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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Philip Hahn - Bishop Post, G.A.R.

Philip (Phillip) Hahn moved into Defiance County in time to meet the 1860 census enumerator.  Previously living in Tuscarawas and Henry Counties, Philip and his two young children, Jacob - 1, and Elizabeth 6 months were in Richland Township in 1860.  His first wife, Elizabeth Hire, died in 1859, having been married only three years.  Luckily, the little family lived next door to his parents, Jacob and Barbara.

 So it was as a widower that Philip enlisted  in Company D, 14th Ohio Infantry on April 23, 1861, Philip signed up for a three months term of service.  He was discharged on August 13, 1861 and did not reenlist.  

After his release from the army in August, he wasted little time in remarrying to his wife's sister, Rebecca Hire, on November 3, 1861.  In the 1870 census of Richland Township, Phillip, 40, and Rebecca, 29, had children: Elizabeth - 10; Marietta - 7; William - 5; Barbara - 4; and Hariet - 1.  Apparently, little Jacob died between 1860 and 1870.  They would go on to adopt one more Hahn child who was orphaned at the age of two, Philip, who would appear with them in the 1880 census.  

Philip Hahn lived only until November 11, 1899.  This obituary appeared in the Defiance Daily Crescent on November 11, 1899.

www.findagrave.com noted Philip's burial in Riverside Cemetery, not Hire Cemetery.

 Rebecca Hire Hahn lived on until September 18, 1928.

"Mrs. Rebecca Hahn, 89, widow of Philip Hahn, died at home, 314 Second Street, after being sick for about eight weeks with the infirmities of age.  Born March 15, 1839.  Survived by two daughters - Mrs. Eliza Ort, 315 Wayne Avenue and Mrs. Jacob Filman, 318 E. Second Street.  Burial in Riverside."

 (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!)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Ney School, Washington Township

The Ney School (also known as Georgetown School, Sand Hill College and later Ney Junior High) was located near the intersection of State Route 15 and The Bend Road.  
The Daily Crescent-News published a story about the Washington Township Schools on April 17, 1909:

Washington Twp. - A Leader in Education

One of the best illustrations of the rise of the country schools is the Washington township school.  The new school building at Ney, erected at an expenditure of $10,000, has been completed and is now occupied and is one of the finest examples of a modern country school building in northwestern Ohio.

The new building houses the primary grades and the High School.  The Washington township High school is one of the few successful country high schools in the state.  The Washington township schools are graded similar to the city schools.

The Building

The building is of brick, two story, with a high basement.  There are four school rooms in the building.  A library is one of the features of the building.  The building is heated with a furnace and is modern throughout. J. I. Hale of this city was the architect.

 The Township Schools
The Washington Township schools are far ahead of the schools of neighboring townships in point of excellence and are in keeping in every way with the progressive spirit of Washington Township.  The township High School is located at Ney because it being the center of the township.  Mr. V. E. Hagy is superintendent of the township schools and also principal of the High School.

When Mr. Hagy first went to Ney, five years ago, there were but fourteen pupils in the High School.  During the five years, he has raised the standard of the high school and has built up a course of study which will do credit to any community.  With the betterment of the school, there has also been an increase in the enrollment until now forty-nine pupils attend the Washington Township High School...

Are Union Schools
The village of Ney does not support a school of its own.  The village and township unite in the support of the township and village schools.  The schools at Ney, in which is housed the High School, employs three teachers and the district outside of the village, seven instructors.  The total enrollment of the school this year is 385.

The Board
Much of the success of the Washington township school is due to the efforts of the Board of Education...The Board is composed of the following: C. F. Goller, President; John E. Garber, Clerk; Members - Christ Goller, A. J. Neiswender, H. A. Sell, F. H. Gipe, V. E. Hagy, Superintendent of Schools.

General Rules
-The Course of Study shall cover a period of eight years of thirty two weeks each.
- The school year shall be divided into two terms: the first covering the first four months and the second the remainder of the school year.
- A written examination shall be held at the close of each term and shall cover the term's work, according to the Course of Study.
- The questions for these examinations shall be prepared by the Superintendent and manuscripts shall be graded and promotions made in such manner as the Superintendent shall direct.
- No pupil shall be promoted to the next higher grade unless he shall have an average grade of at least 75 per cent with no grade below 60 per cent. (65 percent for the high school)
- The hours of daily sessions of the schools shall be from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a. m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
- The Literary Society shall hold meeting at least every four weeks, and such exercises are to be considered as regular school work, and grades shall be kept by the Principal.
- All pupils who complete this course with satisfactory results shall be entitled to a diploma.

Course of Study
The course of study in the primary departments are very similar to the courses in the city schools...reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, grammar, geography, history and physiology.
In the High School...Geography, History, Civics, Algebra, Composition and Rhetoric, Literature and Classics, Physiology, Geometry, Bookkeeping and Commercial Law, English and Latin..."

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Old Relic Found in HIcksville in 1899

Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln


Which Brings Up Some
Peculiar Recollections in Hicksville.

Tuesday morning while the teams were busy making the excavation for the pavement on High street, in the square formed by the crossing of Main, they took out the remains or stub of a hickory pole.

Old residents readily recalled that the late Hon. A. P. Edgerton had the pole placed there to float the Democratic colors during the Lincoln-Douglas campaign.  It was recalled that during a political meeting a horse became frightened, ran away, and striking the pole, broke his neck.  

As the discovery occurred on election day, the find brought forth a fund of stories of the past concerning the great campaign of the two political giants.
Hicksville News."

Defiance Democrat - November 16, 1899

The Lincoln-Douglas debates for President of the United States preceded the 1860 election.
 When the votes were tallied, Abraham Lincoln, of the Republican party, obtained all 23 electoral votes from Ohio.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Wesley W. Smith - Bishop Post, G.A.R.

Wesley William Smith was born in Crawford County on May 13, 1847.  He was 17 when he enlisted in Company B, 184th Regiment, Ohio on January 31, 1865.  

The unit was organized at Camp Chase for a one year term of service and was immediately ordered to Nashville for garrison duty.  By March 21, 1865, they were on the move to Bridgeport, Alabama, where part of the group protected a railroad bridge across the Tennessee River and the others guarded the railroad track between Bridgeport and Chattanoga.  By July, they were back on garrison duty until mustered out on September 20, 1865 in Nashville.
Wesley served 8 months duty. 

Wesley was the son of Alexander Smith and Barbara Schillings, according to his death record.  In 1872, he married Elizabeth Relue and together they would have six children.  The couple settled in Richland Township where they were enumerated on the census from 1880 on until their deaths.  

Wesley was a house carpenter and his eldest son, George, also followed the trade.  In 1909, Elizabeth Relue Smith died of dropsy (edema, congestive heart failure,) so in the 1910 census, Wesley was noted to be widowed and 62 years old.  With him were son, George - 32, and daughter, Icie - 18, and a servant, Dillie Sorgenfrei, 22.

By 1920, George was listed as the head of household and he had married Tillie.  Still in the house were Wesley, 72, still working as a carpenter, and Icie, 25.  Just two years later, Wesley died.

 He was buried near his wife and several children who preceded him in death.

Independence Cemetery        www.findagrave.com

(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!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Murder in Milford Township - 1900

Sylvester Steele, a widower of eight years, often visited with his friends, Mr. and Mrs. William Davis who lived on Arthur Street in Hicksville.  It was all very innocent until the day that Mr. Davis came home unexpectedly and found his wife sitting on Sylvester's lap.  Davis was angry and later confronted his wife who claimed that nothing improper was going on.  But the suspicions were there...

Six months later, Mrs. Davis left her husband and moved in with their daughter, Mrs. Charles Smith, who lived in Milford Township.  Davis blamed it all on Steele, and he stormed and threatened to shoot his old friend.  Eventually, however, things cooled and Sylvester Steele promised to stay away from Mrs. Davis...but he didn't.  

Steele would show up on Saturday nights at the Milford home and stay over until Sunday with Mrs Davis.  In the meantime, Davis was frantic with jealousy and could not be pacified.

"Last Saturday evening, April 7th, about 7 o'clock, as Sylvester Steele, of Hicksville, aged 61, was about to enter the house of Charles Smith, who resides on a farm six and one-half miles north of Hicksville, in Milford township, a gun cracked and Steele's body was pierced with a bullet.  

He stepped into the house, addressed a remark to Mrs. Wm. Davis, saying, 'Oh, Ma. I'm shot!" and sank down in a chair near the door.  He was in a dying condition and was soon recognized by the occupants of the room to be in the throes of dissolution.  Those present assisted in laying him down on the floor where in less than five minutes, he was dead, blood flowing profusely from his mouth, as a result of the wound from the bullet which had pierced his body.

Defiance Democrat - April 12, 1900
The shooting was done by William Davis of Hicksville, aged 53; and the shootist is now in the county jail in Defiance where he will be held to answer for the crime, of which he freely confesses he is guilty...

Last week Davis resolved to put an end to the liason between Steele and his wife.  On Thursday, Davis borrowed a 22 calibre rifle from a Hicksville man named Lower, in preparation for the killing, and on Saturday afternoon walked out to the Smith home to await the arrival of Steele.  He had noticed Steel was 'fixened up' (meaning dressed up) about the streets of Hicksville Saturday morning and was thus assured he was intending to pay a visit to the Milford township retreat that evening.

Davis arrived in the vicinity of the Smith home two hours ahead of his wife's paramour and secreted himself in the woods near by to await his coming.  As darkness came on, Davis drew near the house and hid behind a wagon.  Finally when it had grown quite dusk, Steele appeared and walked up to the door of the house, where, as he stood on the step, with his hand on the latch, Davis, who had changed his position to a point about twenty feet distant, pulled up his gun and fired...

Davis said it was too dark for him to take aim, but that he could see the outline of Steele's person and he pointed the gun at him and pulled the trigger.  Charles Smith, Davis's son-in-law in Milford township...says Davis told him Saturday morning that he would have Steele's and Mrs. Davis's heart's blood and would then kill himself.

The Smith family, being aware of the threats which Davis had made against Steele at once suspected it was Davis who had fired the fatal shot and expected Davis would stay in that vicinity to get a shot at Mrs. Davis, so they sent word to Hicksville for officers."

W. W. Wilson (Sheriff), Harvey Anderson, Carl Diffenbaugh, Benjamin Steel and William Steele (Sylvester's sons) went out to the Smith house to look for Davis, as did Marshall Sensenbaugh of Hicksville.  But, as it turned out, Davis had gone home to Hicksville, and it was there he was found by the Sheriff on Sunday morning, calmly reading his newspaper at the table.  At first, Davis denied knowing anything about the crime, but after just a short time, he confessed to the intentional killing.

Many of the Hicksville people took Mr. Davis's side, feeling that his wife had treated him badly and it was a justifiable homicide.  It also caused a rift in the Davis family, as some of Mrs. Davis's children would not allow her to live with them due to the scandal.

Davis was indicted for second degree murder and languished in jail from April until August, 1900, when twelve men from Hicksville put together $4000 in bail money to get him out.  His health was failing, and he had a great deal of support in the Hicksville community.  

In July 1901, the indictment was nollified.  The prosecutor needed witnesses to testify who now lived in Indiana and "under Indiana law they can not be compelled to attend and testify in a criminal case in Ohio and they declined to come."  No depositions were allowed either, so Mr. William Davis was free!


Monday, March 21, 2016

The Pollywog School, Washington Township

District #1 School in Washington Township was known as the Pollywog School.  Located in Section 2, it stood at the intersection of Scott and Flickinger Roads.

The only photo that we have from that school was found in the Bryan Times in January, 1971, and donated by W. Crites showing the pupils in the 1905-1906 school year.

None of the students were identified, nor was the teacher.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Luther Black - Bishop Post, G.A.R.

Captain Luther Black's story is fully told on this www.findagrave.com site, 
taken from the Biographical Record of Wood County.

Captain Luther Black served in three units during the Civil War: 
Company K, 185th O.V.I,
 Company B, 21st O.V.I. and 
Company B, 144th O.V.I.
He was in the active military from April 1861 for three months, went home for a few years, and then started two of his own regiments and served until his discharge on September 26, 1865.  At one point, he was captured in Berryville, Virginia, and sent to Libby Prison in Lynchville as a POW. The conditions were harsh, with exposure to the elements and a lack of food.  

This painting by David Gilmour Blythe in 1863 depicted the conditions.

In his later years, he purchased a home on Holgate Avenue in Defiance, having lived mainly in Wood County previously.

Captain Luther Black died on December 23, 1910 in Defiance of pneumonia at the age of 74.  His funeral was held at his residence on Holgate Avenue, but then his body was shipped via train to Bowling Green where he was buried at the Oak Grove Cemetery there.
His obituary appeared in the local newspapers on December 28, 1910:


Captain Luther Black for many years a prominent citizen of Wood County, and for the past six years, an esteemed resident of Defiance, died Friday morning at six o'clock at his late residence on Holgate Avenue, after a long illness.

Captain Black was born in Washington township, Wood County, May,18, 1836, and is the son of John and Phoebe (Skinner) Black.  On his father's side, he is of Irish descent, his great-grandfather having emigrated from Ireland to this country at an early date.  On his mother's side, the grandfather was of Pennsylvania-Dutch stock and his grandmother was a native of Scotland.

In 1831, John Black removed to Wood County.  It was on his farm in Wood county that Luther Black grew to manhood, attending the schools of that locality and those at Waterville, and also the seminary at Maumee.  After leaving school, he taught for four years in the district schools of Wood County, and for two years in Champaign, Ill.  About this time, the whole world was electrified by the outbreak of the Civil War, and the patriotism of the young teacher caused him to lay aside his ferule (his paddle) for an army musket, and offer his services in defense of the stars and stripes. 

On April 27, 1861, he enlisted in Company B, 21st O.V.I., three months service, which was passed in Virginia, at the termination of which, his father having died in the meantime, he was obliged to return home in order to take charge of the family.  There he remained until 1864, on May 4, of which year he organized Company B, 144th O.V.I., of which company, he was made captain.  
While at Berryville, Va., he and seven of his men were taken prisoners by the rebels and sent to Lynchberg, thence to Libby prison where they suffered the horrors of slow starvation, and where all except himself and one other fell victims to cruel treatment.  

Three months after his capture, Captain Black was released by exchange, and his patriotic zeal being still unabated in spite of the terrible scenes through which he passed, he raised another company, of which he was also made captain.  This was Company K, 185th, O.V.I. which afterwards saw much service in Kentucky, in the vicinity of Cumberland Gap, where they had frequent skirmishes with the guerillas.  The regiment was mustered out at Lexington, Ky., in September, 1865.  

His career as a soldier being ended by the cessation of hostilities and the return of peace in the land, Capt. Black returned to private citizenship, and having in the meantime, purchased the old homestead, carried on farming for two years.  At the end of that time, he engaged in the drug business in Tontogany which he conducted some eighteen years, and then being elected county treasurer on the Republican ticket, he in 1881, removed to Bowling Green.  That responsible office he held for two terms, or four years, such being the limit of the law, fulfilling its duties in the most creditable manner.  The Captain then established himself in the clothing business, and for a time, was interested in the oil wells of Wood County.  On February 20, 1894, he sold out his clothing establishment, after which he gave much of his attention to his oil interests.  For a while, he was a member of the firm, Reese and Hazlett, who owned a number of productive wells, and did a thriving business.

In 1860, Captain Black was married to Miss Sarah J. Cameron, a native of New York State, who died three years later, leaving one child, Frank H., who was killed by a railroad accident when he was fourteen years old.  On January 16, 1873, the Captain married Miss Georgia A. Cooper, who was born in St. Lawrence County, N.Y.  To Captain and Mrs. Black were born two children, Mrs. Marie Froedlich of Defiance, and James L. Black, of Piqua, both of whom survive.  Mrs. Black died about one year ago.

The Captain is also survived by three sisters.  They are Elizabeth A., now the wife of A. P. Treadwell and lives near Hull Prairie, Wood County; Catherine, now the wife of Dr. A. Eddmon of Tontogany; and Mary, the wife of D.E.R. Wood of Belle Plaine, Kansas.

The Captain was a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church.  He was affiliated with the F. & A.M. Wood County Lodge, No. 112, a member of Crystal Chapter 157, and of the Toledo Commandery, K. T. of Toledo.

In politics, he has always been an ardent Republican, his first vote being cast for Abraham Lincoln, and he has never failed to deposit his ballot, save twice, first when he was in Libby prison and again in 1880, when he was too ill to go to the polls.  Captain Black was a delegate to the State Convention and was honored with election as alternative delegate to the National Convention to be held at St. Louis in June.  He served as president of the school board and of the gas board, and was a director of the American Foundry and Machine Company, also of the First National Bank of Bowling Green.  For a time, he was interested in gold mining in California, being identified with a joint stock company.  In every relation in life, Captain Black has borne an honorable part as a upright, patriotic, royal citizen.

About six years ago, the Captain purchased a large tract of land in the vicinity of Defiance, and took up his residence on Holgate Avenue, where he lived at the time of his death.  The funeral arrangements will be announced later." 

(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!)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Membership Time!

Please Consider Joining the 
Defiance County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society

  • Four great newsletters a year  
  • Special pricing on copying at Office Max 
  • Defiance County Research Guide 
  • Free Queries in our newsletter

Plenty of opportunities to volunteer and lots of fellow genealogists to help in your research, if needed.

and more information.
$12 single membership - yearly
$15 family membership - yearly
(Add $5.00 to cover postage expenses if you want a paper copy of the newsletter delivered by USPS.)


MARCH 28, 2016 - Dan Hasch will present
7 p.m.
St. John United Church of Christ, Defiance
Defiance County

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Nick Conomos's Fabulous Candy Store on Clinton Street

Defiance Daily Crescent News - December 18, 1911

Some Defiance folks may fondly remember a trip into Nick Conomos's candy store, the Greek Candy Kitchen, located on Clinton Street.  It must have been a delicious place to visit!

Nicholas George Conomos opened his confectionary shop in 1904 in Defiance.  He was described by one newspaper as "an ambitious, young candymaker, easily recognized by his bushy, black, Balkan-style mustache."

Nick Conomos immigrated to America in 1894 and first settled in Pittsburgh.  From there he moved to Dayton where he worked as a candy maker in a confectionary.  His next stop was Mansfield where he and a partner opened their own shop; he was 23.  This partnership lasted one year before Nick bought out his partner and moved to Lima where he opened his own store there and one in Van Wert.

His next venture was in Defiance in 1904 where he opened his third store, but in 1907, he sold all but the Defiance store.  He and his wife, Margaret, took up residence here and their three children grew up here.  He moved the store once from the 200 block of Clinton to 318 Clinton Street.  He did briefly open another store at 502 Clinton in 1937, but because of the war, he could not get sweets enough to stock two stores so he closed it.

Defiance Crescent-News - February 17, 1954

Nick registered for the World War I draft at age 39, and the World War II draft when he was 62.  The second draft registration gave his birthplace as Colinas, Greece and birthdate as May 5, 1878.

His residence was at 118 East High Street and his description of himself included his height as 5'6", his weight at 165, with gray hair and brown eyes.

In 1954, when Nick was 76, the candy store's 50th anniversary was celebrated with a three day hoopla where nickel sundaes were highlighted.  Prices on all ice cream products were marked down to their 1904 prices. By that time, he had added a soda fountain and sandwiches to his offerings.

Nicholas George Conomos died in June, 1969, at the age of 91, much missed by the community he served so faithfully.

Riverside Cemetery       www.findagrave.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Maple Grove School, Washington Township - 1903

The Maple Grove School stood in Section 27 of Washington Township, two miles south of Ney on the Bend Road at the corner of Blosser.  

 Only Connelly children have been identified: Back row - girl with x on the right  - Cleo Connelly.  Second row - boy with x -Walter Connelly.  First row: girl with x on the left - Susie Connelly and girl with x on the right side - Ida Connelly, both with question marks.
Photo donated by D. Connelly. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Andrew Tennyson - Bishop Post, G.A.R.

Andrew (Andy) Tennyson was just 16 when he enlisted in Company B, 153rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry towards the end of the war.  He was a Huntington County boy who signed up in Wabash, Indiana on January 28, 1865; he would turn 17 in February of that year. 

 His unit of 1033 men mustered in in Indianapolis and then headed out for service in Kentucky. 
 Andy was discharged on September 4, 1865 in Louisville, Kentucky.

After returning home, he moved to Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, to begin his civilian life.  There he married Elizabeth Maris in 1868.  The couple was enumerated on the 1870 census there and Andrew was working as a day laborer. 

No trace could be found of them in the 1880 census or of him in the 1890 veterans census.  But, at some point, his wife Elizabeth died and Andy caused quite a scandal in Paulding County. 

Defiance Daily Crescent - April 8, 1889
A divorce must have occurred because Mrs. Brown (Anna) and Andrew Tennyson were married that July 21, 1889.  

In 1900, Anna and Andy were in Auglaize Township, Paulding County, Ohio. Andrew, 52, worked as a ship carpenter, and Anna, 42, reported that they had been married ten years.  They had one child, Hazle B. who was 8. 

Finally, by 1910, they had made their way to Defiance, Ohio, where they lived at 1110 Perry Street.  Andrew, 63, a house carpenter, and Anna, 52, reported a 22 year marriage; both had been married twice. 

In 1915, Andy made the newspapers again due to a domestic dispute with his son-in-law, presumably Hazle's husband.
Defiance Democrat - January 21, 1915

In the 1920 census, Andy was enumerated alone...widowed and with no occupation.
 Andrew Tennyson died on May 8, 1924.  The funeral services were held at his Deatrick Street home with members of the GAR as honorary pallbearers and World War I veterans carried the body to the gravesite.

(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!)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Defiance Tick Mitten Company

Partial photo showing the Defiance Tick Mitten Company.  Full panoramic photo may be viewed .HERE
The first mention of the Tick Mitten factory was in the newspapers of 1899.  It appeared that the mittens and gloves were made of ticking, perhaps lined in flannel and proposed to be waterproof and very warm. Some writers referred to them as "canvas gloves."

By 1908, there were actually three different mitten / glove factories in Defiance:
The Defiance Tick and Mitten Company, with its main factory in Toledo;
The Defiance Glove and Mitten Factory and
Superior Glove and Mitten Factory.  

In 1912, the girls who worked at the factory staged a small strike over wages, but it was short-lived.  The managers quickly made adjustments that were acceptable to the ladies.

Looking through the 1910 census at those employed by the mitten factories, it appeared to be largely single women, younger than 25, with a few errand boys and a few men who were bookkeepers or managers of some kind.  The census offered up this sampling of names employed in the factory, but there were many, many more:
Margaret Arens, 22, sewing girl
Tillie Balskey - 36, forelady
Laura Bates, 21, sewing girl
Sarah Biles, 17 (all that follow are sewing girls)
Mildred Biles, 15
Elsie Bensyder, 17
Allace Brewer, 18
Margurite Brown, 17
Lillie Brown
Della Chubb 16
Esther Conroy, 16
Maude Daubel, 19
Bessie Daubel, 16
Josephine Dehaus, 20
Rosa Diringer, 19
Minnie Durke, 20
Bertha Dunkelbarger, 19
Goldie Dunkelbarger, 18
Lillian Durrah, 23 (manager)
Lee Durrah, 15 (errand boy)
Harry French (clerk)
Louisa Goldfuss, 14
Bessie Desgranges, 17
Lucy Greaser, 18
Esther Greaser, 16
Regina Grossell, 24
Francis Grossell, 20
Mable Grube, 15
Louisa Hehr, 27
Goldie Healy, 23
Frank Hall, 22 (bookkeeper)
Nettie Hartman, 25...etc.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lower Chickasaw School, Washington Township

The Lower Chickasaw School was located in Washington Township, as opposed to the Upper Chickasaw located in Farmer Township.  

Located at the intersection of US 127 and Route 249, Lower Chickasaw was in Section 18 and was District #4.  At one time Route 249 was called the Chickasaw Pike, and both schools sat along that route.



It appeared that the teacher's photo had been taken off or somehow marked out.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

William A. Kehnast - Bishop Post, G.A.R.

William August Kehnast was an immigrant from Germany who bettered himself through education and hard work.  He had a patriotic spirit and a zest for travel and adventure and entrepreneurship. 

He served his country as a private in Company E of the 9th Ohio Cavalry, in which he enlisted on August 5, 1863 - his second try at enlisting as he was deemed too small and young (16) the first time.  William served until the end of the war, a total of 2 years and 3 months.

The Commemorative Biographical Record of Northwestern Ohio, including the counties of Defiance, Henry, Williams and Fulton, published by J. H. Beers & Co in 1899, gave an outstanding summary of William's life:

 William August Kehnast

"Mr. Kehnast was born March 17, 1847, in the village of Mohrenbach, Thuriengen, Germany, near the city of Erfurt, Germany.  Christian Kehnast, his father, was a prosperous business man and a manufacturer of cloths, while his mother, Henrietta (Haueisen) Kehnast, was a member of a wealthy and prominent family of that place.  They were highly respected in the community, were members of the Lutheran church, and carefully reared their children that they might grow up honest and useful citizens.  They both died in Germany, the parents of five children.

Amid such surroundings, our subject was reared until the age of thirteen, from the age of six attending school.  The lad, however, was of an ambitious, aspiring nature, and when very young, had conceived a strong desire to travel and visit faraway lands, so much so that when a brother, August Kehnast, who had been a resident of near Tonawanda, Erie county, New York for some six years, worte to his home in Germany, requesting that young William A. should come to him in America, the latter gladly availed himself of the chance.  His mother was then a widow, her husband having died two years previously; so our subject, with his mother's consent and blessing, embarked at Bremen on a steamship bound for New York, where, then a lad of thirteen summers, he arrived in June, 1860, and at once proceeded to the home of his brother in Erie county, New York, at which time he could speak no English.  Determined to learn, however, the following winter, he attended an English school.

In the spring of 1861, he, with his brother and brother's family, migrated west to Henry county, arriving at Florida in that county, March 17, 1861, his brother locating on a farm near that town.  But in May of that same year, our subject, still being desirous of learning and laying the foundation for possible success, went to Florida, Ohio, and accepted employment in a grocery store, for six months, working for little or nothing, learning rapidly, however, not only the English language, but the business methods of the country which at that time was worth more to him than high wages. 
He was subsequently employed a short time in a grocery store at Napoleon, Ohio, and in the summer of 1862, he came to Defiance, Ohio, becoming a clerk in the grocery store of J. B. Weisenberger, during the winter attending school.

This was the second year of the Great Rebellion, and the German lad had become so strongly inbued in the patriotic spirit of the times, that he was anxious to become a soldier in the Union cause. Consequently, on an occasion in 1862, when a party of volunteer soldiers were leaving Defiance for the front, without notifying his employer,he boarded the railroad train with them.  On arriving at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, he wanted to be sworn in as a soldier, but on account of his size and youth, the officers refused to accept him. 
He was then 'in a fix' with no money to take him back home.  He had been there about a week when one morning, he was pleased to receive a letter from Mr. Weisenberger, requesting him to return to Defiance, also promising him increased wages.  He, at once, returned and returned work in the grocery.

With Mr. Weisenberger, he continued until the summer of 1863, but he had war fever being still strong in his heart, he one day informed Mr. Weisenberger that he was going to enlist, and with a fellow clerk and comrade, Maurice Welsh, proceeded to Toledo, Ohio, and there enlisted August 5, 1863 in Company E, 9th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, which company was soon sent to Camp Dennison.
The regiment was organized and mustered in, and soon was sent to Louisville, Kentucky, whence it marched through Tennessee to Athens, Alabama.  At that point, Mr. Kehnast was detailed as orderly on the staff of Gen. Dodge, then Commander of the Left Wing of the Sixteenth Army Corps, in which position,he (William) served until disabled, when he was sent to the hospital at Nashville, Tennessee, thence to Cleveland, Ohio.  

Having recovered sufficiently, he made a visit to Defiance on a short furlough, and was then ordered to report at Louisville, Kentucky. He was anxious to rejoin his old company and regiment, but on reaching Louisville, he was ordered on detached duty, to act as train guard on the railroad train running back and forth on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, between those two cities.  In this position he was kept until the close of the war, during which time all his wages were sent to Mr. Weisengerber.  

On July 26, 1865, he was honorably discharged and mustered out at Columbus, Ohio, whence he immediately left for Defiance, arriving there during the night, and the very next morning, resumed the work for Mr. Weisenberger.

In that occupation, he remained until the spring of 1867, by which time he had accumulated sufficient capital to buy a half interest in a grocery store at Defiance, the firm becoming Wolfrum & Kehnast.  This was a successful venture and was continued until 1870 when he sold his part of the business, and purchased a half interest in a hardware business of J. H. Vevington.  Mr. Kehnast associating himself with C. F. Switzer under the firm name of Switzer & Kehnast.  This enterprise developed into a very extensive, successful business, becoming the leading store in its line and carrying a larger stock than any other store of its kind in Defiance.

In 1875, having acquired a prosperous large business and earned a vacation, Mr. Kehnast made a visit to the native place, and again met his aged mother and renewed old and loved associations.  This proved to be the last time parent and son met as the mother was laid to rest four years afterward.  During the trip to the Fatherland, Mr. Kehnast visited many places of historic interest, including Wartburg,where Luther was so long imprisoned and where he finished the translation of the Bible; the city of Berlin, at which place he visited his brother, Richard, then a soldier in the German army; thence went to Magdeburg and Cassel and saw the place Wilhelmhoehe where Napoleon III was imprisoned after his capture at Sedan in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870; to the historic cities of Darmstadt, Heidelberg and Frankfurt, then to Basel in Switzerland; from there to the famous city of Strassburg, into Carlsruhe, and later to the old and famous city of Worms, where he crossed the Rhine and returned to his native place. 

He afterward tarried awhile at the city of Hanover, from there proceeding to Bremen at which port, he embarked on a steamer for Southampton, England, where he spent a short time in viewing that city.  He then continued on his journey homeward by way of New York and arrived at Defiance after a most enjoyable three months' trip, invigorated and possessed of renewed energy to take up the cares of business.  The hardware store was continued under the firm name until the death of C. F. Switzer, January 21, 1886, when Mr. Kehnast bought the interest of his deceased partner and he has since carried on the business alone...
The family resides at 646 Jefferson street in a handsome and cozy home built by Mr. Kehnast in 1871." 

Mr Kehnast was a man much written of, so we continue his story in a piece from the History of Ohio by Charles B. Galbraith, Volume V, The American Historical Society, Chicago and New York, 1925.

"Thus he engaged in the hardware business and was a hardware merchant until 1915.  He was president of the Defiance Wholesale Grocery Company, but to a large extent is retired from the heavy responsibilities he once served.  He is former president and director in the Defiance Box Company and has various financial interests and investments.  Mr. Kehnast served as president of the Defiance Board of Education, and at the time of the world war was president of the Draft and Exemption board in Defiance County.

Mr. Kehnast married Miss Jennie Kniss who was born in Defiance and died in 1878.  In 1887, he married Lizzie Sauer.  Mr. Kehnast has two children by his first marriage: Nellie, a graduate of high school and widow of Godfrey Watkins of Defiance; and Minnie, a graduate of high school and the wife of Isaac savage of Detroit, Michigan.  
Part of the passport of William and Lizzie Kehnast, used on their 1922 trip to Germany to visit his brother and sister.

He is a member of the Lutheran church, Mrs. Kehnast being a member of the Reformed church.  He is affiliated with all the bodies of York Rite Masonry in Defiance and is a past eminent commander of Defiance Commandery, No. 30, Knights Templar.  He is a thirty second degree Mason and Shriner.  He is a member of the Golf Club, the Defiance Club, and as a democrat, has represented Defiance county in the State Legislature, was president of City Council and is a former city treasurer. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Defiance and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and is a past commander of Bishop Post, No. 22, Department of Ohio.  Mr. Kehnast has been an extensive traveler, both in the United States and Europe.  He has crossed the Atlantic Ocean nineteen times and visited the battlefields of Belgium and France in 1920, and he also spent six weeks on a cruise through the West Indies and four weeks on a trip in Old Mexico."

William Kehnast died on April 7, 1923 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Defiance.  His obituary appeared in the Crescent-News on April 8, 1927:

(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!)