Steinmetz Family Biography

History of the Phillip Steinmetz Branch Biography

Phillip Steinmetz was born in the province of Schwabruken, Rhein Baiern, Prussia, southwest of Antwerp, Belgium. He was by profession a lieutenant of Hussars, in the army of the empire, belonging to the illustrious family, of whom we have the genealogy of six generations of military men, of whom the late General Steinmetz, of the Prussian army, was one. Phillip was of negative disposition, as his descendants show, bold, resolute and defiant when once thoroughly expounding an opinion or cause. Finely educated and an ardent democrat, he was hated by the sycophants and tools of monarchy, and among other petty offences he, the same with some companions, was guilty while hunting of stealing or killing some of the King's forbidden game. The penalty was several months imprisonment and forfeiture of pay. Steinmetz defied the officers and escaped, leaving his companions in custody. He made his way to the French frontier, availing himself of the unfriendliness of France to his fatherland, securing protection, and took passage for America, arriving at Philadelphia on the eve of the great revolution.

He fought, with distinction, being wounded at Germantown, which was one battle of the many in which he was engaged. He never, ceased to speak of it without great animation and feeling, even to his dying hours. He served under Washington, to whom the traditions show he was most fervently attached as captain of a Pennsylvania company of light horse. He, was promoted for some gallant service to a higher rank, which at the close of the war he held. He was at one time reluctantly forced to fight a duel with a British officer who attained a reputation for killing every American that ever consented to encounter him. He went on horseback and met his vaunting foe, vanquishing him and severing the head from his body.

He was of medium height, but of powerful physical structure was of mechanical tastes, was sober and temperate save the habit of inveterate smoking, and is described by Abram Aultman, who is ninety years of age and living at this date, July, 1886, near Harolds Church, three miles from Greensburg, as sitting in front of his residence or mill reading or contenting himself viewing the aesthetic scene of the virgin wilds. In religion he was a devoted Lutheran and an omnivorous reader. In politics an unswerving follower of Thomas Jefferson, whose doctrine he taught his children to reserve next to the Bible itself. He penetrated the wilderness and mountains from Lancaster county. There some of his older children were born, and settled three miles east of the pleasant city of Greensburg, the seat of the great county of Westmoreland. After some years he decided to remove one mile south of the present site of the County Home;, three miles from Greensburg, and purchased about five hundred acres of ground, the nucleus of which is the farm known as the Seulenberger, the Megley or the Steinmetz farm.

A stately residence rears its front a few steps in the rear of the old mill, with the half buried mill stones of the distillery once operated by Adam Schneider, the oldest son in law of Phillip Steinmetz, and the old house in which his beloved wife, Catherine Steinmetz, departed this life is well nigh in ruins.

A little stream runs close by. It is called the Swickly, or by some known as Jacks Run, in honor of another pioneer family. Its crystal water has lost its sparkle in the poison of the coke and sulphur that comes from pits and ovens from above, but its rhythmic cadence still charms, the ear as it doubtless did one hundred years ago.

The site of the ancestral seat is one of the most beautiful and picturesque in Western Pennsylvania, walled in from the distance of the towering hills and shaded by the hemlocks and chestnut and the fadeless laurel, and here the grand old hero, scarred by revolutionary battles, spent the placid afternoon of his life. His pioneer neighbors are the Aultmans, who were also Germans with a keen genealogy of their ancestry and race in several States, and the Painters, both of which families have intermarried with the descendants of Phillip Steinmetz, also the Harolds and Easmans.

He was a great lover of horses, and kept a splendid riding horse, which he oft in advancing years rode, training the animal to leap with him on its back over all the fences and gates that came in his way, holding his hat or helmet in his hand and exclaiming, "So geht des husses." The helmut is still preserved. He had a soldiers' grant which he laid, choosing the land of which a part of East Liberty, four miles in the rear of Pittsburg now stands, but died long before occupying it or contesting the claims of the subsequent settlers.

After his death which occurred in the year 1807, Feb. 4, the heirs were notified that an immense fortune of seven million dollars was due them. They were tardy in investigating proceedings and the matter was allowed to drag on till the year 1840, when the venerable John Schneider of Wilkinsburg, grandson of Phillip Steinmetz, employed the United States Senator, Edgar Cowen, and Mr. Beaver, since decease, to prosecute the matter. They ascertained the certainty of the inheritance, but were unable to prove to he German government to its satisfaction the identity of Phillip Steinmetz, and the fortune is lost to the generations, as yet at least. The Lancaster branch of the race are in Harrisburg, Lancaster and Philadelphia, and, as near as the compilers can learn, the descendants of cousins to Phillip Steinmetz. They came subsequent to the revolution, and are a noted historic family in Eastern Pennsylvania. Mr. J. K. Steinmetz of Lancaster City, an eminent lawyer and orator of East Pennsylvania, writes: "Your ancestors resemble mine in character and features. I have no doubt of the common origin and relationship of the families."

Phillip Steinmetz is buried at Harolds Church. The Grand Army marches each Memorial Day the three miles from Greensburg to pay solemn regard to his memory and that of one or two other veterans of the former war. He had three sons that bore commissions in the war of 1812, Phillip, Jacob and John, the former two of which did distinguished service as Indian fighters in that war.

The children born to Phillip Steinmetz, most of them in Westmoreland county, are as follows, twelve in number, Phillip, Susanna, Jacob, George, Peter, Leonard, Catherine, Mollie, Hannah, John, Anna, Christian.

Phillip, first, son, lived to the great age of ninety years, as immensely wealthy and of an inquisitive disposition. He has no sons, but one daughter, Molly. His living descendants are Mrs. Anna Potts, of Salem or Delmot. She is the mother of the Rev. A. D. Potts, Lutheran minister of Pleasant City, Penn. She has three other sons and twenty-one grandchildren.

Jacob Steinmetz lived and died near Murrysville, Westmoreland county, at the age of ninety. His children were Dollie and Rebecca, who married a McKinny. She is blind and lives at Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania.

John, eighty-three years old, lives at Carpenters or Duffs, Pennsylvania. He is strong and vigorous, reads without glasses, and thirty years since made in seven hours two-hundred rails from the stumps; could set a barrel of whiskey on his lap and drink from the bung. He was a man of tremendous power, yet peaceful like, but was in early days feared by the noted bullies, whom he met and vanquished. He has twenty-six grandchildren, two sons-in-law in Pittsburg, Colston and Edward, and two sons, Jacob, a trusty and valued employee of the Carnegie Coke Co., near Home, also Moses, second son of Jacob; he was a soldier; his widow resides near Braddock; she has two living sons, Louis and Ruben Steinmetz, near home; also David; third son of Jacob, who was a gallant old soldier in the late war. The sons of David are George and Newton in Ohio, James at Taverton, Pa., David in Iowa, and William at Brinton, Pa.; also Elias, the fourth son of Jacob, who is a rich, exclusive old bachelor living and owning the farm of his honored father. Jacob is wealthy and has been twice robbed. His home is Murraysville. William; also fifth son of Jacob, lives near Murraysville, has a large, family: John, the same at Braddock, Pennsylvania, is a prosperous mechanic with a fine family of girls. Samuel, the youngest; a farmer at home. There are three sons-in law in Westmoreland. Thus the Jacob branch of the family inherit the strength and pugnacity of their progenitor, Jacob, and have been as generally described invincible in their numerous disputes and belligerents in provocation. The court record shows that Phillip Steinmetz paid heavy fines for the fights of his son Jacob over one hundred years since. They are industrious and inquisitive.

Susanna Steinmetz, second daughter of Phillip, married a Bear and beside him sleeps near Delmont, Westmoreland, county, Pennsylvania. She had a grandson by the name of Maclin, who died at Salem; leaving two sons, yet there.

Catherine Steinmetz, the fairest daughter, married Adam Schneider, the father of John Schneider, of Wilkinsburg, Mrs. Michael Keener, and also Mrs. Henry Baer, deceased, all of Greensburg and Harolds Church; Mrs. Catherine Baer being the mother of Captain Henry Goodlin and Phillip Bear of Greensburg.

Hannah Steinmetz married a Simpson. She lives ins the country near Kendalls Church, close to Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County Home. Her sons are Benjamin, James and Jesse; two of them live in Illinois, near Cordova, at Port Byron, next to Rock Island. Her daughters were Mrs. Professor Bigham, of Mt. Pleasant, and Mrs. Hallas, of Youngwood, near the County Home. Lyman Hallas, a son, of the present chief clerk of the official board of the County Home of Westmoreland. Mrs. Hallas' family are wealthy and well-known people. Hannah Symposia's husband was a first cousin to the brother of Ulysses Simpson Grant, the Simpson in his name coming from his brother's family, the Grant family having as the memories of the General for quite a while resided in Westmoreland county, before moving to Ohio, formerly from Montgomery county, Pennsylvania.

Mollie was the fourth daughter. She married a Couple; the heirs are twelve, same surviving and at Tiffany, Ohio.

George Steinmetz, third son of Phillip Steinmetz, moved to Frazysburg, Muskingum county, Ohio, where he raised a large family of children, among whom are John Steinmetz, living at Richwood, Union county, Ohio. George the second lives at Brownsville, Pennsylvania, on the Monongehela. His son, George the third, is at the head of the immense co-operative store at Braddock, Penn. He is prominent business manager and a friend of the great capitalist, Andrew Carnegie. He has several sisters, Ruth, Mary, Amy, Sarah and Amelia, one marrying Captain Cox, of the Monongahela steamer James G. Blaine. The George branch is thus largely represented in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. The sons of George Steinmetz the first, George the second, John of Richwood; Union county; Ohio, Ivan and Harrison of Frazysburg, Ohio. The grandsons are Sedwick, Malchus, Matthew and Cyrus of Richwood, Union county, Ohio, George, John, Homer, Olin of Frazysburg, Ohio, John of Iowa, George of Indiana.

Peter Steinmetz, fourth son, won the heart of Elizabeth Trout, a then famous beauty of the wilds,; whose wealthy and haughty parents rejected his suit, and with him she eloped and on horseback the young couple made their way to the wilderness of Central Ohio. After five years with two children they returned to be welcomed by the Trouts. And Henry Trout bought for his son-in-law a tract of land in Licking county, Ohio. A defect in the conveyance lost him all, after which Peter, after some disaster, removed to Bellefontaine, settling at Cherokee where a large family to them was born. Their children were as follows: Henry, John, Cyrus, Hiram, Peter, Phillip; Benjamin, Calista, Diana Haub Haling, all of these save Hiram living in Illinois;, and Benjamin living in Indiana, are dead. The children of Henry are Benjamin L. and D. D. and May, all three remaining on the old homestead of the Fremonts in Western Ohio, Hardin county. The children, of John live in Logan county, One received two years since an appointment to West Point, Those of Peter also are in Lobar county. Peter himself followed in the military footsteps of his illustrious revolutionary grandfather, Phillip. He entered the late war as second lieutenant, and within one year left it with the rank of major. He was killed a few years since by a violent fall from his buggy in Bellefontaine. He has three sons.

Benjamin, youngest son of Peter Steinmetz, is a prominent lawyer and stump speaker of Northern Indiana. He lives at Marrimac and has two sons and three daughters. Phillip, the fifth son of Peter, died of cancer. His son Cyrus is a merchant of Ottawa, and the second son is a farmer and stock dealer at Greenfield, Mo. Phillip has Osborn, Ind.; William died at Youngsport, La. H. H. Steinmetz lives at Lima, Ohio : Lenard Steinmetz near Waterloo, Ind.; Elander E. Steinmetz, of Waterloo, Ind. George, E. Steinmetz, of Waterloo, Ind. There were seven girls, three of whom are dead; the remainder are hale, hearty, sober, industrious and hospitable people. There is a multitude of grandchildren it the family. The children of John the second are Leonard and Frank Steinmetz, of Christensen, Ind.; Peter,. of Goshen, Ind.; William, of Beach City, Ohio; Henry, of Huntington, Ind.; Abraham. of Cromwell, Ind.; Hannah Steinmetz, now Hannah Hunter, of California; Isobel Nichols, of Gerard, Ind.; Julia, of Churribus, Ind. The Leonard branch have inherited the adventurous spirit of the first Phillip. They are a very energetic race, intellectual, mechanical and mercantile it their tastes. They with Peter's, John's and, Christian's children, are of the second family of Phillip Steinmetz, he marrying twice, always writing his name Steinmetz. Leonard, the oldest, lies at Brush Creek cemetery, it the rear of Hanover, Penn.

John was the sixth son. He moved to Stark county, Ohio, having married a lady by the name of Painter. He died tear Canton, Stark county, Ohio. His descendants are there

The children born to Christian Steinmetz and Either Mullet are twelve in number. William lives in Iowa; Maria, wife of Thomas Warren, lives at Springwater, Manshasa, Wis.; George at Crystal Lake, Waupaca county, Wis.; Frank, deceased, has two daughters, Mrs. Martin, Seneca county, Ohio, and Mrs. Ella Koons, of Mt. Vernon, Ohio; Catherine, wife of William Packard, of Frazysburg, Muskingum county, Ohio; Phillip Bangs, Knox county, Ohio; Eli is deceased, no issue; Mary, wife of W. Manville, of Granville, Licking county, Ohio; Richard and Henry, of Brandon, Knox county, Ohio; John D., of Brandon, Ohio; Thomas L. Johnston, of Newark, Ohio. The Christian branch of the family are ably represented by cultured and industrious people, Mrs. Packard being the generous reference of the family, which imitates much the old by the occurrence of the number twelve, which is represented five times. The Christian branch are industrious and somewhat intellectual, which likens them much indeed to Peter's descendants, hence we infer that Christian Steinmetz and Esther were happily and naturally mated.

We earnestly hope this history in an effort to unify the race will meet with a hearty response in the breasts of all who read it. It will preserve the tie that connects us with the distinguished German from which we sprang. It will preserve the sacred memory of our grandsires, whose record is already a part of the history of Western Pennsylvania. In the war of the revolution and 1812 it presented a basis for a more extensive book; perhaps a hundred years hence, when we are in our graves and the valued history of the family may be read with just pride by the part that will prove their civilization by the knowledge of their ancestors, it preserves the unity of the race so scattered by that brave spirit of adventure that sent our grandsires across the deep, abandoning fortune and rank in his hate of despotism and his love of liberty. He fought in the war of the revolution, he had three sons commissioned officers in the war of 1812 and one a private. Every branch of the family has furnished officers and privates for every war save the Mexican from the revolution till to-day.

The leading characteristics of the race wherever its lot is cast is prominent individuality and freedom of expression. In the 120 years the race has been in America it has not furnished a solitary criminal, but, on the other hand, useful and honorable citizens. For the authenticity, truth and substance of the above facts we acknowledge obligations to the following references and authorities:

Michel Keener, Captain Goodlin, Mrs. Sallie Nahn.

Phillip Bear, Abram Aultman, William Steinmetz, all of Greensburg.

Lyman Hillas, Weaverstand, Penn.; Mrs. Professor Bigham, Mt. Pleasant, Penn.; John Steinmetz, Larmier. George Steinmetz, Braddock, Penn. John Schneider, Wilkinsburg, Penn.

Mrs. Anna Potts, Delmont, Penn.; Mrs. Catherine Packard, Frazysburg, Ohio; Mrs. Susan Kenard, Ft. Wayne, Ind.

As Phillip Steinmetz and nativity and great inheritance, Henrich Larsh Kaufman and Carl Leahman, Gesichtsman, Schwabraken, Prussia, or Dr. Charles Helpes, East Liberty, Penn, Frankston Ave.

N. B.-This includes the genealogy of the original twelve tribes of Phillip Steinmetz. The Pennsylvania Dutch have mutilated their name into Stametz, Staymates. Each member of the four generations is here given. The first child of the sixth generation is now born. Strive to keep family records as they are born.


Source: Steinmetz Family, The; B. F. Steinmetz; c. 1896.

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