Aug 23

Oil Workers, A.O. Co., Oil Center, California, 1911

Adventure and the quest for fortune have always been alluring to some young men. In the early 1900s the news of the oil strikes and oil fields out West was enough to lure two farm boys from rural Mercer County, Ohio, westward, on a quest to make their fortunes. Those two young men, Christian “Chris” Miller and Jacob Miller Jr, were my great-uncles, brothers of my grandfather Carl Miller. They left their farm life to work in the oil fields of Texas, Oklahoma, and California around 1910.

The two brothers got a taste of the Ohio oil boom when oil was found in the Chatt area a few years before. Maybe they felt they had some oil experience and decided to go west, where oil drilling was on a much larger scale. I am sure two strong, hard-working farm boys had no trouble getting employment in the oil fields anywhere.

Christian Miller (1880-1911)

Jacob Miller Jr (1886-1913)

Brothers Chris and Jacob Miller Jr, sons of Jacob Miller, were actually half-brothers. Chris (1880-1911) was the son of Jacob Miller and his second wife Margaretha Strabel. Jacob Jr (1885-1913) was the son of Jacob Miller and his third wife Christena Rueck. I have written about these two before and posted some of their photos taken during the time they were out west. [1]

Chris Miller out West

One of the Miller brothers out West

Below are photo segments of one very long, narrow photo, taken 15 March 1911 in Oil Center, California. It is photo number 127, the employees of the A.O. Company, an oil company. The original photo is one of those long panoramic photos, two or more feet long. It was too long for me to put in a scanner, so I took individual photos of it with my camera. The photos below were taken from the left to the right of large photo and would show the whole photo if put together.

A.O. Co. Employees, Oil Center, CA, 1911 (1)

A.O. Co. Employees, Oil Center, CA, 1911 (2)

A.O. Co. Employees, Oil Center, CA, 1911 (3)

A.O. Co. Employees, Oil Center, CA, 1911 (4)

A.O. Co. Employees, Oil Center, CA, 1911 (5)

Chris Miller is supposedly in the photo with the oil workers and I believe I found him. I do not know if Jacob Miller Jr was in this photo, too, but I would not be surprised if he was there, too. The brothers seemed to travel and work together.

I have looked at all the faces in this photo many times and I think Chris and Jacob Jr are in the segment below, situated fairly close together. Chris usually wore a funny little hat that seemed to be too small for him and he had a lot of hair (bangs) off to the right side of his forehead. Jacob Jr was a big guy and this looks like the bib overalls I have seen him wearing in other photos. This is my best guess that these are the Miller brothers.

Possibly Chris Miller (seated to left) & Jacob Miller Jr. (standing on the right).

Chris & Jacob Jr among oil employees, Oil Center, California, 1911.

There are many interesting items in this photo. Oil wells and housing are in the background. There are many men, young and old. Men in suits and ties and men in work clothes. Men on horses, wagons, buggies, cars, bicycles, and Indian Motorcycles. There are even a couple dogs and mules.

Look at those old Indian Motorcycles! I watch the American Pickers TV series enough to know that these would be very collectible today. And there are oil wells as far as the eye can see.

Indian Motorcycles, 1911, Oil Center, California.

A.O. Employees, Oil Center, CA, 1911

Here are a few close-ups of this photo, showing many interesting faces:

A.O. Employees, Oil Center, CA, 1911

A.O. Employees, Oil Center, CA, 1911

A.O. Employees, Oil Center, CA, 1911

A.O. Employees, Oil Center, CA, 1911

The Miller brothers’ adventure in the western oil fields did not end well for either of them. Chris died from typhoid fever on 24 October 1911, in Wichita Falls, Texas. He died a little over six months after this large photo was taken.

Jacob Miller Jr died about two years later, on 10 April 1913 in Oklahoma, when an oil derrick fell on him and killed him instantly.

Both young men were returned home to be buried in Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio.  

  

[1] “Tombstone Tuesday—Jacob Miller (Jr),” Karen’s Chatt, 26 Jul 2011,   http://www.karenmillerbennett.com/miller/tombstone-tuesday-jacob-miller-jr/ and “Tombstone Tuesday—Christian Miller,” Karen’s Chatt, 19 Jul 2011,    http://www.karenmillerbennett.com/miller/tombstone-tuesday-christian-miller/ and “Tragedy in the Oil Fields,” Karen’s Chatt, 14 Nov 2014,  http://www.karenmillerbennett.com/miller/tragedy-in-the-oil-fields/

Aug 20

Tombstone Tuesday–Lulu A.K. Pflueger

Lulu A.K. Pflueger, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Lulu Anna Katharine Pflueger, located in row 3 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Lulu A.K.
Tochter von
A. u. A. Pflueger
Geb. 11, Juli 1902
Gest. 28, Juni 1907

Lulu A.K., daughter of A. & A. Pflueger, born 11 July 1902, died 28 June 1907.

According to the records of Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm, Lulu Anna Katharine Pfluger was born 11 July 1902, the daughter of “Adam” Jacob and “Anna” Regina (Pfeifer) Pflueger. Lulu was baptized at home on 2 November 1902, with Mrs. H. Roehm and Mrs. John Sauer serving as her sponsors.

Lulu’s death nor burial is recorded in Zion Schumm’s records. That is unusual because their church records are generally very complete and inclusive.

In fact, there are not many entries concerning the Adam Pflueger family in Zion Schumm’s records. There are three baptism entries for three of their children: Emilie Adele Pflueger (1901), Lulu Anna Katharine Pflueger (1902), and Eva Viola Pflueger (1904). Also recorded is the death and burial of their mother, Anna (Pfeifer) Pflueger, who died 20 May 1911 at 40 years of age. That entry indicates that Anna Pfueger was survived by her husband and five children: Otto, Frida, George, Della, and Viola. Anna (Pfeifer) Pflueger is buried in row 10 at Zion Schumm’s cemetery.

Lulu’s father, Adam Pflueger is buried in row 11 of Zion Schumm’s cemetery, but there is no burial entry for him in the church records. The Pflueger-Pfeifer marriage is not recorded in Zion Schumm’s records either, but they married 31 May 1894 in Adams County, Indiana.  

The Van Wert County, Ohio, Cemetery Inscriptions, Vol. V, compiled and published in 1992 by the Van Wert County Chapter OGS, indicates that an infant child of Adam & Anna Pflueger, who died 20 April 1911, is also buried in Zion Schumm’s cemetery, but there is no stone for that child.

Since some of these names sounded familiar and I also checked the records at Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga, Ohio, and learned that Adam and Anna Pflueger’s three older children were baptized at Zion Chatt! Their first three children, Emma Fredericka, George Augustus, and Otto Nicholas were baptized at Zion Chatt between the years 1895-1898.

Adam and Anna (Pfeifer) Pflueger had the following children:
Emma Fredericka “Frieda” (1895-1982), married George Howard Putman
George Augustus (1898-1979), married Jennie M Davis, married Letha Ellen Hall
Otto Nicholas (1896-1975), married Cecile L Wise
Emilie Adele “Della” (1901-1991), married George Russell Krugh
Lulu Anna Katharine (1902-1907)
Eva Viola (1904-1998), married Paul Burdette Miller
Infant (1911-1911)

The text at bottom of Lulu’s tombstone:

Rom 6:23. Der tod ist der sunde sold aber die gabe gottes ist das ewige leben in Christ to Jesu, Unserm herrn. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Aug 16

Willshire High School Class of 1947

Today, more class photos of the Willshire High School Class of 1947. These class photos are from their high school years, 1943-1947. The class was larger during their early high school years, but twelve graduated in 1947. My mom, Florence (Schumm) Miller was a member of that Willshire High School graduating class of 1947. I do appreciate that she labeled these photos.

Willshire Freshmen, 1943-44; Class of 1947:

Freshmen 1943-44, Willshire High School Class of 1947

Willshire Freshmen, 1943-44; Class of 1947:
Seated: Lila Lee Gibbons, Leona Luginbill, Ellen Bebout, Eileen Miller, Louise Davis, Leahline Case.
Middle row: Betty Weinman, Dorothy Ketrow, Bill Schumm, Kenneth Luginbill, Hazel Strickler, Barbara Painter, Florence Schumm, class sponsor Russel Griffith.
Back row: Ray Lautzenheiser, Robert Miller, Ray Hamrick, Bob Brasher, Paul Roehm, Charles Myers, Allan Dellinger, Tim Agler.

Willshire Sophomores, 1944-45; Class of 1947:

Sophomores 1944-45, Willshire High School Class of 1947

Willshire Sophomores, 1944-45; Class of 1947:
Seated: Mrs. Helser, Tim Agler, Kenneth Luginbill, Bill Schumm, Ray Hamrick, Ray Lautzenheiser.
Standing: Eileen Miller, Barbara Painter, Florence Schumm, Ellen Bebout, Leona Luginbill, Betty Weinman, Leahline Case, Joan Gallant, Louise Davis.

Willshire Juniors, 1945-46; Class of 1947:

Juniors 1945-46, Willshire High School Class of 1947

Willshire Juniors, 1945-46; Class of 1947:
Seated: Tim Agler, Charles Myers, Bob Brasher, Mr. Graber, Kenneth Luginbill, Bill Schumm, Ray Hamrick.
Middle row: Eileen Miller, Barbara Painter, Betty Weinman, Florence Schumm, Dorothy Ketrow, Ellen Bebout, Leahline Case.
Back row: Louise Davis, Joan Gallant, Leona Luginbill, Lila Lee Gibbons.   

Below is their 1947 Senior photo, which I posted last week, but am posting again for comparison and to have all of the photos together. The Willshire Senior class of 1947:

Willshire High School Class of 1947

Willshire Seniors, 1946-47; Class of 1947:
Men: Robert Cowan (principal and teacher), Tim Agler, Charles Myers, Kenneth Luginbill, Bill Schumm, and Ray Hamrick.
Women: Eileen Miller, Betty (Weinman) Reichard, Barbara Painter, my mom Florence (Schumm) Miller, Dorothy (Ketrow) Schumm, Leona (Luginbill) Amburgey, Leahline (Case) Schumm, Lila Lee Gibbons, and Joan Gallant.

Their Junior photo looks like it was taken in front of the stage in the gymnasium. The other photos were taken outside the school building.

Aug 13

Tombstone Tuesday–Anna M. Buechner

Anna M. Buechner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2019 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Anna M. Buechner, located in row 3 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. Her marker is inscribed:

Hier Ruhet
Anna M.
Tochter von
Wm und R Buechner
Geb. 12 Feb. 1897
Gest. 18 Sep 1901

Here rests Anna M, daughter of Wm. and R. Buechner, born 12 Februrary 1897, died 18 September 1901.

“Anna“ Margaretha Buechner was born 12 February 1897, the first child born to “William“ Adam and Katharine Magdalena (Schumm) Buechner. Anna was baptized at home on the on the day she was born, with Mrs. Friedrich Kreiselmeyer and Mrs. Heinrich M. Schumm serving has her sponsors.

Anna Buechner died 18 September 1901, at the age of 4 years, 6 months, and 6 days. Her death was the result of an accident, according to the records at Zion Lutheran, Schumm. She was buried on the 20th.

William and Katherine Magdalena (Schumm) Buechner had the following children:
Anna Margaretha (1897-1901)
Aaron Hugo (1899-1899-1987), married Mildred Steinbauer
Paula Henrietta (1901-2004), married Walter Leonhard Allmandinger
Alma Barbara (1907-1989), Henry James Moellering

Anna Margaretha Buechner was my first cousin two and three times removed. Her grandmother Maria Barbara (Pflueger) Schumm Buechner was my second and third great-grandmother. Maria Barbara was first married to immigrant Ludwig Schumm and after his death she married Adam Buechner. William Adam Buechner was born from their marriage.  

Aug 09

1947 Willshire High School Senior Class Play

I don’t often think of my parents as school students, but they were at one time. And I see that my mom participated in some school activities.

Here is a photo of the 1947 Willshire High School Senior Class play. My mom, Florence (Schumm) Miller, was a member of that class and she was also in their senior class play. Actually, the whole class was in the play. All twelve students from the Class of 1947 are in the photo.

1947 Willshire Senior Class Play. Standing: Ken Luginbill, Florence Schumm, Dorothy Ketrow, Ray Hamrick, Leahline Case, Barbara Painter, Leona Luginbill. Front: Joan Gallant, Charles Myers, Bill Schumm, Tim Agler, Betty Weinman.

I do not know the title of the play but it appears that one fellow, played by Bill Schumm, had some sort of an accident. Bill and the woman standing behind him (Dorothy Ketrow) would marry about 3 years after this photo was taken.

My mom was pretty good about labeling her photos and she put the names of the cast on the back of the photo:

Standing: Kenneth Luginbill, Florence Schumm, Dorothy Ketrow, Ray Hamrick, Leahline Case, Barbara Painter, Leona Luginbill.

Front: Joan Gallant Charles Myers, Bill Schumm, Tim Agler, Betty Weinman.

I recognize a few of the faces and names.

And I remember that old stage in the Willshire School gymnasium, where this 1947 play was likely held. I was in a play on that same stage when I was in the sixth grade.  

Willshire High School Class of 1947

Above is another photo of the seniors in the Class of 1947. My mom did not label this photo but I recognize most of the people from the class play photo. Women, left to right: [?], Betty (Weinman) Reichard, Barbara Painter, my mom Florence (Schumm) Miller, Dorothy (Ketrow) Schumm, Leona Luginbill, Leahline Case, [?], and Joan Gallant. There are two additional women in this photo and I do not know who they are. Men: Robert Cowan (principal and teacher), Tim Agler, Charles Myers, Kenneth Luginbill, Bill Schumm, and Ray Hamrick.

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