Tombstone Tuesday-Charles & Clara (Schumm) Merkle

Charles & Clara (Schumm) Merkle, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. 2012 photo by Karen

This is the tombstone of Charles and Clara (Schumm) Merkle, located in row 5 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Jan. 8, 1869
Sept. 4, 1963

July 24, 1875
Jan. 14, 1936
PS. 37.5

Charles H. Merkle was born in Van Wert County, Ohio, on 8 January 1869, the son of William (1830-1911) and Elisabeth (Muntzinger) (1843-1903) Merkle. He sometimes went by the name of Carl. Charles’ parents were both born in Germany and they married in Germany in 1864. Their first child, Elisabeth, was born in Germany about 1865 and soon after, that same year, the family immigrated to America, with Van Wert County as their destination. Their next child, William, was born in Ohio about 1867 and Charles was born in 1869.

The William Merkle family in 1870, residing in Willshire Township, with a Leslie Post Office address:
William, 40, born in Baden; Elisabeth, 26, Baden; Elisabeth, 5, Baden; William, 3, Ohio; and Charles, 1, Ohio. [1]

The William Merkle family in 1880: William, 50; Elisabeth, 36; Elizabeth, 15; William, 13; Charles, 11; John, 9; and George, 7. [2]

The William Merkle family in 1900: William, 70; Elisabeth, 56; Charles, 31; John H, 29; George, 27; and Ernest T, 19. [3]

Charles Merkle married widow Clara (Schumm) Dietrich on 26 November 1908. They were married by Rev. H. Holle and William Merkle and Henry Schumm were witnesses to the marriage.

“Clara” Rosina Schumm was born in Willshire Township on 24 July 1875, the second of ten children born to “River Henry” (1844-1922) and Anna Rosina (Schinnerer) (1854-1890) Schumm. Anna Rosina was River Henry’s first wife. Henry’s second marriage was to Lena Geisler. The family lived east of Willshire, near the St. Marys River.   

Clara Schumm first married Ernst George Dietrich on 14 August 1898 and they had four children:
Rosina Marie Dietrich (1899-1987), married Walter Baker
Edna Magdelina Dietrich (1901-1986), married George Jacob Hofmann
Leah Juliana Dietrich (1902-1996), married Oscar Boenker; married Richard Merkle
Louise Wilhelmina Dietrich (1905-1992), married Ervin Zitzlaff Peters  

Clara’s husband Ernst Dietrich died of gall bladder disease on 20 July 1905 and the widow Clara married Charles Merkle in 1908.

The Charles Merkle family in 1910, residing in Willshire Township: Charles Merkle, 38; Clara Merkle, 34; Hugo Merkle, 6 months; and step-children Rosina Dietrich, 10; Edna Dietrich, 8; Leah Dietrich, 7; and Louisa Dietrich, 5. Charles Merkle was a farmer. [4]

The Charles Merkle family in 1920: Charles, 51; Clara, 44; Edna Dietrich, 18; Leah Dietrich, 17; Louisa Dietrich, 14; Hugo Merkle, 10; and Wilma Merkle, 4. [5]

Clara Rosina Elisabeth (Schumm) Dietrich Merkle died from heart problems in Willshire Township on 14 January 1936, aged 60 years, 5 months, and 20 days. She was buried on the 17th.  

In 1940 widower Charles Merkle’s daughter Velma and her husband Henry Etzler lived with Charles in Willshire Township. [6] Charles resided with the Etzler family in 1950, Henry Etzler listed as head of household in that enumeration. [7]

Charles Merkle died in Van Wert on 4 September 1963 and was buried on the 7th. Charles’ obituary:

Charles Merkle
Van Wert-Charles Merkle, 94, a retired farmer and life resident of Willshire Township, Van Wert County, died Wednesday in the Van Rue Geriatric Center.

Mr. Merkle, who died from a cerebral hemorrhage, had been seriously ill for the past 10 days.

He was born Jan. 8, 1869, the son of William and Elisabeth Merkle. On Nov. 26, 1908, he married to the former Mrs. Clara Dietrich. She died in 1936.

Mr. Merkle was a member of the Zion Lutheran Church in nearby Schumm.

Surviving are a daughter, Mrs. Henry (Velma) Etzler, of Willshire Township; four step-daughters, Mrs. Walter (Rosa) Baker and Mrs. Ervin (Louise) Peters, Route 1, Willshire, and Mrs. George (Edna) Hofmann, Mrs. Leah Merkle, Rt. 2, Ohio City; two brothers, George Ernest, both of Rt. 2, Ohio City; 17 grandchildren, and 28 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm, with Rev. Elmer W. Braun officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery.

Friends may call this evening at the Cowan and Son Funeral Home here. [8]

Charles and Clara (Schumm) Merkle had two children:
Hugo Merkle, (1909-1963), married Myrtle Butters
Velma Maria Merkle (1915-1999), married Henry Etzler

[1] 1870 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p.22, dwelling 148, family 149, William Merica [sic];, viewed 20 Feb 2023.

[2] 1800 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 154, p.455B, family 232, William Marcaly [sic];, viewed 20 Feb 2023.

[3] 1900 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 98, p.6, dwelling 115, family 119, William Merkle;, viewed 20 Feb 2023.

[4] 1910 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 114, p.6A, dwelling 113, family 114, Charles Merkle;, viewed 20 Feb 2023.

[5] 1920 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 146, p.2B, dwelling & family 40, Charles Merkle;, viewed 20 Feb 2023.

[6] 1940 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 81-28, p.5B, household 108, Chas Merckle [sic];, viewed 20 Feb 2023.

[7] 1950 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 81-40, sheet 71, line 29, Henry F. Etzler;, viewed 20 Feb 2023.

[8] Charles Merkle obituary, The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, 6 Sep 1963, p.4; digital image, viewed 20 Feb 2023.

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