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.

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.

Carrie Phillips
06/24/2019

Carrie Phillips

If you missed it, catch a glimpse of Swiss Day 2019 on Your Hometown Stations - Lima Ohio. If you were there, perhaps yo...
06/24/2019
Swiss Community Historical Society host annual Swiss Day

If you missed it, catch a glimpse of Swiss Day 2019 on Your Hometown Stations - Lima Ohio. If you were there, perhaps you'll catch a glimpse of yourself!

On Sunday afternoon the Swiss Community Historical Society of Bluffton and Pandora hosted its annual Swiss Day event at the Ebenezer Mennonite Church, drawing in more than a hundred people.German

Take a break this Saturday: enjoy a summer breeze from the first and second floor porches of the Schumacher Homestead.Fr...
06/21/2019

Take a break this Saturday: enjoy a summer breeze from the first and second floor porches of the Schumacher Homestead.

From 1-5:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoons June-August, you can walk in the footsteps of Swiss settlers: through the beautifully restored farmhouse, summer kitchen, garden, and workshop. Take a docent-led tour or explore on your own!

8350 Bixel Rd, Bluffton, just 7 minutes from I-75 at exit 140.

06/18/2019

It's going to be so "geschmackvoll!"

Swiss Day 2019 includes the best old-fashioned potluck around. Open to the public. Just bring a hot and a cold dish.

Renew your Swiss Community Historical Society membership or join! PROGRAM: "Swiss Roots and Beaver Branches" by Carrie Phillips.

12:30 p.m., Sunday, June 23. Ebenezer Mennonite Church, 8905 Columbus Grove-Bluffton Rd.

Little Swiss Boy Max. Who can tell us about this hat, found in family archives?
06/10/2019

Little Swiss Boy Max. Who can tell us about this hat, found in family archives?

The Schumacher Homestead barn is open for tours on Saturday, June 8. You can also explore the farmhouse, summer kitchen,...
06/07/2019

The Schumacher Homestead barn is open for tours on Saturday, June 8. You can also explore the farmhouse, summer kitchen, workshop, kitchen garden, and extensive grounds.

Stop by between 1-5 p.m. for a look at farming as it was done by Swiss settlers in the Bluffton-Pandora area.

8350 Bixel Rd. - Just 7 minutes from I-75 at the Bentley Rd. exit.

06/02/2019
Swiss Community Historical Society

Share this post and help us spread the word! The Schumacher Homestead (a.k.a. Swiss Haus) is open on Saturday afternoons in June, July, and August!

Spend a Saturday afternoon at the Schumacher Homestead, a.k.a. the Swiss Haus!

Open 1-5 pm. for tours and self-guided exploration, the Schumacher Homestead is a beautiful glimpse into the lives of Swiss settlers in the Bluffton-Pandora area. DETAILS: Summer Open Houses 2019

8350 Bixel Rd. - 7 minutes from I-75 at exit 140/Bentley Rd. LEARN MORE bit.ly/2U6xQmX

Compliments of the Season, from the Swiss Historical Society of Bluffton and Pandora, Ohio!  The postcard is from a scra...
05/29/2019

Compliments of the Season, from the Swiss Historical Society of Bluffton and Pandora, Ohio! The postcard is from a scrapbook of Lona Amstutz's, Bluffton, Ohio, 1886, stored in our SCHS Archives.

05/29/2019

Spend a Saturday afternoon at the Schumacher Homestead, a.k.a. the Swiss Haus!

Open 1-5 pm. for tours and self-guided exploration, the Schumacher Homestead is a beautiful glimpse into the lives of Swiss settlers in the Bluffton-Pandora area. DETAILS: Summer Open Houses 2019

8350 Bixel Rd. - 7 minutes from I-75 at exit 140/Bentley Rd. LEARN MORE bit.ly/2U6xQmX

Bluffton University archivist Carrie Phillips will be our featured speaker at Swiss Day 2019. This guide shows her recen...
05/24/2019
LibGuides: Lincoln Hall Retrospective: Cornerstone

Bluffton University archivist Carrie Phillips will be our featured speaker at Swiss Day 2019. This guide shows her recent work opening a time capsule from Lincoln Hall.

Commemorating Lincoln Hall, one of Bluffton University's earliest residence halls. Learn more about the contents of the Lincoln Hall cornerstone's time capsule.

Beginning June 1: Summer Open Houses! Saturdays, 1-5:00 p.m., 8350 Bixel Rd.Visit the Schumacher Homestead and explore t...
05/16/2019

Beginning June 1: Summer Open Houses! Saturdays, 1-5:00 p.m., 8350 Bixel Rd.

Visit the Schumacher Homestead and explore the lives of Swiss settlers in the Bluffton/Pandora area.

The bank barn is open on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month.

Admission is $5.00 for adults. Children 16 and under, accompanied by an adult, are admitted free of charge, as are members of the Swiss Community Historical Society.

SCHS memberships can be purchased at your visit. LEARN MORE at swissmennonite.wordpress.com.

05/01/2019
2019 National Historic Preservation Month

May is National Historic Preservation Month and a great time to join the Swiss Community Historical Society, which restored and operates the Schumacher Homestead.

Help us preserve and share the story of settlers who came to the Bluffton and Pandora area.

HOW TO JOIN: swissmennonite.wordpress.com/join-us/

Thank you to Rachel Friesen and Keith Sommer for the wonderful Spring History Program: Textiles in the Swiss Settlement ...
04/29/2019

Thank you to Rachel Friesen and Keith Sommer for the wonderful Spring History Program: Textiles in the Swiss Settlement at Maple Crest.

Accompanied by a display of wool, silk, and linen garments from the SCHS collection, as well as implements used to process flax into linen, Rachel presented an overview of what is known about the fabrics and fibers available to Swiss settlers in the Bluffton/Pandora area.

Their audience enjoyed a light supper before the presentation and Q&A session.

Keith and Rachel hackled some flax on April 24. Here's what the final result looks like. It's far from perfect but still...
04/25/2019

Keith and Rachel hackled some flax on April 24. Here's what the final result looks like. It's far from perfect but still quite amazing!

Hackling separates the flax fibers from each other and combs out the short fibers, "tow."

Flax that is ready for spinning is called "line flax."

Learn more about textiles in the Bluffton/Pandora Swiss Settlement on April 28 at the Spring History Program
https://swissmennonite.wordpress.com/events/

Volunteer power! Thanks for helping break the flax just like local Swiss settlers!At 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 24, o...
04/23/2019

Volunteer power! Thanks for helping break the flax just like local Swiss settlers!

At 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 24, our team will be hackling, the final step in preparing flax for spinning.

The Spring 2019 Newsletter is hot off the presses and being mailed this week!Become an SCHS member to receive the newsle...
04/23/2019

The Spring 2019 Newsletter is hot off the presses and being mailed this week!

Become an SCHS member to receive the newsletter by mail as well as other important updates and invitations.

Please join us! Membership options:

Household = $30 / by PayPal $30.96
Sustaining = $100 / by PayPal $102.50
Life = $1000 / by PayPal $1022.30

By check: payable/send to
Swiss Community Historical Society
P.O. Box 5
Bluffton, OH 45817

By PayPal https://bit.ly/2veZcxp

Newsletter archive swissmennonite.wordpress.com/newsletters

Thank you to The Lima News for announcing our Spring History Program: Textiles in the Swiss Settlement.Check out a serie...
04/23/2019
Swiss Community Historical Society hosting textile program - The Lima News

Thank you to The Lima News for announcing our Spring History Program: Textiles in the Swiss Settlement.

Check out a series of recent posts on the flax into linen work going on at the Schumacher Homestead this spring!

Become a member! bit.ly/2KdINim

BLUFFTON — There will be a program on textiles used by settlers during the period of 1833 to 1863 at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at the Maple Crest pati

Keith, Ivan, and Rachel have begun flax breaking! The purpose is to remove the inner woody core from the flax fibers, by...
04/22/2019

Keith, Ivan, and Rachel have begun flax breaking! The purpose is to remove the inner woody core from the flax fibers, by pounding the stalks in a flax brake. It worked well, but is slow, hard work.

They would appreciate any volunteers to help, Tuesday, April 23, at 10:00 a.m. at the Swiss Homestead.

Rachel Friesen's latest update on the flax into linen project at the Schumacher Homestead:"We decided the retting proces...
04/22/2019

Rachel Friesen's latest update on the flax into linen project at the Schumacher Homestead:

"We decided the retting process was complete yesterday, so we took the flax out of the water and laid it out to dry.

At each step, Ivan, Keith, and I comment that we are working in the dark! Our ancestors knew how to do this; we don't!

We are following instructions in a book!"

04/15/2019

There are a lot of stories in this community about Margaret Amstutz, or "Crazy Aunt Margaret" as she is known. Considering she was one of 11 children born to John and Elizabeth Badertcher Amstutz, Margaret was "aunt" to hundreds of people in and around Bluffton. Does your family have a story? Please share.

04/15/2019

There are a lot of stories in this community about Margaret Amstutz, or "Crazy Aunt Margaret" as she is known. Considering she was one of 11 children born to John and Elizabeth Badertcher Amstutz, Margaret was "aunt" to hundreds of people in and around Bluffton. Does your family have a story? Please share.

The early April weather was warm enough for the first step in processing the flax raised in summer 2018 at the Swiss Hom...
04/14/2019

The early April weather was warm enough for the first step in processing the flax raised in summer 2018 at the Swiss Homestead. bit.ly/2G6SMVS

This step is called retting. It is really a rotting process in which the flax straw is soaked in water for 3 to 5 days. The purpose of retting is to dissolve the gummy substance that holds the flax fibers to the core of the stalk, thus freeing them for further processing.

Rachel Friesen and Keith Sommer placing flax straw in water; Ivan Friesen weighing down the stalks.

The April 28, 2019 Spring History Program bit.ly/2VLOaLt will include a display of this flax.

Remember a post in May 2018 about a hymnal that belonged to John Bucher, c. 1821?This month, Tim Bucher and his mother C...
04/08/2019

Remember a post in May 2018 about a hymnal that belonged to John Bucher, c. 1821?

This month, Tim Bucher and his mother Chris brought the volume of psalms and music when they visited the Schumacher Homestead.

Close inspection shows it to be Neu-vermehrt und vollständiges Kirchen-Gesang-Buch : worinnen die Psalmen Davids. Information on the title page corresponds with this WorldCat.org catalog item https://bit.ly/2I8qsWO.

We need some help from the Winkler’s, Amstutz’s, Hoffer’s, Roethlisberger’s and more out there!  Does anyone rem...
04/01/2019

We need some help from the Winkler’s, Amstutz’s, Hoffer’s, Roethlisberger’s and more out there! Does anyone remember hearing of a grandfather or uncle who worked for the Interurban?

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.

A wonderful group of Schumacher/Althaus photos were found on Ancestry. Please let us know if you see relatives or have o...
03/31/2019

A wonderful group of Schumacher/Althaus photos were found on Ancestry. Please let us know if you see relatives or have other photos from our Swiss Settlement to share.

When Mary/Maria Schumacher was born on March 20, 1850, in Bluffton, Ohio, her father, John Schumacher, was 33, and her mother, Barbara Steiner Schumacher, was 30.
(John was the son of Christian and Barbara Luginbuhl Schumacher, the original owners of our SCHS Homestead on Bixel Road, Bluffton.) Mary/Maria Schumacher married Christian Althaus on May 11, 1871. They had nine children in 16 years. She died on August 8, 1932, in Wellington, Ohio, at the age of 82, and was buried in Blufton.

When Christian Althaus was born in Orville, Ohio on May 28, 1844, his father, David, was 54 and his mother, Marianna Kilchorfer Althaus, was 36. He died on July 23, 1916, in Findlay, Ohio, at the age of 72.

Photo credits go to Ancestry members Lkientzy1 and rtalthaus. We are very thankful for the preservation of labeling of photographs, to be enjoyed by numerous family members throughout the ages.

Swiss Community Historical Society
03/31/2019

Swiss Community Historical Society

Swiss Community Historical Society's cover photo
03/31/2019

Swiss Community Historical Society's cover photo

Wallpaper and whiskey discoveries in the renovation of the glove factory building and future home of Et Cetera Shop of B...
03/15/2019

Wallpaper and whiskey discoveries in the renovation of the glove factory building and future home of Et Cetera Shop of Bluffton, Ohio.

I was in the new building again yesterday. I have a few more pictures to share and I have an interesting story. When the contractors were taking down the ceiling in the north room, they found the old bottles that you will see pictures. Several of them are whiskey bottles. Wouldn't you love to know the story behind that find? I also took a few close ups of the wallpaper brand and number, I did a few quick searches, but came up with nothing... any ideas? I also added a few pictures of the basement. Enjoy!

03/14/2019

Thank you to Sara Sprunger for letting us know about the following upcoming event.

EUROPE TO AMERICA:
THE ANABAPTIST MENNONITE STORY
APRIL 26 & 27, 2019
Fort Wayne, Indiana
The Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana, Inc. and
The Genealogy Center of the Allen County (Indiana) Public Library join in proudly presenting these special two days for genealogists seeking information on their Anabaptist Mennonite ancestors. This special event is sponsored by the Doug and Joni Lehman Charitable Foundation. All events will be at the Allen County Public Library in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana.
EIGHT LECTURES OVER TWO DAYS For details on each lecture and presenter, go to our website: acgsi.org
On Friday, April 26, there will be four lectures:
9:45 “Menno Simons Essentials: Who are these Mennonites?” Peggy Goertzen
11:00 “Anabaptist and Mennonite Materials in Print and Online in The Genealogy Center” John D. Beatty
1:30 “Swiss Roots and Beaver Branches: Ohio Anabaptist-Mennonite Stories from a
Bluffton Perspective” Carrie Phillips
3:00 “What They Brought and What They Left Behind” Adam Barrone
On Saturday, April 27, there will be four lectures:
9:45 “Pattern, Persecution and Faith: Why are we moving? Peggy Goertzen
11:00 “Berne Mennonites – A Man – A Mission” Max Haines
1:30 “Where can I find….? Resources for Anabaptist-Mennonite Research” Joe Springer
3:00 “Brothers Helping Brothers: The Swiss, Prussian and Dutch Low-German
Mennonites in the 1870’s” Peggy Goertze

For registration, please see acgsi.org.

Thank you to Darrel Neuenschwander, who sent us the link below connecting to the year book of the Ft. Wayne Bible Colleg...
03/10/2019

Thank you to Darrel Neuenschwander, who sent us the link below connecting to the year book of the Ft. Wayne Bible College in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Also shared is the SCHS post in the summer of 2015, pointing out the location of the Bethany Home and Bible Institute building in Bluffton. This was the beginnings of the Fort Wayne Bible Institute.

When Darrel Neuenschwander recently sent the yearbook link he wrote, "I see familiar names beyond Neuenschwander: Lugibihl, Amstutz, Augsberger, Leightner and others. After some coursework here, my Dad, D Neil Neuenschwander, transferred to Pacific Bible College and graduated there.
https://archive.org/details/fortwaynebiblein1944fort/page/20. I remember his fondness and respect for Rev. Ramseyer."

Fort Wayne Bible Institute Light Tower Yearbook : Fort Wayne Bible Institute : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
The Light Tower was the name of the yearbook of Fort Wayne Bible Training School (1928-1931), Fort Wayne Bible Institute (1932-1950) and Fort Wayne Bible...
archive.org

Bethany Home and Bible Institute building. (438 S. Main St., Bluffton) In 1888, Benjamin P. and Katherine Lugibihl opened Bethany Home on a farm near Bluffton as a retreat for those needing “spiritual help or physical healing.” The following year they moved the home to Bluffton on Main Street, expanding the house to make room for residents. In 1895, the Lugibihls opened a Bible Institute in the building and J. A. Ramseyer, a popular evangelist and minister in the Defenseless Mennonite Church, became the first principal of the school, which, in addition to Bible classes in German and English, offered courses in grammar, penmanship, elocution, and music. After Ramseyer’s dismissal from the Defenseless Mennonite denomination, the Bible Institute became affiliated with the new Missionary Church Association and in 1905 relocated to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where it operated under a new name—Fort Wayne Bible Institute. #SwissMenno175

John Winkler Saw Mill on Tom Fett Road, Bluffton, Ohio, The saw mill was steam operated with belts, 1908, Sam Amstutz ph...
02/20/2019

John Winkler Saw Mill on Tom Fett Road, Bluffton, Ohio, The saw mill was steam operated with belts, 1908, Sam Amstutz photograph, SCHS Archives.

A very good recipe for a cold day.  This hot drink was once served by Harlan and Mary Jane Lugibihl in their catering bu...
01/30/2019

A very good recipe for a cold day. This hot drink was once served by Harlan and Mary Jane Lugibihl in their catering business above their place of business in Pandora, Ohio. (Harlan's Barbecue)

Bluffton Fall Festival
01/24/2019

Bluffton Fall Festival

24 days into the New Year and we're already thinking about the 2019 Bluffton Fall Festival! This year's event will be held on September 28, 2019 - just 247 days away! Updates will be posted here and at www.blufftonfallfestival.com as we go through the year.

A post from "If you grew up in Bluffton Ohio you'd remember" site was reminiscing about the Bluffton Community Cookbook....
01/19/2019

A post from "If you grew up in Bluffton Ohio you'd remember" site was reminiscing about the Bluffton Community Cookbook. Do you still use this cookbook? What are your favorite recipes?
Pictured below is an Oatmeal Pie made today from LaVera (Elmer) Neufeld's recipe.
Many Swiss cooks and recipes are represented in this Bluffton area book.
Thank you to Lora Rodabaugh Haimes for the original post.

When researching other Swiss connections, I came across this page in Edgar Schumacher's compilation of Bluffton News art...
01/04/2019

When researching other Swiss connections, I came across this page in Edgar Schumacher's compilation of Bluffton News articles. Many items of interest here, including the subject of the Diller's moving to Arizona. (See earlier posts and the Christmas postcard that started this conversation.)

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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