of Blumfield Township,

Saginaw County, Michigan






Hugo Georg Krebs



Hugo Georg Krebs was my great great grandfather.  He was born in Bergish-Gladbach, Rheinland, Prussia on May 19, 1833, the second son in a family of nine boys and two girls.  Life in Germany in the mid 1880’s was very difficult, and the young men had little or no chance of making a decent living.  Unless they were born into nobility, most people simply had no choice but to become servants or farmers (usually working other people’s land) to try and eek out a life for their families…a poor one at that.  Generally at that time the eldest son inherited his father’s land, but Hugo’s dad (Georg Friedrich Krebs) was a local Lutheran pastor and most likely owned very little land.  Also, at this time Germany was imposing large taxes on its citizens, which made it harder to save money to buy land.  Many German families had family members that had already migrated to the United States, and they were urging others to come to America too. At the same time, many people were tempted by the Homestead Act in the U.S. with promises of free land to those willing to farm it, and the hope for a better way of life for all.


In the mid 1850’s Hugo’s dad, Georg Friedrich, became a widower when his wife Karoline Friederike (Esch) died in March 1854.  He was worried about his sons and had heard the promises of land in the new country. With great expectations, in April, 1859 he applied for emigration to America for six of his sons.  A friend in Michigan promised to help them buy farms.  At first, permits were only given to Hugo and his brothers Ernst and Emil.  The German military authorities refused to allow the other three to leave, presumably because the exodus of young men was depleting their supply of soldiers for their army.  Fortunately, later that same year, the other three sons were also granted permission to leave.


On what was probably a beautiful spring day, Hugo and his two brothers arrived on the shores of New York.  The ship was the Hammonia and the date was May 30, 1859.  It was the beginning of a new life in a new land. 






           Click to enlarge all pictures

          The S.S. Hammonia’s  manifest showing H.G. (Hugo Georg), Ernst, and Emil Krebs.  


The Ship S.S. Hammonia



The three young men then made their way to mid Michigan, where they settled in Blumfield Township.  Hugo bought farm land and lived there for the rest of his life.


But Hugo had left behind in Germany, the love of his life, his cousin Natalia Krebs, and he desperately wanted her to join him in his new found homeland.  Ship records indicate that she came to the USA with her father in law Georg and brother in laws Ernst, and Bernhard on the ship Bavaria on July 9, 1860. 



    Bavaria’s Manifest, July 9, 1860; page 10, showing Georg, Nata, Ernst                             Pg 6 showing Bern. Krebs  


    The S.S. Bavaria


    But a mystery surrounds the actual marriage of Hugo and Natalie.  Records found at St. John's Lutheran Church, East Saginaw, state that they were married there on August 18, 1860, by Pastor E. Krebs. The record reads:

“KREBS, Hugo, 25 years. Prussia. Farmer. Natalie ___. 24 years. Prussia. Blumfield. Married, August 20, 1860 by Pastor E. KREBS. East Saginaw.”

Other information found on the Family Search website states that they were married in 1855, in Barmen Stadt, Rheinland, Prussia.  Maybe they were married in both places, for reasons unknown.




    During the next 15 years, their family expanded, with the births of three sons and three daughters. In order of birth, they were Eliza Natalie, Walter Otto, Alvina, Emma M., Hugo E., and Alexander.

Hugo and Natalie appear on the 1880 census, with all their children and he is listed as a farmer.  In 1900 Hugo is now a widower, still farming in Blumfield Township, and living with his son Hugo.  Then he is also found on the 1910 census, aged 70, living with his daughter Eliza’s family. 

Hugo filed his letter of intent for U.S. citizenship on March 11, 1868 in the county of Saginaw.  It is not known if he ever received his citizenship.



         Hugo's Declaration of Intention for Naturalization



Son Walter Krebs married Friederike Reitter on November 23, 1896.  He owned a farm on Washington Road in Blumfield Township.  They became the parents of four children.

Alvina became the bride of farmer Robert Schaberg on September 14, 1894.  They also had four children.

Great grandmother Emma’s story is below. 

Her sister Eliza married Otto Henry Seitz. 

Children Hugo and Alexander never married.

 Natalia passed away in 1896.  On the 1901 census, Hugo was living with his son Hugo on the farm.  In 1910, he was living with his daughter Eliza and her husband Otto Seitz.  He died on July 1, 1915.

He and his wife are buried in the Blumfield Cemetery.  The tombstone of Hugo and Natalia says "Lasse tunere Hoffnung auf den herrn setzen."  Roughly translated, it says "Put your Hope in the Lord." 


        Hugo and Natalie's gravestone  





Emma M. Krebs



    Click all pictures to enlarge  



Emma M. Krebs was the 4th child of Hugo and Natalie, born on May 30, 1869.  She was my great grandmother. Emma was a dear, sweet lady, small in stature and quiet by nature.  As a very small girl, I remember visiting great grandma in the Eventide Salvation Army Home for the elderly on Saginaw’s eastside.  Her daughter, Ruth Emma, would take me to see her. I would spend countless hours looking through magazines while my two grandmothers visited.   By this time, great grandma was very old, having lived until the age of 97.  The memory of seeing her is vivid, but I never got to know her as the vibrant young woman she most likely was in her early years.  I remember Emma as a lady of few words who wore cotton house dresses and very sturdy black shoes that tied snuggly on her feet.   I only saw her occasionally when she would attend a holiday dinner with the family.   A funny memory I have of this grandma was in regard to her very wrinkly skin.  I so enjoyed pinching the skin on her hands because it stood up all by itself!




      Emma Seitz Krebs 

Taken about 1922

Frank Troge Jr is seen peeking from behind her dress.




Emma was born and raised on the family farm in Blumfield Township.  Down the road from their residence lived a family named Seitz, also a typical farm family.   George and Karoline Seitz had seven children, four boys and three girls.  It is not known if they all survived to adulthood.  Two of the Seitz boys were smitten with two of the Krebs girls and soon, love was in the air.  Emma was claimed by Emich Seitz and her sister Eliza was taken by his brother Otto.  The girls married the brothers about two years apart.  Emma and Emich were married in Sebewaing, Huron County, Michigan on November 20, 1894.  At the time, Emich was working as a stationary engineer in a mill in this rural area of the thumb of Michigan and decided he had to return to his job.





Their first four children were born in Huron County.  They were Marie, Martha, Ruth Emma, and Herman.  Little Martha passed away in 1896 when she was just seven months old.  Sometime in the very early 1900’s, Emich decided to move back to Blumfield Township, where some of his brothers and his father George had already settled many years before.  He bought a farm at 2670 Harnish Road, where the family not only farmed, but raised a variety of animals also.  Shortly after the move, their daughter and last child, Lucille, was born in 1905.




    From left to right:

Marie, Lucille, Great Gramma, Herman, Ruth Emma




Although Emich loved farming, he decided to work in the off season at Uncle Henry’s Coal Mine,  which was located not far from their home.  I’m sure the extra money helped him to better provide for his family.  The work in the coal mine was demanding and the hours were long.  Emma, being a typical stay at home mom, was left to care for her children and the animals.  I’m sure Emma had more than enough to keep her busy.  There was gardening, canning, sewing, and general housework, and none could be done with the modern conveniences of today. 





Life was good for Emma until January of 1928, when Emich took ill with typhoid fever, which soon took his life.  Knowing that he was dying, he sent his daughter Marie to bring the local pastor to his bedside.  It was at this time that Emich was finally baptized.  Not much is known about what Emma did afterward or when she sold the farm.  Their children were all married and no longer lived near the farm.  Each sought a different path to take in life.  Often in the early to mid 1900’s, a surviving parent would live with one of her children.  It is believed that Emma spent time with each of her three daughters, until she needed more care. 

On June 30, 1966, Emma passed away and is buried near her husband in the Blumfield Cemetery.  She lived to the age of 97.


         Here is a newspaper article printed in 1964 when Gramma celebrated her 95th birthday.  Gramma is on the far right.  





George Seitz and Caroline Kunz




Great great grandparents, George and Caroline Seitz, the parents of Emich, came to America in the mid 1800’s.  George, who was born in Gersbach, (near Heilsbronn) Bavaria, arrived in New York in 1848 and came directly to Michigan.  He was 30 years old.   It is not known when Caroline arrived, but on the 1850 census, she was 22 years old and living with the Anton Rabb (Raab) family, and Ignatz and Ludmilla Lieber in Saginaw County.  George and Caroline married August 18, 1852,  in the city of Saginaw by a Justice of the Peace.

Upon arrival, George went to work for a well known pioneer in the Saginaw Valley, Curtis Emerson.

He worked for about six years as the head sawyer in Emerson’s sawmill, a trade he later put to good use.  In 1854, George bought a 160 acre farm in Blumfield Township and later purchased another 110 acres to farm.  But the sawmill dust was in his veins now, and George decided he would erect his own sawmill.  He then built a sawmill on his property, which bordered along the Cheboygan Creek.  This sawmill was most successful, but unfortunately, it burned down in 1869.

A few years later, in 1876, he built a bigger and better sawmill, later adding a grist mill also.  His sons, George and Otto, who assisted him in the running of the farm and the sawmill, took over the mill in 1886.  This information was taken from an old book entitled Portrait and Biographical Record, which appears on 




Click to enlarge map

       1877 Map of Blumfield Township George Seitz property in red Notice SSM = Seitz Sawmill    Hugo Krebs property in blue   





Seven children were born from this union.  They were Lewis, Caroline, Otto Henry, George William, Ernestina, Revia (Maria?), and Emich.  It is not known what became of Lewis, Caroline, and Revia.  It can be assumed that they may have all died at a young age.  Lewis, also known as Ludwig, George and Caroline were not baptized until 1863 at St. Andrews in Saginaw.  At the time, their ages ranged from two to eight.  It must have been a group baptism.  As noted in the story about Emich, he wasn’t baptized until just before his death.

On the 1870 census George and Caroline are shown living in Blumfield Township with three children, Otto, George, and Dina (Ernestina).   His property was valued at $10,000, which was a hefty sum at the time.   Missing are Lewis, Caroline, and Revia. Emich wasn’t born until the summer of that year. 

In 1880, the census listed the Seitz family, George and Caroline and children Otto, George, Ernestina (Albertina), and Emich.

 Otto, the eldest son, married Eliza Natalie Krebs on March 4, 1886.  At this time, he was operating the Seitz Sawmill.  In his lifetime, Otto also served as Blumfield Township treasurer and also, as County Clerk.  He and Eliza had four children:  twins Elsa Caroline and Emma M., Lucy and Alfred Otto.



           Otto Seitz and Eliza Krebs



George Seitz, the 2nd son, married Ella A. Merritt on November 5, 1888 in Saginaw, Michigan.  In 1910, George and family were living in Blumfield Township and he was a farmer.  They were the parents of one son, Guy L. Seitz.

Ernestina, who was born in February 1865, married a man by the name of Maynard Newberry on Christmas Eve 1885. They lived in Saginaw until about 1900, then moved to East Jordan. The 1910 census listed her husband as a cedar cutter, so I am assuming work was pretty plentiful for him in that area. In 1920 they were still living in northern Michigan, and had six children, Ella, Mabel Ann, Ruel, Martha, Floyd, and Otto. In 1929, Maynard died, and Ernestina moved to Flint with her son Floyd, possibly to be closer to her daughter, Mabel Ann. Ernestina died in Flint on February 25, 1943, at the age of 78.


Great great grandmother Caroline passed away on March 23, 1890 followed by her husband George on February 14, 1891.  They are both buried in Blumfield Township Cemetery, Saginaw County, Michigan.