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Franz, Sauer and Rettig Family Papers - MS 1098

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series DescriptionInventory


The Franz, Sauer and Rettig Family papers consist of two record boxes dating from 1853 to 2005. The collection consists of family correspondence, literary productions, legal documents, financial documents, newspaper clippings, printed materials, and photographic materials, all of which supply details of the family history and activities.

The collection was donated to the Center for Archival Collections through the cooperation of Kevin Rettig of Defiance, Ohio. The register was originally prepared by Andrew Thompson and revised and reprocessed by Annie Rose Adams in October 2009.

 Biographical Sketch

Henry Franz was born on July 6, 1837 in Hessen, Nassau, Germany. In the spring of 1852, Henry along with his father, Johann Franz, mother, Christina George Franz, and siblings, William, Elizabeth, Jacob, Anna Christina, John August and Frederick immigrated to the United States aboard the Vista. The family settled in Galion, Ohio about three miles from town, but moved again in 1854, settling in Flat Rock Township, Henry County.

Soon after the family moved, United States erupted into a Civil War, and Henry Franz enlisted in the Union Army, 68th Regiment, Ohio Infantry. Most of the Franz Family letters were written during the Civil War, from Henry to his family. Many of the letters were written shortly before and after the Siege of Vicksburg. Almost all of Henry’s letters are signed in his German name, Heinrich Franz, a name by which his German relatives would have known him. After the Civil War, Henry Franz married Mary Kemm and they had six children; Irene, Emma, Louise, Katie, Mary, Nettie and Adolph.

Irene Franz first married William Herbolsheimer on September 2, 1889. William was the son of John Herbolsheimer, who may have known the Franz family back in Germany. This fact is supported by a letter found in this collection from John Herbolsheimer in Bluffton, Ohio to the Franz family. This is, however interesting, still speculation. A few years later evidence shows that William Herbolsheimer died and Irene then married Charles R. Sauer on May 12th, 1895. Charles R. Sauer was born on January 16th 1865 in Murr, Germany and died March 14, 1935. Charles and Irene Sauer had one child together, Emma Sauer.

Emma Sauer married Kevin Rettig and had a son, Kevin Rettig. On February 22, 1959, Kevin Rettig married Vivian Marie Wagner. The Rettig family opened their own music store in the mid-1900s located in Defiance, Ohio.

 Scope and Content

The collection consists of family correspondence starting with the Franz family before and during the Civil War, and then the Sauer and Rettig family correspondence which is dated until 1975. The Franz family letters consist of Henry Franz’s letters to his parents and siblings during his time in the Union army during the civil war. The original letters are all written in German, but still provide an intricate series of events during the Civil War as seen through the eyes of a young German immigrant. The correspondence of the Sauer family consists of three letters of varying years, the letter from 1975 provides Sauer family history. The Rettig family correspondence consists mainly of postcards to Raymond Rettig, but there is one letter from 1954 in which Louise Schriber provides Mrs. Ray Rettig (Emma Sauer) information of the family’s history and old photograph negatives. Other interesting information found in the Rettig family collection is different musical documents, such as piano recital programs and newspaper ads for their music store.

The rest of the collection consists of varying Literary Productions including a memoir which describes the family’s initial immigration to the United States, Legal Documents such as Henry Franz’s military pension information, Financial Documents, newspaper clippings of the Rettig family’s music store, printed materials of various old books, and photographic materials, all of which supply details of the family history and activities.

Researchers may be interested in this collection for its correspondence of Henry Franz while he served in the Union Army during the Civil War, the music information provided by the Rettig family, and the various other historic documents found throughout the collection such as war ration books and a Lane Bryant magazine from the late 1920s.

 Series Description


The collection includes letters written by Henry Franz during the Civil War. As the correspondence was written in German, no detailed translations of the letters have been completed to date; however, the majority of the letters from 1863 that detail the Siege of Vicksburg have been transcribed from the original old German handwriting.

Contains three letters. One letter, from 1923, from Charles Sauer’s sister to Charles and Irene Sauer, is composed in German. The letter from 1949 is also in German and is addressed to Irene Sauer. The last letter is written in English from Kathryn Franz to Emma Sauer providing her with details on Franz family history.

Contains many postcards addressed to Raymond Rettig from 1910-1918 and a letter from Louise Schreiber to Mrs. Ray Rettig (Emma Sauer) supplying her with details on the life of Carl R. Sauer and other family history. This letter also includes photo negatives of various Sauer family members.


Emma Sauer’s piano recital information including programs and lists of pupils in recital.

Various documents depicting the honoring of the Rettig family and their music store in Defiance Ohio in the year 2005.


August 24, 1911, n.d.
George-Franz Family Reunion essay written by John H. George In order to celebrate a family reunion of the George and Franz families. The letter provides intricate details on how the families came to America and how they prospered within America. Also, a hand written German prayer on wax paper.


1969 and 1983
These title abstracts detail the history of 1208 Emory Street Defiance, Ohio and 905 Latty Street, Defiance, Ohio and in most instances are original documents.

Warranty Deeds of a Rettig home in Defiance, Ohio.

Henry Franz Pension information.


Ledgers of Louise and Emma Sauer. Emma Sauer’s ledger contains financial details of the accounts of the piano lessons she taught.

Tax receipt of John Franz.

Postcard receipt of Charles Sauer of German Mutual Fire Insurance Association.


Includes obituaries of Carl R. Sauer, Jacob Franz and Louise Ann Rettig.

1946-1954, n.d.
Newspaper clippings of the various advertisements that the Rettig family sent out during the beginning years of their music shop. Also an article about the music shop.


Elk Rapids, Michigan, tourist map.


Number of certificates of the Sauer and Rettig family members ranging from a hand written birth certificate, marriage certificates, baptisms, confirmation, and American Citizenship Certificate. Some material is oversize

Lane Bryant Magazine- Baby’s Own Book, provides fashion insight of the late 1920s of mothers and children of the day. Also contains interesting ads that portray the fashions of the time.

Contains several interesting publications including “Radway’s Almanac and Guide to Health” published by a Dr. Radway and Co.; a German book inscribed to Emma Sauer, entitled “Das Pergament” by Dr. Chr. G. Barth and another small book of no date entitled “Drei Weihnachts Geschucten” or Three Yuletide Tales” in English. Also, an old German Prayer book dated 1849 that originally belonged to J. Henry Franz.


Family picture including Gene Sauer, Mary Kemm Franz, Henry Franz, Louise Fruth, Otto Franz, Nettie Weber, Emma Laub, Marty Fretz, Kathryn Campbell.

Photo of Karl R. Sauer with hand written caption “Grandfather Sauer.”

Photocopies of positive prints of the Rettig family. Photographs include pictures of Lillian, Marian, Raymond Rettig as children. Marlon, Mary Florina, Raymond, Nicholus, Lillian, Nicholus’s sister in front of a log cabin and an older Nick Rettig and his sister.


Pure Sugar Cane sack


Box 1


  1. Correspondence: Letters to Franz Family, 1853-1860
  2. Correspondence: Letters from Henry Franz to family during Civil War, 1862
  3. Correspondence: Letters from Henry Franz to family during Civil War, 1863
  4. Correspondence: Letter from John Herbosheimer (first husband of Irene Franz) to Franz family, 1864
  5. Correspondence: Letters from Henry Franz to family during Civil War, 1865
  6. Correspondence: Letter to a friend (Henry Franz?) from George Hoffmann, 1867
  7. Correspondence: Letter and envelope to Carl R. Sauer from Rev. Ludwig A. Moser, 1914
  8. Correspondence: Fragments of letters from Henry Franz to family during Civil War, n.d.
  9. Correspondence: Mrs. Charles Schreiber to Mr. Charles R. Sauer and wife, June 11, 1923
  10. Correspondence: Berta Ruoff and Karl Sauer to Mrs. Irene Sauer, Nov. 22, 1949
  11. Correspondence: Kathryn Franz Cole to Emma Sauer, July 7, 1975
  12. Correspondence: Various postcards to Ray Rettig and one post card to Archie Rettig from Ray Rettig, 1910-1918
  13. Correspondence: telegram to Mrs. William Campbell from Floyd, 1919
  14. Correspondence: Miss Louise Schreiber to Mrs. Ray Rettig (Emma Sauer), Jan. 14, 1954
  15. Subject File: Emma Sauer Piano Recitals- Pupils, 1919-1920
  16. Subject File: Rettig Music Honors, 2005
  17. Literary Production: George-Franz Family Reunion, Aug. 24, 1911
  18. Literary Production: hand-written prayer in German, written on wax paper, n.d.
  19. Legal Document: Abstract of Title- 905 Latty St., Defiance, OH, June 10, 1969
  20. Legal Document: Abstract of Title- 1208 Emory St., Defiance, OH, April 11, 1982
  21. Legal Document: Warranty Deeds, 1974-1976
  22. Legal Document: Henry Franz Pension files, 1861-1919

Box 2


  1. Financial Documents: Emma N. Sauer Ledgers, Piano Students, n.d.
  2. Financial Document: Louise Sauer Ledger, n.d.
  3. Financial Document: Tax receipt, Treasurer’s Office, John Franz, 1876
  4. Financial Document: Postcard receipt, German Mutual Fire Insurance Association, Charles Sauer, 1920
  5. Scrapbook Materials: Family Obituaries-Franz, Sauer and Rettig, n.d
  6. Scrapbook Materials: Rettig Music News clippings, 1946, n.d.
  7. Maps: Elk Rapids, Michigan, Tourist map, n.d.
  8. Printed Materials: Sauer family certificates, 1863-1890
  9. Printed Materials: Louise Paullina Sauer- Confirmation Certificate, May 16, 1920
  10. Printed Materials: War Ration Books, Irene W. Sauer, 1943
  11. Printed Materials: Grade Report, Raymond Rettig, 1907-1908
  12. Printed Materials: Miniature Calendar Cards, A.B. Chase Piano, 1898
  13. Printed Materials: Souvenir, Bortz School, District 6, Pupils, Flatrcok Township, Henry County, 1905-1906
  14. Printed Materials: Souvenir, Bortz School, District 6, Pupils, 1908
  15. Printed Materials: Souvenir, Bortz School, District 6, Pupils, 1917-1918
  16. Printed Materials: Postcard, School Group, Bortz School? n.d.
  17. Printed Materials: Woolson Spice Company Card, n.d.
  18. Printed Materials: Lane Bryant-Baby’s Own Book, Fall and Winter: 1927-28
  19. Printed Materials: German Prayer book, 1849
  20. Printed Materials: “Radway’s Almanac”, 1894
  21. Printed Materials: “Das Pergament” by Dr. Chr. G. Barth, 1910
  22. Printed Materials: “Three Yuletide Tales” (German), n.d.
  23. Photographic Materials: Franz Family Photograph, n.d.
  24. Photographic Materials: Karl Robert Sauer photograph, n.d.
  25. Photographic Materials: Photocopies of Rettig Family photographs, n.d.
  26. Artifact: Pure Sugar Cane Sack, n.d.
  27. Family History

Box 3


  1. Printed Materials: Rettig family certificates, 1894-1909

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