Tombstone Tuesday–Joseph & Lucinda (Kantner) Merkle

Joseph & Lucinda (Kantner) Merkle, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Joseph & Lucinda (Kantner) Merkle, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Joseph and Lucinda Merkle, located in row 1 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

His Wife

Several census enumerations indicate that Joseph was born in Germany but none of the documents I have looked at on-line indicate who his parents were. His Mercer County death record does not name his parents and neither his death nor his burial is recorded in Zion Chatt’s records.

I noticed that Merkle was occasionally spelled Merkley and Kantner was sometimes spelled Kentner in some records.

Joseph Merkle married Lucinda Kantner 29 January 1860 in Auglaize County, Ohio. His name was recorded as Merkley and hers as Kentner on their marriage record. [1]

Lucinda was very likely the daughter of Elias/Eli and Elizabeth (Oswalt/Oswald) Kantner. A Lucinda Kantner, the same birth year, was enumerated in the 1850 and 1860 censuses in the Eli Kantner household in Auglaize County, Ohio. Note that the 1850 and 1860 censuses do not show family relationships. However her father Eli applied for her marriage application since she was only 16 years old and needed permission to marry. [1]

The Eli Kantner household, Auglaize County, in 1850: Eli Kantner, 31, born in Pennsylvania; Elizabeth, 28, Ohio; Israel, 10; Catharine, 9; Lucinda, 7; Leah, 5; William, 4; and Mary, 1. All of their children were born in Ohio and Eli was a farmer. [2]

In 1860 the Eli Kantner family still lived in Pusheta Township, Auglaize County. In the household: Elias, 40, born in Ohio; Elizabeth, 38, Ohio; Israel, 19; Catherine, 18; Lucinda, 16; Lena, 15; William, 13; Mary, 11; Rebecca, 8; Emeline, 6; Sarah J, 4; Michael, 2; and Levi, 5 months. All the children were born in Ohio. Lucinda Kantner was 16 years old and her occupation was domestic. [3]

The problem here is that Lucinda  married Joseph Merkle in January 1860 but she was enumerated with her family on 23 June 1860. Where was her husband Joseph Merkle when the census was taken?

The 1870 census was the first census in which I found Joseph Merkle. In 1870 the Joseph Merkle family lived in Wapakoneta, Auglaize County: Joseph, 34, born in Germany; Lucinda, 26, Ohio; Mary M, 9; Elizabeth, 4; Anna, 2; and John, 5 months. All the children were born in Ohio and Joseph was a blacksmith. [4]

The Joseph Merkle family moved to neighboring Mercer County by 1876, where their son Friedrich was baptized at Zion Chatt in September of that year. In 1880 they resided in Chattanooga where Joseph was a blacksmith in the village. Their household in 1880: Joseph, 44, Wuerttemberg; Lucinda, 37, Ohio, wife; Mary, 19; Elisabeth, 14; Anna, 12; John M, 10; Frederic, 8; Emma, 5; and William, 3.  [5]

Joseph, Lucinda, and their family attended Zion Lutheran Church when they lived in Chattanooga. Lucinda was confirmed as an adult at Zion on 17 May 1885 and over the years several of their children and grandchildren were baptized, confirmed, and married there. Lucinda’s confirmation record gives her date of birth as 12 October 1842 but does not give the names of her parents.

Their Liberty Township household in 1900: Joseph Merkle, 64, Germany; Lucinda, 56, Ohio; William, 23; Edward, 17; and Leo, 11. This census indicates Joseph immigrated in 1852 and that Lucinda had given birth to 10 children but that only 8 were living in 1900. Lucinda and all the children were born in Ohio. Joseph’s occupation was day labor. [6]

Joseph Merkle died 11 April 1901 in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, at the age of 35. His occupation was a blacksmith and he was born in Germany. [7]

In 1910 Lucinda, age 66 and a widow, lived in Liberty Township with her son Leo, age 21. Leo worked as a clerk in a general store in Chatt. This census also indicates that Lucinda had given birth to 10 children and 8 were living at that time. It also indicates that her parents were born in Pennsylvania. [8]

According to Zion Chatt’s records Lucinda Merkle died of asthma and dropsy on 20 November 1919 in Mercer County, Ohio. She was buried on the 23rd with Rev. J.E. Albrecht in charge of the service. The church records indicate that Lucinda was survived by 2 sisters, 1 brother, 4 sons and daughters, 24 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren.

Joseph and Lucinda (Kantner) Merkle had the following nine children that I could identify, but the 1900 and 1910 censuses report that she had given birth to ten children.

Maria “Mary” (1861-1954), married Rev. A.J. Feeger
Elisabeth (1865-1924), married Jacob Joseph Heffner
Anna (1867-1935), married Friedrich Heffner
John Francis (1869/70-1895)
Friedrich (1872-?)
Emma (1874-1950), married Conrad Heffner
William (1877-1959), married Bertha Short
Joseph “Edward” (1882-1952), married Nellie Dull
Leo (1888-?), married Clara Baker


[1] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch( : accessed 26 Jun 2016), Joseph Merkley and Lucinda Kentner, 29 Jan 1860; from Auglaize County Marriages Vol. 2, p.241, from FHL microfilm 963056.

[2] 1850 U.S. Census, Pusheta, Auglaize, Ohio, p.335A, dwelling & family 608, Eli Kentner; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 26 Jun 2016); from NARA microfilm M432, roll 660.

[3] 1860 U.S. Census, Pusheta, Auglaize, Ohio, p.426, dwelling 512, family 496, Elias Kantner; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 26 Jun 2016); from FHL microfilm 803931, from NARA microfilm M653, roll 931.

[4] 1870 U.S. Census, Wapakoneta, Auglaize County, Ohio, p. 36 (penned), dwelling 304, family 298, Joseph Merkley; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 18 May 2014); from FHL film 552671, from NARA film M593, roll 1172.

[5] 1880 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer County, Ohio, ED 188, p. 2 (penned), dwelling 13, family 14, Joseph Markrle; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 18 May 2014); from FHL microfilm 1255048, from NARA microfilm T9, roll 1048.

[6] 1900 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 85, p.10A, dwelling 186, family 191, Joseph Merkle; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 26 Jun 2016); from FHL microfilm 1241304, from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1304.

[7] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Jun 2016) Joseph Merkle, 11 Apr 1901; from Mercer Deaths; from FHL microfilm 914954.

[8] 1910 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 119, p.16B, dwelling, family, Luinsindy Merkle; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 26 Jun 2016); from FHL microfilm 1375227, from NARA microfilm T624, roll 1214.


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    • Doug Roebuck on June 28, 2016 at 12:28 pm
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    In the late 1980’s I started working on my family genealogy. I found Mrs. (Stanley) Pauline (Merkle) Bartholomew [daughter of Ed Merkle] and she told me the following story: Joseph Merkle was born in 1935 and died in 1901. It was said he as buried in the “trashy” corner of the Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio, where dead flowers, etc. were placed. It was said he as buried there because he was Catholic. When his wife, Lucinda (Kautner) Merkle, died in 1919, he was dug up and buried besides her in a different part of the cemetery!

    The Merkles

    Joseph Merkle was born in 1835. Joseph married Lucinda Kantner, daughter of Elias Kantner and Elizabeth Oswald, on January 29, 1860 and died in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, on April 11, 1901. Lucinda, wife of Joseph, was born October 12, 1843 and died November 20, 1919. They had 10 children, six sons and four daughters. In 1872 they moved to Chattanooga, Ohio (Mercer County). There children were: Ed Merkle, William Merkle, Fred Merkle, Leo Merkle, John Merkle, Emma (Merkle) Heffner, Anna (Merkle) Heffner, Elizabeth (Merkle) Heffner, and Mary (Merkle) Fegger.

    Lucinda Kantner was the daughter of Elias Kantner (Kaenter, Kautner) and Elizabeth (Oswald) Kanter. Elizabeth (Oswald) Kantner was born in 1822 and died in 1907.

    Ed Merkle always said that the name Merkle was really spelled Merkley. When Anna Merkle married Fred Heffner her named was spelled Anna Merkley on her marriage license!

    Joseph Merkle was a blacksmith in Chattanooga and his wife ran a boarding house. I have a picture of a map of Chattanooga. On the map it shows Chattanooga Liberty Twp and Lot 9 shows a Hotel and the name Lucinda Merkle.

    Emma Merkle She married Conrad Heffner. Conrad was born in Mercer County April 29, 1867 the son of the late George and Sophia Martin Heffner. She died on May 11, 1950. Emma (Merkle) Heffner was known as a good cook. She said that she never got to attend funerals because she always had to cook. Emma was born December 4, 1875 in Chattanooga and she married Conrad W. Heffner on October 27, 1899. Emma died on May 13, 1950. Emma and Conrad had two children: Walter E. Heffner and Bernice [Victor Stuckey}Heffner

    She was survived by three brothers: Edward Merkle, Celina; William Merkle, Piqua; and Leo Merkle, Toledo. A sister, Mrs. Mary (Merkle) Feeger, Richmond, IN

    Mary (Merkle) Fegger. She married Rev. Albert Fegger . They had two girls and seven boys: Luther Fegger; Albert Fegger; Walter Fegger; Paul Fegger; George Fegger; Carl Fegger; Ted Fegger; Helen Fegger; and Mabel Fegger.


    William Merkle was a blacksmith. He was born on March 4, 1877 and died on Septembe 7, 1959. He married Bertha May Short and she died on July 21, 1968. They had one child, Opal Merkle (who married Dwight Franz). Both William and Bertha are buried in Forest Hill Cemetary, Piqua, OH.

    Edward J. (Ed) Merkle was a street commissioner in Celina, Mercer County, Ohio, and a state fire marshall. Ed was born on November 11,1882 in Chattanooga and died on Aril 12, 1952. Ed was married to Nellie Dull. They had one daughter, Pauline.

    Elizabeth Merkle born in July, 1865 married Jacob Joseph Hefner son of Conrad and Anna Heffner on December 16, 1884. Elizabeth and Jacob had the following children: Carl Heffner, Leo C. Heffner, and Ralph Heffner.

    Fred Merkle worked for Cugahey Packing Company. He installed refrigerators in meat packing companies.

    Leo Merkle owned a produce company in Toledo, Ohio. Leo married Clara Baker. Leo died on February 4, 1955 and is buried in Toldeo Memorial Park, Toledo, OH. They had had one daughter, Mary Helen Merkle (she married Bill Avery)

    Lee Merkle and Sam Egger ran a huckster wagon in the Chattanooga, Ohio area. I have a picture of it driven by Oscar “Brownie” Heffner.

    1. Thanks, Doug! I knew you would have additional information. I appreciate it, as I am sure others do. Their 10th child must have been born and died between census enumerations.

    • Doug Roebuck on June 28, 2016 at 8:10 pm
    • Reply

    Should be Feeger NOT Fegger! Sorry!

  1. An interesting read. Joseph and Lucinda are my 2nd great grandparents on my Mom’s side. I have quite a bit of information about the Kantner (Kentner/Gander) lineage, but not so much about the Merkles.

    The Kantners go back to the Saanen area of Switzerland in the 1300s. There they were Ganders. Immigrated to Pennsylvania is 1740 to Berks County. Part of the flood of “Pennsylvania Dutch” immigration from the Palatinate area at that time.

    I believe the Merkles were from the Wurttemberg state in Germany. From the small town of Ippingen. Father was Donatus. Would be interested in connecting with Doug about his information.

    My great grandparents were Rev. Albert Feeger and Mary M. (Merkle) Feeger. Have lots of photos of them.

    Be well.
    Steve Leitz

    1. Interesting to hear that you descend from this couple and thank you for the additional information. I will e-mail you privately and try to get you in contact with Doug. Thanks for writing!

      • Doug Roebuck on February 25, 2024 at 8:45 pm
      • Reply

      My great-great-grandmother was Anna (Merkle) Heffner daughter of Joseph Merkle and Lucinda Kantner. I woul d like to get more information on the Kantner’s. I can send you information on the Merkles is you send me your e-mail address.

      1. I’ll email you.

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