Tombstone Tuesday-Exedra Monument

Exedra is a rather unusual cemetery monument, usually seen in larger cemeteries.

The word exedra is a Greek word meaning “out of a seat.” Exedra were curved stone benches used by the Ancient Greeks for seating at public events and for entertaining in private homes. The Greeks carried this tradition into their cemeteries, where they positioned curved benches around the grave. This made a suitable place for family and friends of the deceased to gather and converse while still focusing on the deceased.

Here are two local examples of exedra:

Woodlawn Cemetery, Lima, Allen Co Ohio

Greenlawn Cemetery, Auglaize County, Ohio

This is a good example of the circular seating area with graves in the center:

Woodlawn Cemetery, Lima, Allen Co Ohio

Woodlawn Cemetery, Lima, Allen Co Ohio

The exedra in modern cemeteries is often a straight bench and the family name is often inscribed on it.

In Ancient Greece the grave was sometimes topped with a table-tomb monument, where food and wine was placed and served.

Sometimes Greek-style columns are located near the exedra.

Greenlawn Cemetery, Auglaize County, Ohio

March 1911 Blackcreek & Liberty News

Today, back to some of news from Blackcreek and Liberty Townships in 1911, articles taken from The Celina Democrat online images.

The Celina Democrat sometimes printed news from Blackcreek Township, their “Blackcre’k Center” section. This from the 3 March 1911 issue:

The Celina Democrat, 3 Mar 1911

From 19 March 1911:

The Celina Democrat, 17 Mar 1911

I do not know where Forest Hill was but some of the individuals mentioned below also lived in Blackcreek Township. So, Forest Hill may have been in Blackcreek Township. I am not sure who Andy Crawberger mentioned in item no. 4 was. I am thinking it may have been Andrew Kallenberger or a Grauberger. Both families lived in Blackcreek Township. The W.M. Hoehamer mentioned lived in Dublin Township in 1910 and lived in Blackcreek Township in 1920. From the 3 March 1911 issue:

The Celina Democrat, 3 Mar 1911

Some real estate sales, also in the 3 March 1911 issue. It is interesting to see the transactions, some from Blackcreek, Liberty, and Dublin Townships.

The Celina Democrat, 3 Mar 1911

You know what they say about death and taxes. Below is an article about each.

There was quite an increase in the land valuation in Blackcreek and Liberty Townships in 1911. That should be of no surprise. We all know how good the farmland is here. This from the 17 March 1911 issue of The Celina Democrat:

Celina Democrat, 17 Mar 1911

Celina Democrat, 17 Mar 1911

And lastly, a rather interesting piece from the 10 March 1911 issue of The Celina Democrat. From the article’s description the brace was apparently for a casket that was not made to have its lid propped open.

The Celina Democrat, 10 Mar 1911

This may have been the same Henry J. Schmitt, age 32, a mortician who lived in St. Henry, Ohio, in 1910.

FYI, a little about caskets: A half-couch casket has a split lid and the top or the bottom of the casket can be open. A full-couch casket has a lid that is one solid piece and when open you see the entire body.

Tombstone Tuesday-Log Cabin Monument

This log cabin tombstone is located in Roberts Cemetery, Oregon Road, in Mercer County, Ohio, just a few miles from us. It is a unique grave marker and I don’t recall if I have seen another like it.

Nuding monument, Roberts Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio

The name NUDING is inscribed on the west side of the cabin, the side that looks like like the front, with a door and window.

Nuding monument, Roberts Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio

A scythe is carved on the south end of the cabin.

Smaller smaller “log” pieces are on the ground near the cabin, inscribed with the names of John Fredrick Nuding (1814-1857) and his wife Barbara (Engle) (1818-1900).

Roberts Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio

According to Find a, John Nuding was born in Germany and was married to Barbara Engle.

Johann Georg Schumm II Family in Ruppertshofen

So far I have written about the parents, grandparents, and in-laws our immigrant ancestor Johann George Schumm II. Today, Johann George Schumm II’s family in Germany, from the Ruppertshofen church records. Once again, the church records give up some surprises.

Ruppertshofen and church.

Our immigrant ancestor Johann George Schumm II (1777-1846) married Anna Maria Fischer (1779-1822) on 28 April 1807. I am calling him Johann George Schumm II to differentiate him from his father, who was also Johann Georg.

Johann Georg II and Anna Maria (Fischer) Schumm had a family of 11 children. Theirs was the largest Schumm family in at least three generations. Of those 11 children 4 died very young, 2 died when they were young adults, and 5 immigrated to America in 1833 with their father Johann Georg II.

Children of Johann Georg Schumm II & wife Anna Maria (Fischer), from Ruppertshofen Familienbuch, Image 829/1244

The children of Johann George II and Anna Maria (Fischer) Schumm:

Their first child, Johann Georg Schumm, was born 6 December 1807 and was baptized 8 December 1807. Among his baptismal sponsors was his uncle Johann Albrecht Schumm. Johann Martin Stapf is mentioned after Johann Albreccht’s name. Johann Albrecht Schumm was Johann Georg Schumm II’s younger brother who died in 1813 from wounds he received during the battle of Leipzig. Johann Martin Stapf was Johann Georg Schumm II’s step-father. It looks like the letters S.G.V. follow Johann Martin Stapf’s name and I wonder if they are an abbreviation for Stiefgrossvater or Step-grandfather. Johann Albrecht Schumm was a baptismal sponsor and Johann Martin Stapf is mentioned after his name for the children in this family who were born through 1812. The child Johann Georg died less than two weeks later, on 18 December 1807 and was buried on the 20th.

Their second child, George Michael Schumm, was born 25 November 1808, baptized 26 November 1808, and was confirmed in 1822. He died of consumption on 19 Jul 1831 and was buried on the 21st.  He was 22 years, 7 months, and 21 days old and never married. Just two years later his father and five of his siblings came to America. Johann Albrecht Schumm was one of the baptismal sponsors and Johann Martin Stapf’s name is mentioned after his. 

Their third child, Maria Katharina, was born 20 April 1810, baptized 22 April 1810, and was confirmed in 1824. Johann Albrecht Schumm was one of the baptismal sponsors and Johann Martin Stapf’s name is mentioned after his. Maria Katharina immigrated to America with her father and her 4 brothers in 1833.

It was interesting to find an additional child born to Johann Georg and Anna Maria Schumm. This child, their fourth, is not included in our Schumm history but is included on Johann Georg’s Familienbuch page with his other children, an entry of the child’s birth and baptism. Their fourth child was born 21 October 1811, was baptized, and died that same day. Four sets of baptismal sponsors were listed, Johann Albrecht Schumm was one of the baptismal sponsors and Johann Martin Stapf’s name is mentioned after his. However, they did not name this child and the word totgeboren was used in the record, meaning stillborn. Perhaps the child lived a short time.  

Schumm, unnamed child of JG II & AM (Fischer) Schumm, born & died 21 Oct 1811, image 635/1108

Their fifth child, Georg Martin, was born 20 November 1812 and was baptized 24 November 1812. Johann Albrecht Schumm was among the baptismal sponsors and Johann Martin Stapf’s name is mentioned after his.  Georg Martin Schumm was confirmed in 1826 and immigrated to America with his father, 3 brothers, and sister in 1833.

Their sixth child, Johann Friedrich, was born 24 April 1814, baptized 27 April 1814, and was confirmed in 1828. He immigrated to America with his father, 3 brothers, and sister in 1833.

Their seventh child, Johann Jacob, was born 26 September 1815, baptized 29 Sep 1815, and confirmed in 1829. He immigrated to America with his father, 3 brothers, and sister in 1833.

Their eighth child, Georg Ludwig, was born 4 March 1817, baptized 6 March 1817, and confirmed in 1831. He immigrated to America with his father, 3 brothers, and sister in 1833.

Their ninth child, Maria Rosine, was born 19 March 1818 and was baptized 20 March 1818. She died of consumption on 20 January 1819, aged 9 months and 29 days. She was buried on 22 January.

Their tenth child, Anna Maria, was born 29 October 1819 and was baptized 1 November 1819. She died on 2 November 1819 from what looks like, when translated, arthritis or gout. She was only 3 days old.

Their eleventh child, Maria Rosine II, was born 6 March 1821, baptized 8 March 1821, and was confirmed 20 April 1834. She remained in Germany after her father and her 5 siblings emigrated to America. Maria Rosine died of complications from childbirth on 27 March 1843. Her child, Margaretha Barbara Schumm, was born 2 February 1843, baptized 28 February, and died 22 May 1843.

Margaretha Barbara Schumm, b.2 Feb 1843, d.22 May 1843, d/o Maria Rosine II, image 821/1108

This last bit of information is probably new information for most reading this.

The names of baby Margaretha Barbara Schumm’s baptismal sponsors are difficult to read but I wonder if they might have been relatives, aunts or uncles from the maternal Fischer side of the family. That will need more research. I assume one of them took care of baby Margaretha Barbara after Marie Rosine II died. The baby girl lived nearly two months after the mother’s death.

One wonders why the youngest daughter, Maria Rosine II, did not travel to America in 1833 with her father and siblings. She was only 12 years old when they left. Who did she stay with after they lelft? Her 73-year-old step-grandfather Johann Martin Stapf? Did he raise Maria Rosine II after the rest of her family left for America? Or did she, at age 12, take care of him? Or did she stay with one of her Fischer aunts or uncles? Her mother had several living siblings at that time.  

We will probably never know for sure why Maria Rosine stayed behind in Ruppertshofen, but here are couple theories.

The Schumm history says “…Maria Rosine II remained behind in Germany to be a comfort to the maternal grandparents in their declining years. Originally it had been planned to have her follow later but she did not survive the grandparents, dying March 27, 1843…”

However, all four of her biological grandparents were deceased by the time her father and 5 siblings left for America in 1833. Paternal grandparents Johann George Schumm I died in 1791 and his widow Anna Margaretha (Franz) Schumm Stapf died in 1819. Maternal grandparents Georg Michael Fischer died in 1821 and his wife Anna Maria Hohenstein) Fischer died in 1818. The only remaining grandparent was Maria Rosine II’s step-grandfather, widower Johann Martin Stapf, the second husband of her paternal grandmother Anna Margaretha (Franz) Schumm. They married in 1792. Stapf was 12 years younger than Anna Margaretha but nonetheless was probably a father figure to Johann George Schumm II and grandfather to Johann Georg II’s children. Stapf’s name shows up in a number of the family’s church records, such as Johann Georg Schumm II and Anna Maria Fischer’s marriage record and the baptismal records of their first five children. So Stapf was actively involved in the family. Stapf was 73 years old when the Schumm family immigrated to America and Maria Rosine II may have stayed behind to care for him. He and Maria Rosina II probably could have traveled to America with the rest of the family. Was Johann Martin Stapf in ill health? Was he too old to travel? Or was money an issue? Emigrating was costly. Johann Martin Stapf lived another 10 years and died in Ruppertshofen 16 December 1843, residing in that town the rest of his life.

Another theory is that perhaps Johann George Schumm II thought the American frontier was too dangerous and uncertain for young Maria Rosine II, who was only 12 years old in 1833.

I have a theory of my own. I noticed that Maria Rosine II was confirmed in 1834, a year after the rest of her family left Germany. When her family left Germany in 1833 Maria Rosine II would have been in the middle of her Catechism instruction. Their faith was very important to the Schumms and perhaps her father Johann Georg II thought it was more important for Maria Rosine to complete her religious education in Germany, rather than in America, and be confirmed in the church the family had attended for decades. Their church in Ruppertshofen was a sure thing. America was an unknown.

There is one additional thing to note about some areas of Germany in those days, particularly in Wuerttemberg. It could be very difficult to get permission to marry in the 1800s. The Community Council/Village Council would grant a couple permission to marry if they felt the couple could support a family. It was all about money. If you had money you could get permission to marry. I attended a conference session a few years ago and the speaker told that for about 10 years one pair of his German ancestors could not get permission to marry, but in the meantime they went ahead and had several children. They started their family while waiting for permission to marry. When you think about that, what’s the point? They started their family and had children anyway, with or without being legally married.

I am not saying this was Maria Rosina’s situation, but she was probably not wealthy and, knowing the way things were in Germany two hundred years ago, it is something to consider.  

That’s the Johann Georg Schumm history, as recorded in the Ruppertshofen church records. It is a story with some sad and unfortunate endings, but also a story with many good endings. It is a family story and legacy that continued on in a new land.

I wonder if Johann Georg Schumm II ever imagined that he would have such a large number of descendants and that his legacy and the faith he nourished would continue on for generations.

I will share any “new” information, if discovered.

Tombstone Tuesday-Harold G. & Mildred L. (Giessler) Merkle

Harold G & Mildred L (Giessler) Merkle, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Harold G. and Mildred L. (Geissler) Merkle, located in row 5 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio.  The marker is inscribed:

Harold G.

Mildred L.

Harold George Merkle was born in Glenmore, Willshire Township, Van Wert County, on 16 July 1904, the son of William (1867-1926) and Mary (Siegel) (1864-1932) Merkle. [1] [2]  

The William Merkle family in 1910, residing in Willshire Township: William Merkle Jr, 43, head; Mary S, 46 wife; Esther, 14, daughter; Richard, 12, son; Lauren L, 10, daughter; Della E, 8, daughter; Harold, 3, son; and Edwin, 2, son. The father William was a farmer. [3]

Harold Merkle’s father William died in 1926 and in 1930 Harold Merkle, 26, resided with his widowed mother and two brothers in Willshire Township. Harold worked for the railroad at that itme. [4] 

Harold Merkle married Mildred Giessler in Adams County, Indiana, on 23 January 1934, married by Paul W. Schultz. At the time of their marriage Harold lived at RR2 Ohio City and worked as a laborer. Mildred lived at RR3 Ohio City and was not employed. Their marriage license does not give the name of Harold’s parents but indicates that they were deceased. [1]   

The bride Mildred Lucille Giessler was born in Van Wert County on 14 May 1911, the daughter of Fredrich C. (1886-1952) and Clara Ellen (Myers) (1888-1949) Geissler.

Mildred Giessler, age 8, with her family in 1920, residing in Willshire Township: Fred C Giessler, 33, head; Clara Giessler, 31, wife; and daughters Mildred S, 8, and Florence V, 3. Mildred’s paternal grandparents were also enumerated in the household, Philip Giessler, 72, father [of head of household], and Katherine Giessler, 69, mother [of head]. Mildred’s father Fred was a farmer. [5]

In 1940, six years after their marriage, Harold and Mildred Markle and their 3 children resided in Willshire Township: Harold, 34; Mildred, 29; Barbara E, 5; Eugene, 4; and H Lavon, 1. Harold was a farmer. [6]

Harold Merkle died in Van Wert County on 21 February 1956, his death cause by a heart attack. He was 51 years old and was employed by a container company. He was buried on the 24th. [7]

Mildred (Giessler) Merkle died 20 April 1971, at the age of 59.

Mildred’s obituary:

Mildred L. Merkle, 59, of Rt. 1, Willshire, died early today following an extended illness.

Born May 14, 1911, in Willshire township, she was the daughter of Fred and Clara (Myers) Geissler. She married Harold G. Merkle Jan. 23, 1934.

Survivors include one daughter, Mrs. Barbara E. Debolt of Fort Wayne; two sons, Eugene F of Ohio City and Harold LaVaughn of Rt. 1, Willshire; one sister, Mrs. Elmer (Florence)Garver of ohio City, and six grandchildren.

Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Zion Lutheran Church in Schumm with the Rev. Robert D. Shuler officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Mrs. Merkle will lie in state from noon until 1:30 p.m. at the church.

Friends may call at the Zwick Funeral Home at Decatur after 7 p.m. Wednesday. [8]

Harold and Mildred (Giessler) Merkle had the following children:
Barbara Ellen Merkle (1934-2002), married Charles R. Johnson; married Debolt
Eugene Frederick Merkle (1936-1999), married Patricia
Harold LaVaughn Merkle

[1] Indiana Marriages, 1811-2019, Adams County, Indiana, Vol. P:270, Harold Merkle & Mildred Giessler, 23 Jan 1934; database with images,, viewed 5 Mar 2023.

[2] Draft Registration Cards, Ohio, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947, Selective Service System, 147, Box 967, Harold George Merkle, 14 Feb 1942;, viewed 5 Mar 2023.

[3] 1910 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, Ed 113, p.7A, dwelling 78, family 79, William Merkley J [sic];, viewed 5 Mar 2023.

[4] 1930 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, Ed 24, p.10B, dwelling 227, family 230, Mary Merkle ;, viewed 5 Mar 2023.

[5] 1920 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 145, p.4A, dwelling & family 71, Fred C Giessler;, viewed 5 Mar 2023.

[6] 1940 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 81-28, p.5B, household 109, Harold Merckle;, viewed 5 Mar 2023.

[7] Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001, Willshire, Willshire township, Van Wert, Ohio, Harold George Merkle, 21 Feb 1956; database with images,, viewed 5 Mar 2023.

[8] Mildred (Giessler) Merkle obituary, Van Wert Times Bulletin, Van Wert, Ohio, 20 Apr 1971, p.2;, viewed 6 Mar 2023.