Tombstone Tuesday–J. Michael Grund

J. Michael Grund, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

J. Michael Grund, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of J. Michael Grund, located in row three of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The broken marker is inscribed:

J. Michael
Sohn von
[?] & E. Maria
Den.19, Novbr. 1857
24 Jahre, 19 Tag

Translation: J. Michael, son of [unreadable] & E. Maria Grund, died the 19 November 1857, age 24 years, 19 days.

This broken marble marker is nearly impossible to read. In 1992 the Van Wert County Chapter OGS read the surname on the tombstone as “Griebe” but I believe the name is Grund.

By using Zion Schumm’s church records I believe it is the tombstone of Johann Michael Grund. His is the only death recorded in November 1857 and the dates on the tombstone match the church records fairly well, but unfortunately, not exactly. The church records indicate he immigrated the same year as an older Grund couple and the wife’s name of that older couple matches the name of the mother on the tombstone above.

Zion’s death and burial record of Johann Michael Grund states that he was the son of Johann Grund. The record goes on to say that Johann Michael died very suddenly on 11 November 1857 at the age of 24 years and 22 days. It indicates that he was born in Oberamt Gerebronn, Württemberg, and that he arrived in America in 1852. He was born 20 October 1833, calculating his date of birth from the church records.

Zion’s records also give quite a bit of information about Johann Michael’s parents. Johann Heinrich Grund was born 4 May 1809 in Gerabronn, Württemberg. Johann Heinrich was married to Eva Maria Brenner and they immigrated in 1852. Johann Heinrich died 12 Nov 1875 and was buried 14 November.

Eva Maria Brenner was born in Michelbach, Württemberg, on 17 March 1805 and she died in Van Wert County 18 May 1880 at the age of 75 years, 2 months, and 1 day, according to the church records. The records state that she was married to Johann Heinrich Grund.

Johann Heinrich and Eva Maria Grund had five children but four of them were deceased when Johann Heinrich died in 1875. At that time their only living child was their son Georg Grund (1844-1926). Georg and his wife Maria (Rettig) Grund (1853-1913) were the subjects of last week’s Tombstone Tuesday post.

The following are four of Johann Heinrich and Eva Maria (Brenner) Grund’s children, as mentioned in Zion Schumm’s records:

Margaretha (c1830-1861) (m. Martin Geier) Died in childbirth with her child; no tombstone remains
Johann Michael (1833-1857)
Margaretha “Rosina” (1838-1861) (m. Adam Büchner on 9 September 1858)
Georg (1844-1926) (m. Maria Rettig)

The grave markers of Johann Michael Grund and his sister Rosina (Grund) Büchner are in the same row, with one stone in between them.

Johann Heinrich and Eva Maria (Brenner) Grund are probably buried in Schumm Cemetery but their stones no longer exist. There are several bases that no longer have stones and several burial plots in the old section that have no base or marker.


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    • Waldo on November 14, 2013 at 8:54 am
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    It is increasingly apparent that a great number of our family ancestors came from the same region in Germany, explicitly Wurttemburg. While your comments about the Reucks leaving because of the limited farmland available in that area seems reasonable to anyone who has visited Germany and even today can witness the small farms, crowded living accomodations and limited land use restrictions. However, that only partially explains why Chatt as a resettlement point. While Germany is slightly more hilly, rolly land, the comparison of climatic and agricultural similarities would be interesting. Mild winter, rich soil, warm summer, etc., means they could raise the same crops and livestock in much the same manner as in Wurttemburg. A cluster of relatives and other German speaking residents meant English was not really required. Even church and social customs were the same as home, in fact some pastors were actually imported as well for the area. Do you have any idea what the political climate was like at the time (say 1850s and 1860s)? This was considerably prior to WW I, but what factors led to WW I that could have prompted such a heavy migration to Chatt, Willshire and the region in general?

    1. Good question. Remember, people usually followed and settled where their friends and neighbors and other relatives had settled. New German immigrants settled near people they knew from the old country. Or near friends of friends. Word got around. The Schumm area was settled mainly by Wuerttembergers. The Ruecks were from Wuerttemberg, and not all that far from where the Schumms came from. After they immigrated, Jacob Rueck settled in the Schumm area. He bought land between Willshire and Schumm and lived there a couple years with his family. They attended Zion Schumm during that time. They probably knew people or knew of people in the Schumm area and settled there for that reason. During that time Christine Rueck met our Jacob Miller. Jacob Rueck sold his land in Van Wert County and he and the family moved to Oregon, except for Christine, who had married Jacob Miller. I am not sure why the Rueck family moved to Oregon. The opportunity for cheap farmland in an area that was just being settled? Fewer people? A climate more like Wuerttemberg? The Chatt area seems to have attracted more settlers from Bavaria. There again, friends and relatives followed friends and relatives to the new world. The Kesslers were already living near Chatt and I believe that is why Jacob Miller, his mother, and his siblings and their families settled near Chatt. Jacob Miller’s mother was a Kessler, a sister to Christian Kessler, who had already settled in the Chatt area before Jacob Miller arrived in 1871. Jacob Miller even gave his destination as “Indiana” on the emigration records. Jacob Miller knew where he wanted to go when he left Germany. (Indiana is close. The Kesslers lived within a mile of Indiana, near Chatt. Maybe Jacob thought he would live in Indiana. He ended up buying a farm 1/2 mile from the Indiana state line.)

    • Waldo on November 14, 2013 at 12:34 pm
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    Not only did they know where they were going, but they brought plenty of cash with them to “buy” farms. These were no poverty driven cases. In fact, several were considered rather wealthy. It is noteworthy that Bavaria is right next to Wurttemburg, so the two regions have a lot in common. Even language is a consideration, not only English and German, but Germans have two very distinct languages, often referred to as high and low German. So different that they have considerable difficulty understanding each other, even as can be seen among the current Amish groups in the US. Around Berne there are the “German” speaking Amish and the “Swiss” speaking Amish. A little research will quickly reveal that there is no “Swiss” language. Switzerland has 3 or 4 official languages, none of which are “Swiss.”

    1. Our ancestors, and many from the Chatt area, were from the Rhine Pfalz Bavaria, which is on the west side of present Germany. Rhine Pfalz Bavaria borders France. The other Bavaria is next to Wuerttemberg. The Germans in the different areas spoke different dialects. Low German or Plattduutsch was spoken mainly in the north. High German was spoken in southern areas and was used in writing, such as church records. I’m not sure how wealthy they were. They may have scrimped and saved money for quite some time before coming to America. They probably accumulated money and family members may have given them money for the voyage and to purchase land in America.

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