This past week we spent a few days in Holmes County. In addition to the beautiful eastern Ohio countryside in this Amish community there is an abundance of shopping opportunities, handcrafted Amish items, cheese, wine, delicious home-style food, and other attractions. It is also the area where several of my ancestors lived for awhile before moving westward.
We enjoy going to this area every year or two and after our 2014 visit I made a list of my ancestors who lived in this area before moving to western Ohio or eastern Indiana, where they made their permanent home. I was surprised by how many of my ancestors passed through here and I wrote the following blog post about them. I am re-posting this 2014 blog post today and adding a few updates from this week.
Ohio is often called the Gateway to the West because so many settlers traveled through Ohio, either overland or on one of Ohio’s waterways. When I sat down and thought about it I was surprised at how many of my ancestors not only traveled through Ohio, but actually lived in the Holmes County area for a few years. Below is a list of my ancestors that once resided in the Holmes County area.
Both the Schumms and the Pfluegers lived in Holmes County in the early 1830s. Both families worshiped with the Evangelical United Zion Congregation in Winesburg, where several family members were married and where some of their children were baptized.
Christian Pflueger owned land in the area between Winesburg, Walnut Creek and Berlin. Both families moved to Van Wert County in about 1838. Johann Georg Schumm and Christian Pflueger are my third great-grandfathers.
My great-grandfather John Scaer was born in Baltic in 1864. This little village is actually located in three counties–Coshocton, Holmes, and Tuscarawas–but John’s obituary states that he was born in Tuscarawas County. John’s family later moved to Monroeville, Indiana.
The Baltic branch spelled their name “Scarr” and we found Scarr tombstones in West Lawn Cemetery in Baltic. The Monroeville branch probably changed the spelling to Scaer and some of them later went on to change the spelling to Scare. My mom recalls her mother Hilda and Hilda’s brother Oscar Scaer traveling to Baltic to visit their Scarr relatives. We visited the little village of Baltic and walked through West Lawn Cemetery there.
Nicholas and Ruth (Phillips) Headington left Maryland about 1820 and settled in Knox County for a few years before moving on to Jay County, Indiana. While in Knox County they lived near Mt. Vernon, where several of their children were born. Nicholas was my fifth great-grandfather and fought in the War of 1812.
Louis Breuninger, my second great-grandfather, was living in Canal Dover in 1840. The town is called Dover today and is in Tuscarawas County. By 1850 Louis had moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he married Maria Seckel in 1851. Louis moved his family to the Schumm area by 1870.
Down the road from Dover is New Philadelphia, where Jackson Brewster and his family stayed for a short time on their way from Fayette County, Pennsylvania, to Adams County, Indiana, between 1860-1870. Jackson is my third great-grandfather.
Joe has at least one ancestor who lived in the area. His fourth great-grandfather Jonathan Grant came to what is now Holmes County in 1809 and is credited as being the first white settler in the county. A street in Wooster is named in his honor and he lived in the area the remainder of his life. He is buried in a private cemetery in Holmes County. McCulloch Cemetery, near Holmesville, is located on a back road, beyond a field, in a thicket, on an Amish farm. In 2005 we visited Jonathan Grant’s grave and I understand that his tombstone has been replaced with a new military marker, noting his Revolutionary War service.
We drove through Mt. Vernon and through Centerburg, the geographical center of Ohio, the real Heart of Ohio. We took our time and took the scenic route home and marveled at the beautiful countryside where our ancestors once lived.
This year  was just a relaxing trip with some shopping and sight-seeing. Did I mention shopping? We stopped at Holmes County Pottery and saw Cary Hulin’s new kiln. He makes wonderful salt-glazed pottery and it is interesting to hear him explain how he fires the pottery.
I love to stop at Holmes County Pottery and pick up a few Cary’s pieces but his shop is a little challenging to find. We were able to find it easier this year and only made two wrong turns. Same with The Pottery Niche, which sells that colorful Polish Pottery. These little shops on the township roads off the beaten path can be hard to find but the trip through the beautiful countryside is worth it.
We also visited the Warther Museum and Gardens in Dover. The Mooney Warther carvings, consisting mainly of steam engines hand-carved from wood, ivory, and ebony are awesome. He was unbelievably gifted and a visit to his museum is well worth the trip. The gardens around their home are beautiful, too.
We finished off the day at Breitenbach Winery between Sugar Creek and Dover. They have very good wine and we got to sample dandelion wine. It is good but sweet. I prefer a dry white wine myself but wanted to try the dandelion wine because my grandpa Miller used to make it.
It was another great trip to Holmes County and we look forward to passing through there again.
Thanks Karen for your highlights of Holmes County! This area is on my bucket list and I will refer to your article when I go on this adventure!
I think you would enjoy the trip and the beautiful country-side. There is so much to see and do here! And so much history for us.