Area Patterson Grads, 1915 & 1916

Continuing on with a few more names of the Patterson Exam graduates from this area in 1915 and 1916.

The Patterson Exam was given to eighth grade students to make sure they were ready to enter high school. The tests covered a variety of subjects and if a student passed the exam he or she could enter the high school of their choice.

The names of those Patterson Exam graduates were often published in The Celina Democrat and in the Van Wert Daily Bulletin and it is interesting to see if any of the names are familiar.

The exams were given in April and May. Van Wert Daily Bulletin, 1 April 1915:

NOTICE TO TEACHERS…Pupil’s examination under the Patterson law will be held in High School Auditorium on the third Saturday in April and third Saturday in May…

The commencements were usually held in late May or in June.

The Celina Democrat, 21 May 1915:

Liberty Township held their Patterson Commencement on Friday evening, 28 May at 7:30 at Mt. Carmel Church. The music was furnished by Holtzinger’s Orchestra and county school superintendent Cotterman delivered the address. The eighth graders who passed the Patterson Exam in Liberty Township, Mercer County, in 1915:
Edwin Bollenbacher
Pearl Bollenbacher
William Brehm
Lawrence Kable
Leona Strable
Chloa Willrath
Dora Willrath
Myrtle Fetters

Hopewell Township’s Patterson Commencement was held Thursday evening, 27 May 1915 at 7:30 at the Albright church. Again, the music was by Holtzinger’s orchestra and the church choir and Superintendent Cotterman gave the class address. The following were the 1915 Hopewell Township graduates:
Deelaura Smith
Beulah Orr
James Reynold
Ruth Knepper
Minor Ricketts
Harold Brookhart
Chester Hansel
Cecile Wilson
Ocie Fast
Flora Smith

I could not find the names of Van Wert’s 1915 Patterson graduates.

However, there was quite a long list of 1916 Patterson Exam graduates from Van Wert County.

1916 Patterson Commencement, Van Wert County, Ohio, VW Daily Bulletin, 2 Jun 1916

The list of 1916 Van Wert County graduates was divided into Supervision Districts, including Convoy. I recognize some surnames in District Four and I suspect it was the Willshire/Schumm area. District Four was a very large group:

1916 Patterson Grads, Van Wert County District 4, VW Daily Bulletin, 2 June 1916

As time went on, the names of the Patterson graduates published in the local papers seemed to be hit-and-miss. Perhaps the test was phased out.

Here is an article about a spelling contest at the Chatt school in 1915.

Spelling School at Chatt, Celina Democrat, 10 Dec 1915

Spelling School at Chatt, Celina Democrat, 10 Dec 1915

The spelling school held Friday evening at the Chattanooga school in Liberty township was very largely attended, and the interest was intense throughout the evening.

The spelling contest among the schools by six different schools, each determined to win the honors of being the best spellers therein.

All pupils showed that they had made a hard study of the list of words prepared for them by the District Superintendent. These not being of a sufficient number, words taken from the ‘State Course of Study’ were used until the winner of the contest was decided.

As a result the eighth grade of the Chattanooga schools represented by their best speller, Ralph Rhothaar, won the honors of being the champion speller of Liberty township. Much credit, however, must be given to the quartet of spellers from the Landfair school who previously were the winners. They say they will win the next time.

The free for all spell-down in which teachers, pupils and school patrons took part was equally as interesting. More difficult words were used in this class. The word ‘rendezvous’ proved to be the stumbling block to the last four spellers, and no one spelled down. The ciphering honors were won by Edward Bauer and Louis Gehm. [1]

This brings up a question. The 1915 Hopewell graduation was at the Albright church. I wonder where that church was?

[1] The Celina Democrat, Celina, Ohio, 10 Dec 1915;, viewed 1 Jun 2023.

Memorial Day 2023

Yesterday, in honor and remembrance of Memorial Day, we visited a couple local cemeteries. It is humbling to see the flags placed near each of the graves of those who served in our armed forces and the graves of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

All gave some. Some gave all.  

We visited Willshire Cemetery first.

American flag flying at Willshire Cemetery, Memorial Day 2023

The shadow of the American flag near this monument.

Willshire Cemetery, Memorial Day 2023

Willshire Cemetery, Memorial Day 2023

Willshire Cemetery, Memorial Day 2023

Willshire Cemetery, Memorial Day 2023

Willshire Cemetery, Memorial Day 2023

Willshire Cemetery, Memorial Day 2023

We visited Zion Lutheran Cemetery at Schumm next.

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Memorial Day 2023

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Memorial Day 2023

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Memorial Day 2023

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Memorial Day 2023

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Memorial Day 2023

At Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, my parents’ tombstone:

Zion Lutheran, Chattanooga, Ohio, Memorial Day 2023

Freedom is not free.

Let us never forget the sacrifices made by these men and women.

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, traditionally marks the beginning of summer. But the true meaning of the holiday is much more than that.

Elm Grove Cem, St. Marys, Auglaize Co, OH (2013 photo by Karen)

Memorial Day dates back to the Civil War and began as a way to remember and honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who were killed in battle. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. On that day, at Arlington National Cemetery, Logan declared in General Order No. 11:

The 30th of May 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion…

We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the Nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders…

Let no vandalism of avarice of neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of free and undivided republic…

Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor…

After WWI, Memorial Day was extended to honor Americans who died in all wars. Today many Americans use this holiday to decorate all graves, whether the deceased served in the military or not. 

Memorial Day was declared a US federal holiday in 1971 and is now observed on the last Monday in May.

In December 2000 the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed. This asks all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps at 3:00 local time.”

Willshire Memorial Day Parade 2005.

Many towns in our area will have a Memorial Day parade and a ceremony at a local cemetery. The ceremonies are usually conducted by the local American Legion or VFW, who also mark all veterans’ graves with an American flag.

Proper American flag etiquette should be observed this weekend. The American flag should be flown at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day and then raised to full-staff. During a parade there may be several participants with a flag and it is appropriate to salute only the first flag as it passes by. As the first flag passes everyone should show respect by standing at attention with their right hand over their heart. Those in uniform should give their appropriate formal salute.

The red poppy is also associated with Memorial Day and has been for nearly 100 years. Since 1922 VFW members and American Legion Auxiliary volunteers have distributed red poppies on Memorial Day weekend in exchange for a contribution to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans. This tradition originated with Moina Michael in 1915. She was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” and came up with the idea to wear a red poppy on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving our nation during war. She sold poppies to her friends and co-workers and the money went to needy service men. By 1922 the VFW had taken on the project. You can read more about this tradition at The WWI Origins of the Poppy as a Remembrance Symbol.

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
—Moina Michael, 1915.

Tombstone Tuesday-Rebecka Sundemacher

Rebecka Sundemacher, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2023 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Rebecka A. Sundemacher, located in row 12 of Kessler Cemetery, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Rebecka A.
Frau von [wife of]
J.D. Gundemacher
Gestorben [died]
27 Aug 1872
Alter [age]
63 Jahre [years], u. 9 T [days]

This is one of two nearly identical tombstones that stand side by side in Kessler Cemetery. The women interred beneath these stones have something in common. They were both married to Johann Dietrich Reinhard Sundemacher. They were two of his three wives, wife number one and wife number two, and they died just four years apart.

Their markers are nearly identical and they have both taken on a rather unusual form over the years.

Sundemacher tombstones, Rebecka & Maria, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio (2023 photo by Karen)

Now broken and worn, they originally were probably much taller and may have looked something like this.  

Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio (2023 photo by Karen)

These tombstones are nearly unreadable now but two separate readings from two different sources at different times [Mercer County Chapter OGS in 1990 and Find a more recently] have read the surname as Gundemacher on both tombstones. The first letter in the surname, which is written in the old Fraktur script, does look like today’s letter G, but the first letter of this surname is actually an upper-case S. The surname is Sundemacher.  

Compare the letters G and S, written in script.

Rebecka Sundemacher, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio (2023 photo by Karen)

The church records of Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga, Ohio, verify this. The death dates of both women, Rebecka and Maria Sundemacher, are included in Zion Chatt’s records and their records agree with the tombstone inscriptions, give or take a day. That discrepancy could be explained by the difficulty of reading the stones due to weathering.

Rebecka A. Sundemacher was the first wife of Johann Dietrich Reinhard Sundemacher. Zion Chatt’s records indicate the Sundemachers were from Weseloh, Kingdom of Hanover. The couple married in Germany and had their children before immigrating to America.

This family from Germany, who arrived in New York in 1853, could very possibly be the same Johann Dietrich Sundemacher family: Johann Sundmacher [sic], 39; Beeke Adelh Sundmacher [sic], 43; Dorothea Sundmacher [sic], 13; Heinrich Sundmacher [sic], 8; and Metta Sundmacher [sic], 4. [1]

The immigration list indicates that these Sundemachers were relatives to each other. In addition, their names and ages agree with this Sindmaker [sic] family living in St. Marys Township, Auglaize County, Ohio, in 1860: John D Sindmaker [sic], 47; Rebecca Sindmaker [sic], 50; Dorothea Sindmaker [sic], 21; Henry Sindmaker [sic], 15; and Martha Sindmaker [sic], 12. All were born in Hanover. John D. was a farmer, Dorothea, a domestic, and Henry a farm laborer. Martha attended school. [2]   

Daughter Dorothy Sundemacher married John Timmerman in New Bremen on 26 October 1860 by Rev. C. Hess. [3]

I believe the Sundemacher family moved to the Chattanooga, Ohio, area a few years later. Possibly to Adams County, Indiana.

Their daughter Martha Sundemacher married Jacob Hiller at Zion Lutheran, Chattanooga, Ohio, on 20 February 1868.

I do not know what became of son Henry Sundemacher.

Johann Dietrich Sundemacher and his wife Rebecka attended Zion Chatt and communed there fairly regularly. Johann Dietrich and Rebecka first communed at Zion Chatt on Christmas 1869. They communed at Zion Chatt December 1870, April 1871, and May 1872. Note that Zion Chatt offered Holy Communion two or three times a year at that time.  

Wife Rebecka Sundemacher died 27 August 1872 and was buried in Kessler Cemetery on the 28th.

Widower Johann Dietrich Sundemacher continued to attend services at Zion Chatt and communed there May 1873, September 1973, April 1874, and August 1874.

Widower Johann Dietrich Sundemacher married a second time in November 1874 and communed with his new wife on Christmas Day 1874.

I will continue on with the second wife of Johann Dietrich Sundemacher in an upcoming Tombstone Tuesday.

This has been a difficult family to research. I am having a very hard time determining where Johann Dietrich Sundemacher lived after 1860. In addition, the possible spelling variations of the name Sundemacher do not help in the search for him. I assume Johann and Rebecka moved to the Chatt area since they regularly attended church at Zion Chatt. It would have been quite a trek from St. Marys to Chatt in the 1870s. I wonder if they lived in Adams County, Indiana, just across the state line from Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, but I cannot find them in a census enumeration after 1860. And I have done quite a bit of looking in both counties in both states. I am beginning to wonder if they were in an early version of the witness protection program.   

[1] U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1800s-1900s, New York, New York, 1853, p.154, Johann Sundmacher [sic]; transcription,, viewed 22 May 2023.

[2] 1860 U.S. Census, St. Marys, Auglaize, Ohio, p.400, dwelling & family 113, John D Sindmaker [sic];, viewed 22 May 2023.

[3] Ohio, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1774-1993, Mercer County Marriages 1823-1870, p.410, John Timmerman & Dorothy Sundmacher [sic]; database,, viewed 22 May 2023.


Area Patterson Exam Grads, 1912-1914

Last week I showed the names the Van Wert and Mercer County students who successfully passed the 1911 Patterson Exam. The Patterson Exam was given to eighth grade students to make sure they were ready to enter high school. If a student passed the exam he or she could enter the high school of their choice.

The names of those who passed the Patterson Exam were reported The Celina Democrat and the Van Wert Daily Bulletin and I was interested to see if I recognized any of those names. I noticed Edna Schumm of Willshire Township passed the exam in 1911.

I also wondered if my grandpa Cornelius Schumm had taken and passed the test. He was born in Van Wert County in September 1896 and he likely would have completed the eighth grade in 1913 or 1914. I saw that one of grandpa’s friends, Herbert Gunsett, passed the exam in 1913. They were about the same age but Cornelius Schumm was not listed among the 1913 or 1914 Patterson graduates.

Either Grandpa did not pass the Patterson Exam or he did not take it. 

Just to double check I looked at the 1940 census and that indicates that the highest level of education Grandpa Cornelius completed was the eighth grade.

Below are the names of those who successfully completed the 1912, 1913, and 1914 Patterson Exams in Willshire Township and some from Mercer County. The Van Wert Times Bulletin did a better job reporting the names than The Celina Democrat. Perhaps you will recognize some of the names.

1912 Patterson graduates from Willshire Township:

Patterson grads, Willshire Township, Van Wert Times Bulletin, 9 May 1912

1912 Patterson graduates from Mercer County. This group mentions Willshire and I wonder if those students attended a Mercer County school that was considered part of Willshire, likely south of Willshire in Blackcreek Township:

Patterson Commencement, Mercer County, Celina Democrat, 3 May 1912

Patterson Commencement, Mercer County, Celina Democrat, 3 May 1912

1912 Patterson Commencement in Liberty Township, Mercer County:

Patterson Commencement, Liberty Twp, Mercer County, Celina Democrat, 31 May 1912

1913 Patterson commencement, Van Wert County and Willshire Township’s graduates:

Patterson Commencement, Van Wert County, Van Wert Times Bulletin, 27 May 1913

Patterson Grads, Willshire Twp, Van Wert Times Bulletin, 27 May 1913

1913 Patterson commencement in Liberty Township, Mercer County:

Patterson Commencement, Liberty Twp, Mercer County, Celina Democrat, 6 Jun 1913

1914 Patterson commencement, Van Wert County and Willshire Township graduates:

Patterson Commencement, Willshire Township, Van Wert Times Bulletin, 29 May 1914

Patterson Grads, Willshire Township, Van Wert Times Bulletin, 29 May 1914