whose name, for more than sixty years, has been familiar as a household word to the people of Columbus, was born in Zeidlops, a small principality of Germany, in the year 1788. When he was about twelve years old, his father, influenced largely by the disturbed political condition of the country, joined a company, consisting of about ninety persons, to seek a home in the new world. After many vexatious delays, and a tedious voyage, lasting thirty-four weeks [days?], they landed at Baltimore, April 9, 1800.
Young Heyl remained here some seven years, at first following the occupation of painting, and afterwards apprenticed to learn the baker's trade. This occupation he followed for several years. His parents, with one son and daughter, and perhaps more, moved to Lancaster in 1806, settling on a small farm in the midst of the forest, near that place, and the next year Christian joined them, remaining with them and assisting the clearing up of the farm, till 1811, when all moved to town, and Christian entered again upon the business of baking. He has left, in manuscript, a very interesting account of their mode of life in their log cabin in the wilderness, which we would gladly insert, but want of space forbids.
In 1813 he established himself as a baker in a small cabin at Columbus, with his sister as housekeeper. The first year they had to go to Franklinton for all their supplies, but in 1814 the first store was opened in Columbus. This was during the war, and discharged soldiers, sick and destitute, were almost constantly passing through the place. All those who came to his door were fed and liberally cared for, and on one occasion, he actually took his coat from his own back and placed it upon that of a soldier who was without one, sick and suffering from cold.
In 1814 he married, bringing his wife to the cabin, which he continued to occupy as a bakery for another year or two, when he purchased a lot on High street, and built upon it what was then, and is yet, called the Franklin house--one of the few old landmarks left standing. In this they lived twenty years, carrying on the hotel business, and accumulating a handsome property. They then exchanged the hotel for a farm.
They had six sons, one of whom died in infancy. The survivors (all living) are: Lewis, John, William, George, and Charles--all of whom are educated men. Lewis established, some years ago, the Esther institute, a female seminary, located on Broad street, and named in honor of his wife, who wa one of its principal teachers during its entire existence--which, however, was not more than five or six years. It wa very prosperous for three or four years, after which, in consequence of the establishment of the high school, the patronage fell off, and it had to be given up. The find building has been sold, and is now used for a boarding establishment, called the Irving house. Lewis and John reside in Philadelphia, and have some office under the general government. William and Charles live in Columbus, the former a lawyer by profession, and George lives in Canton.
Christian Heyl enjoyed, in the highest degree, the respect and confidence of his fellow-citizens in Columbus, and was appointed by them to many places of trust. He died in December, 1878, aged ninety years lacking four months, his wife having preceded him by eleven years.