This writer had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Calvin Koontz of the Plymouth area recently, during which we pored over four photo albums donated to the History Center a few years ago.

Those albums had been partially scanned previously, but now they have been fully scanned, and the photos researched and restored. They feature family and friends of the Adam Kuntz, Jr, family. Calvin is a grandson of the Civil War veteran and uncle of Kent and Doug Koontz of Bremen.

Calvin has his own collection of Koontz family photos, including many more shot by John Koontz, who was Bremen’s resident professional photographer and printer 100 years ago. We hope to add copies of those to our collection also.

Click any image to start a slideshow.

1890s album

This is a collection of 39 cabinet cards and assorted others that are mostly formal (and mostly unidentified) portraits of presumed family as well as celebrated military leaders of the Spanish-American War of 1898.

1900s album

This is a collection of 33 cabinet cards that are mostly formal portraits given by family in LaPorte, South Bend, and elsewhere, many identified. Some are apparently photographer acquaintances of John Ray Koontz through his photography business.

1910s album

This is a collection of 80 postcards and a few cyanotypes from the 1910s created by John Ray Koontz, Bremen’s printer and photographer at the time. He was the son of Adam Kuntz, Jr. (and chose to Americanize the spelling of the family name). The photos are mostly family and friends on the family farm, called Elmwood, but a number of them show the nearby district 2 school house and ditch-digging and tile-laying equipment. A few are postcards sent by friends and family.

In 1915, Adam Kuntz was the first to have a gasoline-powered tractor (as opposed to using horses or renting a Rumely steam tractor). And that and the ditch-digging and tile-laying machinery give a unique insight into German township’s history.

1920s album

This is a collection of 74 photo prints of Koontz family members in the early 1920s, mostly on Elmwood Farm, and none of which are labeled. It includes some antique cars and motorcycles as well as farm equipment and trains.

Genealogy note: The Koontz family that founded Koontz Hardware Store and DJ’s Dance Studio, and that produced these photo albums was descended from Adam Kuntz, Sr (1795-1887). The Koontz family that had a blacksmith shop, ran Koontz Drug Store, and started the Bremen Telephone Company was descended from Jacob (1798-1886), brother of Adam, Sr. The brothers were among the very first settlers in German township, coming from Dossenheim-sur-Zinsel in Alsace, Germany (now France) in the 1840s.