Tombstone Tuesday–Magdalene and Henry Schumm

Henry & Magdalene Schumm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio

This is the tombstone of Magdalene and Henry Schumm, located in row 11 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:


Henry Schumm was known as “River Henry” to people in the Willshire area because his farm bordered the St. Marys River east of Willshire. Schumm researchers today still refer to him by that name. He was born in Van Wert County on 2 November 1844 to Ludwig and Barbara (Pflueger) Schumm and died in Van Wert County on 16 February 1922.

River Henry is my second great-granduncle and my great-granduncle. Our common ancestor is Henry’s father Louis Schumm (1817-1855), who is my second and third great-grandfather.

Anna Magdalene “Lena” Geisler and her twin sister Catharine Elisabeth were born in Van Wert County on 30 April 1868 to George and Rosina (Hoffman) Geisler. Magdalene died 2 March 1946 in Van Wert County and was Henry’s second wife. Henry and Magdalena had three children: Louis Fredrick (1892-1974); Herman Andrew (1893-1984); and Theodore Gottlieb (1898-1967). Their son Louis was a carpenter and with the help of Bill Baker built my parents’ home in 1957.

Henry’s lengthy obituary:

Pioneer Resident Called to Great Beyond
One century and six years ago, being in the year, 1817, there was born in Wuertenberg [sic], Germany, a son, who was christened Martin Louis Schumm. When 16 years of age his parents, as did a good many other inhabitants of that country at that time, decided to emigrate to America. Upon their arrival they settled in Holmes county, Ohio, where many of our earlier immigrants had settled. This was during the year, 1833. In 1839 he sought his better half in Anna Barbara, nee Pflueger, and about one year later moved to Van Wert county, and decided to locate in the woodland near where Schumm station is now located. Here he built a log hut on a 160 acre farm. Several years later he erected one of the first farm houses in this vicinity. Here were born to them nine children, of whom Henry, the subject of this mention, was the third child, and the oldest son. But amid their hardships and toils in the year 1855, the husband and father was summoned to the Great Beyond, leaving a widow with nine children to take care of themselves when tillable soil was yet very scarce.

The venerable Henry Schumm was born in Willshire township, Nov. 2, 1844. Here he grew to manhood under hard labor, helping his mother to support the family. Later, however, he decided to have a home which he might call his own, and on the 10th day of October, 1872, as married to Anna Rosina, daughter of the well-remembered Frederick Schinnerer. Nov. 9, of the same year, they moved into what was then considered a fairly good dwelling, a log hut, on a farm one mile east of Willshire, on the banks of the St. Marys river. This union was blessed with 10 children: John of Willshire, Ohio; Gustav, William, Mrs. Chas. Merkle and Mrs. E.T. Merkle of Willshire township; Mrs. Mart. Hofmann of Pleasant township; Mrs. Geo. Merkel of Liberty township; Joe of Toledo, Ohio; two sons, Edward and Carl, deceased.

However, God in his omnipotency, demanded that this union should be dissolved, and Jan. 15, 1890, called away the wife and mother of this family.

Jan. 29, 1891, he was united in marriage with Anna Magdalena, nee, Geisler. To this union were born four children, 3 sons and one daughter, the latter being taken away in infancy. The sons are: Louis of Willshire, Ohio; Hermann now in Newark, N.Y., and Theodore, yet at home.

Through industry and proper management Mr. Schumm progressed to the ownership of a 170-acre farm. Having continuously lived on this farm since 1872, a period of over 49 years, he cleared much of the farm and brought it under cultivation, and at the time of his demise left a farm in improvements surpassing many in its vicinity.

Having joined the Lutheran church at Schumm in his boyhood, he had continued a faithful member of that organization until death. In his last years he always delighted in conversing with some other pioneer about their earlier days, and could relate to the younger generation many an interesting story. Throughout his life he was rigidly honest, a credit to his pioneer ancestry.

Mr. Schumm enjoyed exceptionally good health throughout his life up to a few years ago when he began to complain with bladder trouble. This disease, however, was of no serious effect until a few months ago, when it became apparent that some relief must be sought. Jan 12 of this year, he underwent a minor surgical operation, performed by Dr. Rayl of Decatur, who expected to relieve him by making an insertion and drain the bladder by means of a tube, but this gave him little or no relief. Later his physician decided to undertake a more serious operation to determine the real cause of his ailment. This operation was performed Feb. 6, which disclosed the fact that cancer had so successfully undermined the foundation of his life that all hopes for any recovery had vanished. He died Thursday morning, Feb. 16, 1922, at 2 o’clock rather unexpectedly, as he had continued in the same condition for about a week, at the age of 77 years, three months and 14 days.

He leaves to mourn their loss, the sorrow stricken widow, eleven children, two brothers, one sister, one half-brother, one half-sister and one step-brother, thirty grandchildren and a number of other relatives and friends.

Gone, but not forgotten. Our loss is his gain.

Funeral services for the deceased were held Saturday afternoon at the Schumm church, conducted by the pastor, Rev. R. O Bienert. Interment was made in the Schumm cemetery.

Card of Thanks
Through these columns we desire to express our sincere thanks to all our neighbors and others who so kindly assisted us and for their sympathy during the hours of our bereavement.

Mrs. Lena Schumm and Children. [1]

“River Henry” Schumm (1844-1922).

Magdalene (Geisler) Schumm’s obituary:

Well-Known Local Woman Found Dead
Death, which is believed to have occurred Saturday claimed Mrs. Magdalena Schumm, 77, well-known lifelong resident of this community, who was found dead in the yard at her home at 1 o’clock Sunday afternoon. Death had occurred some 12 to 16 hours prior to the finding of the body, according to the County Coroner Dr. E. H. Alspaugh. He gave myocarditis as the cause of death

It was thought that the deceased had gone out to the yard for coal when she was stricken with the heart attack. The body lay from view between the coal pile and a building.

She was born in Willshire township April 30, 1868, the daughter of George and Rosina Hoffman Geisler. She was a member of the Zion Lutheran church at Schumm.

Her husband, Henry Schumm, died in 1922.

Surviving are three sons, Louis F. and Theodore G. Schumm, both of Willshire, and Herman A. Schumm of Port Gibson, N.Y.; four stepsons, John M. and William J. Schumm, both of Willshire; Gustave J. Schumm of Van Wert, and Joe H. Schumm of Kansas, O.; two stepdaughters, Mrs. Martin Hoffman and Mrs. E.T. Merkle, both of Ohio City; 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. One daughter, four stepchildren, two sisters and a half-brother are deceased.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the home and at 2:30 o’clock at the Zion Lutheran church at Schumm, with the Rev. Alfred Moeller officiating. Burial was in the church cemetery. The body was removed from the Zwick funeral home to the Louis F. Schumm residence in Willshire Monday afternoon. [2]

Henry & Magdalene (Geisler) Schumm.

[1] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 23 February 1922, p.1.
The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 7 March 1946, p.1.




    • Carol Piper on November 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm
    • Reply

    Karen, thank you for posting this. It brought tears to my eyes, as these are my great-grandparents. As I was reading Henry’s obit, I was thinking that I should send you Magdalena’s, but when I scrolled down, there it was! I have never seen the single pic of River Henry before. It was so nice meeting you this summer at the reunion. I know my brother kept you quite busy scanning all his pics there. I still look forward to reading your blog each Tuesday. I wish I could get my parents hooked up to the internet, because my Dad would soak this stuff up. Keep up the good, no, GREAT work. Have a happy Thanksgiving!


    1. Thank you! Some of those old obituaries are wonderful. Henry’s obituary was quite a memorial tribute to him. I think your brother found Henry on that large photo he brought to the reunion, but I’m not sure which he thought was Henry. I believe a bearded man on the left side of the photo. You and your family have a nice Thanksgiving, too.

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