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.

Sep 12

Tombstone Tuesday–Samuel A. Bollenbacher

Samuel A. Bollenbacher, Chattanooga Mausoleum, Mercer County, Ohio. (2017 photo by Karen)

This is the mausoleum marker of Samuel Abraham Bollenbacher, located in the Chattanooga Mausoleum, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. His vault is inscribed:

Samuel A.
BOLLENBACHER
Born—1872
Died–1945

Samuel Abraham Bollenbacher was born 22 July 1872 in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, the son of George (1830-1912) and Anna Barbara (Albrecht) Bollenbacher (1836-1913). [1]

In 1880 Samuel lived with his parents and seven siblings in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. In their household: George J, 49; Barbara, 44; Louis, 20; Louisa, 17; Anna, 15; George, 13; Frank, 11; Samuel, 8; Mary, 5; Edward, 1. Both of Samuel’s parents were from Germany and all of their children were born in Ohio. Samuel’s father was a farmer. [2]

Samuel still lived with his parents in Liberty Township 20 years later, although the family was much smaller. The George Bollenbacher family in 1900: George, 69; Anna B, 65; George, 33; Samuel, 27; Edward, 21; Christina Shanabarger, 17 (granddaughter); and William Shanabarger, 10 (grandson). Samuel’s parents had been married 48 years and 8 of their 12 children were living. Samuel’s father George immigrated in 1847 and his mother Anna immigrated in 1840. The father George farmed and sons George and Samuel helped on the farm. [3]   

Ten years later, in 1910, three Bollenbacher sons lived with their elderly parents and farmed the family farm: George, 79; Barbara, 74; George, 42; Samuel, 37; Edward, 30; and William Shanabarger, 19. William Shanabarger is shown as a nephew in this census and 8 of 12 Bollenbacher children were living. The father George is still shown as a general farmer and his sons also farmed. [4]   

By 1920 both of Samuel’s parents had passed away and he lived with two of his brothers, George and Ed. His brother George is shown as the head of household and he farmed while Samuel and Ed were real estate agents. Their father George had died in 1912 and their mother Anna Barbara died a year later in 1913. George and Anna Barbara have a beautiful and ornate monument in Kessler Cemetery with large carved marble angel that looks downward. [5]   

By 1930 Samuel, age 57, lived by himself and was a general farmer. [6]

Samuel Bollenbacher married Bertha Huffman on 18 November 1937 in Mercer County, Ohio. Neither had been married before. Samuel, 65, was retired and Bertha, 40, was a housekeeper. They were married by Rev. H.F. Holtmeyer, the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. [7]

Bertha was born 3 August 1897, the daughter of Jacob and Mary (Kessler) Huffman.

In 1940 Samuel and Bertha lived in Chatt. Samuel was 68 years of age, born in Ohio. Bertha was 43 years of age and was also born in Ohio. Samuel had lived in the same house five years previously and was a farmer. [8]

Samuel and Bertha had only been married seven years when Samuel died on 2 April 1945 near Chatt in Liberty Township, probably at his residence at R.R. #3, Celina. He was 72 years, 8 months, and 10 days old. He died of bronchial pneumonia due to endocarditis according to his death certificate and Zion Chatt’s records. He was interred in the mausoleum on the 5th and Cowen, Ohio City, was in charge of the funeral arrangements. Samuel’s wife Bertha was the informant for his personal information on his death certificate. [9] Samuel was survived by his wife Bertha and his brother Edward.

Samuel Abraham Bollenbacher’s obituary:

Samuel A. Bollenbacher; Chattanooga, Apr 4—Funeral services will be conducted Thursday at 2:30 p.m. for Samuel A. Bollenbacher, 72, of near Chattanooga, who died Monday at his home in Liberty-tps from a cerebral hemorrhage.

Surviving are the widow, Bertha, and one brother, Ed of Portland, Ind.

Funeral services will be at Zion Lutheran church, Chattanooga, with Rev. H.W. Wolber officiating and the body will be placed in the mausoleum in the church cemetery. [10]

Bertha (Huffman) & Samuel A. Bollenbacher, Chattanooga Mausoleum, Mercer County, Ohio. (2017 photo by Karen)

Samuel’s widow Bertha died 3 June 1977 in Coldwater, Mercer County, Ohio. She is buried next to Samuel in the Chattanooga Mausoleum.

The couple did not have any children.

 

[1] “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” database with images, FamilySerach.org, Samuel Bollenbaugher, 22 Jul 1872; Liberty, Mercer County Births, Vol. 1, p.88; FHL microfilm 914953.

[2] 1880 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 188, p.474C, dwelling 52, family 55, George J Bollenbacher; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1255048, Nara microfilm T9, roll 1048.

[3] 1900 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 85, p.11B, dwelling 217, family 223, George Bollenbacher; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1241304, NARA microfilm T623, roll. 1304.

[4] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 119, p.11B, dwelling 208, family 215, George Bollenbacher; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1375227, NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[5] 1920 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 140, p.9B, dwelling 183, family 197, George E Bollenbacher; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[6] 1930 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 20, p.4A, dwelling & family 79, Samuel Bollenbacher; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 2341584, NARA microfilm T626, roll. 1850.

[7] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with imags, FamilySearch.org, Samuel A Bollenbacher & Bertha M Huffman, 18 Nov 1937; Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 15, p.90, FHL microfilm 2366956.

[8] 1940 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 54-22, p.4A, line 20, family 68, Sam Bollenbacher; FamilySearch.org; FHL microfilm 5460643, NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

[9] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Samuel A Bolenbacker, 2 Apr 1945; FHL microfilm 2372736.

[10] Samuel Abraham Bollenbacher obituary, The Lima News, 4 April 1945, p.4 Lima News; digital image,  Ancestry.com.

Sep 08

Wendel Motor Sales, Chattanooga, Ohio

A few weeks ago someone asked me about the history of Wendel’s Garage/Motor Sales in Chattanooga, Ohio.

I remember the Wendel Brothers car dealership very well. We called it Wendel’s Garage and the business was located across from the Chatt Restaurant/Bar. The building is currently occupied by the Chatt Fire Department.

2008 Google Earth street view of former Wendel’s Motor Sales, Chattanooga, Ohio.

I remember that it was called Wendel Brothers Motor Sales and I remember Jim and Bob Wendel–James W. and Robert J. Wendel. My parents bought several Pontiac cars from Wendel’s over the years and they also had them serviced there. I remember being in Wendel’s Garage several times but I did not know much about the history of the business.

However, thanks to the Internet, I was able to piece together a basic timeline of Wendel Motor Sales.

Their father Louis Philip Wendel started the business in Chatt in the 1920s.

Louis P. Wendel was born 27 January 1891 in Adams County, Indiana, the son of Philip & Marguerite (Emrick) Wendel. Louis married Jessie Butcher on 6 May 1916 in Adams County by W.F. Johnson, pastor of the Brethren Church. Louis worked as a carpenter. [1] They had children Marguerite (Lester Miller), Genevieve (Robert Cecka), Pauline (Herbert Brudi), James (Mary Pierstorff), and Robert (Ruth Wehner; Virginia Brown). Louis Wendel died 24 June 1969 in Celina, Ohio. Louis was a member of the Chattanooga Methodist Church and is buried in the St. Paul UCC cemetery.

In 1917 Louis resided at R.R. #5 Rockford, Ohio, but was farming in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana. He was married to Jessie and they had one child, Marguerite. [2]

In 1920 Louis and Jessie rented a home in rural Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana, probably fairly close to the Ohio state line. Louis worked as a house painter and the couple had two children, Marguerite, 2, and James, 1. [3]

The Louis Wendel family likely moved to Chattanooga sometime between 1922 and 1930. L.P. Wendel is among those listed on an old Chatt platt map created during that time period. They lived on the west side of State Route 49.

In 1930 Louis worked as a mechanic in a garage in Chatt. He lived very close to Ivan Johnson, who also was a garage mechanic. They both had the same 7673 census occupation code (mechanic; automobile greasing station/garage). [4]

A 1933 a Willshire Herald newspaper ad advertised Wendel Motor Sales, Chattanooga, Ohio: “New and used cars, general automobile and body and fender repairing; Duco and all kind of top repair work.” [5]

Chatt ads, Willshire Herald 1933.

In 1940 Louis was an automobile dealer in the village of Chattanooga. [6]

In 1942 Louis was self-employed in Chattanooga. He was 51 years old with a .R.R. #1, Rockford, Ohio, address. [7]

From Wendel Motor Sales, Chattanooga, Ohio, likely before 1958.

Louis Wendel owned and operated Wendel Motor Sales until he retired in 1958, when the business was taken over by his sons Jim and Bob. [8]

Jim and Bob operated Wendel Brothers Motor Sales for another 17 years. The auctioned off the building and contents on Friday 25 April 1975, selling the real estate, the garage, shop and office equipment, and some automobiles. Phil Neuenschwander and Altee Gehres were in charge of the auction. [9]

Auction of Wendel Brothers Motor Sales, Van Wert Times Bulletin, 15 April 1975.

I am sure there is much more to include in the history of Wendel Motor Sales. I would love to hear from anyone who can add information to this brief history or who has memories of the business.

 

[1] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” FamilySearch.org, Louis Wendel and Jessie Butcher, 6 May 1916; Adams County Marriages, Vol. K, p.23, FHL microfilm 2321630.

[2] WWI Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Adams, Indiana, roll 1439777, Lewis Philip Wendel; Ancestry.com; U.S. Selective Service System, NARA microfilm M1509, Washington, D.C.

[3] 1920 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.7B, dwelling 142, family 152, Lewis P Wendel; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T625, roll 420.

[4] 1930 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 20, p.10B, dwelling & family 257, Louis P Wendel; Ancestry.com;  FHL microfilm 2341584, NARA microfilm T626, roll 1850.

[5] The Willshire Herald, December 1933.

[6] 1940 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 54-22, p.14A, visitation no. 277, Lewis P Wendel; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

[7] WWII Draft Cards (4th Registration), Ohio, Louis Philip Wendel, 1942; Ancestry.com; Records of the Selective Service System 1926-1975, Record Group No. 147, National Archives, St. Louis, Missouri.

[8] Louis P. Wendel obituary, Van Wert Times Bulletin, 25 June 1969, p.2; digital image, Ancestry.com.

[9] Wendel Bros. Motor Sales ad Chattanooga, Ohio, public auction notice, Van Wert Times Bulletin, 15 April 1975, p.10; digital image, Newspapers.com.

 

Sep 05

Tombstone Tuesday–Bertha (Huffman) Bollenbacher

Bertha (Huffman) Bollenbacher, Chattanooga Mausoleum, Mercer County, Ohio. (2017 photo by Karen)

This is the mausoleum marker of Bertha (Huffman) Bollenbacher, located in the Chattanooga Mausoleum, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. Her vault is inscribed:

BERTHA
BOLLENBACHER
1897-1977

Bertha Margaretha Huffman was born 3 August 1897, the daughter of Jacob and Mary (Kessler) Huffman. She was baptized by Rev. August Affeld on 29 August 1897 at Zion Lutheran Chatt, with Christian Kessler and Margaretha Kessler serving as her sponsors. She was confirmed at Zion Chatt on 9 April 1911 by Rev. George Haas. Bertha was not mentioned in Zion Chatt’s records again until her death in 1977.

Bertha grew up near Chatt in Liberty Township. The Jacob Huffman household in 1900: Jacob, 35; Mary, 25; Fiona, 5; Bertha, 2; and Clara, 1. Her father Jacob farmed. [1]

Bertha’s mother Mary (Kessler) Huffman died from complications of childbirth on 5 October 1908. Bertha was only 11 years old and her mother was only 33 years old.

In 1910 Bertha lived with her widowed father and five of her siblings children along Willshire Pike, which was likely State Route 49. Their household in 1910: Jacob, 45; Frona, 15; Bertha, 13; Clara, 11; Roman, 9; Lucille, 7; and Harold, 3. [2]

In 1920 five of the seven Huffman children lived with their father Jacob: Jacob, 56; Bertha, 23; Clara, 20; Roma, 18; Lucille, 16; and Harold, 12. [3]

Bertha Huffman married Samuel Abraham Bollenbacher on 18 November 1937 in Mercer County, Ohio. Neither had been married before. Samuel, 65, was retired and Bertha, 40, was a housekeeper. They were married by Rev. H.F. Holtmeyer, the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. [4] Samuel was the son of George (1830-1912) and Anna Barbara (Albrecht) Bollenbacher (1836-1913), born 22 July 1872 in Mercer County, Ohio.

In 1940 Samuel and Bertha lived in Chatt. Samuel was 68 years of age, born in Ohio. Bertha was 43 years of age and was also born in Ohio. Samuel had lived in the same house five years previously. This enumeration indicates that Samuel was a farmer. [5]

Samuel and Bertha had only been married seven years when Samuel died on 2 April 1945 near Chatt. He was 72 years old. According to Zion Chatt’s records he died of pneumonia and was buried on the 5th. He was survived by his wife Bertha and his brother Edward. He is buried in the Chattanooga Mausoleum next to Bertha.

Bertha died 3 June 1977 in Coldwater, Mercer County, Ohio. She was buried on the 6th. No cause of death was given in the church records. She was survived by a brother and four sisters.

Bertha (Huffman) Bollenbacher’s obituary:

BERTHA BOLLENBACHER
Celina—Bertha Bollenbacher, 79, died at 8:42 a.m. Friday in Coldwater Community Hospital.

Survivors include a brother, Roman of Willshire; four sisters, Mrs. Fronie Green of Ft. Recovery, Clara Hofstetter of Geneva, Ind., Lucille Agler of Fillmore, Calif, and Rosella Huffman of Rt. 3, Rockford.

 Funeral services will be at 1:30 p.m. Monday in Ketcham-Rilpey Funeral Home, Rev. Ralph Hershberger officiating. Burial will be in the mausoleum in Chattanooga.

 Friends may call after 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. [6]

The couple did not have any children.

 

[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 85, p.9A, dwelling 165, family 170, Jacob Hoffman; Ancestry,com; FHL microfilm 1241304, NARA microfilm T623, roll 1304.

[2] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 119, p.16A, dwelling 343, family 303, Jacob Huffman; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1375227, NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[3] 1920 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 140, p.10A, dwelling 194, family 210, Jacob Hoffman; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[4] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with imags, FamilySearch.org, Samuel A Bollenbacher & Bertha M Huffman, 18 Nov 1937; Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 15, p.90, FHL microfilm 2366956.

[5] 1940 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 54-22, p.4A, line 20, family 68, Sam Bollenbacher; FamilySearch.org; FHL microfilm 5460643, NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

[6] Bertha (Huffman) Bollenbacher obituary, The Lima News, 4 June 1977, p.4 Lima News; digital image,  Ancestry.com.

 

 

 

 

Sep 01

The Battle of the Bulge Association

This past Memorial Day, while we were looking through the wonderful display of local veterans’ military uniforms and memorabilia that Aleta Weiss organizes every year at Willshire Home Furnishings, I noticed that one of the WWII veterans had a framed Battle of the Bulge Association certificate. I had never heard of this organization but it caught my attention because my dad, Herbert Miller, was in the Battle of the Bulge.

Herbert Miller, 84 Division, 333rd Company, WWII

I don’t know if my dad had ever heard of the organization either. To my knowledge he was never a member but he certainly would have qualified for membership. He was overseas less than two weeks when he joined the Battle of the Bulge on or about Christmas of 1944.

My dad spent three days at Camp Miles Standish, Massachusetts, before leaving for England in 1944. He crossed the Atlantic on the USS Wakefield and docked in England. He crossed England by train, crossed the English Channel on an English boat, and landed at LeHarve, France, on 15 December 1944, just one day before the Battle of the Bulge would begin. He went to the Replacement Depot in France, close to Belgium, and was put into the 84th Division, 333rd Company, Infantry, on 23 December. He fought in the northern part of the Bulge, in Belgium towns, and in the Ardennes.

He told me how terrible the conditions were there. It was the coldest winter on record and they were not outfitted for the severe conditions they encountered.

The Battle of the Bulge was the largest land battle ever fought by the U.S. Army. My dad said they were constantly on the move, walking and moving forward during the day and digging shallow fox holes to try to keep warm and get a little sleep at night. He had the standard issue of winter clothes: a wool uniform, sweater, and 2 pairs of socks, but it was not enough clothing for the worst winter in years, with temperatures ranging from 0 to minus 10-15 degrees, and knee-deep blowing snow. He did not see the inside of a building until the end of January, 1945.

When he arrived in France in December of 1944 he had a very bad case of laryngitis and strep throat. He could not speak and he was coughing up blood. There were no antibiotics or medication and all the Army doctor could do was to put wet towels around his neck. This continued throughout the Battle of the Bulge and my dad did not get his voice back until the end of January 1945.

After the Battle of the Bulge he fought in Germany, Belgium, France, and Luxembourg until the end of the war and then served in the occupation forces until his time in the Army was up.

That is why the Battle of the Bulge Association is of interest to me.

The Battle of the Bulge Association, formerly named Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, was form in Arlington, Virginia, in 1981. Their membership peaked at nearly 12,500 members but today they have only about 2,200 members. Membership is open to anyone who is interested in maintaining the legacy of the men and women who served during the Battle of the Bulge.

Battle of the Bulge Association

Their logo colors are infantry blue, armor yellow, and the artillery red of combat arms. Icons include a rifle, a steel helmet, a tank track, an artillery gun tube, and a lightning bolt. Also pictured are the silhouettes of a parachute and an airplane in the sky, the snow-covered evergreen trees of the Ardennes Forest, and a single brilliant star symbolizing Christmas 1944.

Pin and patch, Battle of the Bulge Association

The Battle of the Bulge Association website: www.battleofthebulge.org.

Membership is open to Battle of the Bulge veterans [Veteran Membership] as well as relatives, historians, or others with an interest in preserving the memory of the Battle of the Bulge [regular Membership]. Annual membership cost for either is $15. A Battle of the Bulge veteran can become a life membership for $75.

I provided my dad’s military information when I applied and that information is printed on the 11×17” parchment certificate I received.

Certificate, Battle of the Bulge Association

Certificate, Battle of the Bulge Association

Included with membership are a membership card, a certificate, and a subscription to their quarterly publication The Bulge Bugle. I like stuff so I also purchased their patch, pin, and a couple window decals. Their publication is filled with articles written by Battle of the Bulge veterans.

Membership card, Battle of the Bulge Association

I am a new member! Battle of the Bulge Association

The Bulge Bugle publication, Battle of the Bulge Association

Sir Winston Churchill said that the Battle of the Bulge was “…undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever-famous American victory.”

I wish I would have known about this association sooner!

Keeping history and memories alive.

 

 

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