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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Upper Chickasaw School, Farmer Township

Two rural schools were named Chickasaw (Chickesaw) in Defiance County.  The Upper Chickasaw School was located in Section 13 of Farmer Township at the corner of State Route 249 and Openlander Road.  Its counterpart, Lower Chickasaw, was two miles east.  
Just how did the schools get the likely Native American name of Chickasaw? Well, according to history, Route 249 was often called the Chickasaw Pike by the early locals. Both Upper and Lower Chickasaw Schools sat along the Pike or Rt 249, so that explains the naming of the schools.  But then, why was the ROAD given that name?  That may be lost to history.  Any ideas?

This photo is undated and the pupils unidentified.  The teacher may be Mr. Don Strusaker.

This souvenir booklet is dated 1899-1900.
 Names of Pupils -
Losina Baker, Clara Baker
Maud Byers, Julia Byers, Carmie Byers
Lizzie Bash, Elsie Bash, Ina Bash
Cora Beerbower, Carrie Beerbower
Leah Biglow
Gay Carlisle
Rosa Donley
Lorain Hepker, Lydia Hepker
Nellie Lee
Nora Mason
Hazel McCavit, May McCavit
Natalie McDowell
Rollie Rone
Ethel Sweet

Clark Baker, Robert Baker
Howard Beerbower
Guy Carlisle
Alvey Donley
Charley Lee, Harry Lee
Alton Mason, George Mason, Charley Mason
Karl McCavit
Cliffton Sweet
Donald Weaver

Carmie A. Dustin, Teacher

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hilbert School, Farmer Township - 1900-1901

Miss Willeman was really outnumbered during the school year of 1900-1901.  Only four girls in the class of twenty-three!  We're not sure of the location of the Hilbert School.  Maybe someone can help?

 Girls - Rosa Ensign, Equa Kleckner, Elza Landis, Cora Bassett

Boys - Walter Ensign, Charlie Ensign, Willie Ringer, Fordyce Ridenour, Dane Ridenour, Clair Ridenour, Glenn Huber, Harry Hanna, Fay Hanna

Fay Battershell, Earl Battershell, Britt Haller, Floyd Foust, Lloyd Foust, Emmel Attleberger, Harry Landis, Earl Landis, Ora Bassett, Floyd Dale (?)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Speaker's Pottery in Brunersburg, Ohio

Not Speaker pottery

Lucas Speaker defined his occupation as "potter" on the 1850 census for Noble Township, Defiance County, Ohio.  In 1850, Lucas, a native of Germany, lived with his wife, Mary (Maria Anna Merkel) and children: Josephine, Lucas and Frederick in or near Brunersburg.  The pottery made by Lucas Speaker was apparently well known throughout the area.

The Defiance Democrat of June 15, 1872 reported on the good clay available for drainage tiles in Brunersburg.  But some history was also spoken of as the author remembered the Speaker Pottery establishment that was once located there.

"Drain Tiles.
The early settlers in these valleys were supplied with crockery from the Speaker Pottery at Brunersburg.  Forty years ago, the produce of that pottery was peddled by canoes and pirogues, along all these streams.

An old resident was speaking to us the other day of the excellence of this ware, mentioning that he had in use crocks of that make for more than thirty years, and that they wre likely to last many years yet.

The clay used by the Speakers was 'mined' out of the bluff bank opposite Brunersburg.  Pits were also worked on the Speaker farm south of the village.  We are told that not only there, but at other points in this vicinity, there is an abundance of potter's clay."

Can those clay pits still be seen on the bluffs of the Tiffin River as one crosses the bridge on Route 15? 

Every effort was made to find a photo or example of Speaker pottery, but all were unsuccessful.  

Do any readers have a piece of this very old pottery or a photo of such?    

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

W. P. A. Cemetery Survey - Riek Cemetery, Defiance 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:

Riek Cemetery
(Tuttle Cemetery, Bercaw Graveyard, Shoemaker Cemetery)

 1. Name of cemetery:

The Rekk (Riek) Cemetery, commonly called a few years back, The Bercaw Graveyard.  Takes the name of Rekk from the man who owned the farm.

2. Location, how reached:

Four miles west of the City of Defiance, Ohio, on U.S. #24, a quarter mile north of White's Mills, crossing over the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and Winchester's Camp. It is on the north side of the highway and half mile south of the Maumee River at this point.  It is about the same distance from the Old Stone Indian Dam which was mentioned in "Points of Historical Interest" in Defiance County for the American Guide.

3. Name and address of caretaker:

William Berndorf, R. R. #5, Defiance, Ohio

Tuttle/ Riek/ Shoemaker Cemetery/ Bercaw Graveyard at www.findagrave.com
4. General description, size, appearance, etc.:

This cemetery is in denomination Methodist, but is partly kept up by the trustees of Defiance Township, since there is no church here now.  It consists of about half an acre of ground, fenced in with an ordinary wire fence and has a gate but no driveway.  It is not very well taken care of, being mostly overgrown with weeds.  Most of the markers are in fair shape and some of them have been recently reset.  It is laid out in lots.  The markers are a variety of sizes and descriptions, none of them very large or costly.  The pedestal type predominate, all of them are gray or white.

5. Name and date of first burial recorded:

John Fellerson was the first stone marked grave.  He died in 1857.

6. Names of important persons buried there:

Browns, Foeklers, Bercaws and Krouses are the known names of interest to people today, being the ancestors of well to do farm people living in the vicinity today.  An ancestor of the Colwells is also buried here, but is only a distant relative of the very prominent Colwell families around Defiance today.

Thomas Bercaw, died 1860, at www.findagrave.com
Another early stone - John F. W. Mehring, died 1861, at www.findagrave.com
7. Markers of unusual appearance: None

8. Unusual epitaphs: None

9. Is cemetery used for new burials?

This graveyard is still used today.  Bolkes, Berndorfs, and Haases all have empty graves on their lots.  A burial was made here last year.

C. Cadwallader and C. Gish, Reporters
Consultant: Mr. William Berndorf, R. R. #5, 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.)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Martin B. Gorman - G.A.R., Bishop Post

Born in Ireland, Martin Barney Gorman immigrated to America in 1848, he reported on one of the censuses.  He was only a lad of about 3 or 4 at the time.

Just before the Civil War broke out, he was living with John B. Weisenberger, John's wife, Margaret, and son, Frank,1, in Defiance.  Martin was 14 at the time.  Perhaps he was Margaret's brother as she, too, was born in Ireland?  Mr. Weisenberger was a grocer, an enterprise that Martin would also follow for many years of his life.

In 1862, when only 16 years old, Martin enlisted as a private in Company H, 87th Ohio Infantry. By law, enlistees had to be 18 unless they had parental permission, but recruiters often looked the other way at this rule. He enlisted on May 29, 1862, and served until October 1, 1862.  During that time, he fought in the battle at Harper's Ferry in September where he was captured and held very briefly.

When he was about 18, he reenlisted as a private in the 7th Ohio Independent Company of the Ohio Volunteer Cavalry on December 16, 1863, where he served until the end of the war, discharged on Sept. 9, 1865.  Another name for this unit was the Union Light Guards.  These soldiers served as bodyguards for President Lincoln, among other duties.

Govenor Tod of Ohio organized this unit with the intention of recruiting one man from each Ohio county to serve.  However, Defiance County had at least four men chosen because some counties did not put forth a man quickly enough.  They were enlisted for three years or until the end of the war and were mustered into service in Columbus.  They were not told that they were a special service group enlisted to act as bodyguards or mounted escorts for the President until they were mustered in. Some men were assigned to the White House, others around Washington D.C., and some to forts around Washington, especially in Virginia.  Those from Defiance who served included Martin B. Gorman, Abraham T. Brechbill, John Crowe, and Lemuel T. Hibbard.

The book, Lincoln's Body Guard, the Union Light Guard of Ohio by Robert McBride, 1911 stated:  
"Taking the company as a whole, the membership was much above that of the average company of soldiers, intellectually, morally, socially, and physically."
According to McBride, some men were disappointed with their assigned duty and thought they should have been fighting instead, but in the end, most saw it as a badge of honor to so serve the nation.

When Martin returned home, he married Catherine Agnes Zook on February 24, 1868, according to Ohio Marriages.  They settled in Defiance and he resumed his occupation as clerk in a retail grocery, according to the 1870 census.  Their first child, Martina, was 2 at the time.

Eventually he opened his own grocery store at the corner of Perry and Fourth Streets in about 1871.  The family, in fact, resided at 87 Perry Street in 1880 with their expanded brood of seven children.  (Later they would move to 507 Jackson Street.)  Along the way, some of the children found employment in the store as bookkeepers or salesmen or clerks.  

In 1910, Martin B., 64, and Catherine, 64, still had living with them Martina, 41; Viola, 35 - a bookkeeper; Millie E., 27 - a bookkeeper, and Thomas E., 25 - city auditor.  Catherine had had eleven children, but at that time only nine were living.

Martin Barney Gorman died on March 22, 1914.  His obituary appeared in the Defiance Democrat on March 26 and it named all the organizations in Defiance to which he had contributed and gave details of his Civil War service.

 After his death, his son, Martin Earl, and daughter, Viola, took over the store which eventually moved to Perry and Fifth Street.  

His wife, Catherine, lived on until 1930, and her obituary appeared in the Crescent-News on February 1, 1930:

  She was laid to rest beside her husband in Riverside Cemetery.

On October 20, 1961, on page 6, the Crescent-News reported that the Defiance Historical Society had received some donations for its museum.  Among them was an item related to Martin B. Gorman:

 "From Edward S. Bronson, Union Light Guard badge which President Lincoln presented to his bodyguard, Martin Gorman."

Do we still have that? Please comment if you know.

(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!) 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Early Baptisms of the First Presbyterian Church, Defiance, Ohio

Some of the earliest church records from the city of Defiance came from the Presbyterian Church in the city.  

These baptismal records were originally transcribed by Juliane Fisler Fishell and cover the years 1837 - 1847, with one in 1862, as well. This was at a time when Defiance was still a part of Williams County.

Dates for the baptisms were derived by using the pages referenced on the left side of the page which correspond to a pages in another church record book.

In the following chart, the date of baptism is first, then the name of the child and age, if available, and then the names of the parents.
31 Dec  - Mary Amonette Moore       - John W. & Almira F. Moore
31 Dec  - Alonzo Moore                   - John W. & Almira F. Moore
31 Dec  - Wallace Earl Whedon         - J. P. E. & Jane Whedon
25 Mar  - Ellen Elizabeth Adams         - N. B. & Mary Adams
8 Apr - Sam'l Carey Evans                - Doct. John & Elizabeth Evans
8 Apr - Wm. Bush Evans                  - Doct. John & Elizabeth Evans
8 Apr - Elizabeth Evans                    - Doct. John & Elizabeth Evans
8 Apr - Emily Ann Evans                   - Doct. John & Elizabeth Evans
22 Apr - Edward Emmons                 - Noadiah F. Emmons
22 Apr - Adaline Emmons                  - Noadiah F. Emmons
29 Apr - Wm. Brown Tubbs               - Chas. & Lucy Tubbs
29 Apr - Benjamin Hobert Whitney    - John & Ruth Whitney
29 Apr - John Elliot Adams                - Phinehas & Hannah Adams
4 Jun - Mary Jane Knopp                   - David E. & Julia Knoop
24 Mar - Cornelia Eliza Colby             - Jonas & Almira Colby
24 Mar - Harriet Eliza Allen                -Oramel H. & Phoebe E. Allen
24 Mar - Muriell Ann Moore               - John W. & Almira F. Moore
14 Apr - Alfred Adams Denman         - Israel & Elizabeth Denman
14 Apr - Horace Bishop Adams          - Phinehas & Hannah Adams
14 Apr - John James Whitney            - John & Ruth Whitney
15 Aug - Louisa Arabel Moore            - J. W. & Almira F. Moore
15 Aug - Arabella Eliza Holgate          - Curtis & Eliza Holgate
2 Jan - Lyman Adelbert Langdon        - Lyman & Anna Maria Langdon
20 Mar - Levi Totten, 7 mos.              - Joseph M. & Julia Ann Totten
10 Apr - Lydia Adams, 6 mos.            - N. B. & Mary Adams
10 Apr - Alice Marion Whedon            - J. P. E. & Jane Whedon
10 Apr - Euphima Braidfoot Whedon   - J. P. E. & Jane Whedon
17 Apr - Alfred Stow Tubbs                - Charles & Lucy Tubbs
15 May - Mary Hamilton Doud            - Adaline Doud
3 Jul -   Franklin George Brown          - Wm. A. & Harriet Brown
30 Sep - Wm. Henry Whitney             - John & Ruth Whitney
30 Sep - George Alpheus Whitney       - John & Ruth Whitney
2 Apr - George Forrest Colby               - Jonas & Almira Colby
2 Apr - Mary Louisa Carter, infant        - Wm. & Betsy Carter
14 May - Peter Franklin Lewis, 12 2/3   - *Wm. & Margaret Lewis 
14 May - Margaret Louisa Lewis, 8 2/3  - *Wm. & Margaret Lewis 
14 May - Charles Joshua Lewis 4 1/2    - *Wm. & Margaret Lewis
14 May - Susan Lucinda Lewis, 2 1/6    - *Wm. & Margaret Lewis
(*Although in the baptism list at the back of the church record book uses Wm., on pg. 30, Wm. is crossed out and replaced with Thomas.)
16 Oct - Louisa Goodell Allen                - O. A. & Phebe E. Allen
29 Sep - Henry Dubal Noble                  - Calvin L. & Ann Marie Noble
29 Sep - Julia Civil Whedon                   - J. P. E. & Jane Whedon
29 Sep - Emma Elizabeth Carter            - Wm. & Betsy Carter

25 May - Ferris Wright Colby                  - Jonas & Almira Colby
25 May - Mary Ellen Grier                      - James S. & Louisa Grier

18 Jan - Joseph Lyman, 4 1/2                 - Wm. & Sarah Lyman
18 Jan - Sereno Lyman, 3 1/2                 - Wm. & Sarah Lyman
18 Jan - William Lyman, 1                       - Wm. & Sarah Lyman
12 Jul - Dallas Montgomery Carter, 3 mos.  - Wm. & Betsy Carter

4 Apr - Maria Hinekley Allen, infant           - O. H. & P. E. Allen
4 Apr - Gertrude Marcipa Whedon             - Jane & J. P. E. Allen
30 May - Frances Amelia Lewis, 3             - Thomas & Margaret Lewis
30 May - Thos. Edward Lewis, infant         - Thomas & Margaret Lewis
7 Feb - Anna Eliza Noble, infant                 - Calvin L. & A.M. Noble
7 Feb - William Dana Tucker, infant            - E. R. & L. C. Tucker
18 Jul - Henrietta Metz, infant                   - John & Elizabeth Metz
2 Oct - Helen Brainard Brown, infant          - W. A. & Harriet N. Brown
2 Oct - George Forrest Crowell, infant        - J. (?) & Catherine Crowell
2 Oct - Oramel Hinkly Allen, infant             - Oramel H. & Phebe E. Allen
2 Oct - Frances Amelia, 16 years                - Mrs. Rebecca Lambert
2 Oct - Ezra Adolphus, 12 years                 - Mrs. Rebecca Lambert
2 Oct - Charles Augustus, 10 years            - Mrs. Rebecca Lambert
2 Oct - Sarah Elizabeth, 7 years                 - Mrs. Rebecca Lambert
2 Oct - Louisa Ann, 5 years                        - Mrs. Rebecca Lambert
2 Oct - Rebecca Adaline, 3 years                - Mrs. Rebecca Lambert
2 Oct - Christiana, 4 mos.                          - Mrs. Rebecca Lambert
2 Oct - Hannah Puritana, infant                  - O. H. Allen & P. E. Allen
2 Oct - Franklin James, infant                     - Mrs. Cornelia Evans
2 Oct - Mary Adelida, 1 2/3 mos.                - Mr. & Mrs. Carter
2 Oct - Mary Alida, infant                           - Mr. W. A. & H. N. Brown
2 Oct - Mary Alida, infant                           - Dr. J. & Mrs. A. Colby
2 Oct - Salmon R. Brown, Prof.                   - On admission and chrs.
2 Oct  - Arthur Henderson, infant               - S. B. Brown & Celestia Brown
2 Oct - William Stowe, infant                      - W. A. & H. N. Brown
2 Oct - Caroline Seymour, infant                 - Mr. W. & Mrs. Z. Wetles
2 Oct - Rufus, infant                                  - Mr. W. & Mrs. S. Lyman
2 Oct - Elias Franklin, infant                       - J. & E. Metz

Date not given - Charles Horace, 2 years     - C. L. & A. M. Noble
1862 - Fannie Annette, 3 mos.                    - E. P. & A. E. Hooker