Tombstone Tuesday–Bertha M. Allmandinger

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

Bertha M. Allmandinger, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Bertha M. Allmandinger, located in row 11 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Bertha M. Allmandinger

It is interesting that the vital details of Bertha’s life were documented in the church records of both Zion Lutheran Chattanooga and Zion Lutheran Schumm.

According to the birth/baptism records of Zion Chatt, Bertha Margaretha Allmandinger was born 9 November 1903 to Wilhelm and Barbara (Hoehamer) Allmandinger. She was baptized 29 November 1903 and her parents were her sponsors.

The Allmandinger family moved from Mercer County to Van Wert County about a year after Bertha’s birth in 1903. In 1904 Bertha’s younger brother Hugo was baptized at Zion Schumm. Bertha was confirmed at Zion Schumm on Palm Sunday, 1 April 1917.

Census enumerations also confirm the family’s move to Van Wert County. They were living in Black Creek Township in 1900 [1] and in Willshire Township in 1910. [2]

According to her burial record at Zion Schumm, Bertha Margaret Allmandinger, was born 9 November 1903 in Black Creek Township, Mercer County, Ohio, to William C. and Barbara S. Allmandinger. Bertha died 6 November 1930 at the State Hospital in Gallipolis, at the age of 26 years, 11 months and 25 days. She was buried 10 November 1930 at Zion Cemetery, Schumm.

According to her Ohio death certificate Bertha was a patient of the Ohio Hospital for Epileptics in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio, but her residence was given as Schumm, Ohio. She died 4 November 1930 of bronchial pneumonia that started on 30 October of that year. Chronic spinal meningitis following an oophorectomy in 1927 and epilepsy that started in 1920 were contributing causes. She was 26 years old and her birth date was given as 1904 in Ohio. The names of her parents were written as “unknown” but her father’s birthplace was given as Ohio and her mother’s as Indiana. Burial was to be in Willshire, Ohio, on 5 November. A hospital recorder was the informant. [3]  

Bertha Allmandinger Ohio death certificate, 1930.

Bertha Allmandinger Ohio death certificate, 1930.

The Ohio Hospital for Epileptics opened 30 November 1893 in Gallipolis, Ohio. It was the first of its kind in the United States and the largest institution dedicated to the care of epileptics and the “epileptic insane.” Before it was established epileptics resided in poorhouses, insane hospitals, infirmaries or jails if family members were unable to care for them. All epileptics in Ohio were eligible for care at the hospital, where patients received medical care, adequate food and clothing, and an education. At the turn of the century there were 42 buildings on the hospital grounds, divided into several groups. In April 1912 there were 1475 patients and 236 employees at the hospital. The hospital closed in 1976 and the only structures that exist today are the two sandstone water towers, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [4]


[1] 1900 U.S. census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 74, p. 10A, dwelling 200, family 200, line 5, William C. Almandinger; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 9 June 2013); from FHL microfilm 1241303, citing National Archives microfilm T623, roll 1303.

[2] 1910 U.S. census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 114, p. 4B, dwelling 79, family 80, line 60, Wm. Allmandinger;. digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 9 June 2013); from FHL microfilm 1375251, citing National Archives microfilm T624, roll 1238.

[3] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 0 June 2013), Bertha Allmandinger, 4 November 1930.

[4] “Gallipolis Epileptic Hospital,” Asylum Projects, ( : accessed 9 June 2013).



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    • Sue Allen on June 11, 2013 at 10:41 am
    • Reply

    It’s a shame that the mentality of that time was to sterlize women so they couldn’t have children if they were epileptic. They apparently didn’t have medicine to control seizures then.

    1. I’m sure you are correct. Medical treatment has come a long way and epilepsy is controllable today.

  1. OK, now you have opened a hornets nest. Since I have both Hoehammer and Almandinger cousins, I am left wondering if these are relatives or just coincidental families with the same name. There is never enough time to sift out all the answers. Looking forward to your usual “rest of the story” next Tuesday to see if I can get any more clues.

    1. Indeed! I see that you do! And I’ll see if I can show the connection soon. These church records are full of interesting information and family connections. And how interesting that these families are contained in the records of both churches.

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