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Friday, December 30, 2016

Washington Township News - December, 1894

From the Defiance Democrat - December 27, 1894


Lewis Motter has his hog house completed and some other buildings roofed.

Mrs. Mary Bostater is now staying with Mrs. Tilla Hartshorn of Ney.

B. F. Kintner made a business trip to Defiance last Monday.

The Chickasaw Union Sunday school are preparing to have a Christmas ladder on Christmas eve.*

S. A. Kintner went to Defiance last Monday to commence work in the Defiance Machine Works.

George, son of C. F. Gollar, took the finest 'porkers' of the season to Welker & Webber at Ney.  They were 240 days old and weighed 280 pounds, each.

Henry Myers sings 'baby mine' to a sweet little boy that arrived at his house a short time ago.

Wm. Walker, Jr. and family of Tomari were visiting in these parts last week.  He had to close his school on account of 35 of his scholars having the measles, there being 47 scholars on the roll."**

*Visit The Blue Willow House for information on the tradition of Christmas ladders.

**Where is Tomari or is this misspelled?  Isn't this a reminder of how quickly measles can spread? 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

James R. Oldfield - G.A.R., Bishop Post

Although born in Stark County, for most of his life James Richard Oldfield was a resident of Williams County.  Born in February, 1847, James enlisted as soon as he could into Company C, 38th Regiment on January 4, 1864, just shy of his 18th birthday.  He was just in time to join with the forces who were fighting to take Atlanta.  After the grand review in Washington, D. C. at the end of the war, the regiment was mustered out in Louisville, Kentucky on July 12, 1865.

Upon his return home, he married Samantha J. Over in 1868.  They would have four children: James E., Myrtle, Cora and Maude.

He worked as a "wood farmer" as he described himself on several censuses, living in Pulaski Township, Williams County.  However, he was quite active in the G.A.R., Bishop Post, and in the reunions of his old regiment, the 38th.  

By 1910, he and his wife and their two single daughters, Myrtle Bell and Maud, moved to West High Street in Bryan.  Myrtle, 38, worked at crocheting lace, and Maud, 30, was a saleslady in a dry goods store. One more move would take them to South Beech Street in Bryan, where James lived until his death in 1930.
His wife, Samantha, died in 1924, and Maud and Myrtle continued to live at home.  

In his later years, at least by 1920 when he was 72, he had a position as court bailiff in the Williams County Courthouse in Bryan.  He held that position at his death when he was 83.

His obituary was found in the Bryan Press, October 16, 1930:


James R. Oldfield died at his home in Bryan shortly after noon on Tuesday, October 14.  If he had lived to the next February, he would have been 84 years old.  Death ame to him after a few days of illness.  He was on the streets last Thursday, although not at all well.  He failed rapidly from that time, and the final scene was preceded by several hours of unconsciousness.

Mr. Oldfield leaves three daughters, one living in California, and the other two in Bryan, and one son, who lives in Ft. Wayne.

James Oldfield, for many years was a familiar figure in Bryan.  He was appointed court bailiff by Judge Killits when he was on the common pleas bench here, and held the place under all the judges since that time.  He was a very efficient and painstaking officer, and always on duty, devoted to his work and making a fine appearance, always in cheerful humor and walking like a soldier with his tall, straight figure.  Up to the last week, he attended to his work and gave it up reluctantly.

He was a veteran of the Civil War and for years served as secretary of the 38th O.V.I., arranging for its reunions held here each fall.  Even in recent years, when the attendance has become very small, Mr. Oldfield gave just as much time and attention to these gatherings as when the reunion brought together a large number of comrades.  He devoted much time to the Grand Army and always maintained his interest in military affairs, acting as commander in local parades and working untiringly to keep the veterans together.  He attended the state encampment at Cincinnati and the national gathering at Boston this fall, and had not missed a national encampment for many years.

He was well respected and his memory will be honored by all who knew him.  
Funeral services will be held Thursday afternoon at two o'clock at Deck's funeral home and the interment will be in Fountain Grove cemetery."

James Richard Oldfield 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, December 28, 2016

St. John Catholic School - 8th Grade Graduation, 1940

Front Row - William Krutsch, Kenneth Shock, Patricia Kroeckel (Mayer), Phyllis Wasserman (Newton), Rev. Msr George Lang, Kathleen Mack (Coffman), Lois Seibert (Hoschak), Jeananne Smith (Steingass), Ruth Gustwiler (Steffel)

Back Row - Lester Schlembach, Jeanne Hench, Chressence Nolan (McCann), Evelyn Gitter (Hesselschwardt), Evelyn Sitterly (McNichols), Margaret Baker (Wolfrum), Raynold Kunesh, John Mangas, Gerald Weber, John Layman, Barbara McCarthy (Shinners), and Francis Weber

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

W. P. A. Cemetery Survey - Doll Cemetery, Washington Township

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.

In this series, some of the general surveys of Defiance County cemeteries will be shared, transcribed as written 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:
Doll Cemetery
 (In the original report, this was called Doud Cemetery in error.)

1. Name of cemetery:
Doll Cemetery, so named from the Dolls who own the land on which it is located.

2. Location; how reached:
This is another out of the way graveyard, easy to miss and hard to find.  It is one mile east of Ney Village about an eighth of a mile back on a gravel angling road, in the northeast corner of section 22.  It is reached by taking the east road out of Ney, past the Ney High School and going one mile on this road to the first crossroad, then turning right and going one eighth of a mile.  Watch closely to the right, the graveyard sets to the right of the road on the top of a hill and is easily missed.

3. Name and address of caretaker:
Geo. Garver, Ney, Ohio and Washington Township Trustees

Photo from www.findagrave.com
4. General description, size, appearance, denomination, fencing, etc.:
 The Doll Cemetery is small, contains only three quarters of an acre.  It sets in a woods on the top of a steep hill, Lick Creek bounds it on the west and north sides.  It is not well kept, much of the ground has washed down the hill, some of the stones have fallen over.  

Many of the older graves have been moved to the Ney Cemetery a mile away.  It, however, is not an old graveyard, and at first was a family bur(y)ing plot, at one time connected with a church.  Today it is not and the care it gets is a little time the trustees of the township can give it.  It is not fenced and no driveway leads into it.  It is rather an unhandy place for this day burials.

5. Name and date of first burial records:
Chas. Doll, an infant in 1877.  This cemetery was used the most between 1880 and 1905, according to the markings on the tombstones.

Photo from www.findagrave.com.  Doll tombstone at Doll Cemetery
 6. Names of important persons buried there, for what noted:
The most noteworthy graves are those of Jenny and William Hay (Hoy), two twins of James Hay (Hoy), who died the same time being nine years old.  Old settlers buried here are Moons and Donleys.  The Dolls have all been moved to the Ney Graveyard.

 7. Markers of unusual appearance:
There are three nice markers in the graveyard, the heavy granite kind and several of the old obelisk type.  There are around thirty stones standing.

8. Unusual epitaphs:
None.  Very little reading on any of the stones.

9. Is cemetery used for new burials?
Not used today, or at least not in the last ten years.  The trustees say it can be revived if any one would take an interest in it.  It is not completely abandoned

C. Cadwallader and C. Gish, Reporters
Consultant: Geo. Garver, Ney, Ohio

Monday, December 26, 2016

Rinaldo Kimmel - Civil War Soldier Buried in Farmer Cemetery

Member of the Farmer G.A.R.

Born in Williams County, Ohio, on January 22, 1840, Rinaldo Kimmel experienced more than many men during his war years.  At the age of 21, he enlisted near the beginning of the war on September 19, 1861 into Company E, 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

He was captured at Chickamauga and spent about a year and a half in three different Confederate prisons.  Seven months of that were spent in the worst of the prisons - Andersonville.  Once freed, he found himself on the ill-fated boat, the Sultana, where he saved himself from an almost certain death after it exploded.

In the Defiance Crescent-News of November 2, 1961, an interview was conducted with Mrs. Minnie Fickle Kimmel, then 89, who was then living in half of the Kimmel homestead.  The home that once belonged to her father- in-law, Rinaldo Kimmel, was located "on the road a mile east of Mason beach - gravel pit, northwest of Ney and northeast of Farmer."  Minnie was married to Granger Kimmel, Rinaldo's son, on September 25, 1898.  Minnie had saved in a scrapbook a letter of Rinaldo's, describing his war experiences: 

At the end of the war, the South delivered some of the Union prisoners home via the ship, Sultana.  When the ship exploded, Rinaldo escaped on a raft - basically a stick of wood - and floated down river "where he was rescued by sympathizers who found him nearly chilled to death," Minnie explained.  
Rinaldo Kimmel

In the book, the Loss of the Sultana & Reminiscences of Survivors, Chester Berry, Editor, 2005, this account of Rinaldo's experience was given on page 199:

"Rinaldon Kimmell.  Was born in Williams Center, Ohio, January 22, 1840 and enlisted in the service of the United States at Farmer, Ohio, Septembe 11, 1861, in Company E, 21st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  Was captured at the Battle of Chickamauga, September 20, 1863, and confined in the following prisons: Pemberton building, Richmond, Va; Dansville, Va.; Andersonville, Ga., a prisoner for eighteen months and eleven days.

He was on board the 'Sultana' when the boiler exploded, and asleep at the time.  On awakening, called to his partner Dunafin, who was sleeping with him, but received no reply.  Could not swim, and the alternative of burning to death or drowning presented itself.  He chose the latter.  Securing a small board before leaving the boat, he threw it in and jumped after it, managing to get hold of it when it came to the surface; it helped him through.  He was among the first to leave the boat.  Floated down to Memphis, just at daybreak, and was taken from the water nearly lifeless.  Was not in his right mind for several hours.  Left Memphis April 29th.  Dunafin was never heard from."

"This all happened before Granger's birth in 1870.  He was two years old when his parents, Rinaldo and Olive Lord Kimmel, sister of William Lord, purchased the present Kimmel farm."

After the war, Rinaldo filed a claim for money taken from him when he was a prisoner of the Confederates.  He asked for $150 and his claim was approved.
On May 6, 1865, at the end of the war, he mustered out, having served 3 years, 7 months and 18 days.

Rinaldo and Olive settled in Farmer Township after the war and were found there by the census enumerator in 1870.  They had two sons, Granger, 9, and Wilber, 7.  Rinaldo began his farming and by 1878, it was reported that he was building a new house on his land.  

Newspapers reported rather frequently of his illnesses and in 1882, he had an accident that some thought would be fatal.
Defiance Express, July 13, 1882

As it turned out, Rinaldo suffered a broken collar bone, but did survive. However, in 1884, it was reported he suffered from neuralgia of the heart.  It seemed that the physical hardships suffered during his war years continued to plague him throughout his life.

By 1890, the county atlas reported that he owned 140 acres in Section 12 of Farmer Township, but his health declined once again.  In April of that year, a newspaper reported that he was very sick "with little hope for recovery."         

The Bryan Press reported on November 20, 1890:

"Rinaldo Kimmel, an old soldier of the 21st O.V.I., living in Farmer township, was in Andersonville prison 17 months and was on the ill-fated Sultana when she was blown up.  He is one of the greatest sufferers from pain we have ever met.  These pains have been coming on his gradually for many years until at the present time, it seems almost impossible for him to get his breath when he is thus attacked.  Oh! that the men who are responsible for the treatment these men received while in prison could be made to share this comrade's suffering.  It is true, he gets a pension of $24 a month, but this is not enough to even pay his doctor bill, and we understand that a special effort will be made at the next term of congress by the G.A.R. boys, through Hon. M.M. Boothman, to have his pension increased to $72 dollars a month."

Rinaldo died on March 25, 1891, at 51 years old.

Difficult to read.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

W.P.A. Cemetery Survey - Brunersburg Cemetery, Noble Township

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.

In this series, some of the general surveys of Defiance County cemeteries will be shared, transcribed as written 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:
Brunersburg Cemetery

1. Name of cemetery:
The Brunersburg Cemetery, Brunersburg Village, Noble Township, Defiance County

2. Location, how reached:
Located on the hill on the banks of the Tiffin River at the eastern edge of Brunersburg, a small hamlet on routes #15 and 18, two miles northwest of the city of Defiance, Ohio.  Reached by automobile on these two routes from Defiance, Ohio.

3. Name and address of caretaker:
John Balbaugh, R.F.D. #2, Defiance, Ohio.

Photo from www.findagrave.com
 4. General description, size, appearance, etc.:
The cemetery at Brunersburg is on a huge hill on the western bank of the Tiffin River, an ideal spot for a cemetery at the time it was laid out.  This cemetery is considered the oldest in the county of Defiance.  This, however, is disputed, but there are written records of a burial here in 1822, which is authentic.

The cemetery is fenced in with an ornamental wire fence and has an iron gateway at the entrance.  It is well wooded and has many large tombstones, as well as several of the old fashioned kind, as the plain marble upright slabs, used so much seventy-five years ago.

The cemetery is fairly well kept up but not as good as it could be; it is now supported by the Noble Township Trustees.  This graveyard is now undenominational although until a few years ago, it was kept up in general by the Methodist Church.  The church was demolished in the cyclone that passed through and completely razed this town of Brunersburg in 1920.

5. Name and date of first burial recorded.
Margaret Delette, 1822 

6. Names of important people buried there:
The most important person buried here is Brice Hilton, a rich manufacturer, lumber man and land owner, one of the co-founders of Brunersburg.  He lived to be ninety some years old, age disputed.  He owned Hilton's Mill, Hilton's Tannery, Hilton's Lumber Yard and the Hilton House, a tavern.  After his death or really after he became too aged to carry on business, Brunersburg went downhill fast.  There is a marker memorizing his grave

Photo from www. findagrave.com
 7. Markers of unusual appearance:
All ordinary, old ones and old fashioned white slabs, the new ones of heavy granite of red and grey and a few obelisk markers.

8. Unusual epitaphs:  None.

9. Is cemetery used for new burials?
This graveyard is still used but not as much as formerly; however, it is being kept up better lately since the Noble Township Trustees took it over.

Topic #624
Defiance County
District #13
C. Cadwallender and C. Gish, Reporters
Consultant: Louis Hanna, R.R. #9, Defiance, Ohio 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Peter T. Osborn - G.A.R., Bishop Post

Notice the G.A.R. badge on his coat.


Peter Osborn was a native of Allen County, Ohio, the son of William Carmen Osborn and Mary Elizabeth Tunget.  Born on January 12, 1841, he enlisted in Company E, 99th Ohio Infantry at the age of 22.

The 99th Regiment was organized at Camp Lima in Allen County, Ohio and Peter signed on for a 3 year enlistment, beginning July 27, 1862.  He served until his mustering out at Columbus, Ohio, on June 22, 1865.  The 99th first served mostly in Kentucky and Tennessee, but then moved on into Georgia.  They were involved in the Battle of Stone River, the Battle of Chickamauga, the Battle of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.

Later the 99th Regiment was dissolved and it became a part of the 50th Ohio Infantry, in which Peter served in Company I.

As the laws changed and more pension money was offered to the veterans, Peter made his application.  The second pension card notes his final increase in 1923 to $72.00 a month

When Peter came home from the war, he settled again in Allen County, Ohio where he married his wife, Mary Della Bedford in 1868.  Together, they had two children, Cyrenius and SamuelIn 1887, he purchased land in Highland Township - 40 acres for $1200 - and there he farmed for many years.  His wife, Della, died in 1910, and the census enumerator that year found Peter living with his son, Samuel and wife, Irene, at 1028 Jefferson in Defiance.  Peter was 69 and widowed, but still listed farming as his occupation.

By 1920, Peter was 78, and still with his son, a glove cutter, and wife, but Peter was retired.  Peter died on December 28, 1928, at the age of 87 years, 11 months and 8 days, according to his death certificate.  He had bronchial pneumonia, complicated by influenza.  The honored veteran was buried at Riverside Cemetery.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Walter S. Tomlinson - Civil War Soldier Buried in Farmer Cemetery

Member of Farmer G.A.R.

Walter Tomlinson, brother to Dwight O. Tomlinson, enlisted in Company A, 38th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on August 26, 1861.  He was the oldest son of Giles and Eunice, an 18 year old when he joined.  Promoted to Corporal on September 14, 1864, he continued to serve until the end of the war. On July 12, 1865, he mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky with almost four years of service.

Walter Tomlinson was interviewed by the Bryan Press about his war experiences, and the resulting article appeared in the newspaper on February 12, 1914:

Writes of Hardships At the Front and Rewards on Return Home

Fifty years ago about this time, the 38th Ohio, nearly half of which went from Williams Co., was leaving this part of the state for the scenes around Chattanooga, where preparations were being made for an advance on Atlanta, Ga., and a great many of the boys who left Bryan at that time were never permitted to return to the scenes of their childhood again.

Of my own company A, about 20 who started away in 1861, re-enlisted for 3 years or during the war and we received as many recruits while at home, besides those that did not re-enlist making the regiment nearly full again when we got back to Chattanooga.

It was a long time before we got through talking about the good times we had at home and the good things we had to eat.  Many of the boys were never permitted even to taste a piece of bread and butter after they left Williams county for the front and the writer does not even recall seeing such a thing until after the close of the war in 1865.

At that time there was a division among the northern people.  One party was for war until the union of all the states could be established again and the other was for peace on any terms.  Many of this latter party sympathized with the south and the young ladies wore butternut pins in honor of the southern soldiers who wore butternut colored clothing while  the Union girls wore the Red, White and Blue and there used to be a great many battles between the two parties.

At a rally in Farmer township, a Union girl dispossessed one of the other party of her butternut breast pin and in the struggle, lost her shawl.  We were called upon to recapture the shawl and were told there would be bloodshed before we could get it.  We strapped our guns across our backs, mounted our horses and started for the scene with 40 rounds of cartridges, but there was no trace of the enemy when we arrived.  We got the shawl and returned it to the owner.  Mary Sawyer, who afterwards married Ferd Cornell, a cousin of Judge Bowersox and who died several years ago.  And such a supper as they had prepared for us, and that was 50 years ago.

I think it was the Jefferson squad who made a southern sympathizer carry the flag around town and salute it.  These were great times and but few are left who took part in them, but all is well that ends well.

Everybody seemed to make it pleasant for us except those who were opposed to the way Abraham Lincoln was carrying on the war and I remember Dr. Ensign gave us a dance.  It was a bitter cold night and the late Lord W. Wilder furnished the music.  George Bible and Albert Dolph, a brother of Frank of West Unity, now living on a large farm south of South Bend, came down from Jefferson and nearly froze.  Ed Conkey froze his hands going home.  At that time, Ed was quite a dude and his kid gloves fit a little too tight.  Poor Bible as well as his messmate, George Mott, and Dan Jayberg, who reenlisted from Edgerton were all killed on the Atlanta campaign.

While we were at home on veteran furlough, the ladies of Bryan presented us with a beautiful flag that we carried until the close of the war and to my best recollection, those who had charge of it during the war have all passed away as well as the donors except Mrs. John Garver of Des Moine, Iowa, who was one of Bryan's most patriotic ladies during the war and as I recollect, her husband kept Col. Greenwood's family while he was out in the 3 months service.

My old comrade, Charles F. Donze, who picked up the flag after the death of Baird and the wounding of Col. Choate and Strawser and placed it on the breastworks in front of Jonesboro, Ga. on the 1st of September, 1864, was the last of the color bearers to be taken away and his remains are laid away by the sides of his two former wives and only child in the beautiful Fountain Grove cemetery and as I look back and see what this great country of ours has accomplished since that date 50 years ago and what those same soldiers that we were fighting at that time have done to make it such, it makes me feel sad that they too cannot enjoy such a pension as we are permitted to have in our declining years from one of the most liberal governments on the face of the earth and there is just one thing more I would enjoy and that is a reunion of the Blue and the Gray and march arm in arm with the very men we were fighting 50 years ago.  W. S. Tomlinson."

Walter Sperry Tomlinson died on April 6, 1935 at the age of 91 years, 4 months and 21 days. On his death certificate, the physician merely wrote "dropped dead."  The Bryan Press carried his obituary on April 11, 1935:


Walter Sperry Tomlinson was born June 16, 1843, a son of Giles and Eunice Ensign Tomlinson.  He was born about half a block south of the square on the west side of Lynn street in Bryan.  Shortly after his birth, his parents moved to Williams Cener, at that time a larger place than Bryan.  The Tomlinson ancestry has been traced back to about 1600 in England and the Ensign ancestry has been accurately traced to the Plymouth Colony in 1634.  His father was born in Marbledale, Conn. in Sept. 1809 and died at Williams Center in July 1906.  His mother was born in Painesville, O., in Feb. 1821 and died in Sept. 1854. Besides the elder son, there were two others, Dwight and Frank.

At an early age the boy, Walter, made a trip with his father to Connecticutt which was interesting because of the method of travel.  They went to Defiance from Williams Center over a corduroy road, took a canal boat to Toledo, transferred to a boat on Lake Erie for Buffalo and from there, finished the journey by train.  He also took the first excursion over the old Air Line to Elkhart.

At the beginning of the Civil war, Mr. Tomlinson enlisted in Co. A, 38th Ohio, and served through the war.  He took part in the battles of Stony River, Chicamauga, Jonesboro, and marched with Sherman from Atlanta to the sea.  He was in the grand review of the troops at Washington after the close of the war.

After his return, he took up farming, his only capital being a few sheep given him by his father.  On Jan. 3, 1867, he was married to Emily Lane and to this union were born two children, Orlo who died in Oct. 1898 and Eva (Bender) who survives.  He was familiar with hard work during the first 20 years of his farming life.  For 12 years he taught school every winter besides running his farm, rising early to milk the cows and take care of the chores, then teaching the school and concluding the days with his evening farm work.

His political career consisted of two defeats, one in 1892, when he ran for commissioner of Defiance county and one in 1894 when he was a candidate for representative, both times on the Republican ticket.

He had a varied farm experience, specializing in sheep at one time, and after the milk condensory was located here, developing a herd of purebred Holsteins.  He liked to tell of putting out his first wheat crop with a team of one ox and one horse, but he lived to see the day when most of his farming was done with tractors. He was progressive in his methods and always ready to try the latest methods as applied to farming, the first to use commercial fertilizer and probably the first to use vaccine for hog cholera. 
He was a contributor of farm papers for years and became among the outstanding farmers of the state, well known and often quoted.

Mr. Tomlinson was always generous with his money and contributed both work and means to the prohibition campaign and church work.  His church contributions were not confined to his own organization, but were spread generously among all churches in need.  For the past 25 years, he was a consistent member of the local Presbyterian church.

In Jan. 1905, his wife Emily, died and in Dec. 1908, he was married to Mrs. Loretta Coy, who was his constant companion until his death, which was a fitting ending of a fine life, coming almost instantly and without pain.

He leaves the example of a good life for his widow, his daughter, four grandchildren, Mrs. Eunice White, of Vallejo, Cal., Mrs. M. L. Langworthy of Des Moines, Ia., and Roger and Walter Bender of Bryan.  There are also five great grandchildren.

The passing of Walter Tomlinson breaks one of the few remaining links with the early history of northwestern Ohio.  One wonders if any child of today who lives to be 90 will see such changes as he saw in his long stay on earth, transportation changed form stage and canal boat to the airplane, going about on horseback to the present speedy movements with automobiles on hard roads.  He saw the telegraph, telephone and radio developed, candles changed to oil lamps and then to electricity.  He has left a life that cannot but have an influence for good among all who came in contact with him."

A lengthy biography with more genealogical information appears in the Commemorative Biographical Record of Northwestern Ohio, a volume available in all the Defiance County Public Libraries.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dwight Owen Tomlinson - Civil War Soldier Buried in Farmer Cemetery

Member of Evans Post G.A.R. 149, Bryan

Dwight Tomlinson had a relatively short, and perhaps sad, life.  Born on July 18, 1845, in Williams County, he joined the family of Giles H. and Eunice Tomlinson.  His older brother by two years, Walter S., would join him in the service of the Union Army.  His younger brother by two years was Frank Tomlinson.  

 Giles, in 1860, was a merchant with real estate worth $6000 and a personal estate worth $14,000, quite a sum for the day.  Unfortunately, Dwight's mother had died five years before, when Dwight was 9 years old.  By the time of this census, Giles, at 50, had remarried a younger woman, Electa, who was then 23.  They added baby Ida to the family.

On August 20, 1862, when Dwight was barely seventeen, he went to Bryan to enlist with the 111th Ohio Infantry, Company C.  His brother, Walter, had enlisted the year before.  Dwight stayed with the 111th all through the war, mustering out on June 27, 1865 at Salisbury, North Carolina.

On March 19, 1868, Dwight married Mary Saul.  They settled in Washington Township, where Dwight began farming.  By 1870, he had real estate worth $2500.  Mary Saul Tomlinson died in 1873; the couple was childless.

Dwight could not be found in the 1880 census, but his obituary and other sources suggested that he moved to Williams Center, his home.  However, on November 10, 1886, the register of the Soldiers and Sailors Home in Dayton reported his admission.  He was 41 years old, 5' 9" tall, with a light complexion and gray hair and eyes.  Dwight reported that he suffered a disability from the war, contracted in Bowling Green, Kentucky in February, 1863 - heart and lung disease, specifically.  He stayed in Dayton a little over a year, being dismissed on January 11, 1888.  Not much life was left for Dwight; he died on October 9, 1888 at the age of 43.

His obituary appeared in the Bryan Press on October 18, 1888 on page 3:

"Dwight Oren Tomlinson was born in Bryan, July 18th, 1845, and died Oct. 9th, 1888, aged 43 years, 2 months and 22 days.  In 1848 he moved, with his parents, to Wms. Center, near which place he lived the balance of his life, excepting the three years which he served in the war.  

He was one of four children, three sons and a daughter, the fruit of the marriage of Giles Tomlinson and Eunice A. Ensign.  His mother and infant sister died when he was nine years of age; his father and brother, Walter, reside at Wms. Center, while his younger brother lives near Des Moines, Iowa.  

He enlisted in the 111th O.V.I in 1862 when at the age of 17 and served in the war until its close.  After returning from the war, he located on a farm and married Miss Mary Saul, who died in 1873, leaving no children.  He was a member of Evans Post No. 149, G.A.R., of Bryan and his funeral was conducted by that order.  The sermon was preached by the pastor of the M.E. Church of Williams Center."

Farmer Cemetery
The Commemorative Biography of Northwest Ohio noted that Dwight "...never recovered from the effects of the hardships of army life, his death which occurred in 1890 (incorrect), being doubtless hastened thereof." 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Meet the Lawyers of Defiance County - 1894

From the Defiance Democrat - November 22, 1894


Some Peculiarities Noticeable in the Legal Gentlemen.

 Judge Sutphen wears his beard trimmed in a faultless manner and is always crowned by a soft hat.  When not engaged in his law office, he can be found putting in some spare moments looking after the grounds which surround his Jefferson street residence.

Hon. Henry Hardy is a student who applies himself to reading.  He delights to draw on his fund of reminiscences of Defiance and knows much of its early history.

B. B. Kingsbury is something of a searcher after more light on the subject of spiritualism and is perhaps one of the most persistant readers among the attorneys of this city, and has an extensive library stocked with scientific works.

Henry Newbegin is a born fighter and is in his element when engaged in a case that is stubbornly contested.  He loves to sit in the court room and listen to an argument by a brother attorney.

John W. Slough likes a bit of an argument himself and is one of President Cleveland's most ardent admirers.

W. H. Hubbard, aside from being a good lawyer, is one of the most entertaining story tellers among the members of the bar.  He is in his element when making a political speech.  His silk hat always looks immaculate.
W. H. Hubbard
Henry Hockman has a 'hankering' after educational matters and was formerly considered one of the successful teachers in the county.

Hon. John W. Winn is something of a horse fancier and dabbles in equines some.  John is an expert wheelman and is at home in politics.  He is also a zealous member of the Knights of Pythias and holds an exalted position in the grand lodge.
John W. Winn

B. F. Enos has the largest collection of pipes of any attorney in the city and things theatrical interest him.  Mr. Enos is in his element when engaged in criminal practice.  His forte is in examining witnesses.

N. G. Johnston is perhaps the only exponent of Blackstone at this bar who combines agriculture with law, and he does it with success.

J. P. Cameron is one of the unmarried lawyers and perhaps his fad is in not becoming a head of a family.  Mr. Cameron has a farm or two and helps make hay when the demand for laborers exceeds the supply.

Mr. Harris affects soft hats and cape overcoats.  He is wrapped up in his business and has a memory he can rely on.  He fights every inch of the ground in a law suit.

Judge Baker's fad is loans.  He is one of the staunchest Democrats in Ohio, and makes a brilliant political speech.  H. G. has travelled extensively and is an entertaining conversationalist.

K. V. Haymaker will arise in the night to tell you a story and when he has told it to you, you'll laugh.  K. V. excels as a wag and always has something new in his line.  He is now interested in the loan association which does not afford him much opportunity to practice law.

L. B. Peaslee is a college bred man and can impart much valuable information on almost any subject.  He is familiar with history, smokes a pipe and is somewhat of a Bohemian.

Solicitor Latty is one of the youngest members of the bar.  He dreams of ordinances, Guss Wagner, Dey Ayers and Jess Shulz.

Squire Orcutt attends to his justice business, marrys couples and enjoys life about as well as any of his colleagues.  He is a bachelor.

Prosecutor Woods is still enjoying single blessedness along with his law practice.  Jim has a good supply of the substantials of this life and has served the country faithfully.

Of all the attorneys in this city, Wm. Carter has the finest collection of whiskers, which make him look decidedly distinguished.  Mr. Carter's fad was the Centennial and he did splendidly as secretary.  He represents several large firms in this city and has a penchant for literary work.

Judge Hay is an orator.  His fad is politics and looking after fences.  He is an enthusiastic wheelman and is always well dressed.

Justice Ansberry is the youngest member of the bar and perhaps one of the youngest justices of the peace in the country.  Tim as come to the front through his own efforts and may yet represent this district in congress."
Timothy Ansberry

Friday, December 16, 2016

Haller Post, G.A.R., Mark Center, Ohio

When the Haller Post met in Mark Center on January 13, 1904, to make plans for their next year, they elected the following officers, according to one Defiance newspaper of the time:

Post Commander: A. N. Dunmier
S. V. - G. W. Spealman
J. V. - W. L. Brown
Q. M. (Quarter Master) - Paul Hagan
O. D. - C. S. Elder
O. G. - A. J. Byers
Adjutant - H. L. Wallace
Surgeon - O. W. Hnoch (Enoch?)
Chaplain - A. L. Hughes

One other member known was William H. Grow. 

Who were the other members of this group?  Do the post records still exist?  Although the newspaper reported this as Post #436, that number is given to a different post in the official list of GAR posts and the Mark Center Post is not recognized at all.  Was it not chartered?

So many questions - can anyone answer?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Milton Prater - United States Colored Troops, Company A, 27th Regiment

Sources vary on whether Milton J. Prater (Prator) was born in Virginia or Ohio.  The earliest record of his life found was the 1850 census where he lived in Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio.  He was a black male, 14 years old, living with Martha Mass, 50, a mulatto.  Since no relationships were given in that census, one cannot be sure if Martha was Milton's mother or not.

Ohio Penitentiary, Columbus, O.
 He did run into some trouble with the law when he was about 19 or 20.  According to the official records of the State General Assembly, Volume 54, Milton Prator (alias Roberts) was sentenced for forgery at the March term, 1855, by the Court of Common Pleas of Champaign County.  He pleaded guilty to the first of ten counts and a no contest on the other nine counts.  
The judge gave him three years in the Ohio Penitentiary, the shortest term allowed, but suggested to the prosecutors that he be paroled after one year due to his youth, previous good character, and the "trifling nature of the forgery."  That suggestion was overlooked for awhile, but parole was finally granted to him on July 4, 1857.

He could not be located in the 1860 census, but he was named on the Civil War Draft Registrations in June, 1863 for Champaign County.

His name is #19 near the bottom.
He reported that he was 27, colored, a laborer, single and born in Ohio.  Just a few months later, on December 24, 1863, he joined Company A of the 27th Regiment of the United States Colored Troops.  This group was immediately sent, after a brief training, to Camp Casey in Washington, D.C. for garrison duty.  Eventually, they were sent into battle and experienced skirmishes at City Point and Petersburg, Virginia, where the regiment "distinguished itself for unsurpassed gallantry and good conduct upon the battlefield." (Official Report)  They also were in North Carolina part of the time and that is where Milton was mustered out on September 21, 1865.
USC (United States Colored) Infantry

The records (Ohio Marriages) show that Milton Prator married Louisa Jane Woodley on September 17, 1865, in Logan, Ohio.  And she did appear in the 1870 census in Champaign, County, but without Milton!  The enumerator wrote: "Prater, Louisa, 32, black, with children, Bruner, 2 and Robert 4/12.  Where was Milton?  He could not be found in the 1870 census either.

In 1880, he and Louisa were enumerated together in Defiance County.  Milton Prator, 45, black, and Louisa, 42, mulatto, had children Bruner F., 13; Robert P., 10; Milton E. 8; Cora M. 6; Walter, 3; and William F, 1. Milton worked as a laborer.

However, we know that Milton and Louisa were in Defiance by 1875 because the Defiance Democrat reported on April 29th of that year that a sale of their home was ordered to repay a judgement against them by Martin Knoll.  In the years from 1880 - 1883, the Prater name was in the newspapers quite a bit for delinquent taxes, judgements against them for money owed, and a grand jury indictment against Milton for larceny and threatening in a menacing manner.  Two sheriff's sales were held to disperse of their property in payment for debts owed.  It was a sad time for them, but the marriage stayed together, and they continued to live in Defiance.

Good deeds should not go unnoticed.  The Defiance County Republican Express reported on March 10, 1888:
"The eighteen months old son of Mr. and Mrs. M. F. Heller accidentally walked into the cistern at their home on Jefferson street Thursday, through a trap door that had been left open.  The women folks gave the alarm and James Blair and Milt. Prator, colored, who were sawing wood near by, ran to the relief of the child.  A ladder was placed into the cistern and Mr. Prator descended and took the child from the water and handed him up to Mr. Blair.  He was nearly drowned when rescued.  A physician was called and after working with him a few minutes, he was resuscitated."

Milton Prater reported his war service of two years on the 1890 Veterans Census.  He was in the 5th Ward, Defiance at the time.

Line 4.  The small note indicated that he was promoted to Corporal, but the official Civil War records said it was rescinded.
 In 1900, the Prater family lived at 602 Nicholas Street.  Milton was not employed, but Louisa worked as a washerwoman.  Their children Cora, 24, worked as a teacher, and Walter still lived at home.  William Mumford, a hay baler, lived with them.  In 1902, the family suffered through a house fire; it was surely a devastating event.

On July 30, 1903, the Defiance Weekly Express reported on page 1 an event involving Cora, Milton's daughter.  

 The next summer, on August 15, 1904, Milton Prater died at the age of 69.  He was buried in Old Riverside, Block 14, Section B, Lot 68.  A G.A.R. Post 22 marker once marked the graveside, according to the tombstone index prepared in 1976 by the Defiance County Genealogical Society.

His obituary was brief and appeared in the Defiance Democrat:

"Milton Prator, colored, a well known resident of North Defiance, died last night after an illness of two weeks.  He was aged 69 years, 10 months and 1 day, and was born in Champaign County, this state.  He had resided her for 31 years.  The deceased leaves a wife and several children."

"The funeral of Milton Prator occurred at 1:30 this afternoon.  Rev. Smucker conducting the service.  Interment made in Riverside Cemetery."

No mention was made of the Bishop Post participating. Buried with him were his wife, Louisa, and son, Walter.

Walter, sadly, was shot and killed the next summer.  The Defiance Express reported on August 7, 1905 that Walter, 35, was shot dead by Theodore Broady of Bellefontaine.  It was alleged that Walter was a cocaine "fiend" and he had become infatuated with a woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Randolph, who did not return his affections.  Walter burst into her home, chased her up the stairs and then dragged her down by her hair.  He was about to strike her with a hatchet when Broady shot him.