Tombstone Tuesday-Military Flag Holders

Yesterday was Memorial Day and many of us visited cemeteries to honor the graves of military veterans who served our country or who died while serving our country. Their grave sites are easily recognizable with their metal flag holders, holding new American flags that were recently placed by the local American Legion or VFW. 

Elm Grove Cem, St. Marys, Auglaize Co, OH (2013 photo by Karen)

Today, a close look at these metal flag holders for the major American Wars, most photographed in local cemeteries.

Revolutionary War:

Revolutionary War grave.

Revolutionary War flag holder.

SAR (Sons of the American Revolution)/Revolutionary War Veteran:

Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) flag holder.

War of 1812:

War of 1812 grave, Tomlinson Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio.

Civil War, Union:

Civil War grave (Union).

GAR (Grand Army of the Republic)/Union Civil War Veteran:

GAR grave, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio.

GAR grave, Willshire Cemetery, Ohio.

Civil War, Confederacy:

Civil War grave (Confederate), Elm Grove Cemetery, Auglaize County, Ohio.

Spanish-American War:

Spanish-American War grave, Willshire Cemetery, Ohio.


WWI grave, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio.


WWII grave, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio.

WWII grave.

Korean War:

Korean War grave, North Grove Cemetery, Celina, Ohio.

Viet Nam War:

Viet Nam War grave.

Persian Golf War:

Persian Golf War grave.

May their service and sacrifices never be forgotten.

Memorial Day 2022

This coming Monday we celebrate Memorial Day. Originally called Decoration Day, this federal holiday dates back to just after the Civil War, as a way to remember and honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who were killed in battle during the Civil War. In 1868 the 30th of May was officially proclaimed as the day to decorate Civil War graves. 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 any grave site, whether the deceased served in the military or not. In addition, Memorial Day traditionally marks the beginning of summer.

Resthaven Memory Gardens, Auglaize County, Ohio. (2014 by Karen)

Memorial Day was declared a U.S. federal holiday in 1971 and is now observed the last Monday in May. In December 2000 the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed, which asks all Americans to pause at 3:00 p.m. local time and reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day.

Not as widely known, at least to me, is that the entire month of May is Military Appreciation Month.

Military Appreciation Month was officially designated by Congress in 1999 to remind Americans to celebrate this patriotic month that pays tribute to those who have made sacrifices for our freedom.

Although the entire month of May is designated to honor military members and their families, past and present, several specific military holidays occur throughout the month of May. In 2022 these military holiday dates are Loyalty Day (1 May), Military Spouse Appreciation Day (6 May/the Friday before Mother’s Day), Mother’s Day (8 May), VE Day (8 May), Armed Forces Day (21 May), and Memorial Day (30 May). 

Most area towns will have a Memorial Day ceremony at local cemetery, conducted by the local American Legion and/or VFW, who also mark all veterans’ graves with an American flag. A big Thank You to all those volunteers. Many towns also have a Memorial Day parade.

Herb Miller driving his Jeep, Willshire Memorial Day Parade 2005.

Proper flag etiquette on Memorial Day: The American flag should be flown at half-staff until noon and then raised to full-staff. During a parade there may be several participants with a flag and it is appropriate to salute only the first flag as it passes by. As the first flag passes everyone should show respect by standing at attention with their right hand over their heart. Those in uniform should give their appropriate formal salute.

Vast array of uniforms, photos, and other items on display at Willshire Home Furnishings. (2015 photo by Karen)

On Monday the Willshire Memorial Day parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. and proceed to the Willshire Cemetery for a Memorial Service. Following that service the parade will proceed to the bridge for a memorial service for service men and women who lost their lives at sea. Willshire Home Furnishings’ Military Museum will be open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.   

In addition, the village of Willshire continues to celebrate its 2022 Bicentennial. They are hosting a Reenactment Day on Saturday, 28 May. A time-period camp will be located by the river, behind the Legion, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Activities include a cannon firing at 9 a.m., interaction with camp residents, cooking and weaving demonstrations, children’s games, and more.

Wishing everyone a nice Memorial Day as we honor those who have served our country.

Tombstone Tuesday-Calla Lily Images

In general, lilies symbolize innocence and purity, but there are several types of lilies used on gravestones and they have slightly different meanings.

Calla lily, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio.

The image of calla lilies on a tombstone symbolizes majestic beauty, marriage, and fidelity.

Calla lily, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio.

Calla lily, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio.

The South African calla lily, with its beautiful vase-like blooms, was introduced in the U.S in the late 1800s. It wasn’t long after this that these flowers became popular funeral flowers and their images appeared as cemetery art.

Calla lily, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio.

Willshire, Schumm, & Chatt-1914 R.G. Dun Mercantile Reference

Who knew that some local towns and their merchants were listed in the R.G. Dun Mercantile Agency Reference Books years ago? I guess I never thought about it, but they are. Willshire, Schumm, and Chattanooga are all listed and are called Banking Towns in their publication.  

Yes, this is the same R.G. Dun who eventually became Dun and Bradstreet. They have rated merchants for over 100 years and their annual published directories were made available by subscription to businessmen to learn the credit ratings of their clients. Information, categorized by city within a state, includes merchants, tradesmen, and manufacturers with their financial worth and credit rating. They also give the population of the villages.

1914 R.G. Dunn Mercantile Agency Reference Book

These books are searchable on the Library of Congress website. Below I have transcribed the information they published for Willshire, Schumm, and Chattanooga in 1914.

The letter after the merchant’s name is the Estimated Pecuniary Strength. Their key: AA/over $1,000,000; A+/over $750,000, etc. Our local towns mostly fall below those levels and their village merchants are in these areas:
M/less than $500  

After the Estimated Pecuniary Strength is a number, which is the General Credit rating: High, Good, Fair, or Limited. Most of our area fell in the 3/Good, 3½/Fair, or 4/Limited ratings.

Some merchants/businesses have no letter or number listed.

WIllshire, 1914 R.G. Dun Mercantile Reference.

Willshire, Van Wert Co.-4A
Population 653-A Banking Town
Acheson, W.W.—Livery; K 3½
Allen, K. (Mrs. PW)—Restaurant; M
Althoen, Fred—Boots & Shoes; G 3
Avery B.H.—Blacksmith; L 3½
Bauer, J.A.—Jewelry & c.; M 4
Beam, J.—Clothing
Brown, A. & J.—Dry goods, Builders’ supplies & c.; G 3
Buchanan, James S.—Blacksmith; K 3
Colter & Johnson—Harness & Vehicles; J 3½
Cowan & Roller—Groceries; L 4
Craine, F.D.—Publisher; M
Dull, Wilbert A.—Flour Mill, Grain, & c; F 3
Erie Stone Co (Branch of Toledo); C 1½ [$75,000-125,000; High]
Foreman, V.A.—Confectioners & c.; M 4
Geisler & Riley—Groceries; K 3½
Hofstetter, John & Co—Restaurant, Notions & c.; L 4
Lotter Bros—Meat; K 3½
Major S.—Lunch; M [not sure what Lunch means; lunch not in key]
Mercer, G.D. & Co—Flour & Feed; K 3½
Parks, W.W.—Drugs, Wallpaper & Paint; H 3
Peters, Burton W.—Confectioner; M
Rex Hardware Co (not inc.)—Hardware & Implements; G 3
Rogers, P.S.—Cobbler; M
Spitler, Wm E.—Groceries; M 4
Stetler, Wm—Billiards, Cigars & c.; M
Straubinger, Adam—Hotel; K 3
Wagner, J.C.—Coal; L 3½
White, Jesse W.—Varieties; M 4
Willshire Hardware Co (not inc.)—Hardware, Implements & c.; G 3½
Willshire Lumber Co (not inc.) (Also People’s Lumber Co, Wren); F 3
Willshire Motor Co (not inc.)—Garage; M 3
Willshire Packing Co; 3
Willshire Telephone Co; 3

Schumm, 1914 R.G. Dun Mercantile Reference.

Schumm, Van Wert Co.-4A
Population 25-Banking Town Willshire
Behymer Bros–Elevator (Branch of Rockford); D+ 1½ [$50,000-75,000, High]
Colter, Henry—Saw Mill & c. (Branch of Bobo, Ind); F 3½  

Two businesses in these towns had a higher than area-average Estimated Pecuniary Strength and Credit Rating: Erie Stone Co (Branch of Toledo), with C 1½ [$75,000-125,000; High] in Willshire, and Behymer Bros Elevator (Branch of Rockford), with D+ 1½ [$50,000-75,000, High]

And, I am proud to announce that Chattanooga, Ohio, was included in the book! Actually, Chatt was much larger than Schumm.

Chattanooga, Ohio, 1914 R.G. Dun Mercantile Reference.

Chattanooga, Mercer Co.-4A
(R.D. Rockford)
Population 250—Banking Town Rockford
Andres, John H—Meat & Groceries; M 4
Baumgartner, J.W. & Son—Sawmill; J 3½
Chattanooga Hardware Co (not inc.)—Retail; J 3½
Germann, A.—Shoes, Restaurant & Groceries; K 3
Gibbons, Perry—Saloon; K 3½
Heffner, Fred—Saloon; H 3½
Merkle & Egger—General merchandise; H 3½
Regedanz, Chas—Blacksmith; M 4
Riesen, S.L.—Restaurant & Barber; M
Smith, John F.—Tinner; M 4

Interesting that Heffner’s saloon was valued higher than Gibbon’s.

Just some more interesting area information from a source I had never looked at.
Source: 1914 R.G. Dun Mercantile Agency Reference Book, Vol. 183, part 2; Dun & Bradstreet Reference Book Collection, Library of Congress,,  viewed 19 May 2022. Willshire, Ohio: p.130, image 254/776; Schumm, Ohio, p.110, image 244/776; Chattanooga, Ohio, p.19, image 198/776.

Tombstone Tuesday-Hannah Miller

Hanna Miller, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Hannah Miller, located in row 10 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Wife of
George Miller
died Feb. 7
aged 65 yrs

Hannah Miller’s sandstone tombstone is one of the oldest markers in Zion Schumm’s cemetery. Hannah’s death and burial are not recorded in Zion Schumm’s records. In fact, very few Millers are mentioned in their church records.

Hannah Miller died before the 1850 census and censuses before that time only recorded the head of household.

Her tombstone only tells us that she was 65 years old (born about 1784) and that her husband was George Miller. We don’t know if she was the widow of George or if he died after her death. If George is buried at Zion Schumm, there is no record of it in their records or in the cemetery.

There is a good deal of information about Hannah Miller and her family on Find a, Memorial no. 34047119, Hannah Chilcote Miller. I will not recopy the information here because I did not research it, but if you are interested in Hannah and her family I would encourage you to take a look at the all the information there.

It appears Hannah’s family is spread across Ohio and Indiana but there also appears to be a couple connections to this area, a Chilcote and Tindall connection. That may explain how she came to be buried in Zion Schumm’s cemetery.

Were she and her family passing through this area in 1849 or did some stay? According to Find a Grave, some family members stayed. Her sons James Henry Miller (1820-1895) and John C Miller (1826-1882) are buried in this area. James Henry is buried in Willshire Cemetery and John C in Hileman/Smith Cemetery south of Schumm. A nephew, John Chilcote Tindall (1827-1885) is buried in Tricker Cemetery, Decatur, Adams County, Indiana. The nephew was the son of her sister, Nancy (Chilcote) Tindall, according to Find a Grave. There may be others.

Hannah Miller likely lived near Schumm because she is buried there and because of the Chilcote and Tindall names, which were local back then. Perhaps she attended Zion Schumm, but never joined the church.

For now, we can simply enjoy the beauty and carving of this old tombstone that has weathered many seasons.