Tag Archives: Ohio

52 Ancestors:#20 Edward Kaser and Sons, a Sad Family Story

Edward Kaser 1871-1958

Edward “Ed” Kaser, the youngest brother of my grandfather Clifford Kaser, first popped up on my radar when I was searching for any of my father’s cousins that might be about my father’s age. Because my father was much younger than his older brother, and Clifford was younger than most of his siblings, there were few cousins in the same age bracket. That partially explains why my father claimed not to know any of his Kaser family. But there’s another reason my father may have ducked one particular cousin.

Next I saw Edward (Ed)’s name in an article about the Clark, Ohio band where my grandfather Cliff Kaser played the trombone. But most intriguing, as I looked for his children, I discovered that his son Glen was no longer living with the family in 1930, although he was still in his teens. Where he was living came as a shock.

Edward was born in December 1871 to Joseph Kaser (II) and Catharine Sampsel Kaser. Like so many of the Kasers, Edward stayed right in the area where his family had farms, near Clark, Ohio.

Edward was late to marry, still living at home with his widowed mother Catharine in 1900 when he was twenty-eight years old. That would have been the period of his life when he was playing an instrument in the Clark Community band. He must have lived a happy in his twenties. Although he was a hard working and devoted to his mother, he would have been considered an eligible bachelor, and there must have been joy in making music.

Clark Community Band Stand

Photo of Clark Band Stand. Given to newspaper by Mrs. Sanford Lowe of Clark.

The 1960s newspaper article refers to the band in 1898. Three Kaser brothers–Dave, Cliff and Ed played in the band along with Dave’s son and a nephew Austin.

Ed Kaser married his wife Anna  in 1904. In the 1920 and 1930 census records he is listed as living in Mechanic Township, Holmes County, Ohio, and then in the village of Clark, Mechanic Twp, Holmes County (Probably the same house with location described differently). Unlike most of the Kaser clan, he was not a farmer, but was a painter of houses. He and his wife Anna had three children, Carl (b. 1906), Ruth (b. 1909), and Glen (b. 1911).

In 1920, Edward was 49 years old and his wife Anna was ten years younger. Interestingly, Anna had been born in Switzerland. Although she can speak English, her native tongue is German Swiss. She immigrated when she was about three years old, in 1884, and if the census reports are accurate, was naturalized between 1920 and 1930.

In 1930, only daughter Ruth, who is now 21, remains at home. Edward’s more complete job description is now painter and house paperer.

The Coshocton newspaper reports Ruth’s name many times. She appears to be a bright and talented girl, who is a public speaker and a musician like her father.

The question arises–what has become of the sons, Carl and Glen between 1920 and 1930? Sadly, tragedy struck this family in two forms. On September 11, 1924, the Holmes County Farmer Hub contained an obituary.

Carl D. Kaser was born December 2, 1906.  He an obedient son and a believer in the  Lord Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Holy Scripture.

His health was broken in the last year of his life, and on September 3, 1924, he fell asleep in death, being 17 years, 9 months and one day old.

He leaves to mourn his departure,  father, mother, one brother and one sister and other relatives and friends.

The younger brother Glen was just thirteen when his brother died, but in the 1930 census, at the age of 19, we learn that Glen has been incarcerated in the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio.

Ironically, before I knew about any of this, I visited the once notorious Ohio State Reformatory. The imposing gray limestone Gothic architecture of buildings built in 1886 still glowers over the landscape, while inside the bars of its six stories of cells and bed frames and sinks inside rust away. It was such a cruel place that it was eventually closed, and evil still seems to hang in the corridors. In fact one of its principle attractions now is as a Haunted House. You can take a video tour here.

You may have seen the prison, as it was the site used in the film The Shawshank Redemption. Sentimental movies notwithstanding, I would not wish this prison on anyone. Even if Glen’s original misdeeds were minor, he would have come out at least a hardened criminal. But in his case, he apparently broke–or was incorrigible. I do not know how long he was at Mansfield, and if he might have been at home for a time, but he led a very troubled life.

By the time he was 28, Glen was  an “inmate” at the Massillon State Hospital--for the mentally ill.  I can’t help wonder if Glen fell into the category of “criminally insane.” Whatever happened to him, the State Hospital would have been a much more pleasant place than the Reformatory. Massillon was considered one of the most desirable and well designed of such institutions, using separate “cottages”–actually fairly good sized houses–instead of one massive building.  It certainly would have been an improvement over the cruel and harsh treatment given internees at the Ohio Reformatory in Mansfield.  In fact, the Massillon Museum’s website says,

The McKinley Hall hospital was one of the most popular and “the most beautiful institution in the world”. By 1950, the hospital housed 3,100 patients with approximately 365 full and part time workers and nurses. The expanse of the land was so beautiful that many family picnics took place on the lawn, as well as the Massillon football and baseball games.

Glen died in 1977, and according to the Social Security Records had only received his Social Security card two years before that.  He would have been 64 when he got the S.S. number. Does that mean he was not released from state custody until then?  It will take some time to ferret out all the details of why Glen was incarcerated and why he was in the hospital.  All of the records of the Massillon Hospital have been lost, and I’m not sure how much I can learn form the reformatory.[Note: See comments. Amy Johnson Crow has given me a route to getting complete information on Glen’s incarceration, which I’ll be pursuing.]  Black sheep, or unfortunate victim of mental illness?

Whichever it is, his father Edward and mother Anna must have grieved at losing two sons–one to an early death and one to a life under lock and key. Did that influence their daughter Ruth to remain unmarried?  She was still living at home [see note below] in 1957 when her mother died. Until that time, the Coshocton newspaper is full of notes about Ruth attending Methodist church functions with her mother.

Since Ruth was the same age as my father,and Ed and Clifford were close in age, and played in the Clark band together as young men, it puzzles me why my Dad apparently was totally out of touch with Ruth. I wonder if Glen’s troubles created a stigma that separated parts of the family.

Ed died in January 1958 at the age of 87.

Note:  I may have to write another post about Edward and his family.  I just found information that leads me to believe he and Ruth may have been living in the Holmes County Home at the time of his death. (We called it “the poor house” in my youth, but it also housed people who were ill or just old and could not afford private care.  Ruth would have been about 50 at the time Glenn died, but as yet I do not know when they moved there. )

 How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, the son of
  • Clifford Kaser, who is the brother of
  • Edward Kaser, the father of Carl, Ruth and Glen Kaser.

 Notes on Research

A detailed history with many pictures of the Massillon hospital, can be found here: http://blogs.gatehousemedia.com/artandhistory/2014/09/22/massillon-state-hospital-history-and-records/

Anna Kaser’s Obituary, Coshocton Tribune,* November 27, 1957 (Other articles in this paper in 1926, 1923, 1948 and others place Anna and Ruth at Methodist Church meetings and confirm Anna remains unmarried.)

Edward Kaser’s Obituary, Coshocton Tribune,* January 18, 1958

United States Census Reports* of 1880, Bloomfield, Coshocton, Ohio; 1900 , Clark, Coshocton, Ohio; 1920 Mechanic, Holmes, Ohio; 1930, Clark, Coshocton, Ohio.

Ohio State Reformatory preservation web site: http://www.mrps.org/

*These references were found on line at Ancestry.com.

Mother’s Favorite Dish: Johnny Marzetti

One day when my sister and I were talking about foods we recalled from childhood, she  mentioned  Johnny Marzetti. The hearty, easy (and cheap) casserole dish was indeed a favorite of our mother, and we still make it in our households.

Harriette Anderson Kaser

Harriette Anderson and Ray Jarvis at Ohio State, 1923

I suspected that it might have originated at Marzetti’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, and like to think that mother first picked up her liking for the dish when she went to Ohio State. Maybe her boyfriend Ray even took her to Marzetti’s for dinner, who knows?

But until I did a little research, I did not realize what a thoroughly Ohio recipe Johnny Marzetti is.

I would tell you the history, but this website, Ohio Thoughts, does such a good job that I urge you to follow the link for the story, pictures, the original recipe and the author’s variation.



Just in case you’re too fatigued to click over to that site (that’s sarcasm, in case you missed it), here’s the abbreviated version.  I remember mother adding chopped green peppers. I add garlic salt and Italian herbs.

Johnny Marzetti

Johnny Marzetti

Johnny Marzetti made with bowtie pasta and baby eggplant.

  • Cook macaroni or noodles.
  • In skillet, brown hamburger with onions (if you want them), mushrooms (if you have them) and when they are brown add tomato sauce and any seasonings you want.
  • Dump all that on top of the noodles in a casserole dish and top with grated cheddar cheese.  Bake

Thanks, Mom.

52 Ancestors : #17 Catharine Sampsell, Surrounded by Kasers

Catharine Sampsell Kaser (1828-1911)

Catharine Sampsell spent her life surrounded by family–her husbands’ family. Like her husband, Joseph Kaser, Catharine’s parents Samuel Sampsell and Susan Klunge Sampsell* came from Pennsylvania.  But they moved to Ohio before Catharine, their first child to be born in the new state, was born. When I talk about Catharine’s father later, I will explain a bit more about the lack of information on the Sampsell family.

At any rate,  around the time that Catharine was born, the Sampsells (or Sampsels or Samsels) moved into that same Coshocton County area where Joseph Kaser had joined so many German and Swiss immigrant families from Pennsylvania. Joseph and Catharine met–I would bet it was in church– and married in March 1847, when Catharine was 18, (according to the Kaser Family History I refer to as G.B.–the Green Book). Since her own mother does not show up on the 1850 census with her father, it is likely that Catharine’s mother did not live to see the wedding or her first grandchild.

In 1849, Catharine Sampsell Kaser and Joseph Kaser’s first child, Susan (or Susannah) was born. According to the 1850 census, which I have discussed at length before, their small farm was surrounded by Joseph’s  uncles and his father.  The young motherless bride Catharine would have had plenty of family aunties around to give her advice and help. Her first years of marriage were busy ones, with four children born between 1849 and 1855.  After a nine year lull spanning the beginning of the Civil War, Emma was born in 1864 and two more in the next four years. (The next to last was my grandfather Clifford Kaser.

Catharine, 43 in 1871 when her last child was born, and her two oldest had already left home–Cornelius working on a neighboring farm, and Susan no doubt also employed by another family.  According to the scant records I have, Susan probably married in 1874.

By the time that Catharine’s husband Joseph died in 1893 (if the G.B. is correct about the date), Catharine, now 67, had only two adult children still living at home–Emma (28) and Edward (21). These two, both quite late to marry, were still living with her when the census was taken in 1900. However, in typical Kaser fashion, two other sons lived nearby.

Emma Kaser Sutherland, circa 1910

Emma Kaser Sutherland, Clark, Ohio, circa 1910

Edward finally married about 1905. Emma, however waited until after her mother died to marry George Sutherland, a widower who lived practically next door to her mother’s farm near Clark, Ohio.

Catharine Sampsell Kaser died in Feburary 1911 when she was just a few months shy of 83 years old, and was buried in the Clark (Ohio) Cemetery– with Kaser family members all around.


  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser who is the son of
  • Clifford Kaser, who is the brother of
  • Joseph Kaser II, who is the husband of
  • Catharine Sampsell Kaser


*Susan’s mother’s name is given as Susan Klunge in the Green Book, but I have not yet verified that anywhere. I have found zero records for a Susan Klunge or Kluge.

More details on Catharine and Joseph Kaser’s children can be found in my article on Joseph, the Carpenter.

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.

I verified Catharine’s death date and burial information from Find a Grave.com with information found at familysearch.org from Ohio Deaths 1908-1953. The Kaser Genealogy says she was born in Pennsylvania, but all census reports say she was born in Ohio.

Census records from 1850, 1870, 1880, 1900  found at Ancestry.com