1898 and earlier

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More on Fostoria   -- (1898 and earlier)

When Charles Foster was a Baseball Fan-
(Fostoria Focus Article)
November 23, 2003

"The Old Home Town"
Republished by Gene Kinn
In R/T Sept. 14, 2001
Romance of Fostoria
    The romance of Fostoria began 175 years ago when Charles W.. Foster came to Seneca County to visit the family of Roswell Crocker, in 1826.
    There was no Fostoria then.  There was no Rome nor Risdon, that afterwards became our town.  There were few roads--some trails, many Indians, plenty of bears, wolves and deer, with other furry animals.
    Folks of might say traveling was tough.  Then, why did Charles W. Foster, native of Massachusetts, born in 1800, at 26, come to the home of John Crocker, native of New York and six years his junior.
    Because here he met the romance of his life in the person of Mr. Crocker's beautiful daughter Laura.  The young people had met in New York, previously, and a slight attachment had sprung up between them.
    What happened?  Mr. Foster found Miss Laura in poor health and took her to Saratoga Springs in New York, where her health was restored.   Then what? On the 7th of June following, the young people were married and returned to Seneca County. Charles W. and Mrs. Foster lived with her parents, the John Crockers.   There in the dense woods where homes now stand.  Charles W. Foster and John Crocker entered 2,000 acres of land.
    In 1832, Rome was laid out.  C. W. Foster and his father-in-law opened a store.   You might call it a general store now.  It was on the southwest corner of Main and Tiffin Streets.   In years to come, to be razed and the first Foster block built, to be occupied by Charles W. Foster and Son and still later by Foster, Druitt and Co.
    In that log cabin, Charles W. Foster dealt with pioneers and with Indians.  The son, Charles (Calico Charley) gives first hand information about this house saying;  "My father built this double log cabin in the summer of 1832. He moved into it in November of that year, living with his family in one end and having his little store in the other."
    Calico Charley, C. W. Foster's, son said that one of the staples his father sold for the first 10 to 15 years was quinine.   In those days Seneca County and its surroundings was ague country.   "I believe nine out of 10 were sick in bed, with fever and ague at the same time," Mr. Foster avers.
    This store continued exclusively in the hands of Mr. Foster (Calico) and his father until 1888 a total of 56 years.
    He traded what he had for what they wanted.    Both sides profited.   The place was lighted by tin lanterns with candles in them--and one of those lanterns still exists, more than 100 years old.  It lights a Toledo porch now and an electric bulb has been substituted for the candle.
    The migration from the East brought all kinds of people.  Some of the names have come down through the more than 100 years. Forests were leveled for fields.  Wild game was about used up for food.  Trails became roads.  Sawmills and grist mills flourished.  Stage coaches stopped.  Towns were actually incorporated.   Officers were elected, Railroads were projected and so the community thrived.
    No wonder Risdon wanted a part of the honor.  No wonder that Rome fought.  No wonder that the towns were joined and became Fostoria, honoring the first big man, of 1832.   That was seven years after the son Charles came in as a partner, "after which the embryo country store developed into more pretentious proportions."
    The father, C. W. Foster, during many of these years was a justice of the peace, clerk and treasurer of Loudon Township.  The son, served four terms in congress and was defeated for the fifth terms.  He served two terms as Governor, in 1879 and 1881 and later was named by President Benjamin Harrison as secretary of the treasury.
R/t Sept. 22, 2001
Article by Gene Kinn
DeWolfe tale continues
"This Old Home Town
 Former Fostorian news reporter, on the influence of the Foster family on the city.
    Away back there, before Rome and Risdon combined, east was a village of log cabins.   Old Charley Foster owned a sawmill too.  He saw where the money was.  At his log cabin store, over 100 years ago whiskey sold for 12 cents a quart.
    weather? In 1827, the temperature fell to 31 below zero.  In February it fell to 42 below zero, but in January 1838, farmers around Fostoria were plowing.
    In 1825, a little child was lost from Fort Ball (now Tiffin) Searchers came to the vicinity of what is now Fostoria, and camped.   the called the site Fort McGaffey, honoring the leader of the search party,  Neal McGaffey... (Wonder if they ever found the child.) - (See - Area Child Captured by Indians in 1825)
       Everything wasn't just fine and dandy in those early days.
    Searching the records, one finds that in 1827 John Brooks build a frame house,  "and bought a stock of molds for his counterfeiting establishment here."  And, the business of horse stealing thrived.  Many a horse thief was sent to the penitentiary.
    In 1843, the Crocker gristmill on South Street, was sold and became a distillery.
    Many other local residents flourished during Calico Charley days.  Andrew Emerine Sr. was a trustee of Loudon township in the 1870 period. Andrew was a harness maker from 1849 to 1877 and then a banker,  His son Andrew Jr. is now (1941) head of the First National Bank.   "Calico Charley" and the elder Mr. Emerine were mild rival bankers for some years.
    John Andes, wagonmaker of an early period, build the Andes Opera House, and ran a roller skating rink in which Fostoria's first electric lights were used.
    John Crocker was the ancestor of Rosewell Crocker, whose son was Rowson Crocker, grocer.  George Acker of Tiffin Roas and Johnny Adams were farmers af that early period.   Johnny Adams' woods were noted for their sponge mushrooms.
    Grocers "ragged out" a display in front of their stores each morning, and ragged it in again at night.   Some housewives objected to the practice.
    Butchers also hung up half a steer, and a big pig, in front of their shops, and now and then the body of a bear or a deer.
    David Asire, tall and ghostly was an undertaker of the Charley Foster days--Knew everybody and was a good smiler.
    Other names of that period were W. H. Leech, one-armed veteran,A. J. Ritchart, the horse shoe pitcher:  J. M. Shatzel, the town clerk; Bruce Myers of the waterworks and Dr. Simon Bricker, said to have been the first person buried in Fountain cemetery, in 1856.  but that may have been another cemetery.
    When Charley Foster was making a name for himself, David Hays, who owned the Hays House , was alive.  His son-in-law W. H. Grapes ran it.
    Silas Waring, red flannel-shirted and leather-aproned, was the town blacksmith.  He and Billy Mergenthaler.
    In those days kids had fun after a big rain by standing in unpaved Main street and battin swallows as they flew down this canyon, dodging for insects.  A Halloween prank was to take a carriage apart and reassemble it on the top of the building occupied by Billy Mergenthanler's woodworking and blacksmith shop.
    The circus grounds were on South Main Street, next door to the house on Crocker Street, opposite Fred Werner's tailor shop.
    Dr. J. W. Bricker came to Fostoria in 1846.  His office was back of Eshelman & Harbaugh's drug store.  Charley Hays ran a drug store too.  He and his brother, Fred Town sports sometime went behind the prescription case, poured their own drink of liquor, drank, wiped their lips on a cuff, went out, dropped a dime in Charley's hand and vamoosed.
R/t Sept. 29, 2001
Article by Gene Kinn
DeWolfe tale continues
"This Old Home Town
 Former Fostorian news reporter, on the influence of the Foster family on the city.
    The Portage river used to flow through the west part of town.  The surrounding woods, in the (Charley) Foster days, were popular with the young folks.  Later, much of that became the old reservoir.
    There were two ponds-Groves'a and Marks'.  Each was filled and in the winter the ice was cut and stored for sale.  Skating in winter and fishing in summer gave the boys something to do.
    The first people to settle in "Fostoria territory" came in 1817.  It wasn't long until the rail fence was found to be necessary and it was introduced. Some old rail fence still exist.
    In those early days, when C. W. Foster and the Crockers and the M. P. Skinners were among the pioneers in that wilderness, almost every house was a hotel, without money and without price.  Every traveler was welcome and the thought of compensation seldom entered into the minds of these free-hearted people.  Visitors paid by giving all the news they knew of the outside world.
    When women wanted to dress up, they put on a red calico gown, usually flashily dotted with yellow flowers, wore a "scoop bonnet", and shoes of cowhide, with the seams outside.
    One of the townspeople, Henry Wetzel, died Oct. 6, 1863. On his grave, you may find what Henry prepared to be engraved on his tombstone:  "Behold, my friends, as you pass by, as you are now, so once was I; as I am now, you must be; prepare for death and follow me."  One hopes Henry knew just where he was going.
    Miss Lottie Abbott was perhaps the best known teacher in the public schools.  E. T. Hartley, a fellow named Osborn, and W. T. Jackson were some of the superintendents,  Supt. Osborn originated the bright idea of making a map of the United States on the schoolhouse lawn, out of colored carpet rags, children donated the rags.
    Frank Hays was editor of the Fostoria Democrat.  O. J. DeWolfe and Joel P. DeWolfe (the father of this writer) ran the Fostoria Review in "Calico Charley" Days.
    George Scherck was a personable gentleman who came from Germany in !875.  His saloon was as noted in its time as that of Monroe Eisenharts's or Judge Charles Histe's in a still later day.  The Frank HIste sawmill was back of the school building on North Union Street.
   Martin Kingseed came from Germany in 1844 and grew up and prospered in the Foster environment.   The Kingseed hardware store was known for miles around.
    The livery stable firm of Smith & Skinner was located on East Tiffin Street, right next to the Miller home.  Young sports hired a horse and buggy there to take their girls out riding on Sunday afternoons.  Or else they went to Dan Musser's place, on Main Street, back of the old Post Office location, between Center and North Streets. 
    Jeremiah L. Mickey was a pioneer who came to the Foster spot two years later than the older Mr. Foster did.   It was he who started the first hotel in Risdon and some of his descendants still are among those present in the old home town.
    The Marks family made its Fostoria debut in 1849 in the persons of Nick and Theresa Marks.   They became the parents of Edward Marks, a very well known businessman, and of a grandson, Charles, who now lives in Toledo.
    Jacob Myers came from Pennsylvania in 1848 and died in 1875.  He was the father of Dr. Park Myers, who married Jessie, one of the daughters of Charles foster.  The other daughter was Anna, who married Fred Muessye whilst her father was governor of the state.
Information added 9/29/01

R/t Oct. 6, 2001
Article by Gene Kinn
    In the "Calico Charley" days old Guy Morgan had his office in the Foster store and bought rags and rubber and old iron of the small boys.
    There was a wholesale grocery store of Davis & Foster.  In those days, there were some great card games "Calico Charley" was an inveterate card player as was Warren G. Harding, who became president of our country, The card group usually included John Davis, J. P. DeWolfe and whoever else happened around to make a fourth hand.
    Then there were the town horseshoe pitchers, a lot of experts.  They shot their shoes on a court back of the old Mechanics Bank. Fletch Ritchart, Dr. J. W. Bricker, that tall Mr. Callahan, Dr. Brayton and a squad of filler-ins
    Yes, there was some gambling.  There were several poker rooms, but let's not get into that.  The night and morning that the Harter mill burned, the best poker game in town went right on -- the boys didn't have time to stop for such a thing as a big blaze.  There was some crap-shooting at the Earl Hotel bar, a little further upstairs, but none of that open Wild West stuff.
    Elijah Niebel was another person of the Foster days as was William Weaver, a noted harness maker, who came to town in 1849, and was the official flag carrier when the G.A. R. went on parade.  One morning, they found William hanging by rope in the loft of a barn, near the home now occupied by Dr. N. C. Hatfield.
    Old Sam Cadwallader didn't want the Nickel Plate road to run through his property.  No agreement had been reached, but the railway people started one Saturday night and, over Sunday, got the rails down before Sam could get out a injunction, the courts being closed.  The rails have been there ever since.
    Charles W. Foster, the father, wore "V" whiskers that came to a point. His son wore the broader paint brush type.  The father's were white, the son's black, turning to gray as time marched on.  The father loved to sit in a wicker chair on the street, at the store corner, and watch the trade go in. He used a cane and twirled it now and then, some of the old folks remember.
    Dr. A. J. Longfellow was a prominent citizen.  He lived on the corner of Main and North Streets.   He was good, but a lot of little boys didn't like him because he put ashes on the icy snow on both sides of his home, in winter, so people wouldn't slip.  But then us kids couldn't skate either.
    For a long time Al Engstrom ran the Earl Hotel, on East Tiffin Street, named for his son.  The Ohio Hotel must be on that spot now.
    Pete Simonis was an old landlord.  His son, Joe was the town's fastest roller skater, until some disguised expert came to town and took all the money owned by Joe's backers.   Joe tied to fire a cannon one Fourth of July morning, in front of Rick's Hotel, with out getting hurt, but it didn't work.  He now lives in Toledo.
    Clem and Charley Minigers father, S. O. in partnership with L. B. Hitchcock, ran a swell skating rink.  Either before or afterwards, Mr. Miniger ran the town's best livery stable, on the same spot, on West South Street.
    Kickapoo Indians ran a medicine show on the Hays lot, northeast corner of South and Main Streets, but when the shills began to shortchange the customers, the town Marshal, plump Mr. Rollins, who lived down Main Street below the B & O called a halt. 

From R/t Oct. 13, 2001
By Gene Kinn
Chub DeWolfe Early Fostoria Article
    Among the old-time barbers Herman Axt was a dandy.  So was Lafe Arnold and Charley Scheneck, the first fellow smart enough to put a bathtub in his barber shop and charged 25 cents for the Saturday night ritual.
    A fellow went to Calico Charley Foster's office, back of his bank, and asked Charley to write a note to somebody that would help to get a job as a war correspondent in Cuba.  "War? Hell!!   You don't know which end you are sitting on, let alone that.": said Foster, But the man did get a letter and he did go to Cuba.  If you don't believe it, ask Frank Culp.  (ex.Fostoria Chief of Police)
    Years ago, there were two brothers in our town, Ben and Levi Wells.  They were distinct to characteristics.  Levi liked his horses and lived on West Center St.  While Ben lived on East Tiffin St.  He loved to sing hymns to himself as he plodded home, from God knows where, almost every night.
    The Pie Club was a swell institution and only the best people could belong.  The Mennels and the Palmers and a few more were regular members.  They certainly had great times when they met and they didn't confine themselves to pie, so a fellow reports.
    The wife of Dr. A. J. Longfellow , hale , hearty and 200 pounds, taught a class in the M. E. Sunday School.  the attendance was large.  A reason might have been that after the lesson, she gave out candy hearts, on which was printed such facts as "Jesus Saves"  The Scholars certainly ate that up.
    The Portz family were nice people..just like the Germans.  Nick ran the hardware store.  Chris German was on his feet every hour of the day.  His daughter, Ann, was so nice that fellows walked over to her home at night and sat on the rail fence, strumming in the moonlight, on the mandolin, guitar and zither.
    Ralph Caples, a son of Dr. A. B. Caples was another of the town boys.  Ralph is reported to be wealthy, now a Floridian, living in Sarasota, the winter headquarters of the Ringling circus.
    Dr. George L. Hoege, Dr. Charles S. Green, Dr. R. W. Hale,  Dr. T. T. Rosendale and Dr. C. A. Henry were among the well-known physicians of a earlier day.
    In Fostoria's golden days, rents ran from eight to twelve dollars a month for a fairly good house.   Folks came to dinner at noon and "dinner" as we now know it was, of course. supper.
    Moses Royster, a fat, squat, chunky, man was a town character.  He was a former slave and was, for years, the handyman at the home of Charles Foster.  Now and then he was a Hays House porter.  Wonder where Mose is buried?
    The wage of hired girls was from one dollar to a dollar and a quarter a week, with board and room.  Usually they were farmer's daughters and lived as part of the family.
    Among the boys who grew up in the town were Will Dale, Newt and John Mohler, Fred and Will Werner.  Will Dale, son of Sam, the sawfiler, was one of the town's best dressers and Newt Mohler wasn't far behind him.
    In an earlier days there were no picture shows, no telephones, no autos.  But there were plays in the Andes Opera House, like  "The Banker's Daughter," which was on the night that McDonel's Carriage Shop burned.  And now and then what is called a "leg show,"  to which some of our best town's people sneaked in.  You know, the kind that ushered in the Presbyterian Church on sunday morning, and played poker above Tony's the rest of the day.
These articles were written by Chub DeWolfe, a former Fostoria resident and newspaper reporter, in 1941 called:

From R/t Oct. 18, 2001
Article by Gene Kinn
Early beginnings of Peter Clothing
    When workmen recently reopened an old entryway to the Preis Store building at Main and Tiffin Streets, they discovered some windows to the past.
    The large windows on either side of the opening on the East Tiffin Street side of the building has been painted over on the outside, but from inside the building, one can clearly read the lettering for the Peter Clothing Company.
    That location was originally the home of the Wagner Clothing Company and later the Fruth Clothing Company, but in the late 1800's it became the Fruth and Peter Clothing and a few years later, the Peter Clothing Company.
    John A Peter was born on a farm in Loudon Township in 1854, the year that Rome and Risdon joined to form the community of Fostoria.  He came to the town in 1877 to accept a position as a clerk in the clothing store of John Wagner, soon after it became Fruth Clothing, Mr. Peter affiliated with the firm and later bought out Mr. Fruth.
    John's son, Carl, was one of Fostoria's greatest athletes.  He graduated from Fostoria High School in 1910, and during the next four years attended law school at Ohio Northern.  He returned to Fostoria to take an active part, with his father and brother Abe, in the clothing store,  He also played several years of professional football and basketball before becoming football coach at FHS during the war year of 1918
    His son, Carl Jr., took over the store following his father's death in 1934. In 1940, the business moved from the northeast corner of the intersection to the southwest corner and remained there until the firm closed on Jan, 1, 1968.  The land is now part of the municipal building property.
For R/t Oct 27, 2001
Article by Gene Kinn
Final Chapter of DeWolfe Series "Older Fostoria"
    Today's column marks the final chapter covering a series of stories on "Older Fostoria" written in October 1941 by former Fostoria resident Chub DeWolfe.  At that time, DeWolfe was a reporter for the Toledo Blade
    Among the well known former mayors of Fostoria were such fellows as J. Milton Bever, John Bradner and Charles W. (Scrubby) Hughes, long-time Secretary of the Fostoria Fair Association.
    The Fostoria Review at one time was printed on the third floor of the building at the north east corner of Main and Tiffin Streets.  On the first floor of that building was the clothing store of Peters and Fruth.   Everybody remembers Phil Peters.
    John O'Brien and Willis Howell  were early dentists.  Dr. Charles Davis was earlier.   He used a foot power drill.  Will was in the Andes Block and Davis in the new Foster block.
    Dr. Al Ebersole, veterinary surgeon, kept the skeleton of a horse in his office on East Tiffin Street.  Town cut-ups tied a string to the darned thing and almost frightened Doc to death when they pulled it and shook the good old horse bones, as Doc entered the place late one night, after a call on a foaling mare.   Blame Russell Smith for that one.
    In the old days, Green and Wise were grocers.  Right next door was Andy Wilson.  Just a little later, Burtacher Brothers ran a grocery on Main Street, close to Center Street.  They were Frank and Charles.  The poker room was on the balcony at the rear, and what a good time everybody had at practically no cost.
       Years ago there was a volunteer fire department here.  When the bell rang, anybody who had a team of horses around town was privileged to race them to fire headquarters on West North Street.  If you got there first, you got the job, and were paid accordingly.  One of the early fire steamers was "P.W. Hathaway," named for a pillar of the town.
    Lyman J. Hissong was a dry goods merchant. One of his best clerks was Mahlon Carr, afterwards he own a furniture store.  Lyman was a war veteran and was always there on parade days.  His son, Harry, became a paymaster in the army, lost an eye in a fall from a horse and later died, still in the army.  Old Charles Hess used to work for Hissong too.
    Norton Lybarger was the grand marshal of all Memorial Day Parades.  When Nort sat on a horse with that magenta ribbon diagonally on him, one might believe it was Col. Roosevelt or U. S. Grant himself.
    When oil was struck around Fostoria, and a lot of gas, having got into the Trenton layer at a few thousand feet, the town experienced a windbag boom. Real estate prices went up, factories then needed gas for their work places, and it looked soft for everybody.  but it played out and so the glass works, window glass and other kinds petered out.
    Jim Carisle, police officer, was a good thrower  The town put up standpipes on the principal Main Street crossings, with gas lights galore. In the morning they were turned off.  Before dark, Jim, with a baseball laden with lighted gasoline, would throw it up and light the natural gas flambeau for the night.  he rarely missed.
    Early on Forth of July mornings, the blacksmith shop anvils were wheelbarrowed from corner to corner.  Gunpowder was placed between a pair and when Vet Rollins, a tinner, with a rod plenty long, heated from one of his little stoves, touched it off.  that was the big noise.  The explosion lifter the anvil, but no accidents were ever reported.
    When the Hocking Valley came in at night, it brought the consignment of Toledo Blades.  An old fellow, who looked, dressed and talked like Abraham Lincoln, was the "newspaper boy."   

From R/t Oct. 20, 2001
Article by Gene Kinn
Area Child Captured by Indians in 1825
    In a recent column, citing the writings of former Fostoria newspaper reporter Chub DeWolfe, in 1941, there was a story about a little child from the area who was lost in 1825.  A search party came to the vicinity of what is now Fostoria and camped out for a night.  DeWolfe wondered if they ever found the child.
    Weldin Fruth of Fostoria knows the answer to that question, and if you read on you to will also know the complete story.
    The boy was Matthew Brayton, the son of Elijah and Anna Brayton.  Matthew was seven at the time and was one of six children.  His brother, Peter, later married Mary Ogg, a sister of Weldins great grandfather.
    Weldin has an old, and much worn, booklet entitled, "The Indian Captive.  The Adventures and Sufferings of Matthew Brayton in his 34 Years of Captivity Among the Indians of Northwestern America."  The little book was published in Cleveland in 1860
    The publication notes that, "Among the settlers who had located themselves among the Indian villages in Northwest Ohio was Elijah Brayton, a thrifty farmer from New England.  He had gone to Chillicothe, a journey that was long and tedious, and the home affairs were intrusted, in his absence, to Mrs. Brayton and the eldest son, William, then a lad of 16.
    "On the 20th of September, 1825, William Brayton, with his younger brother Matthew, started out to hunt some stray cattle.  Matthew had become tired, and declared his inability to proceed farther.  It was agreed that William, and a neighbor named Hart, should proceed in the search, and that Matthew should take the path which led to the house of another neighbor, a Mr. Baker.
    "A the close of the day's search, William called at Mr. Baker's house for his little brother.  To his astonishment, he learned that Matthew had not been seen by any of the family.
    Many years later, Matthew surfaced and wrote a narrative stating that he had veered onto another path and had been stolen by a party of Canadian Indians and taken to their village in Canada.  He was later traded from tribe to tribe, and from state to state, spending some time with the Pottawottomies, Snakes, Diggers, Utahs, Blackfeet, Flat Heads, Crees, Copper Heads and Winnegagoes. "He was originally traded for three-and-a-half gallons of whisky, but later he commanded up to nine-and-a-half gallons of whisky.
    "In 1851, an Indian Chief, Owash-kah-ke-naw, took a great liking to Matthew and gave him his youngest daughter, Tefronia (Tame Deer) to be his squaw.  She was then 19 and a very handsome woman.  by this squaw, he had two children, Tefronia (a girl then five years of age) and Tululee (a boy of two years.)
    "In 1859, Matthew's narrative was published in the Cleveland Herald and was copied extensively by other newspapers around the country.
    "Dr. Asa Brayton wrote to the editors of the Herald giving some particulars of the method by which his brother, Matthew had been lost.  William Brayton eventually traced Matthew to New York and asked "The Captive' to bear his head.  When he did, William saw a scar, plainly revealed, which Matthew's father had described as the result of using a razor to lance a boil on his young son's head.  Matthew was then asked to take the boot from his right foot and there too they saw a scar just where his father had described it to exist.  The lad was then declared to be the long lost Matthew Brayton.
    "Matthew was re-united with his father, now 73, but still hale and vigorous, and with his brothers and sisters.  He remained with the family at their home near Adrian Station, about five miles north of Carey, and was re-introduced into a civilized life."

Prior to 1899.
Rome,(Now Part of Fostoria) First Record of Official Business (1851)
Taken from Gene Kinns
Article R/t April 5, 2001
    The first account of official business of the Town of Rome (part of Fostoria) tells of the first election and organization of the town.
    The election was held April 22, 1851 and resulted in the election of C. W. Foster as mayor: P. I. Kinnaman as recorder and R. C. Caples, Jacob Fritcher, Joel Hale, John Gibbons and R.R. Brandeberry as councilmen.
    The mayor gave a bond of $5,000, as did his son, Charles Foster, who was appointed treasurer.  Seth Fairchild was appointed marshal.
    The first meeting of the council, on May 22, was devoted to making by-laws defining the duties of the officers and providing for such other officers as might be considered necessary.
    One of the by-laws stated,  "Each trustee shall be allowed $6.00 per year for his services and such sums shall be allowed for the mayor, recorder, treasurer and marshal, as may be agreed upon by the board and no compensation shall be allowed for any member of the town council who shall fail to attend more than four regular meetings of the board "(sickness excepted.)"
    Another by-law prescribes the duties of the marshal and provides that his compensation shall be fixed at what the mayor thinks he should have in each case and the amount be added to the cost of the case.
    The first ordinance recorded covered practically the same ground as the by-laws, while the second is on the very troublesome subject of sidewalks.
    It provides a penalty for riding, driving or leading a horse or cow, on any sidewalk or for obstructing walks in any way.   It also provides that all walks shall be of either brick or flag stone and shall be nine feet in width.
    A petition of the citizens of Rome, for a name change to Fostoria was found bearing the date of July 11th 1854 and signed by James Magers, Clerk of Courts and by C.R. Gibson, deputy clerk.
    The land out which the town of Rome was platted, was sold by the United States, to Rosewell Crocker on April 15, 1832 and was laid out by Mr. Crocker on September 17th 1832.
    The town of Risdon (also now part of Fostoria) was laid out by John Gorsuch in the fall of 1832

 Fostoria’s ‘golden triangle’ once filled with activity

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by the late Jim Rowles, known to Focus readers as L.J. Selwor.
The Focus is running some of the stories written by the Fostoria native prior to his death late last year. by L.J. Selwor

The area around the “golden triangle” in Fostoria (the intersection of Perry, Main and Sandusky streets) has always been one of the busiest places in our fair city.

The photo shows the intersection in 1887. Note the wooden gaslight pole in the photo, as well as the mud streets. The corner building was the marble works.


Perry & Main Streets looking south

Later, the Times newspaper was published in the same building, as that spot became known as Times Square.

The Sanborn map picture goes into detail of the various stores and business that operated in the “golden triangle’ in 1887.


Sanborn map

Things have changed in the 113 years since that photo was taken. Marco’s Pizza is where the marble works was located. My father had a plumbing shop in the 1920s where an undertaking business was located on the east side of Main Street. The Elks Lodge is now located where the Lake Erie Elevator is shown on the map.


Perry Street looking north

When I was somewhat younger I was a newspaper carrier for the Times. I remember folding my papers in the basement of the Times Square building and then walking out to my route which was homes on Walnut and Cory streets.

I also remember when the LE & W Railroad traveled right beside Candyland. Whenever I was eating there, I always worried about what would have happen if the train became derailed just as it was passing the restaurant.

From Fostoria Focus
Sunday Nov. 12,2000
By L.C. Selwor
The first railcars ran over the Tiffin, Fostoria and Eastern Electric Railway lines on August 1898.

From an 1897 Wood County history book
 L.J. tells the story of a family that persevered in the 1800s
by L.J. Selwor
From Fostoria Focus Nov. 5, 2000

How many times have we all complained about how bad things are when the electricity goes off during a summer thunderstorm and our favorite television program is interrupted.

Or, when you can’t get the grill started for a summer barbecue.

I can think of a 101 things we get perturbed about. Yes, things are really tough here in the 21st century, aren’t they?

If you think we have it bad, just let me quote from an 1897 Wood County history book on the hardships some people endured in 1832.

John A. and Rachael (Shawhan) Kelly and their family came to Montgomery Township, Wood County and pre-empted 160 acres of land, on which not a stick of timber had been cut.

The family made the journey from eastern Ohio by ox team, with one horse as a leader.

On the night of their arrival in Montgomery Township, they slept in the wagon, because there was no building in the vicinity.

A large maple tree four feet in diameter was cut down and the body of the tree was hollowed out and covered with puncheons, and blankets for the front and ends.

This rude habitation afforded them shelter until a round-log house was built.

Drinking water was scarce and their first effort was to dig a well, which they succeeded in doing after much difficulty.

The first crops the family raised were potatoes and corn. Also, wild animals such as wolves, deer and bear were plentiful.

To reach this isolated spot the father had to cut a four mile trail through the woods with an axe. The site of the original home was eight miles from Risdon. Rome and Risdon were the towns that combined to later make Fostoria.

On the way to town they passed the homes of only two other settlers, Isaac Kelly and William Shawhan. In order to mill their grain, these early settlers had to travel to either Tiffin, Fostoria, Fremont or Green Springs, which was reached by ox-team and took six days to get to.

Their children attended school in a 14 x 16 foot log cabin. School was in session only when the land was too wet to farm.

After building a frame house, they later built the beautiful brick home, just to the north of West Millgrove where the Irwin family now resides.

Indian families were regular visitors to their home seeking any kind of food the Kelly’s would offer them.

Subject: More on Fostoria.
For 1897 
From R/t Plus
October 21, 2000
By Gene Kinn
FHS Football Organized
    Will Rhoades, came to Fostoria, when he was six, and his father became pastor of the United Brethern Church here.   After graduatin from FHS, the Fostoria Academy and Otterbein College, he taught at Wesfield, Ill. College before returning to Fostoria.  While teaching here, from 1897 to 1898, he organized and coached Fostoria's first scholastic football squad.


Downtown Fostoria Filled with
Mix of Businesses near turn of Century
From Fostoria Focus (Oct. 1, 2000)
By L. J. Selwor
   In 1893, Fostoia was a bustling community.  Fostoria had all you ever wanted.
     In looking through an 1893 Fostoria city directory, I could not help but be amazed at the number of businesses that were supplying the needs of its citizens in that time period.
     There were 25 dressmakers, six clothing stores, seven men's furnishings stores, seven merchant tailors and five millinery stores.
    There were 25 grocery stores, with 14 of them on Main Street.  Also, there were 11 meat markets, six of which were on Main Street.
    There were also four bakeries, three fish markets, two fruit dealers, five lunch rooms and seven restaurants on Main Street.
    There could never have been a dry mouth in Fostoria with 29 saloons to choose from.  There were 26 alone in the downtown area.
    In addition to all these businesses, there were 12 attorneys, five dentist and five druggists. I remember my mother got her Bayer Aspirin, which came in a little tin box, from John Bower's patent medicine store at 129 W. center Street.
    There were three banks downtown as well as three bathrooms to help wash away the sweat and grime of a hard days work.
    If it was grooming you were looking for, downtown Fostoria boasted of nine barbershops.  Most barbershops had racks to hold all the personal shaving mugs of each customer.  I still have my father's mug.  They all had their name painted in gold along with their occupation. A form of 19th century advertising.
In 1893, Fostoria had 14 physicians and two homeopathic phusicians to care for your pains and ills.
There were three funeral directors to care for your last earthly needs and three places to purchase tombstones.
     On a Saturday night, you could choose between three orchestras or three musical bands.  One of the bands was called The French Band or Class Workers Band.   Mel Murray, noted glass historian, thinks the band was probably composed of many of the Belgium glass workers that came here to toil in the many glass factories.
    Fostoria was blessed with five railroads and Eight black-smiths shops.  If you needed a new buggy or wagon, there were six places to find one.
    If you needed a way to haul your belongings to the new house you just purchased, there were six dray-men to do the heavy work.
Traveling from one end of the town to the other was made easier thanks to hack lines running through town
    In the summer you could choose between two icehouses to bring you 25 or 50 pounds of ice that had been cut and stored the winter before.
 Early downtown Fostoria below.

From R/t Plus (Aug 26, 2000)
Most information by(Gene Kinn)
Barrel's Produced Here
(oldest Industry)
    In 1873, Messrs. Charles Foster, John Noble and E. J. Cunningham started manufacturing staves and barrels under the name of the Fostoria Stave and Barrel Co. This partnership continued until 1893 when the business was incorporated.
    In 1919, the company took over the F.W. Fraver Lumber Co. and in April of that year the name was changed to the Fostoria Building Supply Co.  Then in May of 1921, the name was again changed, to the Seneca Lumber and Millwork Co. when the Seneca Wire and Mfg. Co. assumed control. 
    Under Seneca Lumber and Millwork Co. it began operation as a retail lumber yard and selling lumber and paint materials, it manufactured the woodwork for public buildings such as schools, hospitals, government buildings and office buildings. When the state of New York launched a tremendous building program,  it was the local company's good fortune to furnish woodwork for 73 of its state institutions.
    In the years 1934-1939 the Seneca Lumber and Millwork Co. furnished the woodwork for more than 200 post offices and many other government buildings throughout the country. and has just completed finishing the millwork for two of the buildings at the New York World's Fair.
 Note; In the late 1800's when the glass company's located here .  The barrels were used to ship glass products manufactured here.  The glass was packed in sawdust that was generated from making the barrels.    

From April 30 2000 Fostoria Focus Archive 

Now and then, this and that

by L.J. Selwor

When one reads old 1890s glass and china journals, you begin to wonder how all the glass production from the various glass companies that were located here at that time got on the open market.
The glass production from the Fostoria glass factories was mind boggling. The Seneca Glass Co. was running 1,500 dozen blown tumblers daily! That is 18,000 tumblers every day.
The Fostoria Shade and Lamp Co. was making over 60 percent of all the lamps made in the United States. They were shipping over 5,000 decorated lamps every day!
In 1892, The Mosaic Glass Co. of Fostoria shipped 10 carloads of glass tile to the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Ill.!
The Fostoria Incandescent Lamp Co. was one of the largest producers of light bulbs in the nation!
There was also glass to be shipped from the Buttler Glass Co., The Nickel Plate Glass Co., The Calcine, Momburg, Crocker, Loudon, The Glass Specialty and the Novelty Glass Co.
As I said, a mind-boggling situation.
Back in the 1890s, there was no bubble pack, no cardboard boxes, no semi-trucks to pull up at the shipping docks to have a fork lift load up the trailers.
So how did all that glass get packed and shipped out of Fostoria? Two easy answers.
There were five major railroads running through Fostoria and all 13 glass factories were located on one of those railroads.
The shipment of all that glass on railroad trains took very careful packing. One company, The Fostoria Barrel and Stave Co., which was located on Vine Street next to the Fostoria Shade and Lamp Co., provided all the containers for the shipment of the glass.
The packing material was the sawdust left from making all the barrels, probably much better packing than the bubble wrap and Styrofoam that manufacturers use today.
You might be thinking Where did they get all that wood to make those thousands of barrels and kegs? 
Not a problem, as the area around Fostoria at that time was mostly forestland. All they needed to do was cut the timber and haul it a few miles to the factory by horse and wagon.
I remember as a child going upstairs in my grandmother s home on East Fremont Street and opening a small door into the attic where there were several wooden barrels filled with several lamps and packed nice and secure with sawdust.
One of those lamps is now proudly displayed in my living room.
" " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " "
I remember when they were paving Perry Street with brick. It was a sight to watch the men on their knees picking up and laying the bricks.
At one time in a Ripley s Believe It Or Not  column, a native Fostorian was featured as the fastest man in the world in laying bricks. The way that man worked, I can believe it!


From Fostoria Focus
Aug.20, 2000
by L.J. Selwor
More about Fostoria Glass
    In scanning through some old Fostoria City Directories, I found two full-page ads by D.P. Lloyd Company, manufacturers of Fostoria White Lime.
    The Company was located on North Countyline Street behind where the Pharm and Park Shores Apartments are presently located.

    In my early days, it was known as Pelton's Quarry and was one of my favorite fishing and swimming holes.

    The other quarry was The Ohio and Western Lime Company located on North Main Street across the street from Fostoria Industries.  This one has some sad memories for me, as it was this quarry where a dear friend of mine drowned.

    One may wonder what part of Fostoria history did these two companies play?  From 1887 through 1920 Fostoria was the heart of the glass industy in the United States.

    These two companies provided all of the lime needed by the 13 glass factories located her in Fostoria.   

    An item from the Fostoria Review dated May 6, 1887 states: "Fostoria has two quarries which produce a first-class white limestone for building as well as for burning.

    "Previously, the glass companies were forced to pay hundreds of dollars for freight charges to ship the lime in by train.  Now, they have two of the finest quaries within the city limits.  The kilns for burning the limestone was across the street where Fostoira Industries is now located.

    "The major ingredients of every batch of glass had approximately 64 percent of sand, 5 percent of lime and 27 percent of soda. the lime was used to reduce the high melting point of the sand and to help reduce the bubbles that were always present in each batch of glass."

    Another interesting fact found while researchng the quarries was that Charles Foster was president of the Fostoria Stone and Lime Company, Successors to Bradner & Company, which before that was The D.P. Lloyd Company.

    Charles Foster was a major factor in the success of the glass companies in Fostoria.  In one way or another, Foster was involved with the Limestone Quarries, the National Gas Company, the Railroads, as well as several of the Glass Companies.

Risdon Named for Local Surveyor
Article by Gene Kinn R/t May 20, 2004

Many local residents of Fostoria know that Fostoria was created by the union of two nearby villages, Rome and Risdon. Many also know that Risdon was named after the man who surveyed the hamlet, David Ridson. Few people know much about Risdon, particularly after he left this area.
While doing some genealogy research on the Internet, Fostorian, Marilyn Ziegman "met" Dorothy Alvis of Hensley, Arkansas, and learned that she is the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of the man in question. Through Marilyn, Mrs. Alvis has been kind enough to send me some Risdon family history. To this information, I have added a few lines from a column written by the late Fostoria historian, Paul Krupp, in 1984.
David Risdon's birthdate is in question. It is given in some writings as July 6, 1788. However, in Dorothy's great-grandmother's Bible, it is given as July 12, 1789. In any case, he was born in Rupert, Vermont to Josiah and Margaret Cochran Risdon. The family moved to Saratoga County, New York, in late 1789.
Little is known about David's formative years, but in 1818, he was known to be living with his brother, Orange Risdon, in LeRoy, New York. Both men were government surveyors there, as was their brother, Thomas, in Minnesota. David had served as a colonel in the War of 1812.
David migrated to Oakley, in Seneca County, Ohio, in 1820. Oakley was later known as Fort Ball and is now a part of the city of Tiffin. When the first post office was established in Oakley, David was named postmaster. In partnership with James Worthington, David surveyed the town of Eden in 1820 and Hopewell Township in 1822
in 1824, he was appointed Seneca County surveyor, was elected a trustee of Seneca Township and was also appointed county tax collector. he married Elizabeth Stoner, a widow, in 1829 and they made their home in Fort Ball. Of this union, five children were born.
In the fall of 1832, Risdon surveyed a new village for John Gorsuch,who owned the land around what is now Summit and Countyline streets. The village was named for him. In 1835, he surveyed the village of Attica and in 1839, the village of Green Springs.
When David left Seneca County, in the 1`840's , he migrated to Iowa County, Iowa, t survey land for incoming settlers from Seneca County and other places. he located at Marengo where the wagon train of John Rosenberger, with many others from seneca County, settled a few years later. We know that he was in Iowa County as early as March 7, 1850. He served as county surveyor there from 1850 to 1854 and died while in that office.
Thugs entered his tent and beat and murdered him for the monies and valuable papers he had acquired while in office. they left only his compass and chain, which passed down through the family and is now held by James Risdon, who lives o a farm near Ladora, Iowa. The culprits who murdered him were never found.
William Lang, in his book, "Revolutionary War to 1880," describes David Risdon as, "a tall slender man, who had a head of bushy gray hair, large blue eyes, well proportioned features and stood about six feet high. He spoke with a slow, deep, sonorous voice. With his pants tucked in his high top boots and his Indian hunting shirt, fringed all around, he was the very picture of a pioneer surveyor.
One of David's sons, Henry Baltzell Risdon, who was born in Fostoria, was called, "possibly the last of the early pioneers of Iowa County," when he died in 1920, at the age of 88, His obituary states, "Mr. Risdon was a just and good man to whom a generous share of credit for the present modern civilization of Iowa County must be given. He did his part nobly, in converting a wilderness into one of the finest and best improved counties in Iowa.

More on Fostoria Railroads
From R/t May 2, 2002
Article by Gene Kinn
    Fostoria's oldest railroad is the Lake Erie & Western, which was built into the city and had cars running in 1857.  The first freight house and ticket office were located on the east side of Main Street where the Franke brick block now stands.
    Fostoria's next railroad was the Baltimore & Ohio, that was built through the city in about 1872.  The advent of the B&O did away with the old hack line to the county seat, Tiffin, and a direct route to Chicago, Fostoria rejoiced even thought the shops and round houses were located elsewhere.
    It was about 1876 when the Columbus & Toledo, now the Hocking Valley, gave Fostoria a north and south line and made it possible to go to Toledo or Columbus direct.
    In 1880, the Toledo & Ohio Central line was built, running from Toledo to Corning, and the road was made just as welcome as the first one into the city . The T & O.C. has been no small factor in the city's growth.
    In 1881, the New York, Chicago and St. Louis railroad came through the city.  We could then get to Buffalo without changing cars, or to Chicago.  There was a great strife when the road was built.  Norwalk wanted it, but the right of way for a straight line wouldn't work that way and Norwalk was sore."Oh well," said the people of that city, "the road won't amount to anything.  It's nothing but a Nickel Plate affair." That's the origin of the name, "Nickel Plate," and a nickel plate spike was the first one driven on the road when work was begun.
Update;  Year 2000
    Like a Traffic cop at a six-lane intersection.  The dispatcher directs the unrelenting flow of trains through the city, working in tandem with two CSX dispatchers in Jacksonville FL and an NS dispatcher in Fort Wayne IN.  F-Tower is its own subdivision occupying 0.9 mile of the B&O main and 0.7 miles of the C&O.
    Inside F-tower you won't find any pistol grips or "armstrong" levers.  On the dispatchers desk are eight computer monitors, five of which he uses to keep tabs of the location of CSX trains up to 40 miles away. CSX dispatchers line routes on either side of the Fostoria Sub, after which the tower operator lines the interlocking with just a few clicks of the mouse.  Phone calls from the Fostoria District dispatcher alert the local dispatcher to approaching NS trains.
    Fifty years ago, Fostoria offered railroaders a lesson in organized chaos.  Five lines of four different railroads crisscrossed the city, and every train was required to stop at least once, if not more, on cue from signalmen stationed at each crossing.  Paralleling the Chessie was the Eastern Sub of New York Central's coal-hauling Ohio Central Division.  The tracks lasted until early Conrail days.  A Nickel Plate secondary, the former Lake Erie & Western, the first railroad through Fostoria had staked out its own territory north of the iron triangle.  West of town NS still uses the LE&W right-of-way for a second main track.
    When completed in 1950, F-Tower and its central interlocking plant cut 15 to 30 minutes off transit times through the city.  Signal system improvement clamed the buildings original CTC panel in February 1999. When computers were installed.

From R/t March 22, 2002
Article by Gene Kinn

Washington Township + Arcadia
Washington Township received its name from the father of this country.

It is the northeast subdivision of Hancock County and contains 23,040 acres. It was erected March 5, 1832 and is bounded on the north and east by Wood and Seneca counties, respectively, with Biglick Township on the south and Cass Township on the west.

John Gorsuch was the first settler, erected the first cabin in April 1831, on the northeast quarter of section 1. Later in life, Mr. Gorsuch and wife moved to Wood County where they spent the declining years of their lives.

John Swaney was the second settler in the township, also coming in April 1831, a few days after Mr. Gorsuch. He was a Methodist preacher and he and is wife died after a few years.

James Wiseman was the third settler in the township,coming May 12, 1831 A month later he was joined by his wife and eight children, who came from Perry County, Ohio. Their daughter, Eliza, was born in March, 1832 and was the first white child born in Washington Township. Of thirteen children born to this worthy couple, twelve grew to maturity.

Among the very early settlers were the McRills, Redferns, Heistands, Thomases, Days, Hunts, Conleys, Heastons, Norrises and Bryuans, nearly all of whom have descendants living there yet (in 1906)

The year 1833 brought the Eckles' Rollers, Foxs, Hales, Jordans and others into the township.

On the 6th of September, 1832, the village of Risdon, named in honor of Daniel Risdon, the surveyor, was laid out by John Gorsuch. A part of the village was laid in Seneca County and is now a portion of Fostoria. The first postmaster of Risdon was Alvin Cole.


Arcadia was laid out in 1854 by David and Amrose Peters and was incorporated May 19, 1859. George Kimmel was the first Mayor, and Dr. D.B. Spahr, recorder. A post office was established there in 1859 with A.W. Frederick as the first postmaster.


From R/t Nov. 21, 2001
Article by Gene Kinn

Area Entrepreneur Dies in Amsden Ohio

William Ash was born in Bedford County, Pa., April 14, 1830, making him seventy-five years old when he died in his home in Amsden of heart trouble on Dec. 5, 1905. He came here with his parents when three years of age, settling in Liberty Township where his father entered a claim to one hundred and sixty acres of government land, which land still remains in the family, and on which this father, George Ash, died at the age of ninety years.
Mr. Ash was married Jan. 1, 1852 to Miss Rebecca Trumbo, a native of this county, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Enoch Trumbo, were also pioneers of this section. Three children were born to them, two of whom, Mrs. Alfred Mowery and Charles survive, along with their mother.
Mr. Ash secured his education in the primitive log school house of the period, but so well did he improve his opportunities and so well was he dowered by nature, that while still a young man, he had attracted attention as one of more than common business ability.

At the time of his marriage, he purchased a farm of eighty acres which he cleared and improved, and as his toil produced results, he continued to buy more land until this farm became one of four hundred acres and others were added until he had become the owner of twelve hundred or more acres within three miles of his home. He went into the business of buying and shipping live stock about 1870 and also engaged extensively in stock raising. He was a justice of the peace for the period of twenty-seven years, and was a land appraiser of the township in 1890 and a trustee of the township for three years.
Mr. Ash was one of the stockholders of the First National Bank from it's organization in June 1882, was one of the original directors and was vice president for fourteen or more years.

William Ash died at his home in Amsden this forenoon (Dec. 6, 1905) of heart trouble
His son, Seneca County Treasurer Charles Ash, was notified and started at once for Amsden, stopping in Fostoria on the way.

Information courtesy of William Cline

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