John Charles Marcus Gates , born 1845 Nuremberg, Germany

Latest research findings:

May 2, 2010

The family story handed down to me about our Goetz history was that our “stern great grandfather” (John C.M. Gates) was the driving force of our family’s Catholic orientation and that he had left Germany because of religious persecution.

John Charles Marcus Gates

Yet this history of religious persecution does not seem fit the facts of our family history. Here’s why:

  1. Anna Sibylla Gates, John Charles Marcus Gates’ mother, lived in Angola, Indiana until she died on April 29, 1898, at age 83. Her Angola obituary says "...she was a member of the German Lutheran church since early childhood..." and her funeral was in an Angola Methodist Church. Her birth certificate says she was baptized “according to the Evangelical-Lutheran rites.”
  1. Although originally Catholic churches, St. Lorenz and St. Jakob, the churches in Nuremberg where John C.M. Gates’ parents, Anna Sibylla and Christoph GÖTZ, were baptized, married and where their children were baptized, were the same the churches in which the earlier generations of GÖTZ, ORFF, WEISSPOMCRAZ and ZELTNER families were baptized, married and buried and these churches were Protestant since the time of the Reformation, about 1517!

Nurnberg, 1575

These facts give us good reason to believe that John Charles Marcus GATES was Protestant by birth and converted to Catholicism probably when he married Elizabeth LaSalle Meyers, our great grandmother, in 1870, only a short 6 years after he arrived in the US.

Elizabeth LaSalle Gates was always referred to as a "strong Catholic" by her daughter-in-law, Frances Lenore (Myers) Gates and, in her photographs, Elizabeth is often seen wearing a large cross on a necklace.

Did Elizabeth’s Catholicism come from her parents? Although Elizabeth’s father, Ernest Robert LaSalle, was from France, Elizabeth’s mother, Barbara Hemerling, was from Wurttemberg, Germany and Elizabeth's adopted father, Andrew Meyers, was from Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany. Were these areas where Catholics were dissatisfied with minority treatment in Protestant Germany and wanted to emigrate? More research into the history of Catholics in Germany is clearly necessary!

Feb 28, 2010

After comparing notes with my new-found researcher, Marilynn Marshall, I found out that John Charles Marcus Gates was actually "Johan Carl Markus Goetz" at birth. Sharon was right about his name being "Johan" on his immigration record! He not only had the 2 brothers, Christopher and Lawrence, that I suspected he had, but he also had another brother, William, and 2 sisters, Margaret and Christina! No one ever mentioned sisters to me.

They were all living from about 1860 into the 1900's in the village of Angola, Pleasant township, Steuben County, Indiana while John C.M. Gates and his wife Elizabeth LaSalle were busy raising their 6 sons (including our A.J. Gates) and 2 daughters in Hartwell, near Cincinnati, Ohio.

Marilynn, who is my second cousin once removed, was searching for our John Charles (or Carl) Marcus Gates because she is the grand-daughter of John's sister, Christina Barbara Gates. Well, of course, the one question I wanted to ask her was: what were the names of John C.M.'s parents?

Aunt Bobbie, aka "Aunt Gertie" (Gertrude Gates Vogel), had written on John C.M.'s 1932 death certificate, "Karl and Christine" as John’s parents but John himself had listed on his 1922 passport application that his father was named "Christopher."

[Note on the passport application for John C. M. Gates in 1922: it has Albert Vogel listed as a witness but the typed name for him is “Alfred R.” Vogel, even though he signs his name as "Albert R. Vogel." I have no reason to believe that Albert R. was really Alfred R. and went by Albert and we have many documents listing his name as "Albert R. Vogel." I think it was a mistake on the application.]

Marilyn straightened me out regarding the parents' names. John's parents' names were "Christoph Goetz" and "Anna Sibylla Steffler." And why do I believe her? Because she got the records from the Archive in Nuremberg, Germany!

Names recorded in the Landeskirchliches Archiv, Nuremberg, GY, Nov. 9, 1990, as children of Christoph Götz, and Anna Sibylla Steffler are:

"Lorenz": April 25, 1839 (Lawrence)

"Anna Margaretha Carolina": March 1, 1841 (Margaret)

"Christiane Barbara": Dec. 18, 1842 (Christina)

"Johann Karl Markus": June 28, 1845 (John)

"Lorenz Christoph": June 13, 1848 (Christopher)

"Johann Wilhelm Christoph": Dec. 18, 1854 (William)

And if you still wondering, perhaps this will convince you.

The Goetz Family, photo taken about May 2, 1898

L to R, front row: Margaret, Lawrence, Christina, L to R, back row: William, John, Christopher

Here is an excerpt from an article in an Angola, Steuben County, Indiana, newspaper, dated Jan. 26, 1913:

"At the residence of Mr. And Mrs. Lawrence Gates there was quite a reunion of the Gates family the past week. John of Cincinnati and Christopher of Toledo came Saturday afternoon and met their brothers Lawrence and William and sisters Margaret Fiedler and Christina Weiss and enjoyed a most pleasant visit and grand dinner. The immediate younger members of these families were with them on Sunday and all hope that many more such meetings may be had in the future. John and Christopher returned to their homes on Monday morning."

Lawrence had immigrated from Nuremberg in 1853 when he was 14, John came over in 1864, when he was 19, Christopher came over in 1865, when he was 17, and William C., and his two sisters, ages 12, 25 and 26 came over with their mother in 1867 after their father, Christoph Goetz , died in 1857.

The story handed down to me was that there was a war in Germany and John C.M.’s father was killed in the war, but that is not the story that Marilynn's grandmother, Christina Barbara told her, after having lived 25 years in Germany before coming over. It may take a bit of research to find out which social events going on in Germany at that time were being referred to as a "war" by our Gates historians.






Copyright © 2010 Jan R. Markle