First we hit for the Ohio Turnpike, entered at Maumee, Michigan, thus by-passing the city of Toledo. Upon reaching the turnpike objective we put up for the night and next day traversed that wonderful highway for 150 miles at 65 m.p.h. There is not a crossroad or signal in its 241 miles between the East and West borders of the state. Leaving the turnpike after getting out of the Cleveland area, we deployed North to the lake shore at Painesville, joining U.S. # 20 there, and then continuing East through East Springfield, Pa., my old stamping grounds as a boy. We found that our old home, built by my father 75 years ago, had been wrecked to make rocs for the new highway as modernized; the schools to which I had gone as a youngster were either gone or modernized beyond recognition, Then on through Girard where Dan Rico, the celebrated native showman, had lived and died. Dan was the P.T. Barnum of his day, and his statue in the public square brought back memories of yesteryear. Thus and the fine marble-block bank- “The Battles National Bank”, suggesting by its name the banker Rush Battles, of 75 years ago, were the only two points connecting my memories with the past.
Arriving in Linesville in mid-afternoon we were shocked, upon calling at the office of The Linesville Herald, to learn of the recent death and funeral of the editor, Harold Lowing, with whom we had counted upon having a nice visit, to renew our acquaintance from our visit of five years ago.
We can’t express sufficient thanks to Ur. L. V, Wallace (known to us as ‘Vern’) for his efforts as host in introducing us to many old-timers and citing us to historical spots etc. etc. To his credit be it said that he has worked on the Amos Line memoirs for many years. In this process he unearthed an old tintype of Amos Line, which Vern had enlarged to about 24 by 36 size and framed in heavy walnut. This he presented to me, as among the last living of the Line clan, and which I, in turn, with Vern’s concurrence, gave to the borough, through its burgess, Earl Madigan, with the stipulation that it be hung permanently on the walls of the Council Chamber.
Some enterprising citizen should make a write-up of the above-mentioned incident to be published in the local paper, giving credit to Mr. Wallace, to whom it is due. All the data acquired by Mt. Wallace, through the years, was turned over to the late Colonel Frank Wiser, who published it in a little book two years ago. I still have a few copies of this booklet, free upon request, to anybody writing me.
Among the numerous personal contacts space permits me to mention but a few, among which were the Knierman’s, our motel hosts, who gave us many helpful hints; Gordon Irons, operating a chicken hatchery; Blanche Stratton, 80, the oldest living native citizen, and Frank Irons, 85. We visited the old Quaker Cemetery 3 miles north, wherein is the unmarked grave of the original Amos Line, who died in 1853. This is now a cow pasture, and most of the markers therein have long since crumbled into dust; 1866 was the earliest legible date we could make out on the few stones still partially standing. We visited the local wild bird sanctuary; the Pymatuning Spillway; the largest inland fish hatchery in the world; walked out E. Erie Street to the site of our old homestead, now wrecked with others to make room for the new million dollar school, covering 52 acres over all. Richard Farley, president of the Board of Education, took us on a tour of the buildings and premises and incidentally gave me several copies of ancient Quaker books. One of these antedated Amos’ regime, back to Amos’ father, Henry, the publication being dated 1789. These volumes of ancient vintage will eventually go into the archives of the Crawford County Historical Society in Meadville, county seat.
Sunday we attended services of the Universalist Church, Rev. Henry Pommer presiding pastor, with coffee served afterward in the Sunday school rooms. Met Gordon Whitesmith, son of a former pastor; Eva Cunningham; and others. This day we also ran over to Meadville to call on a cousin, Ida Lee Knapp; and to drive around the campus of Allegheny College, from which my father graduated in the 1850s.
Returning to Linesville, we had a nice ‘get-together’ with Ted and Blanche Allen for an hours talk. Ted was the boyhood friend of my deceased brother Fred, who taught in the public schools at that time and later became a minister in the Universalist Church, of which my parents and the family were members. This day also we visited the local cemetery and our family lots.
NEW LONDON, OHIO
Leaving Linesville at daylight next morning, we drove over the causeway spanning Pymatuning Lake, to Andover, thence westward to New London, Ohio, where we arrived at noon. Here, by previous arrangement, we were entertained for dinner at the home of Marvin (87) and Etta Hibbard. By phone appointment we called on neighbors of the Hibbards, the Brundages, who occupy the house I built 51 years ago. It still has the same lovely grain of the Southern Pine finish, as when newly built. Contacted Ross Seiler, the barber, and Frank Childs the druggist- both of whom have been in their respective businesses at the same location for 54 years; saw Paul Kirkton who, as a young timber man, sold me the framing lumber for the “Line Block”, built 50 years ago, later sold to the Barnes Clothing Co., and now occupied by them, on whom we called. Called upon the Charlie Post family and upon M. E. Graves, 82, now moving to Florida. I noted that the brick pavements laid 50 years ago, when I was a member of the city council, covering all the main streets, but now with a tar top coating, seem as serviceable as ever, to last maybe another 50 years.