St Francis Orphanage

Visitors share their stories & queries

For further information about specific orphans please write the archivist:
Sr. Mary Charles
St. Francis Home
182 St. Francis Ave.
Tiffin, Ohio 44883

Was your relative raised at St. Francis?
Share their story here!

Richard and Robert Kuhn were placed in St. Francis not as orphans. Their mother deserted them when they were young boys. Their father placed them in the care of the Home. Jeffery Kuhn, the son of the now deceased Robert Kuhn, has letters that his father wrote while he was in the home. He also has photos of Robert as a child standing in front of St. Francis Home taken while he was a resident there.  I shall have to get more information on this from My cousin, Jeff. I am glad I visited and found this section on the home, I had forgotten all about Jeff’s story of his father’s childhood. Thanks Steve!
Kristina L Kuhn
Columbus, OH
Web Site:

I found my grandmothers name on your list of orphans.  I believe she was transferred to St. Anthony's in Toledo Ohio. Do you know if there are any records of what happened to the children when the orphanage closed down.  Her name was Catherine Baker, she was admitted in 1926 on your records.  I've look all over the web for some information on St.
Anthony's but have been unable to find anything.  Are there any admitting records outside of the list of children?  If there is could you please direct me in what to do.
Jill Pauff

NOTE: When the orphanage closed in 1936, all of the remaining orphans were transferred to St. Anthony's in Toledo.
I have no knowledge of the existance of the records of St. Anthony's, but I would guess that they are kept in Toledo.
Just where was the St. Francis Orphanage?  I'm from Fremont and know Tiffin pretty well but have no idea where this was/is located.
Didn't I hear a story that they found some amputated limbs buried around the location recently?
Carolyn Reinbolt

NOTE: The St. Francis Home is located on St. Francis Ave., which is in the south end of Tiffin between State Routes 231 & 100, east of St. Joseph's Cemetery.
The story about the amputated limbs is new to me. Does anyone have more information about this?
Several generations ago my 'great aunt'  Mary Molter married Nicholas Noel. Their grave is in Delphos, Ohio. They were married about 1859 when Mary was 22 and Nicholas died in 1868 at the age of 40.  They had 5 children,
Josephine  - married Theodore Agustes Penland 1884
Katherine  - became SR Kostka CPPS
and one more ( don't have the info with me)

I have no record of Elizabeth or Barbara - I just recently visited the probate court of Allen county to search for Birth/death/marriage records but came up with nothing. So maybe they were just buried in Delphos but didn't live there.

The orphanage has an Elizabeth Noel arriving in 1870 and Barbara Noel in 1871. I am just trying to find out if these are the right people.

My thinking is that perhaps in 1870 a widow might have to give up her children or might have had them taken away.

Jim Pesch

Just want to congratulate you on the information you gave about St. Francis Orphanage.
I  am a Sister of St. Francis of Tiffin,Ohio, but as a child from Reed,Ohio, the orphan children used to come to our school and play ball with us and they had a good team. Then we used to visit the orphanage, too, and at times I would envy them. However, later as I grew up I realized that they may have had a lot of things but they wanted a lot of love from a family. I went to school with some of the people listed on the list, like, Ruth Ann Kelly and Betty Kuzma. And of course I heard a lot of stories about the children from some of the older Sisters. God bless you for all your efforts in doing this. I also had a second cousin maried to a Hartzell. Regina Hartzell was Walter Beat's wife, and he is my 2nd cousin.God keep you in his care. I am now working down in Booneville,KY but used to work at St. Anthony Villa for ll years, so I've always had a fond regard for any children who have been in an orphanage.
Love and peace,
Sr. Bea Herman

Is there any way to find out who the parents of  Hindabell, Mary Fern, and Hazel Feasel were?  They were in your list of orphans: date entered 1916.
Any help would be appreciated.
Pam Cora

Note: Can someone out there help Pam?
Are there registrations of the ascendancies and descending of three Naderer (Joseph, Francis and Georg), what did enter in the orphanage in 1897?
Felipe André Naderer
Videira SC - Brazil
Note: Can someone out there help Felipe?

Enjoyed my visit to the St Francis Orphanage site. Noticed you were lacking a picture of Fr Josephus Ludovicus Bihn, 1822-1893.  Let me know. I can send you one.

I saw you had a list of all the orphans at St. Francis. Do you also have a list of their parents?  I'm looking for the parents of Frank, George, Josephine and Bertha Bihn. Mrs Edward Bihn of Cincinnatti said they were raised at St Francis and that their uncle was a priest, but they had no other info. I haven't been able to trace them in my tree.

Jeff Schaefer
A gggnephew of Fr. J. L. Bihn



Note: The wonderful full length picture submitted by Jeff has been posted. Many thanks to Jeff for sending it.
I have no further information about any of the orphans listed.
Please direct further inquiries to the St. Francis Home address given above.

My mother Ruth Anna Stotler Bishop was raised by her grandfather Joesph Wesley Stotler who was at St. Francis. We were very much surprised to find this information. My great grandfather J. Stotler also had two sisters, Ella M and Mary Stotler at St. Francis along with two brothers Frederick and John Stotler Jr. We have been trying to find information on them. My great grandfather had been trying to locate his sister Mary who apparantly became a Nun in Tiffin. My distant cousin in Tennessee came upon your web sight. My mother has recieved a copy of John Stotlers Will which is very difficult to make out, the hand writing is most difficult. It looks like the children were placed in the orpanage at the death of their father but the mother Minnie
Zimmerman was still alive, maybe remarried to a Sheriff or Sharif. The paper work dates to 1872. If you have anymore information let me know. My mom may be able to give you more if you have questions. She said her grandfather
never spoke of the orpanage, only his sister the nun in Tiffin who he would visit now and again.
Thank you.
Debbie Decker Curtis

I am interested in seeing the entry of 1892 Emil Roth. This is the name of my Great Grandfather. When reading an article in the Tennessean Magazine about him in 1946, he said he arrived in Hohenwald, TN from Nebraska with 2 children and later had nine others. But when I've tried to research, I've only found 7 names. I assumed some may have died early but the listing of Emil Roth as an orphan in 1892 made me question if there was an Emil Jr that was possibly placed in an orphanage as the family made their way across the US. Would you know if there is a connection?

Denise Fussell

NOTE: I am not aware of any further information about this Emil Roth.
What a shock to find a familiar name on the list of orphans at the Orphanage in 1890. I do believe this is my Great Uncle Matthew Goetzinger.  Uncle Matt used to come to see us often, and I remember him well when I was a child.  He was a very devout Catholic and left much of his estate ( after my family dug it out of the floors, wall, couch, mattress, etc) to St. Thomas Aquaintis Church in Toledo, Ohio.  ( We were never sure we found all of it.) Great Uncle Matt was a very loving, hard working man.  I never heard anything about any orphanage, but then, I'm surprised I never knew very much regarding most of the family.  I guess they call things like this "skeletons in the closet".
Betty Bryan
God be with you.

William Bihler on your list was my husband's gr. gr. grandfather.
I know he was placed in an asylum or orphange in Ohio.
He was born in Stark County.  Is this the same Bihler on your list?
Debbie Tise

NOTE: William, Philomena & Clara Bihler were admitted in 1874.
I cannot verify with certainty that this is the same William, but I would say it is likely.
My Great-great grandmother's sister was SISTER PAULINE of the Order of St. Francis.
I believe that she died in the convent in 1936. Her name was Theresa Kunkle.
Any information that you can give me will be most appreciated.
Thank You,
Bob Thiry

NOTE: Theresa Kunkle (1848-1936) professed as Sr. Mary Paulina Aug. 7, 1873.

My Great-great aunt, Christina Terbrack (1872-1954), is listed as an orphan in your list for the year 1889.  She wasn't truly an orphan in that her father was still alive; however, her mother, Henrietta Wensink Terbrack died nine days after Christina was born in December of 1872.

Christina professed her religious vows with the Franciscan Order in Tiffin on 20 June 1893.  As Sister Mary Fabian, her long religious service included teaching at St. Joseph and St. Mary schools in Lorain, Ohio.  Sister Fabian was in charge of girls for three years and of boys for twelve years during the period that the St. Francis Orphanage remained in operation in Tiffin.  She had been superior at St. Joseph Hospital in Lorain for three years, mistress of novices at St. Francis Convent for three years, and Mother Superior at St. Francis from 1934-1937.  She is buried in Saint Francis Cemetery in Tiffin.  In 1997, I had a pleasant chat on the phone with Sister Miriam, O.S.F. and she personally knew Sister Fabian...It was indicated that Sister Fabian loved to play cards and that it was a very serious business.  Also, Sister Fabian had some special jokes that were all her own...there was no comment as to whether these jokes may have been a little risque!!!

Also, two of Sister Fabian's nieces attended St. Francis Convent...Mary Terbrack (1898-1966) became Sister Mary Henrietta; and Margaret Terbrack (1902-1955) became Sister Mary Liguori. They, too, are buried in Saint Francis Cemetery.  These two sisters had a brother, John P. Terbrack (1899-1920), who had studied to be a Franciscan priest somewhere in Ohio; and as a Professed Cleric he was known as Father Walter...was there a seminary for Franciscan priests in Tiffin?
...I'd love some help on this question (e-mail :)!

That ends my tale.  I hope that it was of interest to someone.

Hal Learman

NOTE: There are 3 Terbrack's buried at St. Francis.
Mary Terbrack (1898-1966) - Sr. Mary Henrietta
Margaret Terbrack (1902-1955) - Sr. Mary Liguori
Christina Terbrack (1872-1954) - Sr. Mary Fabian

My dad Harold L. Spaun was raised at the orphanage.  He was born July 10, 1903. I don't know when he was at St. Francis.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.  His dad's name was Ruthaford Spaun and he had a sister named Thelma.
Thanks again for this web site.

Jim & Kathy Spaun

NOTE: Harry & Thelma Spaun were admitted to the orphanage in 1907.

My great-great-grandparents were Andrew and Barbara Yochem, first of Morrow County and later Crawford County. They parented five children: Catherine, Peter, Barbara, Jacob, and Margaret (my great grandmother). It appears that between the 1850 and 1860 Censuses, Barbara and Jacob died, since both were young and neither appeared in the 1860 Census.
The 1883 will of Andrew Yochem (Crawford County Probate Court) gives $350 to his two grandchildren, John and Sophia Yochem, when they reach their majority.

Since Peter is the only suriving son, it would appear that Peter is the father of John and Sophia Yochem who were admitted to St. Francis in 1879 as noted on your web site. They appear in the 1880 Census as ages 5 and 3 respectively. I am unable to trace them beyond this date.

Mark Morgan

The children of my great-aunt are listed on your web-page as being admitted in 1899.  My sister and I have been working on a family genealogy for some years, and would like to know more about the circumstances of that period.

All we know is that our great-Aunt was buried in an unmarked grave in St. Nicholas cemetary, and her children were admitted to the orphanage.

Your web-site has been very enlightening re: Tiffin and Seneca Co. history.  Thank you very much for the information.

Debbie Lewis

Found my great aunt, Ida Feisel, in the list of orphans at St. Francis in 1890. I am interested in finding out more information, e.g., her age at admittance, what happened to her parents that resulted in her being admitted, etc. My great-grandfather, Henry Feisel, was found in the 1880 census married to Margaret Byers and with three children: Henry, Edmond and Anton. Ida evidently was born between 1880-90. I have been unable to find any information regarding my great-grandparents since the 1880 census. Also, Anton seems to have disappeared since then also. Henry and Edmond have been fairly easy to trace.
Thank you for your response to my email and the contact for St. Francis Home. I will be contacting Sr. Mary Charles to determine what info may be available in their archives.
George Feisel
Lancaster, OH

I am somehow related to George Hesseldenz who was a resident in the 1870's. Any info on this person would be greatly appreciated.
Stacy (Hesseldenz) Douglas

NOTE: George Hesseldenz was admitted in 1870.

Just a note to thank you for your write up on the St. Francis Orphanage. As a result of my finding it on the web, I was able to solve a mini-mystery about a great-uncle of mine, Stephen Ambrose Rochte. From other sources I knew that he had been sent to an orphanage by his father, Joseph Sebastian Rochte, after his wife's, Margaret Crom Rochte, death in 1864. Thanks to your work I now know which orphanage it was and where.


Fred C. Rochte

NOTE: Ambrose Rochte was admitted in 1869, and was the 6th person ever admitted to St. Francis.

My name is Jefferia and I am doing genealogical research. My grandfather was enumerated in Ohio's 1910 census as being an eight year old living with a woman named Eva Bork, in Seneca Co. There was no mention made of his parents, William H. Standish and Nida R. Pangle. After his name comes the abbreviation, INMA. I don't know what this means, and was wondering if it meant inmate. After reading your story on St. Francis, I thougt it was possible that he was an orphan there, and was adopted by William and Nida? I know that you have been publishing the names of the children that were residents there over the years, and that you have not yet printed your list for the year 1910. Is there any possibility that you could go through your records and see if you show a young lad, born March 3, 1902 as being a resident then? I don't know if his name would have been Donald then or not. He may have had a sister also. William and Nida also had a daughter, born in 1905. We can not find a birth certificate on either of these people. All parties in question now are deceased, Donald having died in 1987, and the daughter, Mary Francis, (sound familiar?) having died in 1954. Nida and William have been dead for some time also. Nida since 1962 and William since 1918. I'm trying to cover all the bases as I haven't been able to find where either of them were born. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Also, any advice as to where I might look in Seneca County for further information. Thank you so much for sharing the story of St. Francis with all of us. It's a well written story that imparts so much of the people who built it and the people who went through there as orphans and the aged. Continued good luck in all that you do. I look forward to reading more of the orphans lists as you get them printed. Thank you Stephen, for taking the time to read my e-mail, and to answer it.

I thought you might like to know that Sr. Mary Charles returned my call today and was very helpful. She was able to tell me that both Donald and Mary were retrieved by their mother in 1914. She was able to confirm birthdates and admission and discharge dates for both children. She also was able to tell me that Mary had been admitted originally to Blessed Blood Convent before being transferred to St. Francis. It may be that they thought the brother and sister should stay together for support of each other during this time of turmoil. I believe that my greatgrandmother put them in St. Francis after the death of their father until such time as she could get a job to support herself and her family and a home for them to live in. I will continue in my search for family and the stories behind them. Thanks to you, I have a good start. Thank you again for your documention of the existance of St. Francis and of sharing it online. You truly have made my day!

Jefferia and Jim Bourdeau

NOTE: Donald & Mary Standish were admitted in 1909.

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