Tag Archives: Ohio

52 Ancestors: #26 The Kaser Bachelor Farmers: Otto and Wilbert Kaser

Otto Kaser 1883-1938

Wilbert Kaser 1886-1946

Garrison Keillor frequently talks about the Norwegian Bachelor Farmers, and the Kaser brothers Otto and Wilbert fit a similar description for much of their lives, except they were German. I think of them as the Kaser Bachelor Farmers.

Sometimes reading official reports, it looks like they have moved, but actually the farm stays the same and the address, township names and town names change. The farm that the Kasers lived on was on R.D.#2 out of Clark, Ohio, earlier known as the Sugarcreek Road. Although they were enumerated in the German Township, Holmes County census, their mailing address was Baltic, Ohio, a village which is in a corner where Holmes, Coshocton and Tuscarawas Counties meet. The geography is even more confusing than Clark, Ohio which is split by the Holmes County/Coschocton County line. The farm was reportedly two miles from Baltic.

I imagine that Otto and Wilbert were close brothers from the start, since they were sandwiched between two older sisters and a younger sister.  The two boys were just three years apart in age, but their older brother Henry was ten years older than Wilbert.

Otto and Wilbert, lived  with their mother Mary Rost Kaser and the other siblings when their father Cornelius Kaser died in 1900 in his early 50s. Although their older brother Henry married and older sister Ellen (Ella) married Robert Kleinknecht, the two brothers remained unmarried and stayed with their mother through their twenties and thirties.

Another tragic death in their family occurred in 1917, when their older sister Ellen (Ella) died, leaving five children and her husband. For a time, their mother Mary Kaser and the two brothers were joined by Ellen’s oldest daughter, Florence, who was nine years old when her mother died.

It seems that Wilbert, who only went to school through the fifth grade, was a farmer all his life. Otto, on the other hand, started as a day laborer (probably on neighboring farms) when he was a teen, but spent at least a short time working at the local railroad station before he took up the occupation of “timberman,” as his obituary described him.  Since the Kaser farm had timber in addition to farmland, he may have gotten his start on their own farm.

When their mother died in the 1920’s (probably late in that decade), and the only sister still at home, Elsie, married Allen Winklepeck, the two sons continued to live on the farm. Although Otto was listed as head of household, it was Wilbert who was doing the farming, while Otto worked as a lumber man.

They were both strapping young men–six feet tall and heavy set.  They were fair, Otto  blond and Wilbert with light brown hair. Unfortunately, I have no idea what they did outside of work on their farms. At least they did not participate in activities notable enough to make the newspaper as far as I can find.

It seemed to be a good arrangement for both of them, until Otto suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died at 53 years old.  Wilbert, just turning 50, married a woman 18 years younger than he was.  Had he long wanted to marry Della and put it off because of his responsibilities? Or did he need help on the farm now that he was alone?  Was his health beginning to fail?  I can only wonder why he married so soon after Otto’s death, and after being a bachelor farmer for so long.

At any rate, Della May Lockhart and Wilbert Kaser were married by 1940. Still tall (6′) and hefty (170 lb), in 1942 when World War II broke out and he filled out his draft card, the now 54-year-old Wilbert had turned gray.  Della moved in to the Kaser homestead.

I hope they had a happy time in their short marriage, because by 1945 just six years after they were married, Wilbert was stricken with heart disease and he was hospitalized in Massillon, Ohio, when he died in March, 1946. He was buried at the New Bedford Lutheran Church cemetery where so many Kasers are found.

I don’t know if my father ever knew the Kaser Bachelor brothers who were his cousins, and I have not followed the breadcrumbs to discover what happened to that farm that had been tended by Cornelius and Mary and their two sons.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Clifford Kaser, who is the brother of
  • Cornelius Kaser, who is the father of
  • Otto Kaser and Wilbert Kaser

Notes on Research

Census records from  1900 German, Holmes Co. Ohio); 1910, German Twp, Holmes Co, Ohio; 1920, Clark, German Twp Holmes Co, Ohio, 1930, Clark, Holmes Co., Ohio, 1940, Clark, Holmes Co., Ohio.

Democratic Standard Newspaper, Coshocton Ohio 13 July 1900, page one, “Fractured His Neck.”

Death Record.U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1700s-Current; Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1800-1962

World War I Draft Registration Card for Wilbert Kaser. 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, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

World War II Draft Registration Cards for Henry J. Kaser, Willbert Ralph Kaser and Otto Kaser

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.

Wilbert Kaser Obituary, Piqua Daily Call, March 21, 1946

Otto Kaser Obituary, Coshocton Tribune, “Native of Holmes County Taken by Death in Hospital”, January 15, 1938, page one.

All of these records were accessed through Ancestry.com

52 Ancestors:#25 Widow Cares for the Homestead

Mary Röst/Rust (1855- before 1930)

When her husband, Cornelius Kaser, fell from a cherry tree and died in the summer of1900, Mary Kaser was left with the family homestead in Clark, (Holmes County, Ohio) to care for. Rather than turning it over to her adult sons who lived with her, Mary told the census taker that she was the head of household and a farmer. I have found so many women in these circumstances who married within the year in order to have a man to take care of them and their farm.  But Mary had the advantage of older sons to help.

Her life could not have been easy up until then. Mary’s parents were immigrants, coming from Wittemberg Germany before she was born in New York State in 1855.  I have not been able to trace their movements, but apparently they followed the path of so many German immigrants to northern Ohio, because in 1877, Mary met and married Cornelius Kaser in Ohio.

It had taken Cornelius a long time to reach the point where he could call a farm his own. All of his early years were spent working as a laborer for someone else, but some time before 1900, when he was over 40 he was finally able to claim a farm as his own.  I have not inspected land records, but expect to learn that he was living on a piece of the Kaser homestead–the land that his father owned that was adjacent to so many other Kasers in and around Clark, Ohio.

When her husband died, Mary was left with five children ranging in age from seven to 22. Faced with a terrible tragedy at the age of 45, Mary seemed to take charge and move on. I imagine it would have been important to her to hold that farm together.

Her oldest son, Henry married a few years later and daughter, Ella (Mary Ellen) married Robert Kleinknecht before 1910, leaving siblings Otto (b. 1883) and Wilbert (b. 1889) and young Elsie (b. 1893) at the Kaser homestead.

After working for a time as a laborer, Mary’s son Henry  moved with his wife to live with his father-in-law not far from the Kaser homestead.  Ella and her husband lived in an adjoining county. In the next few years, Henry presented his mother with two grandchildren, and Ella was busy giving birth yearly and then every other year to Florence (1908), Fern (1909), Forest (a girl–1910), Homer (1915) and a daughter Helen (1917). I loved the names Ella chose for her first three daughters–it makes her seem fanciful and nature-loving. Perhaps chasing after three children under six years old in the household sapped her imagination before Homer was born.

In 1917, Ella died, leaving five children behind. She might well have died in childbirth–worn out after having all those children in a short time.  I have not looked into what happened to the other four children, but the oldest, Florence (10) , went to live with the grieving mother Mary Kaser and her sons Wilbert and Homer.

By 1920, Elsie (Mary E.) had also married–to a Allen Winklepleck–boy, those girls did complicate their last names, didn’t they?

Mary may have enjoyed having another female in the house in the last years of her life. Florence married in 1928. Two years later, she and her husband and two small children moved in with her father. (Yet another example of extended families inhabiting one homestead.)

Mary died before she was 75, because she does not show up on the 1930 census.  In the next installment, I will talk about her sons Otto and Wilbert, who helped her on the family farm.

Added note:  As I was looking at these aunts and uncles and cousins of my father, Paul Kaser, I was a little surprised to find another Paul. Henry, who would be my father’s first cousin, named his son Paul R. Kaser (born in 1911). My father had no middle name. And I had not seen another Paul in the family before this.

There was a girl in Henry’s small family, too, Fern was born in 1909, the same year that Ella’s Fern was born. My father was also born in 1909, so it is too bad if he never was acquainted with these second cousins. However having a play group of Paul and Paul and Fern and Fern may have gotten a bit confusing.

How I am Related

Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of

Paul Kaser, who is the son of

Clifford Kaser, who is the brother of

Cornelius Kaser, who is the husband of

Mary Rost/Rust Kaser

Research Notes

Census records from 1860 (German Twp, Holmes Co, Oho); 1880, Mechanic Twp, Holmes Co., Ohio; 1900 German, Holmes Co. Ohio); 1910, German Twp, Holmes Co, Ohio; 1920, Clark, German Twp Holmes Co, Ohio.

Democratic Standard Newspaper, Coshocton Ohio 13 July 1900, page one, “Fractured His Neck.”

Death Record. Hayes Presidential Center Obituary Indexers and Volunteers. “Ohio Obituary Index.” Database. Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center. http://index.rbhayes.org/hayes/index/ : 2009.

World War I Draft Registration Card for Wilbert Kaser. 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, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

World War II Draft Registration Card for Henry J. Kaser, Willbert Ralph Kaser and Otto Kaser

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.

All of these records were accessed through Ancestry.com

52 Ancestors: #24 Cornelius Kaser, A Life Cut Short

Joseph Kaser, Carpenter

The handkerchief chest made by great-grandfather Joseph Kaser.

Note:  This week’s 52 Ancestors Challenge suggests “Heirlooms” as a theme.  I have previously written about the only Kaser heirloom that I have–a handkerchief chest made by Joseph Kaser, the father of my grandfather Cliff Kaser and Cliff’s brothers and sisters. I am currently writing about those brothers and sisters. I invite you to read about the beautiful heirloom from their father, here.

For other heirlooms I have written about, see Great Aunt Maude Stout Bartlett’s pewter tea set and china tea set, the story of the wonderful  crazy quilt made by my great-great and great-grandmothers, the baby bed quilt made by my Aunt Irene when I was born, the hall mirror of William and Hattie Morgan Stout, the World’s Fair pitcher, and grandfather Clifford Kaser’s old battered trombone.

Cornelius Kaser (1852-1900)

Cornelius Kaser was the 2nd child of Joseph Kaser II And Catharine Sampsell Kaser. He was born in Bloomfield (later Clark), Coshocton County, Ohio in the family farm surrounded by other farms and other members of the Kaser family. At the time that Cornelius was born, Joseph had interrupted his career as a carpenter to run the grist mill in Bloomfield.

Cornelius (I wonder if they called him Corny?)  soon had a little brother, David, to play with and when he was five, another brother, Johnathan came along.  He would have hardly known my grandfather Clifford Kaser, born sixteen years after Cornelius.

In 1870, the federal census lists Cornelius Kaser in two places, and says he is 19, when he actually would have been 18.  He is listed as a laborer living with his parents and family members, but he also is listed living with the family of Thomas Graham (wife Massa), working as one of two laborers on Graham’s farm. Graham, born in Ireland, must have been doing quite well in the new country, since he had not only two farm workers, but a female domestic servant as well. Surely Graham’s success must have inspired the young man to strive to own his own place.

When he was 25, in 1877, Cornelius married Mary Rust. Mary had been born in New York, but both her parents had been born in Wittenburg, Germany and it appears that their name was originally Röst. About a year after their marriage, Cornelius and Mary had a son, officially named John H. but called Henry the rest of his life. In late 1879, a daughter named Ellen but called Ella joined the family.  By then, Cornelius was living in neighboring Holmes County and working in a coal mine. (Listed in the 1880 census as a “coal digger.”)

The Kaser family moved back to Clark, Ohio, when the census taker knocked on the door in 1900. Cornelius had finally stopped doing hard and sometimes dangerous manual labor for other people. They were living on their own farm on the road between Baltic and New Bedford Ohio. I will have to check land records, but since Cornelius’ father Joseph Kaser died a few years earlier, and Cornelius was the oldest son, this could very well have been the family home.

Having been married 23 years, Cornelius and Mary had five children in 1900.  They had lost no children in infancy or childhood.

The eldest son, now listed as Henry J. (22) was living at home and working as a farm laborer. Their daughter Ella also at home and also listed as a day laborer was now twenty years old. Three more children had joined the family, Otto (17) already working “out” as a day laborer, Wilbert (13) and Mary Elsie (7),

Cornelius was 48 at the time of the 1900 census, but was not listed as having an occupation, which was an oversight, since from later documents it is clear he now owned his farm.

The census was taken in June.

Cornelius died in July.

Obituary Cornelius Kaser

Democratic Standard Newspaper, Coshocton Ohio 13 July 1900

While the reporter sensationalized the death by adding the “five small children” remark when the children ranged all the way to twenty-two years old, his death would have been a terrible shock. And it was particularly sad knowing that he had finally achieved the goal of owning his farm and would not live to enjoy it.

Cornelius Kaser was buried at the Lutheran Cemetery in New Bedford, Ohio, near his farm.

Ironically, my great-great-grandfather on my mother’s side, Joseph (Joe) Anderson, also a farmer, died in 1883 as a result of injuries from a fall from a tree. An occupational hazard of farming in fruit tree country, it seems.

Cornelius’ younger brother Clifford, my grandfather, had been married only seven years and had just one child at the time of Cornelius’ death, so my father, born in 1909 never even met this uncle.

While finding Cornelius’ story, I became curious about what became of his family after his death, and so the next story (or group of stories) that I share will be about how a family survives the early death of the father.

 

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, the son of
  • Clifford Kaser, who is the brother of
  • Cornelius Kaser

Research Notes

Census records from 1860 (German Twp, Holmes Co, Oho); 1880, Mechanic Twp, Holmes Co., Ohio; 1900 German, Holmes Co. Ohio)

Democratic Standard Newspaper, Coshocton Ohio 13 July 1900, page one, “Fractured His Neck.”

Death Record. Hayes Presidential Center Obituary Indexers and Volunteers. “Ohio Obituary Index.” Database. Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center. http://index.rbhayes.org/hayes/index/ : 2009.

All of these records were accessed through Ancestry.com