It's where Bluffton gets its news!
October 20, 2021

You are here

Johannes and Barbara Walti Geiger

Our Swiss connection - part 8

This is the eighth installment in this series. Click here for the previous installment.

Johannes Geiger was 44 years old when he brought his wife, Barbara (Walti) and their five children, John, Verena, Barbara, Peter and Anna, from Canton Basel, Switzerland in 1835.

Johannes’ parents, David Gyger and Verna (Steiner), as well as Barbara’s parents, Nicholas Walti and Christina (Badertscher), remained in Switzerland.

Two infants, Christian and Peter died in Switzerland. The first Peter died on March 13, 1831, and the second Peter (named in honor of his younger brother) was born the same day, March 13, 1831. The last two children, Frederick and Magdalena were born in Riley Township, Putnam County.

John G. married Anna Steiner and had 9 children. John died at an early age of 36 and is buried in the Old Mennonite Cemetery. His wife, Anna, never remarried and lived to be 81. She is buried in St. John Mennonite Cemetery near Pandora.

Their son, Sem, went to Wayne County in 1881 and married Catherine Lehman of Wayne County. Sem was a skilled woodworker, inventor of mechanical devices and builder of two pipe organs.

This is plausibly the start of the Schantz Organ Company in Orrville, Ohio.

Another daughter of John G. and Anna, Elizabeth, married John H. Tschantz of Wayne County. After John died in 1828, Elizabeth returned to Bluffton and died at her house at 117 E. Kibler St., at the age of 79.

The remaining children went several ways.

Verna married Michael Neuenschwander and had 8 children. Barbara married Ulrich Spallinger in 1853 and they had 6 children. Ulrich died in 1836 at age 26. Barbara then married Jakob Garmatter in 1865 and had Amos (1866-1943) and Elizabeth who died in 1880 at age 12. Peter married Marie Beam and lived in Canada and they had no children.

The three youngest children, Anna, Frederick and Magdalena resettled in the Paulding County, Ohio, area. Frederick was still single and purchased some land in Auglaize Township, Paulding County, near the Miami-Erie Canal. At age 26 in 1864, Frederick came back to  Putnam County to marry Elizabeth Hilty. They returned to Paulding County where Frederick owned and operated a steam sawmill located on the Miami-Erie Canal. He purchased wooded plots, cleared them of lumber and resold the land for a nice profit.

Anna married Christian Studer, and Magdalena married Peter Hilty. Several other families joined this group to Paulding County with the intention of establishing a Mennonite community.

Finding a minister to organize the group was not successful and slowly families left. Frederick and his wife, Elizabeth, and Magdalena and her husband, Peter, returned to Putnam County. Anna and her husband, Christian Studer, settled in the Fulton County area near Whitehouse, Ohio.

Johannes Geiger
Born: Jan. 18, 1791, near Liestal Canton Basel, Switzerland
Died: Nov. 21, 1851, Riley Township
Buried: Old Mennonite Cemetery, Bluffton

Father: David Gyger (1755-1829)
Mother: Verena Steiner (1757-1826)
Married: Feb. 24, 1822, near Liestal, Switzerland

Spouse: Barbara Christina Walti
Born: Aug. 23, 1802, Bagischwand Langnau Berne Switzerland
Died: April 11, 1847, Riley Township]
Buried: Old Mennonite Cemetery, Bluffton

Father: Nicholas Walti (1764-1834)
Mother: Christiana Badertscher (1768-1814)

John G. Geiger, Jr.
Born: Nov. 22, 1822, Canton Basel, Switzerland
Died: July 24, 1886, Riley Township
Spouse: Anna M. Steiner

Christian Geiger
Born: Aug. 1, 1824, Canton Basel, Switzerland
Died: Jan 8, 1825, Canton Basel, Switzerland

Verena Geiger Fannie
Born: Oct. 26, 1825, Canton Basel, Switzerland
Died: May 12, 1899, Richland Township, Ohio
Spouse: Michael Neuenschwander

Barbara Geiger
Born: July 12, 1827, Canton Basel, Switzerland
Died: Feb. 4, 1907, Richland Township
Spouse: Ulrich Spallinger
Spouse: Jakob Garmatter

Peter Geiger
Born: May 13, 1829, Canton Basel, Switzerland
Died: March 13, 1831, Canton Basel, Switzerland

Peter Geiger
Born: March 13, 1831, Canton Basel, Switzerland
Died : March 14, 1905
Spouse: Marie Beam

Anna Geiger
Born: Aug. 9, 1834, Canton Basel, Switzerland
Died: March 5, 1907
Spouse: Christian Studer

Frederick Geiger
Born: Oct. 17, 1838, Riley Township, Putnam County
Died: Jan. 17, 1916
Spouse: Elizabeth Hilty

Magdalena Geiger
Born: June 14, 1842, Riley Township, Putnam County
Died: Sept. 7, 1913
Spouse: Peter Hilty