May 8, 2020

Johann Hinrich Spoering

Interior of German 18th century home

As was discussed in the previous post, our ancestor, Johann Hinrich Spoering, (1759-1811), an oldest son, inherited Farm 5, Stedebergen.

Johann, born on Farm 5, Stedebergen, on October 10, 1759, was baptized on October 13 at St. Andreas Lutheran Church, Verden. 

He later married Anne
Lucie Burdorf, 
the daughter of Herman
Heinrich and Anne Mette
(Clason) Burdorf.  Anne was from the village of Geestefeld, which was about 2.5 km. south of Stedebergen. Anne and Johann Hinrich married on October 29, 1784, again at St. Andreas. Anne, born on February 28, 1766, was about 7 years younger than her husband. 

A house, in those days, would have the horse bays and the barn at one end and the living quarters at the other end.  A Low German timbered house is shown here.  Perhaps their home was more humble, we do not know.

We are aware of 8 children born to Johann Hinrich and Anne Burdorf Spoering: 

The oldest was named after his father - Johann Hinrich, born February 27, 1786, on Farm 5.  This son married Catherine Margaretha Rebecke Schwarze.  As the oldest, he was the inheritor of the farm after the death of his father in 1791.  
This son and wife had three daughters, and it was the oldest daughter (Marie Lucie Catherine Spoering)  who  inherited the farm  after her father died.  She married Hermann Wendte, but when she died young, at 27, her younger sister, Anna Dorothea Spoering, inherited and then married Mr. Wendte, her brother-in-law.  
Although a woman could inherit a farm, under no circumstances was she allowed to manage the farm. So there was often pressure to marry or the daughter could hire someone as an interim manager until she found someone to marry or a son was old enough to do the job. According to my fellow researcher, Lydia, "It was considered unseemly in every possible way for a woman to run a farm on her own, and why you never see a single woman running one of our north German farms."
So, again, a guess would be that the second marriage of Mr. Wendte and his first wife's sister, Anna Dorothea, was one of convenience rather than romance.

The other seven children and siblings of the inheritor were: Johann Heinrich Friedrich (1788-1838), Herman Wilhelm (1790-1850), Ilse Mette (1793 - 1849), Marie Gesche Adelheit (1795-1796), Jacob Hinrich Diedrich (1798-1849), Jacob Wilhelm (1803 - ?), and my direct relative, the youngest son, Jacob Friedrich, discussed in a previous blog.

May 1, 2020

Our German Origins in Stedebergen

Please welcome our guest blogger, Lydia.
Lydia Helen Vollmer
Lydia found me via the internet and soon we 
discovered that we are very compatible research
partners.  She is very knowledgeable about the 
German line of Spoerings and Germany, in general, and I had been researching
my immigrant Spoering great-grandfather, Heinrich, who came to America.
So by combining our resources, I think we have
a very good "picture" of our line of Spoerings.
(Actually, she has two lines - a Spoering married
a Spoering!) 

Lydia will discuss the Spoering beginnings in Germany as far back as records and known history allow.

Lydia -

 "Thanks to incredible research by Dianne and other Spoering descendants, we know a great deal about "the life and times in America" of Hermann Heinrich "Henry" Spoering (1845 - 1917) and his family following their arrival in Ohio in 1882 - which can seem like ancient history to most of us in our comparatively young nation.  But Henry's roots in Germany actually reach back for literally centuries to a tiny village called Stedebergen (pop. 278), incorporated within the modern township of Doerverden in the district (Kreis) of Verden in the Federal State of Lower Saxony.

Archaeological evidence has revealed that the area around Stedebergen had been settled for several millennia B.C. by Celts and, later, by various Germanic tribes, including the Saxons.  Larger villages in the immediate area began appearing by name in medieval documents by around the 1100s A.D., though the first mention of Stedebergen seems to date from 1320.  
Verden (Germany) map -
Stedebergen is just south of Verden about four miles.

The precise origin and meaning of the village name remains unknown, unfortunately, but it seems to always have been an extremely small village made up of 10-20 clustered farmsteads, each consisting of a farm house, barns, and outbuildings, with each farm's fields lying at varying distances from the village. 

The landscape around Stedebergen and of much of Lower Saxony is low-lying and flat, with considerable marshy areas that required draining before being arable, and the soil is generally sandy.  The region has long been primarily agricultural until fairly recently, with little industrialization, and the main crops were wheat, rye, oats, potatoes, and sugar beets.  Dairy farming was widespread, as well as the raising of pigs and sheep; beekeeping was also common.  Horse breeding was also extensively practiced, but that is a story for another blog!

Photo of Farm Nr. 1, Stedebergen.  The farms all look similar; No. 5 farm photo was not available.  The Spoerings were directly connected to Farm 5, but also to Farm 1 through Anna Sophia Ilsa Burdoff, an inheritor of that farm.


First, a brief word about the northern German farmer's "mindset" regarding his farm.  The farm represented a family's entire means of existence; thus, the acquisition, preservation, and bequeathing of a family farm INTACT and WITHIN the immediate family was always the primary goal of every generation of northern German farmers, including the Spoerings, as we will see. 

 Farm inheritance was governed by the rule of primogeniture, i.e. inheritance by the eldest son when possible, and marriages were arranged with an eye toward preservation and even expansion of the family farm holdings.  It seems highly likely that love played little to no role in the choice of marriage partners, since rule number one was to preserve the family farm.  Finally, a farmer's daughters and younger sons would often receive a  cash settlement or a small plot of land as recompense for the eldest son's inheritance of the entire farm, and they could actually receive these settlements before the father died.  This settlement sometimes may have financed the emigration of younger siblings, but this is also an issue for another blog!

 And now back to the story of the Spoering family in Stedebergen.  A researcher named Otto Voight documented  the ownership succession of each of Stedebergens c. 20 farms over centuries.  According to Voight,in 1980, the first documented evidence of Spoerings in Stedebergen's farms appeared in a document loosely translated as "Livestock Valuation Register of the Verden Government Office" dated 1600.

In this document appeared one Johann Sporingk, who owns 10 horses, 20 cows, 15 pigs, 24 sheep, and 89 beehives worth 9 Talers 6 Shillings (making him the biggest farmer in town, incidentally), and one Herman Sporing, who owns 5 horses, 12 cows and 8 pigs worth 3 Talers 5 Shillings.  It's a relatively safe bet that one of these men was an ancestor of Dianne's and mine, but no genealogical records have turned up that would prove this supposition. Voight also traced the owners of Farm Nr 5 - the farm which the common ancestor Dianne and I share owned at one point and remained in the Spoering hands for another 100 years after our lines diverged.

So the inheritors were:
Diedrich Spoering (1613-1681)
Johann Spoering (1656-1701)
Johann Spoering (1687 - 1752)
Hinrich Johann Spoering (1731-1791)
Johann Hinrich Spoering (1759 - 1811)

Yes, they were following rule number one very well and keeping Farm Nr. 5 in the family.  It is this Johann Hinrich Spoering who is my 4th great-grandfather and Dianne's 3rd great-grandfather and after whom the lines split between the Spoerings who remained in Germany and the line which ultimately came to Ohio.

Johann Hinrich and his wife, Lucie Burdoff (1821-?) had 8 children on Farm Nr. 5.  The eldest also named Johann Hinrich (1786-1834), inherited Farm Nr. 5, and all of his descendants remained in Stedebergen or the surrounding area.  Their youngest child was Jacob Friedrich (1810-1860), and because he did not inherit the farm, married Catharina Margaretha Norden (1821 - ?) of Hollehrden (now Lehrden), possibly taking over a farm she had inherited there.  Their eldest son, Johann Friedrich Spoering (1842-1920) predictably inherited this farm in Hollehrden, and his younger brother, Hermann Heinrich (Henry) Spoering, Dianne's 2nd great-grandfather, makes the decision to emigrate to Ohio in 1882 with his family.  We can only speculate why, though the opportunity to acquire a farm of his own in America might have been a compelling factor.

 And so the centuries-long story of the Spoerings from Stedebergen, both the ones who stayed and the one who left, comes to an end.  But there is still much to investigate and uncover, so the quest is likely to go on for quite awhile.  In the meantime, I hope you found this extremely brief glimpse into the life and times of Stedebergen of some interest or value."


April 25, 2020

Jacob Friedrich Spoering, Back to Germany

St. Andreas, Verden
*Hermann Heinrich "Henry" Spoering, his wife, and several children left Germany to emigrate to America in 1882, leaving several siblings behind. His father was Jacob Friedrich Spoering, who died before Henry left Germany.  

Jacob Friedrich Spoering was born on Farm 5, Stedebergen, Verden, Lower Saxony, Germany on July 18, 1810, and was baptized at Saint Andreas Church (Lutheran) on July 21, 1810.

St. Johannes, Visselhoevede

 He married Catharina Margareta Norden, daughter of Johann Juergen and Anna Margareta (Bremer) Spoering on December 2, 1841, in Visselhovede, Germany. Jacob was about 31 at this time and Catharina, about ten years younger, born January 15, 1821, in Hollehrden.  The couple married in Visselhovede at the St. Johanniskirche (the same church some of the Ellings attended).

This is the marriage document for Jacob F. Spoering,  son of Johann Spoering, family cottager in Stedebergen and Catharina Margaretha Norden, daughter of Johann Juergen Norden, householder in Hollehrden.

Catharina was born in Hollehrden (now Lehrden), Rotenberg, Wumme, Lower Saxony.  At some point, Jacob and Catharina moved from the Stedebergen Farm 5  to Hollehrden before their first child, Johann Friedrich Spoering was born on October 15, 1842.  Since Jacob F. was the youngest son, he may have moved to the Norden farm of his wife, perhaps having a cash settlement from his father because he did not inherit Farm 5 Stedebergen and/or a dowry/farm from his wife's family, the Nordens

So Herman Heinrich was the second son, born on January 16, 1845, and an only daughter, Ilse Catharina Maria, came on November 16, 1847.  Last, the youngest child was Hermann Diedrich, born on June 24, 1850.

Stellichte (home of the Elling ancestors before immigrating) is just east of Lehrden (Hollehrden).  Stedebergen, a very small village is just south of Lehrden, Rotenberg, Wumme, Lower Saxony, Germany. It does not show up on this map.
The social circle of the people of this time was very small, as the only way to travel was by horse, horse and cart, or walking. For instance, the distance between Lehrden and Stellichte (Ellings) is 3.2 km. (The Spoerings and the Ellings lived quite close together, but may or may not have known each other.)  Perhaps about a 10 mile radius would be the limit for traveling from home.

The death date for Jacob Friedrich is thought to be July 14, 1860 in Hollehrden.  A death record for Catharina could not be found.
These are my great-great grandparents.

April 20, 2020

George Friedrich Spoering

George Friedrich Spoering,born August 14, 1899. was the last child of Henry and Katharina Floke.   George's father was 54 when he was born, and his mother was 45. At the age of 18, his father died and he was left to tend the farm and take care of his mother.

In an earlier blog, George's confirmation was discussed and his beautiful certificate was shown.

 No marriage certificate has been located yet, but sometime probably before February, 1934, George was married to Katherine Marks, daughter of William Marks and Luella Young.  Katherine was born on May 2, 1919, making her underage when the couple married.  It is probable that her parents had to give permission for her to marry the 35 year old George.

Their children included: Franklin Henry Spoering (1934), Eldor W. Spoering (1939), George Frederick Spoering, Jr. (1942 - 1943), and Hildegarde "Cookie" Spoering (1944).  

George and Katherine ultimately divorced and she later married Owen Vallance.
George did not remarry.

George died on May 4, 1962, at Heller Memorial Hospital in Napoleon, Ohio. His obituary from a newspaper, probably the Northwest-Signal.

"GEORGE F. SPOERING    Napoleon - George F.Spoering, 64, a retired carpenter and a native of Henry County, died Monday at 10:56 a.m. in Heller Memorial Hospital.  He was born near Malinta on August 14, 1899, a son of Henry and Maria (Floche) Spoering.
Surviving are two sons, Franklin, Ida, Mich. and Eldor, Erie, Mich.; a daughter, Mrs. Hildegarde Turner, Temperance, Mich.; two sisters, Mrs. Kate Elling, Napoleon, and Mrs. Emilie Slagle, Traverse City, Mich.; and five grandchildren.
Friends may call at Wesche funeral home where services will be conducted Thursday at 2 p.m. by the Rev. Waldo Egbert, pastor of Emanuel Lutheran Church.  Burial will be in Forest Hill Cemetery."

Katherine Marks Spoering Vallance obituary:

Katherine L. Vallance, age 91, a longtime resident of Temperance, Michigan and formerly of Erie and Ida, Michigan areas, passed away Monday, March 14, 2011, at Foundation Park Care Center, Toledo.
She was born May 2, 1919 to William and Luella (Young) Marks in Napoleon, Ohio.  Katherine was employed with Libbey Glass for more than 20 years.  She was an avid crafter, working with wood and decoupage, showing at many craft shows throughout the Toledo area.
Katherine was preceded in death by her husband, Owen Vallance; infant son, George Spoering, Jr. and son, Eldor Spoering.  Also preceding her in death was her brother, Richard Marks, son-in-law, Dale Turner and daughter-in-law, Hazel Spoering.
She is survived by her loving children, Franklin Spoering, Hildegarde "Cookie" Turner, and daughter-in-law, Charlotte Spoering; 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great-grandchildren.
The family will receive guests Wednesday from 2-8:00 p.m. at Newcomer Funeral Home, 4150 Laskey Rd....Funeral services will begin Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in the funeral home.  Interment will follow at Bedford Cemetery.  Those wishing to make a contribution are asked to consider Hospice of Northwest Ohio.
The Blade, March 15, 2011

Some of the children:

Franklin Henry Spoering, 87 years, of Toledo, formerly of Ida, died Thursday, July 28, 2016, in Ebeid Hospice, Sylvania.  Friends may call at the Capaul Funeral Home, Ida, Monday, August 1, 2016 from 12-8 p.m.  There will be a service for Franklin on Tuesday, August 2, 2016, at 11 a.m. at the Capaul Funeral Home, Ida.  Pastor Greg of Metro City Church, Taylor, will officiate.  Entombment will take place at Roselawn Memorial Park, La Salle.
Born February 22, 1934, in Napoleon, Ohio, Franklin was the son of George and Katherine (Marks) Spoering.  He was a Ida high school graduate.  He married Hazel Reid on July 18, 1953, in Erie, MI.  She died March 21, 1991.  
Franklin was a millwright, working for Dundee Cement for over 30 years and Cabelas in Dundee for over 10 years, retiring in 2014.  He was a member of Cement Lyme Gypson in Dundee and Monroe Rifle and Pistol club.  He was a jack of all trades who loved to wood carve.
Surviving are a son, Lonathan (Lonnie)(Gayle); a daughter, Frankie (Joe) Gulch; 4 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, a brother, Eldor Spoering and a sister, Cookie Turner.
Memorial contributions can be made to: American Diabetes Assoc."

Cookie Turner, age 70, of Lambertvlle, MI, passed away peacefully Monday, December 1, 2014, at Flower Hospital, surrounded by loving family.  
She was born on January 21, 1944, to George and Katherine Spoering. 
Cookie worked at Foodtown for several years before retiring.
She enjoyed crafts, especially making jewelry, painting and working with polymer clay.  Cookie loved the holidays and cooking food for family and friends.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Dale Turner, and brother, Eldor Spoering.
Cookie is survived by loving children, Tammy (Kane) Zhang, Karen (Frank) Dyrkov, Brian Turner and Shaun Turner, and brother, Frank Spoering.
There will be no visitation or services for Cookie per her wishes.  Those wishing to make memorial contributions are asked to consider Hospice of Northwest Ohio."

April 16, 2020

The Circle of Life Around Amelia

The Findlay Republican-Courier, March 16, 1965, carried the obituary of Theodore Drewes, the intended husband of Amelia when young and the father of Alvin.  
It depicted a lonely life. 

Alvin Spoering was born January 21, 1921, in Henry County.  His obituary was located on the site for the funeral home that served the family.  He died in Traverse City, Michigan on June 13, 2010.

Alvin H. "Al" Spoering, C.P.A., passed away peacefully Sunday, June 13, 2010, in the presene of family members at Munson Medical Center, at the age of 89.  Al was born Jan. 21, 1921, in Napoleon, Ohio.  After high school, Al moved with his family from Napoleon to Traverse City.  There he met Elinore Lyle; they were married in 1942.

Al served honorably in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II.  After the war, he attended Michigan State University where he received a degree in accounting.  Later, Al earned certification as a Certified Public Accountant.
He worked in the pipeline industry in Michigan and Ohio for over 20 years before retiring as the Treasurer of Mid-America/Welded Construction in 1983.

In retirement, Al and Elinore moved back to Traverse City.  He was an avid golfer and achieved two holes in one.  He also enjoyed playing bridge, walking through Old Mission Peninsula, and working in his beautiful backyard gardens.  For the last year of his life, Al  was a resident of Orchard Creek Assisted Living. 

Al is survived by  his wife, Elinore of Traverse City, sons, Charlie (Kathy) of Cadillac, John (Hilda) of Holland, Mich., and Tom (Jane Anne) of Calgary, Canada.  He leaves six grandchildren..., and six great-grandchildren.In addition, Al is survived by a step-brother, Julian Schlagel of Williamsburg; a half-brother, LeRoy Schlagel of Traverse City, and numerous nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by a step-brother, Jerry Schlagel.

His wife, Elinore Charlote (Lyle) Spoering passed away peacefully on July 6, 2019 at the age of 94.  She and Alvin were married for 68 years.  In 2016, she moved into assisted living.  She was also a golfer and a bridge player, as well as a traveler.  She loved her Boston Terriers.  

As mentioned in the previous blog, Amelia cared for two stepsons, Julian and Jerry Schlagel.  Jerry Jacob Schlagel, born on November 21, 1925, married Elizabeth Jane Rokes in 1948. Julian Henry, born October 15, 1923, married Loree Stevens on July 31, 1948.  

An obituary could not be found for Jerry at this time, but Julian's appeared in the Traverse City Record-Eagle on July 19, 2012.

A side note on the mother of Julian and Jerry - Christine Hogrefe Schlagel Onyon:
Her obituary:  "Napoleon - Mrs. Christine Onyon, 60, 332 Front St., died Sunday in her home of an apparent heart attack.  A lifelong area resident, she was born in Henry County to Henry and Minnie (Marksch) Hogrefe and married Clifford Onyon.  He died in 1948.  She had been employed as a domestic for a number of years.
Surviving are two sons, Eugene Onyon, Napoleon, and Julian Schlagel, Traverse City, Mich.; a brother, Henry Hogrefe, Napoleon, and a sister, Miss Doris Hogrefe, Los Angeles, Calif....Burial will be in Forest Home Cemetery.

Amelia and Henry's son, LeRoy
served in the military, as did all of his

 We will go down a path away from the family now to reveal a story concerning Henry Schlagel's first wife, Hulda Kaiser Spoering, and her second husband.  Henry and Hulda had no children and divorced rather quickly.  The divorce was final on April 19, 1921, and on May 4, 1921, Hulda married Arthur L. Scott who was 17 years her senior.  Arthur had also been married once before, although he did not mention that on the marriage registration.  They were soon divorced, and Arthur would go on to marry three more times, all short-lived relationships...five wives in total.  Hulda would marry once more to William Hazen and they lived in Indiana, where she died in 1986.  She was buried in Wauseon Cemetery.

But the story here lies with Arthur L. Scott who called himself an interior decorator on the censuses, but he was also an inventor and all around entrepreneur.  The invention that made the papers in Detroit involved a water walking suit.  Once, while working on a cruise ship, he noticed that some birds seemed to be able to walk on the water.  He reasoned that man should have the ability to do that in case of an accident on the water. ( Arthur could not swim himself.)   He came up with a suit that he felt would keep him above water.  It was equipped with a flashlight in the shoulder and various pockets for food and water.  

On July 4, 1941, he tested his invention on the Detroit River.  He promised that the suit would not leak any water and that he would be perfectly dry when he finished his walk to Belle Isle.  The press was invited, of course.

Was he successful?  

Read on...

Arthur died soon after this experiment, on November 20, 1947.  The Traverse City Record-Eagle reported:

"Arthur L. Scott died this morning at the Boardman Valley Hospital.  He was 61 years old. Mr. Scott was born at Marion, January 18, 1883, and for the past two years has resided at 853 East Eighth Street.  He served in World War I with Detachment of Patients in General Hospital No. 43 and, after his discharge from the army, made his home in Detroit.
Mr. Scott was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Detroit.  The body was taken to the Sampson Funeral Home where services will be held Saturday afternoon at two thirty.  Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery."

No family?
Sometimes a story just demands telling.  Excuse my digression.

Ida Anna Emilia Spoering

Ida Anna Emelia, known as Amelia/Emelia, born on January 19, 1897, was the youngest daughter of Henry and Catherine (Floke) Spoering.  As a child, Amelia lived first in Monroe Township and then Richfield Township, Henry County.  

In the 1920 census, she lived with her widowed mother, 64, and her younger brother, George, 20, a farmer.  Mela, as the family called Amelia, was 22 and single.

In a previous post, her relationship with Theodore Drewes was discussed and the birth of her son, Alvin, in 1921.

Her mother died in 1925, so it may have been that Amelia and her son, Alvin, stayed with her younger brother, George, on the farm until May 28, 1929, when she married Henry Jacob Schlagel, son of Jacob and Marie Elisabeth (Mueller/Miller) Schlagel.  The Schlagels were immigrants from Gololobowka, Russia, and German was their language. Gololobowka (Doendorf) was a German settlement created when the Russians opened up land in Russia for settlement by Germans. (Read about the Volga Germans here.)

 Their marriage certificate indicated that Henry had been married once before, but in truth, it may have been twice before.  A marriage record from September 15, 1919, proved a marriage between Henry and Hulda Kaiser in Wauseon, Ohio.

This was a short-lived marriage that ended in divorce on April 19, 1921. Hulda filed on November 5, 1920, accusing Henry of extreme cruelty.  In the 1920 census, Henry Schlagel, married, was living with a couple in their apartment in Detroit.  He worked as a finisher in an auto tire place. So they were separated at that time; they had no children.

On January 11, 1923, in Napoleon, Ohio, Henry J. Schlagel, 26, married the 18 year old Christine Hogrefe, daughter of Henry and Minnie (Marks/Marksch) Hogrefe.

Julian Schlagel

Christine and Henry had two sons, Julian Henry, born October 15, 1923, and Jerry Jacob, born November 21, 1925.  Sometime between Jerry's birth and 1930, the couple divorced.  Christine went on to marry Clifford W. Onyon on October 18, 1930.  Earlier that year, the 1930 census showed Christine Schlagel living in Napoleon on Leonard Street, in a rented house, with her two sons, and Clifford Onyon, 34, a lodger who was a hoop cutter in the hoop factory.
Jerry Schlagel

In 1930, Henry and Amelia (married in 1929) lived at 403 East Main Street, Napoleon.  He worked at a furniture store. They had only Amelia's son, Alvin Spoering, 9, at home with them.

 (Cousins, do you recognize the 403 East Main address?  That was where Grandparents Albert and Ida Elling lived when I was very small. Did Amelia sell the home to them when they moved to Michigan?)

Henry and Amelia moved to 518 Fifth Street, Traverse City, Michigan, after 1935. Henry Schlagel, Head, 44, was enumerated there in the 1940 census.  He worked in a hardware store for a salary of $1080 yearly.  
Amelia and Henry had a son, Leroy David on Sepember 12, 1934, so he was counted there along with his step-brothers, Julian, 16, and Jerry, 14.  Alvin could not be found on a search of the census.  He would have been about 19 at the time and probably had moved out.

Amelia (L) and Lydia Spoering Loudon  (photo in Jason Snow collection)

Henry Schlagel died in Traverse City on January 12, 1985, at the age of 88.  His son, Jerry Jacob, preceded him in death when 39 on May 29, 1965.

Both were buried at 
Memorial Gardens Cemetery
in Traverse City, Michigan, along with other members of the family.

Amelia lived just two years more, until December 4, 1987, dying at 90 years old.  Her obituary from a Traverse City newspaper:

"Amelia Schlagel, 90, a homemaker, died Friday at Grand Traverse Medical Care Facility.  She had lived in Traverse City since 1939.  She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and of the church's Altar Guild and Ladies Aid.

Born in Henry County, Ohio, on January 19, 1897, she was the daughter of Henry and Maria (Flocke) Spoering.  On April 18, 1929, in Napoleon, Ohio, she married Henry J. Schlagel, who died in 1985.
Also preceding her in death were a son, Jerry, two grandchildren, a great grandchild, seven sisters and three brothers.  
Surviving are three sons, Alvin H. Schlagel of Perrysburg, Ohio; Julian H. Schlagel of Williamsburg, and Leroy D. Schlagel of Traverse City, 13 grandchilren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday at Trinity Lutheran church, the Rev. Charles Gieschen will officiate.  Burial will be in Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens.  Friends may call at the Traverse City Chapel of Covell Funeral Homes from 7-9 tonight and from 2-4 and 7-9 Sunday.  Memorials made to the Trinity Lutheran Church Altar Guild."


April 12, 2020

Lydia Mina (Minnie) Spoering

  Welcome to our guest blogger today!
Jason Snow is the great-grandson of Lydia Spoering and her husband, Harry Loudon.   

 Most of what living memory can tell us about Lydia (Spoering) Loudon can be linked to this scene on the front porch of the family home at 320 East Main, in what was originally known as the Goosetown neighborhood of Napoleon, Ohio.  Pictured here are Lydia (1895-1960) and her husband, Harry James Loudon (1894-1968).  

In this home, the Loudons raised seven children: Dorothy, born 1916;  George, born 1917; Marie, born 1919; Norma, born 1922; Anna, born 1925; Ruth, born 1927; and Virginia, born 1932.  

One of her granddaughters recalled a memory that occurred on this porch.
"I was probably age 3 or 4, and as we were leaving after a visit, she taught me how to say 'Come back soon' in German
(Komm Bald Wieder).  She was on the inside and I was already outside looking back through the screen door.  We practiced those words many times until I got it just right, and when I did, my reward was a big smile and some happy clapping.  I still remember those German words today."
One grandson remembered that "Grandma would give you a penny if you gave her a kiss before she left."

Lydia Spoering was born on January 31, 1895, in Hamler, Ohio, the ninth child of Katharina Maria Floke, age 39, and Hermann Heinrich Spoering, age 50. She married Harry James Loudon on February 4, 1915, in Napoleon, Ohio, when she was 20 years old.  The observant reader might note the similarity of Lydia's wedding veil to the one in the photo of her sister, Ida, who married two years earlier and is featured in the preceding entry of this blog.  They appear to be the same veil, which probably shouldn't be surprising for a frugal, German-Lutheran family at this time.

Though we don't know when the Loudon couple first settled in the house in Napoleon, we do know something about their early years together leading up to that.  The Farm Journal Directory of Henry County, Ohio, 1916 listed them on page 137:
Loudon, H.A. and Lydia, 1 ch. farming, T25a 3h 2c, Westhope, Rchfld, 63 Ind. tel.  These abbreviation codes give details about their life at the time: 1 child, tenant farming on 25 acres in Richfield Township with 3 horses and 2 cows.  

This 1916 directory offers a look into this place at that time.  Advertisements and photos are throughout.  Ernest Spengler's establishment, for instance, is advertised as both a grocery store and in a separate ad, a saloon.  It's still in operation at the same address at 713 Perry Street, described online today as "storied pub and eatery, in operation for 135+ years, offering classic American grub and a full bar."  Spengler's is the last place this author ate during a visit back home several years ago.  I could imagine Lydia having been in the same room earlier, perhaps having stopped in for eggs and a chat with fellow townspeople.

Four years later, the family appears on the 1920 census with their first three children, farming in nearby Liberty Township.  We know there were other Loudon farms in the area, but don't know whether Harry and Lydia's moves were out of preference or necessity.

By the 1930 census, they were in the home on Main Street which was valued at $1500.  Her occupation was shown as homemaker, and his as "a truck driver for a flour mill."  

Harry's WWII draft registration (required even though his age of 48 at that time made him too old to serve) showed his employer as John H. Vocke and Son.  Vocke is included in the listings for flour and feed in the 1916 directory (p. 224) and he lived at 345 West Street, a half mile away from Loudons at the other end of their street.

Lydia with daughter, Ruth Loudon Switzer, c 1945
What we know about Lydia's personal life is limited.  Only a few of her living descendants were old enough to have remembered her directly.  Long after they stopped farming, Lydia and Harry continue growing food in a garden that one of her granddaughters remembers stretching to the back line of their property.  Most of the photos we have of Lydia show her outside, including the one here with her daughter, Ruth.  Ruth provided some commentary for the photo:
"The picture of my mother and me was taken in our back yard at 320 E. Main St., Napoleon about 1945.  The turban I had on was the way we used to do it.  We didn't have hair dryers back then, so we used bobby pins to curl our hair and then covered the hair with these turbans.  We thought nothing of going out in public with our hair pinned up."

One other memory came from one of Ruth's sons, who recalled her describing how Lydia would always vote the opposite of Harry, ultimately reaching a point where they wouldn't tell each other their voting plans.

Lydia Loudon c. 1955

Lydia died on February 24, 1960, in a care facility in Wood County, Ohio when she was 65 years old.  She is buried in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Napoleon, Ohio, not far from where she and Henry farmed during the first years of their marriage.  Her daughter, Dorothy, subsequently, lived in the Main Street home into the mid-1970s.  The house still stands, complete with what appears to be the same porch columns, as featured in the first photo. Both photos also show the addition on the right side of the house, originally built to provide a separate room for George as the only boy in the family.

Lydia's name lives on in the family via one of her great-great granddaughters.  Lydia Campbell was named after her by her parents, Sara and Gordon Campbell. Sara is a granddaughter of Lydia's daughter, Ruth, who is pictured above.

All of the photos, except the tombstone, are a part of the collection of Ruth (Loudon) Switzer, daughter of Lydia.  Thanks so much to Jason Snow for giving of his time and knowledge for this blog contribution.