Johann was the 4th child and the first son of Johann Trefzger and Theresia Straubhar. John learned the trade of a stone mason and became a Master Stone Mason. We have been told that there is a bridge named the Trefzger Bridge in Baden, Baden that was built by Johann. Johann married Maria 'Mary' Buecke in Wehr, Baden on 3/4/1878. Their first child Louisa was born the next year. A second daughter Albertina was born in April 1880.
To support his family Johann left his pregnant wife and 1 year old daughter to come to Dayton, Ohio in the spring of 1880. He arrived through New York from LaHarve.
John (as he was known in the U.S.A.) and his family are listed in the 1900 federal census as living on Haynes Street in Dayton, OH. Sometime between 1900 and 1910 John and his family moved to southern California. The 1910 census shows John and his family in Los Angeles, CA.
When I asked Gary Collier when and why his great grandparents moved to southern California he wrote:
"I know why, but I don't know exactly when. Johann and Maria came first, in about 1903, just for a vacation, and they loved it so much they decided to stay. They started writing back to everyone in Ohio about what a paradise California was, trying to talk them into coming out too. Eventually, my grandparents (Deanie & Frank Meyer) came. I know it was after 1904 (because my uncle Leo was born in Dayton that year) and before 1910 (because my mother (Alice Meyer) was born in Los Angeles that year). It wasn't long before the entire Johann Trefzger family was living in the L.A. area, though. They brought the Brutshés, Daums, and Workmans with them."*
"Johann was a stonemason. I understand that there is a church still standing in Dayton that he built. He also built a church in Los Angeles, but I couldn't tell you which one."*
"I do remember my grandmother telling me that her father was a very traditional German man. She told me once that he had a rule: "In diesem Haus wird nur Deutsch gesprochen!" ("We only speak German in this house!") So my grandmother was fairly fluent in German."*
*quotes by Gary Collier.
In the 1880 census John is living in Middletown, OH with a large group of men.
In the 1888 Dayton, OH directories John is a stone mason at 1420 E. Richard and 218 S. Boltin
In 1900 John and Mary are in Dayton, OH with 5 children.
In 1920 they are in Los Angeles District 70, CA, with 6 children and a son-in-law.
In 1930 John and Mary are in Los Angeles, CA, alone
Stewart Trefzger, of Cincinnati, had done some research on his grandfather Joseph Philip Trefzger. He found that Joseph P. arrived 6/16/1881 in New York from LaHarve. Joseph P. lived in Dayton with a John Trefzger who had arrived 4/1/1880 from Baden.
Stewart thought that John was Joseph P.’s brother, but wasn’t sure. Stewart remembered his mother saying that ‘John went to California.’
Edwin Trefzger (Stewart’s cousin) wrote ‘As a child, I remember my father saying that his father’s father and his fathers's brother had a falling out and went separate ways. I do not know anymore about that.’ (The falling out was with John.)
A birth record for a Johan Trefzger, and a birth record for a Joseph Trefzger both with the same parents was found in the microfilmed records from the Catholic Church in Wehr, Baden. Then a Family Book Church record for Johan and Joseph’s family was found. It contained the note behind each of their names that they went to America.
Comment and Thanks
Early in the study we had known about John Trefzger from Stewart Trefzger and from the 1900 and 1910 census, but we had not been able to find any descendants.
Then in October 1995 Lucille Trefzger (Ed’s wife) from Oregon contacted me and gave me information about Ed’s family. She also gave me names of a few other people to contact. Ann Stadler provided info about Barbara Trefzger’s family. Gary Collier filled us in on ‘Deanie” Albertina Trefzger Meyer’s family. Amy Hageman sent more on Barbara Trefzger Stadler’s family. In 2002 Anna Mae Daum and Mariann Link gave us info about Louisa Trefzger Daum’s family. In 2009 Gary Collier sent us wonderful photos, more general information and info about his grandparents.
In June 2019 Ron Brutsche sent me corrected, updated info about his family and how to spell their name. Thanks, Ron.
Our sincere thanks to all of the above.