Nov 16

Linthal, France, Honors WWI Fallen Americans

This past week, on 11 November, marked the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the official end of WWI.

In last week’s blog post I mentioned Private August Froning, a soldier from Mercer County, Ohio, who was killed in action in the Vosges Mountains, near Linthal, France, during WWI. Froning and Venedocia native Private Glenn Homer Nichols both served in the 54th Army Infantry and were among nearly 50 soldiers killed near Linthal in September 1918. The fallen were buried in their temporary military cemetery of Oberlauchen. [1]

A Centennial Commemoration was held at that temporary military cemetery at Oberlauchen on 29-30 September of this year to honor the American soldiers killed in action near their town and to restore a monument to those soldiers that had been destroyed by the Nazis during WWII. Over a thousand people took part in this year’s memorial events that included the inauguration of a monument, a celebration of peace, an exhibition, a concert, and ceremonies with the schools.

Linthal, France, 3 Oct 2018

I want to thank all those that planned and participated in this Centennial Commemoration, and a special thanks to Hubert Martin, of Linthal, France, for honoring our two local servicemen and the other American soldiers killed near his home town. This past week Martin sent me 2 newspaper clippings about the event. You can see the nice monument they dedicated. I used Google Translate to translate the news articles since I do not know any French. Although it is a literal translation, you still get a very good idea of what took place at the memorial event.

[Note: a “stele” is an upright stone slab or column decorated with figures or inscriptions.]

Source: Linthal,France, Thursday 4 Oct 2018:

Linthal, France, 4 Oct 2018.

Photo caption: The president of the Guebwilleroise Section of the French Souvenir, Gilbert Meyer, and the students of Haut-Florival laid a wreath in memory of American fighters who had fallen on the Vosges mountains. 

Linthal Great War
A stele for American soldiers 

A stele recalling the sacrifice of American soldiers on the Vosgean peaks in 1918 was inaugurated last weekend at the Oberlauchen pass.

It was a small injustice that was repaired: in June 1940, during the invasion of Florival by the troops of Nazi Germany, the various memorial sites erected after the First World War had systematically been destroyed. Most of the monuments had subsequently been replaced. Only the ephemeral Franco-American cemetery in Oberlauchen (near the Breitfirst, about 1200 m away) was still deprived of a visible place of remembrance.

Various memory associations have seized the file, commemorations of the centenary of the Great War being an ideal pretext to repair this oversight. At the origin of this collective project, the Guebwilleroise section of the French Souvenir, the memorandum association Amitie Florival – Magnoac – Tregor and Alsace – United States-Haut-Rhin.

We wanted to pay tribute to the 113 American soldiers who died on the peaks during the fighting from July to October 1918, detailed the associative leaders. We found some of their family members across the United States. Texas, New Jersey, Florida. 

Saturday morning, the stele was inaugurated in the presence of many elected, military, members of associations and schoolchildren associated with the event. A major American delegation was attending the event, led by Kara McDonald, US Consul General in Strasbourg: relatives of fallen soldiers on the site, including former Texas senator Jerry Patterson but also the military. Dean Patterson, one of the parents of soldiers, spoke on behalf of the family and elect of Count Blunt in Alabama and Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of President Harry Truman, who fought on the ridges.  

Several sheaves were then deposited at the foot of the monument and the assembly was collected while two clarions of the Soultz firefighters battery played the ringtones to the American and French dead. End of first articl

Source: Linthal, France, Wednesday 3 October 2018:

Linthal, France, 3 Oct 2018

Photo caption: Recollection at the end of the ceremony. 

Linthal Commemoration at the Oberlauchen 
The stele in memory of the Americans inaugurated 

The sacrifice of the American soldiers who fell on the Vosges crest during the First World War was recalled on Saturday at the Oberlauchen pass. A stele was inaugurated in the same time fighters. 

The Clarion Resonne on the clearing and remembered the sacrifice of the American soldiers fallen far from home. This ceremony which took place in the pure military tradition has unveiled the stele installed on the spot by the Guebwiller section of the French Souvenir. The engagement of the American soldiers during the war of 1914-1918 was recalled. 

A large American delegation took part in the event: descendants of fallen soldiers on the site, but also a military delegation of the country and Kara McDonald, consul general of the United States in Strasbourg. The latter were surrounded by a large French delegation: sub-prefect, deputy, mayors and deputies, representatives of patriotic associations, soldiers of Colmar 15/2, schoolchildren Lautenbach-Zell and Linthal – put in contribution for the deposits of sheaves. 

The counsel and the sub-prefect brought down the veil which covered the monument. This solemn moment was followed by speeches including the reading of a message from Dean Patterson speaking on behalf of the families and elders of Count Blunt in Alabama and that of Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of President Harry Truman fighting on the ridges. 

Several wreaths were placed at the foot of the monument, and the assembly gathered for two clarions from the Soultz firefighters’ drumming drums playing the American and French death ringtones.


Linthal, France, 4 Oct 2018


Thank you Hubert Martin and to all who took part in this memorial event to honor our fallen soldiers.

We must never forget.


[1] Private August Froning and Venedocia native Private Glenn Homer Nichols were killed in action near the village of Linthal, in the Vosges Mountains of France. Both were members of the Army’s 54th Infantry. Froning was killed on 29 September 1918 and Nichols on 21 September 1918. Both were buried nearby, in the temporary military cemetery of Oberlauchen. Today a tombstone monument to August Froning stands in Saint Sebastian Cemetery, Mercer County. August Froning was born in Mercer County on 30 January 1892, the son of Herman and Catherine (Pickenbrook) Froning. He was a resident of rural Chickasaw before the war.


Nov 13

Tombstone Tuesday–Iris Blanch Schumm

Iris Blanch Schumm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Iris Blanch Schumm, located in row 1 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Iris Blanch
Dau of
G. & S.
24 Aug. 1884
1 Y, 4 M, 22 D

Suffer the little children to come unto
me, and forbid them not for of such is
the Kingdom of God. Mark 10:14

According to Zion Schumm’s records, Iris Blanch Schumm was born 2 April 1883, the daughter of George and Sadie (McLellan) Schumm. Iris Blanch was baptized 27 May 1883 at the home of Friedrich Schumm Sr, with Heinrich Schumm III and Barbara Schumm serving as her sponsors.

Iris Blanch Schumm died 24 August 1884 in Portland, Indiana. [1] She was 1 year, 4 months, and 22 days old. She was buried on the 26th. Zion Schumm’s records also mention that her father was living in Portland, Indiana, at the time of her death.

Iris Blanch’s father, George Friedrich Schumm (1856-1927), was the son of Johann Friedrich and Magdalena (Meyer) Schumm. Her mother was Sadie McClellan (1866-1947). The parents are buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Saginaw, Michigan. The couple had another daughter, Olga Magdeline (1904-1988), who married Otto Carl Stroebel.


[1] “Indiana Death Index, 1882-1920,” database,, Iris B. Schrum, 24 Aug 1884, Portland, Ind.

Nov 09

Veterans Day 2018

This coming Sunday, 11 November, we commemorate Veterans Day. Originally called Armistice Day, Veterans Day was created to recognize of the end of World War I. Fighting between the Allied nations and Germany ceased on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. That date is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

One hundred years ago this Sunday!

Resthaven Memory Gardens, Auglaize County, Ohio. (2014 by Karen)

Veterans Day was made a legal holiday in 1938.

Because this year is the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, Hubert Martin, of Linthal, Alsace, France, last year brought to my attention that a young man from Mercer County, Ohio, was killed in action near Linthal during WWI.

Martin is the president of the Historical Memorial Society in Linthal, in the Vosges Mountains, and was planning a special ceremony to be held in September 2018 to honor 49 U.S. soldiers who were killed in those mountains during the war. Martin was also preparing a book in honor of those fallen soldiers, with two pages devoted to each soldier, to include information about each soldier, their military life, their family, and their hometown.

August Froning was the Mercer County soldier killed in action in those French mountains, near the village of Linthal, on 29 September 1918, while serving in Company L of the 54th Infantry, U.S. Army. He was buried in their temporary military cemetery of Oberlauchen. Today a tombstone monument to August Froning stands in Saint Sebastian Cemetery, Mercer County. [1]

August Froning was born 30 January 1892 in Mercer County. He was a resident of rural Chickasaw and was the son of Herman and Catherine (Pickenbrook) Froning. From my research I learned that he has a nephew living in the area and possibly even more relatives.

Froning’s name is listed on Mercer County’s WWI Honor Roll plaque, located in front of the Celina American Legion Post 210, on State Route 703.

WWI Roll of Honor, Celina American Legion Post 210. (2014 photo by Karen)

Martin also told me that another area soldier, Glenn Homer Nichols, from the Venedocia area, was killed in the Vosges Mountains of France on 21 September 1918. Nichols was also from the 54th Infantry.

Their ceremony is a wonderful tribute to honor those United States soldiers who were killed near their town.

My dad and his two brothers all served in the U.S. Army at different times.

Miller brothers, Herbert, LaVerne, and Kenneth, all veterans.

We owe all of our veterans a big Thank You for their service to our country.

Let us never forget their service.

Remember to thank a veteran on Veterans Day, or better yet, thank them every day. And remember those veterans who are no longer with us, who sacrificed so much for us.


[1] Find a Grave memorial no. 25501993, August H. Froning, Saint Sebastian Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio.

Nov 06

Tombstone Tuesday–Michael G. Pflueger (revisited)

Michael G. Pflueger, Greenbriar Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2018 photo by Karen)

In 2013 I wrote a Tombstone Tuesday post featuring the tombstone of Michael G. Pflueger, located in row 6 of Greenbriar Cemetery, Willshire Township, Van Wert County, Ohio. [1] At that time, five years ago, Michael’s grave marker had fallen over.

We stopped by Greenbriar Cemetery a few weeks ago and the first thing I noticed was that Michael Pflueger’s tombstone had been reset and restored to its upright position. His tombstone was one of several that had been reset with a new bases and we were impressed with the restorations that had been done since we were at the cemetery five years ago. These tombstones are very heavy and resetting them can be quite a task. Kudos to those who did the restoration work.

In addition to being reset, a very nice plaque had been placed in front of Michael Pflueger’s marker.

George “Michael” Pflueger was my second great-granduncle, the brother of my great-great-grandmother, Maria Barbara Pflueger, who was the wife of my great-great-grandfather Johann “Ludwig” Schumm.

Here are some photos showing how Michael’s tombstone looks today:

Michael G. Pflueger, Greenbriar Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2018 photo by Karen)

Michael G. Pflueger, Greenbriar Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2018 photo by Karen)

Michael G. Pflueger, Greenbriar Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2018 photo by Karen)

Michael G. Pflueger’s marker is inscribed:

Michael G. Pflueger
Died 1 Jul 1903
Aged 79 y, 1 m, 13 d
Gone but not forgotten

Georg “Michael” Pflueger was born in Schrozberg, Württemberg, the son of Johann Christian and Anna Barbara (Sekel) Pflueger. [2]

Michael Pflueger married Maria Catharine Brant on 28 May 1846 in Holmes County, Ohio. [3] According to the records of Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm, they were probably living in the Schumm area by 1848 when their daughter Maria Rosina was born and baptized. Michael and Maria Catharine had at least eleven children and at least six of them died young.

Michael Pflueger was a private during the Civil War, in Company C of the 41st Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He served from 4 September 1864-13 June 1865, for 9 months and 12 days. During the war he suffered from camp diarrhea and rheumatism. [4] [5]

Michael G. Pflueger, Greenbriar Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2018 photo by Karen)

According to the 1872 map of Van Wert County “M. Pflueger” owned land in the southwest quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 26 and the southeast half of the southeast quarter of Section 29 in Willshire Township. Both farms were on Willshire Eastern Road. The 80 acres in Section 26 was east of Zion Lutheran Church. The 55 acres in Section 29 was closer to Willshire and what is now State Route 81 ran through the farm.

Maria Catharine (Brant) Pflueger died in 1882 and is buried in row 9 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, where some of their children are also buried. The names of five of their children are inscribed on Catharine’s tombstone.

In 1900 widower Michael Pflueger was living with his son Adam in Willshire Township. [6]  

Michael and Maria Catherine Pflueger had at least eleven children, according to Zion Schumm records. At least six of them died young and four of them lived to adulthood. Their youngest child, Maria Hanna, lived to be at least nine years old. The following are the children of Michael and Catherine (Brant) Pflueger, from the church records:

Maria Katharina (1848-1848)
Margretha (1849-1849)
Rosina/Rose Ann (1850-1869)
Abraham (1853-1936), married Elizabeth Hoffman
Maria Barbara (1855-1935), married Jacob/GW Clouse
Georg Martin (1857-1859)
Martin Friedrich (1860-1943), married Sarah M. Burk
Adam Jakob (1862-1919), married Anna Regina Pifer
Johann Heinrich (1863-1864)
Andreas Jacob (1866-1867)
Maria Hanna (1871-?)


[1] Greenbriar Cemetery is located about 3½ miles west of Ohio City, at the intersection of Willshire-Ohio City Road and Glenmore Road, Section 13 of Willshire Township.

[2] Evangelische Church at Schrozberg, Württemberg, entry 5 (1824 Baptisms), unpaginated, Family History Library microfilm #1528613, birth and baptism of Georg Michael Pflüger.

[3]Ohio , County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, ( : accessed 12 May 2013), citing Holmes County Marriages, Vol. 2:298, Michael “Pfleger” and Catharine Brant, 1846.

[4] 1890 Veterans Schedules, Van Wert County, Ohio, Willshire Township, p. 3, line 34, Home 121, Family 126, Michael Pflueger, database, ( : accessed 3 Apr 2013), from National Archives Microfilm, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Publication M123, Record Group 15.

[5] U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865, on-line database, ( : accessed 10 May 2013), from National Park Service, Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System,

[6] 1900 U.S. Census, Van Wert County, Ohio, Willshire Township, ED 0097, p. 9B, line 77, dwelling 185, family 199, Adam Pfluegar; digital image by subscription,, ( : accessed 12 May 2013).

Nov 02

Herbert Miller–WWII Memories & Bronze Star

I have finished transcribing and posting my dad’s WWII letters, a task I began a little over a year ago. Although I did not post his letters on every Friday’s blog post, there were at least 30 blog posts of letters.

I started transcribing and posting them about a month before Veterans Day 2017 and here it is, about a week before Veterans’ Day 2018.

Today I am transcribing two newspaper stories that featured my dad. Both were written and published years after his WWII service. The first piece is from the Berne Tri-Weekly News and the second probably was, too.

The first piece was published on the front page of the Berne Tri-Weekly News on 3 November 1989. This article was accompanied by this photo:

Herbert M. Miller

Miller poses in 1945
Above, Herbert Miller poses next to a Jeep used by Religious News Service in 1945. Miller used the Jeep to transport two chaplains from Paris to Germany during WW II. Miller is a resident of Chatt, O.

WWII Memories Revealed
By Tony Mellencamp, News Editor
Following is an article dealing with the upcoming Veterans Day holiday. It is one of a series to appear periodically through Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

A young man of 19, Herbert Miller of Route 1, Rockford, O., remembers vividly entering the armed service to fight for his country during WW II.

He received his infantry training in the summer of 1944, at Fort McClellan, Ala. He turned 19 in November of that year. In December he found himself on the U.S.S. Wakefield, crossing the Atlantic on a journey to the battlefields of Europe.

While on that ship he met a fellow soldier from Berne, Joe Solano, who was heading to France as a replacement soldier.

Miller joined the 84th Infantry Division, Company L, in the morning of December 24. The men landed just outside of a small Belgium town called Verdenne.

His unit attacked the town shortly after midnight on Christmas Eve. They had secured the town on the evening of Christmas Day and found themselves driven out by German counterattacks twice that day.

Over the next three days the unit fought off five more German attacks but the Americans managed to hold the town.

“From the time I arrived to fight, it was constantly cold. We were hungry and tired and we ate mainly individually packaged meals or K-rations.” Miller remembered.

He said the men were outdoors in the Ardennes 24 hours a day in temperatures of 0-20 [degrees] with knew deep snow and no overshoes. Gloves and socks were scarce. Many soldiers suffered from frostbite in the freezing temperatures.

Miller carried a Browning Auto-Rifle with a 20-shot clip, 600-800 rounds of ammunition, a half dozen grenades and a quarter pound of dynamite. The dynamite was used to help dig fox holes.

“What sleep and rest we got was in fox holes or in the snow. We never had the luxury of a bed or a house.” Said Miller.

After fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, Miller’s unit fought in Germany from the Roer River to the Elbe River.

At the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, the Germans attacked with 12 armored divisions and 16 infantry divisions. The attack occurred on Dec. 16, 1944 with the Germans having 1,000 tanks and 1,900 pieces of heavy artillery. They held five divisions in reserve. The allies had their work cut out for them.

“Prior to joining the Army, I was a sleepwalker,” Miller noted. “One night in Belgium, I went to sleep standing by a tree. When I awakened, I heard someone shout ‘halt’ and then fire two shots. Because I had a bad cold I couldn’t reply. When I heard the bullets whiz past me I dropped to the snowy ground and stayed there until daylight. That’s the last time I ever sleepwalked.”

WW II vets received a hero’s welcome upon returning to the United States after the war. Miller remembers returning and being treated like a hero.

“I am 100% behind the Vietnam Veterans. We returned from WW II as heroes but the Vietnam vet was ridiculed, ignored or treated with malice. They were fighting for our country and deserve the same treatment we received. They have ben, and still are, to some extent, treated unfairly,” said Miller.

I have seen the above article a number of times but I sure wish I knew more about the story mentioned under the Jeep photo. I do not recall my dad mentioning that he transported two chaplains from Paris to Germany.

Today’s second newspaper item, also from the Berne Tri-Weekly News:

Herbert Miller receives Bronze Star 46 years after WWII.

Miller gets medal
Herb Miller, of rural Rockford, O. poses above with a certificate and a Bronze Star. The Star was awarded to Miller about 46 years after he was discharged honorably from the Army after WWII. The certificate states that Miller performed with meritorious achievement in ground combat in the European African Middle Eastern Theater of Operations during the war. He would have gotten the award sooner but a fire caused the loss of records several years ago in an office building. Anyone who served in the armed service in WWII and have not received an award they feel they should have gotten, contact the National Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Blvd., St. Louis, MO, 63132-5100. This is mainly for those vets who were discharged from the Army before 1960; or the Air Force before 1964 and has a last name coming alphabetically between Hubbard, James E. and Z. (Photo by Tony Mellencamp)

I remember when my dad got this Bronze Star, which, according to the article, would have been about 1992. It was the first of two Bronze Stars he received.



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