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More on Fostoria 1909
From R/t May 29, 2003
Article by Gene Kinn
    Cleveland and Fostoria capitalists have financed a new trolley line which will connect Fostoria with Fremont. The line itself is a small one, being but twenty one and one half miles in length, but will be of large importance to the Western Ohio Railway Co., and the Lake Shore Electric.   It will serve as a feeder to both these companies and will , in fact, make connection between the Western Ohio, in the western part of the state, and the Lake Shore Electric, in the north part of the state.
    The new line will make it possible for western Ohio people to transact business in Cleveland and return the same day. People living in Lima may come to Cleveland, spend five or six hours in the city and return home by nine to ten O'clock the same day.  It will connect such towns as Lima, Findlay and other western Ohio towns with the summer resorts near Sandusky.  It makes an almost air line from Lima, Findlay and Fostoria, to Sandusky.  It should be a fairly good earner in itself, but its results will be more apparent in the business it feeds to the other two lines.
    The company which will build the new line will be known as the Fostoria & Fremont Railway Company.  It will have a capital stock of $150,000 common, $150,000, 6 percent cumulative preferred stock and $300,000 5 percent bonds  the company has already sold the preferred stock at par and has practically made arrangements for selling the bonds for sufficient money to complete the road.
    The two terminals, Fostoria and Fremont, are energetic, growing towns which undoubtedly have a good future.  Fremont has a population of 12,000 and Fostoria of 10,000.  Lima has a population of 30,000 and Findlay of 20,000. ( In 1909).   In addition, there are three towns, (Bluffton, Arcadia, and Bettsville?) of about five or six hundred people.  
    F.D Carpenter, general manager of the Western Ohio, is secretary and treasurer,  Mr. Carpenter will start the work of construction at once and says he will have the road in operation by July 1, 1910

From R/T May 8, 2003
Rome and Risdon reviewed

On Dec. 7, 1909 the Fostoria Review carried a story entitled "Retrospect-- Fostoria and it's Predecessors, Rome and Risdon -- Written and Unwritten History"
The story was written by N. Portz, -- Nicholas Portz was born here in 1839. At the age of 12, he entered the employ of C. W. Foster and Son. Twelve years later, he became a partner in the firm and later assumed the management of the Brass and Iron Works Co., the forerunner of Atlas Crankshaft Corp.

In relating some of the incidents of the early settlement of Rome and Risdon and the surrounding country, it will be necessary to name some of the leading characters who were active participants in the opening up and developing the Ague and matarial-stricken Black Swamp and converting it into a beautiful little city and a charming, healthful and most productive country.

I will only give a passing glance at the famous military characters prominent at a early day, the men who trained the militia and fitted them for the Mexican and other wars and received honorable titles. There were General B. L. Caples, Colonel Charles W. Foster and Captains John Tennis and Jonas Hampshire.

It was John Crocker, Grandfather of the late R. Crocker, who entered the land and platted the town of Rome, in which and in its building up, He was able assisted by his son-in-law ,C.W. Foster.

At about the same time, a Mr. Gorsuch entered the land and platted the town of Risdon A mysterious feature in the plat of Risdon was the leaving of a strip ground around or nearby around the town plant of about one rod. This freak was never satisfactorily explained, but it was supposed to be for the purpose of preventing any addition to Risdon without the consent of the proprietor.

Risdon always had the great advantage of a beautiful location on the high bank of the Portage creek which furnished excellent drainage, the town always high and dry, a feature that was promptly recognized by strangers during our late gas boom The Ridge Road also went out from Risdon. In fact the location of country roads became at that time an important factor in the development of the two towns, each town having its own stores and active business men. Risdon excelled for many years in the number of its stores The location of new roads vacation of undesirable ones, and the extension of favorites kept the active participants busy looking and planning.

Risdon had the first Methodist church, a long building, rough slabs from the saw mill with holes bored and pegs driven in for legs, forming the seats. The writer, as a small boy sat on them. The grandest old Methodist however lived on the farm just west of Rome. Mr. James Anderson. It was not long before Rome had a fine Methodist church, a grad building on South Wood Street near South Street.

Politics also had its place in the contentions. Whether by deliberate plan, or by accident, the leaders in Risdon were Democrats whilst those in Rome were firmly bound to the Whig party, as parties were known in those days. Unfortunately for Rome, the Democrats had the reins of power nearly all the time, giving Risdon a great advantage for it gave the town the Post Office. The writer remembers going to that Post Office and West Summit Street, on the northwest side of Public Square, and of going to a neighbor who kept a quantity of little wafer-like seals for sealing letters.

With the Ridge Road, the Perrysburg Road and the lower Sandusky (Fremont) Road, which latter started out from the northeast corner of Risdon (now Jackson Street), where a grist mill and a saw mill were located, it was indeed a serious matter to the lone champion of Rome, how to secure his proper proportion of the country trade.

During these developments of Risdon, Mr. Foster was not to be caught napping, nor allow his interest in Rome to wane or lose force
R/t May 15th 2003

Tiffin, Findlay join forces -- -Mr. Foster steps in to save road.

The businessmen of Risdon were not the only rivals which Mr. Foster had to contend with.

The two county seats, at Tiffin and Findlay, working in harmony to accomplish the defeat of their competitor at Rome, were indeed a power worthy of the ambition of the best of men.

The combination of the two county towns conceived a move on the board that would have caused a severe blow at one stroke. It was the opening up of a state road, from Findlay to Tiffin by straight line. They reckoned without the King Bee.

A joint petition by Tiffin and Findlay businessmen was sent to the State Legislature at Columbus, praying for such a road, if secured as asked for, it would have left Rome about five miles out of the way.

Mr. Foster, learning of the move, made haste to see that Rome was not be forgotten. The petition was put in proper form and passed by the legislature.

But, when the instructions wee forwarded for the construction of the road, it was found to contain four words that were not intended and were not in the original the utter confusion and amazement of the petitioners. These four words were "by way of Rome,' resulting in the construction of the road from Tiffin to Rome and from Rome to Findlay, both roads having to be cut through dense forest.

The road to Lower Sandusky, (Fremont) was opened up on the line of the present Sandusky Street on which the plank road was built, leaving the Risdon road in the same direction, a half mile to the north. An effort was made to extend the Perrysburgh McCutchenville-Bucyrus road to a direct junction, which would have put it nearly one mile east of Rome, but Mr. Foster learned of the intentions and by the time the surveyors came to locate the line, a force of choppers had felled so many mammoth trees across the line intended to be followed, that it was deemed impractical and abandoned.

Again, the Risdon faction, ever on the alert, saw an important tributary to Rome that they planned to have vacated as useless and wasteful of land. That was the South Ridge Road. they contended that the North Road was much better and that travel had better come through Risdon to reach Rome.

The county commissioners were appealed to and promised attention, setting the date when they would go and view the so-called useless road. Mr. Foster learning of this, at once took action to thwart the scheme.

Having a good friend on what has long been known as the Schaufelberger farm, Mr. Foster had painted a hotel sign on nailed it to a post and set it up in front of the farm house, had the main front room vacated and had a hasty counter and fixtures put in place for a hotel and bar, with a supply of decanters, well filled tumblers etc., the landlord was in 'business.

It was in winter time and there had been a good fall of snow. Mr. Foster enlisted a few friends, who like himself had a horse and cutter which were put to good use on the appointed day, driving up and down past the "hotel" to the junction of the Ridge Road and around the sign post up to the hotel.

When the time had arrived that the visitors might be expected, Mr. Foster drove west on the Ridge Road and soon met the commissioners. Expressing surprise and learning the object of their visit, he volunteered to escort them over the so-called useless road. Soon arriving at the "hotel", the visitors expressed wonder and surprise to see such a facility on a road that was proposed to vacate. Of course, they were invited in to partaker of liquid refreshments and to see the fine accommodations.

After a social visit, they departed, saying that there would be not further attention paid to such a foolish request.

From R/t May 22, 2003
Article by Gene Kinn
Origin of the Rome post office
This is the third and final installment of  "A retrospect, Fostoria and its predecessors..Written and Unwritten History"  by Nicholas Portz. a Fostoria pioneer:
    After securing the permanent location and seeing that all roads let to Rome, there still remained that very annoying matter of the location of the post office.
    With a Democratic administration and no prospect of a change, the laws forbidding the second office, nearer than four miles, it was indeed a difficult problem.  But, having a will, the way was found. For the convenience of small tradesman, a one-story building was erected on Tiffin Street, west of the Foster store with two or three rooms, one for a tailor shop, another for a shoe shop etc.  The tailor was a Mr. Charles Kelly , and intelligent fellow and a active Democrat.  This fact gave the inspiration.  Mr. Foster made application for a post office to be located four miles southeast from Risdon, recommended Mr. Kelly to be the postmaster and gave the name for the post office as Stoner, honoring a farmer friend living on the Risdon-Lower Sandusky Road.
    In due time the office was erected and the postmaster named as requested.   Mr. Foster was duly notified of the fact with date of delivery of the first mail for the new facility.  In those day the mail was always carried on horseback,   C.W. Foster was a great horseman and always kept a good saddle horse (even up to near the end of his career, he maintained faithful old Bill, the saddle horse).
    on the day fixed by the department for the arrival of the first mail, horse and saddle were brought out and at the usual time for the passing of the mail carrier.  Mr. Foster rode out on the McCutchenville Road where the office was to be located and waited the arrival of the carrier.
    Soon the boy appeared in sight, stopping occasionally to look and make sure of his location, the two soon met.   The boy informed Mr. Foster that he had instructions to stop at a new post office called Stoner, and that he was unable to locate it.  Mr. Foster requested the carrier him his instruction to the stop, examining them carefully.  he informed the carrier that the clerk who wrote the instructions had evidently made an error and that instead of writing four miles, he should have written one-fourth of a mile from Risdon and offered to conduct him to the proper place.  Arriving at the tailor shop, everything was found in readiness for the handling of the mail.  The carrier was delighted to find the place so easily and to see a nice place to stop.
    A good supply of mail had been arranged for this first delivery, by writing to friends at a distance to forward all mail to the Stonere post office.   Later on the office was moved into the Foster store, where the writer assisted for several years in handling the mail, but a good Democrat was always at hand for the real postmaster.  The how and why of how the Stoner post office came into being was never Risdon, but the office remained a permanent fixture in Rome until the union of the two offices into the greater Fostoria post office.
    A single instance will surface to show how and why people were drawn to Mr. Foster for advice, information and assistance, which were always ready and willingly bestowed..  When he was doing business in his log house, a combination store and residence, an early settler had built a log cabin, but his means were exhausted and he had not the wherewithal to keep his family from starvation.  He sought the advice of Mr. Foster with the result that he was told to come to the store and get whatever he might need and pay when his crops matured and when he had the means with which to make payment.
    That account was opened and was never closed during the long life of both merchant and farmer, but it was carried along to almost the end of the lives of the two sons of these men without a break or a single unpleasantness.

From R/t Jan. 16, 2003
(Article by Gene Kinn)
More on Peabody Buggy Company
        A representative of this paper called at the manufacturing plant of the Peabody Buggy Co. Friday afternoon and requested permission to see the men at their work, the equipment etc.   Our desire was to see the improvements and learn, if possible, the secret for the remarkable success of Messrs. Allen in building a business like the Peabody, from a small beginning to a gigantic institution.
    The buggy plant having a floor space of more than 70,000 square feet, and occupying more than three acres of ground, is a small city of over one hundred inhabitants, having its own private electric power and lighting plant, reservoir of 90,000 gallons of water with the automatic sprinkling pipe though the building.
    An automatic telephone system and automatic alarm, that can be heard a thousand feet in all directions, was installed recently and works perfectly.
    The fine spirit and the perfect organization in the plant is all that makes it possible for a complete buggy to be turned out every twenty minutes.  The output of the plant is now sold up to April 15 of next year, their trade extending from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast.
    Last year over one hundred and twenty-five buggies were sold in the immediate territory and this year, the local demand is such that $50,000 worth will be sold within a radius of twenty five miles.  As there are over fifty different styles to select from, the prospective customer must indeed be hard to please if he finds none suited to his fancy. these buggies range from the light road cart, top buggy, phaeton, Stanhope, etc., to the magnificent carriages having the same body, finish and case as automobiles possess.
    During the sixteen years this company has been in business, there has been a wonderful change in the mode of living in all departments of life, owing to the unprecedented prosperity of the country.  When they began the demand for buggies was that they be cheap.  With the increased wealth of the farmer, there has been a change in this regard, the demand being for the best rather than the cheapest.
    A few noticeable features on going through the plant;  The rubber tires are set by electricity; twelve hundred buggies are under process of construction at present;  After a buggy lands in the paint shop, it undergoes nineteen different processes; The Peabody even has a saw mill and does its own crating; The force will reach the 125 men mark within the next two weeks.

From R/t Jan. 9, 2003
(Article by Gene Kinn)
Area Man lived the life of a hermit in Iowa
    For thirty-seven years, Hiram Phillips was completely lost to his relatives and friends and probably would never have been located but for the untiring efforts of Attorney J.J. Lehmann of Fremont, who is a relative by marriage.
    Phillips was born in Ohio, but left home when a young man and started for the west to seek fame and fortune.  Later he enlisted for duty in the Civil War and was a good soldier. The was over, he again went west and when he reached the Missouri River he joined the Dan rice Circus, which in those days was the big show, and was touring up and down the river in a mammoth boat.  When the circus quit business, Phillips went t Decatur Nebraska, where he continued to reside until found by Mr. Lehmann and he returned to Ohio.
    For years and years he lived the life of a hermit on the banks of the Missouri.  He never corresponded with his relatives back in Ohio and they knew nothing of his whereabouts.
    The people where he lived gave him the name of Dan Rice, after the famous old showman, and few, if any knew his right name.  His mother died in 1893, and as it was desired to settle up the estate, an effort was made to locate the missing heir.   Attorney Lehmann was assigned the task and after much trouble and work he finally succeeded in finding the hermit.
    The family had heard that Phillips had enlisted in the army and Lehmann, in hopes of securing a clue, entered into communication with the pension department and this inquiry developed the fact that Hiram Phillips was alive and living near Decatur.
    It was in the winter time, just ten years ago this month (1899) that Mr. Lehmannn went after Phillips.  He crossed the ice on the Missouri River to the Iowa side and found the cabin occupied by Phillips.  The cabin contained but one room, a single bed, some broken down furniture, and old stove and four hounds, the only companions of the old man.
    The old timer was at first alarmed at the appearance of the Fremonter and several men who were with him, but learning they were on a mission of peace he invited them in.  Mr. Lehmann informed the hermit that back in Ohio was a small fortune waiting for him to claim it.  Phillips then agreed to return to his native state and did so as soon as he disposed of his western belongings.  Since that time he has resided in Risingsun OH.
    HIram Phillips, died at his home in Risingsun in 1909.  Mr. Phillips was sixty-seven years of age and a veteran of the Seventy-Second O.V.I. (Ohio Volunteer Infantry), being known to his comrades in the army as Red Rover.

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