Sep 22

Old Advertising Items from Willshire Grain & Supply

Last week I wrote about Willshire Grain & Supply, where my mom worked as their bookkeeper for 33 years. The three local grain elevators were owned by Tom Burk and were located in Willshire, Schumm, and Wren, Ohio.

Willshire Grain & Supply at Willshire, Ohio, 1948.

As was the practice of many businesses, Willshire Grain & Supply gave away advertising items, especially at Christmastime.

I still have a few of these give-aways from the 1960-70s. I remember seeing them years ago and my mom had saved them all those years. We found them again when we cleaned out her house. Here are a few of them from Willshire Grain & Supply:

Various advertising items from Willshire Grain & Supply, 1960s-1970s

A metal rain gauge:

“Rain or Shine
We are here to serve you
Willshire Grain & Supply
Grain, Seeds
Fertilizer, Feed, Coal
Willshire, Wren, Schumm, Ohio”

Rain gauge from Willshire Grain & Supply.

A small tape measure:

A small tape measure from Willshire Grain & Supply.

A trivet that could be hung in your kitchen:

A trivet from Willshire Grain & Supply.

Another ceramic trivet, although this one does not specifically advertise Willshire Grain & Supply:

Pens, pencils, and pocket knives that advertise Master Mix feed in addition to Willshire Grain & Supply:

Pens, pencils, and pocket knives from Willshire Grain & Supply.

A pencil and pocket knife from Purina, but they do not advertise the grain elevator:

Pencil and pocket knife from Purina.

Some items from Wayne Feeds, Mayflower Mills, and Central Soya. The Central Soya tie tacks belonged to my grandpa Miller, who worked there.

Advertising items from Wayne Feeds, Mayflower Mills, and 2 tie tacks from Central Soya.

I am not sure what the sharp roller item on the key ring would have been used for. To perforate paper for some reason?

These old advertising items sure bring back the memories!

Sep 19

Tombstone Tuesday–Jacob & Margaret (Huffman) Bollenbacher

Jacob & Margaret (Huffman) Bollenbacher, Kessler/Liberty Cemetery, Mercer County, Oiho. (2017 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Jacob and  Margaret (Huffman) Bollenbacher, located in row 8, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

His Wife

Jacob Bollenbacher was born in Petersbach, Germany, on 28 October 1848, the son of Abraham Bollenbacher. [1] Some sources show that his mother’s name was Maria Katharine Kuhn. He immigrated to America in 1871. [2]

Jacob Bollenbacher married Margaretta “Margaret” Huffman 21 February 1878 in Mercer County, Ohio, married by Rev. CJ Bohnen. [3]

Margaret Huffman was born in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, on 3 January 1855, the daughter of Ferdinand & Elizabeth (Herzog/Hartzog) Huffman. The name was spelled Hoffmann in some of the old records. Her parents were born in Germany. Margaret was confirmed at Zion Chatt on 1 April 1871.

Margaret Huffman lived south of Chatt in 1860, where the family had a Skeels Cross Roads Post Office address. Their household in 1860: Ferdinand, 30; Elizabeth, 26; George, 7; Margaret, 4; John, 2; Elizabeth, 8 months; and Philip, 8 months. [4]

After their marriage Jacob and Margaret Bollenbacher lived across the state line in Adams County, Indiana, where Jacob farmed. In their household in 1880: Jacob, 31; Margaret, 24; and Augustus, 1. [5]

In 1900 Jacob and Margaret and their five children lived in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana. In their household: Jacob, 51; Margaret, 44; August William, 21; Dora C, 18; Jesse Charles, 16; Abraham, 16; and Rosa C, 13. This enumeration indicates that Jacob immigrated in 1871. Margaret had given birth to 8 children but only 5 were living. All of their children were reportedly born in Indiana and Jacob farmed for a living. [2]

Their household in 1910, Adams County: Jacob, 61; Margaret, 54; Jess, 27; Rosa, 23; and Wilber Anspaugh, 7 [grandson]. Wilbur Anspaugh was their daughter Dora’s son. Dora died in 1902 and now only 4 of the 8 Bollenbacher children survived. It appears son Jess had taken over the farming. Jacob reportedly did odd job on the farm while Jess farmed. [6] They lived very close to my relative Winfield Brewster.

Jacob and Margaret still resided in Adams County in 1920, where Jacob again farmed. Still living with them was their grandson Wilbert T Anspaugh, 17. [7]   

Margaret (Huffman) Bollenbacher died 7 July 1921 in Liberty Township, Mercer County, at the age of 66 years, 6 months, and 4 days. Her cause of death was rheumatic arthritis and nephritis with gastritis as a contributing factor, a condition which she had for 9 years. SS Egger was in charge of the funeral arrangements and she was buried on 9 July. [8]  

Jacob Bollenbacher died of pneumonia on 15 May 1929 in Decatur, Adams County, Indiana, at the age of 80 years, 6 months, and 3 days. His occupation reportedly was retired farmer. Egger & Ketcham were in charge of the funeral arrangements and Jacob was buried on the 3rd. His son GW [August William] Bollenbacher was the informant for information on Jacob’s death certificate, information that indicated Jacob was the son of Abe Bollenbacher, mother’s name unknown, and was born in Petersbach. [1]

Jacob and Margaret (Huffman) Bollenbacher had at least 8 children, three of whom died in infancy before 1900. Those children may also be buried in Kessler Cemetery. There are two two infant sons, children of J & M Bollenbacher, who died in 1888 and 1893, buried side by side there. The 5 Bollenbacher children who reached adulthood:

August William (1877-1966), married Maggie Bausser
Dora C (1881-1902), married James L. Anspaugh
Jess Charles (1882-1976), married Amelia Berger
Abraham (1884-1940), married Amanda M. Brush
Rosa C (1886/7-1962), married John Becher


[1] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, database on-line,, Jacob Bollenbacher, 15 May 1929; Indiana Death Certificates, 1929, roll 7, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, IN.

[2] 1900 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.6A, dwelling 104, household 104, Jacob Bullenbacher;; FHL microfilm 1240357, NARA microfilm T623, roll 357.

[3] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images,, Jacob Bollenbaugh and Margaretta Hoffman, 21 Feb 1878; Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 4, p.99, FHL microfilm 914956.

[4] 1860 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, p.358, dwelling 998, family 1003, Fred Hoofman;; FHL microfilm 805009, NARA microfilm M653, roll 1009.

[5] 1880 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 133, p.50A, dwelling & family 38, Jacob Bollenbau;; FHL microfilm 1254263, NARA microfilm T9, roll 263.

[6] 1910 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.2A, dwelling & family 29, Jacob Bollenbacher;; FHL microfilm 1374351, NARA microfilm T624, roll 338.

[7] 1920 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.6B, dwelling 119, family 129, Jacob Bollenbacher;; NARA microfilm T625, roll 420.

[8] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images,, Margaretta Bollenbacher, 7 Jul 1921; Liberty Twp, Mercer County death certificates, FHL microfilm 1991749.

Sep 15

Willshire Grain & Supply

When harvest time comes around I always remember how busy my mom, Florence (Schumm) Miller, was during the fall harvest as Willshire Grain & Supply’s bookkeeper. She often put in extra hours during what was probably the busiest time of the year for both her and the farmers.

Anyone who knew my mother remembers that she was a very conscientious bookkeeper and that she made sure her books balanced to the penny.

My mom worked at Willshire Grain & Supply for 33 years. She started working there in 1947, soon after she graduated from Willshire High School. Mildred (Schumm) Franz was the bookkeeper there at that time and she taught my mom how to do the bookkeeping at a grain elevator. Mildred resigned as the bookkeeper when she married Christian Franz.

Below is an old photo of Willshire Grain & Supply that my mom had. It was taken in 1948.

Willshire Grain & Supply, 1948.

Willshire Grain and Supply was owned by Tom Burk. Before Burk purchased the business it was called the Equity Elevator and Mildred (Schumm) Franz had worked at the Equity for 10 years

The Burks were in the grain elevator business for three generations, beginning with Tom’s grandfather George T. Burk (1856-1941). According to census reports George Burk was a store keeper in Clinton, Perry County, Indiana, in 1900. By 1910 George was the proprietor of a grain elevator in Decatur, Indiana.

By 1920 George’s son Sim Burk was a grain merchant in Decatur and by 1930 Sim Burk was the proprietor of a grain elevator there. Sim Burk (1890-1966) and his brother Avon (1888-1974) eventually owned several grain elevators in the area. Avon owned an elevator in Decatur, and Sim owned the elevator in Monroe, Indiana. Another elevator in Peterson, Indiana, was also owned by one of the Burk brothers. Ellen (Schumm) Black, Mildred (Schumm) Franz’s sister, worked at Burk’s Decatur elevator until she married.

Eventually Sim Burk’s son Tom wanted to get into the family grain elevator business, too. He purchased the Equity Elevator in Willshire and renamed it Willshire Grain & Supply. Later he purchased the Schumm elevator and eventually the elevator at Wren. All three of the Ohio elevators were known as Willshire  Grain & Supply.

My mom did the bookkeeping for the three Burk Elevators at Willshire, Schumm, and Wren. Mary (Schumm) Grote was the bookkeeper at the Wren elevator from 1955-1981. The Schumm elevator did not have a bookkeeper but Mary’s dad Emmanuel Schumm ran the Schumm elevator for many years. Dallas Kiracofe ran the Schumm elevator after Emmanuel retired and Dallas worked there until it closed. They eventually burned the Schumm elevator down.

Florence (Schumm) Miller graduation photo.

I remember going into the Willshire elevator a number of times when my mom worked there. I recall that it was very dusty and that they had a candy bar machine. Either my mom or Tom Burk often gave me a candy bar when I was there. There were always a couple farmers there talking and my mom was usually doing book work, using an adding machine, or weighing grain. She was on the phone a lot with farmers and other elevators.

Even after she retired she, for as long as she lived, she followed the grain markets every day. She knew what time the markets would be on the radio and she knew the phone number of the beanery by heart.

My mom kept several diaries over the years and she was very consistent about recording the daily grain prices instead of writing down the interesting family items I would like to read about!

My mom retired in about 1980, after 33 years of bookkeeping, at about the same time Tom Burk retired.

No doubt about it, she was a very good bookkeeper.

Sep 12

Tombstone Tuesday–Samuel A. Bollenbacher

Samuel A. Bollenbacher, Chattanooga Mausoleum, Mercer County, Ohio. (2017 photo by Karen)

This is the mausoleum marker of Samuel Abraham Bollenbacher, located in the Chattanooga Mausoleum, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. His vault is inscribed:

Samuel A.

Samuel Abraham Bollenbacher was born 22 July 1872 in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, the son of George (1830-1912) and Anna Barbara (Albrecht) Bollenbacher (1836-1913). [1]

In 1880 Samuel lived with his parents and seven siblings in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. In their household: George J, 49; Barbara, 44; Louis, 20; Louisa, 17; Anna, 15; George, 13; Frank, 11; Samuel, 8; Mary, 5; Edward, 1. Both of Samuel’s parents were from Germany and all of their children were born in Ohio. Samuel’s father was a farmer. [2]

Samuel still lived with his parents in Liberty Township 20 years later, although the family was much smaller. The George Bollenbacher family in 1900: George, 69; Anna B, 65; George, 33; Samuel, 27; Edward, 21; Christina Shanabarger, 17 (granddaughter); and William Shanabarger, 10 (grandson). Samuel’s parents had been married 48 years and 8 of their 12 children were living. Samuel’s father George immigrated in 1847 and his mother Anna immigrated in 1840. The father George farmed and sons George and Samuel helped on the farm. [3]   

Ten years later, in 1910, three Bollenbacher sons lived with their elderly parents and farmed the family farm: George, 79; Barbara, 74; George, 42; Samuel, 37; Edward, 30; and William Shanabarger, 19. William Shanabarger is shown as a nephew in this census and 8 of 12 Bollenbacher children were living. The father George is still shown as a general farmer and his sons also farmed. [4]   

By 1920 both of Samuel’s parents had passed away and he lived with two of his brothers, George and Ed. His brother George is shown as the head of household and he farmed while Samuel and Ed were real estate agents. Their father George had died in 1912 and their mother Anna Barbara died a year later in 1913. George and Anna Barbara have a beautiful and ornate monument in Kessler Cemetery with large carved marble angel that looks downward. [5]   

By 1930 Samuel, age 57, lived by himself and was a general farmer. [6]

Samuel Bollenbacher married Bertha Huffman on 18 November 1937 in Mercer County, Ohio. Neither had been married before. Samuel, 65, was retired and Bertha, 40, was a housekeeper. They were married by Rev. H.F. Holtmeyer, the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. [7]

Bertha was born 3 August 1897, the daughter of Jacob and Mary (Kessler) Huffman.

In 1940 Samuel and Bertha lived in Chatt. Samuel was 68 years of age, born in Ohio. Bertha was 43 years of age and was also born in Ohio. Samuel had lived in the same house five years previously and was a farmer. [8]

Samuel and Bertha had only been married seven years when Samuel died on 2 April 1945 near Chatt in Liberty Township, probably at his residence at R.R. #3, Celina. He was 72 years, 8 months, and 10 days old. He died of bronchial pneumonia due to endocarditis according to his death certificate and Zion Chatt’s records. He was interred in the mausoleum on the 5th and Cowen, Ohio City, was in charge of the funeral arrangements. Samuel’s wife Bertha was the informant for his personal information on his death certificate. [9] Samuel was survived by his wife Bertha and his brother Edward.

Samuel Abraham Bollenbacher’s obituary:

Samuel A. Bollenbacher; Chattanooga, Apr 4—Funeral services will be conducted Thursday at 2:30 p.m. for Samuel A. Bollenbacher, 72, of near Chattanooga, who died Monday at his home in Liberty-tps from a cerebral hemorrhage.

Surviving are the widow, Bertha, and one brother, Ed of Portland, Ind.

Funeral services will be at Zion Lutheran church, Chattanooga, with Rev. H.W. Wolber officiating and the body will be placed in the mausoleum in the church cemetery. [10]

Bertha (Huffman) & Samuel A. Bollenbacher, Chattanooga Mausoleum, Mercer County, Ohio. (2017 photo by Karen)

Samuel’s widow Bertha died 3 June 1977 in Coldwater, Mercer County, Ohio. She is buried next to Samuel in the Chattanooga Mausoleum.

The couple did not have any children.


[1] “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” database with images,, Samuel Bollenbaugher, 22 Jul 1872; Liberty, Mercer County Births, Vol. 1, p.88; FHL microfilm 914953.

[2] 1880 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 188, p.474C, dwelling 52, family 55, George J Bollenbacher;; FHL microfilm 1255048, Nara microfilm T9, roll 1048.

[3] 1900 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 85, p.11B, dwelling 217, family 223, George Bollenbacher;; FHL microfilm 1241304, NARA microfilm T623, roll. 1304.

[4] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 119, p.11B, dwelling 208, family 215, George Bollenbacher;; FHL microfilm 1375227, NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[5] 1920 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 140, p.9B, dwelling 183, family 197, George E Bollenbacher;; NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[6] 1930 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 20, p.4A, dwelling & family 79, Samuel Bollenbacher;; FHL microfilm 2341584, NARA microfilm T626, roll. 1850.

[7] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with imags,, Samuel A Bollenbacher & Bertha M Huffman, 18 Nov 1937; Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 15, p.90, FHL microfilm 2366956.

[8] 1940 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 54-22, p.4A, line 20, family 68, Sam Bollenbacher;; FHL microfilm 5460643, NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

[9] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images,, Samuel A Bolenbacker, 2 Apr 1945; FHL microfilm 2372736.

[10] Samuel Abraham Bollenbacher obituary, The Lima News, 4 April 1945, p.4 Lima News; digital image,

Sep 08

Wendel Motor Sales, Chattanooga, Ohio

A few weeks ago someone asked me about the history of Wendel’s Garage/Motor Sales in Chattanooga, Ohio.

I remember the Wendel Brothers car dealership very well. We called it Wendel’s Garage and the business was located across from the Chatt Restaurant/Bar. The building is currently occupied by the Chatt Fire Department.

2008 Google Earth street view of former Wendel’s Motor Sales, Chattanooga, Ohio.

I remember that it was called Wendel Brothers Motor Sales and I remember Jim and Bob Wendel–James W. and Robert J. Wendel. My parents bought several Pontiac cars from Wendel’s over the years and they also had them serviced there. I remember being in Wendel’s Garage several times but I did not know much about the history of the business.

However, thanks to the Internet, I was able to piece together a basic timeline of Wendel Motor Sales.

Their father Louis Philip Wendel started the business in Chatt in the 1920s.

Louis P. Wendel was born 27 January 1891 in Adams County, Indiana, the son of Philip & Marguerite (Emrick) Wendel. Louis married Jessie Butcher on 6 May 1916 in Adams County by W.F. Johnson, pastor of the Brethren Church. Louis worked as a carpenter. [1] They had children Marguerite (Lester Miller), Genevieve (Robert Cecka), Pauline (Herbert Brudi), James (Mary Pierstorff), and Robert (Ruth Wehner; Virginia Brown). Louis Wendel died 24 June 1969 in Celina, Ohio. Louis was a member of the Chattanooga Methodist Church and is buried in the St. Paul UCC cemetery.

In 1917 Louis resided at R.R. #5 Rockford, Ohio, but was farming in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana. He was married to Jessie and they had one child, Marguerite. [2]

In 1920 Louis and Jessie rented a home in rural Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana, probably fairly close to the Ohio state line. Louis worked as a house painter and the couple had two children, Marguerite, 2, and James, 1. [3]

The Louis Wendel family likely moved to Chattanooga sometime between 1922 and 1930. L.P. Wendel is among those listed on an old Chatt platt map created during that time period. They lived on the west side of State Route 49.

In 1930 Louis worked as a mechanic in a garage in Chatt. He lived very close to Ivan Johnson, who also was a garage mechanic. They both had the same 7673 census occupation code (mechanic; automobile greasing station/garage). [4]

A 1933 a Willshire Herald newspaper ad advertised Wendel Motor Sales, Chattanooga, Ohio: “New and used cars, general automobile and body and fender repairing; Duco and all kind of top repair work.” [5]

Chatt ads, Willshire Herald 1933.

In 1940 Louis was an automobile dealer in the village of Chattanooga. [6]

In 1942 Louis was self-employed in Chattanooga. He was 51 years old with a .R.R. #1, Rockford, Ohio, address. [7]

From Wendel Motor Sales, Chattanooga, Ohio, likely before 1958.

Louis Wendel owned and operated Wendel Motor Sales until he retired in 1958, when the business was taken over by his sons Jim and Bob. [8]

Jim and Bob operated Wendel Brothers Motor Sales for another 17 years. The auctioned off the building and contents on Friday 25 April 1975, selling the real estate, the garage, shop and office equipment, and some automobiles. Phil Neuenschwander and Altee Gehres were in charge of the auction. [9]

Auction of Wendel Brothers Motor Sales, Van Wert Times Bulletin, 15 April 1975.

I am sure there is much more to include in the history of Wendel Motor Sales. I would love to hear from anyone who can add information to this brief history or who has memories of the business.


[1] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,”, Louis Wendel and Jessie Butcher, 6 May 1916; Adams County Marriages, Vol. K, p.23, FHL microfilm 2321630.

[2] WWI Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Adams, Indiana, roll 1439777, Lewis Philip Wendel;; U.S. Selective Service System, NARA microfilm M1509, Washington, D.C.

[3] 1920 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.7B, dwelling 142, family 152, Lewis P Wendel;; NARA microfilm T625, roll 420.

[4] 1930 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 20, p.10B, dwelling & family 257, Louis P Wendel;;  FHL microfilm 2341584, NARA microfilm T626, roll 1850.

[5] The Willshire Herald, December 1933.

[6] 1940 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 54-22, p.14A, visitation no. 277, Lewis P Wendel;; NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

[7] WWII Draft Cards (4th Registration), Ohio, Louis Philip Wendel, 1942;; Records of the Selective Service System 1926-1975, Record Group No. 147, National Archives, St. Louis, Missouri.

[8] Louis P. Wendel obituary, Van Wert Times Bulletin, 25 June 1969, p.2; digital image,

[9] Wendel Bros. Motor Sales ad Chattanooga, Ohio, public auction notice, Van Wert Times Bulletin, 15 April 1975, p.10; digital image,


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