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Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Gratz Family of Gratz, Civil War Veterans

Posted By on December 13, 2010

The Gratz House – from a Mural in the Gratz Community Building

Theodore Gratz (1811-1863), the third son of Simon Gratz and Mary {Smith] Gratz, was born in Philadelphia.  Theodore’s father, Simon, was the brother of Rebecca Gratz, and therefore Theodore was Rebecca’s nephew. Because of the estrangement of Rebecca and her brother Simon, probably over religious differences, the siblings knew little or nothing about each other’s families.

Simon Gratz – from a Mural in the Gratz Community Building

Simon Gratz’s interests in Gratztown seemed attractive to his son Theodore.  Sometime prior to Simon’s death in 1839, Theodore requested and received 350 acres of land in an area that is now part of the historic village.  In 1836, Theodore married Ann Ellen Carson of Harrisburg.  And around that time, Theodore built and moved into a large brick home on Market Street in Gratz, currently known as the “Gratz House.” Prior to the move to Gratz, Theodore and Ann lived in Harrisburg.  For a short period, from 1846-1847, Theodore Gratz served in the state Legislature.

A few things are known about the activities of Theodore Gratz and Ann [Carson] Gratz while they were living in Gratztown.  In 1850, fourteen people were living in the brick house of Market Street or in outbuildings on the property.  They included Theodore and Ann, seven of their children, the widow of Theodore’s brother Edward, and four others who may have been servants.  In 1852, Theodore was selected as the first mayor of Gratz.  Court records also show that he served as an appraiser of properties for estates.  He had known interests in the mining and railroad enterprises in the area and was affiliated with others who also did.  His occupation was given as “none” in the 1850 Census, which meant that he was probably a “gentleman” or a man of leisure.

The ten children born to Theodore and Ann [Carson] Gratz were born either in Harrisburg or in Gratz and most likely lived in the brick house on Market Street in Gratztown for some time during their early lives.  All of the children were baptized in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral in Harrisburg, which at the time was the seat of the Episcopal Bishop of Pennsylvania.  Ann’s membership in that church could have been due to her parent’s affiliation.  Not until the last child was born to Theodore and Ann, around 1855, did Theodore’s name appear in the church records, so it is not known whether he practiced the Jewish faith (his father was Jewish but his mother was a Christian), converted to Christianity, or professed no religious beliefs at all, At the baptism of the youngest daughter Fannie, Theodore is mentioned in the records as one of her parents.  Only Ann is named as a parent in the baptismal records for the other children.

The Gratz House as it appears today

At some time in the 1850s, perhaps after the last child was born, Theodore and Ann moved from Gratz and began to reside at Second Street in Harrisburg.  There were other members of Ann’s family who lived in that same location.  By 1860, Theodore was listed in the census as a “gentleman” and several of his children were living in the household.  Theodore died in 1863, about 18 months after son John died in the Civil War.  Ann continued to live in Harrisburg through her death in 1881. The 1870 Census shows her living with her parents, Charles and Mary Carson, and three of her young girls.  Both Theodore and Ann [Carson] Gratz are buried in the Old Harrisburg Cemetery in Harrisburg.

The children of Theodore Gratz & Ann Ellen [Carson] Gratz:

Charles Carson Gratz (1838-15 Feb 1856).  Possibly born Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., PA.  Baptised, 24 Jan 1856, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral, Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., PA.  Living with family in Gratz, PA, in 1850.  Died before the Civil War began.

Caroline Gratz (1839- ?).  Born Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  Baptised, 25 Feb 1855, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral, Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  Living with parents in Gratz, PA, in 1850.  Married, 18 May 1858 to Joseph G. Rowlands at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral, Harrisburg.  A Civil War service record has not been located for Joseph G. Rowlands.

Simon Gratz (1841-   ).  Born Dauphin Co., PA.  Baptised, 27 May 1855, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral, Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., PA.  In 1850, he was living with his parents in Gratz.  In 1860, he was working as an attendant in the Pennsylvania Lunatic Asylum in Susquehanna Township but was living with his parents in Harrisburg. Possibly this is the same Simon Gratz who joined the 2nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I, at Harrisburg in 1861, but more information is needed to confirm this.

John Carson Gratz (1843-26 Jan 1862).  Born Dauphin Co., PA.  Living with parents in Gratz, PA, in 1850. Baptised, 27 May 1855, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral, Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., PA.  Served in the 10th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company F, and the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G, during the Civil War.  Died of typhoid fever at Camp Northumberland, Virginia, 26 Jan 1862.  The St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral records indicate John died on 31 Jan 1862, but this may have been a funeral date.

Mary Ann Gratz (5 May 1848-13 Feb 1926).  Born Gratz, Dauphin Co., PA.  Baptised, unknown.  Living with parents in Gratz, PA, in 1850.  Living with parents in Harrisburg in 1860.  Married, 11 Sep 1866 to Maj. William W. Tyler (28 Sep 1838-1 Mar 1925), at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral, Harrisburg.  William was a career soldier from 1863 to his retirement as a Captain in 1904.  He served in the 94th New York Infantry during the Civil War.  The Tyler’s lived in Sackets Harbor, New York.

Francis Carson Gratz (1849-25 Apr 1876).  Born Gratz, Dauphin Co., PA.  Living with parents in Gratz, PA, in 1850.  Baptised, 2 Nov 1856, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral, Harrisburg.  Living with parents in Harrisburg in 1860.  Buried, Harrisburg Cemetery.  Not much further known about him.

James Campbell Gratz (abt 1850-?).  Born in Gratz, Dauphin Co., PA.  Baptised, 2 Nov 1856.  Living with parents in Harrisburg in 1860.  Not much further known about him.  If born in 1850, he would have been too young to serve in the Civil War.

Sarah Campbell Gratz (about 1855-14 Jun 1921).  Born Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., PA.  Baptised, 27 May 1855, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral, Harrisburg.  Living with parents in Harrisburg in 1860.  Married 8 Jan 1891 to Col. Lucius Rogers (18 Dec 1830-18 May 1909), at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral, Harrisburg.  Although he was from Genesee, Livingston Co., New York, he was commissioned by Gov. Andrew Curtin to serve as Captain of the 58th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company F, during the Civil War.  Sarah married Lucius well after the Civil War and may have met him in Harrisburg.

Ann Ellen Duncan Gratz (about 1853-22 Mar 1921).  Born Dauphin Co., PA.  Baptised, 2 Nov  1856.  Not married.  In 1909 she was living for a time with her sister Sarah in Kane, PA.  Most likely no connection with Civil War service except that she was living with her sister and brother-in-law Col. Rogers who died in 1909.

Fannie Duncan Gratz (about 1855-?).  Born Dauphin Co., PA.  Baptised, 27 Mar 1863, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral, Harrisburg.  Married  ? Mehaffey.  Little is known about her beyond this.

Posts are planned for each of the three individuals named above who served in the Civil War:  John Carson Gratz, Maj. William Tyler, and Col. Lucius Rogers.  Further research is needed to determine whether Simon Gratz (1841-?) served in the Civil War and whether any of the other daughters, Caroline, Frances, or Ann Ellen married Civil War soldiers.

By the time of the Civil War, Theodore and Ann Gratz lived in Harrisburg and it would be in Harrisburg that they would receive the news of their son John’s death.  As already stated, it is not yet known for certain if the Simon Gratz who joined the 2nd Pennsylvania Infantry in 1861 was the son of Theodore and Ann Gratz.  Mary Ann married in 1866, after her father had died, so Theodore would not have been aware that his son-in-law William Tyler was serving in the Civil War.  Sarah married in 1891, after her mother died, so her husband Lucius Rogers would not have been known to either of her parents.

Some of the above information on Theodore Gratz and his children was taken from A Comprehensive History of the Town of Gratz Pennsylvania which was published in 1997.  Copies are still available for sale.

Anyone with additional information on the Gratz family of Gratz, Pennsylvania, is urged to submit it.


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