Georg Eduard Förtmeier was the third child born to Ilsa Dorothea "Doris" Georges and Diedrich Friederich Wilhelm Förtmeier. Georg was born in Essern, Germany in 1830. By the time he was fifteen the Förtmeier family had settled in Bohnhorst, Warmsen, Germany. At this time George had ten brothers and sisters, however Anne Caroline Sophie had passed away in the year of her birth, 1843.
According to my twice great uncle's autobiography (Eugene Mente), if a boy wanted to emigrate from Germany he had to do so before the age of seventeen. Therefore, his brothers and he did so one by one, just as did the Förtmeier brothers and sisters; in the company of a brother or another older sister. In the Förtmeier family Georg was the first to go, leaving for Cincinnati, Ohio aboard the Johan George in 1846.
For a long time, we here in the present had no idea what happened to Georg after he got here, or even if he ever did get here. Up until April, 2018 all we had discovered was that he appeared in two Cincinnati Business Directories, 1850-1851 and 1851 to 1852. In 1852 he was listed as boarding with F. Droege and he was a clerk at H.B. Habenback. Strangely enough, on the next line it lists H.G. Fortmeyer, also a clerk (does not say where) and boarding with F. Droge. In the 1853 directory all three names (Geo. E., H.G., and H.B. Habenback) all disappear, so far, with the exception of Georg, forever. In April, 2018 I discovered a death notice for Georg Eduard Fortmeier who had died on June 10, 1851. I had previously come to believe that Georg may have died of cholera in the 1849-1851 epidemic, which took over 5,900 lives in Cincinnati. The death notice, which had appeared in the June 11, 1851 Cincinnati Volksblatt, was written in old German. So, I sent it to my friend Manfred Raker in Germany for translation. Here is what it said:
Died On 10 June at the age of twenty years of pneumonia Georg Eduard Fortmeier. His funeral will take place this afternoon at 2pm from Mr. J.F. Dröge's apartment, Clinton Street, between Custer and Linn Street. June 11
Manfred goes on to say:
Cause of death is pneumonia, not cholera. It is also interesting that Förtmeier is written without ö but still with i at meier. The American form Foertmeyer has thus only acquired the next Förtmeier immigrants. The family name Dröge is more common in the area around Bohnhorst. Perhaps Georg Eduard got his first job there with an acquaintance from his old homeland.
This last sentence warmed my heart and smoothed over, only slightly though, the tragedy of a young man taking on alone the formidable voyage to America and then Cincinnati, only to die of disease only five years later. Hopefully, F. Droege was a friend from home H.G. Fortmeyer was a relative from home (he was not a sibling and we still do not know the connection) and thankfully he may have had a readymade home to go to.
So, who was F. Droege? Was he someone from "back home" that Georg knew? Thanks to my friend Manfred we now know a lot more about Johann Friederich Dröge. As Manfred had said, the name Dröge is more common around Bohnhorst, and he was correct. Johann Friederich Dröge was born on February 6, 1813 in Bohnhorst. His parents were Johann Heinrich Dröge (1788-1816) born in Hauskämpen and Marie Elisabeth Gräper (1781-1822) born in Sapelloh. Both parents died in Bohnhorst. The family owned farm No.23 in Bohnhorst. Johann was orphaned at age 9 and for all we know, may have been housed and fed by the Förtmeier family. Maybe that is why it appears that Johann Dröge came back from Cincinnati to Germany to escort Georg to Cincinnati and board him in his home.
Johann immigrated to the U.S. in 1834 as a young adult. In 1846 he is found back in Germany and onboard the same ship, the Johan George, with Georg Eduard. The log states that his place of residence is Cincinnati and his destination is Cincinnati.
Next, we find that in the very next year, at the age of 34, Johann Dröge (Droege) marries Louise Fidelar on July the first. Of course, as stated before, Georg dies of pneumonia in June of 1851. After that date, I have not found Johann Droege again until the 1860 Federal Census when we find him living in Portsmouth, Ohio, age 57 with his wife Louisa, age 35, also born in Hannover, a daughter Louisa, age 3, born in Ohio. Now, also in the household is a 10-year-old girl named Caroline Droege listed as having been born in Hannover. That would have put her birth in about 1850, three years after the wedding and the year before Georg’s death. Speculation: If he had been raised by the Förtmeiers, in 1850 both his surrogate parents would still have been alive. Perhaps this was a trip back home with the new wife and Georg to visit with their parents. Perhaps Caroline was born there and then.
In the 1870 Federal Census Johann and Louisa (Lucy) are still in the Portsmouth, Ohio area, listed as being in Clay Township, with Louisa, age10. Caroline, now 20, is no longer in the household.
I could find nothing between 1870 and 1893, when Johann dies on May 2, 1893. He was laid to rest in the Greenlawn Cemetery, 55 Mary Ann Street, Portsmouth, Ohio. On January 5, 1910 his wife Lucy joins him there. As to Caroline and Louise Droege, the children, I have found no more on Caroline, but I did find Louise, resting in peace also in the Greenlawn Cemetery, having passed away herself in 1927. Lying with her is her husband William.
F. Dröge Apartment - On Clinton between Cutter & Linn
This today would be in Laurel Park Recreation Area
Georg 's Death Notice 11 Jun 1851
1851-1852 Cincinnati Business Directory showing
Georg & H.G. Fortmeyer boarding with F. Dröge (Droege)
Click the above image for the German "Family Book"
of Johann Friederich Dröge's family
Excerpt from the ship Mary passengers list
showing Johann Dröge's listing at 21 years
Listings on the June 27, 1846 voyage on the ship Johan George bringing Georg Förtmeier to Cincinnati and bringing Johann Dröge back to Cincinnati. Also notice, when you click on the above item, the green dot, which marks Adolph Seinecke, a relative of Anna Seinecke, my twice great grandmother.
1847 wedding license of Johann Dröge and Luise Fidelar
Hamilton County, Ohio [CLICK IMAGE]
To read more about this immigrant family, Click Here