Dec 13

Tombstone Tuesday–Georg & Katharina Berron

Georg & Katharina Berron, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Georg & Katharina Berron, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Georg and Katharina Berron, located in row 3 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Georg
Berron
Gest. Den
16 Nov. 1898
Alter
85 J. 4 M. 29 T.

Katharina
Berron
Gest. Den
15 Juni. 1901
Alter
74 J. 1 M. 11 T.

Translation: Georg Berron, died 16 November 1898, age 85 years, 4 months, 29 days. Katharina Berron, died 15 June 1901, age 74 years, 1 month, 11 days.

Georg Berron was born 17 June 1813, as recorded in his church burial record. That same record also indicates that he died of old age on 16 November 1898 at the age of 85 years, 4 months, and 29 days. He was survived by his widow, 3 natural children, 2 stepchildren, and 12 grandchildren.

His widow Katharina (Housenmicht) Berron was born 4 May 1827, as calculated from her tombstone. Zion Chatt’s records spell her maiden name as Hausbarcht but some other records I found on-line spell her name as Hausknecth, Hauskushr, or Hanskmoht. A descendant of the family spells the name as Housenmicht.

Katharina (Housenmicht) Berron died on 15 June 1901 after suffering a stroke. She was 76 years, 4 months, and 25 days old and was buried on the 23rd.

Georg & Katharina Berron, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Georg & Katharina Berron, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

I found very little information about this couple even though there were not that many families by the name of Berron in the area. I believe the family may have lived in Adams and/or Jay County, Indiana, and/or Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, despite the fact that I could not find them in any census enumeration.

Their children George [Jr] and Julia were born in Petersbach, Elsass, so the family immigrated after 1868. Georg Berron is first seen in Zion Chatt’s communion records in 1892.

Georg’s church burial record indicates that he was survived by 3 natural children and 2 stepchildren. George [Jr]’s death certificate indicates his father was George and his mother’s name was unknown. [1] Julia (Berron) Betzel’s death certificate indicates her father was George Berron and her mother’s name was unknown. [2] Friedrich Berron’s death certificate indicates that his father was Jacob Berron and his mother’s name was unknown. [3]

Georg and Katharina Berron had the following children:
George (1861-1929), married Maria Kuehm; married Maria (Betzel) Kessler; married Sophia (Wierwille) Schultz
Friedrich (1862-1915), married Louise Bollenbacher
Julie (1868-1927), married Jacob Kuehm ; married William Betzel

Apparently Katharina had two children when she married Georg, but I do not know who they were. They likely did not have the Berron surname unless Georg adopted them.

 

[1] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 11 Dec 2016), George Berron, 13 Apr 1929; Lima, Allen County deaths, no.25568; FHL microfilm 1991767.

[2] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 11 Dec 2016), Julia Betzel, 16 Sep 1927; Liberty Township, Mercer County deaths, no.53335; FHL microfilm 1985117.

[3] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, database on-line, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 Dec 2016), Fred Berron, 2 Sep 1915; Indiana State Board of Health, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dec 09

The Aluminum Christmas Tree

I remember back in the early 1960s when aluminum Christmas trees with their spinning colored projection wheel were popular. I remember how sparkly and pretty and different they were.  I think just about everyone had one back then. And we did, too. It was exciting to have that ultra-modern Christmas tree sitting in front of our living room window and it was mesmerizing to watch the tree change colors as the wheel slowly turned.

I think this is the only photo I have of that tree, taken in about 1962 at a Farm Bureau Council dinner that was held at my parents’ home. I see that my mom had silver ornaments on the silver tree. I think one year she put turquoise ornaments on it.

Christmas c1962, L to R: ?. Florence Miller, Donna Caffee, Homer Carr, Vernon Caffee, Rita & Bob Humbert, Fred Miller.

Christmas c1962, L to R: ?. Florence Miller, Donna Caffee, Homer Carr, Vernon Caffee, Rita & Bob Humbert, Fred Miller.

We found that same old vintage tree when we cleaned out the attic at my parents’ home last summer. There it was, in a box, likely its original box, each branch carefully wrapped in its paper sleeve. That was the way my mom cared for her things. She packed just about everything back into its original box, just like it came from the store. Packed carefully away until it was time to get it out and use it again.

Vintage aluminum Christmas Tree. (2016)

Vintage aluminum Christmas Tree. (2016 photo)

Vintage aluminum Christmas tree. 2016

Vintage aluminum Christmas tree. (2016 photo)

I did not look all the way to the bottom of the box to see if the colored light wheel was there, too. It may have been because we did not find it anywhere else. Or it may have broken and been discarded years ago.

Are these trees making a comeback? I still see them in a house or store window occasionally.

Amazon has aluminum trees for sale and some are described as Mid-Century Modern. They were certainly from that era. Today’s full sized aluminum trees range from $230-$300 on Amazon. Some are full, others spindly, and they come in a range of heights. The color wheel is $40. One of their trees is lighted! I remember the warnings NOT to string electric lights on them. That electrical shock warning always worried me.

No, I did not keep that aluminum tree. We decided early on, while going through things at their house, that we just could not possibly keep everything. And we sure did not need another Christmas tree at our house. Instead, I took photos of the items we could not keep. I have the photos and the memories. Someone else can cherish and enjoy these things now, as they give them new life and make their own memories.

 

Dec 06

Tombstone Tuesday–Johann & Barbara (Wiedmann) Becker

Johann and Barbara Wiedmann, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Johann and Barbara Wiedmann, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Johann and Barbara (Wiedmann) Becker, located in row 5 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Barbara Becker
Geboren den
27 Feb. 1812
Gestorben den
12 Dec. 1894

Johann Becker
Geboren den
3 Nov. 1808
Gestorben den
20 Feb. 1888

Translation: Barbara Becker, born 27 February 1812, died 12 December 1894. Johann Becker, born 3 November 1808, died 20 February 1888.

Johann “John” Becker was born 3 November 1808, according to his church burial record and the inscription on his tombstone, but according to Zion Chatt’s Familienbuch, he was born 24 November 1808. He was born in Dittweiler, County Waldmohr [Wald Mohr], Rhein-Bavaria, the son of Jacob and Catharina Becker. He immigrated to America in 1833 and in 1836 married Barbara Catharina Wiedmann in Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, all information from the church records.

Barbara Katharina Wiedmann was born 27 February 1812 in Clebrun [Cleebronn?], Oberant Brackenheim, Wüerttemberg, the daughter of Jakob Friederich and Margaretha Wiedmann.

The couple lived in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, before moving to the Piqua, Ohio, area, and to Mercer County, Ohio, by the mid 1850s. According to the 1882 History of Mercer and Van Wert Counties, John and Barbara settled in Mercer County in October 1853.

John and Barbara (Wiedmann) Becker had the following children:
Anna Maria (1837-1917), married John Becher
John Philipp (1839- ), married Philippena Schlafmann
Jacob John (1840-1889), married Caroline Bollenbacher
Louisa Friedericka (1843-1864), married Jacob Bollenbacher
Katharina Elizabeth (1845-1917), married Charles Bollenbacher
William C (1849-1929), married Philippena Phoebe Gehm
Heinrich “Henry” R. (1851-1914), married Anna Maria Catharina “Mary” Menche

Zion Chatt’s records indicate the two eldest children were born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and the rest born in Piqua.

John and Barbara resided in Blackcreek Township in 1860 and their household was as follows: John, 50; Barbara, 48; John P, 21; Jacob, 19; Louisa, 16; Catharine, 15; William, 11; and Henry, 9. John [Sr] was born in Germany, Barbara in Württemberg, and all their children in Ohio. John was a farmer and Barbara could not read or write. [1]

By 1870 all but two of their children were gone from their household and their name was enumerated as Baker. In the 1870 census: John, 63; Barbara, 58; William, 21; and Henry, 18. Living next door was their son John P and his wife Phebe [Schlafmann]. [2] Had the family changed their name to Baker by this time?

By 1880 John and Barbara were living with their son Henry and his family and their surname was enumerated as Baker. Son Henry had married Mary Ann Menche and they had three children, Theodore M, 4; Amelia B, 2; and Lucy, 4 months. John, 71, was shown as unemployed and Barbara was keeping house. David Betsel, 16, was also enumerated in the household as hired labor. [3]

John Becker died of dropsy in Blackcreek Township [4] on 20 February 1888, at the age of 79 years, 3 months, and 17 days. He was buried on the 22nd. His county death record indicates he died 9 February at the age of 79 years, 2 months, and 10 days. His name was recorded as Becker in the church records and as Baker in his count death record.

Barbara died of a stroke on 12 December 1894 in Blackcreek Township. She was 82 years, 9 months, and 15 days old and was buried on the 14th, according to Zion Chatt’s records. She was survived by 3 sons, 2 daughters, and 49 grandchildren. According to her county death record she died on 14 December 1894 at the age of 83 years, 9 months, and 23 days. [5] More conflicting dates!

Johann and Barbara Wiedmann, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Johann and Barbara Wiedmann, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Becker is one of those area surnames whose spelling varied of may have been changed completely. Becker was the fairly consistent spelling in the church records, especially for John and Barbara’s generation, but it was written as Baker in the county records for their children. The name Becker looks like it was actually changed to Baker and was used by most of John and Barbara’s children. Children Philip, Jacob John, Katherine Elizabeth, William, and Henry’s names were recorded as Baker in their marriage records.

John and Barbara’s grave marker is also a little unusual for its day because it gives the couple’s dates of birth instead of having to calculate it from their age and date of death. Those older markers usually did not give the birth date, just the age and death date. The shape of the marker is also rather unique. The arch connecting the two pillars with the inscriptions could symbolize marriage or victory in death.

 

[1] 1860 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, p.88 [written], dwelling 623, family 628, John Bachar; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 Dec 2016); FHL microfilm 805009, NARA microfilm M653, roll 1009.

[2] 1870 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, p.22 [written], dwelling/family 162, John Baker; digital image by subscription,  Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 Dec 2016); FHL microfilm 552742, NARA microfilm M593, roll 1243.

[3] 1880 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 179, p.6B [written], dwelling 2, family, 2, Henry Baker; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 Dec 2016); FHL microfilm 1255048, NARA microfilm T9, roll 1048.

[4] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch, (https://familysearch.org : accessed 3 Dec 2016), John Baker, 9 Feb 1888); from Blackcreek, Mercer Deaths, Vol. 1, p.252; FHL microfilm 914954.

[5] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch, (https://familysearch.org : accessed 3 Dec 2016), Barbara Baker, 9 Feb 1888); from Blackcreek, Mercer Deaths, Vol. 2, p.261; FHL microfilm 914954.

Dec 02

Duckcreek School Burns, 2005

I still remember the old Duckcreek School building that once stood in Blackcreek Township. It was located about three miles north of Chatt on State Route 49, just a little north of Wilson Road.

Duckcreek Church was located across the road and a little to the north of the school, near Duckcreek Cemetery. The church was destroyed by a tornado in 1920 but the cemetery is still there.

According to the 1978 Mercer County Ohio History, Duckcreek School District #4 was the first school in Blackcreek Township and was started in 1852. The brick Duckcreek School building was built in 1893.

Duckcreek School stood for over 110 years until it was struck by lightening and burned on 18 July 2005.

John and Janet Myers lived on their farm across the road from the school and witnessed the destruction of the building. Bernard Krall lived in the house that was located north of the school building and used the school for storage. The house was later sold to the Amish.

A big thank you to Janet Myers for sharing the photos she took of Duckcreek School that day.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Difficult to read, but probably Chattanooga Fire Department trucks.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duck Creek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Duckcreek School fire, 2005. Photo courtesy of Janet Myers.

Below is an aerial photo from Google Earth. The photo was taken 28 February 2006, about six months after the fire. You can see the location of the school and the brick rubble on the west side [left side] of the road, near the road, at the bottom of the green grassy area. The Myers farm is across the road to the right.

 

Google Earth after the fire, February 2006.

Google Earth after the fire, 28 February 2006.

Nov 29

Tombstone Tuesday–Catharina Schaeffer

Catharina Schaeffer, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2016 photo by Karen)

Catharina Schaeffer, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2016 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Catharina Schaeffer, located in row 1 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. This small marble tombstone stands only about 3 feet high and is located in what was probably the back of the cemetery in 1877. The marker is inscribed:

CATHARINA
Wife Of
PHILIP
SCHAEFFER
Died 1877
Aged 49Y
Gone but not forgotten

This is another one of those mysterious grave markers in Zion Chatt’s cemetery, one of a handful of tombstones in the cemetery that marks the final resting place of someone about which nothing is recorded or known.

Who was Catharina Schaeffer?

Neither her death nor her burial is recorded in the church records. In fact, she is not mentioned in the church records at all. Not even in the communion records. Very few individuals with the surname Schaeffer, or other spelling variations of that name, are mentioned in the Zion Chatt’s records. It just was not a common surname around the Chatt area.

In addition, her death does not appear to have been recorded in Mercer County Probate.

Catharina’s grave marker is badly weathered and very difficult to read. When the Mercer County Chapter OGS read the cemetery in 1990 they transcribed a word in the second line of the inscription as “dau” [daughter] of Philip, but Find a Grave.com records it as “wife” of Philip.

That would certainly make a big difference. Was Schaeffer Catharina’s maiden name or was it her married name? Was Philip her father or her husband?

The other day we stopped at the cemetery for another look at the tombstone and to take more photos.  I agree with both tombstone readings that Catharina died in 1877 and was 49 years old. That means she was born in about 1828. But the most weathered, unreadable part of the inscription is the word “wife” or “dau.”

The word looks like “wife” to me. The D on Died in line five does not look like the first letter of the word that would be Dau. Plus there is a tall letter in the mystery word that looks very much like the f in “Of” in the same line, which would make sense if the word was “wife.”

Catharina Schaeffer, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2016 photo by Karen)

Catharina Schaeffer, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2016 photo by Karen)

Where was Catharina Schaeffer in 1870?

There were a couple Schaeffers/Shaffers living in the area at that time.

There was a Catharine Shaffer living with the Christian Beinz family in Dublin Township in 1870. She was 50 years old, not a very good age match for our Catharina, but census enumerations are notorious for their age ranges. That Catharine lived closer to Chatt than the 57-year-old Catharine Shaffer living with the John Shaffer family in Gibson Township in 1870. Again, the age is a problem.

And what about Philip Schaeffer? My heart skipped a beat when my search for him came up with a Phillip Shaffer (1834-1902), born in Ohio, a physician who lived in the Wabash, Indiana, area. Another Zion Chatt Cemetery mystery immediately came to mind–Dr. Benjamin Franklin Edgington, his wife Eliza, and his daughter Carrie (Edgington) Eichhorn Friedell. Déjà vu. Could this be the burial place of yet another physician’s wife? No. This was not the person I was looking for. Dr. Phillip Shaffer probably never practiced in Ohio and he was not married to a Catharina.

There is at least one Schaefer mentioned in Zion Chatt’s records–Anna M. (Schaefer) Grauberger, who is also buried in Zion’s cemetery. Anna is buried next to her husband George Adam Grauberger.

If you go with the “daughter of Philip” inscription and if Schaeffer was Catharina’s maiden name, I would look at Anna Schaeffer’s family, wondering if the two women might have been sisters. Their ages would have been close enough. Anna was born in 1833 and Catharina was born about 1828.

That would really be a stretch, though, especially since I cannot positively determine if the tombstone says “wife” or “dau.”

More information is definitely needed for this one.

Yet, another Zion Chatt Cemetery mystery…

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