The Otstot/Otstott/Otstadt/Otstodt/Orstadt Family of Cumberland, Lancaster and York Counties, PA

"A Working DRAFT" - Comments, suggestions and input appreciated


  • Much of the data and information included here and especially prior to our George Otstodt (b. 1836)is largely from the extensive and thorough research by Charles Mathieson Otstot published in 1973. His excellent book, "A History of the Otstot Family in America" is a compendium of Otstot/Otstadt/Orstadt and associated families in America originating from the immigration of Jost and Catherina Otstadt from Germany to Lancaster County PA. The book is 800 pages and among other possible locations is located at the York and Lancaster County Historical Societies, possibly at the Carlisle Historical Society. The book references various primary source documents to include bible, land and civil war records.

  • Shortly after immigration between 1772 and 1778 the spelling of the German 'Orstadt' name was recorded as 'Otstadt' (probably as a consequence of dialect) with subsequent Americanization to other spellings as 'Otstot, Otstott and Otstodt'.

  • As did many early settlers who initially settled in/around navigable water, the early Otstadt's initially settled the east and west shores of the Susquehanna river in Lancaster (Manor Twp.) and York (Windsor Twp) counties [just south of the existing Rte's 462 (Market St) & 30 bridges) with the family church (Canadouchly Church) located on the York side. With subsequent generations (most notably ours), they migrated north along the river to north York (Fairview Twp. or New Cumberland) and then to Cumberland (Harrisburg vicinity or Allen Twp.) county. A significant number of other generations migrated via the national road (or trail - current Rte 40) to points west (predominantly Ohio). Other routes to KY and TN was thru the Shenandoah valley to the cumberland gap (in southwest VA).

    Family Lineage

    According to Charles Otstott and posted by Joseph Fleshman at, at least two generations in Germany in the vicinity of Grossbockenheim and Gerolsheim are known: 1. Heinrich Orstadt (26 Jan 1679 - 22 Feb 1780) who married Anna Elizabeth Henrichs (b. 9 Apr 1682) on 8 Jul 1704; and 2. Johan Peter Orstadt (b. ABT 1706-26 Jun 1745), the s/o Heinrich and the father of Johan Jost Orstadt/Otstadt. Johan Peter Orstadt married Anna Maria Low (b. ABT 1700) on 30 Nov 1728 in Gerolsheim.

    Johan Jost Otstadt/Orstadt (19 July 1739/32 -10 Nov 1785) and Katherine Elizabeth Kalbfuss (7 Oct 1744-1799) were maried in Germany on 16 Jan 1762. They emigrated from Germany sometime between 1772 and 1778 as these were the dates their sons, Jacob Frederick (1771; Germany) and Michael Otstott (1778; Lancaster) [the father of our next generation] were born. Sometime after the immigration, the name was recorded Otstadt presumably as a consequence of the german to english dialect translations. They produced at least five other children: Henry (b. 20 June 1766) and Adam (23 Dec 1768- 12 Feb 1848) born in Germany and Sophia [married a Keller], Catherine [married a Dallinger]and Elizabeth [married a George Jung] born in Lancaster County PA. Johan Jost Orstadt died in Oley Twp, Berk Co., Pa.

    Michael Otstott is believed to be born in Columbia of Lancaster Co. although his father died in Berk County. He was apparently the only one of his generation to remain in Lancaster throughout his life. He married first to a Magdalena ... (d.1808) and second to a Susanna Lutz (b. 1795). He was a cooper/farmer/Laborer in Washington borough of Lancaster Co (Manor Twp)on the susquehanna River to the west of the current Millersville. They produced at least ten children: Frederick (5 Apr 1805-16 May 1850) [the father of our next generation], Jacob (17 Jul 1806-19 Jan 1890), Magdalena (7 Aug 1808-10 Dec 1828), John D. (4 Feb 1816-9 Jan 1900), Benjamin (17 Aug 1829-9 Feb 1895), (b. Abt 1831) Hiram (b. Abt 1832) and Susanna (b. Abt 1840), 2 unknown girls (one likely Mary (b.Abt 1810)) and an unknown boy cm otstot.

      Michael's brother's, Henry, Adam and Frederick moved across the river to Windsor and Springettsbury Twp(s).of York co. in the present day area of the city of York and Red Lion, PA where they purchased farms. Most of their children moved west to Ohio and at least some of the parents eventually moved there as that is where they are buried.
    Frederick (1805-1850) was probably born in Columbia of Lancaster Co. (Manor Twp) and was the eldest of his other siblings. He married first to a Rebecca Hebble and produced Jacob Otstot and Catherine Otstot. His second marriage to Mary Magdalena Swords civil war records (and/or Wiles) produced Magdalena Otstot and George Otstot. These first four children were likely born in Washington borough or "Little Washington" of Lancaster Co.(Manor Twp) just south of Columbia on the river. Shortly thereafter they moved up the river to North York Co. on the Yellow Britches creek (near little York later called New Cumberland) where their son Henry Otstot was born in 1839. Apparently Frederick and his family moved to Allen Twp of Cumberland Co for only about a year as they were listed there in the 1840 census. By 1841 they were again living on the shores of the Yellow Britches creek in York Co. in the vicinity of the current Harrisburg State Airport. Three additional children were born: William (1842- ), Martha Ann (1844- ) and Mary Ann (1846- ). Fredrick's wife, Mary Magdalena Swords Otstot, died just one week after on 6 Oct 1846 and presumably as a consequence of the birth of Mary Ann on 1 Oct 1846. When Frederick died intestate on 16 May 1850, his orphaned children were immediately taken in by neighboring farmers in Fairview Twp. of York County, PA. George (age 14) and his sister, Catharine Otstodt (age 18) were enumerated in the 1850 Federal Census of Fairview twp., as members of the Michael Kaufman farming family 1 . Ann Otstodt (age 2) was enumerated with the (Slursh?) Family; Henry Otstodt with the Grissinger family; and William Otstodt (age 8) with the Ross family 1 . By 1851, the older brother, Jacob Otstot (age 22) had petitioned the court to appoint permanent guardians for his four brothers and sisters under the age of fourteen. The only changes to the original family selections were Ann Otstott to be placed with the Horst family of Fairview twp. and Mary Ann Otstott to be placed with the Hoffman family of Silver Spring twp. in Cumberland Co.

    1. "A History of the Otstot Family in America" ; Charles Mathieson Otstot ; 1973
    2. Cvil war records of Capt. George Otstott

    George Otstodt (Aug 1836 - 1912) was born in Pennsylvania in August 1836 death record. In accordance with an order from the orphan's court in 1852, Christian Garver was assigned guardian over George. However, ten years later in 1860 he was living with the Mohler family in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland Co. PA where his future wife, Catherine Mohler (1844-1913)(photo at right) at age 16 and daughter of Christian Mohler (1808-1847) and Ann KRUGH (1819-1884) also resided PA census 1860. She became his wife on 28 Jan 18612. From 1860 thru 1880, George was reported as a shoemaker PA censuses. George enlisted in the military in 1863 two years after the birth of their son, William. He rose to Captain and was mustered out in 1865. A year later his daughter, Cora Ann was born. George was severely frostbitten during the war which would affect the rest of his life.

    1. 1850 Federal Census, Fairview, York Co., PA, Call #432, Roll 840, p. 37
    2. 1860 Federal Census 1860, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland Co., PA, M653, Roll 110, p. 445

    Catherine Mohler Otstot
    Photo among the Romayne Hoover Ewing Blocher collection. Click on image for enlargement.

    The 1870 census lists George and Catherine and their two children, William Otstot (1861-1929) and Cora Otstot 'Hoover' (29 Nov 1866 - ) [the mother of our next generation - photo at right]. Living with them was the 68 year old (probably misreported and should be 58) mother of Catherine, Ann 'Mohler'PA census 1870.

    1. 1870 Federal Census of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland Co., PA, M593, Roll 1333, p. 439
    George remained listed as a 'shoemaker' in 1880 but times grew increasingly difficult shortly thereafter. George's civil war injuries were seriously taken a toll upon he and Catherine as he was unable to work. Tradition has stated they lost there home at a sheriff's sale in the late 1880's and George imprisioned at the 'moyamensing' prison in Philiadelphia for one year and 'Crimes against the states'.

    1. 1880 Federal Census of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland Co., PA;
    By 1900, they apparently regained possession of a home at 14 Keller St. in Mechanicsburg. The 1900 Federal Census of Mechanicsburg, PA lists George and Catherine as 63 and 56 years old, respectively. They lived only with their fourteen year old grandaughter, Nellie Mae Otstot (b. Aug. 1884), daughter of their son, William H. Otstot 1880 1900 census . George regained employment as a carpenter but certainly this was difficult for him.

    1. 1900 Federal Census of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland Co., PA; 2nd Ward, Reel T-623, 1400
    In 1910, George and Catherine remained at 14 Keller Street in Mechanicsburg 1910 Census and were neighbors to their divorced daughter Cora Ann Otstot 'Hoover' Bair and her second husband, James A. Bair at 18 Keller Street 1910 Census. George died on 23 April 1912 and Catherine the next year on 13 Jan 1913 They are buried together at Chestnut Hill cemetery in south Mechanicsburg, PA off of S. York st with their son, W.H. Otstot [Tombstone reads died 1895, aged 53 yrs]. Cora is buried about 3 blocks from her residence at "Mechanicsburg cemetery" on Marble st. in Mechanicsurg Carson.

    1. 1910 Federal Census of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland Co., PA 2nd Ward
    2. Death record, George Otstott
    3. "A History of the Otstot Family in America", Charles Mathieson Otstot; published in 1973.
    4. Mohler Family Web Page
    5. "The History of the Otstot(t) Family in America," by C.M. OTSTOT. Baltimore, Gateway Press, Inc. 1973.

    Photo of Cora Otstot belived to be before her marriage to George Hoover. These photos were pasted down in Romayne Hoover Ewing's (Blocker) collection. This professional photograph together with that of George B Hoover are on heavy cradboard stock labelled with the 'Harrisburg' logo.

  • Acknowledgements:

  • We would like to thank Charles M. Otstot for his research diligence and sharing and preserving historical documents.
    Last updated 7-21-2000
    Send comments and suggestions to Mike Williamson