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Family of Johan Conrad Franz


Johann Conrad Franz

By Margaret Gilmore Seerden, great-great granddaughter

Johann Conrad Franz was the first of this Franz family to come to America, in 1845. Johan Conrad's ancestors had lived in Weissenbach, Nassau, Germany, for five generations.

Christian Franz was the progenitor of this Franz line. He was born in 1664 in Weissenbach, Nassau, Germany. Four generations of this family were talented in woodworking as furniture and cabinet makers. One of the family was mayor of the city, another kept church records and records for the local surveyor; also, they worked in the lead mines.

Johann Conrad Franz and his wife, Elizabeth Strackbein, born on July 2, 1804, in Weissenbach, and died on Matagorda Peninsula in 1873, went first to Indianola where they lived for three months and then came to Matagorda and acquired property on Matagorda Peninsula. Elizabeth was the daughter of shoemaker Wilhelm and Wilhelmina (Greeb) Strackbein.

Johann Conrad was a wheelwright and shipbuilder by trade. He and Elizabeth had eight children, four of whom died young. This family lived on the Peninsula for about fifteen years. Johann died there in 1858.

Johann Conrad Wilhelm Franz was the next generation. He was born on February 17, 1831, in Weissenbach, Germany. On May 16, 1856, he married Demis Mariah Baxter, who was born April 3, 1838. She was the daughter of William Baxter and Esther Wightman Yeamans Baxter. Esther's parents were Asa and Jerusha Wightman Yeamans.

J. Conrad W. Franz was also a builder of ships and bridges. When he no longer pursued the shipbuilding trade, he acquired 3,400 acres of land north of Matagorda and there he farmed, raised cattle, and was a carpenter.

Conrad held the office of sheriff of Matagorda County from 1869 - 1873; he served previously as a county commissioner.

Conrad and Demis Franz had fifteen children, twelve of them living to maturity. Conrad died in Bay City on December 15, 1904, and Demis Mariah died in Bay City on April 15, 1921.

This couple's daughter, Amanda Jane Franz, was born November 11, 1861, in Matagorda. On November 28, 1878, she married Greenberry Savage, who was born on April 8, 1855, at Matagorda.

Historic Matagorda County, Volume I, pages 67-68



(February 17, 1831 – December 15, 1904)


Matagorda County today mourns the loss of another of its old citizens. Conrad Franz died at 9 o’clock last night, at the age of 73 years, after a long period of affliction that had made him an invalid and kept him for the greater part of the last year in bed. The funeral services were held at the Methodist Church at 3:30 o’clock this afternoon and interment took place in Cedarvale cemetery an hour later.

Deceased was one of this county’s oldest citizens, reckoning his residence here back to youth’s vigorous period, and his life has been one of honor and rectitude for every day of it. He was a ship carpenter and bridge builder by trade, and for many years was a prominent contractor. Back in the old days he served as sheriff and tax collector.


He was a member of the Methodist church, and until age and disease rendered him incapable of active work, was a devoted and earnest churchman, giving liberally of his services and means at every call of his organization.


He lived so as to win the respect and esteem of every man, and dying leaves behind, to a large family of sons and daughters, the priceless legacy of a good name. December 16, 1904.

Demis M. Franz

Mrs. Demis M. Franz, one of Matagorda County’s oldest residents died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Myrtle Steffins, in Houston, yesterday afternoon at 2:40 o’clock, and was buried in Cedarvale Cemetery this afternoon at 4 o’clock, following religious ceremonies at the Methodist church.

Decedent was the relict of Conrad Franz who died many years ago. She leaves seven children. These are W. R. Franz, C. P. Franz, Mrs. Martha Williams, S. J. Franz of Pawnee, Oklahoma; P. F. Franz, Mrs. Teresa Sexton and Mrs. Myrtle Steffins, of Houston.

Mrs. Franz was a devout Christian and had been a member of the Methodist Church for a lifetime. She raised a large family of children and had many friends wherever she was known.

Daily Tribune, April 16, 1921


Copyright 2013 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
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Apr. 6, 2013
Apr. 6, 2013