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Arnold Family Papers (MS-599)

Identifier: MS-599

Content Description

The Arnold Family Papers consist of the papers of many generations of interrelated families, dating from 1800 to 2017. The main families represented are Kern, Baker, Arnold, Steinemann, Meyer, Enneking, and Decker. The documents include (among others) photographs, employment records, correspondence, school and legal documents, and materials from World War I and World War II. The collection is divided into series according to family with subseries for each individual. Women’s documents are filed under the series for their married name (if any). Latter series concern unidentified individuals and genealogy.

Series 1: Kern Family spans from 1900-2015. Five generation of the Kern family had a hand in creating these documents including Frank E. Kern, Josephine Spires Kern, Harry Leo Kern, Mary Schwendeman Kern, Robert Francis Kern, Marjorie Elaine Baker Kern, Greg Kern, Ted Kern, Brendan Kern, and Jennifer Kern. These materials include photographs, slides, reel to reel tapes, and correspondence from World War I and World War II. Also included are school documents, army documents, and personal papers. These materials were created while the Kern family lived in Lancaster, Ohio, which is located in Fairfield County, as well as Columbus, Ohio, in Franklin County, and Urbana, Ohio, in Champaign County.

Series 2: Baker Family spans from 1881-2015. This includes Peter Baker Jr., Martha Ann Johnson Baker, Wilson Marion Baker, Lottie Marian Pence Baker, Wendell Homer Baker, Marie Decker Baker, Allen Homer Baker, Eileen Scott Baker Kennedy, and Allen Douglas Baker. These materials include legal documents, patent documents from the Baker Egg Case Company, correspondence, books, school documents, a 78 rpm record, personal papers, financial documents, photographs, as well as newspaper and magazine articles featuring the Baker and Son farm. The Baker family lived primarily in Champaign County, Ohio, in the towns of Saint Paris and Urbana.

Series 3: Steinemann Family spans from 1864-1983. These family members include John Henry Steinemann, Charles Steinemann, Caroline Wendeln Steinemann, Frank Joseph Steinemann, Henry Steinemann, Theodore Bernard Steinemann, Luetta Steinemann, Cecil Steinemann, Clara Steinemann, and several others including husbands of some of the Steinemann women. The materials in this series include books, financial documents, photographs, legal documents and newspaper articles some of which are written in German. The Steinemann family came from Germany to America and founded the village of Minster, Ohio, in Auglaize County.

Series 4: Meyer Family spans from 1800-1936. These materials were created by Bernard Meyer, John Heinrich Fredrick Meyer, Anna Maria Enneking Meyer, Rosa Meyer, and the Reverend (William) Carl Meyer. These materials consist of books, photographs, correspondence, financial documents, and legal documents including passes for the family’s departure from Germany to America. Some of these documents are written in German. The family travelled through Cincinnati, Ohio, on their way to settle in Minster, Ohio, in Auglaize County.

Series 5: Decker Family spans from 1830-1942. This includes Elizabeth Trimpee Decker, Joseph Decker, Mary Catherine Steinemann Decker, and Mary Gertrude Meyer Decker. There materials include photographs, books, financial documents, army documents including Joseph Decker’s draft notice for the American Civil War, as well as school documents and newspaper articles some of which are written in German. The Decker family lived in Minster, Ohio, in Auglaize County.

Series 6: Arnold Family spans from 1960-2005. It include materials from Robert Andrew Arnold, Roberta Elaine Kern Arnold, Emily Elizabeth Arnold, and Katherine Celeste Arnold. These materials include photographs, correspondence, and newspaper articles concerning their restaurant Robert’s On Miami. The Arnold family lived on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts and Columbus, Ohio in Franklin County, as well as Urbana, Ohio in Champaign County.

Series 7: Norris Family spans from 1985-1998 and consists of photographs of Amanda Marie Arnold Norris. The Norris family has lived on Nantucket, Massachusetts, in Columbus, Ohio, and also in Urbana, Ohio, and Rushsylvania, Ohio.

Series 8: Pence Family spans from 1883-1915 and includes Allen Pence, Sarah Riker Pence, Winfield Scott Pence, Frank Pence, Otie Pence Hance, Price Kite, Elanora Pence Kite, Swain Allen Smith, Amanda Pence Smith, Carroll Lear Smith, James Webb Martin, and Elizabeth Pence Martin. These materials include photographs, personal papers, employment records, and newspaper articles. The Pence family lived outside of Saint Paris, Ohio, in Champaign County. The Martin family lived in Dayton, Ohio.

Series 9: Schendeman Family spans from 1915-1971. These family members include Frank Schwendeman, and Hugo P. Schwendeman and include personal papers, as well as photographs. The Schwendeman family resided in Fairfield County, Ohio.

Series 10: Wiant Family spans from 1914-1929 and includes materials from Mary Wiant, Edjel Wiant, and Ernest Wiant. These materials include correspondence and photographs. The Wiant family was originally from the state of Virginia, but part of the family moved to what would become Champaign County, Ohio, shortly after the Revolutionary War.

Series 11: Enneking Family spans from 1829-1876. These family members include Johann Herman Heinrich Enneking and Johann Bernard Enneking. The materials in this series include books, financial documents, and personal papers some of which may be written in German. The Enneking family were German immigrants who came to America and settled in Minster, Ohio.

Series 12: Craige Family dates from about 1840-1900 and includes materials such as photographs. The Craige family lived in Champaign County, Ohio.

Series 13: Harbour Family dates from about 1840-1990 and includes photographs. The Harbour family resided in Champaign County, Ohio.

Series 14: Spires Family dates from 1915 and consists of Joseph Spires’ last will and testament. The Spires family came from Germany and settled in Fairfield County, Ohio.

Series 15: Other Families spans from 1900-1971. This series includes people who may or may not be related to the other families, but have photographs that are marked with names. These family names include Pottmeyer, Engle, Stringfellow, Berting, Stechschulte, and Frankhouser.

Series 16: Unidentified spans from 1807-1912 and contains any documents, photographs, or newspaper articles of unidentified individual or origin.

Series 17: Genealogy spans from 1823-2017 and contains genealogical information and research on several branches of the Arnold family. These branches include Kern, Baker, Steinemann, Meyer, Decker, Pence, Schwendeman, Wiant, Enneking, Spires, Riker, Johnson, Busse, Tornes, Stickley, and Barger. The materials include information on specific member of the families, handwritten notes, family trees, correspondence, cemetery records, and pamphlets.


  • Creation: 1800-2017


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English and German.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no donor-imposed restrictions on accessing material in this collection. However, due to preservation concerns, original audio and video materials cannot be played in the reading room. Patrons may have access to reference copies. Items without reference copies can be digitized at the request of a patron for the cost of creating a digital copy. Please provide us at least two weeks advance notice if you would like to request an audio or video reference copy. Call (937) 775-2092 or e-mail us at Use of digitized content is subject to conditions governing use.

Oversize materials in this collection are stored off-site; therefore, please notify us at least two days in advance if requesting oversize materials (marked as “OS”).

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Harry Leo Kern was born to Frank E. Kern (1854-1931) and Josephine Spires Kern (1859-1946) in 1894. He attended school at Lancaster schools in Lancaster, Ohio, before enlisting in the American Army during the First World War as the company Bugler. After returning from Europe, Harry Kern married Mary Schwendeman the daughter of Frank Schwendeman and Margaret Tornes Schwendeman (born 1895) on July 20, 1920. They moved to Columbus, Ohio, where Harry found work with the United States Postal Service while Mary Schwendeman Kern worked at The Ohio State University in the Home Economics Department. On June 2, 1923, the couple welcomed the birth of their son, and only child, Robert Francis Kern. After their retirement the couple moved out of their home near The Ohio State University, where they often rented rooms to students, and built a new home. Harry Kern died in 1975, and Mary Schwendeman Kern, who was suffering from dementia, was moved to a nursing home in Urbana, Ohio, where she died in 1978.

Robert Francis Kern was born to Harry Leo Kern and Mary Schwendeman Kern on June 2, 1923. During the summer he visited his grandparent’s farm where he was able to visit his many cousins. He attended high school through The Ohio State University high school program and continued to earn his Bachelors (1947) and Masters (1950) degrees from the college. Before he was able to graduate from The Ohio State University he was drafted in the United States Army in 1943. At Ohio State he had met Marjorie Elaine Baker, who preferred to go by Elaine. The two were married in August of 1944 before he was assigned to the Philippines with the 540th Amphibious Tractor Battalion. Upon his return Robert, or Bob, Kern earned his Masters degree in business and worked on his father-in-law’s, Wendell Homer Baker’s, farm outside of Urbana, Ohio. In 1951 Elaine and Bob welcomed the birth of their first child Gregory Allen Kern and their second child Theodore “Ted” Robert Kern. However, with the birth of their third child Roberta Elaine Kern in 1960, Robert Kern decided to accept a position at Wright Patterson Air Force Base with the Logistics Command. He retired in 1984 and continued living in Urbana, Ohio, until his death in 2014.

Marjorie Elaine Kern Baker was born in Champaign County, Ohio, on April 19, 1922, to Wendell Homer Baker and Mary, or Marie, Decker Baker. She attended Urbana High School before going to Christian College in the late 1930s. After her education at Christian College she attended The Ohio State University to earn a Bachelor Degree in Education. While there she met Robert Francis Kern and the two were married in 1944 before he was deployed to the Pacific during World War II. She held secretarial positions for the United States Army while her husband was overseas and while he was earning his Masters Degree. When the couple returned to Urbana, Ohio, she took a teaching position at Urbana High School. She had three children: Gregory Allen Kern (born 1951), Theodore “Ted” Robert Kern (born 1958), and Roberta Elaine Kern (born 1960). Upon her retirement she continued to live in Urbana until her death in 2017.

Gregory (Greg) Allen Kern was born in Urbana, Ohio, in 1951 and attended Urbana High School and went to college at Purdue University. He married and had a son Brendan Kern (born 1981) while he was working for the Tennessee Valley Authority. After his divorce he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania while his son attended high school. After Brendan Kern entered college Greg moved to New York City, New York, to work for the city’s housing department. He is retired and still living in New York City while his son currently resides and works in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Theodore “Ted” Robert Kern was born in Urbana, Ohio, in 1958 and attended Urbana High School and went to college at The Ohio State University where he obtained a degree in Law. He married Wendy Cherry in 1982 and lived and practiced law in Columbus, Ohio, before moving to Knoxville, Tennessee. Ted and his wife adopted their daughter Jennifer Kern in 1994 before their divorce. Ted Kern still practices law in Knoxville, Tennessee, and has remarried. Jennifer, or Jenny, Kern now has a son named Alsdair.

Wilson Marion Baker (1847-1924) was the son of Peter Baker Jr. (1822-1902) and Martha Ann Johnson Baker (1823-1896). The family owned a large farm in Champaign County and made their living as farmers. In 1881 Wilson Baker married Lottie Pence Baker, (1858-1935) the daughter of Allen Pence (1820-1895) and Sarah Riker Pence (1819-1885). The couple had their son Wendell Homer Baker in 1883. The couple continued to run the family farm and opened the Baker Egg Case Company (1881-1913) where they made wooden egg cases before they sold it to another company in Indiana. Upon Wilson Baker’s death Wendell Homer Baker inherited the family farms.

Wendell Homer Baker grew up in Urbana, Ohio, and married his first wife Bessie Swimley and had a daughter Virginia. However, due to differences in personality the two were divorced. In 1921, he married Mary, or Marie, Decker Baker (1896-2000) and they had two children, Marjorie Elaine Baker Kern and Allen Homer Baker. Allen Homer Baker worked on the family farm after graduating from Urbana High School and married Eileen Scott Baker Kennedy (1923-2015) before his death in 1945. Allen Homer Baker’s surviving son Allen Douglas Baker (born 1946) still lives in Urbana, Ohio, with his second wife Anne Connell Baker. Wendell continued working the Baker and Son Farm with his son-in-law Robert Francis Kern before he was forced to retire and died in 1966.

Mary Decker Baker, or “Marie” as she preferred to be called, was born in 1896 in Minster, Ohio, to Joseph Decker and his second wife Mary Gertrude Meyer. After going to school in Minster she went to work in Dayton, Ohio, at a piano store owned by Wendell Baker’s uncle James Webb Martin. The two were married in 1921 and had two children. She assisted in the running of the family farm until the land was sold after her husband’s death in 1966. She lived with her daughter Marjorie Elaine Baker Kern in Urbana, Ohio, until her death in 2000.

Robert Andrew Arnold was born in 1961 on the Island of Nantucket to Bertha Manter Arnold and Harold Arnold. Robert, or “Bob,” attended Providence College where he met Roberta Elaine Kern Arnold the daughter of Robert Francis Kern and Marjorie Elaine Baker Kern. He gained an education from Johnson and Whales as a chef and gained a position in Washington D.C. at the Sheraton Hotel. Bob and Roberta married in December of 1982 and had their first child Amanda Marie Arnold Norris in 1985 before they moved to Columbus, Ohio. There they had two more daughters Emily Elizabeth Arnold (born 1988) and Katherine Celeste Arnold (born 1993). After moving back to Urbana, Ohio, the two opened a restaurant in 2004 called Robert’s On Miami. They sold the business in 2013 and Robert Arnold obtained a job a Sodexo. Emily Arnold had a son in 2016, Alexander Erik Matthews. Amanda Marie Arnold Norris married Gregory James Lee Norris, or Jamie, in 2016 and graduated with her Masters from Wright State University in 2018.

Joseph Decker was born in 1836 and made his living as a cooper and a shipper of freight on the Miami and Erie Canal. He married his first wife Mary Catherine Steinemann Decker, but the couple remained childless when she died in 1884. He then remarried Mary Gertrude Meyer Decker (1862-1941) and they had a daughter Mary (Marie) Decker Baker in 1896. Joseph Decker died a few months later and Mary Gertrude Meyer Decker never remarried and continued to run her late husband’s farmlands until her death in 1941.

The Pence and Wiant families came to Champaign County, Ohio, from Virginia after the American Revolutionary War. The families made their living as farmers and businessmen around the village of Saint Paris, Ohio.

The Enneking, Meyer, and Steinemann families came to the United States from Germany in the early 1800s. They travelled through Cincinnati to the lands surrounding what is now the village of Minster, Ohio, in Auglaize County. Within one generation the Steinemann family had founded the village of Minster and the Enneking’s and the Meyer’s made their livings as farmers and businessmen.


24 linear feet


The Arnold Family Papers are a multi-generational account of the Kern, Baker, Arnold, Steinemann, Meyer, Enneking, and Decker families. These families included immigrants and individuals who resided in North America from before the Revolutionary War all the way until present day. Photographs, employment records, correspondence, school and legal documents, as well as Army documents from World War I and II tell the story of the lives of these people who settled in Fairfield, Franklin, Auglaize, and Champaign counties in Ohio working in various occupations such as farmers, teachers, landlords, postal employee, and restauranteur.


This collection is arranged into 17 series:

Series 1:
Kern Family, 1900-2015
Subseries 1A:
Frank E. Kern, 1918
Subseries 1B:
Josephine Spires Kern, 1906-1938
Subseries 1C:
Harry Leo Kern, 1910-1975
Subseries 1D:
Mary Schwendeman Kern, 1910-1981
Subseries 1E:
Robert Francis Kern, 1922-2014
Subseries 1F:
Marjorie Elaine Baker Kern, 1921-2009
Subseries 1G:
Gregory Allen Kern, 1951-2007
Subseries 1H:
Theodore Robert Kern, 1958-1994
Subseries 1I:
Brendan Kern, 1984-1999
Subseries 1J:
Jennifer Kern, 1995-2015
Subseries 1K:
Kern Houses, 1937-1966
Series 2:
Baker Family, 1881-2015
Subseries 2A:
Peter Baker Jr., 1881
Subseries 2B:
Martha Ann Johnson Baker, Undated
Subseries 2C:
Wilson Marion Baker, 1873-1923
Subseries 2D:
Lottie Marian Pence Baker, 1815-1929
Subseries 2E:
Wendell Homer Baker, 1895-1953
Subseries 2F:
Mary (Marie) Decker Baker, 1896-2000
Subseries 2G:
Allen Homer Baker, 1925-1950
Subseries 2H:
Eileen Scott Baker Kennedy, 1966-2015
Subseries 2I:
Allen Douglas Baker, 1946-1980
Subseries 2J:
Baker Houses and Monuments, c. 1920
Subseries 2K:
Baker Egg Case Company, 1881-1913
Subseries 2L:
Baker and Son Farm, 1939-1964
Series 3:
Steinemann Family, 1864-1983
Subseries 3A:
John Henry Steinemann, 1864-1876
Subseries 3B:
Charles Steinemann, 1884-1927
Subseries 3C:
Caroline Wendeln Steinemann, 1925
Subseries 3D:
Frank Joseph Steinemann, 1884
Subseries 3E:
Henry Steinemann, 1884
Subseries 3F:
Theodore Bernard Steinemann, Undated
Subseries 3G:
Luetta Steinemann, Undated
Subseries 3H:
Cecil (Cecilia) Steinemann, Undated
Subseries 3I:
Clara Steinemann, 1931
Subseries 3J:
Fred B. Steinemann, 1966
Subseries 3K:
Florence Steinemann, 1944
Subseries 3L:
Kathryn Steinemann, 1983
Subseries 3M:
Steinemann Family Reunion, 1936-1949
Subseries 3N:
Josephine Steinemann Nagel, 1920
Subseries 3O:
Marie Steinemann Walsh, Undated
Subseries 3P:
Frank Schmuecker, 1932
Subseries 3Q:
Louise Steinemann Schmuecker, Undated
Subseries 3R:
Edward Wendeln Starkie, Undated
Subseries 3S:
Emily Steinemann Starkie, Undated
Subseries 3T:
Carrie Steinemann Mooney Bettelini, 1962
Subseries 3U:
Eleanora Steinemann Lange, 1945
Subseries 3V:
Jerome Lange, 1963-1965
Series 4:
Meyer Family, 1800-1936
Subseries 4A:
Bernard Meyer, 1800-1833
Subseries 4B:
John Heinreich Freidrick Meyer, 1808-1874
Subseries 4C:
Anna Maria Enneking Meyer, 1821-1844
Subseries 4D:
Rosa Meyer, Undated
Subseries 4E:
Reverend (William) Carl Meyer, 1878-1936
Series 5:
Decker Family, 1830-1942
Subseries 5A:
Elizabeth Trimpee Decker, c. 1850
Subseries 5B:
Joseph Decker, 1830-1889
Subseries 5C:
Mary Catherine Steinemann Decker, 1850-1884
Subseries 5D:
Mary Gertrude Meyer Decker, 1861-1941
Subseries 5E:
Decker House, 1941-1942
Series 6:
Arnold Family, 1960-2005
Subseries 6A:
Robert Andrew Arnold, 1985-2004
Subseries 6B:
Roberta Elaine Kern Arnold, 1960-2005
Subseries 6C:
Emily Elizabeth Arnold, 1988-2005
Subseries 6D:
Katherine Celeste Arnold, 1993-2000
Subseries 6E:
Robert’s On Miami, 2004
Subseries 6F:
Arnold Homes, 1986
Series 7:
Norris Family, 1985-1998
Subseries 7A:
Amanda Marie Arnold Norris, 1985-1998
Series 8:
Pence Family, 1883-1915
Subseries 8A:
Pence Family, 1883-1915
Subseries 8B
Sarah Riker Pence, Undated
Subseries 8C:
Sarah Riker Pence, Undated
Subseries 8D:
Frank Pence, 1915
Subseries 8E:
Otie Pence Hance, Undated
Subseries 8F:
Price Kite, Undated
Subseries 8G:
Elanora Pence Kite, Undated
Subseries 8H:
Swain Allen Smith, 1906
Subseries 8I:
Amanda Pence Smith, Undated
Subseries 8J:
Carroll Lear Smith, Undated
Subseries 8K:
James Webb Martin, 1883
Subseries 8L:
Elizabeth Pence Martin, Undated
Series 9:
Schwendeman Family, 1915-1971
Subseries 9A:
Frank Schwendeman, 1915-1969
Subseries 9B:
Hugo P. Schwendeman, 1971
Series 10:
Wiant Family, 1914-1929
Subseries 10A:
Mary Wiant, 1914
Subseries 10B:
Edjel Wiant, 1929
Subseries 10C:
Ernest Wiant, Undated
Subseries 10D:
Wiant Virginia Home, Undated
Series 11:
Enneking Family, 1829-1876
Subseries 11A:
Johann Herman Heinrich Enneking, 1829-1861
Subseries 11B:
Johann Bernard Enneking, 1853-1876
Series 12:
Craige Family, Undated
Subseries 12A:
Harrison Craige, Undated
Subseries 12B:
Mary Baker Craige, Undated
Series 13:
Harbour Family, Undated
Series 14:
Spires Family, 1915
Series 15:
Other Families, 1900-1971
Series 16:
Unidentified, 1807-1912
Series 17:
Genealogy, 1823-2017
Subseries 17A:
Kern, 1972-2017
Subseries 17B:
Baker, 1935-1985
Subseries 17C:
Steinemann, 1972-2005
Subseries 17D:
Meyer, 1986
Subseries 17E:
Decker, Undated
Subseries 17F:
Pence, Undated
Subseries 17G:
Schwendeman, 1971-1973
Subseries 17H:
Wiant, 1915-1970
Subseries 17I:
Enneking, 1905-1084
Subseries 17J:
Spires, 1968-1969
Subseries 17K:
Riker, 1972-1983
Subseries 17L:
Johnson, 1823-1978
Subseries 17M:
Busse, Undated
Subseries 17N:
Tornes, Undated
Subseries 17O:
Stickley, Undated
Subseries 17P:
Barger, Undated

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The collection contains reel to reel audio tapes and a 78 rpm LP record which require transfer to digital media for access.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Arnold Family Papers were donated by Roberta Elaine Kern Arnold in August of 2018 to Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University.

Existence and Location of Copies

Scans of the Steinemann and Decker family photographs are available at the Minster Historical Society.

Related Materials

Related materials exist within sources at the Minster Historical Society, Champaign County Historical Society, and Champaign County Library in Ohio.

Separated Materials

Oversize photographs have been removed to Oversize Location 208.

Processing Information

Processed by: Finding aid written according to DACS standards by Amanda Norris, April 2018.

Guide to the Arnold Family Papers (MS-599)
Amanda Norris
2018 April
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA