EDITOR’S NOTE–This is another article on Findlay-area history adapted from a series written from 1959 to 1974 by the late R.L. Heminger, publisher and editor of The Courier.
By R.L. HEMINGER
A Findlay citizen, who came here after the Civil War, in which he served and who had the distinction of serving in official capacity in both the United States Congress and the Ohio Legislature, was Capt. Joseph F. Gutzwiller. His record of public service is an unusual one.
Capt. Gutzwiller was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., April 30, 1842. His parents were natives of Europe, his father having been a Swiss and his mother an Alsatian. The father came to the United States and engaged in harness-making in Pittsburgh, Pa. Later they moved to Mansfield, Ohio.
The son joined a company of the 15th Ohio Volunteer Infantry at the outbreak of the war in 1861 and was wounded in battle at Bull Run. He was promoted from the enlisted ranks to a second lieutenancy, and at Chancellorsville he was taken prisoner by the Confederates in May, 1863, and was exchanged just before the battle at Gettysburg, Pa. He participated in the Gettysburg engagement and was promoted to captain there.
He came to Findlay in 1865 after the war. For three years he served as assistant sergeant-at-arms in the Ohio Legislature and also served similarly in the state constitutional convention at Columbus, at which A.P. Byal was the Hancock County delegate in 1872.
In 1877, Capt. Gutzwiller was elected to the post of county recorder and served six years in the office.
He then transferred his activities to Washington where he was named a messenger in the House of Representatives. He received the appointment from Rep. George E. Seney, of Tiffin, the 8th District member of Congress at the time.
MRS. GUTZWILLER WAS A daughter of Jacob and Delia Rosenberg of Findlay. Mr. Rosenberg was the founder of Findlay’s first newspaper, The Courier, which had its origin in 1836. His father, too, had been a public official in Hancock County, serving as sheriff in the 1840s.
Another In Federal Service
Another Findlay man in federal service at one time was Benjamin F. Hyatt, whose father, A.H. Hyatt, was one of the very early newcomers here.
The son, Benjamin, became what was known as post-trader at Fort Defiance, Arizona Territory. He received his appointment June 3, 1881, under the Chester A. Arthur presidential administration.
A.H. Hyatt came here from Pennsylvania and became a Findlay merchant. He built a block on South Main Street. (The Muir drug store, 319 S. Main St., was in the building.) A.H. Hyatt died in 1859, bequeathing his store, which was in this structure, to his son Benjamin, who continued the business until 1879. He was engaged in banking in Carey for a time and then traveled for eastern commercial houses.
The Hyatt home was located on the site of the old Kirk wholesale house at the corner of East Sandusky Street and Beech Avenue. When the Kirk building went up in 1905, the house was moved to 845 Washington Ave.
One of Findlay’s early church structures disappeared in the razing (in 1968) of the edifice at the southwest corner of West Front and South Cory streets.
The structure known as the Church of God was erected just after the Civil War. The site was bought in April, 1866, for the sum of $350. The building was completed at the cost of $4,000 and was dedicated Dec. 30, 1866.
The church served the Church of God denomination until a merger with the college church of the same faith was effected, the combined church holding its services at Findlay College and then in the new edifice at the northwest corner of College and South Main streets. The Calvary Baptist Church later acquired the Front Street property and held its services there until a new church was erected on Broad Avenue.