Friday, September 11, 2015

The Last of the Mohns

Welcome to the last of three posts rounding up the descendants of Clara Callin and Jacob Mohn. If you're just joining us, here's the background:

Arthur Jefferson Mohn was born 1 February 1880, in Olivesburg, the third born child of Clara and Jacob. He and his family are listed in the 1880 Census in Weller township. His father was working as a butcher, and the household (#176) is not far from his grandparents, Leonard Mohn, a miller, & Nancy (household #183 on the same census page).

Twenty years later, in the 1900 Census, Arthur and all of his younger siblings are still listed at home in the household in Vernon township, Crawford county. Arthur is a farm laborer, while Fred at Susie are at school. Not only are they all still on the farm in the 1910 Census - a different farm, in Cass township, Richland county - but the Mohn family is listed near surnames like Keller, Baker, Lautermilch, and Fackler - all names you might recognize from the last three posts.

In 1913, age 33, Arthur married Orpha Lybarger. They had a son on Christmas Eve, 1915, and named him Reno Juston Mohn; Reno would be the oldest of three children. According to Arthur's WWI draft registration card, in 1918 their address was RFD 3, Shelby, and he still worked on a farm. By 1920, though they still lived in  Shelby, Arthur was working as a laborer in the steel mill. They lived on Earl St. in 1920, then moved to 79 South Gamble by 1929, where Arthur would live to the end of his life on 12 October 1944. After he died, Orpha remarried a Lloyd Umsted, and she lived until 1970.

1. Reno Juston married Florence Cramer around 1940, and they had a son (who is still living, with a son and daughter of his own) at about the time Reno enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served from 7 August 1942 to 20 September 1945. According to his obituary:
After returning from World War II, he worked for the Shelby Sales Book Company. In 1949, he worked for Allied Mills Corp. makers of Wayne Feeds as a salesman. In 1951, he moved his family to Mount Vernon. He worked for Edwards Sheet Metal Company as a salesman and then took over as General Manager. After leaving Edwards Sheet Metal, he along with partners Carl (Pete) Moore, Jim Metcalf, and George Burger formed Buckeye Culvert Company. He retired in 1978 as President of the company.
Florence died in 1994, after 54 years of marriage; Reno died in 20 March 2006 in Mount Vernon.

2. Reno's sister, Twila Lureen Mohn, was born 6 June 1921 in Shelby. She married Howard Clarence "Dutch" Kratzer (1909 – 2008) in 1945, and they had one son (also still living). Twila died 18 November 1999 in Colorado Springs, El Paso, Colorado.

3. Their younger brother Jeffray Arthur Mohn was born 15 June 1929 in Shelby. He married in July 1951, and he and his wife (still living) had a daughter and two sons (all still living). Jeff died 10 April 1994 in Willard, Ohio.

Fred Harrison Mohn, fifth child of Clara and Jacob, was born 12 September 1888 in Olivesburg. He married Frances W Pittenger some time around 1915. She was born 24 August 1896 in Blooming Grove. Their only son, Arthur Wilson Mohn was born 11 July 1915.

The couple divorced around 1935, and Frances remarried to Charles Crum; they had a daughter. Fred moved in with the Traugers, his sister's family, living in Plymouth, and was living with them in 1940. Fred died 21 March 1943 in Blooming Grove, Richland county.

Wilson married M. Helen Strohminger (1915-2011) some time before 1940. In 1945, they appeared in St. Petersburg, Florida, listed in the state census as being "in service", before returning to live in Columbus, Ohio, where Wilson worked as a salesman. It isn't clear whether Wilson was enlisted or not. That seems likely, but I have yet to find military records for him.

By 1960, the couple had moved to Sacramento, where Wilson was a supervisor for Aerojet and Helen was a bookkeeper for the local YMCA until his death, 25 January 1962. Wilson and Helen had no children of their own, and by the end of her life, Helen was living back in Mansfield.

When all is said and done, this seems like a short list with minimal detail - but there are a few things I would point out that I find rather stunning. First, look at the amount of time we just breezed through in a few short paragraphs. Marriages of more than 50 years; lives of nearly 100. Whole childhoods skipped over between census records..Careers sketched out in a few sentences; whole people reduced to a few words and some parenthetical numbers.

It's easy to look at a short post about a couple of families like this and form a simple impression that misses the family between the facts. And for all the richness of life going on between the lines, it's equally amazing how fragile the family tree can be. For all of the names I just listed - for that matter, all of the names in the last four posts combined - only two living men are left to carry on the name of Jacob Mohn.

Think about that for a minute. There may well be other people with the Mohn surname, and the two sons of Jeff Mohn may have had sons of their own by now. But if not, then after only three generations, that name is gone.

And it's even worse from the point of view of someone named Callin; how many of the people in the last three posts would have even known that was their grandmother's maiden name? Their great-grandmother's? Do you know your great-grandmother's maiden name?

That's a huge part of why I do this. It's a way of preserving our memories, and tying myself to history. It's also a way of making sure that even if Clara's great-great grandchildren never take an interest in who she was, that won't be lost completely. And if you're still reading at this point, I have to believe that you think that's important, too.

I hope so.

Updates: I made some minor clarifying edits, and bolded the names of those children in the generation after Arthur and Fred. (TC - 9/27)

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