Tag Archives: Clifford Kaser

Another Blow To Young Paul Kaser

Two final blows came to the young Paul Kaser as he made the abrupt transition from carefree youth to independent adult.

Irene Kaser and Paul Kaser

Irene Kaser and Paul Kaser late 1920s

September 1926,If you have read the two previous stories about a letter and a life-shifting death in the family, you know that at 17, Paul left Millersburg Ohio to start college in Washington D.C.

October-November 1926. But shortly after school started, he was called home because his mother died. His father decreed that he could not go back to school.

April 1927. Therefore at 18 he was home, when his younger brother, Milton Kaser, got pneumonia and ultimately died. Not only was this a blow because he loved his younger brother, but now he had to live alone with his father. But that was not to last long.

Marriage License-Cliff Kaser

Cliff Kaser’s 2nd Marriage. To Mildred Dailey

December 1927.  Cliff Kaser, Paul’s father, married Mildred Jameson Dailey in Millersburg and they set off on a trip to Florida. I did not know her name until I found this marriage license.

The way my father told it, the woman his father married just wanted to go to Florida, so she married Cliff on the promise that he would take her there. Within a week, Cliff was back in Millersburg–without Mildred.

I have not dug deeply enough to find a divorce record, but their is a mystery hiding in this story.  I know from the records that Mildred continued to call herself Mildred Daily on census reports, and all official papers.  And when Clifford Kaser died, the death record listed Mame Kaser as his wife, and he shares a burial plot with his first wife, also. They both apparently wanted to forget that day in December 1927 when they were officially married.

That is the problem with family stories. You only hear one side.  And the essence of a story is that there must be a conflict between a “bad guy” and a “good guy.”  Now, maybe my Dad’s recollection is true and Mildred just wanted to get out of town. Maybe unemotional and strictly religious Cliff didn’t turn out to be the man of her dreams and she bailed.  But maybe Cliff deserted Mildred down there in Florida in a fit of pique.

Maybe they were just two lonely widowers looking for company when they married.  Cliff’s wife had died a few months earlier and Mildred’s husband had died at the end of 1925.  Find a grave says that the cause of his death was “alcoholism.”  If that is true, it could lead to all kinds of twists to the story.  But I don’t know.

All I have to go on are my father’s admittedly biased report, and some official documents.

At any rate–his father’s marriage and the brief trip to Florida disrupted my father’s life once more. At 19 he was thrown on his own, expected to find a way to make a living.

End of 1929-January 1930. Toward the end of 1929, back in Millersburg, and once again working on building duct work for furnaces, Clifford Kaser began to feel bad.  He had a hernia and went to the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Mt. Vernon Ohio for treatment and surgery.  His death certificate graphically describes the cause and contributing factors in his death. Too graphically, for me to add here.  As my father said, he died of complications from an operation that today would be totally routine.  (Ironically, my father also died of complications of an operation).

Death Certificate - Cliff Kaser

Cliff Kaser Death Certificate

January 13, 1930. Paul Kaser officially becomes an orphan when his father dies. Paul is now approaching his 22nd birthday.  For more about his rootless life during the early years of the Great Depression see “Paul Kaser: No Permanent Residence.

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


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 Grandfather Clifford was younger than most of his siblings, there were few cousins in the same age bracket as my father. 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.

I spotted 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 existence in his twenties. Because he was 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 Massilon 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.

[EDIT, Feb 2023:  In the 1940 census, found with difficulty since almost all names were misspelled, Edward worked as a paper hanger and had work 50 weeks of the previous year. Glenn is listed as living at home, but the census may have been counting institutionalized people at home.
According to the 1950 census, Edward was a paper hanger, but had been out of work for 12 weeks. Because he filled out the extra questions, I learned more about his finances. He only worked 2x weeks during the 12 months preceding the census. He had attended, but not completed 8th grade when he was in school. During the year preceding the census he had earned a total of $304 and family members had brought in another $25.]

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.

In November 11, 1957, Ruth was admitted to the County Home as “mentally ill .”

Ed died in January 1958 at the age of 87.

Note:   (We called the Holmes CountyHome “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. Revised with info below. )

EDIT Feb 2023:  According to a Coshocton Tribune obituary of Edward he had been living at the Holmes County Home when he died 16 Jan 1958. His Son Glenn is listed as “Massilon” and his daughter Ruth “of the home.”  Since Edward lived at the County Home, I assume that meant Ruth was there also.

 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://www.indeonline.com/article/20140922/blogs/309229998

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; 1940, Mechanic, Holmes, Ohio; 1950, Mechanic, Holmes, Ohio.

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

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