Wednesday, January 25, 2017

From River To Tub (Defiance Crescent News 22 Sept 1924)

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    If some enterprising soul were to chronicle the experience of Defiance's alligator since it was taken from the Everglades of Florida and presented to Superintendent H.T. Campion of the municipal water works, its career would read as enthrillingly as "From Rags To Riches" or any other of Horatio Alger's novels.
    The plot might be reversed but never the less the reptile's experiences have been varied, indeed. From swamp to filtration plant and then from the Maumee River to a wash tub. What a come down! But such is the case for the reptile, was re-captured, after its second runaway from the filtration plant. It now pines away in a tub at the home of James Elisworth, Jr. East High street and Julius Balske, Summit street, recovered the the animal as it was sunning itself on the banks of the Maumee river. 
    It will be returned to the city, it was said.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hicksville Woman Back in U.S. Describes Pearl Harbor Attack (D.C.N 8-1-1942)

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    A letter to Mr. and Mrs Charles Crouse of Hicksville has revealed that their daughter, Mrs Isabelle Crouse Sparks, and her eight-year old son, Allen, have returned safely to San Diego from Hawaii, where they were at time of the Pearl Harbor Attack.
    Her husband, James Sparks, an Army officer, remained in Hawaii. 
    The former Hicksville woman and her son made the trip from Hawaii by plane in 14 1/2 hours. Mrs Sparks was one of the first nine women to leave the islands.
    In writing of the flight, Mrs Sparks said the passengers huddled in the plane fearful of an air attack. But she added "nothing could be worse than our experience on Dec. 7, and the wearisome hours caused by those "horrible yellow creatures" (Her words not mine, Dave)
    "After seeing bombs shatter ships and hangars and feeling the walls shake and rumble from the concussions. I believe these next few years will be to long" Mrs Sparks wrote.
    In the bomb shelters, the letter continued, Mrs Sparks learned the horrors of bombing raids as the English have known them. 
    "We passed a bottle of milk from one child to another for them to take just a sip." And the bottle of water to merely wet your lips." It was a nightmare, horrifying and to real. I doubt if I'll ever forget it." 
    "I watch every move of the war in the Phillippines," Mrs Sparks concluded, " and pray that Uncle Sam gets help there before too late. We must stop those "yellow devils and now!" (Her words not mine, Dave.)
    Mrs Sparks included a clipping of a story of her experiences as published by a San Diego paper.
    The clipping told how exploding bombs sent pieces of shrapnel through the Sparks home, how the pictures were knocked off the wall and dishes broken and of how the house reeled from the bombs as if an earthquake.
    Mrs Sparks and her son saw the attack on the harbor by planes which swooped low, barely missing the tree tops and witnessed the destruction of the battleship Arizona. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Squeezed By A Snake (Defiance Democrat 11 Nov 1899)

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    Paulding Boy Serving as a soldier in Cuba Had a Scare.

    Mrs C.E. Cooke received a snake skin from her son Harry, which she received the following letter.

Puertoprincipe, Cuba  13 Oct 1899

Mrs C.E. Cooke

    I sent you a skin snake of a Cuban snake thinking that you would like to see it. You can give it away if you wish for it give me the hardest fight I ever had and although it is six weeks since I killed it. I am not well yet from its effects. We went out for a few days scouting taking sketches, etc., and becoming tired I sat down to rest, under a palm tree and fell sleep. Almost touching the palm, was a mango tree and the snake was in its branches. I awoke with a start to find its slimy coils slowly encircling my body and you may imagine my surprise and terror. I thought my time had come, but I said to myself there would be a struggle first. I grabbed the snake with my free hand but he began to tighten around me. The trouble was, he was around my shoulders and chest, shutting off my wind. I threw myself with a mighty effort against the palm tree, it almost made me faint, but it caused him to let go his hold a little. As I recovered my breath I became stronger and getting my right hand free, grabbed my gun and finally made his head look as if it had been passed over by a railway train. My hand is very sore from it yet, but think it will be all O.K. in a few weeks. It was not an enjoyable position, and you can bet I won't go to sleep under any tree in this locality. The boys tell me if that snake had been two feet longer, I would be under that tree yet. We expect to be ordered home in May and then go to the Philippines. 
                    Harry Cooke
               1st sergt., Co. D., U.S.R Inf

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Two Defiance Coon Hunters Say Flying Saucer Object Light Sky (Defiance Crescent News 1 Jan 1952)

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    Two coon hunters who were so unbelieving about what they saw in the sky near here that they kept quiet about it late Thursday afternoon, were still wondering if they had seen some type of "flying saucer." 
    They were Doug Hamilton of the Farm Bureau here, and Charles Ort of south Defiance.
    They were hunting about 9 P.M. at the Leroy Kunesh farm in South Richland twp when the object appeared so bright "the tree branches were illuminated." 
    The bright object seemed motionless above the low-hanging clouds for about five minutes, they reported to friends.
    Then it moved away to the east. slow at first and then picked up speed.
    The object was reported to have seemed to rotate and somewhat resembled an immense one bladed propeller. 
    The men said it seemed to have a radius of about 30 feet.
    The observers of this spectacle said they had no way to determine how high in the sky it may have been. It was pretty high though.
    They were first attracted by the light shining against the wet tree tops. This caused them to turn their gaze skyward and both say they saw the object.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Owl Listening To Political Speech (Defiance Crescent News 10 March 1926)

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    "Taking a bird off a bush," the supreme test of oratory, was accomplished for the first time on record in Defiance county by Judge C.W. Palmer.
    Judge Palmer was stumping the county in the interest of the Democrat party when this famous first occurred. He was candidate for probate judge in the campaign of 1920 and with two other Jeffersonian orators was in Milford Center for a rally.
    It was a warm night and the township house was well filled. The door was open for ventilation when Judge Palmer began his address. He stood close to the railing which surrounded the polling booths in the township house.
    Shortly after he was well launched into his speech a screech owl flew into the room circled around several times and perched on the railing within six inches of the buttons on judge's vest. There the screech owl elected to stay and cocking its head deliberately blinked up at the Judge, then in full cry after the G.O.P.
    It was many minutes before the laughter died down sufficiently for Judge Palmer to proceed with his talk. To this day folks in Milford township accused him of having that screech owl trained for the performance. At any rate the scheme worked, for the judge was one of the few Democrats elected in Defiance county that fall.Image result

Monday, November 7, 2016

Uncle Joe Leach Goes To His Reward (Daily Crescent 19 July 1912)

    Uncle Joe Leach has gone to his reward.
    Joe passed away at the home of Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Holmes at about 9:45 Friday evening after an illness that had continued over a long period. He gradually grew weaker and weaker and finally breathed his last. 
    He was one of the best known characters in Defiance and a real specimen of the old time southern plantation colored. Everybody knew Joe and everybody liked him. He had a kind word for everyone and was a philosopher in in a way. He was a hard worker and during his residence in Defiance worked as a general laborer.
    Joe was born in McCullogh North Carolina. His exact age is not known. He always remarked that he was sixty but it is thought he was in the eighties. His mother and father preceded him in death. He was married twice and both wives preceded him in death. He had a brother, Thad Leach, living at McCullogh N.C. and other distant relatives.
    Joe came to Defiance in 1867 with Col William Irving of the 38th O.V.I., who was a resident of Defiance at that time. Joe was born a slave. His last master's name was Leach and that is how Joe was given his name. During the war (Civil War) he got into the union lines. He took a liking to Col Irving and came to Defiance with him as a body servant. At that time he was about 25 years of age Col Irving bought property and left. Defiance and Joe worked about town. He used to send his mother presents and in about 1896 made a visit to the old home in the south. He found that all of his old friends had died or moved away and he left alone in the world. He returned to Defiance where everybody was his friend and has lived here ever since with the exception of a short stay in Michigan.
    For the past year he has been steadily failing in health and has been well cared for at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Holmes.
    The funeral occurred this afternoon from the Holmes residence on Perry street. Dr. B.W. Slagle officiating. The body was laid to rest in Riverside.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Boat Named After A Defiance Boy (Defiance Democrat 4 June 1909)

    Four trim little sea crafts have arrived at Buffalo on their way to Governor's Island, New York harbor, where they will be turned over to the government. They are the Lieut E.E. Downe and daundiers, and( Lieut W.M. Wilhelm), Lieut Ward Cheaney and Lieut William T Shenck. The boats are the first of their kind to be built on the lakes for ocean service. They were constructed at Clinton, Ohio
    The Lieut W.H. Wilhelm was named after Lieut Walter Wilhelm son of Mrs. J.R. Wilhelm.