Joseph Frantz Story
As told by Dorotha Frantz Wingard in
her Held-Frantz History
Regina Held Frantz (b:1844, d:5-12-1930). my paternal Grandmother, who
was the daughter of David and Christena Held, along with her parents
and three brothers and a sister, immigrated to the United States from
Mensheim, near Stuttgart, Province of Wurtemburg in 1856. She was
twelve years of age. In approximately 1864 she married Joseph
Frantz (b:10-12-1838, d:1-18-1909), who was born in PA, the son of
Joseph and Catherine Swartz Frantz.
They became the parents of eight children as follows: Elizabeth
(Lizzie) Frantz, Annie Frantz Holtzhauer, David Frantz, Martha Frantz
Fiscus, Harry (Hiram) Frantz, Harvey Frantz - my father, Laura Frantz
Claypool, and Frederick Frantz.
Joseph and Regina built a stone house in which they lived. Joseph owned
and operated a grist mill which was known as the "Red Mill." Their home
and mill were located in Armstrong Co, PA. On December 20, 1888, an
Indenture (same as a deed) was signed by Regina Frantz, and Joseph
Frantz by his mark X. They were parties of the first part and J. B.
Ford and Co. the second part. This document was for the purpose of
selling a portion of their land which they sold for $125.00.
My Grandmother was a very strong-willed lady and extremely independent.
As a twelve year old, I remember her as a short white haired lady who
was trying to teach me how to crochet in which I was not interested. I
also remember that she tried to flag down the street car after it was
well past our corner and upon failing to do this shook her fist at the
motorman. Even at 86 years old she was ready to travel except she got
confused in her directions. She passed away that year after a long full
The following is the obituary for Joseph Frantz which I believe tells a
great deal about him, It is from the Daily Times, Kittanning, PA for
Monday, January 18, 1909.
(FRONT PAGE) JOSEPH FRANTZ FOUND DEAD
Joseph Frantz the well known miller, was found dead this (Monday)
morning in Kittanning Specialty Mills on Reynolds Ave. where he had
been employed shortly after he had entered to prepare for the work of
It had been Mr. Frantz's custom to be the first to arrive at the mills
and light the fires. He is thought to have reached the plant this
morning between a quarter after and half past 7 o'clock for those who
saw him enter state it was only a few minutes in advance of John Tarr
who says he arrived at the mills about 25 minutes of 8 o'clock.
Mr. Tarr did not see Mr. Frantz when he entered the building and
supposing he was about doing his usual duties, took a shovel and broom
and started to clean the snow off from the front of the mill. When he
finished he went back inside and a moment or two later started back
toward the warehouse. Within a couple of steps of the warehouse door,
he was startled to come suddenly upon Mr. Frantz, laying on the floor,
his head under the end of a work bench and his feet stretched out
toward the warehouse door which was standing open. His hands were
laying across his breast, not clasped but near each other.
"Joe, Joe", called Mr. Tarr but there was no answer and stooping down,
shook him vigorously with still no signs of response. Going to the
front door, Mr. Tarr called Blair Coggons and John Easley, who were
passing. They shook Mr. Frantz too but were soon convinced that the
spark of life had fled.
Dr. Kiser was summoned but when he arrived he found Mr. Frantz had been
dead some time. Heart failure is believed to have been the cause of
death. The remains were taken charge of by Undertaker H. E. Montgomery
and removed to the Frantz residence on Johnson Ave., Wickboro, between
North and Union Avenues.
Mr. Frantz had been complaining of pains in his chest recently but was
able to be about his work as usual and his complaints were consequently
not regarded with any apprehension. This morning after he arose he told
his wife he was not feeling well but insisted on starting to his
employment. From the position of the body when found and the fact that
there were a number of shavings on the floor closeby leads to the
belief he was stooping over to gather the shavings to use in lighting
the fires in the stove when he was stricken. His dinner bucket was
found on the table near the stove and it is supposed that he was
attacked soon after entering the mill.
For more than 10 years Mr. Frantz was employed by the Kittanning
Milling Co. and helped to dismantle that plant. Since the erection of
the Kittanning Specialty Mills on Reynolds Ave. back of the freight
depot, he has been working there, helping in getting the mills ready
for operation. He was a faithful, diligent employee and enjoyed the
utmost confidence and esteem not only of his employers but of all who
knew him. He was formerly an owner of the Red Mills near Nuton Farms on
the Clearfield Pike, and followed milling for many years.
(INSIDE PAGES) FRANTZ FUNERAL ON WEDNESDAY
Joseph Frantz who was found dead today (Monday) was aged 70 years and
leaves a wife and several children, among the latter being Mrs. Joseph
Holtzhour of Applewold and Harvey Frantz, the well known motorman.
Funeral services will be held at St. Johns Evangelical Lutheran Church,
Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock and the interment will be in
JOSEPH FRANTZ STORY
My Cousin, Sara Frantz, recalled this story. Joseph Frantz had several
brothers who decided to make a raft and sail down the river to seek
their fortune. It must have been the Allegheny River since that was the
only river flowing through Kittanning.
Some time later they were presumed drowned since they weren't heard
from again. But this was doubted since the Frantz name began showing up
all around the area.