May 25

Memorial Day 2018

This coming Monday we celebrate Memorial Day, a federal holiday that was originally called Decoration Day and traditionally marks the beginning of summer. It is a day to remember those who died in military service for our country as well as those who served our country and are now deceased. It is also day to decorate the gravestones of loved ones.

Elm Grove Cem, St. Marys, Auglaize Co, OH (2013 photo by Karen)

Just about every local town has a Memorial Day parade and I plan to be in one this year. Willshire’s Memorial Day Parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday and area residents are invited to participate and carry photos of their family members who served in the military. I plan to carry my dad’s photo in Monday’s parade. The parade will walk to the Willshire Cemetery where a Memorial Day service will be held.

Speaking of Willshire, Willshire Home Furnishings has turned their store into a make-shift military museum again this year. They will have a display of over 160 military uniforms, plus photos, flags, maps, and letters from local servicemen on Saturday, Sunday, and Memorial Day from 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. each day. It is a wonderful display and well worth the visit. My dad’s photo and Army jacket will be on display there.

Memorial Day Celebration at Willshire Home Furnishings. (2015 photo by Karen)

Uniforms, photos, and other items on display at Willshire Home Furnishings. (2015 photo by Karen)

Memorial Day began as a way to remember and honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who were killed in battle during the Civil War. In 1868 the 30th of May was officially proclaimed as the day to decorate their graves. After WWI Memorial Day was extended to honor Americans who died in all wars. Today most Americans use this holiday as a time to decorate grave sites, whether the deceased served in the military or not.

Memorial Day was declared a U.S. federal holiday in 1971 and is now observed the last Monday in May. In December 2000 the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed, which asks all Americans to pause at 3:00 p.m. local time and reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day.

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

Some things to do on Memorial Day:

  • Take time to reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day and the sacrifices made for our freedom.
  • Attend a Memorial Day Service at a local cemetery or park.
  • Attend a local Memorial Day parade.
  • Fly the American flag.
  • Visit a cemetery and decorate a grave with flowers.
  • Visit the Memorial Day Celebration museum at Willshire Home Furnishings.

Finally, remember to observe proper flag etiquette on Memorial Day:

  • The American flag should be flown at half-staff until noon and then raised to full-staff.
  • During a parade there may be several participants with a flag and it is appropriate to salute only the first flag as it passes by.
  • As the first flag passes everyone should show respect by standing at attention with their right hand over their heart.
  • Those in uniform should give their appropriate formal salute.

The past few months I have been transcribing and posting my dad’s WWII letters and photos. Here are a couple of photos of some of my dad and some of his friends from Zion Chatt who also served in WWII:

Herb on furlough, at Zion Chatt with Fred Betzel and Donald Hoblet, November 1944.

Carl Ripley, WWII era.

Murlin Miller, my dad’s cousin, Marines, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam.

Have a nice Memorial Day weekend, everyone, and take some time to remember those who unselfishly served our country.

May 22

Tombstone Tuesday–Carolina E. Fisher

Carolina E. Fisher, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2017 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Carolina Elizabeth Fisher, located in row 12 of Kessler, aka Liberty Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker, broken and resting on the ground, is inscribed:

Carolina E Fisher
Tochter
J.C. & M.A.
Fisher
Gest
Nov 20, 1873
Alter
1 J 10 M & 7 T

Carolina E. Fisher, daughter of J.C. & M.A. Fisher, died 20 November 1873, aged 1 year, 10 months, and 7 days.

Carolina Elizabeth Fisher was born 13 January 1872, at the family home in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. She was daughter of John Christian and Mary Ann (Bollenbacher) Fisher. Her mother’s name was spelled Bullengbaugh in her county birth record. [1]   

Carolina died of whooping cough at home in Liberty Township on 20 November 1873. She was only 1 year, 10 months, and 2 days old. [2]

According to her tombstone she was 1 year, 10 months, and 7 days old, which would agree with age according to her recorded date of birth.

Her parents are buried a few rows away in Kessler Cemetery.

 

[1] “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003, database with images, FamilySearch.org, Caroline Fisher, 18 Jan 1872; Liberty Township, Mercer County, Births, Vol. 1, p.74, no. 277; FHL microfilm 914953.

[2] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Elizabeth C Fisher, 20 Nov 1873; Liberty Township, Mercer County Deaths, Vol. 1-2, p.44, no. 2; FHL microfilm 914, 954.

May 18

Dear Mom & All–WWII Letters from Herb (part 21)

Memorial Day is about a week away and a good time to post a few more transcriptions of my dad’s WWII letters and photos. Today’s letters are from May and June, 1945, 73 years ago. [1]

My dad, Herbert Miller, was trained as a replacement troop during the fall of 1944. After he arrived in Europe he was assigned to Company L, 333rd Regiment, 84th Infantry Division, known as the Railsplitters. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and later in parts of Luxembourg and Germany.

My dad wrote quite a few letters home during the time he served our country in Europe during WWII and his family saved most of them. I have most of the letters he wrote to his parents, Carl and Gertrude (Brewster) Miller, and to his sister Em and her husband Norval “Jack”.

Below is a letter to my dad’s sister Em and her husband Norval “Jack.” He wrote the letter on 28 May 1945, but the inner postmark shows Rockford, 25 Aug 1945. The war in Europe was over by that time and my dad was part of the Occupation Forces.

Road signs in Germany, WWII.

28 May 1945
Germany

Dear Em & Jack,

I have a picture to send so decided to write a couple of lines. From what I hear youins have been having pretty bad weather. Do you have any corn out yet? Wait a minute. Speaking of corn, about a week ago our squad was detailed to guard a distillery which contained about three thousand gallons of corn liquor. We had the guard for about two weeks. Some fun!

These pictures I’m sending home I developed myself. The pictures were taken by a couple of other guys and Portor and I developed the smaller prints.

Must close for now. Am feeling fine and hope you are thee same.

Love,
Herbie

P.S. Please send a package.

These may have been a couple of the photos he talked about in this letter. These photos were labeled, taken in Schriesheim, 1945:

Sgt. Fenn, Cpt. McGee, Sgt. Mueller, Cpl Thornton, Herb Miller; Schriesheim, Germany 1945.

Sgt. Mueller, Cpl. Meyer, Cpl. Thornton, Herbert Miller; Strahlenburg Castle, Schriesheim, Germany, 1945.

Sgt. George Mueller, Strahlenburg Castle, Schriesheim, Germany, 1945.

Taken from Strahlenburg Castle, Schriesheim, Germany, 1945.

The next letter was written on the same Railsplitter stationery, written to his parents. He wrote the letter 30 May 1945 and the inner post stamp is Berne, 25 Jun 1945.

30 May 1945
Germany

Dear Mom & All,

Just came in from retreat and rifle inspection. They showed another show today, something about Blondie and Dagwood.

I now have five more points. Tonight at retreat the company commander called seven of us guys up to the front of the formation and presented the Purple Heart to us. I imagine it is for the time when the shrapnel busted my wrist watch. It did cut a gash in my thumb.

I now have 36 points. That is just about ½ enough. But I’ve been in the Army only eleven months and most of the guys that have over 85 points have been in the Army three or four years.

How is everything coming along on the farm? Do you have any corn out yet? They last I heard it was still pretty wet around there.

You asked if I received the Celina Standard and The Willshire Herald. Yes I receive both of them and have been for quite a while. I thought that I mentioned it.

I received the fountain pen. Thanks a lot. It really writes good. I am using it now.

Must close for now. Will try ad write often.

Love,
Herbie

P.S. Please send a box of cookies and home-baked fruit cake. That real good kind that you have been sending.

P.S. #2 The picture enclosed is of my platoon guide S/Sgt. Lawrence Broderick. He used to be my squad leader. (20 years old)

Unfortunately, I do not have that photo of Lawrence Broderick, but the photos shown below were labeled: Germany, 84th Division Award Ceremony.

84th Division Award Ceremony, Germany, post-war.

84th Division Award Ceremony, Germany, post-war.

The next photo is also an 84th Division Award Ceremony, but was taken earlier, during the war, in Belgium.

84th Division Award Ceremony, Belgium, during the war.

Although the war was technically over, my dad had to accumulate a certain number of points before he could be discharged. During that time, after the end of the war, he was a member of the Occupation Forces in Germany. He spent part of that time working in the post office.

1 June 1945
Germany

Dear Em & Jack

This letter won’t be so awful long but a few words are better than none. I imagine by the time you have mom and them will have received the Purple Heart I sent home. You didn’t know I had one, but I’m almost as good as women when it comes to keeping secrets.

How is farming coming along? Do you have all of the corn out yet?

I’ve written quite a few letters tonight. I wrote one to Don Hoblet and I’m getting so I don’t know what to say, so I’d better sign off.

Am feeling fine and hope you are the same.

Love,
Herbie

P.S. Please send a package.

Herbert Miller, US Army, 84th Division, 333rd Company, Infantry. WWII, Battle of the Bulge.

Like so many of the WWII veterans, my dad did not talk a lot about his service and did not talk about his Purple Heart. He did like to read books and accounts of the Battle of the Bulge and of WWII.

You can tell that the women in his family were very good cooks because he kept asking them to send packages of their home-made goodies. He seemed to especially like their fruitcake. I should try to find the Miller fruitcake recipe.

 

[1] These letters are from Pfc. Herbert Miller (35845400), Co. L, 333rd Infantry, A.P.O. 84, c/o Postmaster, New York, NY, to Mr & Mrs. Carl Miller, RR1, Willshire, Ohio, or to Mr. & Mrs. Norval Weitz, RR1, Rockford, Ohio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 15

Tombstone Tuesday–Christian & Mary A. (Bollenbacher) Fisher

Christian & Mary Ann (Bollenbacher) Fisher, Kessler/Liberty Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2018 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Christian and Mary A. (Bollenbacher) Fisher, located in row 6 of Kessler (aka Liberty) Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Mother
MARY A.
His Wife
Mar. 7, 1848
May 2, 1920

Father
CHRISTIAN
FISHER
Aug. 29, 1839
Mar. 26, 1909

FISHER

John “Christian” Fisher was born in Germany on 29 August 1839, the son of John Andrew and Gertrude (Miller) Fisher. His parents were also born in Germany and, according to the census, Christian immigrated in 1849, probably with his parents. [1]

They settled in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, soon after they arrived in America, living there by 1850. Their household in 1850: John A Fisher, 53; Charity, 52; Mathias, 13; and Christian, 11. All were born in Germany and the father farmed. [2]

The Andrew Fisher household in 1860: Andrew, 60, Germany; Catharine, 63, Germany; and Christian, 21, Germany. Andrew was a farmer the family had a Skeels Crossroad post office address. [3]

During those years (1850-60) the Andrew Fisher family was enumerated next to the Adam Bollenbacher family. They lived very near each other, if not next door to each other, south of Chatt.

Christian Fisher married his neighbor Mary Ann Bollenbacher on 10 December 1867 in Mercer County. [4]

Mary Ann Bollenbacher was born in Ohio on 7 March 1848, the daughter of Adam and Elizabeth (Mitchel) Bollenbacher.

The Adam Bollenbacher family in 1850: Adam, 44; Elizabeth, 30; Christian, 12; Catherine, 9; George, 6; Henry, 4; and Mary Ann, 2. Adam and Elizabeth were born in Germany but their children were born in Ohio. Adam farmed. [5]

The Adam Bollenbacher household in 1860: Adam, 54; Christina, 23; Mary Ann, 13; and Andrew, 14,again  enumerated next to the Andrew Fisher household. [6]

Christian and Mary Ann set up housekeeping in Liberty Township and had two children by 1870. Their household in 1870: John C Fisher, 29, Prussia; Mary, 22, Ohio; Magdalene, 1, Ohio; Louisa, 3 months, Ohio. John “Christian” was a farmer. [7]

Their household in 1880: John C Fisher, 40; Mary A, 30; Magdalena B, 11; Minnie L, 10; Margaret E, 4; John A, 2; and twins, William M and Mary E, both 2 months old. John “Christian” was a farmer. [8]

The John “Christian” Fisher family in 1900: John, 60; Mary A, 52; Emma, 24; Adam, 22; Lizzie, 20; and William, 20. Mary Ann had given birth to 9 children and 6 of them were still living. [1]

John “Christian” Fisher died in Liberty Township on 26 March 1909 of cerebral apoplexy. He was 69 years old. He was buried on 29 March and H.B. Cowan, Rockford, was in charge of the funeral arrangements. [9]

After Christian’s death Mary Ann lived with her son William, his wife Hulda (Betzel), and their two sons. Their household in 1910: William Fisher, 30; Hulda, 24; Luther, 4; John, 2; and Mary Ann Fisher, 62, mother. [10]

Mary Ann Fisher died of tuberculosis of the lungs on 2 April 1920 in Liberty Township. According to her death certificate her father was Adam Bollenbacher, born in Germany, but her mother’s name was not known by the informant, who was her son William Fisher, of Celina. She was 72 years old and was buried on the 4th. [11]

Christian and Mary Ann (Bollenbacher) Fisher had the following children:
Magdalena (1868-1947), married John Fritzinger
Wilhelmine “Louise” (1870-1953), married Peter Strabel
Carolina E (1872-1873)
Louis Charles (1874-1876)
Emma Margaret (1876-1959), married William C. Weitz
Adam John “AJ” (1878-1949), married Minnie Christine Koch
Mary Elizabeth (1880-1973), married John Koch
William Michael Fisher (1880-1955), married Hulda A. Betzel

The 1900 and 1910 censuses indicated that Mary Ann had given birth to 9 children, but I could only account for 8.

 

[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 85, p.6, dwelling 117, family 122, John Fisher; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T623.

[2] 1850 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, p.286B, dwelling 9, family 10, John A Fisher; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm M432, roll 710.

[3] 1860: 1860 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, p. 359, dwelling 1017, family 1022, Andw Fisher; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 805009, NARA microfilm M653, roll 1099.

[4] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, John C Fisher & Mary A Bollenbaugh, 19 Dec 1867; Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 3, p.172; FHL microfilm 914956.

[5] 1850 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, p.286B, dwelling 8, family 9, Adam Bullenbaugh; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm M432, roll 710.

[6] 1860 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, p.359, dwelling 1018, family 1023, Adam Bollenbaugh; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 805009, NARA microfilm M653, roll 1009.

[7] 1870 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, p.148B, dwelling 103, family 95, John C Fisher; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 552742, NARA microfilm M593, roll 1243.

[8] 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.

[9] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, John Christian Fisher, 26 Mar 1909; Liberty, Mercer deaths, no. 15124; FHL microfilm 1926957.

[10] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 119, p.11B, dwelling 209, family 216, William Fisher; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1375227, NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[11] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Mary A Fisher, 2 May 1920; Liberty, Mercer County deaths, no. 38157; FHL microfilm 1991134.

May 11

Flowers for Mother’s Day, 1945

I wrote this a couple years ago but thought it timely to post it again since Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday. In addition, I have been transcribing my dad’s WWII letters and I found a letter my dad wrote that mentions these Mother’s Day flowers. [1]

An excerpt from a V-Mail letter my dad wrote from Germany to his sister Em on 20 April 1945. The war was not over when he wrote the letter but it was over by Mother’s Day:

…I sent mom a double bouquet of flowers for Mother’s Day. I didn’t get to send her any for Easter…

What mother wouldn’t enjoy getting a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers on Mother’s Day. Especially if the flowers were from her son who was overseas, serving his country during World War II.

Flowers from Herb in Germany, May 1945.

It was 13 May 1945. Mother’s Day. Less than a week after V-E Day, which marked the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany and the end of fighting in Europe. Yes. There was a lot to celebrate.

Somehow my dad arranged for his mother to receive this large bouquet of flowers on Mother’s Day. Maybe one of his sisters cut them from the garden. No matter how she got the flowers, grandma certainly looks happy and proud. After all she had more than one reason to celebrate that day.

But the best and most important reason to celebrate was that the war was over and her son would be returning home soon. Grandma Miller must have been thrilled to receive the beautiful bouquet, but even happier to know that her son had survived the war.

Pfc Herbert M. Miller

Harry S. Truman issued a Mother’s Day Proclamation in April 1945: “…Whereas it is fitting that we acknowledge anew our gratitude, love, and devotion to the mothers of America… in this year of the war’s greatest intensity we are ever mindful of their splendid courage and steadfast loyalty to the highest ideals of our democracy…the service rendered the United States by the American mother as the greatest source of the country’s strength and inspiration…” [2]

Harry Truman’s words are still true and meaningful today, 73 years later.

Happy Mother’s Day!

[1] My dad, Herbert Miller, was trained as a replacement troop during the fall of 1944. After he arrived in Europe he was assigned to Company L, 333rd Regiment, 84th Infantry Division, known as the Railsplitters. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and later in parts of Luxemburg and Germany.

[2] Harry S. Truman: “Proclamation 2649—Mother’s Day, 1945,” April 17, 1945, Online by Gerhard Peters and john T. Wooley, The American Presidency Project (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=87028 : accessed 7 May 2015).

 

 

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