September 5, 2016

Change of Pastors, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Hanover Settlement

My Elling great-great grandfather, Friedrich Elling, was one of the original members of the church at the Hanover Settlement in Napoleon Township, Henry County, Ohio.

Recently, while rolling through the newspaper microfilm, I found this article telling some of the history of when Rev. Louis Dammann left as pastor.  It's a little bit of church history, mixed with the story of Dammann's life, as well.

Defiance Democrat, December 14, 1916 -


At a meeting of the congregation of St. Paul's Lutheran church in the Hanover settlement, Wednesday morning, it was decided to accept the resignation of their longtime pastor, Rev. L. Dammann, and by a unanimous vote to extend a call to Rev. George Haas, pastor of Emanuel's Lutheran church in Napoleon.  Rev. Haas will no doubt accept the call, but will also remain with his Napoleon charge.

Rev. Dammann decided to tender his resignation to his congregation because of his advanced age.  He came to Napoleon from Monroe, Mich., some 35 years ago when called here by the Hanover church and upon his arrival founded the Emanuel's church and for many years acted as pastor for both churches.  About fifteen years ago, he resigned as pastor of Emanuel's to devote his entire attention to St. Paul's.  Rev.Wuebben filled the vacancy at that time.  During Rev. Dammann's pastorate, he has gained the love of his congregation who deeply regret the fact that he feels the necessity of retiring from active duty.

Rev. Dammann was born in a province of Hanover, Germany, started his studies prepartory to entering the ministry at Hermannsberg, Hanover, Germany.  Before he had completed his work and in his 30th year, came to America where he finished the study of theology and accepted a pastorate at Montray, Ohio.  During the next ten years, he served congregations at Liverpool and Amherst, Ohio, and at Monroe, Mich., and it was when he was at the last named city that he received the call form the Hanover church which he accepted and came to Napoleon, where he has since resided.   Napoleon Signal."

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Napoleon Township, Henry County, Ohio


Great-Grandfather, Fritz (Friedrich/Fred) Elling's Farm, 1880

An often overlooked resource for information on rural America are the agricultural censuses which enumerate all the crops, livestock, and production of each farm.  In 1880, the agricultural census of Freedom Township, Henry County, Ohio, gave us a picture of my great-parents' (Fred and Mary Rohrs Elling) farm as it was on June 5, 1880, although some of the questions refer back to 1879, as well.

(Not all of the children in the photograph were born by 1880 and the house shown is the one Fritz and Mary had later in Fulton County, but Fritz and Mary are front and center in the photo.)

Fred's land was in Section 29 of Freedom Township on the north side.  In the 1875 atlas, his neighbors were Lewis Bockleman, Christ Binger, H. Van Deyton and Mary and James Raddy.

In 1880, Fred owned 30 acres of land, tilled, and 10 acres of woodland in Freedom Township, with a value of $1600.  He valued his farm implements at $100 and his livestock at $300.  He had hired some farm help in 1879 for 26 weeks and paid total wages of $36.
For 1879, he figured the estimated value of all his farm production (sold or consumed) was $300.

The report on his livestock was based on what he had on June 1, 1879:
2 horses
4 milch cows and 3 other cattle
1 calf dropped and 1 sold living
3 sheep
2 sold living, 1 slaughtered and 1 died of disease
21 swine
30 poultry
Production from these animals included 400 pounds of butter made on the farm, 3 wool fleeces of 18 pounds, and 125 eggs.

The final tally on his crops for 1879 included:
16 acres of Indian corn with production of 400 bushels
2 acres of oats with production of 100 bushels
12 acres of wheat with production of 200 bushels
1/8 acre of sorghum for 9 gallons of molasses
1/4 acre of potatoes for 40 bushels and
2 acres of apples

I think the evidence shows that Fred and Mary were subsistence farmers, feeding their family from the farm, like so many others of the time period.  I would imagine a large garden was part of this scenario, too.  Hardworking, children of immigrants, scraping by and celebrating their freedom in Freedom Township!

Never Assume... John Spangler

Awhile back I wrote a post about Ludwig Spangler from Germany, but recently I came across a newspaper article about another Spangler, this one from Switzerland.  John Spangler lived in Defiance County, rather than Henry County, Ludwig's home.  
John Spangler
Photos from Public Tree on, John Spangler, Jr., 1836-1921

Defiance Democrat, September 24, 1891

"Meeting John Spangler, candidate for Infirmary Director, one day last week, upon inquiry we learned that he was born April 4th, 1836, at Maryishausen, Switzerland, county of Shaffanhausen.  In 1845, with his parents, he came to America, locating in Franklin township, Fulton county, Ohio, where he resided for ten years.  He then came to Defiance county and purchased the Isaac Braucher farm in Noble township, now owned by Henry Roehrs, and continued farming until 1864 when he went across the plains to California with a drove of horses.  He stayed in California two years and returned to Defiance, where, in partnership with Messrs. Greenler and Swartz, he engaged for one year in the flour, meat, and feed business in the building on the corner now occupied by the First National bank.  He then sold out his interest and purchased the Florida flouring mills which he conducted for nine years, then bought the Weidenhamer farm, in North Richland, where he has since resided.

From '45 to '64, he was engaged the entire time in farming and since '76 has devoted his time to that business as his large, well-tilled farm in North Richland shows abundant evidence.  Everywhere he is known as a straightforward man of sterling integrity and excellent business qualifications and will make one of the most thorough and painstaking officials which could have been selected.  This fact is conceded not only by Democrats generally, but also by many Republicans, who will give him their support."

Never assume, first, that the only good information on a subject is to be found in the obituary.  This particular piece offers much information for the researcher to pursue.  Secondly, never assume that since one Spangler was from Germany, they all must be.  These are obviously two very different families.

John Spangler & Isabelle Tuttle Spangler - headstone

Roland Edward Glanz - My Dear Uncle

        Roland Edward Glanz
June 12, 1922 - November 6, 2013

Roland (Ron) Edward Glanz, husband, dad, grandpa, great-grandpa, brother, uncle and great-uncle, carpenter, golfer, World War II veteran and POW, died on Wednesday, November 6, at 11:50 p.m.
He was at home with his family around him. We are not ready for him to be gone, but we are grateful for the time he was with us all.

Roland was born on June 12, 1922, to the late Leo and Gertrude (Kuhlman) Glanz, in rural Columbus Grove, Ohio.  He was baptized and confirmed at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Ottawa, Ohio.  He also attended grade school
at St. Peter and Paul.

Roland graduated from McClure High School in 1941.  He entered the U.S. Army during World War II on February 12, 1943.  He served with the 409th Company infantry - 103rd Division in France and Germany.  He was captured by the Germans on December 2, 1944, at Selestat, France, and was a Prisoner of War in Germany, Stalag 4B, until he was liberated on April 4, 1945, by General Patton's Third Army.  Roland received an Honorable Discharge from the U.S. Army in December 1945.

On February 1, 1948, Roland married Eleonore Elling at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Napoleon, Ohio.  She survives.

For a number of years, Roland was a foreman at General Mills in Toledo, Ohio.  In 1964, he established Glanz Homes, Inc.  Roland and his men built many homes in Ohio, Michigan, and Hawaii, where the family lived for 9 years.  He was a "taskmaster" when it came to his construction work, no shoddy workmanship.  However, he never asked him men to do something he himself would not do.

After retiring in 1988, Roland enjoyed woodworking, building furniture for his children and grandchildren.

In recent years, Roland and Eleonore enjoyed traveling and spending winters in Florida.

Surviving are sons and daughters, Gary (Diane), Redmond, WA; Ava (Chuck) Stanford, Scottsdale, AZ; Kevin, Napoleon, OH; Maria (Kenny) Judd, Vashon Island, WA; Julia, Graton, CA; Alan, East Lansing, MI.  Son Keith died in 1998 at age 43.  Also surviving are Erica (Erik) Kachmarsky; Thomas Glanz; Kristen (Alex) Starkovich; Julie (Scott) Sanders; William DeGroot; and Finn Judd.  Great-grandchildren are Michael Rance, Avery and Grace Kachmarsky, and Brody Sanders.  Also surviving is sister, June (Bob) Billmaier, Findlay, OH. Roland was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Marvin.

Roland was a life member of the Napoleon American Legion, and a member of St. Augustine Catholic Church, Napoleon, Ohio.  At St. Augustine, he was married and buried, and he enjoyed a long, rich journey in between.

His celebration of life mass will be on Veterans' Day, Monday, November 11, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Augustine Catholic Church,officiated by Father Dan Borgelt.
 (Burial- St. Augustine Cemetery, Napoleon, OH)
Uncle Ron at his 90th birthday celebration in 2012
 Rest In Peace

Amelia Spoering - A Strong Woman for Her Day

Last summer, I wrote a post about a newspaper clipping I found in the Van Wert Daily Bulletin dated December 16, 1920.  It involved Anna Spoering and a lawsuit against a runaway suitor, only the paper had the name was AMELIA Spoering, as I found out this week at the courthouse.  Amelia was my grandmother, Ida Spoering's, younger sister.

The newspaper article read as follows:
 "A breach of promise suit for $8,000 was filed in Common Pleas Court at Napoleon by Anna Spoering against Theodore Drewes.  The plaintiff asserts that Drewes promised to marry her in the last week of September, that she was willing and ready to enter into a marriage contract with him, that the wedding day had been decided upon and all necessary preparations made by the plaintiff."

 I requested the court papers from the Henry County Common Pleas court and was excited to look at them this week.

The journal entry stated that on or about May 25, 1920, Theodore Drewes promised to marry Amelia and they set the date for the last week in September, 1920.
So Amelia planned the wedding, but when the time came near, Theodore "wantonly neglected, failed and refused to marry the plaintiff."

Unfortunately, Theodore, being a persuasive fellow, seduced and "carnally knew the said plaintiff and got her with his child."  Amelia wanted $8000 in damages and signed her petition to the court on December 9, 1920.

So a summons was issued for Theodore in Henry County and Sheriff J. H. Spencer, after a diligent search, determined that Theodore had left the county and he could not ascertain his location.  So, the lawman "left the summons in a conspicuous place" at Theodore's home on December 20.  It was noted that Theodore left the county specifically to avoid the summons, so an affidavit was filed to place an attachment on his property, 60 acres of land worth $18,000 in Section 34 of Monroe Township.

That, I'm sure, did not make Theodore happy and the prospect that a notice telling of this case would be in the paper was also not acceptable to him, so he had his attorney, Mr. Donovan, file a motion to quash the publication of the notices.  Obviously, the judge was not inclined to do that since the defendant had skipped town, so the notices were placed in the paper for six consecutive weeks.  To have this situation made public must have been embarrassing for Amelia, too, but she needed some support for her unborn child and so she had the notices put in the Northwest-News. (Formal child support laws did not go into effect in the U.S. until 1950.)
On March 19, 1921, the case was heard in the court of Common Pleas.  A jury trial was waived, so a judge decided the outcome of the case.  At this point, the defendant's whereabouts was still not known, so only the plaintiff, Amelia, appeared at the trial.
The judge's decision :
"It is therefore considered by the court that the plaintiff, Amelia Spoering, recover from the defendant, Theodore Drewes, the said sum of $2500 and her costs herein expended."  That would have been $29.56 of court costs.

So she did not get all she asked for, but she did get something and, in 1921, she had a son to whom she gave the Spoering surname.

September 2, 2016

Aunt Kate's Story

Aunt Kate and Albert Elling

Kate and William (Dutch Bill) Tietje
As a child, I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated by Aunt Kate. Aunt Kate Spoering Tietje was the older sister of our grandmother Ida Elling...older by five years. Both sisters were married to our grandfather, Albert Elling. I remember Aunt Kate, his second wife, much better that my grandmother, just because I was so young when Grandma Elling died. Aunt Kate seemed a bit stern to me as a child and her thick German accent was sometimes difficult to understand. But she was generous with us and I'm sure a good companion to my grandfather.

Katharina Anna Spoering was born near Hamler, Ohio on 17 December 1885, the daughter of Hermann Heinrich and Katharina Maria Floke Spoering. Her parents immigrated from Germany with their three young daughters, Sophia - 3, Mary -4 and Annie - 9 months, arriving in New York on March 6, 1882. Later eight other children would be born in Ohio, with Kate being the fifth of the eleven children. Kate was baptized in Hope Lutheran Church on January 10, 1886 and confirmed in March 1899. Her connection with this church would last a lifetime to her funeral and burial.

In 1911, she married William Tietje, known locally as "Dutch Bill." Bill had come to America to avoid the draft in Germany, it was said, arriving here in 1909. In the 1910 census, he is found boarding with the Frank Nickels family of Richfield Township in Henry County. He was 26 years old and employed at farming. He married Kate guessed it...Hope Lutheran Church near Hamler. For twenty-five years, Kate and Bill engaged in farming near Holgate.

They had no biological children, but by the 1920 census, they had taken in a young seven year old boy named William (Wilhelm) Meyer. He is listed as a Boarder in the census, naturalized in 1913 which is probably when his parents immigrated. There were several Meyer families living near the Tietjes, but the reason for his staying with them is lost to history. They raised "Willie" as their own son and by the 1930 census in Pleasant Township, the boy is listed with them as William J. Tietje, adopted son, 17 years old. As the family story goes, Willie enrolled at the International Business College in Fort Wayne and there suffered an attack of appendictis. He returned home to convalesce and apparently, there were tensions in the family over something. When he recovered, he left the home and never contacted Bill and Kate again.

Dutch Bill died on January 16, 1954 and was buried in the cemetery at Hope Lutheran. On June 18, 1955, Kate married Albert Elling, a widower since August 1951 when Kate's sister, Ida, passed away. At the time of their marriage, Kate was 70 years old and Albert was 67. They lived in Hamler for several years and then moved to a house on Park Street in Napoleon. For the last few years of her life, Kate was virtually housebound and died in December 1968 at the age of 82 years.

Her funeral sermon (thankfully saved by Aunt Alma!) notes that "the departed sister...(was) an especially pleasant, devoted and dedicated worker for her Lord at Hope Church, at home and in the Ladies organization of the church." At the time of her death, she had 32 step-grandchildren, of which I was one, and 5 step- great-grandchildren.

Two of the oldest photos above were scanned from color copies, so the clarity is not the best, but if you enlarge by clicking on the photos, you will be amazed at the detail of Aunt Kate's dresses - especially her wedding gown. The photo with Grandpa Elling was taken on their wedding day, I believe, at their home in Hamler. I vaguely remember being there on that day - or maybe it's my imagination! Anyway, I would be very interested to know who is in the photo hanging on the wall behind Grandpa Elling.

Originally posted on December 5, 2008

O, Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

'Tis the season! I don't know what exactly triggered this memory, but I know some of my more "advanced in age" cousins will remember the Elling family Christmases at the American Legion in Napoleon. The image of Aunt Kate (and others who were able) singing "O Tannebaum" is so clear. In my child's mind, I always felt guilty for not singing along, but I could never get past the first four words!

I am amazed now at all the Christmas gifts Aunt Kate bought for everyone. I know somewhere deep in a box somewhere lies a white handkerchief with a tatted turquoise border and elsewhere is a nylon, lavender apron trimmed in lace, too delicate to really wear for cooking. I was never exactly sure of its purpose, hence I don't think it's ever been worn. Another year all the girls received little coin purses. I know my mom received a quilt from her one year. How did Aunt Kate accomplish this?

I can't talk about this family gathering without mentioning the card playing among the men with the German interspersed with English remarks, the circle of women who cooked and baked the best food ever...especially the German coffee cake, and the children who took awhile to warm up to each other, but then by the end of the evening, the running and sliding would begin.

I just really have fond memories of those days with our extended family.

(Originally published December 3, 2008)