Friday, August 14, 2009

Stories in Stone--J Oehm Building, Bellevue, Ohio

When I am driving through small and larger towns I am fascinated by the turn of the 20th century architecture and building facades. Many of those that have survived the test of time have the building’s name and date carved in stone at the top. Today, many of those names have been highlighted with paint to identify the first tenant. I often wonder who owned the building and what was housed inside. This series of blogs will grow as I continue to photograph and research those that I see on my travels.

The “J Oehm” building on Route 20 that runs through Bellevue, Ohio is Main Street. Perhaps lost in time, it is named for the German immigrant, Justuce Oehm. Old timers of Bellevue will remember that housed in the store was a shoe and boot store and indeed, when the brick store was built; Justuce Oehm was the shoemaker and dealer.

The Family

1. DAD: Justuce Oehm born 1832 in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany; died 1890 in Bellevue, Sandusky County, Ohio; buried in Bellevue Cemetery, Bellevue, Ohio. Shoe and boot maker.

2. MOM: Catherine Klussman Oehm born November 25, 1835 in Essoda, Germany; daughter of Henry Klussman; died June 1, 1923 Bellevue, Huron County, Ohio; buried in Bellevue Cemetery, Bellevue, Ohio.

3. DAUGHTER: Eliza Oehm born about 1859 in Ohio. Out of the house by the 1880 census, perhaps married, spouse unknown.

4. SON: Henry C. Oehm born April 10, 1860 in Bellevue, Sandusky County, Ohio; died September 7, 1931 in Bellevue, Huron County, Ohio; buried in Bellevue Cemetery, Bellevue, Ohio. Married about 1907, Mary W. born 1870; died 1971; buried in Bellevue Cemetery, Bellevue, Ohio. Henry and Mary had one child, a daughter, Justine. Henry ran the shoe store after his father’s death.

5. DAUGHTER: Anna M. Oehm born April 1864 in Ohio; died 1952; buried in Bellevue Cemetery, Bellevue, Ohio. Anna never married.

6. SON: Louis P. Oehm born December 12, 1865 in Bellevue, Sandusky County, Ohio; died March 11, 1950 in Bellevue, Sandusky County, Ohio; buried in Bellevue Cemetery, Bellevue, Ohio. Married Ida Amanda Buderus, daughter of Anton Buderus and Amanda Hinsch; born August 25, 1871 in Sandusky, Ohio; died September 4, 1953; buried in Bellevue Cemetery, Bellevue, Ohio. Louis and Ida had a daughter, Laurena Laura. Was involved in banking and became the president of the First National Bank of Bellevue, Ohio.

A little clarification of county names is needed here. It seems that Bellevue must straddle two county lines. I have seen parts of the town listed as Huron County and also listed as Sandusky County. Sandusky is to the west and Huron would be the east.

Justuce is was settled in Bellevue, Huron County, Ohio by 1860. Wife Catherine and children Eliza and an infant son,William, who I believe is Henry, are also listed. Justuce is employed as a shoemaker.

Justuce was enumerated in Clyde, Sandusky County, Ohio on the 1870 census report with his family; wife, Catherine, daughters, Eliza and Anna, and son, Henry. For those of you do have not driven in the area, Clyde is the next town to the west of Bellevue and connected by Route 20. Justuce was a shoemaker and had two men living in the home who were also shoemakers.

The 1880 Ohio census reveals that the Oehm’s were living back in Bellevue, Sandusky County, York Township, Ohio. Justuce was listed as a shoe dealer and son, Henry, was a clerk in the store.

From the 1900 Ohio census I found that Catherine immigrated to the United States in 1855 and Henry was running the family business. Louis is employed as a “paying teller” in a bank.

In 1910 Catherine and Anna were living at 262 Southwest Street in Bellevue, Henry and family were living at 112 East Main Street (probably in an apartment above the shoe store). Louis and family were at 115 Broad Street in Bellevue and he is employed as a bank cashier.

The year 1920 finds the family still in Bellevue. The only change is Louis and family. He has moved to 423 Northwest Street and his daughter, Laurena has married. She and her husband, William Mugg Greenslade, are living with her parents and William is employed as a shoe salesman. Further research has uncovered that William’s father was also a shoe store proprietor in Bellevue, Ohio.

The final open census report in 1930 has all the players in the same locale and the same houses. Only Louis has a significant change, he is now the president of the bank and his son-in-law, William Greenslade is also employed at a bank. His married daughter, Laurene Greenslade and family live next door and have two daughters, Betty Jane and Patricia.

The Oehm’s are buried in Bellevue Cemetery, Bellevue Ohio and to see photos of the tombstones, please see Tombstone Tuesday—Oehm Family.

More research is needed to trace Eliza and Justine Oehm and to bring the Greenslade family up to present day. I must confess that I did not know about the Greenslade surname when I was wandering about the Bellevue Cemetery or I would have taken photos of them.

Please contact me if you relate to this family as I do have more newspaper articles and death certificates to share.


Ohio Death Certificates for:
Catherine Klussman Oehm
Henry C. Oehm
Ida Amanda Buderus Oehm
Louis P. Oehm

Various newspaper articles from: The Register, Sandusky, Ohio

Bellevue Cemetery, Bellevue, Ohio visit

Tombstone photographs Ohio Census Reports 1860-1930

World War I and World War II Draft Registration for William Mugg Greenslade

© 2009, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser


  1. Great post! I used to work at the Bellevue Public Library, also on Main Street:)

  2. Looking for various Bellevue history as I research my family, I came across your fine blog. As a matter of fact, Bellevue is like old Gaul -four parts /counties - Huron mostly, Sandusky south part of Soutwest Street, Erie north edge and north of Castalia Street, and Seneca.

  3. How wonderful I stumbled on this site! I LIVED at 115 Broad Street in Bellevue from 1955 till marriage in 1973. Our family (Englund's) actually lived there since the early 1940's until our parents passed on a couple years ago and the Immaculate Conception Church purchased the house and then tore down the house. Please contact me if you need anymore information. I would love to know if Louis Oehm was the builder/owner of the house on Broad Street or how he came to own it himself! K Evert

  4. This blog post was amazing. Stumbled on it while looking at some history for family home. The The article on Oehm Family in Bellevue Oh was interesting as I and my family lived in the house at 115 Broad street since the mid 40's until 1997. Thank you for the update and would like to see if you know if they were the original owners of that house??? Thank you! Kathy Evert

  5. This is a most interesting site for me. I am delighted to have found it.

    I spent a great deal of my formative youth in the J. Oehm building - up in the apartment on the right (as seen in the photo) 112 East Main Street. Justice Oehm, who built the fine ediface, was my great grandfather. My grand father was Henry Oehm and my mother was Justine Kathrine Oehm - named after her grandfather.

    Anna M. Oehm, my great Aunt, lived in the apartment on the east side (left in your photo). She and I (as a very young boy) would play cards in her front room parlor - right inside that window - on an oval, marble-topped, three- legged table - which is still in the family. Aunt Anna was a delight. She had never married although photos of her in her youth show her an exquisite beauty. She was very thrifty - almost to a fault.

    Henry married Mary Wise my wonderful and sainted grandmother (Nana). She and I were the best of pals. I would travel on the Nickle Plate RR to spend time with her when I was off from my schooling in Lakewood, Ohio. She would often come east and have extended visits with my family.

    Mary Wise grew up on a farm south of Bellvue just east of the Sorrowful Mother Shrine (Franks, Ohio). Her influence on me was vast especially the inspiration to live on a farm. In ~1962 she moved to Lakewood, Ohio because she was quite bound up with rhumatism and we could better take care of her. The building remained in her name until she died in 1971.

    My mother married Charles Louis Tracy - also from Bellvue. My dad was in the newspaper business and was a pilot in WW2. He flew in India, as a transport pilot. I have 2 brothers: Michael, 67 years, who lives in San Ygnacio TX, and Christopher, 57 years, who lives in Chicago. I am Daniel James Tracy, 65 years, and live south of Seattle in Maple Valley, WA. I am retired from Boeing where I was an aeronautical engineer for 40 years. Michael and I have recently been wanting to know more about the Oehm family. We have pretty good data on the Tracys and the Wises. We came to the same question you have: Where did these Greenslades come from?

  6. As a kid I heard all these names often but was unable to place them in any order although I'm sure I was told. Uncle Louis was Henry's brother - yes, he was the banker. His daughter, Laurena (would have been my mother's 1st cousin) married William Greenslade. Greenslade, I guess was a worker in the shoe store. Remember that Justice was a cobbler and Henry took over the shoe business after him. The shoe store was below Nana's apartment, I believe. (There was a confectionary store under Aunt Anna's apt. at that time.) So Greenslade - the shoe salesman. I'm guessing - must have been noticed by Laurena, got married and lived (as your research explains) next door to the Louis Oehm's. How utterly convenient!

    I cannot cast dispersions accuretly so I'll try not - especially here. After Uncle Louis retired or died, William Greenslade got to running the bank. I remember visiting their NEW home (I think it was south of town) once with my mmother. I recall the relationship to be somewhat cool. After all the old Oehms died, the Greenslades - the bankers - scored pretty well with the realestate. I know that part to have been sort of a lament. I did not know the Greenslade people and Grandpa Henry died 15 years before I was born. I believe the Oehm building was sold by the Greenslades to a guy named Strayer - a somewhat notorious realestate agent (of all people). His business occupies the area where my grandfather's shoe store once was. (Out west real estate people are not held in such great esteme.)

    I visited Bellevue a couple years ago and asked the clerk at Strayer's Realty, after identifying myself, if I could go upstairs and just walk down the hallway (it had a distinctive aroma). I was refused. I asked the real estate folks in that office if they knew where the Justice Oehm building was in Bellevue. They did not...

    I appreciate your fine research so much. I shall send a link for this site for my brothers viewing. If there is more information I might be able to offer please contact me.

    thanks so much!

  7. Daniel, Thank you for your kind words and additional family information. I have always admired the building as I drove through Bellevue on my way to Tiffin, Ohio. It was my pleasure to feature it on Flipside.

  8. I have just discovered this blog. Speaking on behalf of the board of the Bellevue Historical Society, we all find this information very informative and interesting. With your permission, we would like to make a printed copy to put in our files of historic downtown Bellevue, and especially of this building. We will acknowledge this blog as the source. - Larry