Jan 19

Charles “CJ” Schumm Family, 1914

Today I am taking a little break from my dad’s WWII letters to post a nice picture postcard of the Charles “CJ” Schumm family in 1914. The photo was taken in the fall of 1914 in front of the Brumback Library in Van Wert, Ohio.

In the photo postcard below is Charles “CJ” Schumm (1875-1954), husband and father, driving the car. In the very back is CJ’s wife Jeanetta (Bury) Schumm (1875-1916). With them are their two children, Donna Doris Schumm (1900-1950) and Charles Robert Schumm (1914-2007). Charles Robert was born 29 April 1914, about 6 months before the photo was taken. CJ and Jeanetta had another son a couple years later, Joseph “Frederick” (1916-1996), who was born about two months before his mother Jeanette was killed. Two other children, Carl Arnold Schumm and Oral Schumm died young, both in 1912.

Charles “CJ” Schumm with wife Jeanetta (Bury) and children Donna and Charles Jr, in front of the Brumback Library, Van Wert, Nov 1914.

This postcard was sent to Jeanetta’s sister Etta Mae (Bury) McLaughlin in Michigan. It is postmarked from Rockford, Ohio, 16 Nov 1914. Jeanetta writes:

Hello how are you all
we are well
Jr was 6 mo old
and weighs 18 lb
he is growing
and well yet I can’t
gain very fast in weight [?]
Jen S

Reverse side of postcard written by Jeanetta (Bury) Schumm to her sister Etta Mae (Bury) McLaughlin, 1914.

I would like to thank Susan in California for sending me this postcard and some other related photos and clippings. Susan’s connection to the Schumm family is through the Burys. Her paternal grandmother was Etta Mae (Bury) McLaughlin (1883-1973), a sister to Jeanetta (Bury) Schumm. Jeanetta was the wife of Carl/Charles “CJ” Schumm. CJ and Jeanetta lived west of Rockford and Jeanetta died at their home when she was electrocuted while doing laundry. She was only 40 years old and left three children behind, two of them under three years of age.

What a nice postcard and it is great to be able to identify exactly where the photo was taken and when. That is also a very nice car, which I assume was the family car. I would imagine it was quite a nice car in its day.

Jan 16

Tombstone Tuesday–Richard Carl Andrews

Richard Carl Andrews, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Richard Carl Andrews, located in row 8 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Richard Carl
May 1931-Jan 1939

Richard Carl Andrews was born at home in Elkhart, Indiana, on 16 May 1931, the son of Victor Earl Jr (1906-1977) and Beatrice Alice (1908-1977) (Esterline) Andrews. The family resided at 1240 Johnson Street in Elkhart and Richard’s father was a dairy truck driver. His mother was a housewife and this was the second child born to the parents. Richard’s father was born in Liberty Township and his mother was born in Pioneer, Ohio. [1]

Richard died in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, on 29 January 1939 of lobar pneumonia. He was 7 years, 8 months, and 13 days old. [2] Zion’s records indicate that he also had an enlarged liver, pneumonia, and heart trouble. The family was living at RR #1 Rockford at the time of Richard’s death.

Richard was buried on 1 February. Ketcham’s was in charge of the arrangements and Egger was in charge of the embalming. Richard was survived by his parents, a brother, 3 grandparents, and 4 great-grandparents.

Richard’s brother was Victor Earl Andrews Jr (1928-2015) and a third child, Roger Paul Andrews, was eventually born to the Victor Sr and Beatrice Alice.

The surname Andrews was originally spelled Andres in Zion Chatt’s early records. According to the church records Richard’s father Victor Earl Sr was confirmed at Zion Chatt in 1921 but had been baptized at St. Paul Lutheran, Liberty Township. Richard’s father Victor Earl Jr was baptized at Zion Chatt in 1942.


[1] Indiana, Birth Certificates, 1907-1940, Indiana State Board of Health, Vol. 36-40, cert no. 19504, Richard Carl Andrews, 16 May 1931; Ancestry.com; microfilm, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

[2] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Richard Carl Andrews, 29 Jan 1939; Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, reference no. 6913; FHL microfilm 3023676.

Jan 12

Dear Mom & All–WWII Letters from Herb (part 13)

Last week’s blog post ended with the letter my dad, Private Herbert Miller, wrote home to his sister Em on 31 December 1944 from somewhere in Belgium. What a way to spend New Year’s Eve.

Herbert Miller, 333 Reg, 84 Div, “Railsplitters”, WWII

My dad had been home with his family on furlough in November 1944 and left by the end of the month to be assigned somewhere. His brother recalls that my dad did not know where he would be sent. It could have been the Pacific, Europe, or even somewhere in the states.

He was sent to Europe. After landing in England he was sent on to France and finally to Belguim to fight in the Battle of the Bulge at the end 1944.

My dad was a replacement troop and was put into Company L, 333rd Regiment, 84th Infantry Division, known as the Railsplitters.

The Railsplitters Emblem.

January 1945 was one of the worst winters ever in Belgium. Temperatures were below zero. The snow was knee deep. The winds were blowing. The winter clothing they were issued was not adequate for the bitter cold they had.

The Battle of the Bulge was the largest land battle ever fought by the U.S. Army and it was a very important battle. My dad said they were constantly on the move, walking and moving forward during the day and digging shallow fox holes to try to keep warm and to get a little sleep at night. He said they stood in water in the fox holes for hours on end.

I don’t know how he had the time to write home, but he managed to write a few letters to his parents and to his sister Em and her husband Norval “Jack.”

This next group of letters my dad sent home were V-Mail, short for Victory Mail, a mail process used to correspond with soldiers stationed abroad during WWII. It was created in 1942 to reduce the space and weight required to ship soldiers’ letters home. V-mail letter sheets were a combination letter/envelope and they formed an envelope when folded. Soldiers wrote their letters in a limited space and added the name and address of the recipient on the special stationery. V-mail stationery was about 7 X 9 inches and no postage was necessary. Each letter was first read by a military censor before it was copied to microfilm and reduced to thumb-nail size. The rolls of microfilm were flown to the U.S. and developed at a receiving station near the addressee. The letters were enlarged and printed on paper at about 60% of their original size, about 4¼  x 5¼ inches, before being delivered to the addressee.

I have quite a few V-Mail letters, which are small and are very difficult to read.

V-Mail from Herbert Miller, 10 March 1945.

There is an additional postmark on some of these V-Mail letters. It is stamped right on the letter with a red stamper and marked Berne, Ind, and has a date. One letter was dated 31 January and was stamped 1 March, so it took quite a while for a letter to reach home. I can’t imagine the family waiting every day to hear from him, not knowing where he was or how or what he was doing.

The next group of letters my dad sent home:

To Mr. & Mrs. Norval Weitz, RR #1 Rockford, Ohio; from Pvt. Herbert Miller (35845400), Co. L, 333rd Infantry, A.P.O. 84, c/o Postmaster, New York, NY. Passed & stamped by censor Robert W. [?]

Postmark stamped in red at the bottom of the V-Mail: Berne, Ind, 1 Mar 1945

17 January 1945
Somewhere in Belgium

Dear Sis & Jack,

How is the farming coming along? How does Jack like his John Deere tractor? I’ll bet he can hardly wait to get to try it out in the spring.

Say Jack, how is the tire and gas situation coming along back there? Can you get all you want for the farm?

I got me a Heine flashlight. It doesn’t make a very bright light but it works. A lot of the guys have German P-38 and Lugar pistols. They are OK but I don’t care too much for souvenirs. Can’t think of much more to write. Tell Norval’s folks I said hello.

I am feeling fine and hope you are the same.


V-mail in envelope, 1845.

To Mr. & Mrs. Norval Weitz, RR #1 Rockford, Ohio; from Pvt. Herbert Miller (35845400), Co. L, 333rd Infantry, A.P.O. 84, c/o Postmaster, New York, NY. Passed & stamped by censor [?] Kuhn [?].

31 January 1945
Dear Em & Jack

How are things coming along back Chattanooga way? Is Hank’s Place still there? Yep, it’ll be a great day when I’m able to sit in there and not worry about formations or chow. Ah chow; now we’re getting somewhere. That’s something to look forward to—that is if you don’t have a sample of C rations or K rations tucked in your pocket for the next meal.

I imagine Norval and his dad are getting things ready for spring. Did they get their cement stables and stanchions and electric milker? Those modern stables sure do make a difference.

I sure would like to get some news from home, but the mail is so slow. I would like very much to have a fruit cake and cookies. Thank you.

Guess I’d better close for now. I think youins know you can’t send packages overseas unless they are requested.


Service Flag at Carl Miller home for Herbert Miller, WWII.

To Mr. & Mrs. Carl Miller, RR #1 Willshire, Ohio; from Pvt. Herbert Miller (35845400), Co. L, 333rd Infantry, A.P.O. 84, c/o Postmaster, New York, NY. Passed & stamped by censor Robert W. Velard [?]

18 January 1945
Somewhere in Belgium

Hello Mom & All,

I guess I’ll have a little time to write a few lines. I’m writing as often as I can. The weather really is cold and the snow is about knee deep.

The time really does go fast It’s past the middle of January already.

I Helen still hearing from Red? Where is he at now or don’t youins know?

How is the farm coming along? Who is going to do the farming? Johnnie I’ll bet. Johnnie really likes his tractor. You know I’ve decided farming is the best life after all. I think I’ll go back to the farm after I get home.

Guess I’d better close for now. Am feeling fine and hope youins are the same.


US Army, 84th Infantry Division, 333rd Regiment, WWII, Battle of the Bulge.

To Mr. & Mrs. Carl Miller, RR #1 Willshire, Ohio; from Pvt. Herbert Miller (35845400), Co. L, 333rd Infantry, A.P.O. 84, c/o Postmaster, New York, NY. Passed & stamped by censor D.J. Kuhn [?]

31 January 1945
Dear Mom & All,

Here’s another letter and I hope it finds you all well.

I got paid last night, 1895 Francs or $3.75 as I sent $30 to Helen to go on the $75 I owe her. Just like I told her when I borrowed it for the car. If I went to the Army I could send some to her. Maybe I can have it paid off pretty soon, but I ain’t worried about it.

I got a five dollar raise, that a little more to add to my savings.

How is Kenneth Ross? When was I was home on furlough his sister said he was wounded.

They tell me most are back on rations again and lettuce is pretty high in Pairs. Well I sure could go for some fresh fruit. We’ve been getting canned goods and canned meats most of the time. Once in a while we get chicken. That’s when I go around for seconds.

Guess I’d better close for now.


WWII Letters

Undated letter. To Mr. & Mrs. Norval Weitz, RR #1 Rockford, Ohio; from Pvt. Herbert Miller (35845400), Co. L, 333rd Infantry, A.P.O. 84, c/o Postmaster, New York, NY. Passed & stamped by censor Peter [?]

Postmark stamped in red at the bottom of the V-Mail: Berne, Ind, April [?] 1945.

Dear Em & Jack

How are things coming along around Chattanooga and vicinity? I hear Bud Oakley is in 4-8 again. I’ll bet that makes him mad. I can’t tell where I’m at either can I give the date. I think they are military secrets.

I’ve been receiving my mail pretty regular but still no taxes. I sure would like to have some of those home baked cookies and cakes. I get pretty hungry for ice cream and malted milks but will have to wait till I get back to the states to get anything like that.

I received the copy of the song “What A Friend We Have in Jesus:” yesterday. Thanks a lot for sending a lot of songs like that one. I’ve tried to sing but couldn’t remember all the words

Today for dinner we had baked beans, rice and meat balls, pears, bread and jam and coffee. This morning we had French toast and syrup cereal, and coffee.

I wrote mom and dad yesterday and decided to write youins today. I’m hurting pretty bad for stationery or I could write more often. Guess I’d better close for now.


P.S. Please send me a box of home baked cookies, hard candy or peanuts, and stationery. Thank you.

My dad sure appreciated and looked forward to the home-baked goods. That had to be a real treat. He also appreciated having the hymns to sing. Lutherans love to sing! He also was looking forward to returning home to the farm after the war, when his life would return to normal. You have to have hope.

Jan 09

Tombstone Tuesday–Caroll Hoehamer

Caroll Hoehamer, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Caroll Hoehamer, located in row 8 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Dec. 6, 1935

Caroll Joan Hoehamer was the infant daughter of William Andreas Hoehamer Jr (1909-1978) and his wife Alice Luella (Deitsch) Hoehamer (1908-1997).

Zion Chatt’s baptism records indicate that Caroll was born on 5 December 1935. Their death and burial records report that she was born on the 6th. That same death record indicates that she died of a navel hemorrhage on 6 December 1935, when she was only 3 hours old.

Caroll was baptized by Zion Chatt’s Rev. Carl Yahl on the 6th with Mrs. John Deitsch serving as her sponsor.

Caroll was survived by her parents, a brother, a sister, 4 grandparents, and a great-grandmother. Her two siblings were Kermit William Hoehamer and Ann Christine Hoehamer. Her paternal grandparents were William and Maggie (Kallenberger) Hoehamer and her maternal grandparents were John J. and Christine (Bollenbacher) Deitsch

Her parents were originally from the Chatt area but were married in Summit County, Ohio, on 14 January 1930, where they were living at the time. They were married by George Wagner, a Lutheran minister there. William made tires for a living. [1] By 1935 William and Alice had moved to back to Mercer County and lived in Blackcreek Township, where William farmed. [2]

Both William and Alice are buried in Resthaven Memorial Gardens, St. Marys, Auglaize County, Ohio.

[1] Summit County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1840-1980, Vol 60, p.25, William Hoehaner & Alice Deitsch, 14 Jan 1930; Ancestry.com.

[2] 1940 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 54-1, p.3A, line 37, Willialm J Hockammer; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

Jan 05

Dear Mom & All–WWII Letters from Herb (part 12)

Seventy-four years ago Belgium and the surrounding countries experienced one of the worst winters they ever had.

Seventy-four years ago my dad, Herbert Miller, was there, somewhere in Belgium, in the frigid cold and in the deep snow, fighting with the Railsplitters in the Battle of the Bulge.

My dad told me that he did not see the inside of a building for nearly a month during that time. Their clothing was not adequate for the bitter cold those soldiers experienced. He had the standard Army issue winter clothes: a wool uniform, sweater, and 2 pairs of socks, but it was not enough clothing for temperatures that ranged from 0 to minus 10-15 degrees and the knee-deep blowing snow. He said it was so cold they had to put their wet socks under their arms to keep them from freezing. And to make matters even worse, my dad had laryngitis and could not talk for several weeks during January of 1945.

His basic training at Fort McClellan could not have prepared him for these weather conditions, although it seems he was prepared for combat.

PFC Herb Miller, “The Railsplitters.”

He had just finished nine weeks of basic training at Fort McClellan’s IRTC (Infantry Replacement Training Center). Fort McClellan became an IRTC in 1943 and the training included situations that corresponded to European combat. Situations that included training under live artillery fire and crouching in foxholes with tanks moving overhead, [1] training just as my dad wrote about in his letters home.

My dad was trained to be a replacement troop. Replacement troops were sent to units individually to replace soldiers who had been killed or wounded. The replacements were not seasoned soldiers like those who had entered the war earlier with their unit and who had been fighting for some time. As a result, there was a high casualty rate among the replacement soldiers. The seasoned soldiers often hesitated to make friends with the replacements right away because they were replacing their fallen buddies and because of that high casualty rate. It was hard to make friends with the newcomer when he was likely to be killed soon. It was probably a very rough time for my dad, considering the fighting, the comradery, and the weather.

After his basic training my dad was home on furlough for about three weeks in November 1944. At the end of the November his sister Em and her husband took my dad to Lima where he boarded a train for the east coast. He was in Fort George Mead, Maryland, on 29 November.

Herb Miller home on furlough, with his siblings, November 1944.

My dad told me he spent three days at Camp Miles Standish, Massachusetts, before leaving for England. He crossed the Atlantic on the USS Wakefield and docked in England. He crossed England by train, crossed the English Channel on an English boat, and landed at Le Havre, France, on 15 December 1944, just one day before the Battle of the Bulge would begin. He went to the Replacement Depot in France, close to Belgium, and was put into the 84th Division, 333rd Company, Infantry, on 23 December 1944.

My dad’s family saved the letters he wrote home to then and his sister Em saved the letters he wrote to her and her husband “Jack.” I continue with those letters in chronological order.

This first letter must have been shortly after he arrived in England:

Postmarked A.P.O. U.S. Army Postal Service, 31 [?] Dec 1944; return address Herbert Miller (35845400), Co. G, 3rd Platoon, P.P.O. 15665 c/o Postmaster, New York, N.Y; To Mr. Mrs. Carl Miller, R.R.#1, Willshire, Ohio. (Passed by U.S. Army Examiner 37373, censored by James W. Little)

22 Dec 1944
Somewhere in England
Dear Mom & All,

I finally found enough time to write a couple of lines. It’s really been a long time since I have received any mail. I’m feeling fine. I bought some cigarettes ahead and haven’t had any trouble getting any as yet.

It isn’t so very long until Christmas. It will be an awful funny Christmas. I never spent any away from home before.

How are Vernie and the rest getting along in school? Is dad still working at the Central Soya Co? I talked to Joe (the Mexican who used to work for Stucky) the other day. I never expected to see him.

Can’t think of any more to write so I guess I’d better close.


By the end of December my dad had been assigned to the 333rd, the Railsplitters, and was about to fight in Belgium.

Railsplitter Emblem.

Postmarked U.S. Army Postal Service, 2 Jan 1945; return address Herbert Miller (35845400), Co. L, 333rd Infantry, A.P.O. 84, c/o Postmaster, New York, N.Y; To Mr. Mrs. Carl Miller, R.R.#1, Willshire, Ohio. (Passed by U.S. Army Examiner 38658)

31 Dec 1944
Somewhere in Belgium
Dear Mom & All,

Well here it is the last day of the year. I was going to church this morning but it was called off until tomorrow morning.

I’m sending home some French money. It’s a 5 francs piece and is worth about 10 cents in our money. I ran across some Ohio boys in the outfit I’m in. Van Wert, Mansfield, Findlay, and some other places. There are a lot of them from Ohio.

The Army issues us all the cigarettes we want They pass out cigarettes and nobody is left out.

We don’t see any candy at all, only what we get in our ration cases and that is only a couple of pieces.

Am feeling fine and hope youins are the same.


P.S. I would like to have some home baked cookies and candy.

Service Flag at Carl Miller home for Herbert Miller, WWII.

There was no envelope with the next two letters, which were sent together:

31 Dec 1944
Somewhere in Belgium
Dear Em & Jack,

I finally got around to writing that letter to Mr. Purdy. I’m enclosing it. I want you to recopy it and put any corrections in it. I didn’t know whether or not it is called the News week or the News Letter.

I visited a little bit of Germany a while back. I sure have gotten around, haven’t I?

I can’t think of very much to write. What I do know I can’t tell you.

I would like to have some home baked cookies and cakes and also candy and peanuts.

Guess I’d better close.


31 Dec 1944
Somewhere in Belgium
Dear. Mr. Purdy,

I was wanting to write to you sooner but this is the first chance I have had to write.

I received the Rockford News Letter while I was down at Ft. McClellan, Alabama, and enjoyed it very much. So I thought I would write and say hello to the people at home and give you my address, so that I may continue to receive the newsletter.

Pvt. Herbert Miller

As you can see, they could not write anything critical about what was happening in battle, where they were at, or what they were doing. Letters were read and censored and passed by an examiner. That is understandable. There was a lot was at stake.

To be continued next week.


[1] Fort McClellan, Wikipedia.org,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_McClellan

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