JACOB LUTZ, SR. FAMILY At Dallas, Texas Home

14 January 2018 19:02 น. Family Histories ,

The Selzer long journey that led Jacob Lutz and his large family to Dallas started in 1882 when they left the Austria-Hungary area in Europe to escape the cruelty of the Turks and Russian Cossacks and the threat to their religious freedom. They came to America in “steerage” aboard ship, even though they had paid for first class passage, with their parents, brothers, and sisters. They traveled in deplorable conditions. Jacob and his wife, Dorothea, arrived with their nine-week-old baby, Magdalena. Jacob had been born in Russia in 1856 and Dorothea had been born near Austria in 1860. They arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, and made their way to North Dakota, where the families pooled their assets to purchase food and farming equipment.

They settled in a remote area to homestead in what became Carrington, North Dakota. At first the Indians were hostile, but later they were mainly interested in stealing clothes off the line and obtaining other items. Additional acres were granted to immigrants who promised to plant trees on their property. The only source of income at that time came from picking up buffalo bones and selling or trading them for goods in Jamestown, ND. Their first homes were made of mud and straw, but eventually they built a nice two-story white frame house in Pleasant Valley and had a red barn and several outbuildings for equipment and storage of food.

Other daughters born were Maria, Caroline, Minnie, Emma, Martha, Anna, and Sarah, who wrote the family history. Also born were sons Jacob, Jr., and Johnny, who died as an infant.

But alas, change occurred in 1907 when father Jacob visited a brother in Texas and purchased property in Denton without discussing it with Dorothea. A giant auction was held in North Dakota, leaving behind the organ, a spinning wheel, and all the great things they had acquired. It was a traumatic move because Magdalena, Maria, and Caroline had married and had to be left behind, as well as the gravesites of many loved ones.

They moved by train to Denton in November 1907, but because of the constant rain in black sticky soil and the Texas chiggers, Jacob became restless and purchased a 320-acre farm near Henrietta in 1908. The trip by covered wagon to the new farm took several days because of the livestock.

The next four years were happy ones, in spite of the hard work. The girls were growing up and falling in love and entertained and helped more with the many chores, including wine-making, a German custom. The one real ordeal was when the dreaded disease of scarlatina took over the household. A yellow flag was placed at the gate and stayed for weeks as each member of the family succumbed to the illness. Finally the quarantine was lifted and the hated “rag” removed from the premises. A drought finally convinced Jacob to relocate again to his final destination, DALLAS!

Instead of traveling by covered wagon like their last move, which meant parents sleeping on blankets under the wagon and children sleeping in the wagon, and cooking out for several days, the move to Dallas in 1912 was by train.

Jacob purchased a three-and-a-half acre parcel of land in southern Dallas, and their new home faced what is now Central Expressway. In later years streets were cut right in the middle of their land. He went into the truck-gardening business and continued to work until his health failed in later years. Even though the German language was prevalent in their home, they learned English and became Americans.

Jacob and Dorothea died in 1932, a month and a day apart.
They truly accomplished their goal of raising their large family in a country where they could worship God and had complete freedom in every way.

Simon Selzer’s mother was Minnie (Lutz) Selzer. Jacob Lutz was his grandfather. Paula Selzer is the great-granddaughter of Jacob Lutz. Simon was nine years old when his grandparents died.

By Carolyn And Simon Selzer for Dallas County Pioneer Association‘s Proud Heritage, Volume III.

Photo: Jacob Lutz, Sr., Family—in first Dallas house.