Feb 06

Jacob Rueck Was Not a Revolutionist

Late Jacob Rueck Not Revolutionist.

That 1918 Portland, Oregon, newspaper headline caught my attention as I was searching on GenealogyBank.com. Could the article be referring to my great-great-grandfather Jacob Rueck? He lived near Portland, Oregon. What in the world was this article from the Oregonian about?

Jacob Rueck had died 23 January 1918, about two weeks before the headline and article was printed. Jacob was a German immigrant, born 24 December 1828 in Appensee, Württemberg. He married Maria Regina Gross in 1855 and they and their children immigrated to America in 1880. The Ruecks lived east of Willshire for about four years until Jacob sold his 120 acre farm there and moved to Oregon in 1884.

All moved to Oregon except Jacob’s daughter Christina, her daughter Maggie, and his son Fred. Fred changed the spelling of his name to Ruck and settled in Oklahoma while Christine and Maggie stayed here in Ohio. Christina had married Jacob Miller in 1882 and they were my great-grandparents.

This is 1918 article that got my attention:

Late Jacob Rueck Not Revolutionist.
AURORA, Or., Feb. 6—(To the Editor)—From the news notices of the death of the late Jacob Rueck, of Macksburg, many have gained the impression that he was an exile from Germany, following the revolution of 1848 in that country. Mr. Rueck’s family wish to make it clear that he had no part in the German revolution and that he did not leave that country until several years later, in 1880.

His Success and prominence in Clackamas County for 34 years are evidence of his integrity and good citizenship. [1]

"Oregonian," Portland, Oregon, 7 February 1918.

“Oregonian,” Portland, Oregon, 7 February 1918.

The Rueck family took great pains to set the record straight. There was obviously something in Jacob’s obituary that precipitated some unfavorable ideas and/or comments about Jacob’s past and questioned his American patriotism. But what was it?

Unfortunately I could not locate Jacob’s obituary in the Oregonian, but I did find his obituary in The Oregon Daily Journal:

Jacob Rueck Passes At Aurora, Aged 89
Aurora, Or., Jan. 31—Jack Rueck died Monday at his Clackamas county home near Macksburg, aged 89. He came to Oregon in 1884 and lived on the same farm at Macksburg until his death. He was born in Germany in 1828. He is survived by five sons, Carl Rueck of cob R. Rueck and George Rueck of Macksburg and David R. Rueck of San Jose, Cal., and Fred Rueck of Oklahoma. He also leaves three daughters, Mrs. Regina Rueck and Mrs. Katie Harms of Macksburg and Mrs. Christian Muller of Chattanooga, Ohio. [2]

That was a pretty basic obituary that did not indicate why some people thought Jacob was a German exile. And what was the 1848 German Revolution? I did some research.

The Revolution of 1848, aka the March Revolution, was caused by mass unemployment, poverty, and famine after years of poor crops. Educated persons, businessmen, students, and professors wanted a unified government and were considered liberals. They wanted to abolish feudal restrictions and have greater religious tolerance, governmental responsibility, and freedom of expression. The middle-class was committed to these liberal principles and as a result a series of rebellions broke out in the Germanic states. Prussia, Austria, and the conservative aristocracy quickly suppressed the revolution and liberals were forced into exile to escape political persecution. They became known as Forty-Eighters. Many of these exiles immigrated to the United States. [3] [4] [5]

Apparently some persons in the Portland area thought Jacob Rueck was one of these exiles.

The time period was also likely a factor. It was 1918. World War I was raging when Jacob Rueck died. There was hostility toward German-Americans and anything German. Anti-German hysteria caused the persecution of German-Americans. Some of this hostility was evidently directed at the Rueck family.

It was undoubtedly a difficult time for the Rueck family. They mourned the death of Jacob while trying to maintain that he was a patriotic American.

Jacob & Regina (Gross) Rueck

Jacob & Regina (Gross) Rueck

From a research standpoint there is some good information in the short article. Some information I knew, other information it confirmed: Jacob immigrated in 1880. [I have not found this family on a passenger list, but I figured they immigrated in about 1880.] Jacob lived in Clackamas County for 34 years. [He sold his Van Wert County farm in 1884, 34 years earlier.] He lived in Macksburg and likely died there shortly before 6 February 1918. [I know his death date and Census enumerations indicate that he lived in Clackamas, Oregon.] He had family living in the area. Good information.

And now we know that Jacob Rueck was not a Revolutionist.


[1] Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, Thursday, 7 February 1918, p.10, digital image by subscription, GenealogyBank.com (www.genealogybank.com : accessed 4 February 2015).

[2] The Oregon Daily Journal, Portland, Oregon, Thursday 31 January 1918, p.15, digital image by subscription, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 4 February 2015).

[3] George K. Schweitzer, German Genealogical Research, (No place : Genealogical Sources Unltd, 1995), 27.

[4] Wendy K. Uncapher, Lands of the German Empire and Before, (Janesville, WI : Origins, 2000), 88.

[5] “Revolutions of 1848 in the German States,” Wikipedia.org (en.wikipedia.org : accessed 4 February 2015).

Feb 03

Tombstone Tuesday–Vernon & Carmella (Bury) Heffner

Vernon & Carmella (Bury) Heffner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Vernon & Carmella (Bury) Heffner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Vernon and Carmella (Bury) Heffner, located in row 5 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:


Vernon Hugo Heffner was born in Chattanooga on 13 August 1905 to Fredrick and Anna (Merkle) Heffner. He was baptized 3 September 1905 and his parents were his baptismal sponsors. Vernon was confirmed at Zion Chatt on 1 June 1919 by Rev. J.E. Albrecht.

In 1920 Vernon, age 14, lived in Chatt with his widowed mother Anna and his brother Roman,20. [1] In 1930 Vernon resided with his brother Oscar in Mendon, Ohio. Both worked in their garage, Oscar as the proprietor and Vernon as a mechanic. Vernon was single and Oscar indicated he was married. [2]

Sometime between 1930 and 1940 Vernon married Carmella May Bury. Carmella was born 24 May 1911 in Ohio to Cleveland and Anna M. (Sanft) Bury. [3]

In 1940 Vernon and Carmella lived in Mendon and Vernon’s brother Oscar resided with them. Vernon and Oscar labored as mechanics in their garage and Carmella was employed as a clerk in a post office. Oscar was divorced by this time. The 1940 census shows their highest levels of education: Vernon, 8th grade; Carmella, 2 years of college; Oscar, 1 year of high school. [4]

Vernon (aka Cy) and Oscar (aka Brownie) purchased a lot in Mendon in 1931 at a sheriff’s sale. They constructed a building there and did general auto repair and sold Sohio gasoline. They leased the station to Dale High and John Clay in 1946-47 as H & C Sohio. Bob and Vivian Clay leased it as Bob’s Pure Oil until 1961. Over the years they sold Sohio, Standard, Gulf, and Pure gasoline as well as used cars. [5]

Vernon also owned and trained standard breed horses and was known for his patience, knowledge, strict training schedule, and dedication. He trained at Spring Garden Ranch, Florida, as well as Greenville and Celina, Ohio. His most successful horse was the pacer Rocky Win and his most prestigious win was at the Ohio State Fair in 1957. [5]

Vernon’s wife Carmella died of abdominal cancer on 28 December 1978 at the Van Wert County Hospital. She was buried on the 31st. According to Zion Chatt’s records she was 67 years old and was survived by her husband and mother. She resided at 112 N. Washington Street in Mendon and was a high school teacher. [3]

Vernon died 31 December 1987 at Coldwater Community Hospital and was buried 2 January 1988. He was 82 years old and married. His funeral service was held in Mendon and was conducted by Glen Masser. [6]

Vernon and Carmella had no children.

Vernon married Mary Wilma (Zeigler) Lewis after Carmella’s death. Mary Wilma survived Vernon. [7]


[1] 1920 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 140, p.3A, dwelling 44, family 44, Anna Heffner; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 December 2014); from NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[2] 1930 U.S. Census, Mendon, Mercer County, Ohio, ED 25, p.1B, dwelling 24, family 24, Oscar F Heffner; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 January 2015); from NARA microfilm T626, roll 1850.

[3] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 30 January 2015), Carmella May Heffner, 28 Dec 1978; citing Death, Van Wert, Pleasant Twp, Van Wert, Ohio, item 8 on 259, County courthouses, Ohio; from FHL microfilm 1952885.

[4] 1940 U.S. Census, Mendon, Mercer county, Ohio, ED 54-28, p.4B, household 91, Vernon Heffner; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 January 2015); from NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

[5] Doug Roebuck, “Heffner Family History,” given to author March 2014.

[6] “Ohio, Death Index, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007,” index, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 30 Jan 2015), Vernon H Heffner, 31 Dec 1987; from “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007,” index, Ancestry, citing Vol. 27109, certificate no. 093994, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus; Ohio Dept of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, Columbus.

[7] Ohio, Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Obituary Index, 1910s-2013, database on-line, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 February 2015).


Jan 30

Von Bierbach nach Chattanooga

Von Bierbach nach Chattanooga. That is the title of the newspaper story that appeared in last week’s edition of the Saarbrücker Zeitung, the “Saarbrücker Newspaper.”

“From Bierbach to Chattanooga”

And yes, the article refers to our Chattanooga, Ohio. It is the story of my immigrant ancestor after he settled in Mercer County, Ohio, in 1871. What he did, what his life was like as an American citizen, and what happened to him.

"From Bierbach to Chattanooga." "The Bierbach emigrants Jacob Mueller (sitting) in 1900 with his large family. In 1871 he went to the USA, where he was a farmer in Ohio."

“From Bierbach to Chattanooga.” “The Bierbach emigrants Jacob Mueller (sitting) in 1900 with his large family. In 1871 he went to the USA, where he was a farmer in Ohio.”

Never in his wildest dreams could my great-grandfather Jacob Müller imagine this. That nearly a century and a half after he emigrated, someone from his native village of Bierbach would want to know about his life in the New World. Not to mention the fact that his story and family photo would be published in a German newspaper and on something as inconceivable as the Internet, where anyone in the world can read it.

How could anyone from the late 19th century imagine these things? If Jacob thought that far into the future he would have wondered: Would there be any distant relatives living in my hometown of Bierbach in 2015? Would anyone in Bierbach know of my family and the contributions we made to the community? Were our emigrant stories passed down through the years? Would anyone remember my family at all?

Thankfully there are people who are interested in knowing what happened to the German emigrants after they settled in America. They don’t necessarily have ties to a specific family. They just want to learn about and write the emigrant’s story.

Kerstin Rech is one of the people. Kerstin lives in Stuttgart and is an author who writes novels and freelances as a newspaper journalist for various newspapers and magazines. One of those newspapers is the Saarbrücker Zeitung, “Saarbrücker Newspaper” in English. Saarbrücken is the capital of the state of Saarland, located in southwestern Germany, very near the French border. It is about 12.8 miles from Bierbach, as the crow flies. Bierbach, a little village in the Kingdom of Bavaria in Jacob’s time, is now in the state of Saarland.

Kerstin has family ties to Bierbach and chose to write an article about a local 19th century emigrant. She wanted write about his life in the New World and what eventually happened to him.

Kerstin found my website, likely from an Internet search for Bierbach, and read some of my blog posts. From that she learned that my great-grandfather Jacob Müller came from her region of Germany. She contacted me over six months ago and I provided her with information about Jacob for her article.

Her story was printed in the Saarbrücker Zeitung just last weekend, in the 25/26 January 2015 edition. The article was in the Heimat/Region (Home/Region) section of the newspaper.

As I told Jacob’s story to Kerstin we discussed why he emigrated. I mentioned that many Germans were lured to America by good cheap land because there was a shortage of land in Germany.  Families were large and often only the eldest male in the family inherited the family farm. There was just not enough land for everyone in the family and remaining siblings needed some form of employment. There was opportunity in America.

When I told Kerstin that Jacob purchased 80 acres of land in Blackcreek Township she was astounded. She questioned the 80 acre number, thinking I might have made a typo and actually meant 8 acres. She said that 80 acres would have been an almost unimaginable amount of land by German standards. But I explained that it was a fairly common amount of land to purchase in this rural area. I never really thought much about it because it was an average size farm around here, but it would have been a lot of land in Germany.

By German standards Jacob would have been considered prosperous. A wealthy farmer who owned a vast amount of land.

But prosperity is relative.

Jacob was probably of average wealth compared to the other farmers in Blackcreek Township. He may have even been a little poorer than average in his community. But with a lot of hard work and determination he cleared and worked and farmed and raised livestock on his 80 acres. He built a house and barn on his farm and raised a family of ten children, losing some of those children before his death in 1918.

Jacob was not prosperous by some standards, but by other standards he was quite wealthy.

Here is a link to newspaper article, if you would like to see it yourself: http://www.saarbruecker-zeitung.de/saarland/heimat/Von-Bierbach-nach-Chattanooga;art371088,5600009

A translation of the article is below, from Google Translate. It is a rather rough translation since the German language places verbs and adjectives in a different position in a sentence than we do. They also use the hectare as their land measurement and 80 acres = 32.375 hectares.

So far, a couple people from Germany have contacted me regarding the article. Who knows where that might lead…

Now I can answer at least one of the questions Jacob might have pondered. Yes, some people from your native land and community now know your story and how well you prospered in America.

Thank you, Kerstin, for telling Jacob Müller’s story.


Translation of the article written by Kerstin Rech:

Five million German immigrants from 1820 to 1920 in the United States. One of them was Jacob Mueller from Bierenbach. He tried his luck in Ohio – and even found oil.

They were not good times, raged 1870. The Franco-German war. In the Bierenbacher Dorfchronik one can read that the thunder of the guns on the heights Spicherer until after Bierenbach, today part of Blieskastel, could be heard. In this year the 27-year-old day laborer and small farmer Jacob Mueller made a decision that would completely change his life.

It was not just the war and material hardship, which led him. His great-granddaughter Karen Miller-Bennett found in researching their family history, that in 1870 for Jacob himself was also a tough year. His wife, Sophia, died in childbirth. A few months later, his father John died. These setbacks prompted the young man to America, as it had already done some Bierenbacher before him. With his mother Marie and the two sisters Catherine and Margaret, who were married to the equally derived from Bierenbach brothers Jacob and Phillip Linn subject.

Not irrelevant to his decision should the letters have been that, had written of his mother’s brother, Christian Kessler. Christian was in 1849 set out in the New World. In his letters he enthusiastically reported from cheap farmland.

With few possessions climbed Jacob Mueller and his family on May 31, 1871 in Bremen, the ship called “Bremen”. 16 days took the arduous crossing. On 15 June 1871, the Bierenbacher arrived in New York.

The German emigrants at that time was the largest non-English speaking group in the United States. The “most German” settlement area was in Pennsylvania, where the location of German Town was founded in the year 1683. Further preferred by German settlers States were Maryland and New York. From the middle of the 19th century, Wisconsin, Missouri and Ohio were driven increased. Jacob and his family it moved to Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio, near the border with Indiana. There, his uncle Christian Kessler had already established.

1873 Jacob bought in Black Creek Township two miles north of Chattanooga for $ 1,600 about 32 acres of land. On the fertile farmland he built his farm where he lived until his death. By 1900, he also discovered five oil wells on his land. But they were not very productive. 1876 Jacob took an American citizen. A year later he married Margaretha Stroebel. The couple had two sons, Johann Peter and Christian. Margaretha died in 1882, Jacob married in the same year, a native of Württemberg Christina Rüeck.

By 1900, he changed his name Müller in Miller that made him finally to the Americans, even though he had never learned the language properly. Jacob Miller died on 15 June 1918 aged 75 years. His farm still exists today. It is now managed by his great-granddaughter Karen Miller-Bennett and her family.

Jan 27

Tombstone Tuesday–Roman E. Heffner

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

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

This is the tombstone of Roman Edward Heffner, located in row 9 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Roman E.

Roman Edward Heffner was born 26 August 1899 in the family home in Chattanooga, the son of Fredrick and Anna (Merkle) Heffner. He was baptized at that same house on 10 September 1899, with Christ Kessler and his wife Margaret (Heffner) Kessler as sponsors. They were his aunt and uncle, Margaret being his father Fredrick’s sister. Roman was confirmed at Zion on 30 May 1915 by Rev. W.F. H. Heuer.

Roman registered for the WWI draft on 12 September 1918 in Mercer County, Ohio. At that time he lived at Rt. 5, Rockford and worked as a grocery clerk for S.S. Egger, also at Rt. 5, Rockford. The Rt. 5 address was likely in Chatt, so he probably still lived at home and worked nearby. His physical description indicates he was tall with gray eyes and dark hair. [1] I did not see any indication that he served in WWI.

In 1920 Roman lived in Chatt with his widowed mother Anna and his younger brother Vernon. His mother was 52; Roman, 20; and Vernon 14. Roman worked in a store, likely a grocery in Chatt. [2]

In 1930 Roman, at age 30, still resided in Chatt with his mother and continued to work as a merchant in a grocery store. [3] From 1933-1937 Roman and his cousin Walter Heffner owned and operated a general store in Chatt .

Roman was known as “Pat.” I have noticed that the Heffners liked nicknames. Roman went by the name of “Pat” and Walter was known as “Dick.” Vernon was called “Cy” and Oscar was nicknamed “Brownie.”

Roman’s mother Anna died in June of 1935 and a couple of months later he married Cecile Hoblet, the daughter of William H. and Ada (Jewell) Hoblet. Cecile was born 12 July 1908 in Willshire, Ohio. [4]

Roman died 20 April 1937, at the age of 37 years, 7 months, and 25 days. Zion Chatt’s records indicate that he took his own life by means of a shotgun wound to the chest, due to ill health. Other accounts say he was distraught because he needed kidney surgery but did not want to go through the procedure. He was survived by his wife, four brothers, and two sisters. He was buried next to his brother Albert on the 22nd.

His widow Cecile married Lester Wright on 22 May 1951 in Mercer County. Lester was 46 and Cecile was 42. [4]


[1] “U.S. WWI Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 24 January 2015), card for Roman Edward Heffner, no. A 1141, Mercer County, Ohio; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, NARA microfilm publication M1509, imaged from FHL microfilm 1832519.

[2] 1920 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 140, p.3A, dwelling 44, house 44, Anna Heffner; digital images by subscription Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 January 2015), from NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[3] 1930 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 20, p.10B, dwelling 254, family 254, Mrs. Anna Heffner; digital images by subscription Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 January 2015), from FHL microfilm 22341584, from NARA microfilm T626, roll 1850.

[4] “Ohio, County, Marriages, 1789-1997,” index and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 24 January 2015), Lester Wright and Cecile Heffner, 22 May 1951; citing Mercer County, Ohio, Marriages Vol. 20:282, #21819 , from FHL microfilm 2251798.

Jan 23

Willshire Bearcats Basketball, 1955 & 1956

People in this area still remember and talk about Willshire’s basketball teams in the mid-50s. I am sure some of you remember those teams and those seasons very well. You may have even been there to participate and experience the excitement.

Last week I wrote about the Willshire Bearcat basketball team’s successful 1939-40 season, which resulted in a trip to the state basketball finals. But that wasn’t their only trip to the state tournament. Years later they had two runs for the state championship, in 1955 and 1956.

I am sorry to say that I do not remember those great Bearcat teams because I was only 3-4 years old at the time. But I have heard the stories and have seen the photos. I do however remember their coach Robert Games, who was the superintendent when I was in grade school.

The Bearcats, in the Class B division, were undefeated during their regular seasons in both 1955 and 1956, losing their first games at the state level both years. In 1955 they advanced all the way to the state final game and in 1956 to the state semi-final.

In 1955 the Willshire Bearcats won the first game at the state tournament, the semifinal, advancing them to the final championship game. But they were defeated the next afternoon by Lockland Wayne 64-56, and they ended their season as the state runner-up. They finished the 1954-55 season 29-1.

State runners-up, 1955.

State runners-up, 1955.

The scoring of that state final game was as follows:
Koch, 1; Clase, 12; Kesler, 19; D. Marbaugh, 6; Black, 4; Miller, 11; Michaud, 0; Byer, 0; Stetler, 0; Bollenbacher, 0. [1]

When the team, coaches, and cheerleaders returned home from the tournament there was a parade and celebration for them in Willshire.

Parade Greets Willshire Team
Willshire—A band concert, parade and victory march around the school district greeted the Willshire High School Bearcats, state Class B runners-up, when they returned home yesterday afternoon.

Arriving from Cincinnati, where they lost the state finals Saturday afternoon, the Bearcats were met at Rockford by a band and escorted here by a parade of fans’ cars.

The team was hauled at the outskirts of town and nearly every citizen of this 580-population village jammed the center of the town for the celebration.

During the festivities a collection was taken to purchase a new trophy case for the school.

Following the final game Saturday night, the team elected to go to a movie in downtown Cincinnati, instead of attending the Class A finals. [2]

1955 Runners-upSome of the team players were selected for the all-tournament teams.

All-Tourney Teams
Three Willshire players were named on the Class B all-tournament teams. Charles Koch, senior, and Gary Kesler, junior, who scored 45 points in two games, were named on the first team and Larry Miller, who played bang up ball in the title contest., was named to the second team. [1]

Willshire Bearcats, 1955 state runners-up. (1954-55 season).

Willshire Bearcats, 1955 state runners-up. (1954-55 season).

The next school year (1955-56) the Bearcats again had a winning team and once again finished their regular season undefeated. In 1956 they traveled to the state basketball tournament for another try at the state title.

1955-56 Bearcats, front: Larry Huston, Paul Bollenbacher, Joe Clase, Gary Kesler, Larry Miller, Dave Byer. back: Don Jones, Supt; Bob Lucas, Bud Marbaugh, Boyd Hey, Jim Krueckeberg, Jerry Dennis, mgr; Jim Finch, coach Bob Games.

1955-56 Bearcats, front: Larry Huston, Paul Bollenbacher, Joe Clase, Gary Kesler, Larry Miller, Dave Byer, Don Jones; back: Bob Lucas (Supt.), Bud Marbaugh, Boyd Hey, Jim Krueckeberg, Jerry Dennis, Jim Finch (manager), coach Bob Games.

On 22 March 1956 the Willshire Bearcats traveled to Cleveland to play Arcanum in the state semifinal game, scheduled for 1:35 the next day. Willshire’s record was 27-0 while Arcanum’s was 25-1. The team went a day early to look over the arena and get one last practice. [3]

The Bearcats were favored to beat Arcanum and advance to the finals as they had the year before. One of their players was the tall Gary Kesler, who had been named Class B’s outstanding player during the regular season and had been selected to play on the all-tournament team 1955. [4] Kesler’s height varied in the different newspaper accounts, ranging anywhere form 6’8” to 6’11”. So I don’t actually know how tall he really was, but he was tall.

Willshire fans back at home were able to hear the game on the radio, since 18 stations reportedly carried at least a portion of the game. A Lima station would have been the closest in this area. [4]

Unfortunately the Bearcats were defeated 55-54 in the semifinal game, their first loss in the 28 games they played that season. Willshire’s defeat was described as “one of the most stunning upsets in recent tournament history.” Kesler was held to 16 points, a lot fewer than his average. It was not his best game. One reporter noted the outside shooting of Dave Byer, Al Clase, and Larry Miller, as well as the free throw shooting of Paul Bollenbacher kept Willshire in the game until Kesler began hitting in the third quarter.

The scoring was as follows:
Miller, 6; Clase, 8; Kesler, 16; Bollenbacher, 10: Byer, 8; Hey, 4; Kruecekberg, 2; Samples, 0. [5]

Willshire Bearcat Basketball Team.

Willshire Bearcat Basketball Team in Willshire

That was the era of Willshire’s basketball dynasty. They certainly knew how to play basketball at Willshire High School back then, but that would end forever about five years later when the Willshire and Rockford school systems merged to form the Parkway Local School District.

What great achievements for a school the size of Willshire! It must have been an exciting time.


[1] The Van Wert Times Bulletin, Van Wert, Ohio, Lima, 28 March 1955, p.6; digital images by subscription Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 January 2015).

[2] The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, 28 March 1955, p.17; digital images by subscription Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 January 2015).

[3] The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, 22 March 1956, p.39; digital images by subscription Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 January 2015).

[4] The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, 23 March 1956, p.30; digital images by subscription Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 January 2015).

[5] The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, 24 March 1956, p.5; digital images by subscription Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 January 2015).


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