Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     According to a survey made of the 2010 census of Ohio, Americans of German ancestry form more than a fourth of the inhabitants of the Buckeye State. German-Americans, therefore, are the largest ethnic group in the state. So it should come as no surprise that a recent book on the market is GERMAN PIONEERS OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, OHIO: EARLY PIONEER LIFE IN DAYTON, MIAMISBURG, GERMANTOWN by H. A. Rattermann. Originally published in the German language, the reprinted material has been translated and edited by Elfe Vallaster Dona.

     This volume concerning early German settlers of Montgomery County, Ohio, is composed of a series of lectures presented by the historian, Heinrich Armin Rattermann, in Dayton in 1879. Among the topics he discusses are the history of Dayton and various townships, daily life and traditions, small businesses, newspapers, churches, music, social clubs, singing societies, and immigrant stories. Although he focuses on the social, cultural, and religious life of the German pioneers, his material sometimes contains information on the parentage, European origins, and dwelling houses of the people mentioned in his work. Since they furnish an additional wealth of information, researchers should pay attention to the copiously annotated notes at the end of the main text. Recurring family surnames include BAUMANN/BOWMAN, CLEGG, DECHANT, EMERICH/EMMERICH, FISCHER, GEBHARD/GEBHARDT/GEBHART, HOLE, KUNZ/KUNTZ, LEONHARD/LEONHARDT, MAYER, MEYER, NEUKOMM/NEWCOM, ROHRER, TELTOW, WEBER, WESTFAHL, WINTER/WINTERS, and WOLF.

     To help bring the Montgomery County story to life, numerous photographs and illustrations of people, places, and things mentioned in the lectures accompany the narrative. By combining interesting facts in his lectures and historical pictures (as well as some that were contemporary for his era), Rattermann provides a lively depiction of the county’s German component.

     After presenting the lectures, Rattermann printed them in German as a series of articles in the publication, Der Deutsche Pionier. As a result, the material remained largely unknown and inaccessible in its original form until Dona became interested in translating it. She is to be commended for taking the time and effort to make the fascinating data available for use by the general public. Since Rattermann’s lectures contain some details that are not generally found in other history books dealing with the subject, researchers with ties to the Teutonic inhabitants of the Buckeye State will enjoy reading GERMAN PIONEERS OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, OHIO: EARLY PIONEER LIFE IN DAYTON, MIAMISBURG, GERMANTOWN.

     The 152-page work has soft covers, a foreword, an introduction, acknowledgements, illustrations, maps, tables, facsimiles of documents, appendices, notes, an extensive bibliography, and a full name index. To the book's price of $24.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #8089) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website at

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