The Hecht Family of Dayton, Ohio

The Jergens family essay tells us that our immigrant HECHT ancestors lived on Vine Street in Cincinnati before settling in Dayton, and that their sons were born in Cincinnati. There is a high degree of congruence between what the essay tells us about the Hechts, and what census, church, and interment records tell us. The source of information for the Hecht portion of the essay was Cecilia (Leyes) Jergens, whose mother, Anna (Hecht) Leyes, born 1869, must have been well acquainted with her immigrant Hecht grandparents before their deaths in 1879 and 1882.


Anna Margaret (Hecht) Leyes


The First Generation

The Jergens family essay gives the name of the immigrant Hecht patriarch as John Hecht. Census, interment, and probate records reveal that he was known as Martin Hecht. Germans often went by their middle names; Martin’s full name might have been Johann Martin or Martin Johann Hecht. (Visit Charles F. Kerchner, Jr.'s website for an excellent description of German naming customs).

Martin Hecht, born circa 1814 in Bavaria, Germany, was a brewer. The 1870 census records the fact that Martin was, by then, a citizen of the United States. Wife Margaret, born circa 1816, also in Bavaria, “kept house” and doubtless raised their children. We do not know when and where Martin and Margaret wed. That their children were born in Ohio (per census records) suggests that they met and married in this country.

Martin and Margaret Hecht had at least six children, probably seven, most of whom were born in Cincinnati, Hamilton county, Ohio. Only three of these children survived to adulthood (surname HECHT):

  1.   Henry John (1846-1901)
  2.   Maria (circa November 1848-July 1850)
  3.   Johan Heinrich (circa November 1848-August 1849)
  4.   Georg Martin (circa December 1850-February 1851)
  5.   George Joseph (ca. 1851-1883)
  6.   Michael (ca. 1854-1881)
  7.   Charles (ca. 1858-February 1860)

Church death records for Hamilton county, Ohio, for the years 1811 to 1859, noted the burials of three of Margaret and Martin Hecht’s infant children. The ages at death of Maria and Johan Heinrich suggest that these children were twins, both born around November 1848.

Two of the death records identify the children’s mother as Margaretha Graus, one as Margaretha Kraus. The Jergens family essay gives Margaret Hecht’s maiden name as Grau. We may assume that Margaret’s maiden name probably was Graus. All three records came from St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, a German congregation organized in 1844 in the part of Cincinnati known as “Over-The-Rhine.” The original church, dedicated November 1, 1845, was located at Green and Bremen/Republic Streets – a block west of Vine Street where, according to the Jergens family essay, the Hecht family lived. (This church closed in 1969.)

The earliest we can find the Hecht family in the U.S. census with any certainty is 1860, by which time they were living in Dayton. The U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedule for that city in that same year recorded the death of a two-year-old male named Charles Hecht. This boy, born in Ohio, died of scarlet fever in February 1860. A search for all people surnamed Hecht living in Dayton in 1860 (using the 1860 U.S. Federal Census database at produced only the family of Margaret and Martin, and a single woman surnamed Heck. Margaret would have been around 42 years of age in 1858; if Charles were her child, almost certainly he was her lastborn.

The name Charles shows up repeatedly in subsequent generations of Hechts. This enhances the likelihood that little Charles belonged to this family, since it was common in the 19th century for people to name children after lost siblings. We therefore tentatively assign this child to the family of Martin and Margaret Hecht.

On August 17, 1877, Martin Hecht made his Last Will and Testament, which was probated two weeks after his death. Martin’s personality comes through quite clearly in this document. To read a transcription of the Last Will and Testament of Martin Hecht, click here.

Martin died on the 2nd of June in 1879 at age 65. He was buried two days later in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio, in Section 10, Lot 25, Tier 2, A. Martin’s remains were removed at some unspecified date and reinterred in Section 14, Lot 114, Grave 1SW.

A year later, Margaret Hecht was enumerated in the 1880 census as living with her 26-year-old son Michael (a “cigar-maker”), at 279 McClure Street in Dayton. Michael Hecht inherited this house from his father. Michael died at age 27 on September 13, 1881, apparently without ever having married or having children. He was buried not in the same lot with his father but in Section 14, Lot 113 (Grave 1NW), where several of his brother Henry’s infant children were already interred. To read a transcription of the Last Will and Testament of Michael Hecht, click here.

Margaret Hecht soon followed her husband and youngest son in death. She passed away at age 66 on February 21, 1882 and was buried February 23rd in Section 14, Lot 114, Grave 2SW, next to her husband Martin. To read a transcription of the Last Will and Testament of Margaret Hecht, click here.

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The Second Generation

Henry John Hecht, known simply as Henry, was born in Ohio on June 24, 1846, probably in Cincinnati. The 1860 census records him as a “shoemaker,” but by 1870 he was a house painter, listed as such in subsequent censuses.

Henry married Elizabeth Ziegler, born October 30, 1846, in Württemberg, Germany. The 1900 census listing for this couple tells us that Henry and Elizabeth had been married 32 years, which points to 1868 as the year they probably wed. This census also notes that Elizabeth immigrated to the U.S. in 1863.

Henry and Elizabeth had ten children, six of whom survived to adulthood. All were born in Dayton, most likely at home (surname HECHT):

      i. Anna Margaret (1869-1948)

     ii. Michael. Records for the city of Dayton tell us that this child was born October 5, 1870, not November 20, 1883 as the Jergens family essay states. The essay tells us that Michael died two years after his birth. Calvary Cemetery’s interment record for Michael is lacking in dates but notes that he is buried in Section 14, Lot 113, Grave 1SE.

    iii. Charles Joseph (1872-1946)

    iv. Dorothy M. “Dora” (April 22, 1874 – Sept. 18, 1964). Never married. Buried September 21, 1964 in Calvary Cemetery, Section 14, Lot 113, Grave 1SW. (To see a photo of Dora as a wedding attendant for her brother Charles, click here.)

     v. Mary Catherine. This child was born September 3, 1875 and died five days later (cause of death “not known”) on September 8th. She was buried September 9, 1875 in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, Section 14, Lot 113, Grave 12SE.

    vi. Frank Joseph. This child was born November 27, 1876 and died ten days later, of “spasms,” on December 7th. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, Section 14, Lot 113 on December 8, 1876.

    vii. Mary Elizabeth. This child was born October 20, 1877 and died a month later on November 21st, of “lung fever” (probably pneumonia). She was buried on November 22, 1877 in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, in Section 14, Lot 113, Grave 4NE.

   viii. Henry Martin “Harry” (July 7, 1880 – March 27, 1930). Never married. Buried March 31, 1930 in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, in Section 14, Lot 113, Grave 2SW.

    ix. Gertrude (1884 – 1942). Gertrude entered the convent, taking Flavia as her religious name. Look for more about Gertrude Hecht in the Appendix.

     x. Clara E. (November 15, 1887-November 25, 1946). Clara married late in life, circa 1944, to a man named Edward Bishop, born circa 1889. Clara’s home address as listed in her death record was 327 Morton Avenue in Dayton, the home in which she likely was born and in which she lived all her life. Clara E. (Hecht) Bishop died at age 59 on November 25, 1946 at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Dayton; she was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, four days later.


Dayton, Ohio, city directories for 1888-92 show that Henry Hecht worked not just as a painter but also as a wood worker. His son Charles was a wood carver, and daughter Anna worked as a cigar maker before her marriage.

Charles Hecht       327 S. Old Brown     carver
Henry Hecht         327 S. Old Brown     painter

Anna M. Hecht    327 S. Old Brown     cigar maker
Chas Hecht          327 S. Old Brown     carver
Henry J. Hecht     327 S. Old Brown     wood worker

Birth records for some of the children indicate the family’s street address as being 325 Brown or Old Brown, not 327 South Old Brown as in the city directory listings for the late 1880’s, shown above. By the time of the 1900 census, they were living at 327 Morton Avenue – South Old Brown Street got renamed. Henry and his family lived two blocks from Bonner Street, where he had lived with his parents.

Henry Hecht died at age 55 on October 30, 1901 – which happened to be his wife’s 55th birthday. Henry was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Dayton on November 2, 1901, in Section 14, Lot 113, Grave 3SW.

Elizabeth (Ziegler) Hecht lived seventeen years beyond the death of her husband. She was 72 years old when she died at home (327 Morton Ave.) on the morning of December 9, 1918. The doctor noted Elizabeth’s cause of death as chronic myocarditis, with diabetes as a secondary cause. Elizabeth’s son Harry provided the personal information for his mother’s death record, including the name of her father: Gottlieb Ziegler, born in Germany. The name and birthplace of Elizabeth’s mother were listed simply as “Unknown.” Elizabeth was buried on December 12th in Calvary Cemetery, Section 14, Lot 113, Grave 3NW, next to Henry.

To see photos of Henry and Elizabeth (Ziegler) Hecht, click here.

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George Joseph Hecht, who was known as Joseph, was born circa 1851 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Joseph Hecht was a carpenter.

On September 21, 1875, Joseph Hecht married Mary Elizabeth Grothaus at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana. (The day before the wedding, Michael Hecht witnessed Joseph and Mary’s marriage license application.) Mary (Grothaus) Hecht was born February 21, 1855 in Fort Wayne. She was the eldest child of Henry F. Grothaus, born March 1814 in Westphalia, Germany, and Christina (Klug) Grothaus, born October 29, 1831 in Ulmbach, Kreis Schuechtern, Hesse Kassel, Germany.

Joseph and Mary had four children, two of whom survived to adulthood (surname HECHT):

      i. Charles Henry. This child was born June 30, 1876 and died five months later on December 8, 1876. Charles apparently was born, died, and buried in Fort Wayne, where Joseph and Mary first lived, following their marriage. (See Sources for info regarding Charles H. Hecht).

     ii. William Henry (1878-1967)

    iii. Edward Joseph (1879-circa 1948)

    iv. Infant daughter, stillborn, November 6, 1881, per Dayton birth records. Calvary Cemetery in Dayton recorded the burial of Joseph’s unnamed child on November 11, 1881 in Section 21, Lot 32, Tier 1.


Both parents died while their sons were quite young. Joseph died of tuberculosis at age 31 on February 19, 1883, and was buried two days later in Calvary Cemetery in Dayton. Calvary Cemetery’s records name him as George J. Hecht, give his birthplace as Cincinnati, and note that Joseph’s remains were removed from Section 20, Lot 7, Tier 1 at some unspecified date and reinterred in Section 9S, Lot 9, Grave 3SE.

Mary (Grothaus) Hecht died at age 28 later that same year, on October 26, 1883 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. For an extended description of the family of Joseph and Mary Hecht, please see the Appendix. To see photos of Joseph and Mary (Grothaus) Hecht, click here.

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The Third Generation

Anna Margaret Hecht (Henry2, Martin1), the eldest child of Henry Hecht and Elizabeth Ziegler, was born July 26, 1869 in Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio. Anna’s paternal grandmother, Margaret Hecht, was godmother to Anna. On May 11, 1892, at Emanuel Church in Dayton, Anna married farmer Henry J. Leyes, born May 23, 1870, in Mad River Township, Montgomery County, Ohio, the youngest son of John and Margaret Leyes.

Henry and Anna (Hecht) Leyes lived in Mad River Township, just north of the city limits of Dayton. Their home was situated on the Old Troy Pike (present-day Route 202) in the northeast corner of the intersection at Needmore Road.

Anna and Henry Leyes had seven children (surname LEYES):

      i. Cecilia Margaret (1895-1958)

     ii. Louise (1897-1963)

    iii. Andrew Joseph (1899-1978)

    iv. Dorothy (1901-1977)

     v. Catherine (1903-1930)

    vi. Raymond H. (1905-1969)

    vii. Herbert F. (1908-1977)

For more information on fourth generation Hecht descendants Cecilia, Louise, Andrew, Dorothy, Catherine, Raymond, and Herbert Leyes, click here.

Anna Margaret (Hecht) Leyes died at the age of 78 on April 26, 1948. She was buried on April 29th in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio, in Section 14, Lot 114, Grave 2SE. Henry Leyes died at age 79 on the 17th of June 1949. He was buried next to Anna on June 20th in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio, in Section 14, Lot 114, Grave 1SE. Anna and Henry are interred in the same lot with Martin and Margaret Hecht, our Hecht immigrant ancestors. Calvary Cemetery’s records indicate that these four people are the only burials in Section 14, Lot 114.

To see a photo of Anna Margaret (Hecht) Leyes, click here.

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Charles Joseph Hecht (Henry2, Martin1) was born on January 28, 1872 in Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio. Dayton, Ohio, city directories for 1888-92, as well as the 1900 census, describe Charles’ occupation as that of “wood carver.” Subsequent census data indicate that he worked as a “wood engraver” for a sign company. On September 4, 1895, at Holy Trinity Church in Dayton, he married Amalia Helen Lienesch, born June 15, 1873 in Fayette, Illinois, the daughter of Bernard and Bernerdena (Linhoff) Lienesch. (The Jergens family essay identifies Charles Hecht’s wife as “Molly Linich.”) To see Charles and Amalia’s wedding photo, click here.

Charles and Amalia had eight children (surname HECHT):

  1.   Eugene H. (1896 – 1912)
  2.   Edward B. (1898-1964)
  3.   Arthur C. (1900-1966)
  4.   Dorothy G. (1903-1993)
  5.   Norman A. (circa 1906-?)
  6.   Theodore H. (1907 – 1907)
  7.   Richard Sylvester (Nov. 24, 1911 – Feb. 19, 1912)
  8.   Clara Evelyn (Nov. 25, 1911 – April 1, 1912)

The 1910 census noted that Amalia was the mother of six children, five of whom were then living. The child who died before the taking of this census was a son named Theodore. This boy died at two months of age on March 23, 1907 and was buried two days later in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, in Section 14, Lot 113.

Richard Sylvester Hecht’s and Clara Evelyn Hecht’s death records indicate that these children were born on consecutive days; obviously, they were twins. The differing dates of birth may be a recording error on one of their death records, or else Amalia gave birth to Richard before midnight and to Clara after the clock had ticked into a new day.

Charles and Amalia lost three of their children early in 1912.

Eldest child Eugene, born June 11, 1896, died of pulmonary tuberculosis on February 17, 1912, at age 15. His death record indicates that he had been ill for about 13 months. (The 1910 census tells us that Eugene worked that year as a wagon driver for a bakery.) To see a picture of Eugene as a young child, click here. Two days later, his two-month-old brother Richard died. Eugene and Richard were both buried on February 21st in Calvary Cemetery in Dayton. While the cemetery recorded the boys’ burials in different graves in Section 14, Lot 113, family lore has it that they were interred together in the same casket.

Then baby Clara died on April 1, 1912. According to their death records, both she and Richard seem to have suffered from severe gastric problems, leading to their early deaths. On April 3rd, Clara was buried also in Section 14, Lot 113 of Calvary Cemetery.

Charles J. Hecht died at the age of 73 on March 24, 1946. He was buried three days later in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio, in Section 13, Lot 316, Grave 3SW. Less than a year later, Amalia (Lienesch) Hecht died at age 73 on January 16, 1947. She was laid to rest next to her husband on January 20th in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio, in Section 13, Lot 316, Grave 2SW.

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William Henry Hecht (Joseph2, Martin1) was born February 15, 1878, at 43 Bonner Street, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio. On January 3, 1909 in Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, William married Wilhemina Agnes (Minnie J. A.) Krauhs, born April 12, 1881 in Fort Wayne, the daughter of Carl and Jacobine (Frausch) Krauhs. William and Minnie Hecht made their home in Fort Wayne. William worked as a flour salesman.

William and Minnie had three children (surname HECHT):

      i. Paul Carl (Nov. 22, 1909-?)

     ii. Margaret A. (Oct. 20, 1912-Aug. 11, 1998)

    iii. Raymond Henry (Jan. 1, 1915-Aug. 1986)


Minnie (Krauhs) Hecht died January 20, 1960 at the age of 78 years, 9 months, and 8 days. She was buried three days later in Lindenwood Cemetery in Fort Wayne. William Hecht died March 16, 1967 in Fort Wayne at age 89 years, one month and one day. On March 18th he also was laid to rest in Lindenwood Cemetery. Prior to his death, William had been living with his daughter Margaret. He was survived by all three of his children as well as five grandchildren.


To see a photo of William Henry Hecht and his son Raymond, click here.
For more about William Henry Hecht, please see the Appendix.

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Edward Joseph Hecht (Joseph2, Martin1) was born December 19, 1879, at 43 Bonner Street, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio. His name on his birth certificate was given as Henry E. (Henry Edward), but he was known as Edward. (Please see the Appendix for more information regarding the two Hecht brothers’ names).

On August 9, 1904, probably in Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, Edward married Lydia Lavina Shumaker, born probably in Fort Wayne circa 1880, the daughter of Henry and Alvina Schumacher. (Note the spelling variation between Lydia’s surname and that of her parents.)

Edward and Lydia (Shumaker) Hecht had three children, per census records (surname HECHT):

      i. Edward A. (1905-1970)

     ii. Helen C. (1908-?)

    iii. Betty J. (circa 1924-?)

Family lore says that when Edward was a young man, he “was a brass finisher in the Pennsylvania shops;” and that Lydia “worked in the knitting mills when she was thirteen years old.” Census records tell us that Edward also worked as a machinist. Edward and Lydia Hecht and their family resided in Fort Wayne until 1923, when they moved to Lake James in Pleasant Township, Steuben county, Indiana. Lydia later moved to Noblesville, Hamilton county, Indiana, in 1953.

Edward J. Hecht died at age 68 on June 17, 1948 at Lake James. Lydia (Shumaker) Hecht died March 14, 1966 in Noblesville. They are both buried in Circle Hill Cemetery in Angola, Steuben county, Indiana.

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The Fourth Generation

Edward Bernard Hecht (Charles3, Henry2, Martin1) was born August 10, 1898, in Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio, the second son and eldest surviving child of Charles and Amalia (Lienesch) Hecht.

On November 26, 1919 – Thanksgiving Day – in Emanuel Church in Dayton, Edward wed Clara Elizabeth Amann. Clara was born December 5, 1890, probably in Wapakoneta, Auglaize county, Ohio, the daughter of Samuel Joseph and Elizabeth J. Amann. In 1930 Edward B. Hecht and his family lived at 421 Haynes Street in Dayton. Edward worked as a policeman for the city of Dayton.

Edward and Clara Hecht had five children (surname HECHT):

  1.   Alvin Charles.  Born Sept. 6, 1920, Alvin C. Hecht died at the age of 79 on February 1, 2000. He was buried on February 5th in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio, in Section 46, Lot 151, Grave 4NE.
  2.   Alberta Irene. Born on July 9, 1922, “Bertie” was the wife of Carl W. Gaeke. She died at age 94 on June 17, 2017, and was laid to rest on June 22nd in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio, in Section 37, Lot 72, Space 9.
  3.   Richard John. Born Jan. 30, 1925, Richard J. Hecht died October 28, 2022, at the age of 97. He was a resident of Ocala, Florida, at the time of his death.
  4.   Robert Francis. Born Jan. 30, 1925, Robert F. Hecht died March 31, 1999, at the age of 74. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio, in Section 37, Lot 66, Grave 2NW.  Robert and his brother Richard were twins.
  5.   Mary Lou (1933 - )

Clara already had two small children underfoot when she gave birth to her twin sons. The story goes that Clara was at home, climbing the stairs, when her water broke. She was probably already well into her labor, because things happened very quickly thereafter. Robert was born on the stairs. With help, Clara got to an upstairs room before Richard arrived.

Edward B. Hecht died at the age of 65 on March 26, 1964. He was buried March 30th in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio, in Section 13, Lot 316, Grave 1SW. Clara E. (Amann) Hecht died at age 84 on May 2, 1975. She was laid to rest near Edward on May 5th in Calvary Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio, in Section 13, Lot 316, Grave 1NE.

To see a photo of Edward B. and Clara E. (Amann) Hecht, click here.

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The family of Joseph and Mary (Grothaus) Hecht

We started out knowing very little about son Joseph; the Jergens family essay fails even to mention him. Then we chanced upon Amy Ray’s family tree, with notes regarding her Hecht ancestors. The remarkable clues contained in these notes led to a number of email exchanges and a series of census, obituary, probate, guardianship, interment, and vital records that told the story of Joseph Hecht and his family.

In 1880 Joseph Hecht was enumerated in Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio, as “Jos. Heck.” The Jergens family essay states, “When [the Hecht family] came to Dayton, they located their home in the south of Dayton on what is now called Bonner Street.” Joseph and Mary Hecht’s residence, at 43 Bonner Street, was the same place where Joseph was enumerated in 1870 with his parents: In both the 1870 and 1880 censuses, their next-door neighbor was Andrew Weaver, born in Indiana, a cigar-maker. Joseph inherited this house when his father died in 1879.

There is confusion surrounding the names of Joseph and Mary’s two surviving sons. The birth record for the older son names him as Joseph W. (Joseph William), the younger son as Henry E. (Henry Edward). When the census taker wrote down the boys’ names in 1880, he listed the two-year-old as William, and the baby, born the previous December, as Henry. In the fall of 1881, when she was making her will, Margaret Hecht mentioned her “grand Son Joseph William Hecht.” As mentioned earlier, both Joseph and Mary Hecht died in 1883. Their sons subsequently show up in census records for Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana. The older boy grew up as William Henry Hecht, the younger as Edward Joseph Hecht. (Their World War I draft registrations provide their full names as such.)  It looks as though both boys kept their original middle names (which they probably went by) but swapped their original first names (which then became their middle names). It’s possible that these new name combinations emerged after Joseph and Mary died and the little boys, ages five and four, were taken in by their maternal grandparents in Fort Wayne.

An obituary record for Mary (Grothaus) Hecht indicates that when she died on October 26, 1883, Mary was living at 194 E. Wayne Street in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the home address of her father, Henry Grothaus. Mary’s last will and testament, dated four days before her death, designated Henry Grothaus as guardian of her two sons, William and Edward. In her will, Mary refers to her illness – a clear indication that she anticipated her own death:

“... That he [Henry Grothaus] shall have a reasonable compensation for his services as my executor + for my care and expenses of my last sickness. That he shall if possible give my said two sons a good Catholic education + see that they are raised as such, Catholic.”

“The Grothaus/Grothouse Story,” a compiled genealogy, sums up the facts of Joseph and Mary (Grothaus) Hecht’s family thus:

Mary Elizabeth, the first daughter of Henry and Christina [Grothaus] was born February 21, 1855. At the age of 20 Mary married George [Joseph] Hecht, a carpenter from Dayton, Ohio. Their first child, Charles, only lived for 5 months. Shortly thereafter the Hechts moved to Dayton, where they subsequently had two boys, William and Edward. When the boys were still quite young, 5 and 4 years old, their father died of tuberculosis (he was only 31 years old). Mary returned to Fort Wayne, but died 6 months later, at the young age of 28. The orphaned boys were raised by relatives in Fort Wayne. The 1900 Census records indicate the younger boy, Edward, was living with his Grandmother, Christina, at that time.”

To see photos of William and Edward Hecht as boys, click here.

Both the Grothaus genealogy and Calvary Cemetery’s interment record list George Joseph Hecht’s place of birth as Cincinnati, OH – notations that support the family lore about the birthplace of Martin and Margaret Hecht’s three sons.

We suspect the Jergens family essay doesn’t mention Joseph Hecht because, in the family’s collective memory, Joseph and his brother Michael merged into one person. Little wonder, given that five Hechts (Martin, Margaret, Michael, Joseph, and Joseph’s wife Mary) all died in a span of little more than four years, leaving only Henry Hecht and his family – and, of course, Joseph and Mary Hecht’s orphaned boys. The essay gives Michael Hecht’s date of death as March 5, 1884, when in fact Michael died on September 13, 1881. Joseph Hecht’s death on February 19, 1883, more closely matches the season and year attributed in the essay to Michael’s demise.

Though the lives of Joseph and Mary (Grothaus) Hecht were brief and their story tragic, we are pleased to remember them here.

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Arthur C., Dorothy G., and Norman A. Hecht

Our information regarding these three “middle children” of Charles J. and Amalia (Lienesch) Hecht comes to us from Richard J. Hecht and his son Nathan.


Arthur C. Hecht, born September 10, 1910 in Dayton, first married a woman named Agnes. They had a one child, a son also named Arthur. While Agnes’s maiden name is lost to memory, her expressed goal in life has become part of the family lore. The story goes that Agnes told her son she married his father for his money. Agnes’s marriage to Arthur C. Hecht did not endure. Agnes went on to marry a man named Orville Spatz. Apparently Orville caught on to Agnes’s ulterior motives and divorced her.

At the time of his death on June 29, 1966, in Germantown, Montgomery county, Ohio, Arthur C. Hecht was married to Dorothy E. Strader. Dorothy was born December 23, 1918, probably in Germantown, Montgomery county, Ohio, the daughter of Firman Elsworth Strader and his wife Myrtle Ardella “Della” Brower. Dorothy (Strader) Hecht died December 30, 2001, in Montgomery county, Ohio.


Dorothy G. Hecht was born January 21, 1903, in Dayton, the fourth child and only daughter of Charles and Amalia. By about age two, Dorothy had lost what little bit of hearing she’d been born with. Deafness, however, didn’t stop Dorothy from enjoying a full life. She became an airbrush artist and was twice married, though she had no children. (To see photos of Charles and Amalia that were airbrushed with color by Dorothy, click here.)

On January 30, 1936, in Dayton, Dorothy and three other people – all of them deaf, like Dorothy – were riding in a car that was hit by a train. Dorothy’s brother Edward was notified of the accident and went to identify her remains. As he viewed Dorothy at the morgue, Edward realized that she wasn’t deathly still – she was moving. He notified the morgue personnel, who rushed Dorothy to a hospital. Miraculously, she made a full recovery.

Dorothy’s first husband was Timothy J. Gagoudy, born September 1, 1896. Timothy died in Pinellas county, Florida, in June 1963. Dorothy also survived her second husband, a man named Christopher Christensen, whom Dorothy felt had not treated her well. Dorothy lived to be 90 years old; she died in Florida on November 13, 1993. As Richard Hecht tells us, Dorothy “stipulated in her will that she wanted to be listed on the tombstone as Dorothy Gagoudy and laid to rest next to her first husband, Timothy Gagoudy, in Pinellas Park, Florida.”

To see a photo of Dorothy G. Hecht, click here.


Norman A. Hecht, born circa 1906, was the youngest surviving child of Charles and Amalia. Sometime after 1930, Norman married Thelma M. (maiden name unknown), born circa 1914. Norman and Thelma Hecht had a son and two daughters:

Robert Norman (Sept. 23, 1934 – May 11, 1992; buried at Heritage Hills Memorial Gardens, Springboro, OH); Peggy; and Barbara Lee.

Thelma M. Hecht died at age 55 in Dayton on January 2, 1969. The record of her death states that she was married; we may assume that her husband Norman survived her.

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Gertrude Hecht was born Dec. 6, 1884, in Dayton, Ohio, the ninth child of Henry and Elizabeth (Ziegler) Hecht. Because her nieces referred to her as “Aunt Gertie,” we may presume that Gertrude was known in her family as Gertie.

In 1907 Gertrude entered the convent of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Poor in Cincinnati, Ohio. This community, now known as the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, was founded in 1845 by Blessed Frances Schervier in Aachen, Germany. Gertrude’s religious name was Sister Flavia. She received her religious training at St. Claire Convent in Hartville, Ohio, and was a member of the class of 1915, St. Mary Hospital School of Nursing in Hoboken, NJ. Beginning in 1924, Sister Flavia was the supervisor of the Pediatric Department at St. Francis Hospital in Jersey City. She was 57 years old when she died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Oct. 22, 1942 in New Jersey.

Sister Flavia’s convent obituary tells her story with genuine affection:

Our Beloved Sister Flavia of St. Francis (Gertrude Hecht), Professed of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis, Province of St. Anthony, departed this life Oct. 22, 1942, fortified with the rites of Holy Church, in St. Francis Hospital, Jersey City.

She attained the age of 57 years, 10 months, of which she spent 35 years in the Congregation.


[She was] apparently in the best of health on Monday, Oct. 19th. Sister Flavia was on duty all day, offering no complaint of feeling ill, was present at all Community Exercises, partook of the evening meal and assisted at the usual duties after supper, leading the prayers. From all evidences she then repaired to the choir to await the October Rosary Devotion at 7:30 p.m. Undoubtedly it was during this time that she became ill and went to the Infirmary opposite the Sister’s Choir.

It was after the devotion, when the Sister assigned to night duty in the Children’s department notified Reverend Sister Amalia, that Sister Flavia was ill. On entering the Infirmary, Rev. Sister Amalia noticed a light in the bathroom attached to the Infirmary and concluded that Sister Flavia was there. After waiting for a considerable time and hearing no sounds, Rev. Sister Amalia knocked at the door but received no response. Then, peering through the key hole, she noticed Sister Flavia lying on the floor.

Help was summoned, the door forced open, and Sister Flavia was carried to bed, in the Infirmary, unconscious and from appearance had been unconscious for some time. Our Reverend Chaplain, Father Mackin, administered Extreme Unction while the Intern administered emergency medical relief. Stimulants and oxygen gave some relief but consciousness never returned – Sister Flavia died, very peacefully, [on] Thursday, October 22nd, about 2:02 a.m. The cause of her death is attributed to cerebral hemorrhage, due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease.

Reverend Mother Aquilina visited Sister Flavia and prayed with her during her last hours. Also the prayers for the dying were said several times by the Reverend Chaplain and a Franciscan Father; and at her passing Rev. Sister Superior and a number of Sisters were present.

We are confident that, although Sister Flavia’s summons was sudden, she was prepared and rejoiced when her Guardian Angel whispered, “The Master is come, and calleth for you,” (St. John) for Sister Flavia was at all times an ideal religious. Ever conscientious in her religious duties, of very kind disposition, willing and cheerful, charitable to all and fond Mother to her little charges who loved her in return.

After her Novitiate at St. Clara Convent, Hartwell, Cincinnati, Ohio, Sister Flavia was sent to St. Francis Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, for a short time, then to St. Mary Hospital, Hoboken, NJ, until this house was taken by the US Government during the World War, 1915. From here she was sent to St. Anthony Hospital, Woodhaven, and since 1923 has been at St. Francis Hospital, Jersey City, filling various posts until 1926 when she was assigned supervisor of the Pediatric Department, where she labored faithfully for the little ones.

From a note we learn that Sister Flavia’s ruling passion was Love of Sacrifice for her Spouse Jesus. This reads, “We are here to work out our Salvation. It will be either salvation or damnation. If I lead a life of sacrifice, it will bring joy to me hereafter. Jesus give me grace to be a good religious, and to advance in perfection. Jesus and Mary, I place my trust and confidence in you.”

We know that the trust and confidence will find its reward in eternity.


Sister Flavia’s obituary in the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper says, “Surviving are two sisters, Dorothy and Clara Hecht, both of Dayton.” There was in fact another surviving sibling, older sister Anna (Hecht) Leyes, whose daughter Cecilia (Leyes) Jergens accompanied Dorothy and Clara Hecht on their trip from Dayton to Jersey City for the funeral. Cecilia’s daughter Margaret Jergens, who had corresponded with “Aunt Gertie” as a child, also attended Sister Flavia’s funeral.

Sister Flavia was laid to rest in Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City, New Jersey.

To see a photo of Sister Flavia and the pocket watch she used, click here.

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When parents die young, as Joseph and Mary (Grothaus) Hecht did, their family histories often die with them. Amy Ray&rquo;s family tree, “Knox Family, Indiana,” posted at RootsWeb’s (now mostly defunct) WorldConnect Project, allowed us to pull together the two ends – Ohio and Indiana – to form a coherent picture of Joseph and Mary&rquo;s family history. Amy, who is a descendant of William H. Hecht, generously shared her time and data with us. Many of Amy&rquo;s source materials were found at the Allen County Public Library, 900 Webster St., Fort Wayne, IN. Thanks a million, Amy!

Amy&rquo;s sources include the following:

“The Grothaus/Grothouse Story – 1851 to 1994” (a 42-page typescript document), compiled by Grothaus descendant Carolyn Gardner, pp. 3-4, 26.

“1870-1973: Family Tree of Gregor Klug and Elizabeth [Alter] Klug.”

Allen County, IN, 159, Wills, 1824-1899 (H-M); Allen Co., IN, 156, Probate Records 1824-1969, General Index to Guardianships (Books 1-3): Ward Hecht, Wm Ed, Heirs of Mary E. Hecht, Guardian Christine Grothaus, Date of Appointment Feb 25, 1884, Book 4, Page 27, File Box No. 327.

Copies of the marriage licenses of Joseph Hecht and Mary Grothaus, and of William H. Hecht and Minnie Krauhs.

Mrs. Mary Hecht of 194 E Wayne Street, daughter of Henry Grothaus died 10/26/1883 per Obituary Records as found in Fort Wayne, Indiana Newspapers 1841-1900. Compiled and typed by Cleo Goff Wolkens 1962.

Obituary for William H. Hecht, Friday, March 17, 1967 issue of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

Interment Records, Lindenwood Cemetery, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1860-1972, Vol. VI, “H,” Abstracted from Original Cemetery Records by the Staff, The Fort Wayne Public Library, 1973.

Information, including dates of death and place of burial, regarding Edward J. Hecht and his wife Lydia L. (Shumaker) Hecht was generously provided by a granddaughter via email in February 2007. Thank you, Sarah!

Information regarding Charles Hecht, the son of Joseph and Mary (Grothaus) Hecht, was obtained from two online searchable databases. At the Friends of Allen County website, using the Allen County, Indiana Church Burial Records database, we found the following:

Surname   First Name   Date of Burial   Other Information   Church
Hecht   Carolus Henricus   1876 Dec 10   age 5m   SMC (St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Fort Wayne, IN)
Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, Roll #15, item 3, St. Mary's Catholic Church, Fort Wayne, IN, Burial records 1850-1884. Compiled by Margery Graham, CGRS.

At the same website, using the Allen County, Indiana Death Index, 1870-1920, we found the following:

Surname   First Name   Age   Date              Book   Page
Hecht     Charles H.       5m   12/08/1876   SCH-1 88
(“The Book and Page references refer to the book in the county health department and the page in that book where the death is recorded.”)

An obituary item for “infant Hecht,” the stillborn daughter and fourth child of Joseph and Mary (Grothaus) Hecht, was obtained via the Dayton Obituary Index, an online searchable database made available by the Dayton (Ohio) Metro Library. The item for this child was written as follows:

infant Hecht   Dayton Daily Journal   November 11, 1881   v. XIX, iss. 90 : pg. 3, col. 4 died week ending November 10, infant of J. & M. Hecht.

Information regarding Theodore H. Hecht, son of Charles, was obtained through this same database.


Death records for three of Martin and Margaret Hecht’s children were obtained by Amy Ray in August 2006 at the Cincinnati (Ohio) Library, from the following two volumes:

Hamilton County, Ohio; Church Death Records; 1811-1849, indexed by Jeffrey G. Herbert; 1999; page 76.

Hecht, Johan Heinrich, parents Martin Hecht & Margaretha Kraus, Burial Date 3 Aug 1849, Death Date Aug, Age 9m, St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church.

Hamilton County, Ohio, Church Burial Records, 1850-1859, indexed by Jeffrey G. Herbert, page 133.

Hecht, Georg Martin, parents Martin Hecht & Margaretha Graus, Burial Date 22 Feb 1851, Death Date Feb, Age 3m, St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church.
Hecht, Maria, parents Martin Hecht & Margaretha Graus, 13 July 1850, Death Date July, Age 1y 9m, St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church.

Information about St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, was obtained from The Catholic Heritage of Cincinnati, Ohio, website, which has since disappeared from the Internet.


The Jergens family essay, “The Ancestors of the Present Jergens Family,” was written in 1936-37 by Margaret and Maryann Jergens of Dayton, Ohio, with contributions from numerous relatives alive in 1936.

Interment lists were obtained from The Calvary Cemetery Association, Calvary & Dixie Avenues, Dayton, OH 45409 (937) 293-1221; email:

Ohio Death Certificate Index searchable database, available at the Ohio Historical Society’s website; 1982 Velma Ave., Columbus, OH 43211-2497

Numerous Ohio death records were obtained from the Family Search Labs website.

International Genealogical Index® (IGI) records were obtained at the website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Databases: Indiana Births, 1880-1920; Indiana Marriages, 1845-1920; Dayton, Ohio, Directories, 1888-92; Ohio Deaths, 1958-2000; World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.


1860 US federal census, Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana; NARA micropublication M653, roll #243, page 897 – household of Henry Grothaus.

1860 US federal census, Dayton (5th ward), Montgomery County, Ohio; NARA micropublication M653, roll #1015, page 117 – household of Martin Hecht.


1870 US federal census, Fort Wayne (8th ward), Allen County, Indiana; NARA micropublication M593, roll #297, page 439 – household of Henry Grothaus.

1870 US federal census, Dayton (7th ward), Montgomery County, Ohio; NARA micropublication M593, roll #1249, page 292A – household of Henry Hecht.

1870 US federal census, Dayton (7th ward), Montgomery County, Ohio; NARA micropublication M593, roll #1249, page 292B – household of Martin Hecht.


1880 US federal census, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio; NARA micropublication T9, roll #1051, page290D – household of Henry Hecht.

1880 US federal census, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio; NARA micropublication T9, roll #1051, page 295B – household of Joseph Hecht (“Jos. Heck”).

1880 US federal census, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio; NARA micropublication T9, roll #1051, page 259B – household of Michael Hecht.


1900 US federal census, ED 25, Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana; NARA micropublication T623, roll #358, page 5A – household of Christina Grothaus.

1900 US federal census, ED 37, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio; NARA micropublication T623, roll #1306, page 10B – household of Charles J. Hecht.

1900 US federal census, ED 69, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio; NARA micropublication T623, roll #1307, page 9A – household of Henry Hecht.


1910 US federal census, Dayton (9th ward), Montgomery County, Ohio; NARA micropublication T624, roll #1217, part 2, page 251B – household of Charles J. Hecht.

1910 US federal census, Fort Wayne (8th ward), Allen County, Indiana; NARA micropublication T624, roll #339, part 3, page 55A – household of Edward J. Hecht.

1910 US federal census, Dayton (8th ward), Montgomery County, Ohio; NARA micropublication T624, roll #1217, part 2, page 2B – household of Elizabeth Hecht.


1920 US federal census, ED 66, Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana; NARA micropublication T625, roll #421, page 8A – household of Edward J. Hecht.

1920 US federal census, ED 168, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio; NARA micropublication T625, roll 1421, page 7B – Dorothy, Henry & Clara Hecht.


1930 US federal census, ED 13, Pleasant Township, Steuben County, Indiana; NARA micropublication T626, roll #624, page 219 – household of Edward J. Hecht.

1930 US federal census, ED 102, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio; NARA micropublication T626, roll #1855, page 54B – household of Charles J. Hecht.

1930 US federal census, ED 95, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio; NARA micropublication T626, roll 1853, page 10A – household of Dorothy & Clara Hecht.




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© 2023 Elaine Schenot