The Leyes Family of Dayton, Ohio


This looks like Margaret, wife of John Leyes Margaret, wife of John Leyes

ABOVE LEFT: This photo, preserved and passed down through Margaret (Seager) Leyes’s grand-
daughter Bernadina (Leyes) Zavakos to great-granddaughter Laura Zavakos Wood, resembles the
identified one to the right. We’d wager that it’s another picture of Margaret (Seager) Leyes.
ABOVE RIGHT: A photo of Margaret (Seager) Leyes, courtesty of Laura Zavakos Wood.

civil marriage record for John Leyes and Margaret Seager


ABOVE: This image of the 1853 civil marriage record for John Leyes and Margaret Seager is a composite of two separate images. Their names can be seen at the bottom of the register image on the left; the record on the right pertains to John and Margaret only. This record not only gives us the date of their union but also provides confirmation of what we had suspected about John – that his given name was simply John, because he wrote wrote his first name as Johannes. The use of this form indicates that he had no other given name. (For an excellent description of German naming customs, visit Charles F. Kerchner, Jr.’s website. You might want turn your speakers down, though; the site is rigged to play Beer Barrel Polka.)

Notice also how John wrote his surname: There is an pair of dots over the Y. A French family historian has written to one of our Leyes cousins, “Les caractères de la signatures sont semblables a ceux des actes alsaciens de l’époque. John signe ‘Johannes Leÿes,’ les 2 petits points sur l’Y sont caractéristiques de l’écriture ‘allemande’ et s’appellent ‘tilde.’” This translates to The characters of the signatures are similar to those of the Alsatian documents of the time. John signed “Johannes Leÿes,” 2 small dots on there are characteristic of the “German” writing and are called “tilde.” suggests that the surname Leyes derives from the name Elias. It’s not easy to tell if John wrote his surname as Leyes or Leyse on this document. The official’s handwriting on the rest of the record clearly shows John’s name spelled as Leyse. But we also know that until about the 20th century, no one cared much about spelling surnames consistently.


Louise Stich Elizabeth C. Stich

ABOVE LEFT: Louise Stich, born in August 1881, is pictured all in white, wearing a veil and holding a paschal candle. She looks so very young; and yet the occasion could have been her reception, at age 20, into the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Louise’s religious name, Sister Louis Joseph, may have been a tribute to her uncle Louis J. Stich, who died in November 1901. Louise died in Dayton at the age of 27 on November 15, 1908.

ABOVE RIGHT: Elizabeth C. Stich was born in July of 1887. She followed in her sister Louise’s footsteps when she, too, became a nun in the same religious order. Elizabeth’s religious name was Sister Julia Agatha. While the 1930 census noted her occupation as that of high school teacher, Sr. Julia Agatha apparently taught in the lower grades as well: Margaret Jergens remembered her mother’s cousin as a lovely nun who sometimes substituted for Sister Theodore in the first and second grade classroom at Our Lady of the Rosary school in Dayton, Ohio.

Louise and Elizabeth Stich were the only daughters of Catherine E. Leyes and her husband Andrew Stich. These photos were preserved and passed down through Bernadina (Leyes) Zavakos to Bernadina’s great-granddaughter Laura Zavakos Wood.


Stich grocery store, Dayton, Ohio

ABOVE: This undated photo, courtesy of the family of Greg and Vickie Leyes, shows the grocery store owned and run by Andrew J. Stich, husband of Catherine E. Leyes. The store was located at 301 Troy Street in old North Dayton, Ohio. The Dayton History Books Online website includes a transcription of the April 19, 1918, issue of the Official Annual Labor Review for Dayton. On this page we found the entry for the Stich family grocery:

301 Troy Street

“Here is a first-class grocery, meat and feed store, established 26 years ago, and enjoying the complete confidence and esteem of the buying public. It has always been located at the same place. The grocery is in charge of Carl Stich, and here a full line of groceries, meats and canned goods may be bought. The concern also owns and operates the North Dayton Feed Store, where a complete line of mill feed, corn, hay, etc., is carried in stock. We urge our union workmen friends to give the stores run by this concern their business. You will be satisfied with your purchases. Home 5031, Bell East 1818.”

Exactly two months before this was published, Andrew Stich died at the age of 60. Exactly six months after this was published, Carl Stich — mentioned above as being in charge of the store — died of pneumonia at age 20. Carl was the youngest of Andrew and Catherine (Leyes) Stich’s six children. The 1920 census listed “grocery clerk” as the occupation of Joseph Stich, the second-to-youngest of Andrew and Catherine’s children. Apparently Joseph took over for his late father and brother.


Leyes cradle Henry Leyes with pumpkins

ABOVE LEFT: In 1858 Margaret (Seager) Leyes purchased a second-hand cradle for Joseph, her firstborn. This cradle was used for her four other surviving children before being handed down through the family. Apparently of the Queen Anne style, it is made entirely of walnut. In the above photo, taken around 1996, Margaret Leyes’s great-granddaughter Rita Schmidt smiles at her great-grandson Matthew, the latest of Margaret Leyes’s descendants to use the venerable cradle.
ABOVE RIGHT: John and Margaret Leyes’s youngest child, Henry J. Leyes (1870-1949) with his harvest, circa 1918.


Herbert Leyes Peter Jergens, Sr., and Henry Leyes

ABOVE LEFT: Twelve-year-old Herbert F. Leyes, the son of Henry J. and Anna (Hecht) Leyes, circa 1920.
ABOVE RIGHT: Henry Leyes (right) chats with Peter Jergens, Sr., circa 1918.


Henry Leyes kept pigs and chickens

ABOVE: Henry Leyes with his pigs and chickens. (Is that the Leyes house in the background?) Henry’s granddaughter
Margaret Jergens recalled that he kept hogs, this memory linked with her own family’s homemade sauerkraut.
She wrote, “Come winter, and after Grandpa Leyes had butchered his two hogs, we really enjoyed the kraut and pork meals.”
Looks like Grandpa Leyes had more than two hogs! Our thanks to a Leyes cousin for sharing this photo.


Anna and Henry Leyes with some of their adult children

ABOVE: Henry and Anna (Hecht) Leyes stand with four of their seven children. The occasion was Henry and Annie’s 50th wedding
anniversary celebration in 1942. Left to right: Dorothy (Leyes) Leidig; Anna (Hecht) Leyes; Henry J. Leyes; Raymond H. Leyes;
Andrew J. Leyes; and Herbert F. Leyes. (The author is struck by the resemblance of a couple of her own brothers with Raymond
and Herbert Leyes!) Our thanks to a Leyes cousin for sharing this photo.


Margaret Louise Clayton and cousins

ABOVE: Margaret Louise Clayton (1920-1997), second from left, stands with three
of her Jergens cousins. Margaret Louise was the daughter of Louise “Lula” Leyes.



Cecilia M. Leyes, April 25, 1907

Cecilia Leyes is shown here in a close-up cropped from the larger picture, below.
This class picture of grades 4 & 5 in a Dayton school was taken on April 25, 1907,
per the notation written on the slate held by one of the children. (Cecilia, who was
twelve years of age in April 1907, seems a little old to have been a 5th grader.) In the
larger picture, Cecilia stands in the next-to-last row, third from the right.

Grades 4 & 5, April 25, 1907


Peter & Cecilia (Leyes) Jergens and children Cecilia (Leyes) Jergens

ABOVE LEFT: Peter and Cecilia (Leyes) Jergens
and their children in 1921.
ABOVE RIGHT: Cecilia Margaret (Leyes) Jergens in the 1950s. To see Cecilia Leyes’s wedding picture, click here.



Report of death of Catherine Leyes Sister Flaviana Leyes


ABOVE LEFT: We found this Report of the Death of an American Citizen for Sister Flaviana Leyes at
ABOVE RIGHT: Sister Flaviana (Catherine Leyes) dressed in her religious habit. This photo probably was taken when Catherine professed her vows.



Martha (Leyes) Zakar

ABOVE: Martha (Leyes) Zakar was one of Andrew and Irma
Leyes’s daughters. She departed this life on January 7, 2013.



Except where noted, photos below this paragraph are courtesy of Michael Cunningham.


Louis J. Leyes, circa 1910 Louis J. Leyes with draft horses, 1913

ABOVE LEFT: Louis J. Leyes, circa 1910.
ABOVE RIGHT: Louis J. Leyes in 1913 with “Babe” and another draft horse at the Schantz brewery on Warren St., Dayton, Ohio.



The formal wedding portrait of Joseph and Mary Leyes Joseph and Mary Leyes celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1933

ABOVE LEFT: Joseph Leyes married Mary A. Shutte on May 9, 1883, at Emmanuel Church in Dayton, Ohio.
ABOVE RIGHT: As noted in this newspaper clipping, Joseph and Mary celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1933. (A family photo taken on that happy occasion appears a little further down this page). These two photos are courtesy of Greg and Vickie Leyes.



Annie, the youngest child of Joseph and Mary Leyes Mary Jane Leyes with her grandparents, Joseph and Mary Leyes

ABOVE LEFT: Joseph and Mary Leyes’s daughter Annie died in 1905 at age 6.
ABOVE RIGHT: On the occasion of her 8th grade graduation in 1929, Mary Jane Leyes was photographed with grandparents Joseph and Mary Leyes.



Joseph and Mary Leyes celebrate their 50th anniversary

Joseph and Mary Leyes celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1933 with a family gathering. We are told that the barn in the background is the one that stood on Joseph and Mary’s property at 137 W. Bruen Street in Dayton.
Front row (left to right): Eugene Langenkamp (son of Louis and Clara [Leyes] Langenkamp); Dorothy Leyes (daughter of Harry and Coletta [Haas] Leyes); Rosemarie Langenkamp (daughter of Louis and Clara [Leyes] Langenkamp).
Second row: Kathern (Custenborder) Leyes (wife of Albert Leyes) holding their little son Clarence; Joseph and Mary Leyes; Coletta (Haas) Leyes (wife of Harry); Irene (Stoecklein) Leyes (wife of Louis J.); Mary Louise Leyes (daughter of Charles and Mildred [Kist] Leyes).
Back Row: Mildred (Kist) Leyes (wife of Charles); Clara (Leyes) Langenkamp; Charles Leyes; Albert Leyes; Louis Langenkamp (Clara's husband); Charles Joseph Leyes (son of Charles and Mildred); Harry P. Leyes; Louis J. Leyes.
We thank the young lady in the center of the front row for identifying everybody in this picture!


Joseph and Mary Leyes with baby grandson Four generations of Leyes descendants

ABOVE LEFT: This picture of Joseph and Mary Leyes with a young child was dated April 16, 1933 (photo courtesy of Greg and Vickie Leyes). The youngster in Joseph’s arms is very likely their grandson Clarence B. Leyes.
ABOVE RIGHT: Four generations — Mary Leyes, her son Louis J. Leyes, Louis’s daughter Mary Jane (Leyes) Cunningham, and Mary Jane’s son Mike — pose for the camera in 1942.



Obituary for Mary A. (Shutte) Leyes, February 1946

ABOVE: Mary (Shutte) Leyes, widow of Joseph Leyes, died a tragic death in 1946. (Note that her husband’s name is listed erroneously as George.)
One of Mary’s great-granddaughters has passed along the info that Mary “insisted on living there alone [in her home] after she was widowed,
refusing to live with any of her children. Her sweater caught fire.” Great-grandson Michael Cunningham said he “heard that Louis [Mary’s son]
was the only one who saw and identified her.”




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