Our Old Bookcase, sent Nov. 26, 2020; Thank your historians this year.

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OUR OLD BOOK CASE By Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.

Photo caption:  “Anthony Shane’s place in Rockford’s history is preserved by Historian Harrison Frech.

“Thank your local historians this season.  They deserve the gift of appreciation for Christmas!
”If historians do not preserve your history, the future will not know you existed!

I want to thank one of Mercer County’s finest academic historians, Harrison Frech, with his book, “Anthony Shane, Metis Interpreter:  A bridge between Two Cultures , Scout, Interpreter, Town Founder, Witness to History,”  Rockford, OH, 2020.  He has done more to preserve the history of this time period in this area of northwestern Ohio, than anyone.

These suggestions may help you recognize your local historian.

Thank the local historical societies in Mercer County.  Thank the 1957 Mercer County Commissioners for caring enough to establish a County Historical Society and for making the decision to include funding in their 1958 Budget to implement the Mercer County Historical Society, and County Historical Museum.  Thank the local elected officials and their staffs for preserving the government records at County, Township, and Village Offices, for everyone’s protection.  When Celina’s School at Montezuma was closed, their “less important records,” were donated to the Mercer County Historical Society, Inc, and I thank them for their interest in preserving their School’s history.

Thank the Township Trustees who made the decision to fund the County and local historical societies.  Thank the City of Celina and the Village Governments for supporting the County Historical Society and the local historical societies.

Thank the local community historians, who went the second mile, without payment for their time or expenses, and wrote the local community history books.  Thank the local historians who also volunteered and wrote the histories of the local service organizations.  Thank the local historians who also volunteered and wrote the histories of the churches and religious organizations.  Remember to thank the Family Historians for the family histories!  Without them, your family history will be lost.  Thank the Libraries in Mercer County Communities and the Libraries within the Schools, for preserving the local history books.  Thank the History Teachers who preserve the history of our free Nation, the U.S.A.

Thank the public citizen donors, the Combined Drive volunteers, the Celina Combined Services Appeal volunteers and donors.  Thank the quiet citizens who designate donations to the Historical Societies through their Estate Planning.  They plan for a future in preserving our history.

Last, I thank each person who thanks me for the work of the Mercer County Historical Society Members for their support of writing and publishing over thirty local history books, these past five decades, with a Mission To Preserve Mercer County’s History and To Educate the Public about that history. 

The very few people who let me know that they have no use for the Historical Society, actually included their family history in the “1978 Mercer County Ohio History Book,” published by the Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.   They actually wanted the Mercer County Historical Society to preserve their very own family history, with their name included in our History Books. 

[Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road, Saint Henry, OH 45883, or  or 419-678-2614]




Bicentennial Mural Dedicated in Rockford Ohio
On October 11, 2020  the Rockford Historic Mural was dedicated to the Rockford Community as a
“BIRTHDAY GIFT” to Rockford in celebration of the 200th Bicentennial.  
The Mural was completed on July 4, 2020 by Artist Dan Keyes.   More information on the presentation
and the mural can be found at

A special thank you to all who donated time and efforts toward the Rockford Bicentennial Mural.

Norm Van Tilburg, President of the Shane Crossing Historical Society
Mike Schuum, Rockford Bicentennial Chairman

Twyla Hayes, Rockford Bicentennial Mural Organizer
Dan Keyes, Artist
Harrison Frech, Historian

Rockford Fire Department
Rob Belna
Dick Pontius
Barb and Mike Pedroza
Janet and Mike Riley
Kevin LaBrun
Rob Russell
Ted Samaniego
Stober Farm

Barb Bowen
Nancy Leighner
Pete Hayes
Austin Barna
Jordan Belna
Bob Maurer
Aaron Fent, A&A Greenhouse
Andy Fent, A&A Greenhouse
Chad Ransbottom
Blair Shaffer, Village Worker
Joe Roth, Village Worker
Larry Stephenson, Benches
Johnny Harrod, Mercer Metal
Brand It Marketing. design of display board and brochures




Stained Glass Artist from North Carolina Donates Beautiful Art of the Log Cabin in Rockford to the Historical Society

A stained glass creation of Anthony Shane’s log cabin has been donated to the Shanes Crossing Historical Society by Bob
Blackwell.  The actual log cabin is located at Shanes Park in Rockford, Ohio

This is the 2nd stained glass art that has been donated to the historical society.  The first piece was raffled off to benefit
the Rockford Bicentennial and the Carey, Bill, and Benny Scholarship fund.

The local connection -

Bob met Carey Fosnaugh of Willshire in Vietnam in 1969.  Carey was killed in action in January of 1970 in the Central
Highlands of Vietnam.    Bob made a vow that when he came back from his service, he would look up Carey’s friends and
family in rural Ohio.    Bob met Carol (Miller) Fosnaugh and they eventually got married.

Bob and Carol currently reside in North Carolina, but return to the area frequently to visit family and friends.    Bob calls
this creation his “Covid Creation” as he began the piece when the virus shutdowns occurred in the early spring.

Bob has made several stained glass pieces in the North Carolina area where he and his wife live.   Sometimes you can
find his artwork for sale in his local area crafts shops.  All proceeds for the stained glass creations benefit the Carey, Bill,
and Benny Scholarship Fund.

Thank you Bob for this generous gift ! You have an amazing talent !



Booklet by Harrison Frech on Sale in Rockford Village Office

Several years ago Mr. Harrison Frech wrote a booklet called "Early Visitors to Rockford".   The Rockford historical mural is based on the information in the booklet.   We now have copies of the booklet available at the Village Office for $5 if you are interested !


Shanes Crossing Mural Completed and Installed in 2020

The Shanes Crossing Bicentennial Mural Project was completed and hung for the Bicentennial Celebration 2020.
Talented artist and historian, Dan Keyes, designed the mural to depict the values and history of our cherished community.
View it on the south side of the Rockford Fire Station on Main Street.
October 11, 2020.

Robert Maurer shared these photos of the installation. Thank you Bob!

Click on each photo below to enlarge them. 


Our Old Bookcase, “Local History Book Class,” for Week # 1, March 2020

OUR OLD BOOK CASE By Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.

Photo caption:  Can you identify “Halfway Cross” on Mitchell’s 1755 Map of North America?



We Ohioans have been directed, “Stay home for two weeks. . . or more!”  I have a suggestion about how to make your life more interesting, while staying at home.  Four local citizens gave me an idea!


“Would you teach some Local History Classes?” is one request I received.  The other three requests came from men whose wives were cleaning house and threatened them, that they should get rid of their collection of New Idea Manuals, etc., or she would do it for them.  Those men donated their collections to the Mercer County Historical Society yet that afternoon.  One person asked for local history classes; the other three asked the Historical Society to save their local history books.  I have a suggestion.


I will introduce you to a local history book each week, which you can read in an afternoon or evening.  I will provide a short introduction to a local history book, which will inspire you to want to learn about this very land in mid western Ohio where you go about your daily lives. 


The First Week’s “Local History Book Class” is about the history of the land between the Saint Marys and Wabash River Valleys, illustrated by early maps, 1755 – 2020, as a part of northwestern Ohio.  Look very closely at the 1755 map above.  On the left side of the map, you will see the Wabache River, i.e. Wabash River.  On the right or east side of that River is the word NATION, but you can only see the first three letters, of which the first letter is an “N.”  On the right side of the “N” are the words “Halfway Cross.”  Do you recognize the site?  This question is for your Class of Week # 1.


John Mitchell’s map of the British and French dominions in North America was printed in Amsterdam for I. Covens and C. Mortier in 1755.  Mitchell’s map was used by the European political leaders in preparing the Treaty of Paris in 1783.  The 1755 map was also used in Ohio’s border dispute with Michigan in 1836.  [That’s right, Michigan State and Ohio State were arguing about land yardage back in 1836!] 


Mitchell’s map was one of the earliest maps to identify a site in Mercer County, near the site of Rockford, or Shane’s Crossing, as “Halfway Cross.”  “Half way Cross” is a site on the Saint Marys River, identifying the Crossing of the Saint Marys River, halfway between Pickawillany [near present day Piqua, Ohio] on the Great Miami River and the Native American Village Kekionga at the confluence of the Saint Marys and Saint Joseph Rivers [present day Fort Wayne, Indiana].  The map was not perfect, but it was good in consideration of the explorers in the wilderness in the 1770’s for the cartographers.


The land between the Saint Marys and Wabash River Valleys was the land where Mercer County, was to be established in 1820, when fourteen counties were erected in Northwestern Ohio, north of the 1795 Greenville Treaty Line.  This book will provide you with the highlights of Local History, from 1755 – 2000.  You can then use this book as a Handbook when you read more books about local history.


The book for this first week of class is “Mercer County, Ohio; History of the Land between the Saint Marys & Wabash River Valleys, Illustrated by Early Maps, 1755 – 2000.”  This book was published by the Mercer County Historical Society, Inc. and printed by the Messenger Press, Carthagena, in 2000.  You may order a copy of the book for five dollars and I will send it to you.  Because you are Students in this “Local  History Book Class,” postage will be free. 


Please stay well.  When our Ohio Government opens public buildings again, you will be able to borrow our local history books from our local libraries for free.  If you know the site of “Halfway Cross,” for this “Local History Book Class” for Week # 1, let me know.  Thank you for your interest in local history.


 [Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road, Saint Henry, OH 45883, or  or 419-678-2614.]  

Please click here for the Rockford Ohio 2020 Bicentennial Schedule of Events in printable format

Please contact Mike Schumm - Bicentennial Coordinator at or 419-305-4664 for any questions.

Rockford History Snippets
by Mike Schumm of the Shanes Crossing Historical Society 

Did you know that in 1940, sixty Rockford businesses advertised in the Rockford Press Christmas edition? According to Census, the village population was 1,066 at the time.


The Rockford Bicentennial Committee is pleased to announce that a 10' x 70' mural that depicts early visitors to Shanesville (Rockford) has been completed and is hanging on the south side of the fire station. A special thanks to our muralist Dan Keyes for his outstanding creation!  Our appreciation goes out to:  Twyla Hayes for her inspiration to produce the mural and design the landscaping; to Harrison Frech for being a consultant and providing the historical background for the characters portrayed; to Mike Riley for all of his unending assistance and the storage of the mural; to Rob Russell, Kevin LaBrun, and Ted Samaniego for welding the frame; to Bob Maurer for building a wagon to haul the mural; to Chad Ransbottom for running electric and installing lights; to A & A Greenhouse for the wonderful landscaping to accent the mural;  to Larry Stephenson for providing the beautiful benches found in the landscaping; to Rob and Jordan Belna for supplying the equipment and the many, many hours of labor to help with the hanging of the mural; to Austin Barna for operating the equipment to raise the panels; to the many volunteers who helped to paint the wall and lift the panels on the wagon; to the many donors who helped to fund this project; and, finally, to the Rockford Fire Department for allowing us to utilize their building to display a visual history of Rockford's past.  This was truly a community effort and we are extremely grateful to all who made this dream become a reality! October 11, 2020


Shanes Crossing Mural Completed and Installed

The Shanes Crossing Bicentennial Mural Project was completed and hung for the Bicentennial Celebration 2020.
Talented artist and historian, Dan Keyes, designed the mural to depict the values and history of our cherished community.
View it on the south side of the Rockford Fire Station on Main Street.
October 11, 2020

Nikki Fox shared this photo. 


21st Century Club Bicentennial Tea Planned for Sunday, May 3, 2020 - Canceled due to COVID

Tickets go on sale Thursday, March 19, 2020 for the Rockford Bicentennial High Tea planned by the art and literary club in Rockford called the  21st Century Club. Seating is limited. Tables of 8 for groups are available.

The event will be held at the Shanes Park Community building from 1-2:30 PM on Sunday, May 3, 2020. Tickets will be available at the Rockford Village Office (419-363-3032) beginning March 19. The tea is for folks 13 years and older.  A $20 ticket provides the attendee with tea (or water), fresh-baked scones & toppings, unique sandwiches, and an array of sweets.

All three courses will be served to guests by the club members. Beautifully decorated tables are being planned, and old time musical entertainment will be provided by Chatt native Paula Stephenson Schumm on two dulcimers and an autoharp. Her instruments are hand-made by her husband, Rockford native Herb Schumm.

Attendees of this event are encouraged to dress in any period they choose with hats and gloves or other accessories. Bringing your favorite teacup is also an option.  All proceeds from this event will go to the Rockford Bicentennial Committee for future activities in 2020. Call 419-733-3326 for more information. 


Rockford History Snippets
by Mike Schumm of the Shanes Crossing Historical Society

Pictured above is the newly-hung sign proclaiming the bridge over the St. Marys River in Rockford, OH as the "Antoine Chene Memorial Bridge".


The St. Marys River that runs through Rockford is approximately 100 miles long, flowing northwesterly from St. Marys Ohio to Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  It was called 'Kokothikithiipi' by the Shawnee, 'Mameewa siipiiwi' (Sturgeon River) by the Miami, and 'La riviere de Ste. Marie by the French.  Native tribes were offered payments to allow people to travel and trade the length of the river.  At the site of Shanesville (now Rockford), it was known as the 'Second Crossing' while the 'First Crossing' was found in St. Marys.  A little known fact about the river is that a Naval vessel - the USS St. Marys - was named in honor of the river on October 1, 1958.  



Did you know that on Saturday, June 30, 1883 the first newspaper was published in Shanes Crossing (now Rockford)?  It was named The Free Press and D.C. Kinder was the publisher.  It was published every Thursday and cost 5 cents a copy.  The yearly rate was $1.00.  The first issue is on display in the museum at the Rockford Village Hall.  Nearly 25 business advertisements can be found on the display pages, which supports the fact that Shanes Crossing (now Rockford) was a true hub of activity in Mercer County during that era.


Rockford History Note:

Did you know that in 1888,  Rockford (then Shanes Crossing),  passed an ordinance concerning the Sabbath Day?  The decree stated:  "It shall be unlawful for any person above the age of 14 years on the Sabbath Day, commonly called Sunday, within said Village, to engage in hunting, fishing or to expose any gun or fishing tackle, on the the streets of said Village, or engage in common labor (except works of necessity or charity) or open any grocery store, restaurant, labor booth or shop, and expose therein the goods, wares, liquors for sale or permit the assemblage of persons who engage in idle, vulgar or lascivious conversation or engage in carousing, drunkenness or gambling".



Local Historian, Author and Teacher Publishes Revised Title

Mr. Harrison Frech recently released a Revised 2020 Edition of Anthony Shane, Metis Interpreter:
A Bridge between Two Cultures Scout, Interpreter, Town Founder, Witness to History.

Copies of the book are on sale at the Rockford Village Hall.   Cost $10.

Fun Facts:  
Rockford Ohio’s Rich Village History
•1820 – Rockford was originally founded as Shanesville by Anthony Shane, a French Ottawa Indian.
•1820 – Plotted as Shanesville. Shanesville was the original county seat of Mercer County.
•On April 29, 1828, a lease was signed by Colonel William Botts Hedges and John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) for the planting of apple trees on the Hedges’ property in Shanesville, Ohio.
•1866 – Became Shanes Crossing
•1890 – U.S. Post office changed the name to Rockford
•Rockford is the oldest village in Mercer County
•Rockford was the first village in Mercer County to have streetlights and an airport.


Bicentennial Celebration hailed as success

The Rockford 200th birthday party celebration was a fire-cracker of a success on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2019 at the community building in Rockford. The kick-off event to the 2020 year-long birthday celebration, was attended by 335 attendees, according to Dr. Jerry and Mrs. Connie Sell, who helped organize the event.

Entertainment for the evening came out of Chicago, a group called Festivities that included entertainment by the World Famous “HOWL2GO” and featured live music by the Dueling Pianos and Drums. The two pianos and drummer, had the crowd singing along to popular pop tunes including Happy Birthday to Rockford! “The Band brought a Big City Show to our small village for an amazing night of music and dancing,” stated Twyla Hayes of Brand It Marketing. Twyla, with her husband Pete at her side, emceed the event.

Attendees enjoyed soft drinks as well as beer from Second Cross Brewing, a joint business venture by three men from Rockford: Luke Clouse; Luke Stephenson and Todd McKee, and a wide array of appetizers was catered by The Rockford Carry Out and Catering of Rockford by Tom and Matt Burtch.

The Fremont Canning Company unveiled their special BICENTENNIAL labeled run of 3000 bottles of Rockford Ketchup, a community favorite, and people stood in line to purchase. A drawing was held for a beautiful stained glass window of the Shanes Log Cabin, loving prepared by Bob Blackwell of North Carolina. The piece was later won by Tom Mosier. Proceeds on the raffle sale benefit the Carey , Bill and Benny Scholarship Fund. Mr. Blackwell served in Viet Nam with the late Carey Fosnaugh.

As midnight drew near, party-goers were encouraged to get their coats, step outside or enter their cars to watch the 20 minute fireworks display. It was a spectacular event with a special “200” display all its own as colorful fireballs lit up the sky, which the Barry Peel Family conducted to rock in the new decade. Members of the Bicentennial Committee Mike Schumm and Norm VanTilburg were excited about the turn-out.

They invite everyone to the upcoming activities of the year. February’s special event will be a presentation by Rockford Historical Society’s vice-president, Mike Schumm. Other items for the year include: a parade; a murl unveiling; a Johnny Appleseed Portrayal; beard growing contest; Old Fashioned Tea; Veteran’s Memorial Dedication; and so much more. Visit for all details.




Bicentennial Committee Announces New Year’s Eve Celebration

Rockford, OHIO, November 4, 2019— The Bicentennial Committee recently announced that the Village of Rockford will celebrate its 200th Birthday with a Birthday Celebration on New Year’s Eve. This event will be held at the Rockford Community Building, 420 Holly Lane in Rockford, Ohio, on Tuesday, December 31, 2019. Doors will open at 7:30 pm with live music from 8:30 to 11:30 pm.

Festivities will include entertainment by the World Famous “HOWL2GO” and will feature live music by the Dueling Pianos and Drums. Attendees will enjoy drinks, a wide array of appetizers catered by The Rockford Carry Out and Catering of Rockford, and a show-stopping firework display at midnight to bring in the New Year.

“The Band will bring a Big City Show to our small village for an amazing night of music and dancing,” states Twyla Hayes of Brand It Marketing.

Ticket Sales begin Wednesday, November 6, 2019. Each ticket will be good for 2 drinks and unlimited appetizers. Tickets will be sold for $40 per person, $75 per couple, or $300 per table of eight. All are invited and encouraged to purchase tickets early, as seats are limited.

To learn more or purchase tickets, please contact Twyla Hayes, Mike Schumm or call Lisa Kuhn at Village Hall at 419-363-3032.



The Rockford Area Development Corporation will be sponsoring FIREWORKS at
midnight on New Year's Eve at Shanes Park.    We are excited to be kicking off the 2020 NEW YEAR celebrating Rockford's 200th birthday !     For information about our bicentennial events throughout the year go to our NEW web site at



Rockford History Snippet
by Mike Schumm of the Shanes Crossing Historical Society

The following article was written in the Rockford Free Press in 1883:

Seven thousand people attended the Soldier's Reunion here on Friday, August 10, 1883.  The reunion and program was held in the VanTilburg Grove, now Oak Park Addition in northwest Rockford.  The day was started with an artillery salute at 4 o'clock in the morning.  At 9 o'clock a parade with band and drum corps was held, followed by a program of music, speaking and dinners.  The afternoon was devoted to speeches, and the Battle of Chickamauga was re-enacted by the veteran's with a lot of shooting and smoke.






for the Rockford 2020 Bicentennial Planning Committee memory project

by Bob Van Fleet

Our home in Rockford on Main Street near the river.       

I was born at Gibbons Hospital in Celina in 1946 and lived in Rockford until the summer of 1964. My grandfather, Charles M., then my dad, Robert L., owned the Van Fleet Rexall drug store on Main St. Many of my memories are of the store and my family. I get back to Rockford every couple of years and I still have some good “forever” friends there.

            I remember our beautiful old brick schoolhouse - Rockford High School when my dad, aunt Marjory (Rentzsch) and brother Mike went there - then becoming Parkway when we consolidated with Willshire and where I graduated in May of 1964;

            I remember the big, gravel and mud swimming pool where we spent many days and evenings in the summertime; some of my early forbidden glimpses of  girls came through the hole someone (not me) had made between the boys' and girls' shower rooms;

            I remember going squirrel hunting and turtle trapping with my grandfather and his buddies “Skinny” Loro and George Kinder and camping in a big army surplus tent at the “thoroughfare” off  US 127 east of town;

            I remember staying with Skinny and his family out on US 33 when my mom and dad were out of town and spending time watching him work on bicycles in his shop;

            I remember summer days when I'd leave the house on my bike and be gone till lunch time then back out till dinner time – days when my mom was not concerned that something might happen to me in a small town where everyone knew everyone and neighborhood watch was unheard of;

The St. Marys River behind our house.

            I remember spending winter days at the river sledding down the hill next to Clark Temple's house or ice skating and playing hockey with a smashed tin can and tree limbs that were roughly shaped like a hockey stick;

            I remember hanging out at Andrew's Pure Oil gas station on N Main, drinking soda pop and watching locals and tourists pass through;

            I remember working at the drug store's soda fountain (do kids nowadays know what a  “soda jerk” is?); in addition to earning a little money, another perk was that I got to work with a number of very pretty “older” girls on whom I had hopeless crushes;

            I remember some great teachers and how valuable what I learned from them was in my later working life – especially Martha Rhodes in English and Latin, M.G. Hoover in chemistry and physics;

            I remember playing on a great football team and going nearly undefeated in my senior year  (1964) – we beat arch-rival Celina 38 – 12. Our coach Fred Hilbert was someone that those who knew him would never forget;

            I remember family get-togethers on holidays with my grandparents Charlie and Ethel Van Fleet, my Aunt Pauline and Uncle Truman Abbott and cousins Linda and Sara Lou, Aunt Marjorie and Uncle Hugo Rentzsch and cousins Judy and Kathy;

            I remember summers at our cottage at Highland Park on Grand Lake, playing in the huge sandbox there and walking to the store for ice cream;

            I remember watching American Legion baseball games at the ball park by the pool and climbing the fence to steal apples from Purdy's apple orchard next to the diamond;

            I remember hanging out with great (still) friends Bob Rutledge, Frank Shindeldecker, Barry Copeland and others; some of our adventures involved certain brewed beverages – always in moderation of course;

            I remember hunting rabbits in the winter with Frank Shindeldecker and his beagle dog;

The Train Tressel behind our house in Rockford.

            I remember all-night fishing and frog hunting trips with my friend Tim Fox;

            I remember lots of back road drag races with my 1964 GTO – a bad habit I picked up from Frank Shindeldecker who had a pretty hot '53 Chevy;

            I remember great times (and certain brewed beverages) at Edgewater, seems like Bob Rutledge would get into a fight most times as the evening wore on;

            I remember spending time with my friend Tom Howell on his family's farm, building forts in the hay mow and helping bale hay and tamping silage;

            I remember being at the Presbyterian church where my mom played the pipe organ and directed the choir;

            I remember good friends – Gary Henkle, Bob Rutledge, Frank Shindeldecker, Tim Fox, Barry Copeland, Whizzer White, Barney Lehman, Rich Huffman, Denny and Ronny Kuhn;

            I remember my first serious girlfriend, Linda Barna, our long telephone talks, going to the Lake Drive In movies, and walking her home after school.

            These are memories I will never forget and I feel fortunate to have grown up in a solid family in a great small town with so many good honest people.


Submitted by Bob Van Fleet, Parkway Class of 1964

116 Innsbrook Way Apt 6

Chico CA 95937



Rockford Bicentennial Queen Pageant Announced
The village of Rockford is celebrating it's 200th birthday this year.

In recognition of this milestone, we are pleased to announce our Bicentennial Queen Pageant. 

The pageant will be held April 26, 2020 at 3pm in the Parkway Auditorium.

This opportunity is only available to female students residing in the Parkway School District.

The Bicentennial Committee encourages all junior & senior age young ladies, including home schooled students, to participate.  This will be a great opportunity to express yourself and earn some awards.

Categories for the pageant include: interview, talent, evening gown and essay. 

Applications may be picked up at the Parkway High School office or at the Rockford Village office.

*Applications must be completed & returned by 3/23/20 to:

 Rockford Village Office, PO Box 282, Rockford OH  45882


There will be multiple prizes awarded including:

The Queen will be awarded $500 courtesy of Shanes Crossing Historical Society.

The 1st Runner-Up will be awarded $150 in prizes from the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, there will be prizes for the Peoples Choice Award.


Don't delay; apply today!! Only the first twelve applicants are guaranteed a spot.


Sunday – February 23, 2020  – History Comes Alive Series –
Mike Schumm – presents Early Settlement  at 1:30 pm and author
Sharon Cowen will present information on her new book –
The Green Ribbon Murder  - 2:30 pm --- both of these events will be  held at The Rockford Belle – Market St.  
(The book is about the 1872 murder that took place just outside of Rockford)


Rockford History Snippet
by Mike Schumm of the Shanes Crossing Historical Society

Did you know that in 1828 Shanesville (Rockford) founder Anthony Shane moved west to act as interpreter in Kansas during the relocation of the Shawnee Indians and worked under Superintendent of Indian Affairs William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame).  And, did you know that William Clark was a younger brother of General George Rogers Clark, a Revolutionary War hero?

Rockford History Snippet
by Mike Schumm of the
Shanes Crossing Historical Society


Did you know that in the History of Van Wert and Mercer Counties (Sutton - 1882) it is stated that the early Shanesville trading post lists some very important clients in 1821?  John B. Richardsville, a Miami chief is one who is noted.  Richardsville had a magnificent house built on Bluffton Road in Ft. Wayne with the help of the U.S. Government for his assistance in the resettlement of Native Americans. His house can still be found at the Bluffton Road location. A very wealthy individual, Richardsville had 1200 acre reservation that can be found about 1.5 miles north of Willshire on S.R. 49 where a plaque graces a large stone.  In addition, two very well-known Indian traders from Ft. Wayne named Samuel Hanna and James Barnett are on the list.  John P. Hedges, a native of Shanesville who became a prominent citizen in the Three Rivers City, was selected to be the first school teacher in the first schoolhouse in Ft. Wayne and his name is recorded as a patron in 1821.  Let’s not forget, Willshire, OH founder Captain James Riley, who was an avid trader. And, finally, Peter Peacott, a seven foot tall (?) Indian  made his appearance and his imposing figure is referenced as well.


Rockford History Snippet
by Mike Schumm of the
Shanes Crossing Historical Society

Did you know that the first post office in Shanesville (now Rockford) was opened on October 4, 1823? It was called Shanes Crossing until 1890 when the Post Office changed the village name to Rockford. Shanesville was founded in 1820, and it was rumored that prior to the post office opening, mail was taken to the home of Anthony Shane (founder of Shanesville) for distribution.



By  Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society

Photo caption:   At Rockford, stand on the corner of Pearl and Main Streets and look to the North.  Compare Rockford’s past Main Street, with its present Main Street today.

Rockford’s Main Street at the corner of Pearl Street, is an outstanding example of Main Streets in rural America, a Century ago.  The top photograph is on a post card, dated May 21, 1908.


The bottom photograph is a post card, facing north, on the same street corner.  In 2001, I worked with Members of the Shanes Crossing Historical Society Norman Van Tilburg, Dan Henkle and Robert Thompson as we prepared the book, “Our Post Card Past; Rockford, Ohio,”  in celebration of Ohio’s Bicentennial 1803 – 2003.  This book was a part of a series, which included “Mercer County’s Post Card Past,” “Celina’s Post Card Past,” and “Grand Lake’s Post Card Past.”


The old “photograph” post cards produced at the turn of the past Century, preserve local history with a clear image of the sites in Mercer County.  When we can compare a photograph with a close-up image of a few buildings on Main Streets, with  a photograph of buildings for a block or two, this gives us a perspective of the range of buildings on Main Street.  The ornate brick buildings stand shoulder to shoulder with the frame buildings. 


With the help of a magnifying glass we can sometimes read the names of the buildings and/or of the advertisements or signs.  On the top photographs, look at the sidewalks; would they be constructed of concrete?  Would the wooden pole on the corner be for electric wires?  I see a fire hydrant on the corner on the left side of the photograph.  On the right side of the photograph, would that tower contain the siren for the Fire Department?


Rockford will soon be celebrating two centuries of progress in 2020, honoring the June 23, 1820 date when the Village of Shanesville was platted by Anthony Shane.


How many citizens in Rockford or Dublin Township, or across Mercer County, or else in other places across the U.S.A. have old post cards related to the History of Rockford?  If you have already showed  your old photographs and post card photographs to the Shanes Crossing Historical Society, that is great.  Don’t wait until 2020 and realize the you have old photos or post cards back in drawers, attics, or albums, which you could have provided copies of the photos and/or post cards to the 200th Celebration Committee.


Along with the rest of citizens living in the area of Rockford, and those former citizens of Rockford, and the rest of Mercer County citizens and nearby counties’ citizens, I look forward to visiting Rockford in 2020 and seeing the historical exhibits and attending the historical programs planned and implemented by today’s Rockford Citizens.  Rockford’s past citizens have produced a fine community today.  People who honor Mercer County’s heritage are among the outstanding citizens of Mercer County.


Mercer County Post Cards and Mercer County’s “closed” Post Office Post Marks, will be on exhibit at the Mercer County Historical Museum, on Sunday afternoon, November 11.  You are most welcome to bring your own post cards to show the public that afternoon.


[Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig, may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road, Saint Henry, OH 45883,  or or 419-678-2614.



By  Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.

Our Old Bookcase,  Jan. 4, 2018, Workshop for new boxes of Fort Adams Artifacts
Photo caption:   Map of Fort Adams on the Saint Marys River, just north of the Village of Mercer, in Dublin Township, with plans for 2018 Workshop for Artifacts found at the site, 1980’s & 1990’s.

General Anthony Wayne led the U.S. Army into the Indian Territory and continued his march toward Lake Erie, in the summer of 1794.  By the first of August, the troops arrived at the Saint Marys River.   This was a small fort, built with the purpose of protecting the Soldiers who were too ill to march.  Anthony Wayne named the fort, Fort Randolph, but later changed the name to Fort Adams in honor of Vice President John Adams.  Two years later, in the early summer of 1796, it was abandoned by its garrison of 56 United States troops.  The site was used as a supply depot during the War of 1812.  After the war, the site was used as a trading post.

In the 1980’s, I talked with George Wilson, owner of the property where Fort Adams was located.  I asked him if he would permit an Archaeological dig at the site.  He not only agreed to permit Professional Archaeologists and amateur volunteers to dig at this site, he agreed to donate that land to the Mercer County Historical Society. He also made the agreement that all artifacts found would go to the Mercer County Historical Society.  After three summers of archaeological digs under Dr. G. Michael Pratt, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Historic and Military Archaeology, Heidelberg College, with Dr. Larry Nelson, Site Manager Fort Meigs State Memorial, Larry Street, St. Marys; Members of the Mercer County Indian Relic Collectors, Amateur Archaeologists from Toledo, and Members of the Mercer County Historical Society, the artifacts went with Dr. Pratt, for conservation to Heidelberg College, with a promise to return the artifacts to the Mercer County Historical Society.

Two years later, Dr. Pratt called me and asked me to pick up four boxes of the artifacts from Fort Adams at Heidelberg College.  Alvin and I drove there and picked up those boxes and took them to the Mercer County Historical Museum, where we had an exhibit of those artifacts.

This past autumn, 2017, Heidelberg College called me that they were closing the Center for Historic and Military Archaeology, and would I please come and pick up four boxes of artifacts from the Fort Adams dig.  I told them that all of the artifacts were supposed to have been given to the Mercer County Historical Society, following the dig.  I asked why these extra four boxes had not been given to the Historical Society in the early 1990’s.  I was just asked if I wanted these boxes. . . or not.  So, I went to Heidelberg College and picked up these extra four boxes.  I compared the list of artifacts with artifacts in the boxes.

I invite anyone interested in helping to make a list of this second set of four boxes of Fort Adams’ artifacts, i.e. catalog the artifacts, for the Mercer County Historical Society, to email me.  Please give me your name and address and your email address and your telephone number.   I want your input about when to host Workshops to identify these artifacts.  I want your input as to communication with Dr. Pratt about this collection.   I want your input as to your view of the importance of these U.S. Military Artifacts from the U.S. Fort Adams during the Wars between the Native Americans and the U.S. Military. 

Please respond to this request in the first two weeks of January, as I am preparing the schedule of program dates for our 2018 Brochure of Programs for the Mercer County Historical Society.

I would like the public’s input as to your view of the importance of the Mercer County Historical Society preserving these U.S. Military Artifacts at the Mercer County Historical Museum.  I would also invite you to share your views of the importance of the Mercer County Historical Society and County Museum.

[Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig, may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road,

Saint Henry, OH 45883,  or or 419-678-2614]



Stained Glass Artwork of Local Barn Becomes Fund-Raiser for 2018

Carey, Benny and Bill Scholarship Fund for Parkway Students

About the Art

Pictured above: Photo of the stained glass artwork with light coming through the back.

The stained glass barn was modeled after a barn at the intersection of Routes 33 and 127 in Mercer County, Ohio; near Rockford, Ohio.  It was made in September of 2017 and donated to the Scholarship in October, 2017.  The picture represents a barn of circa 1900, and depicts crops of soybeans in the foreground and corn on the horizon.  A John Deere tractor was added to the foreground for effect.

It is a 3D copper foil stained glass piece.  The John Deere tractor and the big tree sit in front of the barn.  When in the light, the roof of the barn shows thru the green of the tree. The completed picture is about 14"x 20".


Pictured Above: Stained glass without back light.

About the Artist and the Story

The artist is Bob Blackwell of Candler, NC who was best friends with Carey Fosnaugh while serving in Vietnam.  Carol and Bob Blackwell have been supporters of the scholarship which honors three local men killed in the Vietnam War: Carey Fosnaugh (of Willshire), Bennie Sapp (of Rockford), and Bill Miller (of Willshire).  A scholarship, started in 1970, is awarded each year to a graduating senior at Parkway High School, because the young soldiers all went to Parkway/Willshire.  The scholarship is administered by the Leota Braun Charitable Foundations.

Bob, who creates stained glass has done several pieces. Since this fund is near to his heart, he wanted to create a piece that could raise money to be used in the fund to help earn proceeds for the scholarships presented each year. The proceeds of this fund, along with donations from each of the American Legions in the area are what comprises the award each year.  The American Legions are the biggest supporters of the fund as well as private donors.

Bob had an idea to use a local barn as a focal point. When Bob and Carol traveled to the Rockford area to visit relatives, he saw the Kimmel barn at US 33 and US 127 at Mercer Ohio.  He photographed the barn and then worked for several months on completing the picture and custom building of a frame and easel.  Pictures of his finished work got around as well as how he was trying to raise funds.

Pictured Left: Photo of the barn belonging to multiple generations of the Kimmel Family.






Before the artwork was able to be auctioned, a private offer was submitted to the Blackwells who accepted the generous offer and now the Carey, Bill and Benny Scholarship Fund has grown through this sum. It is the Blackwells’ hope that the fund will continue to grow through donations.  Bob is even considering another stained glass artwork to sell.

About the Leota Braun Charitable Foundation:

The Foundation is a Community Foundation in Rockford, Ohio:  Contact Information – (419) 238-2000, c/o Herbert Muhlenkamp, PO Box 364, Rockford, Ohio  45882-0364  (EIN) 030388873.  Your tax deductible contributions to the Carey, Bennie, and Bill Scholarship are needed to grow the support for the students; and to honor these three fallen men. 



Rockford History Snippet

by Mike Schumm of the
Shanes Crossing Historical Society

Did you know that in 1896, Rockford had:  6 physicians; 2 dentists; 2 attorneys; 4 barbers; 4 grocery stores; 4 churches; 3 dry goods stores; 2 hotels; 2 banks; 2 clothing stores; 2 drug stores; 2 blacksmith shops; 2 livery stables; 2 millinery stores; 2 grain elevators; 2 farm implement stores;  a jewelry store; a boot and shoe store; a flour mill; a tile mill; a brickyard; a hoop factory; a lumberyard; a furniture and undertaking business; a buggy store; a school; and, a newspaper?



Did you know that the founder of Rockford, Anthony Shane or 'Antoine Chene' was a French-Ottawa Indian who was raised among the Shawnee and of the Catholic faith?  That his wife Lamateshe or 'Aqualanox' was a Delaware Indian who was an avid follower in the Baptist faith?

Rockford Historical Snippet
by Mike Schumm


Did you know that the Parkway High School football field in Rockford once ran east - west?  That there was a airport to its south? That the trees around the field were planted in 1940-41 after the field was shifted to north - south? That the 'stadium' was built in 1964?

Rockford Historical Snippet
by Mike Schumm


Did you know that in 1879 Shanes Crossing doctor Aaron Vaughn submitted an application for a 'Lock Nut' patent? That 1891 Rockford resident Joshua Shellabarger applied for a 'Flood Gate' patent?  That, in 1908, Rockford citizen E.H. Moyer applied for a 'Hay Rack' patent? And, in 1910, Rockford native Frank Lichty applied for a 'Corn Harvesting & Husking Machine' patent?

Rockford Historical Snippet
by Mike Schumm


Rockford History Snippets
by Mike Schumm of the Shanes Crossing Historical Society 

Did you know that in 1940, sixty Rockford businesses advertised in the Rockford Press Christmas edition? According to Census, the village population was 1,066 at the time.


The Rockford Bicentennial Committee is pleased to announce that a 10' x 70' mural that depicts early visitors to Shanesville (Rockford) has been completed and is hanging on the south side of the fire station. A special thanks to our muralist Dan Keyes for his outstanding creation!  Our appreciation goes out to:  Twyla Hayes for her inspiration to produce the mural and design the landscaping; to Harrison Frech for being a consultant and providing the historical background for the characters portrayed; to Mike Riley for all of his unending assistance and the storage of the mural; to Rob Russell, Kevin LaBrun, and Ted Samaniego for welding the frame; to Bob Maurer for building a wagon to haul the mural; to Chad Ransbottom for running electric and installing lights; to A & A Greenhouse for the wonderful landscaping to accent the mural;  to Larry Stephenson for providing the beautiful benches found in the landscaping; to Rob and Jordan Belna for supplying the equipment and the many, many hours of labor to help with the hanging of the mural; to Austin Barna for operating the equipment to raise the panels; to the many volunteers who helped to paint the wall and lift the panels on the wagon; to the many donors who helped to fund this project; and, finally, to the Rockford Fire Department for allowing us to utilize their building to display a visual history of Rockford's past.  This was truly a community effort and we are extremely grateful to all who made this dream become a reality!


Did you know that in 1961, Rockford High School
had a record 450 graduates attend their alumni reunion, with the oldest being an 1895 graduate named Clara Penn (who wrote articles in the early 1900's for a bimonthly publication called 'The Kindergarten Primary Magazine')?

Rockford Historical Snippet
by Mike Schumm




Did you know that Rockford once had 4 brickyards
and a hub and spoke factory for making wooden wheels?

Rockford Historical Snippet
by Mike Schumm

Parkway Middle School Students Create Outdoor Art for Village of Rockford
Parkway Middle School students, under the leadership of their art teacher Shannon Painter-Carpenter, are creating a mosaic tile mural to commemorate the 2020 Village Bicentennial. There are 80 students who are cutting the tiles that will read Rockford Est. 1820. They have planned for a train in the 4' by 60' tile mural as well. when completed, the mural will be installed on the concrete wall at the east end of Market Street. The wall was once a part of the Little Grain Elevator that was torn down in the 1980's. Running parallel to the wall was the railroad track that serviced the town and businesses until the mid 70's. The students are having a great time in the creation and execution of this beautiful project.

Our Old Bookcase, April 27, 2017, Mercer County’s 1963 Banner Fair

By  Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society
Photo caption:  Mercer Count’s 1963  111th Banner Fair Book listed historic businesses.

The 1963 book for the 111th Banner Fair at the Mercer County Fairgrounds was a gift to my husband Alvin from our friends Gary and Rita Rismiller of Darke County.  They belong to the New Idea Historic Preservation Committee and appreciate local history.


Alvin would pick up this 1963 Fair book, in the evening, and look at all of the names of people he knew in the 1960’s.  I thought this book might bring back good memories to you, also.


The Mercer County Agricultural Society hosted the Banner Fair with a goal of promoting and encouraging agriculture, industry, science, art and other interests of Mercer County.  In this 1963 book, the Society preserved the history of businesses and their owners by listing the names of the advertisers in their Fair Book.  In 1963, many local businesses were family-owned.   Have times changed?


I attended the Bicentennial Planning meeting of the Shanes Crossing Historical Society at Rockford, this month.  One of the topics they discussed was the names of old businesses listed in the old Rockford Press Newspapers.  Rockford Citizens do business in the Village, as well as people from the country, and the nearby villages of Mendon, Mercer, Neptune, Chattanooga, and Tama,   Therefore,  it may be of interest to local citizens of Rockford and nearby Villages, to see the businesses which advertised in the 1963 Mercer County Banner Fair book. 


Rockford:  Bigham’s Cities Service, Carr and Shindeldecker Standard Oil Products,  Dean Hellwarth Pioneer Corn, Dinner Bell, Farmers Grain & Supply Co., Fast Auction Sales, J. Dolan Purdy Insurance, Ken’s Barber Shop, Ketcham’s Funeral Service and Furniture, Lloyd Motor Sales, Lugbihl Feed Mill, Paul Dudgeon Seed Co., Paul E. Miller & Son Mil-Ket Farm, Ole Sites & George Jr. Schroyer & Glenn Hasis Bulk Lime & Fertilizer Spreading, Pierstorff Seed Farms, Polar Stores, Inc., Rockford Locker Service, Rockford Lumber Co., Sharp Canning, Inc., The Rockford National Bank, Rockford Stone Co., and The Rockford Press.


Chattanooga:  Andrew’s Garage & Saw Mill, Berne Equity Exchange Co., Bollenbacher’s Cash Store, Carl Schroeder Beef & Dairy, Fisher & Sons Farm Implements, Inc., Kenneth Hoblet Auctioneer, and Wendel Bros. Motor Sales,


Mendon:  A. and T. Sohio Service, Archer Pipe & Supply, Bud Hays Barber Shop,  Carol’s Beauty Shop, Claud Hansel’s Recreation Hall, Dick & Sons, Don Nuding-Rockford Agri-Limestone, Drake & Shaffer Motor Sales, Ellis Insurance, Fisher’s Market and Locker Service, Griggs Garage, Krogmans Garage, L.W. Diegel Sales, Maurer’s Hardware, Mendon Farm Store, Mendon Live Stock Exchange, Mendon Service Co., and Ray’s Pure Oil Station.


Mercer:  Beougher’s General Store,  and Motor Inn Truck Stop.

Neptune:  Roebuck’s Elevator, and Schnarre’s Garage and Implement Sales,

Tama:  Berne Equity Exchange Co., and Canary Bros. Concrete,


For you local historians of these Villages, how many of these family businesses are still in the family?

The Mercer County Fair Board is planning an historic celebration.  Will businesses advertise in the Fair Book because they want their name to be remembered in Mercer County’s History? 


Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig, may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road, Saint Henry, OH 45883,  or or 419-678-2614.] 


Our Old Bookcase


By  Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society

Photo caption:  Shanes Crossing (1888) was known as “Half Way Cross,” in 1755.


Shanes Crossing Historical Society invited me to their meeting in 2014, when they were discussing ideas for their 200th Anniversary Celebration in 2020 (Twenty-Twenty).   We shared many ideas about how various communities in Mercer County had celebrated anniversaries of their historical events.


Now that they have had three years to consider various plans, they invited me to return this April.  I went back to my computer, to see if I had kept my outline of plans related to their history, the last time I was there.  At that time, I was impressed with the depth of thought which they had applied to their ideas at those early planning meetings. 


When I was writing about inventions, I wrote, “Creative individuals are thinkers and dreamers; they are the ones who come up with the light bulb moment.”  Today, I am asking the thinkers and dreamers to create ideas for a local community to plan and implement for their historic celebrations.


Prehistoric Artifact collectors of arrow heads, stone axes, flint pieces, and shards of pottery, have found extensive examples of artifacts along the Saint Marys River in Dublin Township.  Map collectors may have early maps of Mercer County.  The earliest map I have found which identifies a site in Mercer County, is the 1755 English map which includes “Half Way Cross,” which refers to the site of Shanes Crossing of the St. Marys River.  (This Crossing was half way between two Indian Villages; do you know their names?) 


Military Historians study military action which relate to people in Mercer County.  In Dublin Township, during the 1790’s Indian Wars, the U.S. Military constructed Fort Adams and crossed the St. Marys River.  During the War of 1812, the U.S. Military crossed the St.  Marys River.   Treaties were made between the Native American Tribes and the U.S. Government, in the early 1800’s.  Anthony Shane played an important role during that time period.  Shanes Crossing Historical Society has Members who study this heritage.  Local organizations honor our Military Veterans in several ways.  German Prisoners of War worked for local businesses in Rockford, in the 1940’s. 


Transportation History is studied about rivers, trails, railroads, airports, and high ways.  Rockford can  claim history for each of these methods of travel.  Communication History is another topic, with studies of the social events, written history, Morse Code, newspapers, telephones, cell phones and computers.


Communities study their Township and Village Government histories, Business histories, School histories, Library history, Church histories, and Service Organization histories.  Community events’ history includes arts and music programs, parades, festivals, fairs, and holiday celebrations.  Sports historians not only study school sports, but also study adult and children’s sports of baseball, basketball, and other options, including local swimming pools, and race tracks.   Architectural styles in family histories of homes would be of interest.  The untold stories of Prohibition in the 1930’s might find a place for story-telling?  Those oral histories of the community may need a night of “Twice Told Tales.”


The easiest reference books for you to read about Rockford’s history are Mercer County History books and Rockford’s History books at the local Libraries in Mercer County.  You may email Mike Schumm at and share your knowledge and your ideas of projects for Rockford’s 200th Anniversary in 2020, with Shanes Crossing Historical Society.


Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig, may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road, Saint Henry, OH 45883,  or or 419-678-2614.] 






By Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.

Photo Caption:  Anthony Shane’s log cabin may have been the site of the first U.S. Post Office in Mercer County.  Credit for Post Card:  Shanes Crossing Historical Society, Rockford, Ohio.

Old Post Cards about Mercer County, and Grand Lake, and Post Marks (from old closed Mercer County Post Offices) will be on exhibit on Sunday, November 13, 1:00 – 4:00 at the Mercer County Historical Museum, 130 East Market, Celina, Ohio (a block east of the Mercer County Courthouse).

Last week, I wrote about the historic site of Rockford, Ohio being identified as “Half-Way Cross,” at the historic river crossing of the St. Marys River, on the 1755 English map, with the site being later platted as the Village of Shanesville, by Anthony Shane on June 23, 1820.  The Shanes Crossing Post Office was established on October 4, 1823.  Most of the very early Post Offices in Mercer County, were either in a home, or a general store.  Dublin Township had the two oldest Post Offices in Mercer County, being Shanes Crossing, October 4, 1823 and Ruckman’s June 22, 1832.  There is a strong possibility that the first U.S. Post Office in Mercer County was the Shanes Crossing Post Office, at the Village of Shanesville, in the home of Anthony Shane.  I was wondering if Anthony Shane might have built a two story log cabin along the St. Marys River, between 1820 and 1823.


In quest of more information about log cabins on the St. Marys River, at that time, I read Captain James Riley’s “Journal,” where he wrote about moving his family in the midst of the winter, January 1821, to the banks of the St. Marys River, “Intending to build mills, I immediately commenced improving my purchase of land, by erecting a dam across the river and building a log cabin into which I moved my family.”  Riley’s two story log cabin was built in three sections.  Captain James Riley [not to be confused with his son James Watson Riley who platted Celina in 1834], laid out the plat of Willshire in 1822. The Village of Willshire received its Post Office in 1822, and Roswell Riley, Captain Riley’s brother, was appointed as Postmaster of Willshire on November 1, 1822.  Therefore, on the Saint Marys River, Anthony Shane platted the Village of Shanesville in 1820, and Captain Riley platted Willshire in 1822, and the Willshire Post Office was established in 1822, and the Shanes Crossing Post Office was established in 1823.  The log cabin of Anthony Shane is the site of the first Mercer County Post Office,  Willshire Post Office is the first Van Wert County Post Office.

Last week, I said that I would give you a list of the closed Mercer County U.S. Post Offices.  First, I will list the Mercer County Ohio Post Offices which are in operation in 2016:  Rockford, Mendon, Celina, Montezuma, Coldwater, Fort Recovery, Saint Henry, Maria Stein, and Burkettsville. 


The following are closed Mercer County Post Offices, listed by Township:  Blackcreek Twp., Pond; Butler Twp., Philothea; Center Township, Boetia and Neptune; Dublin Twp., Mercer, Ruckmans, and Shaffers Station; Gibson Twp., Violet; Granville Twp., Cranberry Prairie and Wendelin; Hopewell Twp., Earley, Stedke (Stedcke) and Tamah; Jefferson Twp., Reservoir; Liberty Twp., Brehm, Chattanooga, Durbin, Hinton, Price, Scudder, and Skeels Crossroads; Marion Twp., Carthagena, Chickasaw, St. Rosa, and Sebastian; Recovery Twp., Ferner, Saint Peters, and Victoria; and Washington Twp., Erastus, Macedon, Padua, and Wabash.


At this Sunday November 13 Exhibit, we are seeking historic Mercer County post cards and/or old envelopes with post marks of closed Post Offices.  Anyone who brings an old envelope with a postmark of a closed Mercer County Post Office will receive one free $5.00 local history book.  


On Sunday, November 13, Guests bringing old post cards to the Mercer County Historical Museum may ask for information from the experts, Bob and Sharon Poor, Dale Poeppelman, and David Gray.


 [The Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road, Saint Henry, OH 45883, or or 419-678-2614.]


Our Old Bookcase, sent Nov. 3, 2022, Oldest Post Office, for Nov. 10, 2022

OUR OLD BOOK CASE by Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society.


Photo Caption:  Shanes Crossing U.S. Post Office was the oldest U.S. Post Office in Mercer County, as of Oct. 4, 1823. 


A copy of this Post Card will be displayed at the 22nd Annual Exhibit of Post Cards, Post Marks, and Post Offices held November 13, 2022, Sunday afternoon, 1:00 – 4:00 at the Mercer County  Historical Museum, the Riley Home, 130 East Market, Celina, Ohio.  A copy of this Post Card is found in the book, “Our Post Card Past, Rockford, Ohio,” published the Shanes Crossing Historical Society and the Mercer County Historical Society in 2001.


Anthony Shane was the Founder of Shanesville, in 1820, on the St. Marys River, known as “Halfway Cross,” on John Mitchell’s 1755 Map of America.  This river crossing was about half way between the Indian village (at the site of Fort Wayne today) and the village of Pickawillany (near present day Piqua, Ohio).  For more information, see the book, “Mercer County, Ohio; History of the land between the Saint Marys & Wabash River Valleys, 1755-2000.”  In 1823, the United States Post Office was established in Anthony Shane’s Log House which was moved to Shanes park and dedicated in July 2001.


This 1823 Post Office was continued under this name Shanes Crossing U.S. Post Office until July 8, 1890, when the name of the Post office was changed to Rockford Post Office by the U.S. Post Office. 


This exhibit of Post Cards, Post Marks, and Post Offices in Mercer County, will be the most detailed exhibit ever held, not only in Mercer County, but also in Ohio.  Nearly forty Post Offices existed in Mercer County, between 1823 and 1900.  As of 1900, Rural Free Delivery was planned and implemented in Mercer County, and mail boxes were placed at the rural homes.  The Rural Delivery Mailmen delivered the mail to the rural homes of Mercer County.  The small Post Offices in the rural villages were closed.


And now, for the first time, the Mercer County Historical Society is hosting a display of Fourteen Notebooks of the Fourteen Townships, containing copies of the Federal Government’s U.S. Post Office establishing the official U.S. Post Offices in the rural villages.  This display includes copies of Government documents, Newspaper confirmations, photographs, post marks, post cards, and envelopes. 


Dale Poeppelman will have his extensive collection of Post Cards on exhibit, Sunday afternoon, November 13. 2022.  Dale’s Collection of postcards consist of examples from Mercer, Darke, Shelby, and Auglaize Counties.  Dale is interested in a radius around Maria Stein.  His cards are all separated by county in binders.


This Post Card Exhibit will be the last exhibit at the Mercer County Historical Museum for the year 2022.    Stop in and say hello if you have not visited lately.


Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road, Saint Henry, Ohio 45883,  or 419-852-0092.




By Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.

Photo Caption: This Rockford Carnegie Public Library building, 162 S. Main St., Rockford, Ohio, was dedicated on May 1, 1913.  The first Library at Rockford was opened January 1, 1903.  (Photograph by Bob Maurer, Fiscal Officer, Rockford Carnie Library.)


On January 17, 1902, a number of ladies met at the home of Mrs. W.T. Barbour to consider the establishment of a Free Public Library in Rockford, and they organized the Rockford Library Association.  Members paid dues and held socials and entertainments to raise funds to establish a Library.  On January 1, 1903, the first Library Room was opened in the Dysert Opera House, which stood on the southwest corner of Main and Pearl Streets.  The Library may have been located in other rooms, also, prior to having the Carnegie Library location.

In 1904, the Village Council determined that the Association be given the yearly rent of $24.00 from the Town Hall and an annual appropriation of $175.00.  The Council also voted to add one-half cent for library purposes at the next general tax levy.  Citizens donated books and the Traveling Department of the State Library provided books.  Mrs. D.C. Kinder was selected as the regularly employed Librarian in 1905.  At first, the library was opened free to Rockford residents, with non-residents paying one dollar per year for library service.  By 1910, the library was free to all residents of Dublin Township. 

At that time, Miss Mary Downey, Representative from the State Library, suggested that the Rockford Librarian request funds from Andrew Carnegie to building a Library.  A ten thousand dollar grant was received from Carnegie and the Library was built on the present site.  The new building was opened on May 1, 1913. By 1969, the library was doubled in size when an addition was put on the back of the building.  In the 1978 “Mercer County History,” this Carnegie-Rockford Public Library was identified as the “smallest Carnegie Library in the Country.”   Today, this Library is the only Carnegie Library located in Mercer County.

The library was organized under the School Board plan in 1927.  Those serving as Librarian/Director were Mrs. Mary Kinder (1905-1934), Mrs. Vida Smith (1934-1940), Mrs. Elsie Koepple (1940-1950), Mrs. Ethel McSherry (1950-1972), Mrs. Harriet Pugh (1972-1974), Miss Marcia Winscott (1975-1988), Ms. Deborah Williams (1988-1989).  Mrs. Rozann Maurer has served as Librarian since 1989.

For this history, the four sources were the “Souvenir Journal, Rockford Sesquicentennial, Shanes Crossing, Mercer County, Ohio, 1820-1970,” the 1978 “History of Mercer County, Ohio,” “Our Post Card Past; Rockford, Ohio,”  and “The Free Press, Shanes Crossing, Ohio.”  These three books and the Newspaper microfilm may be read at the Rockford Carnegie Public Library, 162 South Main Street, Rockford, Ohio.

 [The Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road, Saint Henry, OH 45883, or or 419-678-2614.]



By Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.

Photo Caption: The November 22, 1919 Rockford Bank Robbery took the headlines of “The Celina Democrat” newspaper on November 28, 1919.


“ROCKFORD ROBBERY,” was the headline of “The Celina Democrat” Newspaper, on Friday, November 28, 1919.  This old newspaper provides another one of Mercer County’s History Mysteries, from the Historical Files of Jim Johnson, Fort Recovery Class of 1959.  Since the Village of Rockford is celebrating its 200th Anniversary of the June 23, 1820 Platting of Shanesville by Anthony Shane in the year 2020, this Bank Robbery at Rockford is a part of its history.


The description of this robbery is right out of the annals of American History in the “Roaring Twenties.” 

Those scheming crooks entered the bank through a cellar window.  They cut into the Vault of the Farmers Savings Bank at Rockford, with an acetylene gas torch and chiseled open safety deposit boxes of the bank patrons.  Those robbers burglarized only eighteen of sixty deposit boxes, apparently between two and three o’clock on Saturday morning, November 22.


Sheriff Betz was investigating this robbery.  He was told that “two well-dressed strangers” had been in Rockford for several days before the robbery.  Betz also suggested that the robbers had some “local help.”  As for the eighteen safety deposit boxes which were opened, they each had an “X” mark, scratched on the face of the box, which enabled the robbers to go straight to those eighteen boxes to rob. Also, the robbers knew exactly in which desk drawer to find the key, to the second door of the vault, without disturbing the contents of that drawer.  [How did that happen?]


The robbers may have obtained unregistered government bonds totaling nearly $150,000.00, as well as documents, wills, mortgages, notes, deeds and other records.  Various citizens were quoted as to the amount of money that they lost due to this robbery.  The Rockford Postmaster Rolla Frysinger reported that he lost $1000 in postage stamps.  A young male lost $300 in Liberty bonds, which he had saved to pay for college.  A Senior Citizen lost his life savings in bonds.  Those who lost money had stories to tell.  [I wonder if the Bank carried some type of insurance for protection of its Bank Customers in case of theft, at that time in history?]


A Reward of $11,000.00 was offered by the Directors of the Bank, for apprehension and conviction of the burglars and the recovery of the stolen bonds and other papers.


Here is the Mercer County History Mystery for Rockford Citizens.  Were the 1919 Bank Robbers captured?  Were the stolen bonds and papers recovered?  “The Rockford Press,” would be a good source of local information, for local historians.  When Rockford celebrated its Sesquicentennial, 1820-1970, they published the book, “Souvenir Journal, Shanes Crossing, Rockford Sesquicentennial, Mercer County, Ohio, 1820-1970,” by Martha Baltzell.  Fred and Martha Baltzell were Managers of The Rockford Press, from 1957 until June of 1977, when Mr. and Mrs. Larry Baltzell and Mr. and Mrs. Gary Baltzell took over management.  In that 1970 book, the history of “The First Banks,” was included on page 27.  This article states, “Entrance was gained thru the coal chute and then the door at the top of the stairs was broken open; 19 safety deposit boxes were forced into.  This robbery caused the bank to undergo some improvements:  a new vault door, a new safe, and a Cannon Ball alarm system.”  There is no mention of the bank robbers being caught in this history book.


A local bank robbery is a devastating event, especially to the families who were robbed.  Who remembers the story of the bank robbery being re-told at your family reunions?  The Memory of that Bank Robbery goes down in Rockford and Mercer County’s local history books.




Visit Shanes Park and sit around a hickory tree on our new circle
bench designed and constructed by Lowell Beougher and
Steve Thompson.   Lisa Kuhn says, “Thanks guys !” (Pictured are Lydia and Kylie enjoying some sun.)



Murder is Subject of Author’s Book

The next meeting of the Shanes Crossing Historical Society will be held on
Monday - September 17th at 7 pm in the museum located on East Columbia St in
Rockford.  Our guest speaker will be David Kimmel who has done extensive
research on the murder of Mary Secaur in 1872 on Tama Road in Liberty Township.

David has written a book "Outrage in Ohio, a rural murder, lynching and mystery"
which follows the life of Mary through her death and the hanging of two young
men who were supposedly involved in the murder.  David may have copies
of the book for sale and will autograph them.  The public is encouraged to attend




Local Man and Wife Build a Mini Replica of the Rockford Depot

The Cincinnati / Northern Railroad was built in Rockford in 1894.   In 1938 the passenger service was discontinued and then was used strictly for freight.  The Rockford Railroad Depot was located behind the library.  The depot was torn down in the 1980’s.

Shanes Crossing Historical Society member Steve Thompson with help from his wife Marcia, recently built a mini replica of the Rockford Depot.  This project took 3 weeks to complete.  He used 2 pictures and his memory to build the replica.  Growing up, Steve lived several blocks from the rail and spent a lot of time watching rail cars come and go.  


Pictured is Steve Thompson with the mini replica.  He has donated this project to the Shanes Crossing Historical Society located at 151 E Columbia St.  The museum hours are Monday – Thursday 8 am – 4:30 pm and on Fridays till 3:30 pm.

In the background you can see the original ticket window that was donated by Jim Grieshop.  








By Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.

Photo Caption:   Willshire’s School System was a part of the long-term vision of Captain James Riley, when he platted the Village of Willshire in 1822.  This brick and stone school building was constructed in 1901, on the site of the previous school building.  

On June 23, 1819, Edward Tiffin, U.S. Surveyor General, appointed Captain James Riley as Deputy Surveyor.  Riley began “to run off into Townships, Ranges and Sections, the lands then lately purchased from the Indians in the Northwest section of Ohio.”  As of November 20, 1819, Riley was at the head of the Wabash River, south of the former military fort, known as Fort Recovery.  When Riley was surveying along the St. Marys River, he chose to purchase land under the Federal Land Act of 1820, with the intention of erecting a dam across the St. Marys River, establishing a mill, and constructing a log cabin.  Riley platted the Village of Willshire at that site in 1822, and recorded his plat at Greenville, Ohio, January 31, 1823, because the Counties of Van Wert and Mercer were established in 1820, and were first attached to Darke County, Ohio.

Captain Riley was always looking ahead and planning for the future of the wilderness.  Since Willshire was platted on the St. Marys River, in Van Wert County, adjacent to the Mercer – Van Wert County Line, and just east of the Ohio-Indiana State Line, Riley believed that Willshire had a great future, being located on the well-traveled transportation route of the St. Marys River.  Captain Riley established the first school at Willshire, in Van Wert County and asked his daughter Amelia to teach.  Amelia Riley was the first teacher in a log building, on Willshire’s Public Square.  The 1882 “History of Van Wert and Mercer Counties, Ohio,” stated that Amelia Riley’s students included her sister Phoebe Julia Riley, and two brothers Horatio Sprague and William Willshire Riley, and Roswell Riley’s children and Jonathan Lewis in 1827.

Highlights of the history of Willshire’s Schools is included in the book, “History of Van Wert County Ohio,” published by the Van Wert Co. Historical Society in 1981, and the book, “A Collection of Favorite Recipes and Historical Happenings from the Willshire Community.”  By 1848, the Willshire community built a frame schoolhouse.  By the end of the Civil War in 1865, a brick schoolhouse was erected on Green Street.  During the late 1890’s, that building was razed to build a new school, which was completed in 1901.  Later, an addition, which included a gymnasium-auditorium, restrooms, and kitchen, was made to that school building,.  Additional classrooms were added in the 1950’s.  This building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.  Qualification for this honor was based upon the building’s significant architecture and its history of education in the Willshire area.

Ultimately, this Willshire School became a part of the Parkway Local Schools, which was established in 1961 with the consolidation of Rockford Schools and Willshire Schools and the 1992 addition of the Mendon Union Schools.

Captain Riley’s vision of the community and the educational system at Willshire can be found by visiting the historic Village of Willshire today.

 [The Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road, Saint Henry, OH 45883, or or 419-678-2614.]



By Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.


“The Pythian Sisters,” is the title on the front of this post card, sent to me by Charlyn Stammen from Coldwater.  She wrote, “I found this postcard in a piece of furniture I bought in Rockford, some time ago.” The post card was addressed to Mr. Grant Coats, % Still Rock Spa, Waukesha, Wisconsin and was postmarked from Rockford, February 2, 1915. 


The name, “Still Rock Spa,” caught my attention, and I went to the internet for information about Waukesha.  “Saratoga of the West,” was the marketing phrase Waukesha citizens used, in the late 1800’s. The many mineral springs were thought to cure a variety of ailments, including depression and diabetes.  At that time, newspapers announced that twenty-five trainloads of people arrived daily to visit the Spas.  For historical research, John Schoenknecht wrote “The Great Waukesha Springs Era:  1868-1918.”


Apparently, Grant Coats was employed at the Still Rock Spa, at Waukesha, or he was enjoying a summer vacation there.  I could not read the signature of the person sending the post card.  However, Grant Coats must have had relatives at Rockford, because the writer commented, “I would send you these familiar faces because the dogs are there.”  The Collie in the photograph is surrounded by baskets.  Were the baskets were filled with the Collie’s puppies?


The 1907 “History of Mercer County Ohio,” edited by Hon. S.S. Scranton, wrote about Rockford’s fraternal societies, which included the Knights of Pythias.  “Shane Lodge,K. of P., was organized May 8, 1898.  The first officers were J.J. McLaughlin, C.C.; W.F. Penn, V.C.; and Leroy Pence, K. of R. & S.”


Martha Baltzell, “The Rockford Press,” wrote the “Souvenir Journal,” for Rockford’s Sesquicentennial celebration, 1820-1970.  On page 22, she wrote, “Shanes Lodge No. 293 Knights of Pythias chartered May 8, 1888, with 32 members and two card members. They met in Castle Hall.  The first C.C. was J. J. McLaughlin.  The Pythian Sisters disbanded and the Temple’s Property was sold in 1925.”


Knights of Pythias is an international, non-sectarian fraternal organization which engages in many benevolent activities.  The Knights of Pythias was the first fraternal organization to receive a Charter under an act of the United States Congress. It was founded by Justus H. Rathbone, who had been inspired by a play by the Irish poet John Banim about the legend of Damon and Pythias.  The Fraternal Order ofKnights of Pythias Members are dedicated to the cause of Universal Peace Through Understanding.


The Order of Pythian Sisters, the independent auxiliary of the Knights of Pythias, was organized at Warsaw, Indiana on October 22-23, 1888 by a Knight, Joseph Addison Hill.  Mr. Hill prepared the ritualistic forms, the ceremonies and emblems of the Order.  The principles of Purity, Love, and Fidelity provided a pattern for a good and meaningful way of life, the aim and object of the Pythian Sisters.


The theme of “Universal Peace through Understanding,” is a theme to many cultures of the world, including our Country.  This theme is repeated throughout fraternal organizations, social organizations, and religious organizations.  Perhaps, some communities in the world would benefit by hosting the Knights of Pythias.  How many thousands of years have gone by, whereby citizens have prayed for Universal Peace through Understanding?  Remember President Woodrow Wilson, and World War I, and the term “War to end all Wars,” in 1914?  What happened?  Have enemies taken advantage of the good will of our United States Citizens for over the two centuries of our existence?  Can our U.S. A. citizens have peace and prevent war on this planet?  Is Universal Peace through Understanding possible?




By  Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.


Caption:  The Belle City Thresher belonged to Paul Clay and Merlin Winer who were leaders in implementing the Old Fashioned Farmers Association.  This photo was taken when the Old Fashioned Farmers Members held the Antique Tractor Exhibit at the Mercer County Historical Museum during their 27 years of hosting this Exhibit and preceding the Celina Lake Festival Parade.  This Belle City Thresher will be on exhibit at the Old Fashioned Farmers Days, June 28 thru July 1, 2018, at the Van Wert County Fairground. 

The first show of the Old Fashioned Farmers was held in 1976 on the Clay farm north of Rockford.  The show consisted of some of Paul Clay’s and Merlin Winer’s old equipment being pulled out along the lane, and some wheat being threshed.  Approximately 20 people were then treated to a Thresherman’s Dinner, prepared by Mrs. Clay and Mrs. Winer.  The following year, the Old Farmers’ Day show was held at the Clay Farm with five exhibitors present and 20 pieces of equipment.


That same year in 1977, as President of the Mercer County Historical Society, I invited the Old Fashioned Farmers to host an Antique Tractor Exhibit, at the Founders’ Square City Parking Lot, adjacent to the Mercer County Historical Museum, as a part of the Celina Lake Festival.  For twenty-seven years, 1977-2003, this successful Exhibit was held at the Mercer County Historical Museum, until I retired in 2004. 


As for the Old Fashioned Farmers, in 1978, the Rockford Lions Club helped by sponsoring their show, and the show grew with more farm equipment exhibits, a food stand and entertainment was added.  This show continued, until this group formed “The Old Fashioned Farmers Association,” with 24 Member Families.  The show grew with new members, more displays, Flea markets, and antique Trucks.  By 1985, the Club served as host for the 1985 Ohio State Plowing Association competition, with their Show. 


By 1987, since the annual exhibit was growing, the Club made the difficult decision to move to the Van Wert County Fairgrounds.  The move was a success, as the 1986 exhibit hosted 37 exhibitors and grew to 124 exhibitors in 1987.  By 1994, the Club had grown to about 220 Members and the Show was held for three days of work, fun, and fellowship.  From the first show in 1976 of ten pieces of equipment to over 750 pieces of equipment n 1994, the show at Van Wert has been a great success.  This History of the Old Fashioned Farmers Association is quoted from the early program booklets prepared for the Old Fashioned Farmers’ Days held at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds.  This show has grown every year.


In 2018, the Old Fashioned Farmers will host the 42nd Annual Van Wert County Old Fashioned Farmers Days, from June 28, through July 1, 2108, at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds, U.S. Rt. 127 South, at Van Wert.  The feature tractors are Case Tractors, Equipment, and Hit & Miss Engines.  All Brands are welcome.  Attractions include Antique Tractors & Machinery, Parts Swap & Sell Area, Quilt & Needle Art Show, Threshing, Gas Engines, Sawmill, Jr. and Powder Puff Pull, Car Show, Antique Tractor Pull, Trading Post, Crafts & Flea Market, Garden Tractor Display, Truck Display, Food Vendors, Animal Land, Free Barrel Rides, Kids & Adult Pedal Tractor Pull, Barney Fife Look A-like, Tractor Games, Chain Saw Sculpturing, Tug-A-Truck.  Music is supported in part by a grant from the Van Wert County Foundation.  Camping is available for a small fee, and Golf Carts are for rent!  Entry is a 3 day Pass at $7.00 person, or $3 per day.  Children under 12 are free.  Visit the Website.


As for this history of the Belle City Threshing Machine, I am confused.  One history book stated, “In 1882, the David Lawton Co. merged with the Racine Brake Co. to become the Belle City Manufacturing Company.”  Another history book stated, “In 1862, Belle City was completely controlled by the administration within J.I. Case Co., and they began building threshers.  The Clay and Winer Belle City Thresher will be on exhibit at the Van Wert County Old Fashioned Farmers Days.”  Go see this Thresher!


Shanes Crossing Historical Society Receives Two Donations

Thank you to Bruce & Linda Boley of Celina for donating a spinning wheel to the
Shanes Crossing Historical Society.   The spinning wheel came from the 
Ruby Dudgeon Log House Museum that was located South of Willshire off of State Route 49.  

The 1960 newspaper article was donated by Steve Thompson.




Mike Bruns Remodels Building

Thank you to Mike Bruns for the building improvement on Market St. Formally this building was a storage area for the Rockford Press, the Rockford Telephone Company and the American Legion Hall sometime after WWl. By Lisa Kuhn

Photo credit - Brad Now





Stained Glass Window Rescued and Restored
The Shanes Crossing Historical Society would like to give a BIG thank you to Steve Thompson for rescuing and restoring a stain glass window from the Grace United Methodist Church.  

The church was built in 1924 at a cost of approximately $27,000.  

The church was torn down in 2005.    

Steve donated the window, his time and labor to install the window at the Rockford Village Hall and Museum.  

A beauty of Rockford past being put to use for us to see and admire today.

*All donations are greatly appreciated in order to preserve Rockford history.













Our Old Bookcase, May 10, 2018.  Mendon’s Public School & Railroad & Oil Boom Era



By  Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.

Caption:  Mendon’s Public School was constructed in 1888 during the Railroad and Oil Boom

I am seeking photographs and stories of the Oil Boom for the Mercer County Historical Society’s newest book in progress:  “Mercer County Ohio Oil and Gas Well History.”  At the September 9, 2018 exhibit at the Mercer County Historical Museum, Celina, you are invited to bring your photographs to be copied and included in this book.  If you have stories, include the address of the house or farm where the gas or oil wells were located, with stories you recall, e.g. owners, well drillers, any technical stories about the well, about the depth or the number of barrels per day, if you were present when the well was “shot,” and/or any fires or disasters, if the owners used the gas or oil or sold it, or if the wells are still being used.  You know the oil or gas well stories better than I do.  You can write them down or have someone else write or type the stories for you.  Please sign your name and contact information, if I need to call you.

Union Township was settled early in Mercer County’s history.  Andrew Coil laid out the town, Coiltown, in 1823.  Next, Justin Hamilton arrived, and the Village of Guilford was laid out in 1828.  In 1834, Justin Hamilton and Thomas Parrot, proprietors of the town of Guilford, went to John N. Brown, Justice of the Peace, and the town of Mendon was established.  The Town of Mendon was incorporated in 1881, at the beginning of Mendon’s “Golden Age!”

In September 1878, the D.T. & I. Railroad extended its line from Spencerville to Mendon.  The Toledo, Delphos and Burlington later was consolidated into the St. Louis Narrow-Gauge System, and then to the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton (C.H. & D.).  The C.H. & D. narrow gauge track became outdated; as of April 1, 1923, the C.H. & D. Railroad left town.  Mendon suffered an economic loss after a century of growth.  For more history about Mendon and Union Township, see Steven D. Fought’s introduction to the Chapter about Union Township, in the 1978 “History of Mercer County, Ohio.”  See also, Mendon, Ohio’s Sesquicentennial History book, 1834-1984, entitled “Our Heritage, A Time to Remember.”

Back to the financial grow of Mendon in the 1880’s.  The arrival of the Railroad contributed to the business and industrial growth of Mendon.  In 1886, the first oil well was drilled in Celina.  At Mendon, the arrival of the railroad, with the discovery of oil in Union Township, coincided with a 65% increase in population in Mendon in the 1880’s.  The Village experienced three decades of its “Golden Age.”

I seek history and photographs of the oil and gas wells in Mercer County, including Union Township, for this book, “Mercer County Ohio Oil and Gas Well History.”  The June 17, 1896, Mercer County Standard stated, “G. H. Houser has disposed of a big part of his oil territory in the Mendon field in order to devote his time developing the Celina field.”  In March 1897, The Mendon Herald stated, “Leiser, Collins & Co. is preparing to put down a well on Daniel Vesper’s farm.  The Rice, Duncan & Co. is erecting a rig on the Jim Clover farm.  The Dutton Oil Co. has about suspended operations until settled weather.  The Guilford Oil Co. held a meeting Monday evening; an assessment of $800 was made and other matters considered.  W. J. McCullach, the veteran oil operator of Toledo, was a day or two in the Mendon and Spencerville fields.”  The August 18, 1897 Mercer County Standard, under the heading of “The Mendon Field,” stated, “The Dutton Co. well on the Summers is the best in the field.  It has been making 150 bbl’s per day.  The well on the Theo. Emans farm was shot Wednesday with 240 quarts.  It immediately filled and flowed at intervals all day.  The Vesper No. 2 is making a fine showing.  It filled in a short time after being shot. 

The Collins & Yocum well on the Snyder made a great showing.  It started off at the rate of 5 or 6 inches an hour.  There is more work going on and more good wells being drilled than at any other time since the field was opened nearly a year ago.”  These are a few of the oil well stories which I have been reading.

I invite those interested to visit the September 9, 2018 exhibit at the Mercer County Historical Museum, with stories and/or photographs, not only for Union Township, but also for the entire County for the book.

[Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig, may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road,

Saint Henry, OH 45883,  or or 419-678-2614.]


OUR OLD BOOK CASE By Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.

Our Old Bookcase, sent Dec.29, 2020, Mercer Co. Map, 1879 compared with today’s Map. 

Photo caption:  1879 Map, Mercer County, Ohio.  This 1879 Map was from the Geological Survey of Ohio, by J.S. Newberry, and published by the Authority of the Legislature of Ohio, 1879.

"Change is a constant" simply means that the only thing that is constant is "change" itself.  This past year, 2020, “Change,” came about to our World, and our Nation.  This 1879 Survey Map of Mercer County, Ohio, illustrated changes which have come about to the names of communities and post offices within the fourteen Townships.  [Note that the Railroads had not yet arrived in Mercer County, at the time this map was made, in 1878-1879,]

The northern six Townships in Mercer County provided local history.  Blackcreek Township’s Pond Post Office was not identified.  In Dublin Township, Rockford’s name was identified as Shanesville, but Mercer’s name remained the same.  In Union Township, Mendon’s name remained the same.  In Liberty Township, Price Post Office was named, but seven villages and/or post offices Brehm, Burrville, Chattanooga, Durbin, Hinton, Scudder and Skeels X Roads were omitted.  Wabash City was noted as being in Liberty Township, instead of Washington Township.  Hopewell Township did not identify the Tamah Post office, or the intersection at Shively’s Corner.  Three post offices, established at the railroad sites, were not identified.  Center Township had Neptune identified.  However, the Post Office at Boetia, (June 21, 1850-October 13, 1865) was not identified, but was identified by the U.S. Post Office.  I have only seen this post office identified on one map of Ohio.

Across the center of Mercer County, three Townships offered contrasting histories.  Washington Township identified Macedon, but not Erastus or Padua, and placed Wabash City in Liberty Township.  In 1879, Macedon was a larger village than Coldwater, but the world of politics routed the railroad through Coldwater instead of Macedon.  (The cemetery dates at Macedon confirm the size of the village at that time.)  In Butler Township, the Village of Cold Water was identified on this 1879 map, because the name of Coldwater was not changed until 1893.  Jefferson Township had its own unique history in mapping.  Celina was identified on this map, but the name of the “lake” was identified as Reservoir.  Remember the Reservoir was established as a feeder for the Miami and Erie Canal.  On the north side of this lake, the Post Office of Reservoir was identified.  That Post Office had more than one name, on historic maps.  Franklin Township identified Montezuma, as well as Montpelier, which is no longer in existence today.

Southern Mercer County was divided into four townships.  Recovery Township identified the village of Ft. Recovery.  The later Post Offices of Monterey, Ferner, Oakland, St. Joseph, St. Peter, and Victoria were not identified on this map.  Gibson Township did not identify the village of Sharpsburg which hosted Violet Post Office, later known as Zenz City.  Granville Township identified St. Henry, Cranberry Prairie, and Burkettsville, but omitted Wendelin.  Marion Township identified Carthagena, Chickasaw and St. Johns, but omitted Cassella, Maria Stein, St. Rosa, Sebastian.  Steineman Station was not recognized until the arrival of the Railroad.

How many changes have been made in each Township, from the 1879 Map to today’s Map of Mercer County?  How many changes can you identify in the Township or Townships which you know best?  Do Teachers or organizations hold Trivia Contests?  Contrasting the 1879 Map sites with the 2020 Map sites would offer a variety of “History Mysteries” for any local Trivia Contest.  I would be interested in knowing if any local historians are using this suggestion with their own organizations in 2021.

[Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road, Saint Henry, OH 45883, or  or 419-678-2614]



Barn Quilt Trail Information

The Rockford Bicentennial Barn Quilt Trail is coming together !  If you have made or purchased your own barn quilt and would like to be added to the trail,  contact the Rockford Village Office to fill out information ~ please !  

The Barn Quilt Bus tour will take place on June 13th ~~  more information to come :)

Stop by the Village office  - we have several 1 x 1 wooden sampler quilts for sale.  We also have a new 2 x 2 for sale - photo is attached.


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