Feb 27

My First and Second Grades at Willshire Public School

This is Willshire Public School, the school I attended my first eight years.

Willshire Public School 1917

Willshire Public School, Willshire, Van Wert County, Ohio.

Last week someone on Facebook posted an old photo of my second grade class. Mrs. Marcella Schroeder was our teacher during that 1959-60 school year. The photo, shown below, shows our whole class sitting at our desks in our classroom. Of course the photo brought back many memories.

Second grade class, 1959-1960, Willshire Public School, Mrs. Marcella Schroeder, teacher.

Second grade class, 1959-1960, Willshire Public School, Mrs. Marcella Schroeder, teacher.

I have another photo just like it, of our first grade class, taught by Mrs. Opal Clouse. That was the 1958-59 school year. These class photos are nice and I wish I had some more from the other grades. [The names of the students are at the end of this post.]

We did not have a kindergarten class at Willshire. Instead we were put right in to the first grade. There were two first grades at Willshire at that time and Mrs. Fisher taught the other class. There was only one second grade so both first grades were combined for our second year.

First grade, 1958-59, Willshire Public School, Mrs. Opal Clouse, teacher.

First grade, 1958-59, Willshire Public School, Mrs. Opal Clouse, teacher.

As you can see, there are 19 pupils in my first grade photo and 39 in the second grade photo. Poor Mrs. Schroeder. That was a very large class for one teacher!

Our first grade classroom was across the hall from the second grade room. It wasn’t really a hall, but rather a big open area. The oiled wood floors creaked when you walked over them and large wooden staircases lead to the upper floor where the third and fourth grade classrooms were located. The stair steps bowed in the middle from the many years of student traffic.

Our first grade classroom was toward the front of the building, on the northwest side. There was a narrow cloakroom [aka coatroom] adjacent to our classroom, where we stored our coats, galoshes, and other winter gear. The girls wore dresses to school back then and in the winter we wore slacks under them to keep our legs warm. The slacks were often made of corduroy and we usually did not wear them when we were in class. I see that Sue Wolfe was wearing her plaid slacks in our second grade photo.

The photos reminded me that we tied our tennis shoes together and hung them from our desks. Nobody wore tennis shoes to school back then but we had to wear them on the gymnasium floor at gym time. We usually wore saddle shoes to school.

We had to crawl under our desk when we had a tornado drill. That was a tight squeeze.

We must have been doing our reading in Mrs. Clouse’s class because we all had our books open to the very same page. There are a number of toys in the photos, but I don’t remember playing with toys at school.

I did well in school but Mrs. Clouse gave me an S- in Attitude a couple times because she thought I talked too much. Imagine that! Me talking too much! Actually she should have known better than to put me in the back of the class, right across from Susie Brandt. Susie and I went to church together and we always had a lot to talk about. It was really hard to keep from talking.

Most of the kids in my first grade class were from Willshire or the area nearby, but a few of us were from the Chatt area. I notice that Mrs. Clouse put the Chatt kids together in the back of the room–Dave Stephenson, Cheryl Gilliland, and Donna Behm are back there with me. The other Chatt kids were in Mrs. Fisher’s class. There are eight Chatt-area students in the second grade photo: Carol Andrews, Nelda Leistner, Carla Hoblet, Cheryl Gilliland, Dave Stephenson, Debbie Carr, Donna Behm, and me. And of course Mrs. Schroeder lived right in downtown Chatt.

These are the only two classroom photos I have and I wish I had more. Maybe they only took them these two years. Someone probably has one from Mrs. Fisher’s first grade, 1958-59.

The old school building at Willshire was torn down in 2006. It would be interesting to walk through it again.

Names of the students in the photos:

First Grade, Willshire School, 1958-59, Mrs. Opal Clouse, teacher:
Row 1: Jim Huffine, Doug Carr, Dayle Hileman
Row 2: Chuck Myers, John Ridenour, Tamara Dellinger, Lana Lautzenheiser, Donna Behm
Row 3: Kenny Baylog, Chuck Painter, Darla Ross, Dave Stephenson, Cheryl Gilliland, Susie Brandt
Row 4: Joyce Webb, Nancy Stetler, Ray Gamble, Colette Geisler, Karen Miller
At the back: Mrs. Opal Clouse

Second Grade, 1959-60, Mrs. Marcella Schroeder, teacher:
Row 1: Karen Miller, Dave Stephenson, Darla Ross, Debbie Carr, Linda Duff, Donna Behm
Row 2: Sue Wolfe, Nancy Stetler, Bill Bates, Cheryl Gilliland, Chuck Painter, Joyce Webb, Gary Hamrick, Joyce Roehm
Row 3: Tamara Dellinger, Kenny Carmean, Sherry Hey, Doug Carr, Paula Clouse, Jim Huffine, Ray Gamble, Lana Lautzenheiser, Kenny Baylog
Row 4: Carol Andrews, Lynn Lough, Nelda Leistner, Chuck Myers, John Ridenour, Dayle Hileman, Jim Stuckey, Helen Boring
At the back of the room: Carla Hoblet, Mrs. Schroeder, Terry Harmon, Colette Geisler
To the left: Gary Moser, Charles Putman, Brent Whitacre, Susie Brandt, Steve Sipe

Feb 24

Tombstone Tuesday–George A. Roehm

George A. Roehm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

George A. Roehm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of George A. Roehm, located in row 7 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Hier ruhet
Georg A. Roehm
Gest. Den 30 Mai 1901
Alter
38 Y. 2 M. 17 T.
ROEHM

Translation: here rests Georg A. Roehm, Died 30 May 1901, age 38 years, 2 months, 17 days.

George Adam Roehm was born in Willshire Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, on 13 March 1862 to Andrew and Friedericka (Guthiel) Roehm, according to Zion Schumm’s records. He was baptized at the church on 14 March 1862, with Mr. & Mrs. Georg Steeger and Mr. & Mrs. G. Adam Kolb as sponsors. [1]

George Roehm’s parents were both born in Germany, his father in Württemberg and his mother in Saxony. His father was a farmer. In 1880 George had four living siblings Catherine, 18; Magdalena, 15, Susanah, 14, and Rosanah, 11. [2]

George married Gertrude Heffner on 21 January 1886 at Zion Lutheran church in Chattanooga. Gertrude was from Chattanooga, the daughter of George and Sophia (Martin) Heffner. George and Gertrude moved to Van Wert County after their marriage and attended Zion Lutheran Church at Schumm.

In 1900 George and Gertrude lived in Willshire Township, where George was a farmer. George and Gertrude had been married 15 years and they had six children, all of them living. George’s parents were also living with them at that time, his father, 86, and his mother 75 years of age. [3]

Things would change drastically for the Roehm family during the next year, when George and two of their children would die. George’s father Andrew would pass away the year after.

According to Zion Schumm’s records, George Roehm died 30 May 1901 of dropsy. He was only 39 years, 2 months, and 17 days old. He was buried on 2 June. His wife Gertrude died in 1933 and has a separate headstone in row 6 of Zion’s Cemetery.

George Adam Roehm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

George Adam Roehm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

George’s tombstone inscription indicates he was 38 years old, which would make his birth year 1863. However, both his church baptismal record and death record state he was born in 1862. I tend to agree with his baptismal record and I believe the tombstone inscription is incorrect. His baptismal record was created shortly after his birth, written in chronological order with the other baptismal records for that year. Additionally, his church death and burial record indicates he was 39 years old.

George and Gertrude had seven children; all were baptized at Zion Schumm:

Elnora “Eleanor” Ann Magdalena (1886-1901)
Selma Sophie (1888-1924), married Fred Althoen
Edwin Andreas (1890-1950), married Alma A. Reidenbach
Carl Georg (1893-1959), married Grace E. Rice
Estella Julia Sophie (1896-1988), married William Chase Winters; married Clarence T. Sears
Marie Friedricke (1899-1901)
Edna Pauline (1901-1991), married Thomas B. Alspaugh

 

[1] Some show his middle name as Andrew, but he was baptized as George Adam, according to Zion Schumm’s records. All other records show his name as George or George A. His baptismal record is the only record I have seen that gives his middle name as Adam.

[2] 1880 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert County, Ohio, ED 154, p.449B, family 120, Andrew Roehm; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 February 2015); from FHL microfilm 1255074, from NARA microfilm T9, roll 1074.

[3] 1900 U.S. Census, Willshire Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, ED 97, p.9A, dwelling 177, family 190, George Roehns; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 February 2015); from FHL microfilm 1241329, from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1329. Note: Their surname is indexed as “Roehns” on Ancestry.com.

Feb 20

Organizing My Book List with Book Catalogue App

Books. I like books and I have quite a few. I enjoy reading non-fiction as well as fiction and I have a number of reference and how-to genealogy books.

A portion of the author's books.

A portion of the author’s books.

I recently saw a Barnes and Noble quiz on Facebook, “What’s Your Book Nerd Score?” Here are just a few items from that list that apply to me:

  • I currently own more than 100 books.
  • I own hard-copy books as well as books on an e-reader.
  • I have read more than one book at a time.
  • I leave the house with my purse, phone, keys, and my e-reader.
  • I have pulled an all-nighter reading a book.
  • I can read while working out.
  • I am a stickler for spelling and grammar, even when texting.
  • I love the smell of books.
  • I have binge-read an author’s entire series in just a few days.

Yes, I passed the Book Nerd Test.

It is difficult to keep track of my books and I hate to admit it, but I have been known to purchase duplicates of the same book. More than once.

That is bad enough, but I have even read several chapters of a book before I remembered that I had already read it!

I needed a way to catalog my books.

Several years ago I tried entering my book list in a database which I printed and took with me to conferences. That did not work very well. It was time consuming, difficult to keep up to date, and unhandy to search for books.

I tried LibraryThing, a very good “book cataloging and social networking website for book lovers.” But entering my books still took time and I wanted access my book list on the go, from my phone and tablet.

Then I heard about the Book Catalogue app for Android phones and tablets. It is free, but donations are accepted.

Book Catalogue app on my Android phone.

Book Catalogue app on my Android phone.

I downloaded the app from the Google Play Store and it does just what I want—it enables me to have a list of my books on my phone, my tablet, and my PC. What I like most is how quick and easy it is to enter a book. Even fun!

There are four ways to enter a book into Book Catalogue: scan the barcode/ISBN; enter ISBN; search the Internet; or add a book manually.

Ways to add a book with Book Catalogue.

Ways to add a book with Book Catalogue.

Scanning the book’s barcode is the absolute fastest and easiest way to enter a book. The app uses my phone’s barcode scanner. I just hold my phone over the book’s barcode and within a few seconds I have all sorts of information about the book and a thumbnail photo of its cover.

Book Catalogue searches Amazon, Good Reads, LibraryThing, and Google Books for book information. It syncs with LibraryThing to provide the thumbnails. I already use LibraryThing so Book Catalogue prompted me to get a developer key from LibraryThing in order to get the thumbnails.

Book list with thumbnail covers on Book Catalogue.

Book list with thumbnail covers on Book Catalogue.

Book Catalogue gathers and lists the following information about a book: title, author, cover picture, ISBN number, number of pages, publishing company, year published, book description (some of which may be quite lengthy), price, genre, and more.

A book's information with thumbnail. Book Catalogue.

A book’s information with thumbnail. Book Catalogue.

Book description, scrolled down from above photo. Book Catalogue.

Book description, scrolled down from above photo. Book Catalogue.

It is still easy to catalog a book even if it does not have a barcode. The app does this by searching the Internet. You can enter the author’s name with a portion of the title or simply the book’s title.

I have found nearly every book on my bookshelves using either of these two methods.

You can view your books a number of ways: alphabetically, by author, with or without thumbnails, read and unread, by bookshelves, and more. You can create your own Bookshelves and organize your books by subject matter. Books can be on multiple shelves.

Compact book list, arranged by author, Book Catalogue.

Compact book list, arranged by author, Book Catalogue.

Some other features:

  • Sort by author (last name), title, series, etc.
  • Search capability
  • Export and Backup
  • User-defined sort and list styles
  • Create a wish list
  • Write your own notes about a book
  • Indicate to whom and when you loaned a book

For backup and export, Book Catalogue saves your book list as a csv file. I sent my export.csv file as a G-mail attachment to my PC and my Android tablet. My book list can be viewed and printed as a spreadsheet on my PC. I also back up my csv file in Dropbox.

Book list as csv spreadsheet, as seen on PC, Book Catalogue.

Book list as csv spreadsheet, as seen on PC, Book Catalogue.

I could scan and enter books on my tablet, too, but since I am working with only one file I enter information on just one device [my phone] and update the other device [my tablet] with the export.csv file. First I downloaded the Book Catalogue app onto my tablet and then downloaded the export.csv file. Next I imported that csv file into my tablet’s Book Catalogue app. I got the thumbnails from “Automatically Update Fields,” under the app’s Administration and Preferences.

Administrations and Preferences, Book Catalogue.

Administrations and Preferences, Book Catalogue.

This app is fairly easy to use because helpful tips pop up often and most tasks are self-explanatory.

One thing I would like to see Book Catalogue develop is cloud storage. Although I can share my book list between my devices by importing and exporting the csv file, syncing automatically between devices would be very nice.

I think will go now and scan in some more books….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 17

Tombstone Tuesday–Gertrude (Heffner) Roehm

Gertrude (Heffner) Roehm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

Gertrude (Heffner) Roehm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Gertrude (Heffner) Roehm, located in row 6 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

GERTRUDE WIFE OF
GEO ROEHM
1865-1933

Gertrude Heffner was born 9 June 1865 in Blackcreek Township, near Chattanooga, to George and Sophia (Martin) Heffner. She was baptized at Zion Chatt on 25 June 1865 with Leonhard Beyer and Gertrude Heffner as her sponsors.

Gertrude was probably confirmed at Zion Chatt about 1879, but there is a lapse in the confirmation records between 1877-1882. I cannot imagine that no one was confirmed during those four years, so the names probably did not get written down. There also seems to be a gap in the pastors during that time period. Zion may not have had a permanent pastor then, or one who did not keep up with the church records.

Gertrude grew up west of Chatt and met and married George Adam Roehm, who was from the Willshire area. They were married 21 January 1886 at Zion Chatt by Rev. Karl Adam, Jr.

George Roehm was born 13 March 1862 in Van Wert County near Willshire, the son of Andrew and Friederike (Gutheil) Roehm. After they married they lived in Willshire Township, where George farmed.

They were married only 16 years when George died on 30 May 1901 of dropsy. He was 39 years, 2 months, and 17 days old and was buried in Zion Schumm’s cemetery on 2 June. [1]

Gertrude died at her daughter Edna’s home in Cuyahoga Falls on 6 May 1933. Gertrude’s death was not recorded in Zion Schumm’s records. Her obituary:

Mrs. Gertrude Roehm, many years a resident of Willshire township, died Saturday evening following a lingering illness at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Thomas Alspach, of Cuyahoga Falls. Mrs. Roehm was aged 67 years and is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Alspach and Mrs. Stella Sears, of Cuyahoga Falls, two sons, Edward Roehm, of Convoy and Carl Roehm, of Ohio City, and two brothers, Philip Heffner, of Monroe, and Conrad Heffner, of Rockford. The funeral will be held Tuesday afternoon, at 2:30 o’clock, at the Lutheran Church at Schumm. Interment will be made at the Schumm cemetery. [2]

George and Gertrude had seven children; all were baptized at Zion Schumm:

Elnora “Eleanor” Ann Magdalena (1886-1901)
Selma Sophie (1888-1924), married Fred Althoen
Edwin Andreas (1890-1950), married Alma A. Reidenbach
Carl Georg (1893-1959), married Grace E. Rice
Estella Julia Sophie (1896-1988), married William Chase Winters; married Clarence T. Sears
Marie Friedricke (1899-1901)
Edna Pauline (1901-1991), married Thomas B. Alspaugh

1901 must have been very difficult for Gertrude. She was pregnant and the baby was due in July. Her husband, who was only 39 years old, died in May. Gertrude gave birth to their daughter Edna on 10 July. Two of their other daughters died later that year, Marie in August and Eleanor in October. A very tragic year for the Roehm family.

 

[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Willshire Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, ED 97, p.9A, dwelling 177, family 190, George Roehm; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 February 2015); from FHL microfilm 1241329, from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1329.
[2] “Deaths and Funerals,” Van Wert Daily Bulletin, Van Wert, Ohio, 8 May 1933, p. 6; digital images by subscription Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 Feb 2015).

Feb 13

J.D. Gackenheimer–Zion Chatt’s First Minister

This week’s Tombstone Tuesday mentioned that George Heffner and Sophia Martin were married by Rev. J.D. Gackenheimer in 1851. Rev. Gackenheimer was a pioneer minister in this area and he was the first minister at Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga.

Rev. Gackenheimer performed the Heffner/Martin marriage four years before Zion Chatt was formed in 1855 and their marriage was recorded at St. Paul Lutheran, Liberty Township, aka St. Paul Liberty.

Rev. J.D. Gackenheimer, first minister at Zion Lutheran, Chatt.

Rev. J.D. Gackenheimer, first minister at Zion Lutheran, Chatt.

Rev. J.D. Gackenheimer was a traveling minister. Some call him a traveling missionary. Several times a year he traveled on horseback from Van Wert County to the Chatt area and ministered to the congregation at St. Paul Liberty. St. Paul was organized in 1841 and is located about 2 ½ miles southeast of Chatt, on Wabash Road.

Zion Chatt was established in 1855 as an outgrowth of St. Paul Liberty and Rev. Gackenheimer, the traveling minister, took on another congregation to become Zion’s first pastor. In fact he served both St. Paul Liberty and Zion Chatt at the same time, as well as two churches in Van Wert County. When he was in the area he would preach, perform marriages, baptize, and give communion to the adults.

Church members worshipped in homes, or barns, or schools during that time because neither congregation had a church building. Zion’s first church was constructed in 1860.

The first recorded events at Zion Chatt were recorded in German script by Rev. Gackenheimer: the baptism of Johann Haffner, born 22 October 1854, baptized 18 November 1854; the marriage of Johann Becher to Anna Maria Becker, 22 January 1855; the death of Jakob Bollenbacher on 30 July 1856, son of Adam and Elisabeth Bollenbacher. Rev. Gackenheimer also likely officiated at Zion’s first recorded communion in 1861, when 43 members received Holy Communion that day.

Johann David “J.D.” Gackenheimer was born 25 April 1820 in Güttlingen, Württemberg, to Johann David Sr. and his wife Elisabeth Catharina Maier.

He was educated at Basel Mission House in Switzerland from 1840-46. He was ordained and then sent to minister to the German immigrants in America. His first congregation was in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, late in 1846.

While in Pennsylvania, Rev. Gackenheimer married Elisabeth Kramer/Cramer in about 1850, probably in the Bridgewater area. Elisabeth was born about 1831 in Württemberg.

Soon after, in 1850, the Gackenheimers moved to Van Wert County, where German immigrants wanted to have their own church with services in their native language. J.D. first established a German Evangelical church, now known as St. Paul’s Reformed Church in America. The church is located in Harrison Township, north of Schumm, on German Church Road. Rev. Gackenheimer was their minister from 1850-1874.

St. Paul's Reformed Church in America, Harrison Twp., Van Wert Co., founded as a German Evangelical church in 1850 by Rev. J.D. Gackenheimer.

St. Paul’s Reformed Church in America, Harrison Twp., Van Wert Co., founded as a German Evangelical church in 1850 by Rev. J.D. Gackenheimer. (2013 photo by Karen)

It was during this time that Rev. Gackenheimer would ride on horseback to the Chattanooga area.

During the nearly 25 years Rev. Gackenheimer lived in the Van Wert area he established and served at several churches.

In Van Wert County he established St. Paul’s Reformed Church in America, Harrison Township, in 1850 and served there until 1874; he established St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Van Wert city in 1868.

In Mercer County he served at St. Paul Liberty from 1850-1861; he served at Zion Lutheran Chattanooga, 1855-1861 and likely had a part in its establishment.

Rev. Gackenheimer was a farmer as well as a traveling minister. He owned about 40 acres of land in Section 2 of Willshire Township, north of Schumm. His farm was very close to the Harrison-Willshire Township line.

The Gackenheimers had seven children and three of their sons died young. Those three sons are buried in the Evangelical Protestant Cemetery in Harrison Township,located by the church J.D. founded.

Rev. Gackenheimer and Elizabeth had the following children:
John G (1851-1851)
Maria C “Mary” (1853-1929)
John David (1854-1854)
Louis F (1856-1893), married Emma Brodnix
Joseph U (1858-1858)
Martin Ulrich (1861-1932), married Byranna Summersett
Emanuel (1863-1940), married Emma P. Schmidt

Rev. Gackenheimer and his family left the Van Wert area about 1875 to serve an Evangelical congregation in Hayesville, Ohio. He retired from the ministry at St. John’s, Warren Township, Huntington County, Indiana.

J.D. Gackenheimer died 29 November 1882 in Bippus, Huntington County, Indiana, at the age of 62. He was buried in Woodland Union Cemetery in Van Wert County, Ohio. Taking part in the funeral were Pastors A. Debus from Urbana, G. Hess from Columbia City, H. Dippel from Huntington, and W.A. Walter from Andrews.

His wife Elizabeth died 29 October 1887 and is buried near her husband in Woodland Union Cemetery.

Zion Chatt is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year and I plan to write about Zion’s history and some of its pastors and charter members during the year.

 

Sources of information:

Johann D. Gackenheimer obituary, Friedensbote, (Messenger of Peace), 1 Jan 1883, p.4. Note: Via e-mail from Lowell Zuck, Eden Seminary Archives, archives of the Evangelical Synod of North America, September 2005. The obituary was translated from German for me.

The Van Wert county Chapter OGS, “Index for 1872 Map of Van Wert County,” (Privately printed, 1992), p. 39, 40, 42.
Hon. S.S. Scranton, editor and compiler, History of Mercer County, Ohio and Representative Citizens, (Chicago, Illinois : Biographical Publishing Co, 1907), p. 155.

Thaddeus S. Gilliland, editor and compiler, History of Van Wert County, Ohio and Representative Citizens, (Chicago, Illinois : Richmond & Arnold Publishing, 1906), p.178.

“Anniversary Observance,” Van Wert Times Bulletin, Van Wert, Ohio, 12 October 1968, p.8.

“Church to Mark Its Centennial Celebration Set in Van Wert County,” The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, 4 May 1953, p. 9C.

1860 U.S. Census, Harrison, Van Wert County, Ohio, p.165, line 27, John Gackenheimer; digital image by subscription Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 February 2015) from FHL microfilm 805045, from NARA microfilm M653, roll 1045.

Schneider Family Tree, Ancestry.com, (www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 February 2015).

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