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Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Price of War - Defiance Boys Who Sailed for France in Company G.

From the Defiance Democrat
         April 17, 1919


Had the armistice not been signed when it was, it is likely that very few of Company G would have returned to Defiance because orders had been issued for G company to go over the top the following morning, in event the armistice was not signed, and capture 89 German machine gun nests.

During the war, the old Defiance company had eleven different officers.  The company went into the terrible Argonne battle with three officers and came out with none.

Herewith follows a complete synopsis of the fifty Defiance county boys who belonged to G company when the organization sailed for France last summer.  This synopsis gives the present location of the boys.  This information was secured from Company G members at Toledo:

Capt. A. B. DeKay - Transferred.  Now in France.

Lieut. Douty - Transferred.  Now in France.

Lieut. Herbert Anderson.  Rose from rank of private to first lieutenant and had command of Company G when the organization went in battle of Argonne forest.  Was commissioned captain at this time but was mortally wounded Sept. 28, last, before receiving commission.  Wounded in two places in right leg with machine gun bullets.  Refused to allow stretcher bearers to carry him to rear, directing them to care for another wounded comrade first.  When stretcher bearers returned for him, he was dead, thought to have expired from loss of blood and exposure.  Buried in little orchard between Iviory and Clerges, France.
www.findagrave.com - Riverside Cemetery, Defiance

Sergeant Albert C. Hedricks.  Well and still with G company.
Sergeant Otis D. Little - Well and still in France, being with an auto unit.
Sergeant Arthur Rothenberger.  Transferred to F company. Well.
Sergeant Henry A. Flentje - With G company.  Well.
Sergeant Jesse D. Bates -  With G company.  Wounded.  Well.
Sergeant John R. Small - Wounded, in hospital at Camp Sherman
Sergeant John W. Simendinger - With G company.  Well
Sergeant Fred McFeters - Killed in Argonne, Sept. 28, last.
Sergeant Harry R. King - In hospital at Hoboken.  Sick.

Corporal Wm. H. Dixon - Wounded, in base hospital 78, France
Corporal Charles Schellenbarger - Transferred.

Sergeant Robert E. Anderson - With G company. Well.
Sergeant Orville Rangler - Killed in Argonne, Sept. 28, last.  Location of grave unknown.

Corporal Ralph Willis - Wounded in Argonne, in hospital.
Corporal Walter G. Wirick - Transferred to H company
Corporal Glenn H. Camp - Transferred to supply company.

Sergeant Ray Cubberly - With G company. Well.
Sergeant Arthur F. Foelker - With G company. Well.

Corporal Garrett A. Fitzwater - Wounded in Argonne, Sept. 28, last, in hospital in France.
Corporal Raymond Slough - With G company. Well.
Corporal Dewey G. Karnes - Wounded in Argonne, Sept. 28, last, now in states
Corporal Melvin Schlosser - With G company. Well.

Cook - James Campbell.  In hospital with pneumonia
Cook - Harry B. Curtland.  With G company. Well.

Mechanic - Carl H. Bristol - With G company.  Well.
Mechanic - Alvin P. Karr - With G company. Well.
Mechanic - Grover Wisda - Wounded in Argonne, with G company, recovered.

Corporal Byron Bennett - With G company. Well.
Fred Bruback - With G company. Well
Corporal John M. Conroy - With G company. Well.

Jesse O. Essex - G company. Well
Virgil H. Finney - G company. Well.
John H. Funk - G company. Well
John Figley - Transferred to H company
Virile H. Hubbard - Wounded in Argonne, in the states
John Hale - Practically well from gas. G company
Clarence J. Hammersmith - Transferred to supply company

Corporal Ezra J. Hammon - G company. Well.
Corporal R. C. Parcher - G company. Well.

Dewey Reynolds - G company. Well
Denzil C. Smith - Wounded in Argonne, whereabouts unknown
Clayton French - G company. Well.  Anxious to get back to Defiance and organize a baseball team to take Bun's Veterans across.

Christy Smith - G company. Well and anxious for a cold bottle of Centennial Export.
Hollie J. Smith - Killed in Argonne. Buried beside Lieut. Anderson.
Clinton Ward - G company. Well.

Corporal A. Ward - G company. Well.
Sergeant Earl B. Wells - G company. Well.
Bert Prosser - Transferred to the Headquarters.  Well.
Ambrose Imber - G company. Well.
Clyde Morse - Transferred to E company. Wounded in Argonne.  In hospital in states.

Toledo, April 11 - With bayonets flashing, clad in their field uniforms, carrying their army jackets and wearing steel helmets, the 147th Regiment, which included Company G and the Sixth Regiment band of Defiance, looked that they were heroes as they paraded in Toledo today, and received the applause of the many thousands from Toledo and Northwestern Ohio who had gathered to welcome the boys.  The crowds assembled along the line of march cheered lustily the returning soldiers.

With about a third of their number absent, because of being killed in battle and lying wounded in hospitals, the demeanor of the returned soldiers betrayed to the civilian the evident fact that these youths had undergone one of the severest tests that Ohioans ever faced. There were some of the boys who helped capture Montfaucon, that heavily fortified hill in the Argonne forest which German, French and British strategists said could never be taken by assault.  It was in the Argonne that Lieut. Herbert Anderson, Sergeant Orville Rangler, Sergeant Fred McFeters and Hollie Smith of Defiance laid down their lives.  

Co. G boys were among those who swam the Scheldt river in Belgium under a withering machine gun fire.  This movement of the 37th Division, making possible the turning movement of the northern end of the line which was followed by negotiations for the armistice.

Only about half of the Defiance boys who sailed for France, last summer, were with Co. G when the boys arrived in Toledo at midnight Thursday.  The names of those returning follow: Albert Hedricks, Henry Flentje, Jesse Bates, John Simendinger, Robert Anderson, Ray Cubberly, Garrett Fitzwater, Arthur Foelker, Raymond Slough, Johnson Cavanaugh, Dewey Karnes, Melvin Schlosser, Harry Curtland, Carl Bistol, John Hale, Alvin Karr, John Conroy, Grover Wisda, Bryan Bennett, Fred Bruback, Jesse Essex, Virgil Finney, John Funk, Ezra Hammon, R. Virgil Parcher, Dewey Reynolds, John Ward, Clinton Ward, Earl Wells, Christie Smith, Clayton French.

There are other Defiance boys in the 147th who are in other units, among them being Garth Weise, Glenn Camp, John Figley, Clarence Hammersmith. 
Only seven Defiance men remain with the Sixth Regiment band, Wm. Tragnitz, Wm. Pracht, Ted Blue, Francis Shondel, Amos Hill, George Stitsel and Lawrence Cox.

The Sixth Regiment Band led the parade today while the Elks, Girls and East Side bands were heartily applauded.  Defiance was so largely represented in the procession that a Cincinnatian said it looked as much a Defiance parade as a Toledo affair."

Check the Ohio Memory photos for more of Company G.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The First Bride in Defiance County - Elizabeth Williams


Mrs. Elizabeth A. Churchman, born Nov. 8, 1821, died Feb. 22, 1895.  Such are the dates marking the opening and closing of an eventful life.  A life, the history of which is always encircled with the halo of purity and usefulness.

Her maiden name was Williams.  She was born near Alexandria, Va. and came with her parents to this county when quite young and settled near Brunersburg.  For a number of years, she was engaged in teaching school in the vicinity.

She was united in marriage with Samuel C. Sullivan, June 12, 1845.  They being the first couple married in Defiance county.  Mr. Sullivan was killed by a falling tree on Feb. 11, 1848.  Their three children, viz: Mrs. Joshua Domer, Mrs. Fred Chase, and Mrs. Daniel Marckel, all live in this township.

In 1850, she was married to Thos. Churchman.  One son, Walter W., was born to them who met his death by drowning in the Tiffin River when about 24 years of age.  Mr. Churchman died some years ago, leaving her a widow a second time.

Thus has one of the pioneer ladies left her history.  She was very generally respected by all who knew her. During her lifetime, she has been a devoted member of the German Baptist church.  The last obsequies were observed at the Dunkard church last Monday.  Rev. Hesiton of Van Wert conducted the services.  The remains were laid at rest in their cemetery on the Ridge."

(Defiance Democrat, March 1895)

www.findagrave - Elizabeth Williams Churchman, Nov. 8, 1821 - Feb. 22, 1895, Poplar Ridge Cemetery, Defiance County

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Stough - Spooner Tabernacle Sets Up in Defiance - 1911

Dr. Henry W. Stough, a well known evangelist of the time, and Professor D. L. Spooner, evangelist and song leader, visited Defiance in 1911.  Dr. Stough was an outspoken critic of corruption in government, the use of liquor and any other things he deemed immoral.  The traveling revival was loved by many and called sensationalism by others, but Defiance County people showed up for the services in large numbers. 
The tabernacle was erected in each city visited and the evangelists would stay anywhere from a week to two months or so. 

In May, 1911, a special train ran from Hicksville to Defiance to carry folks to the tabernacle services.  The Hicksville Tribune reported on May 25th:

"Trip to Defiance
Last Thursday evening, a special train was run from here to Defiance carrying a lot of people who wanted to attend the Stough-Spooner evangelistic meetings being held in that city.

A hundred and thirty people went and were accompanied by Hart's Boy Band, which led the procession up town and to the tabernacle.

At the courthouse square, they were joined by a long procession of students making all told over a half mile of marchers bound to the meeting.  The tabernacle overflowed with the large attendance and Stough treated them to one of his characteristic sermons.  Hart's Boys treated the assembly to a saxophone quintet and were greatly applauded and complimented.

The excursionists returned home about midnight greatly pleased with their trip and the meeting." 
As a promotion, Spooner and Stough toured Defiance County in June:

"Evangelistic Automobile Tour
Twenty automobiles containing ministers and citizens of Defiance and Hicksville will make a whirlwind tour of the county, holding 30-minute street meetings in all the towns ofthe county including Bryan, Thursday, June 1st, 1911.  
Their itinerary will be as follows:
Lv. Court House, Defiance - 8:00 a.m.
Ar. Sherwood 8:50 a.m.
Ar. Mark Center 9:40 a.m.
Ar. Hicksville 10:40 a.m.
Ar. Farmer Center 12:55 p.m.
Ar. Ney 2:00 p.m.
Ar. Bryan 3:00 p.m.
Ar. Evansport 4:15 p.m.

To stimulate Christian work in Defiance county, in connection with the great Stough-Spooner Tabernacle meetings now in progress in Defiance.  Evangelists Stough and Spooner will accompany them.  Don't fail to be on hand.
Public dinner will be served at the Presbyterian church by the ladies of the congregation. Price 35 cents."

Defiance Democrat, June 1, 1911


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tracking Ancestors Who Moved West

When researching, it's easy to lose track of ancestors who move out of an area.  Even if they appear in a census elsewhere, we must decide if those are, indeed, OUR ancestors. It was good local news when folks took off to try their luck "out west" and so newspapers remain a good source for such announcements.  This is one such article that appeared in the Defiance Democrat of April, 1898.


A party of Adams township people started on the B & O Tuesday enroute to York, North Dakota, where they will locate on farms.  The party consists of J. Domer, S. W. Domer, and Jacob Kintner, and their families. 

They loaded two car loads of furniture and belongings and started then on Monday.

J. Domer was out in Dakota last March, when he purchased 160 acres of land.  The other two gentlemen expect to purchase farms on their arrival there.

J. Domer has been the postmaster at Domersville for a number of years.  He leaves the office in the hands of John Kerns, who was assistant.

The departing people leave behind a host of friends who will wish them well in their new and frigid home."  

And in the March 24, 1898 edition:


Tuesday morning five young men of Noble township left for North Dakota, where they will take up their residence and engage in the honorable business of farming in that new country.  

Their names are Michael, Joseph, and Charlie Scheib, Frank Waltz and Clifford Hilton.  This paper wishes them a pleasant journey and abundant good luck in their new field of labor.  

Josh Domer, Henry Lehman, Homer Whitney and John Hornish started today for North Dakota to take up claims, if they like the country." 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Defiance County Pioneers - George W. and Amanda Meek Ury

This report of a fiftieth wedding anniversary gives the reader a history of the George Ury family, as well as a look at a teacher's life in the early years of the county.
Shortly after this appeared in the paper, George Ury died at the age of 74.  How wonderful that he could enjoy this gathering of his whole family!


"Wednesday, October 30, 1895, Mr. and Mrs. Geo. W. Ury, of Washington township, passed the fiftieth milestone of their wedded life and the occasion was fittingly celebrated.  The day was a perfect one and the children and grandchildren gathered at the old home to spend the day together.

Mr. Ury was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, July 9, 1821, and began teaching school when nineteen years old.  He married Miss Amanda M. Meek who was born in the same county, Aug. 3, 1826.  He came to Washington township and purchased the farm of eighty acres where they now reside.

Mr. Ury, with his young wife, came to Washington township, Nov. 1, 1847, and became a permanent settler, teaching school during the winter and farming during the summer months.  The first winter after he came to this township, he taught the winter term of three months for thirteen dollars per month, boarding himself.  Of the thirty-nine dollars thus earned, eighteen was paid in cash, being the amount of public money for the district, the remainder in produce.  In all, Mr. Ury taught thirty-five terms of school.  He held the position of County School Examiner for eight years, and although he has not been actively engaged in school work for twenty years, he still has a warm interest in the educational progress of the county.

To Mr. and Mrs. Ury were born eleven children, seven of whom are living: E. W. Ury of Defiance; G. D. Ury of Findlay; F. O. Ury and Mrs. O. B. Partee, Bryan; Mrs. Wm. Hall and Mrs. M. Gurwell of Tiffin township and Mrs. Irvin Chappins who resides at the old home.  

There are twenty-two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.  All of the children were present at the celebration except E. W. Ury who is sick.  The day was a very happy one and long to be remembered.

After all had arrived and family greetings and congratulations to this bride and groom of fifty years were over, an elaborate dinner was served which was no small feast of the day's pleasure.  Valuable presents were received, among which were two souvenir spoons in gold from I. G. Ury, of California, the only brother of Mr. Ury now living.

Speedily the day passed by and amid good wishes for many happy returns of the day to Mr. and Mrs. Ury, the company bid them good night."

Defiance Democrat - October 17, 1895 

Ney Cemetery - www.findagrave.com

Although part of this article was used in the newspaper anniversary report, the complete text in the 1883 Defiance County history book adds even more to the tale of the George and Amanda Melvina Meek Ury family. 

"George W. Ury was born in Fairfield. County, Ohio, July 9, 1821, and October 30, 1845, married Amanda M. Meek, who was born in the same county August 3, 1826. Their children are Laura A., Sarah J. (deceased), Angeline P., Elbridge W., George D., Freeman O., Franklin P. (deceased), Mina M. '(deceased), Hattie, John H. (deceased), and Alice M. 

Mr. Ury's paternal grandfather was born in Germany. His father, Christian Ury, was born in Maryland, in 1770, and married Catherine Stripe, a native of Pennsylvania. Their children were Jacob, Samuel, David, John, William, Lewis L., Isaac G., Nancy A., George W., the subject of this sketch, and Catherine.  Isaac now resides in Davenport, Iowa; Catherine, at Fort Scott, Kan.; Nancy (Phillips) in Tiffin Township. Lewis L. was a soldier in the late war; was killed near Fort Scott, Kan., by a bushwhacker, in 1865. Christian and Catherine (Stripe) Ury both died in Fairfield County, the former March 27, 1837, the latter in April, 1851.  Mrs. George W. Ury's parents, Jacob and Sarah (Smith) Meek, also both died in Fairfield County. 

The subject of this sketch came to Washington Township a single man, and purchased eighty acres of land; he then returned to Fairfield County, married and returned to Washington Township, November 1, 1847, and became a permanent settler. His brother, John was also an early settler, and died in this county. George W. began teaching at the age of nineteen years, and has taught thirty-five terms. The first winter after he came to this township, he taught the winter term of three months for $13 per month, boarding himself. Of the $39 thus earned, $18 was paid in cash, being the amount of public money for the district, the balance in produce. Andrew Bostater paid him in corn, John Donley in potatoes and cabbage, and H. H. Hannah furnished him with meat, these three being the principal contributors. 

Mr. Ury is now a well-to-do farmer and has passed his threescore years. He has never sued nor been sued, a record which is truly worthy of emulation. He held for eight years the honorable position of County School Examiner, and being a pioneer teacher, has always taken a warm interest in the educational progress of the county."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

James Fahy Outsmarts Thieves at Delaware Bend


A Pair of Them Raised Postmaster Fahy's Hands

Nervy Resistance Frustrated 
a Daring Robbery.

Two Masked Highwaymen Enter a Store at a Late Hour in Quest of the Proprietor's Money.

Delaware Bend, Nov. 15 - Robbers at Delaware Bend!
They attacked Postmaster James Fahy last Saturday evening, intending to take his money or his life, but failed to obtain either.

About 10 o'clock, Mr. Fahy, who runs a general store in the same building the postoffice is maintained, notified the people who customarily make the village store a rendezvous for social intercourse, that he was about to close his place for the night.  They observed the polite hint, and all vacated except a brother of Mr. Fahy, and he locked the door.

Mr. Fahy then placed his own money and the post office funds in a large pocketbook and put the book in an inside pocket of his coat.  About the time he had completed his arrangements for locking up the store and leaving for the night, somebody rapped on the window.  Supposing it to be a belated customer, Mr. Fahy opened the door to accommodate him.

Just as the door was opened, two small men, heavily masked, crowded themselves quickly inside with ugly looking bull dog revolvers, cocked and pointed full in the face of Mr. Fahy, and ordered him to throw up his hands.  One of the robbers thereupon immediately turned his attention to Mr. Fahy's brother and caused him to elevate his hands.

Then the foremost bandit, who was giving especial attention to the postmaster, made a move with one hand to reach inside of the intended victim's coat to take there from the coveted pocketbook.  At this, Mr. Fahy grabbed the hand which held the revolver and threw it up and as he did so, the weapon was discharged and the bullet whizzed by his ear.

This distracted the robber's attempt to secure the pocketbook and a scuffle ensued.  The robber shouted to his partner to shoot Mr. Fahy, and he did discharge his weapon two or three times, but he had to be careful how he pointed the missile, to avoid hitting his partner in crime.  As a result, the bullets all missed their mark, and no one was injured.

After a few seconds spent in the scuffle, during which the robbers failed to get any money, the bandits broke for the door and made their escape.  As they were leaving, they turned and fired, each one a shot into the store, but fortunately neither of the occupants were hit by the bullets. In turn, the Fahy brothers ran to the door and sent some revolver bullets after fleeing robbers, but without effect.

The population of Delaware Bend was by this time fully aroused and a posse was soon ready to take the trail of the robbers.  A messenger was dispatched to Defiance for Dr. E. L. Slough and his trio of bloodhounds.  Dr. Slough responded and reached the scene some time after midnight.  
The rain had interfered with the trail some which made it difficult for the dogs to follow, but they soon struck the track and, held with ropes by Dr. Slough and an assistant, started out through the fields north and west.

For about two hours in the rain and mud, the dogs followed around through the fields and woods, making a circuit of four or five miles, and finally brought up at a door of a dwelling not far from the store where the hold-up occurred, where the dogs stopped and barked at the door and would go no farther.

This was a poser for the men of the party who were assisting in the search, as they would not admit for a moment that the parties who reside there could be the guilty ones.  Besides, they said the male occupants of that house had been accompanying the searching party in the early part of the hunt.  The house was all dark and the hunting party did not arouse the inmates.

The party informed Dr. Slough that they believed his hounds had been switched off the robbers' tracks onto those of some of the searching party.  Dr. Slough did not enter into an extended disputation on that point, but as so much rain had fallen by that time as to wholly obliterate the robbers' trail, it was decided to make no further attempt.

The bullets fired by the would-be robbers, which were found in the store, were 44 caliber size.  Mr. Fahy did not recognize the robbers in any way.  But he admits he was too nervous and embarrassed when he first looked into the muzzles of these guns to give much thought to identifying his visitors and he was soon too busy dodging bullets and hanging onto his money to be able to do anything else." 

Defiance Democrat, November 18, 1897

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wonder Where it is Now?

Would it even be possible for it to have survived?

"An Old Deed.

Recorder Maxwell was the recipient of a relic Thursday in the shape of an old deed for record.

The instrument is given by the state of Ohio, Robert Lucas, governor, the first governor of the state,
to Jesse Donnelly, conveying the NE 1/2 of NE 1/4
of section 24, Washington twp. It is dated Jan. 9, 1834.

The consideration was $50. The deed had never been recorded and showed the faded and dilapidated effect of time's relentless hand.  The same property was transferred May 22, 1896, for a consideration of $1920.  The title continues in the Donnelly family."

According to the current plat map, the land is now divided between the Mack and Jesse families.

Defiance Democrat - February 11, 1897 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Defiance County Pioneers - Alonzo Krotz

Born on a farm in Mark Township in 1858, Alonzo Krotz lived in Defiance County his whole life.  He was a businessman in Defiance and contributed much to his community.  The Defiance Democrat ran his obituary and a report of his funeral in the December 2, 1897 paper.  Alonzo died on November 28, 1897.

Photo courtesty of one of Mr. Krotz's descendants


End Came Sunday at 4:20 p.m. 
of Typhoid Fever.

Defiance Suffers the Loss of a Prominent Citizen, Successful Merchant, and Highly Respected Man.

 The Defiance public was shocked late Sunday afternoon to learn of the death of Alonzo Krotz, the well known retail grocer.

Mr. Krotz had been sick for about three weeks, being first attacked with pleurisy.  This disease was brought under control by Dr. Thacker, but the patient, in his natural ambitious desire to attend to his business went out to the store too soon and suffered a relapse.  As a result, typhoid fever set in about ten days before he died.  The fever was of the most malignant type, attacking the nervous system and refused to yield to treatment.  Death came at 4:20 Sunday afternoon, Nov. 28.

Mr. Krotz was as well known as any resident of Defiance, and his death will be mourned by as wide a circle of friends as any man who could be taken by the hand of death.  His ambition and close attention to business were two traits which accounted for his commercial success.  Plain, honest, outspoken, charitable, his deeds of kindness and uprightness of character are known to the entire citizenship of Defiance, and especially to the large number of people who have patronized his store and have been associated with him in various ways.

The sympathies of the entire public go out to the afflicted family and relatives. In respect to his memory, the national flag was placed at half mast on the city building this morning. 

Alonzo Krotz was born May 7, 1858, on a farm in Mark township.  His age at death was 39 years, 6 months and 21 days.  While he was yet but a boy, the Krotz family moved to a farm in Noble township, about a mile west of Defiance, where his father still resides, though his mother has been dead about 27 years.

About 17 years ago, Mr. Krotz engaged in the grocery business in a little frame building at the corner of Clinton and Fifth streets, this city.  While the brick block was building which now adorns that corner and in which his store is now located was in course of construction, he did business in the room now occupied by Root's shoe store.  His business from a small beginning has flourished and grown until it is second to none in the city.

Mr. Krotz was married to Catherine Gorman, June 20, 1882, and seven children have blessed their union, of whom the youngest is 15 months old, as follows: Earl, Clara, Robert, Mildred, Edmund, Ralph, Evaline.

His father's family comprised 15 children, by two wives.  The first family numbered 11, of which Alonzo was one, as follows: Sarah, Hall, Fillmore, Charles W., Daniel F., Elizabeth Sanford, Lavina Welsh of Bellmore, O., George W. now dead, Alvario S. of Springfield, O., Lenford E. and Clara Roedel of Cheyenne, Wyoming.  The second family of four are Mary, Walter of Niles, O., Carl and Josephine.

Mr. Krotz served two terms as township trustee of Defiance township, and was on his third term as city councilman at the time of his death.  So well did he serve the people of his ward and the entire city, in fact, he was each time re-elected in spite of his emphatic protest.

Mr. Krotz was a man of more than ordinary physical power and vigor, having never been sick before his fatal illness, which fact accounts for his failing to be convinced by his doctor and family of the need for special care for himself when disease did attack him.  In his death, not only does his family experience an irretrievable loss, but the entire city keenly regrets his untimely taking off.

The funeral occurs Wednesday forenoon at 9 o'clock from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic church, of which he was a devout member, conducted by Rev. M. P. Kinkead.  Interment at Riverside cemetery."
Riverside Cemetery
A very detailed account of the funeral may be found in the same paper. Our Lady of Perpetual Help (St. Mary's) church was crowded and the candles and altars were draped in black.  Eight acolytes assisted as Rev. M. P. Kinkead led the High Mass and Requiem, followed by a funeral sermon paying tribute to Mr. Krotz. City council members served as honorary pall bearers, and the actual pall bearers were Ed. Myers, J. R. Wilhelm, R. W. Wortman, Ed. Brady, Peter Weigerding, and Chauncey Morse. The family, clerks and citizens rode in carriages to Riverside Cemetery for the interment.

Alonzo Krotz's wife, Catherine Gorman Krotz, lived on to the age of 57, raising their seven children by herself.  Whether she kept an interest in the grocery or not, I do not know. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hicksville to Antwerp, the Corduroy Road

State Route 49 between Hicksville and Antwerp was not always the smooth drive that it is now.  A discovery made in 1919 revealed the original roadway.

From the Defiance Democrat - September 18, 1919


Hicksville, Sept. 17 -

Workmen engaged in tearing up the roadbed on the Antwerp Pike within the corporation limits for the new concrete pavement found that it is still underlaid with a complete layer of corduroy which were placed there 80 years ago when this road was first built.

Original website for photo
 According to information given out by J. M. Collins, who has been a resident along this road for 74 years, he states that Hon. A. P. Edgerton, the founder of Hicksville, helped cut the timber to build this pioneer highway which at that time was built mostly of logs.  It is found that many of these logs are yet well preserved after all these years of being buried under the road bed."

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Human Fly Visits Defiance

In the first quarter of the twentieth century, there were several men in the country known for their wild climbs up tall buildings, using no ropes or other apparatus.  The most famous of these was dubbed the "Human Fly" by President Grover Cleveland around 1905, after the President witnessed Harry C. Gardiner climb up the 159 foot flagpole at Grant's Tomb in New York.

Gardiner used his climbing stunts to raise money for charities and for the war effort in World War I.  And, yes, he visited Defiance to climb the courthouse, a minimal challenge for him.  The Defiance Democrat reported on October 9, 1919:


Thousands of people witnessed Harry C. Gardiner, the Human Fly, climb the face of the court house Saturday evening and were amazed at the remarkable control this man of 48 years has over himself.

Gardiner made the climb from the ground to the very top of the steel flag staff that surmounts the clock tower and down to the ground again in nineteen minutes.

He hung his hat on one of the ornamentations that projects from the building and almost forgot it.  He retraced a few steps and recovered the headpiece while the crowd below smiled.

The collection amounted to about $25.  The exhibition was one of the best of its kind that has ever taken place in Defiance and was greatly enjoyed by a big crowd.

It has been estimated that Gardiner climbed about 700 buildings in his career which lasted until he was at least 58.  An account of a climb he did in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, at the age of 58 gives a summary of his career.
In the Gettysburg Times, July 28, 1927:

"HUMAN FLY TO SCALE BUILDING.  Harry Gardiner Will Climb Up and Down Front of First National Bank Building.

Harry Gardiner, 58 year old defier of death, will practice his 'originator of heart attack tricks' in Gettysburg, Saturday evening at 7:30 o'clock when he will scale the front of the First National bank building, stand on his head atop the cornice and do various other stunts and then climb down again, all without the aid of outside assistance.

'He'll stub his toe some day.'
 Newspaper scribes the country over talk of nervous  temperment and others, many of whom are classified as 'I told you so folk' have uttered that statement for 30 years - 'He'll stub his toe someday.'
And Harry Gardiner, human fly of the first order, lives on, defies death, thrills millions, and has - well, he's taken out his own insurance policy because insurance firms are not too anxious to have his policy.  And every day he seeks new skyscrapers to scale and hungers for the throngs to thrill.

Gardiner has fallen on two occasions.  In Columbia, South Carolina, he dropped 50 feet, breaking a few ribs and lacerating his scalp.  On another occasion, he tumbled 45 feet and tore a hole in his forehead.  But he keeps on climbing his way to the top of skyscrapers.

In Detroit, he jammed Cadillac Square, while he scaled the wall of a large hotel.  In New York he pulled himself to the top of the McAlpin hotel and in Philadelphia, he climbed City Hall, reached the 37 foot statue of William Penn, climbed on one leg, reached the bronze vest buttons, slid to one side onto the bottom roll of the frock coat, up an arm to the shoulder and thence to the hat brim, where he stood on his head while thousands stood in amazement and fear..."

Philadelphia City Hall with William Penn at the top

 What a thrill for the folks of Defiance to witness this well-known stuntman! The Detroit News reported in one story that Gardiner, wearing sneakers and his bifocals, would cross himself, say a prayer and then refuse to speak after that until he had completed his climb.  After a few of the other men billed as "human flies" fell to their death, New York was the first state to make it illegal to climb the facades of public buildings.