Born Johann Georg Peter Eirich on 14 Jul 1801 in Rossbach, Bavaria to Johann Wolfgang Eirich and Maria Barbara Thiergärtner, George emigrated to America in 1837, accompanied by his family and his father. Sadly, his father died on board the ship and was never able to set foot in America. George and his family settled in Union County, Ohio, where they had two more children, in addition to the five they brought with them from Germany. George died 24 Okt 1847 at the age of 46, leaving his wife with seven children ranging in age from 7 to 20. It appears from the family history written by one of his sons that he died as a result of injuries that occurred when he was butchering.
The following excerpt is taken from a biographical sketch of one of George Eirich's sons, John Martin Eirich, from History of Union County (Ohio), published in 1883:
"(George's wife's) maiden name was Barbara Rupprecht, and both were natives of Germany. He was born in Bavaria, where he was married, and with his wife and five children embarked to the United States in 1837, and made a temporary location in this township (i.e. Darby), where he resided through the winter, and in the spring of 1838 purchased the farm now occupied by his son, the subject of our sketch, then consisting of eighty acres. During the latter year he erected a log house, and occupied the premises in the spring of 1839. He resided upon the farm during his life and raised on the homestead farm two children, our subject and a younger brother, Gottlieb, who resides in Van Wert County, Ohio. (John Martin's) father (i.e. George Eirich) died in 1847. He was a consistent church member all his life, and a worthy and esteemed citizen. The wife and widow who survives him is residing with her children in the eighty-sixth year of her age. Subsequent additions to the homestead farm has increased it 150 acres."
The following history is in family possession. It was copied from a hand written paper written by John Valentine Eirich. The paper was not dated. His sister Mary died in 1933. His grandson, Martin, who was in college, would have been 18 years old in 1938. John Valentine died in 1958. Thus we can place a tentative date of about 1940 on this document.
HISTORY OF THE EIRICH
Written by John Valentine Eirich
In 1836 George Eirich and
family and his father sailed across the water in an old sailboat for America. I
think they were on the water 6 weeks having storms that would drive them back
again for days. Many people died on the way. They were wrapped in sailcloth,
tied on a board with a heavy stone on the foot and pushed overboard and down
they went to the bottom of the sea. The father Eirich, my great grandfather
died on the way not so far out from New York. The rest came on to Ohio and
settled in the wilderness in Union County south of Marysville which was not
then there. They moved in with another family that had a one room home with an
upstairs. To get upstairs to sleep you had to climb a ladder with rounds through
a hole in the floor. In the house were 3 families. All the men around helped to
build their house which had 4 rooms, 2 below and 2 above and there is where I
was born and when I was 12 years old I helped to tear it down. Grandfather
George Eirich was a butcher, got hurt and died at 46 years old which left
Grandmother with 6 boys and 1 daughter the oldest 20 years old, lots of time,
nothing to eat, no money. Game was so plentiful they destroyed most what corn
they raised. They had a gun but no ammunition. Turkey and deer would come in
the yard and destroy their garden. In the daytime the younger boys had to drive
the turkeys out of the corn field. When Father was 10 years old he was sent to
Milford with a sack of corn to grind. He rode a horse with the sack of corn in
front of him across the horse. There was no road just a crooked path through
the forest. They had to cross 2 streams Buckrun and Darby. When Father got half
way his sack slipped off
and he wasn't able to put it back on the horse so he sat down on it and waited about 2 hours when a neighbor came along going to the mill. He helped put both back on the horse and helped him along. Father said he had made up his mind to stay there all night if nobody had come along. A sack of corn meant something in them days. Father said his mother cried many times when they had nothing to eat in the house. Those were hard times but they trusted in the Lord and the Lord helped them through.
In later years the 3 oldest boys studied for the ministry. The oldest Michael Eirich served his first congregation 2 years then he got a call to a congregation in the rich plains in Illinois in the farming country where he served the Lord 60 years. In his later years the congregation got him a helper. When he quit his people built him a new home and paid him his salary as long as he lived. 2 sons became preachers.
The second oldest Peter Eirich preached in different places. For a long time he preached in New York in a congregation where only the wealthy could join at a salary of $5000 a year. In the 3 hot months they locked their church and went to the seashore then he had nothing to do. When McKinley became president he sent Uncle Peter to the West Indies to represent the United States. After he got there Father got a letter from him where he told us how many cannons and guns were fired. When he stepped off of the ship he was greeted by an army of soldiers. One of his boys was elected to mayor of Chicago at a salary of $25,000 a year if I'm not mistaken 2 terms.
The third Conrad Eirich served in different congregations in Lima, Galion and other
places. His only 2 daughters (Laura and Constance) taught school all their lives till they became old maids.
The fourth Uncle John Eirich was a wagon maker at Bridgeport 6 miles south of
Marysville. Every building in that place burned down one time. There I went to school.
The fifth Father Martin Eirich was a school teacher for some years. Later he was an
assessor for Darby Township for years.
The youngest Gottlieb Eirich was an officer in the army. He lived and died in Van Wert (Ohio) on a big farm.
The daughter Maggie worked in Columbus. She and 5 other girls walked through the woods to work on Sunday afternoon and next Saturday afternoon they would walk back home then down again Sunday afternoon. She worked at one place 6 months and when she quit the people had no money so they gave her an old dinner horn 6 feet long for 6 months work. Father said they heard her blowing that horn long before she got home. You could hear 2 miles.
I, John V. Eirich son of Martin Eirich live on the Peoria Road. I have nothing to say
about myself, ask my neighbors. My brother E.P. Eirich attorney at Cleveland is a worker in the Lutheran Church printing a church paper 5 years. Brother Edward lives on the old home place 4 miles south of Marysville. Sister Mary is dead. I have 3 children living, my wife and children are dead. Two daughters in Marion, Luther 3 miles out on the Peoria Road. Years ago he broke up a sheep stealing ring, 4 men were sentenced to 7 years in the penitentiary and 2 women to the reformatory. In his family are 6 boys and 2 girls. One boy Martin at college in Marion. Eirich is a German name and takes EI to spell I. In German the E is called A and the i-e (Ei) spells I. The A and E are the 5 letter in ABC in English. The name is pronounced the same in both languages.