Tag Archives: Ohio

52 Ancestors: #30-Helen Stucky Bair Kohler Faces A Challenge

For the time being, I have set aside my own family research (except for occasional timely notes).Instead  I am searching for ancestors of my husband, Kenneth Ross Badertscher. Today–his maternal grandmother.

Helen Stucky (Bair, Kohler) 1890-1974

I am quite sure that Helen Stucky faced many challenges in her life, but one is so huge that I have trouble getting my mind around it.  I first met “Grandma Kohler” when my husband and I married.  She loved filling her farm house with family at Thanksgiving, and never tired of having grandchildren climb over her.

Helen Stucky

Great-Grandma Helen Kohler with Mike, Kenneth Paul, and Brent, in Ohio, 1966.

This picture was taken at Ken’s parents home (Agnes Bair Badertscher and Paul Badertscher) near Dalton, Ohio.  Agnes Bair was Helen’s first child from her first marriage.

Helen Stucky Bair Kohler was tall and had the big hands of a woman made for farm work. She’d fit right into Grant Wood’s American Gothic. But she did not look stern. She was sweet, modest, and welcoming to all, and a terrific cook. Knowing her in her old age, it was hard for me to imagine some of the hardships she had lived through. I’ll never know if these tragedies created her placid personality, or if her placid personality helped her survive adversity.

A Big Family

The oldest daughter born to Frederick and Ida Stucky, Helen grew up on the family farm in York Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio, near New Philadelphia.  Her father and mother were of Swiss heritage, and kept a dairy farm on Stone Creek Road. By 1910, when Helen was 19, she had seven siblings still at home ranging in age from 3 to 17.  Her sister Bessie, now 16, is not listed with Fred and Ida on that year’s census–probably working out of the home, as was Helen, although I have not found Bessie in a 1910 census report. (A 6-year-old brother had died in 1895, when Helen was just five years old. In 1915 one more sister came along to make it a family of ten living children.)

Around 1917, when Gladys (b. 1915) was a toddler, the family had this portrait made.

Helen Stucky family

Della, Bessie, Helen, Carl, Gertrude, Carrie, Bertha. Bottom row: John, Fred, Ida, Gladys, Frank Stucky
Circa 1917

Young Love

Helen Stucy

Helen Stucky/Adam Bair Marriage Certificate

In March 1912 when she was 21 years old, Helen married Adam Daniel Bair (22), who was known as Adam.  Like her father, he was a dairy farmer, although the Bair family came from Germany rather than Switzerland.  The couple must have had high hopes for their newly acquired farm, when they posed for this picture with some of Helen’s sisters and her first child, Agnes, who was born in 1913. It is a Dodge Touring Car from 1915.

Helen Stucky Bair

In the back seat Stucky Sisters, Bessie, Gertrude and Della. In front Helen and Adam Bair Sr. and Agnes Bair. Circa 1915.

The Challenge

In 1917, Adam Bair faithfully filled out his World War I registration card, showing he had a wife and one child. He was described as tall, stout, with dark brown hair and blue eyes.  But then, just a year and a half after filling out his registration card, the worldwide calamity that followed World War I hit Ohio, and Adam Bair, tall and stout as he was, fell victim to the flu that killed thousands. Adam died in January, 1919.

Helen was two months pregnant when her husband died. She may not even have realized that she was carrying another child.  At the age of 28, she was a widow and a single mother. I can imagine that having worked at the County Alms House that housed the old, the infirm, and those without any financial support, including mothers with small children, she was determined not to be sent to a place like that.

As much as she would not have wanted to be a burden on her parents, who still had five children at home, she really had no choice.  The oldest of the Stucky siblings still at home, Carl (24), was a steel worker, so he was contributing to the family income. The youngest child at home was Gladys (5), who must have been one of those midlife surprises–nearly the same age as Helen’s Agnes. A baby boy was born in August of the year his father died (1919),and Helen named him Adam Daniel after his father. Then Helen went looking for work. Like her sisters, she found domestic work, to help contribute to the budget, but instead of “working out” she lived at home with her parents and her children.

A Second Family

In 1921 the widow found some security when she married Ralph Kohler, seven years her junior, but like her from a large family of Swiss dairy farmers. In 1922, their first daughter, Inez, was born.  Three years later Richard was born and two years after Richard, the youngest, Hannah, arrived.  Her two Bair children and three Kohler children grew up on the Kohler Farm in Sugar Creek Township, Wayne County, Ohio.  The farm’s address was a rural route out of Dalton, Ohio.

The Kohler farm was a bicycle ride away from Ken Badertscher’s home in Dalton, where his mother Agnes had moved with her husband Paul Badertscher. As a young boy, Ken spent summer days working on the dairy farm. In 1959, Ralph (61) died. Helen’s oldest son, Adam, stayed on and ran the farm, even after he married.  And Helen lived in the same farm house for the rest of her long life.

Helen Esther Stucky (Bair) Kohler died in 1974 when she was 84 years old and was buried in Orrville, Ohio.

Helen Kohler

Helen and Ralph Kohler gravestone, Orrville, Ohio

The suggested theme for this week’s 52 Ancestors challenge was the word “Challenging.” Although the suggestion was to write about an ancestor that is particularly difficult to research, I picked one of my husband’s family who faced a terrible challenge of her own. The research was actually easy.

How Ken is Related

  • Kenneth Ross Badertscher is the son of
  • Agnes Bair Badertscher, who is the daughter of
  • Helen Stucky (Bair) (Kohler) and
  • Adam Bair

Research Notes

This post was inspired by photographs of the Stucky-Bair-Kohler family posted on Ancestry.com, and passed on by a cousin and some belonging to Kay Badertscher.

The ornate marriage license of Helen Stucky and Adam Bair hangs to the wall in our home.

Research at Ancestry.com, including

U.S. Federal Census Records: 1900 census, York Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio; 1910 Censuses, Goshen Township and York Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio; 1920 Census: York Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio; 1930 Census, Sugarcreek Township, Wayne County, Ohio; 1940 Census, Sugarcreek Township, Wayne County, Ohio.

Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1800-1962, Tuscarawas County, Adam Daniel Bair

Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1800-1962, Tuscarawas County, Helen E. Stucky

World War I Draft Registration, June 1917 for Adam Daniel Bair.

World War I Draft Registration, August 1918 for Ralph Kohler, U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Wayne; Roll: 1851302; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com

Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007, Certificate: 30310; Volume: 15762, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health Adam Daniel Bair

Certificate: 088234; Volume: 21905, Helen Esther Stucky

Amish Buttermilk Cookies

After making some buckwheat pancakes, I had about one cup of buttermilk left over.  In the grandmotherly spirit of waste not, want not, I wondered if there was not a good recipe buttermilk cookies.  Although I could make my Grandmother’s Sugar Cookies with buttermilk instead of sour cream, I was curious about other traditional recipes.

Amish Buttermilk Cookie

Amish Buttermilk Cookies out of oven

And look what I found!  The perfect buttermilk cookie recipe. It is labeled an Amish cookie, and comes directly from Holmes County, Ohio where so many of my relatives grew up.  I’m about to turn to Ken’s family in my ancestor search, and although they were one county over, in Wayne County, Ohio, they were definitely solidly in Amish Country.  So although I have no direct evidence, I strongly suspect that his grandmothers might have made buttermilk cookies, too.

Googling led me to an inn in Holmes County Amish country, and recipes in their blog. I contacted the owner of The Barn Inn, situated in the heart of Ohio Amish country between the county seat of Millersburg and the “capitol of Amish land”, Berlin (pronounced with the accent on the first syllable).   She gave me permission to use her recipe verbatim.

The Barn Inn

The Barn Inn, Holmes County, Ohio

My ten-year-old granddaughter and I tested the recipe and loved the results: a soft, pillowy, comforting cookie.  Although it is traditionally finished with icing, I tested it without, first.  My 8-year-old grandson declared that it did not need frosting. What better cookie expert do you need than a 8-year-old boy?

Amish Buttermilk Cookies

Amish Buttermilk Cookies, with plain frosting and with nuts.

However, my husband, Ken, thought the buttermilk cookies were too bland. He wanted a little crunch. It was too late to add something on the inside of the cookie, so I put a lemony glaze on top and scattered nuts on–proving this is an adaptable cookie, with possibilities to suit everyone.

Amish Buttermilk Cookie

Serves 48
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 27 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Website The Barn Inn
Amish Buttermilk Cookies are a soft cookie that are traditionally frosted with a brown sugar icing.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 3/4 cups flour--white or half white and half wheat.
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Directions

1. In large bowl, beat softened butter and sugar together until fluffy.
2. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
3. In second bowl, whisk together flour, soda and baking powder.
4. Mix the buttermilk alternately with the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
5. Drop by large teaspoonfuls, about 2" apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees 10-12 minutes until brown on edges.

Note

When my grand daughter and I made the Amish Buttermilk Cookies, we used half wheat and half white flour, which did not affect the quality, but added a little nutrition.

I did not ice them at first, but my husband wanted some crunch, so I glazed some and scattered chopped pecans on top. (A few I frosted, because I like frosting more than he does.) I used a simple lemon juice, water and confectioners sugar glaze.

The frosting suggested by The Barn Inn is 2 1/2 Tablespoons butter, 5 Tablespoons brown sugar, 12 Tablespoons (3/4 cup) milk mixed with sifted confectioners sugar to the right consistency.

While you’re munching on an Amish Buttermilk Cookies, check out accommodations at The Barn Inn between Berlin and Millersburg, Ohio. What an appealing place. Now, should I go in the fall to see the leaves? Around Christmas for the Christmas Cookie tour of Inns? In the summer for the green, green hills?

 

52 Ancestors #29: Inspired by a Facebook Cousin to Seek Kasers

What is a Facebook Cousin?  When a cousin you had never known finds you on Facebook, or the two of you belong to the same local group for where you used to live, you may wind up sharing information about your shared ancestors. A Facebook Cousin was responsible for my pursuing these two Kaser relatives and she gave me information as well.

Austin J. (Jay) Kaser (1884-1949)

I can kind of understand why my father was unfamiliar with this cousin.  After all, Austin Kaser was born 25 years before my father, Paul Kaser. Austin’s first son was only four years younger than my father, but his last son was only four years older than me–so the family was spread out, to say the least.

In writing about Austin Jay’s father, Johnathan Kaser, I pointed out that Austin was born February 27, 1884.  Like his father, Johnathan, Austin lived at home with his parents in Clark (Coshocton County, Ohio) until his mid-twenties, and worked at miscellaneous manual labor jobs.

Austin was one of the early members of the Bloomfield Community band formed in 1898. Many of the Kaser clan, including my grandfather Clifford and his brothers Dave and Ed, played in this band.  Austin, listed in this newspaper article, played the tenor horn and trombone.  Since he was only 14 when the band was formed, it is doubtful that he was an original member.

Bloomfield Community Band

Bloomfield Community Band Newspaper Article 1968

Austin Jay Kaser was married about 1917 or 1918 to Grace Conrad (January1898-July 1964) from nearby Killbuck, Ohio. Grace and Austin had seven boys and three girl between 1884 and 1935. Two of the girls who died in infancy. in a group on Facebook, I came in contact with the daughter of the youngest boy in that family–another Jay– and decided to follow this line of cousins farther out on a limb of the family tree than I usually would. Austin Jay would be my first cousin once removed, and his youngest son, Jay Henry,  a second cousin.

The census reports for 1910 ( when Grace was still living at home with her parents) and for 1920 (after she was married) list her “race or color” as mulatto.  Her father, in 1910, is identified as white, but her mother is listed as mulatto. Creating some confusion, Grace is listed as white on the next two census reports. I am inclined to believe the “mulatto” since it is rare in northern Ohio census reports, and if the census taker were going to err, it would certainly be in the other direction.  I don’t have a picture of Grace, but it appears from other records that she must have been at least 3/4 white, so the fact she was mixed race might now show in a photograph.

I found evidence for her having very little “negro” in her blood (the designation used for black)  in the records for Grace’s mother, Ida McCluggage Conrod. Ida  is listed as mulatto in the 1880 census when she is  four years old. However, in that year, both Ida’s  mother and father are listed as white. It is possible, I suppose, that Ida was adopted. Since my relationship is distant, I’m going to leave all this for someone else to figure out.

With their large family, Austin Jay and Grace must have had a struggle making ends meet since Austin worked mostly as a day laborer. Both of the parents and most of the children completed only the 8th grade in school. One year Austin is listed as an oil field laborer, and another he is listed as a truck farmer, other times just as “laborer.”

The oldest  and third sons, Clarence and Reo, served in World War II, which would have given their parents some anxious moments, but both returned unharmed. Several of the sons died young, however. Only two lived past 60. The oldest, Clarence, apparently was vigorous. He got married when he was 69 years old to a 21-year-old bride. He died four years later, at 73. Ralph, the next to youngest, died in 2005 at the age of 72. Unlike his older brother, he was never married. Daughter Betty, 6th child, lived the longest–she was 79.

The second oldest son, Walter, died at the age of 50, and the fourth son, David, died at the age of 49, just two years after taking a 30-year-old as his second wife. The 4th, 5th and youngest children also died young:  Harold Eugene died at 57, Donald died at 50, and Jay Henry died at 55.

Austin Jay Kaser’s obituary, as transcribed at FindaGrave.com:

The Coshocton Tribune, April 21, 1949 Austin Jay Kaser of Clark Succumbs at Millersburg Hospital

Austin Jay Kaser, 65, of Clark died at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Pomerene Hospital, Millersburg, after a long illness. He was admitted to the hospital March 12 for treatment.
He was born Feb. 27, 1884, near Clark, a son of Jonathan and Amanda Kaser, and was married Nov. 15, 1917, to Grace Conrad, who survives.
He is also survived by seven sons, Pvt. Clarence Kaser, with the United States army in Korea, Pvt. Donald Kaser, Camp Atterbury, Ind., Leland, Harold, Jay and Ralph, all of the home, and Reo of Zanesville; one daughter, Betty, of the home; and one brother, Lester of Clark.
Services will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Clark Methodist church with Rev. Thomas L. Cromwell, pastor of the Millersburg Methodist Church, officiating. Burial will be in the Clark cemetery.
Friends may call at the Elliott funeral parlors, in Millersburg.

J. Henry (Jay) Kaser 1935-1990

The youngest son, J. Henry, who in later years wrote his name as Jay H., was born in 1935, when his mother was 37 years old.

Although his mother and father and his siblings lacked a high school graduation, Jay would go on to graduate from Clark High School in May of 1952, [three years after his father died] the only one of Austin Jay and Grace’s children to graduate high school.  While in high school, he was a star on the basketball team. The school principal had to buy him basketball shoes because his family couldn’t afford them. He also performed in the senior class play. Apparently he liked drama, because in 1953, he performed in a community production in Clark, Ohio.

In 1956, Jay Kaser joined the army. By 1957, he had been assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii.  His daughter tells me that he broke a leg playing softball in the army and spent most of his time recuperating in a wheelchair, so he did not see active duty in Korea.

In July 1957, he was married in Richmond, Indiana, although his bride, Debbie had grown up in Killbuck and the couple continued to live in Holmes and Coshocton County. (Check out that Ford Fairlane in the background!)

Jay Kaser

Jay and Debbie Kaser, Late 50s

He was back on the softball field in 1963, when there are reports in the Coshocton Tribune of his pitching skills on the team known as the Coshocton Moose.

Adult softball was a very big deal in the area.  I remember spending many summer evenings during the 1950s on the Killbuck HIgh School field watching my uncle and others play softball. It drew a large crowd.

In 1965, Jay and his wife had one child when Debbie filed for divorce, but they reconciled and never divorced. He died in a nursing home in Millersburg in 1990 when he was only 55 years old.

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
  • Johnathan Kaser, who is the father of
  • Austin Jay Kaser, who is the father of
  • Henry J. (Jay Henry) Kaser

Notes on Research

  • United States Census Reports. 1900, Clark, Coshocton, Ohio; 1910, Clark, Coshocton, Ohio; 1920, Mechanic Twp, Holmes, Ohio; 1930, Clark, Coshocton, Ohio; 1940, Clark, Coshocton, Ohio
  • “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. (Austin J.)
  • The Times Recorder, (Zanesville Ohio) “Austin J. Kaser Rites Saturday” 23 April 1949, pg 3.
  • The Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton Ohio) “Austin Jay Kaser of Clark Succumbs at Millersburg Hospital”, 21, April 1949. (Transcribed at Find A Grave.)
  • The Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton Ohio) 18, July 1957, “Personals” details of Jay Henry’s military service in that year.
  • The Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton Ohio) 2, April, 1965, Jay Henry – Divorce filed.
  • Find a Grave.com
  • U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Coshocton; Roll: 1832033; Draft Board: 1 (Austin J.)
  • U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; State Headquarters: Ohio  (Austin J.)
  • U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 2 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. (Jay Henry Lived in Killbuck in 1935.)
  • Ohio, Birth Index, 1908-1964 (Jay Henry)
  • Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007, (Jay Henry) Certificate: 092514; Volume: 28362
  • Except for the places noted, information came from Ancstors.com
  • Jay Henry’s daughter provided other details of his life.