Willshire News, 1904

What was going on in Willshire, Ohio, in 1904? You can get a good idea from their town newspaper, the Willshire Herald, William G. Hoffer, publisher.

I am still going through the 5 May 1904 edition of the Willshire Herald that my great-grandfather Louis J. Schumm saved. I have so enjoyed going through this paper and I hope others also find it as interesting as I do. Today, more items from that 1904 newspaper.

The Willshire Herald, 1904.

Some items for sale:

For Sale—Covered ice wagon, one-ton capacity. Address Art Swoveland, Wren, Ohio, or inquire at the Herald office for particulars and price.

Saw Mill for SaleA complete saw mill outfit for sale, located 1½ miles north of Schumm station. The equipment consists in part of 30 HP engine and boiler, planer, re-saw machine, 42-inch gristmill burr, edger, grind-stone, 3 feet in diameter; emery gumming machine, cut-off saw, etc. Everything in good shape. Inquire of J.G. Grund, RFD No. 2, Willshire, or at this office, for price and terms.

For Sale—Oil lease, 1½ mile east of Willshire, L.G. Schumm farm, 160 acres. Also 60 feet 2 in. x 8 ¼ inch pipe and 386 feet of 53/8 inch casing. Call on or address S.G. Parks, no. 219 E. Market St., Lima, Ohio, or Wm. G. Hoffer, Willshire, Ohio.

I wonder if that could be my great-grandfather, but his name was Louis J. [Johann] Schumm.

Oil lease for sale, LG Schumm farm, east of Willshire, 1904.

Some of the terms used in this newspaper are archaic and rarely used today. I have added some definitions and explanations in the footnotes.  

There were some visitors to Willshire in the spring of 1904:

Billy Dorfer, of Dayton, representing the Cincinnati Delicatessen Supply company, of Cincinnati, was a Willshire visitor last Thursday and Friday, both in a business capacity and as the guest of Sam Stein. Mr. Dorfer is an old-time knight of the grip, and takes pleasure in mixing up with the boys of the towns he visits. He had a number of friends in this town who are always pleased to see him. [1]

L.L. Rigdon, jeweler, optician and newspaper owner and solicitor, was a Willshire visitor last Friday, between trains. He is rather pleased with the showing he is making as a promoter of a newspaper property, and it would not surprise us much if he was to drop all other lines and take up active newspaper work.

I wonder if the following story actually occurred:

Earl Stetler and Charley Tague sighted a strange looking water fowl on the river last Wednesday, right back of the old stone crusher, and immediately set about winging it. The bird was fired at half dozen times but kept on down the river, with Stetler and Tague in pursuit. They finally succeeded in planting a load of shot in it, when near the Pleasant Mills Bridge, and captured it. They brought the bird back to town, unable to name it. The trophy was exhibited to Ot Botkin, town Birdologist, who unhesitatingly pronounced it a Loon, remarking at the same time, that the town was full of loons, but that was the only one that had wings, and it is dead. Loon, you know is one of the dictionary names for rascal. [2]

A warning about hoboes:  

Pan-handlers and hoboes are becoming numerous—more so than for years—and all are heading for St. Louis and the fair. They are not the common run of tramps, but seem to be high-class artists in the fakir line. Our townspeople should give these wayfaring fakirs to understand that their room is preferable to their company, and the marshal should see that they pull out of town almost before they light. [3]  

News from the Pythians:

Hon. C.V. Hoke, the Happy Holligan of Van Wert County Pythians, has a large sized boom for election as Grand Outer Guard at the Grand Lodge meeting in Cleveland next month. Hoke is not only one of the most enthusiastic of Pythians, but he is also one of the most deserving. The Grand Lodge will bring honor on itself by elevating Mr. Hoke to the position for which the Fifth district Knights in convention assembled nominated him by unanimous consent. [4]

Construction going on in Willshire:

Stakes have been set for two new dwelling houses. When completed they will be for rent. These houses will be wooden structures and will occupy a portion of the site of that much-talked-of-but-never-to-be-realized-brick-block. Somebody ought to be ashamed of themselves for the fizzling out of that proposed venture. If ever a town stood in need of cement block, brick or stone business buildings, that town is Willshire, Ohio.

There is so much house building in sight that people are now beginning to quarrel over the laying out of streets.

Evidently there was some brawling in Willshire:

The Herald has been accused of “keeping quiet” on fights that have occurred in town the past month, but the fact is we knew nothing of them until long after they had been pulled off, and to tell of them now would not be news.

News about kids playing ball:

We saw five boys and a girl playing scrub ball Friday and you can bet the boys were doing the batting and the lone girl was acting as back-stop and fielder, while the boys all screamed at once: “Hurry up, can’t you!”


[1] Knights of the Grip: traveling salesman for at least a year and under 50 years of age.

[2] Ot Botkin: storyteller; not a real person; this name originates from the UK and was used years ago to attribute a story to someone, in this case a fictional character.

[3] Fakir: a religious ascetic who lives solely on alms; needy man; a Muslim or Hindu.  

[4] Knights of Pythias: a secret fraternal organization founded in 1864.

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