Historical Association of Tobyhanna Township

HATT | PO Box 2084 | Pocono Pines, PA 18350-2084

The Waltz Family

Contributed by Sarah Calvario Kerrick | July 2018

The Waltz Family were German immigrants settling in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania in 1805. One hundred years later, Walter Ellsworth Waltz followed the logging industry to Tobyhanna Township, settling there with his family in 1906.

The patriarch of the family in Pennsylvania was John George Waltz, who was among the group of German Dunkards who came to this country because of William Penn’s promise of religious freedom in the new land of Pennsylvania. They left Wurttemberg, Germany, and arrived in Germantown in 1804.

His brother-in-law told him there was good farming in the hills of Williamsport, so he and the others purchased a large tract of land and left Germantown on foot. When they arrived in the Hepburnville area of Lycoming County, there was a clearing and all the trees were flowering. They named it Blumengrofe, or Blooming Grove, and they settled there.

John George Waltz (b. 1747-1800) was married to Catherine Keis (1779-1853) and had a son, Michael Waltz (1775-1883).

Michael married Regina Steiger (1775-?) and had a child Conrad (1814-1885), who married Dorothea (Dolly) Wolf (1821-1902).

Conrad and Dolly had a son, William G. Waltz (1846-1927), and he married Margaret Bower (1852-1935).

William G. Waltz had a son, Walter Ellsworth Waltz (1879-1955), and he married Ella Mae Schaffer (1882-1971) of that area.

Walter and his family left Lycoming County to work in the lumber mills in Western Pennsylvania in the counties of Clearfield, Somerset, Butler and Forest. While Walter E. was working a large lumber operation in the western part of the state, Allen Waltz was born in Grampian, Somerset County, in 1906.

Walter E. Waltz then moved his family from Tionesta in Forest County, to Tobyhanna Township in further pursuit of the lumber business.

Walter E. Waltz and his family moved into the Fern Ridge House, a boarding house owned by Martha McKeen, that burned in later years. He was contracted by John Coleman of Williamsport to operate the saw mill. He would ship the wood to Mr. Coleman’s box factory, as boxes were made of wood at that time.

After two years of running the saw mill, Walter E. decided to leave Coleman’s mill and strike out on his own. He built a saw mill off the Easton Wilkes Barre Turnpike (Route 115) where Star Construction is located.

He built a house there and a lodge for workers next to the main home. He began cutting mine lumber to be shipped to Wilkes Barre, and made communication through the stagecoach that had a stop at the end of the road each day.

During the time Walter ran the saw mill, he lost an eye when a board jumped back from the saw, shooting a splinter into his eye.

Walter E. Waltz and Ella Schaffer had three children — Allen, Wilmer (Bunk), and Eleanor. Allen worked in the saw mill with his father from a young age. Wilmer went on to marry as did Eleanor.

Allen LaRue Waltz married Edna May Wildrick, son of Johnson Jacob Wildrick and Emma Mae Starner of Fern Ridge. Allen and Edna made their home in Blakeslee and had seven children. Several of those children made their home in Tobyhanna Township.

Allen was a successful businessman for many years. opening a shop named Pocono Radio Boy in 1919, which later became Pocono Radio and TV Service. His shop was in the front of his home in Blakeslee, and he was still operating the shop at 84 years old, and would not hear of retiring.

Allen flew a plane seaplane, a Wright Whirlwind, with six people and landed on Lake Naomi, although the date of that occurrence is not known. He was Blakeslee postmaster in 1947 and 1948. Edna and Allen were members of the Blakeslee United Methodist Church, and served in countless positions over their lifetime.

In addition to the repair shop, he also owned and operated a service station called Pocono Auto Service with gasoline sales and automobile repair services. He said he built the garage for his sons to have a future in the mechanical business.

His son, W. James Waltz, owned and operated the Blakeslee Garage, and a son Wilmer (Teeter) was head mechanic for the Pocono School District, and they resided here until their death.

Rodney and June Waltz Kerrick remain in Tobyhanna Township as do many of the descendants of Walter Ellsworth Waltz.