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Christopher Heinzmann (1830-1902)
Pioneer settler and prominent hotel proprietor in Bay City, MI.

1905: Historical bio. (Added, Feb., 2009)

The History of Michigan, by Augustus H. Gansser (1905)


The memory of the pioneers in his State, -- the men who made the paths through the wilderness and, through hardship and persevering industry, wrought out its present peace and prosperity, -- must always be of interest to a true and patriotic lover of his country. The pioneers in Bay County are not yet so far removed from the present generation as to be forgotten, but there are those whose achievements are of more than usual interest. This was the case with the late Christopher Heinzmann, than whom Bay City had no more esteemed or valued citizen. He was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, March 13, 1830, and was a son of Jacob and Barbara Heinzmann.

In 1846 the parents of Mr. Heinzmann left their home in Reicheneck, Germany, and came to America, settling in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the father died shortly afterward; the mother's death occurred at a later date. Our subject was an intelligent, well-educated youth of 15 years when the family came to Michigan. He continued to live at Ann Arbor, learning the English language and becoming accustomed to American usages, until 1849, when he started out to make his own way. At that time Lower Saginaw (now Bay City) was a nucleus of the lumbering interests and to this place Christopher came in search of work and found it in one of the sawmills. Here he was employed for some time, not only earning, but also saving his wages; as soon as he had accumulated sufficient capital, he invested it in farming land which was then all wild, swampy and uncleared. The mere clearing of his land was no great task to him as he was accustomed to hard work, but to any one less prepared and hardy, it would have seemed a difficult undertaking. Finally his land was cleared and well cultivated and he then owned a most excellent farm.

Mr. Heinzmann then embarked in a meat business and here again was shown the same steady perseverance that had previously brought him success. In 1854 he gave up his meat business and purchased a frame building on the corner of Saginaw and Sixth streets, which he fitted up as a hotel and name it the Forest City House. This hostelry, which became justly popular on account of its excellent management, was finally destroyed by fire. He then bought the property on the corner of Washington avenue and Sixth street, refitted the building and name the establishment the Forest City House. This hotel he successfully operated until the winter of 1887, when he retired from an active life. These interests did not, however, include all his business enterprises. He owned and operated both a saw and a grist mill for some five years, and was interested in real estate and in building. The beautiful residence at No. 604 Columbus avenue, Bay City, the home of Mrs. Heinzmann, was erected in 1874. Here Mr. Heinzmann's life closed September 8, 1902. His friends were numerous for he possessed the kind heart and genial temperament of the true German. He was kind to the unfortunate and generous to the needy.

Mr. Heinzmann was married first to Christina Reinhardt, of Bay City, who was born in Germany. They had three children: Katherine, Christopher and Christina, all deceased. Christopher left one son, -- Fred. Christina married Hans Baumbach, a resident of Salzburg, Bay County, and they had four children: August, Katherine, William, and Otto. Mrs. Heinzmann died March 3, 1881. She was a charter member of the Bay City German Lutheran Church.

On November 3, 1881, Mr. Heinzmann was married to Mrs. Margareta Sert. Mrs Heinzmann was born in Madsmansdorf, Germany, September 4, 1829, and is a daughter of Andreas Bayer. She came to America with her sister and brother-in-law, George Meckler. They settled in Bay City in 1852 and in the following year she was married to Eustace Sert, who was a miller by trade. After four years at this business in Bay City, Mr. Sert built the hotel at Sebewaing, Michigan, long known as the Sert House. Mr. Sert died November 8, 1872, and Mrs. Sert continued to manage the hotel until her marriage with Mr. Heinzmann. Mrs. Heinzmann had three children born to her first union, namely: Louisa, who married Simon Hoffman and died six months later; Margareta, who married Myron Tuttle and died September 1, 1901; and Eustace, who died aged eight months. Mrs. Heinzmann is a very highly esteemed lady. She is very charitable and is one of the charter members of the Bay City German Lutheran Church.

Additional Notes.

    1881 - Michigan Marriages: Bay City.

  • Date: Nov. 7, 1881
  • Groom: Christoph Heinzmann, age 51, b. Germany
  • Bride: Margretta Bayer Dert, age 50, b. Germany
  • Official: Wm. Reuther, pastor.
  • Witnesses: Semhards Ocheroth & Carl Brunner.

    1900 - Census: Bay City, Mich.

  • Address: 605 Columbus Ave.
  • Heinzmann, Chris, b. Mar. 1830 Germany.
  • Margretta, wife, b. Apr. 1830 Germany.
  • Thuttle, Margaret, daughter, b.Aug 1861 Mich.
Related Pages & Notes

(click image to enlarge)

Related pages:
1868-9 Directory
Forrest City House
People Referenced
Baumbach, August
Baumbach, Hans
Baumbach, Katherine
Baumbach, Otto
Baumbach, William
Bayer, Andreas
Bayer, Margretta (2d wife)
Brunner, Carl
Heinzmann, Barbara (mother)
Heinzmann, Christina (dau.)
Heinzmann, Christopher (subject)
Heinzmann, Christopher, Jr. (son)
Heinzmann, Fred (son)
Heinzmann, Jacob (father)
Heinzmann, Katherine (dau.)
Heinzmann, Margaret (dau.)
Hoffman, Simon
Meckler, George
Ocheroth, Semhards
Reinhardt, Christina (1st wife)
Reuther, William
Sert, Eustace
Sert, Eustace, Jr.
Sert, Louisa
Sert, Margareta
Tuttle, Myron
Subjects Referenced
Ann Arbor, MI
Bay City, MI
Bay Co., MI
Forest City Hotel
German Lutheran Ch.
Lower Saginaw, MI
Madsmansdorf, Germany
Reicheneck, Germany
Salzburg, MI
Sert House (hotel)
Sebewaing, MI
Wurtemberg, Germany
Internet References
  • None at this time.
  • WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.