Tombstone Tuesday–Arley S. Byer

Arley S. Byer, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Arley S. Byer, located in row 7 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is laying on the ground and is inscribed:

Here rests
Arley S.
Born Feb. 17
Died March
30, 1887

Gone, but not forgotten

Neither Arley Byer’s birth, baptism, death, nor burial are recorded in Zion Chatt’s records. However his birth was recorded twice in Mercer County, Ohio, records, entered among the Liberty Township births [1] and the Mercer County Probate births [2]. These two records indicate that Arley Seaman Byers was the son of Leonard and Gertrude (Heffner/Haffner) Byers, born 17 February 1887 in Liberty Township.

According to Zion’s Chatt’s records Arley’s father Leonard Byer was born in Puschendorf, Bavaria in 1839, the son of Johann Michael and Catharine Dorothea Byer. The family immigrated to America in 1846. The church records also tell that Arley’s mother was born in Mercer County in 1848, the daughter of Conrad and Margaretha (Miller) Heffner.

Arley’s parents Leonard Byer and Gertrude Heffner were married 2 November 1866 in Mercer County, Ohio, married at Zion Chatt by Zion’s Rev. George Heintz. [3] Witnesses to their marriage were Heinrich Schandy and Barbara Leistner.

Old Mercer County atlases show the Leonard Byer family living in Section 32 of Blackcreek Township in 1876 and in Section 33 of Liberty Township in 1888, at the very south edge of Liberty Township. The family moved from the area and are absent in the 1900 Mercer plat maps.

Leonard and Gertrude (Heffner) Byer had quite a few children. At least eleven. Most were baptized at Zion Chatt  and some confirmed there. I copied their names as they appeared in the church records. The church records often mention the child’s place of birth which indicates where the family lived and when they moved. Their first four children (1867-1874) were born in Blackcreek Township but Carl Wilhelm was born in Liberty Township in 1876. Christian Arthur was their last child to be confirmed at Zion Chatt, confirmed on 31 March 1901, the last this family is mentioned in the church records.

Information on Find a indicates that Leonard and Gertrude Byer moved from the area around the turn of the century and both are buried in Starke County, Indiana. This information also includes two additional children who are not mentioned in Zion Chatt’s records, George Samuel and Richard Wilfer. [4]

Children of Leonard and Gertrude (Heffner) Byer:
James Marion “Byers” (1867-1955)
Sophia Anna Maria aka Amelia Ann Beyer (1870-1939), married William Baker
Maria Katharine Beyer (1872-1943)
Margaretha Rosette (1874-1957)
Carl Wilhelm Beyer (1876-1963)
Anna Christine Beyer (1878-1969)
George Samuel (1880-1979)
Johannes Benjamin Byer (1882-1951)
Christian Arthur (1885-1904)
Lulu Molletty Beyer (1888-1969)
Richard Wilfer “Byers” (1891-1936)

Gertrude (Heffner) Byer died in 1914 and Leonard Byer died in 1916.

I noticed several spelling and indexing variations for this surname: Byer, Beyer, Byers, Byerly, Byuly, Bryer. Brothers James Marion and Richard Wilfer changed the spelling of their names to Byers.


[1] “Ohio, county Births, 1841-2003,” database with images, (accessed 15 Apr 2017), Arly Seaman Byer, 17 Feb 1887; Liberty, Mercer Births, unpaginated; FHL microfilm 2367095.

[2] “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” (accessed 15 Apr 2017), Arly Oeaman Byuly, 17 Feb 1887; Liberty Twp, Mercer Co Births; FHL microfilm 914953.

[3] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” (accessed 15 Apr 2017), Leonard Bryer & Gertraurd Haeffner, 2 Nov 1866; Mercer Marriages, Vol. 3, p.137; FHL microfilm 914956.

[4], Memorial #36922210, Leonard George Byer and Gertrude (Heffner) Byer.


    • Andy Gappa on June 9, 2017 at 10:52 am
    • Reply

    It’s odd that I can go months without receiving an e-mail about a blog post and then out of the blue I get one. After I read it, I go back and read all the ones I missed since the last time I checked in with you. I see I missed this Byer post. You’ve got good information here and everything seems to check out. You are missing the death date for James Marion Byers. He died in 1955 after marrying 3 times and having 6 children. He added an S to the last name as did his youngest brother Richard Wilfer Byers. You are also missing his sister Amelia Ann Byer Baker.

    The 94th Byer reunion is June 25, 2017 in Berne, Indiana, from noon to 4:00 or so. It will be held at the Senior Center on the south side of town. Anyone needing directions of more information can contact me. Thanks.

    Andy Gappa

    1. Sometimes the blog post notifications do not go out. I hate that but I always post on Tuesday and Friday and you can just check the website on those days. Thank you so much for the additional Byer information. I will update the post. Thanks for writing!

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