Clipped From Asbury Park Press
Toms River Bricklayer May Be Heir To Millions, But He Is Not Certain (Staff Correspondent) TOMS RIVER, Feb. 26. Michael Lang, Hooper avenue bricklayer, was unperturbed last night as he faced the possibility of sudden riches richej supposedly lying In idleness not 50 miles away awaiting a claimant; riches of which Lang was Ignorant until a letter from across the ocean told him that he might be an heir to millions. Four years ago, a childless woman, Mrs. Henrlette Garrett, died In Philadelphia, leaving a fortune supposed to amount to $19,000,000. At once a search was begun for missing heirs, and this search, Lang understands, has been pressed In three countries with the le- sult that $2,000,000 of the fortune has been spent. In the search, Lang said. Investiga tors have discovered some 5,000 claimants to the fortune, but the real heirs have eluded their researches. Lang believes that he Is one of these heirs, but as yet he Is not certain. "If I get the money," Lang said with a smile, "I will spread It around a little. I will provide for the children ilrst, and then spend some of It mysel'. Alter all what would be the use of si ting on It? I couldn't take It away with me." Fantastic Story Unbelievable as a tale of buried treasure, fantastic as the story of some golden argosy, but Inflntely more human, was the story that Lang told of the peregrinations of his family over the last 125 years, from the time that an ancestor, destined to amass fabled riches, was born In a small German town. The ancestor, Lang said, was Chrls-toph 8chaeffer, who was born In Hesse n, now Hessen-Kassel, In 1806. In the decade between 1820-1830 family records are not certain Christopher left his native land and came to America. A sister of Christoph, Susanna Schaef-fer, Lang said, was his grandmother. HI own mother and father, Susanna Agnes and Johann Lang, lived In Kied rich, Rheingau, and later came to America when he was a small child. When they first came to thts country. Lor.j cald, tlisy utayed with hta moth er's cousin, Valentine E-chaeffer, T.'ho had a home on Btaten Island and who gave the family shelter until Johann could et up a home of his own In the new world. At that time, Lang said, all trace of Christoph had disappeared from the family records. No one knew what hod happened to him, nor where he had gone. Evidently, however, Christoph prospered and amassed a fortune, for records of investigators show, Lang said. that he died In 1895, leaving a daugh- ter, Mrs. Garrett. Lang, however, knew nothing of Chrlstoph's death or of Mrs. Garrett s. until he received a letter from Mrs. Louis Garhardt, a cousin living in Hameln, Germany. Mrs. Garhardt, whose husband has a large furniture store business, wrote Lang a letter say ing that investigators from America were in Germany trying to find living descendants of Christoph Schaeffer. Mrs. Garhardt's letter, Lang said. gave him all the information which he has so far on the case. He said that she recommended him to get In touch with the family of Valentine Schaeffer on Long Island for family documents which would prove his Identity. Family Papers Destroyed 'We went up to see the Schaeffer's," Lang said, "but Mr. Schaeffer died Just recently. Before she died she burned all the old family papers and records which she had and by which her children, John, living In Staten Island, and Vincent, Roselle Park, could have prov en their Identity, along with myself. 'I haven't any bible or diary, as has been reported In some papers, but I have some old letters and the school certificate of my mother showing when she finished eight years of school. That would establish her Identity, of course. "If my mother was alive, she could tell me all about this In a minute be cause she had a wonderful memory. I don't remember myself distinctly about a Christoph Schaeffer. I remember hearing them talk when I was a boy about grand-mother's missing brother who went off and nobody ever knew what became of him, and it seems to me the name they mentioned was Christoph, but I couldn't be sure of it.. Mrs. Gerhardt, in this letter, asks me If I don't remember It, but she was older than I was and so probably remembers better. "One thing, tho, is that the Christoph Schaeffer they are looking for seems to have been born In 1808, while our records show that our Christoph was born In 1006, but that may not mean anything. I have written to Mrs. Gerhardt tp tend me n.ora information, and I will tend her whit I h,ve, and then maybe we can tell." Anyhow, until the fortune Is assured, Lang said, he expects to pursue his trade as a bricklayer, while his wife works In the Mohawk laundry in Toms River. A comely daughter, Helen, also work in J. C. Trlnckle's Bakery shop, Main street, Toms River, while another daughter, Agnes, Is at home nd Margaret is in high school. A son, William, Is now in the CCC camp at Bass River, Lang said.