As near as I can tell, there were two Ochs brothers who arrived in America in 1839 and settled in Perry County. One was Johann Michael Ochs, and the other was Johann Conrad Ochs. Today’s story will center around Johann Conrad Ochs, but the one I will write about is not Johann Michael’s brother. It was his son, also named Johann Conrad Ochs. He is today’s birthday boy. The arrival of the Ochs brothers in 1839 led to a whole forest of Ochs (pronounced oaks).
Johann Conrad Ochs was born on July 9, 1835 in Bavaria. That makes today his 187th birthday. John C. was the son of Johann Michael and Christina (Stuebinger) Ochs. John C. must have been only 4 years old when he came to America with his family. We find the Ochs family in the 1850 census, only the census taker called them the Ogs family. John C. was 15 years old, and his father was a tailor.
That would be the only census in which we find John C. as a single man. The woman that would become his wife was Magdalena Pauline Springer, who was born on June 11, 1841 in Rountzenheim, Germany. Magdalena was the daughter of Peter and Magdalena (Hoehn) Springer. At this point, let me say that the 4 surnames mentioned so far in this story are what I would refer to as “Friedenberg names”. Magdalena came to America in 1848 according to a later census entry. We find her at the age of 9 in the 1850 census. She, along with her mother, is called Lena in this image, and her father was a farmer.
On October 14, 1858, John C. Ochs married Magdalena Springer. This wedding took place at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg. We can take a look at a Perry County civil record for this event.
The German Family Tree lists 6 children born to John C. and Magdalena. In 1860, we find this couple living with John C.’s parents. They had yet to have their first child, John C. was a farmer, while his father was still a tailor.
John C. Ochs went off to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War. He served in 2 different units, like several other Perry County men did. Below are the two military records I located for John C.’s service. The first one gives his rank as 1st Lieutenant; the second one says Captain.
I’m not totally convinced of what I will describe next. In an Illinois state census taken in 1865, we find a Conrad Ochs living in St. Clair County, Illinois. If this is John C. from Perry County, he must have decided to move to Illinois shortly after the Civil War.
Then, in the 1870 census, we find this entry for an Ochs family living in the St. Clair County of Illinois. The head of the household is called Frantz, but the names and ages of the children, along with the name of John C.’s mother are a good match. If this is the correct Ochs family, it also includes both Frantz (John C.) and his younger brother, Peter, who were both called coopers. One of the daughters, Mary Ochs, does not have a birth date in our German Family Tree, but she must have been born around 1867 in Illinois.
We find the Ochs family once again living in Perry County when the 1880 census was taken. John C. (called Conrad) was then a miller. George Springer, Magdalena’s brother, is in this household and is said to be working in a saw mill. So, it is likely that John C. was operating a saw mill. Although I did not display it, this entry gives credence to the family living in Illinois for a while because it gives Illinois as the birthplace of several children.
The only type of census that we can view for 1890 was called the “Veterans Schedule” and only included men who participated in the military. We find John C. Ochs in that document.
The last census in which we find Magdalena was the one taken in 1900. By then, John C. was back at farming. Only 2 children remained in their household.
Magdalena Ochs died in 1901 at the age of 59, leaving John C. as a widower. We find him in his last census in 1910 living with just his daughter, Martha.
John Conrad and Magdalena Ochs are buried together in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Point Rest.
Our German Family Tree does not officially tie the two original Ochs men who arrived in Perry County in 1839, the same year the Gesellschaft arrived. However, there is considerable other evidence that points to the conclusion that they were brothers. Between the two Ochs brothers, the Ochs family tree grew into a forest of Ochs descendants.