Tombstone Tuesday–John Martin and Emma (Bollenbacher) Bollenbacher

John Martin and Emma (Bollenbacher) Bollenbacher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of John Martin and Emma (Bollenbacher) Bollenbacher, located in row 9 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Emma 1878-1934
John M. 1879-1958

John Martin Bollenbacher was born 27 July 1879 in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, the son of Jacob (Jr) and Helena “Lena” (Breichisen) Bollenbacher.

John’s mother Helena died on 5 November 1879, just a few months after John’s birth. She was only 19 years old when she died and is buried in the St. Paul Lutheran, Liberty Township cemetery. [1]

In 1880 John, less than a year old, and his widowed father Jacob Bollenbacher (Jr) lived with John and Margaret Brehm in Liberty Township. Margaret was Jacob’s mother and her husband John Brehm was Jacob’s step-father. Their household in 1880: John Brehm, 55; Margaret, 47, wife; Peter, 21, son; Valentine, 18, son; Henry, 14, son; Mary, 8, daughter; Elizabeth, 5, daughter; Jacob Bollenbacher, 23, step-son, widow; John Bollenbacher, 9 months, grandson. John’s father Jacob (Jr) was born in Bavaria and he worked on the Brehm farm. [2] [3]

Jacob Bollenbacher (Jr) married Louisa Deiner on 24 Feb 1880 in Mercer County [4] and John Martin Bollenbacher now had a step-mother. The Jacob Bollenbacher (Jr) household in 1900: Jacob, 72; Louisa, 38; John [Martin], 20; Fred, 17; Lena, 15; Andy, 15; and Lizzie, 6. [5]

John Martin Bollenbacher married Emma Bollenbacher on 9 August 1900 in Mercer County, Ohio. They were married by Rev. Samuel Egger, minister at the Evangelical Church at Chattanooga. [6]  

Emma Bollenbacher was born 1 April 1878, the daughter of Jacob and Caroline (Schaadt) Bollenbacher. [7]

Interesting, and somewhat confusing, that John Martin and Emma both had fathers named Jacob Bollenbacher. John Martin’s father was referred to as Jacob Bollenbacher Jr.

The Jacob Bollenbacher household (Emma’s family) in 1900: Jacob, 62; Magdalena, 43, wife; Emma, 22; Elizabeth, 17; John D, 15; William G, 15; Daniel F, 12; Jacob D, 10; Molly, 8; Amelia, 5; Hulda, 2. Magdalena had given birth to 8 children and all were living. Jacob Bollenbacher was born in Germany and immigrated to America in 1852. His wife Magdalena was born in Ohio. [8] [9]

In 1910 John Martin Bollenbacher and his wife Emma and their family lived in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana: John, 30; Emma, 31; Victor, 6; Helen, 4; Lucille, 2; Esther, 0; and Hulda Berron, 16, adopted daughter. John was a farmer and this enumeration reports that his wife Emma had given birth to 5 children but only 4 of them were living. [10] [11]

The John Bollenbacher household in 1920: John, 40; Emma, 41; Victor, 16; Helen, 13; Lucille, 11; Esther, 9; and Ralph, 7. [12]

Their household in 1930: John M, 50; Emma, 51; Lucille, 21; and Ralph, 18. John and Emma had been married 22 years and John was a farmer. [13]

Emma Bollenbacher died after surgery for cancer at the Adams County Memorial Hospital in Decatur, Indiana, on 11 August 1934 at the age of 56 years, 5 months, and 10 days. She was survived by husband, 3 daughters, 2 sons, 6 grandchildren, 2 sisters, 2 brothers, 3 half-sisters, and 4 half-brothers, according to Zion Chatt’s records. She was buried on the 14th. Ketcham was in charge of the arrangements. [7]

Widower John Martin Bollenbacher married Martha Gertrude “Minnie” Slusser (1896-1963) in 1938 in Mercer County. She was the daughter of Mahlon Commodore and Mary Elizabeth (Gordon) Slusser. [14]

In 1940 John Martin Bollenbacher lived in the same house in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana, as he did in 1935, where he farmed. His household in 1940: John, 60; Minnie, 43; Lucile Bollenbacher, 32, daughter; and Thorton Murphy, 21, laborer. [15] John was a farmer all his life and according to Zion Chatt’s records he was a Jefferson Township trustee for 8 years.

John Martin Bollenbacher died of cancer on 21 July 1958 at the Adams County Memorial Hospital, Decatur, Adams County, Indiana. He was 78 years, 11 months, and 24 days old and, according to Zion Chatt’s records, was survived by his wife Minnie, 5 children, 14 grandchildren, 1 step-grandchild, 11 great-grandchildren, 2 half-sisters, Mrs. Lana (Lewis) Wendel and Mrs. Elizabeth (Ed) Paul; 2 brothers and 1 infant son are deceased. He was buried on the 23rd and Hardy of Geneva was in charge of the arrangements. His daughter, Esther Heare was the informant for the information on his death certificate. [16]

John Martin and Emma (Bollenbacher) Bollenbacher had the following children:
Martin J (1901-1901)
Victor (1903-1985), married Chloe Douglas
Helen (1906-1990), married Roscoe Kuhn
Lucille C (1908-1990), married Ralph Eckrote
Esther (1910-1995), married Chester H Heare
Ralph H “Stubby” (1912-1995), married Catharine Maxwell

Their adopted daughter Hulda Berron, (c1893-1979), married George Jacob Becher


[1] Find a, Helina (Brechisen) Bollenbacher, memorial #76770092.

[2] 1880 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 188, p.479A, dwelling 136, family 144, John Brahm;; NARA microfilm T9, roll 1048.

[3] Jacob Bollenbacher Jr (1858-1941), father of John Martin Bollenbacher, immigrated with his mother (Margaret) in 1869. [source: Find a, Jacob Bollenbacher Jr, memorial #27972398]. Jacob Jr’s father likely had died in Germany before they immigrated and one would think his given name was Jacob. John Brehm married Margaret Bollenbacher on 2 Dec 1869 in Montgomery County, Ohio. [source: “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,”, John Brehm & Margaret Bollenberger, 2 Dec 1869; Montgomery County Marriages, Vol. 1, p.438; FHL microfilm 1030838.]

[4] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images,, Jacob Bollenbaugh & Louisa Deiner, 24 Feb 1881; Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 5, p.52; FHL microfilm 914956.

[5] 1900 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 85, p.11, dwelling 218, family 224, Jacob Bollenbacher;; NARA microfilm T623.

[6] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images,, J.M. Bollenbacher and Emma Bollenbacher, 9 Aug 1900; Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 8, p.162; FHL microfilm 914957.

[7] Indiana, Death Certificates,1899-2011, database on-line,, Emma Bollenbacher; Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Death Certificates, 1934, roll 9.

[8] 1900 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 85, p.6, dwelling 111, family 116, Jacob Bollenbancher;; NARA microfilm T623.

[9] This Jacob Bollenbacher (1837-1915) had three wives: Louisa Friedericka Becker (1848-1864); Caroline Schaadt (1843-1880); and Magdalena Distler (1856-1923).

[10] 1910 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.2B, dwelling & family 35, John Bollenbacher;; FHL microfilm 1374351, NARA microfilm T624, roll 338.

[11] Hulda Berron was the daughter of Fredrick Berron (1862-1915) and Louisa (Bollenbacher) (1870-1911). Louisa (Bollenbacher) Berron was the daughter of Jacob Bollenbacher (1837-1915) and his second wife Caroline Schaadt (1843-1880). Louisa and Emma Bollenbacher were sisters, so Hulda was Emma’s niece.

[12] 1920 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.7B, dwelling 141, family 51, John M. Bollenbacher;; NARA microfilm T625, roll 420.

[13] 1930 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 4, p.4A, dwelling & family 72, John M Bollenbacher;; FHL microfilm 2340309, NARA microfilm T626, roll 574.

[14] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images,, John M Bollenbacher and Minnie M Slusser, 12 May 1938; Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 15, p.119; FHL microfilm 2366956.

[15] 1940 U.S. Census, Jefferson, Adams, Indiana, ED 1-4, p.4B, line 58, John Bollenbacher;; NARA microfilm T627, roll 1024.

[16] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, database on-line,, John Martin Bollenbacher; Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Death Certificates, 1958, roll 9.




    • Deb Bollenbacher Reichard on February 20, 2018 at 9:02 am
    • Reply

    Oh My Karen. This is really confusing with so many of the same names. Not sure how you kept track. Jacob’s and Charle’s (Karl) families had a lot of the same names with their children as well. Crazy!!

    Thanks for all you do with all the family histories you are keeping.


    1. These Jacob Bollenbacher families were very confusing. With the duplicate names and multiple marriages, it took more time than usual. It did help that the one went by the name of Jacob Jr and that their wives had different given names. Thanks for reading and for writing!

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