Tombstone Tuesday–Mary Breuninger Stamm Koehler

Mary Stamm Koehler, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio.

This is the tombstone of Mary (Breuninger) Stamm Koehler, located in row 11 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed: KOEHLER, Mary A. Stamm, 1858-1930.

Mary was the third child of my great-great-grandparents Louis and Maria (Seckel) Breuninger.

According to Mary Koehler’s death certificate she was born 10 October 1858 in Wisconsin to Lewis Breuninger and Mary Seckle. She died 16 June 1930 at age 71 years, 8 months and 6 days. (Certificate of Death, Ohio DOH, Van Wert County, District 1291, Primary Registration District 8525, Registered #71.)

According to the church records of Zion Lutheran, Schumm, Maria Breuninger married Peter Stamm on 30 October 1879 in the house of the bride’s parents.  Peter was from Harrison Township, Van Wert County, and Maria was from of Zion’s parish. Peter died 7 October 1895.

Mary and Peter had the following children: Richard (b. 1880); Martin (b. 1882, married Clara Kessler); Alvina/Alverna (b. 1883, m. William Muntzinger); Ida (b. 1885, m. Martin Hollenberg); and Anna Bertha (b. 1887, m. John Smith).

Mary married Oscar Koehler 18 November 1919 in Van Wert County, Ohio. They were married by Rev. Osterhouse. Her occupation was housekeeper and he was a retired farmer. (Van Wert County Marriages, Vol. 15:378, digital image, film #1015865,, accessed 3 June 2012.)

Highly Esteemed Resident of Boyd Avenue, Long a Resident of County, Passes Away.

Mrs. Oscar Koehler, highly esteemed resident of Boyd Avenue, died Monday afternoon at the Van Wert County Hospital, after being in ill health the past five years.  Mrs. Koehler was aged 71 years and was a native of Green Bay, Wisconsin.  She had resided in this county practically her entire lifetime.  Her direct survivors are her husband, a brother, Peter Breuninger, three daughters, Mrs. William Muntzinger, Mrs. Martin Hollenberg and Mrs. John Smith, two sons, R.L. Stamm and Martin Stamm and thirteen grandchildren.  Funeral services will be held Wednesday afternoon, at 1:30 o’clock, at the Emanuel Lutheran Church.  Interment will be made at the Schumm cemetery, at Schumm.
(The Van Wert Daily Bulletin, Van Wert, Ohio, 17 June 1930.)

Mrs. Mary (Stamm) Koehler of Van Wert died at the Van Wert County Hospital Monday, June 16, 1930, where she had been a patient since nine weeks ago, because of complications setting in from a fractured hip.

Mrs. Koehler is survived by these children: Martin Stamm of Willshire Township, Richard Stamm and Mrs. Martin Hollenberg of Fort Wayne, Mrs. Wm. Muntzinger of near Convoy and Mrs. John Smith of Van Wert.

Funeral services were held at 1 o’clock Wednesday afternoon at the Lutheran church in Van Wert and burial was made in the Lutheran Cemetery at Schumm.

Mrs. Koehler was a resident of Willshire Township for many years, residing on the Stamm farm, four miles east of Willshire, before removing to Van Wert.  (The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 19 June 1930)




The Porch Swing

Ah, the good ol’ summertime. For me, summertime brings back childhood memories of long summer days spent at the Miller farm. I still remember that feeling of freedom when school was out and the whole summer was ahead of me.

Karen, Grandma Miller, Jackie on THE Porch Swing.

I spent nearly every summer on the farm with my Miller grandparents. I stayed with them during the day while my parents were at work.

Many of those summer days were spent relaxing on the porch swing. Their porch spanned the entire front of the Miller house and the wooden swing was the main attraction. The house faced north so the porch was always in the shade. The swing was like a magnet that drew family members and friends to it. It was an inviting and relaxing place to gather and sit.

You could see a lot from that swing. Grandma’s garden and the few neighbors’ homes were to the left. The Miller barn and barnyard were to the right. In front was the long lane that led to the seldom-traveled township road.

Grandma & Grandpa Miller.

We spent many hours on that swing doing some very important things: Waiting for the mail to come. Keeping cool in the days before air conditioning. Watching it rain and staying dry at the same time. Reading the Daily Standard. Talking and gossiping. Waiting for the milk man and the bread man to come with their goodies. Drinking a cool drink on a hot day. Watching the farmers work the fields. Whistling back and forth with the Bob-Whites. Shelling peas and snapping green beans. Napping. Pretending the swing was an aircraft. Watching the humming birds visit Aunt Ann’s gladiolas. Watching the few cars go by on the road. Getting a picture taken on the porch swing.

The porch swing was good for napping.

Our Miller family has an unusual number of photos that were taken on the porch swing. In fact, more photos were taken on that swing than anywhere else on the farm or in the house.

Relatives crowded onto the porch swing for a photo.

Uncle Kenny with his dogs.

One reason for the swing’s photographic appeal could be that a flash was not necessary. But I think the main reason was that it was such a comfortable and relaxing place to sit and gather and visit. Everyone was happy on the porch swing.

The Miller farm house now belongs to another family, but a porch swing is still a part of the front porch. I hope they will enjoy their swing as much as we enjoyed the old one.

The current porch swing.




Tombstone Tuesday–John C. Schumm

John C. Schumm (1849-1926)

This is the tombstone of John C. Schumm, located in row 11 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed: SCHUMM, John C. 1849-1926.

Funeral services for John C. Schumm were held from the Lutheran church at Schumm last Friday afternoon, and were attended by a very large concourse of relatives, friends and acquaintances.  The services were conducted by the pastor, Rev. R.O. Bienert, with interment in the church burial ground. 

The following authorized obituary was read in connection with the services:

John Christian Schumm, son of Ludwig Schumm and his wife, Anna Barbara, nee, Pflueger, was born at Schumm, Ohio, December 29, 1849.  On November 18, 1880, he was united in marriage with Wilhelmina Breuninger, who preceded him in death 27 years ago.  Their union was blessed with six children–Victor A., Arnold, Mrs. Paul Schumm, Mrs. Oscar Schumm, Miss Salome Schumm, living in Willshire Township, and Mrs. W.C. Linser of Van Wert.

John C. Schumm died suddenly January 12, 1926.  Besides his children he leaved to mourn their loss, 15 grandchildren; one brother, Ludwig Schumm, Willshire township; one sister, Mrs. C.F. Germann, Harrison Township; one half-brother, W.A. Buechner; one half-sister, Mrs. Margaret Kreiselmeyer, and one step-brother, Fred Buechner, of Fort Wayne, In.  He had attained to the age of 76 years and 14 days. (Source: The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 21 January 1926.)

John C. Schumm (1849-1926)

There are several other sources of information about John C. Schumm. According the Zion Lutheran Church records Johann Christian Schumm was born 29 December 1849 to Ludwing and Barbara (Pflueger) Schumm. He was baptized on 30 December 1849. His baptismal sponsors were Christian Pflueger and Jacob Schumm. He married Wilhelmine Breuninger on 18 November 1990 at the home of the bride’s parents. Both were from Zion’s parish.

“John C. Schumm was born in Van Wert County, 1849, and married Wilhelmina Brenninger [sic] in 1880.  Louis Schumm, the father of the above, was born in Wuerttemberg, Germany, 1818, but came to America, 1833, and married Barbara Pflueger.  He died August 22, 1856.” (Source: History of Van Wert and Mercer Counties, Ohio (1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, Indiana: Windmill Publications, Inc., 1991), 258.)

According to his death certificate John was born in Ohio and died at his home in Willshire Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, of organic heart disease. He was buried at Schumm Cemetery on 15 January. The undertaker was S.S. Buchanan & Son of Willshire. John was a widower and a farmer. Victor Schumm was the informant. (Source:  John C. Schumm Certificate of Death, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Registration District 1297, File No. 78, Primary Registration District No 5993, Registered No. 78, #6382. Digital image,, Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953, image 456 of 3527, accessed 28 May 2012.)

I also descend from Louis and Barbara (Pflueger) Schumm. I descend from their son Ludwig “Louis” Schumm, who married John C. Schumm’s sister-in-law, Sarah Breuninger.

Memorial Day 2012

Memorial Day Service at Willshire Cemetery, 2000.

Memorial Day will be celebrated this coming Monday, May 28th. This federal holiday, originally designated Decoration Day, dates back to time of the Civil War. It began as a way to remember and honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who were killed during the Civil War.

After WWI Memorial Day was extended to honor Americans who died in all wars. Today most Americans use this holiday as a time to decorate grave sites, whether the deceased served in the military or not.

Memorial Day is especially meaningful to me this year since my dad recently passed away. He was a combat veteran of WWII and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Several months ago he made plans to take the Freedom Honor Flight to Washington DC. That flight was this past Tuesday, May 22nd. I know he would have enjoyed seeing the memorials in Washington and visiting with other veterans on the flight.

My dad was a member of the American Legion in Willshire and he used to lead the Willshire Memorial Day parade in the 1953 Army Jeep he restored. The procession would go through town and then on to Willshire Cemetery, where the Legion would conduct the Memorial Day service. The photo below was taken before the parade in 2000. That photo looks very similar to another taken during WWII.

Herbert Miller before Memorial Day Parade in Willshire, 2000.

Herbert Miller, 84th Division, 333rd Company, "The Railsplitters", WWII.

The following is a list of my collateral ancestors who died while serving our country:

Civil War:

Hallet Bryan (c1836-13 Sep 1863) was the son of Peter and Mary (Huey) Bryan of Jay County, Indiana, and was my 3rd great-granduncle. Private Bryan served in Company E, 89th Regiment, Indiana Infantry and was killed in Memphis, Tennessee. He is buried in the Memphis National Cemetery.

Daniel Schumm (2 Mar 1840-8 Feb 1863) was the son of Johann “Jacob” and Hannah (Billman) Schumm and was my 1st cousin 3 times removed. Corporal Daniel Schumm served in the 52nd OVI and never returned home from the Civil War.

John Schumm (30 Mar 1843-28 Oct 1864) was the son of George Martin and Maria (Pflueger) Schumm and was my 1st cousin 3 times removed. Corporal John Schumm served in Company A, 60th OVI. He was wounded and captured in Virginia during the Battle of Petersburg and was imprisoned at Salisbury, North Carolina, where he died.


Carl Schumm was the son of Rev. Ferdinand and Wilhelmina (Brockmeyer) Schumm and was my 2nd cousin twice removed. He was killed in France during WWI.


Ralph J. Derrickson (5 Apr 1925-15 Jan 1945) was the son of Ralph and Alpha (Brewster) Derrickson and was my 1st cousin once removed. Private Derrickson served in the 99th Infantry Division during WWII and was killed in action during the Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg.

Edgar Schumm (18 Nov 1914-13 Nov 1944) was the son of William & Amanda (Reidenbach) Schumm and was my 3rd cousin once removed. He was killed while serving in WWII.

Victor Schueler (23 Jan 1924-3 Aug 1945) was the son of Adolph and Marie (Limbach) Schueler and was my 4th cousin. Private First Class Schueler was a member of the 85th Mountain Regiment, 10th Mountaineer Division and was killed in Italy during WWII.

Korean War:

Emanuel George Roehm (3 Aug 1931-23 Apr 1951) was the son of Emanuel George and Esther (Ohnesorge) Roehm and was my 4th cousin. Private First Class Roehm was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He was killed in action while fighting in Korea. Roehm was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. (source: WWI, WWII, and Korean War Casualty Listings [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.)

Viet Nam:

Corey Wayne Ellenberger (19 Oct 1946-12 Jan 1967) was the son of Kenneth & Nola (Charleston) Ellenberger and was my 2nd cousin. Private First Class Ellenberger served as a rifleman in Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division and was killed in South Vietnam. (source: National Archives and Records Administration. Vietnam War: U.S. Military Casualties, 1956-1998 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.)

I read the following on Facebook this past week. I do not know who wrote these lines but they are very appropriate:

Thanksgiving is a day when we pause to give thanks for the things we have.
Memorial Day is a day when we pause to give thanks to the people who fought for the things we have.





Tombstone Tuesday–Minnie Schumm

Minnie (Breuninger) Schumm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio.

This is the tombstone of Wilhelmina “Minnie” (Breuninger) Schumm, located in row 7 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed Minnie Schumm, Aug. 26, 1860-Jan. 28, 1899.

Minnie was the fourth child of Louis and Maria (Seckel) Breuninger, my great-great-grandparents.

According to the records of Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm, Minnie was confirmed there in 1875. She married Johann Schumm on 18 November 1880 at her parents’ home.  Both were from the Schumm parish.

Her death and burial was also recorded in the church records: Wilhelmina Schumm, born Breuninger, wife of Mr. John Schumm, was born 22 August 1860 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  She died 28 January 1899 of consumption, age 38 years, 5 months and 6 days.  She was buried on 31 January 1899 in the parish cemetery.  The funeral text was Hosea 6:1.

Wilhelmina Schumm, daughter of Lewis and Mary Brenninger [sic], was born August 22, 1860, at Green Bay, Wis., and died January 28, 1899, aged 38 years and 5 months.  In ’67 the family moved to Atlanta, Ga., and after a short time came to Willshire Township where they have since resided.

November 15, 1880, she was united in marriage to John Schumm.  To this union was born six children, Victor, a manly lad of 17 years, twin daughters, Hilda and Lydia, 15 years, then Lizzie and Arnold, and last a little daughter, Salome, who is now 6 years of age.

This is indeed a sad case.  For over three years Minnie bravely fought disease, trying to regain health and strength, to be with her family.  A part of these years was spent at the Toledo Hospital.  Some nine weeks ago, word was received that consumption, fell destroyer of all hope, had set in and medical skill was of no avail.  Then willing hands and loving hearts responded quickly, the doors of Mrs. Lewis Schumm, and affectionate sister, were thrown open, that the children at home might not be overburdened with care and that they might not remember the sufferings of the dear mother who so loved and cared for them, who so longed to live for the sake of husband and children.

You mothers who sit at fireside and table with your children happy and contented, will never know the look of inexpressible joy and contentment that flashed over the face of Minnie when she learned that she was going home, “home to friends, to mother, to children, the dear children and to John, my John.” She was of a loving disposition and in the last nine weeks of her life there were many days of sunshine and pleasure.  The end was free from suffering and she passed peacefully and quietly out into the great unknown.

Funeral services were held at the German Lutheran church, Tuesday afternoon, January 31st, by Rev. Seemeyer.  Text, Hosea, 6:1.  Minnie is indeed “At rest,” the tired hands are crossed, the frail body is at ease, and the sensitive spirit has returned to the God who gave it.  Repetition of the Lord’s Prayer soothed her like a benediction, and “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” seemed to be a favorite line.

She leaves a husband ever kind and true, six dutiful children, a mother, (her father died in 1890) and “No love like a mother’s love ever hath shone,” a dearly beloved brother, three sisters, Mrs. Mary Stamm, Mrs. Lottie, wife of Geo. Schumm, and Mrs. Lewis Schumm who made the last days of her life pleasant and cheerful besides a large circle of friends and acquaintances.  Truly they can say:

“We miss thee from our home, dear mother.
We miss thee from thy place;
A shadow o’er all our life is cast,
We miss the sunshine of thy face;
We miss thy kind and willing hands
Thy fond and earnest cares;
Our home is dark without thee.
We miss thee everywhere”              

(source: Van Wert Republican, Van Wert, Ohio, 16 Feb  1899.)

Wilhelmina "Minnie" (Breuninger) Schumm (1860-1899)

Mrs. Lewis Schumm, the sister with whom Minnie spent her last days, was Sarah (Breuninger) Schumm, my great-grandmother.