Tombstone Tuesday–William A. Hoehamer

William A. Hoehamer, Mount Hope Cemetery, Adams County, Indiana. (2013 photo by Karen)

William A. Hoehamer, Mount Hope Cemetery, Adams County, Indiana. (2013 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of William A. Hoehamer, located in Mount Hope Cemetery, Adams County, Indiana. The marker is inscribed:


William A. Hoehamer was born March 1875 in Auglaize County, Ohio, to Nicholas and Anna (Manzelman) Hoehamer.

William married Maggie E. [Margaret Elisabeth] Kallenberger on 24 May 1900, by Rev. R. V. Schmitt, Zion Chatt’s pastor. Maggie was the daughter of Michael Andreas and Elisabeth (Burkhart) Kallenberger, and was born in Blackcreek Township, Mercer County, Ohio. William’s occupation was oil driller. [1]

In 1900 William and Maggie were living with Maggie’s parents. William was age 25 and Maggie was 26. William’s occupation was day laborer. They had been married less than a year. In fact, they had been married less than a month. They were married 24 May of that year and the census was taken 16 June. [2] 

William and Maggie were living on West Pearl Street in Rockford, Ohio, in 1910, and William worked as a blacksmith. He and Maggie had been married ten years. Maggie had given birth to three children and all three children were living: Edith, 8; Freda, 7; and William, 1. [3]

In 1916 William and Maggie and their three children lived on their 80 acre farm at Route 2, Rockford, between Rockford West and Wilson Road. They had four horses, six cows and an Indiana telephone at their Blackcreek residence. [4]

According to Zion Chatt’s records and census enumerations William and Maggie had the following children:

Ida/Edie Elisabeth (1901-?)
Friedericke Louisa (1903-?)
Wilhelm Andreas, Jr. (1909-1978) married Alice Luella Deitsch
Stillborn son (14 February 1913) buried at Zion Chatt

William’s wife Maggie died in 1950 and is buried in Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga.


William A. Hoehammer [sic]
ROCKFORD—Services for William A. Hoehammer, 81, retired farmer of this community, will be at 2 p.m. Monday in the Ketcham Funeral Home. The Rev. Dr. John D. Gregory will officiate and burial will be in Mount Hope Cemetery, Berne, Ind.

Mr. Hoehammer died at 11:30 p.m. Friday in Gibbons Hospital, Celina, after a 19-day illness. He was born in Moulton and had lived in Rockford many years. He was a member of the Rockford Presbyterian Church.

For the past several years he had made his home with his son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. William Hoehammer Jr., Route 1, Rockford. Besides his son, he is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Freda Martelock, Florida; two half-brothers, Charles Hoehammer, Elmwood Park, Ill., and Orville, Hartford City, Ind., five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

The body will remain in the Ketcham Funeral Home where friends may call after 11:30 a.m. Sunday. [5]


[1] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 Jul 2013), W.A. Hoehamer and Maggie E. Kallenberger, 1900, citing Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 8: 141.

[2] 1900 U.S. Census, Blackcreek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 74, p. 8A, dwelling 164, family 134, Andrew Cullenbarger; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 21 July 2013); from FHL film 1241303, from National Archives Microfilm T623, roll 1303.

[3] 1910 U.S. Census, Dublin, Mercer, Ohio, ED 111, p.7B, dwelling 182, family 187, William M. Hokehamer; digital image by subscription, (  : accessed 21 July 2013); from FHL microfilm 1375227, from National Archives microfilm T624, roll 1214.

[4] The Farm Journal Illustrated Directory of Mercer County, Ohio, 1916 (Philadelphia : Wilmer Atkinson Company, 1916), 99.

[5] Deaths and Funerals, The Lima News, 17 March 1956, p.2; William A. “Hoehammer” obituary.


Brewster Reunion Reports

Brewster Reunion, date unknown.

Brewster Reunion, date unknown.

Summertime! Long, hot, sunny days. Vacations, ballgames and family reunions. Yes, it is family reunion time once again.

The only reunion in our family this year is the annual Miller reunion, which will be held next weekend. Our other two regular family reunions, the Schumm reunion and Brewster reunion, are held every other year, and this is their off-year.

The Millers have a casual get-together while the Brewsters and Schumms have a more structured gathering. They even elect officers and record minutes. I have discovered that those old reunion records can be interesting and laced with family information.

My second cousin Brian has in his possession some old Brewster reunion records and he kindly allowed me to copy them. In addition to the secretary and treasurer reports the notes also include attendance records.

The reunion reports begin in 1948, the 7th annual Brewster reunion, held the 4th Sunday in August at Lehman Park, in Berne, Indiana. These reports end in 1981.The first Brewster reunion was held in 1913 and they evidently had only five reunions between 1913 and 1948.

Approximately 46 Brewster relatives attended that 1948 reunion. It was an organized gathering and later reunions followed a similar schedule: a basket dinner at noon, a short business meeting, pictures, visiting and the ever-popular summer treat, ice cream.

Brewster relatives attending in 1948:

Mr. & Mrs. Freed Burk
Don Brewster
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Dudgeon & son
Mr. & Mrs. Dore Brewster & family
Mr. & Mrs. Glen Brewster
Mr. & Mrs. A.H. Brewster
Mr. & Mrs. Donald Glassburn & family
Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Derrickson & Paul
Mrs. Nellie (Fred) Brewster
Mrs. Harriet Buckmaster
J.E. Brewster
Edna Barger
Mr. & Mrs. James Nussbaum
Mrs. Edna Abnet
Mr. & Mrs. Paul Brewster & family
Mr. & Mrs. Francis Luginbill & family

The youngest person present was Janet Sue Brewster, age 22 months. The oldest persons present were Mrs. Freed Burk and Mrs. Harriet Buckmaster.

The elected officers for the next year were: J.E. Brewster, President; Anthon Brewster, Vice President;

Mrs. Eva Brewster, Sec/Treas.

Brewster Reunion, date unknown.

Brewster Reunion, date unknown.

The 1949 reunion was called off due to the Polio epidemic in the community.

I was at the 11th annual Brewster reunion in 1953, although I do not recall the event. I was very, very young back then.

Those attending the Brewster reunion in 1953:

Lewis W. Brewster
Golda Brewster [?]
Mr. & Mrs. J.E. Brewster
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Liby
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Dudgeon
Mr. & Mrs. Carl F. Miller
Mr. & Mrs. Herbert Miller (3)
Mr. & Mrs. Glen Brewster
Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Robinson
Mrs. Ralph Derrickson & son Paul
Mr. & Mrs. Lee Derrickson & son Dale
Mr. Francis Luginbill & family (6)
Mr. &  Mrs. James Nussbaum , James & Jed (4)
Mrs. Eva Brewster, Monroe, Ind.
Mrs. Irmyl Denney, Dunkirk, Ind.
Mr. Mrs. Arlie Ellenberger & Coleen
Mrs. Pearl Brewster
Marjorie Oswalt
Mr. & Mrs. Cecil Bollenbacher (4)
Bert Brewster & children (6)
Mr. & Mrs. Jesse Brewster, Connie & Gary (4)
Mr. & Mrs. Dore Brewster (5)
Mr. & Mrs. Tony Brewster, Box 330 Portland (3)
Wayne Weaver

My great-grandmother Pearl Brewster was the oldest person in attendance in 1953 and the youngest was the10 month old son of Mr. & Mrs. Lee Derrickson. Lewis Brewster traveled the farthest to the reunion.

Brewster Reunion, date unknown.

Brewster Reunion, date unknown.

In 1967 they began recording births, marriages and deaths. What a nice record for genealogists! That year my aunt Helen (Miller) Linn died and Carey Ellenberger was killed in action in Viet Nam.

My grandmother, Gertrude “Gertie” (Brewster) Miller regularly attended the Brewster reunion. She was the oldest person there in 1970. The next year’s reunion was the last one my grandma Miller attended. That was the 29th reunion, held in 1971, with 76 in attendance. She died in February, 1973.

It sure would be wonderful to be able to talk with all those relatives today!

Tombstone Tuesday–John C. Hoehamer

John C. Hoehamer, Mount Hope Cemetery, Adams County, Indiana. (2013 photo by Karen)

John C. Hoehamer, Mount Hope Cemetery, Adams County, Indiana. (2013 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of John C. Hoehamer, located in Mount Hope Cemetery, Adams County, Indiana. The marker is inscribed:

John C.
Son of
N. & A. S.
Died Jan 18, 1881
Aged 4 m. 8 d.

John C. Hoehamer was the son of Nicholas Hoehamer and his first wife Anna S. Manzelman. John was born 10 September 1880, as calculated from his tombstone. There is no birth or death entry for him in Zion Chatt’s records.

John C. was the sixth known child of Nicholas and Anna and was the second of their children to die young. His brother Henry A. Hoehamer died at age 6 years.

John C. was less than two months old when his mother died on 4 November 1880, at the age of 28 years, 5 months and 1 day. John C. died about 2 ½ months later. It must have been a very difficult time for the Hoehamer family.


Müller—The French Connection

Seriously? The extremely common German name of Müller has a connection to France? Yes, to be sure.

Last week, Karen’s Chatt received July 4th greetings from Marie, a French researcher with a Bierbach Müller connection. Her comment was written in French. No, I do not read French, but thanks to Google Translate I am able to understand what her message said. We may be distant cousins, but since Müller is such a common German name, I am not so sure. It appears that her Müllers settled in Bierbach before my Müllers. There may be a connection somewhere down the line, well before that time.

Bierbach town sign.

Bierbach town sign.

Bierbach, the native town of my great-grandfather Jacob Müller/Miller, is close to France. According to my ADAC Maxi Atlas, Bierbach is a little over eight miles from the French border. Bierbach is in the Rhine Pfalz area of what was once the Kingdom of Bavaria.

Before 1800, what we now call Germany consisted of numerous kingdoms, duchies and principalities. In the late 1700s Napoleon invaded and controlled the Rhine Pfalz area of Germany and all Germanic lands west of the Elbe River. The area remained under French control until 1815, when Napoleon was defeated.

What is interesting and important to those who have ancestors from this area is that Napoleon required that civil records be kept in the areas he conquered. Before that time only the churches recorded births, marriages and deaths. This means that the Rhine Pfalz, which included Bierbach, was one of the earliest areas of Germany to have civil records. It is always good to have an additional group of records to search.

I found a couple French civil records when researching my Müllers of the Bierbach area. Jacob Müller’s father, Johann, was born in Gerhardsbrunn in 1816 to Valentin and Margarethe (Armberger) Müller. Gerhardsbrunn is about 14.5 miles northeast of Bierbach and was under French rule until 1815. Valentin and Margarethe lived in Gerhardsbrunn from about 1808 to sometime after 1816.

At the end of the Napoleonic Era the German language started to replace French. As a result, Johann’s 1816 birth record was written in German. However, two of Johann’s siblings were born in Gerhardsbrunn a few years earlier and their civil birth records were written in French. These German and French records have been microfilmed and I ordered them from the Family History Center in Lima several years ago.

Marie Marguerite Müller was born 17 August 1808 in Gerhardsbrunn to Valentine and Marguerite (Armberger) Müller. [1]

French civil birth record of Marie Marguerite Mueller, 1808, Gerhardsbrunn.

French civil birth record of Marie Marguerite Mueller, 1808, Gerhardsbrunn.

Jean Adam Müller was born 24 December 1810 in Gerhardsbrunn to Valentin and Marguerite (Armberger) Müller. [2] Jean is the French form of John.

French civil birth record of Jean Adam, 1810, Gerhardsbrunn.

French civil birth record of Jean Adam Mueller, 1810, Gerhardsbrunn.

By 1876 all of Germany kept civil records but the dates that civil record-keeping began vary with the area. Below is a basic time-table of civil records in Germany:

  • 1792–Alsace-Lorraine
  • 1798–Bacen, Rhein Pfalz
  • 1803–Hessen-Hassau
  • 1808-09–Westfalen, Hamburg, Hannover
  • 1810-11– Baden, Oldenburg
  • 1850–Anhalt
  • 1866–Bremen
  • 1874–Prussia
  • 1876–All of the German Empire

There is no central repository in Germany for civil records. Instead, civil registers are kept at the Standesamt [registry office] and contain records of births, deaths, marriages and children. Once the registry records are no longer considered current they are transferred to the Standtarchiv [city archive] or Kreisarchiv [county archive for a small town or village that does not have its own archive].

Ministers continued to keep parish registers after civil records were started. Although the parish records may not have been as detailed as they once were, the civil records seemed to continue where they left off. For example, some parish registers give only the baptism date, not the date of birth. And the civil marriage record of my great-great-grandparents Johann Müller and Marie Kessler contains a lot of information and detail.

Personally, I find civil records a little more difficult to read than church records. Especially when they are written in French!


[1] Zivilstandsregister, 1798-1957, Gerhardsbrunn, Bayern, Standesamt. FHL microfilm 1488918. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. [Marie Marguerite Müller birth, 1808.]

[2] Zivilstandsregister, 1798-1957, Gerhardsbrunn, Bayern, Standesamt. FHL microfilm 1488918. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. [Jean Adam Müller birth 1810.]

Tombstone Tuesday–Henry A. Hoehamer

Henry A. Hoehamer, Mount Hope Cemetery, Adams County, Indiana.

Henry A. Hoehamer, Mount Hope Cemetery, Adams County, Indiana.

This is the tombstone of Henry A. Hoehamer, located in Mount Hope Cemetery, Adams County, Indiana. The marker is inscribed:

Son of
N. & A. Hoehamer
Oct. 26, 1878
6 yrs. 9 mo. 10 ds.

Sweet Henry unto earth
A little while was given.
He plumed his wings for flight
And soared away to heaven.

Henry A. was the son of Nicholas and Anna S. (Manzelman) Hoehamer. Henry’s tombstone may be the only remaining written record of his life. He was born and died between census enumerations and there is no record of his birth or death in Zion Chatt’s records.

Seven Hoehamer markers in a row at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Seven Hoehamer markers in a row at Mount Hope Cemetery. Nichols Hoehamer to far right, concealed by yucca plant. Henry’s marker is 5th from left.

The last numeral of Henry’s death date is difficult to read. It could be either an 8 or a 9, but I believe it is an 8. His date of birth would be 16 January 1872, as calculated from his tombstone.

A lamb is carved into the top of his stone. A lamb is often seen on the tombstone of a child and symbolizes innocence and purity.