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Biography ~ The Overholtzer Family

Reflections of Grand River Iowa 1881-1981
Page 264, Clarke Pub. Co. Osceola IA. 1981.

Four young men, Overholtzer brothers, left their Adams County, Pa. home in the mid-eighteen hundreds. They moved west to Decatur Co., Iowa where they settled and stayed the remainder of their lives. They bought land near the banks of the Grand River where later the town was formed. This location pleased them because of the natural food supplies such as fish and wild game. These men, Jacob born 1829, Christian born 1831, William born 1836 and Samuel born 1838 and their families enjoyed get togethers.

The "Grand River News" of Sept. 1893 describes one family reunion as follows:

Altho we have been residents of this county but three short weeks we enjoyed the pleasure last Fri. in company with Postmaster Crees, of being present with one of the happiest and most agreeable, as well as the largest family gathering it has been our food fortune to attend. The reunion took place on the lawn of the beautifully located farm residence of Bill Overholtzer located one mile from this city. At 12 o'clock noon, the editor of this paper, in company with photographer Crees, was driven to the scene of happiness behind a pair of large Norman horses, seated in a fine double seat carriage. Arriving there we alighted at the end of a 100 ft. table, built of 2 in. planks in order to carry the immense load of rich provisions heaped upon it. There were two long tables groaning under the weight, with the choicest of eatables which the Overholtzer ladies know well how to prepare. There were eight different dishes of roast turkey with oyster dressing, seven different styles of chicken, roast beef, venison, fish and mutton, lobster, salmon, steak, cutlets and roast pig. Many kinds of fruits, vegetables, pies and cake. There were present at this occasion, one hundred in all, mostly relatives, besides a few dear friends and neighbors. Seated at the head of the table was Mr. William Overholtzer, to his right the ladies and gentlemen of the family. To his left was seated the Postmaster, Editor Davis, W. H. Sipherd and others. Toasts were frequent and mirth and laughter danced on every countenance.

Members of the Family Present Christian Overholtzer and wife Harriet, daughter Nora and cousin Fred Kirkindall. Jacob Overholtzer and wife Mary E. and sons John, William and Charley. Bill Overholtzer, Wife Mary J. and son Henry. Samuel Overholtzer and wife Harriet, and daughters Miss Jennie, Cora, Minnie and sons John and Lewis. Jim Overholtzer and wife Ada and 2 children. Jim being the married son of Christian. W. C. Overholtzer son of Christian, wife Eva and three children, little Lottie, George and Grace. John Overholtzer, son of Christian, Wife Elizabeth, daughters Florence, Myrtle and son Floyd. Frank Overholtzer, son of Bill, his wife Bessie and 2 children. Jerry Overholtzer and wife Isabell of Gettysburg, Pa. and 3 children. Mrs. Sarah Baker and seven children of Gettysburg, Pa. Mrs. Mark Hackensmith and 8 children from Emmettsburg, Frederick County, Pa. D. G. Northey and wife Maggie J., daughter of Jacob Overholtzer and four children, Amy, Carrie, Charlie and baby. J. Brown and lady Hattie, daughter of Jacob. James Eiker and wife Nora and one child, Bert. C. A. Eiker and wife Sarah and children Nettie and Georgie. Robert Redd and wife Malisa and 2 children present, Fred and Frank. Mrs. Margaret McDowell, John Gibson and daughter Josie. W. H. Sipherd and wife and Dick Pace, old friends. All but the last three mentioned are family connected.

On the 25th of August 1893, the Overholtzers gathered at William Overholtzer's house from far and near, to enjoy once perhaps in a lifetime an occasion of this kind. After dinner was served the family gathered on the upper and lower balcony and the family group was photographed by photographer Crees.

In conclusion, the Overholtzer's are numbered among our best citizens, honorable and upright, well spoken of by all, and as they again scatter out, each to tread his or her wake in life, may their children hold this gathering sacred in their memory and bless their parents for ever more. May they all live to enjoy an occasion like the above described, where nothing but contentment, health and happiness reigns supreme, all through along life of plenty is the wish of the "Grand River News."

The Overholtzer decendants have carried on this tradition of family reunions to this day. These occasions are still enjoyed, meeting annually, the second Sunday of August at the Tingley Community Hall [Tingley, Ringgold County, Iowa].

Transcribed for IAGenWeb.org, Decatur County