Tombstone Tuesday–Jakob & Elisabeth (Pflueger) Bienz

Jakob & Elisabeth (Pflueger) Bienz, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Jakob and Elisabeth (Pflueger) Bienz, located in row 4 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Gattin Von
J. Bienz
Geb. 30 Juli
7 Feb. 1913

1 Apr. 1825
17 Apr. 1908

BIENZ, Elisabeth, wife of J. Bienz, born 30 July 1836, died 7 February 1913. Jakob Bienz, born 1 April 1825, died 17 April 1908.

Jakob “Jacob” Bienz was born 1 April 1825 in Gerlingen, Wuerttemberg, the son of Balthas and Catharina Barbara (Weidlin) Bienz. He was baptized 3 April 1825 in Gerlingen. [1]

Jacob Bienz birth/baptism record, Gerlingen, Germany.

Jacob immigrated with his parents and nine siblings in about 1838. The family settled in Tully Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, and Jacob and his brother John moved to Willshire Township about 1850. [2]

Jacob Bienz, age 24, was living in Willshire Township by 1850, staying with the George and Mary Schumm family. [3] Perhaps he was originally there to help the Schumms with the farm work, but he also met his future wife there.  

Jacob Bienz married Elisabeth Pflueger near Schumm on 21 August 1851.  Both were from Zion Schumm’s parish. Her name is shown as Lissabetha in their church marriage record. They were married by Zion’s Rev. George Streckfuss.

Elisabeth was the daughter of Christian and Anna Barbara (Sekel) Pflueger. Christian, Anna Barbara, and their six children emigrated from Wuerttemberg in 1832 and lived in Holmes County, Ohio, for several years before settling near Schumm.

Elisabeth Pflueger was born in Holmes County on 31 July 1835 and was baptized there, at Zion Church, Winesburg, on 5 October 1835, according to the records of Zion Church, Winesburg.

The Pfluegers moved from Holmes County to near Schumm by September 1846, where Elisabeth’s mother Anna Barbara (Sekel) Pflueger died at the age of 55. Her death is recorded in Zion Schumm’s records but apparently her tombstone has not survived. Elisabeth Pflueger, the youngest of the Pflueger children, was only 10 years old when her mother died and her sister Mary took her in. Her sister, Mary (Pflueger) Schumm (1820-1903), was married to George Martin Schumm (1812-1871). The George Martin Schumm family lived near Schumm and consisted of seven children at that time, the sister Elisabeth, and Jacob Bienz, 24, born in Germany. Yes, Jacob Bienz was also enumerated in that same Schumm household in 1850. The George Martin Schumm household in 1850: George Schumm, 38; Mary, 30; Fred, 11; Louis, 9; George, 8; John, 6; Rosina, 5; Margaret, 2; Mary, 1; Elisabeth “Flecker” [Pflueger]; and Jacob “Bentz”, 24. [3]

Jacob Bienz and Elisabeth Pflueger married the next year.

I have a personal interest in the Pflueger family because Elisabeth’s older sister Anna “Barbara” Pflueger married immigrant Johann “Ludwig” Schumm and they are my great-great grandparents. Elisabeth (Pflueger) Bienz is my second great-grandaunt.

By 1860 Jacob and Elisabeth (Pflueger) Bienz had 4 children and lived in Willshire Township, where Jacob farmed. Their household in 1860: Jacob, 35; Elisabeth, 25; John L, 8; Margaret, 6; George, 4; and Adam, 1. [4]

There were ten members of the Jacob Bienz family by 1870: Jacob, 45; Elisabeth, 35; John G, 18; Margaret, 16; George, 14; Adam, 11; Fredrick, 8; Elizabeth, 10; Mary, 6; and Anna, 4. Elisabeth’s father, Christian Pflueger, age 89, was also living with them. Christian Pflueger passed away in 1877. [5]

By 1880 some of Jacob and Elisabeth’s children had left home to start families of their own. The Jacob Bienz household in 1880: Jacob, 55; Elisabeth, 44; George, 24; Frederick, 19; Mary, 16; and Anna, 14. Jacob’s occupation was farmer. [6]  

In 1900 their granddaughter Mary V [Vilenna] Bienz was enumerated with them: Jacob, 75; Elisabeth, 64; and Mary V, 20. Mary “Vilenna” Bienz was born July 1879. [7] Jacob and Elisabeth had been married 48 years and Elisabeth had given birth to 8 children, 7 of whom were living. This enumeration indicates that Jacob immigrated in 1831. [8]

Jacob Bienz died 17 April 1908 in Schumm, at the age of 83 years and 17 days. He was buried on the 20th. Zion Schumm’s records indicate that he was survived by his wife Elisabeth and 7 grown children.  His funeral text was Rev. 17:18.

In 1910 widow Elizabeth Bienz lived with her granddaughter Vilenna [Bienz] Krueckeberg and her family: Charles H Krueckeberg, 33; Vilenna, 30; Leo Krueckeberg, 7; Hugo Krueckeberg, 6; Elvera Krueckeberg, 4; Herioch Krueckeberg, 1; Elizabeth Bienz, 75; Earl Roehm, 17, hired hand; and Della Roehm, 23, servant. [9]

Elisabeth Bienz died 6 February 1913, at the age of 77 years, 6 months, and 7 days, according to Zion Schumm’s records.  She was buried on the 9th and her funeral text was Job 19:25-27. She was survived by 6 children, 31 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren. According to her death certificate Elisabeth died in Willshire Township from asthma and bronchial pneumonia on 7 February 1913. [10]

There is some conflicting recorded information concerning the dates of Elisabeth’s birth and death. The Winesberg church records indicate she was born 31 July 1835. Her tombstone indicates she was born 30 July 1836. Zion’s records indicate she was 77 years, 6 months, 7 days old, which would make her date of birth 30 July 1835. She was reported as being 14 years old in the 1850 census, which would also make her year of birth as 1835. I feel the Winesberg church record is the most accurate record, since it indicates she was baptized 5 October 1835. Zion Schumm’s records indicate she died 6 February and her tombstone and her death certificate indicate she died 7 February. The death certificate is likely the most accurate for her death date.

Jacob and Elisabeth (Pflueger) Bienz had the following children, all baptized at Zion Schumm:
Johann Ludwig “Louis” Bienz (1852-1940), married Anna M. Chilcote; Elizabeth Hixon
Margaretha Magdalena “Margaret” Bienz (1854-1908), married Lehrer L [Louis?] Schmidt
“George” Martin Bienz (1856-1935), married Katharine Muntzinger
Johann “Adam” Bienz (1858-1949), married Pauline Germann; Wilhilmine Christine Reinking; Christina Mathinda Bleeke
Michael Friedrich “Fred” Bienz (1861-1937), married Maria Sophie Helena Reinking
Maria Barbara “Mary” Elisabeth Bienz (1863-), married [William/John?] Reinking
“Anna” Barbara Catharine Bienz (1866-1942), married William Schamerloh
Anna Susanna Emma Bienz (1874-1874)


[1] Lutheran Taufen, Tote, & Heiraten, 1564-1875, [Baptisms, Deaths & Marriages], Gerlingen, Wuerttemberg, 1823 baptisms, Jakob Bienz, 1 Apr 1825;, tree of klicen, viewed 2 Apr 2019.

[2] According to Sutton’s 1882 History of Van Wert and Mercer Counties, Ohio, p.258, one John B [Balthas] Bientz immigrated in 1838 with his wife and ten children. The family settled in Tully Township and about 1850 two of the sons, Jacob and John, settled in Willshire Township.

[3] 1850 U.S. Census, p.166B, dwelling 114, family 131, George Schumm; digital image by subscription,  ( : viewed 8 Apr 2019).

[4] 1860 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p.151 (penned), dwelling 1079, family 1073, Jacob Bentz; digital image by subscription, ( : viewed 8 Apr 2019).

[5] 1870 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p.15 (penned), dwelling 107, family 108, Jacob Bence; digital image by subscription, ( : viewed 8 Apr 2019).

[6] 1880 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 154, p.14 (penned), family 117, Jacob Bienz; digital image by subscription, ( : viewed 8 Apr 2019).

[7] According to Zion’s records, Vilenna was the daughter of L. Bienz, whom Jacob and Elisabeth took in to raise. This record appears to indicate that one of the parents was deceased, and since their son Louis died in 1940, it may have been the mother, Anna M. Chilcote. Louis Bienz and Anna Chilcote married in Van Wert County on 2 Jan 1879.

[8] 1900 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 98, p.310A (stamped), dwelling 208, family 214, Jacob Bienz; digital image by subscription,   ( : viewed 8 Apr 2019).

[9] 1910 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 113, p.9A (penned), dwelling 114, family 116, Charles H Kruckeberg; digital image by subscription, ( : viewed 8 Apr 2019).

[10] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” Elizabeth Bienz, 7 Feb 1913; database with images, ( : viewed 8 Apr 2019), Willshire Twp, Van Wert County.

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