German Village Gazette

Village Notebook

Memorial Tournament has German (Village) fore-bearers

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World renown golfer Jack Nicklaus' family history can be traced to this residence at 768 Jaeger St., where his early ancestors lived in the early part of the 20th century.

This is a story about Helen and Charlie.

Helen's grandparents (with one exception) were all born in Germany. Helen's grandfather, George Adam Schoener, was born in Strasbourg, Baden, Germany in 1835. Her grandmother Eva Margaret Deutsch was born in Alsace-Lorraine, Germany, in 1844.

They immigrated to America and ended up in Columbus in the 1860s.

Here is where they met, married and had their children, Margaret (1870), Emma (1872), George (who died of smallpox at age 1) and Helen's father William Adam Schoener (1876).

The children grew up at 852 S. Front St., just north of Schiller (now Whittier Street).

According to the grandmother, she never knew if Helen's papa was in school or not as he was quite a character.

Living so close to the railroad tracks, on his way to school William would hide his books and hop a train to explore central Ohio and be back in time for supper. He ended up working for the Hocking Valley Railroad and retired as a conductor.

Helen's mother, Martha Epple, was born in 1882. Her parents were Morris Epple, a barber, born in 1854 in Germany, and Mary Martin born in 1856 in Washington, Pa. Her father was born in Ireland.

After William Adam Schoener and Martha Epple were married in 1901, they first lived at 1411/2 Jackson St. They soon moved to a new home to start a family.

They had two children; Mable (1907) and Helen (1909), who was actually born in the family home at 75 College St. (now Sycamore Street, just west of Third Street). Sometime in the late teens they moved to 768 Jaeger St. and that's where the children grew up.

Saturdays, the girls would walk to Grandma Schoener's home on South Front Street for a visit. She had a lovely home filled with Victorian furniture, and always had fresh-baked cookies for the girls.

Mable went to Central High School. Helen went to South High School.

Aunt Margaret married Henry Fischer in 1892 and they lived at 712 Mohawk St. through the mid-1920s, and Aunt Emma married Frank Neufang. They lived at 982 Jaeger St., across from Schiller Park.

The house was in the Neufang family through the 1960s. Obviously, the Schoener family knew the area now known as German Village quite well.

Charlie's grandfather, boilermaker Charles L. Nicklaus, was also born in Alsace-Lorraine. He married Anna Gardner and Charlie's father Louis C. Nicklaus, also a boilermaker, was born No. 5 of eight children.

Louis married Arkie Tompson in 1910, and Charlie, born in 1913, was the second of five children. Their family home was at 860 Gilbert St., between Forest and Columbus streets, just a few streets east of Parsons Avenue.

Helen and Charlie met on a blind date ... it was love at first sight, and Helen was convinced it was meant to be.

They were married in 1937 in a small ceremony at South Congregational Church at Stewart Avenue and High Street.

They had an apartment above a drugstore at Chittenden Avenue and High Street, across from the Ohio State University campus.

Charlie had graduated from OSU with a degree in pharmacy and he got a job selling pharmaceuticals.

What he was really interested in was buying his own drugstore.

Little did they know that a few years later the drugstore downstairs would become the first of several that would carry the Nicklaus name.

Helen and Charlie had two children, little "Jackie" born in 1940, and Marilyn born in 1943.

They lived in several homes around campus, in Columbus and in Bexley, but when the children got older they moved to Upper Arlington, where the kids had a little more room to play.

Charlie was quite the sportsman in his day and baseball, basketball and football were his favorites, but he had a special fascination about golf.

As a teenager he was able to attend the 1926 U.S. National Open held at Scioto Country Club and watch his golfing idol, Bobby Jones play.

So it was a natural for Charlie to bring little Jackie with him to the golf course, first as a caddie, and when he showed some promise, he enrolled him in a junior golf class conducted by Scioto Golf Club.

The rest is history.

Little Jackie grew up to be one of the most famous golf champions of all time -- Jack Nicklaus.

Who knew little Jackie's roots were right here in German Village?

German Village Society Curator of Archives and Facilities Russ Arledge submitted the Village Notebook column.

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