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Rudolf, Gotthard and Henry Althaus




Three Althaus brothers Rudolf, Gotthard and Henry, each born in Landschaft, Bretzwil, Canton Basel, Switzerland, came to the America separately in the 1840s and 1850s. The village of Bretzwil is located about 25 miles south of Basel, Switzerland.

Rudolf lived in Bluffton. Gotthard and Henry lived on farms in the Swiss Settlement.

On the paternal side, their great-grandparents were Ulrich and Barbara (Jenni) Althaus. Ulrich was born in Germany in 1708, and died in 1801.

Barbara, was born in 1709 and died in 1767. Ulrich was a farmer and dairyman.

Of Ulrich, it is known: “Ulrich Althaus-Jenni leased the Ramstein Castle and Farm on April 20, 1746.” Ramstein Castle is located in the Alsace-Loraine area of France near the city of Selestat.

The brothers’ paternal grandparents were Johann Rudolf Althaus (1743-1829) and Maria Sutter Althaus (1748-1816).

Their parents were Johann Heinrich Althaus and Barbara Giese Althaus. Johann and Barbara were parents of nine children.

Rudolf Althaus came to America in 1845 when he was 22.

He married Barbara A. Amstutz when he was 39. She was born in Wayne County, Ohio, to Peter and Barbara Luginbuhl Amstutz, on June 10, 1841. The couple had four children. Rudolf was one of the signers of a petition to change the name of Shannon to Bluffton, in 1861.

By profession, Rudolf was a painter and well-known for his oil painted scene of Switzerland. He and his wife, Barbara, are buried in Maple Grove Cemetery.

In his early teens, Gotthard was described as a “wanderlust,” and had the desire to travel and explore. Traveling in Switzerland and surrounding places, he declared that he had seen a respectable part of the world.

In 1854, at age 18, he migrated to the United States.

In America he married Elizabeth Steiner, daughter of John F. “Buchwald Hans” and Barbara Habegger Steiner. Gotthard was 23 and his wife 22, when they were married on July 28, 1859.

The couple had 11 children.

A great-granddaughter, Anita Althaus Huber, lives on the original farm that Gotthard purchased, located on the northeast corner of State Route 696 and Bluffton-Columbus Grove Road. Gotthard and Elizabeth are buried in Ebenezer Mennonite Cemetery.

Note: Rudolf Althaus is maternal great-grandfather of Fred Steiner of the Icon. Click here for a photograph of the Althaus residence in Bluffton in 1886.

Henry Althaus Born: 1822, Canton Basel, Switzerland Died: Jan. 9, 1899 He was never married

Rudolf and Barbara Amstutz Althaus family

Johann Rudolf Althaus Born: Aug. 17, 1823, Canton Basle, Switzerland Died: Oct. 9, 1909, Bluffton Buried: Maple Grove Cemetery

Rudolf’s father: Dr. Johann Heinrich Althaus (1790-1851) Rudolf’s mother: Barbara Geise (1798-1863)

Barbara A. Amstutz Althaus Born: Jun 10, 1841, Wayne County Died: Jan. 10, 1828, Bluffton Buried: Maple Grove Cemetery

Barbara’s father: Peter Amstutz, (1799-1881) Barbara’s mother: Barbara Luginbuhl (1800-1881)

Rudolf and Barbara Althaus children

Mary Althaus Born: Oct. 23, 1863, Bluffton Died: Aug. 25, 1864

Andrew Althaus Born: June 13, 1865, Bluffton Died: July 31, 1939, Toledo, Ohio He was never married

Werner Althaus Born: Nov. 25, 1867, Bluffton Died: Feb. 12 1934, Toledo, Ohio He was never married

Bertha Althaus Hahn Born: Jan. 24, 1874, Bluffton Died: July 22, 1968, Bluffton Spouse: Fred H. Hahn The couple had 5 children

Gotthard and Elizabeth Steiner Althaus family

Gotthard Althaus Born: Jan. 17, 1836, Landschaft, Bretzwil, Basel, Switzerland Died: Jan. 6, 1914, Richland Township Buried: Ebenezer Mennonite Cemetery

Gotthard’s father: Dr. Johann Heinrich Althaus (1790-1851) Gotthard’s mother: Barbara Geise (1798-1863)

Elizabeth Steiner Althaus Born: Oct. 21, 1837, Riley Township Died: Nov. 12, 1916, Richland Township Buried: Ebenezer Mennonite Cemetery

Elizabeth’s father: John F. “Buchwald Hans” Steiner (1807-1900) Elizabeth’s mother: Barbara Habegger (1806-1853)

Gotthard and Elizabeth’s children

Heinrich Althaus Born: April 29, 1860, Richland Township Died: Sept. 25, 1861, Richland Township

Johannes G. Althaus Born: Oct. 5, 1861, Richland Township Died: Jan. 18, 1944, Richland Township Spouse: Verena Suter The couple had 3 children

Barbara Althaus Born: April 25, 1863, Richland Township Died: Sept. 19, 1929, Bluffton Spouse: Martin Grismore The couple had 7 children

Jacob Althaus Born: July 1, 1864, Richland Township Died: Oct. 22, 1933 Spouse: Emma Geiger The couple had 5 children

Johana Althaus Born: March 1, 1866, Richland Township Died: Oct. 31, 1957 Spouse: Theophilus J. Basinger The couple had 6 children

Elizabeth Althaus Born: Feb. 5, 1866, Richland Township Died: Aug. 9, 1955, Findlay, Ohio Spouse: David Diller The couple had 6 children

Marie Althaus Born: Dec. 24, 1869, Richland Township Died: May 29, 1921, Toledo, Ohio

Magdalena Althaus Born: May 27, 1871, Richland Township Died: July 28, 1918, Richland Township

Ulrich Althaus Born: Aug. 7, 1873, Richland Township Died: Dec. 26, 1873, Richland Township

Albert Althaus Born: Sept. 5, 1874, Richland Township Died: May 28, 1941, Lima, Ohio Spouse: Sarah Geiger The couple had 6 children

Infant son Althaus Born: July 30, 1883, Richland Township Died: July 31, 1883, Richland Township


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