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Some of this information taken from the Pfleger Family tree supplied by Richard Pfleger

Contents of page: photographs (including his 1870-71 military certificate) and oral history combined with paper trail (ship's register, marriage record, Jackson Michigan directory, census, death certificate)

Johannes/John Pfleger

1846-47-48 to 1-10-1912



1841-Walter Karl



1845-Johann (died as infant)

c.1849-Franz Pfleger

1850-Elizabeth (died at 4)



1856-Elisabetha (Schaeffer)

c.1860-Lena Pfleger Philipp


His brother Franz and sister Lena came from Germany to Michigan as well. Franz died. Lena remained in Michigan. John & family moved to Chicago c. 1891.


married 11-26-1876

in Jackson Michigan


 Maria Grimm

11-18-1850 to 11-23-1924


all born in Michigan

all died in Chicago


c.1878-Henry Pfleger

1880-Oscar Pfleger

1883-Lou Pfleger

c.1885-Dell Pfleger

1888-Irene Pfleger

"Arthur" who died in 1893

        at 11 months or 2 yrs

plus two more who died


Dell & Irene Pfleger

married brothers

Harry & Edward Wachdorf


Jean/Johannes Pfleger


Katharine Walter

spouse's parents:

Frank Grimm


 Katerina Lukner

paternal grandparents:

Jean/Johannes Pfleger


 Helena (Maria Magdalena) Leppla


To see the full line of his descent back to the 1600s click here: Pfleger Family tree

Rosina Pfleger who married John's brother-in-law, Louis Grimm, was John's cousin.

Click on any image to enlarge. Once enlarged, to zoom move cursor to right of image, back onto image, and click again (best viewing of military certificate--chose landscape orientation and print it).

Johann's 1871 military certificate, badly water damaged and stuck to a religious print

Johann Pfleger, I think (CDV)

Johan's sister, Lena Pfleger (Philipp) (CDV)

Johann Pfleger wearing his military medal

Johan's wife, Maria Grimm Pfleger (matches his portrait in size and condition)

Rosina Pfleger, Johan's niece (sometimes listed as sister) and her husband, Ludwig/Louis Grimm (brother of Johan's wife, Maria Grimm Pfleger)

Johann/John Pfleger and wife Maria/Mary Grimm Pfleger plus (from left) Henry, Dell, Louis, Oscar in Jackson, Michigan c. 1886-1887

writing on back of previous

interment card, St.Mary's, for possible final Pfleger child, Joseph Arthur

think that's him on the far right of the right hand frame, with mustache and fierce frown, at son Henry's wedding

Johann Pfleger with grandson Edward Wachdorf (born April, 1910)

Johan/John's death certificate 1912

John and Mary Pfleger's tombstone, St. Mary's Cemetery, Evergreen Park

Paper Trail:

John Pfleger was born in Heimkirchen (near modern Kaiserslautern) in what was then Bavaria but is now the Rhineland Pfalz. His birth year is given as 1846 on his tombstone, or 3-13-1847 by one record, or 5-12-1847 by another, 1847 on the ship that brought him over, or 1848 by his marriage license and the 1880 census, or 1854 by the 1900 census, or 1855 by his death certificate.

He served in the German army for at least the campaign of 1870-71 (see military certificate in photo gallery above).

Ship's Register:

1874 register for the Hohenzollern, which arrived 10-28-1874 in NY from Bremen, lists Johann Pfleger, age 27, profession: butcher, from Bavaria. Above him in the list is Jacob Loeb, age 28, also from Bavaria, also a butcher. Below him is Peter Grimm (his wife's brother), age 22. Oddly, Peter Grimm is the one who remains a butcher throughout his life, but his profession is listed as farmer. Don't know if Jacob Loeb was in any way related, but the proximity in the log and same profession are suggestive of some sort of connection.

Marriage Record:

Nov. 26, 1876 in Jackson County, Michigan, city of Jackson, a marriage was performed by Theopilus Buyse, Catholic priest, between John Pfleger, 28, and Maria Grimm, 26. John's birthplace is listed as Bavaria, his profession as butcher. Maria's birthplace is listed as Ohio (see her page for the mystery of Canal Dover, Ohio). The witnesses were her brother, Peter Grimm, and Emma Gass, both of Jackson.

Regarding Emma Gass: she is on the same page of the wedding registry, Emma Kremer marrying Henry Gass. An 1880 article on the death by train accident of Johann's brother, Franz/Fritz Pfleger, says, "He has a brother who has been here for some years and works for Carl Dettman. We understand that Henry Gass is an uncle." Perhaps it was not understood correctly by the newspaper reporter, or perhaps the Pflegers connected by marriage to either the Gass or the Kremer family. The 1880 census lists the Kremers in the house next to the Pflegers--Frank Kremer, 47, railroad man, and wife Elizabeth, 47, both born in Baden. Their daughter, listed as Emma Gass, is in the household, as well as sons Frank Kremer, John, and Willie, and one more daughter, Lena. Henry Gass, by the way, was a saloon keeper.

4-20-1880 article appeared on the death of Johann's brother, Franz Pfleger, who fell jumping from a train, not long after arriving in the US.

1880 census, Jackson, Michigan, 5th Ward, District 121, Courtland Street, page 26 or 45

John "Pflager," 32, profession: butcher, born Germany.

Wife Mary, 28, born Ohio.

Son Henry, 2, born Michigan (born 7-21-1878).

In 1880 they had Oscar. In 1883 they had Lou. In 1884/5 they had Dell. Then Irene Rose doesn't occur until 1888. Irene always spoke of her mother having had twins who died (every time her daughter got pregnant, she wondered if this time it would be twins, like her mother had). Additionally there is an interment record at St. Mary's cemetery, Evergreen Park, IL for a Joseph Arthur Pfleger, who died as a child. The record lists the interment date as 4-21-1893, the child as 11 months old. Based on that information, I sent for the death certificate and received one for "Arthur Pfleger" who died on 4-19-1893 of meningitis, and was interred at St. Mary's, but whose age is given as two. The old death certificates did not list family information, and most of it is hard to read, but it looks like the street address was 403 26th. On both the 1900 and 1910 census, Maria is listed as mother of eight, five surviving. Lost twins plus this boy?

1888 Jackson Michigan Directory has John Pflager, occupation: butcher, business name: Louis Grimm, 510 E. Main (Louis Grimm is his wife's brother. In the 1890 Jackson Directory, 510 E. Main is listed as business name: C. Weber (with Louis Grimm listed as employed at that location). John's other brother-in-law, Peter Grimm, also a butcher, was business partner with 2 other Webers.

At some point between 1888 and 1900, the Pfleger family left Jackson, Michigan and moved to Chicago. On Johann's death certificate in 1912 it says he was a resident of the city for 21 years, which would put them arriving c. 1891.

1900 census, Chicago, Southtown, street name looks like "Berteau"?

John Pfleger, born Aug. 1854 (but it was probably more like 1846-48), immig 1875, renting, married 23 years, occupation: butcher

Wife Maria, born Nov. 1851, born Ohio, mother of 8 children of whom 5 are living.

Son Henry, born July 1874, Michigan, occupation: optician.

Son Oscar, born Aug. 1881, occupation: cashier.

Son Louis, born Jan. 1883, occupation: book keeper.

Daughter Adelaide, born Sept. 1885, occupation: telephone operator.

Daughter Irene, born Feb. 1888, at school.

Nephew Louis F. Grimm, born Dec. 1893 in Michigan (son of Maria's brother Ludwig/Louis Grimm and Johann's niece, Rosina Pfleger--why he did not live with his mother and sisters is one of the family mysteries).


1910 census, Chicago, 355 W. 58th St.:

John Pfleger, 64, born in Germany, married 33 years, immigrated 1874, naturalized, occupation: butcher in a shop.

Wife Mary, age 60, mother of 8, five surviving, born in Ohio.

Daughter Adelaide Pfleger, 26, dress maker in a dry goods establishment.

Nephew Louis Grimm, 18, nephew, stockman in a dry goods establishment.

Son-in-law Edward J. Wachdorf, married 0 years, profession: book keeper for oil company.

Daughter Irene Wachdorf (essentially same info was 1900)


Death Certificate:

John Pfleger died 1-10-1912 at 6 p.m. On the death certificate it says he had lived at 355 W. 58th St. for 8 years, and had been a resident of the city for 21. His parents are given as John Pfleger and Mary (blank). Note first that his son, Lou, is the informant and Lou's mother is named Mary. His date of birth is given as 1855 (but his marriage certificate, age on ship's log etc make 1846-48 more likely). Cause of death: carcinoma of face and neck. Physician attended May 1911 (might say 1910) until 1-10-1912. Last occupation: packer, furniture 1907-1911. Previous occupation: butcher, packing house.


Death announcement from Daily Southtown (called Suburbanite Economist or some variant back then): John Pfleger died Wednesday last week at his home, 355 W. 58th St. and his funeral occurred Saturday from St. Martin's church, burial at St. Mary's cemetery.

His widow died in 1924. Full details on her page.