NOTE (October, 2023): An email from a relative of Lewellyn Badertscher, added a lot to my understanding of the man.
Every once in a while, I take a break from telling my family stories–like the Smith family that I have been researching for over a month now– and sort through some of the many boxes of memorabilia that clutter our office and closet. That can lead me in unexpected directions. Yesterday among my souvenirs, I discovered the obituary of Llewellyn Badertscher, which led me to spending a day piecing together his family for my husband’s Badertscher family tree.
Before I found Llwellyn’s obituary, however, I had also found a clutch of photos of me with political luminaries that must be scanned and framed and at some point written about. I did share one of them on Facebook. (If you want to friend me on Facebook, look for Vera Marie Badertscher.)
I found newspaper clippings from the late 60s/early 70s when we lived in Scottsdale. There was my husband, Ken on the front page of the Scottsdale Daily Progress in his role as board member for the Maricopa County Community Colleges. And other editions had pictures of me participating in activities with Scottsdale Junior Women’s Club. And, from news farther afield, two front page articles about man landing on the moon! More subjects for future stories here under the “Slice of My Life” title.
Speaking of Scottsdale Progress, there was this sheet of pictures of my mother delivering newspapers. No–she wasn’t really. She was posing when one of my sons was a newspaper boy in 1970s. It surely is one of the best photo we have of her in her later years. Something else to share in the future.
And my entire date book from Ohio State in 1960. This week I graduated from college, but commencement wasn’t the event that rated bold capital letters!
And I found a picture of Paul Badertscher, my husband’s father, teaching at a tiny school called Moscow that doesn’t even exist any more (the town OR the school). There could be more told about the crossroads of Moscow, also. Oh my, I’ve never really written a story about Paul Badertscher and his many occupations and long teaching career. In fact when I was writing about Ken’s family, I got drawn to the maternal side of the family, and never did pursue the Badertschers beyond their arrival in Ohio.
Which brings us back to Llewellyn Badertscher’s obituary. The undated obituary, fortunately, had a specific birth and death date for Llewellyn (who turns out to be Ken’s first cousin once removed.) The author of the obit also included a complete list of Llewellyn’s brothers and sisters, as well as his parents, John and Ida. Well, I thought, this will be a piece of cake to expand the Badertscher line by adding this entire family to Ken’s tree. Except for one thing–we didn’t know how Llewellyn Badertscher connected to the rest of the tree.
Because of his birth date, I could tell that Llewellyn Badertscher must have been the child of a sibling of Frederick Badertscher (Jr.), Ken’s grandfather, so I needed to find a brother of Frederick named John. Although I did not remember having Frederick’s siblings on the tree,I DID!
With such an uncommon name, I figured I could easily find Llewellyn Badertscher on Ancestry, and sure enough, he popped right up, along with his birth certificate confirming the mother and father listed in the newspaper. At this point I was feeling downright cocky and started adding the brothers and sisters from the obituary to my tree. Those that the newspaper obit had designated as deceased, I marked as ‘Died Bef Dec.1998’ (the month of Llewellyn’s death).
Ancestry furnished me with plenty of hints (green leaves) as I went along, and I decided to add only birth and death dates and marriage dates and spouses. The birth certificates listed mother’s maiden name, so I learned that Llewellyn Badertscher’s mother Ida was Ida Sprunger and having the maiden name led to birth and death dates, (1883-1909) That was fine until I ran into children who were born after 1909–after Llewellyn Badertscher’s mother, Ida, had died. Whoops. In fact, at first it looked like she only had two children, and Llewellyn, born in 1909, certainly would have been her last.
Turns out the “Fannie” that I had assumed was a nickname for Ida indicated another wife. So I went back and changed those children born after Ida’s death date to “Mother: Fannie (unknown)” until a birth certificate of one of the children gave me Fannie’s last name. She became Fannie Sommer (1883-1945). (And I went back and changed HER record.)
It was boring work, but I thought I was close to the end. You guessed it–one more problem popped up. Albert proved difficult to find because there were a lot of Alberts, plus they lived in various locations rather than staying put in Wayne County, Ohio as the others did. He had a birthdate of 1897 or 1898. That would mean Ida gave birth to him when she was 13 or 14 years old. Possible but not probable. The problem got worse when his sister Irene’s data showed she arrived in 1894! Fortunately, her birth Certificate showed her mother’s name–Barbara Amstutz.
Finally I found documentation for Barbara’s birth and death, and it proved that John Badertscher indeed did marry three women because twice he became a widow. John fathered at least12 children, listed below. Sadly, two daughters died as young teenagers and the obituary of Mary Jane, who died at 16, mentions two infant deaths and another young death before she died in 1936– that other young person was her older sister who died at 15, 5 1/2 years before Mary Jane.
Father: John Badertscher, b. 1867 in Switzerland, Immigrated in 1881 with his father and brothers. John worked as a farmer his entire life. Died November 19, 1934, in Kidron, Wayne County, Ohio.
1st Wife: Barbara Elizabeth Amstutz (May 31 1871-March 27, 1900)
Children of John and Barbara:
Irena Badertscher Nov 17, 1894,Kidron Ohio; m. Daniel Morand; D. Jan 4, 1968, Decatur Indiana
Albert Wilson Badertscher , January 9, 1897, Riley, Putnam, Ohio; M. Edna Diller; Nov 16, 1960, Cleveland, Ohio (Specifics of Death not yet proven)
2nd Wife: Ida Sprunger December 16, 1877-February 10, 1909; Married August 13, 1905
Children of John and Ida:
Milton Badertscher: Born about 1905; M. Mabel. Died perhaps Dec 22, 1966 (Attended four years of college at Bluffton College and became a school principal.)
Ivan L. Badertscher: Born July 20, 1906; M. Pauline Mae Gerber June 27, 1943; D.Jan 30 1997, Goshen, Indiana. Attended Bluffton College. In 1940, still single, he was living with his brother Llewellyn.
FLorence Pearl Badertscher: Born November 8 1907, Kidron, Ohio; M. Henry Clair Amstutz Aug 12 1934; D. September 5, 2001, Goshen, Indiana.
Llewellyn Badertscher, Jan 25, 1909; M. Verna S. Bixler, June 8 1946; D. September 24, 1998. Llewellyn was a farmer and then an electrician. He was single until he was 37 years old, and apparently had no children.
3rd Wife: Fanny M. Sommer
Children of John and Fanny:
Hulda A. Badertscher, Born April 29, 1913, Kidron, Ohio; M. Charles J. Graves August 10, 1940; D. February 1990, Maple Heights, Ohio.
Ida Sarah Badertscher, Born January 24, 1916, Kidron, Ohio; Died May 10, 1931 at Age 15.
Martha S. Badertscher, B. February 12, 1919;Kidron, Ohio M. ____Klett; Died February 16, 1904, Ohio
Mary Jane Badertscher, B. April 18, 1920, Kidron Ohio; Died December 25, 1936. This 16-year-old girl died on Christmas day.
Thomas L. Badertscher, B. November 1, 1924, Kidron, Ohio; M. Effie Irene Amstutz; D. November 25, 1998, Kidron, Wayne County, Ohio. I have found very little about Thomas.
In addition to these children, the newspaper obituary of Mary Jane identifies two infant deaths. One of those would be Milo, unk. birth and death dates. We don’t even know who is mother was. And if there was another infant boy who died, as the newspaper said, he also is unknown.
It turned out to be more complicated than I thought, but aren’t famIlies always complicated?