Radio Set Owners in 1930, Willshire & Liberty (Mercer) Townships

Today, a list of those in two local townships that answers the 1930 question, Who Owned a Radio? In the 1930 census, question number 9 asked if the family owned a radio set. It is interesting to see who, if any, in my family owned a radio and if any of their neighbors did. Perhaps your family owned a radio in 1930.

By 1930 radio broadcasting had been around for a decade. Listeners enjoyed live musical performances, dramas, comedy acts, and talk and educational programs. I remember my dad mentioning shows such as Amos ‘n’ Andy, Gene Autry, and Jack Benny.

From last week’s list of radio set owners in Willshire village and Black Creek Township in 1930, I noticed that my Miller grandparents and their close neighbors did not own a radio. Someone asked if they even had electricity in 1930.

Good question, although a radio could have operated by a battery.

I went to one of my go-to sources of information, my Uncle Kenny. Although he was born after 1930, he said that the family did not get electricity until about 1940-41, when he was in the third grade. Kenny said that before they had electricity their family had a console-type radio setup, with the radio on top and a car-like battery below. Another person I talked to said that Vernon Caffee wired the house immediately west of the Miller farm when they moved in after their marriage in 1935. Some good information that helps clarify the radio/electric timeline issue.   

Below, those who owned radio sets in Willshire Township, Van Wert County, and Liberty Township, Mercer County, in 1930, and their ages.

In 1930 it is estimated that 40% of households owned a radio. In Willshire Township, 75 of their 258 households (29%) owned radios. In Liberty Township, Mercer County, 46 of their 272 households (17%), owned radios. These two townships have a lower percentage of radios than reported in Black Creek Township (78 of 224 households, 35%) and the village of Willshire (62 of 139 household, 44%) in 1930.

Those who owned radios in Willshire Township in 1930 (excluding Willshire village & Wren):

Leonard Troutner, 49
Jacob Shell, 51
Oliver Painter, 47
Hoadley Dellinger, 42
Joseph Bowers, 67
James C Adams, 50
Jesse Ross, 55
Monroe Clouse, 61
Leroy August, 35
Fredrick G Schinnerer, 69
Arthur Store, 60
Paul Schumm, 41
James Banta, 73
Gust Brandt, 62
James W Haney, 59
Walter Almandinger, 30
Richard Almandinger, 31
Martin Stamm, 47
Leroy Putman, 39
Emma Hines, 59
John Hay, 51
Jesse McCrory, 51
Timothy Putman, 39
Edward Seaney/Sesney, 50
Wilber Reidenbach, 42
Henrietta Roehm, 50
John Scaer, 64
Theo C Hoffman, 46
Jennie Neiford, 70
Orley A Krugh, 26
Donald F Eichar, 39
Oscar Miller, 37
Charley F August, 63
Alfred Handwork, 31
“Schumm town”:
Ray Johns, 26
Henry M Schumm, 68
Richard Bienert [Rev], 45
Lincoln Cully, 64
Charley Krueckeberg, 53
Ramond L Stetler, 39
John W Harshman, 71
Wilson P Nye, 53
Junius Mattax, 24
Viola Tope, 63
Earnest Vanatta, 28
Orval Lenhart, 32
Curtis Tumbleson, 46
Arthur J Cully, 73
Christopher Kline, 50
Frank Bower, 48
John Riedle, 58
Noris J Sidle, 40
Herman Giessler, 42
Lewis Long, 28
Carey LaRue, 33
Adam Giessler, 54
John Schmidt, 72
William Gehres, 62
Lawrence Gehres, 34
Mary Jones, 88
William Black, 47
Rudolph Voltz, 85
Xanthus Walters, 44
Glenn Mathews, 28
Fredrich Myers, 48
Village of Glenmore:
Earnest Voltz, 40
Ray Neiferd, 49
Phoebe Giessler, 46
Floyd Kohn, 26
Louis Harman, 28
John Shook, 66
Katie Neiferd, 55
Joseph Kriescher, 36
Fred J Gehres, 58
Floyd Donovan, 23

Those who owned radios in Liberty Township, Mercer County (including Chattanooga) in 1930:

Russell Doner, 36
Antone Feipel/Feissel, 69
Matt Schritz, 82
Dan Stoltz, 66
Bill Florence, 34
John Kincaid, 54
Emmett Florence, 25
John Sudhoff, 55
Sam Dixon, 71
Andy Wyckel, 53
Adam Fisher, 52
Peter Strable, 60
Fred W Betzel, 38
John Deitsch, 54
JE Albrecht [Rev], 54 
AW Becher, 32
George Becker, 62
Raymond Becker, 32
Geo E Bollenbacher, 62
Samuel Bollenbacher, 57
Edward D Bollenbacher, 51
Henry Linn, 58
Peter Brehm, 77
John Gehm, 42
Alfred J Wahl, 37
Lewis Brehm, 42
George Weiman, 69
Lewis Wendel, 47
Albert Growth, 51
William H Maurer, 63
Walter Linn, 37
Ezra Laffin, 38
Steve Seibert, 45
OC Shiveley, 29
Grace Hager, 50
Daniel Davis, 71
Dorman Thatcher, 35
WH Roettger, 61
David Hone, 39
Chris Hone Jr, 24
RG Heffner, 43
HH Kuhn, 28
Carl Schroeder, 33
Walter E Heffner, 31
Ivan Johnson, 37
Louis P Wendel, 39

As for my family, neither my maternal nor paternal grandparents owned a radio in 1930. However, my great-grandparents, John & Elizabeth (Schinnerer) Scaer, in Willshire Township, owned a radio. Also, the family of Paul Linn, Liberty Township, my uncle by marriage, owned a radio. It is also interesting to see that both Rev. Bienert and Rev. Albrecht, the ministers of Zion Lutheran Churches in Chattanooga and in Schumm, owned a radio.


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    • Linda Duff on August 26, 2022 at 7:55 am
    • Reply

    Karen, I have a vague memory of an old fashioned radio in my grandparent’s, John & Icy Gehm, home. It wasn’t used anymore that I can remember. It did take up a lot of space! Again, the memory is vague. I was relieved to seen Grandpa’s name on the list so I know it is a memory & not a dream! Linda

    1. That is funny! How interesting that they owned a radio in 1930. They were surely in the minority. Thanks for writing!

    • Marian Burk Wood on August 26, 2022 at 3:15 pm
    • Reply

    What a fun topic! I’ll have to check my ancestors’ Census answers to see who owned a radio. TY for the idea.

    1. Thanks! I thought it was an interesting question, too. Thanks for writing.

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