Lause, K. and L.
Ken and Laura Lause Oral History
CW: This is July 13th, 2005 and I’m speaking to Mr. and Mrs. Lause who are living in the house on the location where Camp Latty was years ago.
CW: Would you tell us something of your information that you have about that plaque that I’ve seen on your gateway down by the river road?
KL: Well, the plaque was placed there by Harold Hoff and he bought this property in 1937. It was used during the Civil War as a camp where soldiers assembled. They called it ‘mustered in’ and they were sworn in. And as near as I can tell, from County histories and so forth, sometime after October 15 th of 1861 till January of 1862 they lived here in Sibley tents.
CW: The soldiers did?
KL: The soldiers lived here as they were assembled and mustered in.
CW: For the Civil War?
KL: For the Civil War. This was the 68 th regiment
CW: For anyone who doesn’t know, what is a Sibley tent?
KL: Well, a Sibley tent is a tent that is like a cone. It’s pointed, kind of like an Indian teepee. And there were quite a few men, I don’t know the exact number, that could sleep in a Sibley tent. They had these for a while and then they changed to a different kind of tent. But those tents were here on this property and this property went from the road to the Glenwood cemetery line. Glenwood cemetery was started in 1860 before the Civil War. So I’m guessing that it wasn’t used as part of the camp and that this property was originally around 8 acres. It was bounded by Garrett Creek and by what’s now Rte. 424 and the cemetery.
(Laura brings objects. )
CW: Well, are these things that you found?
KL: These are things that we found here on this property.
CW: Isn’t that something. Ahh! That’s a bullet!
CW: Heavy, very heavy.
KL: And a uniform button. So that’s why we know from these artifacts that this actually was property that was used for that purpose at that time in history. So I’ve gone back and done a little bit of research to try and find out who owned the property at that time but I haven’t got that done yet. I’m still working on that. They assembled here and then went to the war. They went to Cincinnati, then by riverboat.
CW: Oh they did, by riverboat! Of course the canal went right in front here. They could get on the boat right here. Couldn’t they?
KL: Right. Well, they went by train at that time. They went by train.
CW: Oh, the trains ran.
KL: Of course the story of the 68th is pretty well told in other places. You can find a history of Oscar Lingel in the Henry County history. He was a soldier in the Civil War and then there is some material on line from the Ohio State Historical Society consisting of some letters from Jacob Bruner. He was from either Defiance or Paulding County.
CW: I wondered if he lived in the area.
KL: He was a. . . from his letters, the writing of his letters, he was an educated man using good grammar and spelling and so forth in his letters.
CW: Was he a sergeant or lieutenant?
KL: . He was a sergeant. And after he was in a while he became an officer. Became a first lieutenant in the 9th Louisiana infantry. And at that time, which was in 1863, they were assembling groups of African Americans and arming them, forming regiments. They were led by white officers. The corporals and sergeants were black people but the rest of the officers, 2nd lieutenants, 1st lieutenants, captains, majors, colonels -- they were all white officers. And so Jacob Bruner resigned his commission in the 68th and became a 1st lieutenant in the 9th Louisiana infantry.
CW: That was one of those…
KL: ‘Volunteers of African Descendants’ they were called.
CW: Oh for heaven sakes!
KL: And his pay was $110. 50 per month and $1,326 per year and he was commissioned April 14th, 1863, as a first lieutenant. His captain’s name was Hissong. He was an orderly in the 68th and there was another officer from the 78th regiment from the Ohio volunteer infantry and there was another man, I don’t remember his name right now, who was from the 68th who was also in this unit. Well, this unit was in Louisiana. Shortly after they were formed they recruited members for the infantry and shortly after they were formed, they got into a battle with a unit from Texas and this Jacob Bruner was killed in that battle.
CW: That was a terrible war. The Civil War
KL: Very bad.
LL: You might talk about how it got its name too. Who it was named for.
KL: Well, Camp Latty was named for…Well, go ahead Laura.
LL: I can’t think. Judge Latty, right?
KL: It was named for a judge. Judge Latty from Defiance. Defiance County.
KL: Not exactly what I’m looking for right now.
LL:And then the house that sits here now is supposedly on the same site that the headquarters were on.
KL: But none of the buildings are left from that time.
LL: No. There were fires…
KL: Part of a foundation from the house that was here is all that’s left.
CW: Oh, the fire destroyed it
LL: Yes, there were fires.
KL: Yes. So this was at Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana, were Jacob Bruner lost his life. And there was a letter written by Major Eugene Harrison who was the surgeon for the 68th Ohio volunteer infantry… written to his wife Mary in June on June 13th, 1863, in which he said “There had been a hard fight at Milliken’s Bend between the 9th Louisiana black regiment and two others. And a brigade of rebels that come in to take the place. Lyman Hissong, you know is captain of one company and Jacob Brunner formerly a sergeant in our regiment, a first lieutenant and Sergeant Peran of Captain P’s company was in Lyman’s company. They had a desperate fight. The Rebs were 3 to 1 and charged with desperate fury on the colored regiments…”
CW: They would because they’d be furious just to see those black people in uniforms.
KL: “But the Negroes met them bravely in the fiercest hand-to-hand fights of the war because the Negroes used their bayonets and clubbed with their muskets and beat the brains out of a lot of the enemy. One Negro of the 9th regiment is said to have killed 1 officer and 2 soldiers with the butt of his musket. The officer came at him with pistol ready but before he could pull it off the Darky brained him and two others came up to avenge the officer and they fared the same. The Negroes whipped the rebels soundly and drove them from the field in disorder. The loss to the 9th was 60 killed and quite a number wounded. Lieutenant Jacob Bruner was killed and Sergeant Peron and Captain Lyman Hissong shot through the thigh. Flesh wound. Would recover. “Major Owen, formerly of the 20th Ohio, now of the 9th African, told me about it. If you should see Mr. Haley, tell him about Bruner. He was Mr. Haley’s quartermaster sergeant. This proved beyond a doubt that Negroes will fight.”
KL: Mr. Haley is the one that Haley Avenue is named after.
CW: Oh, is that right?
CW: And Bruner. There is a Brunersville near Defiance or near Perrysburg.
KL: Brunersburg. I don’t if that is the name derived from that or not. I don’t know. But there is a Brunersberg.
CW: And then there was another name there that sounded familiar. Hissong.
CW: There was a professor at Bowling Green way back when I went to school then as a girl. His name was Hissong. Dr. Hissong. But I don’t know where his family was from.
KL: I think there were some in Deshler also.
CW: Oh were there?
KL: I think so. But I’m not certain. So that’s one of the interesting stories.
CW: I should say.
KL: And another is about a man by the name of Charles Reynolds who I think was about 17 or 18 at the time the unit was formed at Camp Latty. He wanted to join the 68th but he was young and he asked his father if he could join. And his father said he could join but he had to be at home at night. And he lived across from the…
LL: Where the Rebars live now.
CW: Oh, that’s on Avon.
KL: On Avon . . . that’s right and his father said…
CW: It’s an old house there. One of the oldest ones in Napoleon.
KL: That’s where he lived.
KL: And he wanted to join and his father said he had to be at home at night. And so he went to the camp and of course he went to the war. He was in the quarter master part of it. And was captured once and exchanged and after the 68th was at Vicksburg and Vicksburg fell in July of 1863. And they went on another expedition to the eastern part Mississippi and he was captured again there and held at Andersonville prison in Georgia to the end of the war. And did survive Andersonville.
CW: So he was living at the end of the war?
KL: Yes. Oh yes. He survived Andersonville. He was captured twice. He was out the second time on a foraging expedition and was captured. Foraging is when they were marching through the country and they didn’t have a supply train to keep up all their supplies so whatever was at the farmstead is what they appropriated for their use.
CW: That’s what the Germans were doing in World War II. And that’s why the people, the farmers, and the people that lived there hated them so. Because they took all the food and the farmers were left with nothing. And troop leaders said Belgium people were just starving because the German troops had taken away all the food.
KL: Well, I have one other soldier. I have the picture of him.
KL: I’ll get the picture.
LL: Well, one thing Daddy always said, too... The lady that lived across the river. Was it the girl or her mother? It’s where the Hannas live now.
CW: Oh yes.
LL: Who ever lived there before.
CW: Oh yes. That’s the old C. D. Brillhart house. That’s where C. D. Brillhart lived.
LL: Oh. I didn’t know that.
CW: Years ago.
LL: When she was a little girl, the woman... the lady said she told Daddy when she was a little girl she remembers seeing the tents over here. From across the river.
CW: She could see them!
CW: Well, and they would have a good view of the whole area from here because this is one of the fine locations on the river I think because it’s up high.
(Can’t understand tape)
CW: That certainly is a good picture. And this is who?
KL: This is a soldier from the 68th regiment.
LL: Major Bob.
KL: We call him Major Bob. His name is Robert Masters. He was originally from Williams County and if you could recruit some people, enough people for your regiment, they made you an officer. So they made him an officer. He was from Williams County. I think Nettle Lake area and he recruited 20 some people for the Civil War.
CW: Is that right?
LL: And they came here from Williams County.
KL: They came from Williams County here. And this picture I found at an estate auction in Michigan.
CW: Oh, it’s the same picture.
KL: Yeah. That’s him.
CW: So is that where you got the picture then?
CW: Isn’t that something.
KL: He was a little older. He was age 32 when he entered the 68th. So there could have been anyone from young boys to whatever age. So he was age 32 when he entered the 68th Ohio on October 10, 1861. He was appointed first lieutenant of Company G here in camp, at Camp Latty Napoleon. And then in May of 1864, he was appointed to captain and then when they was mustered out, he was promoted to Major of Company B of the 68th Ohio.
CW: He must have done good work.
KL: So he survived. So the 68th regiment that left here, their first encounter was at Fort Donelson of Kentucky and after…
CW: The Rebs were that far north.
KL: Yeah. They were occupying Fort Donelson which is on the Tennessee River, I think, right. Not to far from the Ohio River.
KL: They left here in January and on February 14 th they were in battle. From about the 3rd week in January so about 2 or 3 weeks they were…
CW: They didn’t get much training, did they?
KL: No, not much training. And the weather there was raining. Kind of like a freezing rain I guess. Snow and rain. And a lot of the soldiers got sick. And at that time there were a lot of soldiers from other parts of the United States from Indiana, from Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota. They were all assembled in Grant’s army. And drawing this many people together in one spot, they all got each others diseases. So you could have maybe there would be diphtheria, small pox, cholera. . . the flu, the measles. All these disease were spread. And so at one time after the fall of Fort Donelson , there were only like 250 out 700 that were fit to serve. There were a lot of people sick. There were more people that died of illness than died in battle.
CW: Yeah. One of my ancestors was in the Civil War but that was from Pennsylvania. Western Pennsylvania. But he was in a while…few months and got sick, had to go to the hospital and got cured went back and was just out a month or two and it came back and had to go back in and after this happened for awhile they had to send him home because they couldn’t keep him well. And he came on the train to get back home and arrived about 2 o’clock in the morning in this little town that was close to their farm. And then he walked from there to the farm. And there was no means of communication. The family, his wife didn’t know he was coming and there’s a story and but I don’t’ know if it’s true or not. But it’s an interesting story, that he got there and all was dark of course. His wife was sleeping and he thought, “How can I wake her up without startling her” and he remembered the pump squeaked and he pumped some water for a drink and he looked up and she was standing in the doorway with a big long rifle because she thought he was an intruder. And he had to get her attention right away. These stories…who know if they are true or not!
LL: (laughs) They’re interesting!
KL: Very interesting.
CW: Well you've certainly done good research on this.
KL: Well, there is a lot to do. I mean there could be a real nice project for a student here I’m sure.
CW: A history student.
KL: Like you have that TV show History Detectives or something on public television. They research different things. There’s enough material I think a person could do some research there.
CW: Yeah. And like anything else, the more you learn the more interesting it becomes, doesn’t it?
KL: Right. There are some letters home that soldiers wrote to their families and then the families had them published in the newspapers around. So there are some of those newspapers around that have some letters home so I would like to find some of those old newspapers with those letters and find out more about what camp life was like here at Camp Latty.
CW: Yeah. Right. It would be valuable.
KL: That’s something I’d wanted to do a little research project on it. It would be interesting.
CW: Yes. And valuable. This is all valuable. Not preserved. I’m afraid it’s going to go by the wayside
KL: So while they were here…I guess I don’t know much. There was some correspondence with the adjutant general’s office for the state of Ohio. Since the state of Ohio was coordinating their residence. There was correspondence from different places where these groups were forming. And there was a lot of competition for recruits. It seems like for the 68th regiment here there were a lot of people from Michigan that were coming over the Ohio line recruiting Ohioans for the Michigan regiment.
CW: Is that right!
KL: In Williams and Fulton County and Lucas counties and there’s a couple of letters written to the Adjutant General State of Ohio complaining about that practice. And those are online from the Ohio State Historical Society. A lot of those letters are. They’re not the letters but they are…they are kind of a summary of what the letter tells. For example, there’s one here from November. 4th, 1861 and now they would have been in camp here at Camp Latty and there was a letter written here from Justin Tyler: chairman, Edward Sheffield: secretary of the military committee of Henry County. So evidently there was a military committee in Henry County at this time. It was written to the adjutant general C. P. Buckingham and it was a letter stating on November 1st of 1861 Lieutenant Colonel Samuel H. Steadman made a report to the committee showing that there were 299 recruits from Henry County had already been enrolled and sworn in for the 68th regiment. That the committee had the assurance there would be 4 full companies from Henry County ready for the 68th regiment by December 1st and that this letter recommended the renewal of commissions of Hiram Poe, Andrew Jackson and Thomas Quigley who were recruiting for the 68th regiment. Stating the importance of having the camp equipage sent to Camp Latty forthwith. That would be that they haven’t received their rifles and maybe their uniformsl . . . I don’t know. What’s so perfectly apparent as to need no suggestion from the committee since everyone knew that it would greatly facilitate the recruiting service because if you had all your things here you would be able to recruit people more rapidly.
KL: And recommending the immediate appointment of James G. Haley of Napoleon to the office of quartermaster to the 68th regiment. And stating that Haley was a moral, upright, highly efficient, reliable and pecuniary responsible man the committee would do all in its power to lay the cause of their common country in it’s most unfortunate struggle.
CW: Well, then how many groups did go from here?
KL: Um. I don’t have that information with me but there were groups from Henry County, from Defiance County, Williams County, Fulton County and some from Wood County
CW: And did they all muster here at Camp Latty?
KL: Right. They assembled here and left here as a group.
CW: Well, as one big group or just each one individually?
KL: No as one group all together.
KL: Then they…
CW: So they had a big group that left all at one time.
KL: Right. Right. Around I think like 700 but I’m not sure.
CW: Oh yeah.
KL: And they would form up with 4 other regiments to form another division, another military division, and the 68th spent a lot of the war with the 20th Ohio and the 78th Ohio. The 20th Ohio has a pretty well written history by some members so if you follow what the 20th did a lot of times it would include the 68th would have been there at the same time.
KL: And they think the 68th started with a unit from Indiana and also oneI think later in the war from Illinois, but the 78th Ohio and the 20th Ohio and the 68th Ohio spent quite a bit of the war together.
CW: Uh, tell me did they march a lot of the way south or did they go on train?
KL: Well, they marched a lot. I forget. There’s a summary somewhere that says how far, how many miles they marched, how many thousands of miles they marched, how many states they were in.
CW: It must have been terrible. And they had one pair of shoes and those shoes would be getting pretty thin.
KL: Well, they would buy more from the people that followed the soldiers around selling that stuff.
CW: Oh they did.
KL: Right. So after they left here they went by riverboat to Kentucky. And in pretty much there walking on shanks mare to Shiloh.
CW: Now what to do you mean by shanks mare?
KL: That means on foot . At Shiloh most everyone was sick in the 68th. They were back sentinel guard. Guard detail. A couple of miles away from the actual battle site. They were called up to come to the aid of the others after the first’s day battle at Shiloh and at that time their commander was Lew Wallace. General Lew Wallace who wrote Ben Hur.
CW: Oh, is that right?
KL: Yeah. And from there it was pretty much walking to Mississippi, and Tennessee and Grant’s campaign to capture Vicksburg. And the siege of Vicksburg. Finally Grant got some boats past the city of Vicksburg. Vicksburg was on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River and they had guns and if any ship wanted to take troops past, they would come under fire from those guns and the other side of the river was pretty swampy. So…
CW: I remember I went there. And I remember seeing this steep almost vertical blocks and climbed way up there. And Vicksburg was on top of there.
KL: And so Grant tried to get past Vicksburg and he wanted to control the Mississippi River to cut the confederacy in half. This was the plan at the beginning of the war, to separate it by controlling the Mississippi with their riverboats. So Grant tried to get his troops past Vicksburg. They tried assaulting Vicksburg from the north…(tape ends. )
KL: So Grant tried to assault from the north and that was unsuccessful so he came up with a plan of taking some steamers and tying some barges with cottons bales on the side of the boat that faced the guns of Vicksburg. And tried at night to get the troops past Vicksburg. And so there were a couple people who volunteered from the 68th to be part of that detail to get that job done to take these boats past Vicksburg. One of them is…what’s the name?
KL: One of them was named Crandall. Well, I know that. I don’t have it with me here right now who the others were. But they got the job done. They were of course discovered and were fired upon but they got the troops past Vicksburg at night. And some of the troops marched around through the swamps and they used the riverboats to get the people across the river.
CW: Oh yes.
KL: So they were all on the Mississippi side, across from the Louisiana side.
CW: Oh yes.
KL: And they crossed at Bruinsberg.
CW: Sounds familiar.
KL: They crossed at Bruinsberg and they immediately took off and with no supply train they were living on the land. Grant wanted to go first east to Jackson to deter any troops that might come to reinforce Vicksburg. So he went to Jackson first and the 68th was involved in a battle there in a town called Raymond, Mississippi. The 68th was involved there and then they went to Jackson. And from Jackson they turned toward Vicksburg and when they got to a place called Champions Hill at Champion’s Plantation. There was a battle there and the 68th was involved in that battle and quite a few people were killed there. And then they went to Vicksburg and marched on Vicksburg. Laid siege to Vicksburg. And for several months tried assaulting it directly and were repelled. Heavy losses. They tried digging tunnels underneath and filling it with gunpowder and blowing a hole through. That was not successful. They were sent back. Finally they cut off all supplies. There was no food. They were printing a newspaper on wallpaper in the city. Said to be eating mule meat and so forth. And they were living in dugouts and caves to escape the shelling. Union shells were falling on the city.
CW: Now this is Vicksburg?
KL: This is Vicksburg. This is Vicksburg
CW: Now that one we were talking about before. That was up high on the blocks.
KL: That’s Vicksburg.
CW: Was that the one?
KL: That’s Vicksburg.
CW: Ok. They had signs in that battlefield telling about this, this siege.
KL: There is a monument to the 68th Ohio. I think almost every unit that was there has a monument there. There is a monument for the 68th Ohio there. I haven’t seen it but I’ve seen pictures of it. So they captured Vicksburg on the 4th of July. They surrendered in 1863. At that time the 68th also sent parts of units of sharp shooters to look for reinforcements coming from the east. Shortly after that time, several months passed and their time for enlistment was up. They enlisted for 3 years and tried to get everybody to re-enlist; it took a bit of coaxing.
CW: I bet! (Laughs)
KL: I read that‘s what they did. People told what was said and so forth. What happened I don’t remember right now. But they re-enlisted. They came home to this area to their families and then went back by train, on train to Georgia.
CW: How did they get them to go back?
KL: Well, they had re-enlisted.
CW: Oh, they had gotten them re-enlisted first before letting them go home.
KL: They were re-enlisted. And they went back to Georgia. They were a part of the battle of Atlanta leading up to Kenesaw Mountain. Leading up to the battle of Atlanta. And that was in July and August of 1864. That was the most serious action the 68th was in. They were in a position to the left of the union lines and during the night the confederate troops had flanked them and gotten to their rear. They had confederate troops in the front and rear of them in the battle of Atlanta. That was their most serious battle.
CW: Wasn’t that where Sherman went through and marched to the sea?
KL: Right. After the fall of Atlanta, they torched the railroad tracks, piled the railroad ties up, put the track on top of the ties, lit the fire to bend the railroad tracks so they couldn’t be used again. And that way I guess they couldn’t follow them as they took off. Then Sherman marched to the sea to Savannah and the 68th was a part of that. This was all on foot. Across to Savannah. And from Savannah they went north into South Carolina.
CW: The Union troops?
KL: The Union troops did, right. They are marching now to the end of the war. Grant has been promoted to command in the east and Sherman has command in the west and his troops are marching now from the south to the north. They are marching up through South Carolina. When they got to South Carolina, especially when they get to Columbia, South Carolina, they set fire to the town because South Carolina has been the one that started the secession.
KL: So the troops were especially hard on South Carolina. And they walked through; this was all on foot, to North Carolina and up to Washington DC at the end of the war. They got there and they were a part of the big parade at the end of the war. They all marched in review.
CW: Well, if they were all down there in Carolina, they must not have had anything to do with Gettysburg.
KL: No. Gettysburg, I think Gettysburg was the same time that Vicksburg fell. The same day.
CW: Oh, is that right?
KL: We mostly hear Civil War stories of Gettysburg and Appomattox and Cold Harbor and Petersburg and Richmond. The troops from the west were from the farms, not much from the cities. They were used to more or less to life like that in the country. So they actually had more success living off the country.
CW: Is that right? And they could take that. All that marching.
KL: Right. Take all that. They were used to outdoor life because they worked outdoors as opposed to living in the city and working in a factory or something. So there were German units. There were Irish units. All kinds of people involved. A lot of people involved.
CW: Those German and Irish, they would have been from the New York City area I suppose?
KL: Yeah. Ohio had a group. I don’t remember the name or number but they had a regiment that was mostly German.
CW: Yeah, this area was heavily German.
KL: But most of the officers I see here had English names you know.
CW: Oh they did?
KL: Yeah like Scott. R. K. Scott. He was eventually the colonel of the 68th. He was with General McPherson when McPherson was killed at the battle of Atlanta. He was the highest ranking officer from the union army that was killed with the troops. And he was from Clyde, Ohio.
CW: Oh he was!
KL: And General Scott was with him on that day. His horse was shot from under him and he was captured and later exchanged. And after the war, this is something for someone to investigate, also to do a paper on how Colonel Scott, General Scott got to be Governor of South Carolina for 2 terms.
CW: Yeah. He was a carpetbagger it sounded like to me.
KL: Right. So how did he get that position?
KL: And what were conditions like in South Carolina at that time. Why would he be interested just in the political power or did he have more of a humanitarian aim he wanted to see that right was done. Or you think it was just for political power that he was there.
CW: Probably monetary.
KL: Maybe money. Maybe in it for the money. And what particular troubles did he have as governor of South Carolina. I mean there’s bound to be material on the state histories, libraries of South Carolina somewhere that dealt with his time there.
CW: Yes and a lot of these people that were appointed as governors of southern states after the war were hated by the southerners for some reasons. Well partly because of the war but also they probably were not very kind to the people and there’s some reason there was so much resentment.
KL: Well, for the first time black people were in government and some people in the south couldn’t stand it.
KL: There was Colonel Scott and he is the head of it and he’s the symbol of the loss of their power. There’s lots of material there. I mean there is place for someone who wanted to do some scholarship I’m sure.
CW: It’s good to get this recorded because I suspect in the future, these things are going to be used by students probably Bowling Green or some other college around. History students are going to be looking for, as you say, interesting things to research and we are going to give them specific names, places and so forth and give them direction.
KL: Right. I mean here’s Colonel Scott. He’s buried in Glenwood Cemetery right back here just a few hundred feet from Camp Latty where he started the Civil War career. I mean….
CW: I didn’t know he was buried right there?
KL: He’s buried right there.
LL: He’s got a little marker. The first little one right here.
CW: Oh for heavens sake.
KL: So I mean there’s even high school kids could find I’m sure something to write about. You could just walk over there and feel the history. I mean you’re out there on that field. Of course now, most of it is the cemetery.
KL: Quite a bit of it is cemetery.
CW: Was this farm used at any time by the CCCs because they did so much. Look at what all they did in this area. They did the swimming pool, the shelter house.
LL: Not to my knowledge.
CW: They must have. I don’t know where they camped out. But it sure must have been around here somewhere.
KL: I don’t know. I don’t think it was here because I never heard any stories. I haven’t heard any stories about that. But with the river here, they could have camped along the river, too. But, um, this Camp Latty, I mean, I have been looking at the court house to try find out how it got to be used as a camp. I mean, I know it was used as a camp because we have personal accounts telling about it and we have archeological artifacts to prove that it was, also, and but I don’t know exactly who owned it at that time or why this particular place was chosen as an assembly point. It was kind of on the edge of town.
CW: Well, and it was high. You could see all around.
KL: And it was high and a lot of times they used the fairgrounds in some of the counties to assembly people because it was public ground.
KL: But here they used this place. I don’t know why. It’s another question that’s not answered.
KL: There are a lot of questions that aren’t answered.
KL: So the more you go, the more questions you have.
CW: Do you recall your father, Harold Hoff? He was Mayor of the city for many years. Does he, did he tell you anything about the city at the time when he was mayor or prior to that time?
LL: He was mayor when Campbell Soup came to Napoleon.
CW: That was a big job to get them to come. Well, back to the building of 424. We moved here in 1951 and in that time, we rented that house when we first came that Mrs. Ressing owned. And then Mary Irene Funkhouser and her husband lived there. Who painted the (can’t understand). Well, the trucks at that time came up Avon.
LL: I could see how it would be Avon.
CW: Yeah. And I think there was a gas station down by near the river somewhere originally. Wasn’t there?
LL: That I don’t remember.
CW: There were a lot of those. And then the trucks would turn and go down Washington Street. They had the red light there and the trucks would make a lot of noise with their air brakes slowing down for the red light. So when he was mayor then, did he work with George Rafferty? Because George Rafferty said he made trips to Chicago to try and get Campbell to come here.
LL: Oh he could have. I don’t know. I don’t who all was involved with it.
CW: Then he really had to work. I suppose they were in competition with a lot of other towns.
LL: Right. But the one good thing that Henry County had going for it that a lot of places don’t have was soil, which is excellent for growing tomatoes.
CW: Oh really. I didn’t know that. Well, then also we had the water which would certainly be necessary for soup.
CW: Well, that made a big difference in our town. When did Campbell Soup come here first? Do you know?
LL: No I don’t know. It’s somewhere. I have magazines saying when and all that but I don’t know. And I can’t put my fingers right on them either.
CW: Well, now this little building where the ice cream place is, the Fosty Ice Cream. That has an interesting history because at one time it was the greyhound bus station. What else was it used for?
LL: Well, it used to be a garage. And I think before that it was Charlie Bale’s had a garage. I think so. And Pruitt’s bought it from Bales’s when I was a little girl. And Joe had a gas station in it. .
CW: So there was a gas station there too? There were gas stations every whip stitch weren’t there.
CW: Well, you didn’t go as far in those days as they do now and you probably used up more gasoline in the process with the old cars.
LL: And you didn’t go in winter.
CW: No you couldn’t.
LL: Because the roads weren’t good. Mother always said that. You could never take the car out in the winter. You had to walk. (Hard to understand)
CW: That’s what he needed most of all!
CW: But they didn’t even have heaters in the car did they?
LL: I don’t believe. No.
CW: How did we get off our topic? (Can’t understand) What else can we get off on? (Laughs)
LL: I don’t know. (Laughs)
CW: Still running. How many acres were in this farm?
LL: How many did you say?
KL: I think there must have been around 8 acres.
CW: Oh, so it was just a small farm.
KL: Right. Small parcel surveys at that time were not real precise either. I mean a lot of times a survey would go to a tree or something. Glenwood Avenue is a half section road. And somewhere near the police station on Glenwood is a section line.
CW: Now would you explain for children who wouldn’t know what a section was?
KL: A section is a 1 square mile of land. And the state of Ohio was divided into counties and then counties were divided into townships and townships were divided into sections. And a section is one square mile of land.
CW: So when they first settled here they would buy so many sections I suppose to farm.
KL: Right. Well, most people if they were farming would get a small acreage because they had to clear the trees off before they could farm it. And a timber speculator might buy large tracts of land to cut the timber off of it.
CW: Oh yeah. Do you know anything about that tiny, little, odd shaped road by the Bethlehem church on the Ridge Road. South of Ridgeville?
KL: No, I don’t.
CW: I’m trying to find out about that. Yes, that’s right. They didn’t seem to know anything about it either. I asked them. But there’s a possibility it might have been an Indian burial ground at one time. (Can’t understand) It was not like God’s little acre. Most of the farmers in the area would save one square acre and dedicated it to God the way I understand. But this one is not shaped like that, like the others.
KL: I don’t know where that is.
CW: Well, if you are ever on the Ridge Road and going south, you will see the Bethlehem church on your left. And then just across on the north side of the road is where this little grove of trees.
KL: Not familiar with it.
CW: Do you remember your father or mother telling about when they were children, what life was like?
LL: My mother lived in Okolona and they had to walk to Bethlehem church and…
CW: That would be a pretty long walk. How many miles would that be?
LL: I don’t know? How far is it? A couple miles?
KL: It’s over a mile.
LL: And Daddy lived here in town. They originally lived in a house on Main Street and then school needed it when they built the new high school. So then they moved over to the south side to Barnes Avenue. And like Father said, when he was little he would ice skate and they always had a boat on the canal.
CW: Would you ice skate on the river?
KL: I guess they ice skated on the river. I wouldn’t do it now because I don’t think it gets cold enough.
CW: No. I wouldn’t now. (Laughs)
LL: Well, I think, speaking of the river, one thing they always told mother and daddy always told about was Mr. Hampton who used to live in the other house over here. That he would, he always went fishing in the river and he could start at the culvert and he would dive in and then he would never come up until he was across the river. He could swim across the entire river.
CW: He must have been quite a swimmer. I need to try that. (Laughs) Well, back then it was a much purer, a much cleaner body of water. It’s unusually wide too. It’s not deep but it’s an unusually wide river.
LL: Yes, it is. That’s true. And they both said you know that when they were growing up and even after they were married, that Saturday night everyone would go uptown Napoleon. Park their cars and visit.
CW: I know. When I was going to Bowling Green to school but this was a long time ago, I worked in a dress shop. I think it was Pepper’s Dress Shop. And they had tiny little booths to change your clothes in but Saturday night there would be a crowd. Every Saturday night women coming in to look at dresses and try them on and so forth. The rest of the week it wouldn’t be busy.
LL: Yeah. Saturday night was the night you went to town.
CW: Did they have sodas, sundaes at the time I wonder? They did when I was girl.
LL: I don’t know if I ever remember them talking about that.
KL: I think so. Didn’t your mother have something about ginger ale?
LL: Oh that was in Toledo. She always said the fountains in Toledo had ginger ale in them.
LL: At the zoo I think they had a fountain with ginger ale.
KL: I remember… I remember one story that Harold told. I don’t know the name of this person, but this person worked at Spengler's and food like crackers, for example, would come in barrels and this person could stand beside a barrel, an empty barrel and jump into the barrel.
CW: Wow! (Laughs) That is something.
KL: That would be an athletic feat today.
CW: Yeah that would.
KL: Here’s a letter from Samuel Steadman, Colonel of the 68th regiment, Camp Latty here in Napoleon, Henry County Ohio to General C. P. Buckingham. It’s a letter stating that the organization of the 68th regiment of Ohio volunteer infantry was complete and that he was forwarding the muster roles per express and that he received the bill of stores and muskets purported to have been shipped on December 24th of 1861. So this is a letter saying that he received the muskets and stores. And that the organization was complete and he was forwarding the roles to the State and that they were waiting for orders to be shipped out.
CW: Now that’s the sort of thing that verifies anything that’s been said by word of mouth or whatever. Here you have actual facts.
KL: And here’s a letter that mentions Robert Masters. It’s
from the same date, December 27th, 1861, and it’s from Augustus
CW: I don’t mean to interrupt but I think we have to …. . (Can’t understand)
KL: OK. It’s from Augustus Porter who was from Nettle Lake in Williams County Ohio. And it’s stating that he received an appointment as a recruiting officer for the 68th regiment on November 5th. And he went to work under the order expecting to comply with the conditions of his appointment but he failed to recruit the 30 men in the time allowed but he did recruit 26 men and that Robert Masters reported 25 recruits at that time and was in the recruiting service at the same length of time that Mr. Porter was and that when they reported to the commanding officer of the regiment he had more than Masters in camp but by some process that Mr. Porter did not understand Masters received commissions over him but with less number of men. And all the compensation he had received was 50 dollars which would pay about half of his expenses. And Mr. Porter was requesting that Mr. Buckingham procure for him an order for his pay as recruiting officer. And that his recruits had reported to camp on December 13th.
End of Tape
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