Aug 03

Dear Mom & All–WWII Letters from Herb (part 25)

I continue with the transcriptions of the letters my dad, Herbert Miller, wrote home while serving his country during WWII. The war was over by the time he wrote these letters and he was serving in the Occupation Force in Germany until he had enough time and points to be honorably discharged. [1]

Herbert Miller, Europe, WWII

During this time he worked at an Army post office in Weinhiem, Germany, a job he seemed to like. I remember that he mentioned quite a few times that he worked in the post office there.

The war was over and he seemed ready to get back home, back home to his family and the family farm in Mercer County. He enjoyed farming and always asked about the crops in his letters. I know he also liked to roller skate and square dance, two things he mentioned in one of these letters. Sounds like he may have even been a little homesick.

These letters were written to his sister Em ad her husband Norval “Jack.”

21 Sep 1945
Weinheim, Germany

Dear Em & Jack,

It is pretty late in the evening & since I’m C.G. it don’t make much difference. I ‘m here watching the post office tonight. I’m sort of worried about in the morning. I’m hard to awaken & the doors are locked. I guess they will have to pound pretty hard. I broke my habit of snoring or rather Trefran [?] did.

I’m here at the post office, I guess I’m going to be transferred into the outfit. It is a nice job, just like a civilian office job.

I received your package today. Thanks a million. How is everything coming along? O.K. I hope.

It is raining out tonight and really a miserable night, cold & everything else. I imagine it is getting fall around home, too.

We’re supposed to move to Bremen October 15 but it will be cold there. Tomorrow I’m going to Frankfurt with the truck to pick up mail. The Capt. is going to get me bonded so that I can carry or haul mail, order a money order or stamps.

Yesterday morning two guys picked up mail here for the play “It’s All Yours.”They were getting the mail for the rest of the guys and they had a wreck and both were killed. The M.P. picked up the mail and refused to turn it over because neither of the men were licensed to carry it. But it’s all straightened out, except two less GIs.

Must close for now.

[note by KMB: My dad’s siblings talked numerous times about my dad’s sleepwalking when he was younger, before he went off to to the. Evidently he snored, too. The Army broke him of his sleepwalking and apparently my dad thought he had also stopped snoring while in the Army. But he was wrong.]

Herbert Miller, France, WWII

21 October 1945
Weinhiem, Germany

Dear Em & Jack,

It’s Sunday evening and I guess I’d better write a couple of lines to let you know that I’m OK and feeling fine.

I received two packages from youins this last week. Thanks a lot. Everything came in good shape.

The work down at the post office is really nice. I started out with casing mail and now I’m a clerk up at the stamp window. I work every other week selling stamps and the rest of the time I work in the back. I still drive the truck quite a bit.

How is farming coming along? I imagine it is harvest time, isn’t it? How did the baler come out? Did it pay off?

It’s chow time and I’m pretty hungry, so will close and try to write tomorrow night again.


2 November 1945
Weinheim, Germany

Dear Em & Jack,

I guess it’s time I wrote to you. I received two packages (Christmas) yesterday and everything was in good shape. Things are coming along pretty good. Work isn’t so hard and a lot of guys signed up for another year. It might be OK for awhile. You get 60 days at home. If I’d sign up when I’d have over 12 months overseas I’d get 90 days at home. The one more year in the Army. Is it worth it? I don’t think so. If I knew I’d be in for 6 more months for sure I’d do it.

How is the farming coming along? Is the corn and all the crops harvested?

It’s about 10:15 and the National Barn Dance is on the air. They are singing a song about Ohio.

Do they still have those Square Dances at the Parish Hall? I sure would like to go to one now. Or to go roller skating.

Must close for now.

Herbert Miller, WWII, probably in Paris.

5 November 1945
Weinheim, Germany

Dear Em, Jack & all,

Enclosed you will find a money order for $90 [?]. Use it to buy Christmas presents for the folks and the kids. Take $7 or $8 and use it to buy presents for you, Norval, Norval’s dad and mother. If you’re not able you can have Norval’s folks get the presents, if it isn’t too much bother.

I’ll be in the Army occupation for a while. I imagine it will be quite a while until I leave E & O. Maybe I’ll get out when I have 2 years in the Army.

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


To be continued…


[1] My dad, Herbert Miller, trained as a replacement troop during the fall of 1944, arrived in Europe in December of that same year, and was assigned to Company L, 333rd Regiment, 84th Infantry Division. The 84th was known as the Railsplitters. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and later in parts of Luxembourg, Germany, and France.


Jul 31

Tombstone Tuesday–6 Schumm Immigrants

This weekend descendants of John George Schumm will gather in Schumm, Ohio, for the the 43rd biennial Schumm reunion. Many relatives, often over 200, gather for some or all of the day’s activities, which include the morning worship service at Schumm’s Zion Lutheran Church, a noon meal consisting of a variety of some the best home-made dishes you can imagine, followed by entertainment and a business meeting. There is also visiting, reminiscing, photo & item displays, and fun activities for people of all ages in the afternoon.

The first Schumm Reunion, 1924, at the Schumm homestead.

In honor of our ancestor John George Schumm and five of his children, who immigrated in 1833, and who went on to settle in Willshire Township and establish the little town of Schumm, and who were some of the original founders of Zion Lutheran Church there, today’s Tombstone Tuesday will feature the six tombstones of the six Schumm immigrants. All of their tombstones are located in Zion Schumm’s cemetery.

I have written a Tombstone Tuesday blog post about each of them and a link to each post is included in their individual footnote.

John George Schumm (1777-1846) was born in Ruppertshofen, Wuerttemberg, and married Anna Maria Fisher (1779-1822) on 28 April 1807. They had ten children and five of them died in Germany, some in infancy.

Johann Georg Schumm, with four of his sons and a daughter, left from the port of Hamburg in mid-April of 1833, bound for America. They sailed on the Brig Zelia and arrived at the Port of Philadelphia on 3 June 1833. The Johann Georg Schumm family, as listed on the ship’s passenger list: John G Schum, age 55; John F, 19; George M, 20; John J, 17; Georg L, 16, and Maria C, 23. [1]

John George Schumm (1777-1846) tombstone, row 5. [2]

Johann Georg Schumm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Maria Catharina (Schumm) Schüler (1810-1838), row 5. She married Michael Schüler. [3]

Catherina Schuler, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

George “Martin” Schumm (1812-1871), row 6. He married Maria Pflueger (1820-1903). [4]

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

George Martin Schumm (1812-1871)

John “Friederich” Schumm (1814-1902), row 6. He married Magdalena (Meyer) (1819-1897). [5]

Friederick & Magdalena Schumm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

Friederich & Magdalena (Meyer) Schumm, 1882.

John “Jacob” Schumm (1815-1853), row 5. He married Hannah Billmann (1822-1878). [6]

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

Ludwig Schumm (1817-1855), row 6. He married Barbara Pflueger (1822-1908).

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

I am a direct descendant of Ludwig and Barbara (Pflueger) Schumm. Ludwig was my second and third great-grandfather. Ludwig’s son Ludwig John “Louis” was my grandpa Cornelius Schumm’s father and Ludwig’s oldest daughter Elizabeth married Friedrich Schinnerer and was my grandma Hilda (Scaer) Schumm’s grandmother.

The Schumm Reunion is always a great event, thanks to the planners who do a wonderful job organizing it. I am looking forward to catching up on family news, renewing old friendships, meeting “new” relatives, and seeing some of you there.

Spoiler: A big surprise for this year is that I will have 100 USB/flash drives available that include the updated 2018 Schumm Descendant List (genealogy) along with the Schumm history!

Bye for now. I must get busy burning flash drives…


[1] Philadelphia, Passenger Lists, 1800-1850, on-line database and images by subscription, ( : viewed 30 Jul 2018), John G Schum, 3 Jun 1833.

[2] Karen’s Chatt, Tombstone Tuesday—Johann Georg Schumm, 19 Nov 2013.

[3] Karen’s Chatt, Tombstone Tuesday—Catharina Schüler, 26 Nov 2013

[4] Karen’s Chatt, Tombstone Tuesday—George M Schumm, 3 Dec 2013.

[5] Karen’s Chatt, Tombstone Tuesday—Friederich & Magdalena Schumm, 10 Dec 2013.

[6] Karen’s Chatt, Tombstone Tuesday—JJ Schumm, 17 Dec 2013.

[7] Karen’s Chatt, Tombstone Tuesday—Ludwig Schumm, 7 Jan 2014.


Jul 27

Decatur Street, Willshire, 1910

Seeing and studying old picture postcards is always fun. They give us a glimpse of how things looked years ago; what and where the stores were and how people got around. Chattanooga picture postcards are hard to find but postcards from Willshire are a little more common.

Decatur Street, Willshire, Ohio, 1910

Above is a nice picture postcard of Decatur Street in Willshire, postmarked December 1910, sent to Mr. W.G. Kennedy, 380 Reed Ave, Marion, Ohio. No zip codes back then!

The 3-story brick building to the right was Fred Althoen’s shoe and boot store. Apparently he sold only shoes and boots. Fred had three signs to advertise his shoes–the large sign on the building: PETERS’ SHOES; the sign on the awning: FRED ALTHOEN, SELZ SHOES, Chicago; and the sign leaning under the ground-floor window, FRED ALTHOEN, BOOTS & SHOES. I assume Fred owned and operated this store. And I assume the spelling on the signs is correct, although I have also seen this name spelled Altheon.There is a nice-looking dog laying in front of sign under the window and some men standing in the shadows.

Looking on down the street I can make out a few more business, as written on the tattered awnings. Next door to Althoen Shoes is FURNISHINGS with what appears to be CARDS printed on top. The next awning appears to be CLOTHING. I can’t make out the words on the next 2 awnings but an awning displaying GROCERIES is folded up against the building.

Enlargement, Decatur Street, Willshire, 1910

I believe the final 2 awnings are UNDERTAKER and FURNITURE. I compared it to the photo below of Buchanan’s furniture and undertaking service. The frame house to the left looks the same on both photos, as does do the awnings.

Stephen S. Buchanan, undertaker in Willshire, Ohio.

I am not sure which side of the street we are looking at, but I am guessing the west side. The street looks unpaved and rough and there are a lot of telephone poles. The horses are moving, so the wagon is a little blurry.

Willshire had a big fire in June 1908, so depending where the fire was and what it destroyed, these may have been new brick buildings.

In 1910, Fred Althoen, age 24, was living in Willshire with his parents Henry and Anna E. Althoen. Henry and Anna had been married 44 years and three of their eight children were still living. Henry Althoen, age 70, was born in Germany and immigrated in 1856. Anna, age 67, and son Fred were born in Ohio. Fred was a shoe merchant and his father Henry’s occupation was own income. They owned their home on Wolcott Street in Willshire. [1] I also noticed that Henry Althoen (1839-1912) served in the Civil War.

Spitler Grocery, Willshire, Ohio, Huckster Truck

I have an update on another Willshire-area photo, the Spitler Grocery huckster truck photo that I posted a few weeks back. I heard from a very reliable source [a family member] that the man sitting behind the wheel in the huckster truck is Vernon Hoblet. She did not believe that Vernon ever worked at the Spitler Grocery but was just sitting in the truck. The huckster truck was parked in front of his parents’ home [William and Ada Hoblet], which was located on State Route 49, south of the Van Wert-Mercer County Line, just south of the curves. The house was destroyed in the Palm Sunday tornado. The woman standing in the back was likely his mother Ada Hoblet.

Thanks to everyone who helps identify these photos!


[1] 1910 U. S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 114, p.11A, dwelling/family 49, Henry Altheon; ( : viewed 25 Jul 2018).

Jul 24

Tombstone Tuesday–J. George & Katharine (Karcher) Weinmann

J. Georg & Katharine Weinmann, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Johann Georg Weinmann [Sr] and Katharine (Karcher) Weinmann, located in row 9 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Gest. 13 Dez. 1907
Alter 75 J. 3 M. 10 T.
1Cor. 15, 25, 26

J. Georg
Gest. 4, Nov. 1907
Alter 78 J. 14 T.
Rom. 5, 8,9


Ruhet, Eltern, sanft im Frieden
Hier in dukler Grabesnacht!
Vollendt habet ihr hienieden,
Des Lebens Muehr ist vollbracht.

Translation: Katharine Weinmann, died 13 December 1907, age 75 years, 3 months, 10 days. J. Georg Weinmann, died 4 November 1907, age 78 years, 14 days.  

Rest, parents, gentle in peace
Here in dark Grave Night!
You have finished here,
My life is done.

According to Zion Schumm’s records, Johann Georg Weinmann was born 21 October 1829 in Obermodern, Elsass. His wife Katharina (Karcher) was born 3 September 1832 in Schillersdorf, Elsass. Both places are in northeastern France.

According to the 1900 census they both immigrated in 1872. [1] Their son George most likely immigrated with them, because he also reported that he immigrated in 1872. [2]  

The family settled in the Chatt area by the end of 1872 and they attended church at Zion Chatt. Johann Georg Weinmann communed at Zion Chatt on Christmas Day 1872. His wife Katharine is mentioned by name in some of the communion records, so we know it is the same family. Their son George was confirmed at Zion Chatt in 1873. Born in 1859, he would have been the right age for confirmation. Johann Georg, wife Katharine, and son George communed at Zion Chatt regularly until 1882, when they probably moved to the Schumm area and transferred their membership to Zion Schumm

According to the 1876 Mercer County map, their 80 acres in Liberty Township was immediately north of Zion Chatt church. [3]

In 1880 the Johann Georg Weinmann family lived at the edge of Chatt and was enumerated near Peter Strabel. There was one child in the family, son George, and all three family members were born in Alsace. Johann Georg was a farmer. Their household in 1880: John George, 50; Katharine, 47; and George, 20. [4]

Sometime between 1880 and 1900 the Johann Georg Weinmann family moved to Willshire Township, Van Wert County, where Johann Georg continued to farm. They lived very close, if not next door, to my great-great-grandmother Maria (Sekel) Breuninger, widow of Louis Breuninger. The Johann Georg Weinmann family in 1900, enumerated as Wyman: John G, head, 70, born October 1829 in France; Kate, wife, 67, born September 1832 in France. The couple had been married 50 years and she had given birth to one child who was still living. They both immigrated in 1872 and Johann Georg was naturalized. They had a farm and owned their home, free of a mortgage. They both could speak English, Johann Georg could read and write, but Katharine could do neither. [1]

Johann Georg died 4 November 1907, at the age 78 years and 14 days. He was buried on the 6th. The church records note that he was buried after a Christian service. He was survived by his with Katharina and son George Weinmann.

His widow Katharine died of pneumonia in Schumm less than a month later, on 13 December 1907, at the age of 75 years, 3 months, and 10 days. She was buried on the 15th and was survived by her son George Weinmann.


[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 97, p.10, dwelling, 207, house, 222, John G Wyman;  ( : viewed 2 Jul 2018).

[2] 1900 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 98, p.11, dwelling 218, family 223, George Weimann; ( : viewed 16 Jul 2018).

[3] Note by kmb: One J. Wineman owned about 70 acres of land in Section 3, Liberty Township, located on the northeast corner of Tama and Wabash Road, with their house off Tama Road. This was a different family because this land was still owned by Wm. Weinman about 25 years later. This Weinman family attended Zion Chatt at one time and the wife’s name was Rosina (Weinman). I do not know if they were relatives of the Weinmanns who moved to Schumm.

[4] 1880 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 188, p.472C, dwelling 18, family 19, John G Weinman; ( : viewed 16 Jul 2018).


Jul 20

Stripping the Bed

I really like quilts. All quilts. But my particular favorites are antique quilts. And I am fortunate to have a few very special antique quilts that were made by my grandma Schumm, my great-grandma Miller, my mother, and a great-grandaunt.

Quilt made before 1882 by Christena (Rueck) Miller & Rosina (Schinnerer) Schumm.

Quilt made before 1882 by Christena (Rueck) Miller & Rosina (Schinnerer) Schumm.

A couple knowledgeable quilt people have told me one of the best ways to store quilts is to put them on a bed, preferably a spare bed that isn’t used too often. That way they don’t have to be folded or wrapped up in some special material. This method also has the advantage that the quilts are fairly easy to see. You just start pulling back the layers of quilts and you can see them one by one. Which also makes it easy to show your quilt collection to another quilt enthusiast.

Our spare bedroom is furnished with my grandpa Schumm’s old iron bed, a bed perfect for layering my quilts. In fact, I have nine quilts layered on that little bed, and they make the mattress appear quite thick. It seems to be the perfect place to store these family heirlooms.

That is, until we get company.

This weekend is our annual Miller reunion and my cousin will be staying with us over the weekend. I don’t think she would care to sleep under nine quilts, so yesterday I stripped the bed and moved all the quilts into my office.

Double wedding ring quilt made by Florence (Schumm) Miller.

Stripping the bed yesterday was not a bad job at all and I rather enjoyed it. It gave me a chance to look at and touch those beautiful quilts again. I enjoy studying all the different fabrics used to piece them together and looking at my grandma Schumm’s tiny stitches. I remember when my mom made the double wedding ring quilt. It was the first quilt she ever made and turned out to be quite a challenging project, but it turned out beautiful. My grandma Schumm stitched the small baby quilt for the birth of our son Jeff. What wonderful memories!

Bow-tie quilt made by Hilda (Scaer) Schumm.

Nine patch quilt made by Hilda (Scaer) Schumm.

Bow-tie quilt made by Hilda (Scaer) Schumm.

Baby quilt stitched by Hilda (Scaer) Schumm for Karen’s son Jeff.

The oldest family quilts I have were stitched by my great-grandmother Christena (Rueck) Miller and my great-grandaunt Rosina (Schinnerer) Schumm, before Christena married Jacob Miller in 1882. Christena was staying with the Schumm family at the time, decades before my parents married and the two families came together. Christena loved to quilt, a skill she learned from Rosina Schumm.

I love all of these old quilts. It probably comes as no surprise, but I have collected some other old quilts, too, not family heirlooms, but still beautiful works of art. I think about how these quilts were lovingly made. All the time it took to chose and cut the fabric, piece it together, and quilt it. It seems most women back then enjoyed quilting and sometimes several women worked together to make a quilt. They undoubtedly had some interesting and lively conversations during their quilting sessions. I think about how pretty these colorful quilts would have looked on a bed or hanging on a clothesline to air out in the spring. I think about who may have used these quilts to keep warm in the winter. Some of these quilts were never used but I can tell some of them were used a lot and are worn, tattered, and stained.

I actually don’t mind a worn, stained quilt. I like to think how it was lovingly used by some family many years ago.

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