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Johan Früh


Front row: John Freeh and his wife Eva. Their children Maggie, John, and Magdalena stand behind .


Johan Früh was born Jan 2,1830 in Geiselberg, Germany. His parents were Peter Früh and Barbara Bachman. Johan was reared to man's estate on a farm in Geiselberg, and received a fair German education. In May 1855 he married Eva Mayer. She was born November 6, 1832 also in Geiselberg, Germany.

At the age of 27 Johan made the decision that they would follow his parents to America. His parents Peter Früh and Barbara Bachman had already immigrated about 1850 with their youngest son George. They had settled near Augusta, Kentucky.

Johan and Eva with infant Henry emigrated from the port of Le Havre, France. They traveled in steerage on the ship the William Nelson. They arrived in New York Jan 2, 1857 and traveled thence to Brown County Ohio. They lived for two and a half years in the northeastern portion of Eagle township. They then located in Washington Township for about three years. They finally permanently settled in Eagle township. Johan’s father Peter died before 1860 and hJohan's mother Barbara moved in with them. Johann Freeh made his intention to become a citizen of the United States Dec. 21, 1860.

Johan and Eva Freeh were members of the German Lutheran Church at Arnheim. Many of their cousins and friends from Geiselberg had also immigrated to Brown County and attended the same church. Johan was a successful and well respected member of the German Lutheran Community in which he lived.

Johan and Eva had eleven children. The tragedy of Johan and Eva’s lives was that six of their sons and daughters died in childhood. And of their five children that did live into adulthood: Henry, Magdalene, George, John and Maggie. Four died in their thirties in the tuberculosis epidemic that ravaged Brown County. Only John L. survived.

Johan Freeh was a veteran of the Civil War. He enlisted in the Union Army, Company J of the Ohio 65th Infantry on the 19th day of October 1864. Under the command of Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield Johan and his comrades headed north across Tennessee in pursuit of Confererate General John Hood. After marching 10 miles that day through sleet and rain on frozen ground they forded the Elk River November of 1864. The river was swollen with rain and more than 100 yards wide. The freezing water was up to their armpits. Johan Freeh was so chilled that he had to have assistance up the banks of the river. Johan became ill with Rheumatic fever brought on by exposure. From that time on he suffered greatly with lameness and with chronic diarrhea. On the march from Polaski to Columbia, Tennessee Johan was very lame from pain in his right leg.
On November 30th General Hood marshalled a frontal attack against the Union perimeter. Two Federal brigades holding a forward position gave way, but Johan Freeh and his comrades ultimately held in a battle. (estimated casualties from both sides were 8,587). Then Johan Freeh in the 65th Infantry made preparations for the Battle of Nashville. After two days of fighting Hood’s army fled. (Estimated Casualties: 6,602).
The Ohio 65th Infantry set off in pursuit. For ten days, the pursuit continued south to the border of Alabama. The 65th was sent back to Tennessee where they stayed until June. Thence they were marched onto New Orleans and finally marched to Texas. Johan Freeh was mustered out October 21, 1865 at Victoria, Texas.

Johan Freeh returned from the war sick with chronic diarrhea, rheumatism and neuralgia. Neighbors testified that as Johan aged, he was not able to perform any manual labor at all because of rheumatism in his legs and arms and fainting spells. Yet, Johan Freeh lived 50 more years on his farm. And despite his infirmities, Johan managed his farm so well that it was considered one of the the best in the county. He owned 150 acres of land in South Fincastle, Ohio, upon which he had erected fine and substantial buildings. Johan grew Indian corn, oats, wheat, hay, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and sorghum. He had an apple orchard of 40 trees and 37 acres of woodland. In 1880 he had 4 horses, 3 cattle, 19 sheep, 32 pigs, 60 chickens and 22 turkeys, ducks, and geese. The value of his farm in 1880 was $4,000. with a yearly reported income of $400.
He died June 16, 1915 at the age of 85. His wife Eva died two years later in 1917.


The basis of biography is from “History of Brown Co.,Ohio” by W. Beers
Biographical Sketch Page 226, I also used Geiselburg Church records, Arnheim Church records, William Nelson Passenger list, Brown County Courthouse records, US Census records, "History of Bracken County Kentucky", Civil War pension records, Civil War service records, Obit of George Freeh, Obit of Johan Freeh, and Brown Co. Death certificates.


biography written and researched by Linda Rawles © 2006 Linda Rawles

Grandchildren of Johan Freeh in Brown Co. Ohio
Eva Caroline Freeh August 16, 1880
Rosa Mathilda Freeh April 29 1884, m. William E. Lauth
Sara Eva Wohlleber April 28, 1883
Johann Heinrich Wohlleber April 28, 1885
Anna May Wohlleber July 16, 1892
William F. Freeh m. Ida Bauer
Louiette Freeh February 13, 1882
Magdelena Freeh Sept. 16, 1882
Ethel Freeh
Mabel Freeh
Esta Raymund Freeh Sept. 13, 1891
Hazel Christine Freeh Oct. 25, 1893
Eva Elizabeth Freeh July 26, 1892
John Lewis Freeh Feb 6, 1891
Waldo M. Freeh Aug 20, 1902
William F. Freeh Aug 20, 1902
Edna Freeh
Charles Edward Kiesewetter June 18, 1892
Clarence Earl Kiesewetter Jan. 28 1896
Loretta Vera Kiesewetter March 17, 1898

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©2002 Linda Rawles

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