Michael J. Waltz was born on March 26, 1836 in Chest Township, Cambria County, the son of George M. Waltz & Catharine (Hines) Waltz. I have been unable to locate Michael's baptism record.
Michael grew up on the family farm in Chest Township, and received a limited education in the old subscription schools. (I realized how "limited" this education was when I obtained a document written in Michael's own hand upon the death of his wife--this document is available in the "Waltz Documents" section of this site.) He remained on the farm until he was 18 years old, at which time he apprenticed himself to learn the trade of a carpenter. After finishing his trade, he worked in the car-shops of the Pennsylvania RR company at Altoona, PA, for a short time.
Michael married Elizabeth Eichenlaub on June 13, 1859 at St. Lawrence Church, Glenn- Conell, (now St. Lawrence) Cambria County. Elizabeth was the daughter of Joseph Eichenlaub and Mary Ann (Sherry) Eichenlaub, who were originally from Herxheim, Bavaria, Germany. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on March 23, 1843.
The photo above was actually created from a group photo that was taken very early in their married life together, although I'm not sure of the year or the occasion. I'm including the whole group photo below. Notice that the men are wearing flowers in their lapels and the women are wearing daisies/flowers on their dresses.
Here is another photograph of Michael & Elizabeth, taken with another couple, the Hoffman's. I'm still not sure if the Hoffman's were relatives or friends, and am exploring that further. Michael & Elizabeth are standing in this photo, with the Hoffman's seated in front of them.
In 1860 they moved to Chest Springs, Cambria County, and Michael engaged in the contracting and building business throughout the county, building houses and barns for many of the farmers of his locality.
The 1860 census, Cambria County, Chest Springs Borough, Reel 653-1088, page 162 shows that Michael & Elizabeth only had one child who was 5 months old (Michael), and also that two of his brothers-- Jacob Waltz (apprentice carpenter) and George Waltz (carpenter) were living with them.
Michael & Elizabeth were members of the Roman Catholic church and the family attended the Chapel in Chest Springs, which was a mission church connected to St. Augustine Church in Cambria County.
During the civil war, Michael's name came up in the lottery draft wheel, as noted in an article in The Alleghanian:
Ebensburg, Pa.; Aug 27 1863
But, a subsequent
article showed that he was granted an exemption:
(He was NOT an only
son, but I guess it worked for him!)
Michael and Elizabeth had eight children:
At one point, Michael was considering a move out to Iowa with his brother, Jacob. Recorded in Land Deed Book 18, page 344, Michael purchased 80 acres of land in Dayton Township, Iowa, from William Stockdale and other Stockdale heirs, of Guernsey County, Ohio. This was dated Jan. 29, 1867. He paid $426.66 for this land, and his brother, Jacob, made his own purchase of 80 acres for the same amount. I do not know when he sold this land.
Here is a photo of Elizabeth taken on on the steps of her home with some of her children. Based on the children's birth dates, I'm guessing that this photo was taken around 1870. I believe that one of the girls (Catherine Cecilia) is not in this picture, and that there is an extra young girl in this photo who is not a part of the family (perhaps one of Elizabeth's young Eichenlaub nieces?).
Here's my best guess at the identity of the children (If anyone has any definitive information on this photo, please let me know!):
Front Row: John George (twin) & Michael Celestine
Middle Row: (Maybe Ann Elizabeth) & Mary Margaret (twin)
Back Row: Elizabeth Waltz, (maybe Ann Elizabeth), & Andrew Joseph
One of the two unidentified young girls would have been Ann Elizabeth--she died young of diptheria, but I don't know exactly when. If this picture was taken in 1870, as I'm guessing, then Ann would have been about 1-1/2 years old. Two of the Waltz children would have not yet been born--Henry Edwin and Francis Edward. Henry was born on Oct. 23, 1870, which is another reason why I'm guessing that this was taken in the spring of that year, before her pregnancy began to show.
1870 Census Cambria County, Chest Springs Borough, Reel No. 593-1317, page no. 133b, enumerated on June 12th by John W. Gillespie. House #12, family #12. Michael Waltz, age 34, Carpenter, real value--3,000; pers. val.--400, birthplace PA, foreign born father & mother. Elisabeth Waltz, age 28, "keeping house", birthplace PA, foreign born father & mother. Catharine Waltz, age 8, birthplace PA. John Waltz, age 6, birthplace PA. Mary Waltz, age 6, birthplace PA. Andrew Waltz, age 4, birthplace PA. Annie Waltz, age 2, birthplace PA
I found an entry concerning Michael (and his brother, Jacob) on page 102 of the History of St. Augustine's Church, Cambria County, PA which was published in 1922:
We, the Undersigned Members of St. Augustine's Church Committee, after Settling with Michael J. Waltz and Jacob Waltz, also including Peter Flick's wages, find that there is coming to them from said church the Sum of Two Hundred and Twenty-five Dollars and Seventy-two Cents, for work done at Said Church.
Michael & Elizabeth owned a farm of 97 acres adjoining the borough of Chest Springs, which they bought in 1872. This was "fine farmland, well improved, and all underlaid with coal." Here is a picture of the family home that Michael built on this land. I received this photo through the kindness of Tom Miller, a resident of Chest Springs who answered a message that I posted on the Internet. Tom went out to the old Waltz farm and was able to take a picture of the picture that the current owners had in their possession. He found out that from the Waltz's the farm was sold to Michael Weakland, some time prior to May 20, 1904, when a notice appeared in the Cambria Freeman. John and Mary Ruth Weakland presently live on the farm. The old farmhouse burned down around 1941, and the current home is standing on the same spot. I later had the opportunity to visit the farm myself, and Mr. Weakland told me that he was a child living in the old Waltz farm house when it burned down. He said that the fire started in the attic. It was a very slow-burning fire, but there was still no water available to put it out. In fact, the fire moved so slowly that they supposedly had time to empty out the whole house, with the exception of the attic and one room. They even had time to remove the doors and windows for reuse in the next house! The farm has not been subdivided, and still contains the original 97 acres.
I have an old map of the Chest Springs area from 1890 available in the "Waltz Documents" section of this site. Please see a cropped portion of that map below, on which you can clearly see the location of of the Waltz farm--and the location of the house on that farm.
Here is what the property looks like now (photo taken in 2002). The Waltz farm was the property on the far side of the street. The current farm and house can be seen in the back on the left side of the photo.
This family was considered prominent in the area. They once traveled to the Chicago World's Fair, where they bought a piano and had it shipped back to Chest Springs--this purchase was much talked about by their neighbors. Elizabeth was in a position to get domestic help around their home, often hiring local girls to work as "maids" --one of these girls became their daughter-in-law when she married their son, Andrew Joseph.
The 1880 Census for Chest Springs, Cambria County, PA shows Michael J. Waltz, self, married, male, white, age 44, birthplace PA, occupation: carpenter, parents both born in France; Elizabeth J. Waltz, wife, female, married, white, age 38, birthplace PA, occupation: keeping house, parents both born in Germany; Michael C. Waltz, son, male, single, white, age 20, birthplace PA, occupation: works on farm; Catharine Waltz, daughter, female, single, white, age 18, birthplace PA, occupation: at home; John Waltz, son, male, single, white, age 16, birthplace PA; occupation: works on farm; Mary E. Waltz, daughter, female, single, white, age 16, birthplace PA, occupation: at home; Andrew Waltz, son, male, single, white, age 14, birthplace PA, occupation: works on farm; Mary Eichenlaub, niece, female, single, white, age 7, birthplace PA. [all children show both parents born in PA]
I also found the
farm in the 1880 Agricultural Census in Chest Springs. The date of
the enumeration was June 2-4 and it was signed by Charles Wharton. This states
that Michael J. had three horses, one milk cow, and four meat cattle. The
family made 150 pounds of butter on the farm in 1879. Eight lambs were
"dropped," and they lost one sheep when it was killed by a dog. The spring
1880 "sheep clip" included 14 fleeces, weighing 40 lbs. They had 2 pigs as
of June 1. In 1879, the farm produced 400 bushels of Indian corn (planted
on eight acres), 350 bushels of oats (planted on eight acres), and 65 bushels of
wheat (planted on seven acres).
Here are enlargements of Michael J. & John George:
I have found an entry concerning Michael in The History of St. Bartholomew' Church, Wilmore, PA--Souvenir of Reunion-1909:
"The first pastoral residence having become considerably dilapidated, in the the early part of 1886, a movement was projected by the pastor to build a more modern pastoral residence, and M. J. Waltz, of Chest Springs, this county, a builder of considerable experience, was selected to draw up a plan for a new building...The contract with Mr. Waltz was made on February 21, 1886, the price agreed upon having been $4,500. The present commodious and ornate rectory is the result."
This document is available in the "Waltz Documents" section of the site--and the entire book is available on the Cambria County Genealogy web site.
Michael J. Waltz Elizabeth (Eichenlaub) Waltz
These portraits of Michael J. and Elizabeth were painted by their great granddaughter, Alfaretta Maxwell, from charcoal sketches that Michael & Elizabeth's son had made for them. Alfaretta is the granddaughter of Michael & Elizabeth's son, Andrew Joseph Waltz and Anne (Elye) Waltz. Alfaretta is over 90 years young, lives in California, and has been a wonderful source of Waltz information.
In the "Waltz Documents" section of this site, you will find Michael's entry in the Biographical & Portrait Cyclopedia of Cambria County. Although I have received much information from this book, I have found some mistakes in the entries, and Michael's is no exception. This entire book is available on the Cambria County Genealogy web site.
Here is a picture of Michael as an older man with two of his brothers, and at least one of his sons. Back row: Andrew (Michael's son), and ? Front Row: George M. Waltz, Jr., Jacob Waltz, Michael J. Waltz. I indirectly received this photograph from a descendant of Michael's youngest son, Francis Edward. The mystery man in the back row is not Francis, and it is not Michael Celestine. If it is, in fact, one of Andrew's brothers as I was told, then it would either be Henry Edwin, or John George. I don't believe that it is John George, so my best guess is Henry. (I also think that it could possibly be one on Jacob's sons who was traveling with him. Jacob lived out west, and could have possibly brought one of them with him on a visit.) If anyone viewing this photo knows for sure who this is, please contact me.
Elizabeth died on April 19, 1904. Please see the document that Michael wrote upon her death in the "Waltz Documents" section of the site.
Michael died on December 25, 1908. Michael & Elizabeth were both cared for at the end of their lives by their son, Andrew, and his wife, Anna, in their home in Gallitzin. They are, therefore, buried at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Gallitzin.