Dec 06

Tombstone Tuesday–Johann & Barbara (Wiedmann) Becker

Johann and Barbara Wiedmann, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Johann and Barbara Wiedmann, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Johann and Barbara (Wiedmann) Becker, located in row 5 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Barbara Becker
Geboren den
27 Feb. 1812
Gestorben den
12 Dec. 1894

Johann Becker
Geboren den
3 Nov. 1808
Gestorben den
20 Feb. 1888

Translation: Barbara Becker, born 27 February 1812, died 12 December 1894. Johann Becker, born 3 November 1808, died 20 February 1888.

Johann “John” Becker was born 3 November 1808, according to his church burial record and the inscription on his tombstone, but according to Zion Chatt’s Familienbuch, he was born 24 November 1808. He was born in Dittweiler, County Waldmohr [Wald Mohr], Rhein-Bavaria, the son of Jacob and Catharina Becker. He immigrated to America in 1833 and in 1836 married Barbara Catharina Wiedmann in Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, all information from the church records.

Barbara Katharina Wiedmann was born 27 February 1812 in Clebrun [Cleebronn?], Oberant Brackenheim, Wüerttemberg, the daughter of Jakob Friederich and Margaretha Wiedmann.

The couple lived in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, before moving to the Piqua, Ohio, area, and to Mercer County, Ohio, by the mid 1850s. According to the 1882 History of Mercer and Van Wert Counties, John and Barbara settled in Mercer County in October 1853.

John and Barbara (Wiedmann) Becker had the following children:
Anna Maria (1837-1917), married John Becher
John Philipp (1839- ), married Philippena Schlafmann
Jacob John (1840-1889), married Caroline Bollenbacher
Louisa Friedericka (1843-1864), married Jacob Bollenbacher
Katharina Elizabeth (1845-1917), married Charles Bollenbacher
William C (1849-1929), married Philippena Phoebe Gehm
Heinrich “Henry” R. (1851-1914), married Anna Maria Catharina “Mary” Menche

Zion Chatt’s records indicate the two eldest children were born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and the rest born in Piqua.

John and Barbara resided in Blackcreek Township in 1860 and their household was as follows: John, 50; Barbara, 48; John P, 21; Jacob, 19; Louisa, 16; Catharine, 15; William, 11; and Henry, 9. John [Sr] was born in Germany, Barbara in Württemberg, and all their children in Ohio. John was a farmer and Barbara could not read or write. [1]

By 1870 all but two of their children were gone from their household and their name was enumerated as Baker. In the 1870 census: John, 63; Barbara, 58; William, 21; and Henry, 18. Living next door was their son John P and his wife Phebe [Schlafmann]. [2] Had the family changed their name to Baker by this time?

By 1880 John and Barbara were living with their son Henry and his family and their surname was enumerated as Baker. Son Henry had married Mary Ann Menche and they had three children, Theodore M, 4; Amelia B, 2; and Lucy, 4 months. John, 71, was shown as unemployed and Barbara was keeping house. David Betsel, 16, was also enumerated in the household as hired labor. [3]

John Becker died of dropsy in Blackcreek Township [4] on 20 February 1888, at the age of 79 years, 3 months, and 17 days. He was buried on the 22nd. His county death record indicates he died 9 February at the age of 79 years, 2 months, and 10 days. His name was recorded as Becker in the church records and as Baker in his count death record.

Barbara died of a stroke on 12 December 1894 in Blackcreek Township. She was 82 years, 9 months, and 15 days old and was buried on the 14th, according to Zion Chatt’s records. She was survived by 3 sons, 2 daughters, and 49 grandchildren. According to her county death record she died on 14 December 1894 at the age of 83 years, 9 months, and 23 days. [5] More conflicting dates!

Johann and Barbara Wiedmann, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Johann and Barbara Wiedmann, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Becker is one of those area surnames whose spelling varied of may have been changed completely. Becker was the fairly consistent spelling in the church records, especially for John and Barbara’s generation, but it was written as Baker in the county records for their children. The name Becker looks like it was actually changed to Baker and was used by most of John and Barbara’s children. Children Philip, Jacob John, Katherine Elizabeth, William, and Henry’s names were recorded as Baker in their marriage records.

John and Barbara’s grave marker is also a little unusual for its day because it gives the couple’s dates of birth instead of having to calculate it from their age and date of death. Those older markers usually did not give the birth date, just the age and death date. The shape of the marker is also rather unique. The arch connecting the two pillars with the inscriptions could symbolize marriage or victory in death.

 

[1] 1860 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, p.88 [written], dwelling 623, family 628, John Bachar; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 Dec 2016); FHL microfilm 805009, NARA microfilm M653, roll 1009.

[2] 1870 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, p.22 [written], dwelling/family 162, John Baker; digital image by subscription,  Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 Dec 2016); FHL microfilm 552742, NARA microfilm M593, roll 1243.

[3] 1880 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 179, p.6B [written], dwelling 2, family, 2, Henry Baker; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 Dec 2016); FHL microfilm 1255048, NARA microfilm T9, roll 1048.

[4] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch, (https://familysearch.org : accessed 3 Dec 2016), John Baker, 9 Feb 1888); from Blackcreek, Mercer Deaths, Vol. 1, p.252; FHL microfilm 914954.

[5] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch, (https://familysearch.org : accessed 3 Dec 2016), Barbara Baker, 9 Feb 1888); from Blackcreek, Mercer Deaths, Vol. 2, p.261; FHL microfilm 914954.

Dec 02

Duckcreek School Burns, 2005

I still remember the old Duckcreek School building that once stood in Blackcreek Township. It was located about three miles north of Chatt on State Route 49, just a little north of Wilson Road.

Duckcreek Church was located across the road and a little to the north of the school, near Duckcreek Cemetery. The church was destroyed by a tornado in 1920 but the cemetery is still there.

According to the 1978 Mercer County Ohio History, Duckcreek School District #4 was the first school in Blackcreek Township and was started in 1852. The brick Duckcreek School building was built in 1893.

Duckcreek School stood for over 110 years until it was struck by lightening and burned on 18 July 2005.

John and Janet Myers lived on their farm across the road from the school and witnessed the destruction of the building. Bernard Krall lived in the house that was located north of the school building and used the school for storage. The house was later sold to the Amish.

A big thank you to Janet Myers for sharing the photos she took of Duckcreek School that day.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Difficult to read, but probably Chattanooga Fire Department trucks.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Below is an aerial photo from Google Earth. The photo was taken 28 February 2006, about six months after the fire. You can see the location of the school and the brick rubble on the west side [left side] of the road, near the road, at the bottom of the green grassy area. The Myers farm is across the road to the right.

 

Google Earth after the fire, February 2006.

Google Earth after the fire, 28 February 2006.

Nov 29

Tombstone Tuesday–Catharina Schaeffer

Catharina Schaeffer, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2016 photo by Karen)

Catharina Schaeffer, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2016 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Catharina Schaeffer, located in row 1 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. This small marble tombstone stands only about 3 feet high and is located in what was probably the back of the cemetery in 1877. The marker is inscribed:

CATHARINA
Wife Of
PHILIP
SCHAEFFER
Died 1877
Aged 49Y
Gone but not forgotten

This is another one of those mysterious grave markers in Zion Chatt’s cemetery, one of a handful of tombstones in the cemetery that marks the final resting place of someone about which nothing is recorded or known.

Who was Catharina Schaeffer?

Neither her death nor her burial is recorded in the church records. In fact, she is not mentioned in the church records at all. Not even in the communion records. Very few individuals with the surname Schaeffer, or other spelling variations of that name, are mentioned in the Zion Chatt’s records. It just was not a common surname around the Chatt area.

In addition, her death does not appear to have been recorded in Mercer County Probate.

Catharina’s grave marker is badly weathered and very difficult to read. When the Mercer County Chapter OGS read the cemetery in 1990 they transcribed a word in the second line of the inscription as “dau” [daughter] of Philip, but Find a Grave.com records it as “wife” of Philip.

That would certainly make a big difference. Was Schaeffer Catharina’s maiden name or was it her married name? Was Philip her father or her husband?

The other day we stopped at the cemetery for another look at the tombstone and to take more photos.  I agree with both tombstone readings that Catharina died in 1877 and was 49 years old. That means she was born in about 1828. But the most weathered, unreadable part of the inscription is the word “wife” or “dau.”

The word looks like “wife” to me. The D on Died in line five does not look like the first letter of the word that would be Dau. Plus there is a tall letter in the mystery word that looks very much like the f in “Of” in the same line, which would make sense if the word was “wife.”

Catharina Schaeffer, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2016 photo by Karen)

Catharina Schaeffer, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2016 photo by Karen)

Where was Catharina Schaeffer in 1870?

There were a couple Schaeffers/Shaffers living in the area at that time.

There was a Catharine Shaffer living with the Christian Beinz family in Dublin Township in 1870. She was 50 years old, not a very good age match for our Catharina, but census enumerations are notorious for their age ranges. That Catharine lived closer to Chatt than the 57-year-old Catharine Shaffer living with the John Shaffer family in Gibson Township in 1870. Again, the age is a problem.

And what about Philip Schaeffer? My heart skipped a beat when my search for him came up with a Phillip Shaffer (1834-1902), born in Ohio, a physician who lived in the Wabash, Indiana, area. Another Zion Chatt Cemetery mystery immediately came to mind–Dr. Benjamin Franklin Edgington, his wife Eliza, and his daughter Carrie (Edgington) Eichhorn Friedell. Déjà vu. Could this be the burial place of yet another physician’s wife? No. This was not the person I was looking for. Dr. Phillip Shaffer probably never practiced in Ohio and he was not married to a Catharina.

There is at least one Schaefer mentioned in Zion Chatt’s records–Anna M. (Schaefer) Grauberger, who is also buried in Zion’s cemetery. Anna is buried next to her husband George Adam Grauberger.

If you go with the “daughter of Philip” inscription and if Schaeffer was Catharina’s maiden name, I would look at Anna Schaeffer’s family, wondering if the two women might have been sisters. Their ages would have been close enough. Anna was born in 1833 and Catharina was born about 1828.

That would really be a stretch, though, especially since I cannot positively determine if the tombstone says “wife” or “dau.”

More information is definitely needed for this one.

Yet, another Zion Chatt Cemetery mystery…

Nov 24

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Karen’s Chatt. I wish all of you a Blessed Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Postcard, c1910

Nov 22

Tombstone Tuesday–Fred W. & Maria W. (Springer) Becher

Fred W. & Maria W. Becher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Fred W. & Maria W. Becher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Fred W. and Maria W. (Springer) Becher, located in row 9 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

BECHER
Maria W. 1888-1958
Fred W. 1887-1960

Friedrich Wilhelm “Fred” Becher was born in Mercer County, Ohio, on 2 September 1887 to Johann and Louise Friederike (Mamber) Becher. His father was born in Liberty Township and his mother was born in Württemberg. Fred was baptized at Zion Chatt on 25 September 1887 with George Becher and Emilie Rieger as sponsors. He was confirmed at Zion Chatt by Rev. R.V. Schmitt on 31 March 1901.

Fred Becher married Nora Arminte Fennig on 7 September 1909. They were married by Rev. J.L. Marvin of New Corydon, Indiana, although their marriage license and return was recorded in Mercer County. Nora was the daughter of H.J. and Anna (Locker) Fennig of Washington Township, Mercer County, Ohio. [1]

After their marriage Fred and Nora lived along Brandt Pike in Blackcreek Township, Mercer County, where Fred farmed. [2]

Fred and Nora had two children, Clifford Cornelius (1911-1992) and Werner LeRoy (1915-1979). Nora Becher died on 2 September 1915 from septicemia poison following the birth of their second child Werner LeRoy. She was 33 years, 1 month, and 26 days old.

With two very young children to raise, widower Fred Becher married Maria W.L. (Springer) Itskin on 14 October 1916 in Allen County, Indiana. Maria lived in Sheldon, Indiana, at the time of their marriage and was 28 years old. Fred Becher’s residence was Willshire, Ohio, and he was a 29 year-old farmer. [3]

Maria Wilhelmina Louise Springer was born 29 June 1888 in Sheldon, Pleasant Township, Allen County, Indiana, the daughter of Frederick and Wilhelmina (Leininger) Springer, according to Zion Chatt’s records. One Ancestry.com account indicates her father’s name was Frederick August and her mother’s name was Philippina Catherine Leininger. According to Zion Chatt’s records Maria was baptized and confirmed at St. Marks in Yoder, Indiana.

Their marriage record indicates that this was her third marriage and that she was twice divorced between the years 1913 and 1915. Maria married Oliver W. Itskin on 26 May 1910 in Allen County, Indiana. [4] Maria and Oliver Itskin had a son, Lorraine Itskin, born in 1914. They divorced in August 1913 and Maria married Joseph A. Current on 25 August 1914 in Allen County, Indiana. [5] 

In 1920 Fred and Maria Becher lived in Black Creek Township, Mercer County. In the household: F.W. Becher, 32; Maria, 31; Clifford, 8; Lorraine, 5; Verner, 4; Luis, 2. Note that her son Lorraine Itskin was listed as a Becher and was born in Indiana. Fred was a farmer. [6]

The Fred W. Becker household in 1930: Fred W, 43; Mary W, 42; Werner L, 14; Louis A, 12; J Lorraine A Itskin, 16. They lived on State Route 51, wherever that was. [7] Could they have meant State Route 49?

In 1940 Fred and Maria were the only two people in their household. Fred was 52 and Maria was 51 and they had lived in this same house in 1935. [8]

Maria (Springer) Becher died from cardiac and kidney failure at 10:00 p.m. on 29 March 1958 at the Berne Nursing Home. She was 69 years and 9 months old and was buried on 1 April. Her address was Route 1, Willshire, but she had resided at the nursing home four weeks. Her physician was Dr. N.E. Beaver, who was also our family physician back then. Yager Funeral Home, Berne, was in charge of arrangements. [9] Maria was survived by her husband, sons Lorraine Itskin and Louis Becher; 2 stepsons, Clifford and Werner Becher, 6 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, 5 brothers: Louis, William, George, Ed, and Harold; 5 sisters: Mrs. Martha Doermann, Amelia Zellinger, Esther Hartman, Ada Buttearl, and Loretta Grover, according to Zion Chatt’s records.

Fred W. Becher died of a stroke on 10 December 1960 at the Adams County Memorial Hospital in Decatur, Indiana. He was 73 years, 3 months, and 8 days old and was buried on 12 December. Fred was a retired farmer whose address was Route 1, Willshire. His son Louis Becher was the informant for the information on his death certificate. Dr. Norman Beaver was his physician and Yager Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements. Fred was survived by brothers, 3 sons: Werner, Clifford, and Louis and his step-son Lorraine Itskin. [10]

Fred and Maria (Springer) Becher had one son:
Louis (1917-1994), married Maryan Ferry; married Eileen Prior

 

[1] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 15 Aug 2015), Fred W. Becher and Nora A. Fennig, 7 Sep 1909; citing Mercer County, Ohio Marriages, Vol. 9, p.539, from FHL microfilm 914958.

[2] 1910 U.S. Census, Blackcreek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 107, p. 3A, dwelling & family 48, Fred W. Becher; FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 15 Aug 2015); from FHL microfilm 1375227, from NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[3] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 20 Nov 2016), Fred W. Becher and Maria W.L. Itskin, 14 Oct 1916; Allen County Marriages, Vol. 44, p.311; FHL microfilm 2130027.

[4] Marriage Index, 1800-1941,Oliver W Itskin to Minnie Springer, 26 May 1910; Index to Marriage Record 1824-1920, WPA, 1938-1940, from County Clerk’s O, Book 34, p.262.

[5] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 20 Nov 2016), Joseph A Current and Minnie W. Itskin, 25 Aug 1914; Allen County Marriages, Vol. 41, p.165; FHL microfilm 2111593.

[6] 1920 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 124, p.11A, dwelling & family 117, FW Becher; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2016); FHL microfilm 2341584, NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[7]1930 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 0001, p.5B, dwelling & family 215, Fredric W Becher; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2016); NARA microfilm T626, roll 1850.

[8] 1940 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 54-1, p.9B, line 69, Fred W Becher; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2016); NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

[9] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, database on-line, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2016), Mrs. Fred W. Becher, 29 Mar 1958, no. 7395; Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

[10] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, database on-line, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Nov 2016), Fred W. Becher, 10 Dec 1960, no. 40779; Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Older posts «