One of the prominent citizens of Allen County, formerly County Commissioner, resides upon his well- improved farm of 80 acres, located in section 2, Richland township, Putnam County, Ohio, and is a son of John and Elizabeth (Steiner) Amstutz.


In many ways the father of our subject was one of the most notable men that ever lived in Richland township.  He was born November 22, 1811, in Alsace, France, during the days of Napoleon, and remained cultivating the patrimonial acres until he was 21 years of age, in every sense a self-made man, he was one who deserved the esteem and respect in which he was held until the close of his life and the admiration expressed for his acquirements which, in many ways, were equal to those of the fortunate ones who enjoyed collegiate advantages.  Yet the only schooling John Amstutz ever had was a period of three months in a German school, three days in a French one and two lessons in English.  For years he both spoke and wrote all three languages correctly and easily.


In 1833 John Amstutz crossed the Atlantic Ocean, filled with the hope that in a new land he would find opportunities for both mental and material advancement.  The old sailing vessel landed him at the port of New Orleans during a yellow fever epidemic and he was one of those who survived its ravages.  He remained one year in New Orleans before he commanded enough capital to take him up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers to Cincinnati, where he worked by the day at wagon-making until 1835. He then came to Allen County and bought 10 aces of land and on this little tract he built the first wagon ship erected in Northwestern Ohio. It is said that he made the first school globe ever constructed in the State.  He continued work at his trade until he retired from active life, at the age of 63 years, and his death occurred at the home of our subject at the age of 80 years and 11 months.


This really remarkable man so appreciated learning that it was always his great desire to advance the educational opportunities of the community.  He accumulated the largest private library then in the county and not only absorbed the contents of his books, was conversant with the best literature of the day and was one of the locality's best informed men, but he was generous in his assistance to others.  He helped in the organization of Richland Township and was the first school director, the township having but one district at that time.  His character was so unimpeachable that his fellow-citizens would gladly have elected him to every office.  He served as township treasurer for 20 years and for 27 years was justice of the peace.  Politically he was a stanch Democrat.  His faculties were remarkable preserved and it is related by his son that his 80th birthday he celebrated by writing, without glasses, which he never used, the whole of the Lord's Prayer on a bit of paper which a silver dime could cover.


In 1836 John Amstutz was united in marriage, in Allen County, with Elizabeth Steiner, who was born March 17, 1815, in Alsace, France, near his own birthplace.  She died on the present farm of our subject at the age of 53 years.  Her parents were Rev. Christian and Elizabeth (Sutter) Steiner.  Her father was born in Canton Bern, Switzerland, and went from there to Alsace, France, and in 1835 came to Allen County, by way of the city of New York.  He was the first Mennonite preacher in this section and in 1836 organized the present Mennonite Church, which is the largest church of that religious body in this vicinity.  According to the manner of filling the ministry, he was allotted to this church and, although he also engaged in farming, he was one of the most active pioneer ministers of his time.


John and Elizbeth (Steiner) Amstutz had 12 children born to them, our subject being the fifth member of this family, the record being as follows: Barbara; Mary Annie; Katherine, residing with our subject; Elizabeth, a resident of Richland township; John; Emma; Jacob, of Oregon; Alexander; Louis; Christina (2) and Alexander (2) .  But four members of the family sill survive.


John Amstutz, our immediate subject, and his father's namesake, has always resided in Richland township.  When he was 13 years of age, he entered his father's wagon ship and was thoroughly taught the business, remaining there until he was 23 years old.  He then rented a farm and settled down to an agricultural life, continuing as a renter for 10 years, when he bought 80 acres of land in section 2, Richland Township. There has been 30 acres of this cleared but the only building on it was a log cabin.  Now the farm is noted for its fine appearance, all of it being cleared with the exception of two acres of timberland.  Mr. Amstutz has always engaged  in general farming.  For three years he conducted a large quarry business at Bluffton, in partnership with his son Wilhelm A. Amstutz, under the name of Amstutz & Son, which gave employment to from 20 to 30 men.  In July, 1905, our subject sold out to his son and partners and a stock company was formed with five members, the business being continued.


Mr. Amstutz was married February 28, 1871, to Sarah Klinger, who was born in Monroe township, Allen County, Ohio, August 25, 1851, and is a daughter of John Adam and Margaret Eve (Hoffer) Klinger, who were born in Hessen, Germany.  They came from their native land to Allen County, Ohio, in 1850.  Mr. and Mrs. Amstutz have had five children: Lona; Paulina; Philip, who died aged two and a half years; Wilhelm Albert; and Malinda, who is a member of the class of 1906 in the Bluffton High School.  Wilhelm Albert Amstutz, the only son, is one of the most highly esteemed young men of the township, one who combines business ability with the admirable personal characteristics which go far toward the making of an honorable and useful citizen.  He is of an earnest, thoughtful disposition and has always shown a helpful interest in the affairs of the Reformed Church.  For two years he has been superintendent of the Sunday-school, the youngest who has ever held this responsible position in this church.  He has made many friends over the State and through the county, as he has frequently been sent as a delegate from the Bluffton Church.  He is a graduate of the Bluffton High School.


All his life John Amstutz has been closely identified with the Democratic Party and has frequently been elected to important offices. He served seven years as township supervisor, seven years as township trustee, 14 years on the School Board seven years as county commissioner, and in every case performed his duties with signal fidelity.  He belongs to the Reformed Church, of Bluffton, of which he is a charter member and for one year was trustee.  He holds fraternal relationship with the Masonic lodge at Bluffton, the Odd Fellows at Bluffton and the Elks at Lima.