Medway in the News
According to the history of Medway on Wikipedia (website), “Medway played a major role as part of the western campaign during the American Revolutionary War.” So the town and surrounding area have been in the news a long time.
But it is the people, community happenings and local information found in yellowed pages of newspapers that make the town come alive in years past. Found within those pages are notes of Medway’s residents at work, traveling for business and pleasure, at church, at school and yes, sadly, on their deathbeds.
Taking a look at some of these notes, we’ll get a picture of Medway that holds clues to why it has endured 200 years. Within the context of our own lives, we can empathize, relate to and ultimately remember our town heritage in a unique way. For the most part, Medway community members have been mild-mannered, industrious, hard workers who cherished family, community and fellowman. What better reason could there be to celebrate an anniversary?
January, 1876: “This morning fire was discovered issuing from the store room occupied by W. & F. Wise, Medway. Before the citizens could be summoned the building was in flames and too far in progress to arrest it. In an hour the building was gone as well as one adjoining it which contained a saloon. The main building occupied by the Wise Bros. store was heavily stocked. All was lost. Also in that building was the post office and a large quantity of mail was lost. The loss is about $3000.”
November, 1881: “John Hoglen and C. Ely, manufacturers of lumber and wood-pulp of Medway (and Dayton) went to Memphis, Tennessee, looking for lumber. They have purchased 50,000 feet of walnut lumber and have contracted for much more.” Memphis Daily Appeal, TN
November, 1884: “Dr. W. F. Meranda, J. C. Wallace, George Wise and Albert Trout all of Medway, Ohio, arrived in Emporia, Kansas, to visit Dr. Meranda’s cousin. They were very impressed with the city and talk of plans to locate in our state.” Emporia Weekly, KS
February, 1885: “The High School will give a literary entertainment Friday evening. Ten cents will charged for admission. Following is the program-Salutatory Nellie Burns; Recitation Louie Forgy; Recitation Effie Koch; Essay Ella Grisso; Recitation Cora Sultzbaugh; Oration Willis Wise; Recitation Anna McCleary; Essay Effie Forgy; Recitation Effie Quick; Declamation Frank Aston; Declamation Bert Doner; Recitation Emma McClain; Essay Ada Lamme; Declamation Harry Kilheffer; Oration Will Wallace; A Play including Ed Forgy, Bert Doner, Emma McClain, Frank Herr, John Davis, Bertha Lamme, Laura McJilon, Clara Harnish, Benjamin Witiver, Ella Grisso, Willis Wise and Will Gantz.”
March, 1885: “Miss Carrie Hershey was the guest of Miss Carrie Lamme of Medway.”
June, 1885: “Annie Lohnes of Medway was a guest of Mr. & Mrs. Ed. Alexander of Springfield.”
August, 1885: “Clark County Republicans County Convention, Medway representatives were Frank McLane-committee of rules & orders of business; J. A. Hershey-committee on credentials; William Wise-permanent organization; R. S. Aston-committee on resolutions”
September, 1885: “W. F. Miranda sold 2 lots in Medway to John Adams for $1,400.”
October, 1885: “Charles Hamond of Medway visited Enon. Reuben S. Aston of Medway, who accidentally discharged the contents of his gun into his foot about the middle of September, has so far recovered as to assume his duties as principal of Mt. Pleasant School.”
January, 1886: “Miss Nellie Burns of Medway and a member of Bethel Township high school had a severe attack of toothache followed by a stroke of paralysis affecting entire side of her face. Friends and family are optimistic for full recovery.
February, 1886: “Jacob Herr of Medway died Friday Feb.19. He was a citizen of Medway for over 40 years and one of the most influential men of the area. He held position of township clerk. Past on board of education having been president number of years. Mr. Herr had a good and big heart having great sympathy for the suffering poor. Buried in Mennonite Cemetery, Born in Lancaster, PA Dec. 23, 1823”
August, 1886: “Medway saloonists seem to be in hard luck. A short time ago the saloon was cleaned out by an irate woman who had been injured by the work of the saloon and the proprietor skipped out. Since then, Reuben Harnish, the owner of the building, refitted it and continued the saloon business. Last Friday night, Mrs. Lacrone, whose husband had been made drunk by the saloon, waded in and gave it another cleaning out. At a recent meeting of citizens in the interest of local option, over two-thirds voters signed a petition to council to pass a prohibitory ordinance.”
October, 1886: “John D. Swartley of Medway purchased a piano/organ from Brandom & Co. Springfield.”
January, 1887: “Mr. Frank McCain was seriously injured on last Thursday while engaged in cutting down a tree. It is impossible to tell at present what the result will be. Mr. Amos Brehm, one of our blacksmiths has gone to work in Springfield at Champion Machine Shop. Mr. Tobias Kline and wife were visited by a number of their friends Sunday. Ruben Hershey is at home all the time now-it is a boy and he cannot leave him. (This was a birth announcement) There will be a social at Frank Neff’s house and proceeds will be given to church committee.”
February, 1887: “Frank McCain will no doubt recover from his injuries. Mr. Carr, our postmaster had an attack of quinsy last week. Mrs. Abe Shaffer is suffering from an attack of dropsy. Mr. Morrison, our venerable butcher is suffering from his infirmities. Mr. Joseph Lamme fell on the ice last week, severely injuring himself. Miss Grace Wise is on the sick list. Whooping cough has made its appearance in Medway with Eddie Carr and Earl Steepleton sick. Mr. Henry Harnish and others visited the Soldier’s Home last Monday.”
April, 1887: “Miss Mollie Kline received a very handsome gold watch and chain from her parents for her birthday. Tobe Kline says that he would be much obliged to Charley Shartle and Harry Brosey if they would bring their groceries with them when they come to his house His supply becomes exhausted and it appears they are very fond of some of his articles used in culinary purposes. Mr. Brosey was appointed supervisor for road district No. 5 in our township.
Mrs. Esther Harnish died after suffering a lingering illness. Born in Lancaster, PA July 24, 1805. Came to Ohio in 1840 with her husband and was mother of nine children, seven of whom survive her. Henry, John and Amos and Mrs. Jacob Neff, Mrs. John Fellers, Mrs. Levi Kauffman and Mrs. Cyrus Helman. Mrs. Harnish was a kind, loving mother, wise and willing counselor. She became a member of the Mennonite church in 1826. Thirty-two of her grandchildren, five of her great grandchildren attended her funeral. Burial in Mennonite Cemetery. She had always kept in her possession a piece of bread of her last baking in Lancaster prior to the time of their departure for their new home in Ohio. This piece of bread has been baked forty-seven years ago this month. Your correspondent had the satisfaction of seeing it and also of tasting it. It is not in the least leavened, but is nearly as dark as brown bread.”
May, 1887: “The Bethel Township School Board voted unanimously to build a new
building. The people of Medway are well pleased with this action. Charlie Miller bought a new bicycle in Dayton last week. John Harnish sold fourteen head of cattle to Mr. Bodaker, a butcher in Dayton. Farmers here are planting corn. Abe Hershey is painting John Solmes’ house.
August, 1887: Joe Storm and Ben Killheffer are on the sick list. Mrs. Abe Shaffer passed away. John Russell sold a fine horse to J. W. Burns. Mr. Wallace will make arrangements to build a new barn. Crops in Medway area will be short on account of severe drought. We have had no good rain since the 30th of last May.”
September, 1887: “James Shartle has purchased the Woodbury Mill property. The mill will be run by Mr. Will Duffy of Medway. Frank Neff and Miss Lena Shartle have bought Mr. Jas. Shartle’s interest in the old Shartle farm. Merritt Tatman has sold his three farms to Mr. Smith of Cincinnati for the sum of $48,000. Frank McClain is moving his family to the west (California). J. H. Aston is hewing timber for J. C. Wallace’s new barn. The foundation for the new school has begun. It is expected that the new school house will be ready by the first of December. Fred Harnish, Jno. Trout, Jno. Tatham, Joe Storm and Heiner Cover went to the reservoir to get a supply of fish. People who want fish for the winter had better leave their orders at once. Harry Brosey and Charlie Shartle had a narrow escape from serious hurt on Sunday night on returning from Osborn. Their horse scared at something and started across the road at a jump, upsetting the buggy and dragging both men a distance. The horse got away, jumping the fence into Mrs. Harnish’s yard.”
October, 1887: “Ben Whitmer, Albert Miller, Frank Welty, Charles Miller and E. S. Wallace, members of the Clark County Wheelmen (bicycle club) along with others made a delightful run on Sunday. Stopping at towns to pick up members, they made their way to Troy.”
April, 1888: “Medway Precinct voters along with the rest of the township held to a dry option. Wet voters were 31-Dry voters 63. (In regards to alcohol in the area) From Washington D.C. came news that pension has been granted to Franklin Koch of Medway. Another Medway resident has purchased a piano/organ from Brandom & Co.”
July, 1888: “The Medway Sunday School came to the New Carlisle Camp meeting in large decorated wagons, being commended on their great interest in this work. They also participated heartily in the songs, recitations and other activities.”
August, 1888: “The death of Clark County’s oldest pioneer is to be noted. John Kaler of Medway was born in Lancaster County, PA in 1794. His surviving daughters are S. and F. Kaler, and Mrs. Mary Wildasin. Mr. Kaler kept the old Snyder tollgate for years and was well known and respected. Funeral and burial at Mennonite Church and cemetery, Medway.” (All newspaper clips from Springfield Globe Republic and Springfield Daily Republic unless otherwise noted.)
From about 1890 on, newspaper reports tended to separate the serious reporting from the social tidbits. More stories than could ever be recounted in this space are found in area papers. New Carlisle had The Sun (later called the New Carlisle Sun) which documented Medway’s news worthy notes. Local residents, usually women, sent in weekly reports of citizens visiting others, working together on war effort projects (WWI and WWII) and illnesses of Medway’s residents. Mrs. Benjamin Kauffman (Sarah Melvine Herr), Jeanne Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Coryell and Mrs. W. B. Hamm were some who devoted hours each week to compile important bits of life in and around Medway, never realizing just how interesting and significant those contributions would be in years to come. We now look to them for community and personal heritage information.
We thank Dale and Andrew Grimm of the present day New Carlisle News for continuing to document not only Medway but the entire township’s contributions to our history in the making.
Reference sources: Library of Congress Chronicling America, Springfield Globe Republic, Springfield Daily Republic, author’s personal files.