Jacob Joseph Wirtz, Sr.

Male 1768 - 1829


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  • Suffix  Sr. 
    Born  26 May 1768  Frederick County, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Christened  18 Sep 1768  Evangelical Lutheran Church, Middletown, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Gender  Male 
    Died  7 Apr 1829  Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried  New Jerusalem Lutheran Church Cemetery, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Person ID  I142  Virts
    Last Modified  22 Feb 2016 

    Father  Peter Philip Virtzs,   b. 14 Jun 1737, Baden, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 May 1798, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  Christina Eberhardt,   b. 6 Jan 1737, Frederick, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Jun 1813, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  1758  Frederick, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID  F53  Group Sheet

    Family 1  Louisa Brunner,   b. 20 Oct 1788, Frederick County, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Nov 1825, Loudoun County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  17 Nov 1807  German Reformed Church, Frederick, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Johannes Wirtz,   b. 10 Dec 1808, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 May 1841, Loudoun County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. Jacob Joseph Wirts, Jr.,   b. 1 Jan 1810, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Apr 1882, Frederick County, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Peter Wirts,   b. 9 Dec 1812, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Nov 1868, Loudoun County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Susan Wirtz,   b. 30 Mar 1815, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Jul 1900, Astoria, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location
     5. Anna Maria Wirts,   b. 31 Mar 1815, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Jan 1887, Franklin County, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location
     6. Lucinda Virts,   b. 17 May 1816, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Jun 1906, Doubs, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location
     7. Benjamin William Virts,   b. 11 Feb 1818, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Oct 1882, Frederick County, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location
     8. Henry Virts,   b. 25 Aug 1822, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Sep 1861, Loudoun County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified  22 Feb 2016 
    Family ID  F94  Group Sheet

    Family 2  Elizabeth George,   b. 1775, Loudoun County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Apr 1806, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  21 Apr 1795  Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Children 
     1. Elizabeth "Betsy" Virts,   b. 18 Jul 1798, Loudoun County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Oct 1876, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. Leah Cecilia Virts,   b. 13 Dec 1800, Loudoun County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Dec 1869, Loudoun County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Eliza Virts,   b. 20 Dec 1802, Loudoun County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Mar 1827, Loudoun County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Louisa Virts,   b. 25 Jan 1803, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     5. Anna Mary Wirtz,   b. 19 Apr 1806, Lovettsville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Apr 1807, Loudoun County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified  7 Oct 2012 
    Family ID  F93  Group Sheet

  • Headstones
    Jacob Joseph Wirtz, Sr. (1768-1829) Headstone
    Jacob Joseph Wirtz, Sr. (1768-1829) Headstone

  • Notes 
    • The following information has been graciously provided by Jeanie Virts LaGrave.

      Jacob Virts, Sr., began the settlement at Elvan, contracting with master builder, Ben Lakin, for a two and one-half story house overlooking the South branch of Dutchman's Creek. The creek, and the Germans who settled there were affectionately known as Dutchmen. The settlement was a mile and one-half west of Lovettsville (once called Thrasher's store.) The house was built in 1810 and became know as the Stone House of the Dutchman. The Virts place remained the area's only farm until 1866 when Silas D. Kalb built a two story stone house a mile and one-half west. A few years after the stone house was built, Jacob had a log cabin built for his farm help, a quarter mile south of his home place. By 1910 the cabin had collapsed.

      Jacob and his wife Elizabeth George lived on the farm and raised their family there, until his death in 1829 and according to Jacob's will, their eldest child, Elizabeth "Betsy" inherited the Stone House on the Dutchman.

      Betsy married David Conrad in 1816 and their daughter Jane Conrad was next in line to inherit the Stone House on the Dutchman. Jane married Charlie Johnson and she and her family lived on the farm for many years. During the Civil War, Matt Conrad (a cousin) fought off Union Soldiers who tried to confiscate the horses. The Johnsons had always had fine horses and had a race track where Curt Johnson trained them. Many of these fine animals were sold in the District of Columbia. Robert G. Johnson was one of the many Johnson children and the father of Freida, Esther and Columbia who live in the George House at George's Mill.

      After the elder Johnson's died, John Ebb George bought the Virts farm in 1908. The estate still remained in the Virts family, as John Ebb's wife was Orra Virts, granddaughter of Jacob Virts Sr. After the death of John Ebb George the farm came into the hands of Samuel Henry George and his wife Cecelia McKimmey who lived on the place most of their lives. The farm was then left jointly to their three daughters, Edna George Albaugh, Margaret George Keena and Eliza George Myers.
      "I was born in the Stone House on the Dutchman, and although I did not live here for many years, I have always thought of the Stone House as home. When I returned a few years ago, I began at once on a program of restoration and improvement which is still in progress. I am fortunate in have a good many old family furnishings for the house", writes Eliza George Myers.

      During 1870's and 1880;s George Anderson, a New Yorker and a school teacher walked two and one-half miles one way over the 800 foot climb over Short Hill to teach at Water's School. Anderson had practiced walking in the Union Army. He settled by the Kalbs after the war and married Mary Ann Elizabeth Shores, raised by a Mrs. Brown at the Virts' cabin.
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      ?b?Elvin - Settled by Jacob Virts
      ?/b?
      ?b?by Eugene M. School
      ?/b?
      The following is a story from the Loudoun Times Mirror.

      Jacob Virts began the settlement at Elvan, contracting with master builder, Ben Larkin, for a two and one-half story stone house overlooking the south branch of Dutchman's Creek. It was a mile and one-half west of Thrasher's store, today's Lovettsville. Ben himself, laid the stonework on the west side, carving in a gable stone "B. L. 1810." And in a few years, Jacob had a log cabin built for his farm help, a quarter mile south of his home place.

      The Virts place remained the area's only farm until 1866, when Silas D. Kalb finished a two-story stone house a half-mile west. Like the Virtses, the Kalbs had come to Loudoun more than a century before, then with name DeKalb, the prefix signifying nobility. But through the years court clerks had changed the noble "De" to the middle initial "D" just as they change the original Wertz to Virts.

      Much of the history that follows especially that of Elvan's first school and church has been preserved through the reminiscences of Gerta DeKalb Rinker, written in 1947 at the request of The Rev. Stanley E. Emrich, pastor of Mt. Olivet Church. Gerta was well-read, and proud of her family line, and when she married, on Oct. 1, 1886, she changed her shortened middle name back to her family's original one.

      Her reminiscences begin with Axline's Schoolhouse, located on the west side of Axline Road (Rt. 680), a few hundred yards before its intersection with Sam Arnold's Lane (Rt. 850). The school was built in time unknown, but was there in 1846, when a limited fee school system was established in the county.

      The school stood on the land of David Axline, just where it joined the land of Joseph Conard. As described by Mrs. Rinker, it "was built of logs, with windows much wider than they were high." There were two on the south side of the building and one on the west. No windows were in the north and a small one was in the east. A door in the center of the south and one in the east wall completed the openings. The door steps were large stones.

      There were desks built to the sides, all on the east side of the floor and on the entire south and west sides. The seat, or rather benches were about eight or 10 feet long made of heavy planks with round wood driven in the planks. The legs were widen at the bottom to keep the benches from topping over to easily, but they did sometimes.

      I recall two of these, made of oak, rounded underneath as the tree grew, but the bark was taken off and the upper side was smoothed some for writing purposes. The legs of these two benches were made the same as the others. There were about four seats made from inch boards, with backs about three feet long. They were not very portable for a 5-year-old child as I know. At the center of the north there was a low platform with a table and two splint-bottomed chairs, and a small hand bell was on the table that was used to call the pupils in from recess. My father taught his first class there at the age of 18 years." It was the year 1853.

      "It was called a 'pay school' then, because the patrons paid a small sum for the privilege of sending children to the school. It was the same when the winter schools were held. I know of many who skipped the winter sessions who were years older than I was." The winter schools were for older children needed for farm and house work during the busier seasons.

      "The building was often used as a camp by soldiers in Civil War times for both Northern and Southern armies. (This is from hearing the older people talk as I was born near the close of the war). My parents took us to Sunday School at the old schoolhouse and stayed to preaching, which I think was held every two weeks, but Sunday School was held every Sunday. In the early fall of each year, a 'protracted meeting' was held for two or three weeks duration, every night of the week except Saturday. I have gone there often when I was almost too small to walk that far, as it was only about a mile across the fields. Father would pick me up and carry me a while to rest me. When the nights were pleasant, it was a beautiful sight to see glow-worms in the grass beside the path we traveled. I thought it was wonderful then; a sight we seldom see these days. They looked like small stars sprinkled through the grass".

      The attendance was rather small at the 'protracted meetings' on Monday nights, also on Friday nights, but on all other nights, the house was crowded. People sat on the desks and stood all around the room. Some stood in the doorways and outside. There was hardly room to move. People came from the town of Lovettsville and the surrounding community, also from Rehobeth Church neighborhood, Hillsboro, and other centers. They came on horseback, in buggies, in carriages, spring wagons, and many walked."

      "There was a large stile along the fence on the north side of the building. The young men would line up on the fence and sit on the edge of the stile ready to help the ladies from their horses and to tie the horses securely to the fence. Then the young men would hasten back to walk to the door with the lady if she had not gone by that time."

      Greta D. Kalb was five years old in 1869, the same year her father, Silas, built a combination stone springhouse and schoolhouse just north of the home he completed a few years before. In the school's east gable he place the date in stone "SDK 1869." It wasn't that Silas was displeased with Axline's but he felt there was a need to school older children, too, and Kalb's served as sort of tutor's cottage into the century's waning years.

      Greta, remember her mother, Mary, soliciting funds for the building of a Methodist Episcopal Church in Lovettsville, but after the stone foundation was complete, work stopped for an unknown reason about 1876. Located at the southwest corner of Church Street and Broad Way, the foundation stood bare for about a half-decade. Then, Charles Hammond topped it off with his still-standing board and batten blacksmith shop.

      In 1878, Samuel J. Kalb and his wife, Lydia, sold one and one-half acres to the Methodist Church for $86.25, and two years later a church was finished. Greta supplies the details: "the stone work was done by three brothers, William, Emmanuel, and Augustus Roller, who gave of their labor a portion to the funds of the church and who now rest in the adjoining cemetery. The Wright, a Pennsylvanian, who had moved to northern Virginia some years before. He, with his crew of workmen kept on the job and the work progressed nicely. Mr. Wright gave generously of his labor, too. He was what was called, in those days, a 'local preacher.' I have often heard him hold a meeting if the minister could not fill his appointment."

      Mt. Olivet, the church was called, an alternate name for Israel's Mount of Olives, appearing as Olivet in only two Biblical contexts, II Samuel 15:30 and Acts 1:12. In mind, undoubtedly, was the connection between the one-mile long ridge east of Jerusalem and the Short Hill just west of the church.

      They always had two preachers, a senior and a junior, who alternated every two weeks with preaching service I have known the gallery auditorium to be so crowded that the gallery over the south end had to be opened. It would be full, the aisles crowded, and people standing. There were no ball games or long drives to notice them anyway. No one would have thought of a ball game on Sunday.

      "Mount Olivet Church used to be noted for its season of revival meetings every fall. I have known this meeting to extend from two to eight weeks and one I well remember that kept on for 11 weeks and closed just one week before Christmas. These meetings were held every night."

      Axline's began its last decade as the area's first public school from 1871 to 1875. Then, with the chinking between the logs wearing thin, on Sept. 13, 1875, the school trustees of Lovettsville District bought a nearby acre from David and Margaret Axline for $65, the deed specifying "the right to use water from their land for the School."

      For right by the school ran the south branch of Dutchman's, the branch soon giving the school its name, Brooklyn - lyn or linn, an old English word for a small rocky waterfall. Its stone masons, probably the Roller brothers, Baker brothers, or John Bramhall, had the building ready for the spring term of 1876.

      Some of the remembered teachers at Brooklyn were Cory Davis, Peter Grove, Frank Shumaker, and Eliza George, the last teacher at the school's closing in 1936. Her recollections: "Lovely...a fine bunch of children; all well-behaved.

      During the early 20th Century, area tax assessor Harry Filler taught at Brooklyn. Filler, born with one leg shorter than the other, walked more than a mile each way, but despite his handicap, was no match for neighbor George Anderson, who back in the 1870's and '80's, walked two and one-half miles one way and with 800 foot climb over Short Hill to boot to teach at Water's School.

      Anderson, a New Yorker, had practiced his walking in the Union Army. He settled by the Kalbs after the war and married Mary Ann Elizabeth Shores, raised by a Mrs. Brown at Virts's cabin. And as the Anderson children came of school age, they also joined him over - the - hill walk to Waters.
      Most Olivet-area youngsters didn't exercise quite that much, preferring horseback, often two and three to the horse. At the one-roomers, the horses were tethered outside, but when the large town schools came in, such as the Lovettsville School in 1927, stables were built to house students' horses, for country students had the option of choosing the local one-roomer or the larger town school, and many chose the latter for their varied subjects.

      The town school was the high school, too, and the older students brought their horses. Out by Elvan, Harry Compher owned one of the first area roadsters in the mid-20's, and made a habit of sprinting it off to Lovettsville School. Eliza George, and her siblings, Edna and Fred Lee, made a habit of cutting it off every morning, and then would slow down to a fast walk. But as they forded the various branches of Dutchman's, they would break into a trot or canter, spraying water on close-behind Compher.

      When Greta D. Kalb married Confederate veteran Jacob Zechariah Rinker, 23 years her senior, they decided to open a store and post office to make ends meet. On the road by her parents' home, the Rinkers' German-siding residence and store was completed early in 1887, and President Grover Cleveland approved Rinker as the first postmaster.

      Jumbo was the name of the post office. It might have come from the long-lost list of the three - to - five letter names that the Post Office Department gave out to new post offices without names. Again, it might have been the idea of the Rinkers, for indeed, the population had increased a bit-at least to 15.

      Regardless, the name undoubtedly came from a huge African elephant, long the pride of the Royal Zoological Society of London, sold, in a moment of financial stress, to Phineas Taylor Barnum's "The Greatest Show On Earth," and brought to the U.S. in 1882. Much to Barnum's delight, the British press frantically protested against this American vandalism, Barnum replying theatrically by calling Jumbo "The only mastodon on earth," and "The gentle and historic lord of beasts." Jumbo kept his artistic character to the end, dying a hero on Sept. 15, 1885, run down by a railroad train. Barnum's press releases said Jumbo was trying to save a baby elephant.

      Jumbo's name was not dead, however, for P. T. quickly imported another elephant, Alice, from the royal zoological Society, billing her as Jumbo's widow. Alice died in the tragic Bridgeport fire of 1887. Jumbo's name not only survives in Loudoun, but in Medford, Mass., where the beast's remains were turned over to the Tufts University natural history museum. And today, all Tufts athletic teams are called the "Jumbos."

      For some reason, Jumbo was officially renamed Elvan in 1894. Perhaps P. T. Barnum thought the name belittling for such a small place and such a famous beast. Elvan - quite possibly hand-picked by Gerta Rinker was again most appropriate, for it is the Cornish word for quarts or flintsone, found all over the place.

      As you opened the heavy door of Rinker's store, Elvan, or Jumbo-folks alternately used each name - you were greeted by large square jars with round lids, filled with French penny candy, mint lozenges, peppermint, and nuts. On the left were groceries - brown sugar, molasses, cheese, some canned goods and other staples. In the back was the post office, open with the store 8 to 10 six days a week. In a small room to the rear were dishes and china, some of it imported. On the right were dry goods-material by the yard, shoes, thread. In the center of the room was a pot-bellied stove, and shaded kerosene lamps hung from supporting posts.

      The goods were of such high quality and variety, especially during Christmas, that people came from Brunswick, Lovettsville, and Hillsboro to buy from "J.Z.," as Mr. Rinker was called. They came despite his reputation as a man who never gave you an ounce more than that you paid for. They came from Washington, too, but they were hucksters, after the chickens and turkeys, penned up outside.

      One of the store's best customers was Biter, Luther Hickman's bulldog, who lived at Millbrook, a quarter mile north. Luther would send Biter - one of the smartest dogs that ever came along - to Elvan with a rope and a small grocery list. Everything went well until Biter was asked to take home three cans of tomatoes. They came loose and Biter nearly had a nervous breakdown until Daize George came along and tied them together again.

      In 1900, Christian Nisewarner, area farmer and good customer of Rinker's made out his will, specifying that "my executors have erected a large-sized monument with proper inscription thereon." And two years later, when he died, a four horse team pulled in from the railroad at Brunswick one of the strangest memorials ever seen in the area, a full-sized sandstone oak tree, imported from Italy, with the place for the inscription cut as if it were a flap of bark. C.C. Gaver cut the wording, "In a Full Age Like As a Shock of Corn Cometh In His Season"-and misspelled his last name, replacing the "s" with a "c.".

      Elvan Post Office closed in 1907, when RFD came in and mail went to Lovettsville. And by 1901, Virts' cabin had come down. J.Z. continued running the store until his death in 1916. Then Gerta Rinker carried on until 1920, with some help from Luther Hickman in those last years.



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      Stone shows "Jacob Wirtz, d. 7 APR 1829, 60y, 10m, 12d.

  • Sources 
    1. [S894] New Jerusalem Lutheran Church Register, 1784-1836, Loudoun County, VA.

    2. [S1590] Maryland, Births and Christenings, 1650-1995.

    3. [S886] New Jerusalem Lutheran Cemetery Records.