Monthly Archives: January 2014

Don Foutz Retires from Greer Steel, 1979

Foutz Don Retirement TR 1970s

Don Foutz is pictured among recent Greer Steel retirees in a Times-Reporter write-up, probably from 1979.

Times-Reporter Credits Lengthy Service to Foutz

Another couple finds to share quickly, with some brief analysis.

As recounted here previously, my great-grandfather Vance Foutz was first in four generations to leave the farming life in Harrison County, Ohio. This was more likely an accident of tragedy — following his father Jonathan Foutz’s death in September 1900, 13-year-old Vance and 15-year-old brother Charley moved from place to place in rural Ohio, working odd jobs to support mother Rebecca before settling in Dover.

There, Vance quickly settled into steel work, becoming a boiler tender and, eventually, foreman in the local Empire-Reeves mill. According to his 1968 obituary, Vance Foutz retired from the mill in 1960, when he was 73 years old.

All three sons would follow Vance into the mill at various times, beginning with his oldest, Roy Foutz, who was employed as a foreman at the mill in 1953 when he died in a traffic accident. Second oldest son Carl Foutz was already working as an 18-year-old office boy in the mill as of the 1930 census; by 1940, he was a foreman.

But I don’t think the Times-Reporter got it right when they listed my grandfather Don Foutz’s term of service at Greer Steel as 36 years. The picture was probably published in 1979, the retirement year listed in grandpa’s obituary. So that would put his starting date in the mill at… 1943?

Doesn’t quite add up, since documents as various as grandpa’s 1942 engagement announcement and 1980 obituary report that:

  • as of 1942 Don was employed at Fred Potschner Ford
  • his obituary reports he worked at Greer Steel for 17 years, and prior to that “was a longtime employee” of Fred Potschner Ford

Still, I suppose it’s possible, like Roy and Carl, that his father Vance pressed him into work at the mill from an early age, prior to his time at Potschner. After all, the 1942 engagement announcement does report a certain Erma Johnson as working as secretary in the Greer Steel offices.

From August 1956, below, a Daily Reporter ad lists Don Foutz among Potschner’s salesmen. Probably enough evidence to whittle away at the 36 years of service listed by the Reporter, though countless bowling scores for grandpa throughout the 1950s on the Potcschner team seem to back it up further.

Foutz Don Potschner Ford ad Daily Reporter 6 Aug 1956

A 1956 ad from the Dover Daily Reporter lists Grandpa Don Foutz as a salesman at Fred Potschner Ford in Dover.

Categories: Foutz, Milestones | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Charles & Viola Johnson Celebrate 45th Anniversary

Viola (Palmer) Johnson & Charles Arthur Johnson

Great-grandparents Viola Mae (Palmer) and Charles Arthur Johnson, pose for a photograph, probably in the 1950s at their home in New Philadelphia.

Great-grandparents Johnson Celebrated by 7 Kids, 20 Grandkids

There was rarely an aspect of daily life not covered by the local paper in the early- to mid-20th century.

Minor injuries, kids’ birthday parties, visiting friends and relatives, real estate transactions, the estates of deceased — you can read it in the daily paper.

The major milestones, of course, were in abundant evidence: birth, marriage, death. And the celebration of various anniversaries commemorating them.

As a fun way to celebrate my parents’ 60th birthdays in 2012, I assembled a card laying out for them a snapshot of life in the 60th years of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The snippets for great-grandparents Charles Johnson and Viola (Palmer) Johnson read:

For Charles Johnson (Nov. 6, 1946) —

  • The war was over and my son Bill home.
  • The twins, Lloyd and Floyd, our youngest, are just about set to graduate from New Phila High.
  • I’ve been working construction the last five or so years, which beats the coal mining I’d done for forty years, since I was 13 and went down in the mine with Dad.
  • Dad’s still around, by the way – old Clement is 83 and lives out on East High Ave., though he’s been sick with artery and heart problems the last few years.
  • Most of the kids married off and giving us grandkids – 9 so far; Leonard’s, Virginia’s, Nellie’s and Erma’s kids.
For Viola (Palmer) Johnson (June 3, 1949) —
  • All the kids were grown and out of the house – the youngest, twins Lloyd and Floyd, would turn 20 that year.
  • Son Bill was back from the war and starting work at I-F Manufacturing Co. in New Phila.
  • I was happy to call one place home for the last seven years, after many moves in the 1920s and 1930s. Charles and I have lived at 448 Kelly St. NW in Phila since 1942.
  • In the last decade, I’ve done some janitorial work for a local furniture store to help make ends meet
  • My grandchildren numbered 11, the newest being Bob Foutz, with a 12th, Michael, on the way in October

Charles & Viola Johnson Celebrate 45 Years

Proving that life was still good in their 70s, the Dover Daily Reporter of  June 28, 1956 shared news of a family celebration commemorating the July 1, 1911 wedding of Charles and Viola.

By then, the grandchildren numbered 20, and they planned to celebrate with their seven living children. (Three sons, remember, had died in separate water-related accidents in the 1930s.)

Read all about it!

Johnson Charles Viola 45th anniversary Daily REporter 28 Jun 1956

From June 28, 1956, the Dover Daily Reporter commemorates Charles and Viola Johnson’s upcoming 45th anniversary.

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R.E. Ley Jr., Dover Councilman-at-Large

Ley RE Jr council at large Daily REporter 9 Nov 1955

Grandpa Robert Earl Ley Jr. in a 1955 Republican announcement for his reelection as Dover city councilman.

Robert Earl Ley Jr. Continues Family Tradition of Service

Thought I’d continue sharing the riches from a recent binge of research, and follow-up on the civic theme sounded in yesterday’s post about Beatrice Weible’s public service, by opening the flow of (digital) ink devoted to my grandpa Robert Earl Ley, Jr.

Call it an opening salvo.

Because though I have far better things to occupy my time than counting the mentions of my ancestors in the 1950s through 1970s editions of the Dover Daily Reporter, I think it’s safe to say articles devoted to the actions of R.E. Ley Jr. as dentist, Elk, Mason, Shriner, Kiwani and, yes, city councilman run neck and neck with the notices about his step-mother’s and mother-in-law’s flurry with various women’s groups.

Public service was nothing new, of course, to the Leys.

Fourth-great-grandfather (and Bavarian immigrant) Karl Ley served on the school board in Shanesville, where his wife, Caroline (Vogelsang) Ley was president of the Ladies’ Guild.

Son Augustus Ley manned the posts of treasurer and clerk for Salem Twp.

Grandson Charles Henry Ley served on the board of education and city council before gaining election and reelection as Tuscarawas County Treasurer from 1911-1915.

His son Robert Earl Ley, Sr., assisted him in the treasurer post during his first term, and was a charter member of the Dover Kiwanis Club, a member of the Masonic Lodge in New Philadelphia and of the Shrine and affiliated organizations. He was a past president of the Tuscarawas County Dental organization.

In addition to his service on the Dover City Council, Karl Ley’s great-great grandson, Robert Earl Ley, Jr., my grandfather, participated in many fraternal organizations. The rundown: He was a member of Dover Kiwanis, Dover American Legion, past president of Dover Lions Club, past exalted ruler of Dover Elks Lodge No. 975, a 32nd degree Mason, member of Dover Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite Valley of Canton, Tadmor Shrine, Royal Order of Jesters, and Chef de Gare of the 40 et 8 Voiture 117.

But let’s let grandpa’s November 1957 re-election bio sketch carry a little of the weight, shall we?

For the full rundown of that year’s GOP slate, click the thumbnail below.

Ley RE Vote GOP Daily Reporter 1 Nov 1957

Ley RE Jr Councilman Vote GOP Daily Reporter 1 Nov 1957

November 1957 Republican Party advertisement to re-elect R.E. Ley Jr. as Dover city councilman-at-large.

Categories: Ley, quickie post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beatrice Weible Tries for Board of Elections

Beatrice Weible Dover Woman's Club president

Beatrice Weible in 1959, after her election as president of the Dover Woman’s Club.

Widowed Beatrice Weible Active in Dover Civic Life

Our binge-sharing of several dozen finds combing through archives continues today with a look at the Weibles.

I don’t seem to be keeping to my grand plan of garnering posts to last well into this year by only sharing one clipping at a time. However, it’s the cumulative effect of seeing our relatives names crop up in the usual places, year after year, that I find most profound.

Take my great-grandmother, Beatrice Morgan Weible. It has always been difficult for me to imagine her young life and family life, since the broadest strokes of history, particularly when it comes to record-keeping, usually focus on the more profound and somber life events: birth, marriage, death.

Like my great-grandparents, Vance Foutz and Laura Zeigler Foutz, great-grandma Weible’s early life was at least in part shaped by birth order and the death of parents.

Vance was born seventh in 1887, 20 years after his oldest brother, Sherman Foutz. His father, Jonathan Foutz, died in 1900 when Vance was just 13. The family would soon move from their home of several generations in Harrison County, with Vance and brother Charles working to support their mother, Rebecca, eventually settling in Dover.

Laura was born tenth in 1885, 18 years after her oldest brother, Johann Heinrich Zeigler. Her father, John Jacob Zeigler, died in 1897 when Laura was not yet 12. While she would have a large support network of siblings surrounding her at their family farm, her married life from the beginning was occupied with sharing a residence and caring for, first, her mother-in-law Rebecca, who died in 1915, and later her own mother, Elizabeth Duerr Zeigler, who died in 1928.

Beatrice Weible, similarly, was born eighth in 1892, 19 years after her oldest brother, William Daniel Morgan. Her father, Thomas W Morgan, emigrated from Wales about 1870, marrying her mother, Jannett Rees, in 1872 in Philadelphia.

From there, the family made their way across Pennsylvania. In 1880, Thomas is working as a heater, probably in a mill or factory, and the family resides in Apollo, Pa. By 1884, the family moves to Carnegie, where Thomas finds iron work in the rolling mill there. He is elected to two terms as councilman, and in February 1895 begins running the Hotel Morgan.

His promising life is cut short at 49 when he dies in October 1897. Great-grandma Beatrice is just 5 years old.

Beatrice Weible 2nd VP woman's club

Beatrice Weible in 1957, after her election as 2nd vice president of the Dover Woman’s Club.

Busy Beatrice in Adopted Hometown Dover

In the years after Thomas Morgan’s death, the Morgan crew travel extensively. Family lore tells of ocean journeys with matriarch Jannett Morgan to their ancestral home in Wales. Fortuitously, they also reside for a couple years in Dover, Ohio, where daughter Jennet May Morgan becomes the bride of Howard Richardson.

It is in Dover where Beatrice meets my great-grandfather, Robert Ohio Weible. Again, their marriage in May 1914 is shaped, at least in part, at least from the vantage point of history, by tragedy: Jannet Morgan dies three months prior to their wedding, in February 1914. R.O.’s parents, Esther Bliss Goddard Weible and Franklin Eli Weible, follow not long after, in January 1915 and February 1917, respectively.

Perhaps losing parents early was more common back then. But I can’t help but wonder how these events shaped my great-grandmother’s early life. Certain pictures, in which her countenance is somber, suggest far more sadness than seeing a life in motion would probably reveal:

Probably I’m reading too much into an expression. Certainly, the photos above, from the 1950s, show an active, proud, pleasant person in the thick of it with the Dover Woman’s Club. That these images capture her in the decade after great-grandfather Robert Ohio Weible’s early death in July 1947 at just 55, reliably demonstrate her resilience, I think.

It is really not until the 1950s that the Dover Daily Reporter becomes positively peppered with at least weekly mentions of Beatrice Weible’s service. As Woman’s Club hostess and later, president. As co-hostess with cohort Edith Harney of weekly Trinity-Bethany Bible classes at Dover First Moravian Church. As frequent hostess of the Moravian Church’s “Merry Marthas.”

And etc. and etc. and etc. (Click on the thumbnails below to read some representative notices. Again, there are hundreds of these published throughout the 1950s and 1960s.)

Weible Beatrice Merry Marthas Daily Reporter 24 Mar 1955 Weible Beatrice Trinity Bethany Moravian Daily Reporter 12 Oct 1964 Woman's Club meeting Beatrice Weible

Sole woman in male BOE field

But one discovery I found particularly intriguing may show evidence of her early re-entry into society life following R.O.’s passing.

From February 1950, the Dover Daily Reporter shares the results of the Tuscarawas County Republican party’s  choice for its board of elections. On the ballot: R.E. Fair, mayor of Shanesville; Forrest Smith of Newcomerstown; J.A. Neff of New Philadelphia; and… one Mrs. Beatrice Weible of Dover.

All were vying for a seat to succeed W. Paul Wilcoxen of Uhrichsville as a member of the county board of elections. The article further described Beatrice Weible as “widow of R.O. Weible,” hopefully a measure of respect for the wife of a man who had served as chairman of the executive committee in the 1930s, as well as president of the Dover Republican Club (among many, many, many other civic groups). But probably a means of further underlining the obvious: here’s a woman running against three men.

Fair was elected on the first ballot by a wide margin, the article reported.

Beatrice Weible tries for county board of elections

However, great-grandma Weible would go on to enmesh herself fully in Dover life, if not politics, throughout her remaining quarter century.

Quite a legacy, I’d say; quite a lady.

Twig 8 Group makes quilts with Beatrice Weible

Categories: newsletter, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vance Foutz Home Hit by Lightning

Foutz Vance Don lightning fire Daily Reporter front 29 March 1954

1954 Lightning Strike Ignites Gas Line at Foutz Home

There’s nothing like a few idle days — and a free trial subscription to — to get the old family history hankerings humming.

In some inspired binge-searching, I racked up several dozen clippings and unraveled a few family mysteries. Enough to unspool in this space over the next several weeks. So, stay tuned!

Today’s stop: March 1954 in Dover, Ohio. A morning storm sends a lightning strike to surprise great-grandma Laura Foutz and damage not only her home, but the bungalow owned by my grandparents Don and Erma Foutz just behind it.

From the Dover Daily Reporter, Monday, March 29, 1954:

Out of 3,407 Dover residences, lightning yesterday picked on the home of Vance C. Foutz of 323 E. Front St. as the county experienced a weekend of freakish weather.

Out of the overcast skies came a bolt which struck the Foutz home at 8:55 a.m., causing a flash fire that did damage estimated at several thousand dollars. Another house at the rear of the Foutz residence, occupied by a son, Don, also was slightly damaged.

Heat of the bolt melted a lead connection on the gas meter in the Foutz basement, opening a three quarter inch gas line. The spreading gas was ignited and in a matter of minutes it had swept throughout the house.

Other than shock, members of the Foutz family and Mrs. Frieda Mizer, who also lives there, escaped injury.

Mrs. Foutz was preparing a roast at the gas range in her kitchen when the lightning hit. She thought the stove had exploded and immediately called to Mrs. Mizer, a cook at Katie’s Restaurant, who was asleep in an upstairs bedroom.

Read the rest of the article by clicking on the thumbnails below!

Foutz Vance Don lightning fire Daily Reporter front 29 March 1954 Foutz Vance Don lightning fire Daily Reporter 2 29 March 1954



Foutzes Not Long for Front Street

The conclusion of this electric caper? Both Vance and Don Foutz’s families would move from the 300 block of Race Street to the homes of my dad’s childhood.

  • An item in the April 18, 1955 Daily Reporter, about a year after the lightning strike, reports Don and Erma Foutz selling part of lot 289 (that would be the bungalow in the rear) to Donald and Helen Schrump.
  • An item from June 7, 1955 finds Don and Erma Foutz purchasing parts of lots 2271-2272 from Clem and Katherine Stratton — their home at 115 N. Cross St., I’m supposing.
  • Meanwhile, great-grandparents Vance and Laura Foutz move in with son Carl at 428 Race Street. That is, until Vance receives a building permit for a one-story, 40 x 24 residence at 428 Race Street rear, as reported April 6, 1955. Luckily, son and daughter-in-law Carl and A. Louise Foutz follow up by selling Vance .11 acres behind their home to build his small residence, where he would reside until his death in 1968.

Vance Foutz purchases .11 acres from son Don Foutz buys home on Cross Street Don Foutz sells bungalow on Front Street Vance Foutz plans one-story residence


Foutz Vance apartment Dover 2011

Vance Foutz’s former apartment, seen on a rainy March day in 2011. He bought the land from his son, Carl, and applied for a building permit for the small place in 1955, a year after lightning struck his Front street home.


Categories: Foutz, quickie post | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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