Digging a Pond, 1974

Across the road from Zion Lutheran Church in Schumm is a nice home and farm buildings, owned by Ned Alspaugh in the 1970s and beyond. West of the barn is a pond, dug in 1974.  

Farm ponds are popular. They are pretty. They are a source of recreation, sustain wildlife, birds and fish, as well as a source of water in case of a house or barn fire. We even have a pond in our back yard.

Bennett pond

It seems the farm pond boom took off in the 1960s and 1970s, likely in part because pond-digging equipment became more readily available. It became trendy to have a farm pond, particularly in areas that were low or swampy.

My uncle Alvin Krueckeberg had earth-moving equipment and he dug many farm ponds in the area, including my Grandpa Schumm’s pond, our pond, and Ned Alspaugh’s farm pond.

My mom and dad took these photos of Alvin Krueckeberg excavating and digging Ned Alspaugh’s pond in 1974. You can see Zion Lutheran Church and cemetery in the background, their parsonage, and other farm buildings across the road.

Alvin Krueckeberg digging Ned Alspaugh pond, 1974.

Alvin Krueckeberg digging Ned Alspaugh pond, 1974.

Alvin Krueckeberg digging Ned Alspaugh pond, 1974.

Below is a 2020 aerial Google Earth photo of the former Alspaugh farm and Zion Lutheran Church. From above, the finished pond looks totally different from the photos taken during its construction.

Zion Lutheran, Schumm, former Alspaugh farm and pond, Google Earth image, dated 6 March 2020.

My uncle Alvin Krueckeberg (1928-2019) excavated many farm ponds in our Ohio-Indiana area. And we certainly appreciate our pond, along with the birds, waterfowl, and wildlife.

Unfortunately, we did not take any photos when he dug our pond.


Tombstone Tuesday-Johann Martin Geier

Johann “Martin” Geier, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Martin Geier, located in row 8 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Geb. Den 25
Sept. 1816
Gest den 22
Dec. 1902
86 J, 2 M, 27 T

Johann Martin Geier, born 25 Sept 1816, died 22 Dec 1902, age 86 years, 2 months, 27 days.

According to the death and burial records of Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm, “Martin” Johann Geier was born 25 September 1816 in Oberaspach, District Schwabisch Hall, Wuerttemberg. His surname was sometimes spelled Gaier in Zion’s records but for this post I am using the Geier spelling. [1]

Martin Geier married Margaretha Grund 8 February 1853 at Zion. [2] Margaretha was the step-daughter of H.G. [name unreadable]. Martin and Margaretha had several children and she died during childbirth on 15 October 1861.

Known children of Martin and Margaretha (Grund) Geier:
Rosina Elisabetha Geier (1854-1914), married John Weinmann
Johann Eberhardt Geier (1857-1857)
Catharine Rosine Geier (1857-1922), married Henry Roehm [3]
Johann Jakob Geier (1859-) 
Johann George Geier (1861-1861)

The Martin Geier family in 1860: Martin, 44; Margaret, 30; Rose Ann, 5; Catharine, 3; and John, 4 months. Martin was a farmer. Both Martin and his wife Margaret were born in Wuerttemberg and their children were born in Ohio. [4]

Martin Geier’s second marriage was to Susanna Fischer and they were married at Zion Schumm on 8 May 1862. Martin and Susanna had two children, George Christoph Jacob Geier (1863-1942) and George Geier, born 5 May 1865, died 31 August 1865. Martin’s second wife Susanna (Fischer) Geier was born 21 August 1842 and died 1 September 1865, the day after their second son died. She was 23 years old.

Martin Geier’s third marriage was to widow Eva Katharine (Windsheimer) Hoffmann, the widow of Johann Hoffmann (1824-1865). [5] Martin and Eva Katharine were married at Zion Schumm on 8 May 1866 and they had at least two children, Maria Geier, born 22 February 1867, married Michael Kuehm, died 14 April 1944; and Magdalena Geier, born 11 October 1869, married Willis Putman, died 21 June 1921. Martin’s third wife Eva Katharine (Windsheim) Geier died from a back injury on 1 January 1870, at the age of 39 years, 4 months, and 3 days.

In 1870 widower Martin Geier, five of his children, and John and Magdalena Bienz and their family all resided together: Martin Geier, 55; Rosina Geier, 15; Catharine Geier, 12; Jacob Geier, 7; Mary Geier, 3; Magdalena Geier, 3 months; John Bienz, 47; Magdalena Bienz, 35; John F Bienz, 17; George E Bienz, 15; Rosina C Bienz, 13; Anna BC Bienz, 11; John JC Bienz, 9; Henry W Bienz, 5; and Mary Bienz. [6]

Martin Geier’s fourth marriage was to Maria Ursula Rohr, married 13 November 1870. Maria Ursula Rohr was born 15 August 1815 in Ottenheim, Oberant Luhr, Wuerttemberg. She died of cholera on 23 July 1890, aged 74 years, 11 months, and 22 days.

In 1880 the Martin Geier family lived in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana: Martin, 63; Mary, 64; Jacob, 17; Mary, 13; and Lena, 10. Martin was a farmer. [7]

By 1900 widower Martin Geier had moved back to Willshire Township and was living with the Henry Roehm family, which was his daughter Catharine’s husband and children: Henry Roehm, 47; Catherine Roehm, 42; Elmeda MR, 19; Bertha A, 18; Della G, 16; Nora E, 13; Hilda H, 11; Louisa H, 10; Alvina M, 8; Theodor H, 5; Edward AM, 2; and Martin Geier, 84. This enumeration indicates that Martin immigrated in 1852. [8]

Martin Geier died of old age on 22 December 1902, at the age or 86 years, 2 months, and 27 days. He was buried on the 24th.

Johann “Martin” Geier, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

The deaths Martin Geier’s four wives were recorded in Zion Schumm’s records and they were very likely buried in Zion’s cemetery. However, it appears that none of their tombstones have survived.

Additional research could certainly be done on these intertwined families.

[1] Most of the vital information about Martin Geier, his marriages, and his children are from Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm’s records.   

[2] Zion Lutheran Schumm marriage record gives her name as Eckert at the time of their marriage.

[3] Johann Eberhardt Geier and Catharine Rosine Geier were not twins. Johann was born in January 1857 and Catharine Rosine was born in December 1857.

[4] 1860 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p.425, dwelling 1064, family 1058, Martin Gier; digital image by subscription Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/ : viewed 18 Oct 2021).

[5] Eva Katharine had five children with her first husband Johann Hoffmann:
Christian Hoffmann/Hofmann (1854-1919), married Lena Schinnerer
Rosina “Elisabeth” Hoffmann (1857-1913), married Abraham Pflueger
Johann George Hoffmann (1859-1942), married Malinda Miller
Christian Adam Friedrich Hoffmann (1861-1864)
Hannah Rosine Magdalena Hoffmann (1863-?), married Fredrick Glessing

[6] 1870 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p.439B, dwelling 135, family, Martin Gire; digital image by subscription Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/ : viewed 18 Oct 2021).  

[7] 1880 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 133, p.54A, dwelling & family 122, Martin Guyer; digital image by subscription Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/ : viewed 18 Oct 2021).

[8] 1900 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 98, p.11, dwelling 27, family 222, Henry Roehm; digital image by subscription Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/ : viewed 18 Oct 2021).


Grandpa’s Golf Cart

Golf carts have always been popular with golfers but recently they have become even more popular with people, not for golfing, but just to get around in their community. Golf carts look to be a handy and fun way to get from place to place. Just hop in and ride around in the open air. They are fuel efficient, too.

We noticed their popularity a few years ago in Portland, Indiana. They were everywhere, in town as well as at their annual engine show. Then we noticed golf carts in Berne, in Rockford, and now in Celina. Yes, Golf carts are very popular and handy.

A family member recently purchased this nice, sporty-looking golf cart.

Not to brag, but my grandpa Cornelius Schumm was way ahead of today’s popular golf cart craze. Grandpa Schumm had a golf cart back in 1984. And he was not a golfer. He used it to drive around his farm. I doubt that he ever drove it to Willshire, though.

Cornelius Schumm in his golf cart, 1984.

While Grandma Schumm was taking care of the household chores grandpa’s favorite place to pass the time was in his garage. His garage was all the way across the barnyard, on the other side of the barn, and quite a walk for an elderly person. So having a little motorized vehicle to drive to and from his garage and around the farmyard worked great for grandpa, who was not getting around very well in his later years. It was a good way to help keep him mobile.

Cornelius Schumm, 1984.

These photos were taken in 1984 but I am not sure how long grandpa had his golf cart before this. I know he was proud of it and enjoyed riding it around the barnyard. Grandpa passed away a couple years later, in 1986.

Golf carts have certainly changed over the years. And don’t bother to ask about the car. I have no idea who owned that car, although it doesn’t look like a 1984 model. It looks like a very cool car, though. 

My parents drove a Gator around their lot and it suited their needs better than a golf cart.

Herb & Florence Miller on Gator, c2011

My dad really liked his Gator and usually had the bed loaded with gallons of dirt or water jugs to water plants.

Herb Miller with Gator, 2011.

Good times and good memories!

Tombstone Tuesday-Bird Symbol

Birds, usually doves, are common tombstone symbols. They symbolize peace, resurrection, and innocence.

Birds are usually depicted as flying or sitting but we saw this unusual bird scene on a tombstone at Greenville Union Cemetery, Darke County, Ohio. The perching bird is looking at his friend or mate who is lying belly-up on the ground.

Greenville Union Cemetery, Darke County, Ohio. (2006 photo by Karen)

A bird lying dead symbolizes a life that was cut short prematurely and this is the case of the carving on the tombstone of Heinrich August Lindemann, who died in 1872 at the age of 29 years.

Greenville Union Cemetery, Darke County, Ohio. (2006 photo by Karen)

Real birds are often opportunists and a robin built this nest along the wings of this angel at Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm.

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Willshire Village School Bus No.3

I recently spoke at the Willshire Alumni Banquet, to a great group of people who waited a long time for that banquet to take place. One of the things I talked about was Willshire Village School Bus No. 3, which picked up the Chatt-area school children in 1939-40. I have posted this photo of the students who rode that bus before on Karen’s Chatt.

Willshire School Bus No. 3, 1939-40

However, since posting it a few years ago I colorized and labeled the photo. For some reason the colorized version seems sharper and clearer and labeling the individuals makes their identification easier.

Willshire Village School Bus No. 3, colorized & labeled.

While preparing for the alumni talk I discovered that I have two additional photos of that bus and the students. These three bus photos were very likely taken on the same day.  

Willshire Bus no. 3, 1939-40, colorized.

The above photo appears to have been taken immediately before or after the first photo. The kids have moved around and most are inside the bus. The are wearing the same clothing and that makes it easier to identify them. It looks like they were horsing around and having a good time. Perhaps the photos were taken on the last day of school. Everyone would have been happy about that.

The final photo shows the bus driving down the road, probably Sipe Road. Or maybe the bus was just parked on the road for the photo. Willshire Village School Bus No. 3, written on the side, is quite visible. What a cool bus!

Willshire Village School Bus No. 3, colorized.

The school bus seats were not arranged as they are today. Instead there were two long benches down the center of the bus and the riders faced toward the windows.

The bus picked up the Miller children at the end of their lane and dropped them off at Stetler Road. Stetler Road ends at Sipe Road and the Millers called Stetler Road “North Road.” Either way, it would have been a little trek in bad weather.

My dad Herb Miller and several of his brothers and sisters are in the photo—Helen, Em, Kate, Vernie, and Kenny. Helen was a senior that year and Kenny was in the first grade. My dad would have been in the 8th grade and was the third oldest of his siblings in this photo.

Who doesn’t love these old photos!