Born: September 1, 1818
Died: April 16, 1905, at age 86y, 7m, 16 days old
Buried: Myrtle Hill Cemetery, Myrtle Hill Rd., CR-63 East of Columbia Rd SR-252, Liverpool Township, Ohio

Gottlieb F. Behner was an Evangelical clergyman and farmer who ultimately became the fourth husband of Anna Marie Roth. He was born in Grafenhauser, Wurtenburg,Germany and came to the USA in 1833 with his widowed mother and several brothers and sisters. They came by ship in what must have been a difficult voyage of 96 days
duration. They settled in Liverpool, now Valley City, Ohio to a life of farming. In 1838 he was converted to the Evangelical faith as the result of revival-type meeting held in the area in 1835-36 by Henry Bucks and later in 1838 by A. B. Schaefer. He married Catherine Barbara Bauman on November 11, 1839. She came to the USA from Bavaria
in 1834. Gottlieb, his wife Catherine, and Gottlieb's two brothers and two sisters all became members of the Evangelical Church in the late 1830s. Gottlieb and Catherine had a total of 8 children but 5 died young. The surviving children are believed to be Catharine, Louisa and Ezra.

Gottlieb became an Evangelical clergyman in 1845 and was instrumental in organizing the Liverpool class, Medina Co. of the Evangelical faith. He probably preached at a log church that was noted by Bishop Seybert who visited Liverpool on September 15, 1841. He served in various circuits of the church as follows:
       1845-1846 Sandusky Ckt.
       1846-1847 Wayne Ckt.
       1847-1848 Marion Ckt.
       1848-1850 Lake Ckt.
       1850-1852 Sandusky Ckt.
       1852-1853 Dayton Ckt.
       1856-1857 Lake Ckt
       1859-1860 Sandusky Ckt.
       1860-1861 Lake Ckt.

Gottlieb and Anna Marie Roth apparently knew each other for many years because they lived only a mile or so apart in 1850, according to the census correlation with the 1857 plat map of the area. Anna Marie joined the Evangelical faith in 1849 when Gottlieb was an active clergyman. In 1861, after the death of her first husband John Gottlieb Wirth in 1857, Anna Marie married Jacob Vetter. The marriage was performed by Gottlieb Behner on September 1, 1861. Note above that Behner was active in the Sandusky Ckt. in this time frame and would have been aware that Vetter, a member of the Evangelical Church in Black River Twp., Loraine Co., OH, near the town of Loraine, was widowed (See excerpt from a history of the Loraine Co. area at the end of this document). He would have been in a position to be a match-maker. Also, it is possible that he married Anna to John Gottlieb Wirth in 1851 but that cannot be proven either at the time of this writing.

Gottliebs fluctuations in and out of the ministry were apparently caused by health problems. Being a circuit rider for the Evangelical ministry, he was faced with great physical hardship. These ministers traveled to different locations every day, staying with local people, preaching about six days a week, rain or shine. It was particularly difficult in the winter and spring, when the weather was bad. There were essentially no roads, only paths and they had to cross streams without the convenience of even a bridge in many cases. He appears to have dropped out of the active ministry in 1854-5 and then again in 1858. He retired permanently 1862 due to health problems of his wife

Gottlieb's wife Catharine died on April 10, 1884 at an age of either 64 yrs., 9 months and 24 days or 63 yrs, 10 months (conflicting data). Then, after the subsequent deaths of Anna Marie's third and fourth husbands, Jacob Vetter and August H. Peldewitz, Anna Marie returned to Ohio and married Behner in 1887.

The above summary is based upon church history, obituary and census information. The 1850 census information of Liverpool Twp., Medina Co., Ohio is as follows:
       Gottlieb Behner Age 32 Male M.E. Clergyman Born in Germany
       Catharine Age 30 Female Born in Germany
       Fred Age 10 Male Born in Ohio
       Catharine Age 7 Female Born in Ohio
       Louisa Age 2 Female Born in Ohio

The corresponding 1860 census information is similar with a few additions:
       G. F. Behner Age 42 Male Farmer Born in Wurtenburg
       Catharine Age 41 Female Born in Bavaria
       Fred Age 19 Male Born in Ohio
       Catharine Age 17 Female Born in Ohio
       Louisa Age 15 Female Born in Ohio
       Ezra Age 4 Male Born in Ohio

Ezra also became a clergyman and left as a memorial to the Liverpool Class a photograph of Gottlieb and his wife Catharine. The following is the text surrounding the photo in Leedy's history which is referenced in the text several paragraphs below:
II. Liverpool Circuit.
In 1845 some appointments of Lake Circuit in the vicinity of Cleveland and Liverpool, now Valley City, Medina County, were used in forming a new field called Liverpool Circuit. It served in connection with Lake Circuit from 1869 to 1871 when it was finally abandoned.

Liverpool Church. The Evangelical Church was introduced into this community by thelabors of Henry Bucks when he served Wooster Circuit, 1835-1836. By revivals which he held at that time and which A. B. Shaefer held in 1838, the family of Gottlieb Friedrich Behner, his wife, this two brothers, and two sisters were all won for the church. Also among these converts was the John G. Wollpert family. A son, John G. Wollpert, Jr., became an esteemed minister in the Ohio Conference and missionary to Germany. Two preachers also came from the Behner family, G. F. Behner and E. W. Behner. Mrs. John
M. Gomer, a sister of Rev. Wollpert, and her husband were the first missionaries of the Evangelical Church in Texas and founders of that Conference.

The early preachers were attracted by this community. A. B. Shaefer added forty three members to the class in 1838-1839. Stroh and Hall said there were 250 German families living here who were like sheep without a shepherd. "The house were we are preaching," he wrote "is too small to hold all who press in to hear the Word so people have decided to build a meeting house."

Bishop Seybert visited Liverpool on September 15, 1841 and made record of the "society of earnest Europeans who were serving God in spirit and truth. The have already built a new church in which I preached from Revelations 3:17:18…" This was a log church two and one half miles east and a half mile south of Valley City. A frame church was built two and one half miles northeast of Valley City and dedicated November 23, 1862. Liverpool was with West 65th St. Church in 1903.

Gottlieb's first wife, Catharine, is buried at Myrtle Hill along with others of the same name (Related??). The following is from Catharine's death record (Recorded 7/15/1885):
       Catharine, Wife of G. P(?, not F) Behner
       Age 64,
Female, White, Married
       Disease - Dropsy, Died April 10, 1884
       Place of Death - State (Ohio), County (Medina), Town (Liverpool)
       Place of Birth - State (Bavaria), County (Hoflinns), Town (Unfaud)
       Last Place of Residence - State (Ohio), County (Medina), Town (Liverpool)
Also buried in this cemetery are:
       Fridrich G. Behner , died Feb. 9, 1887 - 7Y 5M
       Harlow P. Behner, died Aug. 9, 1886 - 1Y
       Katharina Behner, died April 11, 1884 - 64Y 9M 3D
       Frederick Behner, died November 19, 1871

Their relationship to Gottlieb Behner is not known but there are several other Behner families shown on adjacent farms in a plat map dated 1857. They are probably related in some way. It is possible that Frederick Behner is the son referred to in the census.

Another source of information used in writing the above is a document entitled "The Evangelical Church in Ohio", published in 1959 by the Ohio Conference of Evangelical United Brethren Church and authored by Roy B. Leedy, A.B., B.D., the Ohio Conference Historian. An obituary of Gottlieb F. Behner is believed to be the ultimate source of this information and it is included in the Evangelical Messenger of 1905 on page 283 and is shown below.

The death record also lists
        Mary Behner
       Age 31, Female, White, Single
       Disease - Heart, Died January 31, 1885
       Place of Death - State (Ohio), County (Medina), Town (Liverpool)
       Place of Birth - State (Ohio), County (Medina), Town (Liverpool)
       Last Place of Residence - State (Ohio), County (Medina), Town (Liverpool).

OBITUARY: Published in the Evangelical Messenger, May 3, 1905
Father G. F. Behner was born at Graefenhausen, Wurtenberg, Germany, September 1, 1818, and died April 16, 1905 at Liverpool, Ohio at the age of 86 years, 7 months and 16 days. He arrived in this country in his 12th year with his widowed mother, together with his brothers and sisters, after a voyage of 96 days. The family settled in Liverpool, Ohio.

In his 20th year Father Behner became thoroughly awakened by a sermon of Absolom Schaefer, and in the following year he was converted when Aaron Yampert and John Stahl served on the circuit. Then Father Behner became a class leader and after a hard struggle he gave himself up to join the ranks of the Evangelical ministers in his 27th year and came to the Ohio Conference in 1845. He was stationed successively at Sandusky, Wayne, Marion and Lake Circuit, then again at Sandusky and Greensburg from 1845 to 1853. Later, he was sent to Dayton, but owing to illness he was compelled to locate
temporarily. After a few years, he again entered the active ranks and served on Lake Circuit 2 years and 1 year at Sandusky, and then again left active service. In 1865 he had charge of Aaron St. Mission at Cleveland for 1 year, but on account of the sickness of his wife he was obliged to locate permanently. In his brief autobiographical notes he
says: "My service as a minister of the Gospel was crowned with success: all honor to God." There are many living who heard Father Behner preach, and they bear testimony that he was an able and successful servant of the Lord. Even unto old age he showed rare talents. In the days of his activity he was instrumental in leading quite a number of souls to Christ. Only one week before his death he related to me particulars of a great revival during his pastorate on Lake Circuit. Father Behner had a clear understanding of the Bible, for he was a Bible student. He served as a minister 12 years in times when it
required much self-denial.

In 1939 he was united in marriage with Miss K. B. Bowman; they lived happily together for 45 years and were bless with 8 children, four of whom died in early childhood and one son in later years. He was also bereft of his wife. In 1887 he married Mary Pelterwitz, nee Roth.

Father Behner leaves a widow, 3 children, 22 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, one sister and may other relatives and friends.

On the 9th of April, he walked with me about a quarter of a mile to church and was very much interested in the service and took part in the singing. When we parted, after having spoken of the possibility of a change of pastors at the next conference, he said: ‘I hoped you would preach my funeral service," to which I replied: "I might do so anyhow."
Little did I think that the end was so near: perhaps he did.

On the following Sunday morning the weary traveler reached his Father's house in heaven. The undersigned preached in German, and Rev. D. P. Fulmer, of the M. E. Church, preached in English. Rev. J. D. Seip also took part in the service.

EVANGELICAL CHURCH: There was an organization of this denomination many years ago, in the northwest part of the township (Black River). The society built a meeting house on the farm of George Drudy. The church was subsequently disbanded and the meeting house sold, most of the members uniting with a similar society at North Amherst. The rest of the members continued their meeting, usually holding them at the log house of widow Brown, in Lorain, and in a few years organized the present church, erecting a building which cost six or seven hundred dollars. The members were Jacob Vedder and wife, Mrs. Mary Brown, son and daughter (John and Elizabeth), and a few others whose names cannot now be recalled. The church now numbers about forty members. Rev Jacob Hunniker is pastor, and Henry Wiegand and John Horn are class leaders. The Sabbath school numbers about one hundred pupils, with H. Wiegand, superintendent.

The above passage was e-mailed by Jack Wirth of New Mexico on 04/11/03. Most of the information has been tallied from census records, obituaries, and family stories passed down. Any additions or comments are most happily accepted.

Anna Marie "Mary" Roth
b. 1831

History of Gottlieb F. Behner (Rev.) Document
Jack Wirth

>> PHOTOS <<
Area of Lake Circuit - Rev. G. F. Behner and wife - a memorial of the Liverpool Class by Ezra Behner, aa son of Rev. G. F. Behner. Provided by Jack Wirth


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Updated 05-06-03 by SAB