Francois [Franz] Joseph Letzler (1832-1908), called Joseph, was born in Grentzingen, Alsace-Lorraine, Germany on February 19, 1832, the son of Jean Litzler (1802-1842+) and Marguerite Hell or Elb (1805-1840+), a native of Willer also in the Alsace. Today Grentzingen is in the ALsace region of easter France and in the Department of Haut Rhin. Joseph had six siblings all born at Grentzingen: Jean Thiebaud Litzler (b. 1825); Jean Liizler (b. 1828); Antoine Litzler (b. 1834); Marie Anne Litzler (b. 1838); Jean Pierre Litzler (b. 1840); and Martin Litzler (1842-1911). Martin Litzler came to America in 1872 and made his home at Mentz, Colorado County, Texas. He married Catherine Wender (1855-1895).(Andrew A. Litzler, January 17, 2007)
Joseph Litzler came to America in 1862, and settled at New Orleans. He decided to relocate to Ocean Springs from the Crescent City. While traveling here, he was arrested by Union soldiers at Fort Pike and given the choice of prison or Army duty. Letzler served about two years before being discharged in 1865.(Lepre, 1991, p. 196 and The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, 1989, p. 264, and Andrew A. Litzler, December 30, 2006)
Joseph Letzler had a half-brother, Blaize Letzler (1828-1870), born in Alsace-Lorraine, the son of John Letzler and Catherine Muller. In 1870, Blaize Letzler resided in Ocean Springs, where he was a merchant. He expired on October 17, 1870, probably at Biloxi.(The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, p. 343 and Lepre, 1991, p. 196)
In the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, on November 16, 1876, Joseph Letzler married Rosina Christian Schrieber (1834 to 1920), a native of Hausen, Reutlingen-Wurtemberg, Germany, and the daughter of Frederick Christian and Laura Goevbrani. Catholic records at St. Alphonsus Church in Ocean Springs, indicate that her mother’s name may have been Louise Boedbroad.(Lepre, 1991, p. 196 and The History of Jackson County, Ms., 1989, p. 343)
Rosina Christian was the widow of Adolf Josef Schrieber (1835-1875) who had died at Ocean Springs from yellow fever in October 1875. Joseph and Rosina Letzler were the parents of Marianne Margrethe Letzler Cotton (1877-1944+). Joseph Letzler also reared the children of Adolf J. Schrieber who were: Frederich A. Schrieber (1871-1944), Joseph Louis “Dode” Schrieber (1873-1951), and Maria Louise Schrieber Carver (1875-1954).(The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, pp. 342-343 and The Daily Herald, February 19, 1908, p. 4)
At Ocean Springs, Joe Letzler made his livelihood as a day laborer. As such, he worked as a carpenter, road builder, gravedigger, and other manual tasks. In addition to working with local house contractors, Mr. Letzler helped build the first St. Alphonsus Church on Jackson Avenue. He also made coffins and his records demonstrate that he interred about six hundred people at $1.50 per corpse.(The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, 1989, p. 264)
In January 1885, Joseph Letzler acquired the “Old Ward Place” from Virginia Doyal Minor (1844-1903) for $210. The Ward place consisted of three acres on Ward Avenue. Letzler conveyed his Ward Avenue property to Emma A. Rudd in January 1889, for $675.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 7, p. 391 and Bk. 9, p. 598)
In November 1891, Mr. Letzler acquired Lot 13-Block 33 (Culmseig Map-1854) from George W. Davis and F.M. Weed. In February 1907, shortly before his death, Mr. Letzler sold his tract on the northeast corner of Vancleave and Middle Avenue to Caroline M. Domning Seymour (1886-1969). The Domning and Beaugez families lived here later.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 13, p. 118 and Bk. 32, p. 517)
Joseph Letzler expired at Ocean Springs in February 1908. Mrs. Letzler lived on until here demise from influenza on March 6, 1920. Both were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(The Daily Herald, February 19, 1908, p. 4 and The Jackson County Times, March 6, 1920, p. 5)
Letzler/Litzler, an update of December 30, 2006
This e-mail was received in late December 2006 from Andrew A. Litzler and reveals some interesting facts about the Letzler/Litzler family.
After reading from the Ocean Springs Archives, “Letzler Family,” I am convinced Franz Joseph Letzler was my great-uncle although not all the names and dates match the information that I have on my Litzler linage. I am the grandson of Martin Litzler. Martin applied for citizenship in District Court, Houston, Harris County, Texas, on 27 February 1874; he settled in Mentz, Colorado County, Texas; he married (1875) and died (1911) in Mentz. In my possession, are two letters written from Ocean Springs, Miss. The first letter is dated 30 Oct. 1889 and signed Jo Litzler. In this letter, Franz Joseph greets his “Much Loved Brother and Sister-in-law and Children.” The second letter, dated Dec. 2, 1889, consists of two separate greetings and signed by Mary Letzler and Jo Letzler. In Mary’s portion of the letter, she writes, “Dear Cousins and Uncle”; Franz Joseph wrote, “Dear Brother and Sister-in-law and All.”
Mary wrote in English; Franz Joseph wrote in “broken English and German Schwabisch dialect” according to the translator, Mrs. Maria Johns, a former native of Germany.
Thank you for the Ocean Springs Archives which gives new insight on my family history. According to a song, “It’s a small world after all.” With the Internet, the world is “growing” smaller!
Andrew A. Litzler
Jerome Lepre, Catholic Church Records Diocese of Biloxi, Mississippi, Volume I, (Catholic Diocese of Biloxi: Biloxi-1991).
The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, “Franz Joseph Letzler and Rosina Christian Schrieber”, (Jackson County, Mississippi Genealogical Society: Pascagoula, Mississippi-1989).
The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, “Adolf Josef Schrieber and Rosina Christian”, (Jackson County, Mississippi Genealogical Society: Pascagoula, Mississippi-1989).
The Daily Herald, “Mississippi”, February 19, 1908.
The Jackson County Times, “Death of Mrs. Jos. Letzler”, March 6,1920.