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
Findlay was the home of a number of early industries whose activities and products are of interest. The oil and gas boom stimulated the evolution of various manufacturing concerns. It is interesting to recall them in these latter days.
In his volume “A Brief History of Oil and Gas in Findlay,” William D. Humphrey tells of numerous products of early Findlay manufacturers that hold especial interest because of their nature.
Plows were made in Findlay in the 1830s. Philip Shockey not only manufactured plows but also wagons. Another firm, owned by Jesse George, Simon Wilhelm and William Kirkbride, produced plows around 1835. With the opening up of the area there undoubtedly was a great demand for plows with which to till the soil.
The manufacture of furniture was a business that occupied the attention of several early Findlay firms. In 1850, Charles Dietsch and his sons opened a furniture-making plant on West Main Cross Street. It continued in business for quite a time and at the time of the boom of the late 1880s, it was the only manufacturer of furniture within the community. The Dietsch name has been connected with business on West Main Cross Street for a long time and is still there.
A tannery was established in Findlay very early in 1828, the same year Hancock County was organized, and only a very few years after the initial settlement here. Edwin S. Jones started a tannery and sold it in 1831 to Edward Bright, who was joined by Allen Wiseley in the business. J.C. Barnd bought the business a little later.
Edwin S. Jones had located in Findlay in the fall of 1827, and in April 1828 served as clerk of the polls in the first Hancock County election for county officials in the newly organized county. The officials named in the April election only served until a general election was held in November 1828, and in that balloting Mr. Jones was elected treasurer of Hancock County, serving one term. He conducted the tannery while holding the county treasurership.
Allen Wiseley came to Hancock County from Fairfield County in October 1830. He had been born in Fairfield County Feb. 20, 1809. When he arrived in Hancock County he “drew up his horse at the cabin of Major Bright, in the forest in Marion Township,” the R.C. Brown history of Hancock County relates. He had known the Brights back in Fairfield County, and not long after his arrival in Marion Township he was married to Amelia Bright, a daughter of Major and Mrs. Bright. There were two Bright-Wiseley weddings, Nimrod, a son of the Brights, having married Harriet Wiseley, a sister of Allen Wiseley.
Two circumstances associated with his birth date of Feb. 20, 1809 always held especial interest for Allen Wiseley. He was born only eight days after Abraham Lincoln had been born Feb. 12, 1809 in Kentucky. Then he and his wife were both born on exactly the same day in Fairfield County.
Edward Bright, who bought the Jones tannery in 1831, was a nephew of Major Bright. He had been with the forces of Gen. William Hull when the march was made through here in the War of 1812. He was one of several of Hull’s soldiers who returned to the Fort Findlay area later to take up land and reside. His Marion Township land included the 10 acres on which Dr. J.C. Tritch, prominent Findlay physician and surgeon, built a log cabin a number of years ago as a summer home. He never married and lived with the Allen Wiseleys most of the time.
Major Bright came to Hancock County in 1830 from Fairfield County. He took part in the organization of Marion Township in 1831 and served as the first justice of the peace within the township. He later was appointed an associated judge of the Hancock County Common Pleas Court, in the 1830s. Such associate judges were named by the state legislature to aid the elected judge in ascertaining all the facts with regard to pending litigation. Major Bright died in 1843.