Charlotte Wangrin (CW) interviewing Henry Eggers (EG) for the Henry County Historical Society, November 2002
CW: Henry where and when your were born?
HE: Born in Freedom Township and March 20, 1910.
CW: Were you born on a kitchen table like a lot of other people were?
HE: I don’t know; people do say that, but I don’t think so. They did have trouble with me, I guess they almost lost me.
CW: You are the oldest.
HE: I have three sisters.
CW: What childhood memories do you have?
HE: Not too many. Maybe going to school because I had to walk a little more than 1/2 mile to school.
CW: One room school?
HE: Yes one room school.
CW: Where was the school?
HE: North of 18 and T. The teacher boarded at our house. She was a great teacher. The second grade teacher and the third grade teacher boarded at our house too.
CW: Was it still a one room school after it was remodeled?
HE: Oh yea. I’m not sure what it was before this. Furnace in one corner and chair that moved around. About 18 to 23 in school.
CW: How did two teachers operate in one room?
HE: There wasn’t two teachers, just one teacher. Mrs. Shiree taught one year in 1916, then Mrs. Tate followed her. They had recital benches while we listened to the teacher. Of course some of the ones in the back that were older listened too, when they should of been studying. But one thing about the old school system
[text omitted]. My daughter
Cindy went to Ridgeville in about 1962. Put her in 8th grade. Ask her about the discipline — they had no problems. Nowadays they have to talk to every one of them and they can’t handle it. Teacher the other day stopped by and said she had a bad day; not all days are bad. She can’t control her class; if they want to say something they just say it regardless. It’s hard to do anything.
CW: How did they discipline them differently back in those days?
HE: I suppose the parents, I think that’s where it came from. In those days if you got something from the school or the teacher didn’t think you did something right at school, they would report it to your parents. That’s the way it went through my whole eighth grade, through my high school years at Ridgeville Corners. I believe we had three teachers for the whole system. They built a new school in 1928, graduated in 1928. Spent over a year in a half at the old school. The church has brought it. It’s doing alright.
CW: Did you walk to school?
HE: Yea, and to Ridgeville too.
CW: That was quite a walk to school, too.
HE: It was 2 1/2 miles. I rode bicycle all I could when the weather allowed it. I rode for 4 years. The day I graduated I rode and I haven’t touched it for twenty years after that. Dr. Dell had an office in Ridgeville, oftentimes he would pick me up.
CW: He was a good fellow.
CW: Was there quite a bit of traffic on Route 6?
HE: No [portion omitted]. Well, at that time it was improved from here to Ridgeville, and improved by 1920 with hard stone; otherwise, before that it was just dry dirt and mud.
CW: So Route 6, was it always [portion omitted]?
HE: Almost always, it would be pretty bad if it wasn’t. As far as I know. What snow did, I don’t know. I guess they used at that time in the 20’s, though the auto was coming in and you didn’t use sleigh so much. I don’t think they did anyhow. But they would keep deep tracks in the spring [portion omitted] in the summer time they would grade those holes down somehow. Sometimes you would get dust. [portion omitted] They put some stone, as far as I know they could put, when they were charged to build that road they just put a hard layer of big stone about 2 inches in diameter. Like all roads I guess it held up pretty well. It’s been added to it all those times [portion omitted]. It’s kinda interesting. The man’s name was Stone who built the road. He was a contractor.
CW: Did you ever have anybody get stuck on this bend here, uh, on the ruts?
HE: Yes. [portion omitted] I had nothing to do with this job. I was only ten years old in 1920. And 15 in the 20’s. I never had to help anyone out there. I suppose the neighbors did. The other road down here was the same way down here toward town. Got real wet in the spring would get muddy and Dad would have to go down there and pull someone out. But I never had to help. Yes right here we had accidents in the nicest weather of the year. We would probably have an accident every week for a couple months. It was unbelievable, the accidents that you had here. One person was killed here. But one time in the winter time when I was eating breakfast, eating a meal here, I heard a noise and rushed and a truck came across those posts that hold up the guard-rails. You could hear the crushing, rolled over into the creek the creek was probably dry. They had to get him out. He was lucky he didn’t get hurt. The car didn’t get hurt too bad either. Someone else got in the creek one time too. One time we were getting ready for church on a Sunday morning and Vernon Norris came to the door, and said there is someone down here in a car that got off the road and maybe we have to call someone. I went and got adults and they called the sheriff out here. At that time [there was a] washout on this side of the road. [portion omitted] for a new top on that changed the course [portion omitted] and he drove off and he didn’t make the curve and I think it was the driver that was killed and the other man…
CW: I remember going with my mom and dad when I was a little girl on those roads that had deep ruts and Dad would drive along in a rut and all of sudden he would have to get out of the rut and there would be a big jolt to get out of that rut, and there were lots of flat tires I suppose, too.
HE: I imagine. I don’t know about the flat tires. they had a lot of flat tires all over those days. Along with that we had an accident that one time a car rolled over in the creek and just rolled over and I think it was 2-3 boys and a girl in the car and they were going fishing…
CW: Oh, you farmed then? Did you farm this farm?
HE: No. We didn’t buy this until 1943. Matthews lived here — George Matthews lived here…
CW : Where did you and Irma go when you got married?
HE: The next place down the house on the other side. Dad owned that, just the house on the south side of the road. There was a barn there too. We lived there seven years and than we moved over here. Another thing I was going to say about the road: 1964 they remodeled it and did a real job on it, land on each side of it, and made it wider. And since then I don’t think we have had over three accidents – a couple trucks slid off in an ice storm and just last winter something happened and someone wanted to go around him. I don’t know how bad that was. That was one of the major accidents that they had…
CW: [portion omitted]
HE: 1936 we were married. Pastor Cluster from Fostoria married us in his residence.
CW: Was Irma from Fostoria?
CW: How did you happen to meet her?
HE: We had neighbor who lived across the road from where we lived that moved up to Trenton, Michigan. And Irma’s brother died. He lived up there with that family. I wanted to go up there and visit and took another couple along, and we went up there and she happened to be there. The reason she was there is because her brother had passed away and the funeral was in Fostoria. At that time she was working in Cleveland and she came home for the funeral and these [portion omitted]. They adopted her and she kept the name Stanton. We were married in 1936 and she wasn’t a Lutheran and I was going to church out here in St. Paul out in the country and they hadn’t switched over to English yet. They were thinking about one thing or another.
CW: They were preaching in German?
HE: Yea. Still had services in German every Sunday in German, and once in a while some Sunday a month they had it at times in English. So that how we ended up at St. Emanuel.
CW: How I don’t get the connection. What’s the connection with the language with you going to Emanuel? Did she not know German?
HE: No she knew no German.
CW: Oh that was it.
HE: She would of had to learn it all in German. She could of gotten confirmed there though.
CW: At that time Emanuel was having services in English?
HE: Oh yes. Pastor was there a couple years or maybe he came the year before. Things moved right along after he came.
CW: Irma wasn’t an orphan? She was just adopted from a different family?
HE: She might have become a street orphan. Her mother passed away when she was nine years old, I believe, eight or nine. She had five sisters, several of them were married. These people could see she needed help. She did, and somehow they got permission to let her live with them awhile, and then they adopted her.
CW: That was quite common in those days to adopt a child.
CW: Sometimes if parents were very poor and couldn’t afford to feed a big family of children they would allow one or two to be adopted in different families.