Apr 03

Tombstone Tuesday–Milbert & Koneta (Fisher) Stroh

Milbert F. & Koneta M. (Fisher) Stroh, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Milbert Frederick and Koneta Maria (Fisher) Stroh, located in row 7 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

STROH

Koneta M.
1905-1989

Milbert F.
1903-1976

Milbert Frederick Stroh was born 15 February 1903 in Washington Township, Auglaize County, Ohio, the son of John F. and Lena F. (Rehn) Stroh. [1]

In 1920 the John Stroh family lived in Washington Township, Auglaize County. Their household in 1920: John 53, head; Lena, 48, wife; Elmer, 18, son; Milbert, 16, son; Larue, 10, daughter; Conrad, 51, brother; and Harry Stolte, 19, hand. Milbert’s father John was a farmer. [2]

Milbert Stroh married Koneta Fisher on 27 June 1925 at Zion Chatt. They were married by Zion Chatt’s Rev. Albrecht and the witnesses to their marriage were Luther Fisher and Larue Stroh. At the time of their marriage Milbert was a rubber worker and lived in Lima. Koneta lived in Celina [or had a Celina address] and worked as a housekeeper. [3]

Koneta Maria Fisher was born in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio on 6 February 1905, the daughter of Adam John and Minnie Christina (Koch) Fisher. [4]

In 1910 Koneta lived with her parents on Willshire Road, which was most likely State Route 49, several miles south of Chatt. Their household in 1910: Adam, 32; Minnie, 25; and Koneta, 5. Her parents had been married 5 years and Koneta was their only child. Koneta’s father Adam was a farmer. [5]

The Adam Fisher household in 1920: Adam J, 41; Minnie, 35; and Koneta, 14. Adam was a farmer. [6]

In 1930: Milbert & Koneta lived with her parents south of Chatt and south of Frahm Pike.

Koneta’s parents remained in the household with them in 1940 and Milbert farmed: Milbert, 37; Koneta, 35; AJ Fisher, 62; and Minnie Fisher, 56. Their neighbors included Elmer and Mable Fritzinger, Jacob and Fred Betzel, Margaret Bollenbacher, and Charles Bollenbacher. [7]

One daughter, Mary LaRue, was born to Milbert and Koneta in 1937. Mary died in infancy at the age of 15 days. A few years later, sometime in the late 1940s, they adopted their daughter Sandra.

According to the 1975 Mercer County Directory Milbert was retired and he and Koneta lived on State Route 49, with a Route 1 Celina address.

Milbert Stroh died 9 December 1976 at Lima Memorial Hospital, Allen County, Ohio. He was 73 years old and according to Zion Chatt’s records he died of a heart attack. He was survived by his wife, a daughter, 2 grandchildren, 3 brothers, and 3 sisters. He was buried on the 12th. [8]

Koneta moved to Greenville, Ohio, sometime after Milbert’s death. She died 24 October 1989 in the Wayne Hospital in Greenville at the age of 84. [9] Neither her death nor her burial are mentioned in Zion Chatt’s records.

Their daughters and Koneta’s parents are also buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery.

 

[1] “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Milbert Fred Stroh, 15 Feb 1903; Washington, Auglaize County, p.245, no. 45; FHL microfilm 963053.

[2] 1920 U.S. Census, Washington, Auglaize, Ohio, ED 87, p.8B, dwelling 148, family 157, John Stroh; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T625, roll 1348.

[3] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Milbert F Stroh & Koneta Marie Fisher, 27 Jun 1925; Mercer Marriages, Vol. 12, p.373; FHL microfilm 2366955.

[4] “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Koueta Fisher, 6 Feb 1905; Mercer County, unpaginated, no. 10; FHL microfilm 2367099.

[5] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer County, Ohio, ED 119, p.11A, dwelling 197, family 202, Adam Fisher; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1375227, NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[6] 1920 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 140, p.10B, dwelling 198, family 215, Adam J. Fisher; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[7] 1940 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 54-22, p.7B, household 145, Milbert Strok [corrected as Stroh]; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

[8] Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007, Milbert F. Stroh, 9 Dec 1976; database on-line, Ancestry.com; Ohio Department of Health, Vol. 22686, no. 085086.

[9] Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007, Koneta Marie Stroh, 24 Oct 1989; database on-line, Ancestry.com; Ohio Department of Health, Vol. 27863, no. 072648.

 

 

Mar 30

Some Photos of Past Zion Chatt Members

Today, some old photos of some past Zion Chatt members who I recently wrote about on a Tombstone Tuesday.

A big thanks to Christy, who shared the first photo with me. The photo below is the Fred J. and Anna (Huffman) Bollenbacher family, taken about 1920. Christy is Fred and Anna’s great-granddaughter and she descends from their son Albert.

Seated in front: Fred J. Bollenbacher, Anna (Huffman) Bollenbacher. Middle row: Opal, Luther, and Albert Bollenbacher. Standing in back: Mabel and Ernest Bollenbacher.

Fred & Anna (Huffman) Bollenbacher family, c1920. Front, Fred & Anna; Middle: Opal, Luther, & Albert; Back: Mabel & Ernest.

What a great photo!

I did a little searching myself and found some photos taken in 1979.

Anna (Huffman) Bollenbacher (1879-1986):

Anna (Huffman) Bollenbacher, 1979. 100 years old.

Koneta (Fisher) Stroh (1905-1989):

Koneta (Fisher) Stroh, 1979.

Victor (1903-1985) and Chloe (Douglas) (1905-1998) Bollenbacher:

Victor & Chloe (Douglas) Bollenbacher, 1979.

These photos certainly bring back a lot of memories.

Mar 27

Tombstone Tuesday–Mary LaRue Stroh

Mary LaRue Stroh, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Mary LaRue Stroh, located in row 9 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

MARY LARUE
DAU. OF
M.F. & K.M. STROH
1937-1937

Mary LaRue Stroh was born at Otis Hospital, Celina, Mercer County, Ohio, on 26 October 1937, the daughter of Milbert Frederick and Koneta Maria (Fisher) Stroh. Mary’s paternal grandparents were John and Lena (Rehn) Stroh, from Auglaize County, Ohio. Her maternal grandparents were John Adam and Minnie Christina (Koch) Fisher, from Liberty Township, Mercer County.

Mary Stroh was baptized by Zion Chatt’s Rev. Carl Yahl on 9 November 1937. Her maternal grandparents served as her sponsors.

Mary died of an abdominal obstruction on 10 November 1937 in Liberty Township, Mercer County. She was only 15 days old and was survived by her parents and grandparents. Mary was buried on the 12th. Ketcham Brothers and S. S. Egger were in charge of the arrangements. Minnie Fisher was the informant for the information on Mary’s death certificate. [1]

Mary’s parents as well as her maternal grandparents are also buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery.

 

[1] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch.org, Mary Larue Stroh, 10 Nov 1937; Liberty Twp, Mercer, Ohio, file no. 70755; FHL microfilm 2023540.

Mar 23

Dear Mom & All–WWII Letters from Herb (part 20)

My dad, Herbert Miller, was trained as a replacement troop during the fall of 1944. After he arrived in Europe he was assigned to Company L, 333rd Regiment, 84th Infantry Division, known as the Railsplitters. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and later in parts of Luxemburg and Germany.

PFC Herb Miller, “The Railsplitters.”

My dad wrote quite a few letters home during the time he served our country in Europe during WWII and his family saved most of them. I have most of the letters he wrote to his parents, Carl and Gertrude (Brewster) Miller, and to his sister Em and her husband Norval “Jack”.

I am transcribing my dad’s letters and posting them here on Karen’s Chatt, along with some of the photos he took during the war.

These letters are from Pfc. Herbert Miller (35845400), Co. L, 333rd Infantry, A.P.O. 84, c/o Postmaster, New York, NY, to Mr. & Mrs. Norval Weitz, RR1, Rockford, Ohio.

Below is a letter to my dad’s sister Em and her husband Norval “Jack.” The letter is in pretty bad shape and has several holes in it, so a few of the words are missing. There is no envelope with this letter.

21 May 1945
Germany

Dear Em & Jack,

I guess I’d better write a couple of lines. It’s been quite a while since I’ve written.

I’m on guard at a sawmill here at Bad Nenndorf, a town close to Hanover. There are a couple of German Gals over here, flirting, but it was probably their brother or fathers that have been shooting at us.

I sent some snapshots home to mom and them. I have a camera. Say, have they got that rifle I sent home? It should be there before long. Also the canteen and other things I sent home.

The rumor that is going around is that the 84th Division is going to the States. It sort of looks that way.

We have come about 110 miles closer. We’re moving back toward the Rhine. It makes a guy feel sort of funny to pass back through some of the towns that you fought in and the first thing that you think of is the shells flying around and about the guys that didn’t quite make it to the end or those wounded.

Back in the Belgium bulge we were dug in on a ridge and a Germany shell happened to hit the hole next to the one I and Trefun was in. The assistant squad leader of the squad got hit. From his belt up he was full of holes from shrapnel. He didn’t even know what hit him. He and I used to be together a lot and we got to be good buddies. In civilian life he played in one of the well-known orchestras. I can’t think of it just now. He knew Benny Goodman, Guy Lombardo and the rest of the leaders. The same time he got hit a piece of the same darn stuff busted my wristwatch.

On the way from the Rohr to the Rhine another buddy got hit. He used to be an anti-aircraft gunner and volunteered for the infantry about a week before. We were moving into the town of Harten [?], a town where the Jerries landed some paratroopers to try to stop our drive. We were spear-heading at that time. The 1st squad, 1st platoon went first, as usual; and I’m in that squad in the A.R.  team at that. The Jerries let us walk in town and then opened up. We all dived for houses and proceeded to clean out the houses that we had entered. We made all of the Jerries that we took prisoner walk out in the streets. There were tracers flying everywhere. We tried every way we could think of to get back a few houses. We were in the ?? house up on the right side of the road.

[?] Krauts about 10 yards in front of us. All twelve of us were in that house, or I should say beer garden and there was plenty of beer.

We were pinned down in there about three hours and it wasn’t so very long until dark. We had everything planned to fight for the finish. About that time some artillery began to come in—the only thing it was theirs.

This guy was a grenadier. He and the bazooka team and Lamb, the platoon guide, were upstairs in the window trying to knock out a machine gun nest they had spotted when a burp gunner opened up on them at the window. Jack was hit through the neck, arm, and chest and Lamb got a bullet hole through his helmet just nicking him. We carried Jack down in the basement so that he’d be safe from shrapnel. That made us pretty mad so we lay down a barrage of hand-grenades and made a dash for the next house. We surprised them and got about 30 Krauts prisoners we had quite a few pistols, but that was the last of our thoughts, we just had ourselves in deeper. We were about to see what the situation was there, when we heard a tank coming. We didn’t know if they were ours or not so they got the bazooka team ready to fire on it. When around the corner comes two American tank destroyers—hell-bent and fire. The rest of the town was duck-soup and the T.D.s saved the day. We were going to bed down for a good night’s sleep when they got us together to go out and try to defend the town.

Your Brother
Herbie

PS If you want to give the letter to Helen and correct it to put in the youth council paper.

German prisoners of war at German railroad station.

German prisoners of war at German railroad station.

Back of Sherman Tank, Germany.

Notes by Karen: This letter is very interesting because he tells about some of the combat he was in. I remember my dad telling the story about the tank destroyer. They heard a tank coming but didn’t know if it was friendly or not. It was just a good thing that it was an American tank destroyer!

It would have been very hard to see your fellow soldiers get hit and I am sure it is something my dad never forgot. He really never talked about that part of the war. In the sixth paragraph he mentions the name Trefun. That would be Pfc Matt Trefun. They were probably in the same squad and Trefun’s name is one of the names written on the Nazi flag my dad brought home. A photo of the Nazi is in part 18 of my dad’s WWII letter series blog posts.

In that same paragraph my dad mentions that the shrapnel hit and busted his wristwatch. This story was printed in The Willshire Herald on 12 July 1945:…”Pfc. Herbert M. Miller, son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Miller of south of town, has been awarded the Purple Heart for wounds sustained while in action in Germany. He was hit by a shrapnel, which broke his wrist watch and injured his thumb. His buddy was killed by being hit by the same shrapnel. The Purple Heart has been sent to his mother.” That certainly hit close to my dad!

In these letters my dad also gives some indication of where he was and where he fought. Sometime I may plot it all out on a map.

 

 

Mar 20

Tombstone Tuesday–Blaine O, Opal M (Bollenbacher), & Billy D Laffin

Blaine, Opal, & Billy Laffin, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Blaine O, Opal M (Bollenbacher), and Billie D Laffin, located in row 10 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

LAFFIN

Blaine O.
1908-1988

Opal M.
1909-1998

Billy D.
1932-1953

Blaine O. Laffin was born in Mercer County, Ohio, on 2 June 1908, the son of Elza/Elzy and Martha Florence (Davis) Laffin. His given name was likely Okley B. [1]

In 1910 the Elzy Laffin family lived on Lewis Pike in Center Township, Mercer County, Ohio. Their household in 1910: Elzy, 26; Florence, 22; Helen, 3; and Blaine, 1. They rented their property and Elzy was a farmer. Elzy and Florence had been married 2 years and all of the family members were born in Ohio. [2]

By 1920 the Elzy Laffin family had moved to Liberty Township, Mercer County. Their household in 1920: Elzy 36; Florence, 32; Helen, 13; Blaine, 11; and Dillon, 3. They rented their property and Elzy farmed. [3]

Blaine Laffin married Opal Bollenbacher sometime around 1930 but I was unable to locate their marriage record on-line nor could I locate their names in the 1930 census.

Opal Marie Bollenbacher was born in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, on 7 February 1909, the daughter of Fred J. and Anna (Huffman) Bollenbacher. Opal grew up in Liberty Township, south of Chatt. [4] [5]

After their marriage Blaine was baptized and confirmed at Zion Chatt, as an adult, on 3 July 1932. He was baptized and confirmed by Rev. Carl Yahl.

Blaine and Opal had a son, Billy Dee Laffin, born 6 September 1932 in Celina, Mercer County. That appears to be where the family lived at the time of his birth. Billy was baptized at Zion Chatt by Rev. Carl Yahl on 15 October 1932. Billy’s parents served as his sponsors.

The Blaine Laffin family moved to the Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, area around 1937 and Blaine worked for the Essex Wire Company. They lived on Euclid Avenue. [6]

In 1940 the Laffin family lived on Church Street in Waynedale. They owned their home and Blaine operated a wire company. Their household in 1940: Blaine, 31; Opal, 31; and Billy, 7. [7] Billy attended Central High School in Fort Wayne and his photo is on-line at Ancestry.com, in their 1948 yearbook. [8]

Billy Laffin was a student at Wabash College when he developed a brain tumor and died about 6 months later, on 14 June 1953, at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne. He was only 20 years old. Klaehn Funeral Home in Fort Wayne was in charge of the arrangements and Billy was buried on the 17th. Blaine Laffin was the informant for the information on Billy’s death certificate. [9]

In 1958 Blaine and Opal Laffin lived on Baxter Street and Blaine was a foreman at Imperial Wire. By 1960 they had moved to East Maple Grove Avenue and Blaine was a supervisor at Imperial Wire. [10]

Blaine Laffin died 14 September 1988 in Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana. He was 80 years old and died of respiratory failure from COPD. He lived on Stonehedge Blvd, Fort Wayne and he was the supervisor of a wire and cable company. D.O. McComb was in charge of the funeral arrangements and he was buried on the 17th. [11]

Opal Marie (Bollenbacher) Laffin died 25 March 1998, at the Arbors at Fort Wayne, at the age of 89. Her death certificate indicates that she was born in Chattanooga, was a homemaker, and a widow. D.O. McComb was in charge of the funeral arrangements and she was buried on the 28th. Her nephew Brent Bollenbacher of Convoy, Ohio, was the informant for the information on her death certificate. [12]

It appears none of the Laffin funerals were held at Zion Chatt. They are not mentioned in the church records.

 

[1] “Ohio Births and Christenings, 1821-1962,” Okley B. Laffin; index, Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 914953.

[2] 1910 U.S. Census, Center, Mercer, Ohio, ED 109, p.9A, dwelling 186, family 187, Elzy Laffin; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1375227, NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[3] 1920 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 140, p.13B, dwelling 269, family 288, Elzy Laffin; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[4] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 119, p.4A, dwelling & family 60, Fred J Bollenbaugher; Ancestry.com; FHL microfilm 1375227, NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[5] 1920 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 140, p.9B, dwelling 177, family 191, Fred J. Bollenbacher; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[6] U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, 1937 Fort Wayne, Indiana, City Directory, p.386; Ancestry.com.

[7] 1940 U.S. Census, Waynedale, Allen, Indiana, ED 2-32, p.27B, line 59, Blaine Laffin; Ancestry.com; NARA microfilm T627, roll 1025.

[8] “U.S. School Yearbooks, 1888-2012,” Central High School, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1948; Ancestry.com.

[9] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, year 1953, roll 6, Billy D Laffin, 14 June 1953; Ancestry.com; Indiana State Board of Health, Death Certificates, 1900-2011, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

[10] 1958 Fort Wayne, Indiana, City Directory, p.595; 1960 Fort Wayne, Indiana, City Directory, p.574; Ancestry.com.

[11] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, year 1988, roll 59; Blaine O Laffin, 14 Sep 1988; Ancestry.com; Indiana State Board of Health, Death Certificates, 1900-2011, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

[12] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, year 1998, roll 4, Opal M Laffin; Ancestry.com; Indiana State Board of Health, Death Certificates, 1900-2011, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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