Tombstone mystery elicits responses

Staff writer

Several readers responded to last week’s tombstone mystery article published in the Marion County Record and Peabody Gazette-Bulletin. Comments from JoAnn (Stroda) Fitzpatrick and Art Vaughn shed even more light on the identity of a person possibly buried just southeast of the city of Marion.

Fitzpatrick, who used to live in Marion across the street from Jerry Dieter who owns the land where the mysterious tombstone was recently rediscovered, said she enjoys genealogy research.

“The article in the Marion Record really intrigued me, so I decided to see what I could find out,” she said.

“Since the inscription was in German, it would have to be properly translated. The name on the stone, Wilhelmine Stelting b. 15 Sep 1856 — d. 3 Jul 1902, is what has sent me researching on ancestry.com.”

Fitzpatrick found a Stelting family tree that showed the husband of Wilhelmine was August G Stelting, born Sept. 5, 1856 in Russia. He died July 4, 1901 in Marion. Wilhelmine (Hein) Stelting was born June 28, 1859 in Russia and died August 10, 1940 in Hillsboro.

“I found a 1900 census that listed the couple as living in Liberty Township, Marion, with their two children, Wilhelmine and Jacob,” Fitzpatrick said. “The dates on the stone seem to match August G Stelting, more than Wilhelmine.”

Fitzpatrick continued her search for Stelting family members further back on the family tree.

“There were 11 family members buried in Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Cemetery, Ebenfield Cemetery, and Lehigh Mennonite Cemetery,” she said. “The parents of August G Stelting are buried in the Ebenfield Cemetery, but I could not find records for Wilhelmine or August G Stelting. I presume they would have been buried in one of these cemeteries. Maybe the city of Hillsboro would have records for these cemeteries.”

Marion County Record reader Art Vaughn said he noticed a mistake in the German translation from the tombstone and said the identity of the deceased was not a mystery.

“The word ‘gate’ is properly spelled ‘gate’ and ‘Vor’ possibly von, means ‘spouse of’,” Vaughn said.

“This would mean the marker is not Wilhelmine’s marker, but that of her husband August.”

Vaughn’s research indicated that Wilhelmine Hein, the wife of August Stelting, was apparently born in 1859 in the Don Settlement in Russia. She died in Hillsboro.

August’s parents were August Stelting — 1832-1920 — and Renathta Foth — 1834-1907. They also died in Hillsboro.

Vaughn said there were two children born to August and Wilhemine, Wilhelmine born 1884 and Jacob born 1892.

“How accurate this research is, is hard to say,” Vaughn said.

“But I believe it to be the same person on the tombstone, as the date of birth, name, and spouse’s name are just too much the same to be a coincidence.”

 

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