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The Henry County Historical Society

Reprinted from Henry County, Ohio. A Collection of Historical Sketches and Family Histories Compiled by Members and Friends of The Henry County Historical Society, Volume I. Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, TX, 1976.

A group of twenty-two interested individuals met at the Henry County Courthouse on February 24, 1970, for the purpose of organizing a historical society. Robert Gilson was the presiding offficer. The stated purpose of the meeting was to form a historical society within the county to perpetuate the county, to learn about and preserve the past of the county, and to generate interest in the past of the count.

Three persons, Nat Belknap, E. Howard Bond and Genevieve Eicher, were selected to act as trustees to request the State of Ohio permission to bring the organization of the historical society into full status of an incorporation. Harold Hoff was elected to act as a statutory agent. The Articles of Incorporation were signed. Fifteen trustees were selected and were as follows: Marion Greenler, Herman Wesche, Julian Luebker, Robert Mann, Freida Bruns, Russell Patterson, Emmett Mann, Ed Peper, Lillian Reiser, Eldor Gathman, Henry Eggers, Nat Belknap, Robert Gilson, Harold Hoff and Genevieve Eicher. Elected as president was Judge Robert Gilson, secretary was Harold Hoff, and treasurer as Marion Greenler.

The Society cooperated in the observing of the 150th anniversary of Henry County by displaying a number of Henry County historical items at the Henry County Fair in August, 1970.

The first banquet was held on April 16, 1971, at the United Church of Christ near Holgate. At that meeting it was announced that there were 155 members in the society, including the twelve life members. Robert G. Hadley was the speaker of the evening.

Special meetings for the membership were held during 1971 and included visits to Holgate, New Bavaria, and Ridgeville for special programs on that area of the county. Another event of that year was the acceptance of the Vajen log cabin donated by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Harmon. On August 6, 1974, the cabin was moved to a place on the Henry County Fairgrounds. Workmen are now engaged in 1975 on restoration work on the cabin. It is hoped that it will be ready soon for public viewing.

1972’s meeting was held at Sacred Heart School, New Bavaria. Mrs. Charles Harrison presented a well-enjoyed program entitled, “Styles of Yester-years” with herself as narrator and local girls as models. Don Wolfe, of the Toledo Blade was the speaker of the evening.

1973’s meeting was held in April and several gifts to the society were accepted at this time. Included in the list was the Judge’s chair from the second courthouse, a donation of the Reiser family; Dr. E. B. Harrison’s saddlebags used by him in the Civil War, and his daybooks donated by Dr. and Mrs. Julian Harrison and Mrs. Harold Moudy.

No meetings of the society were held during the fiscal year 1973-1974. During that time two trustees died: Herman Wesche and Emmett Mann. Their loss was keenly felt by the Society.

A letter sent to the trustees in April, 1974, stated that Judge Gilson would no longer be able to serve as president of the Historical Society. A re-organizational meeting was held in August, 1974, and the decision made to reorganize and continue as a society. The membership had decreased to fourteen life members and six paid-up yearly members.

The officers elected for the 1975-1976 year were the following: President, Henry Eggers. 1st Vice President, Pal Hess. 2nd Vice President, Morris Otte. Secretary, Genevieve Eicher. Treasurer, Harold Hoff.

Trustees for the 1975-1976 year elected at the annual meeting were: Pal Hess, Geneveive Eicher, Walburga Marston, Nat Belknap, Richard Colwell, Morris Otte, Mark Stober, Edmund Peper, Harold Hoff, Freida Bruns, Henry Eggers, Russell Patterson, Harry Holscher, and Julian Luebker.