Swiss Community Historical Society

Swiss Community Historical Society The Schumacher Homestead is located at 8350 Bixel Road, Bluffton, OH 45817.
The Schumacher Farmstead was built in 1843 as part of the Swiss settlement in the Bluffton-Pandora area. Located on the Riley Creek, this 7 acre property included a main house, summer kitchen, workshop, large bank barn and other outbuildings. The large bank barn was built in 1854 during the Pioneer era and is one of the oldest barns in the area.
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The Swiss settlement in the Bluffton/Pandora area included both Swiss Reformed who settled in the southern part of the area and Swiss Mennonites who settled in the northern part, mostly in Putnam County. The first Swiss Mennonites to settle here were Michael Neuenschwander and his family who migrated to northern Wayne County from the Swiss Jura in 1823 and then built a farm here in 1833 along present day Bixel Road, not far from the restored Schumacher Farm/Swiss Homestead. Numerous other Swiss Mennonites who moved here from the Wayne County settlement or directly from Switzerland and France soon joined the Neuenschwander family. The growing Swiss Mennonite congregation in this area eventually became focused around the present Ebenezer church, with additional meetinghouses in Pandora (St. John) and Bluffton (First). A number of other Mennonite churches emerged in the area, either as divisions from the main Swiss congregation (Reformed, 1844; Zion, 1857; Grace, 1904) or as divisions from the divisions (Evangelical, 1884; Missionary, 1898). People who have lived in the historic house since the Schumachers: Thomas Gray 1832-1836 Purchased land from the State of Ohio Christian and Barbara Schumacher 1836-1858 Peter and Elizabeth Schumacher 1858-1888 Abraham and Magdalena Schumacher Bixel 1883-1903 Peter A. and Perses Amstutz 1903-1910 Gottlieb and Lena Schwab 1910-1921 Frank and Gertrude Kahle 1921-1947 During these years, Clarence Jones was a tenant for 13 years Victor F. Maag 1947-1949 During this time, a Kaufman family were tenants Othmar and Clara Smith 1949-1968 Swiss Community Historical Society 1968-present (The society bought the house and seven acres in 1968, and the barn, outbuildings, and about 4 acres in 2004 from members of the Smith family)

Mission: The Swiss Community Historical Society was founded over fifty years ago to honor and preserve the heritage of the Bluffton-Pandora community. It does this by collecting and preserving papers, books, artifacts, and records of historical interest, and by acquiring property especially important to this heritage.

02/08/2020
Esther

Esther

I'm a life member of the Swiss Community Historical Society. The picture of the house on their website is my Swiss ancestors' Schumacher House located near Pandora, Ohio..

Furgge, by Katharina Zimmerman and translated by Ruth Schwertfeger is a book about the persecution of the Anabaptists in...
02/07/2020

Furgge, by Katharina Zimmerman and translated by Ruth Schwertfeger is a book about the persecution of the Anabaptists in Switzerland in the early 18th century, from a women's point of view. (Die) Frugge is based on the archival and historical research of the Emmental and the people who resided there such as Madeleni Schilt and Christen Hirschi.

Joanne Hess Siegrist of Lancaster Mennonite Association, of Lancaster, PA shared the following videos and information that led me to purchasing the book Furgge. The videos give more information about the research and translation of this vital piece of Swiss History.

The following 19 minute YouTube video is about Switzerland - for the Hershey 300th reunion celebration. The YouTube video is well done and initially shown on September 16, 2017. It is titled "Hershey 1717-2017". Both of the following videos give the back story of the book Furgge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DK4TK_FXyms&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xMP96p1t40&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2fBpCSicwe6-o6s1gIlehOPsjaIoRWXsBgBVrNAa2nIgF_qbDw8RVb6U

Kaye Phillips

The Swiss Community Historical Society is a proud member of the Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce (Ohio). DATE CHANGE Pl...
01/29/2020

The Swiss Community Historical Society is a proud member of the Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce (Ohio).

DATE CHANGE Please note that the SCHS Spring History Program will be on April 5.

Check out all the events happening in our area!

Looking for activities to brighten up the winter days? Check out our latest flyer with highlights from chamber members.

Available at a shop near you and at bit.ly/2vpu8y7

UPDATE: The SCHS Spring History Program has been moved to April 5.

Bluffton University ❤️ Bluffton Downtown Merchants ❤️ Transition Bluffton ❤️ Bluffton Family Recreation - BFR ❤️ Bluffton Senior Center ❤️ Bluffton Public Library ❤️ Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs ❤️ Swiss Community Historical Society ❤️ Bluffton Farmers Market - Ohio ❤️ Board & Brush Bluffton, OH #OhBACCmembers

According to Dorothy Locher Williams, one of the authors of "Memories of Mother's Cooking, Cooking in the Swiss Communit...
01/20/2020

According to Dorothy Locher Williams, one of the authors of "Memories of Mother's Cooking, Cooking in the Swiss Community 1915-1935", published by the SCHS in 2001,

"By the time the 1920's rolled around, most of the Swiss families had assimilated many of the baking preferences of their middle-western community. Perhaps some of the pies...had a Swiss twist to them and a few were indeed truly Swiss, but in general they accepted the foods and customs of north-western Ohio."

Eggs and milk and lard were in great supply on the farm. Pies needed few ingredients that were not already in the kitchen.

Kaye Phillips

Our favorite pie crust recipe is as follows.

Never Fail Pie Crust

3 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of Shortening
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 egg,beat first
5 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon of vinegar

Measure out flour and salt, cut in shortening. Beat egg in separate bowl . Add 5 T water and 1 teaspoon of vinegar to egg mixture. Combine the wet with the dry mixture and stir until dough forms. Makes 3-4 pie shells. Freezes well.

Chocolate Cream Pie

1 1/2 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of cornstarch
1/2 teas. salt
3 cups of milk
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten (save the whites for meringue)
2 ounces of melted unsweetened chocolate
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Bake pie shell,400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan. Pour milk and beaten egg yolks in a mixing bowl, Slowly add milk and eggs to saucepan, stirring constantly until boils and thick. Take off heat and add melted chocolate and vanilla to pudding. Pour into baked pie shell.

Meringue

4 egg whites
1/4 cream of tartar
1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 teaspoon of vanilla

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar on fastest speed of mixer.
(I don't know how anyone made meringue by hand.)
Beat in sugar a little at a time until mixture is stiff and forms peaks. Beat in vanilla.

Take the meringue out with spatula and place over pie, sealing crust. Smooth with spatula. Then take finger and make swirls on meringue, if desired.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Watch to see if peaks are browning and meringue is set.

Pie will take a few hours to cool to room temperature. Take a nap, you will need one. :)

"Get lost. Surround yourself with nothing but the woods and the sound of your steady breath, the crunch of snow beneath ...
01/15/2020

"Get lost. Surround yourself with nothing but the woods and the sound of your steady breath, the crunch of snow beneath your feet. Then, you won’t feel lost, but truly home."

Carissa Luginbill, Missoula, Montana (formerly of Bluffton)

Carissa Luginbill, daughter of Rev. Doug and Paula Lehman Luginbill, Bluffton is definitely a descendant of the Swiss immigrants of our settlement and also of Wayne County, Ohio.

Carissa, was also a beloved student in my first grade classroom at Bluffton Elementary School.
Kaye Phillips

I must start this post by saying Portselkje or New Year's Fritters are NOT a Swiss tradition, they are a tradition of ou...
01/05/2020

I must start this post by saying Portselkje or New Year's Fritters are NOT a Swiss tradition, they are a tradition of our Mennonite cousins from Russia. Many of our families have melted our traditions together and it was of great interest to me to learn from our Russian Mennonite friends and hope this will be of interest to others.

Thank you to Kendra Johns Nickel, who posted this delightful version of a New Year tradition coming from the Russian Mennonite side of her family.

This photo piqued a lot of interest between friends on Facebook. Especially between Kendra Johns Nickel, Wendy Chappell-Dick, Beth Suter Raeburn and myself.

According to Wendy Chappell-Dick, "They are like a raisin bread version of a doughnut, deep fried on New Year's and (in our family) rolled in powdered sugar. They are called Portselkje or "New Year's Fritters." I've never seen or heard of anything like them in the Swiss Tradition; they are made in Northern European countries."

Beth Suter Raeburn, wrote of her mother, Linda Suter making these New Year's treats and sent a picture of a cookbook she owns that contains the recipe.

Thank you Kendra, Wendy and Beth for helping us broaden our horizons into Russian Mennonite traditions that many Swiss Mennonites.

Kaye Phillips

We would love to hear other comments about New Year's Eve Fritters or any other New Year's traditions that have been passed down in families.

12/31/2019

Photos including Spring History Program: Textiles in the Swiss Settlement, 1833-1863 .... Swiss Day .... Saturday Open Houses at Schumacher Homestead .... Bridenbaugh School Historical Marker Dedication .... Fall Festival .... Christmas Open House

Why is the work of the Swiss Community Historical Society important?  It is important to me because it tells a story.  A...
12/28/2019

Why is the work of the Swiss Community Historical Society important? It is important to me because it tells a story. A story of our grandmothers and grandfathers and what they experienced while providing a home, a new "homeland", that we enjoy today.

It is important to me not only because of these grandparents, but also because of the work expended to found the Swiss Community Historical Society. My mentor, my friend, the late Dr. Delbert Gratz, one of the founders of our Swiss Historical Society, taught me by example at Bluffton University. I will forever be grateful to Delbert, Thelma and the Gratz family. The work I do at the SCHS is in memory of Dr. Delbert Gratz.

One quote from Delbert that I will never forget is that when he asked me to do a task, he would always add the words, "...when you have extra time." I try to use this phrase whenever I can, whether it be at home, school, or in public.

Today I took the "extra time" to remember Dr. Delbert Gratz.
Kaye Phillips

(I also included an article from The Lima News capturing some of Dr. Gratz's life's work and the link below to an excellent article about the history of our area that Delbert wrote for the Ohio History Journal. The link is as follows.
https://resources.ohiohistory.org/ohj/browse/displaypages.php?display[]=0049&display[]=282&display[]=288

For more information, Dr. Delbert Gratz researched and wrote numerous books about our Swiss Anabaptist heritage and many of his books can be purchased today on line.)

Merry Christmas from your friends at the Swiss Historical Society of Bluffton and Pandora!                              ...
12/25/2019

Merry Christmas from your friends at the Swiss Historical Society of Bluffton and Pandora!

(Note the 1919 date and the correspondence from George Bixler to Robert Gerber, also mentioning other names such as "Christ Nieswander", Amos Gerber and Abe Bixler.)

New Year's Eve caroling, featuring the traditional Swiss-German carols composed in this community, will start at 4:00 p....
12/24/2019
bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com

New Year's Eve caroling, featuring the traditional Swiss-German carols composed in this community, will start at 4:00 p.m. on December 31, at Maple Crest Senior Living Village on Augsburger Road, Bluffton.

Please note the earlier time this year. Music will be provided. Join us for this joyful tradition!

Image: 2018 caroling Your Hometown Stations - Lima Ohio

Does anyone have photos of the Christmas trees of the past in the Swiss Settlement of Bluffton and Pandora?  Some rememb...
12/16/2019
What Christmas Trees Looked Like 100 Years Ago (20 Photos)

Does anyone have photos of the Christmas trees of the past in the Swiss Settlement of Bluffton and Pandora?

Some remember smaller table top trees as the first trees in their home. Others have said that the trees they remember have fewer and sparser branches.

The following link does not represent our community, but some of the trees pictured may be similar.
http://oldphotoarchive.com/stories/what-christmas-trees-looked-like-100-years-ago-20-photos?ref=share

< Click to View >

Photos from Swiss Community Historical Society's post
12/15/2019

Photos from Swiss Community Historical Society's post

Visit SwissHistorical.org for our electronic option!
12/14/2019

Visit SwissHistorical.org for our electronic option!

Support the Swiss Community Historical Society with a gift membership or donation this Christmas season!

Memberships and donation payments can now be made via PayPal ▶︎ https://bit.ly/2BtBOid

LEARN MORE: swisshistorical.org

Kayleen
12/10/2019

Kayleen

I think of this so very often........

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Christmas Open House at Schumacher Homestead. And thank you to all of our vo...
12/08/2019

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Christmas Open House at Schumacher Homestead. And thank you to all of our volunteers who entertained, cooked, decorated, etc.!

#HolidaysInOhio #OhBluffton #OhPandora

12/07/2019
Auf unsere Kultur: Chlefelen Porträt

Gary Wetherill discovered a small box of "bones" at the Schumacher Homestead. He knew about the American tradition of playing musical bones (of wood or bone) but was excited to discover there is a Swiss tradition as well. The Swiss instrument is called "chlefelen."

See the bones at the 2019 Christmas Open House at the Schumacher Homestead and hear them played here!

Eichhof fördert den Erhalt des Innerschweizer Brauchtums mit einem Jubiläums-Fonds. Stimmen Sie für Ihr Lieblingsbrauchtum ab: www.aufunserekultur.ch Mit vie...

The SCHS Christmas Newsletter 2019 is on its way in the mail and--for those who request it--in your email!Membership ben...
12/04/2019

The SCHS Christmas Newsletter 2019 is on its way in the mail and--for those who request it--in your email!

Membership benefits include the newsletter, free admission to Swiss Community Historical Society events, notice of society plans and activities, and a voting role in the organization.

Thank you for helping us honor and preserve the heritage of the Bluffton-Pandora community. SwissHistorical.org

Join the Swiss Community Historical Society for 2019 Christmas Open House at the Schumacher Homestead.2-7 p.m., Saturday...
12/04/2019

Join the Swiss Community Historical Society for 2019 Christmas Open House at the Schumacher Homestead.

2-7 p.m., Saturday, December 7, 8350 Bixel Rd.
MAP goo.gl/maps/jGvRjgnrxEhLhTMDA

It's a beautiful way to celebrate the holiday season!

Sounds like a great idea! Review your preservation and storage of family photos and documents at Thanksgiving or Christm...
11/27/2019

Sounds like a great idea! Review your preservation and storage of family photos and documents at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Get the Smithsonian's tips through the link below!

We like watching football and eating pie as much as the next person. But adding a preservation project to your holiday is our idea of a real party. Preserve your family’s past with our tips about storage and digitization on today’s blog ➡️ s.si.edu/37E6mgC #Thanksgiving

Do you follow the Ohio History Connection? They have wonderful images and information like this school photo. Seems like...
11/21/2019

Do you follow the Ohio History Connection? They have wonderful images and information like this school photo. Seems like the students next to the stove would have fried and those at the back would have shivered!

1906 photo shows a one room schoolhouse in Franklin County, Ohio. Students of varying ages sit at their desks and their teacher stands at the back of the classroom. A stove in the center of the room is the only source of heat and the windows are the main source of light. https://bit.ly/2pwBwFC

11/15/2019
The original Swiss folk music

The Christmas newsletter will have an article about a rather odd musical instrument discovered at the homestead.

Were songs and instruments passed down in your family?

This video covers "forgotten" Swiss tunes, not those popularly thought of as Swiss folk music.

The band Hannelimusig brings forgotten tunes back to life. For generations Swiss folk music was played by local musicians in private homes or at fairs in vil...

Support the Swiss Community Historical Society with a gift membership or donation this Christmas season!Memberships and ...
11/11/2019

Support the Swiss Community Historical Society with a gift membership or donation this Christmas season!

Memberships and donation payments can now be made via PayPal ▶︎ https://bit.ly/2BtBOid

LEARN MORE: swisshistorical.org

10/29/2019
Kayleen

Thank you to Kayleen Moser for the interesting post below.

So interesting when we ponder our Swiss history.....In my family, as in many others, My Maternal side were Anabaptists. On my Paternal side, German Reformed. These factions
warred against one another 300 years ago in the Motherland
over Religious differences...In fact, my Paternal relative never made it to America, due to injuries received in prison in the 1700's....but his Son did. And many years later, they all settled together, peacefully, in the Beautiful Swiss Belt we call Bluffton.....

10/29/2019

Have you seen the "Swiss Haus" by candle light? At dusk and at moon rise? The 2019 Christmas Open House at the Schumacher Homestead is your chance!

2-7 p.m., Saturday, December 7
8350 Bixel Rd., Bluffton/Pandora
SwissHistorical.org

How many remember spending hours picking out the "meat" from a hickory nut?  We would use a hammer on the work bench to ...
10/27/2019

How many remember spending hours picking out the "meat" from a hickory nut? We would use a hammer on the work bench to crack the nuts and sit inside, where it was warm to pick the hickory nuts "clean".

Thankfully, a small amount of hickory nuts add flavor to the simplest cake or cookie. A hickory nut pie (especially made by Dr. Ollie Lugibihl) is quite a treat, also.

The following recipe is very simple, but so delicious. It is a white sheet cake recipe from Pam Raabe, Bluffton, Ohio. Walnuts can be substituted for hickory nuts, or nuts can be omitted.

White Sheet Cake with Hickory Nuts

1 cup butter
1 cup water
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

In a large saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients until batter is smooth. Pour batter into a greased 15 x 10 baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes.

Frosting

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
4 1/2 cups of confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 to 1 cup of hickory nuts or walnuts

Combine butter and milk in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add sugar and almond extract. Stir in nuts or sprinkle nuts on top of frosting after spreading warm frosting over the cake.

We would love to see other hickory nut recipes posted,

NEW name, same website: SwissHistorical.org.
10/16/2019

NEW name, same website: SwissHistorical.org.

Address

8350 Bixel Rd
Bluffton, OH
45817

General information

The house and summer kitchen have been restored and can be toured as well as the summer gardens. To schedule a tour, leave a message for Susie Gratz at 419-358-4822.

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Our Story

The Swiss Community Historical Society honors and preserves the history of the Bluffton-Pandora community. The society owns and operates the Schumacher Homestead at 8350 Bixel Road, Bluffton, Ohio.

A volunteer board oversees the preservation and renovation of this historic property. Acquisitions include collecting and preserving papers, books, artifacts, and records of historical interest, as well as property related to local Swiss heritage. Objects made and used by local settlers are part of the SCHS collection.

The society develops programming focused on local history, trains docents who give tours of the homestead, and coordinates volunteer support for maintenance and special events.

The Schumacher Homestead is open during Fall Festival, for our Christmas Open House, on Saturday afternoons during June-August, and for private events and tours. Send us a message to request a tour!

Nearby museums

Comments

The picture of the house on the Swiss Community Historical Society's headline is the home of my Schumacher ancestors. ...I'm 3/4 Swiss. ❤️
I'm a life member of the Swiss Community Historical Society. The picture of the house on their website is my Swiss ancestors' Schumacher House located near Pandora, Ohio..
I think of this so very often........
So interesting when we ponder our Swiss history.....In my family, as in many others, My Maternal side were Anabaptists. On my Paternal side, German Reformed. These factions warred against one another 300 years ago in the Motherland over Religious differences...In fact, my Paternal relative never made it to America, due to injuries received in prison in the 1700's....but his Son did. And many years later, they all settled together, peacefully, in the Beautiful Swiss Belt we call Bluffton.....
Good evening: Earlier this year, you were all very helpful in identifying a family photo of one of John Winkler's sons - I think it was Harvey. Now, I could use your assistance again on this family: Frederick Winkler is my 3rd great grandfather, born in Germany. Despite various documents, I have been unable to find any clues to the names of his parents. Also, I show that he had 4 children: Mary Elizabeth, born 1859; Jacob, born 1860; John, born 1864, and Fredrick Jr., born 1867. Can anyone help as to Frederick's parents, and as to whether Fredrick Jr. was one of his children? Any assistance will be greatly appreciated. I am planning a visit to Bluffton sometime this fall to learn more about your community and my family.
Hello all. My grandfather was Hiram Schumacher. I am planning a trip to Basel Switzerland in the fall. Do you know of any kind of building that is linked to the Schumacher family in Basel? TIA!
Thanks to everyone who helped me with identifying (I think) Harvey Winkler, son of John, who was a conductor on the Interurban. Next mystery - John Winkler's father - Frederick - born 1828 in Germany, died 31 Jan 1920 in Lima - I can find nothing showing the names of his parents. I have his marriage record, naturalization papers, and death certificate. None list his parents. He is my 3rd GGF, and I am bound and determined to get over this particular brick wall. I am hoping someone in your community can help. Thank you for any help. His wife was Catherine Kauffman, who died in 1867, and he married two years later to Mary Meyers. Thanks!!
Can anyone help identify this ancestor of mine? He would be the son of John Winkler, and he purportedly worked on the Interurban Railway between Lima and Ft. Wayne. Thanks.
On September 22, 2018 you are having a Fall Event. Is there any way you can post the information & schedule of events going on that day? (esp. dulcimers performing -when to when) on Facebook so I can share it? I have people asking about it and I can't seem to find anything. I thought I saw it before. Thank You! I really have enjoyed coming in the past.
It's too bad that some of the old pictures aren't labeled with the names of the people in them. My mother grew up in Pandora and I love this connection to the community. I have several old pictures. Perhaps there would be a way to share pictures of people for others to see and connect with relatives from long ago?!?
Amstutz Custom Cannery - Road 2, Pandora in mid 1930's. Photo was taken by the Gerber Studio in Pandora. My grandmother, Ruth (Moser) Basinger is the 4th person in the front row. I think one of the Amstutz girls is the 2nd person in the front row. Other names on the back are Evan Davidson, David Carr, Herbie Howell, Dean Deitler and Madaline Hilty but I don't know where they are in the picture.
I'll be visiting Switzerland for the first time in a couple weeks. Please let me know if you recommend any sites of particular interest to descendants of Swiss Mennonites! (My great-great-great grandfather was Christian D. Basinger, 1818-1898.)