Tombstone Tuesday–Philip & Etta (Leistner) Huffman

Philip & Etta (Leistner) Huffman, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2017 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Philip and Etta (Leistner) Huffman, located in row 3 of Kessler Cemetery, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:


Philip Huffman was born 24 December 1859 in Mercer County, Ohio, to Ferdinand and Elizabeth (Herzog/Hartzog) Huffman. He had a twin sister Elizabeth. Zion’s familienbuch indicates that the twins were baptized in Mercer County, Ohio, but their baptisms are not recorded in Zion Chatt’s records. Philip was confirmed at Zion Chatt on 14 April 1874 but there is no record that Elizabeth was confirmed there.

In 1860 the Huffmans lived south of Chatt and had a Skeels Cross Roads Post Office address. Philip was enumerated in the 1860 census when he was just 8 months old. [1] He was enumerated in the 1880 census with his parents and six siblings and his occupation was a carpenter. [2]

Philip and his twin sister Elizabeth, age 37, were both still living at home with their parents in Liberty Township in 1900. Both were single and Philip was a day laborer. [3]

Philip Hoffman married Etta Leistner 29 April 1903 at Zion Chatt, married by Zion’s minister R.V. Smith. Etta was 28 years old, born in Blackcreek Township, Mercer County, in August of 1874, the daughter of John and Leana (Hinton) Leistner. Etta used the name Ethel on her marriage license. Philip, age 39, lived in Chatt and worked as a carpenter. Neither was previously married. [4]

Etta’s date of birth was recorded in Blackcreek Township as 25 August 1874. [5]

Etta Leistner grew up in Blackcreek Township. She was baptized, christened as Leiniette, at Zion Chatt with her younger sister Flarensdelle on 26 June 1876. Their baptismal sponsors were Barbara Leistner and Catharina Beyer. Their mother’s name was recorded as Magdalena (Hinton) Leistner. Etta’s name is shown as Ettie in some records.

The extended Leistner family lived together in 1880: Andrew, 72; Barbara, 68, wife; John, 34, son; Andrew, 25, son; Leann A, 30, sister-in-law; Sinsetta, 5, daughter; Florance D, 4, daughter; and Barbara E, 2, daughter. The older couple, Andrew and Barbara, were Etta’s grandparents. The daughter enumerated as Sinsetta was Etta and she was disabled, with what was described as a spinal contraction. [6] Apparently Etta’s given name was Sinsetta or Leiniette or something similar. The handwritten S and L can be difficult to differentiate and is indexed differently on different records.

The Leistner household in 1900: John, 54; LaAnn, 52; Etta S, 25; Barbara E, 22; Anna E, 16; John H, 13; and Mary M, 11. John and Leana had been married 28 years and had had 8 children, but only 6 were living. John was a farmer. Etta was born in August 1874, was single, could read and write, and spoke English. This enumeration indicates that Etta’s middle initial was S. [7]

Etta married Philip Huffman in 1903.

The Philip Huffman household as enumerated in 1910: Philip, 52, Etta, 36, and their daughter Bernice, 3. Bernice was the only child they had. Philip was a general farmer and he and Etta had been married 7 years. [8]

In 1920 the Huffmans lived on a farm. In the household: Philip, 57; Etta, 46; their daughter, enumerated as Grace, 13; and nephew Jesse, 14. Philip still worked as a general farmer. [9]

Philip, 68, and Etta, 55, lived by themselves in 1930. Philip worked as a carpenter, doing public work. [10]  

I have to wonder who reported their ages in these census enumerations. The ages certainly varied a lot!

In 1940 Philip, 81, was an old age pensioner, likely retired from farming completely. Etta, age 65, did not work. The highest grade Philip completed in school was the 6th grade and Etta had completed the 5th grade. They lived in the same house as they did in 1935. [11]

According to Zion Chatt’s death records Philip Huffman died of complications at 9:30 p.m. on 15 October 1954 in Celina, at the age of 94 years, 9 months, and 21 days. He was buried on the 18th. He was survived by his wife Etta; daughter Mrs. Grace Raudenbush; 2 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; and a sister Mrs. Rose Zellinger. The record goes on to state that he was born 24 December 1859 to Ferdinand and Elizabeth Hartzog Huffman. He was one of a pair of twins who was baptized, and was confirmed on Jubilate Sunday in 1875 by Rev. Schmidt. He was married 29 April 1903 by Rev. R.V. Smith.


Philip Huffman
Celina, Oct. 16—Services for Philip Huffman, 94, retired meat market operator, who died Friday, will be at 2:15 p.m. Monday in Zion Lutheran Church in Chattanooga, west of Rockford. The Rev. Waldo Byers will officiate and burial will be in Kessler Cemetery.

Mr. Huffman is survived by his widow, Etta; a daughter, Mrs. Dwight Raudenbush, Celina; and a sister, Mrs. Rosa Zeilinger, San Diego, Calif.; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Friends may call at the Dick & Stallter Funeral Home. [12]

According to Zion Chatt’s death records Etta (Leistner) Hoffman died of a complication of ailments at 6:30 a.m. on 5 October 1956 at the age of 82 years, 1 month, and 10 days. She was buried on the 8th. She was survived by her daughter Grace Raudenbush, 2 granddaughters, Mrs. William Nash, and Nila Sue Raudenbush; a brother John Leistner, 2 sisters, Mrs. Charles Kuhn, and Mrs. Martin Affolder. This record also indicates that she was the daughter of John Leistner and was baptized at West Bethel. [Zion’s records show she was baptized at Zion.] She married Philip Huffman 29 April 1903 at Zion.


Mrs. Etta Huffman
Celina—Services for Mrs. Etta Leistner Huffman, 82, here, will be at 1:30 p.m. Monday in the Dick & Stallter Funeral Home and at 2:30 p.m. in the Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga. The Rev. Waldo Byers will officiate and burial will be in Kessler Cemetery, south of Chattanooga.

Mrs. Huffman died at 6:30 a.m. Friday in the Gibbons Hospital of complications, after being a patient there for three weeks.

A lifelong resident of Mercer County, she was a member of the Zion Lutheran Church. She was the widow of Philip Huffman who died in 1954, one year after they had observed their Golden wedding anniversary.

Surviving are a son-in-law and daughter with whom she had made her home for 16 years, Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Raudenbaush [sic], Celina’ two granddaughters, and two great-granddaughters.

Friends may call at the funeral home after 1 p.m. Saturday. [13]

At one time Philip and Elizabeth were the oldest living pair of twins in Mercer County.

Elizabeth Huffman next to Philip & Etta (Leistner) Huffman, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2017 photo by Karen)

Philip and Etta Huffman’s tombstone is located next to that of Philip’s twin sister Elizabeth Huffman.

Philip and Etta had one child:
Grace Bernice (1906-1998), married Dwight Raudenbush


[1] 1860 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, p.358, dwelling 998, family 1003, Fred Hoofman;; FHL microfilm 805009, NARA microfilm M653, roll 1009.

[2] 1880 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, Ed 188, p.472D, dwelling 27, family 28, Ferdinand Hoffman;; NARA microfilm T9, roll 1048.

[3] 1900 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 85, p.9A, dwelling 166, family 171, Ferdinand Hoffman;; FHL microfilm 1241304, NARA microfilm T623, roll 1304.

[4] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,”, Philip Huffman & Etherl Leistner, 29 Apr 1903; Mercer Marriages, Vol.8, p.441; FHL microfilm 914957.

[5] Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973, Black Creek Township, Mercer County, Ohio, S…Tte Leistner, female, 25 Aug 1874;; from ”Ohio Births and Christenings, 1821-1962,” index,

[6] 1880 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 179, p.323A, dwelling 2, family 1, Andres Leistner;; NARA microfilm T9, roll 1048.

[7] 1900 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 74, p.7B, dwelling & family 155, John Leistner;; FHL microfilm 1241303, NARA microfilm T623, roll 1303.

[8] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 119, p.16B, dwelling 157, family 318, Philip Huffman;; FHL microfilm 1375227, NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[9] 1920 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 140, p.3B dwelling & family 59, Philip Hoffman;; NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[10] 1930 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 20, p.10B, dwelling & family 253, Philip Hoffman;; FHL microfilm 2341584, NARA microfilm T626, roll 1850.

[11] 1940 U.S Census, Liberty Mercer, Ohio, ED 54-22, p.15A, line 26, Philip Huffman;; NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

[12] The Lima News, 17 Oct 1854, p.2A;

[13] The Lima News, 5 Oct 1956, p.12,

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