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May 01

Roads Are Beautiful at Chattanooga, Ohio

It happens less often than once in a blue moon but a Chattanooga, Ohio, postcard was up for bid on Ebay last weekend. It must have been my lucky day because it was a Buy Now item and I was able to purchase it immediately.

I could tell right away that the picture on the postcard was not an actual photo of Chatt. You can see and judge for yourself. Chatt and the surrounding area are beautiful, but flat. No rolling hills or mountains off in the distance in any direction. The area is just flat farmland.

Chattanooga, Ohio, postcard postmarked 1914

Chattanooga, Ohio, postcard postmarked 1914

But the postcard did have Chattanooga, Ohio, printed on it and Chatt postcards seem to be very hard to come by.

Besides, I was more interested in reading the writing on the back.

I was not disappointed.

This 1914 postcard may have been postmarked at Chatt, where there once was a post office, located in Egger’s store that stood just south of the Chatt Bar. We will never know because the postmaster nearly missed stamping the postcard, leaving just half a postmark. The only portion of the postmark visible is an O or a D, half of the number 27, Ohio, and the time and date–7 PM 1914. Thank goodness the postcard writer wrote the complete date with her message.

Her message was rather informative, not just the usual How are you? We are fine. Come visit us soon. Instead, she wrote about the bad winter weather and mentioned the funeral of a neighbor lady.

Right away I had to know—who wrote the postcard? Was she from Chatt? Who was the recipient? Who was the deceased person whose funeral had to be postponed because of bad weather?

Of course the writer may not have been from Chatt at all. Who knows where she might have obtained this postcard. Trying to identify  the women could turn out to be a wild goose chase.

But I had to know. So I started my search with the clues I had.

The postcard was addressed to Miss Thresa Manges, RFD, Warsaw, Indiana. The message to Thresa:

Feb 27, 1914
Dear Cousin,

How are you all? We are as well as usual. Did you have any snow out there this week? We surely did out here. The mail carriers could not go for two days and our neighbor lady died and they had to postpone the funeral for a day. They used the snow plows on the roads and then they could hardly get through with a buggy. Must close. Hoping you will come out as soon as school is out.

Write soon.
Bertha L.

Chattanooga, Ohio, postcard postmarked 1914, from Bertha to her cousin Theresa.

Chattanooga, Ohio, postcard postmarked 1914, from Bertha to her cousin Theresa.

It did not take long to learn that Theresa Grace Manges was the daughter of David and Margaret (Leininger) Manges. Theresa was born 22 May 1897 in Bourbon, Indiana. She married Lemuel Miles Cleveland on 24 March 1919 at Etna Green, Kosciusko County, Indiana. [1]

From that marriage record I learned that Theresa’s mother was a Leininger. That is most definitely a Chatt name. The postcard was from her cousin Bertha L. Possibly Bertha Leininger?

Who was Bertha? Where did Bertha live? Who were her neighbors?

Next I wanted to learn a little more about Theresa’s mother, Margaret (Leininger) Manges, to see if I could find a relationship between Margaret and Bertha. Since Bertha was Theresa’s cousin, a parent of each may have been siblings. Or not.

Margaret E. Leininger married David Manges on 21 November 1896 in Kosciusko County, Indiana, married by Wm T. Townsend, JP. Margaret’s father gave his consent so his name was on the marriage record: “J.G. Leininger, father of the girl.” [2]

Then I searched for Bertha Lininger in Mercer County in the 1900 census. Bingo! Bertha C. Leininger, daughter of Theobald and Caroline F. Leininger, lived on a farm in Blackcreek Township with her parents and three brothers. In the household: Theobald, 38; Caroline F, 37; Henry L, 13; Edwin A, 8; Bertha C, 5; and Samuel J, 2. Bertha was born in about 1895 so she would have been nearly the same age as her cousin Theresa. [3]

Theobald Lininger and his family lived on Strable Road, east of route 49, in Section 32. They lived on the south edge of Blackcreek Township, on the Blackcreek/Liberty Township line, and they lived very close to Chatt.

But how were Bertha and Theresa related? And who was the neighbor lady that had recently died?

To make a long story short, once I got that far I checked Find a Grave was able to fit the pieces together and figure out the relationship between the two cousins.

The writer of the postcard was very likely Bertha Leininger, daughter of Theobald L. & Carolyn (Kable) Leininger. [4] Bertha eventually married LeRoy Pifer and they had children Beatrice, Ruby, Glenda, Donna Ruth, and Gerald LeRoy. I knew and remember some of these people.

It turns out that Bertha and Theresa were actually second cousins and their common ancestor was John Leininger (1801-1868). Bertha descended from John’s son Jacob L. and Theresa descended from John George, another of John’s sons.

Bertha’s line: John Leininger was the father of Jacob L. Jacob L. was the father of Theobald L. and Theobald L. was the father of our subject, Bertha C. [5]

Theresa’s line: John Leininger was the father of John George. John George was the father of Margaret and Margaret was the mother of Theresa. [5]

I wondered if and how Theodore “Teddy” Leininger (1895-1992) fit in with this family. I learned that Teddy’s father was John Jacob Leininger, who was a brother to Theobald L, the father of Bertha. So Teddy and Bertha were first cousins.

But, who was the woman who died, whose funeral had to be postponed because of heavy snow?

I discovered two women from the Chatt area had died about the time the postcard was written. One was buried four days after her death and a few days before the postcard was written.

Emma Landfair died at 8:45 a.m. on 21 February 1914 and was buried in Kessler Cemetery on the 25th, buried a day later than the customary three days. She was the daughter of Henry and Mary (Duer) Kuhn. [6]

The other woman was Carolyn Baker, who died 21 January 1914 and was buried in the UCC cemetery on the 24th. [7]

Which woman was Bertha talking about? Both women lived about a mile from the Leiningers. In 1910 Carolyn Baker was living with her son Charles W. Baker in Section 30, on northwest corner of routes 49 and 707. [8] Emma Landfair lived in Section 29, about a half mile east of route 49 on route 707.

According to 1914 weather reports January’s weather was mild with some precipitation in the northern counties, while February’s weather was very cold with a lot of snow. Most Ohio counties received unusually heavy snowfall after the first week of February and there was a particularly bad snowstorm on 22-23 February. Most of Ohio received at least 6-10 inches, with drifts from 6-8 feet. The ground on all parts of the state was covered with snow from the 13th until the end of the month of February. [9]

Plus, Bertha asked her cousin if she “had any snow out there this week,” which would seem to indicate she was talking about a snowstorm that very week, in February.

My guess would be that Bertha was talking about Emma Landfair, but of course it may even have been someone else she was referring to.

I learned a lot from these few sentences on this old postcard.

Note: Images of all 36 Section maps from the 1910 Decennial Appraisement of Blackcreek Township are now on this website, on the home page, under the Mercer County Maps header, in the Blackcreek Township drop-down.

 

[1] “Indiana, Marriages, 1811-1959,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 30 April 2015), Lemuel Miles Cleveland and Theresa Grace Manges, 24 March 1919; citing Etna Green, Kosciusko, Indiana, county clerk offices, Vol. Y (1917-1919), p.5465; from FHL microfilm 1311140.

[2] “Indiana, Marriages, 1811-1959,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 30 April 2015), David Mangis and Margaret E Leininger, 21 Nov 1896; citing Kosciusko, Indiana, county clerk offices, Vol. K (1894-1898), p.363; from FHL microfilm 1311133.

[3] 1900 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer County, Ohio, ED 74, p.15A, dwelling/family 303, line 13, Theowald Leininger; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 April 2015); from FHL microfilm 1241303, from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1303.

[4] “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 30 April 2015), Bertha C. Leininger, 14 Apr 1895; citing Birth, Blackcreek Township, Mercer County, Ohio, Vol. 3, p.117, county courthouses, Ohio; from FHL microfilm 914953.

[5] Find A Grave memorial 27825053, created by Mike Dearbaugh; John Leininger (1801-1868), buried in Zion State Line Cemetery, Padua, Mercer County, Ohio; Find A Grave (www.findagrave.com : accessed 30 April 2015).

[6] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 30 April 2015), Emma Landfair, 21 Feb 1914; citing Liberty, Mercer, Ohio; from FHL microfilm 1953828.

[7] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 30 April 2015), Caroline Bollenbacher Baker, 20 Jan 1914; citing Liberty, Mercer, Ohio; from FHL microfilm 1953825.

[8] 1910 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer County, Ohio, ED 107, p.1B, dwelling/family 14, line, Charles W. Baker; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 April 2015); from FHL microfilm 1375227, from NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[9] J. Warren Smith, Climatological Data: Ohio Section, U.S. Department of Agriculture Weather Bureau, Charles F. Marvin, Columbus, Ohio, Weather Bureau Office, Vol. XIX, February 1914 (Columbus, Ohio : 1914), 3, 11; Google Books (https://books.google.com : accessed 30 April 2015).

 

 

 

4 comments

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  1. Sondra Samples

    Wow! That was an outstanding bunch of detective work. Good work, “Sherlock”. Interesting story about one little post card from Chattanooga OH.

    1. Karen

      Thanks, Sondra. I do enjoy researching and solving a mystery.

  2. Janet Goodwin James

    Very interesting. Wonder if anyone will take time to dig up history in the future like you do!! Great job

    1. Karen

      Thanks! I hope so. And family stories need to be told and saved or they will be lost forever.

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