Apr 19

Happy Easter!

This Sunday is Easter Sunday, when Christians celebrate of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Our church will be decorated with beautiful spring flowers and the music of hymns like Christ the Lord Is Risen Today will fill the sanctuary. It will be a glorious service and celebration.

Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga, Ohio

Church-goers often wear new spring outfits on Easter Sunday. It feels good to wear the bright spring colors and put away the drab winter clothing.

Years ago an Easter outfit also included a hat. Hats were worn by both men and women, but the women’s head-wear was usually more colorful and eye-catching.

My mom had some pretty Easter hats and she saved two of them. These two must have been special because she had them packed away very carefully:

Easter hats saved by Florence (Schumm) Miller

I wish I had a photo of her wearing either of these two hats. I tried them on but neither are flattering on me. That is why you do not see a photo of me modeling them here. The orange one is quite large and full!

Below is one of the few photos I have of my mom wearing a hat. This may have been an Easter photo, taken about 1959 or 1960:

Florence & Karen, c1959

I remember one Easter when I wore a wide-brimmed, lacy, white Easter hat. An elastic band went around my chin to hold the hat in place. That elastic band came in very handy because the hat also had two long ribbons going down the back, long enough to fall between my back and the church pew.  When I sat back against the pew the long ribbons pulled the hat backward. I am sure I looked very fashionable for a 5-year old, with my long curls and that big white hat, but the hat experience was not very comfortable. It was a long church service for all concerned.

Not Easter photos, but I do have a few photos of ladies wearing hats.

My grandmother Hilda (Scaer) Schumm, with daughters Amy, Esther, and Florence. This could be an Easter photo:

Grandma Hilda (Scaer) Schumm with Amy, Esther, & Florence

A photo of Elizabeth “Lizzie” (Schinnerer) Scaer with grandchildren Elmer and Mary Schumm. Lizzie was my great-grandmother, the mother of Hilda. They look like they are bundled up, so this probably wasn’t an Easter photo:

Lizzie (Schinnerer) Scaer with grandchildren Elmer & Mary Schumm

Finally, a couple photos taken outside of our church, Zion Lutheran, Chattanooga, years ago:

Caroline (Miller) Caffee, Ruth Miller, Donna (Johns) Caffee.

The ladies wearing hats are Caroline (Miller) Caffee, Ruth (Miller) Werner, and Donna (Johns) Caffee. Caroline was my great-aunt, sister of my grandfather Carl Miller. Ruth is my aunt, daughter of Carl Miller. Donna was Caroline’s daughter-in-law, wife of Vernon Caffee.

Zion’s quartet, with Pauline (McGough) DeArmond wearing a stylish hat:

Zion Chatt’s Quartet, Howard Caffee, Stubby Bollenbacher, Rev. Carl Yahl, Paul McGough, and Pauline (McGough) DeArmond. (c1931-1942)

I will not be wearing a hat this Easter Sunday. The only hats I have are ball caps, not suitable for church. However, I could chose to wear either of the two vintage hats my mom saved…

Easter Blessings from Karen’s Chatt.

Apr 16

Tombstone Tuesday–Pauline C. (Germann) Bienz

Pauline C. (Germann) Bienz, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Pauline C. (Germann) Bienz, located in row 6 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Pauline C.
Wife of
A.J. Bienz
Aug. 5, 1891
28 Y. 10 M. 10 D.

Pauline Charlotte (Germann) Bienz was born In Harrison Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, on 24 September 1862, as recorded in her death/burial record at Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm. She was the daughter of Johann Phillip & Mary Elizabeth (Jung/Young) Germann.

Pauline Germann, as enumerated with her family in the 1870 census: John P [Phillip] Germann, 43; Mary E, 33; Mary E, 13; Louisa, 11; Emma, 8; John J, 10; Pauline, 6; Christena, 4; Matilda, 8 months; and Martin J, 2. The parents were born in Germany and all the children were born in Ohio. Johann Philip was a farmer. [1]

The Germann family, as enumerated in 1880, Harrison Township: JP [Phillip], 55; Mary E, 43; John J, 20; Emma, 19; Pauline, 17; Christine, 14; Martin, 12; Matilda, 10; Guirta, 8; William, 6; Otto H, 4; and Joseph, 2. [2]

Pauline Germann married Johann “Adam” Bienz in Van Wert County on 25 September 1887. [3] Adam was the son of Jacob and Elisabeth (Pflueger) Bienz and was born 26 October 1858.

Adam and Pauline Bienz had two children: “Mina“ Elisabeth Bienz, born 18 December 1888, and Walter Stephan Bienz, born 17 May 1890, died 18 May 1890. 

Pauline (Germann) Bienz died at 1:30 in the morning of 5 August 1891, after a prolonged illness of throat consumption, according to Zion Schumm’s records. She was 28 years, 10 months, and 12 days old, according to the church records, and 28 years, 10 months, and 10 days old according to her tombstone. She was buried on 7 August.

Adam and Pauline (Germann) Bienz had two children:
“Mina“ Elisabeth Bienz (1888-1952), married Fred Geschwell
Walter Bienz (1890-1890)

Pauline’s widowed husband Adam Bienz married twice after her death. Adam married Wilhelmine Christiana Reinking in Adams County, Indiana, on 9 April 1893 [4] and Christiana died in 1897. [5] Adam Bienz then married Christina Mathilda Bleeke in Adams County, Indiana, on 14 May 1899. [6] Christina Mathilda died 22 April 1944 [7] and Adam Bienz died 16 January 1949. Adam and his second and third wives are buried in Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery, Decatur, Indiana. Adam shares a tombstone with his third wife. [8]


[1] 1870 U.S. Census, Harrison, Van Wert, Ohio, p.4 (penned), dwelling & family 28, John P Germann; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1870usfedcen/ : viewed 14 Apr 2019).

[2] 1880 U.S. Census, Harrison, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 148, p.16 (penned), dwelling 135, family 137, JP Germann; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1880usfedcen/ : viewed 14 Apr 2019).

[3] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1879-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-65XH-H3?i=119&cc=1614804 : viewed 10 Mar 2019), Adam J Bienz & PC Germann, 25 Sep 1887; Van Wert County Marriages, Vol. 7:181.

[4] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6GTH-1XV?i=240&cc=1410397 : viewed 10 Mar 2019), Adam J Bienz & Christiana W. Reinking, 8 Apr 1893; Adams County Marriages, Vol. F:478.

[5] Find a Grave memorial no. 106418617, Wilhelmine Christine “Lena” (Reinking) Bienz, Immanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery, Decatur, Adams County, Indiana.

[6] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRS9-DQ8?i=49&cc=1410397 : viewed 10 Mary 2019), Adam J. Bienz & Christena Mathilda Blakey, 14 May 1899; Adams County Marriages, Vol. G:492.

[7] Find a Grave memorial no. 98917043, Christina Mathilda Bleeke Bienz, Immanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery, Decatur, Adams County, Indiana.

[8] Find a Grave memorial no. 98917041, Adam Jacob Bienz, Immanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery, Decatur, Adams County, Indiana.

Apr 12

Schumm Store Ad, 1904 Willshire Herald

There seems to be no end to the information in the 5 May 1904 edition of the Willshire Herald, William G. Hoffer, publisher. Not only were there personal items and business ads from Willshire, a few other local communities were mentioned.   

Featured on page two of that 1904 Willshire Herald was an ad for the Schumm Store:

Farm produce a specialty—cash or trade.

Our wagon is on the road every day except Saturday. We pay the highest market price for produce and poultry, and meet all competition on goods we have to sell. Can fill any special order in any line.

Schumm, Ohio

Schumm Store, 1904 Willshire Herald

I did a little research to find out a little about the store’s proprietor, Herbert L. Hileman.

Herbert Loyd Hileman was born in 1878, the son of Harvey Ervin (1853-1928) and Isaveria (Shamel) (1857-1922) Hileman. In 1880 the Hileman family lived in or near Willshire and Harvey was a farmer. [1]

Herbert Hileman married Ada McClure around 1898 and by 1900 they had one child, a son named Jimmie B, who was born around March 1900. According to the 1900 census enumeration everyone in the family was born in Ohio. Herbert and Ada Hileman lived in or near Willshire and Herbert farmed. [2]

In 1910 the Herbert Hileman family lived in or near Willshire and Herbert’s occupation was farmer. Herbert and Ada had three children by this time: James, 10; Archie, 8; and Theah Vera, 3. The 1910 census indicates that Ada was born in Indiana. [3]

A person I knew! I remember Herbert’s son Archie Hileman. Archie was my school bus driver when I was in grade school at Willshire. I remember him as being a very nice man, who on the last day of school took a little detour from the normal bus route and drove to the Frosty Zip in Willshire, where he bought all the kids on the bus an ice cream cone. What a treat for all of us on a warm spring day, the last day of school. He was the best! Archie passed away in 1974 and is buried in Willshire Cemetery.

Below is a photo of the Willshire school bus drivers in 1960, when I was in the second grade. My bus driver Archie Hileman is on the left but I also knew Doyle Stetler and Jack August. Jack August was from Chatt and he was also our TV repairman.

Willshire school bus drivers, Archie Hileman, far left, 1960.

Back to the Schumm Store. It appears that Henry Schumm ran the Schumm Store in 1900 and was the postmaster there, too. Having both positions at the same time seemed to be common in other small villages as well. William A. Colter was appointed postmaster 23 September 1903. Herbert Hileman was appointed postmaster at Schumm on 18 June 1904 and probably began running the Schumm Store at same time. The Schumm Store had a huckster wagon and maybe Herbert drove that, too.

Brick building that once stood by the railroad tracks in Schumm, Ohio.

Wm. O Tickle was appointed Schumm’s postmaster on 27 February 1905, so Herbert Hileman was not the postmaster very long. Logan Wolfe was appointed postmaster 29 March 1906 and by 1910 Logan Wolfe and Gustav Schumm ran the Schumm Store. [4]  

Schumm Postmasters, Herbert Hileman, 1904; William Tickle, 1905; George Weinman, 1916.

Schumm Postmasters, Henry Schumm, 1886; Wm Colter, 1903; & Logan Wolfe, 1906.

Such interesting histories about these little towns.


[1] 1880 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 154, p.28 (penned), family 256, H.E. Hileman; digital image by subscription Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1880usfedcen/ : viewed 10 Apr 2019).

[2] 1900 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 97, p.8, dwelling 156, family 170, Herbert Hilerman; digital image by subscription Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1900usfedcen/ : viewed 10 Apr 2019).

[3] 1910 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 114, p.1A, dwelling, family, H.L. Hileman; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com  (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1910uscenindex/ : viewed 10 Apr 2019).

[4] U.S. Appointments of U.S. Postmasters, 1832-1971, Vol. 79, 1891-1930, p.576; database, Ancestry.com.

Find a Grave sources: Find a Grave memorial no. 91867047, Harvey Ervin Hileman, Woodlawn Cemetery, Van Wert, Van Wert County, Ohio. And Find a Grave memorial no. 146910401, Herbert L. Hileman, Willshire Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. And Find a Grave memorial no. 144825191, Ada A. (McClure) Hileman, Willshire Cemetery, Van Wet County, Ohio. And Find a Grave memorial no. 147026093, Archie C. Hileman, Willshire Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio.

Apr 09

Tombstone Tuesday–Jakob & Elisabeth (Pflueger) Bienz

Jakob & Elisabeth (Pflueger) Bienz, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Jakob and Elisabeth (Pflueger) Bienz, located in row 4 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Gattin Von
J. Bienz
Geb. 30 Juli
7 Feb. 1913

1 Apr. 1825
17 Apr. 1908

BIENZ, Elisabeth, wife of J. Bienz, born 30 July 1836, died 7 February 1913. Jakob Bienz, born 1 April 1825, died 17 April 1908.

Jakob “Jacob” Bienz was born 1 April 1825 in Gerlingen, Wuerttemberg, the son of Balthas and Catharina Barbara (Weidlin) Bienz. He was baptized 3 April 1825 in Gerlingen. [1]

Jacob Bienz birth/baptism record, Gerlingen, Germany.

Jacob immigrated with his parents and nine siblings in about 1838. The family settled in Tully Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, and Jacob and his brother John moved to Willshire Township about 1850. [2]

Jacob Bienz, age 24, was living in Willshire Township by 1850, staying with the George and Mary Schumm family. [3] Perhaps he was originally there to help the Schumms with the farm work, but he also met his future wife there.  

Jacob Bienz married Elisabeth Pflueger near Schumm on 21 August 1851.  Both were from Zion Schumm’s parish. Her name is shown as Lissabetha in their church marriage record. They were married by Zion’s Rev. George Streckfuss.

Elisabeth was the daughter of Christian and Anna Barbara (Sekel) Pflueger. Christian, Anna Barbara, and their six children emigrated from Wuerttemberg in 1832 and lived in Holmes County, Ohio, for several years before settling near Schumm.

Elisabeth Pflueger was born in Holmes County on 31 July 1835 and was baptized there, at Zion Church, Winesburg, on 5 October 1835, according to the records of Zion Church, Winesburg.

The Pfluegers moved from Holmes County to near Schumm by September 1846, where Elisabeth’s mother Anna Barbara (Sekel) Pflueger died at the age of 55. Her death is recorded in Zion Schumm’s records but apparently her tombstone has not survived. Elisabeth Pflueger, the youngest of the Pflueger children, was only 10 years old when her mother died and her sister Mary took her in. Her sister, Mary (Pflueger) Schumm (1820-1903), was married to George Martin Schumm (1812-1871). The George Martin Schumm family lived near Schumm and consisted of seven children at that time, the sister Elisabeth, and Jacob Bienz, 24, born in Germany. Yes, Jacob Bienz was also enumerated in that same Schumm household in 1850. The George Martin Schumm household in 1850: George Schumm, 38; Mary, 30; Fred, 11; Louis, 9; George, 8; John, 6; Rosina, 5; Margaret, 2; Mary, 1; Elisabeth “Flecker” [Pflueger]; and Jacob “Bentz”, 24. [3]

Jacob Bienz and Elisabeth Pflueger married the next year.

I have a personal interest in the Pflueger family because Elisabeth’s older sister Anna “Barbara” Pflueger married immigrant Johann “Ludwig” Schumm and they are my great-great grandparents. Elisabeth (Pflueger) Bienz is my second great-grandaunt.

By 1860 Jacob and Elisabeth (Pflueger) Bienz had 4 children and lived in Willshire Township, where Jacob farmed. Their household in 1860: Jacob, 35; Elisabeth, 25; John L, 8; Margaret, 6; George, 4; and Adam, 1. [4]

There were ten members of the Jacob Bienz family by 1870: Jacob, 45; Elisabeth, 35; John G, 18; Margaret, 16; George, 14; Adam, 11; Fredrick, 8; Elizabeth, 10; Mary, 6; and Anna, 4. Elisabeth’s father, Christian Pflueger, age 89, was also living with them. Christian Pflueger passed away in 1877. [5]

By 1880 some of Jacob and Elisabeth’s children had left home to start families of their own. The Jacob Bienz household in 1880: Jacob, 55; Elisabeth, 44; George, 24; Frederick, 19; Mary, 16; and Anna, 14. Jacob’s occupation was farmer. [6]  

In 1900 their granddaughter Mary V [Vilenna] Bienz was enumerated with them: Jacob, 75; Elisabeth, 64; and Mary V, 20. Mary “Vilenna” Bienz was born July 1879. [7] Jacob and Elisabeth had been married 48 years and Elisabeth had given birth to 8 children, 7 of whom were living. This enumeration indicates that Jacob immigrated in 1831. [8]

Jacob Bienz died 17 April 1908 in Schumm, at the age of 83 years and 17 days. He was buried on the 20th. Zion Schumm’s records indicate that he was survived by his wife Elisabeth and 7 grown children.  His funeral text was Rev. 17:18.

In 1910 widow Elizabeth Bienz lived with her granddaughter Vilenna [Bienz] Krueckeberg and her family: Charles H Krueckeberg, 33; Vilenna, 30; Leo Krueckeberg, 7; Hugo Krueckeberg, 6; Elvera Krueckeberg, 4; Herioch Krueckeberg, 1; Elizabeth Bienz, 75; Earl Roehm, 17, hired hand; and Della Roehm, 23, servant. [9]

Elisabeth Bienz died 6 February 1913, at the age of 77 years, 6 months, and 7 days, according to Zion Schumm’s records.  She was buried on the 9th and her funeral text was Job 19:25-27. She was survived by 6 children, 31 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren. According to her death certificate Elisabeth died in Willshire Township from asthma and bronchial pneumonia on 7 February 1913. [10]

There is some conflicting recorded information concerning the dates of Elisabeth’s birth and death. The Winesberg church records indicate she was born 31 July 1835. Her tombstone indicates she was born 30 July 1836. Zion’s records indicate she was 77 years, 6 months, 7 days old, which would make her date of birth 30 July 1835. She was reported as being 14 years old in the 1850 census, which would also make her year of birth as 1835. I feel the Winesberg church record is the most accurate record, since it indicates she was baptized 5 October 1835. Zion Schumm’s records indicate she died 6 February and her tombstone and her death certificate indicate she died 7 February. The death certificate is likely the most accurate for her death date.

Jacob and Elisabeth (Pflueger) Bienz had the following children, all baptized at Zion Schumm:
Johann Ludwig “Louis” Bienz (1852-1940), married Anna M. Chilcote; Elizabeth Hixon
Margaretha Magdalena “Margaret” Bienz (1854-1908), married Lehrer L [Louis?] Schmidt
“George” Martin Bienz (1856-1935), married Katharine Muntzinger
Johann “Adam” Bienz (1858-1949), married Pauline Germann; Wilhilmine Christine Reinking; Christina Mathinda Bleeke
Michael Friedrich “Fred” Bienz (1861-1937), married Maria Sophie Helena Reinking
Maria Barbara “Mary” Elisabeth Bienz (1863-), married [William/John?] Reinking
“Anna” Barbara Catharine Bienz (1866-1942), married William Schamerloh
Anna Susanna Emma Bienz (1874-1874)


[1] Lutheran Taufen, Tote, & Heiraten, 1564-1875, [Baptisms, Deaths & Marriages], Gerlingen, Wuerttemberg, 1823 baptisms, Jakob Bienz, 1 Apr 1825; Ancestry.com, tree of klicen, viewed 2 Apr 2019.

[2] According to Sutton’s 1882 History of Van Wert and Mercer Counties, Ohio, p.258, one John B [Balthas] Bientz immigrated in 1838 with his wife and ten children. The family settled in Tully Township and about 1850 two of the sons, Jacob and John, settled in Willshire Township.

[3] 1850 U.S. Census, p.166B, dwelling 114, family 131, George Schumm; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com  (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1850usfedcenancestry/ : viewed 8 Apr 2019).

[4] 1860 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p.151 (penned), dwelling 1079, family 1073, Jacob Bentz; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1860usfedcenancestry/ : viewed 8 Apr 2019).

[5] 1870 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p.15 (penned), dwelling 107, family 108, Jacob Bence; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1870usfedcen/ : viewed 8 Apr 2019).

[6] 1880 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 154, p.14 (penned), family 117, Jacob Bienz; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1880usfedcen/ : viewed 8 Apr 2019).

[7] According to Zion’s records, Vilenna was the daughter of L. Bienz, whom Jacob and Elisabeth took in to raise. This record appears to indicate that one of the parents was deceased, and since their son Louis died in 1940, it may have been the mother, Anna M. Chilcote. Louis Bienz and Anna Chilcote married in Van Wert County on 2 Jan 1879.

[8] 1900 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 98, p.310A (stamped), dwelling 208, family 214, Jacob Bienz; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com   (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1900usfedcen/ : viewed 8 Apr 2019).

[9] 1910 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 113, p.9A (penned), dwelling 114, family 116, Charles H Kruckeberg; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1910uscenindex/ : viewed 8 Apr 2019).

[10] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” Elizabeth Bienz, 7 Feb 1913; database with images, FamilySearch.org (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GPJ5-6ZJ?i=918&cc=1307272 : viewed 8 Apr 2019), Willshire Twp, Van Wert County.

Apr 05

Fraternal Societies in Willshire, 1904

For the past several weeks I have been posting personal items, items of interest, and various advertisements from the 5 May 1904 edition of the Willshire Herald. Those items give us a glimpse of the past—what Willshire was like just after the turn of the century. I am nearing the end of information I can gather from that newspaper but there are still a few items that I have not covered.

Willshire had several fraternal societies in 1904, and evidence of one of them is still visible to this day.

Below is an 1886 map of Willshire. Although it was printed 18 years before this 1904 newspaper, it is a nice map showing the streets and a few of the businesses and churches. It gives you an idea of where some of these meetings were being held.

1886 Map of Willshire, Ohio.

Today, notices of some Willshire church and society meetings in 1904.

The Willshire Herald, 5 May 1904.

The ME Church was on the corner of Simpson and Hogan.

ME Church
Regular Services every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Sunday School at 9:30 a.m.
Prayer Meeting Thursday evening. Everyone invited.
Rev. J.B. Gottschall, Pastor

Willshire Lodge, F. & A.M.
Regular meetings first and third Wednesday of each month. Hall in the Cornell Block on Wolcott Street.
Visitors cordially welcomed.
James Chilcote, W.M.
D.O. Thorp, Sec.

This society was the “Free and Accepted Masons.” Secretary D.O. Thorp was a painter and wallpaper hanger and his ad was mentioned in the paper before.

Bethlehem Chapter, O.E.S.
Regular Meetings second & fourth Wednesday of each month at Masonic hall. Visitors cordially invited.
Mrs. Lulu Thomas, W.M.
Mrs. Idora Chilcote, Secy.

“Order of the Eastern Star,” is a Freemason organization and the largest fraternal lodge to which men and women can both belong, according to Wikipedia. Idora Chilcote and James Chilcote [W.M.–Worshipful Master of the Masons, shown above] may be related since both are in branches of the Masons.

Willshire Lodge, I.O.O.F.
Regular meetings every Friday evening in hall over Clothing store. Visiting Brothers cordially invited.
August Brown, N.G.
O.T. Salleys, Recording Secretary

 “Independent Order of Odd Fellows,” a non-political and non-sectarian fraternal society, according to Wikipedia. It evolved from the Order of Odd Fellows, which was founded in England in the 1700s. Their motto is Friendship, Love, and Truth and the first letters of this motto (FLT) are often inscribed in a three-link chain on a deceased member’s tombstone. Sometimes they use only the three chain links, without the letters, on a tombstone to indicate their membership.

Chas. A. Knott Lodge No. 542, K. of P.
Meets every Tuesday evening. All Pythian Knights cordially invited to visit us.
John Wechter, C.C.
Wm. G. Hoffer, K. of R. and S.

The Order of “Knights of Pythias,” a secret fraternal benefit society. The symbol of this society is still visible on the west face of the building, above Willshire Home Furnishings. It is a triangle with “1907, FCB.” The FCB stands for their motto–Friendship, Charity, Benevolence. [Note that Wm. G. Hoffer was also the publisher of the Willshire Herald.] The Pythian Sister’s is K. of P. female auxiliary.

Knights of Pythias emblem, Willshire, Ohio.

Knights of Pythias emblem above Willshire Home Furnishings.

Willshire Central Star Lodge, C.M.A.-O.T.N.
Meet every Thursday evening, in W.R.C. hall. All visiting members invited.
F.C. Myers, Pres.
C.E. Wechter, Sec’y

I am not sure what these letters stand for or what this society was, although I see that John Wechter was C.C. [could be Castle Chancellor?] of the Knights of Pythias and C.E. Wechter was Secretary in the C.M.A.-O.T.N. There could be a connection between the two Wechters and the latter society could have been a branch of the Pythian Sisters. Not sure, just speculation. Local Pythian Sister units are called Temples and there is a “T” in the letters.

This, on this same page of the newspaper:

Hon. C.B. Hoke, the Happy Hooligan of Van Wert county Pythians, has a large sized boom for election as Grand Outer Guard at the Grand Lodge meeting in Cleveland next month. Hoke is not only one of the most enthusiastic of Pythians, but he is also one of the most deserving. The Grand Lodge will bring honor on itself by elevating Mr. Hoke to the position for which the Fifth district Knights in convention assembled nominated him by unanimous consent. 

These societies were very popular at that time and their symbols and insignia were often placed on the tombstones of their deceased members. There were many such lodges and societies in the area and I have seen many of their symbols in Woodlawn Cemetery in Ohio City and in Woodland Union Cemetery in Van Wert. It is interesting to note how many different societies there were in an area by their tombstone insignia.  

Example of I.O.O.F. (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) insignia, Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City.


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