The Rothenbach Family Lineage









Germany and Italy in 1803

The population in Europe almost doubled from the mid-18th to the mid-19th Centuries. In Germany the growth was mostly in the rural areas and proved to be too vast for the available food supply. Food riots, unemployment and migration to the growing cities were common. Acute poverty was widespread and existed alongside "the self-satisfied bourgeois society of Biedermeier Germany". The potato blight in 1846-47 added to starvation, and thousands of deaths occurred from poverty-related diseases.

This was the climate existing in Germany in the 19th century that gave rise to large numbers of emigrants.

Throughout the 19th Century, hundreds of thousands of Germans entered the northern United States and settled mainly in cities and farming communities in the Midwest. Social and economic improvement, and political idealism were the primary reasons for the immigrants of this period. Wisconsin with its climate and topography similar to areas of Germany, was attractive to the immigrants, making it easier to adapt to the new country.

First Generation (Recorded)

George Phillipp Rothenbach (senior), had a small farm, a drugstore and oil mill in Heddesheim, Kreuz-nach, Rheinhessen (Germany), where he and his wife Margaret Fabell raised their family. He and his wife were probably born around 1770. There is no additional information about them, but most likely as was the custom, the land was divided among the heirs.

Between 1797 - 1814, the province of Rheinhessen, which laid left of the Rhine River was under French rule. It was ceded to Hesse in 1816.

Second Generation

George Phillipp Rothenbach (junior), was born in 1800 in Hessen Darmstadt. He married Katherine Schmidt who was born in Prussia in 1798. With their son, Jacob, age 22, the Rothenbach family emigrated from Hessen-Darmstadt in 1857 and settled in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where a large German community was growing.

Back to Chart         Move to Top

Third Generation

Jacob was born in 1835 in Heddesheim, Kreutz-nach, Rheinhessen, Germany. He married Katherine Endlich in 1863. She was born in 1843, in Chimnisen, Germany. Her family emigrated shortly after her birth and settled on a farm in Germantown, Washington County, Wisconsin. Jacob and Katherine had 10 children named: George (b.1864 - died in infancy), Elizabeth (b.1866), Charles (b.1868), Jacob (b.1870), Mary (b.1872), John (b.1874), Philipp (b.1877), Katherine (b.1879), Louise (b.1881), and Ella (b.1886).

In 1874, Jacob purchased 2 parcels of land in Washington County from Mrs. Judith Brenman. One parcel was 77 acres and another 37 acres of which a strip of land was deeded to the Milwaukee and Lacross Railroad Company.

Fourth Generation

Charles, son of Jacob was born on May 5, 1868 in Washington County, Wisconsin. He married Helene Louise Nix in 1892. Helene was born in Hessen- Darmstadt, Germany on May 22, 1869 and immigrated to America in 1870 with her parents, William and Caroline (Berg) Nix, and her sister Amelia. They settled in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Helene's siblings were: Amelia W. Nix-Rickert (b. 1864), Henry F. Nix (b. 1872), Elizabeth L. Nix-Poppenheimer (b.1874), Emma M. Nix-Jorgensen (b. 1876), William F. Nix (b. 1877) and Josephine M. Nix-Portz (b. 1879).

Charles and Helene had 4 children: Pearl Louise (b.1892), Earl John (b.1894), Victor Clarence (b.1895), and Josephine Enid (b.1899). The family lived in a number of places in Wisconsin and Missouri. Charles and Helene divorced. She remained in Wisconsin, until her death in 1950. Charles moved to Texas in the 1930s, living in Helotes and in San Antonio. He died in 1951 in San Antonio and was buried in Helotes, Texas.

Back to Chart         Move to Top

Fifth Generation

John Earl Rothenbach, son of Charles was born February 24, 1894 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He married Pearl Patterson (b.1897) of Shannon County, Missouri in 1915. They had 5 children: John Andrew (b.1916), William Charles (b.1918), Nona Mae (b.1920; m. Luallin), Fannie Constance (b.1922; m. Holder), and Dorothy Luicille (b.1923; m. McGill). The family lived in Missouri, Wisconsin and Virginia. They were divorced in 1926. To support his young family, John worked as a boiler-maker for US Navy ships in the shipbuilding yard in Norfolk, Virginia. His brother Victor lived with his wife, Elsie in Richmond.

In 1943, John moved to Texas where he met and married Maria de Jesus Rodriguez in Monterrey, Mexico. Initially they lived in Galveston, Texas where John again worked as a boilermaker on the US Navy ships in the Galveston shipyard. A few years later, they moved to San Antonio where they raised 5 daughters: Helia Benderanda, Helena de Jesus, Maria Teresa, Isabel Alejandra and Ana Margarita.

John worked as a carpenter and small project contractor. Maria was a seamstress. The family lived on a small farm on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas. The six acres of land provided ample room for a large, lush grassy garden, which Maria filled with all sorts of colorful flowers, as well as banana trees, fig and persimmon. Additionally the family grew their own vegetables, including corn, and they had a small orchard of peach and plum trees and several type of pecan trees. They had fresh milk and made homemade butter and cheese. There were fresh eggs and the chickens, turkeys and ducks provided food for the table.

Maria's skills and talents provided her family with beautiful homemade clothes, delightful and flavorful cuisine, and a rich and colorful heritage.

John's skills extended to housebuilding, repairs, farming and assisting the children with homework. John was self-educated and took correspondence courses through the University of Wisconsin. John had a curious mind, with a wide range of interests. He was a mathematician, and an artist, using oil as his medium. In his youth, he rode the trains between Wisconsin and Missouri, selling fruit and newspapers.

At age 81, John with his wife Maria, boarded an orange Braniff airplane (B747), "Fat Albert" from Texas to Hawaii. This was their first time on an airplane.

When the girls married, John and Maria moved from the farm into the King Williams historical area of San Antonio. This area was originally built by the German merchants during the early development of San Antonio. The area experienced a renaissance in the late 20th century.

John died in 1977 at the age of 83. He is buried in Mission Memorial Park in San Antonio.

Back to Chart         Move to Top

Sixth Generation

John and Maria's daughters are Helia, Helena, Mary Teresa, Isabel, and Ana.

Seventh Generation

John and Maria have 11 grandchildren: Maria, Michael, and Earl Moore (Helia); Sean White (Helena). Helen and Sean Wood (Teresa); Corrine and Jason Powell ( Isabel); Gator, Donna and Justin Dodson (Ana).

Eight Generation

The Great-grandchildren of John and Maria now number 19 (as of 2010).

Read a brief history of: Prussia and Hessen-Darmstadt.

Move to Top