Wood County Historical Center

Those buried in Paupers’ Cemetery no longer unnamed

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News There are no war heroes buried in the Wood County Paupers’ Cemetery. No elected officials, no celebrities. Until Saturday, they didn’t even have names. Buried in the graves – with just numbers and no names on the tombstones – are people who relied on the charity of the county poor farm for their shelter, food and clothing. There were Civil War widows, oil workers, blacksmiths, peddlers, tramps, farmers, shoemakers and steeplejacks. The one gravemarker standing out from the small tablet size stones memorializes Catherine Andelfinger, who lived at the county poor farm from 1814 to 1902. Andelfinger saved her husband’s pension to buy a real tombstone – unlike all the others who were probably fortunate to have an unmarked burial space in the Paupers’ Cemetery. But after several decades of being laid to rest in unmarked graves, the Wood County Historical Center dedicated a monument to those buried there – naming 252 people who could be documented with their final resting places in the cemetery. Historical center volunteer Hal Brown takes photos of the Paupers’ Cemetery. And Saturday, people who care about the history of the county gathered in the Paupers Cemetery, located on the grounds of the county historical center, formerly the poor farm which took in the less fortunate, sick, mentally ill and destitute. “I could not be more proud to be part of this today,” said Kelli Kling, director of the historical center and museum. “As with everything we do here, now begins the history lesson,” Kling said to the audience. The county infirmary operated at the site for more than a century, from 1869 to 1971. The county tried to treat all the residents with respect and dignity, said Judy Ennis, president of the Wood County Historical Society Board. However, when residents passed away, their plots were marked with just numbers. At one point, there was reportedly a chart connecting names with the numbers, but that disappeared decades ago. But even that plot map may not have helped, since stories tell of a caretaker in the 1950s who removed the grave markers because they were too difficult to mow around. Some were reportedly placed in the basement of the infirmary. Others, the story goes, were taken to build a patio at one of the worker’s homes. At some point, the stones in the basement were returned to the cemetery – though the exact location for each marker was by that time a guess. Cadaver dogs being trained at the site in the past were able to sniff out the parameters of the cemetery, one historical center volunteer noted. “Marked with only a number, these tombstones have created quite a mystery,” Kling said. That mystery troubled Holly Hartlerode, museum curator, and Millie Broka, of the Wood County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society – who started digging, figuratively. “They had the dream of bringing dignity and respect, not just numbers, to the people buried here,” Ennis said. For years, Broka has been scouring obituaries for residents of the county infirmary, to determine exactly who is buried in the Paupers’ Cemetery. And though there were no heroes or celebrities – they were just as much a part of Wood County’s history, Hartlerode said. “These people had stories – just like you,” she said to those gathering for the monument unveiling. As she researched the people buried there, Broka found bits and pieces of their life stories. “You start doing research, in their birth, marriage and death records, they evolve into stories,” Broka said. Monument naming those buried in the cemetery is…


Monument to be dedicated at Wood County Paupers’ Cemetery

(Submitted by Wood County Historical Center & Museum) Join the Wood County Historical Center & Museum on April 6 from 2 to 4 p.m. for a tribute to those buried in the Wood County Paupers’ Cemetery with a special monument dedication. With the help of the Wood County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, the identity of approximately 250 individuals buried on the grounds of the Historical Center will now be publicly recognized and identified. The Museum is located at 13660 County Home Road in Bowling Green. Dress for the weather. In case of rain, the event will move inside the museum. Feel free to bring your own lawn chair. The cemetery monument project was made possible by the generous members of our community: William Adams, Bob & Millie Broka, James & Jackie Instone, Jim Palmer Excavating, Wilma Rolf, Wood County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, and the 2018 Wood County Historical Society Board of Directors. Contributions are still being accepted & can be made at woodcountyhistory.org or by calling the Museum at 419-352-0967. Also on April 6, will be a free Demonstration Day featuring the Northwest Ohio Blacksmiths Association as they keep the art of blacksmithing stoked in heart of Wood County with an Open Forge Demonstration from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Watch seasoned blacksmiths or try your hand at this lost art. The museum is open with free admission from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is handicap accessible and group tours are welcome. All events detailed at woodcountyhistory.org or by following the Wood County Historical Museum on social media.


BGSU ceramics, historical center team up to fight food insecurity

From  WOOD COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM The first annual Artists vs. Hunger: Empty Soup Bowl Fundraiser event to benefit the Brown Bag Food Project is planned for Saturday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wood County Historical Center & Museum. The project is sponsored by the BGSU Ceramics Department and the Wood County Historical Center & Museum. The goal is to raise funds to help fight food insecurity in Wood County. The BGSU Ceramics Department donated handmade bowls for this event. Tickets for the fundraiser are $15 and include a beautiful handmade bowl and free admission to the Wood County Historical Museum. The meal will be a free will donation. Tickets can be purchased on Brown Bag Food Project’s Facebook page.  The Brown Bag Food Project is a local non-profit that seeks to address issues of food insecurity in Wood County, Ohio.  Brown Bag Food Project provides individuals with a 5-7 day supply of food and vital hygienic items, as well as pet food and supplies, to help meet their immediate needs, along with a resource guide to connect people to additional community resources for long-term support. The Wood County Historical Museum will be open for self-guided tours Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 4 PM and weekends from 1 PM – 4 PM (closed on government holidays). Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children, with discounts for seniors, students, and military. Historical Society members receive free admission as well as a gift shop discount. The museum offers free admission to all visitors on the first Friday of each month, courtesy of the Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau. The museum is handicap accessible and group tours are welcome. All events detailed at woodcountyhistory.org or by following the Wood County Historical Museum on social media. The museum is located at 13660 County Home Road in Bowling Green. 


‘Poor farm’ exhibit examines historical safety net for ‘worthy poor’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Long before there were safety nets like nursing homes, food pantries, subsidized housing and hospitals, there were “poor farms” to care for those who were old, sick, lame, or blind. Despite being labeled “poor farms,” they were not places of despair, according to a new exhibit at the Wood County Historical Center. In Ohio, all 88 counties had poor farms, starting in the mid 1800s to 1936 when public charity transitioned into more modern day social services. Wood County’s poor farm was located on County Home Road, southeast of Bowling Green. The sprawling building remains there today as a historical center. To commemorate the 150th year of the opening of the county poor house, a new exhibit will soon open at the center – “For Comfort and Convenience: Public Charity in Ohio by Way of the Poor Farm.” By all accounts, Ohio’s poor farm system provided a gentler life for the old and sick than many states, according to Holly Hartlerode, curator at the historical center. Curator Holly Hartlerode with old photo of residents at former Wood County Poor Farm. “We are not the only state that had a poor farm system, but we were very successful, which we’re proud of,” she said. “It is my deepest goal as curator that people do not see places like this as negative,” Hartlerode said. When Wood County’s poor farm opened in 1869, there were no public safety nets in place. “There was no social welfare, so where did people go? How do we best care for people?” Hartlerode said, noting society’s struggle. The model for the poor farms caring for paupers came over with the colonists. Based on the British workhouse system, almshouses were erected in New England, and many state constitutions offered public charity relief. In Ohio, the almshouse system was modified to fit the needs of its citizens. After the Civil War, states began to look at the best ways to provide comfort to those in need, at the convenience of those charged with dispensation of public charities. Every county in Ohio had a home to care for the “worthy poor.” The poor farms provided no luxuries, but in most cases they offered plenty to eat, warm places to sleep, clean conditions, and a feeling of community. The state required a certain amount of cubic feet per person, separate living and dining areas for men and women, suggested wholesome menus, clean laundries, chapels, and building recommendations for sturdy structures. “You can really see how much they cared,” Hartlerode said. Photo of women working with bushels of berries. Wood County’s poor farm sat on 200 acres, some of which was planted and harvested by the more able-bodied residents. The farm housed anywhere from 40 to 70 people at a time. “They were very self-sufficient,” she said. “Remember, these people were farmers, too.” The state believed that children should be housed elsewhere because they were liable to contamination by association with “vile men and viler women.” There were also concerns that children brought up in such settings would become satisfied with lives of poverty. However, some children did live with their mothers at the home. The farms also took in more than just the sick and poor – those “worthy poor” who were there due to misfortune and mismanagement. In the terminology of the day, they also housed “idiots” and “epileptics.” Old black and white photos show the residents sitting around dining room tables with linens and china dishes. They show images of women knitting or cleaning berries in the kitchen – with smiles on…


Living history – Kazoos, ‘marriage mill’ and speakeasy raids

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   During Prohibition, Lizzie Fuller led raids on local speakeasies. During the Great Depression, Wallace Kramp and his farmer friends started the local “penny auctions” to save neighboring farms after foreclosures. And Georgia Sargent Waugh led the Kitchen Kazoo Orchestra of a local homemakers group. Their stories and more will be part of the 15th annual Wood County Living History Day on Sunday, Aug. 26, at 2 p.m., in Oak Grove Cemetery in Bowling Green. Local residents will portray citizens interred in Wood County cemeteries or those who had an impact on Wood County’s leisure time of the 1920s and 1930s. The citizens selected this year were chosen to coincide with the “leisure time” exhibit at the Wood County Historical Center & Museum, “The Return to Normalcy: A Life of Leisure in Wood County.” The annual Living History Day draws a crowd to the cemetery because it gives a glimpse into everyday people who lived in Wood County, said Kelli Kling, director of the Wood County Historical Center. “I think it’s popular because the people being portrayed are real people,” Kling said. “It’s not necessarily the celebrities. It’s people just like us, who made an impact on Wood County.” This year’s portrayals include people with intriguing hobbies or occupations. For example, Georgia Waugh and her kazoo orchestra. “That’s such an unusual thing,” Kling said. “There will actually be a performance at the event.” Also portrayed will be Paul Fuller, who had a role in the Bowling Green “marriage mill.” “Bowling Green was an area where a lot of people passed through to get married,” Kling said. “There was a bit of a competition going on” to see who could marry the most couples. Then there’s Lizzie Fuller, who grew up in a strict Christian household in Grand Rapids, where travelers frequented on the canal boats. She was a member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which considered alcohol an evil. So she led raids on speakeasies, where alcohol was sold on the sly during Prohibition. “She felt it was her duty to protest against them,” Kling said. Following is a list of all the people being portrayed, as well as the people taking on their roles for the Living History Day event. “I love the fact that they’re all being portrayed by local folks,” Kling said. Raymond George (1889 – 1930) – Conductor of the First Methodist Church orchestra and a member of the Bowling Green Military Band. Portrayed by local musician Cleve Patton. Nettie Willard Lincoln (1863 – 1947) – A southern socialite, member of the Shakespeare Round Table, and notable landscape artist. Portrayed by Dinah Vincent. Paul Fuller (1907 – 1999) – Professionally, an award-winning advertising manager for the Sentinel-Tribune, but locally dubbed a collaborator of the Bowling Green Marriage Mill. Portrayed by Thomas Edge. Lizzie Fuller (1857 – 1940) – As part of the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement in Grand Rapids, helped lead raids on the local speakeasies during Prohibition. Portrayed by Stephanie Truman. Ernest (1980-1973) and Viola (1913-1992) Walter – Owners of the Virginia Motion Picture Theatre, North Baltimore from 1936-1959. Portrayed by: David and Ellin Stoots. Wallace Kramp (1893 – 1952) This local farmer, with a community of his friends, was the catalyst for what may have been the first local Depression-era penny auction. Portrayed by Michael Ginnetti. Georgia Sargent Waugh (1891 – 1974) – The leader of the Kitchen Kazoo Orchestra of the Portage Township homemakers. Portrayed by Michele Raine, Wood County District Public Library. The event is free is open to the public. Other event details and past…


Kling grows into job as county historical center director

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Kelli Kling wasn’t a born history buff – but she has definitely grown into one. Love of history was an acquired taste for Kling, who is the new director of the Wood County Historical Center. “I did not appreciate it when I was younger,” she said of history. But her 15 years as the assistant to the director and as marketing and events coordinator at the museum have turned her into a history geek. “I have learned so much working here,” Kling said. “Every day I learn something new.” It may have been the museum – which was formerly the county’s poorhouse – that lured her love of history. “There is really something magical being so connected to the community and understanding the history, and how it is connected to today.” As director, Kling is able to look back to the days of historian Lyle Fletcher, who made it his mission to preserve the old county infirmary for future generations. “I feel like from the very beginning people in the county saw the value of this place,” she said. Next year, the Wood County Historical Center will revisit the original purpose of the site – long before it was turned into a museum. The center will focus on all the county poorhouses in Ohio, with a photo gallery shot by photographer Jeff Hall showing the current status of all the sites. Wood County’s preserved poorhouse is quite a rarity, Kling said. “Some of them are empty fields or modern buildings,” she said of other counties’ former sites. “I’m very excited about the poorfarm exhibit because it delves into the history of this place,” she said. Then in 2020, the historical center will help celebrate Wood County’s bicentennial. “We do have a lofty plan in place for our exhibits and programs,” Kling said. The historical center is well respected for its exhibits, including the current World War I focus. “I do believe the museum is already a leader in the history field,” she said. “We want to continue on that path so that we are seen as a leader, not only in the county, but the region and the state.” The historical center also recently made strides to become more accessible to people with disabilities. The addition of an elevator has allowed senior citizens and others to once again enjoy the museum. “We have many people who haven’t visited for a long time, who have been able to come back,” Kling said. “They feel welcome.” But as with any historical site, the maintenance is demanding. The top need right now is fixing water damage in the “Lunatic Asylum” on the grounds. “We can’t afford to lose it,” Kling said. “All of the buildings are important.” One of the strengths of the museum is its variety of events, she said. There are demonstration days, when families can learn about blacksmithing, caning, farming and other skills. There are monthly “teas,” that are frequently sold out. “I’m proud that we can continue offering those events,” she said. The larger events include the Folklore and Fun Fest, the Holiday Gala, and the Living History Day that tells the stories of everyday people from Wood County’s past. “It’s all the people who had an impact on Wood County in some way,” she said.


Americans squeeze in leisure time between WWI & WWII

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Americans were ready for a break after World War I. Unaware of the impending Great Depression and then World War II, Americans were ready for leisure when their boys came home from “the war to end all wars.” They were ready to have some fun. During the decade after WWI, the first Miss America Pageant was held, the Little Orphan Annie comic strip came out, Kraft created a new version of Velveeta cheese, and the first loaf of pre-sliced bread was sold as “Sliced Kleen Maid Bread.” Life was good. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade started using giant balloons, 7-Up was invented, and George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue was played at Carnegie Hall. This era of leisure is the focus of a new exhibit opening today at the Wood County Historical Center. The exhibit celebrates the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI with “The Return to Normalcy: A Life of Leisure in Wood County, 1920 to 1939.” The exhibit will run concurrently with the museum’s look at Wood County’s role in WWI. The WWI exhibit opened in 2017 to honor the 100th anniversary of the United States entering World War I, and both exhibits will remain on display until Dec. 1. The new exhibit was inspired by Warren G. Harding’s 1920 presidential campaign platform “The Return to Normalcy.” Visitors are welcomed to the exhibit by a recording of Harding reading his famous speech that was credited for helping him win the presidency. Holly Hartlerode, museum curator, is hoping visitors can relate to the images and sounds of those years. Old radios play hits from that era, like “Minnie the Moocher” by Cab Callaway, “Shim, Sham Shimmy” by the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra,” and “Red Lips, Kiss My Blues Away.” Radios became the family entertainment center in that era, playing programs like the “Jack Benny Show,” the “Lone Ranger,” and “The Shadow” featuring Orson Welles. Those programs kept families glued to the radio listening for the next adventure. The radio programs playing at the museum exhibit include those type of shows, plus a Wheaties cereal jingle and a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers. “There’s no television yet, so people are still reading,” Hartlerode said. But for the first time, radios united families for home entertainment. “They brought stories into the living room. This was an event in somebody’s home.” The museum exhibit is linked with a timeline stretching around one room, and features signs in each area reminiscent of the old red Burma Shave road signs. Companies were offering vacations for the first time, and car payments could be spread over years. “That allows for more leisure time,” Hartlerode said. The leisure exhibit focuses on the game of bridge, which was all the rage for a while. Americans had time to play croquet, drink beer and ride bicycles – as shown in old black and white photos – many of them taken in Wood County, Hartlerode said. The “driving culture” also began and for the first time, people could travel on their own. “Now that you have a car, you have the ability to go beyond where you live,” she said. Old maps line the walls, showing the growth of the roadway systems in Ohio. “Driving changes how people spend so much of their time,” Hartlerode said. The early years of the “driving culture” created the “roadside picnic culture,” since few restaurants were located along roadways. Black and white photos at the exhibit show people relaxing at the old Vollmar’s Park near Grand Rapids. Wool bathing suits…


Christmas truce was moment of peace in brutal WWI

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wars have always churned out scores of stories, some true, some not. One story that stuck from World War I is the Christmas truce of 1914 – when troops on both sides left their miserable trenches to spend one magical day celebrating the holiday with their enemies. Though many of the details have grown foggy over the decades, there is much truth to the truce saga, according to Michael McMaster, educational program coordinator for the Wood County Historical Center. McMaster recently presented a program on the Christmas truce of 1914 during one of the historical center’s “teas” at the museum which has dedicated its entire site this year and next to WWI and its impact on Wood County. “It’s not a question of if the Christmas truce occurred,” McMaster said. “It is a question of how the Christmas truce occurred.” One of the reasons the details may be so thin, is that the truce was unsanctioned by leadership on either side of the war. In fact, the commanders disapproved of the truce, believing it could soften their troops. But it occurred in spite of censure from the higher ranks. The men in the trenches took it upon themselves to cautiously reach out to their enemies for a one-day reprieve from fighting. “It was a spontaneous and unofficial truce,” McMaster said. In 2005, a Scottish soldier at age 109 recalled the truce that he witnessed as a soldier. “It was a short peace in a terrible war,” McMaster said the man remembered. WWI had started in July of 1914, and fighting on the Western Front had been particularly brutal between August and December. This was the first time that trench warfare was used so extensively. In August alone, an estimated 75,000 French soldiers had been killed. The Germans were poised to take Paris, but the French dug in. Before long, the German fatalities numbered 40,000, McMaster said. By December, there was a stalemate, with 12,000 miles of Allied trenches, and 13,000 miles of German trenches. “There was almost no movement of this line,” McMaster said. Making matters worse, the troops not only fought in the trenches, but also lived in them. “The weather was terrible. The mud was terrible. The living conditions were terrible,” McMaster said. The idea of a Christmas truce was introduced by the newly named Pope Benedict XV. Officials from the U.S. – which was still neutral at this early point in the war – also called for a 20-day truce in December. But those suggestions were rejected. “All sides continued to fight up until Christmas Day,” McMaster said. The generals on both sides discouraged any truce – no matter how temporary. But they weren’t the ones living in the trenches. “The reality was that the soldiers in the trenches were suffering greatly,” McMaster said. “The trenches were full of water up to their waists” in some areas. According to the stories, the soldiers seemed to test the idea of a truce sometime on Christmas Eve as they started singing carols like “Silent Night.” Then in the morning, some of the troops cautiously emerged from their trenches and wished their enemies a Merry Christmas. They laid down their weapons, and gathered in the “no man’s land” between the trenches. Tales of that day tell of German, British and French troops sharing food, whiskey, family photographs and tobacco. Letters sent home to families told of the enemies trying on each others’ helmets, and playing football, (known as soccer in the U.S.) One British soldier wrote to his mother to say he…


Have to deal with guts to get glory of jack-o-lanterns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Breanna Serrato reached into the pumpkin and pulled out the guts, she got a huge grin on her face. “I love it, actually, getting messy. The squishiness of it,” the 17-year-old from Bowling Green said. Not everyone shared those feelings. At a nearby picnic table, Jessica Nekoranec, of Risingsun, grimaced as she scooped out the juicy innards. She was enjoying the carving, but the “sticking your hand in – not so much,” she said. Nearly 40 people picked out pumpkins Thursday evening for the annual jack-o-lantern making sponsored by the Wood County Park District. The pumpkins were carved at a shelter house on the Wood County Historical Center grounds, where they will be put on display for the annual Folklore and Funfest this weekend. Some came armed with their own carving equipment, accessories and definite ideas for their pumpkin art. Others just let the spirits take them. With spooky music playing in the background, the carvers got to work. “I thought at home what I’m going to do before I got down here,” said Pam Douglas, of Portage. Her plan was to turn the pumpkin into Mickey Mouse, with two Folger coffee can lids acting as the big mouse ears. “He may not end up looking like Mickey Mouse, but that’s my plan,” she said. Mary Grzybowski, of Bowling Green, won last year for carving a cat. She was hoping to repeat that winning design. “I had an idea, but it’s not turning out right,” she said. Grzybowski wore her gardening gloves for the task – more out of habit than due to the gooey guts. “I’m a gardener, nothing bothers me,” she said. Sheila Kratzer, of Bowling Green, had no grand plans for her pumpkin. “Just your basic jack-o-lantern,” she said. But she was hoping for good placement on the historic center grounds for the Folklore and Funfest. “You don’t want to be by the outhouse,” she said with a smile. Kratzer’s friend, Monica Bihn of Bowling Green, was struggling with her pumpkin design. So Kratzer offered a bit of advice. When all else fails, “go Frankenstein.” At the same picnic table, BGSU student Michael Borowski had just finished cleaning out the stringy, seedy guts. If awards were given for the insides, he would have won the spic and span prize. But the outside remained a mystery. “I’m still trying to figure that out,” he said. Nekoranec, the mom who was a little squeamish about the guts, was planning a traditional look. Her 12-year-old son, Grady, had something more creative in mind. He was busy trying to carve a Lego figure face. “It makes mom nervous,” Nekoranec said as her son used sharp tools to carve his jack-o-lantern. But she pointed out that there are all kinds of tools now to help with the process – special pumpkin “saws,” tools made specifically to scrape out the inside, and stencils for those who wanted extra help on the faces. “They didn’t have these when we were kids,” she said. Nicole Wilson, of Toledo, brought her two little girls to the activity. They were too young to realize the limitations of pumpkin carving. The 3-year-old really wanted earrings on the jack-o-lantern. But she quickly forgot that when she looked inside the pumpkin. “I’m not touching that,” she said. “Do they have cookies?” While the carved pumpkins will be put to use decorating the historical center grounds, the uncarved pumpkins will be used for a jack-o-lantern archery shoot planned by the park district on the historical center grounds on Oct. 23, from 5…


Living History Day remembers service in World War I

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News World War I took its toll on Wood County. Seventy-three young men, some still teenagers, died while in service in the war. All were remembered Sunday at the Living History Day at Oak Grove Cemetery. They were clerks, teachers, and many farmers and farmhands. When the United States entered the war in 1917, they answered the call by local recruiters to enlist, and they headed to France. But the majority of those who died in uniform in the war never made it to France. Disease, especially pneumonia and influenza, were as much an enemy as Germany. Those attending the annual event heard from them, or their bereaved parents. Those not given full presentations had their lives and deaths encapsulated in a few sentences and read solemnly by a troupe of high school students, not much younger than the dead soldiers. That so many of the family names were familiar, only brought the tragedy of the war closer to home. The first to go over there was a woman, Margaret Lehmann. She joined a contingent of Red Cross nurses at the beginning of the war in Europe in 1914. She was portrayed by Cassie Greenlee, with a script by Hal Brown. First, Lehmann was stationed in France. There they saw how trench warfare, living in constant wet conditions, claimed the lower extremities. Infection set in quickly. “Our nurses do what we can to help them,” the nurse said. When her six months were over, and Lehmann could have returned home, she realized that “I knew somehow there was more I could do.” She was then moved to Serbia to a hospital with capacity for 554, but with about 900 patients. These were the wounded from both sides of the conflict – Germans as well as French, Serbians, Gypsies Russians and more. Disease swept through the hospital. ”It’s easy to lose heart and lose hope,” she said. Still “we had an impact. We made a difference.” When Lehmann returned to Bowling Green, she continued her work organizing and raising funds. Vernon Wymer, who was portrayed by his great-great-great nephew Hunter Wymer with a script by Keith Guion, was the first soldier from Wood County to die in combat in the war. He was the oldest son of his family, and had suffered his share of heartbreak with the death of his grandfather, a Civil War veteran, and his mother. In 1914, he said, “the war as far away.” His family was more concerned with problems on the farm. But when the United States entered, and the local infantry company was trying to fill out its numbers, the 17-year-old enlisted. After waiting for more enlistments and then being shifted to another unit, he shipped out for France in 1918, and died later that year in Marne, France. His remains were returned to Ohio. When they arrived at the train station in North Baltimore, hundreds were on hand to meet them, and 4,000 people attended his funeral. His family’s service continued beyond the war. A younger brother died in France, 30 miles from where Vernon died, during World War II, and they are buried side by side. Milo Lybarger didn’t get to bury his son, Charles Clinton Lybarger. Milo Lybarger was given voice by Tom Pendleton, who wrote and performed the script. Charles Lybarger enlisted as well at the beginning of the war, and shipped off to France on the USS Ticonderoga. The ship, his father noted, had been taken by the Allies and repurposed as a troop carrier. The Ticonderoga, with 237 aboard, headed to Europe as…


Historical center hosts demonstrations and picnic

(Submitted by Wood County Historical Center & Museum) Enjoy free family fun and historic demonstration at the Wood County Historical Center & Museum on Saturday, June 24 – Sunday, June 25 for Demonstration Days Weekend. The Historical Center is located at 13660 County Home Road in Bowling Green and both the event and museum offer free admission all weekend. The Wood County Amateur Radio Club (WCARC) will hold their annual Field Day in the Boom Town area of the Historical Center grounds at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, and if weather permits, through the night until Sunday at 2 p.m. The Wood County Board of County Commissioners will recognize the work of the Wood County Amateur Radio Club with a proclamation on Saturday, June 24, at 3 p.m. Every June, more than 40,000 Amateur (Ham) Radio operators throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate radio science, as well as their importance to our communities. Field Day is a nationwide exercise sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) as a means to practice emergency communication procedures using temporary antennas and emergency power. In the event of a disaster, hams are ready and able to set up communication facilities on short notice almost anywhere. Other demonstrations will include a pioneer picnic and 1860s-era outdoor games on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. The public is welcome to pack a lunch to enjoy on the grounds alongside costumed interpreters. The museum will also be open from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday with free admission as part of the Demonstration Days festivities. Details about other upcoming Demonstration Days and Museum Events is available online at woodcountyhistory.org and gobgohio.com, or by calling 419-352-0967.


Pipeline forced to pay after bulldozing historic home in eastern Ohio

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Rover Pipeline will be financing some historical projects here in Wood County as punishment for demolishing a historic structure along its route in another county in eastern Ohio. The historic Stoneman House built in 1843 near Leesville, Ohio — which was eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places — was demolished by the Rover Pipeline, a company building a natural gas pipeline across Ohio. Since the Rover line will be crossing through southern Wood County, a portion of the penalty Rover was forced to pay will finance some historical projects here. On Thursday, Wood County Historical Center Director Dana Nemeth will present a couple ideas for the funding to the county commissioners. The money could be used to make repairs in the historic asylum on the grounds of the county historical center. The building has some water problems causing damage to the walls. The funding could also be used to provide additional and more effective signage around the museum grounds. The pipeline money may help free up historical society funding for other projects at the Wood County Historical Center, according to Nemeth. “It looks like we might be able to do more restoration on other buildings since we have this money,” Nemeth said. Those buildings may include the site’s powerhouse and the hog barn. Any proposals for the funding must be submitted to the state historic preservation office. “As long as they give their blessing, it should be good,” Nemeth said. Rover tore down the Stoneman House before notifying the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, even though the commission had identified the building as a concern. On Feb. 23, 2015, Rover reportedly filed its application for the project, which included a commitment to “a solution that results in no adverse effects” to the historic structure. But the house was torn down in May 2016. After learning that the house had been torn down, preservation office staff said Rover should provide financial assistance to the state preservation office for local preservation needs. The company agreed to pay $2.3 million to a fund administered by the Ohio History Connection Foundation and the State Historic Preservation Office. A total of $1 million is for preservation work in the 18 counties crossed by the pipeline. The rest of the money will be used for projects across the state. Wood County’s share is $50,000. The demolition of the historic home is not the only screw up by Rover Pipeline along its Ohio route. Crews working on the pipeline recently spilled drilling fluid on wetlands in Stark and Richland counties, according to papers filed with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The larger spill — estimated between 1.5 million and 2 million gallons — occurred in a wetland adjacent to the Tuscarawas River south of Navarre. The smaller spill is estimated at 50,000 gallons and occurred east of Mansfield. Both spills involved drilling fluids — a mud containing bentonite — from horizontal directional drilling. Energy Transfer Partners, based in Houston, is building the $4.2 billion Rover Pipeline to move natural gas produced by wells in the Utica and Marcellus shale areas from southeastern Ohio to distribution points in western Ohio, Michigan and Canada. The 713-mile route will have double pipelines varying in width from 24 to 42 inches in diameter. The company hopes to have the pipeline operating late this year.