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
The recent announcement that the last of the rails of the old Big Four railroad in Hancock County were going to be taken up and freight service discontinued between Vanlue and Carey prompts many memories, associated with what was Findlay’s and Hancock County’s first public transportation system, connecting the county seat and neighboring Carey, a distance of 15 miles.
Called to mind is the existence of a “stop” on the railroad known as Huber in Marion Township. The settlement was located on the intersection of County Road 205 and Township Road 240. County Road 205 is the thoroughfare that goes by the city’s initial water reservoir and also alongside the golf course located on the south side of the road.
It was at Huber that the railroad crossed the Blanchard River. It was at Huber that there was located a stave mill which employed some 40 workers. Its name was the Buckeye Stave Mill. The stave mill was owned by W.H. Loy, one of Findlay’s leading citizens. He had moved the establishment from Kalida in Putnam County to the Hancock County site.
The mill obtained a good supply of wood from logs which were floated on the Blanchard River from the Mount Blanchard area in Delaware Township to Huber. The logs were hewn from the woods around Mount Blanchard largely in the winter season and then floated on their water route to the stave mill at Huber.
Mr. Loy eventually moved the stave mill from Huber to Findlay. This was in January 1905. The mill was located on Western Avenue in Findlay and ran for about two years. For a number of years, Mr. Loy was a prominent citizen of Findlay. He was engaged in the lumber and stone business here, later moving to Piqua, Ohio. He was a member of the old board of public service for some years, an early municipal administrative agency.
Huber was never a settlement of much size, but it did possess its own post office, established July 27, 1898. William A. Calihan was the postmaster. The post office had other names at times. Some of them were “River Bridge” and “Klondike.” There was a general store.
Located just a little short of halfway to Vanlue from Findlay, Huber was one of two stops on the Big Four route on the way to Vanlue. The other was known as “Smith station,” just a little east of Huber. Huber got its name from the Huber family which was quite numerous in the area in the early days. (The late) Don Smith, local historical authority, is the source of the facts about Huber.
FRISBY TRITCH, of Columbus, an uncle of Dr. J.C. Tritch, one of Findlay’s prominent physicians and surgeons for a number of years, once wrote a letter to his brother, Parlee Tritch, about his recollections of Johnny Appleseed, the itinerant distributor of apple seedlings in our area. Parlee had asked Frisby to set down some matter regarding Johnny and he wrote:
“I have forgotten much more than I remember now about Johnny Appleseed. I do recall his stopping at father’s house when passing by. He was a very unusual character. He used to leave some books for father to read. Once he was going down the river in a pirogue of apple trees and he stopped in town to show father his battle ax he had with him. It consisted of a pole of 8 to 10 feet long, at the end of which was a spear a foot long. He showed father what he could do with it.”
The father was Leonard Tritch who came from Crawford County to Hancock County in 1829, entering 160 acres of land in Marion Township. He had been born in Maryland. He died in 1842. His wife had died in 1838. One daughter, Amelia, married Dr. Charles Oesterlen, the discoverer of natural gas in Findlay in 1884. The Oesterlens took a brother and a sister of Mrs. Oesterlen into their home to raise. One of them was Parlee Tritch, the father of Dr. Tritch. Another was Harriett Tritch, who became the wife of Dr. William Detwiler, a Findlay physician, for whom the old Detwiler elementary school in Findlay was named. Parlee Tritch served as sheriff of Hancock County from 1877 to 1881 and as county coroner from 1869 to 1873. His son, Dr. Tritch, served in the same office from 1881 to 1895.