John George Pontius N1-9 and His Children
By Lenora Niesen, Pontius Researcher
Note: The information found herein is derived from
the personal research of Lenora Niesen except as
otherwise cited. It may be not be copied or
distributed without written permission from the researcher.
records of the Zion (Blue Mountain) German Reformed Church, near
Strausstown, in Berks County, Pennsylvania is found the baptism of John
George Pontius, son of Nicholas and wife, baptized April 8, 1770. His
baptism was sponsored by John George Schlessman and wife, and was
performed by Ludwig Lupp. Little more in the way of hard documentation
has been found concerning John George Pontius. This paper will present
the results of many years of research concerning John George,
elaborating on his children and grandchildren, and solving the question
of John George’s final resting place.
Most of the information on the life of John George,
up to this time, has come from the
book, “Allin Families of North Devonshire with Allied Families Banbury,
Detwiler, Hamm & Pontius,” written by George R. Allin, Jr. and published
in 1988 by Gateway Press, Inc. of Baltimore, MD. Mr. Allin’s mother was
Jessie Cooper (Pontius) Allin, who was a great-great-granddaughter of
John George. Her grandfather, John Cooper Pontius, son of George H.
Pontius, was the source of family lore concerning his grandfather, aunts
book quotes John Cooper Pontius regarding John George and family: “My
grandfather Pontius was born, raised, educated and marryed (sic) in
Germany, came to America about the year 1790, and settled in Summerset
(sic) County, Penn. Soon thereafter he moved to Wooster, Ohio, where he
spent the rest of his life. He raised a family of six children, three
sons and three daughters. My father being the oldest, his name was
George. The two younger sons were named Thomas and William – Thomas was
a hatter by trade. William was a silver smith corresponding, as I
suppose, with what we call a jeweler. The oldest daughter, Sallie,
married Thomas Clear [Clay?], a cooper, lived and raised a family in
Knoxville, Jefferson County, Ohio. The next daughter named Betsey
marryed (sic) a Mr. Sheby [or Streby]. They raised a son named Michael,
who was educated for (sic) a Presbyterian minister. The younger one
named Lyda [or Nancy?] married Mr. Nochtried. These were all hatters
and carried on their trade as hatters in Wooster, Ohio. They were all
prominent, well to do people.” The research presented in this
document dovetails with and adds to Mr. Allin's research.
known of John George’s wife or wives. A deed recorded in
Cumberland County, Pennsylvania in September 1800, wherein George
Pontius & wife and Johannes Hubler & wife, all of Toboyne Township, sold
property in Cumberland County to Frederick Briner, names George's wife
as Betsey and her signing mark appears as Elizabeth Pontius.
Census enumerations of 1830 and prior indicate a female of age to be his
wife in the household, and the household of John George Pontius has not
been found in the 1840 census. No marriage
record, death record nor grave has been found for Elizabeth Pontius to date.
A later deed, in 1842, was recorded in Williams County, Ohio wherein
George Puntches and wife Susanna sold property in Williams County to
Jonas Nacktrieb (sic) and J.P. Coulter. This could be Susanna
Overly, who married a George Punches in Wayne County, Ohio on 12 March
1834. (The younger George H. Pontius was still married to wife
Hannah until her death in 1848, so this marriage in Wayne County was
most probably that of John George - a conclusion substantiated by the
aforementioned deed of property to his son-in-law Jonas Nachtrieb.)
list names John
George’s known children. Alternate spellings of the Pontius name are
used where they are known to exist.
(Betsey) Pontius, born about 1794 in Pennsylvania
Married Christopher Harper Strieby on 15 Aug 1813 in Columbiana County,
Pontious, born 12 December 1795 in Pennsylvania
Married Hannah Call on 3 April 1817 in Jefferson County, Ohio
(Sallie) Pontius, born about 1801 in Pennsylvania
Married Thomas Clear
Puntches, born 01 January 1801 in Pennsylvania
Married Elizabeth (last name unknown)
Punches, born between 1810-1812 in Ohio
Married Calesta Sykes on 13 March 1842 in Wayne County, Ohio
Punches, born about 1818 in Ohio
Married Jonas Naughtreab (Nachtrieb) about 1833
have been two other daughters, Lydia Ann and Mary (Polly). John
Cooper Pontius remembered a "younger" sister as "Lyda? [or Nancy?]." it
is known that there was indeed a Nancy who married Jonas Nachtrieb;
however, there was a certain Lydia Ann Pontius who married Daniel
Laudigh in Wayne County, Ohio on 7 Jan 1841 (while John George and some
family members lived there), and one wonders whether this could have
been the source of the memory of "Lyda" for Mr. Pontius. The
Laudighs have not been found in census records at this time. Mary
(Polly) Pontius, who married Abraham Fox in Columbiana County, Ohio, is
discussed later in this document.
enumeration for 1800 is found for George Pontius in Toboyne Township,
Crawford (later Cumberland) County, Pennsylvania; this is believed to be
John George. A deed was filed in Cumberland County in spring of 1795,
showing John and Susanna Hubler (Hoobler) purchasing 120 acres of land
from George Pontius for 1,200 pounds (Cumberland Co. Deed Book O, page
6). The land was located south of the settlement of Blain. This couple
purchased land in 1812 in Jefferson County, Ohio and moved there. The
pattern and timeframe of this migration coincide with that of John
George Pontius and with the birth of son William Pontius in Ohio.
census finds the “George Punshes, Sr.” family in Knox Township,
Jefferson County, Ohio. In
1830, the “George Punches” household is
enumerated in New Somerset Township, Jefferson County. He is not found
in 1840’s census.
of the Pontius Family Association have placed the death of John George
in Jefferson County, Ohio around 1840, most likely due to an absence
of information to the contrary. John Cooper Pontius stated that John
George moved to Wooster, Ohio (Wayne County). Both John George's
son Thomas and the family of his
daughter Elizabeth Strieby are both found in Wooster as early as 1823, and in
1840 census the Strieby and Nachtrieb families were apparently next
door neighbors in Wooster. Because of this, the finding of a “George
Punches,” age 81 (born Pennsylvania), in Wooster during the
was quite suspicious, except that he was enumerated with the family of
Abraham (age 60) and Mary A. Fox (age 57, born Pennsylvania), and a
relationship between them and John George was unknown.
marriage records show a union between Polly Pontius and Abraham Fox in
Columbiana County on 11 January 1810. These records also list the
marriage of Elizabeth Pontious to Christopher H. Strieby on 15 August
1815 in Columbiana County. Columbiana County was formed from Jefferson
County townships, and the John George Pontius family lived very near the
border between the two counties. The 1800 census record of George
Pontius in Toboyne Township, Crawford (later Cumberland) County,
Pennsylvania shows two females under the age of 10, and one of them
could have been this Mary A. (or Polly, which is a nickname for Mary).
Upon the death of Mary/Polly's husband, Abraham Fox, "Mrs. Nachtrieb"
bought clothing items to assist her in preparing for the funeral.
It is reasonable to suspect that Mary A./Polly Pontius Fox may be the
eldest daughter of John George. The father/daughter relationship
between Mary A. Fox and John George Pontius remains circumstantial, but
the fact that John George was still living at that time is further
confirmed by the 1860 census.
the family of Thomas Punges is enumerated in Center Township, Williams
County, Ohio. The family listing includes Thomas (59), Elizabeth (48),
John (24), William (20), Lovinia (16) Ellen (6) and George, age 95.
We are satisfied that this head of household is indeed Thomas Pontius,
the son of John George, due to several factors:
Punchus is listed as a resident of Wooster in the 1823 Wayne County,
Ohio census. The Strieby family is also listed in that enumeration.
1837, “Thomas L. Puntches of Wayne County” registered a land patent in
Williams County and he is enumerated there in 1840 and in every
subsequent census year until his death. The children listed in the
1860 census record align
with his children in other census years.
(3) In the
1870 census, William Punghes, age 59, is included in the household of
Jonas and Nancy Nachtrieb in Wooster, Ohio, and he is said to be a
“jeweler.” In the
1880 census, Thomas’ daughter Lovinia Yates’
household in Williams County, Ohio includes William Punches,, age 68, a
“retired jeweler,” whose relationship to her is listed as “uncle.”
If the Thomas Punches in Williams County is the brother of
William and son of John George, then the person enumerated with
Thomas in 1860 as “George Punges,” age 95, born in Pennsylvania,
must be John George himself.
John George Pontius’ final resting place is found in the Brown
Cemetery, Williams County, Ohio. Thomas and wife must not have
known his actual age, for records show that his grave stone says
simply, “George Punches, age about 96.”
The other side of the stone lists
and Elizabeth Punches. Based upon this and the
1860 census listing, it is supposed that he died about 1861, having
lived a good long life and leaving many descendants.
The Known Children of John George Pontius
Elizabeth, or “Betsey” Punghes
Pontius was born about 1794 according to the 1850 census, but the
Strieby family genealogy page (www.striebygenealogy.com)
states her birth year as 1799. She was born in Pennsylvania, and one
would presume her to have been born in Cumberland County based on John
George’s census and land records. John Cooper Pontius called her
“Betsey.” Elizabeth married Christopher Harper Strieby, who was a clock
and watch maker, on 15 August 1813 in Columbiana County, Ohio. By 1823,
they were listed as residents of Wooster, Ohio (Wayne County). The
Strieby Genealogy page says this:
Christopher Harper Strieby, son of Michael and Maria
Magdalena (Klinkhart) Strieby, married Elizabeth Punghes. He farmed and
learned the trade as clockmaker from his father. He worked in Wooster,
Ohio, and later had his own shop at Mount Vernon, Ohio. He moved with
his son to Syracuse, New York. He built a grandfather clock into the
wall of the house in Syracuse, New York between 1853 and 1858. It had no
case, only the face and pendulum were visible through glass. This clock,
in the possession of his grandson, Maurice E Strieby in 1967, has been
mounted in an "1850 Period" case. The face of the clock (silver plated)
shows the name C. H. Strieby Syracuse, N. Y." but no date. It also has
the word "Regulator" above his name. This means it has a mercury
weighted pendulum for temperature compensation.
and Christopher Strieby had one son, Michael Epaphroditus Strieby, who
was born 26 September 1815 in Columbiana County, Ohio. Michael attended
Oberlin Theological Seminary and received his D.D. from Dartmouth
College. He was a minister of the Free Presbyterian Church and was
Corresponding Secretary for the American Missionary Association at
Newark, NJ. He married Ellen Frances Griswold and they had a number of
Strieby died 28 June 1872 in Maplewood, NJ, and Elizabeth died on 5
March 1875. She is buried in Fairmont Cemetery, Newark, NJ.
George H. Pontious
Pontius (spelled Pontious later) was born in Pennsylvania on 12 December
1795. He moved with his parents and siblings to Jefferson County, Ohio
sometime around 1810-1812 and there married Hannah Call on 03 April
Hannah had the following children:
22 Dec 1817
married Thomas Jefferson Campbell
08 May 1819
18 Jan 1821
married Susan (last name unknown)
08 Dec 1822
married Elizabeth Douglas
20 Sep 1825
28 Oct 1827
05 Jan 1829
27 Jan 1830
married Rebecca Ann Derumple Smith
15 Mar 1832
15 Mar 1834
married (1) Caroline Howard (2) Mrs. Sarah Howard
26 Dec 1836
married Lyda Jane Rupp
21 Nov 1840
farmed in Jefferson County, being found in
Saline Township in 1840 and
Brush Creek Township in 1850. In September 1840 he was a charter member
of the newly founded New Somerset Christian Church in New Somerset, Ohio
(Jefferson County). George’s wife Hannah died in Jefferson County on
20 November 1848 at the age of 51 years, 8 months and 5 days. She is
buried in the Brush Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, also known as the
Dennis Cemetery, near the border between Jefferson and Carroll Counties.
Pontius never remarried. He moved, along with some of his children, to
Scott County, Illinois, and he died there on 18 July 1887. He is buried
in Bower Cemetery, along with his son William’s family.
Sarah, or “Sallie” Pontius
Pontius was born about 1801 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. John Cooper
Pontius calls her Sallie, a nickname for Sarah. She married Thomas
Clear, a cooper by trade, about 1827 and they settled in Knoxville,
Jefferson County, Ohio (see
1850 census). The Clears had the following known children:
__ Dec 1825
married Robert Brady
married Cletus Bower?
__ June 1838
married Richard Chambers
Ashley or Ashel
Clear died in 1868 and Sarah died in 1856. Both are buried in the
Knoxville United Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Knoxville, Ohio
(Jefferson County), along with their daughter, Mary, and her husband
Pontius (later spelled Punches or Puntches) was born on 01 January 1801 in
Pennsylvania. In the county census of June 1823, Thomas is listed as a
resident of Wayne County, Ohio. He married a woman named Elizabeth
sometime around 1831. (Her maiden name may have been O'Hara, as
there is a Susan O'Hara, born 1779, listed on the common gravestone of Thomas,
Elizabeth, and George Punches.) In March 1837, Thomas
registered a land patent in Williams County, Ohio, and by
family is listed in Center Township in that county.
there may have been more, Thomas and Elizabeth had the following known
||settled in Grant County,
Minnesota, married Phebe Anna Burns Fowler, had children
______1834, died 26 Jan 1904
married Adeline Osmun, no known children
married Nellie Strong, had children
married Frank B. Yates, had children
__ Feb 1854, died 30 Apr 1894
||unmarried, died of consumption
Lovinia married Frank B. Yates in 1864 and he died 12 Dec 1871. William
Punches, her uncle, was living with Lovinia and sons when he died in
1880, and later her sister Ellen moved to New York, where Lovinia cared
for her until she died. One of Lovinia’s sons was Cullen Yates, who
became an American Impressionist artist of some note.
following excerpt is from the Florence Griswold Museum website,
On a lark, Cullen Yates
(originally named Owen), decided not to travel to Europe during the
summer of 1900 but instead, joined a band of artist friends who were
heading up to Connecticut to stay at the Griswold boardinghouse. Not an
intimate friend of Henry Ward Ranger, but more of a friend of a friend,
Yates nevertheless became an unsuspecting pioneer of the Lyme Art
Colony. A handsome man with a
full reddish beard, Cullen found himself
immortalized in The Fox Chase, running with the others despite
his formal gray suit, crisp white collar and tie. He returned to Old
Lyme the following summer.
discovered his interest in art as a boy in Ohio. He set his sights on
studying art in New York and was accepted into the National Academy of
Design by age 25. A few years later, he and his mother rented a little
house near the art colony at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island. He studied
with American Impressionist painter William Merritt Chase while his
mother served two meals a day to the students in the summer colony — a
foreshadowing of the mothering of Miss Florence who he will meet six
years later. Between his time at Shinnecock and Old Lyme, however, he
traveled to Europe and studied art literally day and night. He had
classes at the Académie Julian during the day, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts
in the afternoons, and the Academie Colorossi in the evening! He then
returned to Ohio to teach. Determined to make his mark in the art world,
he moved to New York where his active participation in art shows and
memberships in art clubs put him in contact with the influencial artists
who he would follow to Old Lyme.
Pontius states that Thomas Pontius was a hatter by trade. It is
possible that he was trained in this trade in his early years, but from
1840 on he appears to have farmed. His daughter Ellen’s obituary says
that she engaged in the millinery business in Montpelier for a time, and
it is possible that she learned the trade from her father.
Punches, had children and went on to live in St. Louis, MO. Newton
Q. Punches married and settled in Grant County, Minnesota, having
offspring there. Through these two sons there may still be
descendants of Thomas who carry the Punches surname; research is
Punches died on 4 January 1872, and his wife Elizabeth died 30 August
1880. They are buried together in the Brown Cemetery, Center Township,
Williams County, Ohio.
Pontius (later spelled Puntches, Punghes and Punches) was born in Ohio
about 1811, judging from census records. From John Cooper Pontius
we know that William was a jeweler, and census records of 1870 and 1880
show this to be true. Those census records show him to be retired.
1850 census, William Punghes, age 39, a watchmaker, is shown with a
wife, Calista, age 36, living in the town of Ashtabula, Ohio.
They are enumerated with the family of Frederick Sikes, age 43, born in
Connecticut, and Calista is also said to be born in Connecticut.
Wayne County, Ohio records include a marriage between William Punches
and Calesta Sykes on 13 March 1842.
lists W. Punghes as a jeweler, clockmaker, watchmaker and silversmith in
Bryan (Williams County, Ohio between 1859-1864 and in Ashtabula, Ohio in
1868. The owner of this website, William Voss, states regarding
the researcher's inquiry: "The information on my Ohio list is
transcribed from hand-written index cards compiled by Elizabeth Beckman,
who wrote the book on Cincinnati silversmiths. They were basically
working notes assembled during her travels about the state."
1860, William and Calista Punghes are enumerated, without children,
with John and Julia Eggleston in Guilford Township, Medina County, Ohio.
William was 49 and no occupation was listed; Calista was 46. Julia
was born in Connecticut and may be Calista's sister. He was living with the Jonas Nachtrieb family in Wooster when the
1870 census was taken. He died on
23 July 1880 at the home of his niece Lovinia Yates, and he is buried in
Fountain Grove Cemetery, Pulaski Township, Williams County, Ohio.
His heir and executor was Lovinia Yates (will filed in box 2363,
Williams County, Ohio), causing one to wonder whether this inheritance
enabled his nephew, Cullen Yates, to have art lessons in New York.
Pontius was born September 12, 1808 in Jefferson County, Ohio.
John Cooper Pontius remembered the younger daughter as either Lyda or Nancy, but
documents consistently refer to this individual as Nancy. Nancy married Jonas
Nachtrieb, a hatter, on the anniversary of her birth, September 12, 1833, in Wooster, Ohio and
the couple spent their lives there. They were apparently successful business
people, and the 1880 census shows that Jonas was a Hat & Fur Dealer.
census records indicate there may have been others, Nancy and Jonas Nachtrieb had the following known children:
bet. 1837-1840, died 1 Feb 1841
married Philip L. Horn
about 1847, died 29 Aug 1890
age 43 of lung disease
census lists son Michael, age 24, as a “portrait painter.” Michael Strieby Nachtrieb was, in fact, an artist of some renown, specializing
in portraits and still life paintings. His
portrait of Robert E.
Lee from 1870 is owned by the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation and
hangs in Stratford Hall Plantation.
Pontius Nachtrieb died on 26 May 1886 in Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio, at
the home of her daughter, Emma F. Horn.
Her husband, Jonas Nachtrieb, preceded her in death, having passed away
on 01 Mar 1880.
researcher has presented a new picture of John George Pontius, showing
that he died in Williams County about 1861, and not twenty years earlier
as previously supposed. Further, compelling evidence has been
presented to strongly suggest the existence of an elder daughter, Mary A. Fox,
unknown until now, and to raise the question of a possible additional
As with all
genealogical works, this one is not complete. Much more can be
learned about the descendents of John George. One would hope to
determine his wife's maiden name and to resolve more
concretely the question of Mary A. Fox’s relationship to John George.
It is hoped that living descendants of John George Pontius will be
reader has questions or comments about the conclusions drawn herein,
and especially if one is a descendant of any of the persons mentioned, please contact the researcher at