WALKER MOTORS: Six years after entrepreneurs Howard Coffin, Joseph Hudson, Roy Chapin, and George W. Dunham, et. al. founded the Hudson Motor Company a man by the name of E.G. Walker began to sell the autos they manufactured in Vermilion.
The Hudson Company made a number of positive contributions to the design of these early machines. They were among the first to produce closed (as opposed to convertible-type) car models (1911). They moved the steering wheel to the left side of the cars; the hand control(s) to the inside and center of each vehicle; and introduced the self-starter and dual brake systems to the industry. In 1916 they revolutionized the auto-manufacturing world when they introduced the first balanced crankshaft, thus ushering in what automobile historians know as The Age of the Super-Six. And then, in 1932, came their piece-de-resistance; the Essex-Terraplane. It was a powerful hill climber, fast (it set speed records), and it was thrifty.
When Pearl Roscoe took the accompanying photo of the E. G. Walker Motor Sales building for advertising purposes in 1937 sales of the Hudson Terraplane automobile was brisk. So was business at Walker’s Texaco gas pumps along Liberty Street. (Needless to say the Occupational Safety folks would have a coronary problem if such a condition existed today.)
This building should be familiar to most Vermilionites. It is now the new portion of Vermilion’s Ritter Public Library. But I digress. Before Mr. Walker built his garage on this site it was occupied by the Decker Livery (a detail I personally view as being extremely ironic as well as the electric train rails that can be seen running in front of the building). When this photo was taken the building just to the left (west) of the garage was Fred Becker’s blacksmith’s shop. To the right (east and unseen) was Becker’s two story home. Next to it, on the corner of Liberty and Grand Streets, was G. P. Martin’s Pontiac dealership. And directly across the street from Walker’s place was Stone’s Chevrolet and Oldsmobile dealership.
Mr. Walker’s dealership thrived until World War II when Hudson suspended new auto manufacturing and used their factories to build aircraft parts and huge engines for the Navy. After the war (1948) Hudson had come back with a completely new concept in auto design that, however influential in the industry, never allowed them to recover the popularity they had previously enjoyed with the Terraplane.
During the caesura two of Walker’s sons (Gene and Dick) took over and formed the Walker Brothers (Chrysler) Dodge-Plymouth Dealership. Vermilion’s current court bailiff, Dick Baker, was the last auto dealer to occupy the building.
By contemporary terms the building may seem, today, an unremarkable structure. But in 1937 it was a state-of-the-art auto garage and showroom selling, showing, and repairing state-of-the-art vehicles. But like the livery it replaced and the motorcars once sold there, supplanting the electric trains and horse drawn wagons and carriages that long ago sped along West Liberty Street in Vermilion Village, it is not really gone, it is just been forever changed.
Ref: Published 04/14/2005; Revised 04/20/18; Special thanks to VHM Photo Archive.
Vol. XIII, No.45. - VERMILION, OHIO THURSDAY, April 21, 1910
Berlin Heights Loses A Prominent Citizen
Charles A. Peake of Berlin Heights and prominent throughout Erie county met death Sunday morning at the heels of the family horse. The exact cause is not known. He went to the stable to feed the horse was found unconscious a few minutes later. The horse had trampled his head terribly. It is supposed that Mr. Peake suffered an attack of heart trouble and perhaps fell at the horse’s feet, frightening the animal. An unusual noise was heard by a neighbor who investigated and as he raised Mr. Peake's head he breathed his last. He was 61 years of age and leaves a wife. He served as County Commissioner a few years back had substituted at the Children's Home for his brother quite recently. He was a member of the firm of Close and Peake Grain and Coal Dealers and president of the Berlin Heights Brick And Tile Company. The funeral was held on Wednesday morning, burial at Fremont.
Ex-Mayor Of Huron Drowns
Jacob Hermes, formerly Mayor of Huron met death in the Huron River Sunday morning. With a party of friends he went on a fishing excursion up the river, about 5 miles. The party were staying at the Renappi Club House and Mr. Hermes, together with Elmer Kuhl and Carl Heckleman put out in a rowboat to set lines. It is said Mr. H. Was standing in the boat and lost his balance, fell overboard and capsized the boat throwing Kuhl and Heckleman into the water. Their shouts brought Lewis Kuhl and Duty Sayles who live nearby to their aid and they succeeded in saving Kuhl and Heckleman but Hermes had disappeared. Men and boys search the river all day Monday recovering the body about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, a short distance from the scene of the accident.
A BEAUTIFUL SOUTHERN TREE
Mr. Hermes was 37 years of age and a prominent shoe merchant of Huron. He leaves a wife and two children. The funeral was held Tuesday. He was a member of the F. & M. K. M. K. Of P., I. O. O. F. And W. O. W.
During the past week a magnolia tree in Light Keeper Burns’ yard has been in blossom and attracted much attention. The tree, or rather, as it appears, the shrub was covered with large, wax like white flowers, formed somewhat like a large tulip and very sweetly scented. Unfortunately the rain and snow of the past two days have spoiled its beauty.
The Magnolia (Magnolia Grandiflora) is common in the forests of the South, from North Carolina to Florida and Texas and must present a beautiful sight when in full bloom. There are other species of the tree including the Sweet Bay, and the Tulip tree which grow farther north do not approach this one in beauty.
Mr. Burns secured the tree last November and planted it, protecting it from the frost by a heavy covering of straw. When he uncovered it this spring it was budded and soon was in full bloom.
We have a photograph of this tree but it does not show the full beauty.
NOT A BOOK AGENT
Census enumerator C. D. Powell, tells us that he finds a number of houses in the village apparently deserted; because – he is taken for an agent of some kind. Now the ladies of Vermilion should be on the lookout for Mr. Powell as he is the official enumerator in this district for Uncle Sam and his time is limited, and he has a number of questions to ask, so don't take him for a book agent. He wears a badge, which is a means of identification. It is also to be remembered that he is required to ask certain lot of questions so that don't ask him what right he has to ask the questions.
A union service in the interest of the anti–saloon League will be held at the M. E. Church Sunday evening. April 24. Attorney Wayne B. Wheeler of Columbus will speak. A cordial invitation to all to join in this meeting for civic righteousness.
[NOTE: This is actually interesting stuff for some historians. It is illustrative of the socio-political atmosphere preceding the mistake called Prohibition in America. The righteous intent was obviously existant – but it was empty of logic. Not everyone in the world was an alcoholic.]
BORN – to Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Lahiff a daughter, Thursday, April 14.
BORN – to Mr. Mrs. Jake Werner, a daughter, Friday, April 15, a daughter [sic].
August Deiss was injured while at work at Schumauch’s lumber camp a log having struck his right leg bruising it severely.
William Scott was taken to the hospital at Lorain Monday for treatment.
Mrs. J. Sadish was operated on at St. Joseph's Hospital Lorain last week.
Little Ernest Fichtel began school last week.
Conrad Nuhn and family entertained company from Collins Sunday.
A number from this place attended the Sunday school convention at Vermilion Saturday.
Otto Hogreffee of Huron, mail carrier had a narrow escape one day last week near Huron, while crossing the L. S. E. Track, the car striking the horse, killing it instantly and demolishing the wagon.
Mrs. Katie Fey of Axel has been sewing for Mrs. G. H. Bacon this past week.
Rugby people are pleased to know that legal advice is given free of charge by our legal advisor.
Mr. C. Sherwood and Mr. C. A. Baldwin have both been working on the road, expect better roads now.
A. R. was here over Sunday.
[NOTE: “A.R.” refers to Albert Rumsey.]
Mrs. Ed Kishman is gaining slowly from her recent illness.
Large number of visitors were at the park last Sunday.
J. E. Kishman is getting ready to rebuild his farm buildings.
Martin Knock has finished tiling his farm.
Several new cottages are being erected at Mitawanga this spring.
Charles Kuhl is able to be out again having recovered from his recent illness.
Our last snowstorm done [sic] very little damage to the fruit in this section, Monday night [sic].
Our community was somewhat shocked last Sunday on hearing of the sudden death of Charles Peake of Berlin Heights and P. Hermes of Huron. Both were well known here.
Tuesday evening April 26 Rev. McIntosh will be in formally installed as pastor of the Presbyterian Church.
Miss Vera Gunzenhauser went to a Cleveland hospital for treatment one day last week.
Dr. Woesner and Robert Stryker who recently patented the S. & W. Auto Crank have sold their patent to a Fremont manufacturing firm. They will receive a royalty on the output.
Otto Hgreff [sic] was a victim of an accident while crossing the L. S. E. Track at Gilmore's Thursday when a car collided with the mail wagon. The horse was killed instantly. He escaped any serious injury.
Word was received here this week of the serious injury of Dr. Britton at his home in McClure. His son John left at once for his home.
Chauncey F Goble, age 79, died Friday night after a long and painful illness. His wife one daughter and a son preceded him to the beyond three daughters survive.
The funeral was held from the late home interment and Scott Cemetery.
The funeral of Mrs. Gustavus E. Graham was held Friday from the family home at W. Huron Friday.
She was 70 years old.
The nude body of a week old babe was found in the Wegner Slip at Sandusky Sunday afternoon.
Mrs. Sarah E. Gill was found dead at the bathtub in her home in Oberlin, Saturday night when her husband returned home. She had taken her eight-year-old daughter to the home of her sister in Cleveland.
Two more escapes were made Sunday from the Ohio penitentiary making six during the present administration. John Dill, Elson Potter and Edward Driscoll are the last to escape. They dressed themselves in workman's clothing and turned the switch cutting off the arc lights on the walls, climbed to the top and let themselves down by ropes.
[NOTE: John Dill and Elson Potter are one person. One of the names was an alias.]
H. H. Patton had the misfortune to lose a valuable horse Saturday.
The fishing is quite light at present. The boats did not go out Wednesday on account of the heavy storm. Reports from Cleveland and ports east, say that the catches are very large.
The village council held a rather informal meeting Monday night and agreed to meet again Saturday evening when [sic] the L. S. & M. S. Ry. franchise. It is expected that the suit now pending for the opening of Adam Street will be heard in the meantime. About the only thing the railroad company objects to in the franchises that portion relating to the separation of grades at the expense of the company if it any future time elevates their tracks in the least. This franchise is supposed to relate only to the moving of the present tracks. We believed this clause is a good thing. We do not want the tracks raised a few inches every year and it will put an end to any trouble here after, in this regard.
Mrs. George Naegele and son are guests of Mr. and Mrs. J. Lawrence Hamil at Columbus.
Mr. John Carr received the sad news of the death of his mother Saturday at her home in Coshocton. He left at once for that city and is spending the week there arranging to bring his father home with him. Mrs. Carr attended the funeral.
[OK. Both women named Mrs. Carr attended the funeral. But one was the mother who died – and the other was John’s wife.]
Burdette Parsons left to begin his duties on the lakes.
Mr. and Mrs. Washburn are reported somewhat better.
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Kernal of Cleveland arrived this week and will take charge of the lunch room at Foster's boathouse this season.
Among the Vermilionites who are in attendance at the ballgame at Cleveland today are T. H. Bottomley, A. Hart, W. Pelton and C. Walper.
DIED – at her home in Cleveland, Friday, April 15, 1910, Mrs. Elizabeth Francies age 62 years.
Mrs. Francies was born in Vermilion July 13, 1848, the daughter of John and Margaret Buster, was married in 1864. Two sisters, two brothers, one half-brother, two half sisters, two sons and two daughters survive. The funeral was held from the M. E. Church, Wednesday, Rev. J. W. H. Brown officiating. Interment at Maple Grove. She was a sister of H. J. Buster of Vermilion
George Feiszli received a new coaster brake bicycle this week.
[Good to know that George had some fun in his life. He would later be a casualty of the Great War. He would be Leslie Roberts Ennis’s uncle.]
Roland Ladrach as the proud possessor of a new air gun.
We are glad to hear that Mr. P. J. Miller is improving though slowly.
A big rain Sunday morning doing a good deal of good to the grass and wheat. Apple trees are just beginning to blossom. Other fruit trees are beyond harm from rain. The security of bees among the trees make it a question of importance, whether the blossoms are being properly fertilized or not.
Mrs. Wm. Saunders is sick with tonsillitis. Miss Mattie Sanders of Henrietta is caring for her.
The snow here in B was about 6 inches at 6 o'clock Tuesday morning not a very unusual thing to have snow in April, but extremely unusual to have apple trees bent to the ground with snow when in full blossom, making in unnatural site and one has feelings that there is something uncanny about it. The apple crop will be short undoubtedly this year.
Mayor Carter of Oberlin serving his third term in that office died Tuesday after a brief illness.
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY
CHAPER XI.THE FIFTY-FIFTH INFANTRY.
Roster Company E.
…John Bellman, sergeant; appointed sergeant from corporal January 1, 1864; first sergeant July 29, 1864; promoted first lieutenant company C April 24, 1865 ; veteran.
Alpheus J. Peck, sergeant; appointed sergeant from corporal July 29, 1864; first sergeant May 22, 1864; mustered out with company July 11, 1865 ; veteran.
Henry W. Crosby, sergeant; died May 27, 1864, of wounds received May 16, 1864, in battle of Resaca, Ga.; veteran.
Henry Heffron, sergeant; appointed corporal July 29, 1864; sergeant May 1, 1865; mustered out with company July 11, 1865; veteran.
Giles King, sergeant; transferred to company D, Fourteenth Veteran Reserve Corps, July 31, 1863.
Sterling H. Post, sergeant; appointed corporal June 1, 1864; sergeant November 1, 1864; mustered out with company July 11, 1865; veteran.
Jedediah D. Smith, sergeant; wounded May 15, 1864, in battle of Resaca, Ga.; discharged July 11, 1865, at Columbus, O., on surgeon's certificate of disability.
John W. Saltman, sergeant; wounded August 30, 1862, at Bull Run, Va.; appointed corporal January 1, 1864; sergeant June 1, 1864; wounded June 20, 1864, at Cassville, Ga.; discharged June 6, 1865, for wounds; veteran.
John Bowers, corporal; wounded March 19, 1865, at Averysboro, N. C.; discharged June 17, 1865, at Columbus, O.; veteran.
John L. Flaharty, corporal; mustered out December 31, 1864, on expiration of term.
George W. Foote, corporal; discharged July 9, 1863, for wounds received in action.
Ezra Lee, corporal; mustered out December 20, 1864, at expiration of term of service.
George H. Motley, corporal; appointed corporal November 1, 1864; mustered out with company July 11, 1865; veteran.
Anson Pease, corporal; appointed corporal January 1, 1865; mustered out with company July 11, 1865; veteran.
Chauncey T. Peck, corporal; appointed corporal April 30, 1863; killed May 15, 1864, in battle of Resaca, Ga.
Ira O. Peck, corporal; discharged April 16, 1863, at Brooks's Station, Va., on surgeon's certificate of disability.
Myron B. Runyan, corporal; appointed November 1, 1864; discharged June 26, 1865, for wounds received March 19', 1865, at Bentonville, N. C.; veteran.
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY OHIO – With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. – Edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich – Syracuse, N.Y. - D. Mason & Co., Publishes – 1889.
VERMILION ARTIFACT #250
This is a tintype pic of my g-g-grandparents Levi (b.1810) and Eliza Stockwell Roscoe (b.1812). I would guestimate this pic was taken about 1860. The girl is Harriet (b. 1847); the oldest boy is Lucious (b1851); and the younger boy is Jay (b.1854). They were all living in Milan, Ohio when this pic was taken.
My g-grandfather, Caselton (b. 1835) was the 2nd oldest of their 9 children. One daughter, Emma (b.1835) died when she was but one year old. The three youngsters pictured are the youngest.
Jay died in 1952. When I was very young I recall going to Norwalk, Ohio with my mother to visit him in a nursing home. I stayed in the car because I was terrified of old people.
I missed the proverbial boat on that one.
The very first sex education classes were in the 50's. Naturally, some of the teachers were embarrassed and used only very carefully chosen words.
In one class, the teacher was explaining the anatomy of the male genitalia. He said, "The human male testicles are about the size of Plover's eggs."
A female voice from the back quipped, "Hey...Neat !!! I've always wondered how big Plover's eggs were."
If you're looking for my old links section (pictured) I've replaced it with a pull-down menu (visible in the small box next to the word "Go"). If you're looking for links to more Vermilion history check that menu.