History of St. Marys, Auglaize County, Ohio (Part 1)
From: History of Auglaize County, Ohio
Edited By: William J. McMurray
Histotical Publishing Company
Indianapolis - 1923


St. Marys township, occupying the central part of the western tier of townships in Auglaize county and the oldest civil division in the county, is a true congressional township (town 6, south of range 4 east) of thirty six square miles and is bounded on the north by Noble township, on the east by Washington township and Shelby county, on the south by German township and on the west by Mercer county. The Grand Reservoir (Lake St. Marys) extends into this township from the west almost to the western edge of the city of St. Marys and covers about four square miles of the township's surface. This reservoir, as previously has been set out in connection with the narrative relating to the Miami & Erie canal, is the largest artificial body of water in the world and was constructed as a source of water supply for the canal, which flows through the township from St. Marys on the northern line of the township in section 3 a bit east of south and on out in section 35. The township has ample drainage through the St. Marys river and its tributaries, supplemented by an adequate system of ditches, the river being formed at the south edge of the city of St. Marys by the confluence of the East, Center and West branches, this forming a waterway which determined settlement there at the beginning of historic times hereabout, the head of pirouge navigation here having been selected as a site for the establishment of a trading post in the days of the French traders and later as a site for a fort when the military campaigns against the Indians were being carried on throughout this section, all of which has been set out in an earlier chapter in this work. The township is entered by two railroads, the Toledo & Ohio Central, skirting the northern border of the township and having its western terminus at St. Marys, and the Lake Erie & Western railway, entering the city from the northeast and proceeding west, with a southern branch terminating at Minster on the southern edge of the county. The Western Ohio electric line from Wapakoneta to Celina also follows the northern border of the township, passing through St. Marys, at which place the traction company maintains its power house.


It is said that when St. Marys township, then a civil division of Mercer county, was organized in 1824, at the time St. Marys was established as the county seat of Mercer, there were but twenty nine taxpayers in the township and that the total taxes collected amounted to but $26.64. As has previously been set out, St. Marys remained the seat of justice for Mercer county until 1840, when the county seat was removed to Celina. This was eight years before the erection of Auglaize county, when St. Marys township was disannexed from Mercer and attached to this county. In the meantime settlers were coming in and taking up the lands in the township, so that by the time Auglaize county was erected in 1848 the township was pretty well settled. The impetus given to this settlement by the construction of the canal, beginning in the late '30s, and the gigantic work connected with the construction of the Grand Reservoir, was maintained when the commercial and industrial importance of the canal began generally to be recognized and the later settlers thus were of a substantial character, this giving a "tone" to the community which ever has been maintained. When Auglaize county was organized St. Marys township was pretty well populated and the farmers and landowners there naturally joined with the people of St. Marys in demanding that the county seat be located there, but the central location of Wapakoneta, the other claimant of county seat honors, was an argument against them which apparently could not be overcome and they had to swallow their disappointment; a not particularly agreeable potion, according to all accounts. This township profited greatly by the construction of the plank road between St. Marys and Wapakoneta and between St. Marys and Ft. Wayne in the early '50s, these roads and the canal giving the people of that part of the county what then were regarded as the best possible advantages for transportation. Besides affording an exceptional outlet for labor, the plank roads also afforded a ready market for the valuable timber needed in their constructon, for it is recalled that none but the best timber was used in the construction of these roads and many of the land owners in that section were able thus profitably to dispose of their timber that otherwise would largely have been a dead loss, for that was in the days before the woodworking industries had begun to develop a local market for the timber which had to be cleared away before farm land could become available. The Ohio & Indiana plank road from St Marys on northwest through Mercer, Shanesville, Willshire, Decatur (Ind.) and thence to Ft. Wayne opened a tremendous traffic in hoop poles which in season were poured in almost ceaseless caravans into St. Marys for further transportation thence by canal. This road was built by subscription and was completed in 1852, about the time the plank road east to Wapakoneta was completed, a story of which is carried elsewhere. For almost a quarter of a century, or until the coming of the free gravel pikes in the middle '70s, these plank roads were maintained by the owners, who collected toll for maintenance and such profit as might accrue to the stockholders. St. Marys township was among the first in this part of the state to take advantage of the law authorizing the construction of free turnpikes and upon the beginning of that work in 1876 plans were adopted for an extension of the work until the township was equipped with a complete system of gravel roads, many of which later were further improved by the macadam process and some of these later giving way to paved highways.


Agriculturally, St. Marys township is abreast of the times. The soil generally is a rich black loam of high productive qualities and since the drainage of the township has been exceptionally well taken care of by numerous county, township, state and private ditches, "it has become a leader in all lines of agricultural improvement," according to one well informed reviewer, while another emphasizes this by observing that "the lands adjacent to the great reservoir and along the St. Marys river and its tributaries are unsurpassed in their fertility." The old Wayne military road passes through this township and there is a well defined local tradition to the effect that General Wayne was compelled on one occasion, owing to the difficulties of the march and the necessity of abandoning stores, to bury a large sum of money, said to be as much as $150,000, upon his approach to St. Marys and that this money never was reclaimed. The point of burial of this money is said to be on what is now the farm of County Commissioner Elmer H. Youngs, in section 21 of St. Marys township, about two miles and a half south of St. Marys, along the line of the old military trail, now the St. Marys-New Bremen road. Mr. Youngs is living in confident expectation that some day his plow will turn the money up, but he has laid no plans for retirement pending such discovery.

Concerning this old military trail, which later was used in the Harrison campaigns, it perhaps will be recognized as an excellent sidelight on the conditions of the swampy soil here in the early days and the consequent difficulties of transportation in those days to introduce here the following description penned by Capt. Robert B. McFee, an officer in Harrison's army during the War of 1812, as a part of the official report he made concerning the progress of the army: "The roads were bad beyond description. None but those who have actually seen the state of the country seem ever to have formed a correct estimate of the difficulties to be encountered. The road from Loramie's block house to the St. Marys and thence to Defiance was one continuous swamp, knee deep to the horses and up to the hubs of the wagons. It was found impossible to get even the empty wagons along and many were left sticking in the mire and ravines, the wagoners being glad to get off with the horses alive. Sometimes the quartermaster, taking advantage of a temporary freeze, would send off a convoy of provisions, which would be swamped by a thaw before it reached its destination. These natural difficulties were also increased by great deficiency of funds and inadequacy of other resources which were requisite in the quartermaster's department. The only persons who could be secured to act as packhorse drivers were generally the most worthless creatures in society, who took care neither• of the horses nor the goods with which they were entrusted. The horses, of course, were soon broken down and many of the packs lost. The teams hired to haul were also commonly valued so high on coming into service that the owners were willing to drive them to debility and death with a view to get the price. In addition to this, no bills of lading were used or accounts kept with the wagoners, and of course each one had an opportunity to plunder the public without much risk of detection." The picture of the old trail here presented in Captain McAfee 's report compared with that of the present admirable highway which marks the former trail affords a most illuminating commentary on the progress which has been made along that line since the days of settlement here, and the memory of the pioneers ought to be kept green, for certainly they wrought well.


The tax duplicate for 1848 reveals the following landowners in this township when Auglaize county was erected: Daniel Ayers, David Armstrong, Samuel Armstrong, John Armstrong, Sr., John Armstrong II, James C. Anderson, Demas Adams, Joseph D. Blew, William Botkin, Margaret Botkin, James Botkin, Christian Benner, R. R. Barrington, Joshua Benner, E. T. Bates, George Craft, Joseph Combs, Joseph Catterlin, Edward Cooper, James Carr, Asahel Cleveland, Joseph Doute, Pickett Doute, Frederick Dubling, Amos Doute, Thomas Doute, William Fink, Frederick Fry, Henry Franz, Jonas Farlin, R. B. Gordon, H. M. Helm, John Hawthorn, William B. Hedges, B. F. Harmes, Henry W. Hinkle, Mary Hinkle, James D. Hoy, B. H. Huckerider, Jones Haney, John Helm, John S. Houston, William A. Houston, William Hollingsworth, George Kipp, William L. Helfenstein, Samuel Johnston, John W. Jones, G. F. W. Kolhorst, Frederick Koop, James Kay, William Kenning, H. F. Kenning, William Kirten, Jared Kelsey, Samuel Long, Lewis Lake, Thomas Longworth, J. Longworth, Samuel Lynch, Jacob Long, John Luneman, Henry Ludecke, Elizabeth McCoy, J. Miller, John Mause, Frederick Marquand, M. G. Mitchell, William Mines, John H. Mohrman, John C. Mohrman, Thomas McKee, Samuel A. Major, Mark E. McMahon, J. H. Neismeyer, John B. Neiman, Gottlieb Neitert, William Preston, John Pickerel, Daniel Rankin, J. W. Riley, O. C. Road, Sabert Scott, Samuel Scott, Aim Sackett, B. F. Schroader, F. H. Schroader, M. W Smith, Herman V. Shafer, Thomas Skillman, R. W. Stearnes, J. G. Strasburg, John D. Strasburg, John D. Seimer, Thomas S. Sturgeon, H. H. Schroerluke, Elizabeth Smith, G. H. Studheite, Henry A. Smith, H. H. Shearholtz, J. F. Smith, Samuel Statler, William Tellman, Diederick Tohle, Lawrence Tale, D. H. Tangerman, Evan O. Thomas, P. VanMiddlesworth, Charles Walker, John Wappenhorst, J. N. Millenbrook, Henry Weirwile, William Weirwile, Charles Watkins, Peter Wagner, William White, James Wilkins, John W. Weimeyer, John T. Weimeyer and. George Young.

In the town of St. Marys at that time were the following land and lot owners: The Armstrongs, David, John and William; John Achey, James Anderson, John Aley, R. R. Barrington, Barbee & Sherrick, Charles Bowser, H. T. Brandenburg, Barbee & Kinsley, Robert Bigger, Peter Bugh, John Baker, David Bender, Lewis Broadwell, Randall Black, John Blew, George Berk, Valentine Burget, Nancy Beauchamp, Joseph D. Blew, L. R. Brownell, George Berry, Aaron Chester, Crane & Davis, Robert Cooper, N. & C. Chapman, Joseph Curtis, William M. Crane, R. J. Crosier, C. W. Cowan, ____ Craighead, Isaac Demherst, C. Dennison, C. P. Dunbaugh, L. D. Dowty, William Draline, Eli M. Dennison, David Eastwood, F. C. Estabrook, Cyrenus Elliott, Daniel Eichleburger, John Elliott, Robert Elliott, William A. Elliott, John Eicher, J. W. Fulton, B. Gilbert, Reuben P. Graham, Daniel S. Gaus, Bernard Gilbert, R. B. Gordon, Michael Goddard, Gordan & Sawyer, John Gardner, Isaac House, Robert Harvey, J. Harshman, John Hawthorn, William Hollingsworth, Nicholas Holtz, William L. Helfenstein, John S. Houston, David Hays, H. M. Helm, John Hollingsworth, J. E. Hollingsworth, George Holtzbecker, Lewis Holtzbecker, Nancy Houston, Philip V. Herzing, John Hawthorn, Henry L. Huesch, Garrett Handley, Frederick Henick, Henry A. Hopson, John House, Samuel Imhoff, John W. Jones, William Johnston, George Johnston, Jared Kelsey, Joseph Kelsey, Benjamin Linzee, Adam Linch, Peter P. Lowe, Franklin Linzee, Henry Lemcohl, A. D. Levering, Herman Long, Dennis McMannis, G. W. McLaughlin, A. V. Medberry, M. G. Mitchell, Medberry & Stearns, James Major, Caleb Major, Henry Morvelius, George C. McCune, L. D. McMahon, Samuel McKee, Thomas McKee, Samuel A. Major, Samuel R. Mott, Jacob Morvelius, William M. Murdock, L. D. Mann, M. W. McLean, Erastus Porter, Joseph Plunkett, Daniel Piper, George Piper, Elisha Phelps, Benjamin Patton, John M. Parks, John Pickerel, E. M. Phelps, Bartholomew Rapp, Roher & Sherick, Daniel Rankin, Charles Route, Chas. F. Risse, John J. Rickey, O. C. Rood, J. W. Riley, Samuel Buckman, Frederick Romagle, W. L. Ross, Patrick Stone, William Sawyer, Sawyer & Williams, Samuel Scott, M. W. Smith, Scott, Linzee & Co., John W. Stoker, C. M. Statler, L. C. Shawyer, Charles Spankenburg, R. W. Stearnes, Samuel Statler, Sabert Scott, T. J. Stephens, John Stephens, Thomas Stone, John Stromenger, David Simpson, Diederick Schroeder, G. W. Timmonds, Joseph Tangerman, Hector Topping, A. H. Trimble, D. Vandervol, Cuthbert Vincent, Isaac Wingart, J. It. Wagner, L. Worst, Lewis Whiteman, V. H. Weaver, S. J. Worthington, John S. Watts, J. F. Whiteman, George Wise, Christian Whiteman, William Youngs, Robert Younger and E. D. Zimer. The practicing physicians then located at St. Marys who paid the physician's license fee of $1 for the year 1848 were Doctor Goodrich, Doctor Holderman, A. O. Connell and R. W. Stearnes, and the lawyers who paid a similar tax levied on the attorneys were William M. Crane, C. W. Cowan, F. C. LeBlond, S. R. Mott, Joseph Plunkett and E. M. Phelps.


As has been set out in the chapter relating to the settlement of the county and the pioneer period, the growth of the village of St. Marys was a gradual development which received no real impetus until the village became established as the county seat of Mercer county in 1824. As Professor Simkins has it in his review (1901), "no material growth was manifested at the isolated settlement at St. Marys before this date, and even then the outlook was not promising." There was a little grist mill down the trail on the creek at Loramies and another and somewhat more pretentious mill on the Miami farther down at Piqua. To the west there were a few scattered settlers, mostly "squatters" whose chief business was hunting and trapping. The adjacent county of Jay over the line in Indiana was not erected until in 1836, when it was disannexed from Randolph county, which at that time covered a somewhat vague stretch of territory to the north and west. To the east the Indians on the Wapakoneta reservation still held their lands, while to the north there stretched the desolate Black Swamp country, dreary and forbidding. A mail route was not established at St. Marys until in 1827, the mail then being brought up by post rider from Piqua and distributed to the settlers who by that time had begun to make themselves known in the district. Ten years later, in 1837, work on the canal was begun and the real development of the village dates from that period, commercial development following rapidly after the completion of the canal in 1845. In the meantime, the neighboring village of Celina over to the west was being developed as a commercial center and in 1840 the county seat was removed to that place, St. Marys thus losing whatever prestige at that time attached to the civic center. The value of the canal, however, more than compensated for this blow to civic pride and St. Marys maintained its steady growth, which was given a further stimulus upon the completion of the first railroad to that town in 1877, the present Lake Erie & Western. The manufacturing industries that had developed with the coming of the canal took on new life with the coming of the railroad and have since maintained their own.

With the passing of the pioneer period of development in the village a new interest was taken in general promotion and advancement was made along all lines. When natural gas and oil were revealed in the vicinity of the city in the late '80s, as has been set out elsewhere, the town profited largely by the stimulus this gave to industry and a new period of development ensued. In June, 1895, a destructive fire in the very heart of the city created a loss in excess of $100,000, this destruction including the woolen mills, the Neitert & Koops mill, the Neitert building, the Hoffer building, the Koehl building, the Wendeln bock, the Holkamp building, the Bishop building and the Pauck building. The reconstruction of the burnt area produced a modern type of buildings which added much to the appearance of the commercial district and all construction that has taken place since has been of a substantial and attractive character. It also was during the '90s that the residence section of the city was practically rebuilt, many of the present handsome residences having been erected during that period. Civic development also took on a new spurt about that time, water works and electric light, uniform sidewalks and street paving coming in about that time and in 1907 a comprehensive sewer system was completed. With the erection of the beautiful Memorial park following the World war, a real beauty spot was created where before had been an unsightly group of old buildings, interesting but valueless relics of canal days; the armory of Company K., O. N. G., and the library building were erected facing this park and other plans now in hand, including the erection of a new city hall and a new high school building facing the park, contemplate the eventual development of a real civic center that will add greatly to the appearance of the town. A picture of Memorial park and pictures of street scenes in St. Marys presented in this work convey better than words a proper impression of the "down town" section of the city.


As a recent commercial review of the city of St. Marys sets out, "to the last man all of the members of the Commercial Club take great pride in the growth of the city along so many lines, not only in the manufacturing line, but in the erection of new business blocks and the improvement and remodeling of many others." This same review also points out that the citizenship of St. Marys "is made up of an element of most intelligent workmen and of business men that possess sound judgment and integrity, her banks are controlled by men who are acknowledged financiers and who have always taken a firm stand against all speculative schemes and have at all times vigorously upheld all that promised permanence." The points also are made that "St. Marys has more miles of paved streets than any city of its size in Ohio," and that "our farmers are all well to do, roads are kept in excellent condition, scenery beautiful and picturesque and crops rarely ever fail, owing to the fine soil." The St. Marys Commercial Club, which it was pointed out "is composed of practically every manufacturer and merchant, most of the professional men and numerous farmers," was organized in 1915 with the following officers: President, C. C. McBroom, superintendent of city schools; vice president, C. W. Schemel; secretary, L. C. Brodbeck; treasurer, C. F. Limbacher, and directors, William Jaspersen, Edward Wust, Albert Herzing, C. W. Schemel, A. B. Kohler, Frank Ausman, C. C. McBroom, H. B. Casperson, Ernest Wiehe, William Geiger, Paul Graetz, A. L. Saum, A. C. Buehler, Jacob Victor, J. D. Hollenbaugh, Charles Limbacher, L. C. Broadbeck, Herman Haberkamp, Henry Koop and Ewald Kellermeyer.

This old commercial club recently was reorganized under the name of the St. Marys Chamber of Commerce, a body designed to promote both the civic and industrial advancement of the city, which adopted as its motto "Progress and Prosperity" and started in to work out a laudably ambitious program of city betterment. The officers of the Chamber of Commerce are as follows: President, Jacob Victor; vice presidents, Harold G. Neely and A. C. Buss; secretary, H. S. Jenkins, and treasurer, W. J. Kishler, these together with William Jasperson, Roy Heap and W. C. Fisher forming the directorate of the chamber.


In an earlier commercial review compiled as a "souvenir" of Homecoming Week at St. Marys in 1907 the point was made that "St. Marys is not a boom city. The population is stable, not of a transcient nature, but is composed of an industrious and intelligent class of citizens, the sort who do things. The increase in population has been both natural and steady and the working of natural laws cannot help but continue its growth." The census for 1920 gives St. Marys a population of 5,679.

In this same "homecoming" review there is carried an interesting bit of reminiscence concerning the early history of St. Marys prepared by Mrs. T. G. Touvelle and to which reference has heretofore been made, in which it is set forth that "near the confluence of the three branches which form the St. Marys river, named by French traders, was built in 1811 Ft. St. Marys. The St. Marys river is indeed a historic stream. Three times crossed and twice bridged by General Wayne, it was protected by a line of forts which extended from St. Marys to Defiance. On its banks Generals Hull and Harrison encamped and at Ft. St. Marys troops were concentrated, organized and sent to Ft. Wayne and Ft. Defiance. By the Greenville treaty of 1795 the United States was given the right to navigate the St. Marys river from its head one mile south of town to Ft. Wayne, and for nearly half a century this crooked stream was the way through which passed nearly all the military and pioneer supplies for the northwest. Upon the east bank, nearly opposite the fort, stood the cabin of brave, friendly Simon Kenton; through its narrow channel glided the canoe of Simon Girty as he plotted treachery and revenge, and down its swift currents passed the rafts of the French traders, Anthony Shane, Madore, Mazane, Labadie and Murray. Through the dense woods came to its banks the Indian braves and their squaws to exchange with the traders venison and skins for whisky, tobacco, beads and gay cotton goods; and the brave pioneer alone or with his family, with no protection but his rifle and unerring aim sped northward on its waters toward the prairies, there to find a home.

"In 1820 St. Marys was partly laid out by Charley Murray, the village consisting of two streets, Main street and Wayne street. Main street was a continuation of the Piqua road, the great highway of Government and pioneer travel, wagons coming from Piqua and points south to St. Marys with goods to be rafted north by the river. * * * In 1824 St. Marys was made the county seat of Mercer county. The earliest courts were held in a tavern. In 1825 the commissioners purchased thirty lots and donated fifteen for county purposes and fifteen for village public buildings, school houses and churches. In 1825 the county jail was built on the site of the present school building, corner of Wayne and Spring streets. In the year 1827 the court house was built at the corner of Main and Spring streets. It was a two story frame building and cost $290. * * * After the removal of the county seat the building was sold to William Porte; who moved it a few feet back from the corner and turned it around, the end facing Main street. This building is still standing (1907) and is owned by Mrs. George Wegely. In 1839 the first bridge was built across the St. Marys river. At this time there was but one human habitation on the east side of the river, a log cabin built on the present site of the Wust block, until recently occupied by the Ohio House, and owned by Samuel Salter. The building of the bridge extended Spring street across the river and) several additions were made to the plat of St. Marys."

Concerning the completion of the canal, Mrs. Touvelle's observations have it that "on the Fourth of July, 1845, the firing of cannon and the music of fife and drum announced the coming of the first through packet from Piqua to Defiance. As the horses appeared in sight on the tow path and the packet came slowly around the bend, a flag floating at the wheel and the bell ringing in slow, steady tones, nearly every inhabitant of St. Marys gave a welcoming shout. Next in importance as an event in St. Marys was the completion of the Ohio and Indiana plank road, extending from St. Marys to Ft. Wayne. The building of this road, passing through deep swamps and almost pathless forests, was a great undertaking. * * * It took two years to build it and in the summer of 1852 the formal surrender by the contractors to the stockholders was made. Hon A. P. Egerton, M. C., of this district, received the surrender in behalf of the stockholders along the route. The meeting was held at the north end of Wayne street, the terminus of the road. With the opening of the plank road began the traffic in hoop poles, the long caravans of which passed down Main and Wayne streets and through Spring street and unloaded on the bank of the canal. * * * The first tavern kept in St. Marys was in a frame house built in 1829 on the corner of Main and South streets and was kept by Samuel Stattler. It was near the court house and the same bell that called the meals rang for the opening of the court. In 1835 a tavern was kept by Mr. Bigger on Main street. In 1856 the Bates brothers, of Rochester, N. Y., who were large contractors on the canal, built the Mercer hotel. This was the finest hotel north of Dayton and for many years it was the stopping place of distinguished men. After the death of the owners it became a tenement house, but later was converted into the Dieker House, which enjoyed a long and excellent reputation. The Sawyer House (recently the Ohio House) was built by William Sawyer in 1848 and for many years claimed the canal travel. The National House on the east side of Main street was built by S. S. Rickley in 1844. It was on the direct road from Piqua and was the stopping place for this travel and was the favorite home of young lawyers and physicians. This house afterward became the Bimel carriage manufactory. Perhaps the strongest association of pioneer taverns is attached to the Helm House, built in 1840a real hostelry. It stood on the west side of Wayne street, between North and High, and was a long, two story frame with several additions and back porches and wooden pumps. Back of it was a large barnyard and long stables. For miles from the west and north came the great Pennsylvania farm wagons drawn by four horses, a yoke of bells on the necks of the leaders, the owner riding one of them and with great flourish of whip turning into the barnyard. In the bar room could be seen every type of the early settler."


Regarding the old Dieker House, mentioned above, it will be proper here to state that the historic old building which years ago was moved back off Spring street, was sold at a mortgage sale in May, 1922, and that it was sold at about two thirds of its appraised value. It long had been abandoned as a hostelry, and is now occupied as a rooming house. This hotel in the palmy days of the stage lines was a companion to the old Wapakoneta House, previously mentioned, the first inn erected at Wapakoneta and which gave way after the Civil war to the Burnett House which is still doing business at the county seat. Concerning this stage line, an advertisement in the Democrat (Wapakoneta) in 1865 carried the information that the stage "leaves St. Marys at 6:45 a. m., 9 a. m. and 1 p. m.; leaves Wapakoneta, 6:25 a. m., 10:45 a. m. and 2:45 p. in." An advertisement of the Dieker House carried in the St. Marys Courant as late as 1873 set out that there was an "omnibus line and good livery exchange stables connected with this house," while in the same paper Fred Dieker's advertisement of his livery and feed stables connected with the Dieker House announced his proprietorship of "a nice hearse, carriages 'and spring wagons for use at funerals," as well as the "daily buss line from St. Marys to Wapakoneta and Celina and return. Passengers can be forwarded on arrival of busses to any part of the country at any hour." The Hotel Fountain occupying the site of the old river wharf was erected in 1888.

In closing her interesting reminiscences, Mrs. Touvelle presented a brief list of St. Marys "firsts," including the first minister, the Rev. J. B. Finley, 1827; the first resident lawyer, E. M. Phelps, 1836; first resident physician, R. W. Stearnes, 1836; first store keeper, Peter Vanosdoll, 1827; first blacksmith, Capt. John Elliott, 1824, and first harness maker, William Breckon, 1839. She concludes her illuminative little tale of the olden days with the observation that "the strongest associations which attach to St. Marys and are precious memories to her children and her children's children are the river and the beautiful springs on the Westside. They well remember the spring at the foot of the bluff by the river bridge, where the water was cool, plentiful and delicious; and they remember that a little farther north there was a spring almost hidden among rough stones, and they have not forgotten the little stream just touched with sulphur that flowed from the spring near the old brewery; and also that between them all were the deep, dark pools, where the unsuspecting minnow and sunfish dwelt. Farther down they remember the 'Ripples' where the river widened and the shallow, pebbly bottom was a ford and watering place and where the venturesome small boy found a safe swimming place. Nor have they forgotten the great elms and willows that grew on either side of the river, whose branches, hanging low over the rippling stream, cast the cool shadows which made them the favorite trysting place of many long since gone away." Gratifying to relate, many of these magnificent trees still adorn the river banks.

[Forward to part 2 of St. Marys Ohio history.]

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