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Circus parade on Main Street

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following 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

 

There’s a circus world museum at Baraboo, Wis., in the midst of the area of the Dells, the state’s popular resort region. Findlay has now come into the picture, with regard to the Wisconsin museum.

The Republican-Courier has received a letter from the museum, enclosing a photograph which the museum wanted identified. It showed some of the parade wagons of the Ringling Bros. Circus proceeding down North Main Street in Findlay.

The museum said it had reason to believe the location was Findlay and wanted to be assured such was the case.

The picture showed the parade passing the Arlington Hotel; the firm of J. Urschiltz and Son, merchant tailors; and the Kranz pool and billiard parlor on North Main Street, just south of the Norfolk and Western Railroad. These firms were located on the east side of the street. The Arlington Hotel later became the Gorrell Hotel and then the Franklin Hotel, and most recently the Northview.

The parade wagons were being hauled by double teams of horses. The date was June 23, 1903.

All the circuses which visited Findlay in the old days gave parades. They were events that attracted much interest and attention and heralded the two tent shows which were to come in the afternoon and evening. The circuses traveled by train in those days.

 

First notary public

William L. Henderson, a native of Ireland, who came to Findlay in 1829, was the first notary public in the community. He erected a log house on South Main Street.

Mr. Henderson, described as the best educated man in the new community, was a surveyor and served as the second Hancock County engineer.

As a notary his name appears on many early documents at the courthouse.

A daughter became the wife of Judge M.C. Whiteley, one of the community’s best known lawyers and later a judge of common pleas court.

Mr. Henderson moved to Iowa in 1855 and died there.

 

Early Arcadia physician

An early physician in Arcadia was Dr. John Fisher, who was a native of Columbiana County, Ohio, where he was born in 1811. His grandfather and his grandmother, who lived in Lancaster County, Pa., both lived to be more than 100 years old.

Dr. Fisher’s early life was spent as a blacksmith. Coming farther west in Ohio early in life, he established the first foundry in Fostoria and constructed the first engine in this part of Ohio.

He started to read medicine, merely for his own gratification, according to the R.C. Brown history of Hancock County. He became so interested that he decided to attend medical school and upon completion of his medical studies, he started to practice his profession in Arcadia.

Dr. Fisher’s father served in the War of 1812. He and his wife, who was Rachel Heckathorn, of Carroll County, Ohio, were the parents of four children, two of whom served in the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry which was recruited in Hancock and adjoining counties in the Civil War.

 

Walked to Findlay

Thomas Coleman, who came to Hancock County from the east in 1840, was the son of a stage driver in Pennsylvania. His parents walked all the way to western Ohio from the Keystone State, bring with them all their possessions, even including their cooking stove and skillets. One of the latter remained a keepsake in the Coleman family for many years. The son, who was born in 1825, worked on one of the Dukes farms after coming to Hancock County and subsequently became the owner of a large farm himself. His wife was, Susan Baldwin, daughter of the David Baldwins of Hancock County. They had nine children, five sons and four daughters.

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