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The Klay brothers

Their parents, John and Barbara Zuercher Klay, were among Bluffton's first settlers

The Klay brothers, from left, John, Gideon, Jacob, Christian and Andrew. They were the sons of John (senior) and Barbara Zuercher Klay.

The following details about John Klay (their father) are from the “Historical Events of the Mennonite Settlement in Allen and Putnam Counties, Ohio,” by P.B. Amstutz:

John Klay was born in Tscheiwo, Canton Bern, Switzerland. He was a carpenter and furniture maker. In 1852, when he arrived here, there were only two frame barns. There were many log houses and barns, which needed to be replaced by modern framing buildings.

Klay appeared to the scene at the time of this change in buildings and had a lot of work.

It was to the area’s benefit that he built a planning mill so that the rough lumber from the sawmill could be smoothed and shaped for floors, ceilings, windows, door frames and doors. Klay knew about machinery and had built excellent machines.

His first wife, born in 1819, died in 1853 at the age of 34 during the Swiss Settlement’s typhoid epidemic. His second wife, Barbara Zuercher, was the mother of the five brothers in this photo.


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