Tag Archives: Ohio

Family Politics–Mom and Dad, a Political Courtship

Since all eyes are on politics this year in the U. S., I began thinking about the political involvement of members of my family.  Political involvement runs deep in several of my ancestral lines, starting with the protesting Puritan William Bassett who left England through the tavern keeper Samuel Howe, an agitator for Revolution against the British, and into more modern political campaigners and office holders.

In honor of all those caring citizens and their involvement in politics, I will feature some stories each month leading up to the Presidential elections in November 2016. This first post allows me to share some precious artifacts.

Paul Kaser and Harriette Anderson Kaser in politics

Politics tea

Harriette Anderson (right) attending a tea for politician John Bricker’s wife. June 1936

My parents were such fervent Republicans, that I always smile when I think about the fact that when my father died in October, 1996, he had already cast his absentee ballot, voting for Robert Dole against Bill Clinton for President, and probably for every Republican on the ticket for local races. He got his two cents worth in to an election that happened after he died.

Mother, while usually loyal to the Republican party, followed the lead of her grandmother Hattie Stout who impatiently waited for the opportunity for women to vote. Mother  was prejudiced in favor of women candidates, regardless of party.  I’ll never forget when we discussed an upcoming election in Arizona when she was in her 90s and living in a nursing home.  I described the two candidates, assuming she would vote for the male Republican.  But instead she said, “I think we should support the woman, don’t you?”  Soon to be Governor Janet Napolitano was a Democrat.

But that was later.  I found clues about Harriette and Paul’s political involvement in stories they told, but also in newspaper articles and in the letters they exchanged during their lengthy courtship.

1930’s Republican Politics in Ohio

The first hint of political activism I discovered was a letter that had been printed by a duplicator (those old fashioned copy machines that used a purple gel surface, predating mimeograph). It was mailed from Killbuck, Ohio on April 11, 1935. It was in my father’s files, so obviously he was involved in some way in party politics in 1935. (He and mother had started dating in November of 1934.)

I was able to transcribe the words in this almost totally faded form letter. The letter talks about reorganizing the Holmes County Republican Club. “In order to have a part in the certain victory now in our grasp…” [My italics]

The “certain victory”  expressed unwarranted optimism about the 1936 Presidential election and the Republicans ability to defeat first term President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  The Democratic Party had swept elections in 1930, 1932, and 1934, but the Republicans were confident that 1936 was their year.  President  Roosevelt, first elected in 1932, was a polarizing figure. Those who believed he was amassing too much power were blind to the loyalty he had engendered by those whose programs had helped them.

Note: If you’re a political junkie, and would like to know about the political situation in Ohio around that time, read the beginning of this web article.

Harriette and Paul plunged into the revitalization of the Republican party, “young Turks” intent on reform. According to stories they told, they spent a great deal of time visiting Democratic farmers in rural Holmes County and persuading them to switch to Republican. They were very successful, and Paul and Harriette became big fish in the little pond of county politics in 1935 and 1936.

Note: At the same time, Paul’s brother Keith Kaser was running as a Democrat for Holmes County Clerk. Keith won.

1936 Politics – Bricker

While Harriette was on one of her summer road trips with fellow teachers in the summer of 1936, Paul became aware of an opportunity to advance their contacts in the Republican party, and possibly even help him find a permanent government job.

Love letter about politics

A political/love letter from Paul Kaser letter to Harriette Anderson in summer of 1936.

The key part of this letter reads, “There is a banquet in honor of Bricker in Columbus the night of June 30th and on the afternoon of June 30th there is to be a tea for Mrs. Bricker.  The bigwigs ask me to give them the names of two women to be invited.  I gave your name and Sarah [Sarah Anderson, wife of Harriette’s brother Bill]. Only two are to be invited from this county and I want to be sure to be represented.”  He closes with a paragraph that sounds more like what you expect in a love letter.

In a later letter, he makes it even clearer that he wants to go to the dinner because of the opportunities it presents to make himself known.

Bricker was attorney General of Ohio when he decided to run for Governor in 1936.  He lost that election and ran again in 1938 when he was successful, and again in 1942 when he won a second term.

Although the tea took place soon after she returned from her road trip, Harriette did attend, as reported in the newspaper article at the top of the page.

More than 100 young Republican women from various parts of the state attended the tea Wednesday afternoon in the Mramor, given by the Young Republican League of Ohio in honor of Mrs. John W. Bricker, wife of the Republican candidate for governor and Mrs. Katherine Kennedy Brown, Dayton, Republican National committeewoman.  In the above picture Mrs. Bricker is shown greeting Miss Harriet (sic) Anderson, Millersburg (sic).

In September, 1936, Bricker was invited to the Holmes County Fair. The Holmes County Women’s Republican Club and the Republican Executive Committee sponsored a dinner for Bricker at the Fisher Restaurant in Millersburg, Ohio.  The newspaper article announcing the event says says “Reservations can be made with….Miss Harriette Anderson, Paul Kaser, or B. W. Lawson.”

Ticket for politics event

Holmes County ticket for Bricker Dinner September 1936

1936 Politics Alf Landon

Paul and Harriette, still courting, continued to fight for Republican candidates, including John Bricker and  the Presidential candidate, Alf Landon, a moderate. They thought Landon, a reasonable and intelligent man had a great chance because Republicans were so angry about what they saw as FDR’s power grabs.

Paul and Harriette’s reward for registering so many new Republicans was a ride on the Alf Landon campaign train across Ohio.

Landon Train for politics

Ticket for Paul Kaser to ride on the “Landon Special”, presidential campaign train.

An article in the Coshocton (Ohio) Tribune in 1936. Since it is Killbuck news, it does not list Paul Kaser, who at this time was living in Canton, Ohio, still looking for a career, but as the guest card shows, he was also on the train.

reward for politics

Paul and Harriette ride on Alf Landon train. October 1936.

That Landon rode a campaign train across Ohio is somewhat ironic because Landon was known as the “disappearing” or “invisible” candidate.  His devastating loss was blamed mostly on his failure to campaign.

The young couple must have been devastated when the votes came in.  That November Franklin Delano Roosevelt piled up the largest margin that any Presidential candidate has ever amassed.  Landon won only two states, Maine and Vermont, for a total of 8 electoral votes.  P.S.  He lost Ohio, too.

A Job and Marriage

Presumably the couple continued their political involvement in 1937 between elections. In early 1938 Paul finally landed a job with the U. S. Weather Bureau and relocated to New Philadelphia Ohio area. Ironically, his job was part of the federal work programs that had been instituted by the President he so disdained.

Paul Kaser

Leonard Corwin and Paul Kaser installing weather station

In June 1938 they were married and spent one night at the Neil House hotel in Columbus, near the State Capitol, a hangout for politicians.  I doubt politics was on their mind.

You can read the interesting history of the historic Neil House hotel, gone since 1980, in this Columbus Dispatch article. And see a slide show including some of the famous politicians who visited.

At one point we had a receipt for their $4.00 room, but it is lost. That may not seem like an expensive room, but given Paul’s complaints just a year earlier in one of his letters to Harriette about paying the exhorbitant fee of $1.00 for a hotel room, I’m guessing they were splurging on a very fine room.

1938 Ohio Republican Convention

Then I find this pass for Paul Kaser for the Ohio State Convention in 1938.  You will note that it is for an “advisory delegate” pass, so the bearer of the pass was not a voting delegate.  I only have the one pass.  Although it does not have a name on it, it was in my father’s files.  Since it did not have a name, they might have shared it, each attending at different times. On the other hand, Harriette would have been three and a half months pregnant by mid September, 1938, probably too late for her to be traveling.

politics convention

Pass to attend Ohio state Repbulican convention in 1938.

1938 was a come-back year for Republicans in Congress, where they gained, but still did not hold a majority. Harriette and Paul could finally feel accomplishment when John Bricker won the Governorship and Republican Robert Taft was elected to the U. S. Senate.

My parents unique courtship lasted over three years, and most of that time, they were deeply involved in politics in all their spare time.  Harriette was teaching school and Paul was trying hard to find a job so he would be deemed worthy of marriage. Politics was not only an interest, but also an important tool for networking and cultivating the possibility of patronage employment.

From then on my father worked either for the federal government or the state government, although the jobs were not patronage related.  1938 was no doubt his last active involvement in politics other than never missing a vote, and, after his retirement, stuffing some envelopes in campaigns I was involved in.  He never lost interest however, railing against Democrats, and laughing about the “flower fund” in Ohio state offices that employees were expected to contribute to in his day.  The fund went to support whoever was the current governor, to be sure to protect their department.  That practice died out with Civil Service reforms and state ethics laws before my father retired from his Ohio job in 1969.


All photographs and souvenirs of political events, the love letter  and the unidentified newspaper article at the Bricker Tea are my own, passed down by my father and mother.

The snipped of a newspaper articles is a screen captures of an article from The Coshocton Tribune, found at ancestry.com.

The Coshocton Tribune, 8 September 1936: “Bricker Invited to Holmes County Fair.”

Internet research on the politics and history of the period is linked in the article.


Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead. This is one of my random posts generated by family artifacts and Heirlooms. 

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

You can discover more Heirlooms at Ancestors in Aprons, by entering “Heirloom” in the search box on the right.

Joseph Kaser 1842 Will

My sister and brother and I enjoyed our family reunion/ancestor search trip 2 years ago so much that we are getting together for another ancestor trail trip this summer. In the fall of 2014, thanks to a cousin’s generosity, we had a family gathering at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts. Sudbury was the home base for many of our maternal grandmother’s ancestors. Follow the link above, or search for “Howe” to find out about the branch of our family that helped build New England towns and fought in the Revolution.


At Minuteman National Park with our family descendants of Minutemen.

This summer, the three siblings are going to revisit ancestor’s territory in Ohio and Pennsylvania, giving us a chance to take a look at our father’s line as well as our mother’s.

In preparation for that trip, I’m taking another look at our Kaser ancestors (Our father) and hope that I’ll have time to look at the Anderson (Our maternal Grandfather) line also.  Both lines tend to disappear in Pennsylvania in the 18th century, before they moved on to Ohio.

Joseph Kaser 1776-1842

I’m starting by adding a piece of information to what I previously wrote about Joseph Kaser (B. 1776), our third great-grandfather.  Although I did not know a lot about him two years ago when I wrote his story, you may want to look at that linked post for reference. It puts in perspective the life of German immigrants and the hardships they faced that forced them every further west, until they settled with ‘their own kind in Ohio.’

Thanks to the new transcripts of probate records added to Ancestry.com in the last year, I can scratch Joseph Kaser’s will off my to-do list. Although this will is in English, I’m guessing there may have also been a version in German, since Joseph probably did not speak English.

Unfortunately, the will does not contain the detail that we’ve found in others. But here’s what Joseph had to say in October, 1842.

After the preamble, he specifies that his wife Elizabeth Kaser should get one stove and a cow, two beds and bedding and such other household and kitchen furniture as she may select, not exceeding eighty-dollars in value.

Comment:  Don’t worry, 80 dollars would be worth approximately $2350 in today’s money.

The rest of his property, he says, should be sold and the money realized “put on interest  for the use and support of my wife Elizabeth Kaser during her natural life and after the death of my wife Elizabeth then the money is to be divided equally amongst any children in such a manner that each of my sons receive twenty-five dollars more than any daughters.

Comment: “put on interest” was the term used in the 19th century for money invested or put in the bank to earn interest.  Why do his six sons each get $25 more than each of his two daughters? Perhaps he had paid $25 dowry for the daughters, or perhaps it is because the expectation is that their husbands will take care of them.

Finally, he appoints John Basto (Spelling?) and his son William Kaser as executors.

Comment: When the will was written, William, the youngest of the family, would be twenty-four years old, but he must have been considered responsible, as there is evidence that Elizabeth went to live with him after Joseph died.

The will, written out by a clerk at the court, notes “signed in German, Joseph Kaser.”

Grave of Joseph Kaser

Grave marker of Joseph Kaser 1776-1842. Photo by Glen Hammel at Find a Grave.

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Clifford Kaser, who is the son of
  • Joseph Kaser II, who is the son of
  • George Kaser, who is the son of
  • Joseph Kaser

Notes on Research

  • Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998, Record for Joseph Kaser, Will Records, 1825-1906; Index to Wills, 1825-1965; Probate Place: Holmes, Ohio
  • The “Kaser Genealogy” (aka Green Book) 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.
  • Zions Lutheran Reformed Church, Zionsville, PA index of records at Ancestry.com)Unfortunately the website for the church has been updated and they no longer have the history page, but I have given you a link to the “wayback machine” where you can find the old page.
  • Birth and Death records from census and Find a Grave through Ancestry.com
  • Cemetery records from the New Zion UCC church (formerly German Reform) in New Bedford, Ohio.

Col. William Cochran, and That’s The Truth

I wrote about Col. William Cochran (1793) in June 2014. Researching and writing on a (self-imposed) deadline can lead to errors.  I hope that fewer of those happen as I get more experienced at genealogical excavations, but all family history stories and family trees are works in progress. The next week, month, or decade may turn up new evidence that changes assumptions made earlier.

Although I got most of the story right, including the background of the war of 1812, it turns out that my interesting history of Col. Cochran in the War of 1812 actually belongs to some other William Cochran.  Since writing “Would I Lie To You?“, in which I admitted I wasn’t sure of some of the facts, I have come into a great deal more information about the Cochrans. I’ve shared information about Col. Cochran’s father and grandfather, and about several of his children, the siblings of my great-great-grandmother, Emeline Cochran Stout.

I have returned to that first post about William and highlighted wrong information and explained new information. I did not delete the superfluous information, because it does apply to SOME William Cochran, and might be of some assistance to someone else who stumbles upon it. Additionally, I am going to redo William’s history here, with the old information that was correct, and the new information that has surfaced recently, most notably an article about  his political activity, his obituary, and a copy of his will.

Col. William Cochran 1793-1898

Growing Up in the Wilderness

It is interesting to contemplate how our ancestors wound up living where they did and how cities grew around them.  The picture is clear in Guernsey County.  It is all about road building.

 Zane’s Trace is one of the earliest routes through Ohio (1797), started as a footpath from Wheeling West Virginia and meandering across southern Ohio to the southeast where it met another trail that went to New Orleans. Town’s like Cambridge in Guernsey County grew up around ferry crossings along the trail.

In 1806 Thomas Jefferson authorized the building of  the first national highway, called the National Road as far as Wheeling West Virginia. There it stalled until 1825, when construction resumed, following the path of Zane’s Trace as far as Zanesville and then heading straight for Columbus, Ohio.  Today tourists can follow the historic road on route 70. My ancestors lived along these two main routes into Ohio. As you drive You’ll see sections of brick surfaced road and the “s” bridge that my mother said she remembered because when her family drove to see the Stouts in Guernsey County they knew they were close when they crossed the “s” bridge.   On the map below, the towns of Washington and Middleborough were just east of Cambridge.

Zane's Trace in Ohio

Zanes Trace was later extended from Zanesville to Columbus to become part of the National Road. Image from Roots Web.

William Cochran, father of Emeline Cochran Stout, was in the first generation of the Cochran clan to move to Ohio. He is my 3x great-grandfather.  Born in Hickory, Pennsylvania, he got to Ohio about 1802 when his family moved to a settlement along the National Road in Southeast Ohio making them one of the earliest families to settle in that county in frontier Ohio Territory. As an old man, one account says he claimed there were only 25 families in the county in 1802, and this one says 15 families.  [ See Alexander Cochran Arrives in Guernsey County]

A Correspondent writes from Hamilton, Butte County, California 1874 (Probably in the Cambridge, Ohio newspaper–I have only a transcript given to me by a cousin).

Col. Cochran is 81 years of age  and has been a resident of this part of the country for 73 years.  When he first set his foot in what is now Guernsey County it was occupied by but fifteen families and the site of Cambridge was a wilderness, the only building being a cabin on the creek below the present pike bridge, occupied by a man named Tunes who kept a small ferry.  The redskins were plenty in the region at that time as were all kinds of wild animals and game.
William Henry Harrison

“Old Tippecanoe”, William Henry Harrison, painted by Rembrandt Peale in 1814

Note: General William Henry Harrison gained his fame and nickname “Old Tippacanoe” fighting Indians in 1811 along the Ohio River.  See political implications to William below.






William’s obituary in the Cambridge Jeffersonian in 1878 also described the territory.

The first settlement of the family was made upon the land embraced in the Carlisle possessions near the Salt Works on the National road between Washington and Middlebourne. His father located there when the region was an unbroken forest, no other “clearing” being then within several miles of him.  Afterward they moved a few miles eastward up the Salt Fork on Wills Creek upon land which remained in the family until a very few years ago.

What an exciting place for a little boy to grow up.

Military Service

As a young man, William enlisted in the Ohio Militia.  According to an article in The Guernsey Times (1893) “He received his title of colonel in the Second brigade of the Fifteenth division of Ohio Militia, General James M. Bell commanding the division.”

Although none of the articles about him, including his obituary refer to the War of 1812, there is a War of 1812 marker with his gravestone in the Stout farm cemetery in Guernsey county. And there is a Pvt. William Cochran listed as being a member of Captain Cyrus Beatty’s Company from Guernsey County who served from October 23, 1812 to February 22, 1873. William would have been nineteen at that time. I assume that was his company, but how he got from private to Colonel, I’m not sure. And I have found no evidence that William, Captain Beatty, or Major General Bell saw military action during their time in the militia.

Marriage and Family

At the age of twenty-four,after working on his father’s farm,  he married Martha Henderson, who lived on a neighboring farm on February 20, 1818. Their own farm on Zane’s Trace, became quite prosperous.

Martha and William were said to have had thirteen children. I have evidence for ten. However, in William’s will he mentions 6 living children and 3 deceased with children. I have to assume if they had 13, that three died in infancy or young childhood. In the case of the son William, he may have died before his father and left no children, and thus is not mentioned in the will.

  • 1818: John Henderson Cochran, who moved in 1857 to California and spent his life there.
  • 1822: Jacob Cochran who went to California in the Gold Rush, then settled first in Iowa and then in Kansas.
  • 1823: Birmingham, who relocated in Christian County Illinois, where William invested in property and when he was a widower, moved to Oklahoma.
  • 1828: Emeline, who married neighbor Isaah Stout, my 2x great grandparents.
  • 1830: William H. Cochran, listed in the 1850 census living with his father and mother, but not in the will.
  • 1832: Alexander, who went to California for a few years as a young man and then returned to found Quaker City in Guernsey County.
  • 1834: Thomas W. Cochran, listed in the 1850 census and in the will, but I have not other information.
  •  Mary, about whom I know very little. Although one source gives her death as 1911. In William’s will she is listed as one of eight children and he leaves a share of his estate to her children.
  • 1838: Joseph Cochran, who died one year before his father, leaving children.
  • 1842: Martha A. H. Cochran. William states that Martha’s children are to receive no part of his estate as”having made advancements to her in her lifetime of one thousand dollars or more being her full share…”  Sounds like some family trouble there!

See Early California for more information about some of these Cochrans descendants.

Community Involvement

In 1825, William became a member of the first Masonic lodge in Guernsey County “The Old Guernsey Lodge,” Cambridge.  Later in his life he was a member of the Eureka Masonic Lodge in the village of Washington. He was a member for more than 50 years, and was the last living member of the “Old Guernsey Lodge.”

William was active in the Disciples of Christ church, a believer in reform Protestantism.

In addition to being a busy and successful farmer, WIlliam took part in affairs of the community. He held the title of Tax Collector for four terms, personally collecting taxes.  “He knew every man in the county.  He grew up with and noted the coming of people into it and watched its growth and development and lived to see the territory it then embraced rise from a mere handful of persons to a population of thirty thousand souls, and from a wilderness of woods and swamps to a region filled with farms and doted with twenty towns.”

I will talk more about his political involvement in a later article focusing on the political activities of various ancestors and family, but the high point for him was working for the election of William Henry Harrison of the newly formed Whig party in the 1840 Presidential election.


By 1850, William’s very prosperous farm contained a total of 460 acres (300 under cultivation), worth $4,000. He owned 16 horses, nine milk cows, 15 other cattle and 330 sheep.  Crops he raised included wheat, corn and oats.  Since he instructs in his will that there be no “appraisement and no sale of my personal property” we are denied the pleasure of pawing through his personal effects to learn more about him.

We do learn from his will that he owned land in Illinois, probably related to the fact that his son Birmingham settled there.

In 1851, his wife Martha died, leaving children 9, 11, 15, 17 and older. In the same year, William’s father, Alexander Cochran died. Within a year, William had married his second wife, Ruth Hazlett. She bore him no children in their 16-year marriage. They moved from the farm to the town of Middlebourne in 1863.

Ruth died in 1868, and two years later, at the age of 79, he married his third wife, Mary Moore.

His obituary sums up the personality of this man who contributed so much to his community affairs and so many successful and adventurous offspring to the world. He is an ancestor to be proud of.

Col. Cochran had a kind heart and a fast hold upon the affections of all who knew him.  He was a man of remarkable vigor of intellect, of indomitable will, of perseverance, patience and industry which did not desert him until stricken with his last illness, and then to the closing hour his mind was as unclouded as on any day of his busy and useful life.  The qualities named made him a man of influence in his community and that influence was used to the promotion of the welfare of those about him.

Col. Cochran’s impressive tombstone, with its Masonic emblem and War of 1812 medal, stands in the overgrown and overlooked old cemetery on what was once the farm of Isaiah and Emeline Cochran Stout (William’s daughter).

Willliam Cochran

William Cochran Tombstone in the Stout Cemetery, Guernsey County, Ohio

William Cochran

Wm. Cochran Grave Marker, with War of 1812 Marker Stout Cemetery


And that’s the truth.


How I Am Related

Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of

Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the daughter of

Vera Stout Anderson, who is the daughter of

William Cochran Stout, who is the son of

Emeline Cochran Stout, who is the daughter of

Col. William Stout and Martha Henderson Stout

Notes on Research

  • A genealogy of Alexander Cochran and family by George C. Williston, found on the web at RootsWeb.
  • Information about Alexander Cochran, the son of William Cochran and brother of Emeline, is in History of Guernsey County, Ohio by Col. Cyrus P. B. Sarchet, Illinois, Vol. 1 & 2, pg. 615, (1911)
  • The Household Guide and Instructor with Biographies, History of Guernsey County, Ohio, by T. F. Williams (1882)  (Two copied pages that include the Stout/Cochran family are in my possession. (Whole available free through Google books)
  • U. S. Federal Census reports: 1820, Oxford Twp, Guernsey County, Ohio; 1830, Knox Twp., Guernsey County, Ohio, 1840, 1850 and 1870 Oxford Twp, Guernsey County Ohio. Ancestry.com
  • Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850, Agriculture, Oxford Twp, Guernsey County, Ohio, Ancestry.com
  • Ohio, Marriages, 1803-1900, Jordan Dodd, Liahona Research, Ancestry.comWilliam Cochran and Mary Moore, 31 Mar 1870, Belmont, Ohio.
  • Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998, Ancestry.com, Record of Wills, 1812-1918; Index, 1812-1972; Author: Ohio. Probate Court (Guernsey County); Probate Place: Guernsey, Ohio, William Cochran, 1 April 1878, Guernsey County, Ohio, Will Records, Vol 3-4, 1875-1891
  • Find a Grave, William Cochran, Martha Henderson.
  • The Campaign of 1840: A Series of Articles in The Guernsey Times, 1893 Compiled by Kurt Tostenson. Original author Col. Cyrus P. B. Sarchet in 1893. In my possession a photo copy of compilation of articles from the Guernsey Times for the Guernsey County Genealogical Society in August 1994
  • Letter from Cambridge Lodge 66 F & AM, Letter to Tom Fowler from David Campbell, Cambridge Masonic Lodge.Undated. In my possession a photo copy of the letter, provided by the recipient.
  • The Jeffersonian, Cambridge newspaper, Obituary of Col. Cochran,  In my possession, a photocopy of transcript of the obituary of Col. William Cochran, dated 1878