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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Early Female Physicians in Defiance County - Dr. Nettie Belau

Around the turn of the century, and even earlier, Defiance was blessed with at least five dedicated female physicians: Dr. Kate Hoover, Dr. Nettie Belau, Dr. Adelia Rohn, Dr. Ella White, and Dr. Bell Slocum.

From public tree on ancestry.com
*Dr. Nettie Belau

In the 1880 census, Nettie lived with her parents, Augustus and Mary Belau, both immigrants from Russia.  The family lived in Kansas at the time, but several siblings, including Nettie, were born in Ohio. Nettie, herself, was born in Paulding County and the youngest child was born in Kansas.  

Dr. Belau was included in a Physicians' Directory and named as a graduate of the Ohio Medical University in 1896.  However, a later newspaper article from the Fort Wayne Sentinel on August 9, 1901 noted:
"Dr. Nettie Belau of Defiance, Ohio, is at Hope Hospital under treatment for a severe stomach infection.  She is a graduate of the local medical college."  Most sources name her college as the Ohio Medical University in Columbus, Ohio.

After her graduation, Dr. Belau set up a practice with Dr. P. H. Aldrich in Defiance.  Nettie lived at 126 Clinton Street, according to the 1900 census, with a boarder, Nellie VanSkiver, who was a seamstress.  The women rented the house.   

During the late summer of 1901, Dr. Belau became quite ill and was sent to Hope Hospital in Fort Wayne for treatment for a stomach infection.  The Defiance Express of September 9, 1901 noted:
"L. H. Holmes received a telephone message from the hospital at Fort Wayne on Sunday night asking him to send family friends of Dr. Nettie Belau to that place soon if they want to see her alive."  
By October, she had gained strength and could sit up, but still remained in the hospital.  It was in October, 1901, that the Defiance Democrat reported that Dr. Belau was actually secretly married!


In 1903, Dr. Belau had offices over the Central Union Telephone Exchange in Defiance, so she did go back to work as a physician upon her healing.   

In 1903, Nettie's father, August died in Paulding County.  His obituary appeared in the Crescent News on September 1: 
"August Belau, well known citizen and farmer of Paulding County, died last night about 6:30 o'clock at his home one mile south of Junction of old age.  He was aged 77 years.  Besides a wife, the deceased leaves five children, three girls and two boys.  He was the father of Miss Dr. Nettie Belau of this city.  He was a relative also of A. W. King and George H. Dicus.
The funeral will occur Wednesday afternoon at 1 o'clock from the house.  Rev. E. D. Whitlock of this city will conduct the service.  The remains will be brought to Defiance and placed in the vault at Riverside temporarily."

No mention was made of any marriage for Dr. Belau in the obituary. 

No evidence could be found for the wedding to Wilson; however, it would seem that Nettie married George F. Moss at some point.  In the 1920 census,  George F. Moss and Nettie Moss lived at 150 River Drive in Defiance.  George, 34, worked as a machinist at the local machine works and Nettie, 35, was a physician. 

By 1930, Nettie and George had moved to Allen Park, Michigan in Wayne County.  He worked as a machinist in an auto factory.  They remained there, showing up in the 1940 census in Detroit, with George still working in the auto factory.  Nettie, apparently, gave up her medical career to follow George to the booming "Motor City," as no occupation was listed for her in either census.  The couple had no children.

Dr. Nettie Belau Moss died on May 25, 1945 at about age 69.  Her obituary appeared in the May 28, 1945, Defiance Crescent-News:

Nettie A, Wife of G. F. Moss, Died May 25, 1945      www.findagrave.com

Friday, August 26, 2016

Albert W. King rides the Loop-the-Loop in 1904

When Albert W. King, Defiance citizen and Civil War veteran, attended the National G.A.R. Encampment in August, 1904, he took the time to visit Coney Island.  It was an eye-opening experience for Albert and his friend, John Altshuch, especially when they came face to face with a roller coaster called the Loop-the-Loop.

Albert wrote in his journal:

"Our next trip was over the Brooklyn Bridge out to Coney Island, after getting refreshments, our little guide suggested we cross the street and take a ride in a car.  We went to the office, bought ticket for admittance and boarded a car - four of us - and started on the ground.

We noticed Oscar, our guide, was greatly pleased when I drew the strap from over my shoulder which the manager had placed there for my safety, and the guide says, 'Mr. King, you are all right!  I see you have got the grit!'

By this time the car was ascending a high trestlework, perhaps 80 to 100 feet high, the car making a short curve and we could see what was at the bottom.  

It was now too late to get my shoulders under the strap, and we went flying down the track into a 30 foot loop at lightning speed; and the sensation was one I shall never forget.  

The car ran perhaps 300 feet in a circuit and finally stopped at the place where we boarded her.  We stepped from the car as soon as the manager unfastened John Altschuh, Oscar, and the other man.

When Altschuh got on his feet, he exclaimed, 'My Got! Vot vas dat?  My bloot all stands still!'  Then all cheered and laughed.

The manager says, 'Man, didn't you know that you was going to loop the loop when you boarded the car?'

'No," says John, 'What is the loop the loop?'

'Well you surely know now,' says the manager.

'Vell,' says John, 'I never want to loop the loop again!'

I says, 'Nor do I want any more of it.'

We started for the entrance to leave the place where some people entered, amongst them a young lady who heard John say he wouldn't loop again for a thousand dollars.  She at once bantered him to get into a car with her and run the loop.  She put out all inducements for him to make one trip with her, even so much as to promise to be his wife.  But John said, 'No more loop-the-loop for me!  Wife or no wife!'

To read more about this roller coaster, check out

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Behrens School, Adams Township

The Behrens School was located at the corner of Banner School Road and Behrens Road.

It was District #7 in Adams Township.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Marckel Scrapbook - Johnathan P. Buffington

From the Marckel Scrapbook...



 Like a tall and mighty oak in the great forest which the sturdy pioneers cleared to make way for what is now Defiance, J. P. Buffington, one of the pioneers of early Defiance, has fallen to rise no more off this earth…

Surrounded by his family and friends, who mourn his sudden death, who will ever cherish his memory, Mr. Buffington breathed his last Wednesday night at 7:30 o’clock, aged 82 years, 4 months and 17 days.   

He had been over town during the day and remarked about how well he felt.  At about 4:30 in the afternoon, he fell on the walk in the rear of his home.  He was picked up and carried into the house.  Physicians were summoned who found that his entire right side was paralyzed.  Death ensued several hours later…

Jonathan P. Buffington was born Nov. 12, 1828, on the old homestead of the family in Brandywine township, Chester county, Pennsylvania.  He descended from a sturdy, honest and God-fearing stock, remotely natives of England and members of the Society of Friends, who formed part of the colony that came with Wm. Penn and founded the city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania.  There his ancestors were farmers and with strong arms, industrious and steady habits, helped to lay the foundation of a mighty nation.  The ancestral home in Chester county, Pennsylvania, covered part of the ground on which the Revolutionary ‘Battle of Brandywine’ was fought.

Mr. Buffington was about four years old when his parents moved to Ohio.  He was reared a farmer boy, attending the neighborhood schools and the high school at Springfield, O. and later his education was completed by a three years’ attendance at Granville College in Licking county, at which college he had as classmates and fellow students, Geo. H. Williams, afterwards district attorney of the United States for Oregon under President Grant; Geo. R. Sage, once judge of the U. S. court; Geo. L. Converse, member of Congress; Wm. H. Corwin, who became a prominent physician.

On leaving college, Mr. Buffington was 23 years of age, and he once became engaged in buying and selling cattle.  In 1853 he removed to Defiance, O. and engaged in the drug business in a store on First street which he occupied for eight years when he removed to Clinton street where he remained till he retired from business a short time ago.  In 1854 he established a drug store at Bryan, conducting both stores for two years, and they at that time, had the distinction of being the only drug stores in three counties, Defiance, Williams and Paulding.

Mr. Buffington was a member of St. Paul’s M. E. church, in the building of which he was a large contributor.  He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, being Knight Templar.

Politically he was originally a Whig, and when the Whig party was merged into the Republican, he went with his party and has always remained an advocate of the political principles represented by that party.  He was chairman of the first Republican Judicial convention ever held in the Northwest, which convened at Defiance, O. in 1855 and represented six surrounding counties; he was also chairman of the first Republican Legislative convention held in the same year.

At this convention, every county had a candidate, but the delegates could not agree, and had started to go home without nominating a candidate when Mr. Buffington arrested their attention by calling from a window to them and suggesting the name of a man who had not before been mention(ed) as a candidate – Judge Haymaker of Brunersburg.  The name was unanimously accepted, the delegates returned to the hall and Haymaker was nominated and duly elected.

Mr. Buffington, during his career in public affairs, numbered among his friends and acquaintances many prominent men in State and Nation, among whom may be mentioned Hon. Salmon P. Chase, Governor of Ohio, Secretary of the Treasury under President Lincoln’s administration and Chief Justice of the United States; Hon. James A. Garfield, member of Congress and President of the United States, accompanying both of these distinguished men in their campaigns through this section of Ohio.  He formed a strong affection for Mr. Garfield whom he described as one of the most lovable and companionable of men.  

Mr. Buffington was associated in different campaigns with Hon. Columbus Delano General Jas. Ashley and others.  One notable trip was made with Salmon P. Chase, from Defiance to Antwerp, (18 miles through rainy, disagreeable weather), where Chase was to speak.  They secured a canoe or pirogue, a pair of horses and driver , which towed them on the canal, arrived at Antwerp at 12 noon, took dinner at the little hotel, and left to return about 4 o’clock, but on arriving within three miles of Defiance, at Schooley’s lock, the canoe got fast and the team gave out, compelling the party to abandon the boat and walk through the rain and mud to Defiance, where they arrive a little after midnight.

In 1857, Mr. Buffington was married to Harriet C. Piper of Clifton Springs, N. Y., to which union three children were born: Florence M., who married John D. Lamb; Alice M. and Carrie, who including Mrs. Buffington, survive the husband and father, all residing in Defiance.

During the war of the Rebellion, Mr. Buffington was warmly loyal to the Union cause.  He was secretary of the military committee of Defiance county through the entire war; was Deputy United States Provost Marshal of the Northern District of Ohio, and assisted largely in raising two companies of men for the One Hundred and Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and one company for the Thirty-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  He never applied for any compensation for his services, but after the war the government, through its bookkeeping and accounts discovered that compensation was due him, and the amount was sent, though through no solicitation on his part.  Mr. Buffington has been identified with the business interests of Defiance in different ways: was formerly a director of the Merchants’ National Bank and a stockholder in the Turnbull Wagon Company.

The last sad rites will be said Saturday afternoon at 2 o’clock from the home.  Rev. Lance of St. Paul’s M. E. church will officiate.  The funeral will be in charge of Defiance Commandery, Knights Templar.  Burial in Riverside.”

Monday, August 22, 2016

Milford Township Boxwell Commencement, 1912 - 1914

Only a few names are on the back of the photo.  In the back row, the first two on the left were Hulda Valet and Karl Fuchs.  In the front row the first on the left was identified as Earl Weisz and number 3 as Jewell Edgar from Logan.  Please add other identifications in the comments, if you recognize someone.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

W. P. A. Cemetery Survey - Cromley Cemetery, Defiance 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:
Cromley Cemetery

1. Name of cemetery:
The Cromley Graveyard, so named from the people who owned the farm on which it stands.

2. Location, how reached:
Four and one half miles south of Defiance, Ohio on state route #111 and on the west bank of the Auglaize River, just above the power dam.

3. Name and address of caretaker:
George Newton, R.R. #5, Defiance, Ohio

Photo from www.findagrave.com
4. General description, size, appearance, etc.:
Placed on the bank of the Auglaize River overlooking the wide expanse of this river here made by the Toledo Edison Company's power dam across a river a quarter of a mile below.  The river bank has here been reinforced with concrete because it was fast washing the graveyard away; in fact, many of the older graves had to be moved to other places some years ago.

The plot contains today about an acre of ground, is fenced in and runs directly up to the road.  At the south side of the cemetery is the Cromley rural grade school.  At one time, across the road from this graveyard, there was a Methodist Church.  The graveyard was started by the congregation of this church; later the church was torn down and the graveyard became undenominational.

It hasn't any very fine markers, most of them being quite small and the old style pedestal kind.  There are three red granite markers of the heavy type in the graveyard and these are not so large.  

The grounds are well wooded and trees, however, are small. Evergreen shrubbery is profusiously scattered around the yard and is much overgrown.  Although supported by the township trustees of Defiance township, it does not seem to get much care.

5. Name and date of first burial recorded:
William Whitcomb, 1854 - 1869, is the oldest stone to be found in the cemetery today, but it dates back before the Civil War.  Other graves that were older and on the "point" were moved away after the Dam was built here across the river. 

6. Names of important persons buried there:
In importance, the Newton family plots the best known, the Newtons at one time being the greatest Dairy farmers in the county and had milk routes from door to door through Defiance City.  
William Newton, 1822 - 1872 (www.findagrave.com)
Then Charley Schooley, an old carnival man is buried here; he died in 1919 and was well known in all northwestern Ohio especially by horse traders and county fair people.

Photo from www.findagrave.com
7. Markers of unusual appearance:

8. Unusual epitaphs: 

9. Is cemetery used for new burials?
The graveyard is still used by older people - several lots are still open.

Topic #624
Defiance County
District #13
C. Cadwallader and C. Gish, Reporters
Consultant: Mr. Ray Karr, Harrison Street, Defiance, Ohio 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Defiance County Pioneers - George K. Otis

1844 - 1908

“George K. Otis was born on a farm in Sugar Creek township, Wayne county, Ohio, March 11, 1844, and died at his home in Hicksville, Ohio, December 16, 1908, aged 64 years, 9 months, and 5 days.

He was the son and second child of Merrill and Margaret Saltzman Otis, who removed from Wayne county to Milford township, Defiance county, about the year 1848, and both of whom died on the old homestead on which they settled at that time.

The family of Merrill Otis consisted of nine children, five of whom survive the deceased and three of whom were survived by him.  Those living are Dr. William D. Otis of Ft. Morgan, Colorado; Mrs. Eliza Gruber, of Montgomery, Ill.; Mrs. Mary Blackman of Montgomery, Ill.; Mrs. Ida M. Hawkins, of Hicksville, Ohio and Miss Triphena Otis, of Hicksville.

The deceased spent his boyhood days on the farm and in the public schools of Milford township.  At the age of 18 years, Mr. Otis and his brother, William, enlisted in the service of their country, joining Co. F, 111th O. V. I. and entering the command of Gen. Rosecrans in his Kentucky campaign against Gen. Bragg.  After a short military service on the field, following the battle of Franklin, Ky., because of ill health, he was compelled to retire from the service and was appointed post-master at Park Barracks, Ky., by Gen. Gilmore, in December 1862, where he served for several months, again joining his company on the field and again being compelled to retire because of sickness.  He received an honorable discharge from the army June 11, 1863, after a service of less than one year and returned to his home in Milford township.

Shortly thereafter, he entered a business college at Cleveland, Ohio, from which he graduated in 1865, after which, for a short time, he engaged in teaching school in Adams township, this county.  March 19, 1867, Mr. Otis was married to Sarah Hilbert, a daughter of Peter Hilbert, one of the pioneers of the county.  Their wedded life ended after 16 years by the death of Mrs. Otis, which occurred in the year 1883.  To this union were born two children, Judson D. Otis and Mary Della Otis Comparette, both of whom are living.

April 2, 1885, Mr. Otis was joined in wedlock to Minnie M. Cowhick, who survives him and with whom he lived happily until his death.  To this union were born two children, Vera C., Otis Purdy and Loyd Melville Otis, both of whom survive.  Of his immediate family, deceased is survived by one brother, four sisters, the widow, four children and five grandchildren. 

With the exception of about five years in which he lived in Kansas, the whole mature life of Mr. Otis was spent in the two townships of Milford and Hicksville, and there was not a man in either township, perhaps, who had a larger personal acquaintance than he, nor one who had a larger circle of personal, political, and business friends.

He was a man of remarkable business activity, covering many lines of trade and endeavor, including that of farming, the drug business, agricultural implements, general merchandise, real estate and other lines, at various periods of his business career.  He was never idle, but always engaged in some honorable field of business endeavor.  In business, he was not always successful, but, he was of that hopeful and optimistic disposition that would not permit him to be crushed by business reverses, but when failure overtook him, he was ready to begin over with renewed vigor and determination for success.

In his latter days, his heart turned toward the farm, the scene of his early associations, and he told the writer only a few weeks ago, that one of the happiest seasons of his life was that spent last year on his farm in Milford township, in which he personally engaged in tilling the soil and enjoyed the privacy and quiet of his rural surroundings.

In the many years of his residence in Hicksville, he was honored time after time by his fellow citizens by election to political office, having at different times held the offices of clerk, treasurer and trustee of the township and various offices in the village, all of which he filled with honor to himself and profit to the people.  In 1894, he was appointed to the post-mastership of Hicksville by President  Cleveland and held the office for the full term of four years, being recognized both by the government and the people as efficient to the highest degree.

The most signal honor and preferment paid to the deceased was conferred upon him by Gov. Bushnell, who was a business and personal friend, and who in 1898, appointed him a member of the Ohio Centennial Commission, which was to have had charge of the Ohio Centennial celebration proposed to be held by the state in the year 1903.  After serving in this capacity for a time, the proposed celebration was abandoned by the state and with it, the offices of the commissioners.

From his youth up, Mr. Otis was a devoted and consecrated member of the Presbyterian church, and through all the vicissitudes of the church at Hicksville, he was one of its substantial supporters and faithful adherents.  Through the different projects of rebuilding, refurnishing and enlarging the church building, he was one of the most active of the little band of faithful worshipers and gave much of his time and means to the cause of the church which lay so close to his heart.  For many years before his death, he was continuously a member of the official family of both the church and the Sunday school and his many deeds of Christian activity and words of Godly precepts have added benediction and blessing to the lives with which he came in contact.

In society and in his going in and coming out among his fellow men, he was of that kindly, hopeful, cheerful and encouraging disposition that made  his presence a source of dispelling gloom and darkness and doubt and leaving in their stead, good cheer and hope and comfort, and it was these qualities that drew to him so many staunch friendships…”

Source: Obituaries: Pioneers of Northwest Ohio, Volume 1.  Carma Rowe Estate (Johnson Memorial Library).  No date.  Copies available at Defiance Public Library and Hicksville and Sherwood branch libraries.

Forest Home Cemetery, Hicksville, Ohio

Engraved on the side of the tombstone of George's parents, Merrill and Margaret Otis