Andris Genealogy (Darquennes)
 Hirsch's Churches
    German-American Community of Lawrence Twp.
    Life of Daniel Hirsch
    The Berg Church and Cemetery
    Highland Ridge Church and Cemeteries
    St. John's Evangelical Church and [German] Cemetery
    Ludwig Cemetery
    St. Jacobs Church and Cemetery
    St. Luke's Lutheran Church
    St. Paul's Evangelical Church
    Sitka Cemetery
    Waxler Church and Cemetery
    German Protestant Evangelical Churches
    Ludwig Church Dispute
 Ludwig Cemetery
 Sitka Cemetery
 Jim's Garrett
 Lorene Andris
 Trip to Germany
 Interactive Map


The German-American Community of 1875 in Northwest Lawrence Twp., Washington Co., Ohio

Searching standard histories of Washington County, Ohio will not yield much, if any, information on the extensive influence in the mid to late 19th Century of its German-speaking residents. The purpose of this article is to partially remedy this gap in the historical record. This history was primarily constructed from three different resources. The first source is a set of church records collectively know as The Berg Church Records, translated by Barbara Gerhart Matt. The second source is a small set of articles written by German and American genealogists Dieter Zenglein, Heinrich Becker, and Ernest Thode, to which might be added the genealogical research of Catherine Sams. The third source is the genealogy website of James Andris. To this might be added the Atlas of Washington County, Ohio published in 1875.

The development of a German-American community in various locations in Washington County, Ohio during the 19th Century needs to be understood against a background of "a Great Wave of Immigration" that took place during the period from 1830 to 1880. There was a so-called "German Belt" which stretched across the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Missouri. Washington County, Ohio was the home of one of the most traveled corridors of this immigration. [Andris translation of Becker] Among the many factors leading to this massive movement of people were centuries of warfare and political struggle between various European states, a system of inheritance that divided land between several surviving sons, depletion of agricultural resources from over-farming, the promise to poor and middle class people of a life of political and religious freedom, protected from the whims of royalty and aristocracy, the avoidance of long terms of military service, famines and dreadful weather conditions, and a general excitement associated with the possibilities and dangers of resettlement.

One of the small but significant aspects of this large movement that has been well-described in a few sources is the development of the Berg Church in Fearing Twp., which borders Lawrence Twp. to the west. Zenglein, Dieter and Becker summarize details of what they call "The West Palatine Emigrant Community in Washington County, Ohio." They posit that emigrants of the West Palatinate favored the central part of Washington County because the terraine and climate reminded them of their homeland and because township political structure and size resembled the "joint communities" to which they were accustomed.

For example, Becker has written of seven families from Dittweiler who emigrated in 1834. They settled on Highland Ridge, in the western Fearing Twp. At first they were welcomed by a friendly English-speaking church, and they tried to start a community and a church of their own. According to Becker, the Berg Church was founded

From this nucleus, familes from the West Palatinate continued to immigrate to Washington, County, Ohio to Muskingum, Aurelius, Liberty, Lawrence, Newport, Fearing and Marietta Townships. (Zengein, et. al.)


  • Zenglein, Dieter, with collaboration from Walter Nokolaus and Heinrich Becker, To the Banks of the Ohio: An Essay on Emigration of People from the Kohlbach ("Coal Creek") Valley to America Especially Washington County, Ohio, in the 19th Century. tr. by Ernest Thode, 1988. (This work contains the following subsections: 1) Introduction, 2) Johann Theobald Schramm and Jacob Berg of Altenkirchen, Two Pioneers of the Kohlbach Valley in the New World, 3) The Great Emigration Wave from the Kohlbach Valley to Ohio in the 19th Century, 4) Daniel Hirsch, Teacher, Pastor, and Democrat: Fate of a Forgotten '48er, 5) The West Palatine Emigrant Community in Washington County, Ohio, and 6) Church Book of the First Evangelical Protestant Congregation in Fearing Township, Washington County, Ohio, begun in 1856 by Daniel Hirsch, formerly teacher in (D-6791) Altenkirchen, and continued until 1914.
  • Nikolaus, Walter, Daniel Hirsch: Lehrer—Revolutionär—Pfarrer: 1848; Freiheit und Einheit Deutschland un Europa, unpublished manuscript.
  • Becker, Heinrich, "Von den bergessenen Töchtern und Söhnen Dittweilers," in Wir "Diewiller Waffele:" Geschichten aus un um Dittweiler zum 675. Jubiläum der Erwähnung 1316 und 12. Kreisheimattag
  • Heinrich Becker, "About the Forgotten Daughters and Sons of Dittweiler,"
    translated by Jim Andris.