More About the Otterbein Sixteen

The WWII generation is often referred to as the Greatest Generation and I certainly believe that to be true. Those from that generation were smart, hard-working, good, brave, patriotic citizens who put their love of country and freedom before themselves. They served their country unselfishly. Actually, those qualities can be attributed to all veterans who have served this country from our nation’s beginning through the current time. It is what soldiers do. And we truly appreciate it.   

I featured The Otterbein Sixteen, a poem by C. Dillon Sell, in last Friday’s blog post for Veterans Day, One Day in My Life-A Story of WWII, by Paul & Lowell Sell. The poem was written about 16 young men from Otterbein United Brethren Church, Rockford, who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during WWII and, by the grace of God, all sixteen safely came back home.

The Otterbein Sixteen were: Clifford Beougher, Charles Berry, Ned Berry, Bill Book, Rea Book, Russell Book, Albert Clutter, Lowell Deitsch, Jacob Koeppel, Harold Leighner, Carl Sell, Leroy Sell, Lowell Sell, Paul Sell, Henry Warthman, and Bud Williams.

After reading Sell’s poem I wanted to learn a little more about the sixteen men who attended church together and who all fought in WWII.

I found additional information about all of them, more information on some than others. They had families but I did not include the names of their children. The Otterbein Sixteen were about my father’s age and their children are my contemporaries. I even went to school with a couple of their children. Most of the Sixteen stayed in the area, but some moved farther away. 

I knew one of the Otterbein Sixteen. Henry Warthman was one of my school bus drivers at Parkway Local School, one of my favorite bus drivers.

“Henry” James Warthman (1925-1977) was born in Mercer County 9 October 1925, the son of Carl and Martha (Hansel) Warthman. He married Margaret L. Gilson (1927-2001) on 5 May 1946 in Mercer County. He worked at Goodyear Tire & Rubber, St. Marys, and drove school bus at Parkway. Henry died 4 April 1977 and is buried at Friends Cemetery, SR 118 & Tama Road. Henry Warthman served in the U.S. Navy.

Henry Warthman’s sister Virginia Rose married another one of the Otterbein Sixteen, Ned Edwin Berry. Ned and his brother Charles Jr. were among the Otterbein Sixteen:

“Ned” Edwin Berry (1924-1990) was born in or near Rockford on 27 December 1924, the son of Charles F. and Alma D. (Yahn) Berry. He married Virginia Rose Warthman (1928-2006) on 30 June 1946 in Mercer County. He worked at Goodyear Tire & Rubber, St. Marys, and was still a member of Otterbein UB church when he died 14 June 1990. He is buried at Mercer Memory Gardens, Celina. Ned Berry served in the U.S. Navy.

“Charles” Floyd Berry Jr (1922-2001) was born in Dublin Township on 4 August 1922, the son of Charles F. and Alma D. (Yahn) Berry. He married Lois Ann Rutledge (1926-2001) on 22 August 1945 in Mercer County. Charles was a farmer and drove truck for the Rockford Stone Quarry. He was a member of New Horizons Church when he died 29 June 2001 and is buried at Stringtown Cemetery. Charles Berry Jr served in the U.S. Navy.

Two sets of three brothers were among the Otterbein Sixteen, the Book brothers and the Sell brothers. 

3 Book Brothers:

Theodore “Russell” Book (1916-2003) was born 13 June 1916 in Vinton County, Ohio, the son of John “Asa” Logan and Martha Luella “Lula” (Raver) Book. He married Barbara Inez Kidd (1917-1997) on 3 March 1946 in Van Wert County. He worked at Continental Can, Van Wert, and was a farmer. Russell died in Rockford on 13 April 2003 and is buried at Greenbriar Cemetery, Glenmore, Van Wert County. Russell Book served in the U.S. Army.

“Rea” Pershing Book (1918-2009) was born in Mercer County 9 July 1918, the son of John “Asa” Logan and Martha Luella “Lula” (Raver) Book. He married Mary Akom (1919-1978) on 25 May 1941 in Van Wert County, and after Mary’s death married Fern Edith (Redlinger) Debolt (1920-2013) on 11 August 1979 in Van Wert County. Rea Book was a United Methodist minister. He died in Van Wert County on 12 September 2009 and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City. Rea Book served in the U.S. Army.

William Gene “Bill” Book (1924-2006) was born in or near Rockford on 27 October 1924, the son of John “Asa” Logan & Martha Luella “Lula” (Raver) Book. He married Crystal “June” Hurless (1926-1985) on 12 May 1945 in Van Wert County, and after her death he married Edna Marie Herberger on 14 May 1989. He worked at Gray Printing, Fostoria, Ohio. Bill died 8 April 2006 at Ohio City and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City. Bill Book served in the U.S. Navy.

3 Sell brothers:

“Carl” Andrew Sell (1917-2003) was born in Dublin Township on 11 August 1917, the son of Samuel Oliver and Zelma (Boice) Sell. He married Martha Ann Akom (1919-1950) on 3 May 1942, and after Martha’s death he married Pauline Book (1931-2022) on 6 June 1951 in Mercer County. Pauline Book was a sister to the three Book brothers, members of the Otterbein Sixteen. Carl was a shop foreman, mechanic, and salesman for Ford Motor Tractor and Implement Division, owned and operated Farm Equipment Dealership, managed Ridgeway Motel in Van Wert and Western 6 Motel in Tempe, Arizona, and farmed. He died 1 May 2003 and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City. Carl Sell served in the U.S. Army.

“Lowell” D. Sell (1923-2011) was born 20 February 1923, the son of Samuel Oliver and Zelma (Boice) Sell. He married Martha R. Cotton (1930-2008) on 6 November 1949 in Franklin County, Ohio. He was a farmer, mechanic, part owner of Sell’s Ford Tractor Sales, and worked at Speicher Corp, Celina. Lowell died 15 March 2011 in Wapakoneta, Ohio, and is buried at Stringtown Cemetery, Rockford. Lowell Sell served in the U.S. Army.

“Paul” Ivan Sell (1926-2014) was born 29 October 1926 in Dublin Township, the son of Samuel Oliver and Zelma (Boice) Sell. He married Elizabeth/Betty Ann Kelly (1932-2007) on 28 September 1952 in Allen County, Indiana. He sold life insurance and was a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. Paul died 3 February 2014 in Shelby County, Indiana, and is buried at Oak Lawn Cemetery, Ossian, Wells County, Indiana. Paul Sell served in the U.S. Navy.  

Another Sell, a first cousin to the above 3 Sell brothers:

Otis “Leroy” Sell (1916-1968) was born 28 February 1916, the son of Charles Dillon and Mary Katharine (Rettic) Sell. He married Mary R. Hynes (1906-1986), an immigrant from Northern Ireland. He moved to Arizona shortly after the war and was a heavy equipment operator for Fisher Contracting Co. and Benson Contracting Co. Leroy died 1 July 1968 in Maricopa County, Arizona, from heat prostration in the desert after his vehicle broke down. He is buried at Saint Francis Catholic Cemetery, Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona. Leroy Sell served as a Tech5 298th General Hospital, U.S. Army.

“Clifford” Wilmer Beougher (1922-2007) was born in Mercer County 26 May 1922, the son of William D. and Bessie (White) Beougher. He married Marcile A. Krugh (1924-2009) on 22 July 1943 in Wooster, Ohio. He worked at the Huffy Corporation and Midwestern United Life Company. Clifford died 3 July 2007 in St. Marys and is buried at Elm Grove Cemetery, St. Marys. Clifford Beougher served in the U.S. Army.

Samuel “Albert” Clutter Jr (1921-1995) was born in or near Rockford on 21 July 1921, the son of Samuel and Lela May (McClintock) Clutter. He married Betty Eileen Long (1926-) on 5 July 1980 in Tennessee. Albert was a railroad employee and died 21 November 1995 in Osceola, Florida, burial details unknown. I could not find information concerning his military service.

“Jacob” F Koeppel Sr (1919-1996) was born in Dublin Township on 23 May 1919, the son of Adam W. and Sarah J. (Ford) Koeppel. He married Dorothy G. Chaney (1919-1984) on 30 May 1937 in Willshire. He was employed by GTE’s accounting division. Jacob died 5 Jul 1996 in Marion County, Ohio, and is buried in Grand Prairie Cemetery, Marion County. Jacob Koeppel Sr served in the U.S. Navy.

“Harold” Rufus Leighner (1921-1951) was born in Branch County, Michigan, 23 December 1921, the son of Harry Oliver and Mary E. (Applegate) Leighner. He married Ruthilene Wert (2023-2020) on 14 February 1942 in Mercer County. Harold Leighner died 31 August 1951 as the result of a farming accident and is buried at Woodland Union Cemetery, Van Wert. Harold Leighner served in the U.S. Army.

Kenneth “Lowell” Deitsch (1927-2018) was born 9 March 1927 in or near Rockford, the son of Ben J. and Mary Electa (Eichenauer) Deitsch. He married Marilyn Irene Cotton (1934-) about 1954. He worked at Honda Power Equipment. He died 17 June 2018 in Manatee County, Florida, and is buried at Gwinnett Memorial Park, Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, Georgia. Lowell Deitsch served in the U.S. Navy.

“Bud” Earl Williams (1925-1996) was born in or near Rockford on 14 February 1925, the son of Oscar W. and Ida (Dull) Williams. He married Phyllis Jane Hiles (1924-2002) on 15 August 1943 in Mercer County. He was a farmer, mowed grass for the Anthony Wayne Boy Scout Camp, Pleasant Lake, Indiana, and worked for Snell Groves, New Port Richey, Florida. He died 21 December 1996 in Florida and is buried in the Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida. Bud Williams served in the U.S. Army.

Otterbein United Brethren in Christ Church, aka Stringtown United Brethren Church, was located on State Route 707, about half a mile east of State Route 118, south of Rockford. It was organized in 1841 and some of the first members were Koeppels and Custers, likely ancestors of some of the Otterbein Sixteen. Otterbein UB was originally called Stringtown United Brethren Church and the cemetery next to the church is still called Stringtown Cemetery. Otterbein UB and Calvary UB merged in 1993 and, after a 1999 fire, in 2000 the congregation built a new church in Rockford and changed the name to New Horizons Community Church. Another group, called the Christian Church, repaired and used the Otterbein UB building on 707 for a few years, but sold it to St. Teresa Catholic Church in December 2008.

Tombstone Tuesday-Louisa M. Kable

Louisa M Kable, St Paul UCC Cemetery, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio (2023 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Louisa Marie Kable, located in row 6 of St. Paul UCC Cemetery, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Louisa M.

Louisa Marie Kable was born in Mercer County, Ohio, on 11 October 1866, the daughter of Ferdinand and Catherine (Bollenbacher) Kable. Both of her parents were German immigrants.

The Ferdinand Kable family in 1870: Ferdinand, 43; Catharine, 37; Adam, 9; Caroline, 7; Louisa, 3; Catharine, 1. [1]

The Ferdinand Kable family in 1880: Ferdinand, 54; Catharine, 45; Adam, 17; Caroline, 16; Louisa, 13; Catherine, 12; and Nettie, 8. Louisa attended school and her father Ferdinand was a farmer in 1880. [2]

The Ferdinand Kable household in 1900: Ferdinand, 72, head; Catharine, 67, wife; Louisa, 33, daughter, single; Kattie [Katharine] Dittinger [sic] [Dellinger], 32, daughter, widow; Emil Kable, 11, grandson; Henrietta Bollenbacher, 95, mother-in-law, widow. Louisa was not employed. [3]

The Ferdinand Kable family in 1910: Ferdinand, 82; Catharine, 77, wife; Louisa, 43, daughter, single; Catharine D, 42, daughter, single; Henry Leininger, 23, nephew, single. Louisa was not employed. [4]

Louisa Kable’s father Ferdinand, a Civil War veteran, died 14 January 1912.

In 1920 Louisa Kable, 53, single, lived with her widowed mother Catherine Kable, 87, and her younger sister Catherina, 51, divorced. The three women resided in Liberty Township and none were employed. [5]

Louisa’s mother Catherine (Bollenbacher) Kable died 25 June 1922.

After their mother’s death it appears that Louisa and her sister Katherina C. Kable moved to Pleasant Township, Van Wert County, and lived with their sister Henrietta and her husband Christian Merkle.

Louisa Kable died in Pleasant Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, on 10 February 1930 from complications of dementia. She probably died at the home of Christian and Henrietta (Kable) Merkle, her brother-in-law and sister. Louisa was 63 years, 3 months, and 29 days old and was buried on the 12th. [6]

Louisa did not live to be enumerated in the 1930 census. She never married. It appears Louisa was never employed outside the home but probably helped around the house and cared for her parents.

Louisa Marie Kable had the following siblings:
John George Kable (1855-1865)
Jacob Kable (1858-1865)
Adam Kable (1861-1948), married Catharine Hoffman
Caroline Fredericka Kable (1863-1934), married Theobald Leininger
Katherina C Kable (1868-1950), married TJ Dellinger [divorced]
Henrietta “Nettie” Kable (1871-1946), married Christian Merkle
Mary A Kable [per Sutton’s 1882 History of Van Wert & Mercer Counties]

[1] 1870 U.S. Census, Ohio, Mercer, Liberty, dwelling 100, family 92, p.148B, Ferdinand Kable;  

[2] 1880 U.S. Census, Ohio, Mercer, Liberty, ED 188, dwelling, 51, family 54, p.474C, Ferdnand [sic] Kable;

[3] 1900 U.S. Census, Ohio, Mercer, Liberty, ED, dwelling 162, family 167, p.9, Ferdenand [sic] Kable;

[4] 1910 U.S. Census, Ohio, Mercer, Liberty, ED 119, p.17B, dwelling 391, family 342, Federinand [sic] Kable;

[5] 1920 U.S. Census, Ohio, Mercer Liberty, ED 140, p.10A, dwelling 190, family 206, Catherine Kable;

[6] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” Van Wert County, Louisa M Kable 10 Feb 1930; [note by kmb: her death certificate indicates she was buried at Kessler Cemetery, but her tombstone is located at St. Paul UCC.]

One Day in My Life-A Story of WWII, by Paul & Lowell Sell

Today, on the eve of Veterans Day, I am pleased to share this WWII story about a local WWII soldier, Sgt. Lowell Sell.

A big thank you to Dr. Jerry and Connie Sell for sharing this story that involved Jerry’s uncle Lowell Sell in January 1945, shortly after Lowell arrived in France to begin his service in the war.

Lowell Sell told the story to his brother Paul and Paul wrote the narrative in 1999.

Four Sell brothers grew up on 707 south of Rockford. Three of the Sell brothers, Lowell, Paul, and Carl, and their cousin Otis “Leroy” Sell, all served in WWII.

In addition to Lowell Sell’s story, their cousin Leroy’s father, Charles Dillon Sell, wrote a poem about sixteen Rockford-area men who served in WWII. His poem, The Otterbein Sixteen, appears here, after Lowell’s story. Otterbein United Brethren in Christ Church, aka Stringtown United Brethren Church, was located on State Route 707, about a mile east of State Route 118, south of Rockford. 

This is an account written for my brother that took place when he landed in France during WW2. He told it to me and also presented a report that had been written in recent years to substantiate the occasion. This is HIS STORY and a story of the US Army, that they have been so reluctant to tell.
–Paul Sell, Bluffton Indiana, 1999

For my children and grandchildren…This is a story that should have been told and written many years ago, but it was only in recent times that research and investigation brought forth the facts. I have entitled it simply

(Sgt) Lowell Sell

Have you ever heard the longing mournful howl of the wolf or the lonesome cry of a loon down along the lake shore late at night? Well, I was listening somberly to the slow-wailing, nearly monotone whistle of a creeping shaking troop train, some place in France, one day when World War II was raging. It was a lonesome sound and I was thinking of home—far away in Ohio. The sound of the whistle echoed and reechoed along the hills, valleys and villages as we passed through them slowly. It was blowed for a warning to those along the tracks, but little did we realize the danger that was before us, or we too, would have reacted to this cry of warning.

The long day had started as we disembarked from our ship, the S.S. Henry Gibbons, at the French port of LeHavre. We had just crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a convoy on this troop carrier. We had departed from the East Coast on New Years Day in 1945. Our destination was a tent city near the French coast, known as Lucky Strike. This was to be a staging area to reorganize our troops and equipment for further military action. The United States Forces were firmly committed to the battle plans that had been escalated since its beginning on D-Day, in June of 1944. Our group was a vital part to that commitment.

After many tedious hours of off-loading and marching through the war-ravaged town of LeHavre, to a decrepit train station that had been bombed out, it was about 11 p.m. before we were able to climb on board those old, rickety, wooden rail cars that were known as 40 by 8. The night was as dark as ink except for the occasional lights from our G.I. flashlights. At first, the group of men that I was responsible for, (the Fourth Squad) sat in scattered areas of the car, in an attempt to find a comfortable place to rest. Soon, however, a larger group of men from a tank division began to join us. As a result, I called our men together and we moved to a forward position of the car. Little did I realize it but that move saved our lives from the tragedy that was ahead of us.

Hundreds of men clambered on those old cars of the French Railway, with some even sitting on the tops of the cars. Others were seated along the sides in the open doorways. The entire train was overloaded and crowded, but the journey was not long. We should be arriving at Lucky Strike on schedule the next day. There was no room to relax or to get a few minutes of sleep.

Much of the night was spent getting the train out of the mostly destroyed railroad yard which had been heavily bombed and destroyed tracks were scattered about and not very usable. We had heard that General Patton was in desperate need for replacements due to recent heavy losses, as the Battle of the Bulge was winding up. He had sent a Colonel to the port of LeHavre to meet a tank replacement company that was vitally needed at the front lines, and they were on our train. Initially, the train crew refused to drive this train as it was in poor repair. The brakes were worn out. The engine had no acceleration gauge or speedometer, as well as other undependable items of equipment. However, the Colonel ordered-at gunpoint-the French crew to get the train underway. Additionally, the relief crew was not familiar with the route or knowledgeable about the long descent of the track at the end of the route.

During the night the train stopped and started several times. When it was moving, the old cars squeaked and squawked as it crept slowly down the tracks. The journey was about fifty miles and it took over eight hours to cover the distance. We knew that we would reach the end of the rails at the resort town of St. Valery. Our camp would be only a short distance away-just a few miles.

It was shortly after our last stop, when the original train crew changed places with the relief crew onboard, that we noted our speed was slowly increasing. We thought that was a good idea. Previously our speed had been around 10 mph on the level, but now with more speed, the cars were beginning to sway dangerously. On occasion we could feel the wheels rise off the tracks, bouncing along. The train was now going down a long slope that was many miles long. It seemed that the brakes were being applied by the train crew, but we soon realized they were not working. Our speed increased to 30 mph, then to 40, then 50, and by that time the train was completely out of control! An accident was inevitable and the continuous whistle sounded a warning to all. Those of us inside the cars could see men either falling or jumping off the tops of the cars where they had been riding. Did they see danger ahead? We felt the approach of a disaster and we were all trapped!

The train sped faster and faster! The engineer blew the whistle frantically, as if that would help slow the train. We could see bystanders along the railway waving and shouting, but we could not understand. They seemed to know something that we did not. The train tracks ended abruptly just ahead, but few on board realized it!

In a moment’s time, that seemed to stand still, the engine crashed through the barricade at the end and plowed ahead into the brick station house, crushing through the building and emerging out on the other side, its momentum and the force of several dozen cars behind, had propelled it forcibly onward. The tender car next to the engine however, broke through the station house floor and fell into a basement under the building and quarter of the station master, that was a portion of the building.

As a result, the first car behind the tender broke loose and piled on top of it. The train crewmen who had been resting in the tender were forcibly propelled forward and their lives were saved from being crushed. When they first realized the danger that was before them, they wrapped mattresses from their bunks around themselves. This action protected them from serious injury.

In the meantime, each of the succeeding cars were tossed upwards, some high enough to reach the top of the station house. Train cars piled up like dominoes. The front ends of many cars crushed the rear portions of the cars ahead. Many soldiers were immediately killed, crushed and wounded. Others, who had been sitting in the doorways, were cut in two by the huge sliding doors that were slammed shut when the cars suddenly stopped.

I was thankful that my group was huddled together in the forward portion of our car as it had been forced up and over the car ahead and we came to rest on the top of the other, crushing it and the men below. The rear half of our car was unrecognizable-nothing remained but splintered timbers and broken and mutilated bodies of those who had been passengers with us, inasmuch as they in turn had been crushed by the following car.

A deathly silence covered the area. Then there were cries for help coming feebly from the wounded and trapped scattered among the dozen or more of wrecked and crumbled cars. We carefully climbed down and through the wreckage in an attempt to find and join the rest of our Company. The living among us tried to help the wounded. Before long a group of nurses and medics arrived from the Lucky Strike camp. They had just arrived also the same day at the camp by a truck convoy from our ship. They came promptly and did their best to help the wounded and dying, but, alas, their equipment and supplies were still on the ship in the harbor in the process of being unloaded.

When my men and I were able to leave the area of our wrecked car I went to search for an acquaintance, Robert Lugenbill, who was in a Supply Company. His hometown was Decatur, Indiana, near my home area. He, in turn, was looking for me. Fortunately, he had been riding near the end of the train where some of the cars suffered no damage and had not derailed. We were thankful to find each other during this time of tragedy and confusion.

Eventually, other military personnel arrived from the base camp and the MPs cordoned off the area and the rescue work continued. The MPs soon took away any cameras found among us and would not allow any photographs of the accident. Photos that have been found later of the scene had been taken by the local residents of the village from their upstairs windows of their homes that were nearby.

Scores of men were instantly killed and many more were maimed and seriously wounded-all on the first day of our arrival in Europe. Details of this train wreck were kept secret for many years and little information had been kept on file by the Army. At the time, it was understandable that this news would have been a morale booster to the German army nearby, as the Battle of the Bulge was being consummated. Apparently, the need of additional tank corps was required in this endeavor, and it was urgent that they had to be transported on this train.

It was quite late when we eventually reached our destination and got our assignment. By this time we had gone two days with scarcely any food or sleep and the food now offered tasted good. I felt very grateful and lucky to have survived this experience. Even before we had disembarked from the Henry Gibbons in the harbor, another ship had cut in front of us to get into position first to unload. In a quick moment it struck a submerged mine in the harbor and blew up in front of us. There did not appear to be any survivors as it sank almost immediately. It could well have been our ship instead!

I feel that Divine Protection had accompanied me and my group and the words of the poem written by my Uncle Dillon mean more and more each day. I will conclude this story by sharing with you his poem entitled:

by C. Dillon Sell
When the cruel tyrant, Hitler, menaced freedom in our land,
When he had a goodly portion of the earth within his hand,
There was a force he had not reckoned-a force to him was unforeseen,
That Force was the God of Heaven–and THE OTTERBEIN SIXTEEN.

Sixteen boys from Otterbein, all strong and true and brave,
Were called to don a uniform and sail across the wave.
While our enemy was lurking in his hidden submarine,
But God of Love was with them—with THE OTTERBEIN SIXTEEN.

When our boys were called to leave us, to defend our country fair,
Then we prayed to God of Heaven, with a heart of Fervent Prayer.
Altho many miles from us, with the ocean, wide, between,
We had faith in God of Heaven and THE OTTERBEIN SIXTEEN.

We did not ask a path of roses for our boys beyond the foam,
Not a place for sweet reposes, but that he bring them safely home,
That he protect them while on duty-that he keep them pure, serene,
That the world might see His beauty in THE OTTERBEIN SIXTEEN.

So, our boys were widely scattered, sent to many a foreign land.
There they turned the tide of battle-there they stayed the tyrant’s hand.
And our prayers have all been answered because to this our Lord hath seen,
That NO ONE was killed or wounded of THE OTTERBEIN SIXTEEN.

We know God’s hand was o’er them–we trusted in His care.
As we petitioned for them, as we knelt in Fervent Prayer,
We know God’s love abounded, who else could intervene,
That NOT ONE be killed or wounded of THE OTTERBEIN SIXTEEN!

The 16 service men, THE Otterbein Sixteen, were: Clifford Beougher, Charles Berry, Ned Berry, Bill Book, Rea Book, Russell Book, Albert Clutter, Lowell Deitsch, Jacob Koeppel, Harold Leighner, Carl Sell, Leroy Sell, Lowell Sell, Paul Sell, Henry Warthman, and Bud Williams. [end of story and poem]

This is Lowell Sell’s 1938 Rockford High School yearbook photo ( photo):

Lowell Sell, 1938, Rockford High School

Tragically, 89 soldiers were killed and 152 injured when Troop Train 2890 wrecked at St. Valery-en-Caux, France, on 17 January 1945.

I found a couple on-line accounts of this troop train accident, the stories of other survivors. Sgt Lowell Sell is mentioned several times in the recollections of Russell C. Eustice, who was also on the train. [1] Links to two other online articles about the wreck are below. [2] [3] The last link includes a photo of the wreck, probably taken by a French resident there.

Sgt. Lowell D. Sell (1923-2011) served in the 1471 Engineering Maintenance Co. His brothers Carl A. Sell (1917-2003) and Paul I. Sell (1926-2014) also served in WWII, as did their cousin Otis “Leroy” Sell (1916-1968).

This Veterans Day, thank you to all veterans for your service!

Thank a veteran today!

And we thankfully and fondly remember those veterans who are no longer with us.  

[1] Russell C. Eustice Recalls the Troop Train 2980 Tragedy at St. Valery-en-Caux During World War II;, viewed 9 Nov 2023.

[2] Area Soldier Survived World War II Train Disaster, by Bill Jones, 2008; The Tribune Democrat,, e-paper, Johnstown, PA, viewed 9 Nov 2023.

[3] Troop Train 2980 Wreck at St. Valery-en-caux 17 Jan 1945;, viewed 9 Nov 2023.

Tombstone Tuesday-Infant Son of Adam & Katy Kable (1898)

Infant male Kable, son of Adam & Katy, 1898, St. Paul UCC Cemetery, Rockford, Mercer County, Ohio (2023 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of the infant son of Adam and Catharine (Huffmann) Kable, located in row 2 of St. Paul UCC Cemetery, Rockford, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Son of
Adam & Katy
Died Apr. 4

After losing two sons who were born prematurely in 1895 and 1896, Adam (1861-1948) and Catharine (Huffmann) (1862-1913) Kable had a third son who died shortly after birth or was stillborn on 4 April 1898, in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio.

The deaths of their first two infant sons were recorded in Mercer County probate, but it appears neither the birth or death of this son was recorded. All three infant male Kables were unnamed and all are buried in row 2 of St. Paul UCC Cemetery. The two younger boys have identical tombstones but this tombstone has a different design, a heart shape. His parents are also buried in St. Paul UCC Cemetery.

The parents married 17 December 1890 in Mercer County. The mother’s name is spelled several different ways on various documents and grave markers–Katharine, Catharine, Katy, Hoffmann, Hoffman, Huffmann, Huffman. On this tombstone her name is spelled Katy but on her tombstone, in the same cemetery, her name is spelled Catharine.  

This infant son of Adam and K/C Kable had the following siblings:
Charles/Carl E. Kable (1891/2-1973), married Cora Edna Bellows; married Eva Ann Wurster
Hulda K. Kable (1894-1985), married Philip Kerwood; married Leo Andrews
Male Kable (1895-1895)
Male Kable (1896-1896)

This child also had a half-brother from his father Adam’s first marriage to Margaret Miller:
Emil Kable (1889-1978), married Agnes A. Loree; married Lillian Weinman

Golden Wedding Anniversary

Time passes so quickly and today I am thinking about how quickly the past fifty years have gone.

Today, November 3, 2023, is a special day for Joe and me. Today is our wedding anniversary.

But it is not just any anniversary. It is our 50th anniversary. Our Golden Wedding Anniversary.

J & K 50th Anniversary, 3 Nov 2023

Fifty years ago today I married my best friend and the love of my life. We were destined to spend our lives together.

J & K Wedding, 3 Nov 1973

We were married at 6:30 p.m. in a candlelight ceremony at Zion Lutheran, Chatt, officiated by Rev. Ralph Hershberger. It was a beautiful fall day, sunny and not cold, much like today’s weather.

J & K Wedding, 3 Nov 1973

Here are a few more photos from our wedding day.

J & K Wedding, 3 Nov 1973

J & K Wedding, 3 Nov 1973

J & K Wedding, 3 Nov 1973

J & K Wedding, 3 Nov 1973

Herb & Florence Miller, Karen & Joe, Louise Bennett, 3 Nov 1973

Cornelius & Hilda Schumm, Karen & Joe, Helen Roesner, 3 Nov 1973

Wedding gown styles were certainly different 50 years ago. Wedding dresses in the 70s were much more modest than they are today. My dress came from the bridal department of Goldstein Department Store in Celina. Harriet Chodash headed their bridal department and dressed many area brides over the years.

Golden Anniversaries are not uncommon in my family. My parents celebrated their Golden Anniversary in 2000 and went on to celebrate eleven more anniversaries. My Miller grandparents (Carl & Gertrude) celebrated 50 years of marriage in in 1969 and my Schumm grandparents (Cornelius and Hilda) celebrated their 50th in 1977.

We celebrated our Golden Anniversary with a family vacation, with our son Jeff and his family a few weeks ago.

Joe and I spent most of this week in Holmes County, Ohio, probably our favorite place to visit. We had a relaxing and enjoyable time in a beautiful part of Ohio.

Anniversary surprise at hotel

The photo below was taken last Sunday. Notice all the red for Reformation Sunday. (I had a red jacket on earlier.)

Karen & Joe, 50th Anniversary, Nov 2023

A couple years ago, on our anniversary, I spoke at an event in Pennsylvania and I mentioned that it was our anniversary. Another couple there said that it was also their anniversary and we learned that they were not only married on the same day as we were, they were married the same year and time of day we were married! And they were also Lutheran. What a coincidence!  

Joe and I count our blessings and are thankful for our years together and look forward to many more happy years together.  

J & K Wedding, 3 Nov 1973

Life is good.