Tombstone Tuesday–John F. (Bahn) Trisel

John F, adopted son of Henry Trisel, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

John F, adopted son of Henry Trisel, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of John F., the adopted son of Henry Trisel, located in row 3 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

John F.
Adopted Son of
Henry Trisel
Sept. 9, 1876
11 ys.  4 ms.

Who was this young man? There is no death or burial record for John F. Trisel in Zion Chatt’s records.

Zion Chatt’s records give a little information about the Trisel family who adopted him. Henry and Elizabeth Trisel and some of their children attended Zion Lutheran in Chattanooga at one time.

Some Trisel burials are recorded at Zion Chatt but they are not all buried in Zion’s cemetery. Henry Trisel, his wife Elizabeth (Feldmann), their sons Jacob August and Otto F., as well as Otto’s wife Dellie M. are all buried at East Bethel Cemetery, about two miles down the road from the farm the Trisels once owned and lived on.

The Trisels mentioned in the church records:
Elizabeth Barbara Trisel, daughter, born 16 May 1874, baptized at Zion Chatt on 7 June 1874
Jacob August Trisel, son, died 24 September 1888
Mrs. Elizabeth Trisel, nee Feldmann, died 2 May 1917

Another church record entry indicates that Heinrich “Tresser” transferred from the Roman Catholic Church on 19 May 1872. This may be the same person although the spelling is off. The records also indicate that his wife Elizabeth’s maiden name was Feldmann.

Henry Trisel and his wife Elizabeth were both German immigrants. Some accounts indicate that they married [1865] and lived in Hamilton County, Ohio, before moving to Mercer County. In Mercer County Henry purchased 80 acres of land in Section 29 of Blackcreek Township, a little over a mile northeast of Chatt. His farm was located on what is now route 707, about ½ mile east of route 49, on the north side of the road. The name was spelled Treusal in the 1888 Mercer County plat map.

But who was John F., the adopted son of Henry Trisel?

There is a burial entry in Zion Chatt’s records of a young man and that record nearly matches this tombstone inscription. The death and burial entry is for Johann Friedrich Bahm, who died 19 September 1876 at the age of 11 years, 5 months, and 9 days. That is all that was written.

The information in the church records does not match the tombstone inscription exactly, but it is very close.

Is it just a coincidence? Or were these two young men one and the same? Was this adopted boy John F. Bahm?

Also interesting is the name written on the bottom of Henry Trisel’s Civil War Pension index card–John Bahn. Who was John Bahn and why is his name on the bottom of the card? [1]

Henry Trisel Civil War Pension

Henry Trisel Civil War Pension

Bahm? Bahn? The names are very close.

I keep digging.

Eliza Feldman married Johann Bahn on 24 July 1864 in Greenup, Kentucky, [2] which would have been about 10 months before the birth of John F., the adopted son.

The Civil War was in progress. There were several John Bahns in the Civil War and I looked at the one from Ohio. He enlisted as a private in Company H, 183rd Ohio Infantry on 26 September 1864. He was a POW and mustered out on 27 April 1865 and was on the Steamer Sultana. He did not survive the war. [3] How tragic to survive the Civil War and a POW camp, but in the end, on the way home, to perish on the Sultana.

It appears that today’s subject was the biological son of Civil War veteran John Bahn, but I am not absolutely one hundred percent sure. It all seems to fit together. Elizabeth Feldman married John Bahn. John went off to war and Elizabeth was pregnant. John was killed on the Sultana about a month before their son John was born. Elizabeth married Henry Trisel in 1865 and Henry adopted John. The son John died in Mercer County and Zion Chatt’s records give his surname [birth name] as John F. Bahm. His tombstone shows his name as John F., the adopted son of Henry Trisel.

As is often the case, more research is needed.


[1] Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934, card for Henry Trisel, Ohio; database on-line, ( : Accessed 28 Mar 2016); from NARA microfilm T288_479.

[2] Kentucky Marriages, 1851-1900, compiled by Jordan Dodd; database on-line, ( : accessed 28 Mar 2016.

[3] U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865, Historical Data Systems, comp; database on-line, ( : accessed 28 Mar 2016).


    • Andy Gappa on March 30, 2016 at 12:08 pm
    • Reply

    I think you solved this mystery. You may never find the smoking gun you’re looking for and this may be as clear as it gets. Good job!!!

    • Andy Gappa on March 30, 2016 at 12:14 pm
    • Reply

    Is there a Civil War Pension Card for John Bahn? Is Eliza Trisel listed as the beneficiary? If not, maybe that’s why Bahn is listed on Trisel’s card–Eliza was collecting 2 pensions for Henry and John.

    1. I have not had the time to go any further with this research but I was sure excited to find what I did. What a story! It would be interesting to look into John Bahn’s Civil War information and find out where he was imprisoned. I believe there were quite a number from Andersonville on the Sultana. I don’t know if a widow could draw 2 pensions. That is something to look into. I will keep this one on the back burner and try to do more research when I have the time. Such interesting stories of those buried in our cemetery!

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