Tombstone Tuesday–Elizabeth Pflueger

Elizabeth Pflueger, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (Photo by Karen, April 2012)

Elizabeth Pflueger, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (Photo by Karen, April 2012)

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

Ehefrau Von
A. Pflueger

Translation: Elizabeth, wife of A. Pflueger, 1857-1913.

According to the records of Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm, Rosina Elisabetha Hofmann was born 23 February 1857 in Willshire Township to Johann Georg and Catharina Hofmann. She was baptized at home on 25 February 1857 with Jakob Bienz and wife and Pankratius Schinnerer as sponsors. She married Abraham Pflüger on 23 May 1875 at Zion. Both were members of the Schumm parish. Elizabeth died 4 October 1913 at Schumm, ten weeks after suffering a stroke. She was 56 years, 7 months and 11 days old. She was buried 6 October in the parish cemetery, with 1 John 3:14 as her funeral text.  Survivors included her husband, 7 children, 2 brothers, 1 sister, 2 half-sisters and 10 grandchildren.

According to her death certificate her mother’s name was Catherine Minsimer and both of her parents were born in Germany. Her death certificate shows her cause of death as apoplexy. [1]  Apoplexy is defined as a sudden and often fatal event resulting from a cerebral hemorrhage.

Elizabeth Pflueger death certificate, 1913.

Elizabeth Pflueger death certificate, 4 October 1913.

In 1900 Abraham and Elizabeth Pflüger were living in Willshire Township, Van Wert County. Their household in 1900: Abraham, 48; Elizabeth, 43; Ferdinand, 15; Henry, 13; Justinia, 11; Martha, 7; Willie, 4; and Louise 1. This census tells us that the couple had been married 25 years, that Elizabeth had given birth to 10 children and that 7 children were still living. [2]


A Pioneer Dead After a Life of Usefulness
The last issue of the Herald reported the critical sickness of Mrs. Abraham Pflueger. She is now relieved and has gone to her rest. On Saturday morning she peacefully passed away.

Elizabeth (Hoffman) Pflueger was born near Schumm, Ohio, February 23, 1857, and was baptized into the Lutheran Church at an early age. Here she also attended the parochial school and received a thorough training in the Christian faith. At the age of 14 years she was received into communicant membership of the congregation by the rite of confirmation.

In 1875 she was married to Abraham Pflueger, who survives to mourn her departure. This union was blessed with ten children, four sons and six daughters.

With the exception of about four years spent in Indiana, her entire life was spent in this vicinity.

Ten weeks ago she suffered a stroke of paralysis. She leaves a husband, seven children, two brothers, one sister, ten grandchildren, and many other relatives. The children are: Fred Pflueger, Kingfisher, Oklahoma; Mrs. William Myers, Willshire; Mrs. Henry Sauer, Schumm; Henry Pflueger, Decatur, Indiana; and Martha, Wilson and Louis, who are still at home.

The funeral services were held in the German Lutheran church, and were conducted by Rev. Meyer, and the throng that filled the church was ample tribute to the esteem in which she was held.

A devoted wife and mother, a kind neighbor and friend, a patient cross bearer and an earnest Christian was laid to rest here on Monday afternoon. [3]

The artwork on this tombstone reminds me of the chorus from the old hymn, The Old Rugged Cross: “I will cling to the old rugged cross…”


[1] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 Feb 2013), Elizabeth Pflueger, 04 Oct 1913; citing Willshire Township, Van Wert, Ohio, reference fn 61029; FHL microfilm 1953761.

[2] 1900 U.S. Census, Van Wert County, Ohio, Willshire Township, Enumeration District 97, p. 9B, line 65, dwelling no. 183, family no. 197, Abraham Pflueger; digital image, ( : accessed 10 Feb 2013); FHL microfilm 1241329, from NARA microfilm publication T623.

[3] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 9 October 1913, p.1.



  1. Amazing how the little things change. Baptized at 2 days old! Most of us were not even allowed out of the hospital for several dayswith our mothers, now they toss them out right away. Guess we are getting back to historical practice. However, you just have to really wonder why all these rules and traditions started, ie to make sure babies were saved? Make more money for the doctor and hospital? Cover liability concerns? Give husbands time to pass out cigars and kick back with boys?

    Of course it is amazing how many of these women in this generation (and probably all the preceding ones) were so often struck down in childbirth, complications from childbirth, or just plain worn out from constantly having children. One of the eye opening facts in our family history has been the large number of double marriages from women dying young and then the husbands remarrying.

    1. Of course Lutherans practice infant baptism and they have always taken it seriously, especially back then. We don’t know all the circumstances, but we know that she was born and baptized at home. She may have been a very small or unhealthy child, perhaps born prematurely, or maybe it was a difficult delivery. Perhaps her parents thought she would not live and had her baptized as soon as possible. Sometimes a nurse or lay person would baptize an infant (in the absence of a minister) immediately after birth if they thought the child would not live.

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