DCGS Website

VISIT THE WEBSITE OF THE DEFIANCE COUNTY GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
http://defiancecountygenealogy.org/

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Harrison T. May - G.A.R., Bishop Post


Harrison Trent May was a Henry County, Ohio, native when he was drafted in July, 1863.  He was unmarried at the time and living in Flatrock Township. 

But Harrison was already enlisted and in the thick of battle by the time of his draft. He served in Company F, 68th O.V.I., enlisting October 8, 1861 and then was discharged on June 10, 1865.  His obituary noted that he was wounded at the Battle of Peach Tree Grove on July 20, 1864.

This was the last battle between Sherman and the siege on Atlanta. The plan was to sever the railroad line to Atlanta to cut off Confederate supplies.  It was the first battle for the newly appointed John Bell Hood as Confederate commander and it was a catastrophe for him and his troops.  The five hour battle left many more Confederate dead than Union.  In checking two sources, Company F of the 68th was not listed as being at that battle, so somewhere there may be a mistake in the history for Harrison. Many other smaller skirmishes occurred around that time and place. But, there is no doubt that he was part of the Atlanta campaign.



On Christmas Eve, 1867, Harrison married Hester Sophronia Cole and in the 1870 census, they were settled in Flatrock Township, Henry County - Harrison, 30; Sophronia, 25; Max Walter, 9/12 and Nancy Cole, 70, Hester Sophronia's mother.  Harrison was farming there with real estate valued at $2400.

By 1880, the family had moved to Defiance where Harrison worked at the wheel factory.  Carrie, Frank, and Paul were added to the family.  By 1900, the family home was at 120 Summit Street.  Harrison, at 60, was a rural letter carrier, an occupation he would have until his old age.  Earnest P. (Paul) was still at home.

By 1920, Harrison had retired and he, at 80, and Hester S., at 75, had welcomed into their Summit Street home their son Paul E., 40, now widowed and a motor tester at Defiance Truck, and their grandson, Paul E., Jr. 8, and Harrison's niece, Florence E. Heath, 67, a singer.

Hester Sophronia Cole May died on March 21, 1922.  Her obituary appeared in the Crescent-News on March 22, 1922: 



Harrison lived five years more until February 20, 1927, when he died at his home at the advanced age of 87.  He was buried in Riverside Cemetery, Defiance.



Harrison T. May at 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!)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Kopp School and Fairview School, Highland Township

The Kopp School was located in Section 11 of Highland Township at the intersection of Watson and Steinmyer Roads.  This very old souvenir booklet was presented to students by their teacher, Clate Myers, for the 1896-1897 year.



Pupils, alphabetically...
Louisa Bowman - Polena Bowman - Fritz Bowman
Lillie Frank - Minnie Frank - Carra Frank
Lucy Griner
Mary Hoellrich - Minnie Hoellrich
Allie Kaestner, - Katie Kaestner - Harmon Kaestner
Lizzie Kopp - Sophie Kopp - Edith Kopp - Bertha Kopp - Polly Kopp - Francis Kopp
Minnie Ott - Anna Ott
Lulu Paterson
Lottie Schatz - Cora Schatz
Lulu Sheppart
Minnie Troeger
Katie Wight

Frank Bowers
Paul Diemer - Martin Diemer
Johnie Diech
Otto Eberle - Willie Eberle
Andy Goller
Eddie Grossman
Jakie Hinder
Johnie Hoellrich
Johnie Kaestner
Webster Kopp
Harvey Miller - Roy Miller
Frank Max - Peter Max
Harry Ott - Louis Ott
Willie Sheppart
Albert Schatz - Carlie Schatz - Curtis Schatz
Charley Sohn - Albert Sohn - Johnie Sohn 
Andy Troeger - Eli Troeger
Adam Wolfrum - Carl Wolfrum - Andy Wolfrum
Tommy Wight

Looking ahead forty years, the Kopp School was still open with only eleven students.  This souvenir booklet from 1936 named the pupils there.   
It also included the Fairview School, at times called the Skunktown School, located in Section 35 at the intersection of Kinner and Mansfield Roads.

  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

In the Words of Amelia Swilley Bingham

Raised in Hicksville, Amelia Swilley Bingham found her way to fame as an world renowned actress.  But she always treasured her small town roots, visiting her mother in Hicksville in Defiance County, Ohio, every year. Becoming an actress in the early 20th century was more scandalous than acceptable in small town society, so initially, those visits were difficult.

An interview that ran in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on April 21, 1901, was reprinted in the Defiance Democrat on May 2, 1901.  In the interview, Amelia revealed, in her own words, some of her thoughts on her home town and her fame:

 "By Amelia Bingham

All my people for generations have lived and died in or near Hicksville.

My father was a strict Methodist and I was brought up to believe that outside of the church and Sunday school, salvation was not to be thought of.  I don't believe a member of my immediate family had ever been to the theatre, much less known an actor, before I almost broke the heart of the town by marrying an actor.

It was a terrible blow to Hicksville, but I knew what I wanted and I won my mother's consent only after she had satisfied herself as to Mr. Bingham's character.  It cut me to the quick to have the neighbors turn against me as they did when I married.  My brothers and sisters are sweet, country people - the salt of the earth, don't you know.  They didn't understand me either, and I could not tell them how I longed for a bigger, freer life than ours from the time that I was a tot.  Now I knew I was to get out into the open and find something to do in the live world I had dreamed of.

My sisters were all good domestic women.  I never tried to cook or sew or do anything in the house that I did not make a flat failure of it.  I have shed oceans of tears trying to learn to cook.  The Hicksville housewives, I fear, didn't think much of the future of Amelia Swilley's husband and family.

When I left at the time of my marriage, I was under a deep, big, black cloud, I can tell you.  A Hicksville girl and a member of the Methodist church to marry an actor!  Nothing could be worse.  But I promised my mother when I married that no matter what happened, I would come back home once a year so long as she lived.

Home of Amelia Swilley, the Swilley Hotel.  Later, new owner Earl Limpert called it the Amelia Bingham Hotel.
Those first visits were painful.  People turned their heads as I walked down the streets - my best schoolgirl friend, my lifelong chum, passed me and looked me square in the face as though I were a stranger.  My old Sunday school teacher had the courage to come see me, and when he went away, he took my hand in his and said: 'Amelia, I hear there are some good men and women in the stage.  I hope so for your sake.'

But as time went on and Mr. Bingham and I went home every season and were as devoted to each other as other husbands and wives, the neighbors became more friendly.  Then one of them got in a hard place financially and he wrote me a pitiful, apologetic note that made everything plain to me.  Well, I helped that neighbor out, and little by little, we began to understand each other, and Hicksville took Amelia Bingham back to its heart, actress though she was.

People laugh at my real estate investments in Hicksville, and they have their amusing side.  I own the only bakery in town and the grocer shop and numbers of houses and lots.  As a business proposition, Hicksville is not such a joke.  I get a fair interest on my property.  My grocery shop and bakery are all right and my houses are all rented.

We name the houses I own in Hicksville.  One is a little, wee home, which we call Bingham Castle, and another one, a story and a half high, is Amelia's Mansion.  The castle was badly in need of paint last summer and Mr. Bingham and I decided we'd paint it ourselves.  We did it and I tell you, it was a wonder when it was done.

My mother is already making preparation for us, and the horse and cow have been told for weeks back that they must get ready to look their best for Amelia."

Check out more on Amelia Swilley Bingham at the Hicksville Historical Society, Dave's History Corner and FindaGrave.

Monday, June 27, 2016

W. P. A. Cemetery Surveys - Saint Mark's Cemetery of Adams Township

In this series, some of the general surveys of Defiance County cemeteries will be shared, transcribed as written on the original W.P.A. reports, with a few punctuation and/or spelling changes for readability.  The surveys were probably done around 1936.

For more up to date information on the cemeteries, check out this chart on our website:
 http://defiancecountygenealogy.org/cemeteries.html)

Saint Mark's Cemetery of Adams Township

1. Name of cemetery: Saint Mark's Cemetery of Adams Township

2. Location, how reached: 
It is located in the northwest corner of Adams Township in Defiance County, twelve miles north and two miles east of the City of Defiance, Ohio, and can be reached by taking route #66 north for twelve miles and then two miles east.  it is located and to the west of the St. Mark's Evangelical German Lutheran Church.

3. Name and address of caretaker:
This cemetery is cared for by different members of the congregation of the St. Mark's German Lutheran Church.

www.findagrave.com
 4. General description, size, etc.
This graveyard is one of the more recent ones in Defiance County.  It is fenced in all around and is in the church yard of St. Mark's.  It has several large brown and gray tombstones and each lot is built up and terraced and kept in perfect shape.  A few large trees are scattered over its grounds and many small evergreen shrubs.  It is of German Lutheran denomination.

5. Name and date of first burial recorded:

Rev. Marte Arps, 1881.

Maria Arps at www.findagrave.com
 (Could not locate Rev. Arps' stone.)

6. Names of important persons buried here, for what each was noted:
Rev. Marte Arps, former pastor, St. Mark's German Lutheran Church

7. Markers of unusual appearance:  None

8 Unusual epitaphs:  None

9. Is cemetery used for new burials?  Yes.

C. Cadwallader and C. Gish, Reporters
Consultant: Rev. Geo Kaiser, R. R. #2, Defiance, Ohio 


(The Works Progress Administration was formed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in reaction to the Great Depression as a means of employing Americans and stimulating the economy.  Established in 1935, one of the projects of the W.P.A. was to conduct Historical Records Surveys, one of which included finding information on cemeteries and the graves of veterans.  The W.P.A. was disbanded in 1943, but the historical information provided on these surveys continue to be of interest and are, thankfully, preserved.)

Friday, June 24, 2016

William E. Marcellus - Bishop Post, G.A.R.



William E. Marcellus was born and raised a Defiance boy by his parents, Hugh J. and Nancy S. Marcellus.  His father was a carpenter, but William took on the occupation of painter and with that, supported his wife and six children.

In the 1860 census, William was a lad of 18, living with his parents and younger siblings, Henry, Peter, and George W. By April 1, 1861, he had enlisted in the 21st Ohio Infantry, Company H for three months.  He was discharged on August 6, 1861.  Later, on April 1, 1863, he became a part of the 38th O.V.I. where he continued to serve until the end of the war, mustering out on July 12, 1865.


 On September 10, 1867 (?), he married Frances Neff.  They settled in Defiance, eventually on Washington Street, where William continued to paint houses for a living.  They reported on the 1900 census that Frances had had eleven children, but only six were living.  From previous censuses, it would seem that Alice, Minnie, Clara, William, Raymond, and Hazel survived.  Some of the children settled in Seattle, Washington, and Clara, at least, married there.

Mrs. Marcellus died unexpectedly in March, 1902.
Defiance Weekly Express, March 20, 1902

In 1903, William went to Seattle and resided there with his daughters for awhile, but eventually returned again to his home in Defiance.  He died on July 31, 1917 and is buried at Riverside Cemetery.


William E. Marcellus on www.findagrave.com





Thursday, June 23, 2016

W.P.A. Cemetery Survey - Spindler Cemetery, Mark Township

In this series, some of the general surveys of Defiance County cemeteries will be shared, transcribed as written on the original W.P.A. reports, with a few punctuation and/or spelling changes for readability.  The surveys were probably done around 1936.

For more up to date information on the cemeteries, check out this chart on our website:
 http://defiancecountygenealogy.org/cemeteries.html)

Spindler Cemetery

1. Name of Cemetery:  The Spindler Cemetery, Mark Township

2. Location, how reached:

In Section 30, Mark Township, one and one half miles south and two miles west of Mark Center, Ohio, and one mile north of the Paulding County Line.  Reached from Mark Center, Ohio, on gravel road leading south of town to second crossroad and turning to the right for two miles more, then left for another quarter mile.

3. Name and address of caretaker:

Mark Township Trustees, for information, see B. F. Spindler, who lives nearby and whose address is R.R. #3, Mark Center, Ohio.

Spindler Cemetery on www.findagrave.com
4. General description, size, appearance, denomination, fencing, etc.:

A very picturesque, rural cemetery, setting in a grove of natural pine trees and beside a little country church.  It is surrounded with an iron ornamental fence and has an iron gate.  It is now undenominational, although at one time, it belonged to the Old Jericho M.E. Church.  It is sometimes called the Jericho Graveyard.  It contains about two acres.

5. Name and date of first burial recorded:

The first burial was that of old James Hobbs, an Englishman born in Cornwall, England, in 1777 and died was buried here in 1854.  Other graves also run back into the fifties.  There is one whole row of pure white slabs, all dates being in the fifties and sixties.

James Hobbs on www.findagrave.com - a replacement stone
Isaac Critchfield on www.findagrave.com

6. Names of important persons buried there, for what noted:

James Hobbs, mentioned above, is probably the most noted person buried here.  He was an old sailor from Cornwall, England who settled here around 1840.

7. Markers of unusual appearance:

Various descriptions from white slabs to stately, heavy granite ones.

8. Unusual epitaphs:  None

9. Is cemetery still used for new burials?
    Yes.




C. Cadwallader and C. Gish, Reporters
Consultants:
H. Rhodes, Mark Center, Confectionary store on state route #18
Mrs. E. Diehl, R.R. #3, Mark Center, Ohio

(The Works Progress Administration was formed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in reaction to the Great Depression as a means of employing Americans and stimulating the economy.  Established in 1935, one of the projects of the W.P.A. was to conduct Historical Records Surveys, one of which included finding information on cemeteries and the graves of veterans.  The W.P.A. was disbanded in 1943, but the historical information provided on these surveys continue to be of interest and are, thankfully, preserved.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hessecastle School, Milford Township 1908-1913

The Hessencastle School saw many spellings through the years - Hessen Castle, Hessecastle, Hesselcastle, Hessecassel.  According to some, the school was named after the Hesse state of Germany.  The school was known as District #2 and was located on Kramer Road, two miles north of Route 249.  
The school closed in the spring of 1938 and was then moved to Lake Road and used as a shed.  






Hessecastle School, 1913 - only one identified, far left in row 3, Esther Weisz