Louis P. Gross and Valentina R. Schacht

Valentina R. Schacht was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1870. She was the youngest daughter of Andreas (Andrew) Schacht and his wife, Eva, who were immigrants from Bavaria. The name ‘Valentina’ is Latin and means ‘health and love.’

Andreas Schacht and his wife, Eva, migrated from the Kingdom of Bavaria and settled into the 17th Ward of New York City sometime before 1860. Andreas worked as a Butcher. Eva was about to give birth to their son, John.

The couple lived in a neighborhood among other families that were headed by men whose occupations included a baker, a holder, a lager maker and a morocco case maker who were all from Wurtenberg, a porter from Ireland, a cabinet maker and his apprentice, and a lager beer saloon owner from France.

Andreas was saving his money and already had three hundred dollars. After John was born, the young family began preparations for a move from New York City to the growing City of Cincinnati, Ohio. The reason for the move is unknown. Perhaps it was because Cincinnati was becoming such a German settlement and they would feel at home or maybe they had family members there. (Perhaps there were extenuating circumstances. See notes at end and articles pertaining to another butcher in New York in 1860 named Frederick Schacht.)

The family moved to Cincinnati between 1861-1867. Katie was born in 1867 in Cincinnati. Andreas Schacht died before 1870, just before or after Valentina was born. The circumstances of his death are unknown. In 1870, Valentina was born and Eva was listed as a widow in the Williams Street directory at 383 Court Street.
After Andreas’ death, Eva and the children lived at 26 Jones Street in Cincinnati. Eva supported her family with the help of her son, John, by working as a laundress while he worked as a painter.

The family moved very frequently during the years between 1878 and 1907.

Eva worked as a laundress, confec., grocery and was listed as a widow.

From 1879 to 1884, John’s job changed frequently and ranged from huckster to car painter to laborer to wheel maker to machine hand.

In 1880, Katie worked as a servant, a nurse, in the household of Maurice & Henrietta Doob (?) at 336 Richmond Street. She was 12 or 13 years of age.

In 1890-91, The Williams Street Directory lists Eva, widow of Andrew, Valentina, and Katie at the same address – 38 Fiftheenth Street. This is the evidence that ties Valentina to Eva and this family. The census reports only show Valentina in the household, in 1880 when she is listed as “Dena.” This is perhaps a transcription error on the part of the census taker, as they probably called her “Tina.” (Valentina’s death certificate lists her father as “Unkown Schacht”, which is the verification of her maiden name.)

In February of both 1883 and 1884, there were terrible floods in Cincinnati. In 1884, the Ohio River peaked at 71.1 feet. As you can see from the following pictures and articles, many families were devastated. They lost their homes and belongings and many had to be rescued from the roofs of their homes.

It is not known how Valentina and her family were directly affected by either of these floods, but they all survived. She was about to turn twelve years old when the first flood hit.

Only a month after the 1884 flood subsided, there was a major riot in downtown Cincinnati. The angry mob burned the courthouse after hearing an unfavorable verdict of “manslaughter” in the case of a man who killed his boss in order to rob him of $285.

By 1890, Valentina and her family had relocated to 38 Fifteenth Street in Over the Rhine. John moved out to be on his own, but Katie and Valentina still lived with their mother. The girls supported themselves and Eva by working as tailoresses and were listed in the Williams Street Directory.

John’s address in 1890 was 26 Buckeye. This address was associated with a man named William Schacht and a baby named Katie Schacht, who both died there fourteen years prior, in the year 1876. At this time a relationship is not known.

Around this time in 1890, Valentina met Louis P. Gross, who worked as a safe maker and lived nearby. He was a boarder at the corner of Fourteenth and Race Streets. Louis Gross was the son of Joseph Gross and his wife, Henrietta Louisa, whose origins were also in the Kingdom of Bavaria. Born on April 4, 1868, Louis was the second to youngest of seven children. His family lived in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio where his father worked as a locksmith.

The couple married and moved to 1609 Moore Street. She was about nineteen and he was twenty-two years old.

Valentina gave birth to their first child in 1892. They named him Alfred J. Gross. In 1893, Norma was born and in 1899, Ethel was born. Valentina and Louis had three children in between Norma and Ethel, but each child died at birth or at a very young age.

By 1901, Louis was working as a range maker. Usually, stoves were built in Europe and then shipped to the states in parts. A range maker would assemble the parts into the beautiful iron stoves that served the dual purposes of a range and a furnace.

Walter was born in 1902. Marcella was born in 1904 and Arthur J. was born in 1906.

Sometime before 1910, the family moved to 1347 Pendalton Street. By then, Louis’ occupation was listed as an ironworker, which was likely the same or similar to a range maker. Later, his occupation was listed as a Stove Mounter and his place of employment was the William Miller Range Company.

According to family lore, (via the husband of the daughter of their son, Walter Gross):

“She remembers her father talking affectionately about Louis and Valentina. Louis made iron stoves for a living, but his love was plants. He befriended the gardener at Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati, which has a great collection of exotic plants from around the world. Walter painted a picture of his mother as a jovial person who loved children. He said that when their priest complained about the children playing on the grass she left the Catholic Church. Obviously a strong personality. “

Valentina probably spent a typical day cooking breakfast and seeing Louis off to work. Then she may have taken the kids to school before going to shop at Findlay Market for fresh food. She washed the clothes in a tub and hung them out to dry. She did the sewing and cleaned the house. She minded the children when they returned from school and prepared dinner.

By 1917, the family lived at 9 Estelle Street. Alfred was twenty-five and Norma was twenty-four years old and neither still lived at home. Alfred worked as a salesman at the southwest corner of Elder and Race Streets and lived nearby at 303 Seitz Avenue with his wife and children.

Ethel who was eighteen, Walter who was fifteen, Marcella who was thirteen, and Arthur, who was eleven years old, still lived with their parents. Their street was located on the left as you rounded the corner coming up the steep Auburn Avenue from Downtown Cincinnati. Their house overlooked Over-the-Rhine and the Downtown Cincinnati skyline. It had been built in 1900.

Louis was employed as a stove mounter at the William Miller Range Company and he and Valentina eventually moved to 2139 Burnet Avenue.

Louis and Valentina eventually moved to a nearby house located at 2139 Burnet Avenue, which had been built in 1916, and continued to live there for the remainder of their lives.
On October 24, 1929, at the age of sixty-one, Louis died at home of Angina Pectoris (chest pain due to coronary heart disease.) He was buried at the Vine Street Hill Cemetery in Clifton Heights.

Valentina continued to live at 2139 Burnet Avenue for five years until she was taken to Jewish Hospital where she died at 5:45 p.m. on March 2, 1934 at the age of sixty-three. Her funeral was held at the Weil Funeral Home on Reading Road. Valentina was also buried at the Vine Street Hill Cemetery.

Possible relatives of Valentina include the following:

1860
New York: large trial for Frederick Schacht who was a butcher and who used a meat cleaver to murder someone who had been tormenting him. See many articles on newspaper.com. (Coincidence that this very public trial happened just before Andreas and family moved to Cincinnati. They seemed to be established in New York. Andreas worked as a butcher, which is a steady job. Why up and move to Cincinnati? Perhaps a relation to Frederick Schacht was a stain on their reputation? More research needs to be done to establish a connection. Need to verify the proximity of Frederick’s butcher shop to the address of Andreas Schacht.)

1870
Anthony Schacht lived with his wife, Martha, and their two children, John and Catherine, in Greene, Hamilton, Ohio (Cheviot.) They were farmers.

1870
Fred W. Schacht lived with his wife Emilie, and their daughter, Louisa M., in the 11th Ward of Cincinnati.

1890
Ameila, the widow of William Schacht, and her children, William who was a lithographer, Gustave, and Louisa who was a domestic, lived at 88 Buckeye Street. William Sr. had died in the Civil War.

(1920) William Jr. later married Cordeillia (Della) and was the Vice President of an automobile company/truck factory. Their children were Helen and Norman. They lived next door to Della’s brother, Charles. Della’s sister, Charlotte, lived with them. Their son, Norman, later married Virginia Ashbrook. He was the assistant manager at his father’s company.

Gustave later married Minnie Bickler. They retired in Florida and are buried at Spring Grove Cemetery, as is the rest of this family.

1890
Mary, the widow of William Schacht, lived with her son, John, who worked as a driver. They lived at 26 Buckeye Street. Both mother and son are buried at Vine Street Hill Cemetery.

1890
Eva, the widow of Andrew Schacht, lived with her children, Katie and Valentina, at 38 Fifteenth Street.

1890
Mrs. Catherine Schacht was a boarder at Henry Bertram’s in Mill Creek.

1910
Amelia Schacht, also a widow, lived with her daughter, Mary L., and her daughter’s husband, George A. Shiner. George and Mary’s children were Cordelia A. and Lillian E. Shiner.

1920
Catherine Schacht, also a widow, sent her children Marcella, Henrietta, Martha, William, and Joseph to live at Saint Joseph’s Orphanage while she gave birth to their brother, Charles. By 1930, the children had returned to their mother’s care and the family lived at 53 E. McMicken.

1870- In the same year that Valentina was born, big news hit. In the city of Chicago, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was blamed for the fire which lasted for four days in the early part of October 1871. The city suffered extensive damage, but the residents there vowed to rebuild. Their goal? To out-do Cincinnati! At the time, Cincinnati was bigger and claimed to have the commerce of London, the charm of Paris, and the culture of Munich.

Where Cincinnati had relied on the canal routes of the time for trade, the new Chicago took advantage of innovative railroad technology and was ultimately successful in surpassing Cincinnati.

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