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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year! 1883

The Defiance Democrat had an anonymous reporter known as "The Wanderer" for awhile.  The Wanderer traveled the county and came back with all the news for his social column.  
On December 28, 1882, this column, celebrating his New Year's wanderings, appeared:


 Happy New Year to all.

Three weddings this week.

We are glad to see Wm. Andrews up and around.  'Bill' is doing a good business at Evansport.

W. J. Rath has moved on the farm of Mrs. H. L. Bock, Tiffin township and will try farming in the spring.

J. C. Hall of Brunersburg has moved on the farm of O. B. Partee of Tiffin township, and has opened up a grocery store and is doing a good business. 

While John Peterson and wife were crossing the Rohn bridge in Tiffin township with horse and sleigh a few days since, the horse by some means tumbled against the banister of the bridge and fell down about 20 feet and smashed the sleigh and hurt Mr. Peterson and wife, but not dangerously.  It was a narrow escape.

John W. Miller of Tiffin township who has been attending Heidelberg College at Tiffin, Ohio, for the last three years is at home on two weeks vacation.

One Tiffin township wedding this week, that of G. A. Rath and Ida M. Partee, December 21st, by Rev. B. W. Slagle.  At 7 p.m. the party returned from Defiance to the residence of the bride's parents.  A concourse of friends assembled, and an old fashioned supper, such as is given on such occasions, was spread on the table, and all present partook of the bountiful repast and pronounced it splendid.  After supper, all had a general good time.  As the 'wee, wee' hours put in their appearance, the joyful crowd began to disperse. 
The following were the presents given:  One clock by J. H. Hockman, B. Hanna and S. Ingle; pair table cloths by Wallace and William Partee; pair of line towels, Laura Spangler; chair tidy, Mr. and Mrs. Potterf; cake stand, Mrs. Wm. Rath; cake stand, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. McCauley; vase, Mrs. J. O. Wissler; vase, Mr. and Mrs. D. Kellermire; bread dish, Belle Hanna; salt set, Samuel Potterf; china pitcher, Mary Partee; silver butter knife, Mr. and Mrs. O. B. Partee; fruit dish, Mrs. Cramer; lamp, J. E. Wheeler and H. F. Toberen; pitcher, Sarah Toberen; pitcher, Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Craine; pair towels, Katie Rath; fruit dish, Dell Rath; photo case, J. H. Rath; china cup and saucer, John Gares; duster, W. P. Rath and F. D. Hockman; fruit dish, Fredonia Ackerman.

On Christmas, the relatives and friends of the newly married couple assembled at Wm. Rath's, where an excellent Christmas dinner was given.  Quite a number of valuable presents were given the couple at this time.  We wish the happy couple long life and prosperity.

I called on Squire Ufer of Washington township a few days ago.  He is one of our staunch Democrats and good farmers.  He has the finest collection of pictures that I have seen for some time.  He has his farm in fine condition and is still improving it by underdraining; he now has in use two miles of tile and intends to put in more.  Since returning, I regret to learn that Squire Ufer's wife and child are quite sick.
I found Christ Schwartzbeck stripping tobacco.  He has a good farm and is making money and is always jolly.

I passed through Chickasaw which you hear so much about.  They have a fine school house and the school is flourishing.  There is a fine country around Chickasaw.

John Goller, Jr. has a good farm, and works at the carpenter trade occasionally.  John knows how to make money.

Farmer Center has an excellent hotel and a good feed stable.

Foot & Norway will have a nice room when completed.  They have a large stock of goods on hand and are doing a fine business.  

Lewis Knight has a saw-mill at Farmer Center and is doing a good business by the looks of the logs in the yard.

Judging by the way that stock was coming to Farmer Center the day I was there, I believe that the market is better than at Defiance.

We found a great many thrifty and enterprising citizens in Farmer township.

Milford township has some very good farms, and the best lot of sheep of any township in the county.

Balser Kimple settled in Milford when it was quite new.  He has cleared up a large farm, and by industry and economy, has plenty of this world's goods.  He has four boys and they all take the DEMOCRAT.

Jacob Kurtz is a jolly German, who knows how to entertain the boys.

Lud. Neidhardt has a nice farm, and a fine place to stop at.  Mr. Neidhardt is badly afflicted with the dropsy. I hope the next time I call, he will be better.

They have some big ditches in Milford, that were engineered by Tom Wright.  Our Surveyor has lots of friends in Milford township.  

Edgerton is a nice town, with handsome business men and they are very generous and sociable.

Squire Ufer is the agent for Williams county for the Westbote a German paper.  The Westbote should feel proud in having an agent like the Squire.

Blakesley, a station on the Canada Southern Railroad, is a thriving place.  A. A. Aldrich, of Defiance, is getting out ship timber here, and having it delivered at the railroad...



Monday, December 28, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Samuel Easley - G.A.R., Bishop Post

Photo taken 1911 (according to Bishop Post minutes)


Samuel Easley was born in Crawford County, Ohio on May 31, 1839.  Samuel's parents, Jakob and Barbara, were born in Switzerland-Germany, according to the census...perhaps the Alsace region.  As a twenty-two year old man, Samuel enlisted in Company F, 64th Regiment, Ohio Infantry on October 8, 1862 and served nine months.  He was discharged on August 5, 1863.  

He married Helen Shasteen on July 6, 1871 and settled in Defiance County.  
On the 1890 Veterans Census, he was enumerated in Jewell and listed his disabilities as diarrhea, and problems with the liver, stomach and rectum. 

Samuel and Helen had children: Orlis, Lucian, Edgar, Samuel Burton, Charles, Grace, and Lawrence.  The censuses referred to him as a farmer, living in Richland Township.

Pension card

He filed for his pension on June 11, 1887, and, after his death on December 30, 1910, his widow applied for her portion on January 6, 1911.  By the 1910 census, Samuel 70, and wife, Helen, 56, had moved to Defiance City and were living on High Street.  Their children, Charles G., 27, a conductor on the street car; Grace E., 24, a piano teacher; and Lawrence, 20, a delivery clerk at the freight office, were living with them.  Samuel B. was not working, but also lived with them.



Samuel Easley died Friday afternoon at 2:15 at his late residence at 1122 High Street.
The deceased was born May 31, 1839, in Crawford County, and at the time of his death was aged 71 years, 6 months and 29 days.  He was a member of the 64th O.V.I. and a member of the local post of the G.A.R.

Beside a widow, he is survived by five sons, and one daughter. They were Otis J. Easley of Cleveland, Lucian J. Easley of Ft. Wayne, S. Burton Easley of Defiance, Chas. G. Easley of Cleveland, Miss Grace L. Easley and Lawrence D. Easley of Defiance; also three sisters - Mrs. F. Springer of Crawford County, Mrs. Anna Peters of Council, Idaho, and Mrs. Elizabeth Hetich of Albany, Texas.

The funeral will be held Monday morning at nine o'clock at the late residence and at ten o'clock at Independence church.  Interment will be at Independence.  Rev. W.W. Lance, pastor of the St. Paul's Methodist church will officiate."

Defiance Democrat - January 4, 1911

(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!)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Hahn School, Richland Township

District #8, the Hahn School, was located in Section 28 of Richland Township, on Fruit Ridge Road, about halfway between Route 281 and Standley Road.  After its use as a school, the building was used as a township hall.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Oldest Settler - William Donley, 1895

It is always a special pleasure to read a first person account of an ancestor's life.  In this letter to the editor, William Donley, at 55 years old, looked back at his life as one of the first people to settle in the wilds of Defiance County.  The article appeared in the Defiance Express on December 20, 1895; William would live but six more years.


That Honor Now Claimed by Wm. Donley of Washington Township.

I was thinking today what a wonderful change has taken place in Defiance county in the past fifty-five years.  It also occurred to me while I was considering the question that I am now the oldest settler in Washington township.  
My father, John, better known as Jack Donley, came to Defiance county in 1837.  He was born in Virginia in 1804 and come to Ohio with his parents some time in 1815.  They settled at Raccoon Hill, Athens county, where I was born Dec. 11, 1833.

In my boyhood days, bears, wolves and deers were plenty in Washington township, the wolves making the night hideous with their howling.  Indians were almost as numerous as birds are now-a-days and as treacherous as any of the name could have been.  If they wanted anything to eat, there was only one way to get rid of them and that was to feed them.

My father frequently killed a deer or bear before breakfast.  Meat and Johnny cakes were the main staff of life and in that particular the neighbors all fared alike.  You bet they enjoyed it, too.

The first settlers in Washington township were Zacharial Huet, George Huet, James Huet, Jesse Donley, Hugh Donley, Andrew Bostater, H. Skeen, James Skeen, Gideon Skeen, Peter Doud and Wm. Donley, Sr.

There were but five houses on what is now known as the Bellefontaine road in those days.  One at Brunersburg, two in Washington, one at Williams Center, occupied by Mr. Dilman and one at the St. Joe river, owned by old man Parker.  It is called the Lang place now, but was known as Denmark.  Very strangely there is but one house at that point at this day.

My parents raised ten children, six boys and four girls, all of whom are dead but Malinda Hutton, of Kansas, and the writer.  My father died in Illinois in January 1866, and my mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth McKee, at Ney, this township in 1875.

Wm. Donley

(We wish to say in this connection that Mr. Donley is one of the liveliest old settlers that we know of in this neck of woods.  He is a blacksmith by trade and lives in the town of Ney.  He was in the army during the war and is now one of the leading, hardworking Republicans in Washington township.  He buried his youngest child, an infant some two weeks old, about two month ago.  Bill is grey and grizzley, but has vim enough to last twenty-five years.  We hope he will and then some.)

www.findagrave.com - Ney Cemetery

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Crane School, Tiffin Township

The Crane School was District #5, located in Section 13 of Tiffin Township at the corner of Stever and Whisler Roads.

This photo appeared in the Defiance Crescent-News on September 6, 1968.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Spindler School, Mark Township, 1913 - 1916

From a newspaper clipping, unidentified paper and undated

Charles B. Core, Teacher

Spindler School, District 9, 1914 - Henry Gecowets, Teacher


Henry Gecowets, Teacher


Friday, December 11, 2015

Spindler School - Last One-Room School Standing in Mark Township

The Spindler School, District #9, in Mark Township is the last one room school still standing in Mark Township on the north side of Jericho Road between Rosedale and Breininger Roads.  Now used as a farm building by the Zeedyk family, the building once had a bell tower and a different front entrance where a garage type door now exists.  This building replaced a log school which was across the road.

The photo is from The Countyline newspaper, March 1, 1978

The building is also the last remnant of what once was the little village of Nebo, a town never platted or really organized.  Nebo (Nebo Corners) once had two churches, the school, and a couple of mills.   George W. Spealman chose the site on the north fork of Gordon Creek to settle and build his home, a store and post office; it would have faced the future site of the school.  He based the name, Nebo, on a Biblical verse from Deuteronomy: "That same day the Lord said to Moses, 'Go to Mount Nebo in the Abarim Mountains, in the land of Moab, across from Jericho.'"
According to the book, Ghost Towns of Northwest Ohio (Helwig and Nagel, 1976, available in the Defiance Public Library), about 1910, everything closed down and only a few old houses remained.  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hohenberger School, Richland Township

The Hohenberger School was in Section 26 of Richland Township and was known as District #7.  The land for the school was acquired from Michael Hohenberger in 1858 and the school, itself, was located on Standley Road, 1/4 mile east of Harris Road.

This may be from the Defiance Crescent-News - unlabeled and undated.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Tragic Case of Death by False Teeth

I'm just having trouble imagining this...but it's an interesting (and tragic) story for the family history if this lady is your ancestor!


Mrs. Christian Aschbacher, living five miles northeast of the city has been lying in critical condition since Sunday evening from the effects of swallowing four false teeth and the artificial plate.  

The teeth are lodged in the throat nearly nine inches from the palate, and has thus far defied the skill of a number of our best Physicians to remove this.

The lady suffers much pain and in all probability, death will ensue in a short time unless she is relieved.

A consultation of Doctors will be called today who will endeavor to alleviate her sufferings."

(The Defiance Crescent - April 3, 1889)


Mrs. Christian Aschbacher, who went through a painful ordeal of a surgical operation to cut four false teeth on a plate which she had swallowed, from the oesophagus, died on Wednesday morning this week.  The exhaustion of the operation and the terrible suspense previous weakened her so much that she could not rally.  She leaves a husband and two children, both young, one being but a babe."

(The Defiance Crescent - April 12, 1889) 



Thursday, December 3, 2015

All We Want For Christmas Are...


Tell us how we are doing.

What stories did you enjoy?

In what topics are you most interested?

Feedback would be appreciated!

At the end of the month, December 31, we'll put the commenters' names in a drawing for a free Defiance County Chapter of Ohio Genealogical Society membership or membership renewal for 2016.

As a member, you'll receive our quarterly newsletter either by USPS or email, and you'll have some special pricing on copies at Office Max here in Defiance.  We'll also send you a Research Booklet for Defiance County, if you are a new member.  

So, let us hear from you! 
(Your comments will not appear immediately.) 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dr. Dwight Snellen Babbitt - G.A.R., Bishop Post

Photo taken in 1922 (according to Bishop Post minutes)


Dr. Dwight Babbitt was born in Adams Township, Berkshire County, Massachusetts to Erasmus C. Babbitt and Rhoda Mason.  His grandfather was Snellen Babbitt, called "Snell," and hence the name was carried on by Dwight.  
In 1860, the census found him living with his parents in the town of Metomen, Wisconsin where they had settled in his youth.  Dwight was 18 and had two brothers at home, E. D., 27, and George Dallas, 16.

Dwight Babbit enlisted on November 19 1863, joining the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry, Company D.  He served until his discharge on July 19, 1865 and reported no disability on the 1890 Veterans Census.

According to the Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804 - 1929, Dwight attended the Eclectic Medical College and the Eclectic Medical Institute, graduating in 1869.  The 1870 census had him located in Repon, Wisconsin: Babbitt, D.S., 28, Physician, and his wife, A.M., keeping house and born in Prussia, and their children I. D. (Ira), 3 and E.F. (Freddie), 6/12.  

Sometime between 1870 and 1880, the family moved to Hicksville.  Either they were not getting along or he stayed at his office because they were enumerated at two different locations in Hicksville.  He was staying at the Swilley Hotel on High Street.  He does say that he is a physician and married. A.M. Babbitt, 40, was living at 424 Main Street with sons, Fredie E., 10; Ira D., 13; and Dwight S., 8.  She was in the hair business...or horse business? (Difficult to read on the census)

On August 31, 1882, the Hicksville News reported this about Dr. Babbitt's son, Dwight Jr.:
"On Saturday last during the thunderstorm, Dwight Babbitt, aged about 10 years, stepped into the hotel and leaned against the wall directly under the telephone.  While standing there, a vivid flash of lightning occurred, the electricity passing down the telephone wire and being conveyed to the boy, fell him to the floor as if dead.  His left foot was paralyzed and remained so about 48 hours.  He is all right now however."

In 1885, Dr. Babbitt again made the Hicksville News on November 19.  He and his G.A.R. brother, A. B. Woodruff, had to take things into their own hands as a scuffle ensued on the train to Defiance:

"Wednesday afternoon of last week, on the passenger train going east, there was quite a lively time between Chas. Lalone, who runs a saloon and boarding house at Mark Center, and Allan Linton and Michael Harter, who are timbermen, and had been boarding for some time with Lalone, but went away without settling their bill.  Lalone met them on the train and asked them for the money.  They offered an overcoat as payment, but Lalone said the coat had been stolen from Defiance and he would not be a party to the theft.  
They commenced to jangle back and forth, threatening to shoot, and calling each other obscene names.  At last, A. B. Woodruff, the produce man, who is a policeman of Defiance, placed them under arrest and asked Dr. Babbitt, who was on the train, to assist him.  At Defiance, the three men were arraigned before Mayor Deatrick and fined $7 apiece.  They were all drunk.  The next morning, Harter was arrested for stealing the overcoat.

In 1890, Dr. Babbitt, the a widow, married Sarah Henderson on February 2. He was 48 and she was 41.  According to the certificate, he "has no wife living."

In 1900, he married again in Pickaway County, Ohio on October 7.  He was 59, and his new bride, Nell K. Sawyer, daughter of James C. Walters and Sarah Love, was 48 and a widow.  He claimed his residence as Defiance on the certificate.  He noted that he had been married twice and she had been married once.

In 1904, Dr. Babbitt's birthday was noted in the Defiance Daily Crescent:

"He doesn't look so old, indeed he acts considerably younger, and we think he will live many years more and not look much older, but it is a fact that Dr. D. S. Babbitt is today celebrating his sixty-third birthday anniversary.  He says the days go by much swifter than they used to do, but at that he is enjoying life.  And despite the fact that Dwight S. Babbitt is a doctor of medicine, he is 'a jolly good fellow well met' and here is congratulations."

On the 1910 census, we learn that Nellie had five children of her own, all living.  At their residence in Defiance were Ethelyn Sawyer, 27; Sara M., 22; and J. Walter, 23.

Dr. Babbitt died on August 13, 1916 and his third wife, Nell applied for his pension on September 21st.  The pension payment card below shows her payments go at first to 107 Wayne Avenue, and later on to 214 1/2 Clinton Street.

His obituary..


Dr. Dwight Snellen Babbit Answers Final Summons Sunday

Dr. Dwight Snellen Babbit died Sunday, August 13, at his home on Wayne Avenue.  

He was born October 6th, 1841, at Adams, Mass.  When eleven years of age, he removed with his father and family to Markesan, Wis.  At the age of twenty-two, he entered Brackway College at Ripon, Wis.  On November 17, 1863, he joined Company D, Wisconsin Cavalry, Ripon, and was in active service from then on until the end of the war.

Resumed Medical Practice.  
In June, 1867, he resumed his medical practice, entering the Electric (Eclectic) Medical Institute at Cincinnati, graduating February 9, 1869.  He took up his practice at Ripon, Wis., but on February 26, 1873, he entered upon a partnership with Dr. E. B. Bracy, at Hicksville.

In December, 1885, he moved to Defiance, where he has been in active practice from that time until about two years ago,when his health began to fail and he was compelled to limit himself to office practicing only.  He has been confined to his home since June 30, being under the care of Dr. Powell from that time until his death.

He is survived by his widow, and three sons by a former marriage, Ira Dallas, Erasmus Frederick, and Dwight S., Jr.

He was a member of Masonic Lodge, member of Brandon Lodge No. 144 F. and A. M., Brandon, Wis., of which Lodge he has been a member since 1869.  

Dr. Babbitt was always faithful to his patrons and responded to all willingly, whether rich or poor, all were treated alike.  He will be missed by a great many.  The family has the sincere sympathy of all the community.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the residence at 117 Wayne Ave., Rev. Crist and Rev. Musgrove will officiate.  It was the wish of the deceased that flowers be omitted."  


"In the presence of a large assemblage of sorrowing relatives and friends, funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock over the remains of Dr. Dwight Snellen Babbitt, who died Sunday, August 13.
The last rites were conducted at the late home of the deceased on Wayne avenue with Rev. Mr. Musgrove and Rev. Dr. Crist officiating.

The remains were carried to the last resting place by Adam Hall, George Dicus, M. A. Bell, Jessie Benner, John Myers and George Solly, who acted as pall-bearers.  Members of the Bishop Post G.A.R. had charge of the services."
Defiance Democrat - August 17, 1916 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ice Skating on the Maumee - 1888

Oh, yes, those icy days
are coming soon enough, with cold winds and plummeting temperatures.
How many of us have 
ever thought about taking a
little skate down the 
Maumee River ice ...for a few miles?

In January, 1888, Tom Wight, Dave King,
Will Dolke, and Will Helpman
took some wagers and off 
they went.  Who was successful?  

The Defiance County Express reported the adventure on January 5, 1888:

"Several of the court house officials made a wager of fifteen dollars with Tom Wight Wednesday that he could not skate down the Maumee river to the Elliott road, a distance of three miles, and back in one hour and a half.
At the same time, Dave King made a wager of five dollars that he could beat Will Dolke to the dam on skates.  

All necessary arrangements were made for the contest, and at 3 o'clock, they went to the foot of Jefferson street and made the start.  Four persons went in buggies down the river road to see if they went to the designated places before turning to come back.  Will Helpman accompanied Wight on skates.

Wight won the wager, making the trip in 59 minutes.  King failed, not going further than Marshal & Greenler's factory.  He fell four times in that distance, and carried his skates home.  He worked to a disadvantage, having on a pair of newly ground skates, the edges being so sharp that he could not guide them on the rough ice.

Dolke made the distance and back in the same time as Wight and Helpman, stopping to rest, and once to adjust his skates.  The obstacles to overcome in the skate was the rough ice and a heavy wind to face on the return trip."

Who's game?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Sherry School, Defiance Township, District # 7

The Sherry School is the school that was moved to Auglaize Village as an example of a one room school house.  Its original home was on the corner of Power Road and Krouse Road.  

We have a number of photos from this school, but none have identified people in them.  This is where the readers come in!  If you recognize someone, please comment and tell which photo and which person you are naming.
(A good reminder for ALL of us to label our photos!) 

Undated photo - Miss Wilhelmina Miller, Teacher   -  Supt. Manahan
Sherry School, December 11, 1912 - Miss Eva Nestlerod, Teacher

Crescent-News - May 14, 1921

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Shellenbarger or Fair School, Delaware Township

District #1 in Delaware Township was the Shellenbarger (Fair) School in Section 11 at the corner of Buckskin and Flickinger Roads.  This photo was taken in the 1910-1911 school year, and although we have a list of students and grades, they are not linked to the specific students in the picture. Maybe you can help?

Teacher - J. J. Langdon

First Grade - Murl Speiser, Ollie Babinger, Addie Wickersham, Harley Lieby

Second Grade - Garnet Lentz, Bertha Myers, John Shock, Paul Clinker, Clara Babinger, Orland Shock

Third Grade - Ethel Speiser

Fourth Grade - Clara Frolich (bottom row, 4th from right), Florence Speiser, Paul Lavergne, Ray Myers, Pearl Lentz, Ruth Lavergne, Isidore Mack

Fifth Grade - Victoria Mack, Vada Sisco, Washington Myers, Cyrus Lentz

Seventh Grade - Albert Babinger, Basil Lavergne, Gladys Speiser

Eighth Grade - Bertha Mack, Eugenia Lentz, Ruby Lentz

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The End of the Defiance Democrat - 1844 - 1920

After many years as either the only or most dominant newspaper in Defiance, the editors decided to put the Defiance Democrat to rest as the Crescent-News began to rise in readership.  After over seventy-five years in print, it must have been a difficult decision.

In the last paper, a history of the newspaper in Defiance was written by U. G. Figley, Washington Township.


'Well Done, Thou Good and Faithful Servant.'

And so the good, old Defiance Democrat has reached the parting of the ways.  It must depart from the activities of this mundane sphere for the more congenial celestial clime where profiteers and H. C. L. enter not and other thieves break not thru and steal.  It has fought the good fight,it has finished the course, it has kept the faith.  It is resting peacefully with the ages along with old companions long gone before and to other struggling competitors, it can truly say: 

'Remember, friends, as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, soon you shall be.
Prepare for death and follow me!' 

The writer sincerely regrets the passing of the good old paper, so long read by hundreds and thousands of people in Defiance county and elsewhere, and many of whom were of an opposite political faith.  The writer feels competent to say some words about the demise of the old family standby.  His paternal grandfather came to Defiance county from Crawford county in March, 1841, living one year in Lyman Langdon's log cabin on the back of Bean Creek, in Noble township (then a part of Defiance), even as Defiance county was a part of Williams.  In 1842, he moved to his own quarter section in Section 30, Tiffin township, where he lived nearly all his life and which farm is yet in the family. 

Said grandfather was one of the first subscribers to the Defiance Democrat which made its appearance Wednesday, July 17, 1844, and to this day, reaching to his great-grandchildren, the paper has been in the different branches of the family, even as on the maternal side, and we think that is a pretty good record, one to be 'pointed to with pride.'

Abraham H. Palmer, who started the Democrat, had a very fine office supply for those days, the material having been used in printing the 'Register' at Toledo.  It was a seven column folio, and had the first page devoted to a staving good story and general interesting paragraphs as was the custom with pioneer papers, and not much attention was made to news, mostly births, deaths and marriages, and occasion reference to very important occurrences of various kinds.  The price was $2.00 per year.

Beginning with the 34th number, March 1, 1845, J. W. Wiley assumed possession of the paper, and May 28, 1846, Samuel Yearick bought an interest.  In May, 1847, Wiley sold out, having been appointed second lieutenant in Co. B, 15th U. S. Inf. or the 'New Regulars,' and before the war closed, was court martialed and dismissed from the service for fighting a duel with another officer in Mexico.  He, for a time, then published a paper at Olympia, Wash.  

March 3, 1849, Mr. Yearick sold the Democrat to Jacob J. Greene, who published it till Dec. 3, 1873, when he sold it to Elmer White and Wm. G. Blymer, two young men from Tiffin.  Mr. Greene made a fine newspaper for those days.  During the war, like the apparent majority of northern Democrats, he favored peace, and many fiery and scathing articles and discussions were carried on in the paper, one of the most prominent contributers being 'Webb Run Democrat' from the confines of Tiffin township. 

Mr. Greene located his printing office on the banks of the raging canal, just across the street south of the present office, and where the paper was printed till 1880 (?) when it was moved to Clinton street, up-stairs, cata-cornered from the court house.

Along with Mr. Greene's newspaper work, he found time to act as district member of the State Constitutional Convention of 1850-51 and 1873-74.  He was mayor of Defiance 1861-63.  He was elected probate judge in 1853 and served continuously till 1885.  He also held other offices, was a prominent Mason, helped organize the Episcopal church, and died June 27, 1894, aged 7_.

White & Blymer at once enlarged the paper to a nine column folio, and devoted a great deal of space to general and local news and in a few years, made it a seven column quarto, and Feb. 28, 1877, issued a 23 page paper containing an unusual amount of historical and pioneer matter.  

They sold the paper in July 1878, to Geo. Platter Hardy, of Paulding, a son of Hon. Henry Hardy of Defiance, who changed the paper back to a nine column folio, selling it back to White & Blymer in April 1879.  He printed the first daily in Defiance, the Daily Democrat, a four page folio, from March 3, 1879 to April 9, 1879, his local editor being Sardis Ray Williams, a former Bryan newspaper man.  The price was two cents a copy.  Twenty eight numbers were issued.

In July, 1881, Mr. Blymer sold his interest to Frank J. Mains, and in October started an eight column folio.  The Democratic Times, with the late Chas. H. Rowland, editor. He sold this paper out to White & Mains in February, 1884, went to Charlotte, Mich., and published the Leader for a few years, then came back to Defiance in 1887 and was manager of the Express, when Joseph Ralston owned it, and on its sale in 1892 to C. J. Thompson, went to Mansfield and conducted a job printing office and died March, 1904, aged 60.

In 1886, Elmer White, who had served two terms as state senator, sold his interest to the Democrat Printing Co., Mr. Mains retaining his interest,his brother, Charles W. Mains, being editor.  For a time, under Mr. White's management, the office had a small stereotype outfit which was used especially in getting up the printing (official) for the county.  

Mr. White went to Toledo where he had bought an interest in the Bee, was president of the Bee company for a time, and finally sold out and went to Los Angeles, Cal. where he died some years ago.  He had a brother, Lieut. Com. Edwin White in the U. S. Navy and Wm. A. White, the famous writer, we believe, is another brother.

In 1889, Messrs, Wm. B. and Russell T. Dobson assumed control of the paper, selling out Jan. 31, 1891 to Ralph D. Webster and Frank J. Mains, and in January, 1894, Ed. E. Hall bought an interest.  In March, 1891, the Defiance Daily News was established with Chas. B. Hoadley as editor.  A. F. Schrack, who started the Daily Crescent in the fall of 1888, died Aug. 29, 1898, and the paper was bought and incorporated as the Crescent-News, though just when change was made, we are unable to say.

Nelson R. Webster came up from Paulding and bought Mains & Hall's interest in the paper.  In those times, the paper was a fine eight column quarto.  In 1903, the Websters sold out, N. R. purchasing a paper in Muskogee, Okla. and later buying back the Paulding Democrat, and a company was organized by the famous James L. Patterson, and the Crescent Company was incorporated, the fine big print shop was erected along the 'raging canawl,' the up to date linotypes and presses were established, and since then there has been a number of changes in the personnel of the company and its management, too many for us to keep track of.  

Needless to say, the Democrat came out regularly, made up from the daily, sometimes six pages, sometimes eight pages, seven column sizes and for some time was printed twice a week.

Since the development of the daily newspaper business, and the reasonable price of the Crescent-News, many ceased taking the Democrat, and now the H. C. L. striking the newspaper business so hard, it is thought to be good business to discontinue the weekly.  We are sorry to see it go, and hope that the name of the paper may in some way be perpetuated.  Aged 75 years, 5 months, 16 days, peace be with it henceforth and forevermore.  So be it.
G. Figley, Washington Township." 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

H. S. VanVlerah - G.A.R., Bishop Post

Photo taken in 1910 (according to Bishop Post minutes)


Born in 1838, Henry Van Vlerah enlisted in the Union Army on April 24, 1861 for a three month term.  He was discharged on August 12, 1861 after 3 months and 16 days.     

Henry was a private in Company K, 21st Infantry, better known as the Dennison Guards.  Men from Hancock and Defiance Counties were the largest part of this unit which was under Captain Strong.  The mustering in point was Camp Taylor, Cleveland, but before leaving, a farewell party was held for the local men here in Defiance, sponsored by the Methodist Church.  The ladies presented the men with a flag, fed them well, and those in attendance escorted the men to the depot.

After mustering in, Henry served under Captain Jesse Norton.  The group marched to Gallipolis and camped along the Ohio River at Camp Carrington.  After several months, they crossed over into Virginia where they joined McClellan and fought the Battle at Scary Creek on July 17, 1861.  It was a five hour battle in which 9 of the group were killed and 17 wounded.  Their captain, Norton, was captured but later exchanged.  

On the 1890 veterans census, Henry noted a disability from his service, but it was illegible.  He was a married man when he joined the Ohio Infantry, having married Angeline Boucher on January 14, 1858.  

After the war, he and his family were enumerated on the 1870 census: Henry - 32, Angeline - 30, and children- Viola - 11, Iva - 9, Lloyd - 7, Robert - 4, Estella - 2 and General W. - 0.  He had acquired real estate valued at $1000 by that time and he was farming.

Henry continued to farm and serve his community and the G.A.R. in various offices.  He attended G.A.R. company reunions and events and accepted jury duty when called.  

In 1910, he was still farming at the age of 72.  The census noted that he and Angeline had six children, with four living at that time.  By 1920, Henry had retired and was 82.  Angeline died in 1928 and Henry in 1929.  He lived to 91 years, a well-respected man in Defiance County.  

His obituary:

Defiance Crescent-News - July 15, 1929


Henry S. Van Vlerah, 92, died at his home in Defiance township, a mile and a quarter south of the Power Dam, Saturday at 3 p.m. due to the infirmities of old age.  He had lived on the farm on which he passed away for more than 65 years, although for the past three years, his son-in-law, Theodore Keller, has lived on the farm with him.
Mr. Van Vlerah was a Civil War veteran and a member of Bishop Post of the G.A.R. at Defiance.

He was born near Ulrichsville, Tuscarawas County, Jan. 8, 1838, and came to Defiance county in 1854, settling first in Highland township, where he married Miss Angeline Boucher in 1858.  Mrs. Van Vlerah died Dec. 17, 1928, less than a month before the celebration of their seventy-first wedding anniversary.

Mr. Van Vlerah held a number of township offices, such as trustee, assessor and land appraiser.  He also taught school seven years and carried mail on horseback between Defiance and Delphos for four years.

His father lived to the age of 98, and other relatives also reached ripe old ages.  He was the last of a family of 12 children.

Three of his children are surviving, as follows: Mrs. Theodore Keller, Mrs. Clara Kramer and Mrs. Agnes Beall, all living within a short distance of the home farm.

Mr. Van Vlerah has subscribed to the Defiance Democrat and then the Crescent-News for more than 70 years without a break.

Funeral services will be held at the home at 10 a.m. Tuesday, then at the Mansfield Funeral Home at 10:30 a.m.  Burial will be made in the Myers Cemetery on the Ottawa-Defiance pike."

(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!)