A Laundry Day Photo

This photo of a couple of my ancestors came to mind after reading a recent article about laundering bedding.

Emily (Bryan) Reid & Pearl (Reid) Brewster

The article told about the nasty bugs and germs that could live in your bedding if you don’t wash them regularly. It recommended laundering sheets and pillowcases at least every two weeks, the schedule I thankfully adhere to, the schedule passed down in my family. Good thing because I don’t like the idea of cozying up with bugs and germs at night. The article suggested the 1-2 week laundry schedule to the small percentage who wash their sheets and pillowcases seasonally or yearly. OK then…   

Enough about people’s laundry habits, but the article made me think of the above old photo and the fact that laundry day has come a long way.

In the photo is my great-great-grandmother Emily Ellen (Bryan) Reid (1856-1940) and her daughter, who was also my great-grandmother, Pearl Selina (Reid) Brewster (1880-1962). I do not know when the photo was taken or who is who in the photo. That type of clothing wringer dates to the 1890s and early 1900s but the women’s clothing looks more recent than that. Both Emily and Pearl would have been adults and perhaps Pearl’s daughter, also my grandmother, Gertrude (Brewster) Miller (1896-1973) is in the photo, too.

There are several other people in the photo. Maybe the woman on the left is washing and the woman on the right is rinsing, using the tub with the wringer? Or was this something more than an ordinary wash day? Perhaps there was something else going on. A family or community project? Bleaching or dying fabric?

And why take a photo of women doing laundry? Did someone get a new camera? Or did the women get a new household gadget? The wringers? Too many unanswered questions…

The women were using a very old-fashioned laundry method, laundry tubs, one of them wooden, and wringers. Although I do not see a washboard in the photo, they probably had a washboard similar to this:

Washboard and tub.

These basic items eventually evolved into wringer washing machines. I vaguely remember that my Grandma Miller had a wringer washer, located in what they called the utility room. I once had a cute pink toy wringer washer. The little wringers and the agitator moved with little cranks. It was a fun little toy.

There is an old nursery rhyme that goes, wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, bake on Wednesday, brew on Thursday, churn on Friday, men on Saturday, meeting on Sunday.

Growing up, one of my household chores was ironing. It wasn’t really a bad job. I would set up the ironing board in front of the TV, which made the task go quicker. Grandma Miller ironed in front of the TV, too. If I didn’t finish all the ironing I would dampen the remaining items, roll them up, put them in a plastic bag, and put the bag in the refrigerator. Clothes actually seemed easier to iron after marinating in the refrigerator overnight.

Gertrude (Brewster) Miller ironing.

I have heard that some people used to iron their sheets, probably before the days of permanent-press fabric. That seems like a whole lot of extra work and we never did that. But sheets probably look very nice if they are ironed and a hot iron would certainly kill the little bugs and germs.  

When I grew up we didn’t always have a washing machine but we did have a dryer. My mom would stop at the laundromat in Willshire after work on Mondays and would bring the wet clothes home and dry them in the dryer. Eventually we got washing machine.

Now, in my dryer I use six dryer balls instead of using fabric softener. Invariably a couple of the balls fall out of the dryer when I take the clothes out. They bounce and go rolling down the floor and I think that a dog would really enjoy chasing the balls on laundry day. Instead, I chase after the balls myself.

Thinking of that old nursery rhyme, I wonder about Thursday’s chore…

Tombstone Tuesday-Book Symbol

A book symbol on a tombstone usually represents the Holy Bible or the Book of Life.

Holy Bible inscription.

Holy Bible inscription.

Modern Holy Bible inscription.

Most often the words Holy Bible are not inscribed on the book, although any book on a tombstone may be considered a Bible.

An open book may indicate the Book of Life and everlasting life for those whose names are written in it.  

Open book.

Open book.

A closed book may indicate that life has ended. Life is completed.

Closed book.

Closed book with flower.

A book symbol may symbolize the deceased’s faith or prayer.

Finger pointing or holding book.

The whole cemetery monument may be a Bible.

Bible tombstone monument.

A book symbol may indicate the deceased was a scholar, writer, or publisher, but the symbol most often has a religious connotation.    

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Karen’s Chatt! Wishing each of you a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. May your home be filled with love, happiness, and thankfulness as you gather with family and friends today.

Tombstone Tuesday-Anna W. & Henriette C. Schumm

Anna W & Henrietta C Schumm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Anna W. and Henriette C. Schumm, located in row 8 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Anna W.
18 Marz 1883
10 Oct 1901
John 8:61

Henriette C.
18 Feb. 1885
21 Nov. 1901
Psalm 119:92

Tochter von H.G. u. Anna M. Schumm


Anna W, born 18 March 1883, died 10 October 1901. Henriette C, born 18 February 1885, died 21 November 1901. Daughter[s] of H.G. and Anna M. Schumm.

Sisters Anna Wilhelmine and Henrietta Clara Schumm were the second and third of five children born to Henry George “H.G.” and Anna M. (Roehm) Schumm. H.G. Schumm (1854-1939) and Anna M. Roehm (1857-1901) married at Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm, on 1 April 1879

Anna Wilhelmine Schumm was born in Willshire Township on 18 March 1883. She was baptized at Zion Schumm on 26 March 1883, with Susanna Roehm, Sophie Schumm, and Mrs. Rev. Seemeyer serving as her sponsors.

Henriette Clara Schumm was born in Willshire Township on 18 February 1885. She was baptized at Zion Schumm on 1 March 1885, with Mrs. Maria Grund and Rosine Schumm serving as her sponsors.

The Henry George Schumm family in 1900: Henry G, 45; Annie M, 43, wife; Amelia, 19, daughter; Annie W, 17, daughter; Henrietta, 15, daughter; Walter E, 11, son; Esther, 6, daughter; Marie Schumm, 79, mother. The father H.G. Schumm was a farmer in Willshire Township. [1]

The following year was a tragic year for the H.G. Schumm family as typhoid fever ravaged the family. H.G.’s 44-year-old wife Anna (Roehm) Schumm died from typhoid fever on 23 September 1901.

Daughter Anna Wilhelmine died in Willshire from typhoid fever on 10 October 1901, at the age of 18 years, 6 months, and 22 days. She was buried on the 25th.

Daughter Henriette Clara died in Willshire from typhoid fever on 21 November 1901, at the age of 16 years, 9 months, and 3 days. She was buried on the 24th.

Widower H.G. Schumm, left with three children at home, married widow Wilhelmina “Mina” (Kroemer) Limecooly (1863-1951) on 23 November 1904. H.G. and Mina did not have any children of their own but Mina (Kroemer) had three children from her marriage to William F. Limecooly (1857-1900). [2]

Sisters Anna Wilhelmine and Henriette Clara Schumm had the following siblings:
Maria Amalia Schumm (1880-1946), married John Henry “Hugo” Schumm
Walter Emanuel Schumm (1888-1967), married Erna Theresa Schumm
Esther Emilie Schumm (1893-1983), married Amos Clemens Schumm

[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 97, p.10, dwelling 193, family 206, Henry G Schumm; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com, viewed 22 Nov 2021.

[2] Children of William F. & Mina (Kroemer) Limecooly: Edward Frederick (1890-1961); George D. (1893-1972); Mary Margaret (1897-?).

Weisenborn Research Opportunity

Calling all Weisenborns. For those of you with a Weisenborn connection in your family tree, there is an online worldwide Weisenborn database.

A few months ago I corresponded with family genealogist Toon Weisenborn, from Nordhorn, Germany. Toon has been interested in her family’s Weisenborn genealogy since she was a young girl and she has since set out to gather information about all Weisenborns in Germany, the Netherlands, and around the world. 

Because of this interest, Toon has created the website, Project All Weisenborns and Wittenborns, to help Weisenborn researchers. Her website is freely accessible and she will add information and make corrections to the Weisenborn information she has already compiled there.

You may find your Weisenborn family in one of her trees. If not, she offers to add new Weisenborn data to an existing tree or add a new tree when necessary.

Her efforts are a great aid to all Weisenborn researchers.

I do not believe I have any Weisenborns in my family tree but there were and still are Weisenborns in this area.

Luther Weissenborn (1846-1864) is buried in Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm. [1] The John Christoph and Mary Catharine (Schüt) Weisenborn family attended Zion Chatt in the mid-1860s and later. Zion’s records indicate that John Christoph and Mary Catharine were from Niederdorla, Thuringen, and Grossherzogtum, Baden, respectively. Several Weisenborns are buried in Kessler/Liberty Cemetery and several in Hopewell Township’s Friends Cemetery, both cemeteries in Mercer County.

Luther Weissenborn, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

I urge Weisenborn researchers to check out Toon’s Weisenborn website. [2]


[1] Tombstone Tuesday-Luther Weissenborn, Karen’s Chatt, 27 Nov 2018.

[2] Project All Weisenborns and Wittenborns, Toon Weisenborn, https://weisenborn-boer.nl/Weissenborn_Wittenborn/Stambomen/data.htm.