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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Scandal in Sherwood - Rock's Ruin

John Rock was born in or near Sherwood, Ohio on August 10, 1861, according to online genealogies.  The son of William and Sarah Griner Rock, he had siblings, Susan, William Henry, Nancy, Elisabeth, and Ella.  On December 27, 1888, he married Martha Jane Boggs, known as "Jennie," in Kosciusko County, Indiana, and the couple settled in Sherwood.

John was appointed as postmaster in Sherwood on June 17, 1889, and he also ran a general store for awhile in town.
U. S. Appointments of Postmasters - line shows Sherwood, with John Rock as the last entry on the right.

When his store failed, John became involved in selling insurance and that's where the trouble began.  

Defiance Daily Crescent - June 27, 1892


Career of A Well Known Defiance County Man
Who Last Week Absconded With $7000 of His Firm's Money and
Has Not Since Been Heard From.

...A former well known and highly respected citizen of Defiance county, a man who at one time was looked upon as one who would surely make his mark in the world, is a fugitive from justice.  The story of his downfall, so far as can be learned, may be attributed almost totally to what has been the ruination of many even better men than he, a woman.

When any man falls from an eminence to which he has attained, it is always said that there is
and it appears so in this case, where the principal personage is John Rock, formerly of Sherwood...  A young man of scholarly attainments, highly connected, good looking and having agreeable ways and good address, he was popular among men and prominent in business and political circles.

Melvin Morella Boothman, Bryan, OH
When Major Boothman was elected to congress, Rock was running a general store at Sherwood and was a Republican central committeeman.  In that capacity, he did much for Boothman, and when the latter was elected, he reciprocated and used to influence to such an extent that Rock was appointed postmaster, during the early period of President Harrison's term of office.  In the general store business, Rock was not a success and after running the store for about two months, or in fact until bills commenced to fall due, he failed in business.

...When Rock failed in business, he at once looked around for another place, being satisfied that he could not do well in Sherwood.  He left his wife and baby, and armed with the best of references, started for Detroit, Mich., to get an audience with C. C. Kelso, Michigan state agent for the Union Central Life Insurance company, the main offices of which company are located in Cincinnati, the main Michigan office being at Detroit."

Mr. Kelso liked John Rock, was impressed by the references provided, and hired him.  Rock was sent to Flint, Michigan to set up an office as an agent there.  Then he made a good salary with commissions, and he also became quite a big spender and ladies' man while his wife was back in Sherwood.  Finally, in February, 1892, Rock moved his family from Sherwood to Port Huron, about thirty miles from Flint.  Rock seemed to be doing well, and he was making some big loans for the company.

"It is stated that the company learned of his excesses, however, and decided to remove him.  At the time this decision was made, Rock was negotiating a big loan, so the company decided to let him go ahead with it.

The story as told by the Pinkerton (detective) man is to the effect that Rock secured the money for the loan through forgery and intrigue, and with the assistance of one or two other parties, succeeded in getting a draft from the company for $7,000 which was appropriated and the parties decamped."

The Pinkerton detective came from Flint to Sherwood to investigate was interviewed by the Defiance reporter.  It seemed that John Rock was on "intimate terms" with several different women in Flint, posing as an unmarried man.  He had told his secretary that the letters coming in from Jennie Rock were from his sister.  Then came the mistake...

"One day after writing to her husband, Mrs. Rock sealed the letter, it is said, and did not mail it at once.  Afterwards she was in doubt as to whether she had mentioned anything about the baby, hence she took up the envelope and was about to open it.  As it was already stamped, she did not care to open it, so she just picked up a pen and wrote on the outside of the envelope, 'Baby sends a kiss to papa.'

The firm's secretary, who was one of Rock's sweethearts, discovered the letter and the gig was up, at least in the office.  He, however, kept seeing other women outside of the office.  Mrs. Rock suspected his infidelities while still in Sherwood when he kept addressing her letters to Miss Jennie Rock.  Things must have been even more clear after she reached Michigan because soon she was headed back to her father's home via train with the Defiance reporter right behind!  The reporter caught up with Mrs. Jennie Rock at her father's home in Leesburg, Indiana and finally gained access to interview her.

"...Mrs. Rock entered carrying her child in her arms.  She is not strictly a handsome woman, but is by no means unprepossessing.  It is hardly fair to discuss the personal appearance of a woman who has just tumbled out of bed and appears wrapped in a loose gown, shoes unbuttoned and hair disheveled...The child is two years of age, is bright and healthy, and bears his father's name, John.

Mrs. Rock was not disinclined to talk and when asked regarding her husband's whereabouts, stated that she knew nothing about where he had gone and had not heard from him.

'When John moved to Flint and secured his position there,' said Mrs. Rock, 'I remained in Sherwood.  It was not very pleasant for me as his family and relatives did not like me.  I sewed for them and as long as I sewed and charged nothing for it, I was all right, but as soon as I commenced charging for making their dresses, they did not like me any more.  We never got along well together, though a couple of the girls and I were good friends.  I became dissatisfied in Sherwood and John made arrangements to take me to Port Huron which is quite a nice summer resort, and John was at home nearly all the time.  We lived nicely there and John always treated me and the baby very well.  We did not have any trouble at all.'"

Further questioning revealed that John did not come home Monday through Saturday, but would appear at home on Saturday evening, returning again Monday morning.  Jennie said she knew that people were telling bad stories about him and some money trouble, too, but she thought he was faithful to her.

The newspaper story continued:

"'Two weeks ago today,' continued the deserted wife, 'John came home to spend Sunday as usual. He remained until Tuesday, then kissed the baby and me, as was his custom.  He said that he would be back Saturday evening.  I got letters from him during the week, just short notes sending love to me and the baby.  Saturday night he did not come home, but there came instead a note which read, 'Pack up the things and you and the baby go home to Pap's at once.' We always called father "Pap" so I understood that he wanted me to come home here and he would meet me here in a few days.  I expected to get a letter explaining everything when I got here, but I have received no word from him and have not the slightest idea where he is, though he would probably go to Canada.

'John was not used right by his relatives,' said Mrs. Rock, or he would not have been in this trouble.  He was negotiating a loan of $7000 to a man named J. L. Goodrich.  The loan was refused at one time as it was thought that the security was not sufficient.  Mr. Kelso came to our house in Port Huron and brought his wife and family along.  The latter remained there while John and Kelso went out to see about the loan.  When they came back from the trip, Kelso said that the loan was all right and that John should close the deal.  John was to receive $300 as his commission for the work.  

Of course, when he went into the office,he had to give a bond, and his brother, Dr. Rock, who lives at Sherwood, went on his bond.  About two months ago, Dr. Rock took his name off the bond and Kelso did not inform John about it, simply allowing him to go ahead and close up this deal for $7,000.  John must have been informed that no one was on his bond and that he would probably lose his position as soon as the deal went through, hence when the draft for $7000 came, he got it, cashed and instead of turning over the money to Goodrich, he put it in his pocket and left the country.'"
Jennie's father felt sure that he could use his influence to get John to pay back the money, but if refused, then he ought to be in the penitentiary, his father-in-law opined.  The Pinkerton Detectives were on the case, interviewing Sherwood citizens, who were following the case closely.  

A July 12th paper noted that a circular with John Rock's photo and the following (condensed) description was circulated in Detroit:

27 years old, smooth face, 5' 10", dark complexion, hair dark brown - almost black, eyes - black, end of nose spherical, has a habit of looking down when he walks, hence is somewhat stoop shouldered, swinging gait, impressive and emphatic in speech, always dresses well, has assumed the name James Haven at least once.  

By August, 1892, John Rock had still not been found. The Defiance Democrat of August 4 headlined: 


"The detective told a gentleman whom he took into his confidence that Rock had for several days been followed and shadowed by the detective force, and that he was seen in Canada where a detective had ample opportunity to arrest him, but owing to a fear of the extradition papers not being perfect, did not make Rock a prisoner when the opportunity offered, preferring to wait (until) a later date, when it was learned Rock would again come to the states where he was expected to be captured and legal technicalities of his extradition dispensed with.
Rock had in his company, at that time, according to the detective's story, a woman of unenviable reputation and was traveling under an assumed name."  

On August 25th, the headlines read:

Extradition Papers Can Not Be Procured - Rock is Safe From Justice."   

And John Rock disappeared into history.  No further information could be found on him.  Maybe you know what happened to him?  If so, please comment!   



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jericho School, Hicksville Township - 1911

The Jericho School was District #8 in Hicksville Township and was located at the intersection of Tim Betts and Cicero Roads in Section 25.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Henry Foss - G.A.R., Bishop Post

Born in Saxony, Germany in 1840, Henry (Johann Heinrich) Foss immigrated to the United States as a young man.

 The patriotic lad enlisted in the Ohio Infantry on October 7, 1861.  He served in two units - Company K, 21st Ohio as a private and Company B, 68th Ohio as a corporal.  On the 1890 census, he reported that he served four years.

On May 16, 1863, Henry was wounded at the Battle of Champion Hills, Mississippi.  He was one of 47 in his group hurt in this battle that just preceded Vicksburg.  It was said that most wounded just stayed with the regiment and continued on.  The link above goes to a first person account of Private Myron Loop of the 68th of that battle.

Henry Foss mustered out with his company on January 28, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky.  His service with the 21st, Company K was a three months' service.

Anna Marie Sauer became the bride of Henry Foss on April 25, 1867, in Henry County.  The first mention of the couple in Defiance County came in the 1880 census when Henry was 40 and working as a dry goods clerk.  Living with them was Anna's brother, Andrew, who worked as a bookkeeper.

Eventually Henry owned the store, called The Golden Rule Store.

Defiance County Republican Express - July 28, 1892

In that same year, 1892, Henry and Anna celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.  The couple had no children together.

Defiance Democrat  - April 28, 1892

Henry and Anna lived at 646 Wayne Street until both of their deaths.  In 1900, Donald Abel, 20, boarded with them.  Henry had served as his guardian after Donald's parents' deaths.  Often the newspaper noted that Henry served as an executor of an estate, as well.  It seemed he was a trusted friend and citizen.

Henry was active in the Knights of Columbus as this article from the Daily Crescent of July 20, 1904 noted:

Henry lived until February 5, 1911.  The Defiance Democrat published this obituary on February 8:

His wife lived on until June 1925, and her obituary appeared in the Crescent-News on July 3, 1925:

Henry Foss and his wife, Anna M. were buried at Riverside Cemetery.

Henry Foss tombstone at Riverside 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!)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Lipp School - Delaware Township, 1893-1894

The donator of this souvenir booklet thought this school was probably in Delaware Township, based on where her grandparents lived.  Her father is listed in the booklet.  So the exact location is unknown.

As it may be difficult to read, the teacher and pupils are listed here:

Meg. A. Kleinhenn, Teacher
Henry Lipp, Director

Boys -
Roy Bayse
Fred Slough
Henry Fair
Forest Peoples
John Stitsel
John Lipp
George Stitsel
Edgar Flickinger
Wilber Davis
Chester Flickinger
Chauncy Kleinhen
Tom Grogg
John Peoples
Chauncey Grogg
Roy Lang
Allen Pontions
Clearance Pontions
Walter Davis 
Willie Koch

Kate Grogg
Eda Koch
Bertha Slough
Minnie Grogg
Clara Koch
Kate Slough
Iva Peoples
Anna Lipp
Alice Stitsel
Emma Lipp
Nellie Koch
Viola Fair
Nina Fair
Daisy Boterf
Rebecca Fair
Alta Davis 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Cromley School, Defiance Township, District #2 - 1892-1893

The Cromley School was located in Defiance Township, Section 8, on Route 111 just before Singer Road. 
In the winter of 1892 - 1893, Susie Wible was the teacher of this District #2 School.

Rudy Newton, George Brown, Willie Suodholtz, Frank Schatz, Laurence Shirley, John Brown, Isaac Daoust, Lloyd Newton, Rolly Wible, Harry Schatz, Artie Newton

Alia Newton, Cora Wolfrum, Sadie Suodholtz, Anna Suodholtz, Dora Wolfrum, Flora Suodholtz, Clara Schooley, Rachel Suodholtz, Perlie Wible, Gertrude Wolfrum

Thursday, May 18, 2017

David Blosser - Civil War Soldier Buried in Farmer Cemetery

David Blosser was the second son of Peter and Rebecca Blosser of Seneca County, Ohio.  Benjamin was the first son, born in 1839.  David was 22 in the 1860 census and he was followed by Jacob, 19; John, 17; Henry, 13; Mary, 10; Maria, 8; Sarah, 6; Madison, 3 and Andrew, 8 months.  It was a very large farm family and a patriotic one, as well, because four of the sons would fight for the Union cause.

On August 12, 1862, Jacob and John enlisted in Company K, 101st Regiment Ohio O.V.I., followed on September 12, 1862 by their brother, David, who joined the same regiment.  That left Benjamin, the oldest son behind.  He had just married in 1859, had small children, and was probably helping with the farm work.  The three brothers followed the 101st into some of the bloodiest battles of the war, fighting valiantly in Tennessee and Georgia.

On June 20, 1864, brother Jacob was killed in action at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia.  That may be what prompted Benjamin to join later, in 1865.
David and John Blosser returned home safely.  David mustered out on June 20, 1865, with his unit as a sergeant, having served 2 years, 10 months and 9 days.  He reported on the 1890 Veterans Census that his disability was heart trouble.

By 1870, David had settled in Farmer Township with his first wife, Mary Alice Riley and their child, Cora A, 2.  Later, they would have another daughter, Delphia.  David was a farmer.  In 1874, Mary Alice died on October 8.  Some time after that, David moved in with his widowed mother, Rebecca, 62, where they were enumerated on the 1880 census.  Rebecca still had children at home - Maria, 27, and sons Madison, 23, and Andrew 20.  David was 40 and with him were his daughters, Cora, 13, and Delphia, 10.

On April 6, 1882, David remarried to Emmaline Kelter/ Kelty Greenwood, who also had been married before and had some children.  In fact, in 1900, she reported that she had had 8 children and 5 were living.  David was about 20 years older than Emmaline.  Some of those children were still at home, and David and Emmaline had little Florence, who was 2 in 1900.

By 1910, Emmaline reported having 12 children, with 5 living, so she must have lost some children along the way after Florence.  David was 70 years old and Emma's son, John, 25, was home to help with farming, along with Carrie and Florence.  

David Blosser died on May 5, 1919.
His obituary appeared in the Bryan Democrat on May 16, 1919.


Daniel, second son of Peter and Rebecca Blosser, was born July 1, 1839, Seneca  County, Ohio, near Fostoria, and died at his home in Farmer, Ohio, May 5, 1919, aged 79 years, 18 months and 5 days.  He was united in marriage on June 1866, to Mary Alice Riley, to which union was born two daughters, Cora Alice and Delphia R.  The mother was taken away from her little family in October, 1874, and Cora joined her in the better land in January 1916.

Mr. Blosser , with his family, moved first to the old Blosser farm 1 1/2 miles west of Farmer, where he remained until he settled on his own place south of Farmer and there he resided many years, up until October, 1913, when because of his failing health, he bought a home in Farmer.

He was a soldier during three years of the Civil War, as a member of Co. K, 101st Reg. and in active service from August 12, 1862, down through Tennessee, the Tullahoma Campaign, Chickamauga, Ga., Siege of Atlanta from July 28 - Sept. 2, 1864, back again to Franklin, Tenn., where was fought one of the hardest won battles of this war.  Thence to Nashville in Dec. 1864, then home with all laurels well earned and practically without a scar except one slight wound.  This is a wonderful war record and will always be a great source of pride to his children and grandchildren.

April 6, 1882, he was again united in marriage to Emmaline Kelter Greenwood and in this union was born ten children, five of whom preceeded their father's fate, the better world.  Those left to mourn their loss are Delphia R., Sherman D., John W., Edith V., Carrie E., and Florence Marie.  Besides these are seven grandchildren, two brothers, one sister, his faithful wife and a host of other relatives and friends.

Mr. Blosser was a familiar figure in the social and religious life of the community and will be sorely missed, especially by his old soldier friends and in the church in which he was so regular in attendance as long as health permitted.  He was baptized with the Church of Christ by Charles Reign Schoville on the eighth of October, 1898, and remained a faithful, active member until his death.  Twenty years and seven months of work for the Master should gain great glory."

More information on David Blosser at www.findagrave.com

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Ku Klux Klan in Defiance County, 1923 - 1924

The Ku Klux Klan first organized after the Civil War, as an attempt to keep all the freed slaves "in their place."  The whole organization rose and fell again in popularity many times throughout the decades, but there was a time when the KKK had a very real resurgence in Defiance County.   

Recruitments for membership (naturalizations) and meetings were held throughout the county, beginning in about 1923, as evidenced by these newspapers notices:

Defiance Crescent News, September 24, 1923

Defiance Crescent- News, November 23, 1923
Defiance Crescent-News, November 21, 1923
Church pastors preached against the Klan, but recruitments and marches continued, with the goal of political power in the state.  Klan members ran for office, but never could succeed.

No little village in the county was immune to the influence of the Klan.  In 1924, a meeting was held at the Farmer Grange to recruit.  One source indicated his grandmother remembered the Klan members entering the church in Ney, marching up one aisle and exiting by the other as a show of force.

And how about this rare photo of the Klan marching through the Ney's Main Street?

When the W.P.A. workers wrote their local history of Bryan and Williams County in 1941, through the Writers Program Project, administered by the State of Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, the authors noted:

"The Ku Klux Klan, which recruited a considerable membership during the early 1920's, had little appeal for the farmers, perhaps because men who follow plows all day seldom feel the urge to go night riding.  At no time were the klansmen able to control a single office." (p.47)

Yet, they continued to recruit numbers here in Defiance County, and perhaps brought some to them through their donations of money to the indigent.
Defiance Crescent News, March 8, 1924
They attended funerals of members in full regalia and helped support their families.  
Defiance Crescent News, March 17, 1924

In May, 1924, large recruitments and meetings were held throughout the county.

Their heyday was over in our county about 1925 when they suffered a sharp decline in membership and interest had waned. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Residents of the Defiance County Children's Home, 1900

The census enumerator visited the Children's Home in Tiffin Township on June 14, 1900.  Adam Hall, 59, was the superintendent at the time, while his wife, Elizabeth, 55, served as matron.  They had six children, but only two were living with them at the time - Jennie M., 24, who served as seamstress, and Roy B, 17, who was still in school.

Image result for child 1900Other employees were Emma Lloyd, 40, governess; Mary M. Griteman, 31, cook; and Jennette Moninger, 25, laundress. 

The children enumerated on that day were in the Home because they were either orphaned or their parent/parents could not afford to care for them.

(Alphabetically listed with the age.)

Cameron, Olliver - 6
Garber, Nellie C. - 6
Gordon, Frank - 7

Helem, James F - 3
Helem, Pearl E. - 6
King, Israel J. - 6 (?)
Klink, Charley - 11

Marker, John W. - 7
Morris, Jacob - 13
Morse, Cora B. - 10
Morse, Dwight - 5
Morse, Maggie M. - 12
Morse, Roy C. - 7
Morse, Zelolie - 14

Newman, Irvin - 9
Patton, Frank - 8
Ricketts, Fletcher - 12

Sawyer Harry - 4
Smith, Goldie M. - 4
Smith, Henry A. - 2
Steel, Charles T. - 7 (?)
Steel, Essie E. - 12
Steel, Geneva C. - 9
Steel, Jesse S. - 6
Swan, Elmer - 4
Swan, Erna - 6

Vinegar, Myrtle N. - 10
Vinegar, Nellie - 13

Wakelt, Mason D. - 7
Wentz, Earl - 6
Williams, Jenkey - 9
Willson, Charles - 4 or 5

 *On the Defiance Public Library Website are several interviews that speak to experiences at the Children's Home, although they occur later than 1900.
Link to oral histories.