Tombstone Tuesday-Emma German [?]

Emma German, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2019 photo by Karen)

This tombstone is located in row 2 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker’s inscription can no longer be read.

What do you do when a tombstone is so weathered that its inscription is no longer legible?

The first thing I did was look at a local source, the 1992 Van Wert County, Ohio, Cemetery Inscriptions, by the Van Wert Chapter OGS. The Van Wert Chapter read and recorded all the stones in the cemetery three decades ago. This stone was weathered back then but they were able to read parts of it. They read the stone as Emma German, 1y, _m, 11d, daughter of J.

That is not a lot to go on, especially since the year of her death was not legible. There appears to be a lamb image carved at the top of the marker, which indicates it is the tombstone of a child.  

I next looked at Zion Schumm’s church records. There was only one Emma German in their death records, but this is not her tombstone. The Emma German in the church records lived from 1907-1917, is buried in row 11 of Zion Schumm’s cemetery, and her tombstone is very legible.

I do not have much German family genealogy and do not know if there was an Emma German who died young, whose father’s first name began with J, and who was not mentioned in Zion Schumm’s records. Perhaps a German researcher can shed some light on this.

From Zion Schumm’s church records I know that there was a Johann and a Jacob German who attended church there years ago. Perhaps Emma was the daughter of one of them.

There were not many Emmas in their church records, but one Emma did die in infancy. Anna Susanna Emma Bienz, daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth Bienz, born 9 October 1874, died 21 May 1876, and was buried in the parish cemetery 23 May. It appears her tombstone did not survive.  

There is just not a lot to go on here. And, considering the condition of this tombstone, are we sure the name is actually Emma German? The script on some markers is difficult to read when a marker is in good condition, let alone on a severely weathered stone. 

This tombstone may just have to remain a mystery.   

Happy July 4th, 2022!

July 4th weekend, 2022. This coming Monday we celebrate America’s Independence Day. It is a day to remember the principles of freedom and liberty upon which our country was founded and the many sacrifices that were made to ensure those freedoms.

Below is The American’s Creed, the winning submission in a 1917 national writing contest for a creed of the United States, written by William Tyler Page. Page used phrases from the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in his entry. The American’s Creed was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1918. I am very familiar with The American’s Creed because we recite it at each of our DAR meetings.

The American’s Creed
I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support it Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.     

Another patriotic quotation:

We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.  –Robert J. McCracken

Wishing everyone a happy and safe July 4th!


Tombstone Tuesday-I H S Symbol

You have probably seen the letters I H S in a church, usually seen on the altar, church windows, vestments, and even on tombstones. These three letters are called a Christogram, which is a monogram or a combination of letters that form an abbreviation for the name of Jesus Christ. It is an ancient way of writing the name Jesus that dates back to the third century.  

I H S Symbol, Catholic Cemetery, Celina, Ohio.

I H S Symbol, Catholic Cemetery, Celina, Ohio.

I H S Symbol, Catholic Cemetery, Celina, Ohio.

The Greek letters I H Σ (iota eta sigma) are the first three letters of ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, the Greek name of Jesus. The Greek letter Σ (sigma) is written as an S in Latin and is how we write the letter today.

I H S Symbol, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio.

I H S Symbol, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio.

I H S Symbol, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio.

In early Christianity I H S was a secret symbol to help identify fellow Christians. In the 1400s Christians put the symbol on their doorways to identify their dwelling as a Christian home.

I H S Symbol, Catholic Cemetery, Celina, Ohio.

I H S Symbol, Catholic Cemetery, Celina, Ohio.

Some translate the three letters as a Latin phrase, Iesus Hominum Salvator, meaning “Jesus Savior of Mankind.” Others erroneously use the letters as an acronym for “I Have Suffered” or “In His Service.” But the letters are not an acronym.

I H S Symbol, Catholic Cemetery, Celina, Ohio.

I H S Symbol, Catholic Cemetery, Celina, Ohio.

The Christogram I H S is usually found in Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches and cemeteries.  

Chatt News, 1917 (part 3)

Continuing with more news from Chatt in the early months of 1917, as reported in The Celina Democrat.

The 7th annual Chattanooga Farmer’s Institute was held 9 & 10 February 1917 at the Chattanooga Methodist Church. Perhaps some of your ancestors are mentioned as participants in their lengthy program:

Celina Democrat, 2 Feb 1917, p.1

This article, published a couple weeks later, mentions the success of the Institute as well as some Chatt news:

The Celina Democrat, 16 Feb 1917, p.5.

It seems a writer for the paper had a sense of humor:

The Celina Democrat, 9 Feb 1917, p.5.

This news of an accident:

The Celina Democrat, 2 Feb 1917, p.1.

Chatt news 23 February 1917:

The Celina Democrat, 23 Feb 1917, p.5.

The news of a Blackcreek fire:

The Celina Democrat, 2 Mar 1917, p.1.

And lastly, a question that has plagued the Supreme Court (or a supreme court) for over a century, asking what a woman is. People today are still asking the Supreme Court to define a woman and one (almost) member recently just could not do it. It seems pretty cut and dried to me…    

The Celina Democrat, 30 Mar 1917, p.1.

I hope you enjoy reading the Chatt news from years ago as much as I do. I love these little news snippets. The Chattanooga news pieces were not included in every Celina Democrat newspaper, so the ones that were published are pretty special. I will continue to look for them and republish them here. 

Tombstone Tuesday-Lillie E. Gunsett

Lillie E Gunsett, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Lillie E. Gunsett, located in row 7 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Lillie E.

Lillie Emma Gunsett was born 10 November 1898, the fifth and last child born to Joseph (1865-1931) and Clara (1866-1942) (Schinnerer) Gunsett. Lillie was baptized at home on 27 November 1898 with Martha Grund and Mrs. Emma Balyeat serving as her sponsors. Lillie grew up with three older brothers. The fourth brother died infancy before she was born. The family attended Zion Lutheran Church at Schumm.

The Joseph Gunsett family in 1900: Joseph, 37, head; Clara A, 34, wife; Walter, F, 10, son; Edward T, 8, son; Herbert H, 3, son; and Lillie E, 1, daughter. Joseph and Clara had been married 11 years and 4 of their 5 children were living. Everyone in the family was born in Ohio and Joseph was a farmer. [1]

In 1920 Lillie Gunsett, age 21, resided with her parents and brother Edward in Willshire Township. Lillie was not employed. Her father and brother were farmers. [2] In 1930 Lillie and Edward resided with their parents in Willshire Township as well.

Their father Joseph Gunsett died in Willshire Township 21 October 1931. After Joseph Gunsett’s death Lillie and her mother Clara moved to Van Wert sometime before 1935. In 1940 Lillie, 41, single, lived with her widowed mother Clara, 74, at 709 Washington St, Van Wert. Lillie’s occupation was housework at a private residence. [3]

Lillie’s mother Clara (Schinnerer) Gunsett died 12 March 1942. According to Clara’s obituary, Lillie lived in Van Wert, Lillie’s brother Walter lived in Chicago, brother Edward lived in Willshire, and brother Herbert lived in Akron.

Lillie Gunsett died at Brighton Hall Nursing Home, Fort Wayne, Indiana, on 22 June 1989 at the age of 90. She never married and her usual occupation was domestic employee. Lillie was buried next to her parents on 26 June. [4]

Lillie Gunsett had the following siblings:
Walter Friedrich (1890-1968) married Clara Bender
Edward Theodore (1891-1973) married Martha A. Dirkson
Arthur Hermann (1893-1895)
Herbert Heinrich (1896-1981) married Fayelle Kelly

Lillie was my first cousin twice removed and my second cousin once removed, depending on which common ancestors you look at. We are related through both the Schumms and the Schinnerers. Lillie’s mother was the daughter of Frederick & Elizabeth (Schumm) Schinnerer. Her mother Clara was a sister to my great grandmother Lizzie (Schinnerer) Scaer.

[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Willshire Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, ED 98, p. 11A (penned), p. 310A (stamped), dwelling 207, family 208, Joseph Gruasett;, viewed 20 Jun 2022.

[2] 1920 U.S. Census, Willshire Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, ED 145, p.3B, dwelling & family 63, Joseph Gunsett;, viewed 20 Jun 2022.

[3] 1940 U.S. Census, Van Wert, Van Wert County, Ohio, ED 81-10, p.3B, visitation 71, Lillie Gunsett;, viewed 20 Jun 2022.

[4] Indiana, U.S., Death Certificates, 1899-2011, Indiana State Board of Health, 1989, roll 10; database on-line, viewed 20 Jun 2022.