Tombstone Tuesday–Edward J. & Harriet I. Kuehm

Edward J Kuehm & Harriet I, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2014 photo by Karen)

Edward J Kuehm & Harriet I, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2014 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Edward J and Harriet I Kuehm, located in row 1 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Edward J.
Harriet I.
His Wife

[This surname is spelled both Kuhm and Kuehm in various records and cemetery markers. I have used the Kuhm spelling in the last few posts but today I am using the Kuehm spelling since this is the way it is spelled on this tombstone.]

When I first saw this tombstone I wondered who Harriet I was. It appears she is not buried in Zion’s cemetery. Their marriage was not recorded in Zion’s records, nor was her death. Who was Edward Kuehm’s wife and what happened to her?

The scant information about Edward that was included in Zion’s records was enough to help fill in some of the blanks.

Edward J. Kuehm was the son of Jacob and Julia (Berron) Kuehm, born 17 March 1892 in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana. He was baptized at Zion as Jacob Edward Kuehm on 1 May of the same year. Witnesses to his baptism were Jakob and Johanna Martzloff, of Jay County, Indiana.

When Edward was seven years old his father Jacob died of a stroke. A couple years later, in 1901, his mother Julia married William Betzel. Edward was confirmed at Zion with his sister Rosa in 1907. Below is a photo of the 1907 confirmation class with Edward and Rosa. This is one of the earliest Zion Chatt confirmation photos that I have. The two Kuehm siblings certainly look like brother and sister.

1907 Zion Chatt Confirmation class. Edward J Kuehm seated at far left. Rosa Kuehm standing 5th from left.

1907 Zion Chatt Confirmation class. Edward J Kuehm seated at far left. Rosa Kuehm standing 5th from left.

William and Julia Betzel, with her four Kuehm children, moved from Adams County, Indiana, to Liberty Township in Mercer County by 1910. Edward was 18 years old at that time and worked on the farm. [1]

Edward registered for the draft on 29 May 1917 in Mercer County. He gave his home address as Rt. 5 Rockford and he stated that he was born near Geneva, Indiana, on 17 March 1892. His occupation was roustabout on an oil lease for Empire Gas & Fuel Co., Augusta, Kansas. He was single with no dependents. [2]

Edward served in the US Army during WWI and a flagstaff with flag is situated near his grave.

Flagstaff & flag at Edward J Kuehm grave. (2014 photo by Karen)

Flagstaff & flag at Edward J Kuehm’s grave. (2014 photo by Karen)

Soon after he returned home from the war Edward married Harriet Frey and they moved to Oklahoma, where Edward once again worked in the oil fields. The young married couple was living in Oklahoma by 1920.

Edward was a tool dresser in the oil fields of Oklahoma and he and Harriet lived in their rented home on North Walnut Street in Newkirk. They had no children at that time, in January of 1920. [3]

According to Zion Chatt’s records Edward drowned in an oil tank in Oklahoma on 27 October 1922, at the age of 29 years, 7 months, and 10 days. He was buried on 2 November. Survivors included his widow, one child, his parents and 4 sisters. Edward had a child!

In 1930 Harriet Kuehm was a widow raising two children by herself. They lived in a rented house on North 7th Street in Vincennes, Indiana, where Harriet worked in a doctor’s office as a trained nurse. Her daughter Inez Kuehm, 10, was born in Oklahoma and son Edward Kuehm, 6, was born in Ohio. [4]

Harriet was pregnant when Edward drowned in Oklahoma!

They had two children. Edward Sr probably never knew he was going to have another child. Harriet must have come back home and resided in Ohio after her husband Edward died. Their son Edward was probably born in mid-1923 in Ohio.

In 1940 Harriet Williams, age 40, born in Indiana, was the wife of Henry Williams, 65, also born in Indiana. They were living on Reel Avenue in Vincennes, Indiana, with three Williams children and two Kuehm children. The Kuehm children were the stepchildren of Henry. The Williams’ children were the children of Henry and Harriet.

Inez Kuehm, age 20, was born in Oklahoma and Edward Kuehm, 16, was born in Ohio.

In 1940 Inez Kuehm worked at Hamilton Glass Co., and Edward Kuehm, 16, was a “new worker.” The Williams children, Loren, 8; Norman, 5; and Danny, less than 1 year, were all born in Indiana. [5]

And who was Harriet Frey?

In 1900 Harriet Frey and her mother Della were living with Harriet’s grandfather, Joseph Frey, 50, in Vincennes, Indiana. Harriet was 2 months old, born March of 1900 and her mother Della, 18, born in Illinois, had been married a year. Two of the Frey sons had been married a year, Joseph, 22, and John, 19. I assume one of these sons was Harriet’s father. [6]

By 1910 Harriett’s mother Della had married Frank Carrey. They had been married 7 years and this was Della’s second marriage. Harriett is shown as Frank’s step-daughter and she was 10 years old. [7]

It is apparent that Harriet was not buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery. What happened to Henry and Harriet I (Frey Kuehm) Williams?

Henry W. Williams died 6 February 1953 and is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Vincennes, Indiana. [8] Harriet I Mix, “wife of Henry,” died 3 September 1968 and is buried in the same plot as Henry Williams. Her grave marker also indicates she was born 21 March 1900. [9]

Evidently Harriet married a Mix after Henry Williams’ death.

That is what I have been able to piece together. I have been unable to find Edward Jacob Kuehm and Harriett Frey’s marriage record. As for their children, I believe their son Edward J. Kuehm was born 1 July 1923 and died 11 December 1991 in Vincennes, Indiana. [10] I do not know what happened to their daughter Inez.

Edward Kuehm Sr’s Obituary:

Ohio Man Drowned in Oklahoma Oil Tank
Relatives in the vicinity of Chattanooga last Saturday received a telegram informing them of the death of Ed Kuehm. He was drowned in a tank of oil at Yale, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 28, 1922. The tank deck gave away as he was walking across it, precipitating him into the tank filled with oil.

The remains were brought home for burial, the funeral taking place Wednesday forenoon from the German Lutheran church at Chattanooga, conducted by the pastor, Rev. Mr. Hoyer. Deceased was a world war veteran, and members of Homer Pierson Post, attended the funeral, bestowing upon their departed comrade certain military rites under the auspices of the American Legion.

Mr. Kuehm, who is related to Mr. and Mrs. Gale Hook of this town, was well-known in the community south of town, and a number of years ago was employed by C.V. Fisher in the oil fields in the vicinity of Willshire and Chattanooga. [11]

[1] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, ED 119, p. 16B, family 322, William Betzel; FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 August 2014); from FHL microfilm 1375227, from NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[2] “U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital images, ( : accessed 24 August 2014), card for Edward Jacob Kuehm, no. 958, Mercer County, Ohio; citing WWI Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-18, Washington D.C.; NARA microfilm M1509, roll 1832519.

[3] 1920 U.S. Census, Newkirk, Kay, Oklahoma, ED 139, p. 2A, dwelling 30, family 30, Edward Kuhn; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 24 August 2014); from NARA microfilm T625, roll 1466.

[4] 1930 U.S. Census, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana, ED 25, p. 14B, dwelling 240, family 388, Harriet Kuehn; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 24 August 2014); from FHL microfilm 2340331, from NARA microfilm T626, roll 596.

[5] 1940 U.S. Census, Ward 6, Vincennes Township, Knox, Indiana, ED 42-29, p. 15A, family 316, Henry Williams; digital image, ( : accessed 23 Aug 2014); NARA microfilm T627, roll 1061.

[6] 1900 U.S. Census, Vincennes, Knox, Indiana, ED 51, p. 7B, dwelling 125, family 125, Joseph Frey; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 24 August 2014); from FHL microfilm 1240381, from NARA microfilm T623, roll 381.

[7] 1910 U.S. Census, Vincennes, Knox, Indiana, ED 68, p. 4A, dwelling 69, family 71, Frank Carrey; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 24 August 2014); from FHL microfilm 1374373, from NARA microfilm T624, roll 360.

[8] Henry W Williams Find A Grave Memorial #63144952, Plot MP3-191, Memorial Park Cemetery, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana; Find A, ( : accessed 27 August 2014).

[9] Harriet I Mix Find A Grave Memorial #63134146, Plot MP3-191, Memorial Park Cemetery, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana; Find A, ( : accessed 27 August 2014).

[10] U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, database on-line, ( : accessed 24 August 2014); Ed J. Kuehm, SSN 315-14-6238.

[11] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 2 Nov 1922, p.1.


    • Kathy Hesler on October 20, 2019 at 4:06 pm
    • Reply

    I am Edward Jacob Kuehms granddaughter . MY Father was Edward Jacob Kuehm. My grandmother is buried in Vincennes Indiana Cemetery next to my step grandfather . My Aunt Inez is buried there also. I remember. visiting my grandfather’s grave when I was young. I am so thrilled about knowing this

    1. It is so nice to hear from you! And to learn of your connection to Zion Chatt church and cemetery. Edward Jacob’s (1892-1922) story was certainly tragic. Thank you for the additional information about your family. There are a couple things our two families have in common. Edward Keuhm (1892-1922) was a first cousin to Della Kuehm, who married my great uncle Pete Miller. Two of Pete Miller’s brothers worked in and died in the oil fields in Oklahoma an Texas. Thank you for writing!

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