Jul 19

Cooking for Threshers

We have several summer events coming up and we will have house-guests here, too, so I have been looking through my cookbooks and planning meals, preparing for more cooking than usual around here. 

I remember my grandma saying, when preparing a large meal, that it was like cooking for threshers. Just the way she said that phrase gave me the impression that cooking for threshers was a whole lot of work.

I really didn’t understand or know much about threshing. I grew up in the country, but I did not grow up on a farm. There is a lot about farming I do not know. I don’t remember ever seeing threshing done, so I had to do some reading in order to understand it better and to learn what it had to do with cooking. Below is what I was able to piece together about threshing.

Threshing was a cooperative project among the farmers, to help each other during the wheat and oat harvest. Actually, this time of year would probably be the time for threshing. Quite a few people were involved in the threshing process, usually about 18-20 men on the threshing crew.

People first put the grain into sheaves and piled the sheaves together into shocks. The shocks would stand in the fields about two weeks or more before threshing. On threshing day there had to be enough people to haul the sheaves from the field and others who would toss the sheaves onto the conveyor that carried the sheaves into the threshing machine. There, in the threshing machine, the grain was separated from the chaff. Two men then sacked the grain and took it to the bins, where others piled up the sacks. More men were needed to build the stack from the leftover straw and chaff, which would be used for bedding for the livestock.  

Long story short: the threshing machine removed the seeds from the stalks and husks.

Cornelius L Schumm threshing machine, at 1986 sale.

The threshers worked hard and steady all day long.

And they worked up big appetites! This is where the term cooking for threshers comes in.  

The farm family was responsible for feeding the threshers, although extended family and neighbors often helped with the meal. The threshing meal was the social part of the day, where people had a chance to gather, eat, and talk.

The threshing meal was a big event and could put quite a bit of pressure on a farm wife. A lot of thought and preparation went into the meal. I read that some women started worrying about the meal when the fields were planted in the spring.

These meals gave the women a chance to show off their cooking skills and set their table with special tablecloths and tableware. Women and girls were assigned to serve the food and often wore special aprons. The women and children ate only after the men were finished at the table.

Often neighboring women helped with the meal. Cooking for threshers sometimes made the news in the local newspaper:

Newspaper note about the threshing meal. (not from a local paper)

Threshing was a lot of hard work for everyone.

My grandpa, Cornelius L. Schumm, had a threshing machine and he did threshing for other people.

CL Schumm, threshing for RL Stetler, 1951-2.

CL Schumm Threshing for RL Stetler, 1951-2.

Grandpa even saved a few of his threshing account books, between the years 1938-1946.

Some of CL Schumm’s threshing books from the 1930s & 40s.

Next week I will post the names of the people grandpa did threshing for, as written in those books.


Jul 16

Tombstone Tuesday–Emma Maria Schinnerer

Emma Maria Schinnerer, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Emma Maria Schinnerer, located in row 2 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Emma M
Tochter von
H. und L.
Gest 20 Feb
Alter 1 Jahr
u. 27 Tagen

Here rests Emma M, daughter of H & L Schinnerer, died 20 February 1896, aged 1 year and 27 days.

Emma Maria Schinnerer was born 23 January 1895, the second child born to “Henry” Frederick (1867-1952) and Maria “Louise” (Schumm) Schinnerer (1870-1952). She was baptized at home on 3 February 1895 with Mrs. Maria Schumm, Mrs. Sophie Gunsett, and Emilie Schumm as her sponsors.

Emma died 20 February 1896 at the age of 1 year and 27 days. She was buried on the 23rd.

Zion Schumm’s records give no indication of the cause of her death.

It appears that neither her birth or death was recorded in Van Wert County probate.

Her parents, Henry and Louise (Schumm) Schinnerer, had the following children:
George “William” Joseph (1893-1963)
Emma Maria (1895-1896)
Lydia Amalia (1897-1985)
Frederick Henry (1904-1984)
Henry Frederick (1907-1908)

Jul 12

Bridesmaid Dresses from the 1950s

A couple weeks ago, while getting out my mom’s wedding gown and veil, I found three other formal dresses that she had saved. I didn’t know if my mom wore them to the prom or if she wore them in weddings.

With a little photo detective work, by looking at her sisters’ wedding photos, I was able to identify where she wore two of the fancy dresses.

It turns out they are bridesmaid dresses. My mom’s sister Esther married in 1951 and my mom was her maid of honor. My mom wore this pink dress. It has satin under the tulle.

Bridesmaid dress, worn by Florence (Schumm) Miller in Esther Schumm’s wedding, 1951.

Bridesmaids in Esther (Schumm) Krueckeberg’s wedding, 1951. Amy (Schumm) Boenker, Florence (Schumm) Miller, Phyllis (Gunsett) Dietrich.

Esther (Schumm) & Alvin Krueckeberg wedding party, 1951. Left to right: Herb Miller, Phyllis (Gunsett) Dietrich, Florence (Schumm) Miller, Esther & Al, Elmer Schumm, Amy (Schumm) Boenker, and Jr. Krueckeberg.

The mom’s sister Amy married in 1953 and my mom was also in her wedding, where she wore a blue dress. This dress has a short, sleeveless, lacy jacket and lacy lower arm coverings. There is a layer of satin under the lace.

Bridesmaid dress worn by Florence (Schumm) Miller in Amy Schumm’s wedding, 1953.

Bridesmaid dress (Amy’s wedding) with jacket and arm covering.

Amy (Schumm) & Herman Boenker wedding party, 1953.

The third dress is blue satin and likely a dress my mom wore in another wedding, but I am not sure whose wedding. Perhaps it was my aunt Kate’s wedding. Kate was my dad’s sister and was a bridesmaid in my parents’ wedding. The blue satin has discolored a little over the years, giving it an iridescent look.

Dress worn by Florence (Schumm) Miller in someone’s wedding.

All three bridesmaid dresses are the same size. I know this because I tried them on! These dresses are heavy and hot! Not dresses you want to play dress-up in on a hot July day. They are a little difficult to get into because they have a side zipper, under the arm. A back zipper, from the neck down, would have made them much easier to get into. However, I did get into them but I was not able to zip any of them up. I am bigger on the top than my mom was.

How styles have changed! I am sure these were the very latest styles in bridesmaid dresses at the time, but we had a good laugh when I modeled them for Joe. I looked a like cross between Bo-Peep and the Blue Bonnet girl in the blue satin dress. Needless to say, photos of me in the bridesmaid dresses have been deliberately omitted here.

My mom’s wedding gown has nice embellishments around the neck and little buttons going down the back. I imagine it was originally white but is more of an ivory-color now. The matching veil was first worn by my mom in 1950 and was also worn by both of her sisters in their weddings.  

Florence (Schumm) Miller, wedding photo, 1950.

Florence (Schumm) Miller wedding dress, 1950 wedding.

Florence (Schumm) Miller wedding dress & veil, 1950 wedding.

Florence (Schumm) wedding dress, 1950 wedding.

My mom was not the only one in her family who saved her wedding gown. Her sister Esther displayed her wedding dress at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 2001.

Esther (Schumm) wedding dress, Krueckeberg 50th Anniversary, 2001.

Jul 09

Tombstone Tuesday-Arthur H. Gunsett

Arthur H Gunsett, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Arthur Hermann Gunsett, located in row 2 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Arthur H.
Sohn von
J. und C.
22 Dec 1895
In Alter von
2 J. 10 M. 14 T.

Arthur H, son of J and C Gunset, died 22 December 1895, at the age or 2 years, 10 months, and 14 days.

Arthur Hermann Gunsett was born 8 February 1893, the son of Joseph and Clara (Schinnerer) Gunsett. He was baptized at home on 26 February 1893, with George Weinmann Jr. and Hermann Gunsett serving as his sponsors.

Arthur’s father Joseph (1863-1931) was the son of Joseph and Hannah (Wyandt) Gunsett. Arthur’s mother Clara (1866-1942) was the daughter of Friedrich and Elizabeth (Schumm) Schinnerer. Friedrich and Elizabeth Schinnerer were my great-great-grandparents.

Joseph and Clara Gunsett lived a couple miles northeast of Willshire and Joseph was a farmer.   

Arthur Gunsett died of suffocation on 22 December 1895. He was 2 years, 10 months, and 14 days old. He was buried on the 24th. [1] Zion’s church records and his Van Wert County death record both indicate that he suffocated but no additional information was given.  

The surname is spelled Gunset on the face of his tombstone. It looks as though the engraver may have run out of space on the stone and did not have enough room for the second t.

Joseph and Clara (Schinnerer) Gunsett had the following children:
Walter Friedrich (1890-1968), married Clara Bender
Edward Theodore (1891-1973), married Martha A. Dirkson
Arthur Hermann (1893-1895)
Herbert Heinrich (1896-1981), married Fayelle Kelly
Lillie Emma (1898-1989)


[1] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” Van Wert, Vol. 2:55, no. 9, Arthur Gunsett, 22 Dec 1895; database with images, FamilySearch.org
(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-672G-3X?i=422&cc=2128172 : viewed 8 Jul 2019).


Jul 04

Happy July 4th!


This is Boston’s Old State House, the oldest surviving public building in that city, where The Declaration of Independence was read from its balcony on 18 July 1776.

Boston’s Old State House.

Below is The American’s Creed, which we recite at our DAR meetings. The American’s Creed was the winning submission in a 1917 national writing contest for a creed of the United States. William Tyler Page used phrases from the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in his entry. The American’s Creed was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1918.

The American’s Creed
I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support it Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.        —-William Tyler Page

A couple other patriotic quotes:

Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” –Benjamin Franklin

And I’m proud to an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” –Lee Greenwood

Today, as we celebrate the Fourth by flying American flags, watching parades and fireworks, and attending family picnics, remember our patriot forefathers who gave us these freedoms, as well as our veterans and active military.  

I wish everyone a happy and safe Independence Day.

God Bless America!

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