reunion from about 1932. The people have been identified as follows: (Back Row) Joseph WITT, Andrew HEAPS, Maggie GOVERNOR HEAPS, Nicholas GOVERNOR and his wife Mary; (Middle Row) Hannah GOVERNOR CLAIR, Mary Elizabeth GOVERNOR WITT, Elizabeth GOVERNOR TAICLET, Eli TAICLET, and Katherine GOVERNOR SECHLER; (Front Row) Clara BALLEY GOVERNOR, John GOVERNOR, and Will GOVERNOR.
The five GOVERNOR sisters posed in Coalburg for a picture together on Maggie GOVERNOR HEAPS's 60th birthday in 1938. Maggie is seated in the center of her sisters. The others are (clockwise from the left) Hannah GOVERNOR CLAIR (65), Mary Elizabeth GOVERNOR WITT (67), Elizabeth GOVERNOR TAICLET (54), and Catherine GOVERNOR SECHLER (58).
Alvy and Lillian WITT spent part of their 1927 honeymoon here in Wisconsin where I have made my home since 1978. They visited Wisconsin Dells, still a destination for vacationers from all over the world. They also visited Alvy's great-uncle, Mathias KRANTZ, in Pine Bluff, Wisconsin, just west of Madison. Mathias, brother of Katherine KRANTZ, immigrated about 1867, 5 years before Nicolaus and Katherine KRANTZ GOUVERNEUR came to America. I have never found any records of the immigration of Mathias KRANTZ; the only reason I believe he was here in 1867 is a note attached to his baptismal record in Rodt - "1867 in America". I spoke to Raphael "Ray" KRANTZ, grandson of Mathias, early in 2008; Ray turned 90 years old on July 1, 2008. Mathias had told Ray that he had come to America to escape military service in Germany (the Franco-Prussian War was fought in 1870, and compulsory military service had been instituted in Germany some years before that). Apparently he jumped off the ship he was on and swam ashore, so there are no immigration records. Ray told me that Mathias spent some time as a coal miner in New Jersey. I can't find him in the 1870 census; the 1920 census gives his immigration date as 1867.

Mathias settled in the small town of Pine Bluff, Wisconsin, about 20 miles west of Madison, where there was excellent farmland. The KRANTZ family became prominent in the area, and many of them are buried at St. Mary's Catholic Church Cemetery in Pine Bluff. Mathias married Lucia BRECK in Dane County, Wisconsin, in 1875, and the KRANTZ name is well known in Pine Bluff and the surrounding area. Mathias and Katherine apparently kept in touch with each other. In 1927 Alvy and his new bride Lillian KEFFER WITT visited Mathias and his second wife Margaret GOODING KRANTZ. The pictures below were taken at Mathias's house in Pine Bluff; the house is still standing, across from St. Mary's Church in Pine Bluff. Margaret died in 1929, and Mathias died in 1933.
I first met Ray KRANTZ and his wonderful wife Florence KALSCHEUR KRANTZ about 1979, shortly after I moved to Wisconsin to attend graduate school at the University in Madison. We had dinner with Ray and Florence at their home in Pine Bluff, and talked about family. Of course I didn't write anything down at the time. But I had a long conversation with Ray in March 2008, and took notes. Ray KRANTZ turned 90 on July 1, 2008, and died Sept. 7, 2008. Some pictures from the Wisconsin State Journal, June 29, 2008, commemorating Ray's 90th birthday, are shown below.
At some point, Mary Elisabeth GOVERNOR received the photograph below, apparently taken in the early 1930s, of the house in Rodt near Trier where she and her mother (Katherine KRANTZ) were born. The house was apparently built by a KRANTZ ancestor, likely Mathias born 1754, and the (very faint) inscription above the door appears to be "M1805K". On the back of the photo are written the words "In loving remembrance of our unforgettable Mother." The woman in the photo is unidentified, but I suspect this is Anna Maria MATTES, second wife of Mathias KRANTZ. Katherine's birth mother Appollonia WAGNER died early in 1854, when Katherine was only 3 years old, and Mathias remarried shortly thereafter, so Anna Maria MATTES would likely have been the only mother Katherine remembered. According to Katherine's obituary, she had a brother Bernard still living in Germany in 1918; Bernard was the son of Mathias KRANTZ and Anna Maria MATTES, and he likely sent the photo.
An enormous number of Germans, including those from the area around Trier, came to America in the late 1800s; Katherine KRANTZ's brother Mathias (see above) was one of those. Dane County, Wisconsin, where I have lived since 1978, became home to many families who left the Eifel region, and this included other cousins of mine, descendants of my gggg-grandfather Peter GOUVERNEUR. Peter's daughter Elisabeth was born in 1810 and married Nicolaus SCHROEDER in 1833. Two of their sons, Johann and Mathias, came to Dane County about 1867, and have numerous descendants here. Johann was born in 1836 and came here, apparently illegally (like Mathias KRANTZ), in 1867. He married Anna Katherine HELLENBRAND in 1873, had his first daughter in Pine Bluff, and then settled in Springfield Township about 1875. Johann spent his later years in the small village of Waunakee, and he and Anna Katherine were buried in St. John's Catholic Cemetery in Waunakee. Johann's brother Mathias SCHROEDER also came to Dane County about 1870, and was married here in 1879 to Catherine KESSENICH. He and Catherine are buried in St. Martin's Catholic Cemetery in Martinsville, several miles west of Waunakee. Mathias and Catherine (KESSENICH) SCHROEDER are shown below; I received the picture from Joe KESSENICH, who lives in Waunakee and wrote a history of the KESSENICH family in Dane County. Grave markers for Johann and Mathias SCHROEDER and some of their family are shown at Dane County Graves.
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This page was last updated on 10/19/2013.