Grandma Yoder

When I was a small boy, my father frequently spoke of his grandmother, always referring to her as "Grandma Yoder". I wished that I could meet this wonderful lady, but never had that chance, since she lived in far-off Ohio and died when I was only seven years old.

Much later, I came across a mimeographed letter which Dad's first cousin, Rowena (Lakin) Strayer, of Bellefontaine, OH, sent to family members at the time of Grandma Yoder's death. I felt that I really got to know my great-grandmother, Elizabeth "Lizzie" (Wilhelm) Yoder, well while reading Rowena's beautiful tribute, which included quotes from several Bellefontaine newspaper articles...

Feb. 21, 1945

Dear Friends:

For the past three years or more I have been taking care of Grandmother Yoder's correspondence, so as the list is quite lengthy, I thought I would make one letter which would take care of all in one.

Grandmother Yoder lived to be 92 years 1 month 26 days, her life was full, she loved to be with her relatives and friends, she loved the messages from them, her friends were the big part of her life. What she had she was ready to share with others, her friends were ready to share in her joys and in her sorrows.

On Dec. 18th, just the day before her 92nd birthday she became very weak from a slight cold, the doctor was called and he said she must be careful or her cold might prove too much. After three weeks in bed she showed signs of improvement, and gained strength day by day until she was again able to be up in her favorite chair by the window. During this sickness she had been very kindly remembered, our mail man said it kept him busy carrying mail to her from her many friends.

It was on Friday morning, February 9th, she fell, causing an injury to her right hip. I called our Dr. Pratt, a very fine surgeon, and upon investigation he found the hip injury, and as she was recovering from the previous illness, he said her condition was serious at the very beginning, he told us 6 days was about the length of time for one of her age. She asked me if it was a broken hip (a thing she had been so much afraid of), I told her it was, she said "this will be my last." She showed her thankfulness for what we all tried to do for her, but never carried on conversation with us. She had nothing to fear in death, as she was ready and had been only waiting for her call to enter the promised land.

Our Rev. G. Ernest Mullendore, pastor of our Lutheran Church here, just happened in on his weekly call, he arrived along with Dr. Pratt, and was able to have prayer with her before she had been given any medical aid. She was truly grateful for his words of comfort. He called again on February 12th and had a short prayer, but her condition was growing worse, so she was unable to hear his kind words.

On Feb. 14th, she became much worse and Dr. said the end was close at hand. She went into a coma at noon on Feb. 14th and lasted until 4:06 A.M. Feb. 15th. I was with her to the end, she just seemed to slip out of this world very peacefully, the way she had always wished to do.

The following are the words sent to me, written by D. Carl Yoder, the son of her husband David D. Yoder. They are a fine tribute.

Quote: The wire telling of Grandma's death was not a surprise, however I feel her going more than I thought I would.

She was an unusual character and made the best of everything. She was a poor orphan girl1 denied the privilege of a common school education. She toiled as a girl doing house work as a hired girl, having had some very trying experiences; but she learned how to take hardships and smiled her way through all of them. Having a friendly disposition, she made friends everywhere she went as a girl, and then later in middle life and on through to the end.

She has had more than her share of disappointments and sorrow. Death took several of her children whose memory was kept sacred. She followed two companions to the grave and knew the bitterness of widowhood. But even with that she lived in recalling the happy days she had enjoyed. Having had a good mind and a fine memory she enjoyed living over again the happy days of the past.

In her closing years her soul blossomed out into beautiful sainthood; always when visiting her when about to leave she would say, "Now say a prayer for me." Then she assured me that her friends were in her prayers. So during her lonely hours she enjoyed talking to God, who was her comfort and strength.

We are poorer because of her going. But she has made an impression and left a holy influence that will never leave us. It is these cords of love we feel coming from our loved ones who have gone on before that draw us heavenward as nothing else can do. Unquote.

Article taken from the Daily Examiner, Monday, Feb. 12th, 1945:


Mrs. Elizabeth Yoder, who lives with her granddaughter, Mrs. Frank M. Strayer, 109 Carter Avenue, fell Friday in her room and suffered a fractured hip. She is resting fairly well. Mrs. Yoder is past 92 years of age.

Mrs. Hiram Moore, Lake Avenue, underwent an operation Monday at Mary Rutan Hospital.

Mrs. Moore mentioned above is my sister, her operation had been all set by the Doctors and as it was important that it should be done, the doctors went ahead with it. Mary came up when I called her about Grandma and helped me all Friday to get things arranged. Dr. Pratt said I should have a fracture bed, so in an an hour after the Dr. left, we had the fracture bed, and doctor ordered it to be down in the living room, so that I would not have so much running to do. He said the only thing we could do would be to make her comfortable, and that we tried to do.

This is the article that appeared in the Daily Examiner, Thursday, Feb. 15th, 1945:


Former West Liberty Resident Succumbs at Age of 92

Grandma Yoder's grave Mrs. Elizabeth Yoder, 92, died at 4 A.M. Thursday at the home of her granddaughter, Mrs. Frank Strayer, 109 Carter Avenue. Death followed the fracture of one of her hips suffered in a fall last Friday.

Elizabeth Wilhelm Yoder was born Dec. 19, 1852, in Monroe, Mich., a daughter of Henry and Eliza Wilhelm. When she was three years old the family went to Dayton. When she was 12 years of age her mother died and she then lived in the home of Sam Lantz,1 in Champaign county until her marriage in March, 1871, to Samuel W. Plank, of Logan County.

Six children were born to their union, four of them dying in infancy. A daughter, Mrs. S. W. Carey, was killed five years ago in an automobile accident in Santa Monica, Calif. The remaining member of the family is Mrs. W. W. Lakin, of Iron City. Mr. Plank died in 1891.

In 1893 she was united in marriage with David D. Yoder, of West Liberty, his death occurring 23 years ago. Following his death, Mrs. Yoder, who had resided in West Liberty for more than 40 years, lived for a time in California with Mrs. Carey.

For the past 18 years she had lived in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Strayer. Mrs. Sarah Strayer, mother of Frank Strayer, also lived in the home and for 16 years the two were close friends and companions. Since the death of Mrs. Strayer two years ago, Mrs. Yoder has been a semi-invalid.

Besides Mrs. Lakin, Mrs. Yoder leaves a step-daughter, Mrs. Nancy Yoder, of Springfield, two stepsons, Uriel Yoder, of West Liberty, and Rev. D. Carl Yoder, of Rushsylvania, now in Wichita, Kans., a sister, Mrs. Mose Plank,2 of Harrisonville, Mo., a stepsister, Mrs. Clayanna Ferguson of Springfield, 14 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. There are also many relatives and friends who remained very devoted to Mrs. Yoder. She was a member of the Lutheran Church in this city.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Kennedy Funeral Home with Rev. G. E. Mullendore officiating. Burial will be made in the Alexander cemetery on the West Liberty-De Graff pike.

Friends may call at the Strayer residence, beginning Thursday evening.

This article appeared in the Daily Examiner under date of Feb. 19th:


Funeral services for Mrs. Elizabeth Yoder were held Saturday afternoon in the Kennedy Funeral Home with Rev. G. E. Mullendore of the Lutheran Church in charge. Burial was made in Alexander cemetery.

Serving as pallbearers were Dan Lakin,3 Clinton Lakin,3 Herbert Lakin,3 William Lakin,3 Hiram Moore4 and Harley Palmer4.

Wesley W. Lakin, Marion Miner, Carroll Stultz, Wayne Stevenson, grandson, grandson-in-law, great-grandson, and great-grandson-in-law are in the service of their country, all overseas, but Carroll at present we do not know where he is. Claude Carey3 and Lawrence Gairich4 discharged for disability.

Grandma Yoder's first husband, Samuel Washington Plank, was born 22 Feb 1850 in Union township, Logan county, Ohio, the son of Samuel and Juliana (Hertzler) Plank. He and Elizabeth were married 6 Mar 1871 in Bellefontaine. They had the following children:

  1. Amanda Lucretia Plank. Born 11 Feb 1872, died 1947 in Ohio. Married William Walter Lakin 13 Nov 1895 in West Liberty.
  2. David Plank. Born Jan 1873, died 20 Aug 1874 in Ohio.
  3. Mary E. Plank. Born 20 Aug 1875, died 11 Oct 1877 in Union township.
  4. Ida May Plank. Born 3 Dec 1877, died 7 Feb 1880.
  5. Kathryn Alameda Plank. Born 21 Jan 1882, died 21 Oct 1939 in Santa Monica, CA. Married Samuel Winans Carey 25 Mar 1906 in Dayton, OH.
  6. Artie Leona Plank. Born 17 Jul 1888, died 18 Jul 1890 in West Liberty.

The first four children were born in Union township, the last two in West Liberty. After Samuel W. Plank's death, Elizabeth married David D. Yoder 2 Sep 1894 in West Liberty. The 1900 census found them living there, with no children present. Kathryn had already moved out, perhaps to help her older sister take care of her growing family.

The following obituary of grandma Yoder's first husband appeared on page 271 of the Herald of Truth,5 for 1 Sep 1891:

PLANK. On August 22d, 1891, near West Liberty, Logan Co., Ohio, Samuel W. Plank, aged 61 years6 and 6 months. Buried August 23d. Services at the Walnut Grove meeting house by C. K. Yoder in the German and A. Miller in English.

The death notices for her infant daughters Ida and Artie also appeared in the Herald of Truth:

Feb. 7th [1880], in Logan Co., Ohio, of diphtheria, IDA, daughter of S. W. and Elisabeth PLANK, aged 2 years, 2 months and 4 days. Funeral services were held by John Werrey and Samuel Headings.
PLANK - On the 18th of July [1890], at West Liberty, Ohio, Artie L., daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Plank, aged two years and one day. Buried on the 19th. Funeral services by C. K. Yoder in German and J. H. Kauffman in English.

The following biography of great-grandmother's second husband appeared on page 728 of the 1880 History of Logan County:

D. D. YODER,7 farmer; P. O., West Liberty; was born June 12,1830, in Huntingdon Co., Penn.; his father, David C., was born in 1800 in Mifflin Co., same State, and his mother, Magdalena (Hooly), was born in 1803 in the same county.

The parents came to Ohio in 1845, settling on the farm where our subject now lives, and buying 320 acres, afterward selling 160 of the same to John Yoder. The father was killed by a team running away in 1849; the mother died in 1850 with the dropsy. They were members of the Ormish Mennonite Church. The children born to them were -- John, Jonathan, Lydia, Elizabeth, Christ, Mary and Jacob.

Our representative remained on the farm with his parents until their decease, and witnessed all the hardships that were allotted to the pioneers. In 1851, he had both legs broken by the bent of a barn, and he was compelled to lie on his back on a table for six weeks ere he could go to bed; in about three months he became able to get around, and worked for Jacob Yoder at butchering during the year 1852. They had market at Bellefontaine and De Graff; he then returned to the farm, and has since devoted his life to the same, and is successful, making a specialty of stocking on his fine farm of 160 acres, which is the old homestead of his father.

He was married in 1855 to Elizabeth Yoder (no connection); she was born in 1835 in Huntingdon Co., Penn., and came with her parents to Fairfield Co., Ohio, in 1840; she had, by her union with Mr. Yoder, eight children, four of whom are living -- Uriel, Nancy, David and Rudy; the four deceased are -- John, Malinda, Andrew and an infant. Mr. Yoder and wife are members of the Ormish Mennonite Church, which building stands on his farm; he donated one acre of land for the same, and it was built in 1875, at a cost of $1,753; he also gave $140 in cash to the building fund. He has always been identified with the Republican party since its organization. Mr. Yoder is the architect of his own fortune, and in everything he has undertaken he has been successful -- in the ten years during which he dealt in farming implements, as well as in other vocations. He possesses 251 acres of fine land, and connected with every industrial enterprise you find the name of D. D. Yoder.

Elizabeth's second husband, David D. Yoder, died 7 Aug 1922 in West Liberty. The following obituary, written by his son David Carl Yoder, was found at the Swiss Anabaptist Genealogical Association (SAGA) web site:

He emigrated with his parents to Logan Co, Ohio in the Spring of 1845, his father buying a farm of 160 acres situated in Liberty and Union townships, where he lived with his parents. His father David C. Yoder died in Feb. 1849 leaving the widow and six children. David D. then being the oldest of the family shouldered the responsibility of conducting the farm for several years. In the Fall of 1854, Nov. 2, he was married to Elizabeth Yoder, formerly of Fairfield Co., Ohio, being a daughter of Jacob and Nancy (Detweiler) Yoder, who formerly moved from Pa. to Fairfield Co and died there. After the death of her parents, Elizabeth Yoder came to Logan Co. and made her home with John B. Yoder's for several years before her marriage. To this union, were born eight children, four of whom died young. One son, Rudolph died August 30, 1911. Elizabeth Yoder, wife died May 4, 1893. Sept 2, 1894 he was married to Lizzie Plank widow of Samuel Plank, deceased.

David D has followed his father and mother, five brothers, three sisters and his wife and five children to their graves. Two brothers and one sister died young and were buried in Pa before the family came to Ohio. One sister Mary, married to Solomon Kanagy moved to Bond Co., IL and died March 16, 1886, he did not get to her funeral.

David D was baptized in the Amish faith at the age of 19 years and was ever ready to make progress in the religion of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Saviour, and having set my house in order the best I know how, I feel ready to depart and be with God. There are left to mourn his going the wife, three children, Uriel Yoder of West Liberty, Mrs. Nancy Yoder of Springfield, Ohio and D. Carl Yoder of Cleveland.... He composed a song after his 90th year which was sung at his service.

Here is a letter provided by Betty-Ellen Crum, which was sent to her grandmother, Emma Matrona Kanaga, by the cousin Emma wrote of in her journal as Davie Yoder. D. D. ("Uncle Dave") Yoder was now just past his 92nd birthday.

1831 Sheldon Ave,
East Cleveland O.
July 3, 1922

Dear Friend:-

Knowing how much father thot of his cousins, and all friends, I am writing a circular letter of general information such as I think will please him. About a month ago, father, D.D. Yoder, West-Liberty. O. began to fail very rapidly, not so much because of any disease as of old age: his heart was his weakest organ. and when it failed to work right; the circulation became poor and of course, this caused other troubles, such as shortage of breath, which was very distressing.

he had attacks quite frequetly which no doubt were caused by poor heart-action; heart-stimulants have been used with possibly helpful results; he is weaker and weaker, and yet it has been surprising how strong he has been, being able to care for himself in many ways, such as raising himself upon the bed, and walking a few steps at a time.

With the weakening of his body there seems to have also come a weakening of the mind, so that he has been delirious a great-deal; Yet many moments when he was concious being quick to sence the presence of any one, and generally knowing them. He has been very anxious to pass away without a struggle and seems greatly dissappointed that he has to suffer so long.

The sweet consolation is in his Christian character, his strong hold upon God. He has spent many moments in talking of God. in quoting scropture. A few weeks ago I sat by his side and asked some leading questions, regarding the approaching death.

His answers were so sane and sensible that they have been printed in the West Liberty Banner & other papers; will enclose copy of these questions & answers.

Father has talked much of his relatives & friends and seems to be anxious that not one of them should be lost. He has composed a song tune & words, which has been a blessing, and which he has song to many who have called upon him. If you like a copy I shall be pleased to send to you.

I have been with him the past-week, and expect to return to-morrow; while at home, because of my little printing machine. I have written this letter, but will mail it from West Liberty, upon my arrival, writing in long hand, his condition.

I am sure you will pray for us all, that we may so live, as to have a happy reunion in the world to come. May God bless you and yours,

D. Carl Yoder

(July 8, Father about the same)

Betty-Ellen said that this song followed the letter in Emma's journal:

"I'll Live for Him"

1. My life, my love I give to thee
Thou Lamb of God who died for me,
Oh, may I ever faithful be,
My Savior and my God!

Chorus. I'll live for him who died for me,
How happy then, my life shall be!
I'll live for him who died for me,
My Saviour and my God!

2. Now believe thou dost receive,
For thou hast died that I might live,
And now henceforth I'll trust in Thee,
My Saviour and my God!

3. Oh thou who died, on Calvary,
To save my soul and make me free,
I consecrate my life to Thee,
My Saviour and my God!

Some time after D. D. Yoder's death, Elizabeth moved in to the town of Bellefontaine to live with her granddaughter Rowena and Rowena's husband, Frank M. Strayer, who were married in 1924. She lived the rest of her life in their home at 109 Carter Avenue. Elizabeth became close friends with Frank's mother Sarah, who was about a year older. These four people were enumerated there in 1930 and 1940, with Rowena and Frank's daughter Joanne having joined them about 1931. During cross-country trips with my family, I stayed at this house and enjoyed Rowena and Frank's hospitality.

1 Although Elizabeth's father lived to a ripe old age, she was raised by other families both before and after her mother's death. (See her parents' page for information on their family's situation at the time of the 1860 census in Dayton, OH.) She may have attended school briefly in Champaign county, since Aunt Libby remembers Aunt Cindy Perry telling her she went to school in Urbana with Elizabeth. The Sam Lantz in whose home she worked as a "hired girl" may be the same Samuel Lantz who married Martha Plank, her first husband's aunt. It wouldn't be at all surprising if Lizzie and Sam Plank met and fell in love while Sam was visiting his aunt and uncle!
2 Veronica "Fannie" Wilhelm, who married Moses Plank (PK42333 -- ca. 1850-?), according to Gingerich & Kreider.
3 Grandsons.
4 Grandsons-in-law.
5 Herald of Truth was published by the Mennonite Church. Its obituaries are available online.
6 This is a typo. Great-grandfather's birth date of 22 Feb 1850 is confirmed by several sources. His middle name was Washington, no doubt due to the date on which he was born. His entry in the 1880 census, when he was enumerated in Union township along with Lizzie and Amanda, agrees with an 1850 birth date.
7 This Yoder line, including David D. Yoder's family, is documented in the Yoder archives. David's index number in these archives, as originally assigned by Gingerich & Kreider, is YRB185.

This page was last updated 20 Jul 2013.