DCGS Website


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

An Unusual Land Deal - W. P. Sanford

Wesley P. Sanford, about 75 years old, sold some land in Noble Township, but one part of the deal was just a little...bizarre?  Apparently, Mr. Sanford had been talking to the Spiritualists. 

Sold to Isaac Bissey By the Bronson Real Estate Exchange

W. P. Sanford, familiarly known as 'Uncle' of Noble township, has disposed of his farm of 110 acres.  Isaac Bissey, of Washington township, made the purchase of it Thursday.

Section 5, Noble Twp - W P. Sanford - 110 acres
The deal was consummated by the Bronson real estate exchange of this city.  The exact price is not given though it is reported it will set Mr. Sanford somewhere in the neighborhood of $5000.

Uncle Sanford reserves the right to dig for the $8000 in gold which the spirits have told him lies buried in one of the fields.

He had resided on the place fifty-three years the day before the sale was made.

He still owns a small tract near the place just sold, upon which it is reported he will make his future residence."

So, if you know who owns this land today, you might want to give them this tip so they can start digging!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Defiance County Pioneers - Isaac Corwin

Isaac Newton Corwin


Highly Respected Defiance County
Pioneer Gone to His Reward.

Result of a Second Stroke of Paralysis -
Arrangements for the Funeral -
Sketch of the Life 
of the Deceased.

Isaac Corwin, one of the most widely known and highly respected of Defiance County's pioneers, died Monday evening at 10:45 o'clock.  Had he lived until October 3d, he would have been 73 years old.

About five months ago, Mr. Corwin suffered a stroke of paralysis, since which time he has been in a precarious state of health.  On Sunday, July 18, he was afflicted with the second stroke, and has rapidly failed since until final dissolution came.

Mr. Corwin leaves seven children, three girls and four boys, also his third wife.  His other near relatives living are Mrs. Charles Krotz, of this city, who is a sister, and Jack Corwin, a brother, residing in Mt. Gilead, O.

The funeral occurs tomorrow at 2 o'clock, from the residence, conducted by Revs. Latchaw, of the Baptist church, and Slagle of the Presbyterian church.  Interment in Riverside cemetery.

Defiance Commandery No. 30. K. T. of which deceased was an honored member, turned out to the ceremonies in full uniform.  Also the Blue Lodge members of the Masonic order, will attend in a body.  Knights Templar met the funeral procession at the north end of Clinton street bridge and escorted the same to the cemetery and conducted exercises at the grave.

Isaac Corwin was born October 3, 1824, in Washington County, Penn.  His great grandfather, Wm. Corwin, and two brothers, Benjamin and Moses, immigrated to this country from Ireland about 1770.

In 1827, Isaac emigrated with his father from Pennsylvania to Knox county, Ohio.  He learned the blacksmith trade with his father.  At the age of 18, he went away from home and worked at his trade, and afterward started a shop of his own at Williamsport, Morrow county, Ohio, where he married Feb. 4, 1845, Miss Maria Smart, by whom a family of eleven children were born.

In 1850, Mr. Corwin removed to Defiance by team, and on his arrival, invested his all in a cook stove, a barrel of flour and half a hog.  October 15, 1850, Mr. Corwin formed a copartnership with John Yocum in the blacksmith business on the north side of the Maumee.  In about six months, they dissolved and Mr. Corwin then built the shops now occupied and owned by Peter Dickman.  

In 1861, he sold that and bought a small farm when he farmed and dealt in livestock for a time.  Later he entered into a partnership with John H. Kiser and the firm carried on the well known carriage manufacturing business of Corwin & Kiser in a large brick building on Perry street.  They were afterward also engaged in the livery business.  He retired from active business pursuits about four years ago.

In 1861, Mr. Corwin built a residence on the hill in North Defiance.  But about eight years ago, he removed to the farm residence, where he died, situated on the Brunersburg road, about a mile this side of that village.

Mr. Corwin was one of the original members of the Baptist church of Defiance, and a man who was highly respected by all.  His death is very generally mourned."

Defiance Democrat - July 29, 1897

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hickory Grove School #6, Hicksville Township

Hickory Grove District #6
Hicksville Township
(Located at the northeast corner of Jericho and Casebeer-Miller Roads)

1918 - 1919

Elma Bungard, Teacher
Wm. Walker, District Superintendant
W. W. Heater, County Superintendant
School Officers - F. Z. Clark, Charles Volkert, Harry Hofmeister, John Sellars, Donald Batchelor


Harry Ridenour
Irene Volkert
Harold Wagner
Glen Volkert
Leone Shrider
Goff Clark
Ralph Hook
Ralph Keener
Lee Wagner
Chester Clark
Mildred Clark
Alice Bihr
Mervin Applegate
Scudder Clark
Paul Miller
John Hook
Carrie Shrider
Harold Speer
Opal Applegate
Lucille Fell
Helen Wagner
Fern Hook
Gale Smith
Guy Volkert

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Roma Mansfield - A Hero in World War I

As soldiers went off to fight in the battlefields of Europe in World War I, Defiance County was well represented.  The newspapers of the time were full of war news, letters home, and reports of injured and deceased young men from our own neighborhoods.  In those times, it was acceptable to use their stories in a plea for the purchase of war bonds.  Here is one such example from the Defiance Democrat, May 1, 1919. Roma Mansfield was just a boy of 17 when he died on the fields of France.

 Pvt. First Class Roma Mansfield was buried in the Meuse Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France after his death on October 4, 1918.  But, his parents memoralized his name on their own tombstone in Mansfield Cemetery, Defiance County, Ohio, too.
The cross is so weathered that it is difficult to still read the name.  Plot A, Row 46, Grave 39, Meuse Argonne American Cemetery
Mansfield Cemetery, Defiance County, Ohio

Thursday, July 16, 2015

And What Would YOU Do?

I can't even imagine what my response would be in the situation described below, but it probably wouldn't have been the clear-headed action of these ladies.


Two Young Ladies Encounter a Large Black Snake

Last Saturday, Miss Lettie Davison invited her young friend, Miss Mabel Switzer, to be her companion on a voyage up the Auglaize river.  

The young ladies embarked in a rowboat near the Hopkins street bridge for Bouton's Island and all went merrily.  Miss Lettie is an accomplished young lady in the art of handling the oars and the boat house was soon lost in the distance.

 Mr. Davison's family are lovers of the water and have a splendid boat well equipped and appointed.  The boat is provided with a log book and the incidents of all the voyages are always carefully recorded on its pages.

Miss Lettie thought this trip afforded interest sufficient to make a chapter and the oars were allowed to trail in the water while she chronicled some notes that came to her mind.

While writing, she dropped her pencil which rolled under the running board of the boat.  This board was covered with a carpet and, as the rug was raised, the ladies were horrified at seeing the shining coils of a huge snake glistening in the sunlight.  They had an unbidden guest in the form of one of the largest black snakes the ladies had ever seen.

The fair boatwomen did not scream or do anything usually attributed to the fair sex on such occasions.  They clambered on top of the seats and paddled to the shore thoroughly frightened.  They hollored to some men after they had gained the shore, but their cries were unheeded.  They looked at the boat and saw about three feet of the glistening snake reared above the gunwale.  

 The serpent protruded his tongue in a manner that led them to believe his special forte was terrorizing ladies.  They tried to kill him with an oar, but he skillfully eluded the blows and finally disappeared.  They thought he had sought refuge under the carpet.

A council of war was held by the crew and they concluded to put the ship about and make a run home where they were sure of reinforcements.  The girls stood upon the seats and propelled the boat home.  They then had their force augmented by Mr. Davison, who instituted a hunt for his snakeship, but it was found he had disappeared, probably in the excitement occasioned by the attack with the oar.

The ladies were badly frightened and it is a foregone conclusion that the next time they go out, they will search the craft thoroughly before they embark."

Democrat Defiance, August 8, 1895


Monday, July 13, 2015

Defiance County Pioneers - Mary Schleger Wisda

As an immigrant widow with six children to raise, Mary Schleger Wisda kept the family together and financially prospered enough to support them all into adulthood.


Mary Wisda died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Chas. Clemens, near Domersville, on Saturday, October 12, 1895, at 1 o'clock p.m. of infirmities due to old age.

She was born in Klattan county, Bohemia, in 1817, and was 79 years old at her demise.  She came to this country with her husband and family in the spring of 1854, in a sailing vessel, the voyage occupying 42 days, and settled in Sandusky county where her husband John Wisda, Sr. was killed in 1862 by a falling tree, leaving her a widow with a family of six children, of which John, the oldest, was 18 years of age.
Photo, courtesty of C. C. Brown
She managed to keep the family together and soon the debt of $150 on the homestead of 40 acres was paid off and another 40 was purchased and added to the farm.  In 1871, the family sold their property and removed to Defiance county in Tiffin township, later she removed to Adams township, where she has since resided.

She had been unusually vigorous up to about one year ago when she began to fail and on Saturday, heart failure closed the scene.  Her maiden name was Schleger.  She was united in marriage in 1843 to John Wisda, Sr.

Six children were the fruits of this union, viz: John Jr., Joseph J., Albert who is at present in South Africa, James W. of Ord, Neb., Mary, wife of Charles Clemens and Anna, wife of M. J. Shondel of Holgate.  

The funeral services were held Wednesday morning at 9 o'clock at North Ridge Catholic church, conducted by Rev. J. B. Heiland; interment in the Catholic cemetery on the Ridge.  A large circle of friends mourn her loss."  

The Defiance Democrat - October 17, 1895 

The burial was at what is now called St. Michael's Catholic Cemetery.

This is a tombstone full of the symbolism of the time.  Mary's name is written on the book of life; the IHS cross of Christ is at the head of the tree of life, the sawed off branches and the vine - "I am the vine; you are the branches."

Friday, July 10, 2015

David Gusler's Journal, Mark Township

Gladys Walters Donson, DCGS member, contributed information based on the notes kept by her great-grandfather, David Gusler, of Mark Township in Defiance County. Her article first appeared in Yesterday's Trails, the DCGS newsletter, in 1983.

Donson wrote that "Mark Township was the last township to be settled in the county due to the level, wet, swampy condition of the land.  In the early 1850s, only a few families were in residence. From 1880 - 1900, it was still a pioneer period in Mark Township, as forests were being cleared away and drainage ditches constructed so that the land could be farmed.

In the period around 1900, my great-grandfather, David Gusler, was a trustee of Mark Township.  I have copied excerpts from his notes which he kept during these years.  The spelling of the names is his - phonetically correct, but not always the way the names are spelled at present.  I copied only the most interesting entries, or the ones naming the most Mark Twp. residents.

May 29, 1900
Sold Thomas Haver,  job grading street from town house to Hiree's store.    Amount for work: $16.
Sold Chancy Curtis,  job grading road, $19.
Sold Charley Miller,  bridge job between Sect. 14 and 15, to be completed Aug. 
15, 1900.  $7.75. 

June 18, 1900:
Making application for Ida Hart 5 children to be sent to the Children's Home.

June 25, 1900:
Accepted the road job of Samuel Byers in District 8; 5

June 30, 1900:
Accepted Charley Garver raod job, District 2; 5

July 3, 1900:
Sold gravel job to M. Huber

Aug. 10, 1900:
Sold George Wonderly a bridge job, and looked after John Crawford's road work.

Aug. 24, 1900:
Sold two jobs of work cleaning Spindler and Colby cemeteries.

Sept. 11, 1900:
Accepted George Baylee road and bridge job in Sect. 29 & 30.

June 27, 1900:
Taking the Hart children to the Children's Home. $3.00, paid out for help, 20 c and 25 c paid for crackers and peanuts for the children.

June 29, 1900
Sold Benjamin Culler South Platter Creek bridge job.
Sold to Jasper Huss road job north of Albert Burd's corners.

Oct. 9, 1900
Taking care of a man that had a fit, and hauled him to the Hotel for lodging.  John Barr, a hobo.

Oct. 27, 1900:
Taking Edward Kelly to the Children's Home. Cost $2.50

Nov. 26, 1900:
Made a visit to the quarantined family and looked after their child.

Dec. 26, 1900:
Paid William Winterhalter 25 c for notifying Mr. Theil to meet at my house.

Jan. 7, 1901:
Looked after smallpox family.  Telephoned Cecil for information.

Jan. 17, 1901:
Looking after the support of Emiline Jackson, pauper, age 73, paid W. E. Hire for groceries for her for 6 months, $15.00.

April 19, 1900:
Mark trustees met Crane twp., Paulding Co. trustees and located a tile drain near Nicholas Arend's house on the county line road.

July 7, 1900:
Paid for groceries furnished by L. A. Pugh for John Boyle, age 68.  Reason for relief, broken wrist.

Jan. 8, 1901:
Paid L. A. Pugh for groceries for George Arend, age 25 years.  Reason for relief, small pox.  $2.25.

July 26, 1901:
Paid Dr. Fraze for care of Maggie Hemlinger, daughter of J. Hemlinger.  Reason: scarletina.

June 21, 1901:
Paid L. A. Pugh for groceries for Ezra Cole, age 51 years.  Reason, sickness.

Sept. 25, 1901
Paid Dr. Fraze $24.70 for care of Howard Horn, age 22, sick with typhoid fever.

Aug. 19, 1901:
Trustees of Mark Twp. of this date were M. Thiel, David Gusler, and W. H. Miller.  Paul Hagen, Clerk; Treasurer was E. J. Pugh, his sureties were: L. A. Pugh, W. M. Hammon, Ludwig Klein, Henry Wonderly.

April 11, 1903: 
Trustees were the same as above, G. A. Gecowets, Justice of the Peace.  Signing Gecowet's bond were Frank Gusler and Houston Hanna."

Among the Trustee notes of David Gusler was this list of Mark Twp. voters in his neighborhood, sections where they lived and party affiliations.  The list is undated, but was probably around 1900 when he was running for trustee.

Section 29 - John Walters (Gusler's son-in-law), Erl Bevington, Jacob Sigg, ? Etchie, Vincent Brittenbaugh

Section 30 - David Slattery, David Conley, Harvy Watson, William Watson, Charley Walker, Jonas Rigle (Gusler's son-in-law), Thomas Conley

Section 31- Jacob Hinch, George Hinch, William Hinch, Jacob Cloventin (?), Philip Dirr, John Conley

Section 32 - David Gusler, Clinton Gusler (David's son), David Slattery, Tomas Slattery, Frances Slattery (?), Charley Hinch, David Hinch, David Hinch, Theodore Hinch, Frank Gusler (David's son)

Section 29 - Charles Gillespie, Joseph Horn, George Spealman, James Spealman

Section 30 - John Treaster, Brice Evans, Jasper Evans

Section 31 - John Spindler, Edward Spindler, Lonzo Spindler, John Ashliman, Elmer Listen, Ephrim Detter,  ? Detter

Section 32 - Amos Conley, Milo Beam, ? Chester"


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Going Off to College in 1895


Where Defiance Young People Will go to Learn.

The following is a partial list of the Defiance young people who will attend colleges to secure a higher education this winter:

Miss Nellie Kettenring, Delaware, O.
Miss Bessie Switzer, Delaware, O.

Miss Emma Lewis, Glendale, O.

Miss Francis Wilhelm, Washington, D. C.

Clinton Seither, Ann Arbor, Mich.
R. T. Holgate, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Ab. Rummell, Chicago School of Pharmacy

George Farrell, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Richard Sutphen, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Fred Wood, Cornell University

Roy Coombs, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Miss Minnie Davis, Oxford, O.

Earl E. Enos, Ohio State University

(Defiance Democrat, September 1895)

Defiance College graduating class of 1895 (Defiance College, Pilgrim Library Archives)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Jacob Coy, the Statement of an Early Settler of Defiance County

This article is jam-packed with potential genealogical help.  Even though we can't always count on a person's memory or a newspaper article for actual facts, what is presented here could be very good leads for further research.

Biographical Sketch of Jacob Coy

"Jacob Coy came to Defiance Co, then Williams Co. on the 18th of Sept. 1831.  He entered the land on which the present Town of Evansport now stands & also Replogle's big bottom - 139 acres in all.  

Jacob: 'This was State Land and I entered it on April 1831.  Myself, John Snider, Jacob Hall and Adam Coy (my brother) came in April of 1831, located and entered our lands, and we all moved our families here in the fall of 1831.  Snider entered the land where he now lives.  Hall entered the land where Thomas Rethmell now lives.  

My mother's family, at the time of my removal here, consisted of my Mother (died at the age of about 83 or 84), myself, (one) sister and two Bros.  My mother (Mary Coy) entered the land where Chas. Skimmer now lives.  My father (John Coy) was born in Beaver Co., Pa. in 1787, died in Greene Co., Ohio, Beaver Creek Twp, about 1827.  Was about 40 years old when he died (was a German).  My mother's married name was Mary Jones.  She was born on Red-Stone River, Ky., in 1789, died at Evansport, O.  Her nationality was Scotch Welsh.  Her father was a Welchman and her mother was a Scotchwoman (the largest woman I ever saw).

My Grand-parents on my father's side both came from Germany - they were high dutch.  My Grand-father's first name was Jacob.  I was named after him - his father died in Germany and his mother died at sea when on the way to this country.  The Captain of the boat claimed the passages was not paid & my Grandfather and Grandmother (who were children in different vessels) were sold to pay their passages.  My Grand-father died in Beaver Creek Tp., Greene Co., O. at the age of 102 yrs. 4 mo. and 18 days.  My Grand-Mother died at the same place at about the age of 100 yrs.  I can't tell exactly.  They lived together as man and wife about 75 years.

My Grand-mother's first name was Susana, but I can't tell the surname.  They both belonged to the German Reformed Church.  My Grand-father made a will dividing his lands equally between his children.  Most of his land was deeded to children before he died.

My father's family consisted of ten children - two died in infancy.  The remaining eight are as follows - 1st Susana Coy, Eldest of family - 2 Jacob Coy - 3 Adam Coy - 4 John Coy - 5 Caleb Coy -6 Nancy Ann Coy - 7 Andrew Coy - 8 Mary Coy.  My father and mother were married in Sugar Creek Twp., Greene Co., O.  Can't give date of marriage.

Jacob Coy family - Was married to Mary Ann Schenk in Beavercreek Twp., Greene Co., O. on the 7th Jany 1829 and moved to Defiance Co., then Williams, in 1831. (September 18)  When we moved here we had one child, a son, 7 mo. old named John W. Coy.  We settled on the land on which Evansport now stands.  We raised a family of 13 children.  I was married in my 23 year.  My wife in her 19 year.  I was born Feby 20th, 1807.  My wife was born Aug. 19, 1811.'

This statement was made by Jacob Coy and written by myself and read over to said Coy after all was written on the 24th day of May A.D. 1881 at my office in the town of Defiance, O.  (signed, John P. Cameron)

The object of this statement was to obtain a statement of one of the early pioneers of this county together with a brief history of his ancestry and descendants.   JPC

At the time of this statement Mr. Coy was in his 75th year of his age."

 (from The Coy Family by Jean Coy Bartholomew and republished in the "Yesteryears Trails", the newsletter of DCGS, Summer 1982, Vol. 1, No. 3) 

www.findagrave.com   Evansport Cemetery

"Death of Jacob Coy
Defiance County Pioneer Suddenly Called to His Reward

Jacob Coy, father of Councilman D. W. Coy and Dr. M. C. Coy, of this city, died at his home in Williams County, one mile northwest of Evansport at 6:30 o'clock, Thursday evening, December 9.  Had he lived until next March, he would have been 91 years of age.
Mr. Coy passed away suddenly of heart failure.  He ate his supper in his usual good health, but soon after began to smother and in half an hour was dead.

The funeral was held Sunday afternoon at the Evansport M. E. church.  Deceased had been a member of that church since he was 23 years old.  

Mr. Coy was a pioneer of Defiance county.  He was one of a family of eight brothers and sisters who located in Defiance county in 1831 and was the last one to die.  When he came to Defiance county, he entered land from the government on part of which the town of Evansport now stands and also what is now known as the Replogle farm.  Himself and Albert G. and Amos Evans laid out the town of Evansport.  He engaged in the flour and saw mill business for a number of years in partnership with his brother, John, and John Snider.

Later, in 1859, he bought the farm where he resided until he died, a 300 acre tract which is now one of the nicest farms in this section of country, disposing of his Evansport property.  When he bought it, it was nearly all covered with woods, which himself and sons cleared away.  

He was a lifelong Democrat, having cast his first vote for Andrew Jackson for President.  He married Mary Ann Shanks, who preceded him to the grave 11 years.  He leaves eight living children: Abe, Martin C., Mary Fager, Alvaro, Martha Johnson, Daniel W., Clint and Isaac."

(Defiance Democrat, December 16, 1897) 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Fourth at Ney, Ohio, 1894

From the Defiance Democrat - July 12, 1894


"Ney did herself proud...she fairly turned herself wrong side out July 4th, celebrating the Declaration of Independence.  The day was pleasant and not too warm and early in the day, the streets were full of people listening to the tuneful lay of the hokey pokey man* until the grand and only get-up-and-snort fantastic parade of improvised hoodoos** traveled about town.  An interesting feature was a party of 52 large and small girls dressed in the national colors, and each carrying a banner representing one of the states and territories.
   (*hokey pokey man =an ice cream vendor) (**those who bring bad luck, practice voodoo)

Wild Jim French
 Then Capt. W. J. French or Wild Jim, the Texas cowboy and saddle king, performed feats of daring and skillful marksmanship with his Winchester rifle, rivaling Buffalo Bill and Dr. Carver in his instantaneous snap shots seemingly without aim, holding the rifle in every conceivable position, shooting with unerring aim objects thrown into the air.  One incident was shooting the ashes from a cigar held in the mouth of his cowboy companion whose name we did not learn.

After dinner, J. H. Hockman, Esq., of Defiance, delivered an able address suitable to the day.  The Ney band and choir furnished excellent music.  

The pony race between J. H. Kyle and Joe Ehlinger was easily won by Kyle.
The bicycle race between Eugene Conkey and Charley Davis resulted in Davis coming out second best.

The fat man's race furnished considerable amusement.  Orley Welker, Wes Kerns, and George Keller did their best, Keller winning, though Welker would have had a better show had the street not been so crowded that he could not pass Kerns and Keller.
A free for all footrace between Albert Motter, Charles Griner, Walter Stailey and Wild Jim's cowboy resulted in the latter's favor.  The race not being satisfactory, on the second trial, the cowboy again easily won. Walt Stailey being second best.

The wheelbarrow race was by Weston Welker, Charles Griner, and Lewis Motter.  Motter fell down and Griner running into him, gave the race to Welker.
The sack (race) was between Arty Doud, Lewis Motter and Walter Stailey and was won first heat by Stailey, second and third were draws, and the fourth was won by Motter.

The pie eating contest between Pete Donley and Ora Coy was won by Donley.
The greased pole was climbed by three or four small boys, the last of which performed some gymnastics upon reaching the top.

The mule race between William Figley and Frank Botterf was very comical, the latter gentleman not being 'in it' at all, in spite of wearing out a telegraph pole upon his noble steed.
The minstrel troupe also gave a sample of their burnt cork talent. 

 After supper, fireworks were indulged in.  Several fancy balloons were sent up, and after a few rockets and pinwheels had been placed on exhibition, sparks ignited the box containing the fireworks which exploded with the noise of a cannon, and people fled from the shooting missiles in all directions.  The display would have been one of the finest ever seen in this part of the country, had not the deplorable accident occurred.

Marshall Bill Donley bossed the proceedings of the day, and, of course, he and everybody else was happy.  So may it always be."