Tombstone Tuesday–Pythian Sisters Symbol

The Pythian Sisters, the female auxiliary of the Knights of Pythias, had their own symbol, a Maltese cross with the letters PLEF. These letters stand for Purity, Love, Equality, and Fidelity. This is the symbol used on a member’s tombstone.

Pythian Sisters symbol on tombstone, Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City, Van Wert County, Ohio.

Knights of Pythias & Pythian Sisters symbols on same tombstone, Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City, Van Wert County, Ohio.

The Pythian Sisters were formed in 1888. Their local units are called Temples, their state units called Grand Temples, and the national structure called Supreme Temple. The Pythian Sisters have a youth affiliate, the Pythian Sunshine Girls, established in 1930.

Pythian Sisters flag holder, Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City, Van Wert County, Ohio.

I featured the Knights of Pythias symbol in a Tombstone Tuesday a couple weeks ago. Both societies are fraternal charitable, benevolent societies.

Knights of Pythias & Pythian Sisters symbols on tombstone, Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City, Van Wert County, Ohio.

Black Creek & Willshire Radio Set Owners in 1930

A few years ago I did some research for someone and the one piece of information that the client found most interesting was that his relative owned a radio in 1930. Yes, question number 9 on the 1930 census asked if the family owned a radio set.

1930 Census, Black Creek Twp, p.3A, Radio Set, question 9

By 1930 radio broadcasting had been around for a decade. Live musical performance was popular in the early years of radio and dramas, comedy acts, talk and educational programs became popular soon after.

Some of the most popular shows included Amos ‘n’ Andy, Abbott & Costello, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Bell Telephone Hour, Burns & Allen, The Danny Kaye Show, Dick Tracy, Dragnet, Eddie Cantor, Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch, The General Electric Concert, The Green Hornet, Guiding Light, Hallmark Playhouse, Hopalong Cassidy, Jack Benny, Kraft Music Hall, The Life of Riley, The Lone Ranger, Maxwell House Showboat, Mercury Theater on the Air, Our Gal Sunday, Palmolive Beauty Box Theater, The Pepsodent Show, Perry Mason, Philip Morris Playhouse, Queen for the Day, Red Skelton, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Roy Rogers Show, Tarzan, Dinah Shore Show, Ed Sullivan Show, This is Your Life, Truth or Consequences, Waldorf-Astoria Orchestra, to name a few. Many of these radio shows later became TV shows. Radio news came to the airwaves during World War II.

It was the Golden Age of Radio.

In 1930 it is estimated that 40% of households owned a radio. That statistic was fairly accurate for our rural area, too. Below I have copied the radio set owners in Black Creek Township and the village of Willshire, as reported in the 1930 census, with the spelling of names pretty much as indexed on In Black Creek Township, 78 of the 224 households (35%) owned radios and in the village of Willshire, 62 of 139 households (44%) owned radios.

Perhaps your family owned a radio in 1930.

Those who owned radios (and their age) in Black Creek Township in 1930:
Chancy A Gephart, 54
Wilbur M Smalley, 38
John B Fleming, 50
Orvil R Brookhart, 34
Homer Buchanan, 45
Alfred Miller, 43
Emanuel Hurles, 46
C Leroy Pifer, 38
Ruben Witter, 51
John Leistner, 43
Charles H Sample, 55
Dessie Morrison, 54
John Dellinger, 39
Fredrick Kidd, 49
Jesse King, 31
Solomon King, 54
John Myers, 62
William E Hamrick, 39
Earl Case, 48
Frank Garwood, 45
James P Riley, 56
Auston Evens, 79
William G White, 31
Emanuel Stetler, 49
Jess A Pickering, 48
Melvin Stetler, 59
Floyd Hill, 34
Albert Hamrick, 29
James Figley, 45
Dillan Jordan, 44
Michael Kallenberger, 59
Wilber C Stover, 26
John McGough, 55
Thomas J Dellinger, 54
Otto A Brandt, 56
John M Byer, 58
Anton M Jones, 43
Gale Hook, 47
William H Hoblet, 51
Fredrick Hartzog, 65
Carl C Kessler, 37
Fredrick W Becher, 43
Augustus Bollenbaugh, 51
Martin Affolder, 41
Fred Diener Jr, 39
Lewis G Baker, 63
William R McDougle, 55
Emma Graubarger, 51
William F Detro, 67
Walter G Detro, 34
John H Kettering, 47
Willets U Carr, 58
Oscar Pifer, 56
J Calvin Figley, 72
Herber Martz, 35
Charles A Branstetter, 50
Charles A Kuhn, 52
Elmer Haver, 50
Adam Alt, 50
William Hoverman, 44
Otto Growth, 56
PT Spangler, 48
Jess E Crabtree, 35
Ernest S Statter, 52
Elara E Rogers, 54
Otto Linn, 36
Nellie Cross, 42
William D Andrews, 41
Cloyd E Stover, 39
Ralph R Stover, 22
William B Rumple, 44
Pearl D Spitler, 50
Russell Stetler, 31
Clyde Johnson, 27
Frank H Springer, 61
Andrew Harb, 66
Jack L Brasher, 28
Arthur H Bailey, 56

My grandfather Carl Miller, who lived in Black Creek Township, did not own a radio in 1930.

Those who owned radios (and their age) in the village of Willshire in 1930:
John Young, 26
John Knott, 52
Charity Brown, 54
Floyd Strickler, 31
Mary E Beam, 74
Sherman Liming, 34
Henry Dellinger, 42
Garey D Mercer, 62
James G Bilderback, 62
George J Buckley, 37
Grover, C Inman, 45
Price McClure, 35
Walter Stetler, 35
Charles H Miller, 45
Ralph L Peden, 41
Thomas Jones, 35
Earl Stetler, 34
Clarence Hoblet, 47
Foster Coil, 25
Frank A Miller, 51
William H Ayers, 73
Russel O Dull, 37
Steve F Buchanan, 81
Elijah H Alspaugh, 52
Dale Cowan, 42
Dale Clouse, 22
Grant Strickler, 61
Clarence Laughrey, 30
Walter Scott, 41
Miles Ross, 31
Logan Wolf, 58
Ottis P Spitler, 554
William Spitler, 58
Herman Myers, 30
Frank Detter, 57
Harriet Colter, 53
Frank Cronister, 40
Roland Detter, 27
James H Frye, 88
Chalmer Edwards, 27
Mary Snyder, 54
Rosa Price, 61
Jerome Morrison, 27
Joseph M Winkler, 56
Clarence Giessler, 39
Hattie Koontz, 59
John Hoblet, 84
Samuel Dellinger, 35
David Morrison, 64
Felix Yoss, 32
Lawrence Dellinger, 25
Jess Spitler, 29
Ira E Huber, 34
Glen Spitler, 31
Elihu Johnson, 73
Chauncey J Fisher, 47
James Buchanan, 67
Ward W Acheson, 44
Harry Workinger, 28
Daniel Geary, 63
Lillian Cowan, 54
William Counterman, 55

I can visualize families and others gathered around the radio in the evening, listening to live entertainment shows and their other favorite radio programs.

Tombstone Tuesday-Rosa (Lillich) Buechner

Rosa (Lillich) Buechner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Rosa (Lillich) Buechner, located in row 11 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Wife of Henry

Rosa Elizabeth Lillich was born in Van Wert County on 13 September 1862, the daughter of Fredrick [Samuel] and Sarah (Shell) Lillich. [1]

The Fredrick Lillich family in 1870, when Rosa was 8 years old: Frederick, 44; Sarah, 33; Catharine, 13; Rebecca, 11; Rosina, 8; Samuel F, 5; Sarah A, 3; William H, 12. The father Fredrick was a farmer, born in Germany. The other members of the household were born in Ohio. [2]

The same Lillich family in 1880: Frederick Lillich, 51; Sarah, 43, wife; Rebecca, 21, daughter; Rose Eliz, 17, daughter; Frederick S, 15, son; Sarah U, 13, daughter; William H, 10, son; Charlotte L, 8, daughter; John A, 6, son; George F, 3, son; Emma Isadore, 11 mo, daughter; John R Ellinger, 19, nephew. [3]

Rosa Lillich married Henry Conrad Buechner on 9 April 1896, married at Zion Lutheran, Schumm, by Rev. Seemeyer. [4]

After their marriage Henry and Rosa Buechner lived in Blackcreek Township, Mercer County, Ohio, where Henry farmed. They raised their three children, Fred, Leona, and Lawrence on their Blackcreek Township farm and the family was enumerated there in the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses.

Rosa (Lillich) Buehner died of influenza with pneumonia and pleurisy on 1 January 1929. She was 66 years, 3 months, and 17 days old and died in Blackcreek Township, Mercer County, likely at her home there. Rosa was buried on the 4th. [1] [5]

By 1930 widower Henry Buechner, daughter Leona, 29, and son Lawrence, 26, both single, had moved into the village of Willshire and lived on State Street there. Henry worked on the state road, Leona did housework, and Lawrence worked at a grain elevator. [6]

Rosa’s husband Henry Buechner died on 28 May 1931 in Willshire and is also buried in row 11 of Zion’s cemetery. [6]

Henry and Rosa (Lillich) Buechner had the following children:
Fredrick John Buechner (1897-1964), married Julia G Schumm
Leona Emma Buechner (1900-1994), married Earl C Shuherk
Lawrence Emanuel Buechner (1903-1970), married Myrtle Winkler

It is interesting to note that Rosa Lillich’s sister Louisa (1872-1963) married John Adam Buechner (1865-1933), the brother of Rosa’s husband Henry C. Buechner. Another example of sisters marrying brothers.

[1] Ohio Deaths, Mercer, Blackcreek, file no. 7706, Rose Buechner, 1 Jan 1929;, viewed 14 Aug 2022. 

[2] 1870 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p. 445B, dwelling217, family 218, Frederic Lillich;, viewed 16 Aug 2022.

[3] 1880 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 154, p.450D, family 138, Frederick Lillick;, viewed 16 Aug 2022.

[4] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” Van Wert, Vol. 8, p.478, Henry Buechner & Rosa Lillich, 9 Apr 1896; database with images,, viewed 1 Aug 2022.

[5] Ohio Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, 1958-2007, Ohio Department of Health, Rose Buechner, 1 Jan 1929;, viewed 16 Aug 2022.

[6] 1930 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 22, p.5A, dwelling & family 109, Henry Buechner; digital image by subscription, viewed 1 Aug 2022.

[7] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” Willshire Township, Van Wert, Henry Buechner, 28 May 1931; database with images,, viewed 1 Aug 2022.

Some Mercer County Deaths, 1850 Mortality Schedule

Last week I wrote about the remarks census taker Willshire Riley made in Mercer County’s 1850 Mortality Schedule. The 1850 Mortality Schedule reported the county deaths of those who died between 1 June 1849 and 31 May 1850, the year prior to census day, which was 1 June 1850.

Mercer County’s 1850 Mortality Schedule consists of 6 pages and includes 177 deaths. Willshire Riley recorded 126 deaths on the first 4 pages, in townships Union, Dublin, Marion, Granville, Butler, Franklin, Jefferson, Hopewell, and Center, and made remarks on each of those pages.

Vincent Bebout recorded 51 deaths the other 2 pages but he did not indicate what townships he recorded. He may have recorded deaths in the remaining five townships, Blackcreek, Liberty, Gibson, Recovery, and Washington. We don’t know.

Since Bebout may have recorded deaths in some of the northern townships, below is his list of Mercer County deaths during the year before the 1850 census was taken. After that I include Dublin and Hopewell Township, as recorded by Riley.  

The information below includes: name, age, marital status if given, where born, month of death, cause of death, number of days ill.

1850 Mortality Schedule, Mercer County, Ohio, p.739:
Barnet, Jacob, 38, Marr, Ger [Germany], Mar, congestion, 8
Barnet, Margt, 34, Wid, Ger, Aug, cholera, 1
Wise, Barbara, 1 mo, OH, Jul, croup, 1
Bushaw, Ann, 1, OH, Apr, fever, 19
Granger, Ann, 2, Eng, May, unknown, 3
Jones, Rachel, 10, OH, Jul, scarlet fever, 5
Jones, Wm, 8, OH, Jul, scarlet fever, 11
Jones, Geo W, 6, OH, Jul, scarlet fever, 11
Doll, John, 37, Marr, Ger, Nov, consumption, 9
Doll, John, 10, OH, Jul, unknown, 8
Doll, Mary Ann, 3, OH, Nov, measles, 8
Doll, Mary, 1, OH, Aug, fits, 8
Doll, Tacia, 1, OH, May, fever, 18
Lotzer, Joseph, 4, OH, Aug, cholera, ½
Follett, Tacia, 31, Ger, Aug, cholera, 1
Downs, Hannah, 2, OH, Aug, scarlet fever, 28

1850 Mortality Schedule, Mercer Co, OH, p739, unknown twp.

1850 Mortality Schedule, Mercer County, Ohio, p.762:
Batcher, Jacob, 1 mo, OH, Jan, fits, 1 hr
Kimmel, Taylor, 1 mo, OH, Feb, croup, 1
Nesley, Christian, 67, (female), Wid, Ger, Feb, old age
Nicholson, Isaac, 43, Marr, PA, Oct, inflammation, 7
Dornet, Stephen, 8 mo, OH, Aug, diarrhea, 30
Adams, Solomon, 2, OH, Nov, croup, 1
Freeman, Ann, 35, Marr, OH, Apr, congestion, 6
Davison, James, 38, Marr, Ireland, Jan, inflammation on brain, 2 ½ mo
Lininger, Mary, 1 mo, OH, Feb, unknown, 1 hr
Dixon, Taylor, 1 mo, OH, Mar, unknown, 1 hr
Wilson, Nancy, 3 mo, OH, Jan, congestion, 8
Herod, Susanna, 2 mo, OH, Mar, fits, 11
Franklin, Francis M, 8 mo, (male) OH, Aug, unknown, 4
Byerley, Jacob, 3, OH, Feb, unknown, 1
Carmack, Cath, 6 mo, OH, Jul, flux, 1
Carmack, Mary E, 2, OH, Jul, scarlet fever, 25
Lawridge, Joseph, 1 mo, OH Mar, croup, 1
Lipps, Sarah, 46, VA, Nov, unknown, 18
Rance, Martha, 3, OH, Sep, liver compt, 8
Painter, Mary, 36, OH, Aug, unknown, 10
Painter, Mary, 3, OH, Feb, scarlet fever, 40
Rockwell, Thos, 2 OH, Mar, scarlet fever, 8
Myers, Henry A, 10 mo, OH, Feb, croup, 1
Ellis, Susanna, 33, Marr, RD, Sep, fever, 2
Myers, Henry A, 9 mo, OH, Mar, croup, 1
Dunwoody, Harrison, 14, OH, Sep, fever, 35
Nickison, Taylor, 1 mo, OH, Jan, croup 1
Adney, John S, 42, Marr, VA, Dec, lung fever, 4
Matthews, Magdaline, 2, OH, Mar, croup, 3
Troutman, Mary, 5, OH, Aug, cholera, 1
Ovelman, Mary, 28, Ger, Aug, cholera, 3
Troutman, Geo, 60, Marr, Ger, Aug, cholera, 1
Troutman, Susan, 58, Marr, Ger, Aug, cholera, 2
Gerger, Mary, 34, Marr, Ger, Aug, cholera, 1
Cramer, Mary, 30, Ger, Aug, cholera, 1

1850 Mortality Schedule, Mercer Co, Ohio, p.762, unknown townships.

1850 Mortality Schedule, Dublin Twp, Mercer County, Ohio, p.737:
Crantz, Elizabeth, 65, NJ, Oct, consumption, 1 mo
Patterson, Wm, 2, OH, Aug, sum compt, 2 mo
Wiley, Ellen C, 1, OH, Oct, cholera, 1/3
Roebuck, Harriet, 6 mo, OH, Jun, liver compt, 9
Hedges, Sarah, 8, OH, Dec, scarlet fever, 9
Moore, Chas, C, 10 mo, OH, Feb, dropsy, 3
Work, Taylor, 6 mo, OH, Jan, C, 6 mo
Chivington, Jos, 6, OH, Jan, winter fever, 7
Gran/Grau, Palmer, 32, Marr, OH, Oct, cholera, 1/3
Dugdale, TG, 26, Marr, OH, Oct, cholera, 6 (physician)

1850 Mortality Schedule, Mercer County, Ohio, p.737, includes Dublin Twp.

1850 Mortality Schedule, Hopewell Twp, Mercer County, Ohio, no page no. [ image 4]:
Hamline, —, 1 mo, (female), OH, May, C, 14
Patterson, 18, VA, Dec, consumption, 1 yr
Updyke, Isaac, 22, OH, Sep, cholera, 3
Updyke, Jacob, 26, OH, Sep, cholera, 1

1850 Mortality Schedule, Mercer County, Ohio, no pg no., includes Hopewell Twp.

These records indicate that there were many deaths of children under a year old. Some families suffered several losses.

Diseases included Cholera, Scarlet Fever, Summer Complaint (diarrhea & high fever), Winter Fever (pneumonia), Consumption (TB; lung disease, wasting away), Flux (dysentery), and Croup (upper airway infection). Most died within a few days.   

Source: 1850 U.S. Mortality Schedule, Mercer County, Ohio, p.739, 762, 737,, viewed 11 Aug 2022.

Tombstone Tuesday-Knights of Pythias Symbol

The Knights of Pythias was officially founded in Washington DC in 1864 by Justus Rathbone, founded as a secret fraternal society for government clerks. The order is based on the story Damon and Pythias [Phintias], members of a school founded by the 5th century B.C. philosopher Pythagoras. Rathbone was influenced by the story and formed the fraternal society based on the traits of friendship, benevolence, and charity. The Knights of Pythias was the first fraternal society to receive a Congressional charter.

Knights of Pythias, “Friendship, Charity, Benevolence,” Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City, Ohio

The Knights of Pythias follows the principles of Friendship, Charity, and Benevolence. The first letters of these words, F, D, B, are usually used for their tombstone inscription, sometimes with the image of a shield and knight.

The society had over 900,000 members at its peak in 1923 but lost many members during the Great Depression. There were less than 10,000 members at the end of the twentieth century. Today, the Knights of Pythias exist in most states and provinces across the United States, Canada, and Europe. They support charitable, benevolent, fraternal, and social activities in their lodges and in the communities they serve. They support many charities, but primarily the American Cancer Society.   

Knights of Pythias symbol, “Friendship, Charity, Benevolence,” Greenlawn Cemetery, Wapakoneta, Ohio

Green Park Cemetery, Portland, Jay County, Indiana

The Knights of Pythias has a strong crusader and military flavor in their rituals and regalia and their badge consists of a blue, yellow, and red triangle with the letters F, C, B.

Knights of Pythias, Union Cemetery, Darke County, Ohio

The above tombstone has additional letters added to their usual inscription, but I do not know what the additional letters stand for.

Knights of Pythias, Willshire.

Willshire had a Knights of Pythias lodge at one time. Their symbol is visible on the second level of the building that houses Willshire Home Furnishings today. Willshire also had a Pythian Sisters lodge, their female auxiliary.

Knight of Pythias once had a lodge in Willshire.