Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: J. W. Fritz, Fredericksburg, Texas

A couple weekends ago, I was in Fredericksburg, Texas, visiting my parents.  Fredericksburg was founded in 1846 by German settlers. We stayed at a bed and breakfast that is about half a mile from St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery (the second one, founded in 1875; the first one, established in 1860 and called the Old Catholic or St. Mary's Pioneer Cemetery, is another half mile north).  I decided to check FindAGrave.com for any photo requests for this cemetery
One request was for the tombstone of William John Fritz, 1850-1907, also known as J. Wilhelm Fritz, J. W. Fritz, and John William Fritz.  I found him right where he was supposed to be, in Section B, Row 12, Space 4:

Some additional research at Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org turned up the following information:

William John "Wilhelm" Fritz was born July 29, 1850,in Breitenau, Hessen-Nassau, Preußen, Germany, the second child of Johann Fritz (1824-1864) and Catharina "Katherine" Knopp (1824-1896). According to page 28-29 of the second volume of Pioneers in God's Hills: Stories and Biographies of the Brave Men and Courageous Women Who Sought Homes and Peace in the Fertile Valleys Among the Hills of Fredericksburg and Gillespie County, William Fritz emigrated to Texas in 1853 with his parents and older brother Peter, sailing on the Franklin from Hamburg on September 21, 1853. They reached Fredericksburg by December 24, 1853.  A daughter and five more sons were born in Texas, and another daughter who died in infancy.

In 1855, Johann Fritz built a two-story limestone house, facing west) with an outside stairwell in the 100 block of North Milam, just off Main Street (I don't think this house is still standing).  Fritz was a blacksmith, and he made nails for the roof and benches, rain gutters, and helped cut and lay the soapstone floor of the first ("Old") St. Mary's Catholic Church, completed in 1863.  The following year, Johann Fritz died after being kicked in the head by a horse, when William was only 14.  He and his older brother Peter helped care for their mother and younger siblings.

On November 18, 1873, William married Maria Elizabetha Roeder (1857-18??), the Texas-born daughter of Fredericksburg German immigrants Jacob (1812-1867) and Margaretha Munter Roeder (1811-1878). They had at least three sons.  According to some sources,  Maria Elisabetha apparently died a couple weeks after giving birth to daughter Clara, who also died and is supposedly buried with her.

On June 13, 1881, William married Therese/TheresiaTheresa Marie Brinkrolf (1858-1928), also a Texas-born daughter of Fredericksburg German immigrants Christoff (1799-1883) and Catharina Becker Brinkholf (1824-1887).  They had at least six children.

William died on December 13, 1907, near Tivydale, Texas (near Fredericksburg) of "paralysis of the heart."

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

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