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:


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

Having discovered what had become of Georg, now it became incumbent upon us to find his final resting place. This has been a challenge on several levels. First of all, Georg died in 1851. Although he died from pneumonia, thousands were also dying at that time in Cincinnati from cholera. Graveyards were filling up quickly. Having checked every cemetery record I can find so far, Georg has not been located. A second problem is that several old graveyards have been moved over the years. Receiving these dead were Spring Grove and Vine Street Hill, among others I'm sure. Neither Spring Grove or Vine Street Hill show that they have Georg.

BREAKTHROUGH:  As of today, February 24, 2019, we now know where Georg was buried. According to Jessie Hicks, Senior Library Services Assistant, Genealogy & Local History Department, Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, "I found a burial record for Georg Eduard Foertmeier (Fortmeier, etc) in the Hamilton County, Ohio Burial Records edited by Jeffrey Herbert. In volume 13, which covers the First German Protestant Cemetery of Avondale—also called the Cholera Cemetery—located at 3632 Reading Road, there is a listing on page 13 for Georg Edward Fortmeier (this is how it is spelled in the record) buried 10 June 1851 in Lot 344, age 20."

Now the question is, where was Lot 344? Below are two maps. The first is the cemetery plot map, and the second is a current ariel view of what once was the cemetery. Based on information obtained by cemetery records stating the size of the plots, I was able to plot out by these measurements, where approximately Georg's grave should be (yellow circle).

According to Professor Michael Washington, "The first German Protestant Cemetery was organized in 1802 and located at 3632 Reading Road on six-and-a-half acres. Many victims of the cholera epidemics, which occured seven times between 1832 and 1880, and killed about 7,500 people, were buried there.

In 1843, twenty-one years before it closed for burials in 1864, a new German Protestant Cemetery, now known as Walnut Hills Cemetery, opened and some remains from the old graveyard were moved.

No cholera victims were reburied, however. The fear remained that the germs lived, and if the graves were disturbed, another epidemic would be unleashed."

According to the library, it is very unlikely Georg was ever moved, and there is no record to be found of Georg's removal and relocation.

German Protestant Cemetery - 1869

The land for this four-acre burial ground was purchased in 1843 by John F. Kestner, John F. Clauhide, and Fred VonSeggern as trustees for the First German Protestant Cemetery Society of Avondale, which was comprised of 100 stockholders each having as his share a lot 16x16 feet for the use of his family. There were in total 444 lots and a common ground for individual burials. During the cholera epidemic years which began in 1849, the extreme number of cholera victims buried here gave the cemetery a dire reputation, and was referred to as the Cholera Cemetery in Cincinnati. Over the large iron gate entrance at 3632 Reading Road hung a key to the gate. Popular legend in the nineteenth century held that anyone who touched the key would die within a year, also fear about disturbing the ground further where the cholera victims were buried led to this cemetery being closed in 1878 and placed under the care of a trusteeship of seven men. The record books for the cemetery were kept entirely in German and after passing through many stewardships are in the rare book department of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. No grave markers exist at this time, and the entire site has been leveled as the parking lot and ball field of the Hirsch Community Center in Avondale. Details provided by Todd Whitesides (#47553735).

The cemetery is located in the Avondale neighborhood of the city of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, and is # 4545 in “Ohio Cemeteries 1803-2003”, compiled by the Ohio Genealogical Society (Avondale Cemetery / German Protestant Cemetery / First German Protestant Cemetery / Cholera Cemetery / German Cemetery ).

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) feature ID for the cemetery is 1059283 (German Cemetery / First German Protestant Cemetery).

August 8, 1966
The Burton School mentioned is now razed

Cincinnati Public Landing in 1849
What Georg Would Have Seen
Upon His Arrival in 1846

--Hopefully, to be continued.

Johann and Lucy Dröge (Droege)

Greenlawn Cemetery - Scioto County, Ohio


Louise Droege Cook (Dröge)

William E. Cook
Below are links to census data gathered for the Dröge family. Johann and Lucy were married in 1847 and in 1851 they had a son, born while still in Cincinnati, they named John E. Droege. Unfortunately, young John died in Portsmouth, Ohio on March 8, 1867, a victim of scarlet fever. The boy was only six years old. Also, in 1857, a girl was born to Johann and Louisa and they named her Louisa. Louisa married in 1880 William Cook. Louisa passed in 1927, but William lived on to 1956, passing away at ninety-eight years of age.

1850       1870

I wrote to an Ulrich Dröge in Bohnhorst, Germany to see if he knew if he was related to the Johann Dröge who cared for Georg Eduard in Cincinnati. Ulrich's mother, 83 year-old Lisa Dröge responded to my letter. In short, she said she had never heard the name Förtmeier before now. She was also unfamiliar with any ancestor of hers named Johann Dröge who immigrated to America. However, no connection not withstanding, Frau Dröge did sent a very historically significant picture of her Oma (granny) in front of their barn in 1920.