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To welcome Wieting family at dedication of theatre Phase II

August 29, 2019
Special to the Chronicle , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The Toledo and Tama communities will welcome several descendants of the Wieting Family at the dedication and tour of the theatre on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 3 p.m.

The Wietings were one of Toledo's most influential pioneer families. Local historian, Joan Hayward Helm, using the resources of the Tama County Genealogical Library, provided us with a bit of insight into the family.

The background history of the Wieting family begins with Philip's grandfather,John Christopher Wieting. While a college student, he was kidnapped from his home in Brandenburg, Germany, to fight as a mercenary with the Hessians for the British during the American Revolution. He was captured at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777 and given the option of being hanged or fighting for the colonists. After the war, he was given free land and settled in New York, becoming a Lutheran minister and fathering 14 children.

Article Photos

Wieting Phase II addition in right foreground.
Chronicle/John Speer

One of his sons, John Christopher Wieting, Jr., was a farmer near Worcester, New York. He and his wife had nine children. Two of his sons, Nathan Cyrus Wieting and Philip G. Wieting II moved to Toledo. Nathan came west first in 1856. During his time here, he was a prosecuting attorney, helped build the first brick court house in Tama County, was the editor of "The Iowa Transcript", the first newspaper in Tama County, and "The Toledo Times" for 15 years. He also operated a hotel. In the History of Tama County it is said, "Mr. Wieting is a gentleman in every sense; unassuming in manner; yet with the force of will, and confidence in his own resources, which know no such word as fail." Nathan and his wife, Emily, are buried in the Toledo Cemetery.

His younger brother, Philip Wieting, followed him to Toledo with his wife, Ella, in 1867. His career for the first three years began as a dentist.

He advertised "a three-month special insert a full set of teeth for $8-$20." Philip then moved into the abstract, loan and real estate business until 1878. Philip, with the help of his father-in-law, established the Toledo City Bank. It was said, "Mr. Wieting's qualities as an upright and honest business man gained for him a position of confidence and influence. He was a supporter of enterprises for public good." In 1897, Philip and Ella moved to Syracuse, New York, where he prospered with a relative in a manufacturing business. After Philip's death in 1906, Ella built three opera houses in his memory, Worcester and Syracuse, New York and Toledo, Iowa. The gift of this opera house 107 years ago is still being felt today!

Ella left the management of the Wieting Opera House to her nephew, John Guy Wieting, who was paid $30 per month.

He also served the Toledo community on the City Council. His son, Philip G. Wieting III, was "one of Toledo's best football players, graduated from Toledo High School in 1923 and attended the University of Iowa. His career was as a typesetter for the Des Moines Register and Tribune.

Wieting supporters say this is a wonderful opportunity to welcome and visit with the Wieting family.

Knowing their history provides us a way to connect with the past while building our future with a sense of pride.



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