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Three Roeschwoog Farmers on Schwartz Road

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Three Roeschwoog Farmers on Schwartz Road
by Michael Nuwer
August 30, 2020

I’ve been mining the Erie County land and property archive which describe the parcels of land our ancestors farmed. One never knows what will be found when a search starts. I’m a descendant of Anna Zaepfel and when I looked for the farm where she was born I found some interesting connections among three families who were from the same Alsace town. …

Mathias Schwartz was born in Roeschwoog, Alsace and immigrated to New York on August 21, 1833. The obituary of his son Louis Schwartz claimed that the family planned to settle in Buffalo, but the soil and drainage was unsatisfactory so they “moved eastward into the Town of Lancaster and on to the farm situated on what is now known as the Schwartz road.”

Mathias Schwartz purchased that Lancaster farm on October 21, 1833, a mere two months after arriving in New York City. He paid $609.38 for 52 acres of land. The parcel was the northern half of lot number 54. This lot was on the northern boundary of Buffalo Creek Indian reservation. Reservation land was not part of the Holland Land Company Purchase and was surveyed by the Ogden Land Company in the 1820s.

Ezra Phillips had acquired lot 54 from the Ogden Land Company in June 1829 and Mathias Schwartz purchased the northern half from the Phillips family. A few years later, in August 1837, Joseph Zimmeth and Jacob Dentinger together purchased the southern half of lot 54. Joseph Zimmeth had just arrived in the United States from Roeschwoog, Alsace, the same hometown as Mathias Schwartz left four years earlier—a clear example of what historians call “chain migration.”[1]

Two years after their joint purchase, Joseph Zimmeth and Jacob Dentinger divided their 52-acre parcel. Joseph Zimmeth took the southern 26 acres of land plus one acre in the northern half (I think there may have been a house on that one-acre piece). Jacob Dentinger took the northern half of the parcel and immediately transferred it to Louis Dentinger, who may have been Jacob’s son.[2]

Mathias Schwartz, Joseph Zimmeth, and Louis Dentinger worked these farms for the next ten year. On November 19, 1850 Mathias Schwartz, Michael Zimmeth (Joseph’s son), and John George Zaepfel purchased a divided interest in lot number 55. The seller was Peter Schermerhorn of New York City, who was one of the principle investors in the Ogden Land Company. Each of the three buyers purchased one third of the lot, or 31 acres each. The northern part went to George Zaepfel, the middle part to Michael Zimmeth, and the southern part to Mathias Schwartz.[3]

George Zaepfel and his family were another link in the chain migration from Roeschwoog, Alsace. They made the voyage around 1848 and settled on this 31-acre Schwartz road farm. George Zaepfel worked that farm until his death in October 1879, only a few months before Mathias Schwartz died. But we are getting ahead of our story.

After 17 years of working a 31-acre farm, George Zaepfel purchased 40 additional acres of land on Schwartz road. In August 1867, he acquired Joseph Voegele’s farm. The land was a 25-acre parcel in lot number 57 and a 15-acre parcel in the northeast corner of lot number 58. Six years later, in March 1873, George Zaepfel transferred those two parcels to his son Joseph Zaepfel.[4]

Michael Zimmeth was 20 years old and single in 1850 when he purchased the middle parcel of lot 55. He married in 1853 and in 1856 he transferred this land to his father. It appears that Michael may have left farming and moved to Buffalo. Joseph Zimmeth held the 31-acre parcel for six years and in June 1862 sold it to Joseph Schwartz, who was one of Mathias’ sons. Joseph Zimmeth sold the rest of his land (the 25 acres in lot 54) in April 1870 and he died on July 10 of the same year. He was 74 years old.[5]

George Zaepfel died October 17, 1879 at the age of 74 years. His heirs, two daughters and a son, deeded the 31-acre parcel in lot 55 to Joseph Zaepfel, who worked that land plus the 25 acres in lot number 57. He sold the 15 acres in lot 58 to his neighbor Jacob Stephen in March 1882.[6]

Mathias Schwartz held the southern 31-acre parcel in lot 55 until his death in 1880. The agricultural censuses for the years between 1850 and 1875 consistently reported Mathias Schwartz working 83 acres of land. His widow held those 83 acres on Schwartz road until her death in January 1892. Then in November 1892 the heirs of Mathias and Mary Ann Schwartz deeded their interests in lots 55 and 54 to their brother Mathias Schwartz, Jr.[7]


  1. Eldridge Phillips to Mathias Swartz
    Francis Hopkins to Joseph Zimmeth and Jacob Dentinger
  2. Jacob Dentinger to Joseph Zimmeth
    Joseph Zimmeth to Jacob Dentinger and
    Jacob Dentinger to Louis Dentinger
  3. Peter Schermerhorn to Mathias Schwartz and Peter Schermerhorn to John G Zoeppel
    (two deeds on same image)
    Peter Schermerhorn to Michael Zimmet
  4. Joseph Voegele to George Zaepfel
    (the book containing the deeds is missing from the microfilm collection)
    Index entry: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WX-TSXB?i=494
    George Zaepfel to Joseph Zaepfel
  5. Michael Zimmet to Joseph Zimmet
    Joseph Zimmeth to Joseph Schwartz
    Joseph Zimmet to Alvis Ebert
    index entry: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WX-RH2Q?i=556
  6. Catherine Long & Magdalena Uebelhoer to Joseph Zaepfel
    Joseph Zaepfel to Jacob Stephan
  7. Louis Schwartz and his wife, Joseph Schwartz and his wife, Josephine Schwartz, Magdalena Phillips, Elizabeth Huber, Amelia Schwartz, John R. Schwartz and his wife, and Anthony Phillips to Mathias Schwartz.

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