This past week we spent a few days in Holmes County. In addition to the beautiful eastern Ohio countryside in this Amish community, there is an abundance of shopping opportunities, handcrafted Amish items, cheese, wine, and lots of delicious home-style food. It is also the area where several of my ancestors lived for awhile on their way westward.
Ohio is often called the Gateway to the West because so many settlers traveled through Ohio, either overland or on one of Ohio’s waterways. When I sat down and thought about it I was surprised at how many of my ancestors not only traveled through Ohio, but actually lived in the Holmes County area for a few years. Below is a list of my ancestors that once resided in the area.
Both the Schumms and the Pfluegers lived in Holmes County in the early 1830s. Both families worshiped with the Evangelical United Zion Congregation in Winesburg, where several family members were married and where some of their children were baptized. Christian Pflueger owned land in the area between Winesburg, Walnut Creek and Berlin. Both families moved to Van Wert County in about 1838. Johann Georg Schumm and Christian Pflueger are my third great-grandfathers.
My great-grandfather John Scaer was born in Baltic in 1864. This little village is actually located in three counties–Coshocton, Holmes, and Tuscarawas–but John’s obituary states that he was born in Tuscarawas County. John’s family later moved to Monroeville, Indiana.
The Baltic branch spelled their name “Scarr” and we found Scarr tombstones in West Lawn Cemetery in Baltic. The Monroeville branch probably changed the spelling to Scaer and some of them later went on to change the spelling to Scare. My mom recalls her mother Hilda and Hilda’s brother Oscar Scaer traveling to Baltic to visit their Scarr relatives.
Nicholas and Ruth (Phillips) Headington left Maryland about 1820 and settled in Knox County for a few years before moving on to Jay County, Indiana. While in Knox County they lived near Mt. Vernon, where several of their children were born. Nicholas was my fifth great-grandfather and fought in the War of 1812.
Louis Breuninger, my second great-grandfather, was living in Canal Dover in 1840. The town is called Dover today and is in Tuscarawas County. By 1850 Louis had moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he married Maria Seckel in 1851. Louis moved his family to the Schumm area by 1870.
Down the road from Dover is New Philadelphia, where Jackson Brewster and his family stayed for a short time on their way from Fayette County, Pennsylvania, to Adams County, Indiana, between 1860-1870. Jackson is my third great-grandfather.
Joe has at least one ancestor who lived in the area. His fourth great-grandfather Jonathan Grant came to what is now Holmes County in 1809 and is credited as being the first white settler in the county. A street in Wooster is named in his honor and he lived in the area the remainder of his life. He is buried in a private cemetery in Holmes County. McCulloch Cemetery, near Holmesville, is located on a back road, beyond a field, in a thicket, on an Amish farm. We did not visit the cemetery this trip, although I understand that his tombstone has been replaced with a new military marker, noting his Revolutionary War service.
It rained several times during this week’s trip and it probably would have been a muddy mess to get across the field to the cemetery. Perhaps the next visit we will see Jonathan’s new tombstone.
Although this year’s trip was not intended to be a research trip, we did visit the little village of Baltic and walked through West Lawn Cemetery there. We drove through Mt. Vernon and through Centerburg, the geographical center of Ohio, the real Heart of Ohio. We took our time and took the scenic route home and marveled at the beautiful countryside where our ancestors once lived. In 2005 we visited Winesburg and Jonathan Grant’s grave. In the future we plan to visit New Philadelphia and Dover.
[The following is the non-genealogy portion of this post.]
The rain. A couple of our recent trips have been rained out and this is becoming an unfortunate recurring theme for us. Last year we sat through a rain delay at the Great American Ball Park on the Fourth of July. After about four hours of nonstop rain, with no dry weather in sight, the ballgame was cancelled.
This week it rained most of Monday afternoon after we arrived in Berlin and we were drenched the next day in Sugarcreek. The rain stopped after that and we had beautiful weather for the rest of our trip.
A side trip was a detour through a very large marsh. A portion of Route 83 was closed between Wooster and Millersburg and we decided to make our own detour around the closed road. We turned onto the closest road before the road closing with the intent of going “around the block.” The problem is that roads do not make a square in hilly areas. Square blocks are for flat areas, like Mercer County.
The map showed that turning right would take us through Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area. That sounded interesting. At first. We both like birds and other wildlife. I looked at the detour as an opportunity to see some unusual wildlife in the marsh.
As we drove into the marsh one concern was a sign warning of high water, cautioning travelers not to travel through the marsh during periods of heavy rain. Luckily the road was fairly dry and the rain came later.
It was a marsh all right, with lots of water and lily pads on both sides of the road. In other areas the woods enveloped both sides of the road. We became a little concerned when the pavement ended and we found ourselves driving on a narrow, half-gravel, half-dirt road, in a very forlorn and desolate area.
The only wildlife we saw as we drove through was a dead opossum and a couple buzzards. Eventually we came to pavement again and we did go “around the block.” Sort of.
We look forward to going back to the Holmes County area again in the near future.