Tag Archives: Kidron

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?

52 Ancestors #38 Kidron and Sonnenberg: Favorite Place of Swiss Mennonites

Last week, I got  a little sidetracked with maps of Tuscarawas County, Ohio and Switzerlands Bern region, to show how the ancestors of Kenneth Ross Badertscher‘s mother’s maternal line came from a small area in Switzerland, and clustered together in one area in Ohio when they came to America. It was their favorite place.

This week the challenge at 51 Ancestors is to talk about a “Favorite Place” and as I started looking at the maternal line of Ken’s father, I discovered the same kind of pattern as with his mother’s line, except that these people–The Amstutz, Baumgartner and Tschantz families in particular–settled around Kidron/Sonnenberg in Wayne County, Ohio. Kidron was the center of their favorite place.

Kidron Ohio

Kidron, Wayne County, Ohio on Google Maps–fields and forests.

Why?  Probably partly because it looked like the dairy country of Bern, Switzerland–minus the towering Alps in the background.

Wayne County Ohio

Farms in Wayne County, Ohio. Photo by Ken Badertscher.

Ohio Dairy Cattle

Kidron Ohio area dairy cattle. Photo by Ken Badertscher.

Amish Farm in Ohio

Haystacks on an Amish Farm in Wayne County, Ohio. Photo by Ken Badertscher.

Menno Simons

Menno Simons who gave his name to Mennonites

Despite the fact that most of Ken’s ancestors were dairy farmers, their principle reason for moving to America had less to do with rich pastures and scenery than with religion.  They were part of a reform movement of Anabaptists that was persecuted in Switzerland .  The last straw for the followers of Menno Simons, who believed in pacifism, came when the Swiss were instituted universal military service. These hard-working farmers with strong beliefs fled to protect their religion freedom. SImultaneously, an economic slowdown had men searching for work that would sustain large families, as we saw in the case of Anna and Samuel Schneiter.

If you want more information about the history of the Mennonite immigrants, I skimmed the history of the Mennonite immigrants in my article Swiss Immigrants Invade Wayne County, Ohio” . (A comment from a reader points out that the reason for the first Badertscher family to come to America was that their oldest son was of military conscription age.)  And although I generally steer clear of Wikipedia, I can recommend its coverage of the Mennonite church.

Abraham Amstutz

Abraham Amstutz, (One of many by that name). son of Johannes.

(One of many by that name).

In 1819, a small group founded the first Mennonite church in the area at Sonnenberg, named for a valley in Bern, Switzerland. Friends and family followed in 1821, and they formed the Sonnenberg Mennonite church.  Until 1834, they met in homes, and then built a log structure that served as church and school. As word went back to Switzerland, and as people saved money for passage, the communities continued to grow. A second community, Kidron, was named for the valley in Israel beside Jerusalem. Gradually, the communities merged as Kidron.

Meanwhile, they were clearing land, buying livestock and building log homes for their large families to live in. Ken’s paternal great grandparents lived in this house It reminds me of homes we saw in Switzerland where the farmers lived upstairs over the quarters for their livestock, so the livestock could keep warm in the winter. The Frederich Badertschers arrived about 1880.

Swiss Immigrants Frederick and Mary Badertscher

Frederich Badertscher Sr and wife Mary. Photo From Ancestry.com

John Tschantz and his wife and their son Abraham and his wife were one of the first four families to arrive in Sonnenberg.  Their cabin survived (barely) and has been restored in Sonnenberg Village, maintained by the Kidron Historical Society. (I am working on the relationship to see if this family is in Ken’s direct line. Since there were many Tschantz families and many named Abraham, this may take a while.) Here’s the before and after.

Abraham Tschantz cabin

Abraham Tschantz cabin before restoration.

TschantzLogCabin-After

Abraham Tschantz cabin after restoration. Photos from the Sonnenberg Historical Society website.

On this land map that shows (in the bottom of the southern half of the township) the land of Ken’s 2nd grandfather Abraham C. Tschantz, there are many other names that are part of his lineage such as Amstutz, Badertscher, Baumgartner, Sommmers, Lehman, Moser. Other names Ken recognized as schoolmates for neighbors: Gerber, Hoffstetter, Steiner, Eckard, Ressler, and Wertz.

You can double click on the maps to see the names more clearly on your computer. This map from Ancestry. com is dated 1897. If you disagree because of your own family information, please do share that information with me!

Paint Township Wayne County Ohio

Northern half of Paint Township, Wayne County, showing Dalton where Ken went to school. His family moved from Dalton to the intersection of Rt 30 and Kidron Road. Red marks J. H. Tschantz, a great-great uncle.

Paint Township, Wayne County, Ohio

Southern half of Paint Township, showing location of Kidron and land of Abraham C. Tschantz, and many different Amstutz families clustered around Kidron.

The Mennonite families, and the Amish families that also clustered in this area prospered over the years, and you will find many of the same family names.  The Kidron Community Historical Society  provides a valuable resource for anyone seeking to know more about family history of these Swiss immigrants who landed in Wayne County, Ohio. So why did the first four families settle the small community of Sonnenberg? I don’t know. Perhaps they originally thought to settle in Pennsylvania, but it was becoming too crowded. Land would have been cheaper in the very new state of Ohio (statehood 1803).

Why was Kidron/Sonnenberg a favorite place of Swiss immigrants in the early to mid 19th century?  Because family was already there.

If you are traveling through the Amish/Mennonite Country of Ohio, two places to look for clues as to why Kidron was a favorite place of the Swiss Mennonites are the Kidron Genealogical Center and nearby Sonnenberg Village in Wayne County, and the Behalt Cyclorama in Holmes County–a vivid depiction of the history of the Mennonite and Amish religions.

Swiss Immigrants Invade Wayne County, Ohio

Whenever I shop for cheese, cook with cheese, eat cheese–I think of Switzerland and that makes me think of the Swiss immigrants of northeastern Ohio.

My husband, Kenneth Ross Badertscher is 100% Swiss.[Update–since I wrote this, I learned it is not true. See the series on the Manbeck and Bair families.]  If you were born in Wayne County, Ohio, before 1960, odds are good you descended from Swiss immigrants. Even now, the Swiss names predominate, as does the culture brought by immigrants in the 19th century.

Today I’ll focus on Ken’s grandparents, Swiss immigrants Frederick Badertscher (1871-1950) and Ida Amstutz Badertscher (1875-1949), who were among the children of that 19th century immigrant wave. Frederick came to Ohio with his parents, Frederick Sr.(1833 to 1909) and Mary( 1834-1926) when he was 9 or 10 years old.

Swiss Immigrants Frederick and Mary Badertscher

Frederick Badertscher Sr and wife Mary. Photo From Ancestry.com

Ida’s father came from Switzerland to Sonnenberg in Wayne County, Ohio. Her mother was born in Ohio, as was Ida, who was the oldest of ten children.

I don’t have a picture of Frederick when he was young, but found a family picture of Ida Amstutz (far left in this family portrait) on Ancestry.com

Swiss Immigrant Father of Ida Amstutz and family
Ida Amstutz and family from AncestryCom Her father was born in Switzerland and her mother and Ida and the other children were born in Ohio

Ida and Frederick were married in 1896. and we have this family picture, which must have been taken nearly 40 years after Frederick’s arrival (in the 1870s) in America.

Swiss Immigrants Badertscher

Frederick and Ida Badertscher and family about 1918

The seven children gathered around Frederick and Ida are: (smallest boy on left beside his father) Paul Theodore Badertscher, Ken’s father; then in the back,Monroe Badertscher; Amos Badertscher; Elma (Moser) –the oldest child, and then Edwin Badertscher; and the two younger girls in front,Mollie (McGregor) and Mildred (Wead)  .

Why Did Swiss Immigrants Come to Ohio?

When Ken and I visited the gorgeous countryside around Sigerswill where the Amstutz family originally came from, we couldn’t help wonder why anyone would want to leave.

Swiss Immigrants came from Sigriswil

Sigriswil, Canton of Berne, Switzerland, photo by Wayne Gamborski

The earliest immigrants probably were motivated by their pacifism and freedom of religion. Most Mennonites today are still pacifist and conscientious objectors. During the early 19th century, Switzerland went through some traumatic times, and enacted laws that forced every male to take part in the military. That caused the first wave of emigration by the Mennonites from their homeland.

However, the wave that brought the Amstutz and Badertscher family in this line, probably were motivated by economics.  Hard times for the farmers in the lowlands of the Canton of Berne, made the stories they were hearing from Swiss who had settled in America sound very attractive.  Northeastern Ohio, the location of Wayne County and Holmes County, as well as lands in other midwestern states with rolling hills and fertile farmland looked much like their home. But it was less crowded and the economy of the United States was booming. Finally, there were friends and family there, who had already established churches and schools that would be friendly to their culture.

A sprinkling of Swiss settlers came to the United States in the 18th century, including 4,000 Swiss Mennonites who settled in Pennsylvania. You’ve no doubt heard of the Pennsylvania Dutch, Amish communities in southern Pennsylvania.  The Amish there and in great numbers in Holmes County Ohio are an offshoot of the Mennonites, who in turn have many variations of belief.

In the first half of the 19th century, a large number of Mennonites settled in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.  By 1930, their were 7,000 Swiss listed in the Ohio census.

In 1819 a group of 27 Swiss Mennonites  from the Sonnenberg Valley in Switzerland (Canton of Bern) traveled to Ohio and established the farming community of Sonnenberg.  . The community was thriving, with a population of 300 by 1860. Ida Amstutz’ family and Frederick Badertscher settled in Sonnenberg when they came to Ohio in the 1870’s. 

What the Swiss Immigrants Brought to Ohio

When Ida and Frederick married, they lived on a farm between Sonnenberg and Kidron, two unincorporated communities. The old farm house still stands. Frederick was a farmer, the common occupation for Swiss immigrants–dairy farming and cheese making still predominates in the area.

Amish farmer at Kidron Auction

Amish farmer at Kidron Auction. Photo by Sofie Dittman

The Mennonite religion and the offshoot the Amish is the most common. Huge livestoock auctions in Kidron feature every kind of farmer’s need. Once a year there is a home-made quilt sale. A commercial claim to fame of Kidron is Lehman‘s a unique hardware store at which you can get both modern gadgets and vintage farm and home appliances and equipment. Need something for canning? An oil lamp? A Wood burner stove? You can lose yourself for hours in Lehman’s on-line catalogue.

And another tradition the Swiss immigrants brought with them is a love of music.  Churches, schools and community musical groups draw members from every family and turnouts for events like the annual Messiah in Orrville, Ohio draws enormous crowds. Ken’s father Paul sang in the Messiah chorus for fifty years straight. Musical competitions in schools were nearly as competitive as basketball, and both Ken and his sister Kay excelled in music.

Although I have concentrated here on Ken’s paternal line, his maternal line also ran to dairy farming, and as a boy Ken loved working on his Grandfather Bair’s farm, later worked by his mother’s brother Adam and their half-brother Richard Kohler.  Ken’s sister Kay Bass wrote about Richard Kohler’s Dari-ette here earlier. The heroine of the children’s book, Heidi’s grandfather may have raised goats in Switzerland, but in Ohio, the Swiss were all about cows.

Salem Mennonite Church

Salem Mennonite Church, Kidron Ohio, photo from Ancestry.com. Site of grave of Frederick Badertscher Sr.

Today in Kidron/Sonnenberg

The Kidron Community Historical Center is working to recreate Mennonite life in the 1800’s at Sonnenberg Village near Apple Creek, Ohio. Historic buildings, including the Sonnenberg Mennonite Church (actually the third one built on the site) are being moved to a 5-acre park. Anyone with ancestors in the region who wants to trace their roots can use resources at the Kidron Sonnenberg Heritage Center .

When Ken was in high school, his family lived on Kidron Road (Kidron being the newer name of the original Sonnenberg) attended the Salem Mennonite church, pictured above.

You can get the best Swiss cheese outside of Switzerland in Wayne and Holmes Counties, Ohio–Mennonite and Amish country.  Check  Guggisberg  just outside of Millersburg (Holmes), or Shisler’s Cheese House on the Kidron Road (Wayne) for two sources.

Now, be warned, these are not MY relatives, so I’m relying on research rather than family legends and passed down documents and pictures (except for the 2 family pictures that belong to Ken). So, please, if you’re a Badertscher or an Amstutz and have corrections to what I’ve written here–have at it.  Tell me in the comments what I left out or got wrong.

In reviewing this Swiss immigrant history, I learned that Baby Swiss, one of our favorite cheeses, was invented in Charm, Ohio just miles from where I grew up at the aforementioned Guggisberg. You can learn more about cheese, and perhaps be persuaded to explore the Swiss-made cheeses of Wayne and Holmes County Ohio, in this rant on cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti.