Apr 20

Spitler Grocery Huckster Truck, Willshire, Ohio

Today, a photo of a huckster truck [1] from Spitler Grocery in Willshire, Ohio.

Spitler Grocery, Willshire, Ohio, Huckster Truck

I do not know when the photo was taken nor who was driving the truck. The driver may have been a Spitler or he may have worked for the Spitlers. Does he look familiar to anyone?

Driver of Spitler Grocery huckster truck, Willshire, Ohio

Our best guess on the age of the truck is that it dates from the late-1920s through mid-1930s. The truck may not have been new when they used it. Back then they made things last and used things for quite some time.

Spitler Grocery huckster truck, Willshire, Ohio

The truck had obviously stopped at someone’s home and it looks like the lady of the house is browsing and shopping in the back of the huckster truck. She is wearing a skirt and black lace-up shoes but her face is hidden.

When I enlarged the photo I noticed a mailbox on the far left. It looks like H Hoblet, R 1, Box 35. William H. Hoblet? He lived south of Willshire, in Blackcreek Township, Mercer County.

Mailbox, where Spitler truck has stopped

I remember my mother talking about Spitler’s Grocery and I figured her older sister, my aunt Amy, would remember their grocery, too. So I called Amy to see what she remembered about the store. Amy has a good memory and she does remember Spitler’s Grocery and recalls that it was located where Willshire Home Furnishings is today.

Amy said that Spitler’s did have a huckster truck and it would stop by their house east of Willshire when she was a child. She believes that her mother, my grandma Hilda Schumm, sold or traded eggs to them.

I did a little searching myself and from Glenn I. Spitler’s 1973 obituary I learned a little about the grocery and their family:

Brothers Glenn and Jessie Spitler owned and operated the Spitler Grocery Store in Willshire. They had purchased the store from their father in 1938 and Glenn retired from the grocery business in 1967.

Glenn was a lifelong resident of Willshire, born in Willshire on 13 October 1898, the son of William and Elsie (Byers) Spitler. Glenn married Rose Belle Brannon [sic] [should be Brandon] on 31 March 1923. Glenn died 9 April 1973 and is buried in the Willshire Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, his brother Jessie, and two sisters, Mrs. Miles Ross, Willshire, and Mrs. Mary Taylor, Columbus. [2]

So, the man in the photo, driving the truck, could be William Spitler, Glenn Spitler, Jessie Spitler, or someone else.

My aunt Amy also told me that her mother Hilda had a cream separator and that she sold her cream to none other than Mary Stetler! This would probably have been around 1940, give or take a couple years. Amy said that Mary would drive out to their farm and pick up grandma Hilda’s cream. Mary’s store at that time was where Doc Osborn’s office was years later. I believe that would be west of where the old hotel stood.

How interesting that we were just talking about Mary’s good ice cream this past week and that I also have a connection to it, way back when. I would love to have some of her rich ice cream right now!


[1] A huckster truck carried food and a wide variety of small articles for sale door-to-door on a regular basis, usually every week or two. From the 19-teens through the Great Depression hucksters traveled door-to-door in horse-drawn wagons and later in motorized trucks.

Huckster trucks carried food, small household items, yard goods, and sewing notions. They had staples such as coffee, sugar, salt, pepper, and spices. Since most of the family’s food came from the farm or was made at home, items like store bought cookies and bread were a luxury and a treat.

The farmer could also trade items with the huckster. The huckster would take the farmer’s homegrown items such as eggs, cheese, and even live chickens in trade. Hucksters carried empty crates and containers to hold and transport the farmer’s trade items.

[2] Van Wert Times Bulletin, 9 April 1973, p.2, Glenn I. Spitler obituary; Newspapers.com, accessed 19 Apr 2018.

Apr 17

Tombstone Tuesday–Mark Steven Warner

Mark Steven Warner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Mark Steven Warner, located in row 7 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Mark Steven
Sept. 2, 1968

According to Zion Chatt’s records Mark Steven Warner was stillborn on 2 September 1968, born to Howard and Sandra Jayne (Stroh) Warner.

Mark Steven was buried on the 6th and the funeral was conducted by Zion’s Rev. Ralph Hershberger.

The church records indicate that the graveside service was held at the Decatur Cemetery but his tombstone is in Zion’s cemetery, next to the marker of his grandparents Milbert and Koneta (Fisher) Stroh.

Mark Steven’s mother Sandra Jayne (Stroh) was the adopted daughter of Milbert and Koneta.

Apr 13

The Old Willshire Hotel

I vaguely remember the old Willshire Hotel. It was located on the east side of Willshire’s main street, State Route 49, in the general area of where Blackcreek Peddler is located today. Actually, I believe it stood in the exact same location.

Below is a nice picture postcard of the old Willshire Hotel.

Willshire Straubinger Hotel, photo postcard.

Below is an enlarged portion of the photo. I wonder who the two men were? Maybe guests. Maybe the owner or proprietor.

Willshire Hotel enlargement.

It looks like the old hotel was a fine establishment. I wonder if there was a place to eat there,too, and how many guest rooms there were.

Below is a photo of the Willshire Hotel, as it looked in about 1963, when I was in the 6th grade and a student at the Willshire School. I was in Mrs. Freeman’s class and we took a field trip to the old hotel and the park. I snapped this photo of my classmates that day. You can tell it is the same building but the years had taken their toll.

Straubinger Hotel.1963 photo

I am thinking that in the later years, during my time, there was a little restaurant or ice cream parlor in the hotel. It looks like that in the above photo. Maybe someone else remembers that.

I do not know when they took the building down, but it is fun to look at the old photos.

Apr 10

Tombstone Tuesday–J Adam & Minnie C (Koch) Fisher

J Adam & Minnie (Koch) Fisher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Adam John and Minnie Christina (Koch) Fisher, located in row 10 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:


Minnie C.

J. Adam

Adam John Fisher was born in Mercer County, Ohio, on 5 April 1878 to John Christain and Mary Ann (Bollenbacher) Fisher. He usually went by the name of Adam or A.J.

Adam Fisher’s family lived in Liberty Township, Mercer County. Their household in 1880, when Adam was a 2-year old toddler: John C, 40; Mary A, 30; Magdalena B, 11; Minnie L, 10; Margaret E, 4; John A, 2; William M and Mary E, both 2 months old, born in March. Twins! Adam’s father John was a farmer who was born in Germany. Adam’s mother was born in Ohio. [1]

The John Fisher family in 1900: John, 60; Mary A, 52; Emma, 24; Adam, 22; Lizzie, 20; and William, 20. Adam had 3 deceased siblings by this time. This enumeration also indicates that Adam’s father immigrated in 1849. [2]

Adam Fisher married Minnie Christina Koch on 5 May 1904 in Wapakoneta, Auglaize County, Ohio, married by Rev. E.J.E. Kuhlmann. Adam was 26 and Minnie was 19 years of age.

I noticed that the clerk took the extra time to write the following lines on all the marriage license applications in this section: …and that neither of said parties is an imbecile, insane, epileptic, or an habitual drunkard; and that neither is now under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug. [3]  

Minnie Christina Koch was born in Duchouquet Township, Auglaize County, Ohio, on 24 December 1884, the daughter of Christian P. and Anna M. (Grewes/Graves) Koch. [4]

The Christian Koch household in 1900: Christ P, 43; Anna M, 40; Mary D, 21; Eda L, 18; Minnie C, 15; Frederick, 10; and Albert A, 10. There were twins in Minnie’s family, too! Minnie’s parents were both born in Ohio, had been married 22 years, and all 5 of their children were living. Minnie’s father was a farmer. [5]

By 1910 Adam and Minnie Fisher had moved to Liberty Township, Mercer County, and they had a daughter, Koneta. They lived on Willshire Road, which was most likely State Route 49, several miles south of Chatt. Their household in 1910: Adam, 32; Minnie, 25; and Koneta, 5. Adam and Minnie had been married 5 years and Koneta was their only child. Adam was a farmer. [6]

The Adam Fisher household in 1920: Adam J, 41; Minnie, 35; and Koneta, 14. Adam farmed. [7]

Their daughter Koneta married Milbert Stroh in June of 1925 and the newlyweds apparently went to live with her parents right after their marriage. It appears that they lived with them until her parents passed away.

In 1930 the two families, Fishers and Strohs, lived  a few miles south of Chatt, south of Frahm Pike. Their household in 1930: Adam Fisher, 52, head; Minnie, 45 wife; Koneta Stroh, 25, lodger’s wife; Milbert Stroh, 27, lodger. Adam and Milbert farmed and they lived next door to Adam’s sister Louise (Peter) Strabel and their family. [8]

Both families lived together in 1940 but Milbert Stroh is listed as the head of household by this time. There is no occupation listed for Adam, who may have retired by this time. Milbert’s occupation was farmer. Their household in 1940: Milbert Stroh, 37, head; Koneta Stroh, 35, wife; AJ Fisher, 62, father-in-law; and Minnie Fisher, 56, mother-in-law. Their neighbors included Elmer and Mable Fritzinger, Jacob and Fred Betzel, Margaret Bollenbacher, and Charles Bollenbacher. [9]

Adam John Fisher died of cerebral apoplexy/hemorrhage at his home in rural Liberty Township on 22 February 1949 at the age of 70 years, 10 months, and 17 days. He had had the medical problem for 13 months. He was a farmer and had not served in the armed forces. Walter C. Brookhart was in charge of the funeral arrangements. Adam’s wife Minnie was  the informant for the information on his death certificate. [10] According to Zion Chatt’s records Adam was survived by his wife Minnie, daughter Koneta, son-in-law Milbert Stroh, foster granddaughter Sandra Jayne, a brother William Fisher, and sisters Mrs. Elizabeth Koch, Mrs. Louise Strabel, and Mrs. Emma Werts. He was buried on the 24th and Zion’s Rev. Waldo Byers was in charge of the service.

Minnie (Koch) Fisher died in Mercer County, Ohio, on 1 May 1973. According to Zion Chatt’s records she died of complications. She was survived by her daughter, a brother, a grandchild, 2 great-grandchildren, and 3 step-great-grandchildren. She was buried on the 4th and Zion’s Rev. Ralph Hershberger conducted the service.

Adam and Minnie (Koch) Fisher had one child:
Koneta Maria Fisher (1905-1989), married Milbert Stroh


[1] 1880 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 188, p.474C, dwelling 53, family 56, John C Fisher; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T9, roll 1048.

[2] 1900 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 85, p.6, dwelling 117, family 122, John Fisher; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T623.

[3] “Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958,” database, FamilySearch.org, A.J. Fisher & Minnie Koch, 5 May 1904; Auglaize Marriages, Vol. 9, p.228; FHL microfilm 963059.

[4] “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Minnie Koch, 24 Dec 1884; Duchouquet Township, Auglaize County Births, Vol. 2, p.238, no. 24; FHL microfilm 959200.

[5] 1900 U.S. Census, Duchouquet, Auglaize, Ohio, ED 31, p.12, dwelling 216, family 217, Crist P Koch; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T623.

[6] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer County, Ohio, ED 119, p.11A, dwelling 197, family 202, Adam Fisher; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1375227, NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[7] 1920 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 140, p.10B, dwelling 198, family 215, Adam J. Fisher; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[8] 1930 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 20, p.2A, dwelling & family 38, Adam Fisher: Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T626.

[9] 1940 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 54-22, p.7B, household 145, Milbert Strok [corrected as Stroh]; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

[10] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Adam John Fisher, 22 Feb 1949; no. 11028; FHL microfilm 2246585.

Apr 06

A 1935 Schumm Postmark

I recently acquired an old envelope with an original Schumm, Ohio, postmark. I already had a copy of an envelope with a Schumm postmark, but not an original postmark. Until now.

George Weinman would have been the postmaster at Schumm when this letter was sent in 1935.

1935 envelope postmarked Schumm, Ohio.

This was probably sent by the George Merinar who lived in Blackcreek Township, Mercer County. He would have lived fairly close to Schumm.

A few years back I wrote a blog post, The Post Office at Schumm. There I wrote a brief history of the post office there and provided a list of its postmasters. To recap that post:

The post office at Schumm, Ohio, was open for 71 years. Between the years 1881-1953 the Schumm Post Office had 16 postmasters and it is no surprise that 5 of those 16 postmasters were named Schumm.

The Schumm Post Office was established in 1881 and Martin J. Schumm was appointed its first postmaster on 31 December 1881. Henry Schumm, George F. Schumm, and Henry M. Schumm were the next three postmasters, serving through 1903. [1]

The Schumm Post Office closed in January 1940 when postmaster George Weinman retired. Weinman had been the postmaster since November 1931. After its closure the mail was sent to Willshire.

However, the Schumm Post Office re-opened a few months later after local residents signed a petition to reopen it. Emanuel H. Schumm was appointed the new postmaster on 16 April 1940.

Emanuel Schumm served as postmaster for 13 years when the post office closed once again on 6 January 1953. This time the Schumm Post Office closed for good.

The mail was once again sent to Willshire.

The copy of the envelope below is postmarked 1938, Schumm’s Centennial year.

1938 Schumm postmark.

The list of Schumm postmasters and their appointment dates, 1881-1940 [1] :
Martin J. Schumm (31 December 1881)
Henry Schumm (29 April 1885)
George F. Schumm (30 June 1885)
Henry M. Schumm (4 August 1886)
Herbert I. Hileman (18 June 1904)
Wm O. Tickle (27 February 1905)
Elias F. Sheets (21 December 1905)
Logan Wolfe (29 March 1906)
Wm A Colter (23 September 1908)
Gustave J. Schumm (13 November 1912)
George Weinman (14 September 1916)
Mrs. Pearl A. Debolt (26 November 1928)
Matie M. Stevens (31 October 1929)
Mrs. Cleta A. Johns (1 December 1930)
George Weinman (23 November 1931)


[1] U.S., Appointments of U.S. Postmasters, 1832-1971, Vol 38, c1873-91, p. 478-9; and U.S., Appointments of US Postmasters, 1832-1971, Vol 79, c1891-1930, p. 575-77; digital images by subscription Ancestry.com, (www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 September 2014), from NARA microfilm publication M841, roll 101.

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