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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.

1 comment

  1. Linda Duff

    Karen, I always enjoy your posts. My dad & I are curious about the Phillipena Phoebe Gehn who married William C Becker (Baker). Do you know anything about her? As far as we know, the only original Gehm family coming from Germany was my dad’s widowed great grandfather & his son. They lived in the farmhouse on the corner of Tama & Wabash Rds. Both are buried in the cemetery on Wabash Rd. I can’t remember the name of the church but there are lots of Gehms residing there! Including my mom & grandparents, Icy & John Gehm. Grandpa Gehm (John) came from a large family but the name Phillipena is a mystery. However, the widowed great grandfather was Philip Gehm. Thanks! Linda

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