The Christopher Karg Family in Europe

Christopher Karg was born on December 28, 1839, in Oberlohma 29, Austria, near the Eger district. He was the son of John Adam Karg, a property owner in Oberlohma. Christopher Karg's paternal grandparents were Jacob Karg, a property owner and Elizabeth Bohm of Oberlohma 2. Christopher's mother was Barbara Frank, the daughter of Nicholas Frank, a property owner in Oberlohma and of Barbara Lippert of Fischern 1.

Christopher had a twin sister, Margaretha. who died in Graz, Austria in 1929. Christopher also had three stepsisters: Katharina Karg Koestler (died 1926 in Hainburg, Austria), Eva Maria Seminko (died 1911 in Vienna, Austria), and Maria Karg (1864-1941).

Julia Himmel was born on January 5, 1837, in Duppau 1 19 . now Czechoslovakia. She was the daughter of Phillip Himmel, a shoemaker. Phillip was the son of Wenzel Himmel, a shoemaker, and of Mary Ann Kunl, also of Duppau. Julia's mother was Mary Ann Altgroth, the daughter of Erasmus Aitgroth, a shoemaker from Duppau 119, and Elizabeth Bayer of Zlatin.

Julia had only one sibling, a brother, John, who left Germany as a soldier of fortune in Maximillian's army. He spent many years fighting in Mexico. After returning to Europe, he married Maria Pilz. They were the parents of three children: Ida Himmel Lossl, Anne Himmel Worlicek, and Hugo.

Christopher and Julia were married on February 12, 1867. In 1868, their first child, Theresa, was born. At that time, Christopher was employed as a farber, a maker and dyer of men's blue and red handkerchiefs. The couple had a dream to move to America and decided to make that dream come true two years after they married. Their friends, the Hanels, had moved from their home in Austria to Kossuth, Pa., located in an area between Franklin and Clarion, Pa. In a letter to their homeland, the Hanels described Kossuth as an outstanding place to live. With this encouragement, Christopher and Julia, with their baby, Theresa, embarked on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to find a new home in a new land.

The Christopher Karg Family in America

Christopher and Julia Karg left Europe by boat from Amsterdam, Holland: their time at sea was six weeks. They suffered severe seasickness and lost much weight during the trip because of the difficult travel. However, they recovered after their October 30, 1869*, arrival in New York City and found the strength to continue their journey to Kossuth. They took a train to Pittsburgh and then to Foxburg, Pa., at that time the end of the railroad line. They were met by the Hanels with ox team and wagon. The Hanels took them over hills and valleys to Kossuth. At that time, Christopher Karg had only $5 in his pocket to start his family's new life in a new land. [* According to his petition for naturalization, he states he arrived "at the Port of New York on the twentyfifth day of September A.D. 1867." He filed his declaration of intent to become a citizen on December 4, 1870, and the Petition for Citizenship (No. 728) was granted February 3, 1873. This document is available at the Clarion County Court House]

On the boat, Christopher and Julia traveled with the Zoerkler family, who accompanied the Karg's on to Kossuth. The generous Hanel family boarded both families during the winter until they were able to build homes in the wilderness. The Karg family built a small two-room log cabin in the woods near Cogley City. Although the building no longer stands, the foundation remains in a small clearing and can still be seen today. The home was made of logs and had two rooms: a kitchen and sleeping quarters.

Life was difficult for Christopher and Julia. They arrived with few possessions. Julia had but two dresses for her entire wardrobe. Christopher began to establish himself as a farmer and acquired a cow and some chickens. Julia worked to create a home for her growing family. In the next 13 years, she bore eight more children at their cabin in the woods.

During these years, Christopher started a huckstering business in Oil City. He would buy produce and meats from Kossuth farmers and take these goods to Oil City by horse and wagon - a trip of 20 miles. When in town, he would take his farm goods from house to house, selling fresh farm products to the housewives. After buying the necessities for his family in Oil City, he would drive his horse team back to Kossuth at night. Some nights, Julia would walk with a lantern to greet him at the end of his trip.

To attend church at St. Michael's in Fryburg, Julia and Christopher would walk six miles through the fields and woods, since roads were few at that time. On some trips, they would stop at the home of Mrs. Martin Ditz to rest and eat dinner before completing the walk home.

In 1882, their lives changed. Julia became seriously ill. The priest from St. Michael's Church was called to perform the sacrament of Extreme Unction and after that she died peacefully. Her body was placed in a rough wooden box and taken by horse and wagon to St. Michael's for a funeral Mass and interred in the cemetery, close to the side door of St. Michael's Church. At the time of her death, the youngest of her nine children was only three years of age and the oldest was 14. No known photograph of Julia survived, but she was remembered by her children as a tall, kind woman who worked very hard and had tremendous faith in her God and her adopted country.

The Christopher Karg Family in Fryburg

After his wife's death, Christopher Karg continued to live in Kossuth for a few more years until sometime before 1887, when he purchased land in Hemlock, north of Fryburg. His departure was coincident with the oil boom and bust of nearby Cogley City. In 1885, oil was discovered on the Berlin Farm and shortly afterwards speculators invaded the area, causing a building boom in May 1885. Cogley City quickly mushroomed into a city that was in decline only a year later. Many of the farmers in the area, some of German extraction, feeling the risk of declining land values too great, sold their oil leases and moved to other districts. It is not known if this was the reason that Christopher Karg moved his family to Hemlock.

Christopher and his motherless children had much work to do at Hemlock. The land, mainly forest, was cleared by Christopher and his four sons with simple tools. During this time, Christopher and his boys lived in a small shack they built on the property. The Karg girls remained at the Cogley City cabin during this time; Theresa cared for her sisters until the Hemlock home was built.

About 80 of the 109 acres at Hemlock were cleared for farming. Using the felled trees for lumber, Christopher, his sons, and a man named Oxner built a four-room house with a cellar in 1887. The cellar was dug by hand. They then built a large barn in 1889. At a later time, a smokehouse, wagon shed, garage, workshop, chicken coop, and coal and ice houses were built on the property. Stones in both the barn and home's foundation have the date engraved on them, still visible today.

Before the era of cars, passage to and from Fryburg was difficult. A lane was created by the Karg family and shared with the Zoerkler family, who lived nearby. Later, Hemlock road was made into a public road.

Christopher Karg lived on the Karg homestead for the rest of his life. He farmed with his son, Raymond, for many years. In his later years, he enjoyed husking corn, churning butter, and reading his German Bible. He spoke German throughout his life to his children, the Zoerklers, and in correspondence with his relatives in Europe. His grown children would come from Oil City, Crown, and Venus to visit him regularly on Sundays.

The Christopher Karg Children

At the turn of the 20th century, the nine children of Christopher and Julia Karg began to strike out on their own. Their life story shows the American work ethic and ambition of the first generation immigrants embracing their new homeland.

Theresa (Tress) was the oldest child in the family; she worked at the Sibley farm in Bredensberg, Pa. She married Nicholas Nuhfer and they lived on a farm near Crown, Pa. They raised turkeys, cattle, and beautiful hound dogs and with their sons, operated a sawmill. Theresa was a good cook, with homemade bread and rolls her specialty. They had four children: Grace, Raymond, Lawrence. and Clarence.

Joseph, a twin of John, was a self-made man with a great talent in the field of carpentry. Many beautiful homes and great buildings display his abilities. He was married to Mary Obenrader and they had eight children: Henry, Nelson, Leo, Edward, Marie, Walter, Austin, and Eileen.

John, Joseph's twin, lived in Oil City and worked at the Oilwell Supply. He was also a carpenter and built his own house on East Fourth Street; the home still stands today. He was an avid hunter and enjoyed the outdoors. He was married to Mary Denslinger and they had two children: Mary Agnes and Leo.

Barbara (Barb) was the first married in the family. She married George Keverline and they lived on a farm near Hampton Station (east of Coal Hill). She was a lovable, happy person with a good sense of humor. Her homemade bread and pies were excellent. They had five children: Albert, Julia, Raymond, Irene, and Walter.

Christopher, Mary's twin brother, started as a blacksmith in Marble, Pa. He later moved to Oil City and worked at the Boiler Works north of Oil City. He also was a carpenter and talented at woodworking. In 1912, he achieved his greatest woodworking accomplishment - the construction of a six-foot grandfather clock covered with wooden inlay. He married Cecelia Denslinger and they had six children: Dorothy, Bernard, Francis, Anna Marie, Catherine, and James.

Mary (May) was a partner in a boarding house on Central Avenue in Oil City during the Oil Boom era. She had a happy disposition and was especially beautiful. An excellent cook who rarely used measuring cups and spoons, she made magnificent meals for her boarders and the public. On Sundays, she and her sister Lena served a three-course meal for up to one hundred people at their boarding house. She chose not to marry, but was like a mother to her many nieces and nephews.

Raymond took over the farm at Hemlock. With his team of horses, he tilled the fields and raised crops. He was a humble hardworking man who loved the land. His father, Christopher, helped with the farm until old age slowed him down. Raymond was married to Pauline Groner and they had seven children: Julia, Grace, Agnes, Ruth, Helen, George, Germaine.

Magdalene (Lena) was a partner with her sister Mary in the boarding house in Oil City. They prepared and served many meals to the public; they served a three-course dinner that cost $1.00 on Sundays and 75 cents on weeknights! She enjoyed great success in life because of her pleasant disposition. Magdalene was married to James Guyton and they had six children: James, Joseph, Mary, Esther, Richard, and John.

Andrew was the youngest in the family. He was the manager of the Oil City Milling and Oil Distribution Company. He was a hard working, self made, successful businessman who always treasured his family. He married Mary Morgan and they had nine children: Madeline, Charles, Louis, Robert, Isabelle, Genevieve, Joseph, Andrew, and Edward.

The first Christopher and Julia Karg reunion was held on July 4, 1915 at the Karg homestead in Fryburg. An article in a July, 1915 edition of the Oil City Derrick stated: "One of the pleasant observances of Independence Day in this vicinity was the first family reunion of Christopher Karg's family at his country home, the Karg homestead, near Fryburg, which was a complete surprise to him. It was planned by Mrs. Joseph Karg who invited other children and grandchildren of the pleasant old gentleman. The visitors from Oil City arrived about 11 o'clock on the morning of the Fourth, leaving about 5 o'clock in the afternoon after spending a most delightful day. The best pleased of the large company was the head of the house, for whom it was planned, the surprise on his part being complete. The dinner was served under the shade of the trees in the orchard, all sitting down to the tables at the same time. Its preparation and serving was the work of Mrs. Joseph Karg and was splendid."

A second reunion was held at the Karg homestead in 1943. Many years passed before the Karg descendants were again reunited.

In 1979, a Karg family reunion was organized by Julia Gorsuch and Grace Karg and held at St. Michael Church Hall in Fryburg with 378 family members in attendance. It was the first Karg family reunion in 36 years. Since that time, a reunion has been held every summer with subsequent Karg generations in attendance. In the year 2000, there are approximately 684 direct descendents (living and dead) of Christopher and Julia Karg.

Christopher Karg Family Member Data

Name Birthplace Date of Birth Date of Death
Christopher Karg Oberlohma, Austria December 28, 1839 Sept 20, 1935
Julia Himmel Duppau (in Czechoslovakia) January 5, 1837 1882

Christopher and Julia are interred in St. Michael's Cemetery, Fryburg, Pa.

Children of Christopher Karg

Name Birthplace Date of Birth Date of Death
Theresa Europe 1868 January 25, 1948
John Cogley, Pa. February 20, 1869 November 23, 1941
Joseph Cogley, Pa. February 20, 1869 June 19, 1941
Barbara Cogley, Pa. November 3, 1870 July 6, 1952
Christopher Cogley, Pa. April 22, 1874 October 12, 1947
Mary Cogley, Pa. April 22, 1874 July 21, 1951
Raymond Cogley, Pa. July 8, 1875 March 12, 1967
Magdalene Cogley, Pa. September 13, 1877 August 8, 1967
Andrew Cogley, Pa. September 22, 1879 April 11, 1954

Christopher Karg Family Tree (Europe)

Jacob Karg Nicklas Frank Wenzel Himmel Erasmus Altgroth
Elizabeth Bohm Barb Lippert Mary Ann Kunl Elizabeth Bayer
John Adam Karg Barbara Frank Phillip Himmel Mary Ann Altgroth
Christopher Karg Julia Himmel

Christopher Karg

(Eulogy reprinted from the Oil City Derrick, September 21, 1935)

When Christopher Karg of Fryburg passed away last Friday at the age of 96, he was the oldest person in Clarion County, and one of the most respected. Left to mourn him are five sons, four daughters, 45 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.

There is a lesson for every American in the life of Chris Karg. When he arrived in this country from Bavaria 68 years ago, he had five dollars in his pocket, but he did not wait for the government to hand him anything. He got to work, soon bought himself a farm, and then proceeded to raise a large family along God-fearing lines. This job done, he partitioned his property among his children and they took care of him.

Gradually, the children branched out for themselves. All of them have been successful. They had been reared right, And what was true of the two prior generations is also true of the third, and i-nost likely will be of the fourth.

No nation is any stronger than its human stock. Nor is it any richer. All of the wealth on earth means nothing if it be not used for the benefit of the race. No executors or administrators can appraise the heritage which Chris Karg left to the land of his adoption, but it may well be said that no man in his community contributed more to its wealth and development.

If all of the families in the land were of the Karg breed, there would be no idleness in the United States and there would be no 25 millions of people on the relief rolls not so long as there was enough land to sustain them.

When the rising generation speaks of the death of opportunities it confesses to its own weakness and casts aspersions on its own lineage. Real Americans make their own opportunities.

By Editor John O'Donnell

C. Karg, 98, Dies at Home at Fryburg

(Reprinted from the Oil City Derrick, September 21, 1935)

Christopher Karg, 98. believed to be the oldest resident of Clarion County, died at his home near Fryburg Friday night at 8 o'clock following a lingering illness. Mr. Karg, one of the best known residents of the section in which he lived, would have been 99 on December 28.

He was born in Germany on December 28, 1836 and came to the United States 68 years ago. For more than 40 years, he traded between the farmers of Clarion County and the residents of Oil City and became very well known among both.

Mr. Karg is survived by five sons, Chris and Andrew of Oil City, the latter proprietor of the Oil City Milling Company, Joseph and Raymond of Fryburg, and John of Pittsburgh, four daughters, Mrs. N.J. NLihfer of Crown, Mrs. George Keverline of Venus, Mary Karg and Mrs. Helena Guyton of Oil City. Forty-five grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren also survive.

A requiem High Mass for the happy repose of his soul will be celebrated Monday morning at 9 o'clock in St. Michael's Church, Fryburg. Rev. James Guyton, C. SSR, a grandson of the deceased, is expected to officiate. Father Guyton celebrated his first solemn High Mass in Oil City this summer

History by The Descendents of Christopher and Julia Karg, Fryburg, Pa.
Edited by Helen Perett and Rita Perrett Scottino.
Sources and Contributors of Karg Family History:
Julia Karg Gorsuch, Daughter of Raymond
Joseph Pleier, Dean of Duppau, Czecholslovakia (1936)
Notes of Christopher Karg (1907)
Oil City Derrick (1935)
Elaine Thomas, granddaughter of John, the twin brother of Joseph. Lori Bischof, great granddaughter of Theresa.

Interested in the history of The Karg Family? The Christian Karg Family website had an on-line discussion forum (now archived) dedicated to the Karg Family History.

This page is hosted at and is updated by: Steve Karg, son of Daniel and Martha Karg, son of Louis and Rose Karg, son of Andrew and Mary Karg, son of Christopher and Julia Karg