Our family tree is at RootsWeb's
Kuntz - Fischer Family History
Some Short stories, Sea Stories, War Stories, etc.
All persons depicted herein are deceased
Corrections welcomed & encouraged
General history of our Kunz
/Reisenauer & Fischer
Very brief background info:
In 1763 Czarina Catherine the great published her 1st manifesto inviting Germans to come
colonize the Volga area of Russia. Few answered the call. Then:
In 1804 Czar Alexander I published the 2nd manifesto, which was a much better deal at the outset,
promising many of the freedoms we take for granted in our own bill of rights and also free land,
exemption from military service, etc.
We believe that this is the time frame when our German ancestors left for the Black Sea region of Russia.
In 1881 Czar Alexander III was assassinated which started a process of Russification,
when many of Russias good promises were reneged upon.
During 1898 to 1900 both sets of our Kunz and Fischer Ancestors were immigrants to the Dakotas
from the Odessa region of Russia where their
ancestors had been immigrants to Russia -
possibly from the Rhine river valley area of Germany around 1806.
(Kunz is among the surnames of original colonists of Katherinenthal, Russia)
The Kunz/Reisenauer family of three (including their baby daughter) came over on the S.S. Southwark
(the ship departed the port of Antwerp on Oct 28, 1899), from Katherinenthal, Beresan District,
Odessa Province, Russia, arriving in NY, NY, USA on 9 Nov. 1899.
The Kunz family somehow got their name changed to "Kuntz" sometime after
arriving at Ellis Island -
most likely in North Dakota (I still have Grandpa Frank Kuntz' Russian Passport with his name listed as Franz Kunz).
They arrived with no money but they had paid their passage to where they settled in Mandan, ND.
It is believed that the Fischer Ancestors came from Strasbourg in the Alsace (Elsass) region
on the western border of (then) Germany (now France) to Selz, Kutschurgan District, Odessa Province, Russia.
(Fischer is among the surnames of
original colonists of Selz, Russia)
The Fischer Ancestors probably came to Ellis Island on the S.S. Southwark arriving in New York on or about 8 Nov. 1900.
Our Englehart (Engelhardt) relatives came over on the ship Furst Bismarck from either Selz, Kutschurgan
District, or Münich, Beresan District, both in Odessa Province, Russia (Münich was on Ships Manifest)
arriving in NY on 22 July 1898 and settling in Aberdeen, SD.
Notice how close all the arrival dates at Ellis Island are.
Frances (Fischer) Kuntz worked in the restaurant part of the Yellowstone hotel in Lemmon, SD
prior to her marriage.
They got married during the great depression.
She would often mention how times were tough back then.
Her mother, Magdalena (Englehart) Fischer, died a few years after Frances' marriage and she took care of
her younger brother and sister for awhile; as did her other younger brother, George.
They had their first child in South Dakota and then headed west, staying a short time in Browning, Montana.
They picked hops in the Yakima valley along with the migrant workers, and even their young child helped.
Then WWII came and her husband, Phillip got a job in Portland, Oregon building Liberty ships.
The workers were told that some of the ships broke apart and sank.
Over 400 Liberty ships were sunk, mostly from being torpedoed.
Phil's younger Brother, John served with the US Army during WWII.
They lived in Vanport, Oregon, a city built by the government for the shipyard workers.
The name is a contraction of Vancouver and Portland.
The town was laid out & built exactly like the housing quarters on a military post, except that there was no chapel.
There were no churches in town; all the different faiths took their turns at the theatre.
They lived in a four family unit. Their second child was born there during the war.
They had split shift schools because of overcrowding.
One school project was making a "model" of the town out of gray paper -
because every building was painted Haze Gray.
They both thought they were very fortunate to have the wealth of two jobs.
Frances worked as a scrub lady in the schools.
They bought a relatively new car for a few hundred dollars, packed up & left for Eastern Washington state
as they had relatives there.
Exactly one week after they moved, the entire town was destroyed by the floodwaters from a ruptured dike.
Newspaper pictures of it that were saved showed only roofs.
Everyone said that they were psychic, but they said that it was just time to move on.
Another of our relatives, Dick, legally changed the spelling of his name to "Koontz" during his second
tour of duty in Viet Nam as a Pilot (Kunz to Kuntz to Koontz in 3 easy generations). He spent his first
tour of duty in Viet Nam as a Green Beret.
General history of Richard Allen (Kuntz) Koontz, 1945-1972:
General history of Gerald Dean Fischer, 1940-2001:
General history of our Kern & Evans ancestors:
We're still working on it...
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Last Updated Friday, 11-Sep-2009 - 09:11:01 MST