Koch Families Holds Reunion

The first session ever held with large attendance-To be permanent organization-Organization has a letter reproduced, and written by Simon R. Koch of Maskogee, Oklahoma

Sunday, August 3rd, at the Community Hall, Spencerville, Ind. occurred the First Reunion of the Koch family, and judging from the representative families present we bespeak the maximum of success for this organization in future years. While an actual count was not made, it was estimated that the company from 150 to 200, and out of consideration for the publishers we are not asking to have the list of names published, although it would doubtless be interesting to the participants. The only regret was that not all of the relatives were present, their absence being due to sickness and other conditions beyond their control, but we hope to greet all these absentees at the reunion next year.

After the consumption of a dinner which was elaborate in every detail (and by the way the Koch ladies have always ranked a little short of extraordinary in the culinary art) the meeting was called to order by the president, Roy Koch, and the following interesting program rendered: presided over by the chairman of the program committee, Reuben Koch, with Mrs. Roy Koch at the piano, for the several musical selections, Song "America" congregation; prayer Mrs. Louisa Vesper; Talk, by the president, Roy Koch; "Song of Welcome" John Koch, Reuben Koch, Anna Baker, Beulan Coburn, Reo Draggoo and Charles Koch; History, Mrs. Anna Baker; Piano solo, Miss Ogden Morr; Talk, Reuben Koch; Song "Dear Old Home" Mrs. Anna Baker, John Koch, Reuben Koch, and Charles Koch; Piano solo, Miss Georgia Bennett; Vocal solo, Jimmie Morr; Recitation, Joch C. Koch: Quartette "Humorous Selections" John Koch, Chas. Koch, Reuben Koch and Roy Koch; Recitation, Goldie Draggoo; Talk, Dr. J. W. Morr. At this time the Coburntown Orchestra favored with several especially good numbers, one of which two young ladies, whose names we were unable to get, sang, being accompanied by the orchestra. Following this was an exceptionally good number, a communication from S. R. Koch, Muskogee, Okla., who was unable to be present. A vote of thanks was taken for this contribution and the secretary requested to write him personally a letter of appreciation in behalf of the company, his article will be fonnd (sic) in the columns of the St. Joe News.

At the close of the program a nominating committee composed of Mrs. Roy Koch, Roy Wade, John C. Koch, Martin Koch, and Mrs. Audrey Wade presented the names for the year resulting in the following selection: President; John C. Koch; Vice-president, Roy Wade; Secretary-treasurer, Mrs. E. J. Brown; Program Committee, Roy Koch; Arrangements committee, Charles Koch; Historian, Mrs. Anna Baker.

The company was dismissed after a selection by the orchestra and song "Blest Be the Tie that Binds" and God Be With You Till We Meet Again" by the congregation.

Dear Kinship, Greetings:

This occasion today is in celebration of the first reunion of the Koch Family. The primary objective of this gathering today is of two-fold purpose.

The first one is to verify such facts and dates as are necessary and essential in the establishment of an authentic history or biography of our ancestors, tracing our lineage and classifying our relative position on the pages of history of this Family Tree.

The second object is of a social nature, whereby we can renew acquaintances and with some getting acquainted. The social feature can be made one of the most important parts of the program. By judicious arrangements, opportunities can be given for the discussion of such thoughts and ideas as ultimately elevate our lives to a higher sphere and create within us a firm resolution to live a more consecrated life, a clearer conception of the duties to our kinship and fellowman. The specific purpose of this movement should be to combine all the forces available in an effort to elevate the morale of the Koch family and place its name upon such a high pedestal that our descendants can feel proud of their heritage and emulate our good deeds and achievements.

In returning to the first or historical part of this topic, we must establish a basis upon which can construct a positive and authentic history of our family. Unfortunately for us our early ancestors left no records of their family history, which would assist us in compiling an authentic biography. Consequently, our family history is to a great extent traditional. Especially is this true of John Ulrich Koch, the remotest of our ancestors. Our historian today gave a brief sketch of the life of John Ulrich Koch. It is a conceded fact that he was born in Germany, migrated to the United States when a young man, married Miss Barbara Repman of Wooster, Ohio, and to them were born three sons, namely: Gotlieb, Simon, and Joseph. Fearing that I may in a measure be repeating some of the facts and events that have been drawn to attention today, I will but briefly dwell upon the character and some of the distinguishing qualities of this man. We are aware that that the inherent fundamental principles which compose character are greatly influenced and moulded by environment. In order that we may better understand some of his characteristics

The Family Tree

John Ulrich Koch

Born, about 1797 in Germany.

Died, in March 1871 in Mifflin Township, Ashland County, Ohio

Married, Miss Barbara Repman of Wooster, Ohio about 1821. In 1823 they moved to

Ashland Co., Ohio

Mrs. Barbara Koch died in December 1855 or 1856

They had three sons, Gotlieb, Simon and Joseph

we should have a clearer understanding of some of the conditions as they existed then in civic and governmental life. Let us turn backward the pages of history a few centuries and take a retrospective view of conditions as they existed as they existed both in Continental Europe and the United States.

Their mode of living was then very crude. In fact all of the great improvements developed by science in civil and commercial life have been accomplished since this time. Governmental affairs at that time in Germany were of such a nature that all young male citizens of sound mind and body were compelled to enter into military service and become a part of that great military system. To enter these services required the young man to give to the government that portion of his life which is necessary for him to prepare himself for his life profession. To enter this service also meant a postponement of this preparation. To refuse meant certain death by order of the king. Fortunately there was one honorable means of escaping this military system and that was to migrate to the United States, the land of opportunity, freedom and liberty. Courage, ambition, perserverence, determination, fortitude and self sacrifice are some of the attributes of character. In tracing some of his characteristics we find that he possessed all of these to a remarkable degree. Courage and determination with him were almost personified. navigation on water at that time was one of the crudest type. Vessels then were guided and propelled by sails. Seagoing vessels were not only unsafe but were altogether at the mercy of winds. The great Atlantic was then unexplored. Under these conditions it required the greatest courage and demands our highest admiration. But this mere boy had firmly had firmly resolved to cast his lot among the opportunities in the new continent. Military life to him was a burden, an unnecessary factor in his life. Let us consider the sacrifices he must make before journeying to his new home. There was a father and a dear, sweet mother, brothers and sisters, his boyhood chums and possibly a sweetheart. A beautiful country, rich in natural resources, beautiful streams winding among the mountains of historic sceneries. Vast forests of gigantic trees and smaller streams whose banks were with wild flowers of many hues and colors, whose rich perfume permeated the very atmosphere and fill the soul with rapture and ecstasy. All these and many more must be sacrificed forever.

Determination is a great factor in character. It is a power for good when properly applied. Skillfully and diplomatically, we find, he has overcome all inconveniences and obstacles and now we find him standing with his hat in one hand, great tears were in those big blue eyes, a great lump was in his throat, which he could not swallow, his right hand was firmly clasped in the right hand of his father. A little to one side stands his mother with a broken heart, for intuition tells her that she is about to give up one of the most precious jewels of her life. Oh, the great heartache of that mother, and then there are the brothers and sisters, the boyhood companions and perhaps also a betrothed sweetheart. All paying their respects to this young man as he is about to start his voyage across the great sea.

The mother in her great sorrow for his sake suppressed those burning tears until she has returned to her lowly cottage and then in uncontrollable grief which she can no longer suppress, she bursts into tears and with that motherly face turned heavenward she prays God that her son shall be saved from the dangers of the journey. Oh, the blessings of a mother's prayer.

We have been dwelling at some length upon the character of our forefather. Let us now ask ourselves this question, "What is Character?" I will answer that question by reducing it to a few words, and that answer to this, "Character is what God thinks of us." Reputation is what man thinks and says about us. Let us strive to have an honorable character and reputation will take care of itself.

I have now dwelt at too great a length on this subject and will leave the rest to the historian and I hope she has breathed the breath of life into well chosen words so that they may become living influences over you all. In closing let me admonish each and every one here today to live such a life that our posterity may emulate our good deeds and achievements and respect and reverence our memory. Life is short. Life is fleeting. We are here for a few days only. We then fall like the grass before the reaper. Let us so live that when we are called to our forefathers they can say, "He had a noble character." And now in closing these exercises today you evidently will sing that sacred song "God be with you until we meet again," and perhaps by another year when you meet at the second reunion, I hope that we can arrange our affairs that we can answer "Here" at roll call.

Very Humbly, Simon R. Koch, Muskogee, Oklahoma


Submitted by: Richard T. Koch <>


Note: The foregoing article was handed down to me by my parents sometime after the death of my grandfather, "Roy" Koch in May 1965. [Sadly my father died eleven months later.] This newspaper clipping was, among photographs and other things Grandpa Roy treasured, in a tin box in my parents basement. All the cardboard and paper items were in a sad state. Moisture had permeated everything, and mold had attacked some of the photographs. In an uneducated attempt to preserve the fragile newspaper clippings, I covered them with clear "Contact" paper. Over the years this plastic material shrank and buckled the newspaper sandwiched between, making it nearly unreadible in places. Using an Exacto knife I carefully slit the buckled plastic and stretched the paper so I could read and type it into the computer, and thus preserve the information.

It would have benefitted our posterity if the historians report had been printed instead of this message full of conjecture. Many hours have been spent searching for more on this KOCH family, without obtaining any information on the emigrant ancestors, and little of their life in Ohio. We did obtain a copy of a deed of 1833 wherein Ulrich Koch, a resident of Wayne County, Ohio, purchased 158.9 acres in Richland County, (now Ashland County), Ohio. Located in Mifflin township, bordered on the north by township road T-1806 and on the west by T-1215, this tract was still intact in 1973, then owned by Stanley & Oda Goard. I have not tracked this land in land records, beyond the original deed granted Ulrich Koch. If one travels east from this intersection, a slight jog in T-1806 at T-1095, but continuing eastbound on T1806 you'll find the Vesper cemetery on the right. Here is the burial place of John Ulrich Koch. The tombstone gives us his death as 31 March 1867 [not 1871] aged 72yrs 9mo 7d, placing his birth as 24 Jul 1794. [Not 1797 as stated above.] Tradition has it that he was 16 when he emigrated, so that should be in the year 1810/11. The newspaper article gives his marriage as about 1821 in Wooster, [Wayne County], Ohio to Barbara Repman. Barbara is not buried in Vesper Cemetery, but rather in Zehner Cemetery, located on the south side of US 30, about 1/4 mile due north of Mifflin, not visible from US 30. I can't remember if it on T-1215 or T-1255, on a sharp curve just before US 30.

Her tombstone has Barbara, wife of Ulrich Koch, born 15 Apr 1798 died 12 Dec 1853. Tradition has Barbara emigrating at age 2, [c1800].

Charles E. Benjamin presents the Koch genealogy in his book Some Pioneer Settlers of Coburntown , privately published in 1985. It carries a Library of Congress Number 85-72272, and can also be found at Allen County Public Library, in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. A biographical sketch on Ulrich and Barbara's son Joseph, my ancestor, is contained in History of DeKalb County, Indiana, originally published by Inter-State Publishing Co., Chicago 1885. A reprint was done in 1978 by The Bookmark Company, Knightstown, Indiana, and the latter contains a name index not in the original. This reprint was sponsored by the DeKalb County Historical Society. The sketch says there were nine children, with only three surviving to adulthood. The 1850 census has only Joseph and one sibling enumerated with Ulrich and Barbara. This family has not been identified in prior census, possibly because of the pronunciation, "Coh"