Barbara Schorr-Schmelzer-Kellenbarger
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The story of Barbara Schorr-Schmelzer-Kellenbarger is one of strength and courage, to say the least. 

Leaving some children behind, her parents emigrated from Germany when she was only about 8 years old.  Her father died when she was just 13.

She married Jordan Schmelzer at age 18 and had 3 boys.  The next child was Veronica, but sadly she died before her 2nd birthday, in 1855.  Sadder yet, Jordan died about this same time.

In 1858 she married Joseph Kellenbarger.  Barbara and Joseph had 4 boys...and sadly again, one of them (John Nicholas) died before his 5th birthday.

Somewhere around 1871-1872 tragedy struck again: It was discovered that Joseph Kellenbarger had left a wife and family in Germany, and that Kellenbarger was not even his real name.  Needless to say, he left - and was never heard from again.

Saddest of all, Barbara's life was ended with a shotgun in 1873.

Read all I know about Barbara Schorr-Schmelzer-Kellenbarger here.

And here is the story of her death as reported in the Lancaster Eagle, 8 May 1873 (Thank you, Jean Schmelzer, for supplying this transcript)
The microfilm is available at the Ohio Historical Society - and is here reproduced as written:

Another Bloody Affray  
Sad Termination of a Family Quarrel

On the evening of the 30th of April 1873 , a bloody tragedy was enacted near Bremen , in this county, which resulted in the death of Mrs. Barbara Schmelzer, by her brother-in-law, John Schmelzer.  It appears from the testimony that the farms of the parties are separated by a creek, and neither party having a fence along the creek, cattle could easily pass from one to the other.  Mrs. Schmelzer’s cattle had been in the habit of breaking into John’s fields, and on Wednesday last John impounded three of the widow’s cows for trespassing, and in her efforts to reclaim them, she lost her life.   It appears that a bad feeling had existed between the parties for some time, and meddlesome neighbors were partially instrumental in bringing the matter to a focus.   The news of the terrible tragedy spread throughout the community and the wildest excitement prevailed, and John was bitterly denounced by the citizens.  He was not arrested until Thursday morning, when he was taken by a constable from Bremen and brought to this city.   On Monday, he had a preliminary examination before Mayor Slough, which resulted in his being held to answer to the charge of murder in the first degree.  His bond was fixed at $8,000, which he failed to give and was committed to jail.   A large crowd listened to the testimony and after the trial a great deal of sympathy was expressed for the deceased and family, and considerable indignation towards the defendant.   Mrs. Schmelzer left a grown son and several small children.   John has a wife and several children.  He was born in Blessen , Germany , in 1811, immigrating to this country in 1840, and settling in the vicinity of his present home, almost immediately after his arrival.  He is a rough, illiterate man, small of stature, bony and muscular, with a thin, emaciated countenance, but nothing in it to noticeably indicate a predominance of animal propensities, or to assimilate him with the common culprit, or a man of desperate and impious qualities.  On the contrary, he seems like an inoffensive and harmless creature, and in his ignorance has but the faintest conception of the enormity of the deed he had perpetrated.  He has always sustained the reputation of a hard working, frugal, industrious, through going farmer, and an honorable and upright citizen.  However, at home, it is said, that his temper is subject to frequent and violent outbursts, and all coming in contact with him are compelled to bend before his unyielding and willful nature.   The following is the substance of the testimony given by the witnesses.  Some of the parties had never been on the witness stand and were very much excited, and it was difficult to secure an intelligible or accurate report of their testimony:   Wuniwald Schmeltzer was the first witness called by the State.  He stated that he had known John Schmeltzer for twenty-one years; were first cousins.  Knew Barbara Schmeltzer for some time; she was married to my first cousin, Berton Schmeltzer and brother to John;  Berton Schmeltzer (Jordon), died about 17 years ago.  John lived on his farm about three miles from Bremen ; had lived there 14 or 15 years.  John lived on the west side of Rush Creek , and Barbara on the east side, on her own land; she had resided there about four years; was present when the difficulty occurred; Barbara’s cow’s had crossed the creek and got into John’s field.  Her boy came to my house about 8 o’clock in the evening; he went up to John and claimed the cows, when John told him that his mother must come.  She sent Peter, her son, over to pay the damages.  After John had refused to give up the cattle, Barbara went to his house, and told his wife that she was not to blame.  His wife gave no reply, she then applied to John, when he told her she could not have the cows, and in reply to her claim of innocence made use of the very vulgar expression.  Barbara and her son Peter came to my house in the evening, and myself, Peter and Barbara and my son Frank went over to John’s gate, and called for him, and at first got no answer, but he finally came out, when Peter asked him for his cow.  John said that Peter now claimed one of the cows, but before had said that they all belonged to his mother, and called Peter a d—d liar, Peter replied, calling him a liar.  John repeated that he could not have the cows, and that Barbara must come.  Peter then told Barbara what John said, and she went up, and said to him, “I did offer you damages.”  John replied, “you killed my brother and you want to kill me.”  She then said to me that we would now go and get the cows.  I then went up to John and called him a hog-head, and told him he had no right to pen up these cows.  He said I should go home, it was none of my business.  We then went up the lane; did not see the cows; stable is south-west of the barn, and south of the road; house is about a rod north of the road; stable on the south side.  John was near the stable all the time; the barn and stable are about two rods apart.  Peter threw down two rails of the fence, and I threw down two, John said we should not go in, or he would shoot us.  My son Frank said “if you shoot, we will shoot too.”  Frank then advised Barbara to go in, saying he would not dare to shoot her.  John went and got his gun; had it in the barn.  Did not notice him have a gun at any time; it was too dark for me to see.  Barbara went up near the fence, and stopped about a minute; John said something, I could not understand, and I then heard the gun crack.  Barbara ran a few steps and cried “I am shot; O, Lord, that hurts.”  I then told Frank to give me the gun, and I would shoot him.  Frank gave me the gun and I went around to the gate to look for John.  I went inside and met John who struck at me, and I struck at him, but did mot hit him.  He said “don’t come here, I will kill you.”  I then jumped back.  John remained around the barn, and I went away.  Barbara was near me when she was hit.  I asked her where he had hit her, and she did not answer; she leaned against the fence.  Peter then took her in his arms, and she soon expired.  There was no one present but me and the boys.  John did not offer any assistance.  The gun was loaded with shot.   In reply to cross-examination witness stated that he heard John say that Barbara did not care anything for his brother.  John’s son came after she was dead.  Louis got his express and hauled her home.  The night was dark; it was a little cloudy.  When Peter came to our house he had his gun; when we went to John’s Frank carried the gun.  John lives about half a mile from my house.  Me and Barbara stood behind the smoke house while Peter talked to John.  I received one shot in my arm; stood near Barbara when she was shot.  Did not see a gun in John’s hand.  Peter ‘s gun was a rifle.   Peter Schmeltzer examined – Barbara was my mother; she was 47 years old.  In the afternoon she came to me and said the cattle had crossed the creek and got into John’s field.  This occurred an hour before sunset.  She asked what should be done.  I told her to send one of the boys after them.  One of the boys was watching the cattle.  The creek runs between my mother’s and John’s land; it is about seven rods wide.  The field was fenced, except along the creek; thought there were seven head of cattle.  The field was part pasture and part wheat.  Mother and the children waded through the creek after the cattle; she did not get them; and sent me after them, and told me to make it all right with John; he had penned up three and turned the rest into the road.   Went to John’s house and found him in the barn.  He asked me whether it was right to try and break down a neighbor by pasturing stock on his farm.  I replied that I did not.  I then told him that mother had sent me for the cows, and he said I should not have them, and that mother must come for them.  I had my gun with me, I then went to the creek, and told mother what he had said.  She then waded through the creek, and we went back to John’s.  I went with her as far as the gate.  She was told that he was at the barn.  He was sent for, and came down.  Mother asked him what had happened; I did not hear the answer; she said she would like to have the cows, and would pay the damages.  John gave a vulgar reply, and said she should not have the cows or pay the damages.  She then came out of the house, and went to Wuniwald’s.  When I started to John’s, mother advised me not to take the gun; I replied that I might see something along the road to shoot muskrats or something else.  It was a rifle, Mother had $71 with her.  Wuniwald said there was no danger, that John would not shoot.  I carried the gun part of the way and Frank part.  When we arrived at John’s there was a light burning, which was put out.  I called five or six times at the gate, and then knocked at the door, but got no answer.  I then started to get the cattle, and while passing the barn, heard someone walking inside.  I called and John answered.  I told him I wanted the cows, and he said I could not have them.  I then told him I was going to let them out.  He said I should go ahead, and he would see about it.  I then again offered to pay him damages, and he repeated what he said before.  I says John one of those cows is mine.  He says you were here awhile ago, and you said all of those cows belonged to your mother.  (can’t read )could hear him following.  He said “your mother killed my brother and she would like to break me down too.”   I then commenced tearing down the fence.  Mother heard John’s remarks and said “now boys that’s enough, we will go and get those cows.”  Wuniwald, Frank and mother ran up to the fence and Wuniwald helped to tear down the fence.  John said, if you don’t stay back I will shoot you.  Mother then stepped in between me and Wuniwald when he shot her.  She said, “Oh! God! I am hurt!” she then started to run.  I got some clubs and threw at John, and hit him twice.  By this time I saw mother down beside the fence, and heard the blood run, and she was fainting.  I took her in my arms and tried to get her to speak, but she could not; she died in about half an hour.  We got John’s boys to hitch up, and hauled her home.  John remained inside of the fence until she was dead.  His wife then came out and tried to take the gun from him; he said “no! no! I will get some more of them.”  His wife and little girl urged him to come in to the house.  He said “No, I will load up and get some more of them.”  His three boys then came up and tried to take the gun from him, and said, “Father you have killed that poor woman.”  Did not hear him make any reply.  He soon after went in the house.  The shooting took place about two hours after dark.  John was about a rod and a half from mother when he shot.  Could see him.  Could see, as it was moonlight.  Could distinguish a woman from a man.  Wuniwald said he had often heard John threaten to shoot, but thought there was no danger.  Frank said to me, “You had better come back, he will shoot.”  Louie came up and said, “If Pete had been at home this would not have happened.”  We asked if he was drunk, and he said, “No, he was perfectly sober.”   Answer to question by Mayor – Our cows have been in the habit of breaking into John’s field; happened pretty often last year.  Had been trouble about the matter before.  Did not know of any other ill feeling existing.   Frank Schmeltzer examined – Was at home when Peter and his mother came.  I was between 7 and 8 o’clock .  Peter asked me to go, and see if we could get the cows.  Father said we should not raise any fuss, but go and ask for the cattle.  Mrs. S. asked father to go along.  I carried the gun.  Peter called for John when he arrived; then he tapped against the door, the lights were put out.  After knocking and receiving no answer Peter started to let out the cattle.  I told him to come back, which he did.  I heard some one walking in the barn, which I thought, was John.  He asked John for the cows, and offered the damage.  I told John that here was the owner, and she came up, and we told her what was said.  John said “you killed my brother and you would like to kill me.”  She replied “that’s is enough.”  He then started to the barn and got the gun and stamped it on the ground; he then pulled the hammer back and says, “here goes,” and shot.  He then went up to the barn gate, and we got to throwing stones.  I threw two or three and Peter Schmeltzer threw some.  He then went down to the barn, and leaned against the barn.  After the shot Mrs. Schmeltzer screamed.  I then left.  Saw him have the gun when he went into the barn, but had none when I first saw him.  It was dark; he was about twenty feet from her when he shot.  I threatened to shoot, if he did.  There was some talk between me and Peter about the gun on the road over but do not remember what.    Cross – examination - Did not want to shoot John, but felt like doing so.   George Schorr, examined.-Am a brother of Barbara; was in bed when my wife heard the report of a gun.  Soon Frank Schmeltzer came to my house, and informed me that John had shot my sister.  I went to her home and felt her pulse and endeavored to arouse her, but found she was dead.    Mrs. Keller-Was called to Mrs. Schmeltzer’s; got there between 10 and 11 o’clock ; did not examine her wounds; helped to lay her out.   Dr. T. W. Evans, of Bremen , assisted Dr. Tom O. Edwards, J., in making a post mortem examination.  Found posterior and inner surface of right thigh punctured with eighteen shot; the phemeral artery and phemeral vein were badly lacerated; the left thigh was punctured with seven shot.  The phemeral vein and phemeral artery was nearly torn in two.  The brain and body was in a healthy condition.  Was of the opinion that either of the wounds would have produced death.  The tearing of the phemeral artery would produce death in about twenty minutes.  Had know defendant for about fifteen years; his pecuniary circumstances are good; he was worth about $12,000.  Had no doubt as to death resulting from gunshot.   Dr Tom O. Edwards, Jr.-Stated that he had made a complete post mortem examination, and gave the particulars in detail.  His testimony was substantially the same as that of Dr. Evans.   Brief remarks were made by Mr. Reeves, on the part of the State, and by Mr. Martin, counsel for defendant.   Under the Constitution of Ohio all offenses are bailable, except capital cases (that is cases punishable with the death penalty) when the proof is evident or the presumption great.  On preliminary examination of a party accused of murder in the first degree, therefore, it is the duty of the examining magistrate to hold the accused entitled to be admitted to bail, unless the testimony shows a clear and plain or strongly presumptive case of murder in the first degree.  If the magistrate has substantial and reasonable doubts, from the testimony, whether the offense is murder in the first degree, he cannot deny the accused the right, which the highest law of the land accords to him.   It requires only a probable case of murder in the first degree to make it the duty of the examining magistrate to hold the accused to answer to that offense.   There is, therefore, not the slightest legal inconsistency in holding a party to answer to the charge of murder in the first degree, and at the same time holding his right to be admitted to bail.   In the case against Schmeltzer, because of testimony tending to show provocation to anger and hot blood, the Mayor had doubts as to the grade of the homicide, and, therefore, decided that the defendant ought not to be excluded from bail.  

*John N Schmelzer was sentenced to 10 years hard labor and sent to the Ohio State Penitentiary on December 5, 1873 for manslaughter.  His prison records can be found at the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus Ohio (71 N).  John was pardoned after he served 4 years of his sentence because of his wife’s illness and requests made by the jury.  

Prison record #9650

John Schmelzer
Age 57
Education-No English
Statement of property – 160 acresWife-GertrudeChildren-6-----Lewis, Philip, John, *Julia, Mary, CarolineMother-Brothers- Leopold, Anson, & Otto
Height 5’7 ½”
Eyes- Blue
Hair- Brown and Grey
Complexion- Common
General Appearance- Medium broad forehead, eyes sunken and close, thick straight nose, ears lie back, high cheek bones, heavy jaw, rugged face, stoops, broken down.

  *This account was found in the Lancaster Eagle, May 8th 1873 at the Ohio Historical Society.  

*Complete trial record in the Lancaster paper microfilm section Lancaster Library, Lancaster , Ohio .



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