Tag Archives: Bloomfield

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.

The Old Battered Trombone and the Community Band

“If music be the food of love, play on.” Twelfth Night, Shakespeare.

Although we usually talk about food that reminds me of family, this time it is music. The community band, to be exact.

Here’s how my week went so far.

Clifford Kaser

Clifford W. Kaser, probably about 1928 or 1929.

  • Found an old newspaper article telling about a 19th and early 20th century band in Clark, Ohio that had several Kaser members, including Clifford Kaser.
  • Ran across a postcard picture of my Grandfather Anderson playing in a similar band in Killbuck, Ohio. My mother, Harriette Kaser remembered how proud she was as a little girl seeing her daddy marching through town with his shiny horn.  

The church in the picture is the Killbuck Church of Christ. My great-grandfather Dr. William Stout helped raise funds to build the building and the family  continued to worship, be married in and buried from that church for generations. It still stands at the foot of School House Hill–also the home of the cemetery. Unfortunately, the steeple was damaged in a windstorm and never replaced, so the church now lacks the grace of its earlier design.

Killbuck Community Band

Killbuck band at Killbuck Christian Church Circa 1910. Grandfather Guy Anderson played French Horn. Possible front far right.

  • Remembered the old battered trombone in the cupboard that was Clifford Kaser’s and got it out.

Community band Trombone ed

  • Spent an another couple hours polishing the old silver.

Community band Kaser trombone

Community Band inscription

Clifford Kaser Trombone inscription, American Perfection The Richards Co. Cleveland Ohio
  • Marveled at the dents and the way the silver plate is worn off to the brass underneath in those places that were handled.
  • Got curious about the inscription. Turned to Google. There goes another hour or two.  Nothing definitive on the Richards Co., although one listing says Richards Co. 1882-1922, with no other information. That would be about the right dates. I’ve written to one of the experts I ran into on the Internet, and will let you know what I learn.

It was common for villages and towns to have a community band around the turn of the 19th-20th century, and the tiny communities of Clark and Killbuck where my ancestors lived were no exception.  Many towns had bandstands. To my knowledge, Killbuck never had a bandstand for its band, but the newspaper article I found had a vintage photo of the Clark Bandstand which stood until 1938 according to the caption.

Clark Community Band Stand

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

According to the newspaper article, the community band was known as the Bloomfield Band, even after the community was renamed to Clark. One remaining band members says they practiced every Tuesday and “we played at reunions, picnics, homecomings and fairs.” The band members, in their “smart gold-braided uniforms” were even asked to play in other communities, but never charged. They played in Coshocton, the nearest big town and marched with eight other bands in the Labor Day parade.

Florenz Schiebe who was in the Bloomfield community band, the band provided the instruments as well as the uniforms. They traveled from town to town on a painted wagon and would play as they passed through a smaller community. They even took the train to big “gigs” like playing at Myers Lake in Canton and Silver Lake resort near Akron.  After the Bloomfield Band broke up, Scheibe played in the Killbuck band  after 1912 or so.

As to Kasers in the community band–much of this article was based on an interview with Bessie Kaser Lowe, daughter of Dave Kaser who was a brother of my paternal grandfather, Clifford Kaser.  Dave Kaser played tuba, Cliff Kaser played trombone [the one pictured above] Homer Kaser and possibly Ira Kaser ( sons of Dave and brothers to Bessie) also played trombone. Ed Kaser (Clifford’s younger brother) played 1st cornet. Austin Kaser( a cousin of Dave) played tenor horn or trombone. In this article, Bessie says that Cliff was the town barber.  That means he played in the band sometime between the 1893, when he was married and 1914 when he had a tin shop in Killbuck.

The article further says that Homer and Austin left to work at the rubber tire company in Akron.  A second band started that lasted until 1920, and Harry Kaser [Another son of Dave] played in that one.

Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of Clifford Kaser playing his trombone, but somehow thinking of him riding through the Ohio countryside in the community band gaily painted wagon pulled by draft horses while blasting away on a trombone, gives me a whole new picture of him. Would a villain play a trombone?