Sep 29

Nuts to Hickory Nuts

We decided to take advantage of the nice fall weather this past week by taking a drive along the woods. On our little ride we noticed a hickory nut tree loaded with nuts. Some of the nuts had already fallen to the ground.

Shagbark hickory nut tree, 2017.

This must be the one of the better years for hickory nuts. Hickory nuts are on a 3-year cycle—producing a lot of nuts one year, a moderate amount one year, and hardly any nuts the third year.

Hickory nuts are a healthy wild food. I am most familiar with the shagbark hickory but there are actually 17 varieties of hickory trees, 13 that are native to the U.S.

Shagbark hickory nuts.

Many people really like hickory nuts and consider them quite a treat. Farmers often left a lone hickory tree in the middle of a field and farmed around it so they could gather the tasty nuts in the fall. My grandpa Miller left a hickory nut tree in the field south of the house and I remember that my Aunt Ann would make hickory nut cake. My dad liked the hickory nuts, too.

I remember my parents saying that hickory nuts are one of the hardest nuts to shell. The hard inner shell is surrounded by a thicker, woody shell called the husk. The husk is green at first and the nuts fall to the ground in late summer when the husks begin to turn dark brown.

Inside the husk is the hard shell and it is very hard to crack open. Suggestions for cracking the shell include using a vice, a hammer, or covering them with plywood and driving over them. Others suggest soaking them in hot water for an hour so the shell splits open rather than shattering all over.

Hickory nuts.

I remember when grandma Schumm stayed with my parents to recover after her surgery. My mom put grandma to work shelling hickory nuts to pass the time. She called it therapy but it sounds like it was a whole lot of work for poor grandma.

My mom used hickory nuts in several ways–in hickory nut cake, in dessert toppings, and as part of the topping for sweet potato soufflé. I don’t recall that she ever made a hickory nut pie but I have seen recipes for them, too. My mom would freeze her excess shelled hickory nuts.

Me? I try to avoid eating anything that has hickory nuts in it. Although I like the smell of the hickory nut husks I prefer the taste of walnuts and pecans. But most of all I have the unfortunate luck of always finding a little part of the shell when I eat something with hickory nuts. Always! It is just a wonder that I have not broken a tooth on one of those shells.

Here are two hickory nut cake recipes my mom had highlighted in her cookbook:

Hickory Nut Cake:
1 box white or yellow cake mix
4 eggs
¾ cup oil
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding
8 oz (1 cup) 7Up
1 cup hickory nuts
Bake 40 min. at 350 degrees.

½ cup flour
1 cup milk
Cook till thick, like mashed potatoes. Cool.
Beat together and add to above mixture:
½ cup oleo
½ cup Crisco
1 cup sugar
Sprinkle nuts on top.

White Nut Cake:
¾ cup shortening
1 ½ cup sugar
2 ¾ cup cake flour
3 t baking powder
½ t salt
1 cup milk
½ t cream of tartar
1 t vanilla
1 cup hickory nuts, chopped
4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Cream shortening with sugar. Sift dry ingredients; add alternately with milk to first mixture. Beat thoroughly; add vanilla and nuts. Carefully fold in egg whites. Pour into greased 9” layer pans and bake 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

Just be careful. Be very, very careful when you eat those hickory nuts. There may be some shell parts lurking inside.

Sep 26

Tombstone Tuesday–Dora C. (Bollenbacher) Anspaugh

Dora C. (Bollenbacher) Anspaugh, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2017 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Dora C. (Bollenbacher) Anspaugh, located in row 9 of Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Wife of
Died May 17, 1902
Aged 20 Y. 10 M. 10 D.

Dearest Dora we must lay thee
In the peaceful grave’s embrace
But thy memory will be cherished
Till we see thy heavenly face

Dora Catharine Bollenbacher was born 7 July 1881 in Adams County, Indiana, the daughter of Jacob and Margaret (Huffman) Bollenbacher. [1]

I could not find much information about Dora. She was born a year after the 1880 census was taken and died two years after the 1900 census was taken. She died young and she was not mentioned in Zion Chatt’s records.

In 1900 Dora (Bollenbacher) lived with her parents and four of her siblings in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana. In the household: Jacob, 51; Margaret, 44; August William, 21; Dora C, 18; Jesse Charles, 16; Abraham, 16; and Rosa C, 13. [2]

Dora Bollenbather married James L. Anspaugh within the next two years, but I could not find their marriage record on-line.

James and Dora had a child, a son, Wilbert T. Anspaugh, born in Indiana on 14 May 1902, born three days before Dora’s death. [3]

Dora (Bollenbacher) Anspaugh died 17 May 1902 in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana. She died of acute miliary tuberculosis, which she had for 3 months. She was only 20 years, 10 months, and 10 days old. Her death certificate indicates that she was married. Dora was buried on the 19th with C.C. Clark of Geneva in charge of the funeral arrangements. Charles Bollenbacher of Chatt was the informant for the information on her death certificate. [1] This was likely her brother Charles.

Dora C. (Bollenbacher) Anspaugh, Kessler Cemetery. (2017 photo by Karen)

I do not know what happened to Dora’s husband James L. Anspaugh after her death, but it appears that Dora’s parents Jacob and Margaret (Huffman) Bollenbacher raised Dora’s son (and their grandson) Wilbert T. Anspaugh. Wilbert lived with Jacob and Margaret in 1910 and 1920, enumerated as their grandson in both censuses. [4] [5]  

Dora (Bollenbacher) Anspaugh and her husband James L. had one child:
Wilbert T (1902-1986), married Marie I Overholt


[1] Indiana, Death Certificates, Year 1902, roll 1, Dora C Anspaugh 17 May 1902; digital image,; Indiana Death Certificates, 1899-2011, Indiana State Board of Health, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis.

[2] 1900 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.6A, dwelling 104, household 104, Jacob Bullenbacher;; FHL microfilm 1240357, NARA microfilm T623, roll 357.

[3] Indiana, Death Certificates, Year 1986, roll 12, Wilbert T Anspaugh, 30 Aug 1986; digital image,; Indiana Death Certificate, 1899-2011, Indiana State Board of Health, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis.

[4] 1910 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.2A, dwelling & family 29, Jacob Bollenbacher;; FHL microfilm 1374351, NARA microfilm T624, roll 338.

[5] 1920 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.6B, dwelling 119, family 129, Jacob Bollenbacher;; NARA microfilm T625, roll 420.

Sep 22

Old Advertising Items from Willshire Grain & Supply

Last week I wrote about Willshire Grain & Supply, where my mom worked as their bookkeeper for 33 years. The three local grain elevators were owned by Tom Burk and were located in Willshire, Schumm, and Wren, Ohio.

Willshire Grain & Supply at Willshire, Ohio, 1948.

As was the practice of many businesses, Willshire Grain & Supply gave away advertising items, especially at Christmastime.

I still have a few of these give-aways from the 1960-70s. I remember seeing them years ago and my mom had saved them all those years. We found them again when we cleaned out her house. Here are a few of them from Willshire Grain & Supply:

Various advertising items from Willshire Grain & Supply, 1960s-1970s

A metal rain gauge:

“Rain or Shine
We are here to serve you
Willshire Grain & Supply
Grain, Seeds
Fertilizer, Feed, Coal
Willshire, Wren, Schumm, Ohio”

Rain gauge from Willshire Grain & Supply.

A small tape measure:

A small tape measure from Willshire Grain & Supply.

A trivet that could be hung in your kitchen:

A trivet from Willshire Grain & Supply.

Another ceramic trivet, although this one does not specifically advertise Willshire Grain & Supply:

Pens, pencils, and pocket knives that advertise Master Mix feed in addition to Willshire Grain & Supply:

Pens, pencils, and pocket knives from Willshire Grain & Supply.

A pencil and pocket knife from Purina, but they do not advertise the grain elevator:

Pencil and pocket knife from Purina.

Some items from Wayne Feeds, Mayflower Mills, and Central Soya. The Central Soya tie tacks belonged to my grandpa Miller, who worked there.

Advertising items from Wayne Feeds, Mayflower Mills, and 2 tie tacks from Central Soya.

I am not sure what the sharp roller item on the key ring would have been used for. To perforate paper for some reason?

These old advertising items sure bring back the memories!

Sep 19

Tombstone Tuesday–Jacob & Margaret (Huffman) Bollenbacher

Jacob & Margaret (Huffman) Bollenbacher, Kessler/Liberty Cemetery, Mercer County, Oiho. (2017 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Jacob and  Margaret (Huffman) Bollenbacher, located in row 8, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

His Wife

Jacob Bollenbacher was born in Petersbach, Germany, on 28 October 1848, the son of Abraham Bollenbacher. [1] Some sources show that his mother’s name was Maria Katharine Kuhn. He immigrated to America in 1871. [2]

Jacob Bollenbacher married Margaretta “Margaret” Huffman 21 February 1878 in Mercer County, Ohio, married by Rev. CJ Bohnen. [3]

Margaret Huffman was born in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, on 3 January 1855, the daughter of Ferdinand & Elizabeth (Herzog/Hartzog) Huffman. The name was spelled Hoffmann in some of the old records. Her parents were born in Germany. Margaret was confirmed at Zion Chatt on 1 April 1871.

Margaret Huffman lived south of Chatt in 1860, where the family had a Skeels Cross Roads Post Office address. Their household in 1860: Ferdinand, 30; Elizabeth, 26; George, 7; Margaret, 4; John, 2; Elizabeth, 8 months; and Philip, 8 months. [4]

After their marriage Jacob and Margaret Bollenbacher lived across the state line in Adams County, Indiana, where Jacob farmed. In their household in 1880: Jacob, 31; Margaret, 24; and Augustus, 1. [5]

In 1900 Jacob and Margaret and their five children lived in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana. In their household: Jacob, 51; Margaret, 44; August William, 21; Dora C, 18; Jesse Charles, 16; Abraham, 16; and Rosa C, 13. This enumeration indicates that Jacob immigrated in 1871. Margaret had given birth to 8 children but only 5 were living. All of their children were reportedly born in Indiana and Jacob farmed for a living. [2]

Their household in 1910, Adams County: Jacob, 61; Margaret, 54; Jess, 27; Rosa, 23; and Wilber Anspaugh, 7 [grandson]. Wilbur Anspaugh was their daughter Dora’s son. Dora died in 1902 and now only 4 of the 8 Bollenbacher children survived. It appears son Jess had taken over the farming. Jacob reportedly did odd job on the farm while Jess farmed. [6] They lived very close to my relative Winfield Brewster.

Jacob and Margaret still resided in Adams County in 1920, where Jacob again farmed. Still living with them was their grandson Wilbert T Anspaugh, 17. [7]   

Margaret (Huffman) Bollenbacher died 7 July 1921 in Liberty Township, Mercer County, at the age of 66 years, 6 months, and 4 days. Her cause of death was rheumatic arthritis and nephritis with gastritis as a contributing factor, a condition which she had for 9 years. SS Egger was in charge of the funeral arrangements and she was buried on 9 July. [8]  

Jacob Bollenbacher died of pneumonia on 15 May 1929 in Decatur, Adams County, Indiana, at the age of 80 years, 6 months, and 3 days. His occupation reportedly was retired farmer. Egger & Ketcham were in charge of the funeral arrangements and Jacob was buried on the 3rd. His son GW [August William] Bollenbacher was the informant for information on Jacob’s death certificate, information that indicated Jacob was the son of Abe Bollenbacher, mother’s name unknown, and was born in Petersbach. [1]

Jacob and Margaret (Huffman) Bollenbacher had at least 8 children, three of whom died in infancy before 1900. Those children may also be buried in Kessler Cemetery. There are two two infant sons, children of J & M Bollenbacher, who died in 1888 and 1893, buried side by side there. The 5 Bollenbacher children who reached adulthood:

August William (1877-1966), married Maggie Bausser
Dora C (1881-1902), married James L. Anspaugh
Jess Charles (1882-1976), married Amelia Berger
Abraham (1884-1940), married Amanda M. Brush
Rosa C (1886/7-1962), married John Becher


[1] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, database on-line,, Jacob Bollenbacher, 15 May 1929; Indiana Death Certificates, 1929, roll 7, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, IN.

[2] 1900 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.6A, dwelling 104, household 104, Jacob Bullenbacher;; FHL microfilm 1240357, NARA microfilm T623, roll 357.

[3] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images,, Jacob Bollenbaugh and Margaretta Hoffman, 21 Feb 1878; Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 4, p.99, FHL microfilm 914956.

[4] 1860 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, p.358, dwelling 998, family 1003, Fred Hoofman;; FHL microfilm 805009, NARA microfilm M653, roll 1009.

[5] 1880 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 133, p.50A, dwelling & family 38, Jacob Bollenbau;; FHL microfilm 1254263, NARA microfilm T9, roll 263.

[6] 1910 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.2A, dwelling & family 29, Jacob Bollenbacher;; FHL microfilm 1374351, NARA microfilm T624, roll 338.

[7] 1920 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.6B, dwelling 119, family 129, Jacob Bollenbacher;; NARA microfilm T625, roll 420.

[8] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images,, Margaretta Bollenbacher, 7 Jul 1921; Liberty Twp, Mercer County death certificates, FHL microfilm 1991749.

Sep 15

Willshire Grain & Supply

When harvest time comes around I always remember how busy my mom, Florence (Schumm) Miller, was during the fall harvest as Willshire Grain & Supply’s bookkeeper. She often put in extra hours during what was probably the busiest time of the year for both her and the farmers.

Anyone who knew my mother remembers that she was a very conscientious bookkeeper and that she made sure her books balanced to the penny.

My mom worked at Willshire Grain & Supply for 33 years. She started working there in 1947, soon after she graduated from Willshire High School. Mildred (Schumm) Franz was the bookkeeper there at that time and she taught my mom how to do the bookkeeping at a grain elevator. Mildred resigned as the bookkeeper when she married Christian Franz.

Below is an old photo of Willshire Grain & Supply that my mom had. It was taken in 1948.

Willshire Grain & Supply, 1948.

Willshire Grain and Supply was owned by Tom Burk. Before Burk purchased the business it was called the Equity Elevator and Mildred (Schumm) Franz had worked at the Equity for 10 years

The Burks were in the grain elevator business for three generations, beginning with Tom’s grandfather George T. Burk (1856-1941). According to census reports George Burk was a store keeper in Clinton, Perry County, Indiana, in 1900. By 1910 George was the proprietor of a grain elevator in Decatur, Indiana.

By 1920 George’s son Sim Burk was a grain merchant in Decatur and by 1930 Sim Burk was the proprietor of a grain elevator there. Sim Burk (1890-1966) and his brother Avon (1888-1974) eventually owned several grain elevators in the area. Avon owned an elevator in Decatur, and Sim owned the elevator in Monroe, Indiana. Another elevator in Peterson, Indiana, was also owned by one of the Burk brothers. Ellen (Schumm) Black, Mildred (Schumm) Franz’s sister, worked at Burk’s Decatur elevator until she married.

Eventually Sim Burk’s son Tom wanted to get into the family grain elevator business, too. He purchased the Equity Elevator in Willshire and renamed it Willshire Grain & Supply. Later he purchased the Schumm elevator and eventually the elevator at Wren. All three of the Ohio elevators were known as Willshire  Grain & Supply.

My mom did the bookkeeping for the three Burk Elevators at Willshire, Schumm, and Wren. Mary (Schumm) Grote was the bookkeeper at the Wren elevator from 1955-1981. The Schumm elevator did not have a bookkeeper but Mary’s dad Emmanuel Schumm ran the Schumm elevator for many years. Dallas Kiracofe ran the Schumm elevator after Emmanuel retired and Dallas worked there until it closed. They eventually burned the Schumm elevator down.

Florence (Schumm) Miller graduation photo.

I remember going into the Willshire elevator a number of times when my mom worked there. I recall that it was very dusty and that they had a candy bar machine. Either my mom or Tom Burk often gave me a candy bar when I was there. There were always a couple farmers there talking and my mom was usually doing book work, using an adding machine, or weighing grain. She was on the phone a lot with farmers and other elevators.

Even after she retired she, for as long as she lived, she followed the grain markets every day. She knew what time the markets would be on the radio and she knew the phone number of the beanery by heart.

My mom kept several diaries over the years and she was very consistent about recording the daily grain prices instead of writing down the interesting family items I would like to read about!

My mom retired in about 1980, after 33 years of bookkeeping, at about the same time Tom Burk retired.

No doubt about it, she was a very good bookkeeper.

Older posts «

» Newer posts