Tombstone Tuesday–Catharina Schüler

Catherina Schuler, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

Catherina Schuler, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Catharina Schüler, located in Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Hier ruhet in Gott
Ehefrau von
Michael Schüler
Geborn 21 April 1810
3 Deceb 1838

Translation: Here rests in God, Catharina, wife of Michael Schüler, born 21 April 1810, died 3 December 1838.

Maria “Catharina” [also known as Katherine] was born 20 or 21 April 1810 in Ruppertshofen, Württemberg, the third child of Johann Georg and Anna Maria (Fisher) Schumm. Her tombstone actually has both dates on it. There is a plaque on the back of her tombstone that indicates she was born on the 20th of April while the inscription on the front shows her date of birth as the 21st. I believe her date of birth is accepted as the 20th, but I am not sure where the information for that date comes from.

Catharina immigrated to America with her father and four brothers in 1833. The Schumms lived in Holmes County, Ohio, for several years and Catharina married Michael Schüler there on 22 November 1833. [1] The rest of her Schumm family purchased land in Van Wert County and moved there soon after.  According to the records of Zion Schumm, the Schumms, and probably Michael and Catharina Schüler and their family, arrived in Van Wert County on 7 June 1838.

Catharina (Schumm) Schüler lived in Van Wert County only a few months before she died on 3 December 1838. She was the first person to be buried on the ground that would later become Schumm Cemetery.  A little less than eight years later her father was laid to rest next to her.

Catherina (Schumm) Schuler plaque. (2012 photo by Karen)

Catherina (Schumm) Schuler plaque. (2012 photo by Karen)

A metal plaque is mounted on the back of Catharina’s grave marker and is inscribed:

Born in Ruppertshofen Germany
April 20, 1810
Died December 3, 1838 the same
year the Schumms settled in
this area. She was buried in this plot on high ground in the forest
that later became Zion Lutheran
Cemetery, becoming the first person buried in this cemetery.

Michael and Catharina (Schumm) Schüler had the following children:

George (1834-1893)
Magdalena (1835-1916) married Johann Bienz
Rosina K. (1837-?)


[1] “Ohio, Marriages, 1800-1958,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 Nov 2013), Michael Scheuler and Catharine Schoone, 22 Nov 1833.


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  1. Looks like she was having a baby nearly every year and the next one was about due if the timing were to continue. How different the times! Such a tragic death now would seem reckless or improbable, yet from the history of our ancestors apparently all too common in the past. Life was hard in many ways back then, but imagine relocating to unimproved country where everything depended upon hard work for food, warmth and shelter. Relocating with three young children and probably another on the way. The onset of winter with the burden of collecting hay for the livestock, fuel for heat, and putting up food for the winter taking enormous energy, time and effort. Milk the cow twice every day, feed the horses to assure strong animals for travel and field work, collect the eggs, cook the meals, wash the clothes by hand, keep fuel in the fires, butcher your own meat, while caring for 3 little ones.

    1. I also wondered if she died of complications from a pregnancy. Unfortunately, Zion Schumm’s records don’t go back that far.

    • Joe A Smith on November 26, 2013 at 4:42 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Karen,,have a little problem on dates, Have come across dates on tomestones that don’t match offical records. How is a good way to handle this problem??

    1. Look for the record that would be the most reliable, the one recorded closest to the event, and the one given by a person who would have had the best knowledge (often firsthand knowledge) of the event. For example, an infant’s church birth/baptism record would be a reliable source of a birth date because it would have been recorded fairly soon after birth and the information probably came from the parents. That record would be considered more reliable then a tombstone inscription of the same person at age 80 because the informant would probably not have direct knowledge of the birth event. You have to consider the circumstances and who the informant was. And remember, there can be errors on any record. Sometimes the minister wrote down the wrong date. Sometimes the tombstone engraver chiseled the wrong date. Also look for and consider other records that might corroborate one record or the other and help you decide on a date. This is a common problem and you have to weigh all the information you have gathered.

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