Sep 26

The Schumm Sawmill

The little village of Schumm once had a thriving sawmill that cut and processed some of the largest trees in Ohio at the time, and possibly ever. From the early 1920s through the 1950s they shipped their high-quality lumber all over the country. They specialized in hardwood and long timber.

They weren’t kidding when they said long timber.

The sawmill at Schumm was located east of Schumm Road, on a little “street” that was parallel to and south of the railroad track. The Nickel Plate Railroad used to run through and stop at Schumm years ago.


Schumm Sawmill, c1924.

Schumm Sawmill, c1924.


The sawmill was owned by W.P. Robinson, Decatur, and Fred Smith, Van Wert, and was named after Robinson.

Below is a photo of the largest bur oak tree ever sawed in Ohio. At least in 1934. Written on the door of the truck: W.P. Robinson Co., Manufacturers, Hardwood Lumber & Long Timber, Schumm, Ohio, Van Wert Co.

W.P. Robinson Co. with largest bur oak sawed in Ohio, 1934.

W.P. Robinson Co. with largest bur oak sawed in Ohio, 1934.

A History of a Bur Oak Tree
A feature of outstanding interest at the recent Van Wert County Fair at Van Wert, Ohio, was a large bur oak tree butt displayed on a GMC log truck and trailer by W.P. Robinson Co., manufacturers of hardwood lumber and long timbers at Schumm, Ohio, on Nickel Plate RR. This tree, along with other smaller oak in the same woods, were bought and cut down by this company and the T.W. Hinkle of Rockford, Ohio, has 2 circular cuts from the stump and writes the following interesting history:

Eighteen years before Columbus discovered America and 46 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, a bur oak seedling started to grow in the uncharted primeval forest now defined as Logan County, Ohio, on the old Garwood Farm, 12 miles northeast of Bellefontaine, Ohio, and now owned by T.F. Selck. In 1474 this little tree started from an acorn and for 460 years it grew, its history being plainly told by the rings in the stump of this venerable forest monarch, which was felled on 16 August 1934. This tree was seven feet in diameter at the ground, its branches towering aloft 160 feet, and at a height of 65 feet, 2 large branches were put out, having a spread of 85 feet. These branches were 36 feet long and from them spread 14 large limbs. Around this oak were 100 ridges of bark, some 3 and 4 inches thick and 13 spur roots. A check of the rings showed that the tree made the largest growth in 1600 and 1754 and apparently was struck by lightning in 1904. The body of this tree was cut into 4 logs that scaled 7,000 feet of lumber and 3,500 feet in the tops, with a total weight of over 63 tons.

This firm operates a heavy and up-to–date sawmill at Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio, specializing in Indiana and Ohio white oak lumber and long timbers for a high class trade in many parts of the United States. [1]

Below is another photo of a bur oak tree that was cut and hauled by lumbermen from Schumm. This tree was felled in Auglaize County in 1930.

Bur Oak from Auglaize County, Ohio, 1930.

Bur Oak from Auglaize County, Ohio, 1930.

Carl Weinman, son of Schumm postmaster George Weinman, worked at the Schumm sawmill. He is the third from the left, standing in the photo below.

W.P. Robinson Co. truck, Schumm, Ohio. Carl Weinman 3rd from left. Photo courtesy of Tom Reichard.

W.P. Robinson Co. truck, Schumm, Ohio. Carl Weinman 3rd from left. Photo courtesy of Tom Reichard, Carl’s grandson.

Carl Weinman by lumber. Photo courtesy of Tom Reichard, Carl's grandson.

Carl Weinman by lumber. Photo courtesy of Tom Reichard.

Robinson and Smith probably employed quite a few other local men. In addition to Carl Weinman, my mom recalls that Roy Painter worked there in the 1940s.

Saw-Mill at Schumm Dissolves Partnership
The firm of W.P. Robinson Co. of Schumm, a partnership of W.P Robinson of Decatur, Ind., and Fred A. Smith of Van Wert, announces a dissolution of partnership after 30 years together.

Mr. Smith has purchased Mr. Robinson’s half interest of the saw-mill and lumber business and will continue under the name “Fred A. Smith Lumber Co.” Being sole owner, Mr. Smith solicits your continued patronage and hopes to carry on the business, serving his many customers and friends in the same manner as in the past.

The mill caters to a large farm retail trade in Van Wert and adjoining Indiana and Ohio counties within 40 miles and buy timber and truck logs within a 150-mile radius and ship to many points.

J.E. Anderson will continue as office manager and accountant and Ben. H. Handwerk as mill and woods foreman, sawyer and millwright.

Fred A. Smith lived many years at Schumm. The past 42 years he and his family have resided at 729 Elsen Ave. in Van Wert. He is a member of the Ohio Forestry Ass’n, Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Ass’n and National Hardwood Lumber Ass’n and has a wide acquaintance.

Mr. Robinson has operated saw-mills at Decatur and Van Buren, Ind., and has been buying timber and in the lumber business the past 55 years. He is one of the best authorities on timber quality and values along with manufacturing of hardwood lumber and long oak timbers in Indiana and Ohio. [2]

It is interesting to note that the Schumms were known for their woodworking and carpentry skills, so it is no surprise that a sawmill with such capabilities, and with such a good reputation, once operated in the Schumm area.


[1] American Lumberman, 9 October 1934.

[2] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 15 January 1953, p.1.



Sep 23

Tombstone Tuesday–Florence E. Laderman

Florence E. Laderman, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Florence E. Laderman, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Florence Estella Laderman, located in row 8 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Florence E.

Florence Estella Laderman was born 19 March 1909 to William and Maria (Schott) Laderman. She was baptized at Zion Chatt on 11 April 1909, with Lora and Maggie Schott as her sponsors.

Florence died 13 August 1910, at the age of 1 year, 5 months, and 24 days. She was buried on the 15th. According to the church records survivors included W. and M. Laderman.

From previous research I know Florence was also survived by a brother and sister, Paul Edward and Margaret Elizabeth. Another sister, Josephine Wilma, was born about three weeks after Florence’s death.

Florence’s cause of death was “summer complaint.” That was a term used for a severe GI infection, mainly diarrhea, that usually occurred in infants and children in the summertime, and was sometimes caused by spoiled milk.

Florence’s date of birth, shown in her church baptismal record as 19 March 1909, disagrees with her calculated date of birth, calculated from her age at death in her church burial record. Her birth date would be 20 February 1909, if calculated from her age given at her time of death.

Sep 19

The Post Office at Schumm

Schumm: a hamlet in the south central part of the township, with post office set up by 1886.

That is the description of the little village east of Willishire in a book of Ohio towns and townships that were established before 1900. [1]

Schumm, named after the German family who settled the area in 1838, was once a place where passengers could board and depart at the Cloverleaf Railroad Station, later the Nickel Plate. Where a sawmill and elevator once operated. And where a U.S. post office was once located.

The railroad station, sawmill, elevator, and post office are all gone now. A few homes still remain in the town, near the large brick Lutheran church with its active congregation.

The post office at Schumm was located in the second house south of the railroad track on the east side of Schumm Road. The post office was in the front part of the home.


Schumm Post Office, c1930.

Schumm Post Office, c1930.

Last week I wrote about the mail cart that was discovered under my grandparents’ summer kitchen a couple years ago. The cart had settled into the soil and remained buried under the frame structure for many decades. I can only speculate where it came from, but I believe it likely was once used to carry the mail from the train station to the Schumm Post Office.

The post office at Schumm was established in 1881 and Martin J. Schumm was appointed as its first postmaster on 31 December 1881. Henry Schumm, George F. Schumm, and Henry M. Schumm were the next three postmasters, serving during the years 1885-1903. [2]

Schumm's first two postmasters, Jartin J. Schumm (1881), Henry Schumm (1885). [2]

Schumm’s first two postmasters, Martin J. Schumm (1881), Henry Schumm (1885). [2]

The list of Schumm postmasters and their appointment dates, 1881-1940 [2] :
Martin J. Schumm (31 December 1881)
Henry Schumm (29 April 1885)
George F. Schumm (30 June 1885)
Henry M. Schumm (4 August 1886)
Herbert I. Hileman (18 June 1904)
Wm O. Tickle (27 February 1905)
Elias F. Sheets (21 December 1905)
Logan Wolfe (29 March 1906)
Wm A Colter (23 September 1908)
Gustave J. Schumm (13 November 1912)
George Weinman (14 September 1916)
Mrs. Pearl A. Debolt (26 November 1928)
Matie M. Stevens (31 October 1929)
Mrs. Cleta A. Johns (1 December 1930)
George Weinman (23 November 1931)

The Schumm Post Office closed January 1940 when George Weinman retired. The mail was then sent to Willshire.

Schumm Post Office Discontinued January 31
The Willshire post office has received official notice from the post office department at Washington that the post office at Schumm will be discontinued at the close of business Jan. 31, 1940. All mail intended for the patrons of the Schumm post office will be handled out of the Willshire post office, beginning Feb.1, 1940, and in such manner as directed from the department at Washington.

The post office at Schumm has been in active operation since 1881, and with its discontinuance another land-mark in the life of the community will have passed into oblivion. At present there are 14 families and two businesses concerns receiving mail through that post office.

The present postmaster, Geo. Weinman, has served for 19 years and will be retired Jan. 31. It is a fourth class office and owing to the fact that no one could be secured to act as postmaster it will have to be closed. [3]

However, the Schumm Post Office was re-opened a few months later, after a petition to reopen it was signed by the residents of the community. Emanuel H. Schumm was appointed postmaster 16 April of that same year.

1938 Schumm postmark.

1938 Schumm postmark.

Schumm Post Office Is Re-Established
The post office at Schumm has been re-established, and Emanuel Schumm has been commissioned as postmaster as of May 1, 1940.

The Schumm post office was discontinued Jan. 31, 1940, but as no rural route delivery was immediately put into operation, the patrons of that post office circulated a petition to have the office re-instated, and through the intervention of Senator A.V. Donahey their petition was recognized and the post office ordered re-opened.

The office would not have been discontinued had the patrons of the office been able to develop a suitable person to take on the duties of postmaster. [4]

Emanuel Schumm was the postmaster for 13 years when the post office was again discontinued, this time for good. The Schumm Post Office was closed forever on 6 January 1953 and the mail was once again sent to Willshire.

Discontinuance Of Schumm Post Office Slated For 31st
Postmaster John E. Reichard has been given official notice that the post office at Schumm will be discontinued January 31 of this year and that after discontinuance, all mail for that office will be received, delivered and accounted for by the Willshire office.

It has been proposed by the Bureau of Post Office Operations that rural route one out of Willshire be extended .5 of a mile so as to afford patrons of the discontinued office convenient mail facilities, and it is presumed this action will be taken by the department. [5]

Did the little mail delivery cart come from the Schumm Post Office? I like to think so.


[1] Julie Minot Overton, Kay Ballentyne Hudson & Sunda Anderson Peters, editors, Ohio Towns and Townships to 1900, A Location Guide, (The Ohio Genealogical Society, Penobscot Press : 2000), 356.

[2] U.S., Appointments of U.S. Postmasters, 1832-1971, Vol 38, c1873-91, p. 478-9; and U.S., Appointments of US Postmasters, 1832-1971, Vol 79, c1891-1930, p. 575-77; digital images by subscription, ( : accessed 17 September 2014), from NARA microfilm publication M841, roll 101.

[3] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 25 January 1940, p. 1.

[4] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 9 May 1940, p.1.

[5] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 15 January 1953, p.1.


Sep 16

Tombstone Tuesday–Mary C. (Schott) Laderman

Mary C. Laderman, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Mary C. Laderman, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Mary C. (Schott) Laderman, located in row 5 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Mary C.

Maria Katharina Schott was born 18 June 1886 to Michael and Margaretha (Kuehm) Schott. She was baptized 11 July 1886, with Adam and Maria Martin as her sponsors. Her father was born in Mercer County and her mother was born in Schillersdorf, Elsass.

“Mary” was confirmed at Zion on 31 March 1901 by Rev. R.V. Schmitt. She married married William Laderman about 1904.

Mary and William Laderman had the following children, as recorded in Zion’s records:
Paul Edward (1905-1989), married Alvina Witte
Margaret Elizabeth (1907-1997), married Edward Linn
Florence Estella (1909-1910)
Josephine Wilma (1910-2001), married Lorain W. Chapman
Emma (1912- )

Mary died 26 September 1918 and was buried on the 28th. Survivors included her husband, children, parents, brothers and sisters, according to Zion Chatt’s records. The records give her cause of death as cancer. Her daughter Margaret is buried next to her.

Sep 12

It Came From Under the Summer Kitchen

No, this is not a story about some creature that came crawling out of the earth. It is the tale of a very old item that was put away many years ago and forgotten.

Earlier this summer Joe was weed whipping at the Schumm farm when Marilyn walked across the barnyard pushing a cute little three-wheeled cart. It was obviously very old and in fairly good condition. She asked Joe if he thought I would want it.

Was she serious? Of course! I would love to have it!


Where did this lovely old cart come from? And why would she offer it to me?

Marilyn and her husband now own the house where my Schumm grandparents lived, the house where my mom and her sisters grew up. Behind the main house is a breezeway and on the other side of the breezeway is the old summer kitchen.

People don’t have summer kitchens these days because most homes are air conditioned. But years ago many homes had a second kitchen, separate from the main house, where the family would cook in the summer. This way they would not heat up the main house while cooking.

My grandparents’ summer kitchen was a separate building, a very nice-sized kitchen. It set up on blocks and there was some space between the floor and the ground.

A few years ago Marilyn turned the summer kitchen into her laundry room and she wanted to insulate around its foundation. Her husband was under the building working when he felt something poke him in the back. As he carefully started to dig he saw a mental handle. He kept removing dirt from around the object, digging mainly with the claw end of his hammer, until he eventually uncovered the entire little cart. They removed the cart from underneath the summer kitchen and carefully cleaned it up.

Why was this cart buried in the dirt under my grandparents’ summer kitchen? Who put it there? And when?

My aunt Amy, my mom’s older sister, recalls that they used to shove things in the space under the summer kitchen. She vaguely remembers this old cart and believes they put it under the building for winter storage. My mom does not remember the cart at all, so it must have been put under there when she was a very young girl.

I would guess that the little cart was under the summer kitchen, in the dirt, for 7 or 8 decades. Until a few years ago. It is amazing that it is in such good condition!

Gendron Mail Cart (3)

Gendron Mail Cart

You can still read the writing on the side, where the word DELIVERY was painted. The manufacturer’s metal name plate is still attached to the end. It was made by Gendron Wheel Co,Toledo, Ohio.

Original name plate, Gendron Wheel Co, Toledo, O.

Original name plate, Gendron Wheel Co, Toledo, O.

Marilyn did a little research and learned that it was a mail delivery cart, used to pick up mail at the train station and deliver it to the post office.

Marilyn used the cart for decoration in her home for a few years until she felt it took up too much space. She decided to get rid of it but she wanted someone from the family to have it. Lucky me! Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

Also ironic is that Joe was going to make a flower cart for our back yard and this was exactly the type of cart we wanted. Although this cart is now too fragile to be used outside it can be used as a template to build a garden cart.

Still, I am using it as flower cart, but for artificial flowers in our basement.

Gendron Mail Cart

Gendron Mail Cart

The Gendron Iron Wheel Company, founded in 1872 and incorporated in 1880, originated the wire wheel and made bicycles, tricycles, invalid chairs, go-cars, baby carriages, doll carriages, coaster wagons, toy wheel barrows, and other such items. And obviously mail carts. Gendron became a subsidiary of American National in 1927. [1] I would say this cart was made before 1927.

But where did my grandparents get this mail cart in the first place, so many years ago?

Although there was a post office in Schumm at one time, there were no postmasters in our immediate Schumm family. Perhaps it was used at the Willshire Post Office. After all, a train ran through both towns.

I can only speculate that the cart outgrew its usefulness at the post office and was sold or given away and somehow my grandparents ended up with it. It was probably a handy little cart to use around the farm, sort of like a wheelbarrow.

But did my grandparents forget they had stored it under the summer kitchen? How could you forget something like this? They were frugal and resourceful people and it is hard to believe that they would have not used it until it fell apart.

There are some things we will never know…

In the end I am glad they did forget about it, leaving it buried safely in the ground for years, waiting to be rediscovered and re-purposed one day.


[1] Gendron, Ind., Wikipedia ( : accessed 11 September 2014).

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