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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 life.

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.


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 today.
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.


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 Kittanning Cemetery.


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.