This is the story of a family that is first heard of in the northern part of Switzerland. They were primarily members of the weaver's guild and ran a bleaching factory on the outside of Schaffhausen, a beautiful city on the Rhine near the Rhinefalls. The town is first mentioned in 1045 when it was given the right to mint coins and hold a market by Henry III. Several years later, a monastery (Monastery of All Saints) was founded and the city began to flourish. Schaffhausen joined the Swiss confederation in 1501. Most of the old town still remains and the homes and buildings have been maintained in a beautiful condition. The OTTs were very much a part of the history of this town and obtained positions of importance and respect from guild-masters to clerics to mayor. The earliest member of this family identified was Georg Ott who came from Zurich, some 30 miles south, and became a citizen of Schaffhausen in the 1560's by paying 30 florins to the city council and 20 more to the weaver's guild. He set up a bleaching factory just outside of town. His parentage is not known for certain although he most assuredly descended from a Johann Ott who was granted "Citizenship of Zurich", an honor bestowed for military services rendered in 1373. His son, Felix Ott, (1398-1444) from Zurich participated in the defense of Greifensee during the war between Zurich and the Swiss Confederates in 1444. He was captured and beheaded. His son Kilian Ott, 10 years old at the time of the battle was then raised by a German Baroness, Anne de Heuven, Abbess of the Noble Chapter of Notre Dame, Zurich and upon reaching his majority, became a dyer. He married Margarite Weiss, a wealthy widow and bought a house on the grounds of the Munsterhof or minister court at Zurich. His son Hermann (1470-1521) attained the honor of guild-master and chief magistrate at Dietlikon as well as ambassador at Zug. Hermann's son, Felix (1490-1558), also a dyer, remained in the Catholic church. He traditionally took the altar donated by his family in his house after the reformation. Another son, Hans fell in the battle of Cappel in 1528/29. While Georg is purported to be a descendant of Hans, exactly where Georg fits in with this family is still not known for certain.

This book is written by a descendent of Georg who immigrated to America in the 1860's and fought in America's civil war. Much information was gathered from the archives of Schaffhausen, from the historical works of Franz Meyerhans, and from information obtained by my Swiss cousins Elsbeth Ott, and Wera Schnieder.

Presented here with the permission of the author:

Richard Ott

4208 Elsa Terrace

Baltimore, Maryland


(410) 366-2808

E-mail: [email protected]


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