2011-11-10 / Local & State

Mentzer Family History Published

Author writes fifth historical record

A history devotee, John Mentzer first got interested in genealogy back in the 1970s when he was asked for descendant information to include in a family history that was being written about his paternal great-grandmother.

That request sent Mentzer on a quest to learn all he could about his father’s family. Now, 30- some years and four other publications later, the amatuer genealogist has finally recorded the history of the Mentzer family in his fifth book, “Cyrus Hoffman and Asenath Snider Mentzer, Their Ancestors and Descendants.”

The 157-page Mentzer history book, which is illustrated with 125 photographs, tracks the family from Hagsfeld, Germany, a village near Karlsrube, in the 1500s to America in the 1750s, then on to Washington County, Md., in the 1770s. By the 1880s, brothers Cyrus and Ulysses Grant Mentzer had made there way to Fulton County, where they worked in timbering operations. Cyrus married into the Snider family and Grant married a Gordon, both early Fulton County names.

Mentzer Mentzer Other Fulton County family names that appear frequently in the Mentzer history are Shimer, Garland, Bard, Snider/Snyder and Mellott.

The author grew up in McConnellsburg, graduated from McConnellsburg High School in 1948 and returned to the area to reside in 2005. was Fulton County’s district attorney for five terms of office: 1935 to 1948 and 1952 to 1958. Mentzer worked in the computer field at Boeing, Honeywell and PHH Corp. in Hunt Valley, Md., retiring as the company’s director of the computer center in 1992 . A history major at Penn State University, following graduation from high school he says that in his retirement, “I finally got back to doing what I love to do.”

History is also the motivation behind Mentzer’s active involvement in a number of historical organizations. He sits on the board of the Fulton County Historical Society (FCHS), is a past president of Jacobs Lutheran Church Cemetery and is president of Friends of Tonoloway Primitive Baptist Church. In 2009, he was named FCHS Historian of the Year.

Mentzer’s other publications include1999’s “A Journey in Time, Henry Paul and Annie Ross Horne, Their Family and Descendants,” a project that took him to ancestral locations in Scotland; the history of wife Darlene’s family in 2002, “The Garland Family, Jacob Lake Garland and Clara May Deshong, Their Family and Descendants” (1,240 descendants are included); 2005’s Jacobs Lutheran Church Cemetery Records, a CD of 350 pages of church records compiled by Mentzer (cemetery located near Leitersburg, Md.); and, in 2008, published by the Friends of Tonoloway Primitive Baptist Church, “Tonoloway, If Its Walls Could Talk,” an account of some of the Union soldiers who signed Tonoloway Church’s walls when it was used as a federal hospital from late1861 through early 1862.

Nearly 500 of Mentzer’s Tonoloway book have been sold and it is now in its second printing. Proceeds from its sale are used to support the Friends of Tonoloway’s preservation of the historic Tonoloway Church, the oldest church in Fulton County.

For more information about the Mentzer book, contact the author at 717-328-9279 or mentzer30@embarqmail.com.

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