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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Kettenring Interests

"The Kettenring family had much to do with the growth of Defiance and here they are in one of the first automobiles to be brought here.  It is said, however, the first automobile here was owned by the late H. H. Mollencup and was a White steamer.  Mr. Mollencup used to drive along the rivers or canal where water would be available.

Photo by Edward S. Bronson

The Kettenring car is reported to have been a Winton.  In the car, at the wheel, is Charles H. Kettenring.  Next to him is William Kettenring.  In the back seat are: from left, Peter, the father, and Ransom, and in the rear, Karl, son of Will.

It is said that Peter Kettenring came to Defiance from Germany with $2.50 in his pocket.  He started sharpening plowshares and making iron kettles.  He gradually built up a line of woodworking machinery and at one time the Defiance Machine Works, of which he became president, was one of the largest builders of woodworking machinery in the country with sales offices in London and representatives in other European counries.

When the sons entered the business, they expanded the line, started the manufacture of machine tools and specialized in boring mills.  During World War One, the plant had its greatest growth, and employed as high as 600 workers.  The United States government practically took over the plant and there were about 50 Navy men who supervised certain operations in Defiance.  Gun stock machines were produced and also anti-aircraft guns in addition to many other machines which were supplied to U.S. arsenals and plants.

In later years, the plant was purchased by the Toledo Precision Products, Inc., who built boring mills during World War Two.  It was then discontinued and the buildings purchased by Glass Fibers, Inc, now Johns Manville Fiber Glass, Inc.  The Defiance Machine Works would have been 100 years old had it continued several years more.

For years it was the industrial backbone of Defiance.  It had a apprenticeship plan that graduated some of the finest machinists in the county.  There was no speed-up system at the old Machine Works but quality and high class workmanship were stressed.  Nearly all the old time employees owned their own homes.

Peter Kettenring lived at the northwest corner of Perry and Third Sts. in what is now a city building.  Ransom P. Kettenring later resided there.  Will Kettenring and later Charles Kettenring, at times, lived at Jackson Ave. and Third St. in the house which became part of the Eagles lodge home before it was torn down to make way for a service station.  Charles Kettenring later resided in the house in the flatiron at Holgate and Park Aves. and later in the large brick house with the tower at Holgate and Fifth St.

Source: Lloyd Tuttle, "Backward Glances," Defiance Crescent-News, October 10, 1963.

Let's Ride the Trolley!

"FOR A NICKEL, you could ride in this deluxe open street car from the old Baltimore and Ohio railroad station on Deatrick St., where the Wabash also stopped, a distance of more than two miles to Island Park, located on the 24 acre Preston Island in the Maumee River, east of town 

With this ride, you also got the thrill of crossing the old wooden trestle that then carried the cars high over Preston Run.  The trestle was a tall, spindly affair and, according to rumor, was not safe.  However carload after carload passed over it without incident. The trestle still stands, but unseen because it was covered over when the city made the Hopkins St. fill over Preston Run.

THE DEFIANCE STREET RAILWAY, which was one of the first electric street railways in Ohio, boasted four cars and two trailers.  One was a summer car, open all around, as pictured above. When it rained, patrons pulled down curtains.

At the time this picture was taken the cars hauled the U.S. mail.  The line ran from the south end of Harrison Ave. to Third St., under the Wabash overpass, east on Third to Clinton, south on Clinton to Juliet, over Juliet to Jefferson, then to Hopkins, east on Hopkins to a point near the American Steel Package Co., where it turned north to the Maumee bank across from Preston Island.  Here there was a wooden platform and wooden stairs to a pontoon bridge that connected with the island.  For a short time, there was a spur of the street car line from Third St., east on Clinton to First, but this was soon abandoned

THE LINE made a little money until the advent of the automobile, and that was its finish.  The 1913 flood swept everything off of Island Park.

This picture was brought in by Mrs. Blanche Heller, rt. 6, Defiance.  As far as she can learn, it was taken about 1897, somewhere in that period.  The car was standing on the Preston Run trestle.  The motorman-coachman was George B. Heller."

Source: Lloyd Tuttle, "A Backward Glance," undated clipping, Defiance Crescent-News.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Garman School, Defiance Township - 1925 or 1926

The donator of this photo was not quite sure of the date, but felt it had to be 1925 or 1926.  The Garman School was located in Section 10 of Defiance Township and was known as District #3.
If anyone can label those who are currently unknown in the photo, please comment!

Back Row - Lewy Preist, Gertrude Paul, Teacher - Leatha Harding, Mary Boyd.

First Row - Earl Boyd, Virg Sponsler, Margaret Thomas, Vernice and Vernell Sponsler, Audry Royer

Friday, October 27, 2017

Jesse M. Benner - G.A.R., Bishop Post

As a young man of twenty-one in 1860, Jesse Benner was working on the farm of A. Resor (Rasor?).  When the call came for men to enlist, Jesse was probably one of the earliest to sign up.  He enlisted in Defiance on August 15, 1861, for a three year term of service with Company D, 38th Ohio Infantry.  
The 38th first went to Kentucky and then to Tennessee.  They were not engaged in the battle of Chickamauga, but were instead behind the scenes, guarding the supply train. They actively fought at the Battle of Missionary Ridge, where the unit lost seven men.  

The group was then furloughed home for thirty days where many reenlisted as veterans and met up again in Georgia.  They were active in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain and then marched with Sherman through Atlanta and appeared at the Grand Review in Washington, D. C. at the end of the war.
Jesse was discharged on July 12, 1865 and he returned to Defiance.  He reported on the 1890 veterans census that he suffered from heart disease and rheumatism as a result of his war service.

In November, 1866, Jesse married his wife, Phoebe, and they settled down in Tiffin Township.  The 1870 census enumerator found them there with one son, Oreng (Ora).  Jesse was 28 and farming.  The 1880 agricultural census indicated that he had 55 tilled acres and 25 acres of wood.

At some point, Jesse began to teach in District 10 in Tiffin Township, at least from 1893 - 1895, and maybe even more years than that.  One newspaper reported in November, 1895, that he had been ill with malarial fever for three weeks and "had to give up his school."  About that same time, Jesse and his wife moved into Defiance and their grown son, Ora, moved to the farm.

Jesse and Phoebe had one other son, Jesse M. Benner, Jr. who attended Michigan State University from 1895 - 1901 to become a dentist.  His father went to Ann Arbor to witness his son's graduation.

Jesse Benner not only farmed and taught school, but he also served at various times as Commander of the Bishop Post, G.A.R., as a school board member, as a trustee of the Children's Home, and as Chaplain of the Post.  He went into the schools as a patriotic instructor for the G.A.R., as well.  

In 1900, he and Phoebe were settled into a home at 820 North Clinton Street.  He mentioned that he was a landlord at that time.  In 1910 and 1920, Dr. Jesse Benner Jr. lived with his parents and maintained a dentist's office in Defiance.

Jesse Benner died on May 4, 1920 and was buried at Riverside Cemetery. His obituary appeared in the Crescent-News on May 4, 1920:

Phoebe Benner lived until 1922, and her obituary appeared in the Crescent-News on October 10, 1922:

(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, October 25, 2017

John W. Donley - Civil War Soldier Buried in Farmer Cemetery

Born in Indiana in December, 1848, John Wesley Donley was the son of William Donley and Malinda Fee.  When he was 16 or 17, he enlisted in the war, despite his young age.  He entered the 189th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company A, which was formed in Toledo in the early months of 1865.  

The 189th marched to Nashville, Tennessee from March 4 to March 9, 1865.  There they were assigned to guard the railroad and they also met with several skirmishes with the Confederates.  After a few months, they moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee and then into Alabama.  However, the war was over not long after the formation of the unit, so they were sent home by September, 1865.  In his obituary, it was mentioned that John Donley served in a prisoner exchange in Richmond, Virginia, but no information could be found on that.  His pension record would reveal more information.

 After the war, John W. married Blanch Yeagley on May 18, 1877.  Together they had seven children: Dale, Hugh, Paul, Alice, Ella, Ethel and Madge.  We know the family moved around because of the birthplaces reported for their children.  William "Hugh" was born in Michigan in January, 1880, but his next brother, John "Dale", was born in Ohio, according to the 1900 census.  Eva "Madge" and "Alice" Essie were born in Iowa in 1892 and 1895, respectively.  In 1900, the family lived in Cedar Township, Benton County, Iowa, but his occupation was not given.

By 1910, John and Blanche and some of the children were in Farmer, Ohio, where they would remain.  By that time, John and Blanche had been married 54 years and he was farming.  Dale was 22 and it was reported that he was married, but no wife was enumerated with him.  Madge, 17, and Alice, 14, were still at home.  Also living with them were their daughter Ella Tharp, 32, who was divorced, and her daughter, Miriam Tharp, 9.  Ella worked as a seamstress out of the home, John was farming and Dale and Madge were "working out."

On the left, John Donley and, on the right, William P. Bayes in front of the blacksmith shop, Farmer, OH
By 1920, just John and Blanch lived in the house, along with Dale, 31, married. A story must exist around this marriage of Dale's.  Blanche died on July 10, 1932, and John followed on February 20, 1940, living until he was 91 years, 2 months and 5 days old.

  An obituary for John W. Donley appeared in the Bryan Press on February 29, 1940:


Fifth child of nine children of William and Malinda Fee Donley, Dec. 15, 1848, near Hamilton, Ind., died at his home in Farmer, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 1940, aged 91 years, two months and five days.

Mr. Donley was married to Blanche Yeagley on May 18, 1877, and to this union were born three sons and four daughters, one son, Paul and one daughter, Madge Dumstrom, having preceded both himself and their mother in death.

Mrs. Donley was taken on July 10 (?), 1932, since which time he has remained in the home under care of housekeepers, and until five weeks ago has been able to get around and do small chores in and about the house.  

The children who remain to miss him and the broken home are Mrs. Ella Lee, Farmer; Mrs. Ethel Conkey, Stryker; Miss Alice Donley, San Francisco, Cal.; Hugh, (of) Vaughn, Washington and Dale of Morenci, Mich.  There are also 11 grandchildren, to whom they meant much.

He enlisted in the Civil War in 1864 at the age of 16, after trying twice before and being sent home.  His army record is that of several skirmishes and much guard duty.  He was a member of Lew Bowker Post in Farmer during its existence, and was taken in as an honorary member of Williams County Post 994, V. F. W. in 1932 with W. S. Tomlinson, who also lived to a ripe old age.

He is the first of four veterans in Defiance County to answer the last call since Memorial Day last year, this time for service in the ranks of those who have gone before.  This man who has so long lived among us will be missed by many, old and young, as he loved young people, and to many has been Grandfather Donley all their lives.  He was a good neighbor and friend.

Card of Thanks -
We desire to thank the neighbors who assisted us in our bereavement, the members of V.F.W. Posts from Montpelier, Bryan, Hicksville and Defiance for their fine service, Mrs. Inez Flightner and Ward C. Ensign for their songs and all others who have in any way assisted in the last rites or during the illness of our father, John W. Donley.  We sincerely appreciate your offers.
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lee
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Conkey
Mr and Mrs Dale Donley

 John W Donley was Farmer's last Civil War veteran to pass away.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Bear Visits the Vagabond

For many years, Lloyd V. Tuttle contributed historic photos and information to the Defiance Crescent-News for his column, "A Backward Glance."  This article was undated, but later clues dated the incident as 1942.

It was reported: "SOMETIME in 1942 or 1943 there was a bear scare at Vagabond Village, truck and eating stop on U. S. route 24, 13 miles west of Defiance.  The owner at that time, Herb Benson, had a bear that escaped from its cage in front of the building.  Fearing that it might attack livestock, he called the sheriff of Paulding county to run it down and shoot it.

The PAULDING county sheriff and his deputy, however, were away, so he telephoned Defiance county Sheriff John K. Bridenbaugh.  He and Deputy Alner D. Ryan responded, taking along the 3-40 Krog rifle from the sheriff's office.  

The bear had gone to the river bottom back of Vagabond Village where Sheriff Bridenbaugh shot the animal.  Those in the picture are, from left, Herb Benson, then the owner of Vagabond Village; Deputy Ryan, Sheriff Bridenbaugh, Sheriff Bates of Paulding and his deputy, Jim Bridenbaugh, son of John, also there." 

Actually, the Defiance Crescent-News published a news article about this event on July 12, 1942.  

Friday, October 20, 2017

Ney School - Jay Pollock, Teacher

This photo was taken in the old Ney School in the room which, in my day, housed Mr. Garver's history class.  The undated photo had the students labeled on the back.  The teacher standing by the windows was Mr. Jay Pollock, according to the identification provided.

Students were identified on the back as follows:

Starting on the left side, row 1:
Howard Doud (adopted), Ruey Baker ?, A. C. Pollock, Arl Garver, Earl Pierce, Wm. Sandy

2nd row: Markey Doud, Harley Doud, Leslie Ruder, Leo Sutton, Ward (Clyde?) Barber, Wm. Weller, Glen Pollock, Clarence Mack, Lester Hanna, Leslie Hanna,
Elmer Wank? , Clarence Garber, Clarence Pierce

3 row: Elberta Pollock, Georgia Wilferd? Bogart, Zola March Renz, Bernice Garber Smith, Ethel Brown Ruder, Gertrude Rupert Sheets?  Cleveland, Carmie Garber Ginther, Hazle Brown Doud, Vera Pollock Stuckman, Hazle Guilinger, Wilma Yarlott Peterson, Ollie Strusaker Notestine, Zelma Weller ?, Ethel Campbell Kibble, Freda Williams, Connie Garber Renz

If anyone could provide a date or fill in some question marks, it would be wonderful!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Solomon Ridenour - Civil War Soldier Buried in Farmer Cemetery

Member of Farmer G.A.R.

The son of Samuel and Mary Ridenour, Solomon was born on November 13, 1831, in Jefferson Township, Williams County, Ohio.  Just before the war, in the 1860 census, he lived in Brady Township, same county, with his parents as a 27 year old.

In August, 1861, an article went out in the papers stating that Indiana was going to form one German, one Irish, and one Railroad regiment.  Solomon must have been drawn to the idea of an Irish unit because he enlisted in the 35th Indiana Infantry, otherwise known as the "First Irish" on November 15, 1861. 

The unit organized in Indianapolis, mustering in on December 11, 1861.  The first unit was issued special clothing to distinguish them from the rest of the army - an emerald green kepi, chasseur coats, and dark trousers.

Read more HERE.

Before leaving Indianapolis, they were also presented with a green regimental flag with their motto, "Be Just and Fear Not."

Two days after organizing, the regiment left for Kentucky and then Tennessee, where they were involved in the Battle of Stone's River and Chickamauga. They suffered heavy losses.

In December, 1862, many reenlisted as a veteran unit and then they were granted a furlough home.  The unit was back by February to join the Atlanta campaign. 
"At Kennesaw Mountain, it was in the front line and received a fierce and unexpected attack, but rallied from a momentary confusion and fought hand to hand with stubbed muskets and bayonets until finally, with the assistance of another regiment, the enemy was driven back. The 35th lost eleven killed, including Major Duffey, and fifty four wounded." (www.civilwarindex.org)

The Irish entered Atlanta on September 9 and then pursued Gen. Hood through Tennessee, reinforced by 400 drafted men and substitutes in the spring of 1865. Then they were ordered to Texas, and it was there they were mustered out at the end of the war on September 30, 1865.  Solomon reported that he was injured in the shoulder and back on the 1890 census.

 After the war, he married Anna Riegel in 1870, but they could not be located in the 1870 census.  By 1880, he and Anna had settled in Farmer Township with their only child, James Allen, who was 6, and Solomon's sister-in-law, Charlotte Reynolds, 63.  In 1883, Charlotte died on December 23, and the funeral was held on Christmas Day.

Solomon owned land in Mark Township, as well, and his son apparently lived there.  One newspaper reported that in 1902, Solomon was building a home for his son who was residing in Mark Township.  And so, in the 1910 census, Solomon, 78, and Anna, 66, have as their neighbor their son, Allen J., 37, and his wife, Dessie, and three children.  The Ridenours were all farmers.

In 1909, Solomon and Anna hosted the Ridenour Reunion.  The Defiance Daily Crescent reported on the event on August 19:


Solomon died on November 11, 1912, of stomach cancer, according to his death certificate.  He was 80 years, 11 months and 18 days old.   
 The source of the following obituary is unknown:

"Solomon Ridenour was born November 13, 1831, in Jefferson county, Ohio, died November 11, 1912, at his home in Farmer township, Defiance county, Ohio, aged 80 years, 11 months and 29 days.  At the age of eight years, he moved with his parents to Defiance county.

On November 15, 1861, he enlisted as a soldier in the Union army then engaged in the Civil War, becoming a member of Co. J, 35th Indiana, and he served until December 15, 1863, when he was discharged.  The next day here-enlisted in the same company and served until discharged September 30, 1865.  

He was married to Anna Reigel November 18, 1869 and to this union one child, Allen J. was born, who with one brother and two sisters, a widow, three grandchildren and a host of friends and relatives are left to mourn his death and cherish his memory.  

Funeral services were held November 13th by the Rev. Davenport at his residence which had been his home for 35 years.  He was a member of the M.E. church at Farmer for 33 years and also a member of the Lew Bowker Post, No. 725."

Anna lived on ten more years, passing away in June, 1922.  Her obituary appeared in the Crescent-News on June 10, 1922: 


Monday, October 16, 2017

The First Defiance High School Football Team

For many years, Lloyd V. Tuttle contributed historic photos and information to the Defiance Crescent-News for his column, "A Backward Glance."
Tuttle discussed the first team to represent Defiance in high school football.  The article, published on August 8, 1963, stated the first team played in 1901.

"Sixty-two years ago a bunch of boys with a vision and a will promoted the first Defiance High School football team.  Everything was on a volunteer basis.  They had no paid coach, not even a football given them.  They furnished their own uniforms.  Most of the uniforms were made by the mothers of the boys.

This picture of the first Defiance High School football team was taken in 1901.  The late attorney Richard H. Sutphen, better known as 'Dick,' was the coach.

In the picture are: From left, Langdon, who operates a drug store in Ottawa and Edward S. Speiser, reclining.
Second row, Claude Winn, Tom Garman, Julius Blair, Roy Cameron and Clayton L. Hutchinson;
Third row, Barton Harris, Murphy (son of the Baptist minister at that time), Jim Duerk, Earl Fuller, Hector Daoust and Olga Byron Smith.

The team had no regular schedule but picked up games whenever possible.  Picture furnished by Clayton L. Hutchinson, 308 Washington Ave." 

The Defiance Crescent News reported on the team's first game on September 30, 1901 with Van Wert, which they lost.

*It may be that the wrong date was reported on the photo above, as the names do not match those playing in 1901, as reported by the newspaper.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A. Martin and Company - Furniture, Coffins, and Undertaking

Andreas Martin, an immigrant from Germany, came to America in 1857, and had settled in Defiance by the next year, according to his obituary.  The Defiance Republican Express (July 28, 1892) noted that A. Martin and Company was established in Defiance in 1874; it dealt in furniture, coffins and undertaking.  Andreas, his son, August, and a cousin, Gottlieb Martin, all worked in the company.

On January 1, 1891, August took over the business from his father, Andreas, as co-partner and manager of the furniture sales, while Gottlieb was in charge of the undertaking establishment.  The company was known for its excellent craftmanship - both August and Gottlieb had experience in coffin making - and the company had the finest hearse in Defiance, according to the newspaper.

"The Messrs Martin are young men of excellent attainments and have a thorough knowledge of business.  Their store is located at 518 and 520 Clinton street.  They occupy two floors and the basement and have floor space of 14,000 feet."

 Lloyd V. Tuttle contributed historic photos and information to the Defiance Crescent-News for his column, "A Backward Glance." A rare photo of the Martin establishment with some of its chief members was featured on September 9, 1965.

"THIS PICTURE must have been taken prior to 1888, because the present brick building that stands on the site was built that year.  It is a photo of the original A. Martin and Co. Furniture Store which sold out some years ago and the brick building is now occupied by the Huenefeld store.

The picture shows one of the early stores of Defiance which not only sold furniture, but also engaged in undertaking and sold coffins as was proclaimed by the sign on the front of the one-story frame building.  In those days, many furniture stores did an undertaking business and sold caskets.  Under the Martin name, the store became one of the leading furniture stores of the area.

STANDING in the doorway to the left is Andrew Martin*, father of August W. Martin.  The latter was active as one of Defiance's prominent business men up until a few years ago.  The man in the doorway is Gottlieb Martin, father of Brian Martin, who formerly lived at 840 S. Clinton St., but now lives at 4032 Willys Parkway, Toledo.  The man at the right is John Linhardt, father of the late Walter Linhardt, Defiance jeweler.

Brian Martin submitted the picture." 

*Actually Andrew was Andreas A. W. Martin.  The second A. may have stood for Andrew.  Gottlieb was a cousin and later a partner with August in the business. 

On March 1, 1900, the Defiance Democrat ran these headlines in bold print:

TOTAL LOSS OF $30,000." 

Apparently a boy reading the gas meter had struck a match to read the meter in the basement of the store.  It was thought he then put the match down while it still had some spark, and that ignited the many combustibles in the basement workshop, including the turpentine, woods, and other materials that quickly spread the flames.  August Martin ran in to retrieve his books and valuable papers from the safe, and when he tried to leave, the draft gave him difficulty in opening the door to escape, but he did make it.  The fire raged up and down the elevator shaft in the building and then spread to neighboring businesses.  In the midst of this, the firefighters dealt with a blinding snowstorm.  The company did rebuild.

In 1906, Andreas Martin died.

Defiance Daily Crescent News - November 22, 1906
I am also posting another obituary that appeared in the Defiance Weekly Express on November 30, 1906.  It adds a bit of extra information.

Andreas was buried in Riverside Cemetery, where later his son, August and other family members would join them.

Gottlieb began a partnership with the Mansfields who eventually bought out the undertaking business.  Eventually August sold his furniture business to an establishment from Indiana.
Gottlieb died on June 3 1920, at age 62.

Defiance Crescent-News - June 3, 1920

August would go on to serve his community in many, many ways in a variety of organizations. He continued his professional life as president and director of several companies, and as a board member for some.

To finish article, scroll back up to text under the photo of August Martin.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Defiance County Obituary Notice of 1897 and 1898

This small article, found in the Defiance Express of September 15, 1898, concerned deaths occurring in the county and its surroundings in 1897 and 1898. Such good leads for genealogists are here.  One could find a post office address, a date of death, an age at death and the date of settlement in the county...a treasure trove of facts for the genealogist to verify.


Name                   P.O Address        Date of Death    Age      Date of Settlement
Nancy Snider       Evansport             Sept. 13, '97                             1831
Catharine Kraft     Defiance               Sept. 6,  "             76                1839
Mrs. Brice Hilton   Brunersburg         Sept. 27, "             76                1834
Edwin Phelps        Defiance               Sept. 29, "            82                1834
Jacob Coy            Evansport             Dec. 19, "              90                1831
Catharine Ernst    Defiance               Dec. 19, "              85                1850
*Lucy Hall              Indianapolis         Dec. 29, "              60                   
John H. Kiser        Defiance               Dec. 29                 56  Born here 1839

Calvin Cleveland   Cicero                  Jan. 5, '98             69                 1849
Alanson Smith      Montpelier             Jan. 8, "                74      About  1848

James C. Sanford  Stryker                Jan. 13, '97            63                 1836

Hubert Naveau      Junction               Jan. 16, '98           71                  1847
Sarah Landis          Hicksville             Jan. 13, "              71  Born here 1826

Mary H. Bradley     Newville               Dec. 29, '97                                                    

**Mary Jane Wood   Hicksville              Jan. 31, '98          83                    1836
Thomas Yeager     Evansport             Feb. 3,   "             70                    1847
Rebecca Battershell  Milford               Jan. 24, "             73
Abraham Jackson     Scipio                Feb. 15, "             79                    1839
Susannah Ridenour   Farmer             Mar. 2, "                86                    1843
John Banks               Hicksville           Mar. 5, "                84                    1827

John Elliot                 Defiance            Mar. 19, "              77                    1813
Ellen Presler             Hicksville            Mar. 22, "              55   Born here 1842
Electa Alshouse        Defiance            Apr. 11, "               77            June 1844

Mrs. Weisenberger-
Eck                           Defiance             Apr. 28, "              78                     1835
Julius Lueders          Brunersburg       May 1, "                78         About   1848
Geo. Benner             Pulaski, Wms Co  July 13, "            86                     1846
Martha Dorsey          Scipio                 July 31, "               76

Wm. Babbage          Hicksville             Aug. 17, "             87                     1837
Catharine Lutz          Noble Twp          Aug. 19, "              72        About   1848
Adam P. Beadle       Crane Twp          Aug. 29                 69        About    1850
Fred Omo                Allen Co, Ind.                                    79        Before   1844

*Lucy Hall, who died at Indianapolis, December 29, 1897, was one of the first white persons born in the Maumee valley."

** An obituary for Mary Jane Wood(mentioned above) was found in Obituaries, Pioneers of Northwest Ohio, Carma Rowe estate, Hicksville.


On Monday of last week occurred the death in this city of Mrs. Mary Wood, truly a link connecting the early part of this country with the present.  Of the heads of families who resided here when she came, there now remains but Mrs. David Green, Mrs. Lewis Michaels, Mr. Floid, and Dr. B. M. Rakestraw.

Mary Jane Wood, nee Brown, was born in the city of London, England, in the year 1815, and was married to a Mr. Yexly of that city in 1831.  They left the shores of their native land on the sailing bark, 'Triel,' Aug. 17, 1832, and after 11 weeks on the stormy deep, they arrived at the Canadian city of Montreal.  A child was born to them, May 24, 1833, Alexander by name, who is now a resident of Illinois.

While still at Montreal, her first husband died, and she was married a second time to Edward Wood, Dec. 30, 1835.  To them were born three children.  Two of them have passed away.  The other, Mrs. Lucy Hattery, still survives and is a resident of this city.  It was at her home that the aged mother breathed her peaceful, last breath, after a lingering affliction of five months.  There was no struggle, just the sweetsleep in the arms of her Savior.  Deceased was aged at the time of her death, 82 years and 10 months.

Together with her husband, she came to Defiance county in 1836, and settled in Hicksville township.  Her husband purchased the first tract of land sold by Mr. Hicks in the township, the late Hon. A. P. Edgerton, acting as Mr. Hicks' agent.

She united with the Baptist church society in 1862, and became a member of the M. E. church in 1881, of which she remained a faithful and devoted member until the end.  She was ready and expressed a desire to go.  Her last audible words to her pastor were that prayer was her great consolation.

In the touching ceremony, conducted by her beloved pastor, Rev. A. A. Thomas, many historical facts and incidents concerning the deceased were commented upon.  Among them being the fact of her being among the very earliest settler of this neighbornhood. Also that this, at that time, was an unbroken wilderness, the only roads through the matted forest being a few Indian trails.  The dismal howl of the wolf and the occasional shout of the Indian warrior, as he pursued his game through the forest, were common sounds to her in those days.

Her happy home for years was a log cabin with its chimney made of sticks and mud, and its windows being greased paper.  She was an expert at scutching flax and spinning wool, two arts that the modern woman knows nothing about.  The seats in the cabin home consisted of puncheon boards with wooded stakes for legs, and the table of the same, being taller and larger.

When herself and husband landed here, there existed a Pottawatomie Indian village on what is now known as the J. J. Waltenberger farm.  Another on the Spindler farm, at the junction of the Gorden creeks, and another near Hall's Corners. She had helped to grind corn on the primitive mills used in those days that consisted of a hollow burned in a large stump and a large stone that was turned by a pole, the operator walking round and round the stump until the heavy stone had accomplished its work.  How little the women of today know of the real hardships and privations  Many peaceful night's rest has she enjoyed on a bed of poles with leaves and small branches for the mattress.

Among the stories that she was fond of relating was one regarding a trip made by Mrs. Hicks to this place from New York City.  The arrival was in the dusk of evening, and seeing hundreds of log heaps in a blaze caused the city lady to remark that they had arrived at the city, as she could see the many lights from the windows.  She really expected to see a considerable town.  Many other interesting facts could be added, had we the time and the space.  Her's, indeed, was a useful and busy life.

Funeral services were conducted from the home of her daughter by Rev. A. A. Thomas on Wednesday of last week at 2;30.  Interment at Forest Home.  We made add that the community contained no resident more respected than she." 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Ney High School - Class of 1941


Top Row, L to R: Gloria G. Kunesh, Rudolph Temmerman, Maribel Garver, Mary L. Stotler, Gerald G. Singer, Donna June Smith, Frances M. Mack, Doralee Shamp, Clara Billow

Second Row from Top: Wilbur J. Mack, Phyllis Jean Weller, Ralph Rader -President, Edwin L. Jesse - Vice-President, Vivian M. Pendleton - Secretary-Treasurer, Velma L. Stantz, June Garber

Third Row from Top: Dorothy L. Keller, Betty Moon, Irene Lantz, Eileen Beattie, Mariana Notestine, Freda Hammersmith

Bottom Row: Richard Gisler - Vocational Agriculture
 Ross Cox - History, English
 Dudley Ebersole - Coach, Social Science, Bookkeeping
 Dale O. Sander - Principal, _?_, Public Speaking
 Mary Schooley (?) - Music, Typing, _?_
 Vivian Twining - _?_, Home Economics, Typing

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Nelson D. Grogg - Bishop Post, G.A.R.

Born about 1832 in Ohio, Nelson Grogg grew up in Defiance County.  In 1850, he and his parents, John and Eve, lived in Delaware Township, along with Nelson's siblings: Margaret, Soloman, and Nathaniel, all born in Ohio.  With them were Rachel, Sarah, and Elverta Maconeca - no relationship was recorded.

Nelson married Sarah Cornelia Pearce on July 2,1859, in Indiana.  He and Sarah settled in Richland Township, Dekalb County, Indiana, where the 1860 census enumerator found them.  Nelson, 23, was farming and had a personal estate of just $20 and no real estate.

Perhaps that is one reason why Nelson decided to enlist at the age of 24, on December 6, 1861.  He joined the 48th Ohio Infantry, Company F for a three year enlistment.  The 48th lost about one-third of its members at Shiloh, Tennessee.  Later, at Sabine in Louisiana in April 1864, the membership was again hit hard, as almost all the remaining 48th were captured.

From the History of the 48th O.V.V.I., Chapter XV:
"From the battlefield, we were taken to Mansfield and put in the courthouse yard.  After taking our names, they marched us about two miles out of town and guarded us in a field.  The night was cold, and as we had no blankets, we set fire to some old logs and crowded around as closely as possible in order to keep warm.  About eleven o'clock that night, we received a few crackers and some bacon.
The next day, April 9, the prisoners numbering 182 officers and 1000 men, in the charge of a battalion of Louisiana cavalry, started for Camp Ford, Texas.  After marching 15 or 20 miles, we were corraled for the night.  Here we received our first regular rations form the Confederacy which consisted of a pint of musty corn meal, coarsely ground, and a slice of salt beef.  As we had no cooking utensils, some procured boards, upon which they baked their bread, while others baked it on the ashes...  
The following day we proceeded on our way to Texas.  In places we found the road lined with slaves, in charge of their masters, who were hurrying them to Texas to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Yankess.  The contracted brow of the masters indicated their hatred, while the happy countenances of the slaves showed that they considered us best friends...

They walked seven days to reach Camp Ford, an old prison camp with some brush huts here and there.  The officers built log cabins and the rest of the men built shanties or hovels by burrowing in the ground.  Soon the camp was very overcrowded.  Eventually, the men were released and the 48th reorganized, so that Nelson was transferred into Company D in January, 1865, and at some point the 83rd.  He was mustered out at Galveston, Texas on May 6, 1866.  On the 1890 veterans' census, Nelson, the POW, reported that he suffered from rheumatism and chronic diarrhea from his time in service.

When Nelson returned home from the war, he continued his life with Sarah in Dekalb County, Indiana.  In 1870, they lived in Jackson Township, Dekalb County.  Nelson, 32, and Sarah, 28, had children Sylvester, 9, (born in Ohio,1861) and Ida, 3, (born in Indiana).  Nelson farmed, but still held no real estate, and his personal worth had grown to $430.

The family continued to grow, adding John in 1871, Orville in 1874, and Addie in 1878.  John was born in Indiana, but the other two children were born in Ohio.  In the 1880 census, the family lived in Noble Township, Defiance County, where Nelson farmed.  Here they remained until Nelson's death on February 21, 1911.

Crescent News, March 8, 1911
Nelson D. Grogg was buried in Brunersburg Cemetery.

Sarah Pearce Grogg lived on until the spring of 1927, an invalid after a fall a few years before.  Her obituary appeared in the Defiance Crescent News on March 31, 1927.

Sarah was buried beside her husband in Brunersburg Cemetery.

   (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!)