The Louisa Kinzer Story

Our story begins with Gottlieb Kinzer (1741-1810). He married Barbara Sanzenbacher (1761-1816) and they had several children. Among them were:
  1. son David Kinzer (1784-1828), who married Margaretha Hausermann (1793-1858). They had several children, among them:
    • son Gottlieb Kinzer (1822-1890)

  2. son Johannes F. "John" Kinzer (1780-1859), who married Maria Schmuckle (1783-1875). They had several children, among them:
    • son Johannes W. Kinzer (1810-1957), who married Elizabeth Gremlich (1829-). They had:
    • 	Isaac Kinzer 	6 Mar 1848 
      	Mary Ann 	22 Aug 1850
      	Elizabeth 	4 Dec 1852
      	Lydia 		28 Jun 1854
      	Eliza Louisa 	24 April 1855/6 
      	Abraham 	26 Dec 1856
      	Sarah 		5 Jun 1857
The reason Eliza Louisa's birth year is 24 Apr 1855/6 is that while a court record lists the year as 1856, it would have been impossible for her younger brother to be born later that same year. But a birth year of 1855 falls right into place with the other children.

Link to the Kinzer Family Tree on

The tragedy begins when Johannes W. Kinzer died in 1857. The children's mother remarried and left the kids with their grandparents. Unfortunately, their grandfather, Johannes F. "John" Kinzer, was declared mentally incompetent in 1858. The Crawford County Probate Court established a Guardianship for the children and appointed Philip Fike as their legal custodian. Louisa and Sarah can be seen living with him and his family in the 1870 census for Vernon, Crawford County, Ohio.

1858 John Kinzer Probate Court Incompetence ruling

1858 Probate Court record establishing the Guardianship. This is the document which contains "1856" as the birth year for Louisa. Little Abraham had already died when the guardianship was established so he is not listed.

1870 census, Philip Fike household

There are entries in the Probate Court records showing Philip's accounting for his wards through the years until each child either dies or reaches the age of 18.

Filings for 1861-1867

1874-1875, Sarah Kinzer (final, age 18)

1874, Louisa Kinzer (final, age 18, although I believe she was 19 by then)

1875, Mary Kinzer (deceased)

Unfortunately, it appears that Louisa did not thrive upon reaching legal age. In 1876, she was declared mentally incompetent by the Probate Court and Gottlieb Kinzer (her father's cousin) was appointed as her Guardian. In 1880, Louisa and her daughter, Sarah Emma, are listed on the census with Gottlieb's family as "Servant" and "Boarder", respectively. Gottlieb ran the "Tiffin House", which was a hotel.

Court ruling, 1876 establishing Guardianship for Louisa

Gottlieb delivered an accounting of his guardianship to the Probate Court until 1888, each time reporting on the balance of the fund that was set up when the guardianship was established. Note that he continued to report, even when Louisa married Conrad in 1881 and moved out of his house. It's not clear whether the Probate Court knew about the wedding. Louisa gave her last name as "Knitzer" when she married Conrad in Seneca County. Perhaps there was an arrangement of some sort between Gottlieb, Louisa, and Conrad. While it's unlikely that a person known to be mentally incompetent would be allowed to marry, the fact that they married in Seneca County instead of Putnam County may have allowed the oversight.

1880 Census, Gottlieb Kinzer household

1880 Probate Court filings by Gottlieb

1881: Louisa and Conrad Marriage Record

1882 Probate Court filings by Gottlieb

1884 Probate Court filings by Gottlieb

1886 Probate Court filings by Gottlieb

In 1888, at long last, the Probate Court heard testimony that Louisa Kinzer had regained her sanity and declared her "Restored to Reason". By this time, she had four children with Conrad.

Court order legally restoring Louisa's mental competence

Here's a summary of all the records pertaining to the Kinzer family in the Crawford County Court files. This was prepared by Don Kinzer of Beaverton, Oregon.

In addition to Don's findings, Bernice wrote this after her investigation of the Crawford County Court records. This ties the "Louisa Kinzer" who lived with Gottlieb Kinzer and his family to "our" Louisa Brinkman:
"I went to the Crawford Co. Courthouse. Didn't get there till after 2:00 this afternoon. I got some accomplished, 
but need to go back. After some checking, I did find the files of guardianship. It appears that all of the children 
were put into guardianship under Phillip Fike after the father died. (Keep in mind that I need to go back and 
spend time analizing everything.) There was a packet for Louisa,  documention as to her no longer needing a 
guardian. On the one document in particular, it mentioned of her as Louisa Kinzer, but now is Louisa Brinkman. 
That person mentioned that he knew Gotlieb Kinzer, her guardian, and considered him an unfit person to act 
as her guardian if she needed one on account of his ________ habits and financial standing. (couldn't make 
out what kind of habits.)

I may have a clue to what happened to her mother. There was a marriage between John Baumuck and 
Fredericka Kinzer in Crawford Co. on 11-May-1859. I did not find any more on that today. When I get to 
Findlay, there are a couple Baumuck obituaries in the Findlay papers that may be what we are looking for. 
Elisabeth Baumunk (6-19-1913) and John Baumunk (8-12-1910). Louisa's mother's name was Elizabeth 
Fredericka Gmelich. "

Louisa's family's story is a sad one, but despite her bumpy childhood and young adulthood, it appears that we have a happy ending, with Louisa finding love and happiness with her husband, Conrad and in her children and grandchildren through the years. She died on 18 Dec 1926 and was laid to rest at Greenlawn Cemetery in Tiffin next to Conrad.

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