Tombstone Tuesday–Jakob Kessler

Jakob Kessler, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Jakob Kessler, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Jakob Kessler, located in Kessler Cemetery, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Jakob Kessler
1 Maerz 1858
27 Juli 1892
34 J. 4 M. 26 T.

Translation: Jakob Kessler, born 1 March 1858, died 27 July 1892, aged 34 years, 4 months, 26 days.

Jakob was born in Mercer County, Ohio, the son of German immigrants Christian (1814-1892) and Margarethe (Kable) (1816-1862) Kessler.

Jakob was born in 1856, according to the Familienregister of Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga. By calculation, the 1860 [1] and 1880 [2] censuses indicate he was born in 1856. The 1870 census indicates he was born in 1857. [3]

His tombstone and his church death record indicate his year of birth was 1858. To make it even more confusing, Jakob was confirmed at Zion Chatt in 1871. Lutherans are usually confirmed at age 14, making his year of birth 1857, if he was 14 years old when confirmed.

Since the records closest to his birth are the Familienregister and the 1860 census, and his parents most likely gave his birth information for these records, I tend to believe that he was born in 1856 and that the tombstone and church death record are incorrect.

Jakob Kessler. (2013 photo by Karen)

Jakob Kessler. (2013 photo by Karen)

“Jacob” Kesler married Mary “Betsell” [Betzel] on 23 December 1880 in Mercer County, Ohio. [4] Their marriage is not recorded in Zion Chatt’s records because of a two year gap in the marriage records from 1880-1881. Jakob and Mary Kessler attended Zion and the records indicate that they had the following children:

William Franklin (b. 1881)
Otto Christian (b. 1884)
Johann Rudolph (b. 1887)
Ferdinand Hugo (b. 1892)

The church records indicate that Jakob died of cancer at 6:00 in the morning of 27 July 1892, at the age of 34 years, 4 months and 26 days. He was buried the next day in Kessler Cemetery, buried next to his father Christian and stepmother Marie. Jakob’s mother Margarethe died in 1862 and is buried a few rows to the west.

1892 was a difficult and sad year for the Kessler family. Jakob Kessler’s father Christian died on 25 January, Jakob’s step-mother Marie (Koch) Kessler died 28 January, and Jakob died 6 months later, in July.

Zion’s records show that Jakob’s widow, Maria (Betzel) Kessler, married George Berron of Adams County, Indiana, on 1 August 1895. George Berron was married to Maria Kuehm and she died in 1890. The Berrons also attended church at Zion Chatt.


[1] 1860 US Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, p. 359, dwelling 1016, family 1021, line 21, Christian Kessler; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 15 September 2013); from National Archives microfilm M432, roll 710.

[2] 1880 US Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 188, p. 473B, dwelling 42, family 44, line 5, Christ Kesler Sr; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 29 September 2013); from Family History film 1255048, from National Archives microfilm T9, roll 1048.

[3] 1870 US Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, dwelling 103, family 85, line 31 page 148B, Christian Resner; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 7 September 2013); from Family History microfilm 552742, from National Archives microfilm M593, roll 1243.

[4] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 September 2013), Jacob Kesler and Mary Betsell, 1880, from Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 5, p. 41.


    • Waldo on October 1, 2013 at 7:45 am
    • Reply

    Interesting that the months of the year were spelled in German on the tombstone. While I have often seen the spouse (Frau) or birth and death date abreviations indicated in German, I have not noticed the months spelled out in German before this post. Have I been simply not paying attention or is this different from others in the past?

    1. I don’t think the German month spellings are that common but I do see them occasionally. You may have missed Mai for May, for example.

    • Waldo on October 1, 2013 at 8:22 pm
    • Reply

    It seems very odd that there would be such a clear and direct diagnosis of the cause of death as cancer. Back in this time cancer was not a common term or easy case to pinpoint. What were the odds that a corner examined the body, nearly none, I suspect. Thus a local doctor must have made the call, or the family just thought that was the reason? Symptoms of most cancers were not well known in the rural country or even the whole country back then (were they?). I seldom recall cancer being mentioned until the anti-cigarette folks got going good. TB, gout, emphasima, horse kick to the head, blood poison, or farm accident, maybe, but cancer? It would be intriguing to know which cancer and how long, etc. as well as if tied to any known carcinogen.

    Like the spat of brain tumors (or so reported) among the Berne Amish this last year or two, one has to suspect a common cause and want to insure such cause is properly addressed.

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