Author Archives: Vera Marie Badertscher

Vera Marie Badertscher

About Vera Marie Badertscher

I am a grandma and was named for my grandma. I've been an actress, a political strategist and a writer.I grew up in various places, went to high school in Killbuck, Ohio and graduated from Ohio State University. My husband and I moved to Arizona after graduation and have three adult children. I love to travel and read--and have another website for that called A Traveler's Library. I ponder family as I cook.

Sidetracked in Memorabilia–Llewellyn Badertscher Family

Memorabilia Table

Memorabilia table

Every once in a while, I take a break from telling my family stories–like the Smith family that I have been researching for over a month now– and sort through some of the many boxes of memorabilia that clutter our office and closet.  That can lead me in unexpected directions. Yesterday among my souvenirs, I discovered the obituary of Llewellyn Badertscher, which led me to spending a day piecing together his family for my husband’s Badertscher family tree.

Before I found Llwellyn’s obituary, however, I had also found a clutch of photos of me with political luminaries that must be scanned and framed and at some point written about.  I did share one of them on Facebook. (If you want to friend me on Facebook, look for Vera Marie Badertscher.)

I found newspaper clippings from the late 60s/early 70s when we lived in Scottsdale.  There was my husband, Ken on the front page of the Scottsdale Daily Progress in his role as board member for the Maricopa County Community Colleges.  And other editions had pictures of me participating in activities with Scottsdale Junior Women’s Club. And, from news farther afield, two front page articles about man landing on the moon! More subjects for future stories here under the “Slice of My Life” title.

Men land on moon.

Headline:Men land on moon. Arizona Republic, July 21, 1969.

Speaking of Scottsdale Progress, there was this sheet of pictures of my mother delivering newspapers. No–she wasn’t really.  She was posing when one of my sons was a newspaper boy in 1970s.  It surely is one of the best photo we have of her in her later years. Something else to share in the future.

Grandma delivers the news

Harriette/Grandma Kaser delivering the paper. 1970s, Scottsdale

And my entire date book from Ohio State in 1960.  This week I graduated from college, but commencement wasn’t the event that rated bold capital letters!

1960 Date Book

And I found a picture of Paul Badertscher, my husband’s father, teaching at a tiny school called Moscow that doesn’t even exist any more (the town OR the school).  There could be more told about the crossroads of Moscow, also. Oh my, I’ve never really written a story about Paul Badertscher and his many occupations and long teaching career. In fact when I was writing about Ken’s family, I got drawn to the maternal side of the family, and never did pursue the Badertschers beyond their arrival in Ohio.

Which brings us back to Llewellyn Badertscher’s obituary. The undated obituary, fortunately, had a specific birth and death date for Llewellyn (who turns out to be Ken’s first cousin once removed.)  The author of the obit also included a complete list of Llewellyn’s brothers and sisters, as well as his parents, John and Ida.  Well, I thought, this will be a piece of cake to expand the Badertscher line by adding this entire family to Ken’s tree.  Except for one thing–we didn’t know how Llewellyn Badertscher connected to the rest of the tree.

Swiss Immigrants Frederick and Mary Badertscher

Frederick Badertscher Sr and wife Mary. Photo From Ancestry.com. These are the parents of both Frederick, Ken’s grandfather and John, father of Llewellyn Badertscher. Probably taken in the late 1800’s. They emigrated to Ohio from Switzerland in 1881 with several children.

Because of his birth date, I could tell that Llewellyn Badertscher must have been the child of a sibling of Frederick Badertscher (Jr.), Ken’s grandfather, so I needed to find a brother of Frederick named John. Although I did not remember having Frederick’s siblings on the tree,I DID!

With such an uncommon name, I figured I could easily find Llewellyn Badertscher on Ancestry, and sure enough, he popped right up, along with his birth certificate confirming the mother and father listed in the newspaper.  At this point I was feeling downright cocky and started adding the brothers and sisters from the obituary to my tree. Those that the newspaper obit had designated as deceased, I marked as ‘Died Bef Dec.1998’ (the month of Llewellyn’s death).

Ancestry furnished me with plenty of hints (green leaves) as I went along, and I decided to add only birth and death dates and marriage dates and spouses. The birth certificates listed mother’s maiden name, so I learned that Llewellyn Badertscher’s mother Ida was Ida Sprunger and having the maiden name led to birth and death dates, (1883-1909) That was fine until I ran into children who were born after 1909–after Llewellyn Badertscher’s mother, Ida, had died. Whoops. In fact, at first it looked like she only had two children, and Llewellyn, born in 1909, certainly would have been her last.

Turns out the “Fannie” that I had assumed was a nickname for Ida indicated another wife.  So I went back and changed those children born after Ida’s death date to “Mother: Fannie (unknown)” until a birth certificate of one of the children gave me Fannie’s last name. She became Fannie Sommer (1883-1945). (And I went back and changed HER record.)

It was boring work, but I thought I was close to the end.  You guessed it–one more problem popped up.   Albert proved difficult to find because there were a lot of Alberts, plus they lived in various locations rather than staying put in Wayne County, Ohio as the others did. He had a birthdate of 1897 or 1898.  That would mean Ida gave birth to him when she was 13 or 14 years old.  Possible but not probable.  The problem got worse when his sister Irene’s data showed she arrived in 1894! Fortunately, her birth Certificate showed her mother’s name–Barbara Amstutz.

Finally I found documentation for Barbara’s birth and death, and it proved that John Badertscher indeed did marry three women because twice he became a widow.  John fathered at least12 children, listed below. Sadly, two daughters died as young teenagers and the obituary of Mary Jane, who died at 16, mentions two infant deaths and another young death before she died in 1936– that other young person was her older sister who died at 15, 5 1/2 years before Mary Jane.

Father: John Badertscher, b. 1867 in Switzerland, Immigrated in 1881 with his father and brothers. John worked as a farmer his entire life. Died November 19, 1934, in Kidron, Wayne County, Ohio.

1st Wife: Barbara Elizabeth Amstutz (May 31 1871-March 27, 1900)

Children of John and Barbara:

Irena Badertscher Nov 17, 1894,Kidron Ohio;  m. Daniel Morand; D. Jan 4, 1968, Decatur Indiana

Albert Wilson Badertscher , January 9, 1897, Riley, Putnam, Ohio; M. Edna Diller; Nov 16, 1960, Cleveland, Ohio (Specifics of Death not yet proven)

2nd Wife: Ida Sprunger December 16, 1877-February 10, 1909; Married August 13, 1905

Children of John and Ida:

Milton Badertscher: Born about 1905; M. Mabel. Died perhaps Dec 22, 1966 (Attended four years of college at Bluffton College and became a school principal.)

Ivan L. Badertscher: Born July 20, 1906; M. Pauline Mae Gerber June 27, 1943; D.Jan 30 1997, Goshen, Indiana. Attended Bluffton College. In 1940, still single, he was living with his brother Llewellyn.

FLorence Pearl Badertscher: Born November 8 1907, Kidron, Ohio; M. Henry Clair Amstutz Aug 12 1934; D. September 5, 2001, Goshen, Indiana.

Llewellyn Badertscher, Jan 25, 1909; M. Verna S. Bixler, June 8 1946; D. September 24, 1998. Llewellyn was a farmer and then an electrician. He was single until he was 37 years old, and apparently had no children.

3rd Wife: Fanny M. Sommer

Children of John and Fanny:

Hulda A. Badertscher, Born April 29, 1913, Kidron, Ohio; M. Charles J. Graves August 10, 1940; D. February 1990, Maple Heights, Ohio.

Ida Sarah Badertscher, Born January 24, 1916, Kidron, Ohio; Died May 10, 1931 at Age 15.

Martha S. Badertscher, B. February 12, 1919;Kidron, Ohio M. ____Klett; Died February 16, 1004, Ohio

Mary Jane Badertscher, B. April 18, 1920, Kidron Ohio; Died December 25, 1936.  This 16-year-old girl died on Christmas day.

Thomas L. Badertscher, B. November 1, 1924, Kidron, Ohio;  Effie Irene Amstutz; D. November 25, 1998, Kidron, Wayne County, Ohio. I have found very little about Thomas.

In addition to these children, the newspaper obituary of Mary Jane identifies two infant deaths. One of those would be Milo, unk. birth and death dates. We don’t even know who is mother was. And if there was another infant boy who died, as the newspaper said, he also is unknown.

It turned out to be more complicated than I thought, but aren’t famIlies always complicated?

Research Questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why and sometimes How

The questions Who,What,Where,When,Why and How are known as the journalistic questions, but they cover pretty much and research questions you might have.  In genealogical research, the why may be the most enticing and the hardest to find answers for, but who, what, where, and when rank as essential.

Several people commented to me and expressed some curiosity about how the pieces came together to show my great grandmother’s connection to an Archbishop who became famous in a novel.

Because some readers were curious about the research path, I decided to do a rare “behind the curtain” look at where the stories come from that I tell on Ancestors in Aprons.

After all, that Archbishop, Jean Baptiste Lamy gained some fame serving in New Mexico, and my great-grandmother, Anne Marie Smith (Butts)  never left Knox County, Ohio.  So how did he get into the story? And how did I find him?

Who is Ann Marie Smith (Butts)?

First, I have to inventory what I know.  I’ve been doing research (of various types) for a long time, so I no longer feel a need to write down a list of “things I know” before I start asking research questions.  However, with my genealogy research, a timeline makes the skeleton I build on.

In creating a timeline for Ann Marie Smith (Butts), I relied on the usual paper trail– birth or baptism records, census reports, death information (if no death certificate, Find a Grave provides clues and a photo of a gravestone is more solid evidence, family Bibles shine.) But with Annie, I had the advantage of some background from family members.

My father had written a bare bones report of his ancestors, that included Annie’s name, so I knew her maiden name was Smith.

From a cousin who has been a mentor in my research, I had a transcription of information from a Smith family Bible. The Bible provided her parents’ and siblings’ names and the date of Annie’s birth. I also learned of the deaths of some of her siblings.

I had an informal family history that had been dug up by a remote cousin who in the nineties had written about the Butts of Danville, Knox County, Ohio that included details about Annie’s life.

So from the Bible and census reports I knew that Annie was born in Knox County, Ohio, in 1835, and that she stayed there.  From the informal history, I knew that she had been a devout Catholic. On Ancestry, I discovered her marriage certificate proving the date she married Henry Allen Butts. Census records also confirmed the names of siblings and their dates of birth.

Another bonus that doesn’t usually exist came in four letters from Henry Allen to his wife when he was in the Civil War, which gave a feel for their life that goes beyond the bare facts. For those letters I have my brother to thank. He talked to a relative in Ohio and found a man in California who owned copies of the letters. Although he would not part with the originals, the man allowed us to have copies.

Finally, I had made a personal visit to St. Luke Catholic Church in Danville, Ohio that Annie and Henry Allen attended. (I knew they attended there because of the family history and because Henry Allen is buried there, and I talked to a priest who showed me their register with the names of Butts family members.)

Background on Lamy

Who is Jean Baptiste Lamy?

Incidentally, I had recently read  “Death Comes to the Archbishop” by Willa Cather, together with a short bio of Jean Baptiste Lamy. I learned that before becoming Archbishop of New Mexico in 1850, he was an itinerant priest in Ohio, based in Cincinnati (in the southwest of Ohio).  Since Danville is in the northeastern central part of Ohio, it did not occur to me that he might have been anywhere near St. Lukes.

What Else Do I Want to Know?

After inventorying what I know, my next step is to start asking research questions.  Using the Who?What?When?Where?Why? and sometimes How? questions, I check to see if I have already discovered answers to some, and what questions remain.

I won’t go through all the questions I had about Annie and her life, but start with one of the research questions, “When?” . I recalled my visit to St. Luke’s church, and looking at the time period when Annie and her siblings were born, I realized that the church I saw probably was not there when Annie and her earlier siblings born in Ohio were christened. While I know that the Danville church has hand written records that go back to at least the early 1900s, I have not discovered their records on line. Since I already had satisfactory proof of Annie’s birth I did not plan a trip to Danville, nor did I write to the church, although I may some time in the future.

The church is a beautiful brick building, and much too sophisticated to have been built in the early 1800s.  So I looked for a church website to answer my “when” research questions. Fortunately St. Luke maintains a website that includes a history.  My objective was to find when the brick building was built, but as I read down through the chronology of events at St. Luke, I abruptly stopped with this entry:

The first resident pastor was appointed in September 1839. He was a young Frenchman Father John Baptist Lamy born October 11, 1814 in Lempdes, France and ordained in December 1838.

Was there more than one John/Jean Baptiste Lamy? Or was this the Archbishop written about by Willa Cather?  As I read more of the history, I learned that Danville’ Ohio’s Father Lamy was indeed the man eventually made Archbishop of the territory of New Mexico.

Father Lamy arrived as pastor to St. Luke in 1839.  Annie had been baptized in 1835, so the celebrant at that occasion would have been a visiting priest, because Lamy was the first appointed exclusively to Danville.  Although there may have been a wooden building constructed earlier for church services, no one is sure.  However, it is known that Lamy constructed a log cabin sanctuary at the graveyard–the graveyard that I visited just down a rural road from the church, which stands on the Main Street of Danville.

Father Lamy continued to serve the congregation at St. Luke until September 1847, and in 1850 went west to Santa Fe according to the church history on line.

Next I asked the research question, “What?”  What was happening during the period Father Lamy was there?

Four of Annie’s siblings were born during that period, and three died. Another baby was born in September 1847, so I don’t know if Father Lamy would have presided over her baptism.

UPDATE:  Look back at the story about Annie to see a new piece of evidence I collected that ties the Smith family to Father Lamy!

At any rate, from the timeline of the Smith family, and the timeline of Father Lamy’s service, I could clearly see that the family had extensive contact with him over eight years.

And by the way, the answer to my original questions, “When was the brick building of St. Luke built? ” proves that I was definitely right about it being much to new for Annie’s childhood–although she certainly attended it as an adult.  The first St. Luke brick church was dedicated in 1877. However, it stood near the original wood church by the cemetery rather than in the present location. Re-reading the history, I find that when Henry returned from the Civil War, and he and Annie eventually moved into town, various changes came to the church.

I do not have pictures here, because all of the good pictures of St. Luke that I have found are copyrighted. You can see several photos at the St. Luke website.

Annie’s father died in 1886, and her mother in 1892, so their funerals would have taken place in that church by the cemetery. (I have not checked to see if they or other family members are buried there, but it is a good guess.)

Henry and Annie would have been there in 1895 when the brick church near the graveyard burned and services resumed temporarily in the old wooden church built by Father Lamy. Congregants had to bring their own chairs, as there were no built-in pews.

In 1896, the present beautiful church was dedicated.  Members of the community had pitched in to help with the details of hauling materials, cementing the bricks, installing pews and windows.  I have no doubt that Henry Allen Butts, listed as a laborer on some census reports, would have been one of the laborers, and I can imagine Annie helping other women feed the laborers.

My great grandparents DID attend the church that I visited on Main Street in Danville, and mass would have been said for them when they died. But when she was young, great-grandmother Annie Smith knew Father Lamy as her priest.

So putting together Father/Archbishop Lamy and the life of my great-grandmother Annie Smith Butts, turned out to be less strenuous than much genealogical research. However, it did involve a source that might not have occurred to you in the past.  Look not just for histories of your family, but histories of the town, county, state in which they lived.  If they worked on or lived near a railroad, look for the history of railroads in the region.  Look at school yearbooks and school histories. And don’t forget to look for the history of the church they attended.

Now that I have learned the history of St. Luke, I can tie events in the lives of other Smith and Butts families to a particular building and a particular minister. All I have to do is remember to ask the right research questions.

Ann Marie Smith, Church and Family

If you are a family history researcher or blogger, you will understand why I have been reluctant to tackle this particular family line. SMITH. But the Smiths are not going to get any easier to figure out if I keep ignoring them.  So here is my great-grandmother, my father’s grandmother, Ann Marie Smith (Butts).

Ann Marie Smith 1835-1917

parents of Mame Kaser

Henry Allen and Ann Marie Butts, about 1880

Ann Marie Smith, my father’s grandmother, joined five other children when she was born in Knox County,Ohio on the 12th of April, 1835. The children ranged from three years old to ten. Isaac, their father, the shoemaker, must have mended a lot of shoes to be able to feed his large family.

Her parents, devoted Catholics originally from Maryland, took her to the mission that would become St. Luke Catholic church in Danville Ohio to be christened the following July.

Jean Baptiste Lamy

Jean Baptiste Lamy, taken in 1860. From the French Wikipedia site.

 

HISTORICAL NOTE:  Four years after Ann Marie Smith’s  baptism, a traveling priest began serving the Danville area.  Jean-Baptiste Lamy would be Annie’s priest when she was a young child. He built the first wooden church to serve St. Luke Church in 1840, before he departed for New Mexico in 1850. This means Father Lamy would have presided over the baptism, christening and infant deaths of the Smith children that came after Annie. I also found a marriage license of Annie’s older sister, Mary Jane, SIGNED BY Rev. Lamy!!

Father Lamy signature

Father J. Lamy signature on the marriage certificate of Mary Jane Smith and Cyrus Stevens, 1845.

Willa Cather’s book Death Comes to the Archbishop covers the New Mexico life of Father/Archbishop Lamy.

For the rest of her life, Annie would know only Knox County, Ohio as her home, and St. Luke as her church.  The beautiful brick church, with its soaring interior, still serves the area.

While every child certainly was welcomed with love, little Ann Marie must have been a special delight because Mary (Krigbaum) and Isaac Smith had suffered the loss of an infant girl in 1833.

I wrote a bit about Ann Marie’s married life when we read her husband, Henry Allen Butts’ letters home from the Civil War, but I recently realized that I had not looked at Ann Marie’s earlier life at that time.

Ann Marie’s Early Life

During the early years of her life, the Smith family kept growing. But before she gained more siblings, three-year-old Ann lost a 7-year-old brother (George). In the same year, her mother Mary Smith gave birth to another girl who died in infancy, Priscilla Bell Smith.

Then the curse–if they believed in such things–was lifted and five-year-old Annie gained a close playmate when Isadore Orilla  joined the family in 1840. I believe Mary felt particularly close to Isadore, because Annie honored her sister by using her name for my grandmother. Mary Isadore Butts (Kaser) received the names of her grandmother Mary and her aunt Isadore.

Three years after Isadore joined the family, Mary presented another boy, James, and in 1845, the youngest, Joseph Dalice, joined the family.

With a new baby , and a total of eight offspring in the house, Mary Smith no doubt had mixed feelings about her oldest daughter, Mary Jane’s marriage and departure. The oldest son, John Henry also married in 1845. Mary Jane had reached 20 and John (also called Ivan) would now be 22.

Adding Children and Losing Children

In 1847, when Ann Marie reached twelve her mother gave birth to another girl baby who died in infancy.  Poor Mary. She had lost three children in infancy and one at only seven years old. Another shock hit the family when Ann Marie reached fourteen years old.  Ann Marie’s older brother Jeremiah died in a farm accident when he was only twenty-two. Of twelve children Mary Smith had given birth to, only seven survived to 1850.

[In 1849 William Smith, 21, may also have married and lived in another county with an uncle named George, but I need further research on this since there are dozens of  William Smiths to sort out.]

When the census taker wrote down the facts in 1850, he showed 15-year-old Ann Marie as the oldest of the children still at home. The others were sister Isadore (10) and brothers James (8) and Joseph (6). Although their mother Mary apparently could not read and write (at least in English), the Smith children all attended school and became literate. In 1860, Ann Marie still lived at home at 25 years of age–probably already considered a spinster. (The census shows her as 24.)

The Spinster Meets Her Man

In 1860, Henry Allen Butts showed up in the Pennsylvania census living in a boarding house.  How he met his wife Ann Marie Smith remains a mystery to me. Political division stalked the land, and most expected war to break out. Henry, who presumably had not yet met Annie, joined a Pennsylvania Regiment of the Union Army for a year.  When he mustered out, he apparently moved to Ohio. His father had died in 1846, and I am not sure where his mother was by 1860.

Records show that Ann Marie Smith and Henry Allen Butts married August 23, 1864.  They obviously had met nearly a year before that, as their first son, Giles Allen (called Alan or Allen), came “prematurely” a month after the marriage.

The Civil War Intrudes

The war continued to rage in 1864. Henry did not own land, and did not have a skill to rely on, so he joined the Union Army in Ohio. Since Henry had already served a one-year stint with the Union Army from Pennsylvania,  I can think of no reason other than financial that he would leave his “Dear Wif” and the baby he obviously doted on. His love for both of them shines through his letters, regardless of grammatical and spelling challenges.

If Ann Marie felt frightened and alone when her husband left for the front, things only got more troublesome when her brother John also joined the war.

The oldest boy in the Smith family John Henry Smith, enlisted at the beginning of 1864, even though he was already forty years old and married with children.  Henry Allen Butts mentions John Henry in a letter to his wife “Annie”. Annie had told Henry in a letter from home that her brother had gotten a leave and visited with his children.  The visit, in retrospect, suggests a bittersweet memory.  John Henry fought through several severe battles with his unit and died of wounds he received near Nashville Tennessee before 1864 ended.

It is easy to see Mary’s problems during 1864 with her husband gone and money in short supply. She is offered a job helping out as a housemaid, but Henry doesn’t approve of that, so she struggles along, without borrowing and without working outside the house.

Although Henry fought under Sherman in the famous March to the Sea, he survived to return to Ohio and invest in a small farm. More fortunate with babies than her mother, Ann Maria Smith gave birth six times and all six lived to adulthood, although one daughter died at 26.  Ann’s father died in 1886 and her mother died in 1892.

After the War

I encourage you to read the story of the rest of Ann’s life which I covered in this post about Henry’s first letter home.  Rooted in Knox County, near the small town of Danville, Ann Marie lived until April 1917 when she was 82 years old.  My father would have been eleven years old when she died, and remembered both Ann Marie and Henry Butts.

A memoir written by Homer Blubaugh tells more about Ann Marie, so devoted to her church that she would walk a few miles to church carrying her youngest baby, known for her enormous vegetable and flower garden.

Ann Marie Smith lies buried in the Catholic churchyard in Danville, Ohio. (I believe her grave is unmarked. Her husband’s grave was unmarked until a veterans’ organization erected a Civil War Veteran monument.) St. Luke church shepherded her into the world with a christening, brought her solace throughout her life and saw her departure. Henry survived her and died in 1920.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser (Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Mary Isadore Butts (Kaser), who is the daughter of
  • Ann Marie Smith (Butts)

Notes on Research

  • History of St. Luke Church and Father Lamy, the St. Luke website.
  • Death Comes to the Archbishop , Willa Cather.
  • United States Census, 1850, Millwood, Knox, Ohio; 1860, Union, Knox, Ohio;1870, 1880, 1900, Harrison, Knox Ohio; 1910, Union, Knox, Ohio.
  • Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993, Record for Henry A. Butts, Ancestry.com
  • Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007, Annie M Butts, Knox County, pg 1158,  Ohio Department of Health and Ancestry.com
  • Smith Family Bible,  Isaac M. Smith and family. Family Bible in possession of family of Joseph Dallas Smith; Elizabeth Ferretti Smith Rotterman, near Cleveland Ohio, 2016. Hand written Bible page transcribed by Mary Martha VonVille on Family Search.org https://familysearch.org/tree/person/M7BQ-48D/details
  • “A History of the Henry Allen Butts Family” by Rev. Homer Blubaugh, Saint Mary Church, Lancaster, Ohio.  This is a combination of documented and anecdotal information about the Butts family from Ohio. Some was gathered at family reunions. Some is downright wrong, but some is quite interesting. My copy was sent by Butts descendent Helen Findon in 2003. The document says Revised May 11, ’92 – Rev. Homer Blubaugh. Copies in the authors’ possession.