Tag Archives: Ohio

New Look At Ohio History By David McCullough

The American history author, David McCullough hunkered down in Marietta Ohio, on the Ohio River, to write about the lesser-known pioneers who first settled the Northwest Territory.

Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West

Pioneer Association of Washington County
Meeting of the Pioneer Association in Marietta in 1870. Augustus Stone, one of the sons of my pioneer family, would be here. Photo from Washington County Public Library

Anyone with ancestors in early Ohio will find this book helpful. In fact, it’s way of showing how national events affect individual families could be useful to anyone who wants to understand their ancestors’ lives between 1788 and the early 1800s.

McCullough has chosen to focus on one town–Marietta–and a handful of the leaders who made the settlement possible. General Rufus Putnam, who led fellow veterans of the Revolution westward and meticulously planned the “New England on the Ohio” town takes main stage, of course.

But McCullough also gives mini-biographies of lesser known figures who were essential to the founding of Marietta. Manasseh Cutler, a New England preacher who tirelessly campaigned for federal support of the Northwest settlement and against slavery; his son, Ephraim Cutler who settled in Ohio and held important positions; General Tupper, another Revolutionary War veteran; Joseph Barker, builder responsible for many of the homes on land and boats on the river; and Samuel Hildreth, Physician.

These men are very interesting, however, rather than spend a chapter on the shenanigans of Aaron Burr, and another on a visit by John Quincy Adams, I wish that he had spent more time on the “ordinary” people rather than only on the leaders. Of course it is hard to see ANY of the pioneers who took the chances they took to settle this new land as “ordinary.” As intriguing as Aaron Burr is and as much as I admire John Quincy Adams, their connection to the Northwest Territory was tenuous.

The Challenges

A catalogue of problems faced by the pioneers, makes me wonder if I would have left civilized New England for that unknown territory. We are reminded, however, that after the Revolution, the new country’s economy took a dive and since few of the soldiers ever received pay, the heroes of the Revolution were in serious financial trouble after the war. They believed, with typical American optimism, that the wilderness of Ohio Country promised a rich new life. All they had to do was work hard and the land would reward them.

Although that was the case, first they had to get across the mountains of Pennsylvania on foot or in oxcart, and down the Ohio in flatboats that they built themselves. Then they had to clear forests of trees larger than they had ever seen before, build forts, houses, and stores and churches.

Picketts Point monument to recall the Indian Wars along the Ohio River.
Picketed Point, reminder of the Indian Wars along the Ohio River 1791-1796 Photo by Photo by Richie Diesterheft, Flickr.

Meanwhile, they would be fighting off clouds of gnats. Listening to the wolves and panthers every night in the “howling wilderness,” and waiting for an Indian attack. For the first couple of years, The Ohio Company were ignored by their government in Washington, until a particularly onerous massacre woke up the law makers and George Washington himself stepped in to assure adequate funding and troops to establish a peace with the Indians.

My Family Arrives

1789 brought a harsh winter that killed crops prematurely and a measles outbreak adding to starvation. Next small pox hit the settlement. But in the summer the famine ended and General Putnam went back to Ohio to collect his wife and children and bring them West, along with fifteen other settlers. My 8th cousin, once removed, Israel Stone and his family added a considerable portion of that fifteen.

Benjamin Franklin Stone
Benjamin Franklin Stone

Of course I was disappointed that “my” family didn’t make it into McCullough’s book, particularly since one of the sons, Benjamin Franklin Stone wrote a journal detailing their journey and settlement in Rainbow, up the river from Marietta. McCullough also does not mention Rainbow. Among many interesting tidbits, Benjamin tells with how the family made it through the starvation times–PUMPKINS. Since another son, Sardine Stone held elected office for many years,I thought the family might have warranted mention.

Note: You can read New England Magazine, Vol. 16 1897(starting on page 210) with most of Benjamin Franklin Stone’s Journal in a digital copy on Google Books (FREE).

At the least, it would have been helpful to have a list of the settlers that came in the original caravan and in the later caravans led by Putnam. I doubt anyone could complete a totally accurate list, since McCullough reports that there were new people arriving every day. Naturally some of those people moved farther west after a brief stay, and some gave up and returned to the East.

Basic Principles

The dedication of these early pioneers to certain American principles, makes me proud to be an Ohioan. From the beginning their compacts included wording insisting on fair treatment of the Indians (although they were not totally successful), a ban on slavery and inclusion of all religions. From the very first year, they established schools, even Ohio University at the idealistically named new town of Athens, Ohio got their early attention. And every family in the Ohio Company was required to plant fifty apple trees. Johnny Appleseed was not the alone in carrying the gospel of the apple throughout Ohio.

I came away thinking that these people had both a phenomenal ability to believe in the future, together with some failings to see how things would change. They somehow knew that the towns they established would become cities of great importance, but they overestimated the lasting importance of river trade. Even after the invention of the steam engine and railroads started crisscrossing the country, they were slow to see the change. They wisely built roads much wider than needed by their carts and pedestrians, but of course had no clue that those roads would one day carry motorized vehicles. And flying machines? A fantasy. .

But whatever advances civilization made, those Pioneers were right about one thing–education.

Tacos Arrive in Mennonite Country: A Slice of My Life

Since it is Cinco de Mayo, I got to thinking about Mexican food. Today we take for granted that tacos and enchiladas and chimichangas and burritos show up in weekly menus as often as the German- and British-derived foods I grew up on. But there was that time in 1966 when I introduced an Ohio family to (American) Mexican food. There was that time when farmer Adam Bair, my husband’s uncle, could not get enough tacos.

Uncle Adam Bair with Kenneth Paul, Brent and Mike Badertscher about 1966.

The success of tacos at a family reunion of Badertschers and Kohlers and Bairs in rural Wayne County, Ohio, provides a perfect illustration of the way that American food preferences change.

In the late spring of 1966, my husband Ken and I traveled back to our home state of Ohio to visit the relatives we had left behind when we moved to Arizona. We had married in 1960 and moved to Arizona in 1963. Ken’s mother’s family gathered at their home which was surrounded by farms and just down the road from a center of Mennonite culture, Kidron Ohio. All the women would bring a dish to share. They would perhaps make a noodle casserole with the obligatory mushroom soup. Or perhaps they made a J-ello salad with cabbage and carrots. Surely some melt-in-your mouth desserts like raisin pie or dump cake would appear. There would be a platter of ham slices and Swiss cheese and home made rolls.

noodle casserole

Noodle Casserole, photo from Flickr used with Creative Commons license.

My mother-in-law told me that there would be plenty of food. Since I came from so far away, I would not be expected to provide a dish. But that did not seem right to me. For one thing, I loved to cook. For another, I wanted to be a part of the family.

When we moved to Arizona I quickly began to explore the new-to-me everyday cuisine of Sonora, Mexico. Sonora was just down the road. From Scottsdale where we lived, we would drive south through Tucson and on to Nogales, the border town. And Mexican restaurants were popular in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. (We were later to move to Tucson, much closer to the border. As a town founded by the Spanish in 1776, Tucson was much more oriented culturally (and by cuisine) to Mexico.)

To put this in perspective, in the 1960s, ethnic foods and restaurants other than Italian and Americanized Chinese were just beginning to make inroads. Although there were plenty of Mexican restaurants in Arizona there were none in this county. No one at that family gathering had ever been to a Mexican restaurant. There were no Taco Bells in Ohio until 1970. There were no frozen Mexican dinners. There were no tortillas. And that explains why it was perhaps foolhardy of me to decide that I should make tacos for the family. [Note: My mother had been serving us “tamales” from a can in the 50s, but they bear little resemblance to real Mexican food.]

Tacos were simple to throw together, and a dish that I could make without recipes. All I needed was corn tortillas, some oil to cook them in, ground beef, tomatoes, onion, lettuce, and cheese for the filling. Salsa? Hot sauce? Not for these people who had never seen, let alone tasted tacos and enchiladas. [I may be wrong about that–my sister-in-law thinks that I did bring a bottle of salsa back from the store where I found the tortillas. Any cousins remember?]

Ken and I set out to get some tortillas. There were none in the grocery store in nearby Dalton. I don’t remember if we checked nearby Orrville, but they wouldn’t have had them either. So we went further afield–all the way to Mansfield, Ohio, nearly 50 miles away. We checked a couple of stores and they had no tortillas. Dejected, I tried one more store, perusing the freezer case–and there were frozen tortillas! Frankly, I don’t remember if I also found a can of Hatch green chiles to mix in with the meat, but I would have been cautious about using peppers, anyhow. Perhaps I diced a green bell pepper from my mother-in-law’s garden.

Back we went to my in-laws’ home, hoping the tortillas would thaw overnight. The next morning, I stirred the ground beef and diced onions in a hot skillet. I chopped tomatoes, and lettuce and grated cheese. (Plenty of cheese in Mennonite country, even if there was no queso blanco or Monterey Jack.) When the family members began to arrive, I fried tortillas in a inch of hot oil in a large skillet. I maneuvered them with tongs to form an envelope that could be stuffed with the ground beef. and vegetables.



Taco photo from Flickr with Creative Commons license.

Of course I had second thoughts once the familiar casserole dishes began to arrive. Would I alienate myself from these folks by bringing them alien food? Would they spurn the crispy taco shells spilling contents all over with every bite? Could I compete with J-ello salads?

As I watched anxiously, everyone cautiously took a taco from the warming pan I had put in a low oven. They said they liked them. But Uncle Adam, the German-Swiss farmer who defined the word “raw-boned” wrapped his big hand around one taco. And another and then another. I wound up back in the kitchen making more even more tacos. Ole’!

Of course by the mid 1980s, Mexican restaurants had spread to Ohio. One could find the ingredients to make them at home in every grocery store. But I am proud to say that in 1961. I introduced tacos to a bunch of people who lived in Wayne County, Ohio. They may even be celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Kidron, Ohio today.

HAPPY CINCO de MAYO!

[Note: I have made a couple of additions since receiving comments on this post. Keep the comments coming!]

Vintage Restaurant Meatloaf

Hale’s Restaurant, Killbuck, Ohio

Hale’s Restaurant

Hale’s Restaurant stood on the corner of Main and Front Streets–the main intersection of Killbuck Ohio– when I was in school in Killbuck, Ohio. Recently on a Facebook group for present and former residents of that village,contributor “Tootzi” Snyder, shared a special recipe. Claude Hale, the owner of Hale’s restaurant had given his meatloaf recipe to her. Thank you, Tootzi for setting me out on this research and cooking adventure.

[Note: That is not Claude Hale in the photo above, but a person from the Danville fire department. Ironic when you read the history of the restaurant, which I outline below]

Vintage Meatloaf

Hale's Restaurant Vintage Meatloaf
Hale’s Restaurant Meatloaf naked


UPDATE March 2019: Although I cheated and served French Fries instead of mashed potatoes, I did have gravy on the meatloaf I made. Somehow I knew peas and mashed potatoes and gravy had to be part of the meal. Sure enough, the husband of a high school friend of mine posted on the Killbuck group:
The first meal that I had in Hales was meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy. $.70
The side dishes were : Peas,prunes, head lettuce, Apple sauce. cottage cheese and garden salad. [presumably, pick two. And can you imagine prunes on a restaurant menu today? As a side dish?]

Recipe hand written by Claude Hale, owner of the Hale’s Restaurant in Killbuck. Courtesy of Tootzi Snyder. NOTE: “Mango” is Northern Ohio lingo for bell pepper.


And about that “mango” in the recipe–remember it is Midwestern lingo for green pepper. Here’s a good explanation of how that word usage and confusion happened.

Anderson’s Restaurant

My grandmother and grandfather Guy and Vera Anderson (on the left in the picture at the top of the page) ran a restaurant in Killbuck, too. They started serving meals in the mid-1930’s and closed around 1945 when my grandfather began to have heart trouble. So naturally, I was curious to learn whether Hale’s restaurant came along afterwards to fill a void. Or was Hale’s a competitor to the Anderson’s Restaurant just down the street on Main? After all, I’m certain that Anderson’s also served meatloaf.

Hale’s Restaurant Timeline

After some Googling and reading newspaper articles from the period, I can present this history of Claude Hale and his restaurant. Alas, no menus or ads featuring meatloaf.

  • Prior to April 1940: A restaurant called Bob and Bud’s Restaurant operates in the landmark Killbuck building at the corner of Main and Front Streets. [I have no information about Bob and Bud’s, unfortunately.]
  • April 1940: Claude Hale movs from Akron when he buys an interest
    in Bob & Bud’s Restaurant in Killbuck from Fred Teisher . Robert Teischer remains as his partner and assists in operating the restaurant, which becomes Hale’s Restaurant.
  • March, 1943: World War II calls all able-bodied men and Claude Hale signs up to fight. He announces he will close Hale’s Restaurant. [Apparently Mr. Teischer had moved on.] This threatens to leave Killbuck with no restaurant for the first time in 50 years according to the Killbuck columnist for the Coshocton Tribune. [If that is true, the first restaurant in Killbuck started in the 1890s, which definitely was earlier than the Anderson’s restaurant, So whose was it?]
  • In 1943, Mrs Mayme Burton rescues the town when she starts serving meals at her place of business on North Main Street. She also operates a gasoline station and a grocery store. (Sounds just like the combos we have now with gas pumps, shopping and a fast food restaurant under one roof.)
  • 1946: When he returns from the war, Claude reopens the restaurant. In the Killbuck Gang Facebook page, Owen Mellor recalls Hale’s was open in 1946.
  • June, 1958: The newspaper reports that Mr. and Mrs. Claude Hale have repurchased the restaurant from Norman Crandall. I was not able to find a notice of the original sale to Crandall, so don’t know when that took place. As far as I know the restaurant continued to operate as Hale’s throughout the 50s.
  • December, 1967: The Coshocton Tribune announces that Claude Hale and his wife have sold their restaurant to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Dobbins. (They sold the business but retained the building, which included apartments.)
  • December 1970: A devastating fire breaks out in the middle of the night. Despite the efforts of 75 fireman and twelve trucks, the restaurant and apartments above are destroyed.

A FIRE Reveals the History of the Building

Newspaper coverage of the fire brings the story back to my own family. A few months ago, I featured a photo of my great-great grandmother, Mary Morgan’s home on the corner of Main and Front Streets. The article on the fire includes speculation that the building was built before the turn of the century. I knew that, because my great-grandfather ‘Doc’ Stout started his first medical practice there when he married Mary’s daughter, Hattie.

Even more interesting, the article says that the building previously served as a dry goods store and a post office. That is all part of my family history. Mary Mogan’s first husband, Asahel Platt operated a dry goods store. I discovered that fact through the probate papers filed after his death. After her second husband, Jesse Morgan, disappeared from her life, Mary served from time to time as postmistress for Killbuck. 

All those activities, plus her business as a seamstress, took place in the same building that later housed Hale’s restaurant. You can clearly see the similarity with the picture of Hale’s restaurant above.

Mary Morgan's house
Mary Morgan’s Killbuck house with Doc Stout office on right. Circa 1880

So much for the history of the Hale’s Restaurant. How about a slice of restaurant meatloaf? Claude Hale’s recipe obviously serves a lot more people than you might at home. In the notes on the recipe, I tell you how easy it is to convert this to 1/3 the size.

Also, this recipe is pretty basic. If you want to try one with a little more pizazz, see my own meatloaf recipe. I believe the use of tomato paste or sauce or catsup probably derives from the Anderson’s Restaurant recipe. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. (Although I may add more eggs to the Anderson Recipe next time, because I really liked the texture of Hale’s meatloaf.

Hale's Restaurant meatloaf
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Hale’s Restaurant Meatloaf

This is a vintage, mid-century restaurant recipe for a no-frills meatloaf, juicy and flavorful.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword beef, meatloaf, vintage recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 36 slices

Ingredients

  • 6 lbs ground beef
  • 3 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb onion chopped fine
  • 3 cups cracker meal
  • 1 mango (green bell pepper) chopped fine
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 bunch celery chopped fine or 3 tbsp celery seed

Instructions

  • Beat eggs. Mix all ingredients, pack in pan and bake 3 and 1/2 hours. (temperature not given, but for such a long baking time, probably 325)

Notes

This is the full restaurant-sized recipe as written by the restaurant owner.  I made 1/3 the amount and it made an 8″ loaf pan plus a mini loaf pan. Alternatively, it would fill a 9″ loaf pan.
The recipe is easy to divided in thirds.  Just remember that 1/3 a Tablespoon is 1 teaspoon, so don’t overdo the pepper.
Several people on first seeing this recipe thought it was too many eggs, but I found the eggs and cracker meal balanced perfectly with the ground beef for a very good texture.
You can serve it with a brown gravy (mix 3 tbsp melted butter and 3 tbsp flour, and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups beef broth depending on how thick you want the gravy.)  For an authentic mid-century restaurant meal, serve with mashed potatoes and canned peas and a lettuce salad.