Timeline for George W Fritz

My second great grandfather, George W. Fritz, lived a short life (just under 32 years). Initially, I could not find any information on him. Over time, the information piled up, as I found more about him from a variety of sources.

There are still blanks which may never be filled. The best way to recognize those blanks is to put together everything I know about him. This is my timeline for George Fritz.

The name George doesn’t appear in the Fritz line within a couple of generations before George’s birth. Prior genealogy by a Fritz cousin lists George’s third great grandfather as Leopold Georg Fritz, but would be a stretch to consider it a contributing factor in George’s name. Looking at the names of George’s brothers and sisters, they do not appear to relate to any names from their shared Fritz ancestry.

I do not know what George’s middle name was. Although his grandson would be named William, this is unlikely to have been George’s middle name as George had a brother named William.


George was born in Blakesburg, Iowa October 10, 1866, to Benedict and Anna (Miller) Fritz. This date is mentioned in a short biography of his father, in the “Portrait and Biographical Album of Wapello County, Iowa” publication.

At his time of birth, George had the following older siblings:

  1. Louise., born July 13, 1858 (age 8)
  2. William. was born January 15, 1860 (age 6 and a half)
  3. Henry, born November 25, 1862 (almost age 4)
  4. Matilda, was born August 7, 1864 (age 2)

(His other sister Matilda, born May 5, 1861, died March 20, 1864, before George was born.)


His younger brother Franklin Fritz was born September 26, 1868. George was almost two years old.


In 1870, according to the US Federal Census, George (age three) lived with his parents and his two sisters and three brothers.

The following information is present for George on the 1870 US Federal Census:

Age: 3
Sex: Male
Color: White
Place of birth: Iowa
Father of foreign birth: checked
Mother of foreign birth: checked


His younger sister Gertrude C. Fritz was born February 14, 1871. George was four and a half years old.


His eldest sister Louisa married Moses Henry Abernathy.


In 1880, according to the US Federal Census, George (age 13) lived with his parents and his two of his sisters (Louisa had moved out) and his three brothers.

The following information is present for George on the 1880 US Federal Census:

Color: White
Sex: Male
Age: 13
Relationship to head: Son
Single: Checked
Occupation: At School
Attended school within the census year: checked
Place of birth: Iowa
Place of birth of father: Austria
Place of birth of mother: Austria

In 1880, George (age 10) lived with his parents and siblings, except for his oldest sibling, Louisa.

Louisa lived with her husband, Moses, and their baby daughter, Achsa, as well as Moses’s sister. Also living with the Abernathy family was Douglas Fowler, as a laborer. Moses’s granduncle, Merritt, had Douglas’s brother, Harvey Fowler, listed as a laborer.

The Fowler brothers were uncles of Birdie Fowler (then age 8). It’s possible this closeness between the Fowlers and the Abernathys allowed George to meet Birdie. Or perhaps the families simply lived close enough that George would have met Birdie even if her uncles has jobs elsewhere.


His older sister Matilda married Frank Hardy on May 18th, 1884.

On August 25th or 26th, 1884, George’s mother, Anna, passed away. George was almost 18 years old.


In 1885, according to the Iowa State Census, George (age 18) lived with his parents, his sister Gertrude, and his brothers William and Henry. Matilda had moved out, as had George’s younger brother, Franklin.

The following information is present for George on the 1885 Iowa State Census:

Age at birthday in 1884: 18
Sex: Male
Marital status: Single
Occupation: Farmer
Birth county: Fayette, Iowa
Father (Native or Foreign): Foreign
Mother (Native or Foreign): Foreign
Subject to military duty: checked

c 1886, 1887

George appeared in a family photograph. The year is guessed to be about 1886 or 1887 based on the visual ages of George’s three nieces. George would have been about 20 or 21 years. (George is on the viewer’s far left in this photograph.)

George attended the Business College of Bryant & Stratton, at Chicago. The “Portrait and Biographical Album of Wapello County, Iowa” publication mentions that he was “attending”. The publication is dated 1887, but I do not know when the information was collected.

c 1888, 1889

His older brother Henry married Millie Barnes.


His younger sister Gertrude married William Shea, on May 6th, 1891.

On June 13th or 18th, 1891, George married Birdie Fowler. George was 24 and a half years old. Birdie was listed as age 20. Their union is transcribed twice in the “Iowa Marriages Index, 1809-1922” resource.

Groom’s Name: G.W. Fritz
Groom’s Birth Date: 1866
Groom’s Birthplace: Blakesburg
Groom’s Age: 25
Bride’s Name: Birdie Fowler
Bride’s Birthplace: Centerville
Marriage Date: 18 Jun 1891
Marriage Place: Ottumwa, Wapello, Iowa
Groom’s Father’s Name: B. Fritz
Groom’s Mother’s Name: Annie Miller
Bride’s Father’s Name: Al Fowler
Bride’s Mother’s Name: Doe Lane
Groom’s Race: White
Bride’s Race: White
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M02536-3
System Origin: Iowa-EASy
Source Film Number: 979592
Reference Number: 196
FHL Film Number: 979592

Groom’s Name: G.W. Fritz
Groom’s Birth Date: 1867
Groom’s Age: 24
Bride’s Name: Birdie Fowler
Bride’s Birth Date: 1871
Bride’s Age: 20
Marriage Date: 13 Jun 1891
Marriage Place: Ottumwa, Wapello, Iowa
Indexing Project (batch) number: M02536-7
System Origin: Iowa-EASy
Source Film Number: 979593
Reference Number: Page 483

On September 21st, 1891, George’s father, Benedict, passed away. George was almost 25 years old.

c 1891, 1892

George and Birdie moved to Pierce County, Washington. This move would have taken place after their marriage in June, 1891, and before their daughter was born in August, 1892.


George and Birdie’s daughter, Hazel Fritz, was born on August 27th, 1892, in Pierce County, Washington. George was 25 and a half years old.

Name: Fritz
Date of Birth: 27 Aug 1892
Birthplace: Lake Park
Gender: Female
County: Pierce
Father’s Name: Geo W Fritz (age 24; white; job Lumberman, born in Iowa)
Mother’s Name: Birdie Fowler (age 20; white; 1 child; born in Iowa)

The name Hazel doesn’t appear to show up anywhere else in the Fritz family (or Fowler family) prior to George’s daughter. However, George’s niece (Hazel’s cousin), Ella Faye, would later—1912—have a daughter named Hazel Fritz Ross.

George is listed here as being a lumberman. Coincidentally, George’s older brother, William B Fritz, worked in lumber. According to the publication, “An Illustrated History of Monroe County, Iowa”, William and a brother worked in a lumber shop that had opened about 1886. It’s possible George was that brother, and he continued in that line of business in Washington.


A grantee/grantor index shows George was the grantee of a land by grantor Matter Nelson and wife. This took place on June 20th, 1892. The listed item was a warranty deed for plat 22-18-46 (or 22-18-4E) in Lake Park.


A discharge of mortgage took place on November 14, 1893. The grantor was the Puget Sound Savings Bank and the grantees were George and Birdie Fritz. This covered lots 21 and 22 in block 65 in Lake Park.


George and Birdie’s son, Howard Clell Fritz, was born on November 12th, 1894. George was 28 years old at the time.

Name: G W Fritz
Date of Birth: 12 Nov 1894
Birthplace: Lake Portman
Gender: Male
County: Pierce
Father’s Name: G W Fritz (age 27; white; job Farmer, born in Iowa)
Mother’s Name: Birdie Fowler (age 22; white; 2 chilren; born in Iowa)

As with Hazel, Howard is a name I am unable to find in the Fritz or Fowler lines. I am also curious as to where the middle name, Clell, originates from. The name Howard would appear again with Howard’s grandson, Howard Clay Fritz Sr., and Howard Clay’s son, Howard Clay Fritz Jr. (Additionally, Howard Clell named his son William, and I can’t help but wonder if he was named after Howard Clell’s uncle—George’s brother—William.)

This time around, George is listed as a farmer.


George had a “no treadle sewing machine” business which he incorporated in February. He started running newspaper ads for it around March 25th, and continued to run them at least as late as April 24th. I do not know if he had ads in any papers after April 24th. The incorporation included not only George’s name on it, but his wife Birdie’s and sister-in-law Fay’s.

On March 21st, there was recorded a pending lawsuit between grantors “George Fritz (et al)” and “Birdie Fritz (et al)” and grantee Daniel H. Chase. This block 22, lots 25–28, and block 9, lots 27–28 in Lake Park, Pierce County.

A discharge of mortgage took place on April 2nd naming “George W. Fritz (et ux)” (and wife) as the grantors and “No-Treadle Sewing Machine Company” as the grantee. This covered lots 21 and 22 in block 65 in Lake Park.

On June 19th, the Superior Court of the State of Washington judged in favor of Daniel Chase in the case against George and Birdie and other shop owners. On the morning of July 22nd, George and Birdie lost their property in a sheriff’s sale to cover money they owed Daniel Chase.

On July 27th, there was a pending lawsuit between grantors George and Birdie, and grantee Puget Sound Savings bank, concerning lots 21 and 22 in block 65 in Lake Park.


His younger brother Franklin married Emma Barnhart.

On December 19th, the deed for Lake Park block 65, lots 21—22 was transfered from Birdie to the Puget Sound Savings Bank in a sheriff’s sale.


At some time in 1896–1898, George and his family moved back to Blakesburg, Iowa, due to George facing poor health.

During the afternoon of September 18th, George passed away in his home. He was a month away from his 32nd birthday.

George was buried in the same Blakesburg cemetery as his father, according to the “Iowa Cemetery Records” part of the “Graves Registration Project”.

By 1900, George’s wife Birdie and kids were living with Birdie’s mother back in Birdie’s hometown of Centerville, Appanoose County, Iowa. Birdie passed away from sickness on July 24th, 1900. Their daughter Hazel passed away from sickness on June 4th, 1905. Their son Clell grew up, married, had two children, then died of tuberculosis on November 3rd, 1933.

Unanswered Questions

These are the questions I have, some of which cannot be answered, and others which may have answers waiting to be found.

What was George W.’s middle name?

Was George the brother who worked at William’s lumber shop?

When did George and Birdie meet?

Why did they move to Washington? The Fritzes seem to have been well established in Blakesburg, Iowa.

Why was his sister-in-law Fay’s name on the incorporation for George and Birdie’s sewing machine business? Did she provide partial funding? Or did she live with George and Birdie? I have not found a 1895 Iowa State Census for Fay. The census took place January 1st. An April 6, 1895 piece in the Tacoma Daily News says: “A number of young people met … at the home of Mr. George Fritz … and agreeably surprised his sister-in-law, Miss Fay Fowler, of Iowa, who is visiting friends in this city.” The names of friends include names I recognize from back in Iowa.

Did George die in Washington or Iowa?

What was the cause of George’s death?

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