CHARLES H. MILLER
CHARLES H. MILLER, wholesale and retail dealer in
meats, has been in business in Lima for a period of more than twenty
years. He is a son of J. J. Miller, a prominent merchant of Lima until
his retirement in 1875, who died in 1903.
Charles H. Miller was born in Lima in 1870, and was educated in the
common schools until he was 15 years of age, when he entered upon his
career in the meat business. Opening a retail store, he conducted it
continuously and in a very profitable manner until February, 1905, when
he increased the business by adding a wholesale department. His
establishment is most complete in every particular, being fitted with
machinery for the manufacture of all kinds of sausages, bologna, etc.,
and also equipped with an ice plant, which has a daily capacity of 10
tons. Great care is exercised to have everything of the best, and is
goods have a well-earned reputation for reliability and superiority.
In 1891 Mr. Miller was married to Elizabeth Weirmann, and a family
of three children have blessed their union, namely; Rosa, Eugene and
Harry. They are attendants of the German Reformed Church. Mr. Miller
is a Republican, but has never been active in politics, devoting his
time and attention to his business interests instead. Fraternally he is
a member of the Eagles, National Union and the Knights of Pythias.
REV. CHRISTIAN BADERTSCHER
REV. CHRISTIAN BADERTSCHER, a retired minister of the
German Reformed Church, who for more than 30 years was a successful
worker in the Master's vineyard, has been a resident of Allen County
since 1856, and counts among his friends all those who know him. Born
in Signau, Canton Bern, Switzerland, on April 22, 1842, he lived there
until his 14th year when his parents, Peter and Annie (Ashlaman)
Badertscher, came with their family to America. Landing in New York,
they at once came to Ohio, and settled in Allen County where, in less
than a year, the mother died. The father survived her several years.
He was engaged in the manufacture of spinning wheels a necessity in
almost every family in that time. He was the father of the following
children, viz: Barbara (Bucher), of Richland township; John U., a
retired farmer of Bluffton; Mathias, deceased; Elizabeth (Amstutz), of
Richland township; Peter, now a retired citizen of Lima, after working
40 years for the P., Ft. W. & C. Railway Company; Christian, Frederick,
a machinist of Pickaway County, Ohio; Annie (Bastinger), a widow, of
Lima, and Magdalena (Stager), of Bluffton.
After the death of his mother Christian Badertscher lived in the
family of the Rev. John Moser until his 21st year. From that time until
his marriage, in 1865, he hired out by the month as a farm hand.
Following this, he rented a farm one year and then purchased his present
farm of 80 acres in section 23, Richland Township. He cleared the
greater portion of this land and improved it with suitable buildings.
Mr. Badertscher has been very successful as a stock raiser, handling
horses, cattle and hogs. In 1871 he gave up farming and entered the
Wisconsin Mission Home, where he fitted himself for the ministry of the
German Reformed Church. He was regularly ordained to the service in
1875, and was given charge of the field at Clayton, Iowa. Two years was
spent in the work there, when he was returned to Ohio and stationed at
Findlay where he remained 10 years. His next church was at St. Marys,
Auglaize County, and he remained with that congregation about 14 years,
his labor in the various fields being attended with most satisfactory
and beneficial results.
Returning to his farm at the expiration of that time, he at once
began the cultivation of his land, being assisted by his youngest son,
Samuel. Being located in the oil belt, he leased the oil rights to
Michael Simmerman & Company, who drilled wells and began pumping but
later sold out their interest to our subject. Associated with Teter
Sebert and David Rosebach, Jr., of St. Marys, the firm of Badertscher &
Company was formed for the production of oil, three new wells being
drilled. Later these partners sold their part of the business to Henry
Schoneberger, of Chicago, a son-in-law of our subject, and the work was
continued under the same name, Mr. Badertscher being manager. Two more
oil wells were sunk, making seven wells now in operation, which are a
source of considerable revenue to their owners.
In June, 1842, Mary Ann Gratz was born in Putnam County, Ohio, to
Frederick and Annie (Lugibihl) Gratz, both of whom were natives of
Germany. Growing to womanhood she was married to Christian Badertscher
and became the mother of the following children: Sarah, wife of John
Finke, of St. Marys, Ohio; Noah, a farmer living near St. Marys, Ohio,
who married Matilda Roerbach; Annie, wife of Henry Schonberger, who owns
and conducts a large bakery in Chicago; John, who married Louisa Cock
and is a chair-maker residing at St. Marys; Daniel, unmarried, a chair
maker living at Marion, Indiana; Silas, who works in the chair factory
at St. Marys and is a musician and vocalist of ability, and Samuel, who
resides with his parents and conducts the farm. Rev. Christian
Badertscher is frequently called upon to assist the local aid. His
sermons are full of the force and energy which made his ministerial work
effective and are listened to with pleasure and satisfaction. He is a
Democrat in politics.
F. M. BELL
F. M. BELL, a wholesale merchant of Lima, was born in
1859 at Spring Hill, Champaign County, Ohio, and is the son of the late
William Bell, of Lima.
William Bell was one of the most enterprising citizens that ever
resided in Lima, and his prosperity was of such a nature that the entire
community was benefited by it. He was a stockholder in The Ohio
National Bank, and owned much fine residence property, and erected the
Bell Block on Main Street, adjoining the Opera House Block. This
structure is three stories high and 200 feet deep, with a 75 foot
frontage one of the best business blocks in the city. Mr. Bell's death
in 1902, was an irreparable loss to the community.
The parents of our subject came to Lima in 1864, and it was here he
reached man's estate. Having finished the primary schools, he entered
Notre Dame University in 1880, graduating from that institution four
years later. He at once entered into partnership with F. E. Harman, for
five years conducting a house furnishing establishment under the firm
name of Harman & Bell. Mr. Bell then became interested in the
production of oil, and was thus engaged for about five years, when the
Spanish American War enlisted his sympathies. He was Captain of Company
C, Second Ohio Infantry, U. S. Volunteers, and was in active service for
about one year, being stationed at Columbus, Ohio; Chattanooga,
Tennessee, and Macon Georgia. He took part in the grand review at
Chickamauga and was mustered out in February, 1899. Returning to Lima,
Mr. Bell embarked in his present business, and is well equipped to meet
almost any call for photographers', jewelers' and dental supplies. He
transacts a large volume of business, both retail and wholesale, drawing
his trade from an extensive territory about Lima.
In 1898 Mr. Bell was married to Lelia Kelly, daughter of Rev. John
Kelly, a retired Presbyterian minister, of Chandlersville, Muskingum
County, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Bell have two children Eleanor and Harold.
They are members of the Market Street Presbyterian Church at Lima. Mr.
Bell is a prominent member of the Knights of Pythias. He served as
chief of police during the mayoralty of Samuel A. Baxter, who first
organized and systematized the force.
JAMES W. GENSEL
JAMES W. GENSEL, assistant secretary of the South Side
Building & Loan Association, of Lima, was reared and educated in
Lafayette, Allen County. He was born in Jackson Township in 1863, and
is a son of John F. Gensel, who enlisted in Company I, 46th Reg. Ohio
Vol. Inf., and died in a hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1864.
James W. Gensel taught school in this county about three years prior
to coming to Lima to accept the position of bookkeeper in the Golly &
Finley Iron Works. He remained with the company 10 years and left them
only to take the office of county treasurer, to which he had been
elected in the fall of 1899. Two years later he was re-elected to the
office and, at the expiration of his second term accepted his present
position with the South Side Building & Loan Association.
In 1888 Mr. Gensel was married to Mary Custer, who has borne him
five children, viz; Ferne Y., Harold F., Ralph C., Mildred L. and
Richard W. Mrs. Gensel is a daughter of Jacob Custer, who formerly
operated the stone quarries in Bath township, but is now living in
retirement in Lima. He is one of the oldest residents of the county,
having been born and reared here. Mr. Gensel is an active Democrat and
was formerly a member of the Democratic County Central Committee. He is
a member of Lima Lodge, No. 581, I. O. O. F. , and served as secretary
for two terms.
JACOB DIENSTBERGER, one of the pioneers of the county,
was born in Baden, Germany, July 4, 1831, and died in Allen County,
August 15, 1904, in his 72nd year.
The life of Jacob Dienstberger was one of long and continued
usefulness. It began in a humble home in Germany, in which he was
trained to habits of thrift and industry, and closed in a comfortable
home of his own making, surrounded by those who loved him best and
honored him most. He was 18 years old when he left Germany for the
United States and in Norwich, Connecticut; he completed his
apprenticeship as a blacksmith, which trade he had commenced to learn in
his native land. In September, 1851, he came to Delphos, Ohio, worked
for a short time in an iron foundry and then embarked in the blacksmith
business, associating himself with Israel Thornell. He was thus engaged
from 1860 until he became a soldier of the Civil War, serving honorably
throughout the entire period of hostilities. He returned to Delphos
after the war and resumed a business life in which he continued to be
active until 1890. For many years he was identified with the coal and
iron trade of Delphos and vicinity. The last years of his life were
spent in retirement in the comfortable home adjoining his place of
business on East Second Street, which he erected before the Civil War.
In his earlier years Mr. Dienstberger was a man of robust health and
unusual strength. He continued to retain this robustness until May,
1897, when he suffered a stroke of Parlaysis which caused him to be a
partial invalid during the remainder of his life. While this was a
calamity he was more fortunate than many a sufferer, because of the
faithful and loving care shown him by a most patient and devoted wife,
during the seven years of his invalidism. On Saturday, August 6, 1904,
he suffered from a second stroke of paralysis. The amputation of
several of his toes, previous to this, had much lowered his vital powers
and nine days after the second paralytic stroke he passed away. Four
weeks prior to his death, his only sister had died at Columbian Green,
Connecticut, and his decease left, as only survivor of his parents'
family, a brother, Nicholas, of Norwich, Connecticut, who also passed
away December 12, 1905.
A man of excellent business sense, the deceased gained a goodly
share of worldly goods, while his strict honesty in business dealings,
neighborly kindness and anxiety for the welfare of his family, brought
him esteem and respect from all with whom his life intermingled. His
funeral which was largely attended took place on August 18, 1904. The
G. A. R. attended in a body and many relatives and friends from out of
the city, paid their final respects to the departed. The burial was in
the West Side Cemetery, Delphos. His resting place is now marked by one
of the finest granite monuments on the grounds. The parents of Mrs.
Deinstberger and a brother also rest in this cemetery.
The widow of the late Jacob Dienstberger was born in Saxony,
Germany, January 15, 1835, and is a daughter of Christopher and
Magdaline (Grundmiller) Gessner. The parents emigrated to America in
1841, when the daughter was about five years old, and Mrs. Dienstberger
is the only survivor of three children, viz: Charles, who died aged 77
years, leaving two sons and two daughters living at De Graff, Ohio;
Caroline (Mrs. Dienstberger), and Adam, who died March 17, 1885, aged 45
years, leaving a widow, two sons and two daughters.
Like many other German emigrants Mr. Gessner came to the United
States with the idea of securing a comfortable home for his wife and
children, but he had little capital except a kit of tools, which he
brought from his old home and in the use of which he was very skillful.
The little family was made welcome in the log cabin of a neighbor, who
had settled previously in Ohio, and Mr. Gessner soon erected a house on
a tract between Sugar and Hawk Creeks. There the family lived until he
secured a more desirable farm of 80 acres in Washington Township, Van
Wert County, which he subsequently cleared. He was well-known
throughout the country, his faculty for mending clocks, watches and
anything broken, bringing many visitors to his place.
Mrs. Dienstberer remembers when the family meals were eaten off a
German chest, but later the father fashioned an excellent table, made
creditable chairs by hand, and even guns, using for the latter iron
parts which he had brought from Germany. His other tools, such as
pitchforks, he made from crooked forks of trees found in the forest, and
while the neighboring farmers were threshing their grain by driving
their horses over it, he was using a flail thresher, with a long wooden
handle and a piece of leather, fashioned by his own hands. Mrs.
Dienstberger's mother was an adept at spinning flax and wool, coloring
them and converting then into the plain, sensible garments of that day,
while the father made the family shoes. Their evening lamp was a
candle, with the exception of an old grease lamp brought from Germany.
Cooking was all done at the open fire place, and there are those still
living who declare that no present day food has the appetizing flavor of
that cooked in the old Dutch oven. The educational opportunities of the
time and place were restricted to the most elementary branches.
Religious instruction, however, was not neglected, Rev. Donier, a
Lutheran pastor, having charge of a number of scattered congregations,
including that at Elida, where Mrs. Dienstberger learned her catechism
and attended church.
On September 26, 1853, Caroline Gessner and Jacob Dienstberger were
united in marriage, and in 1903, their "Golden Wedding" was celebrated
most enjoyably. All the children, the grandchildren and two
great-grandchildren were present. No one present on that occasion will
ever forget the touching remarks made by Mr. Dienstberger, in which he
referred to his boyhood days in Germany and to the family events of his
long and happy married life of half a century.
The children of Jacob and Caroline Dienstberger were: Charles,
Amelia, Mary and Christopher.
Charles Dienstberger was born in 1854 and educated at Delphos. At
the age of 16 years he learned the wagon and carriage making trade with
his father, and now conducts an extensive business in his fine two-story
brick shop, 24 by 66 feet in dimensions, which is fitted with modern
machinery for the repair and manufacture of everything in his line,
being furnished also with a large stock of horseshoes, bolts and other
blacksmith supplies. He also conducts a large coal yard, in 1875 being
admitted to partnership in this industry by his father, who had
established it. In 1878 he entered into a co partnership with Henry Kalt
and thus continued until 1901, when he purchased his partnerís interest.
He is one of the substantial and representative business men of Delphos.
From 1885 until 1889 he was treasurer of the town. For six years he has
been a member of the Board of Public Affairs, and carefully and capably
managed his own business interests, as well as those of his widowed
mother. He married Rosana Weideman and they have four children, viz:
Cedelia, who graduated from the Delphos High School, May 19, 1900, and
is now a student at Lima College, in bookkeeping, stenography and
typewriting, being also an accomplished musician; William, Arnold and
Amelia Dienstberger, who married Tobias Foster of Spencerville, Ohio,
has three children, viz: Laura, who married (first) Edward Dye and
(second) Charles Iseman; Flora, who married Hugo Hummel and has one
daughter, Fern; and Wilbert Foster all of Spencerville.
Mary Dienstberger married Henry Jettinghoff, the leading clothing
merchant at Delphos.
Christopher Dienstberger married Katie Flaspoehler and has seven
children, viz: Jacob, Nora, who lives with her grandmother, and
Nicholas, Amelia, Myra, Effie and Harmon.
Mrs. Dienstberger has lived to see the changes of 65 years in Allen
County. She is a consistent and valued member of the Lutheran Church at
Delphos and is much beloved for her many Christian virtues, her
neighborly kindness and the love and service she has so cheerfully given
to her family, whether in health of sickness.