Tombstone Tuesday–Christian & Margaret Kesler

Christian and Margaret Kesler, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

Christian and Margaret Kesler, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2001 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Christian and Margaret Kesler, located in Kessler Cemetery, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Died July 11, 1904
Aged 60Y.  7M. 22D.

Wife of C Kesler
Apr. 9, 1900
Aged 47Y.
6M. 3D.

Kesler is spelled “Kessler” in the church records as well as in this area, but for the sake of standardization, in this post I will spell the name as “Kesler,” as it is written on their tombstone.

I obtained information about Christian and his wife Margaret from the records of Zion Lutheran, Chattanooga. And I noticed that some of the information in the church records does not agree with the information on their tombstone. I do not know which record is correct. Their deaths were not recorded in the Mercer County Probate death records, so I was unable to compare dates and ages with an additional record.

According to the church records Christian Kesler was born 15 September 1845 in Walzheim, District Rhein, Kingdom of Bavaria, to Christian and Margaretha (Kable) Kesler. Christian [the son] came to America in 1849 with his parents and his brother and sister. He was confirmed at Zion on 1 June 1862 by Pastor Heintz. Christian died 11 July 1904 and was buried on the 12th. His death was a suicide.

Christian married Margaret Haffner on 30 December 1869 in Mercer County. The church records indicate she was born 6 October 1852 in Mercer County, Ohio, the daughter of Georg and Sophia (Martin) Hafner. She died suddenly from a stroke on 10 April 1900, at the age of 47 years, 6 months, and 4 days, according to the church records. She was survived by her husband, 11 children, and siblings.

The following death notice tells of the tragic death of Christian Kessler:

Despondent Since Wife’s Death, Christian Kessler Drowns Sorrow in Drink and Then Takes His Life
Christian Kessler, one of the wealthiest and best known farmers in Liberty township, committed suicide Monday morning by hanging himself in his wood shed. Mr. Kessler’s family supposed that he had gone to Chattanooga, near which his farm is located, and were horrified beyond measure when confronted with the ghastly body dangling from the rope which the unfortunate man had used to end his existence.

Several years ago Mr. Kessler’s wife died suddenly from heart disease. Her death gave rise to a profound melancholy on the part of her husband and his mental condition, together with excessive drinking of late, no doubt, gave rise to conditions which subsequently took the form of a suicidal mania.

Oil had been struck in paying quantities on Mr. Kessler’s farm and this brought him additional prosperity, but no increase enjoyment of life. He was the father of a large family who have been occasioned much sorrow by his tragic death. [1]

Christian and Margaret had the following children:

Magdalena, born 11 June 1871
Sophia Anna, born 16 November 1872, married Heinrich David Betzel
Maria Eugenia, born 14 February 1875, married Jacob Hoffmann
Edward Rudolph, born 11 February 1877
Clara Louise “Lula,” born 30 July 1879, married Warren V. “Nick” Detro
George Heinrich, born 8 November 1881, married Minnie Fowler
Ida Bertilie, born 9 January 1884
Friedrich Wilhelm, born 9 March 1886
Clara Henrietta, born 16 February 1889, married Martin V. Stamm
Johann Conrad Kessler, born 14 March 1891
Franziska Dova Aurelia, born 9 February 1894

Christian Kesler Barn. (2001 photo by Karen)

Christian Kesler Barn. (2001 photo by Karen)

The Keslers lived just south of Chatt. The 1900 census was taken in June, just months after Margaret’s death. That June Christian was living with eight of his single children: Lena, 28; Edward, 23; George, 18; Edith, 16; Frederick, 14; Clara, 11; John, 9; Farcis, 6. [2]

Kessler Cemetery is also called Liberty Cemetery and is located in Section 18 of Liberty Township, on Oregon Road, just about half a mile from Indiana. A number of Zion Chatt’s former members are buried there.


[1] Mercer County Standard, Celina, Ohio, 15 July 1904, p.1.

[2] 1900 US Census, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, ED 85, p. 11A (penned), p.207 (stamped),  line 99, dwelling 219, family 225, Christian Kesler; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 31 August 2013); from Family History Library microfilm 1241304, from National Archives microfilm T623, roll 1304.



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    • Andy Gappa on September 3, 2013 at 8:25 am
    • Reply

    Clara Louise “Lula” Kesler married Warren V. “Nick” Detro. She passed away 11/11/1950 in Grant County, Indiana. Nick Detro, son of David Hiram Detro and Charity Jane Hopper, was born 7/19/1878 in Darke County, Ohio, and passed away 7/31/1948 in Marion, Grant Co., Indiana. Charity Jane Hopper Detro died around 1890 and is “buried at the old cemetery on State Road 49”. I’m not sure which one–Duck Creek or the one behind the Lutheran Church there in Chattanooga. There is no marker for her if she is behind the Lutheran Church and many of the markers are worn and unreadable at Duck Creek. If anyone can help with Charity Jane Hopper Detro’s information, I’d love to hear about it. Thanks Karen.
    Andy Gappa

    1. Thanks for the additional information! I will add it to the post.

    • Waldo on September 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm
    • Reply

    Are there no directories for these cemeteries? In this electronic age, it would seem logical that nearly all cemeteries would have an online directory. Of course an obsolete, unused graveyard might easily be an exception, but an active site would almost necessarily have a list and even a plot plan on a computer someplace for management purposes. Would that not be the source of the success of services like “gravefinder?” Or are all those data sources volunteer submissions?

    1. Cemeteries around here are maintained by the county, township or a church. They maintain them–mow, reset stones, etc., and have other duties beside taking care of the cemetery. They probably don’t have the time or incentive to create cemetery directories. However, most county genealogy societies have published cemetery directories. Books are usually by township and volunteers have “read” and transcribed the tombstone inscriptions. Often the history, location and a general outline of the cemetery is given. Societies publish and sell these books to maintain their society and most books are probably not on-line. Remember, these are non-profit societies and they rely on volunteers to do all the work of gathering information, research, and publishing the books. These books are usually available for the public to look at and they are kept where the society has their holdings. That would be at the county library in Mercer and Van Wert County. Some counties have their own building, such as Jay County Indiana Historical & Genealogical Society, in Portland. Some genealogy/historical societies have put some of their county cemetery interments on-line. You have to search for the society website and see if they have made that information available on-line. It just depends on their volunteers and finances and technology skills. has a lot of cemetery photos and transcribed inscriptions and sometimes some additional information. Billion Graves also has tombstone and cemetery information. Both of these websites rely on volunteers to submit the photos. So much of the genealogy information you see published and on-line is the result of hard-working volunteers. (I am not talking about the paid subscription sites.) Genealogy is often a labor of love. And how to find cemeteries? There are some websites that can help find a cemetery. That would probably be a good blog post…

    • Waldo on September 4, 2013 at 7:45 am
    • Reply

    Excellent information and useful background to help all of us appreciate the source of such deeply personal information. However, the fact remains that any record today is likely typed on a computer. Once in electronic form, the future availability online remains a relatively simply step. Of course holding the information hostage for a fee, ie selling the “book”, is always a short sighted and limited effort. Sooner or later someone types (or scans) it into a database and off it goes. Wise sources use that eagerness of “volunteers” to contribute to build amazing systems, ie Findagrave.

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