Henry and Eliza Wilhelm

Much of my information on my great-great-grandfather, Henry Wilhelm, and his family, was provided by my first cousin, Margie Calkins. We've filled it out with other data from the U. S. Census and from newspaper files.

Henry Wilhelm was born 9 Nov 18201 in Millerstown, Dauphin county, Pennsylvania. In the 1850 census for Union Deposit, South Hanover township, Dauphin county, there's the household of a "John Wilhelm, 30 yrs old. Cooper", so perhaps his complete name was John Henry Wilhelm. Henry Wilhelm's first wife, my great-great-grandmother, was Eliza Hurst, or Horst. Eliza was born June 1826 in Lebanon county, PA, and died 3 Jul 1864 in Dayton, Montgomery county, OH. She and Henry were married in the Tabor Reformed Church, Lebanon county, PA, 2 Oct 1845.

Children. Henry and Eliza Wilhelm had the following children:

The children listed above were alive at the time of Henry Wilhelm's death in 1904. Three other children did not outlive him. It's likely they died in childhood, since there's no record of them in any census.

Parents. In the 1850 census, there's another cooper, also named John Wilhelm, in East Hanover township, in Dauphin county, who was 63 years old at the time. His wife's name is Catharine. Margie has confirmed that they are Henry's parents.3 This couple moved westward along with their daughter Catharine (about ten years younger than Henry) and her husband John McKee, appearing with them in the 1860 and 1870 censuses in Salem township, Champaign county, OH, on the edge of the Logan county Mennonite belt, with several families bearing such familiar surnames as Hartzler, Lantz, Yoder and Zook nearby. Their surname is rendered as Willhem and Willhelm in these censuses. In 1860, there appears to be another son, Jacob, and in 1870, another daughter, Christianna, both younger than Henry, with John and Catharine Wilhelm. John and Catharine apparently died between 1870 and 1880, since we found the McKees living, without them, a few miles away in Huntsville, Logan county, in the 1880 census. The McKees seem to have passed through Michigan around the same time as Henry and Eliza did, since they also had at least one child who was born there.

Eliza's parents are quite likely the 50-year-old Joseph (shoemaker) and 47-year-old Anna Horst, with 5 children ranging in age from 12 to 21, who were enumerated in East Hanover township in the 1850 census 5 days and 3 pages before John and Catharine Wilhelm. I couldn't find any trace of Joseph or Anna after 1850.

The Mennonite connection? Henry and Eliza were married in a Reformed Church. While we have no evidence that either Henry or Eliza was a Mennonite, Horst is a common Mennonite surname, though, and at least three of their children married Mennonites. Daughter Fannie's obituary states that both parents were Lutherans.

Henry and Eliza moved to Monroe county, MI, between the 1850 census and Elizabeth's birth in 1852, then on to Ohio some time in the 1850s. They may have had other children between Elizabeth and Fannie who died in childhood. In the 1860 census, we find Henry and Eliza living in Dayton, OH, listed as 45 and 40 years old, respectively. The only child with them is Jerome, who is listed as 16 years old. According to cousin Margie, Elizabeth is living next door to them with a Jerome family. There are, indeed, a John and Mary Ann Jerome listed on the lines immediately following the Wilhelms, along with a 7-year-old Elizth and a one-year-old Fanny, who appear to be their own children. The Jeromes are also from Pennsylvania and we wonder whether they are relatives or former neighbors.

My Aunt Libby has told me that her grandmother, Elizabeth Wilhelm, had a very difficult childhood, during which she lived with other families and worked as a servant girl. This is certainly reflected in these census entries. The Wilhelms' "personal estate" is listed as $300 and the Jeromes don't list any property. The other families in adjacent lines have similarly low net worths and most are German or Irish immigrants whose men are working as coopers, day laborers, and railroad firemen. The Wilhelms seem to occupy the very bottom rung of the economy at this time. I have no information as to where their other children were living in 1860 and couldn't locate any of the Wilhelms in the 1870 census, except for Elizabeth, who was a "domestic servant" in the home of John and Sarah Lantz in Champaign county.4 The Wilhelms' precarious situation is underscored by Fannie's appearance in the 1880 census as the "adopted daughter" of Levi and Sarah Lantz. As Fannie's obituary says, "she was taken into the home of Levi J. Lantz near Urbana, Ohio,"5 perhaps because Henry was unable to care for her after Eliza's death. Lincoln Wilhelm was also living with, and working for, another family by the time of the 1880 census, but in Clark county.

Henry Wilhelm's second wife was Mrs. Barbara Myers, the widow of John Myers. Henry and Barbara were enumerated in the 1880 census at Springfield, OH, along with Jerome and two of Barbara's grown children, Franklin and Alice Myers. Henry's age appears as 50 in this record! Henry's, Franklin's and Jerome's occupations are all listed as "Lagonda Ma. S.", the meaning of which took some digging. You may have heard of the Lagonda as a make of automobile, which is indeed true. The name, though, originated in the Springfield area, where there's a Lagonda creek which gave its name to a district and to the Lagonda Manufacturing Co., "which made steam engine equipment". One of its proprietors, Wilbur Gunn, founded the company which produced the Lagonda motor car in England during the early 20th century.

In the 1900 census, Henry and Barbara were enumerated at 75 East Liberty Street in Springfield, along with Barbara's same two children. Barbara died between 1900 and 1904. We once had Henry's death date listed as 27 Sep 1904, in Bellefontaine, OH. This may be based on an obituary in the West Liberty Banner for 29 Sep 1904, but that article isn't available to me. The following article in the Saturday, 24 Sep 1904, issue of the Bellefontaine Daily Examiner lists him as having died the day before in West Liberty:

Sudden Death
Of Henry Wilhelm at the Home
of His Daughter, Mrs. D. D.
Yoder, Friday Morning, at the
Age of 82.

West Liberty, Sept. 24 -- Henry Wilhelm, 82, suffered a stroke of paralysis at the home of his daughter, Mrs. D. D. Yoder, at this place Thursday afternoon, and death resulted suddenly at 8 Friday morning.

Mr. Wilhelm, since the death of his wife several years ago, made his home with his daughter here the greater part of the time, having come here from Springfield.

Short funeral services will be held here Monday morning and the remains will be taken to Springfield for burial.6

We located information on two of Henry and Eliza's children and their spouses in obituaries, transcribed from Mennonite newspapers and made available at the Mennobits site.

Fannie and her husband Moses Plank:2

In the Gospel Herald, Volume XLIV, Number 6, 6 Feb 1951:

Plank. Fannie (Wilhelm) Plank, daughter of Henry and Eliza Wilhelm, was born near Dayton, Ohio, Jan. 5, 1859; passed away at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Frank Ruth, Harrisonville, Mo., Jan. 19, 1951; aged 92 y. 14 d.

Her parents were members of the Lutheran Church. When she was five years old her mother died and she was taken into the home of Levi J. Lantz5 near Urbana, Ohio. In her early youth she confessed Christ as her Saviour and united with the Mennonite Church in which faith she remained until death.

Jan. 13, 1887, she was united in marriage with Moses Plank of Garden City, Mo. To this union 3 daughters were born, 2 having died in infancy.

Three years ago last October she had a paralytic stroke and on Jan. 12 she had a second stroke and lay in a coma until death. She leaves to mourn her departure, her daughter, 3 grandchildren (Celesta, Harold and Eva Ruth), 3 great-grandchildren, a number of nephews and nieces and a host of friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, parents, 3 brothers, and 3 sisters.

Funeral services were held in the Sycamore Grove Church on Sunday p. m. in charge of W. R. Hershberger, assisted by S. S. Hershberger. Burial in the Clearfork Cemetery.

In the Gospel Herald, Vol. XXXIII, No 18, 1 Aug 1940:

Plank. Moses, son of Michael and Nancy (Byler) Plank, was born in Union Co., Pa., Feb. 10, 1852; died at the home of his daughter (Mrs. Frank Roth) Aug. 5, 1940; aged 88 y. 5 m. 26 d.

At the age of 4 years he moved with his parents to Ligonier, Ind. Six years later they moved to St. Joe Co., Mich. In his young manhood he came to Missouri. In 1889 the family also moved to Missouri, locating north of Garden City. In his early life he confessed Christ as his Saviour and united with the Mennonite Church, in which faith he remained until death.

On Jan. 18, 1887, he was united in marriage to Fannie Wilhelm in West Liberty, Ohio, and located near Garden City, Mo. To this union were born 3 daughters, 2 having died in infancy. Fourteen years ago they moved to East Lynne, Mo., and about four years ago they moved out with their daughter, Mrs. Frank Roth, and remained there until his death, having been an invalid for the last 4 years.

Moses was tenderhearted and always loved children. He opened his home to a homeless boy (Chester Larsen) at the age of 6, remaining in the home 11 years. At the death of his brother Jacob's wife he took into his home his 2 sons (Earl and Myron) for 2 years. Then in later years they took a motherless boy from Oregon (Harvey King) at the age of 2 years and he remained in their home for about 5 years.

He leaves his companion, 1 daughter (Mrs. Frank Roth); 3 grandchildren (Celesta, Harold, Eva Ruth, of the home), 1 brother (S. B. Plank, West Liberty, O.), 17 nephews, 9 nieces, and many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by 5 brothers (John, Christ, Mike, Jacob, and David), 2 sisters (Melinda and Lizzie). It was always his wish that he could depart this life in his sleep, and his wish was granted.

Funeral services were conducted Aug. 7, at the home, in charge of S.S. Hershberger and at the Sycamore Grove Church by Richard Hershberger and I. G. Hartzler. Texts, I Pet. 1: 3, 4: 1; I Cor. 15: 54, 55.

"All is over, hands are folded,
O'er a calm and peaceful breast;
All is over, pain is ended.
And dear Father is at rest."

Lincoln and his wife Emma Yoder:

In the Gospel Herald, Vol. XXIX, No.49, 4 Mar 1937:

Wilhelm. Lincoln Willhelm was born Sept. 19,1860, at Dayton, O.; died at Streetsboro, O., March 4, 1937; aged 76 y. 6 m. 15 d. When young in years he gave his heart to the Lord and united with the Sycamore Church near East Lynn, Mo.

On Jan 15, 1891, he was united in marriage to Emma Yoder of Garden City, Mo. To this union were born 1 son (Ervie of Streetsboro) and 2 daughters (Elsie Scheffel also of Streetsboro and Lela Miller of Auburn, O.). In 1913 they moved to Portage Co., O. Two brothers and 4 sisters comprised the home circle. Both brothers and one sister preceded him in death; also 9 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, with the above remain.

He had the happy faculty of making friends wherever he was known. It can truly be said of him that enemies he had none. For a long term of years he was the overseer of two cemeteries. He was his own timekeeper and about the last work he did was to dig a grave for a neighbor. When health permitted his accustomed place in church was occupied. In the home he leaves an aching void. The children left the parental roof and erected homes of their own, leaving his bereaved companion alone--yet not alone, for He who doeth all things well says, "I'll never leave you." Just before he finally became unconscious his granddaughter Ruth came to him asking, "How are you now?" His reply (and it proved his last expression), "not very well." Soon after he lapsed into a state of coma and calmly fell asleep.

Funeral services conducted by the home ministers at the Plainview Church near Aurora, O. Text, II Kings 20:1. Interment in Evergreen Cemetery.

In the Gospel Herald, Volume XLII, No. 1, 4 Jan 1949:

Wilhelm. Emma Yoder was born in Juniata Co., Pa., Nov. 11, 1868; died at the home of her daughter (Mrs. Amasa Miller) near Centerville, Pa., Dec. 31, 1948; aged 80 y. 1 m. 20 d. Her last illness was a little less than a week in duration; during this time she suffered intense pain and repeatedly expressed a desire to depart. Death was caused by heart trouble.

In 1869 her family moved from Pennsylvania to Johnson Co., Mo., and in 1871 to Cass Co. When young in years, she united with the Sycamore Grove Mennonite Church, near Garden City, Mo., continuing in this faith until death.

On Jan. 15, 1891, she was united in marriage to Lincoln Wilhelm, who passed away March 4, 1937. In 1913 the family moved to Streetzboro, where she spent the remainder of her life, except for the last nine weeks.

Surviving are 3 children (Ernie, Centerville, Pa.; Elsie - Mrs. John Scheffel, Kent, Ohio; Lela - Mrs. Amasa Miller, Centerville), 9 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren, 2 sisters (Mrs. Amanda Plank, Kent, Ohio; and Lizzie Yoder, Garden City, Mo.), and 2 brothers (Harley Yoder, La Junta, Colo.; and Harvey, Baldwin, Mo.). One sister and 3 brothers preceded her in death. Her friendliness had won for her many friends; her life of faith and trust was an inspiration to many.

Funeral services were held at the Plain View Mennonite Church, near Aurora, Ohio, on Jan. 4, in charge of Elmer Stoltzfus.

1 Henry's birth month is listed as Nov 1821 in the 1900 census, but the 1850 census lists him as 30 years old. The information in intervening censuses is contradictory.
2 Elizabeth (Wilhelm) Yoder's obituary mentions "a sister, Mrs. Mose Plank, of Harrisonville [Cass county], Mo." Gingerich & Kreider's book lists a Moses Plank (b ca 1850, PK42333) who married a Veronica "Fannie" Wilhelm. The Cass county, MO, obituary site lists a Fannie (Wilhelm) PLANK (1859-1951), and a Moses PLANK (1852-1940), both buried at Clearfork cemetery, Grand River township.
3 This John Wilhelm could have been in Dauphin county for quite awhile. We found a John Wilhelm household in the 1820 census for West Hanover township with one male and one female in the 26-44 age group and a total of 9 children.
4 This is almost certainly the John Lantz (1835-1924, LZ17b) who is listed on page 255 of G&K's first edition. He is the son of Samuel Lantz (1799-1870, LZ17) and Magdalena Plank (1794-1891, PK422), and the first cousin of Elizabeth Wilhelm's future husband Samuel Plank. Although John's mother is listed by G&K as Magdalena, her obituary and the 1880 census give her first name as Martha. John's wife is Sarah Plank (1836-1909, PK4335), listed on page 354, and a second cousin of Samuel Plank.
5 Mr. Lantz is listed as Levi Z. Lantz in the census, and as Levi Z. Lantz (1837-1921, LZ17c) by G&K. Levi was married three times, but had no children of his own. He is the younger brother of John Lantz, in whose home Elizabeth was working as a domestic servant in 1870. His wife at this time is Sarah Yoder (1841-1892, YRB17d).
6 According to the sexton's record of Woodlawn cemetery, in Dayton, Henry and Eliza Wilhelm are buried in that cemetery. Findagrave lists their burial place as section 75, lot 1207 at Woodlawn.
This page was last updated 9 Feb 2013.