Nov 08

Tombstone Tuesday–Luther K. Becher

Luther K. Becher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Luther K. Becher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Luther K. Becher, located in row 8 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

LUTHER K. BECHER
Sept. 18, 1913
July 15, 1914

Luther Kenneth Becher was born 18 September 1913 in Indiana, the son of G.J. Edward and Hulda (Berron) Becher. He was baptized at Zion Chatt on 26 October 1913 with his parents serving as his baptismal sponsors. His parents married in January of 1913 [1] and he was the first child born to them.

I did not find a state birth record for Luther, just his baptismal record at Zion Chatt.

Luther’s father George Jacob Edward Becher was the son of Jacob and Maria (Kettering) Becher, who lived in the Chatt area. Luther’s mother Hulda Magdalena Berron was the daughter of Friedrich and Louise (Bollenbacher) Berron and they lived in the Geneva area. Both families attended Zion Chatt and Luther’s father and mother were both baptized at Zion Chatt.

According to Zion Chatt’s records Luther K. Becher died 19 July 1914, at the age of 10 months and 1 day, and was survived by his parents. This death date disagrees with his tombstone inscription. The record indicates that he died of inflammation of the bowels. He was buried on the 21st, with Rev. Emch in charge of the service. I am not familiar with that minister.

According to his death certificate he died in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana, at 3:30 a.m. on 19 July 1914, which also differs with the death date on his tombstone. This record indicates his cause of death was acute gastroenteritis with toxemia as a contributory factor. Dr. Charles N. Watkins of Chattanooga was the physician of record. The death certificate indicates he was buried on the 19th, which conflicts with the church record.

There is an obvious mistake on his death certificate which makes you wonder if some of the other items were also recorded incorrectly. Luther’s death certificate indicates that he was born 18 October 1914 and that he died 19 July 1914, which means he died three months before he was born. It gives his age as 10 months and 1 day, which agrees with the church record. The death certificate also shows that Luther’s father Edward was born in Indiana, while the church records show his father was born in Mercer County. [2] 

Luther Kenneth Becher death certificate, 1914.

Luther Kenneth Becher death certificate, 1914.

Luther’s parents had at least eight more children and they eventually they moved out of the area. They are buried in Woodland Cemetery, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Luther’s sister Bettie E. Becher (1922-1922) is also buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery.

This surname name was also spelled Becker in some records.

 

[1] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 5 Nov 2016), George Jacob Edward Becker and Hulda Magdalena Berron, 23 Jan 1913; from Adams County Marriages, Vol. J, p.198; FHL microfilm 2321629.

[2] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, database on-line, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 Nov 2016), Suther Kenneth Becker, 19 Jul 1914; Indiana State Board of Health, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Nov 04

Madonna of the Trail

The fall foliage has been particularly spectacular this year so a couple weeks ago we decided to spend a day driving around Indiana looking at the beautiful countryside. We ended up in Richmond for a late lunch, at a restaurant on U.S. 40. Route 40 is also known as the National Road. There is a Madonna of the Trail statue at Glen Miller Park in Richmond but we had never stopped to get a close look at it. Glen Miller Park is also along the National Road.

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

There are 12 Madonna of the Trail monuments across the country, from Maryland to California, on the National Old Trails Road. Two of the statues are close to here, the one in Richmond and the other in Springfield, Ohio. And I have visited both of them.

The 12 monuments were commissioned by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) to be placed in 12 states along Route 40, from Bethesda, Maryland, to Upland, California. They serve as trail markers on the Old National Trails.

Glen Miller Park, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Glen Miller Park, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

The project started in 1911 when the NSDAR took steps to make the Old Trails Road a national memorial highway and to recognize the contributions of women by erecting 12 statues along the road.

A year later the National Old Trails Road Association was formed with Judge Harry S. Truman as committee chair.

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Each monument is the same–the image of a pioneer woman holding a baby in her left arm and gripping a rifle with her right hand as her young son clings to her skirt. The gun was fashioned after Daniel Boone’s rifle and the woman is standing in prairie grass and cactus brush. Arrowheads and a rattlesnake lay in the grass.

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

According to the sculptor, the monument was intended to depict a pioneer mother who was worried when her husband did not return home when expected. Concerned about the possibility of danger, she grabbed her infant and a gun and set out to look for her husband.

The cast statues were created by sculptor August Leimbach of St. Louis, Missouri. Each statue stands ten feet high,18 feet with the base, and weighs five tons. They are made of poured algonite stone, with Missouri granite as the main aggregate.

Inscriptions on two sides of each base are the same while the other two sides usually include local information.

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

All 12 monuments were dedicated between 4 July 1928 and 19 April 1929. The Springfield, Ohio, monument was the first of the twelve to be dedicated and Judge Harry S. Truman, chair of the National Old Trails Road Association, spoke at the Springfield dedication in 1928. Truman said, “They were just as brave or braver than their men because, in many cases, they went with sad hearts and trembling bodies. They went, however, and endured every hardship that befalls a pioneer.”

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Madonna of the Trail, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

The Springfield, Ohio, monument was originally situated along U.S. 40, The National Road, west of downtown. It has been moved several times and was relocated to the National Road Commons Park in downtown Springfield in 2011. It faces south but most of the statues face west.

Madonna of the Trail, Springfield, Ohio. (2003 photo by Karen)

Madonna of the Trail, Springfield, Ohio. (2003 photo by Karen)

 

The Madonna of the Trail monuments and the date each was dedicated:

Bethesda, Maryland (19 April 1929)
Wheeling, West Virginia (7July 1928)
Beallsville, Pennsylvania (8 December 1928)
Springfield, Ohio (4 July 1928)
Richmond, Indiana (28 October 1928)
Vandalia, Illinois (26 October 1928)
Lexington, Missouri (17 September 1928)
Council Grove, Kansas (7 September 1928)
Lamar, Colorado (24 September 1928)
Albuquerque, New Mexico (27 September 1928)
Springerville, Arizona (29 September 1928)
Upland, California (1 February 1929)

Over the years some statues have been refurbished, re-dedicated, or moved to new locations a short distance away because of highway changes.

We enjoyed driving through Glen Miller Park that day. Here is a nice building in the park, next to the Richmond Rose Garden.

Glen Miller Park, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Glen Miller Park, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Rose Garden, Glen Miller Park, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

Rose Garden, Glen Miller Park, Richmond, Indiana. (2016 photo by Karen)

You can read more about the Madonna of the Trail monuments here: Madonna of the Trail, Wikipedia.org.

 

Nov 01

Tombstone Tuesday–George W. & Mary L. (Schlenker) Becher

George & Mary Becher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

George & Mary Becher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of George W. and Mary L. (Schlenter) Becher, located in row 9 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

BECHER
Mary L.
Feb. 16, 1875
Dec. 2, 1951

George W.
Feb. 29, 1868
Nov. 10, 1939

George William Becher was born 29 February 1868 in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, to John and Anna Maria (Becker) Becher. His father was born in Bavaria and his mother in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. George was baptized at Zion Chatt on 5 April 1868 and his baptismal sponsors were George and Sophia Heffner. George was confirmed at Zion Chatt on 16 April 1882. It was a large confirmation class that year, when 25 young adults were confirmed.

George Becher married Mary Schlenker, but I am not exactly sure when they married. Their marriage is not recorded in Zion’ records. Unfortunately there is a gap in the church marriage records between 11 December 1890 and 1 September 1892. I could not find a marriage record for them on-line either. Some accounts indicate that George and Mary wed on 13 December 1890. Mary’s death record at Zion Chatt indicates they were married in 1891. Another account suggests the year 1892. Their first child was born 20 April 1892, so we might assume they were married in 1891.

Mary Elisabeth Schlenker was born 16 February 1875 in Liberty Township, Mercer County, the daughter of John and Magdalena (Betzel) Schlenker. Her father was born in Würtemberg and her mother in Butler County, Ohio. Mary was baptized as Maria Elisabetha Schlenker at Zion Chatt by Rev. Schmidt on 2 May 1875. Her baptismal sponsors were Dietrich Betzel and Maria Elisabetha Betzel. Mary was confirmed at Zion Chatt by Rev. C. Adams on 6 May 1888. Her middle initial on her tombstone is L, which I believe stands for Lizzie.

In 1900 George and Mary Becher lived in Liberty Township, where George farmed. In the household: George, 32; Mary, 23; Mabel, 8; William, 5; and Clarence, 2. This record indicates they had been married 8 years and that Mary had given birth to 3 children and they were all living. [1]

In 1910: George, 42; Mary, 35; Mabel, 18; William, 15; Clarence, 12; Odas, 8; and Lucille, 6. George still farmed and this record indicates that they had been married 18 years. Mary had given birth to 8 children and all 8 were living. [2]

The Becher household in 1930: George, 62; Mary, 55; Clarence, 32; and Odas, 28. They owned their home and George continued to farm. They also owned a radio, according to the census enumeration. Sons Clarence & Odas worked on the farm. [3]

George Becher died on 10 November 1939 in Chatt, at the age of 71 years and conflicting months and days. Zion’s records indicate he was 71 years, 8 months, and 9 days old. His death certificate shows he was 71 years, 9 months, and 1 day old, and, according to my Roots Magic age calculator, he died at the age of 71 years, 7 months, and 12 days. According to Zion’s records George died as a result of complications from several diseases. His death certificate indicates that he died of possible pancreatic cancer which had metastasized to his lungs, an aortic aneurysm, and edema. He appears he had been ill since July of that same year. He was buried on the 12th. George was survived by his wife, 5 children, 5 grandchildren, and one sister. According to the information on his death certificate, furnished by his son William J. Becher, Rockford, Ohio, George was a farmer and did not serve in the armed forces. Ketcham Funeral Home was in charge of the funeral arrangements. [4]

In 1940, 5 months after George’s death, Mary (Schlenker) Becher, age 65, a widow, lived with her sons Clarence, 43, and Odas, 38, on the family farm. This was the same house she had lived in in 1935. Clarence farmed and Odas worked as an assembler at General Electric. [5]

Mary (Schlenker) Becher died 2 December 1951 at the Otis Hospital in Celina, at the age of 76 years, 9 months, and 16 days. According to Zion Chatt’s records she died of heart failure following gall bladder surgery. She was survived by 2 daughters, Mrs. W.B. Rumple and Mrs. Cletus Menchofer; sons William J., Clarence, and Odas; 5 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren; sisters Mrs. Frank Spriggs, Mrs. Frank Abrams, Mrs. Rose Becher; and brothers Ralph & Urban. Mary was buried on the 5th.

George and Mary (Schlenker) Becher had the following children, who were all baptized at Zion Chatt:

Mabel Louise (1892-1963), married William Burel Rumple
William John (1894-1959), married Mary Smalley; married Hilda Frahm
Clarence Edward (1897-1972)
Odas LeRoy “Hod” (1901-1971), married Vivian Carr
Edith Lucille (1904-1989), married Cletus Menchofer

 

[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 85, p.9B, dwelling 172, family 177, George Becher ; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Oct 2016); FHL microfilm 1241304; NARA microfilm T623, roll 1304.

[2] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 119, p.15A, dwelling 324, family 283, George Becher; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Oct 2016); FHL microfilm 1375277, NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[3] 1930 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 20, p.3B, dwelling & family 68, George Becker; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Oct 2016); FHL microfilm 2341584, NARA microfilm T626, roll 1850.

[4] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch.org (https://familysearch.org : accessed 29 Oct 2016), George William Becher, 10 Nov 1939; from Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, no. 67648; FHL microfilm 2023768.

[5] 1940 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 54-22, p.3A, line 39, Mary Becker; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Oct 2016); NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

Oct 28

Halloween Memories

Halloween is just a few days away and many people will pass out candy to young trick-or-treaters very soon. Years ago this was also known as Beggar’s Night.

When Joe and I were first married we lived in Celina I noticed a difference between trick-or-treating in the country and trick-or-treating in town. When I was young I went only to the homes of people we knew–family, friends, and our rural neighbors. People would try to guess who was behind the mask. Everyone knew everyone. But trick-or-treat night in town was totally different from what I was used to. Many trick-or-treaters came to our house and I did not know any of them. There was no guessing who the kids were. Nevertheless, it was fun and we passed out a lot of candy.

I don’t recall ever dressing up in Halloween costumes at school, but they did when my mom went to school at Zion Lutheran Parochial School at Schumm.

Below are two photos of vintage, and probably partially homemade, Halloween costumes worn by the students at Schumm’s parochial school. This was likely during the1940s and my mom, Florence (Schumm), was one of the students. But which one? It is impossible to tell, but I think I know. Her two sisters were probably also in the photo.

Schumm Parochial School

Halloween, Zion Lutheran Parochial School, Schumm, Ohio.

Another photo that looks like it was taken at the same time as the above photo, but with fewer children. These look like the younger students.

Zion Lutheran Parochial School at Schumm.

Zion Lutheran Parochial School at Schumm.

Their masks were really sort of creepy but I am sure the students enjoyed dressing up for Halloween at school and getting sweet treats.

It is too bad that we do not know who these little goblins were.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Oct 25

Tombstone Tuesday–Halloween Edition

Halloween is less than a week away and today I am going to deviate from my usual Tombstone Tuesday post and instead show some tombstone art I have photographed over the years. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Some photos taken while we were in Boston, when our son Jeff ran the Boston Marathon in 2009:

Boston (2009 photo by Karen)

Skull & crossbones, Boston. (2009 photo by Karen)

Boston (2009 photo by Karen)

Boston (2009 photo by Karen)

Soul Effigy. Boston (2009 photo by Karen)

Soul Effigy, Boston (2009 photo by Karen)

Some local grave monuments.

Riverside Cemetery, Geneva, IN. (2014 photo by Karen)

Riverside Cemetery, Geneva, IN. (2014 photo by Karen)

Riverside Cemetery, Geneva, IN. (2014 photo by Karen)

Riverside Cemetery, Geneva, IN. (2014 photo by Karen)

Woodlawn Cemetery, Lima, OH. (2013 photo by Karen)

Woodlawn Cemetery, Lima, OH. (2013 photo by Karen)

St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Wapakoneta, OH. (2013 photo by Karen)

St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Wapakoneta, OH. (2013 photo by Karen)

Green Lawn Cemetery, Wapakoneta, OH. (2013 photo by Karen)

Green Lawn Cemetery, Wapakoneta, OH. (2013 photo by Karen)

Green Lawn Cemetery, Wapakoneta, OH. (2013 photo by Karen)

Green Lawn Cemetery, Wapakoneta, OH. (2013 photo by Karen)

Union Cemetery, Greenville, OH. (2006 photo by Karen)

Union Cemetery, Greenville, OH. (2006 photo by Karen)

Woodland Cemetery, Van Wert, OH. (2011 photo by Karen)

Knights Templar, Woodland Cemetery, Van Wert, OH. (2011 photo by Karen)

Woodland Cemetery, Van Wert, OH. (2011 photo by Karen)

Woodland Cemetery, Van Wert, OH. (2011 photo by Karen)

Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City, OH. (2004 photo by Karen)

Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City, OH. (2013 photo by Karen)

Woodlawn Cemetery, Lima, OH. (2013 photo by Karen)

Woodlawn Cemetery, Lima, OH. (2013 photo by Karen)

 

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