Tag Archives: Millersburg

52 Ancestors:#22 Susan Kaser Kerr and Daughter Elsie

Susan/Susannah Kaser (Kerr) 1849-Some Time After 1910

I am working my way through introductions of the brothers and sisters of my grandfather, Clifford Kaser. These are the aunts and uncles of my father.  The only one that he seemed to really know was Emma Kaser Sutherland, whom I introduced earlier. And recently, I traced the sad story of Clifford’s younger brother, Edward, who along with Emma stayed at home with his mother until he was in his thirties.

Now I am going back to look at Clifford’s oldest sister, Susan. Susan, born in 1849, was eighteen years older than Cliff, and was married when he was only seven years old, so they probably did not have very much of a relationship.

Susan first shows up in the 1850 census when she is one year old. That census report shows her father Joseph and mother Catharine and their baby girl living next door to Joseph’s father George Kaser, and near other relatives in the area of Bloomfield (later called Clark–Coshocton County), Ohio.

Five siblings are born by 1870, when Susan is apparently no longer living at home.  In 1872, she marries George W. Kerr . They live in nearby Killbuck, Holmes County) Ohio and in January 1873 has her first child, son Henry.

Life on the Farm

George W. must have been a good catch.  His father, also named George, owned a farm in 1870 with 110 acres of improved land and 90 acres of woodland near in Killbuck Township, Holmes County.  And ten years later (when Susan and her George have been married for eight years, they have a 60 acre farm in the same area.  (Perhaps a portion of father George’s farm.)

Although the amount of acreage is not high compared to surrounding farms, the production is higher than most, and the “Non-Population Schedule of June 1880” shows that Susan’s husband hired laborer during five weeks of the year, so he must have been doing quite well.

He grew corn, oats, and wheat. Additionally he had 60 apple trees and 50 peach trees as well as 1/2 acre of potatoes and wood to cut, sheep, swine, 40 chickens and two milk cows. This indicates that Susan probably also was a very busy farm worker. Chickens and the milk cows to take care of, probably a vegetable garden. Definitely baking and canning fruit. By the way, the Anderson farms nearby had many fruit trees, too, and a history of Holmes County points out that fruit trees were a major source of income in the County.

In 1876, Susan’s gave birth to daughter Ada and in 1884 she had her last child, Elsie.

George died some time between 1900 and 1910, because in the 1910 Census, Susan is listed as a Farm Manager and a widow. I know that Susan was still around in 1911 because that is when her mother died and Susan is listed in the obituary as a survivor, but I don’t know how long she lived after that.

I was interested to notice that she lived very close to my Anderson Relatives, Ben and Nettie Anderson.

Susan’s Daughter Elsie

I complain frequently about the fact that my father did not seem to stay in touch with his aunts and uncles and cousins.  One exception was Susan’s daughter Elsie.  I grew up hearing the name Elsie Fritz (her married name), particularly as a visitor at the home of my aunt and uncle Blanche and Keith Kaser in Millersburg.  I always thought Elsie Fritz was a relative of my Aunt Blanche rather than a cousin of my father and his brother Keith Kaser.

Researching Susan Kaser Kerr, I discovered that her daughter Elsie Kerr, born May 15, 1883, married Albert F. Fritz and lived in Millersburg, where she ran a beauty shop for many years. Elsie was a guest of the Keith Kaser family frequently, as reported in the Millersburg personals column in the Coshocton Tribune.  She even was one of a handful of people they invited to honor my mother and father when they were married in 1938.

So there WAS one cousin at least that my family had some contact with.  I do not recall being told when she died, so it was not a close relationship with our family,  but her obituary says she died nine years after her husband, in August of 1962 and was buried at the Oak Hill cemetery in Millersburg.

 How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser who is the son of
  • Clifford Kaser who is the brother of
  • Susan Kaser Kerr

Notes on Research

The “Kaser Genealogy” (aka Green Book or G. B.) referred to is The Kaser History: A History of Dates and Other Interesting Facts (1994) edited by Deborah D. Morgan and others. Out of print. I obtained information from a cousin who owns a copy of the book.

Census records from 1850 (German Twp, Holmes Co. Ohio); 1860 (German Twp, Holmes Co, Oho); 1880 (Killbuck, Holmes Co. Ohio); 1900 (Killbuck, Holmes Co.. Ohio); 1910, (Killbuck, Holmes Co., Ohio) ;1920 (Killlbuck, Holmes County, Ohio) ; 1920 (Millersburg, Holmes County, Ohio); 1930 (Millersburg, Holmes Co., Ohio); 1940 (Millersburg, Holmes Co., Ohio) *

Coshocton Daily Times, Wednesday, February 1, 1911, Page one. “An Aged Mother Goes to Reward”, obituary of Katharine (sic) Kaser lists surviving children, including Mrs. Susan Kerr.*

Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 Ohio Department of Health. Index to Annual Deaths, 1958-2002. Ohio Department of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, Columbus, OH, USA.*

Coshocton Tribune, various articles mentioning Elsie Kerr.*

*These records accessed at Ancestry.com.

Find A Grave website for some death records and burial places.

52 Ancestors: #16 Keith Kaser, Farmer to Elected Official

Keith Karl Kaser 1894-1963

Born in Danville, Ohio, Keith Karl Kaser was the oldest in the family of Clifford and Mary Isadore (Mame) Kaser. (Perhaps Mary Isadore went to her family home to give birth to her first child.) But I didn’t know him until he was nearly 50, because my father was fifteen years younger than Keith, and was thirty years old when I was born.  That meant that my Kaser cousins were a good deal older than I was, too. But that did not stop Keith and his wife Blanche from welcoming me into their home for visits.

Because he was the older brother, Keith undertook extra responsibility when both the parents of his family died –his mother in 1926 and his father in 1930. Keith had the heft to handle responsibility and hard work. And he had a lively intelligence and endearing sense of humor, despite a sometimes hard life. Like my father, his formal education ended with high school graduation, but he continued to explore his curiosity about the world.

Chubby young Keith is pictured with his baby sister Irene in this early photo. He would have been about four years old:

Keith Kaser and Irene Kaser 1898

Keith and Irene Kaser about 1898.

And he just kept getting chubbier.  As a young man, he worked for his father’s tin business, pictured here about 1914, (Keith would have been 19 or 20) when his father started a shop in Killbuck, Ohio.

Clifford Kaser Tin Shop

Kaser Tin Shop, Keith, Clifford, (front) Milton, Paul. About 1914

The year after this family picture was taken, Keith married Blanche Belle Craft (1986-1991), who was only 19, and they lived in Killbuck. When he filled in his World War I Draft Registration, in June, 1917, he was a 23-year-old married farmer with one child. He claimed an exemption from military service because of his membership in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, his father’s church.  Keith was described as short and stout, with light blue eyes and light hair.

Keith Kaser and family

Clifford Kaser Family: Paul, Irene, Milton and Keith with Cliff and “Mame” in front. About 1926, the year that “Mame” died, and one year before Milton died.

When the 1920 census was taken, Keith was working for the railroad as a “track man”, and living in Millersburg, Ohio. Some time between then and 1930, he moved to Orrville, Ohio with Blanche and their three children–Evelyn, Phyllis and Dick, where he returned to farming. When their father died in 1930, both Irene Kaser(Bucklew) and Paul Kaser moved in with Keith and Blanche for a time.

And here he is as a farmer in the thirties (his hair had turned prematurely white)[ Correction: I have rethought my identification of this picture, thanks to doubts expressed by a cousin. Although the body type is like Keith in his older years, the face is not right. The man with the hat looks more like it would be Keith. Still need help with dating this picture.] That’s my dad, Paul Kaser in the knitted cap. Paul Kaser did not last long on the farm, moving on to a variety of jobs during the depression.

Keith Kaser on farm.

Keith Kaser on the farm with others, including Paul Kaser. (Others in the picture are unidentified.)

By 1936 (probably a few years earlier) he had received a ticket out of farming.  The Clerk of Courts of Holmes County appointed him as Deputy Clerk, and Keith moved his family into Millersburg, the county seat.  Knowing Keith, and reading about his activities from then on in his life, I really don’t think that farming suited him any better than it did my dad, but either of them would do whatever work they had to do to support themselves and their families.  A work ethic they learned from their father, Clifford Kaser.

In March of 1936 a newspaper announcement listed several Democrat party candidates for the job of Clerk of Courts, including Keith K. Kaser. He won the primary election and when November rolled around he had a free ride. There was no Republican opposition in this majority-Democrat county.

I was amazed to learn that my Aunt Blanche served as Uncle Keith’s deputy clerk. Apparently Ohio had no nepotism restrictions.

Ironically, the same year, my father and mother had started dating, and he had joined her in her efforts for Republican candidates.  Paul Kaser and Harriette Anderson were quite active in politics in the years just before they married.

Ice Cream Socials were held here.

Holmes County Courthouse, Millersburg, Ohio. Photo by David Grant

When I was a small girl, I vividly remember visiting the County Court House in Millersburg with Uncle Keith. He showed me enormous books with hand-written records of transactions that must have dated back decades. I was very impressed with his importance.

Keith Kaser was naturally a social animal, but his leadership tendencies and camaraderie served him well on the political stage.  He was very active in the Masonic Lodge, holding many high offices. And he was a leader, Sunday School teacher, and ultimately Deacon at the Millersburg Church of Christ.  I don’t know whether he left the Seventh Day Adventist Church because there was not one in Millersburg, or because it was Blanche’s choice, but at any rate, he was an active church member for the rest of his life.

When he filled in his World War II Draft Registration card in April 1942, he was living at 208 Clay Street in MIllersburg, and place of employment is listed as East Jackson Street, Millersburg, Holmes County, Ohio (The County Courthouse).  He had blue eyes, gray hair, a light complexion and weighed in at 219 pounds on a 5’5″ frame. At the age of 47, he was experiencing some health problems from his excess weight, and they continued to plague him throughout his life.

One of the things I remember about visiting their home, was Aunt Blanche’s wonderful cooking–particularly the elaborate cakes that she would decorate.  Another thing that sticks with me is the big wooden console radio in the living room.  During World War II when my mom and dad and I visited, we always clustered around that radio listening to the news.

In 1944 Keith Kaser announced that he would not run for a third term as Clerk of Courts, and in 1945, the newspaper announced that he was the Modern Woodmen of America auditor for the State of Ohio. Modern Woodmen is a fraternal benefit society (providing insurance to members, but also fraternal social activities) that was founded in 1883.  As far as I know this was not a paid position, and I do not know what other employment he may have had at this time. I do recall in the 40s or early 50s that Aunt Blanche worked as a sales clerk in one of the stores on the main street of Millersburg.

Keith and Blanche loved to travel, particularly to take car trips, and the Coshocton Tribune personals column for Millersburg frequently details their Jaunts. I took one trip with them, and remember we left very early in the morning. I must have been excitedly chattering as I got in the car because Uncle Keith told me solemnly that I should be quiet, because the neighbors (who were very good friends of Keith and Blanche) were nasty people and if we woke them up, they’d want to go with us. So we had to leave very quietly because we didn’t want them to know we were on a trip. The story worked. I didn’t make a peep until we were on the road. For the longest time I believed his story, and even asked my mother and father about the mean neighbors that Keith and Blanche had.  Of course my parents were mystified.

In 1950, The Coshocton Tribune carried an announcement of Keith K. Kaser running for County Auditor, but I have not yet learned if he was elected.  Probably not, since I do not see any subsequent news about him being in office.

After Keith died in 1963, Blanche eventually sold the house and moved into a trailer home parked on the side lawn.  She still had itchy travel feet, however, and in her seventies, took a Greyhound bus trip across the country. She visited us briefly in Scottsdale, Arizona, but did not stay long, as she had places to go.

Blanche died in 1991 and the journey of the couple who were married 48 years ends  in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Millersburg, Ohio.


  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the brother of
  • Keith Karl Kaser


Photos are from my personal collection, handed down from Paul Kaser, my father, except for the Holmes County Courthouse. If you click on that one, you will find out more about the photographer.

Draft Registration Card, WWI, #271 June 5, 1917, found at Ancestry.com; Ohio; Registration County: Holmes; Roll: 1832249;Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509,

Draft Registration Card, WWII, Serial #1002 April 27, 1942, found at Ancestry.com; United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147. National Archives and Records Administration.

The Coshocton Tribune, found at Ancestry.com Various articles between 1934 and 1955.

Census Records from 1900 (Coshocton , Ohio) 1910 (Clark, Ohio), 1920(Millersburg, Ohio),1930 (Orrville, Ohio),1940 (Millersburg, Ohio) all found at Ancestry.com

Birth Record Found at Ancestry.com:  “Ohio Births and Christenings, 1821-1962.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2011. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.

Death Record Ancestry.com. Web: Ohio, Find A Grave Index, 1787-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012; Original data: Find A Grave. Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi: accessed 25 January 2013.

52 Ancestors: #13 Wedding: Phyllis Kaser Shoup

Phyllis Kaser Shoup

The September, 1946 wedding of my cousin Phyllis Kaser Shoup. I’m the flower girl on the right.

Phyllis Kaser Shoup (1921-2004)

After I went to a wedding last weekend, I started shuffling through various wedding pictures in my photo collection.  At this wedding, of my cousin, Phylis Kaser Shoup, I was a flower girl.

I took my responsibilities very seriously.  To my way of thinking, Phyllis was the height of beauty and sophistication. After all, I was seven years old and she was 25–quite a gap. She had even lived and worked in WASHINGTON, D. C.!  I was justly proud of my beautiful long dress and fancy headpiece.  And at the rehearsal when I was told how to carry a basket of flower petals and scatter them on the floor as the other flower girl and I walked down the aisle, it was serious stuff. During the wedding, I concentrated very hard on getting just enough petals to flow out of the basket, without using them all up before I got to the front of the awesomely beautiful church.

Unfortunately, I don’t know a whole lot of Phyllis’ story, but I’ll share what I do know.

Phyllis was the middle child of my father’s brother, Keith Kaser and his wife Blanche. She had an older sister, Evelyn, and a younger brother Richard (Dick).  When she was young, she lived for a time in Orrville, Ohio, but by the time I started visiting the Kasers, they lived in Millersburg, Ohio, where she went to high school.

When World War II started, there was a great demand for office workers–mainly women–in Washington D.C. So she and her sister Evelyn decided to take their secretarial skills to Washington for the war effort. It must have been quite an adventure for two young women from Millersburg Ohio to to to the bustling city of Washington during the war, with soldiers everywhere.

Phyllis Shoup worked in D.C. during war

WWII office workers DC during World War II. Photo from Library of Congress collection.

They were there in 1945 when my family were spending the summer in Virginia (a story for another day) and I remember that we visited with them.  A few months after that visit, Phyllis returned to Millersburg to get ready for her wedding to tall, dark and quietly handsome John Shoup.  (I just realized how solemn almost everyone in the wedding picture looks. I looked particularly grim–still afraid I might do something wrong, I guess. Actually it was a particularly joyous time. Not only a wedding–but peace time at last!)

I remember going to the wedding shower–a real privilege for such a little girl. And I’ll never forget that my mother brought a gift of a few dishtowels, with a poem she had written. “Even doing dishes can be fun, when it is done for the one and only one.”

After living in Millersburg for a time, Phyl (as she was usually called) and John moved to Kentucky and lived there for most of their lives. They had two small blond babies, and I enjoyed visiting them and playing “big sister”. [UPDATE: When they left Millersburg, they moved to Ashland, Ohio, and in 1967 moved to Louisville Kentucky.]

When John died in 1990, Phyl moved to Ashland Ohio to be near her daughter, and lived there until her death in 2004.

I would love hearing more details about Phyllis from Kaser cousins. For instance, did she and Evelyn work in some super exciting job in D.C.? or were they doing repetitious typing of inventories? [UPDATE: She worked at the Naval Department].  And what were her interests when she moved to Kentucky? [She and John were avid golfers.] How did she and John meet? [Although they went to different high schools, they were both in the All County High School Band, so they were actually high school sweethearts.] So many questions–[and now some answers].

[UPDATES thanks to personal correspondence with Phyllis’ daughter, Debbie Shoup Powers. Thank you Debbie!]