Henry Gecowets was the teacher of the 8th grade class of twenty-one students at Mark Township School.
First row, from left, are: Madona Dunmire, Irene Horn, Lillian Arend, Florance Doda, Iris Breininger, Hope Revert, Annabel Swiehart, Audrey Walters, Bernice Wirth, and Annabel Arrants. Second row, from left, are: Chelmar Burd, Steve Nagy, Jake Warrick, Francis Cornell, Henry Gecowets - teacher, Walter Arrants, Leon Slough, and George Arend. Third row, from left, are: Earl Polter, Ralph Gecowets, Frank Farcas, Arno Elder, and Joe Yacksia.
For many years, Lloyd V. Tuttle contributed historic photos and information to the Defiance Crescent-News for his column, "A Backward Glance." This undated clipping gave some insight into the immigrant Kammeyer family.
Tuttle wrote: "THIS LOG HOUSE stands on the old Kammeyer homestead. Henry Kammeyer with his wife and children, ranging in age from two to ten, migrated from Hanover, Germany, in 1863. The land where the log house stands was purchased in 1870 and the log house was built soon afterward.
The farm is in Tiffin tp., the northwest quarter of section 23. At the time of the purchase, the land was covered with virgin timber and the purchase price was a fraction over $16 per acre. The farm lies south of the Kammeyer road, six miles north of Defiance, thence west.
Henry Kammeyer died in the eighteen eighties but Grandmother Kammeyer continued living in the log house until her death in 1913. Her seven children (two born in the U.S.) grew to maturity, reared families, acquired farms in the area, and lived to ripe old ages."
Many discrepancies and mysteries have plagued the research on Benjamin Sevrence. Is his middle initial K. or S.? Is his middle name Samuel? Was his mother's name Esther Knaff or Kraft? He was married in 1860, according to calculations based on a later census, but where was the that year?
We do know that Benjamin was born the day after Christmas in 1833, in Crawford County to parents, David and Esther. He married Rachel Bates in 1859, and the two had five children together.
He waited until near the end of the war to enlist in Company D, 195th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. This unit organized in March of 1865, and the men mustered in in December. They went first to Harper's Ferry for just a few days until they were marched back to Winchester, Virginia. It was there they learned of Lee's surrender. A march to Alexandria, Virginia for provost (military police) and guard duty completed their service. Benjamin was mustered out with his unit on December 18, 1865 in Washington, D.C.
By 1870, he and Rachel had settled in Gorham Township, Fulton County, Ohio with four of their children: Mary, Marion, Ada and Dora. Benjamin worked as a general laborer and owned real estate worth $2000.
A move to Center Township, Williams County, was made before the 1880 census. Benjamin farmed there. The next census he could be found in was the 1910 census in Center Township. Benjamin was 75 by this time and Rachel, 68, and they had been married fifty years. It was interesting to note that Benjamin was classified as mulatto in this census; it was the first time in census history that that was a choice for race.
Benjamin died on April 28, 1912 in Williams County at 78 years, 4 months and 2 days. He was buried on May 1st in the Farmer Cemetery.
An obituary for Benjamin Severence appeared in the Bryan Press on May 4, 1912:
"Benjamin H. (K.?) Severence, son of David and Esther Severence, was born in Crawford County, Ohio, December 26, 1833, and died at his home in Melbern, Ohio, April 28, 1912, aged 78 years, 4 months, 2 days. He was united in marriage with Rachel Bates of William(s) Co.,Ohio, June 26, 1859. To them were born five children, one boy and four girls.
He was converted about forty years ago, and united with the Christian Union church at Olive Branch in this Co., and never lost sight of the necessity of trusting in the Lord for salvation and leading a christian life.
In 1865, he enlisted as a soldier in Co. D, 195 Reg Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and at the close of the war, received an honorable discharge.
He was a good citizen, a kind husband and father and a most obliging neighbor. He leaves wife, 5 children, 1 sister, 17 grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren with other relatives and many friends to mourn their loss.
Funeral services were conducted on Wednesday from the M. E. church in Melburn, conducted by Rev. J. W. Lilly, of Hicksville, Ohio. Interment at Farmer Cemetery."
Congratulations to the Paulding County Carnegie Library for digitizing their county newspapers and placing them on a searchable database online.
The oldest paper available is the Paulding Independent, Thursday, January 3, 1861, and the latest, The Paulding County Progress, December 31, 2016. The database includes five different Paulding County papers of different eras, as well as, two from Antwerp, one from Payne, one from Oakwood, and one from Grover Hill.