Intertervewed by Russell and Marlene Patterson, February 2, 2010
Transcribed by Marlene Patterson
MP: How was your family involved in the George Williams murder in 1883?
MR: The Johnson who murdered the Williams man and his wife. The Williams were related to me. They were in my grandmother’s and my mother’s family. Johnson first killed him with an axe outside the barn. He went inside the house and I don’t know how he killed her but they had a baby and this baby was on the bed. He wrapped him and thought he would smother him. Well he didn’t. A couple of days later when they found the bodies the baby was okay but he had sucked his fingers and his hands and they were very sore. It says here in 1938, and I can remember this. This picture is of me and my sister and my brother, my Dad and my Mom. We went to Texas. I think it was Galveston. We went down by the water and we visited him. And seeing him there, we visited the baby who had survived.
MP: Oh this is a picture of the baby that survived. You know Russell just gave a talk on the Johnson murder and that was one of the questions that came up-what happened to this child.
MR: Then this is a picture of his family. This was the last time he came up here to visit.
MP: Where does he live now?
MR: He is dead now because that happened in the 1940’s.
MP: Does he have descendents living around here?
RP: That is very interesting.
MR: I brought this picture because the clothing these ladies had on was so unique. My grandmother Callie Bittikofer is the one in the middle. I know there is a Mrs. Honeck here. This was taken up in front of the old hospital.
MP: Yes, this shows the front porch of the hospital.
MR: This is what they used to get out of the Maumee River.
RP: Now that is your dad in the center.
MP: What was your maiden name?
MR: Saneholtz. This is a picture of when we went down to Texas. We stayed at rooming houses because there were no motels at that time.
MR: This is a picture of Grampa Saneholtz and Grandma Saneholtz. Grampa Saneholtz had the Saneholtz Monuments here in Napoleon. Grampa Saneholtz was mainly the salesman and Grampa he died at the age of 58. It was right after they built the gymnasium at Central School. He took my brother to a basketball game and he told my brother that he needed air and was going outside. He went outside and dropped over dead.
RP: That would have been right after they finished the gymnasium between the two schools. Now where did your Grampa and Grandma Saneholtz live?
MR: They lived on Clinton Street.
RP: Did they live in that house on Tyler Street about the second house down?
MR: Earlier in life they did and then when he passed away she lived in that house beside the house on Clinton Street, just beyond the Catholic Church there. Do you remember that house there that Don Westhoven built? It was next door to that place.
RP: It would have been East of that because Don built on the corner lot. The reason I asked you that is do you remember that picture that they had in the newspaper a few months ago. Somebody turned one in on the Saneholtzes and I was looking at the background trying to figure out where that house was.
MP: We drove around and around just looking for that house.
RP: I knew at one time that Bud Saneholtz had lived on West Clinton. It was on Tyler and there was a house right next to it.
MR: It was on Washington St. right across from the Presbyterian Church. My dad was Art, and he was the one who engraved the monuments. During my childhood, on Sundays we would drive to other towns and did rubbings on tombstones. My dad would take paper and crayons and everything and if we were good we would get a treat.
RP: That is interesting. I have tried to do rubbings myself and it is hard to do.
MR: Well, he always had his special way. He had this big brown paper and he always used his yardsticks to smooth it. Then he had this big crayon.
RP: I know Ed Peper and I took some paper and crayons and went up to the cornerstone at the courthouse to do some rubbings. We read ‘laid by’ and then it was chiseled out. We were trying to figure out what it originally had said. We couldn’t make out the letters.
MR: This is a picture of John’s sisters. Our great-great-grandparents came here to American in 1847. They had 10 children and these are the five girls and the five boys. The Saneholtzes when they first came lived here in Napoleon.
MP: I enjoy looking at old photos.
MR: We decided they must have used the same pattern to make all five of their dresses. Just look at those dresses.
MP: My mother made clothes for us and used the same pattern. If one of us was bigger or smaller than the other one she would just alter the waist or pin the pattern up and make it shorter. We got along just fine. Of course she would use different material.
MR: Here I brought this picture along just to aggravate you. My Dad and Mom used to go up into Michigan and get mushrooms.
MP: Look at those mushrooms. This is the first picture we have ever seen of mushrooms.
RP: People used to come into the store and tell us how many mushrooms they had brought home from Michigan, but they never had any evidence to back up their bragging. We’d ask them to sell us a pound and they would always back off.
MR: Do you know how much they are a pound. Our daughter lives out East and they are selling for sixty to seventy dollars a pound. There is nothing like the Michigan mushrooms.There is no flavor in regular mushrooms.
RP: Ken Krueger used to go and find mushrooms and he would share some of them with me. I would fry them in butter at home and Marlene didn’t like them.
MP: I wouldn’t touch them.
MR: Oh you didn’t know what you were missing.
MP: I have never seen a picture of people’s mushrooms in quantity like this picture shows them.
MR: I found this article and it was written in 1971 by Nat Belknap.
MP: Was this his log cabin?
MR: Yes, and this is my great-grandfather, my grandmother Callie Bittikofer’s dad. They lived in there. Here is a picture of the last time my family was together. I don’t know what year that was. It was before my time.
RP: Now Marilyn, how were you related to Mrs. Frank Bartz?
MR: She was a cousin of my Grandma Callie Bittikofer. It would have been Caroline (Swinn) Bittikofer .
MP: My dad called Frank Bartz every day at the elevator. He would call him and order train cars to come to Gerald. They would load the cars with grain and ship them out of Gerald and the loads of grain would be sent all over the country. I always knew his voice and I could hear him on the telephone but I never knew what he looked like until later years when we had the drug store. He introduced himself and we talked about the grain business and the railroad business. This was Mr. Frank Bartz. They were very sweet people.
MR: They never had any children. He was in World War I and he directed trains in France.
RP: Is that what he did!
MR: Here is a picture of the Swin family. There is one there of my grandma’s brother who was living in another town and this happened when I was probably ten years old. They used to have the cousins come over. My mother would make clothes for her. They had six children and he got out of the service and they didn’t have any money and there was no welfare service and they put him in jail because he didn’t buy his kids any shoes. That was the story. I just always remembered that.
MP: A lot of people didn’t have money in those days.
RP: Just like my Grandfather Patterson he worked at the roundhouse here in Napoleon. This was in the winter time, in December and he had a bad cold. My grandmother had to tie his shoes for him, he was that sick. He insisted on going to work. If he didn’t show up for work he wouldn’t get paid. He went to work and got sicker at work and a couple of days later he died of pneumonia. Dad was sixteen at the time and my dad’s brother was only eleven at the time. That left my grandmother a widow. At that time Henry Ford had the railroad. She wrote him a letter asked him if he would be able to help. His secretary wrote back. Well he wrote back and said it wasn’t the railroads fault that he died but in a couple of years we will give your son a job. So my dad quit school and worked in the hotel and my grandmother worked in the hotel and made beds as a chamber maid. Two years later when he got to be 18 he applied for a job on the railroad and they replied that they were sorry but they had no openings. I have both of those letters. My dad saved those letters. My grandmother had saved both of those letters. Later he got a job at Shaff’s Drug Store. He worked there for years and years.
MR: I can remember him working there and Shaff’s was forever and ever.
RP: Now do you happen to know if any of the Williams family descendants are still living in Texas?
MR: No, I don’t think he ever married. This here is a picture of my grandmother, Mrs. Callie Bittikofer. Lloyd died early too. Lloyd was only 58 when he passed away. My grandfather and grandmother Lloyd and Callie Bittikoffer are the two that started the Biddies Restaurant. He was big and tall and I can remember him well. I can remember this too because I was special. Their birthdays were the same day, and I was the first granddaughter and I was born on their birthday.
RP: My boy Dan was born on my father’s birthday.
MR: It always made me feel special.
MP: I was born on my mother’s birthday.
MR: This is a picture of my Grandmother Callie, the one with the restaurant. Now you probably remember Rosie Teeple. She was my grandmother’s sister. This is a picture of my Grandmother Saneholtz. This is John and Carrie Saneholtz. Now these women with my Grandmother Bittikofer driving, and there was someone else that drove out to California and went to the Grand Canyon and all over and drove back. Those three women and this was in the 1930’s.
RP: That would have been quite a trip for them in those days.
MR: Yes it was. It would have been in 1938. The roads would not have been all that great, and just the three women. Do you remember Rosie Teeple? She was my grandmother’s sister.
RP: I can tell you what I remember about Rosie in my youth. My mother had her come to our house and hang wallpaper.
MR: She was the best wallpaper hanger around. I can tell you I used to help her wallpaper. They had rooms to wallpaper in their two houses- the motel and the red brick house on the corner. – There were also cabins down beyond the restaurant. There were three of them down there and they were all papered. Us kids we all used to help.
RP: I can tell you a story on Rosie. I went to her auction sale after she had died. She had been cleaning and taking care of many of the lawyers’ offices downtown. When they threw good things out she would take the articles home and save them. She had two of the old Henry County Atlases dated 1875. They were bound copies and they were early. I had wanted one for years and I could never find any. I went through all of the boxes at the auction here she had two of them. I looked out across the table and there was Wren Reese. I thought at least I will be able to get one copy. Whalen was the auctioneer and he held the copies up and said bidders choice. I ran him up to fifty dollars. Back at that time that was a big price to pay, but I wanted one. I thought let him have it and I can bid on the second book. Whalen said to Wren – which one do you want Wren and he replied that he would take them both.
MP: He paid one hundred dollars for two dirty old books.
RP: So I had to give it up. I will tell you what I bought there at her sale and I still have them. I bought stereo views of the Spanish-American War. Rosie’s husband had served in the war.
MR: You know how her husband died don’t you?
RP: Yes I do.
MR: He blew himself up. They were taking stumps out and they used dynamite and he blew himself up.
MP: Who is the man that fell into the fire and died when he was burning trash here on the south side?
RP: That was Harry Wenner.
MR: Aunt Rosie fell into the trash and died.
RP: I have a newspaper account of Rosie’s husband when he died. The fellow that was along told about it. He had the dynamite cap in a bucket and he was fixing one and he threw his knife into the bucket. I think one of the sparks from the knife hit one of the caps and it exploded. He told that Harry flew up in the air twenty some feet.
MP: Poor man.
MR: Grandma used to take Rosie along in later years when she would go on a trip. It was hard to keep her quiet.
MP: She loved to talk.
RP: I remember her, I was just a kid and she was at our house and she hung wallpaper and she talked and talked.
MR: She sure knew how to hang that paper, didn’t she.
RP: I will give you a post script on the atlas story. Do you remember Florian Sauer’s mother-in-law? She was Caroline Schroeder. She lived in that house on Woodlawn right across from where my Mom and Dad lived. She used to go to all these auction sales and she would buy these quarter boxes-when you would get down to the end of the sale and people would be leaving. She would buy what I call catch-all bargain ends. She would take this stuff home and she had like an antique shop in her house. We used to go visit her on Sundays after we had eaten our Sunday dinner just to see what she had for sale. I was over there one Sunday looking all around and I noticed a book sticking out from under her davenport. I got down on my hands and knees, pulled it out and here was one of those Henry County Atlases. I took it over to her, she was sitting at an old table, and I asked her what she wanted for this. She said, “Oh, you found the geography book”. She said I’ll need five dollars for that. And I said I’ll take it.
MR: Good for you!
RP: So Wren had to pay fifty dollars and I got mine for five.
MR: She probably bought it at a garage sale somewhere. We lived close to Graceann and I bought a sweeper there. My daughter was going off to college and she needed one so I bought it. My dad always said Wren made his money off of the water plant. My dad ran for mayor of Napoleon in 1947.
RP: I can remember Byron Rasey.
MR: They always said he changed his baby’s diapers on the meat block. That is what people told.
RP: Another thing he did was the first house from the turn here at the Lutheran Home, when he was Mayor, he built onto that house a porch. He fell into bad times and never finished it. He didn’t have the regular sized posts to hold up the ceiling. That is what people always said.
MR: Life is really interesting isn’t it? Well, lets see and move on. This is a picture of my Grandma and Grandpa, my mother and my Aunt when they were little.
RP: Do you know where the farm was at?
MR: It was over on the south side but I don’t remember exactly where. As a kid I can remember driving past it.
RP: There is a nice team of horses.
MR: My mother was real blonde and my aunt was real dark-haired.
RP: Is it okay if I copy this picture. It will only take a second.
MP: Get the one with the mushrooms too.
RP: Get me the log house too.
MR: You mean the one with Grampa?
MR: This is a picture of Ross Radel. They lived at the end where Garden Street comes out. They had a big barn behind their house and when we were kids the barn burned down. I can always remember that. It was one street over and he was on old Route 24 and somebody stopped to give him a ride – he was hitchhiking, and somehow he got run over. It was so sad. He left three kids.
RP: Did he get hit just by accident.
MR: Yes, It was just by accident. Ross Radel lived on Garden Street and I was born on Garden Street. They used to call that area Garlic Knob.
MP: Was there somebody in the area that grew a lot of garlic or how did that area get its name?
MR: There was a lot of garlic growing down by the river and my Grampa Saneholtz had named it Garlic Knob. Chubb’s Bakery would come around and deliver rolls and bread and the iceman would come around and deliver ice to our house.
RP: A funny thing about that was when Chubb’s Bakery would come to deliver baked goods the horse would know just where to stop and wait and then take off again.
MP: Do you suppose the driver had a special signal for the horse?
RP: Well the horse would stop and he wouldn’t moved until the driver told him to. The bakery and the iceman would have cards you would put in your window. The ice card would say like 25 – 50 – or 100 pounds, and he would just stop and deliver it to your icebox. What ever amount you wanted you would place that to the top of your sign.
MR: Another thing that was during the Depression my Mom said so many men came along off of the highway and my mother would always give them something to eat. It might be something as simple as a sandwich. She would put it out the door and then she would hook the door. We would stand and watch them eat.
RP: My mother always fed them too. They would come up to the back door. We had a fence along there and later on I found out that these tramps would mark our fence that this was a good place to eat. The mark was a cross. I found a book that told about how hoboes and tramps marked a good house that gave out food.
MR: I bet they did.
RP: I know the neighborhood kids that I played with asked me once why my mother always feeds those tramps. I said I don’t know, I will go ask her. At that time I had been going to the Lutheran School and we studied the Bible. She told me to look in the Bible and read Matthew 25 verse 35. So I did. It is the passage where Jesus said, I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. It said about clothes and you clothed me. The next day she asked me if I knew why she fed the tramps. I told her that Jesus said we should feed the hungry and help the poor.
MP: We don’t have tramps anymore but we have the homeless and the poor.
RP: Sometimes the tramps would ask if we had any work for them to do.
MR: Probably depended on the times too. We will go to the motel now. My mom and dad got the motel in about 1948 or 1949. My grandmother had the motel and she also had the restaurant. The reason my aunt got the restaurant was because she always did all the cooking at the restaurant. Dad was retiring from the monument business so they took over the motel. I just wanted to show you a picture of that man (coughs) I am allergic to the knitting I am doing.
MP: What are you knitting?
MR: I knit scarves.
MP: Do you really?
MR: I will tell you later how I make them. That gentleman is Pete Kovac. He was from Chicago. He used to come and he is the one who designed the cookers at Campbell’s. My dad would get to know these people when they were staying there for awhile. We got to know all these salesmen that stayed at the motel. One of them was from the country of Holland. He brought his family over here for a short time. Somebody was coming in and going out all the time. My kids when they went to Grandma’s and Grampa’s they would go to the motel. This is the age my kids were and why we have a lot of Miss Americas. They would be at the fair and they would stay in our motel. They would sign an autograph for my Dad and Mom. I have some bigger pictures here too. This is a picture of one of my kids with Miss America.
RP: I always remembered too when I was a kid my grandmother, your grandmother Bittikofer lived right on the corner. Elmer Miller lived next to her and the next house was my grandmother. We went there as a kid and I can remember yet looking over at the river cabins, on the east side was where the restaurant was.
MR: This is a picture of Minnie Pearl. My dad was out in the yard one day and it was fair time and she was going to be at the fair.
MP: Minnie Pearl?
MR: Oh yes.
MP: What year was that?
MR: It was in the 1940’s. She came out, turned around and said would you button me up. He buttoned her up and he just thought that was marvelous. I found this picture and I just had to show you this picture to prove to you that she was there. In the yard is the rest of them by the house. In behind the restaurant was this rock garden. It was the most gorgeous rock garden that you ever saw.
RP: That does look really nice.
RP: Did you know that when we were at the drug store on Sundays and stuff strangers would come in and ask “How do you get to Biddie’s Restaurant?
MR: It was very well known.
RP: Oh yes.
MR: This is a picture of the rock garden taken from the back to the front. The rock garden is right in here.
RP: This is a good picture of the Gulf Station.
MR: That is later. It was just that one building when they started the restaurant. They started the restaurant about in 1925.
MP: Now is this where Rueben ended up living?
MP: And this area is what they just tore down?
MR: You know what, after we found out that they had tore that down Pete said, Oh, my gosh! I said what is the matter honey? He said I wonder what they did with those perfect timbers that were in the top of those rooms. Those were the most perfect, flawless timbers. I hope they didn’t destroy them. I hope they did something with them. Of course Pete was in the lumber business. He said those timbers were flawless. We ordered those in special in the early 1940’s.
MP: Nobody saves things nowadays. They just rip apart buildings and bulldoze them down.
RP: I certainly appreciate your letting me copy these pictures.
MR: There was a big barn behind the house. It was right where the other motel is now. There was a huge barn back in there. There was a garden right behind it. That is where they grew the vegetables for the restaurant.
MP: You cannot beat fresh produce.
MR: They raised their own chickens in there. They were divided off. The bottom had two sections. and the top had two sections. They kept moving them as they grew. I guess they brought them down. They always had these chickens and on Thursdays they would clean the chickens in the basement of that red house. It was the red house on the corner, down in that basement. Now they always had help. Girls from the country came in and worked for them. Some of the girls would stay there. There were two and three to a room. They would work split shifts at the restaurant. They were very lovely ladies.
MP: That was the thing for these farm girls to do at that time. They were also very good workers.
RP: My mother wasn’t from the country but she worked for Otto Evers, the publisher of the German Democrat. He lived on Clinton Street in a brick house that Bob George ended up living there. I will tell you a humorous thing that happened. Mrs. Evers had …
MR: Wasn’t she a teacher too?
RP: That was our neighbor on Washington St. Augusta Rice Evers. She was a character. She was my kindergarten teacher. Well anyway, this Mrs. Evers passed away and her son Fritz came and had a sale. Here Mr. Evers when he died he was cremated. She put his remains in a vase. They sold the vase at the sale and the lady said look at the dirt still in this vase and she dumped it all over the ground. My mothers jaw just dropped because she worked there and knew what was inside the vase.
MR: Oh my goodness!
RP: Jap Evers’ wife Gussie was my kindergarten teacher. Of course we didn’t have regular kindergarten in the public schools at that time. We had it in the basement of the old library. My mother, every Friday I would have to take fifty cents to school. She would tie a fifty cent piece in the corner of my handkerchief to pay for my schooling. Anyway I moved next door to her on Washington Street. In the summertime when we had the windows open we could hear her clip clip clip across her front porch late at night. She went and played Bingo at different places around the county four or five nights a week. She told me if you see lights on late at night don’t worry because I stay up to watch Johnny Carson. She was quite a woman.
MR: I had to go into the basement at Central School for my kindergarten. The gymnasium was up on the third floor. Didn’t you go to Central?
RP: No, I went to the Lutheran School. When I went to kindergarten it was a private kindergarten. I know we had a play featuring Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. I played Raggedy Andy.
MP: Is that when your mother made the pongee suit for you?
RP: No, not this time. Anyway I was so embarrassed because Mrs. Evers took rouge and put it on my cheeks. I thought well that’s for girls. Girls put makeup on and I was so embarrassed.
MR: Marlene, did you grow up in Napoleon?
MP: No, I grew up in Gerald. The big town of Gerald. We lived right across from the big grain elevator. My dad ran the elevator and my grandfather lived directly across the road from us because he ran the elevator first. Then my dad took over the operation. My grandfather and a relative of his Fred Gerken built the elevator years ago.
RP: One thing, my Grandfather Bernicke when he first came from Germany to this country, he was a blacksmith and he worked for Marlene’s grandfather.
MR: For heavens sake!
MP: I went to St. John’s Lutheran School in the country and graduated from Ridgeville High School. Talk about being underprivileged.
MR: You were really lacking a good school.
MP: Ridgeville was a good school. I was also taught good morals in both schools, which is lacking in a lot of our youth today.
MR: I find that a lot of kids are so hurtful to each other. They fight each other.
MP: Girls especially.
MR: Their language is terrible.
RP: It is ridiculous.
MR: I just don’t understand things anymore.
MP: I buy a top and the neckline goes way down. I get a T shirt and wear it underneath. Okay, we are going to start now on your subject, and would you please give us your name.
MR: I am Marilyn Elizabeth Rausch.
MP: And what was your maiden name?
MR: Marilyn Elizabeth Saneholtz.
MP: What is your current address?
MR: 526 W. Main Street.
MP: And you are married to …
MR: Lowell Frederick Rausch. He was the youngest of five boys.
MP: He goes by the name of …
MP: Where did you start your schooling?
MR: I started here in Napoleon at Central School.
MP: Did they have kindergarten at that time?
MR: Yes. It was in the basement.
MP: Do you remember who your teacher was?
MR: No, but my first grade teacher was Mrs. Burkhart.
MP: Would she have been C. D. Brillhart’s wife.
MR: I am not sure but I don’t think so. It is not the same spelling.
MP: You would have graduated from Napoleon High School.
MR: In 1948.
MP: It is my understanding you went into nurses training. Was this right after you graduated from high school?
MR: Yes, I went to Flower Hospital. They don’t have classes there now. I graduated from nurses training in 1951.
MP: Did you have any jobs while you were in high school, like a lot of the young girls did. I worked at Murphy’s 5 and 10 cent store.
MR: I worked at Biddie’s Restaurant and I worked at Mitchell’s Flowers. I did a lot of baby sitting.
MP: What did you do at Mitchell’s Flowers? Was it anything special.
MR: We disbudded carnations and waited on trade. I helped Bob get what he needed to make arrangements. I made lots of bows.
MP: And you made lots of money?
MR: I made 72 cents an hour.
MP: You made more than I did, I made 50 cents an hour. That would have been in 1952 and 1953. Murphy’s paid 50 cents an hour. Money went farther in those days. Nobody was open for business on Sundays. Wasn’t that what they called the Blue Law.
MR: I got my job with Mitchell’s because when I turned 16 I didn’t want to wait on tables anymore at the restaurant so my folks said you can’t quit until you have another job. So after school I went to Mitchell’s and Bob Mitchell was out in the greenhouse. I walked out to him and said I would like to work for you. He said I was too short and not old enough.
MP: Why would he need somebody tall?
MR: I have no idea. I told him I could do the job and he said no. So I was so determined I went back the next day and told him the same thing. He said okay, I worked there until I started nurses training.
MP: He probably got tired of you begging him for a job. Where did you work after you became a nurse?
MR: I worked at Heller Hospital. It was the old hospital downtown. We didn’t even have bedpan hoppers. We just had to dump it in the toilet. We worked at the old building, the house. By that time they had also built the bottom part of the new hospital. I worked there at surgery.
MP: The hospital has come a long way since then.
MR: It took a while for them to do a lot of remodeling at the hospital.
MP: Was this the same period when the operating room was upstairs?
MR: The operating room was on the east side of the main floor. They left the house on part of the new hospital and tore that down and built the side to the west.
MP: I can remember when they built that.
MR: See the day that I graduated from nurses training we had already been married for six months. Pete and I had gone together since high school. He was activated for the Guards.
MP: What year was that?
MR: It was 1951. It was during the Korean conflict. We had Susan our oldest daughter and then when she was six weeks old I went to Louisiana and we lived in a little house with the company commander in DeRidder, Louisiana. We were down there for about a year and then we went to Fort Knox and he went to school and became an artisopher, which is a man who fixes rifles and guns. Then we came back and went to Louisiana and lived in a trailer. Then they started sending the men overseas and he had just a little time left and then he was discharged. Then we came back home and I went to work at Heller Hospital. Then I worked for Dr. George and Dr. Ullum. Then we moved to Liberty Center and I worked for both Dr. George and Dr. Ullum and part time at Heller.
MP: You know Dr. George was always our family doctor. He had the 50 cent penicillin shots. If you had a bad cold you would run to him and he would give you a shot of penicillin for 50 cents. The price never went up, it was always 50 cents. Dr. George also made house calls. Our boy was sick, and of course Russell knew Dr. Ullum from the drugstore. Dr. Ullum came to check on Daniel. He was very sick with a high fever. Dr. Ullum came into the house and Russell told him to bring his wife along inside too. He said that wasn’t his wife in the car, but his dog. We always laughed about that. Anyway Dr. Ullum died in such a tragic way.
MR: When I first started working for Dr. George and Dr. Ullum, I knew Dr. Ullum from working part time at the hospital in obstetrics. So he would have his ob patients come in one day a week. I worked with Dr. George too. Dr. Ullum got the flu really bad and it was the Asian flu. And it was a time when everybody had it. The office had three rooms and people would come in and wait in the first room. In the second room I would write down their name and their blood pressure and their temperature and ask them all kinds of questions. The third room was the drug room and Dr. George would see the patients back there. The patients would tell him that they were sick and his wife and kids back home were sick too. He woud load him up with all the medicine that he could and send him down the hall. That is the way Dr. George and I did it. Then my husband got sick and Dr. George had to make a house call and he said that I should give him three sauce dishes and line them up on the table. He got his bag out and put medicine in each dish and told me how to give it to him. Then he left. That is the same way he did office calls.
MP: Do you remember how much he charged you?
MR: A house call was $3.00. He would write down your name, like Marilyn Rausch. He would take out a tiny piece of paper and write down h c $3.00 and throw it in a corner on his desk. Then if it was an office call he would write down 1 o c $2.00.
MP: Isn’t that something.
MR: He was a fantastic man.
MP: He absolutely was. Doctors aren’t made that way anymore.
MR: A few of them are, but not very many.
MP: I am very satisfied with our family doctor. Okay Marilyn now that you have retired, are you bored like I am?
MR: Somedays yes. I knit scarves and take care of Pete. Our kids have all had a college education and live all over the United States.
MP: How many grandchildren do you have?
MR: Nine, and I have one great-grandson.
MP: Something sticks in my memory Marilyn that you were a council member here in Napoleon.
MR: I was the first council-woman here in Napoleon.
MP: Probably in all of Henry County. So you broke the ice there.
MR: Yes I got quite an education.
MP: I suppose, but you did enjoy it. You can say and add whatever you want. I will transcribe the tape and you can take your pen and cross out whatever you don’t want in the history or add to it. You will have the final choice of editing.
MR: I enjoyed helping the people and like I say I got an education. I was on council for 14 months and then I had to resign because I had family problems.
MP: You know talking about the Rausch boys I could never keep them straight.
MR: Russell was the oldest and his nickname was Ruck. No. 2 was Paul, No. 3 was Burdette “Tub”. No. 4 was James “Jake”. No. 5 was Lowell “Pete”.
MP: And he is Emily’s husband. What was Burdette’s nickname?
MP: Now who is Tuffy Rausch?
MR: Tuffy Rausch is Russell’s third son. He married Anne Von Deylen.
MP: She was Bill & Phyllis Von Deylen’s daughter. You see Bill’s family ran the grocery store in Gerald and also the John Deere implement dealership. I interviewed Bill and he told a lot of things that I didn’t know because he is a lot older than I am. It was very interesting.
MR: I just think it is great preserving these histories. The history of this area should be preserved.
MP: See being I went to Ridgeville high school their library was like somebody had cleaned out their attic and dumped all their books there. That was it. Probably that was all the taxpayers could afford. It was not very exciting. At that point they didn’t push or press kids to complete their schooling. Fortunately my parents insisted all of us, including my two brothers that we all graduate. Right after I graduated from high school my dad had a job for me and he told me I was going to work as a secretary at the elevator, so I did. I have never looked for a job. I have always worked and sometimes it was seven days a week. I was married within a year of my graduation and that is why I am so much younger than Russell.
MR: It was meant to be.
MP: We are kind of soul mates and buddies.
MR: Pete and I are too. Pete was a junior and I was a senior. We are just a year apart. Pete has always acted older because of his brothers.
MP: He probably knew the ways of men because of his brothers. After I became pregnant I quit at the elevator because Russell didn’t want me to work. Then the Napoleon Elevator wanted me to come there and work, so I did. They needed some help right away, so I went and worked at the Napoleon Elevator until Dan was born. Then after that wouldn’t you know it, but Russell went and bought the drug store from Frank Shaff. Then I did the bookkeeping at home and I just worked a couple days a week.
MR: You were getting a better education than you could have had in college.
MP: You are correct, but as far as a trade the only thing I can do is type and do computer work.
MR: My father used to tell me that he owned the Napoleon Library. We lived so close to the library on Scott Street behind the Bonded Gas Station. We would cut through the yards and go to the library, but we didn’t take them back on time either so we always owed a few pennies.
MP: I could get lost in the kids section at that library. They have the neatest books down there. It is fun reading. I used to go and read anything they had on antiques. They had a really good variety to choose from. That reading there and the people in the drugstore is where I got my education.
MR: When I wasn’t working those few years after I had my children I took classes from the extension office. I took classes at the high school. I took classes in tailoring and sewing, quilting, and calligraphy. I just had to keep doing something all the time.
MP: Did you know Thelma Guyer who ran the Turkeyfoot Antiques on old Route 24?
MR: Yes, Thelma is related to me.
MP: The two of us, the University of Toledo was offering a class on antiques. The two of us went. We thought we would learn something. After about two sessions we decided we knew more about antiques than the instructor. We never went back. Antiquing is something you don’t learn in textbooks. You need a broad knowledge of everything. You can look them up in books, but you have to get out there and feel things.
MR: There was an antique house, it was a big yellow house right beside the post office.
MP: Nova Zimmerman had a pre-school class for kids there. We sent our boy Dan there. What was his name?
MR: Dan Yarnell.
MP: Yes, I remember him. Our antique dealer he always told us that he would visit Dan and he had a house that was just full of antiques. Beautiful classic pieces. He had fancy dishes, hanging lamps, and oyster plates. Where would people in this day and age of casualness use oyster plates? And everything was just spotless. He was a bachelor and had never married and he had been a lawyer. So we would go visit him about once a month on a Sunday afternoon. It was a treat to go visit him and we would just talk. Then it got to the point where we would eat with him. We’d hop in our car, go to Toledo and eat with him. He taught us a lot of things about antiques. He’d tell about the big fancy parties people would have, the clothes they wore, and what they ate and how food was served. His house was just loaded with antiques. Nothing was marked. You would ask him how much he wanted for this piece and he would answer-well I don’t know if I want to sell it just yet. You would have to catch him in the right mood. He had a barn full of stuff out in back. It was more casual kitchen and primitive things. He had shelf after shelf of depression glass, all colors and all types of antiques. I just dearly loved the man.
MR: Dan was a Great-uncle of mine and then when we got married in 1951 he gave us a set of eight dessert dishes, three face, which have a different face than most. The face on these are very pretty. When he passed away I gave my aunt some money – she went to the sale. There were four more but they were chipped or something. I gave her twenty dollars. That would not have touched them then. I have hunted all over the United States looking for some more but have never found any.
MP: Did you ever look on Ebay for them?
MR: No I haven’t, but anyway Becky Rohr’s mother, she said her mother looked them up for me and about ten years ago they were listed at $300.00 apiece. I still have them. Well, my daughter has them. I gave them to her. Never have we found anything similar. He must have known just what he was giving us.
MP: He probably did. He gave you choice pieces.
MR: People don’t use nice things anymore.
MP: The only times I use my good china is when I have fancy parties and I don’t do that much anymore. Maybe not even once a year. When the kids come I don’t get out the china – they are boys and they could care less -their main concern is something to eat.
MR: There are some gorgeous dishes out there.
MP: I know there is.
MR: I don’t know I just think it has been a great life here in Napoleon and I think it’s just too bad we are at the point where we are.
MP: I never felt bad that we didn’t live in a big city. We went to the city to shop. We went to Chicago to shop. We got on an airplane once and went to New York to shop and I got to go to Macy’s in downtown New York. I thought that was really something. It would not get me excited now to go to New York.
MR: My younger sister graduated from Kent University and she taught at Kent for a while and she went to New York and worked for Parents magazine. She worked probably about 15 years there. My children were growing up at the same time. She was the one who gave the “commendation” seal for the electronics and other items the magazine would give the seal of commendation for. They would assure their readers the products were good. She would send products home to test. We tested the Easy-Bake Oven.
MP: I never had one.
MR: We tested the first one.
MP: They are very collectible now and go for a good price on the secondary market.
MR: We tested the machine that makes cotton candy, the sugary stuff they have at the county fair. The machine they had spun the sugar all over the kitchen. We made it anyway. She would send drinks to test. One day she sent 60 pairs of shoes and I had to find children to fit these shoes. We had to write back how the shoes fit and how they wore. We tested the first Rival Crockpot. I just threw it away about ten years ago. We went to New York once.
MP: At least I know what it feels like to be there. That was enough for me.
MR: It is very expensive to live in New York City.
MP: The older I get I become more appreciative of living here in Napoleon. I like this town. I like the people.
MR: I feel lucky too. I worked part-time at the hospital – all three of them. The doctors we had – we were so fortunate. The two Philippino doctors we had in here when we did. That was an education. We had Dr. Flora and Dr. Soriano. Those two men were so dedicated I can’t say enough good things about them. We had Dr. Manahan, all of them, we have been so lucky to have these good doctors. One thing about Dr. Soriano, he lived out in the woods, on a county road, but anyway he had a pond and he kept trying to catch this big bass and he wanted to catch that more than anything else in the world. You know how you talk when you are not real busy. Of course I knew how to pick up night crawlers, and one night I went out and taught him how to pick up night crawlers in his yard. It had just rained. He came in the next day and he told me “they are so slippery”. He worked and worked trying to get that bass. They brought their niece over here from the Philippines. I can’t recall her name right now. They took her fishing and guess who caught the bass! He was so unhappy when she caught it.
RP: He was a nice man.
MR: My kids babysat Dr. Flora’s kids over there when they went to Chicago. She called me and said “Mom what can I do. Robert is up on the roof”. I told her to just call his mother.
MP: They didn’t have a very high roof.
MR: No they didn’t.
MP: I think I have waited on two and three generations of families. These little kids would come in and there stood the grandmother I used to wait on years ago.
RP Have you told anything about Biddie’s yet?
MR: No I haven’t. My grandmother and grandfather Caroline and Lloyd Bittikofer started the Biddies Restaurant in 1925 on the corner of 110 and 6 on the south side beside the river in Napoleon, Ohio and they were known all through their lives for having the best restaurant around Northwestern Ohio. When they first started it there was a little building that was all glassed in on the sides and had a barbecue spit in it. That is the way they did their meat. They did ham, beef, or pork on there. It went around on the spit and they would take it in, cut it up and would have it in these huge kettles that I can remember. Everything was made from scratch. They raised their own chickens across the street. There was a barn behind their house. They would clean the chickens on Thursdays, and get them ready for Sunday. They prepared everything ahead. They had girls that they had hired and they would come in from the country. Some of them stayed at the house and they would work split shifts. They had the best food. They had a gas station beside there. When he first started he sold Empire gas. They did a lot of business with that. I can remember that. My aunt did most of the cooking. She was a sister to my mother. When my grandmother retired she deeded the restaurant over to my aunt and Uncle -Bertha & Reynold Mullins. They had one daughter. They did very well with it.
MP: Where is their daughter now?
MR: You mean Margery? She is down in Longwood, Florida and she has a business. Marge always judged poodles. The large poodle is the one and she also had the standard poodle. When she went to New York she would stay with my sister. She traveled all over the world. She is doing well right now. She grooms them and she told me that her clients come in limousines.
MP: This is believable. There are a lot of dog lovers out there. We saw Marge at a dog show judging poodles. She looked very impressive. Have you noticed in the grocery stores the amount of space that is devoted to selling products for animals such as dogs and cats? Our boys had dogs but they ate the same food we did. We never had cats, but our Sam does and he treats him like a baby. Can you tell us about the Saneholtzes with their monument business?
MR: The Saneholtzes – John Henry Saneholtz was my grandfather and he started the monument business. My dad was one of the carvers when he got old enough. They always had nice men to help. It was located on the corner of Scott and West Main Street. I hadn’t realized until lately but monuments also went in styles. By that I mean from the old pictures of monuments most of them were five or 6 feet tall. They were huge monuments. Bud Saneholtz was the salesman as I was growing up and my dad did the carving. It was quite involved. On Sundays we would go to other towns and my dad would do rubbings of monuments or markers that they had sold the previous year. Such as if the husband had passed away or the wife and get the facts and then he would have to put it on the monument. Sometimes people would buy their monument before they had passed away and we would get the dates and other pieces of information. If we were really good while dad was doing this, why we would get a treat afterwards. We were taught how to walk in a cemetery with respect. It was kind of interesting. Some days Mom would say well Dad’s not going to be home for lunch because he has to work in the mausoleum. Sometimes when he was working in the mausoleum they would spring a leak and they had some kind of a gas and it would make him sick.
MP: How do you walk in a cemetery?
MR: We were taught to walk up close to the monument and not to walk on the top where the body is. Never walk on the body area.
MP: That is what we were taught also. It tears my heart when you go to the cemetery and these kids are running all over the place.
MR: That is up to the parents to teach them and correct them. I can remember Dad saying I made some money today and she would say, well how bad was the money today? They had it hidden for a long long time and it smelled bad. That is the way they did it in those days.
RP: Did you know the city heats that in the wintertime. The marble just glows. The city caretaker said if they didn’t keep heat in it the marble would crack and deteriorate. It is probably just enough heat to keep the marble from cracking. We had a History Detective meeting inside it and we were given a guided tour.
MR: As I can recall a company came in here and built that. My dad said the company went all over the United States and built them. He always thought they were not on the up and up. We have a gorgeous mausoleum tho. I haven’t been in it for years.
MP: It has held up well over the years. Someone from out of town took a picture of their mausoleum and told how similar it was to their city mausoleum.
MR: Dad used to go to Vermont and pick out stones. In my bedroom I have a lamp made out of white marble. At the bottom of the lamp a young girl is sitting reading a book. I like it.
MP: I like old things.
RP: I can remember too, my dad would always drive down Scott Street and I can remember the tombstones out there on the corner. It was located on Scott and Main Streets where Funkhouser’s is now.
MR: My dad, we went home for lunch because we lived right beside the Seventh Day Adventist church, it is a gas station now. He would not wait for us to get out of school to take us home for lunch. We had to run home. We had one hour. We had to do dishes before we went back, but he would not wait on us so we could have that little extra time. Sometimes we would get down there quicker than he because he had a customer or something.
RP: My dad always said he went home for lunch from Central School. He lived on the south side and would have to hurry back.
MP: When you are a kid you can run fast.
RP: When we were downtown and stayed open on Sundays. These kids would go to the movies and come in and ask to use our phone. They would call their parents to come and get them and take them home. They only lived a couple blocks away.
MR: Do you remember Murphy’s?
MP: I worked there.
MR: Do you remember those oil soaked floors? Can you imagine going downtown and being able to go to all those stores and find clothing too.
MP: I could buy undergarments, that was no problem.
MR: That was so much fun. You would wait until Crahan’s had a sale.
MP: We had the Idle Hour for food. We had the New Yorker, Crahan’s and Shoemaker’s. Irene Shields had her clothing store.
MR: The Charles Company was great.
end of tape
The following is additional information provided by Marilyn Rausch at the History Detective meeting on April 5, 2010.
My Saneholtz is related to the George Williams who was murdered with the axe that is now in the Carriage House at the Bloomfield Museum. Mrs. Williams was murdered also. The little baby was left unharmed but an attempt to smother him had been made. He is now living in Galveston, Texas. I will pass this picture around of the Saneholtz family with the baby-Charles Williams. They visited him in 1938. The baby was taken to my great-grandmother and they took care of him. The baby lived. He had wrapped the baby in a blanket in an attempt to smother him. The baby’s hands and fingers were sore when found two days later.
My sister lives in New York and worked for Parents magazine. I have a picture here that was done by Byron Saneholtz This is the Saneholtz Monument Co. in 1910. My grandfather had the monument business. I like the way it shows the changing styles of monuments. The things that I remember about my childhood was that my grandfather John H. Saneholtz always wore a suit. My mother would say my dad was not coming home for lunch today because he was going to the mausoleum to work. He would not eat lunch that day. He would tell about people bringing in money and it had been stored under beds and under mattresses and the money really smelled bad. I can remember that. My grandfather always wore a suit with a vest and in every pocket he had a different kind of gum. We got to choose the pocket we wanted and he kept changing the gum around. My dad was the one who did the engravings and we would go to other towns and look at cemeteries. We did rubbings so he could make copies like the people had. After supper we would all go along with him and he had this dope he would call it and pour it all over the monument and he would mark it and that is what he carved through.Then he would sandblast everything. I think it is very interesting and nobody ever thinks about how it is done. My folks went to a lot of conventions in Vermont and would look at the different kinds of granite and marble. So I had a very interesting childhood. This was one block from Central School. It was right where Funkhouser’s Motors is now. My mother also worked and made cigars at the cigar factory we had here in Napoleon. It was located on the south side of Napoleon about where Little Brooklyn was. I have another interesting story to tell you about my Mother’s family. They owned Biddies Restaurant and Gas Station. It was considered one of the best restaurants in Northwest Ohio and people would come from all over to eat there. They raised the chickens in a barn behind their house. The chickens were killed every Thursday and they hired ladies who came in from the farm. They had young girls that came from the farms also and stayed in the house. In the second house from the corner they stayed upstairs and they would work split shifts. Everything they served in their restaurant was made from scratch. People would come from far and wide. You would not believe how busy the south side was at one time. After my grandfather died, he was only 58 years old my grandmother took over and she built the motel. The part they took down just recently was the location of the first motel. She would build one unit, pay it off, and then build another unit. She did this all by herself. After the girls didn’t come from the country anymore, she hired girls from town. She could fix anything. She could repair the toilets. We always laughed. She would put up a sign that said if the toilet still drips jiggle the handle a little. That corner on the south side brought in millions of dollars to the community. I don’t think people realized how hard they worked. I worked there from the time I was little.I would clean vegetables and help do dishes. I was just always over there. My mother would do the laundry down in the basement. We had many people coming through and I can tell you my father was the only person who buttoned up Minnie Pearl’s dress. She was at the Henry County Fair and he was out in the yard and she came out of the motel and she asked him if he would button her up. And he did! All the people stayed there, the people from Lippincott, Standard Brands and Campbell Soups. All the big shots stayed at the motel. My Mom and Dad fed them. We met so many people you can’t believe it. We met one man that came from Holland. One guy that stayed a while, he was from Chicago and he designed the cookers out at Campbell’s. It is interesting to know that all these people stayed here. Some you didn’t even know about. It was a very busy corner and I just want to thank you for letting me tell this.
RP: Let me tell you something about your grandmother. She used to come in to the drugstore and she had this formula for washing powder. I would weigh out the ingredients and she would mix her own washing powder.
MR: She made her own drawing salve and she would say words for blood poisoning.
RP: And another thing, we were open on Sunday afternoons and people would come in to the drugstore and ask where is this Biddie’s Restaurant. They had come all the way from Toledo just to eat. I am pretty sure that at that time they advertised in the Peach Section of the Toledo Blade. They would come for their chicken dinners.
Russell I can remember when chickens were all roasted outside.
MR: That wasn’t chickens. The chickens were all fried inside and then baked in the ovens. All the meat was done on the spit like the big hams, roast pork and roast beef. It was outside and they would take it in, cut it up and put it in nice big sandwiches. They made their own fresh relish from vegetables in the garden. We still have the recipe and we said we would never give it away.
RP: Thanks a lot Marilyn for your memories.