Postmasters in the Hamlet of Willshire

In recent blog posts I listed the appointed postmasters in northern Mercer County from the 1840s through 1971, in the townships of Black Creek, Liberty, and Dublin.

Today I continue that list with the postmasters in another local village, Willshire, in Van Wert County.  

Wikipedia shows that Willshire was founded in 1822 by Captain James Riley, that it had a post office as early as 1822, and that it was the first county seat in Van Wert County.

Overton describes Willshire as a hamlet on the St. Marys River, near the west edge of the township, settled as early as 1821, with post office by 1837; the site had been known as Devil’s Race Ground.  

I found another reference to the Devil’s Race Ground in the reminiscences of William Willshire Riley, the son of Captain James Riley: …Proceeding on their journey, Capt. Riley’s party arrived, in January, 1821, at the temporary cabin which had been prepared for them, “about one-fourth of a mile south of the present bridge in the town of Willshire.” . . . . The wolves prowled around us all night, keeping the children pretty well scared. This was the first night of the first settlers in Van Wert county at the “Devil’s Race Ground.”

Willshire, Ohio, 1886

Willshire’s postmasters and when they were appointed, through 1971:

Ansel Blossom, 9 Jan 1827
Charles Mount, 1 Feb 1842
C. Hartzog, 1 Feb 1842
Ephraim Johnson, 23 Jul 1845
Charles Mount, 22 Jul 1846
Aaron More, 8 Aug 1853
James W. Major, 20 May 1854
Wm B. Harb, 2 Jun 1855
James W. Major, 13 May 1860 [?]
Benjamin F. Hayes, 6 Jul 1863
Jesse Hartzog, 15 Feb 1864
John W. Pearce, 5 Jun 1865
Phineas S. Russel, 11 Jan 1867
Harrison H. Harper, 28 Jan 1867
Josiah H. Wilmore, 30 May 1867
George A. Dettmer, 2 Dec 1867
Charles Vance, 18 Oct 1867
Wilson Johnson, 3 Jul 1871
Jesse Hartzog, 29 Dec 1873
Timothy Hawkins Jr, 24 Mar 1875
Sylvester Brock, 6 May 1878
Wilbur H. Brock, 1 Jun 1881[?]
Christopher C. [?] Nichols, 21 Aug 1885
William W. Knott, 15 Aug 1889
Thomas M. Thorpe, 18 Aug 1893
Daniel G. Brittson, 6 Dec 1897
Jacob R. Beam, 10 Dec 1901
Myrtle B. Fisher, 16 Jan 1911
Myrtle B. Johnson, 10 Jun 1914
William G. Hoffer, 12 Jul 1918, reappointed 3 Feb 1922, 6 Feb 1926, 20 Mar 1934, 15 Apr 1938
Miss S. Gretchen Hoffer, 3 Jan 1940
John E. Reichard, 25 Jun 1940

Note: Myrtle B. (Beam) Fisher, postmaster in 1911, married Walter B. Johnson in Van Wert County on 4 June 1914, and is shown as Myrtle B. Johnson just a few days after their marriage. Myrtle was the daughter of Jacob R. and Mary (Detterer) Beam and was previously married to David A. Fisher. 


Julie Minot Overton, The Ohio Genealogical Society, Ohio Towns and Townships to 1900: A Location Guide, (Mansfield, Ohio : Penobscot Press, 2000).

Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971, National Archives, Van Wert County, Roll #101, Target 16, Vol. 9 (1832-43) p.187 (penned), p.273 (stamped), Vol. 15 (1843-57) p.371-2, Vol. 25A (1857-73) p.428, Vol. 38 (1873-1891), p.476-77, & Vol. 79 (1891-1930) p.577-8, and Vol. 55 (1930-30 Sep 1971); digital image,, viewed 14 Jan 2021.


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    • Travis Burke on July 1, 2021 at 8:11 pm
    • Reply

    Good day, visiting with my Dad and ran across your site. Lots of fun and we are investigating.

    1. Great! I hope you find some goodies! Thanks for writing.

        • Jayne Habegger on March 20, 2022 at 10:20 pm
        • Reply

        My step grandfather was John E. Reichard. He was postmaster a very long time. Do you know what year he retired?

        1. I could try to find out. I have posted some postmaster lists in the past. I’ll let you know.

        2. I don’t know when John retired. The postmaster records that I use on only show his appointment in 1940 and that is the last entry for Willshire.

        3. Thanks to Tom & Deb Reichard, I have an answer for you. According to John’s obituary, he retired 30 September 1975, after serving as Willshire’s postmaster for 35 years.

    • Jim Brokamp on May 12, 2023 at 7:47 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Karen….
    Just came across your site, and wanted to share some info.. While attending the Central States Numismatic Association coin show near Chicago recently, I was able to purchase a 25c Obsolete Note dated 1862 from the store of James W. Major, Wilshire, Ohio (Postmaster 1854 & 1860?)
    J. Major is no longer listed in my 1866 business directory. However, Jesse Hartzog’s general store IS listed in 1866…..perhaps he bought out Mr. Major’s general store and assumed the postmaster duties.

    1. Thank you for this good information. I will add this to my other information and timeline. Thank you for writing!

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