Defiance Crescent-News, Thursday, November 2, 1961
MRS. MINNIE KIMMEL
Farmer Woman, 89, Is Former Teacher
MRS. MINNIE KIMMEL has been important as a teacher, mother, and community member in the Farmer vicinity for more than 80 years. She now lives in an apartment in half of the large Kimmel homestead, shared by her tenant and his wife, on the road a mile east of Mason beach and gravel pit, northwest of Ney and northeast of Farmer. The home was once that of her “in-laws”, the Rinaldo Kimmels.
Minerva (Fickle) Kimmel was born east of Pulaski in Williams county, on Dec. 14, 1872, and moved with her parents, Isaac Elias and Eliza L. (Wasnich) Fickle, to a farm home, two and one-fourth miles southeast of Farmer when she was six months old. The Fickles had traded their 40-acre Williams county farm, four miles northeast of Bryan, for 80 acres of land, which was part of the Arrowsmith place.
When Minnie was three years old, her parents purchased a farm and moved one and one-fourth miles southeast of Farmer, where they remained until their deaths. Mrs. Kimmel’s mother, the former Eliza L. Wasnich, was the daughter of Wendel and Philippina (Bauer) Wasnich, who had come to America from Germany in 1834. Eliza’s father was a minister of the German Reformed church and had preached in Detroit, Fostoria, and had finally moved in the neighborhood of Pulaski. The Rev. Mr. Bauer [sic] was born in South Wendell, Germany, on Jan. 20, 1808, and his wife, in Greenbach, in 1814.
When Minnie Fickle was nine years old, her mother died, leaving her and her oldest sister, Margaret, 14, to do the housework. A younger brother, William, was then only six years old. “After my older sister married Franklin Burns and moved to Michigan,” said Mrs. Kimmel, “our family was divided, and I went to live with my aunt, Sadie Burns. I soon became homesick through fear and lonlieness, so my father found me another home with Aunt Catherine Beerbower (Beerbauer) where I remained 10 months.
“When my father married Sabrina Beerbower, a former school teacher, we were all brought together again,” she continued, “but when I was 16, my step-mother died, leaving besides our former family, a step-sister, Jennie Basch. “The burden of the housekeeping then fell upon my shoulders and those of my next oldest sister, Theodosia, who later married Elsworth Henry of Hicksville. After two years, my father married for the third time, but two months later, he died.” Three weeks after her father’s death, Minnie went to live with the William Lord family, one mile south of her home. There she remained through her teaching years, until her marriage to William Lord’s nephew, Granger Kimmel, on Sept. 25, 1898.
Granger’s father, Rinaldo, was a soldier, and fought with the North during the Civil War. After he was captured and held as a prisoner in the Andersonville Prison and was released, he wrote the following letter which was clipped from a newspaper and has been pasted in Mrs. Kimmel’s scrap book.
“I followed soldiering from Sept. 15, 1861 until May 6, 1865, and during that time was held prisoner of war by the Democrats in the South, backed by the north who sympathized with them in their hellish work, such as, pinning men down to the ground by driving stakes over their limbs and necks, hitching 100 or more together by chains until the flesh wore off the bones, putting them in stocks over 48 hours at a time, and finishing the job by taking them out dead.”
He continued, “I well remember the morning I with many others left Danville, Va., for our new home, the hell hole called Andersonville, Ga. They put so many men in a car that there was only standing room. We remained thus for 11 days with what the Rebels called “Five day’s rations”, and were allowed out of the car only twice on the way.
“There was no sink, and it was easy to guess the condition the car was in after 87 men had been in it for 11 days. At one place, we took six men, who had died from suffocation, out and left them. The car was a tight box car with all the doors closed except one left open enough for one guard to stand in it.” The article is signed, “R. Kimmel, 21st Ohio.”
At the end of the Civil War at the time the South was delivering the northern prisoners on the ship, “Sultana”, after the Battle of Chickamauga, the ship was blown up. Mr. Kimmel, who was on board, escaped on a raft, and floated down the river, where he was rescued by sympathizers who found him nearly chilled to death.
This all happened before Granger’s birth in 1870. He was two years old when his parents, Rinaldo and Olive (Lord) Kimmel (sister of William Lord) purchased the present “Kimmel Farm”…
…Mrs. Minnie Kimmel is proud of her family. All have graduated from the Farmer High School, and most have attended college. Her only son, Victor L., who lives in Fort Wayne, has managed the farm since his father’s death. He frequently visits the farm several times a week, and sometimes spends the night with his mother. He married Mildred Blosser, and they have two daughters, Mrs. William (Vivian) Kyser, and Mrs. Claire (Marcile) Walworth. Laura Kimmel, who married Leighton Norway, lives in Evanston, near Chicago. Mrs. Russel (Orpha Kimmel) Hilbert, and her husband own the Ora Hilbert farm, where they live on rt. 2, between Farmer and Hicksville. Their older daughter, Shirley, and her husband, Ward Fritz, who live in Ney, both teach in the Fairview High School at Farmer. The Hilbert’s other daughter, Eva Gay, married George Tomlinson of Williams Center. Minnie’s youngest daughter, Fern, who taught for several years in the Oakwood High School and roomed with the Robert Christy family, later became a graduate nurse in Cleveland and married Charles Staunton, then a ministerial student at Wheaton College. After both had trained for missionary service in Philadelphia, they were sent for five years to Eratrea [sic], near Ethiopia in Africa, where some of their children were born…
…When Granger Kimmel died in 1942, he left the farm in charge of his unmarried brother, Wilbur, with whom he had shared an interest. At Wilbur’s death, in 1957, Mrs. Kimmel divided the house into apartments, and their hired hand, Arthur Billow, and his wife, Nina, moved into the south wing…