Jun 09

Tombstone Tuesday–Orah M. Heffner

Orah M. Heffner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio.

Orah M. Heffner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2015 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Orah Mathilde Heffner, buried in row 4 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Orah M.
Dau. of
Wm & C. Heffner
Nov. 3, 1896
Jan. 31
1899

Orah Mathilde Heffner was born 3 November 1896, the second of three daughters born to William and Elizabeth (Wendel) Heffner. Although her probate court birth record indicates she was born in Blackcreek Township this same record shows her parents lived in Van Wert County. [1]

Orah was baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Chatt by Rev. August Affeld on 6 December 1896 and her parents served as her sponsors.

Her death and burial are not recorded in Zion Chatt’s records but her death was recorded in Mercer County’s probate records. That record indicates that she died of croup in Blackcreek Township on 31 January 1899 at the age of 2 years, 2 months, and 17 days. [2]

Croup is defined as a loud cough and other symptoms caused by inflammation around the larynx, windpipe, and bronchial tubes, all caused by a virus.

Her name is spelled Ora Matilda in the county probate records.

 

[1] “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 6 June 2015), Ora Matilda Heffner, 3 Nov 1896; citing Births, Blackcreek, Mercer, Ohio, Vol. 2, p.91, from FHL Microfilm 914,953.

[2] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 5 June 2015), Ora Matilda Haffner, 31 Jan 1899; citing Death, Blackcreek, Mercer, Ohio, Vol. 2, p.308; from FHL microfilm 914954.

Jun 05

An Old Wooden Box

This past week I was given a gift that came with a research challenge, and of course I love a challenge. One of my patients brought this old wooden box into the office for me. He knew I would want to find out about the person whose name is written on the box.

Wooden box that once belonged to Ernst Dietrich, Schumm, Ohio.

Wooden box that once belonged to Ernst Dietrich, Schumm, Ohio.

My patient only asked that I not touch the dirty old box before I cleaned his teeth. [And, yes! I do wear gloves as a dental hygienist!]

Written neatly in script on the box is:

Ernst Dietrich
Schumm
Van W. Co O

I thanked my patient profusely and promised him I would start researching Ernst Dietrich right way, as he knew I would. I could not wait to get started and see where my research journey would take me.

With Schumm written on the box, even though Schumm was the place name and not a person’s name, I figured there was a good possibility there would be some family connection. There always seems to be some sort of family connection in small communities like this.

I quickly discovered that there was only one Ernst Dietrich in the Schumm vicinity years ago so I was pretty sure had found the correct owner of the box.

Seriously? That was way too easy! I wanted more information about the box’s owner.

Fortunately, Ernst Dietrich, aka Ernest Dietrich, or Arnst Dietrich as recorded in one census enumeration, attended Zion Lutheran Church at Schumm.

Georg Ernst Dietrich was born 9 July 1864 in Van Wert County to Adam and Maria Elisabeth (Germann) Dietrich. Ernst was baptized at home on 17 July 1864, with Jacob Germann and wife, Georg ?, and Elisabeth Germann has his sponsors.

Ernst married Clara Schumm at Zion Schumm on 14 August 1898. Both were from the Zion parish. Clara was the daughter of “River Henry” and Anna “Rosina” (Schinnerer) Schumm. [You just know there had to be a Schumm connection in this story somewhere. And there is even a Schinnerer connection, too! So I am double-related to Clara.]

Ernst and Clara had the following children:
Rosina Marie (1899-1987), married Walter Baker
Edna Magdalena (1901-1986), married George Jacob Hofmann
Leah Juliana (1902-1996), married Oscar Boenker; married Richard Merkle
Louise Wilhelmina (1905-1992), married Erwin Zitzlaff Peters

Ernst Dietrich was a farmer and he died young, at only 41 years of age. He died of gall bladder disease on 20 July 1905 and was buried in Zion Schumm’s cemetery on 23 July.

His widow Clara married Carl “Charles” Merkle at Zion Schumm on 26 November 1908. The church records indicate that Carl was 39 years old and from the Germann settlement. Clara was 33 years old and from Zion’s parish. Witnesses to their marriage were William Merkle and Henry Schumm.

Then I found an even closer connection to my family than the Schumm/Schinnerer connection mentioned earlier. Read on.

Ernst and Clara Dietrich’s daughter Leah married Oscar Boenker on 28 August 1927 [1] and they set up housekeeping in Indiana, where Oscar was from. They had one son, Herman, born 23 May 1928 in Indiana.

Sadly, Oscar Boenker died 26 July 1928, just three months after Herman’s birth. [2]

After Oscar’s death widow Leah (Dietrich) Boenker went back home to Ohio, to the Schumm area, to live with her mother Clara and her step-father Carl “Charles” Merkle. [3] On 23 April 1931 Leah (Dietrich) Boenker married Richard Merkle, son of William and Mary (Siegle) Merkle. [4] Richard was the nephew of Leah’s step-father Charles Merkle.

Leah and Richard had the following children: Norbert, Alvin, Albert, and Willard.

Years later Leah (Dietrich) Boenker Merkle’s son from her first marriage, Herman Boenker, married my mom’s sister Amy. Herman Boenker passed away in 1990 and is also buried in Zion Schumm’s cemetery.

Ernst Dietrich was my uncle Herman’s grandfather.

Wooden box that once belonged to Ernst Dietrich.

Wooden box that once belonged to Ernst Dietrich.

Another mystery solved!

But what was this little wooden box used for? That is what I would like to know now.

The box is 11.5 x 5 x 4.5 inches. It would date back to at least 1905, but likely earlier.

The person who gave it to me said he would use it to hide money in!

Maybe it was a box Ernst used in school. A very large pencil box?

I think it might have been a mailing box since it has an address on it. What could have been mailed in it? Something fragile? Something small. Spirits perhaps?

I would love to hear any suggestions as to what the old wooden box might have been used for.

 

[1] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 4 June 2015), Oscar Baenker and Leah Dietrich, 28 Aug 1927; citing Van Wert, Ohio Marriages, Vol. 17, p.1 ; from FHL microfilm 1015952.

[2] “Find A Grave Index,” index, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 4 June 2015), Oscar Boenker, 1928; burial Decatur, Adams, Indiana, St. John Lutheran Cemetery; citing Rind a Grave memorial no. 33164050, Find a Grave, www.findagrave.com.

[3] 1930 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 24, p.5B, dwelling 112, family 115, Charley Merkle; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 June 2015), from FHL microfilm 2341624, from NARA microfilm T626, roll 1890.

[4] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 4 June 2015), Richard Merkle and Mrs. Leah Boenker, 23 Apr 1931; citing Van Wert, Ohio Marriages, Vol. 17, p.337; from FHL microfilm 10159521.

Jun 02

Tombstone Tuesday–William & Elizabeth (Wendel) Heffner

William & Elizabeth Heffner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

William & Elizabeth Heffner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of William and Elizabeth (Wendel) Heffner, located in row 1 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

HEFFNER
Elizabeth
1870-1965
William
1871-1920

Carl William Heffner was born 18 August 1871 in Blackcreek Township, Mercer County, Ohio, to Conrad and Margaret (Miller) Heffner. He was baptized 24 September 1871 with William Schumm and Anna Marie Heffner as sponsors. William was confirmed 18 April 1886 at Zion Chatt.

William married Elizabeth Wendel on 12 February 1893 in Van Wert County, Ohio. [1] They set up housekeeping in Blackcreek Township where William farmed and they attended church at Zion Chatt. Their three children were baptized at Zion Chatt, two were confirmed there, and the third was buried in Zion’s cemetery,

Although his tombstone shows his name as William, he sometimes went by the name of Charles W.

According to her Van Wert County birth record Elizabeth Wendel was born on 25 January 1871 in Harrison Township, Van Wert County to John and Catherine (Rohr/Rohe) Wendel. [2] However, other accounts, including the SSDI, her Michigan obituary, and their tombstone indicate her date of birth was 21 November 1870.

They resided in Blackcreek Township all of their married life.

William died of peritonitis on 14 November 1920 at their home in Blackcreek Township. He was buried on 16 November. [3]

Elizabeth remained in their home in Blackcreek Township until at least 1940. [4]

Elizabeth (Wendel) Heffner died December 1968 in Kent, Michigan. According to her obituary she was living with her daughter Esther Whitney at the time of her death. [5]

Children of William and Elizabeth Heffner :
Viola “Esther” Rebekka (1895-1976), married George Collins; married Whitney
Orah Mathilde (1896-1899)
Maria “Marie” Elizabeth (1898-1975), married John Eichler

 

[1] “Ohio, County Marriages, 179-2013,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 31 May 2015), Charles W. Heffner & Elisabeth Wendel, 12 Feb 1893; citing Van Wert, Ohio, Marriages, Vol. 8, p.182; from FHL microfilm 1015862.

[2] “Ohio, county Births, 1841-2003,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 31 May 2015), Elizabeth Wendel, 25 January 1871; citing Harrison, Van Wert, Ohio, Births, Vol. 1, p.42; from FHL microfilm 1015856.

[3] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 31 May 2015), Chas Wm Heffner, 14 Nov 1920; citing Blackcreek, Mercer, Ohio; from FHL microfilm 1991439.

[4] 1940 U.S. Census, Blackcreek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 54-1, p.9A, line 8, Elizabeth Heffner; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 May 2015); from NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

[5] Elizabeth Heffner obituary, Find a Grave.com (www.findagrave.com : accessed 31 May 2015); Elizabeth Wendel Heffner Find a Grave memorial #35335796.

 

May 29

Some Newsy Items from The Willshire Herald

News and social items in old newspapers can provide all sorts of information for your family history as well as information that is just plain interesting to read. Here are a few items I found recently.

Some social news:

Willshire Young Miss Weds Decatur Young Man Secretly

Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Reece learned last Saturday evening that their daughter, Miss Mae, had gone to Kalamazoo, Michigan, December 7, where she was united in marriage with Clifford Marshall of Decatur. The young lady returned to her home in this village, and it was several days before the members of her family and intimate friends knew that she had forsaken the ranks of single blessedness and taken on a life partner.

The groom is a tradesman, being an employee of the Schaffer Saddlery company, and has already taken his bride to that city, where they have gone to house-keeping. [1]

It really wasn’t such a secret once it was published on the front page of the local paper. And just who was out there tracking down and reporting all that information?

The Willshire Herald, 21 December 1922, p.1.

The Willshire Herald, 21 December 1922, p.1.

The paper reports an accident and gives a little genealogical information, too:

Local Woman Sustains Serious Injury in Fall

Mrs. Effie Fisher, residing on Green street, fell on the sidewalk in front of her home last Wednesday and was seriously injured. Dr. M.J. Osborn, called to administer treatment, found her sufferings were so great that an x-ray was determined upon, and she was taken to Decatur hospital Thursday, where Dr. C.C. Rayl took the x-ray.

It was disclosed that the arm was broken at the point where it enters the shoulder.

The patient was then turned over to Dr. Osborn again. She was brought to her home in this village, but for lack of suitable nurse attention, she was taken to the home of a cousin, Mrs. Vaughn Milligan, where she is being cared for. [2]

Here is a little item about the general store that was once in Schumm:

Geo. Weinman of the Weinman & Buechner general store at Schumm was a business caller at this office Tuesday evening, leaving an order for job printing, also an advertisement which appears in this week’s issue of The Herald. [3]

The Willshire Herald, 5 February 1925, p.3.

The Willshire Herald, 5 February 1925, p.3.

Evidently they reported about everyone who walked through their doors. Unfortunately I did not get a copy of the ad they mentioned.

An newsy item like the following could help track a family’s migration:

The Schinnerer Family is Coming Back Home
H.F. Schinnerer has completed transactions whereby he has again become owner of the Schinnerer farm on the eastern border of this town. The terms of the re-purchase of the property include an agreement to give Mr. Schinnerer possession March 1, 1926.

The farm, approximately 200 acres of land, is one of the best bodies of land in this section of the country, and Mr. Schinnerer is to be congratulated upon his ability to again come into its proprietorship, with the expectation of again becoming a permanent resident of the Willshire community—something that we trust will be of mutual congratulation to the Schinnerer family and the people of Willshire and vicinity. [4]

Finally, read about the big shoe sale in Chatt back in 1911: [5]

The Willshire Herald, 26 January 1911, p.5.

The Willshire Herald, 26 January 1911, p.5.

I wonder what that Candy Guessing Contest was all about…

 

[1] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 21 December 1922, p.1.

[2] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 14 January 1943, p.1.

[3] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 5 February 1925, p.3.

[4] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 1 October 1925, p.1.

[5] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 26 January 1911, p.5.

May 26

Tombstone Tuesday–Jacob J. Heffner

Jacob J. Heffner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Jacob J. Heffner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Jacob J.Heffner, located in row 3 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Jacob J. Heffner
Sept. 1, 1861
Dec. 18, 1899
In Memory
Of Our Father

Jacob Joseph Heffner was born 1 September 1861 in Blackcreek Township, Mercer County, Ohio. He was the 8th of 12 known children born to Conrad & Margaret (Miller) Heffner. Jacob was baptized 6 October 1861 at Zion and Jacob Becker and Jacob Deitsch were his sponsors. He was confirmed at Zion Chatt on 18 April 1875.

Jacob Heffner married Elizabeth Merkle on 16 December 1884 at Zion Chatt. Witnesses to the marriage were Joseph and Lucinda (Kantner) Merkle, parents of the bride.

Elizabeth Merkle was born 30 July 1865 in Celina, Ohio, according to their church marriage record.

Jacob Joseph Heffner died of lung and liver disease on 1 December 1898, at the age of 37 years and 3 months. According to Zion Chatt’s records he was survived by his mother, 10 siblings, and 3 children.

Two years after Jacob’s death Elizabeth and her three sons were living in Celina, where they likely lived before Jacob’s death. In the household were Lizzie, 34; Carl R, 14; Leo C, 13; and Ralph J, 11. Elisabeth “Lizzie” was employed as a dressmaker and the boys attended school. [1]

By 1910 widow Elizabeth Heffner and her three sons had moved to Dayton, Ohio, where Elizabeth worked as a dressmaker at their home on 247 Chestnut Street. Living with her were sons Carl, 24, a lithographer at a printing office; Leo, 22, a merchant at a retail grocery; Ralph, 21, a cabinet maker; and her brother Fredrick Merkle, 37, who was employed as a carpenter. Her sons and brother were all single. [2]

Elizabeth died in 1924 in Dayton and is buried in Woodland Cemetery there. All three of her sons are also buried there.

Children of Jacob Joseph and Elisabeth (Merkle) Heffner: [3]
Charles “Carl” Rudolph (1885-1918)
Leo Conrad (1887-1967) married & divorced Ella R. Ryan
Ralph J. (1889-1940), married Louise Josephine “Lulu” (Schmacher) Ackerman

 

[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Celina, mercer, Ohio, ED 84, p.17A, dwelling 338, family 362, Lizzie Heffner; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 May 2015); from FHL microfilm 1241304, from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1304.

[2] 1910 U.S. Census, Dayton Ward 7, Montgomery, Ohio, ED 95, p.5A, no.249, visited 113, family 126, Elizabeth Heffner; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 May 2015); from FHL microfilm 1375229, from NARA microfilm T624, roll 1216.

[3] Their children were evidently not baptized at Zion Chatt since they were not in Zion’s church records.

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