Tombstone Tuesday- Elisabeth (Coffitz) Geisler

Elisabeth (Coffitz) Geisler, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Elisabeth (Coffitz) Geisler, located in row 9 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Hier ruhet in Gott
Ehefrau von
Nicolaus Geissler
Den 12 Mai 1905
Alter 76 J. 3 M.

Here rests in God Elisabeth, wife of Nicolaus Geissler, died 12 May 1905.

Katharina “Elisabeth” Coffitz was born 12 February 1829 in Steinwenden by Kaiserslautern, Bavaria, according to the records of Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm, Ohio.

It has been assumed that Elisabeth’s maiden name was Stemling [Stemler], but I believe her maiden name was Coffitz.

Elisabeth married Nicholas Geisler in 1862 and Zion Schumm’s records indicate that she was a widow when they married. She was widow Elisabeth Stemler. Stemler [Stemling] would not have been her maiden name.

Elizabeth’s maiden name is actually recorded on several records. It is mentioned one time in Zion Schumm’s records. The 1870 birth/baptism record of their daughter Anna states the mother Elisabeth was born Kofitz. That same daughter, Anna Geisler’s 1934 death certificate gives her mother Elisabeth’s maiden name as Coffet. [1] Elisabeth’s son John’s 1916 death certificate indicates her maiden name was Coffee. [2]

In 1860 Elisabeth was living with Daniel Coffitz in Willshire Township. She was enumerated as Elizabeth Semles. [3] I have not been able to locate a Stemling [Stemler]/Coffitz marriage record, but it appears Mr. Stemling/Stemler probably died before 1860.

I wonder if Daniel Coffitz was Elisabeth’s brother. Daniel Coffitz was born in Germany about 1818 and resided in Willshire Township until he died in 1883. He is buried near 5 Coffitz children in Hileman (aka Smith/Hartzog/Alspaugh) Cemetery, Willshire, Township. [4] That cemetery is just a couple miles south of Schumm.

Elisabeth in the 1860 census, enumerated in the household with Daniel and Sarah Coffitz: Daniel Coffizt, 42, Bavaria; Sarah, 40, Ohio; Elizabeth Semles, 30, Bavaria. [3]

Nicholas Geissler married widow Elisabeth Stemling/Stemler 3 Jul 1862, according to Zion Schumm’s records.

The Nicholas Geisler family in 1870, living on their farm in Willshire Township: Nicholas, 38; Elisabeth, 41; George, 6; and John 4. [5] A daughter, Anna, was born into the family in the fall of 1870.

The Nicholas Geisler household in 1880, residing in Willshire Township: Nicholas, 49; Elisabeth, 50; George, 16; John, 13; and Anna J, 9. [6]

The Nicholas Geisler family in 1900: Nicholas, 66; Elisabeth, 72; George, 34; John, 32; and Anna, 30. Nicholas was a farmer and none of their 3 children were married. This enumeration indicates that Nicholas and Elisabeth had been married 38 years and that Elisabeth had given birth to 3 children, all of whom were still living and that Nicholas was a farmer. It also indicates that Nicholas immigrated in 1849 and Elisabeth in 1853. [7]  

Elisabeth died of old age in Willshire Township on 12 May 1905. She was 76 years and 3 months old and was buried on the 14th. Zion Schumm’s death/burial records give her first name as Katharina. She was married; a farmer’s wife. [8] She was survived by her husband and 3 children.

I was surprised to see that my maternal great-grandmother, Elizabeth (Schinnerer) Scaer, wife of John Scaer, was the informant for the information on Anna’s death certificate. Anna and Elizabeth must have been close friends and neighbors.

Elisabeth’s widowed husband Nicholas Geisler died 16 February 1912. They have separate tombstones but are buried next to each other.

Nicholas and Elisabeth Geisler had the following children, according to Zion Schumm’s records:

George Johann Conrad (1864-1943)
Johann George Conrad (1866-1916)
Christoph (1869-1869)
Anna Johanna (1870-1934)

[1] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” Willshire Township, Van Wert, Anna J Geisler, 11 Jun 1934; ( : viewed 22 Feb 2020).

[2] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” Van Wert, John J Geisler, 7 Jan 1916;  ( : viewed 3 Mar 2020).

[3] 1860 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p,428, dwelling 1111, family 1105, Elizabeth Semles, in  the household of Coffit Daniel]; ( : viewed 7 Mar 2020). [They are indexed on Ancestry as Coffit Daniel and Sarah Daniel.]

[4] Daniel Coffitz, Hileman/Smith Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio; Find a memorial no. 34159850.    

[5] 1870 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert Ohio, p.436B, dwelling 97, family 98, Nicholas Geisler; digital image by subscription, ( : viewed 17 Feb 2020).

[6] 1880 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 154, p.446C, family 56, N. Gaesler; digital image by subscription, ( : viewed 17 Feb 2020).

[7] 1900 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED98, dwelling 198, family 203, Nicklos Giessler;  ( : viewed 17 Feb 2020).

[8] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” Willshire Township, Van Wert, Vol. 3, p.85, Elizabeth Giessler, 12 May 1905; ( : viewed 17 Feb 2020).

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