Tombstone Tuesday–Infant Daughter of E & A Kessler

Infant Daughter of E & A Kessler, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Infant Daughter of E & A Kessler, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of the infant daughter of E. & A. Kessler, located in Kessler Cemetery, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Infant Dau of
E. & A. Kessler
Died Sept. 19, 1905

There is no record of this baby girl’s birth or death in the records of Zion Lutheran Chatt. There is no record of her birth or death in Mercer County’s probate records. She does not have a name and is known only as Infant Daughter. She may have been stillborn or she may have died within hours after her birth. We will probably never know the details of her very brief life.

I believe this infant was the child of Edward Rudolph and Almedia “Allie” Kessler and I determined this from the 1910 census.

The 1910 census indicates that Edward and “Allie” Kessler were living in a rented house in Dublin Township, Mercer County, Ohio, where Edward worked as a farm hand. Edward and Allie had been married 7 years, which means they married about 1903. The census also indicates that Allie had given birth to two children but only one was living in 1910. Their living child was their son Clem W. Kessler, who was nine months old when the census was taken in April 1910. [1] More recent censuses show that Allie’s name was Almedia but I have not been able to determine her maiden name.

Edward Rudolph and Allie Kessler are not buried in Kessler Cemetery near their infant daughter and I do not know where they are buried. That will require more research.

Edward Rudolph (1877-1950) was the son of Christian and Margaret (Haffner) Kessler. Christian (1843 or 45-1904) and Margaret (1852-1900). Christian and Margaret were featured in a Tombstone Tuesday post a few weeks ago.

The little lamb on this small marble tombstone represents innocence and purity and is a common figure on children’s grave markers.


[1] 1910 US Census, Dublin Township, Mercer, Ohio, ED 110, p. 4B, dwelling 82, line 65, Edward R. Kesler; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 5 October 2013); from FHL microfilm 1375227, from National Archives microfilm T624, roll 1214.

Livin’ the Dream in Chatt

They have been “Livin’ the Dream” in Chattanooga, Ohio, for the past 37 years, but now Barney and Twila Lehman will find new ways to follow their dreams. For nearly 4 decades the couple owned and operated the Chatt Bar but in May of this year they sold the popular local establishment.

Chatt Bar celebration, 28 September 2013.

Chatt Bar celebration, 28 September 2013.

Last Saturday my mom and I attended a farewell and congratulations party for Barney and Twila at the Chatt Bar. The theme of the party was one of Twila’s favorite phrases, “Just Livin’ the Dream.”

Barney, 28 September 2013. (2013 photo by Karen)

Barney, 28 September 2013. (2013 photo by Karen)

Many friends, locals, and bar patrons showed up to congratulate and wish the Lehmans well. It was standing room only inside the bar with a tent outside for the overflow. There was delicious food, cake, and spirits to celebrate the occasion. The late co-owner Dean Strawn was remembered with photos. I sat across from a couple Chattanoogians and I enjoyed listening to them reminisce and tell stories about Chatt.

Party for Barney and Twila, 28 September 2013. (2013 photo by Karen)

Party for Barney and Twila, 28 September 2013. (2013 photo by Karen)

The renowned Chatt Bar is over 100 years old and was at one time called a saloon. These days the sign attached to the outside of the building reads “Chatt Home Restaurant.” I have even heard some call it by the classy name of Chatt Cafe, but to everyone around here it is known as the Chatt Bar.

They say there were two bars in Chatt at one time, but the current one sits nearly in the middle of town. The building that houses the Chatt Bar was originally one of three buildings that made up the Chattanooga Hotel. In the early 1900s the old hotel was owned by Nick Jennings of Berne. The small building at the north end housed some small shops: a barber shop, an ice cream store, and a hat store. There was pool hall in the middle building and the bar/restaurant at the south end.

Chatt Bar, 2013. (2013 photo by Karen)

Chatt Bar, 2013. (2013 photo by Karen)

Someone, I believe Twila, once made a list of the bar’s owners and gave it to my dad:

Nick Jennings (from Berne)
Bill Betzel (local)
Perry Gibbons (local)
Albert & Hulda (Baker) Garman
Rude Heffner (local) (1912)
Mr. & Mrs. George Rothaar
Herbert & Vi Kuhn (local)
Fred V. Bollenbacher (local)
Hank Steele (Fort Recovery)
Ray Hemmelgarn
Herb & Donna Leirkamp (Berne)
Gene Ault (local)
Edna Lawson & William Chapman (RR Berne)
Gene Ault (local)
Russel “Barney” Lehman & Dennis Kuhn (RR Rockford & Celina) (1976)
Russel “Barney” Lehman & Dean Strawn (Celina) (1978)
And most recently: Valerie Petitt (2013)

Valerie, new Chatt Bar owner. (2013 photo by Karen)

Valerie, new Chatt Bar owner. (2013 photo by Karen)

Barney Lehman and Dean Strawn ran the bar from 1998 until Dean’s death in 2012. Barney and his wife Twila ran it after Dean’s death.

According to the 1910 census, Perry Gibbons was a “saloon owner” in Chatt and Fred Heffner was a bartender at a saloon. Perry was the bar’s third owner. Gene Alt supposedly gave it the name of “Chatt Bar.” I remember that Ray Hemmelgarn owned and operated the bar/restaurant when I was a child.

According to Perry Gibbon’s granddaughter, Wanda Lou Gilliland, owner Ray Hemmelgarn served the best chili soup around. It seems that Ray’s mother made the soup and her secret ingredient was mashed potatoes, which she added to make the soup thick.

Chatt Bar 1905, photo hangs in bar. (2013 photo by Karen)

Chatt Bar, 1905; this photo hangs in Chatt Bar. (2013 photo by Karen)

Years ago, one of my St. Marys patients told me that he drove a Budweiser beer truck and delivered beer to the Chatt Bar when Ray Hemmelgarn owned it. That patient always called me “Chattanooga” after learning my connection to Chatt.

Ray Hemmelgarn made changes to the bar when he owned it. He tore down the north building, made the pool hall into a kitchen, and moved the inside bar from the south wall to the north wall.

The Chatt Bar has always opened early in the morning for breakfast. My dad used to go there every morning for coffee but the main morning draw was shooting the breeze with the area farmers and locals. Barney told me that my dad was often the first one to arrive at the Bar in the morning. My dad knew where Barney kept the key and so my dad would open up the bar and turn on the lights as soon as he got there. Knowing my dad, he probably plugged in the coffee pot, too.

Twila told me that she was so nervous her first day on the job at the Bar that she couldn’t figure out how to make change for the $20 bill my dad gave her. He told her that three $5s & a $10 would be just fine!

Twila (2013 photo by Karen)

Twila (2013 photo by Karen)

Someone in that morning group started a tradition at the Chatt Bar. When one of the morning regulars passed away the other others would put the deceased’s chair upside down on the table where he sat. I’m sure they did that with my dad’s chair when he passed away last year.

When our son Jeff was little he also enjoyed going to the Chatt Bar with my dad. Jeff would bum quarters off my dad for video games. Jeff also remembers that Barney would put a Snickers candy bar in the freezer for him. Jeff still remembers those frozen Snickers bars.

The Chatt Bar is still known for its good food. They are best known for their deep-fried pizza and breaded tenderloin sandwich. People come from miles around for the deep-fried pizza but I am partial to the breaded tenderloin. The jumbo tenderloin is huge and half a jumbo is plenty for me. Serve it up with deep-fried breaded dill pickles and you’ve got yourself one good meal. Some of my other favorites are breaded onion rings, fresh sausage sandwich, grilled tenderloin, and grilled or broasted chicken.

Congratulations and best wishes to Barney and Twila! Enjoy Livin’ Your Dream!


[Some Chatt Bar information from Mercer County, Ohio History, 1978, Joyce L. Alig, Editor, The Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.]


Tombstone Tuesday–Jakob Kessler

Jakob Kessler, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Jakob Kessler, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

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

Jakob Kessler
1 Maerz 1858
27 Juli 1892
34 J. 4 M. 26 T.

Translation: Jakob Kessler, born 1 March 1858, died 27 July 1892, aged 34 years, 4 months, 26 days.

Jakob was born in Mercer County, Ohio, the son of German immigrants Christian (1814-1892) and Margarethe (Kable) (1816-1862) Kessler.

Jakob was born in 1856, according to the Familienregister of Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga. By calculation, the 1860 [1] and 1880 [2] censuses indicate he was born in 1856. The 1870 census indicates he was born in 1857. [3]

His tombstone and his church death record indicate his year of birth was 1858. To make it even more confusing, Jakob was confirmed at Zion Chatt in 1871. Lutherans are usually confirmed at age 14, making his year of birth 1857, if he was 14 years old when confirmed.

Since the records closest to his birth are the Familienregister and the 1860 census, and his parents most likely gave his birth information for these records, I tend to believe that he was born in 1856 and that the tombstone and church death record are incorrect.

Jakob Kessler. (2013 photo by Karen)

Jakob Kessler. (2013 photo by Karen)

“Jacob” Kesler married Mary “Betsell” [Betzel] on 23 December 1880 in Mercer County, Ohio. [4] Their marriage is not recorded in Zion Chatt’s records because of a two year gap in the marriage records from 1880-1881. Jakob and Mary Kessler attended Zion and the records indicate that they had the following children:

William Franklin (b. 1881)
Otto Christian (b. 1884)
Johann Rudolph (b. 1887)
Ferdinand Hugo (b. 1892)

The church records indicate that Jakob died of cancer at 6:00 in the morning of 27 July 1892, at the age of 34 years, 4 months and 26 days. He was buried the next day in Kessler Cemetery, buried next to his father Christian and stepmother Marie. Jakob’s mother Margarethe died in 1862 and is buried a few rows to the west.

1892 was a difficult and sad year for the Kessler family. Jakob Kessler’s father Christian died on 25 January, Jakob’s step-mother Marie (Koch) Kessler died 28 January, and Jakob died 6 months later, in July.

Zion’s records show that Jakob’s widow, Maria (Betzel) Kessler, married George Berron of Adams County, Indiana, on 1 August 1895. George Berron was married to Maria Kuehm and she died in 1890. The Berrons also attended church at Zion Chatt.


[1] 1860 US Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, p. 359, dwelling 1016, family 1021, line 21, Christian Kessler; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 15 September 2013); from National Archives microfilm M432, roll 710.

[2] 1880 US Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 188, p. 473B, dwelling 42, family 44, line 5, Christ Kesler Sr; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 29 September 2013); from Family History film 1255048, from National Archives microfilm T9, roll 1048.

[3] 1870 US Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, dwelling 103, family 85, line 31 page 148B, Christian Resner; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 7 September 2013); from Family History microfilm 552742, from National Archives microfilm M593, roll 1243.

[4] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 September 2013), Jacob Kesler and Mary Betsell, 1880, from Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 5, p. 41.

The Music Men of Chatt

It is a little country village said to have been established before 1840. Located in the center of mid-west farm land, just a mile from the Indiana State Line, it has only one street and that is the state highway that runs through the middle of town. It has been home to a number of families, a place to socialize, and a place to conduct business during a time when the means of travel were limited. Once an oil town, with rumors that a train would run through it, Chattanooga, Ohio, has boasted quite an impressive list of businesses and services over the past 173 years.

Chattanooga, Ohio.

Chattanooga, Ohio.

That list includes: hotel, restaurants, grocery stores, poultry & eggs, saloon, bar, car dealership, garage, hardware, gas station, general store, mercantile, shoe store, hat shop, tile factory, handle factory, post office, photographer, physician, undertaker, funeral parlor, fire department, bank, insurance company, mausoleum association, 2 churches, 2 schools, grain elevator, pool hall, sawmill, barber shop, blacksmith, stock yard, farm services, migrant camp, canning company, tire center, roofing & spouting, plumbing, several fraternal societies, outdoor theater [movies shown on the side of what is now the Chattanooga Fire Department], muzzle-loading shop, and numerous baseball teams.

And at one time Chattanooga had its own band.

I enjoy browsing through old newspapers and The Willshire Herald, now called the The Photo Star, is one of my favorites. The best local news from years ago can be found in those old small town newspapers. A while back I found the following notice in a 1933 issue of The Willshire Herald:

The Chattanooga band concerts are scheduled to begin Wednesday night, July 19. The program for the first concert is as follows:

Courage, March.
Marcella, Waltz.
Dynamic, Overture.
Georgiana, Waltz.
Elizabeth, 6-8
At Sight, March.
Remembrance of Colonel Miner, March.
Bright Star, Overture.
Courage, March.

The members of the band and the instrument they play are as follows:

Fat Carr, cornet; Ed Maurer, cornet soloist; Vernon Caffee, cornet soloist; John Kallenberger, cornet soloist; Frank Leistner, 1st cornet; Ralph Rutledge, 1st cornet; Luther Egger, 1st clarinet; Rob Hart, 1st clarinet; Wesley Kallenberger, 2nd clarinet; Warren Weis, 1st clarinet; Ralph Brehm, 2nd clarinet; Forest Leistner and Norman Fahncke, alto; Howard Caffee, baritone; Gust Weitz and Vic Kuhn, tenor; Perys [Lorys?] Witters, slide trombone; Lester Bollenbacher, base horn; John Brehm, bass drum; Herbert Fahncke, snare drum; Semon Egger, Leader. [1]

I recognize some of those names and I remember Vernon Caffee, John Kallenberger and Gus Weitz.

The Chatt band certainly had an ambitions-sounding concert performance planned. I am not familiar with any of those songs but I was able to hear and watch a modern day performance of Remembrance of Colonel Miner March and Georgiana Waltz on You Tube.

Liberty Band

Liberty Band, unknown date.

My friend Miriam sent me the above photo of the Liberty Band. The Liberty Band photo predates the band mentioned in the above Newspaper article. Since Chatt is in Liberty Township there may have been some Chattanoogians in the Liberty Band. Miriam’s great-uncle, Fred Diener, standing at the far left, lived a mile or two north of Chatt. Note the woman in the window holding a baby. I wonder if the band woke up the baby.

This photo and The Willshire Herald article make me wonder: Where did these men learn to play those instruments? Did they take private lessons or were they taught in school? Were the Chatt and Liberty bands  separate bands or were they one and the same? Who was Fat Carr?

Where were the Chatt Band concerts held? The article did not say. Perhaps they were held outside since they were during the summer months.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone that has any information about these old area bands or that can identify any of the band members in above photo.

[1] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 13 July 1933.

Tombstone Tuesday–John G. Kessler

John G. Kessler, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

John G. Kessler, Kessler Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of John G. Kessler, located in Kessler Cemetery, Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

John G.
Sohn von
C. & M. Kessler
28 Aug 1852
28 Apr 1853
Alter 8 Monat

Translation: John G., son of C. & M. Kessler, born 28 August 1852, died 28 April 1853, age 8 months.

“Johann Georg” Kessler was born to Christian and Margarethe (Kable) Kessler on 28 August 1852 in Mercer County, Ohio, according to the records of Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga. He died 28 April 1853 in Mercer County, a mere eight months old. His parents were featured in the past two Tombstone Tuesday posts here.

There are only two known records that tell of John Kessler’s brief life, since some of the usual records I use for research do not exist for him. John was born and died between the 1850 and 1860 censuses, so he was not enumerated in a census report. Births and deaths were not recorded in Ohio until 1867, so there are no probate records that record the vital events of John’s life.

However, his small marble tombstone still remains in Kessler Cemetery, next to his mother’s marker. Both tombstones are located in the second row from the west and John’s is immediately north of his mother’s.

The other record that tells about John is in the Familienregister [family register] portion of Zion Chatt’s old records. Even though John died before Zion’s records began in 1855, some entries in the church records give information about people who lived before 1855. 

The Familienregister gives about three generations of genealogical information about many of the earliest families of Zion Chatt. In this case, the family entry is that of Christian Kessler, John G’s father (1814-1892). The record indicates when and where Christian Kessler and his wife Margarethe (Kable) were born, the names of their parents, the year the family immigrated, and information about the couple’s children. Information about their children includes date and place of birth, where they were baptized, and their death date, if applicable.

It was this entry in Zion’s Familienregister that indicated when John was born, when he died, and who his parents were.

And that is why church records are so valuable.