Charles A. Bowersox.

A standard history of Williams County, Ohio; an authentic narrative of the past, with particular attention to the modern era in the commercial, industrial, educational, civic and social development; (Volume 2) online

. (page 1 of 43)
Online LibraryCharles A. BowersoxA standard history of Williams County, Ohio; an authentic narrative of the past, with particular attention to the modern era in the commercial, industrial, educational, civic and social development; (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 43)
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A Standard History


Williams County, Ohio

An Authentic Narrative of the Past, with Particular Attention

to the Modern Era in the Commercial, Industrial,

Educational, Civic and Social Development

Prepared under the Editorial Supervision of


Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors






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History of Williams County

J. Arter Weaver.— When, in 1917, Judge Weaver was elected
to preside on the bench of the Probate Court of Williams County, he
had the distinction of being the youngest man, with one exception, ever
elected to this office in the State of Ohio, and in Williams County only
one other candidate of equal youthfulness has been called to this office
—Hon. Charles A. Bowersox. Judge Weaver is a native son of this
county and his eligibility for the important office of which he is now
the incumbent was fortified by his having previously been graduated
in the law department of the Ohio Northern University, and had been
actively engaged in the work of his profession for a period of two

Judge Weaver was born at Montpelier, Williams County, Ohio,
April 20, 1885, and is a son of Jacob F. and Hattie L. (Arter)
Weaver, he having been but six days old at the time of his mother's
death, and having then been taken into the home of his paternal grand-
mother, with whom he remained until her death, when he was four
years of age. Again deprived of fostering care, the future probate
judge was then taken in charge by his aunt, Mrs. Addie C. (Weaver)
Gilcher, whose husband was a prosperous farmer southeast of Mont-
pelier. There he remained until he was thirteen years old, and in the
meanwhile he had attended school and also begun to gain experience
in connection with farm operations. At the age noted he went to the
home of his father, who had contracted a second marriage, and thus
he was enabled to attend the public schools at Montpelier, where he
was graduated in the high school as a member of the class of 1905.
In 1907 he was graduated in the law department of the Ohio Northern
University, and in June, 1907, he was admitted to the bar of his native
state. For two years thereafter he was engaged in the practice of his
profession at Montpelier, and he then assumed active management of
his father's farm, in Bridgewater Township. There he remained three
years, at the expiration of which he became an exponent of agricul-
tural industry in Center Township. He proved an energetic, progres-
sive and successful farmer, but in 1917 he became the republican


candidate for the office of judge of the Probate Court of Williams
County, the majority which he received at the ensuing election attest-
ing the popular estimate placed upon him in his native county. He
assumed his official duties at the courthouse, in Bryan, and his admin-
istration of probate affairs has fully justified his selection for the office
in which he is serving with marked efficiency and acceptability. The
position is no sinecure, as may readily be understood, but Judge
Weaver has naught of the attributes of a slacker, as proved by his
herculean labors during his career as a farmer, as well as by his
punctilious and careful service in his present office. He is influential
in the local councils of the republican party, his Masonic affiliations
include membership in the commandery of Knights Templar at Bryan,
and both he and his wife are active members of the Church of God,
at Ada, Hardin County.

Judge Weaver is of sterling German ancestry in both the paternal
and maternal lines, but the respective families were early founded in
Pennsylvania, the original representatives in Wayne County, Ohio,
having come to this state from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Jacob
F. Weaver, father of the subject of this review, was most influential
in the civic and material development and advancement of Montpelier,
Williams County, where, as a successful real estate dealer, he platted
and improved four additions to the village, many houses having been
erected and sold by him and one of the handsome homes thus built by
him having been a fine stone house which he erected for his own use
and which he and his wife occupied during the last two years of his
life, his death occurring in December, 1917. This is one of the finest
homes in Williams County. Mr. Weaver is survived by his second
wife, whose maiden name was Martha McCrea, and their only child,
Lisle M., was a member of the class of 1920 in the law department
of the Ohio Northern University, and now practicing law in Bryan.

Curtis D. Gardner, vice president of the Farmers National Bank
rjf Bryan, the judicial center of Williams County, was born and reared
in this county, with whose history the family name has been promi-
nently identified for nearly seventy years. Those influentially con-
cerned in banking enterprise represent composite business more than
any other class of workers, and their attitude can form public opinion
to a greater extent in any community than can any other one agency.
Mr. Gardner has not only become one of the prominent figures in
banking enterprise in his native county, but continues as one of the
representative factors in agricultural industry in this part of the state,


his finely improved farm property being partly in Williams County
and partly in Defiance County. Appreciative of the manifold advan-
tages of this favored section of the Buckeye state, he is signally loyal
and public-spirited in his civic attitude and as one of the representa-
tive men of his native county he is entitled to special recognition in
this history.

On the old homestead farm of his father, in Center Township,
Williams County, Curtis D. Gardner was born March 2, 1852, a son
of Moses and Jane (Taylor) Gardner, who were born and reared in
Pennsylvania, where their marriage was solemnized and whence they
came to Williams County, Ohio, within a short time thereafter. Their
arrival in the county occurred in 1843, and the father secured a tract
of unimproved land in section 33, Center Township. With characteris-
tic vigor and judgment he set himself to the task of clearing away the
timber on the land and making it available for cultivation. His first
house was a log cabin of the true pioneer type, and, with increasing
prosperity, he later erected the substantial frame house which is still
standing on his old homestead, in excellent preservation. Here he con-
tinued to reside until his death, which occurred when he was about
seventy-one years of age, and his widow passed the closing period of
her life at Bryan, where she died at the venerable age of seventy-three
years. Mr. Gardner developed and improved a valuable farm prop-
erty of 540 acres and was one of the substantial and highly honored
citizens of the county. His political faith was that of the democratic
party, and while he had no ambition for public office he served a
number of years as treasurer of Center Township, his election to this
position having been a concrete testimony to the unqualified confidence
and esteem in which he was held in the community in which he long
maintained his home and to the social and material advancement of
which he contributed his due share. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner became
the parents of eight children, of whom four are living: Mary, the
widow of Marion Brannon, died April, 1920; Curtis D. is the imme-
diate subject of this review ; William H. resides at Bryan, where he is
living virtually retired ; and Isaac E. is a resident of the City of
Toledo, this state.

Curtis D. Gardner was reared to the sturdy discipline of the old
home farm and in the meanwhile profited fully by the advantages
afforded in the village school at Williams Center. He continued to be
actively associated with the work of his father's farm until the time
of his marriage, and he then began independent operations on a farm
of eighty acres, in Farmer Township. Industry and good manage-


ment brought to him cumulative success, and the most tangible evidence
of this is that given in his ownership at the present time of a valuable
farm estate of 280 acres in Defiance County, besides his fine farm of
160 acres in Center Township, Williams County. Though he continues
to give his personal supervision to his farm enterprise, Mr. Gardner
has given his financial co-operation in the furtherance of numerous
institutions that have been influential in furthering the prosperity and
progress of his home county. In addition to being vice president of
the Farmers National Bank of Bryan he is a stockholder in the Union
Trust Company of Bryan, is vice president of the Bryan Hardware
Company, and a director of each the Bryan Motor Service Company
and the Bryan Plumbing & Heating Company. In politics he is found
aligned as a loyal supporter of the cause of the democratic party, but
he has had no desire to enter the arena of so-called practical politics. In
the time-honored Masonic fraternity he is affiliated with Bryan Lodge,
No. 215, Free and Accepted Masons; Northwest Chapter, No. 45,
Royal Arch Masons; Bryan Council, No. 101, Royal and Select Mas-
ters; and Defiance Commandery, No. 30, Knights Templar.

In 1874 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Gardner to Miss Ida
J. Mills, a daughter of the late Hugh Mills, of Williams County, and
they have two children : Clarence is a representative buyer and shipper
of livestock in Williams County; Laura J. was graduated in the high
school, later attended a leading academic school in the City of Detroit,
Michigan, and finally, after completing a course in pianoforte work,
she was graduated in the celebrated musical conservatory of Oberlin
College ; she is now director of Camp No. 19, at Asheville, North
Carolina, where she is also director of music and has general super-
vision of the camp cafeteria.

Eliel T. Binns, who is now living virtually retired at Bryan, the
judicial center of Williams County, was for forty years a representa-
tive merchant of this village, even as he has been loyal and progres-
sive as a citizen. He was born at Leroy, Medina County, Ohio,
September 16, 1850, and is a son of Samuel and Ellen (Taylor) Binns,
both of whom were born in England, and in the same year, 1817. The
parents were reared and educated in their native land, where their
marriage was solemnized, and whence, in 1837, they immigrated to
the United States and first established their residence in New York
City, where the father found employment in the work of his profes-
sion, that of taxidermist, in which he was especially skillful and as a
representative of which he was employed for a time by Phineas T.


Barnum, the great circus man. He remained in the national metropolis
three years and then, in 1841, came to Ohio and established his home in
Medina County. In England he had gained also a practical training
in the tailor's trade, and at Leroy, Medina County, he opened a tailor
shop, which he conducted until 1855. He was a man of marked
intellectuality and studious habits, and his deep Christian faith finally
led to his being ordained a clergyman of the Universalist Church, in
the active service of which he continued during the remainder of his
life. He held various pastoral charges, and his last ministerial
incumbency was at Lyons, Fulton County, whence he removed to
Fayette, that county, where he died in the year 1889, revered by all
who had come within the compass of his kindly and benignant
influence. He was a republican in politics and was affiliated with the
Masonic fraternity. His wife survived him by several years and of
their five children three are living — John W., a prosperous farmer
near Fayette, Fulton County ; Sarah, the wife of Otis Ford, of Fayette ;
and Eliel Taylor Binns, the immediate subject of this sketch.

Eliel T. Binns had the advantages of a home of distinctive culture
and refinement and his early education was obtained in the public
schools of his native state, including those of Fayette, Fulton County,
and the Fayette Academy, he having been seventeen years of age at
the time of the family removal to that county. In 1871, about the
time of attaining his legal majority, he came to Bryan, where he found
employment in a dry goods store, at very modest wages. He continued
his clerical service about seven years and then, in 1878, here opened
a modest dry goods establishment and engaged in business in an inde-
pendent way. Effective service to patrons gained to him in the passing
years a substantial and profitable trade, and he was one of the leading
merchants of the city at the time of his retirement, in 1908. He has
not been content, however, to become inactive, after so many years
of earnest and productive enterprise, and he gives his attention at the
present time to the general insurance business and the extending of
financial loans on approved security. He and his wife are zealous
and influential members of the Universalist Church at Bryan, and he
is a member of its board of trustees. He is affiliated with the Bryan
lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, and at Defiance, judicial center
of the county of the same name, he holds membership in Defiance
Commandery, No. 30, Knights Templar, besides which he is affiliated
with Zenobia Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of
the Mystic Shrine, in the City of Toledo. He is a staunch supporter
of the principles of the republican party, and though he has ever been


liberal and progressive as a citizen he has had no desire for the honors
or emoluments of political office. He is today one of the most
respected and influential men of Williams County and has done much
to advance the civic and material prosperity of Bryan. He has been
for years the president of the Bryan Business Men's Association, is
the owner of six rooms utilized by representative mercantile concerns
of the city, and has erected and sold forty-five houses in Bryan. No
one citizen has done more for the upbuilding of the town than has he,
as he has been liberal in supporting the various manufacturing enter-
prises and other industries and active in securing new enterprises of
this order for his home town. He was chairman of the county tem-
perance committee which played a most important part in obliterating
the liquor traffic in Williams County and was also influential in the
furtherance of prohibition in the state. He was assistant chairman of
the county committee which had charge of exploiting the first Liberty
loan in Williams County incidental to the late World war, and was
chairman of the committee which had charge of the promotion of the
second and third Governmental loans in the county, his resignation
from this position having occurred at the time when the fifth loan was
projected, as he felt physically unable to carry forward this final

In 1882 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Binns to Miss Rhoda
E. Lane, daughter of the late John Lane, who was a representative
farmer in Defiance County. Mr. and Mrs. Binns have one daughter,
Laura, a graduate of Vassar College, is now the wife of Leigh B.
Lynch, of Pontiac, Michigan. Mr. and Mrs. Binns take much pride
in the fact that they have three grandsons and one granddaughter.
Mrs. Binns has been a leader in church and social activities in her
home community.

F. M. Bruns. — The study of the life of the representative
American never fails to offer much of pleasing interest and valuable
instruction, developing a mastering of expedients which has brought
about remarkable results. F. M. Bruns, well-known cashier of the
Exchange Bank of H. F. Bruns, at Stryker, is a worthy representative
of that type of American character and of that progressive spirit which
promotes public good while advancing individual prosperity. Because
of his business ability and public-spirited interest in the affairs of the
community, he is held in high esteem by all who know him.

F. M. Bruns was born in the Town of Stryker, Ohio, on Septem-
ber 24, 1887, and is the son of H. F. and Rose B. (Drum) Bruns,


the former born in Germany on November 7, 1852, and the latter in
Pennsylvania on April 11, 1856. Henry F. Brims came to the United
States at the age of seventeen years and located first at Napoleon,
Ohio, where he was employed at farm work. Subsequently be became
a clerk for S. M. Heller & Company. Later he went into business
on his own account at Florida, Ohio, and in 1884 he engaged in the
dry goods business at Defiance, Ohio, in which he was very success-
ful. In 1891 Mr. Bruns opened the Exchange Bank of H. F. Bruns
at Stryker, of which he' is still sole owner, and which has through
three decades stood as one of the strong and influential financial insti-
tutions of this section of the county. He and his wife are members
of the Methodist Episcopal Church and in politics he gives his support
to the republican party. To him and his wife were born two children,
F. M. and Marion. The latter graduated from the Stryker High School
and was then for one year a student in the Martha Washington Semi-
nary. She is now the wife of V. J. Silliman, of New York City.
During the World war he held a commission as second lieutenant in
the Quartermaster Corps, and is now assistant to H. I. Shephard,
financial head of the Willys Corporation of New York City.

F. M. Bruns was reared and educated in Stryker, being a graduate
of the high school. He was then a student in Phillips Exeter Academy
and on the completion of his studies he entered his father's bank as
assistant cashier, subsequently becoming cashier, which position he
still fills. He is thoroughly qualified for the position and because of
his business ability and his sterling qualities of character, he enjoys
the respect and confidence of the entire community. The Bruns,
father and son, have for years been prominent in the business and
public affairs of the community and have been influential in support-
ing and advancing various enterprises of public benefit. H. F. Bruns
is one of the directors of the Farmers National Bank of Bryan, hav-
ing held that relation for more than twenty-five years. He is treasurer
of the Bruns-Bowersox Land & Lumber Company and treasurer of
the Stryker Boat-Oar & Lumber Company. F. M. Bruns took an
active and effective part in the various war activities, especially as per-
taining to the national loans, having served as chairman of Springfield
Township for the first four Liberty loans and district chairman for
Brady, Pulaski and Springfield townships in the Victory loan, as well
as chairman of the United War Work campaign.

On December 30, 1908, Mr. F. M. Bruns was married to Ruth E.
Royce, who was a graduate of the Stryker High School and later a
student of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. They have one daugh-


ter, Virginia Louise, born on May 29, 1911. Mrs. Bruns is a member
of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Politically Mr. Bruns is a repub-
lican. Fraternally, he is a member of Evansport Lodge No. 511, Free
and Accepted Masons, of which he is senior warden ; Northwest
Chapter No. 45, Royal Arch Masons ; Bryan Council, Royal and Select
Masters ; Defiance Commandery No. 30, Knights Templar ; the Toledo
Consistory of the Scottish Rite (thirty-second degree) and the Ancient
Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Toledo, Ohio ; Lodge
No. 432, Knights of Pythias, of which he is the keeper of records and
seal for the past five years ; Stryker Lodge No. 611, Independent Order
of Odd Fellows, and of Defiance Council No. 407, United Commercial
Travelers. He has taken a healthy interest in everything pertaining to
the activities of his community and is a popular member of the circles
in which he moves.

Martin T. Hodson. — Because of the extent and quality of his
usefulness, his commercial soundness and acumen, his public spirit
and integrity, and his nearness to the fundamental requirements of
citizenship, Martin T. Hodson, president of the Pioneer Banking Com-
pany, of Pioneer, Ohio, affords an encouraging example of success
gained through the proper use of every-day abilities and opportunities.
Of Mr. Hodson it may be said that his career is a response both to his
early teaching and to the needs of his environment. He was born on
a farm in Bridgewater Township, Williams County, Ohio, four miles
southwest of Pioneer, December 10, 1855, and is a son of Thomas and
Elizabeth (Stephenson) Hodson, the latter a native of near Mansfield,
Richland County, Ohio.

Thomas Hodson was born in England, and after the death of his
father accompanied his widowed mother to the United States at the
age of nine years. Reared in Williams County, as a youth he went
to Richland County, where later he was married, and in 1854 came to
Bridgewater Township, this county, where he spent the rest of his
career. As a young married man he worked by the month until he
was able to purchase his first farm in Richland County, and after com-
ing to Williams County continued his industrious and intelligent work
to such good effect that he became one of the substantial men of his
community. He was a reader and student, qualified as an attorney,
and was frequently called upon to deliver public addresses and to
speak for candidates during electoral campaigns. He was independent
in politics, while his fraternal connection was with the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, which he joined at an early day. He and



Mrs. Hodson were consistent members of the Christian Church. They
were the parents of seven children, of whom one died at the age of
thirteen years, the others reaching maturity, as follows : George and
Job, who are residents of Montpelier, Ohio; Martin T. ; Mary, the
wife of A. J. Bostetter, of Montpelier ; Sophia A., the widow of Henry
Umbenhaur, of Toledo ; and Minnie H., the widow of George Letcher,
of Berkeley, California.

Martin T. Hodson was reared on the home farm four miles south-
west of Pioneer, and acquired his education in the district schools.
When he was only fourteen years of age he began clerking in a general
store, and three years later started in business on his own account at
Pioneer. Commencing in a modest manner, he gradually developed
his interests and increased his holdings. He installed a fine, clean and
varied line of goods, charged reasonable prices and gave ample returns.
The subterfuge of misrepresentation was relentlessly tabooed from
his establishment, and in consequence he became thoroughly trusted
and relied upon by the larger part of the town and surrounding coun-
try. Gradually, the farmers began to deposit money with him and this
practice finally became so common that he was forced to open a private
bank. Later he moved to the location of his present institution and
took in two partners, J. A. Grant and Dr. George Young, and this was
incorporated as a state bank in 1913, with Mr. Hodson as president;
A. F. Young as vice president, and J. A. Grant, cashier; H. G. Young
being secretary and the board of directors consisting of M. T. Hodson,
Fred M. Hodson, A. F. Young, H. G. Young, J. A. Grant and
A. Grant. Mr. Hodson is the owner of several farms and much town
property, has a fruit farm in Cuba and is interested in a number of
other ventures.

Mr. Hodson married Emma D. Eggleston, who was born in Madi-
son Township, Williams County, Ohio, one mile south of Pioneer, and
was educated in the schools of this place, in which she later became
a teacher. To Mr. and Mrs. Hodson there has come one son, Fred
M., born November 2, 1880, a graduate of the Pioneer schools and
of the university at Ada in pharmacy, who is now associated in busi-
ness with his father. He married Grace Sibley and they are the
parents of two children: Catherine, born in 1911, and Phyllis, born in
1917. Fred M. Hodson is a thirty-second degree Mason and a mem-
ber of the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias. The family attend
the Methodist Episcopal Church.


Online LibraryCharles A. BowersoxA standard history of Williams County, Ohio; an authentic narrative of the past, with particular attention to the modern era in the commercial, industrial, educational, civic and social development; (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 43)