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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Oak Grove School, Delaware Township - 1930-1931

The Oak Grove School, District #4, was located in Section 24 of Delaware Township on State Route 18 at Flickinger Road.  

Back Row, L to R: Clarence Corwin, Robert Weaner, Bernard Singer, Florence Lipp, Teacher - Beulah Snyder Parent, Emery Slough, Maurice Weaner

Front Row - Frances Singer, Robert Corwin, Dorothy Lipp, Betty Dell, Dorothy Singer, Leone Corwin, Mary Weaner, Mary Slough, Mildred Slough

Standing alone in front - Mildred Slough

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Children's Home - Defiance County

June, 1897 - The Defiance Democrat


A Newspaper Man Visits It and Notes What He Learned.

General Appearance of the Institution.
How It is Conducted, Present Inmates, Improvements Needed.

Very few people of Defiance county are aware that the county maintains a home for indigent children, known as the Children's Home.  Yet there are probably quite a number who have never visited the institution and do not accurately know where it is located.

For the purpose of enlightening the readers of this paper to some extent concerning this important county institution, a representative visited the Home Tuesday afternoon.  The reporter found Superintendent Adam Hall following a cultivator between the rows of as thrifty looking corn as it has been his privilege to see this season.  Mr. Hall very obligingly gave enough of his time to entertain his visitors with an inspection of all the features of the charge which he so capably oversees and directs.  Seated in the cool, comfortable front room of the Home which does duty for sitting room and office, Mr. Hall instructed the newspaper scribbler as to the data concerning the Home sufficient to write an article.

(When the development of the Home was first considered by the commissioners of the county, they thought it might also combine with Henry and Williams counties, but that didn't work out.  So they bought 22 acres of land in Tiffin Township from Obadiah Partee which was about 7 miles north and slightly west of Defiance, on the west side of the road to Evansport.  One house sat on the property - a one story brick with four rooms, but they added an upper story and another framed portion and it grew to 14 rooms.)

"The Home was opened the first of September, 1884, with eight children taken from the Infirmary.  The first directors were Messrs. Rath, McCauley and Goller.  J. P. Fredericks was at that time superintendent of the Infirmary, and for a time superintended the Children's Home also.

At the present time, the Home contains 36 children inmates.  This is considerable less than it has accommodated heretofore.  In the winter, the number was 45.

The force of the help now kept at the Home...are Mrs. Hall, wife of the superintendent who is matron; Miss Blanche Hall, school teacher; Miss A. A. Sawhill, governess; Miss May Hall, seamstress; Miss Jennie Moninger, laundress; Miss Mary Gristman, cook.

(The reporter was very satisfied with the cleanliness and discipline and order in the place, noting the well ventilated rooms.  He thought the school room very orderly and was happy to see the children learning songs, as well.  The teacher noted that often the children come and go from the classroom to live with private families and new ones come in to take their place.)

...The garden and truck patch was an interesting place to visit.  Everything about the little farm is in apple pie order.  The crops, and every foot of the place, seems to be utilized, look as nice as can be found anywhere.  In the garden were 1600 fine looking cabbage plants and 400 tomato plants, besides all the other varieties of vegetables appropriate to gardening...  Last year the farm produced 400 bushels of potatoes, 1400 cabbages, 100 bushels of oats, 4 or 5 tons of hay and other garden vegetables.  They keep in the way of livestock, 2 cows, 2 horses and 7 hogs.

Children are eligible to admission to the Home under the age of 16 years, at which time they are discharged, if a suitable home is not sooner obtained for them with some private family.  They must, of course be without any means of support,  They are admitted upon the written recommendation of the Trustees of the various townships, who are required to investigate the circumstances surrounding the case when application is made for the admission of a child to the Home.

Defiance County Children's Home - 1920
Supt. Hall usually attends to the duty of finding homes for the children.  And in this work he has numerous trials and aggravations.  Especially where the children have parents to meddle and interfere.  One peculiar case was called to mind of an inmate of the Home who was blessed with a father, mother, two stepmothers, two stepfathers, and yet not a soul to prevent the child from becoming a county charge.

 It is a common experience to have parents, after a child has been placed by the Home with a good, comfortable, well-to-do family, step in and interfere by demanding the child, with nothing to provide for it, and thus depriving the little one from receiving the excellent care and pleasant home it would otherwise enjoy.  When the children are taken from the Home, it is usually on three months trial after which, they must either be adopted or taken on contract, which is otherwise expressed as 'indentured.'

Some children have been taken and cared for for other counties.  One year the Defiance county home earned $1400 by caring for children belonging to counties which have no home.  It is now contrary to law to place a child under 16 years of age in a county infirmary, and when such children become a county charge, they must be properly provided for at a Home...

The Home has several needs. More room is required.  Last winter, they were actually compelled to put four little girls in one bed.  And, this, too, in a dormitory which there is no way of heating.  Some system of heating should be provided. Then, too, better water and sewerage facilities are badly needed.  This, however, it seems is about to be remedied, as the Commissioners are soon to enter into a contract with plumbers for the purpose of putting in closets (water closets, toilets), baths and drainage. An elevated water tank is to be constructed. This completed will be a great improvement to the present facilities...

In conclusion, the writer would simply say that he fails to see how the management of the Home could be placed in more competent or painstaking hands than those of the present superintendent, Adam Hall and his estimable wife."

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Andrew J. Minsel - G.A.R., Bishop Post

Andrew J. (Andy) Minsel spent most of his life in Richland Township, Defiance County.  As an eight year old, he was enumerated there on the 1850 census with his parents, John and Caroline Minsel.  

By the 1860 census, he was 19 years old and working on the farm with his father.  But adventure and patriotism, perhaps, called.  On September 1, 1862, Andrew enlisted, with many other Defiance men, into Company D, 100th Ohio Infantry.  As previous posts have indicated, the 100th was involved in many important battles throughout Kentucky and Tennessee, as well as the Siege of Atlanta.

Andrew mustered out with the rest of his company on June 20, 1865, in Greensboro, North Carolina.

For the next five or six years, he remained on the farm of his parents, working as a farm laborer.  John Minsel reported in 1870 that his property was worth $10,000 - quite an amount for the time - and his personal worth was $1000.
Andrew was enumerated with his parents and siblings, George, Nancy, John, Caroline, Frank and Wesley in 1870.

In 1871, he married a girl from the Independence area - Hester VanDusen, daughter of Nathaniel, another veteran.  They settled on their property near the Maumee River, not too far from Andrew's parents.

The 1880 census found the couple with children Berty (Bertram) - 9, Ella - 7, Clarence - 4, and Earl - 2.  The agricultural census of the year noted that Andrew had 50 tilled acres, 3 acres of pasture and 33 acres of wood.  He had quite a few livestock, including 3 horses, 7 milk cows and 26 other cattle, 43 sheep, 50 swine, and 100 poultry.  On his farm, he grew Indian corn, oats and wheat, while also maintaining 3 acres of apple orchard with 50 trees and 2 acres of potatoes.  That year, he cut 122 cords of wood! 

In the 1900 census, he was on the same farm, but in 1905, Andrew passed away, suffering from heart disease.  His obituary appeared in the Crescent-News on June 20, 1905.

Andrew was buried in Independence Cemetery.

 Hester remarried Henry (Bid) Miller in 1909, a second marriage for both, according to the 1910 census.  Henry worked as a steam engineer in the machine works, and was still working there in the 1920 census at the age of 73.

 Thanks to son, Bertram's, obituary, more was learned of the family. He died at the Toledo State Hospital, but his body was returned to Defiance for burial.

Almost a year later, Andrew's wife also passed away.  Her obituary appeared in the Crescent-News on August 26, 1926.

(This is part of a series on Civil War veterans of Defiance County who were part of the G.A.R., Bishop Post, that headquartered in the city.  Formed in 1879, the post was named after a local man, Captain William Bishop, Company D, 100th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Army who died as a result of wounds received in battle.  The veterans' photos are part of a composite photo of members that has survived.  If you have other information or corrections to add to the soldiers' stories, please add to the comments!)

Friday, September 23, 2016

W. P. A. Cemetery Survey - Farmer Cemetery, Farmer Township

The Works Progress Administration was formed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in reaction to the Great Depression as a means of employing Americans and stimulating the economy.  Established in 1935, one of the projects of the W.P.A. was to conduct Historical Records Surveys, one of which included finding information on cemeteries and the graves of veterans.  The W.P.A. was disbanded in 1943, but the historical information provided on these surveys continue to be of interest and are, thankfully, preserved.

In this series, some of the general surveys of Defiance County cemeteries will be shared, transcribed as written with a few punctuation and/or spelling changes for readability.  The surveys were probably done around 1936.
For more up to date information on the cemeteries, check out this chart on our website:
Farmer Cemetery

1. Name of cemetery:
The Farmer Cemetery, Farmer Center, Ohio

2. Location, how reached:
This beautiful cemetery is located one half mile west and one quarter mile north of the village of Farmer Center, Ohio, reached by going west on route #2 from the village limits and turning north at the first half mile cross road.  Follow this road one quarter mile and the cemetery is on the left or west side of the road.  It cannot be missed as it faces and abuts the road.

3. General description, size, appearance, denomination, fencing, etc.:
This cemetery is the fourth largest in the county, and one of the finest and best kept up, and as the Hicksville Cemetery has some of the most costly markers in any graveyard.  It is heavily wooded with pine, cedar, maple and oak, and quite a few walnut trees.  Its shrubbery and hedges are very beautiful and well trimmed and it has (been) well kept, diverse stone and two gateways, it is fenced both with an evergreen hedge and an ornamental iron fence.

It is laid out in large lots, which are larger than any other cemetery we have made as yet, and a lot of these private lots are terraced up as mounds with concrete walls around them and steps leading up to the ground above.  The Wilder- Nicely plot is the finest of these.

This graveyard contains fifteen acres, is undenominational and is municipal being owned by the village of Farmer Center and Farmer Township.  Lots are sold to individuals; it is said to be the most costly burial ground in the county.

Photo from www.findagrave.com
5.  Name and date of first burial recorded:
There is a monument in this graveyard, a small white slab, which says erected to the memory of Eff. J. Reigle in 1818, however, he was not buried at this spot then, as this district in 1818 was never heard of or passed through by white men.  His body was interred here later, possibly about 1840; in the years 1839 and 1840, this place was used as a burying ground by the early settlers.

Fidelia Bronson was buried here in 1839.  However, the graveyard was not opened officially until during the Civil War.  At that time, there were around twenty five graves scattered on this farm.  All were moved to this one spot in 1863, and a Farmer Township graveyard started, at first with five acres.  It has been used extensively ever since.

6. Names of important persons buried there, for what noted:
Naturally, a cemetery of this size and age, there are many old, early pioneer settlers buried here.  There is Mike Nicely, 1813 - 1883; Alec Roan, 1825 - 1903; John Erlsten, 1839 - 1929; Gil Thompson, 1809 - 1906; Moses Gardner, 1811 - 1881; A. P. McConkey, 1838 - 1906.
All the above mentioned men were founders of the families of the same name who reside in the district today.    

Then there is the grave of John Norway, 1836 - 1911, one of the co-founders of Farmer Center, Ohio, who was mentioned in my History of Farmer Center, Ohio.

Darias Allen, 1807 - 1869, one of the richest men in the township, who left a fortune to his heirs.

The earliest birth record is that of Jacob Knight, 1787 - 1855, who was an old War of 1812 soldier.

Philip Noble, 1816 - 1887, first sheriff of Defiance County in 1845 and for whom Noble Township was named.

The Hon. A. G. Biglow, noted historian, scholar and man of letters, born in 1806, died 1875, one time representative to Congress, noted college professor, etc.

Photo from www.findagrave.com
7. Markers of unusual appearance:
The finest markers are those on the Wilder - Nicely lot, built up and marble, modern Roman style marker, with an urn of the same material on each side, and five headstones of the same material in front.  
Wonderful photo from www.findagrave.com showing the Wilder-Nicely plot

  The lots of the Fickle families, three in number are fixed up almost as nice.
Then the high pedestal type stone of the Hon. A. G. Biglow is worthy of note and the highest in the cemetery.

There is also a huge granite marker of gray erected to the memory of Walter Tomlinson, 1843 - 1935, which is the most modern and of the Roman type.  It is almost square stone five feet high, thick and wide.  

There are, by far, more fine and handsome markers in this cemetery for its size than in any other graveyard of its size. This graveyard ranks with Riverside at Defiance, Ohio and Forest Home at Hicksville, Ohio, in beauty, well-kept grouns, fine markers and noted personages, and costly upkeep.

8. Unusual epitaphs:
The usual run of readings are on the stones in this graveyard.  The main oddity is the marker erected to the memory of Eff. J. Reigel, who died, and the stone of Hon. A. G. Biglow, which gives a brief history of his life.

9. Is cemetery used for new burials?
This cemetery is one of the most used graveyards in Defiance County today.    

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Michael Rath - G.A.R., Bishop Post


Michael Rath's life story may be found here.

Michael served several enlistments for a total of almost two years in the Civil War.  First he enlisted in Co. D, 14th Regiment, Ohio Infantry on April 23, 1861 for three months, mustering out on August 13, 1861.  Then he enlisted again into Co. E of the 14th on Jan. 15, 1864 until his mustering out on July 11, 1865, a total of 1 year, 6 months and 27 days.

Born February 8, 1838, Michael Rath died on January 14, 1920 and is buried at the Evansport Cemetery.

www.findagrave - Read Michael Rath's story here.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sunday, September 18, 2016

W. P. A. Cemetery Survey - Hire Cemetery, Richland Township

The Works Progress Administration was formed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in reaction to the Great Depression as a means of employing Americans and stimulating the economy.  Established in 1935, one of the projects of the W.P.A. was to conduct Historical Records Surveys, one of which included finding information on cemeteries and the graves of veterans.  The W.P.A. was disbanded in 1943, but the historical information provided on these surveys continue to be of interest and are, thankfully, preserved.

In this series, some of the general surveys of Defiance County cemeteries will be shared, transcribed as written with a few punctuation and/or spelling changes for readability.  The surveys were probably done around 1936.

For more up to date information on the cemeteries, check out this chart on our website:

Hire Dunkard Cemetery
(Noffsinger Graveyard)
1. Name of cemetery:
The Hire Dunkard Cemetery, South Richland Township

2. Location, how reached:
In Richland Township, three miles east and one quarter mile south of Defiance, Ohio on State Route #18 at the high overhead bridge across the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

3. Name and address of caretaker:
No caretaker, for information, see Harold Derge at the farm just across the railroad.  His address is route #6, Defiance, Ohio.  Individuals who have relatives buried here are supposed to keep up their own graves.

Photo from www.findagrave.com
4. General description, size, appearance, etc.:
This Dunkard graveyard is not well kept up.  There are two parts to it.  The old part is so much overgrown with myrtle, schumac, and vines that one cannot even get through it.  The markers in this part are all white Mosaic slabs and oblisk markers.  The new part is much better kept up and has modern tombstones, although none of them are very pretentious
This graveyard is in the corner, setting almost under the bridge across the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.  It is not fenced it.  It is a Dunkard graveyard on the west side of route #18 and six cement steps down lead to it.  Formerly, the Dunkard Church was a mile and a half south of here, but this has been abandoned and the church is now at Defiance, Ohio, on Washington Street.  This graveyard is sometimes called the Noffsinger graveyard and contains one half acre.

5. Name and date of first burial recorded:
As far as we are able to make out, the first grave was made in 1851 and was Barbara Kepler who died at the age of 25 years.  However, I am told that this graveyard dates back before that and when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was built through here, some of the graves were moved.

Barbara Kepler's stone not there or not photographed.  Photo from www.findagrave.com
6. Names of important persons buried here:
The Noffsingers were the most noted persons buried in this graveyard, Rev. John Noffsinger being the Dunkard Preacher for 50 years.  Also the Hires from whom the graveyard gets its name were important at one time as well to do farmers; however, there are none of them in this district at the present time.

7. Markers of unusual appearance:  None

8. Unusual epitaphs: A few in German

9. Is cemetery used for new burials?
This cemetery is still use.  A burial was made here the day we surveyed it, by the name of R. F. Williams, age 73, who died in Toledo, Ohio.

C. Cadwallader and Charles Gish, Reporters
Consulted: Defiance Crescent News, August 17, 1936