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In June, 1849, or a little more than a year after the erection of Auglaize County, Geo. W. Andrews sent for his younger brother, Wm. P. Andrews, to come from their native place in New York to establish a paper at this place. The elder brother furnished the means, and the young man established a Democratic paper under the title of the Auglaize Republican. The following winter the paper was sold to R. J. S. Hollis, who conducted it until the spring of 1851, when he died, and the establishment fell back into the hands of Geo. W. Andrews, who at once offered it for sale to "any sound, reliable, capable Democrat." In June, 1851, R. J. Wright and Henry B. Kelly, then of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, purchased it, and taking possession continued the publication. In 1854 Mr. Wright sold his interest to Mr. Kelly, who continued the publication uninterruptedly for more than twenty years, while his period of partnership with Mr. Wright made his editorial connection extend over twenty-three years. September 1, 1874, he sold the concern to Messrs. Andrews and McMurray, the object being to establish the latter, as Mr. Kelly wished to withdraw. As Mr. Andrews only enlisted temporarily, he withdrew at the end of one year by selling his interest to the present proprietor, Mr. C. P. Davis, who had an extended experience in the profession. On Sept. 1, 1876, Mr. Davis purchased the interest of Mr. McMurray and became sole proprietor of the establishment, which relation he sustains at this writing. In 1857, after the rise of the Republican party, the title of the paper was changed to The Auglaize County Democrat, under which title it still exists. It is now thirty-one years old, and during those years has not missed a single issue. It has constantly been a Democratic paper, which never supported an irregular candidate, nor wavered from party action from its first issue to its last.
The Bee was founded June 22, 1816, by Frank and Horace Holbrook. Before the expiration of the first year, Horace sold his interest to his brother Frank, by whom it has since been conducted. In politics the Bee is Republican. It is the only Republican paper in the county, and is devoted to the interest of the community, and strives to be a faithful chronicle of local events.
Farmers' Bank, established in 1870, by Samuel Bitler. Makes collections, and otherwise does a full banking business. Samuel Bitler, Cashier; Jas. Wilson, Jr., Asst. Cashier.
People's Bank, established in 1876. Does a general banking business. F. Fritsch, Cashier; J. Fred. Wiemeyer, Asst. Cashier.
Bent Wood Works. M. Brown & Co., Manufacturers of the celebrated Bent Wood Churn, Ash and Rock Maple, Dash Churn, and Elm and White Oak Grain Measures. Established in 1873, by M. Brown, F. J. McFarland, and Joseph Brown, patentees and sole manufacturers of the bent wood churn, of which three sizes and two styles of gearing are manufactured, of which the cog-wheel make is the most popular. The works have a capacity of about 7000 churns, and 60,000 measures per annum. The goods have an increasing sale throughout the Northwest.
This company filed a certificate of incorporation Aug. 28, 1872, and was formed for the purpose of manufacturing Spokes, Wheels, and Bent Work. The capital of $50,000 was subscribed by A. Snider, Saml. Bitler, J. H. Timmermeister, A. M. Kuhn, L. N. Blume, R. D. Marshall, Leopold Jacobs, Dittman Fisher, and M. Mouch. During the years 1873 and 1878, inclusive, the Shulte and Starr Patent Wheel, together with a Malleable Band Wood Hub-wheel, was manufactured, but these were superseded by the Sarver Patent and Wrought Iron Banded Wood Hub-wheel. This is destined to become the leading wheel in the country at an early day. Its special feature is the protection of the wood hub by a wrought-iron band, which is compressed into a groove, and is supplied with lips on either side, firmly holding the fibres of wood, and thus preventing the raising or loosening adjacent to the spoke. The business of the company is vested in an executive committee, consisting of Saml. Bitler, J. H. Timmermeister, and A. M. Kuhn. The latter, as Secretary of Board of Directors, is general manager of the works. In 1878, he secured the services of T. J. Reid to act as foreman, to whose care has been entrusted the work of the shop. The work is now confined to the manufacture of wheels, which are sold principally in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. From fifty to seventy-five men are employed at an aggregate salary of about $20,000 per year. J. H. Timmermeister, Prest.; L. N. Blume, Vice-Prest.; A. M. Kuhn, Sec.; Saml. Bitler, Treas.
J. W. Baker. This factory derives its power from the Smith & Bennett Works, and keeps six men in employment. The manufactures consist of fork, hoe, rake, shovel, and broom handles.
Smith, J. J., manufactures all kinds of furniture for wholesale trade.
Miller & Nagle, manufacturers of furniture, in connection with an extensive retail sales-room.
H. Mayer manufactures about sixty-five vehicles, of all classes, per year. A large amount of repairing is also done.
D. Rreitzer & Son manufacture about forty vehicles per year, and do an extensive repairing business.
Asa Rhodes manufactures about five hundred dozen brooms per year, which are sold largely at Dayton.
De Rush Steam-mill. C. Fisher manufactures the popular flour brand, "White Rose." Also dealer in grain, the annual shipments aggregating about one hundred and eighty car loads.
Steuger & Jacobs's Mill and Elevator has a storage capacity of thirty thousand bushels. The annual shipments of grain amount to about two hundred and fifty car loads. Their flour brand is "Extra Choice Family Flour."
Chas. Wintzer controls the oldest tannery of the town, and finds ready sale for all work, on account of its superior quality.
F. Happ & Son control a tannery, and have in connection a harness shop and sales-room, carrying a full line of goods.
C. Roller & Bro. manufacture about a thousand barrels of lager beer per annum.
Schuman Bros, manufacture about three hundred barrels of beer per year.
The product of both these firms is chiefly consumed in the immediate community.
Besides these institutions, are many cooper, wagon, blacksmith, and harness shops of greater or less capacity. The retail business interests are represented by many houses, engaged in different lines of trade, and may be found fairly represented in the business directory of this volume.
The schools of Wapakoneta date back to the Quaker Mission, established in 1809, but interrupted by the war of 1812. These, as elsewhere stated, were conducted on the Manual Labor System, until their second interruption in 1828, consequent upon the Indian excitement of that year. Still the Quakers remained, and must have operated to some extent until the removal of the Indians in 1832. As elsewhere stated, Isaac and Henry Harvey and their families had charge of this mission and its schools and mills. During the period of their superintendence, there were generally about twenty Shawnee children in attendance at this school. Two years after the removal of the Indians, the white population had somewhat increased, and a school-house was erected between the river and the present site of the depot. This movement was due largely to the enterprise of R. J. Skinner, P. B. Van Horn, and James Elliott. The building was constructed of such soft brick, that after being used for a school-house, town hall, and church for a few years, it had to be abandoned. During 1834-5-6 Mr. Smith taught a winter term in this building. The course of stucty embraced the English Reader, grammar, and arithmetic.
Between 1834-38 the school was supported exclusively by subscription, and the teachers "boarded round" with the different families.
The school was thus continued until 1840, when Dominicus Flaitz organized a German school, which he conducted during the following eight years. In 1845 the old French trading house was used for school purposes on account of the unsafe condition of the school building. From 1847-50 the old Methodist church did service as school and court-house. In 1956 a brick building was erected on the site of the present Union building at a cost of $2517. Two years later the school consisted of three departments. The present system was organized under the Akron law in 1866, and the first board under this organization found it necessary to enlarge the accommodations, and an addition was made to the old building at a cost of $1775. In 1874 the General Assembly granted the board power to issue bonds to the amount of $28,000, for the purpose of erecting a new building. The enumeration had now reached over one thousand. Messrs. Andrews and Mouch received the contract for $27,600, and during 1874-5 the building was pushed to completion. This structure is a commodious and substantial brick, well furnished, and reflects great credit upon the citizens of the town. The schools are now under an efficient management, and the town may boast educational facilities of a very creditable character. The enrolment for this month, March, 1880, is 440, with an average attendance of 373.
The Catholics of the town founded an independent school in 1853, which is still conducted. In 1869 a two-story building was erected at a cost of $4000. The average attendance at this time (1880) is 150.
The present Board of Education of the Public Schools was organized with its present standing in June, 1880, and embraces the following named members: F. C. Layton, Pres.; L. N. Blume, Clerk; Win. Heinrich, I. Lucas, Daniel Richardson, and Charles Wintzer.
It is thus evident the founders of the town appreciated in an unusual degree the importance of education. True, the beginning was amidst slab desks and benches and the applied methods resembled force more than culture, yet we remember that was the physical, as decidedly as this the intellectual period. Let infancy be the apology, and growth the justification, for those rude materials and rude methods furnished a foundation for the higher culture of to-day. Like the schools of the whole country, the past was feeble, the present imperfect, but the future promises that completeness on which rests a golden hope.
From "History of Auglaize County, Ohio, with the Indian History of Wapakoneta, and the First Settlement of the County", Robert Sutton, Publishers, Wapakoneta, 1880