Thank you for the offer. However, a few years ago I did visit that church and took photos of the stained glass window that has the names of my great grandparents Augustus Frederick and Melinda Ault Askam. A young man, who identified himself as the son of the pastor, graciously gave me the grand tour. I had actually attended a service in that church as a child many long years ago. My father was born and reared on Grasslands farm, which is just north of Vanlue.
My great grandfather, Robert Quigley King developed a lot of real estate in Springfield, Ohio. Somehow, he bought that large tract of land, just north of Vanlue at some sort of bargain price, which was entirely undeveloped at the time. He sent his son, Robert Leffler King, my grandfather, very unwillingly, according to family accounts, to turn that raw land into a farm. While grandfather was doing that, he met and married, Lola Montez Askam (daughter of Augustus and Melinda) and married her. They had three children, all of whom were born on that farm and brought up there. My father often spoke of all the rattlesnakes on the farm in those days.
Unfortunately, according to my grandfather, some of the neighbors did not like him and set about to make his life miserable. I include a transcription of his farm journal (to the extent I could read his writing) that gives an account of that dispute and has quite a bit to say about that church. You might find it interesting. While my grandfather was obviously highly expasperated, I personally found it somewhat humerous these more than a hundred years later. Notice, for instance, that he never once mentions my grandmother.
December 16, 1906 (1)
Robert L. King, (King) father of
Edwin, Hamlin & Jessie
In the year 1887 Feb. 2. I arrived in Hancock. The farm was without inside or road fences. Line fences had been built by the land owners – a joining of rails, boards, poles and brush being used. I began building my half of the line fences, where the fences standing at that time were the worst, using black ash rails and oak for this purpose. After building the rail fences around the timber, I with the help of two or three men, went to work making fence posts and building wire fences on the prairie. That being built, a 10 x 12 ft. shanty on the West edge of the prairie in which I lived, living there until June 4, 1890. The summer and fall of this year were very dry. In July, I think it was, fire broke out in Nimrod Bright’s timber near where I had built a new 8 rail fence that spring; burning 80 rods of it. or all I had on that part if the farm. Mr. Bright had in exenue for a fence in the shape of a long pile of brush, which also burned. I brushed a path in the fallen leaves and grass, mowing and putting the fallen poles and logs that lay on the ground, digging ditches to the clay where the fire was burning the ground. In this way, I worked and watched the fire all summer to keep it from getting over the paths and ditches I had made, keeping fire out of our timber in the West and South.
clear across the South end, finally digging a ditch over a quarter of a mile long, in front of the fire to a spring ditch. The water in this way succeeded in getting the fire under control. This was in October. In the mean time I had moved the new fence from the South line by saving the rails, but hiring at considerable labor and expense in moving them in and out and back. Over November on a Saturday a fire was started in Major Bright’s woods to the East of and near our line, set by the order of Major Bright, so Robin Jacobs, that started the fire, and who was working for Major Bright at the time told me. This fire worked West into our timber burning an old rail and brush fence of Major Bright and opening our timber a great deal. The its following the wind change into the Northwest quarter of our timber and burning another 80 rods of new rail fences of ours and running out on the prairie burned a large hole in the marshy ground and a number of fence posts. The fire also burned South and South West joining the fire I had succeeded in stopping from that direction.
In the Summer of 1888. H.B. Kurtz and M.E. Ewing petitioned the County Commissioners to clean out the Nimrod Bright ditch # 38. This was done, in the summer of 1889 – a very good job being done. This ditch has never been cleaned out
since, although it has been sought, by Jetison, to have it cleaned out times since, in the years
In 1890, soon after the ditch was cleaned out under the Kurts and Ewing Peitito Nimrod Bright fed a bunch of hogs and cattle on the ditch bank of #38 about 3/4 of a mile West of where this ditch leaves our land, thereby brushing the South bank of the ditch inito the ditch and stoping (sic) the flow of water. I went to Nimord Bright about this and tried to get him to clean the ditch out through his place, about 80 rods, this he refused to do, telling me finally, if I wanted it cleaned I would have to do it myself. I then went to Auditor Metcalf and laid in a complaint against Nimrod Bright for obstructing the ditch, dated Oct. 9, 1891. Auditor Metcalf appointed J. R. Miller of Amanda Township to view the ditch and report to him, this J. R. Miller did.
J. R. Miller, Nimrod Bright and R. L. King met where the ditch #38 crosses what is known as Jacobs Road where #38 ditch left Nimrod Bright’s land and next to the place where Nimrod Bright had caused #38 ditch to be obstructed. The three of us then started up stream, J. R, Miller in the centre of the ditch, Nimrod Bright & myself on the bank of the ditch. We walked thus till we reached a point
J. R. Miller 5 or Page 90 Com. Report Vol. 13
475 “ ” 12
on A.B. Shucks where an open ditch runs South to our timber; here Nimrod Bright stopped and said he would go no further, and turning to me said you continue to try to make me clean out this ditch through my place. I will petition to have a whole ditch from the river to the ridge cleaned out 40 ft. and just as deep as it can be made. I told him I would go on with what I had started to do and he could petition if he wanted to. Nimrod Bright left us and we continued on up stream.
Making 20 in. of a fill.
Instead of allowing the ditch to be cleaned on his property as J. R. Miller reported should be done 18 and in the place of petitioning, as Nimrod Bright said he would, M. E. Ewing, the Johnny on the spot, in this whole ditch trouble, petitioned to have the ditch cleaned out from one end to the other; and Nimrod Bright out his bondsman 1893 Sept. Tiles laid Sept. 1875. Vol. 21 page 16. He did not object to this proceeding, saying we would stand that kind of business if the rest of the people along the ditch could. This did not suit the people that had petitioned, they were hunting trouble with us. So they asked the County Commissioners to change their petition and let the open ditch stand as it was and lay a sewer pipe along side of it. Sept. 16, 1894. Ditch recd. #21 page 95. Thus their petition to clean out the open ditch
had knocked out Auditor Metcalf’s order to Nimrod Bright to clean out the obstruction in the ditch placed there by his cattle and hogs, thus accomplishing its purpose. We thought this placing of a sewer pipes of over the thipid ditch. We thought this placing of a sewer ditch aflowing would be good – taking, giving us a ditch outlet and wide as his. Thomas, A.B. Shuch, M.E. Ewing, Major Bright and others worked to have this accomplished. Always with the understanding that the open ditch was to be left open and the sewer was to be placed near and parallel to the open ditch. This was Engineer J. W. S. Reigles understanding also (see his testimony in the trial before Judge Banker last fall Nov. 1905). In the place of laying tile outside of the open ditch, it was layed under the open ditch as far upstream from its mouth as 250 ft. or to a stake into the land of Lizzie A. J. Ewing, wife of M.E. Ewing, then the owner was taken out side of the ditch to the South about 30 ft. and run parallel to the open ditch. Between where the sewer leaves the open ditch at stake #65 to stake #54+ at our line, where the ditch flows from us to the Ewing farm, and where there is no sewer under the open ditch, is where the first dam was placed in the ditch. W. E. Ewing, when spoken to about this dam said he had built it there for the purpose of holding the water back in the open ditch until he could lay his tile under the open ditch and connect them with the sewer and if the water backed up to interfere with my flowing I should cut a narrow channel through it and let the water down, and he could stop it up again when ready to lay more tile.
This I did and, when M. E. Ewing found that I had cut his dam, he became very angry – taking two men with him he built a dam at the same place as the first one, only larger, extending sixty feet in the ditch and, higher than the ground at the side of the ditch, or convex in form, standing boards on edge at the upper side, driving stakes on each side of the boards, nailing the boards and stakes together, twisting wire around the stakes and building a rail fence on top of this, staking and wiring the corners of the fence. While M. E. Ewing was building this dam, I talked to him, telling him such work would make trouble and asked him what he expected us to do with the water that came down the ditch onto us above the dam (there being five miles of open ditch above the dam). He replied that we can do what we pleased with it. It will not allow you to ran any more of it through his farm. I have been to see Nimrod Bright and Nimrod Bright says I have a legal right to close the open ditch and we are going to do it. I went to see Nimrod Bright and rimonstated (sic) with him for giving such advice, asking him if he thought it wise to advise his brother-in-law to do something that would be sure to cause trouble in the neighborhood. Nimord Bright told me they had not asked him for moral advice, but for legal, and he had told them they had a legal right to dam the ditch. I then showed Nimrod Bright Sections Revised Statutes of Ohio. He said he understood
all about that, but that statute was unconstitutional. The Brights and myself were members of the U. B. church. I went to our minister and asked for a copy of the Discipline of the U. B. Church, he gave me one. I then followed the Discipline: First I took two other men of the church with me to talk the matter over with M. E. Ewing. I reminded him before the two men of the fact that he had said when he first put the dam in the ditch, that it was only to be temporary until he could law his tile under the open ditch and connect to the sewer; he laughed at this and said he was only joking when he said it. M. E. Ewing further said he intended to leave the dam in the ditch. I then went to the minister of our church, told him what I had done and showed him in the discipline that the next step was for him to hold a meeting of the church, hold a trial between M. E. Ewing and myself and find out which one of us was in the wrong in the matter, have the one found in the wrong to eather (sic) do the right thing or be disciplined. Our minister refused to have any thing to do with the matter, telling me to go to the Presiding Elder and tell the Elder that he refused to take the case to trial as the discipline said he should, that he knew he was risking being disciplined himself, but I should tell the elder that he passed the case up. At the next quarterly meeting I went to the Elder and laid the case before him. The Elder talked very plane (sic) about the matter and said he would look the case up, that the church is where Major Bright, on looking over his fields a mile from the dam said “If it was not for that dam,
the water would not stand on the field as it does.” __ld does not allow its members to do such things, and that he was very much surprised to hear that the people I ___ned would do such things. The Elder told me to come prepared to the next Quarterly Meeting and assured me that I would be fairly treated. I went to the next quarterly meeting, but there was no evidence of any preparation for a trial. After the meeting, I went to the Elder and asked him what he intended to do, he said that he had not made up his mind yet, but he would let me know in a few days by mail. Several months after I received a long letter from him, turning me down and, showing me by his arguments that I was entirely in the wrong, and would very likely __neted in a trial before the church, among other things he said he understood the sewer was cemented at points, and of course I could not expect to drain the land unless I tiled into the sewer, as the cement would keep the water from draining in; all of which was a lie told him and excepted by him as an ____ way to shirk his duty. After losing 8 or 10 months in trying to get the church to take up the matter __d in a complaint to Auditor Metcalf and, at the same time asked for my letter from the U. B. Church. There was an effort made in the church to put me out, instead of giving me my letter, thinking this would be ___ce to me, finally when the matter came to a test by ____, it was found that I had friends enough in the
church to give me an honorable discharge. In the meantime, the Brights, embolden (sic) by their success, in overriding the laws of the Church went to the middle of our farm and put another ditch and put a dam in another ditch near where it joined #38. At this time, M. E. Ewing on my shine then, how the water yours runs through my corn field. That was what he wanted. That he intended to do me all the dirt he could. Auditor Metcalf sent a man out to view the ditches. I went with this man, showing him and the two ditches above them full of water and no water in the ditch below our line. He stated to me it was a very plane (sic) case and on our going to the house he wrote out a notice to M. E. Ewing to remove the dam on his premises within 20 days or he would remove it for him and charge the same on his tax duplicate. He wrote out the same kind of a notice to Chas. H. Thomas in regard to the dam he had put in the ditch near the middle of our farm. There was man at our house who wanted to go to Findlay and asked permission to ride with this officer sent out by Auditor Metcalf to view the ditches. In going to Findlay the officer stopped at the house of each of the partied named in the notices he had written and delivered to take the dams out of the ditches. In a few days I received work (sic) that this officer had returned a sworn statement that there was (sic) no obstructions in the ditches. This made the ditch damers very happy. They said that I had sworn a lie in my statement on the strength of which the Auditor had sent out his officer. I asked the Auditor to allow me to lay in another complaint the same as the first, which he did. When his officer came to look at the ditch he went through
the same work that had been done on the visit of the first officer, with the one change that the notice to Chas. H. Thomas was made within 15 days instead of 20. Parler C. Frich, finding that the dam placed in the ditch by Chas. H. Thomas had not been removed, he brought a man with tools and removed this dam. While doing all this Mr. Frich was labored with industry by the ditch damers, but could not be moved from following his instructions given him by the Auditor, and told them he intended to remove the dam on M. E. Ewings farm unless they stopped him. Mr. Frich and others were enjoined from M. E. Ewing Lizzie A. J. Ewing et al from cleaning the dam out in M. E. Ewings farm. This took the case from the Auditor and it was carried through the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court finding against the ditch damers. The County Commissioners at that time having a tender feeling for the ditch damers, the county was nul at $500 of the expenses. The costs up to this time amounted to $1,400.00. M. E. Ewing took the County Clerks witness record to a great many witnesses getting them to agree to sign off all or part of their witness fees under the promise that they, the ditch damers, intended to take this dam out of the ditch and stop the trouble about the Nimrod Bright ditch #38. In the meantime, M. E. Ewing took the top off his dam. A. B. Shuch plowed several furrows of dirt ____ to his ditch besides scrapping in some with his tea___.
Nimrod Bright being the attorney for this relatives said that “Wherever the sewer lays under the old open ditch, the open ditch is still a county ditch and must be kept open and maintained as such, but wherever the Sewer lays outside of the open ditch the open ditch is abandoned.” He acknowledged at this time that they had damed (sic) up the ditch.
H. G. Bliss farm there was a horse thrown into the open ditch and buried and a drive way of dirt built across the ditch, completely daming it up at this place and causing the surrounding fields to overflow. The commissioners were petitioned, very quickly, to vacate the Nimrod Bright ditch # 38. The only notice given of a proceeding being a small advertisement placed in an inconspicuous place in a newspaper that we never read. Always before and always since we have received written notices personally delivered of any ditch hearing. The ditch was vacated and, an effort was made to keep this from us, until the time allowed by law for an appeal had expired. This proved to be to (sic) good to keep one of the damers bragging about what was going on, was overheard and the matter reported by a friend (Mahlon Breidigan). With our attorney, Col. J. A. Bofe, we went to the County Commissioners office. If Nimrod Bright, A. B. Shuck and M. E. Ewing had constituted the Board of County Commissioners, they could not shown more genuine grief on our appearance before them. They refused to open the hearing for us, refused to hear what we had to say and would not give us a transcript to the next higher court even after Col. Bofe offered to deposit $500.00 in cash with them in place of giving them the usual signed bond, they saying that we were strangers to them. Col. Bofe stated afterwards that he was never placed in such a position before.
(12) See other side.
finally decided to take the case into the Common Pleas Court, jumping over the Probate Court. The case was brought up in error from the Common Pleas Court. Nimrod Bright trying by every devise (sic) known to them to have the case thrown out, claiming we had no right before the court, not being able to show a transcript from the lower court. Judge Shaffelberger being on the bench, We were allowed a hearing, the Judge saying, in answer to a remark by one of the Attorneys on the other side, that if we had no right in court we could be put out of court after he heard what was to be said on our side just as well as before and the court would and did hear us. Col. Bofe described our appearance before the County Commissioners, claiming we had been unlawfully and fraudulently deprived of our rights in the case. Judge Shaffelberger entered our case and set a day for the hearing. When the case went to trial, Judge Melhorn was on the bench, among other witnesses, we placed on the stand one of the County Commissioners, he testified that he knew at the time the Commissioners vacated the Bright ditch #38 that King new (sic) nothing of what was being done. The case was decided in favor of King and against. The ditch damers appealed the case to the Circuit Court, when they had lost before. In the Common Pleas
Circuit Court M. E. Ewing testified that he had taken his dam out clear down to the grass and the reason he had built the dam in the first place was because every body was filling the ditch up and he supposed he had the same right, evidently forgetting that up to the time of their first difeit in the Circuit Court, his was the only dam between our farm and the mouth of the ditch and, that the filling on the A. B. Shriek and H. G. Bliss farms was done simple (sic) to give him the excuse he needed so much for the dam he had replaced a the upper side of his farm at first; thereby getting the effect before the cause. By this time, they had five lawyers on their side of the ditch; never the less the lost the case in the Circuit Court for the second time. The County Commissioners paid $500.00 of the counties (sic) money at this point to help Nimrod Bright pay the cost in the case, seeming to be very thick with these determined law breakers. The Brights then appealed the case to the Supreme Court of the State and lost out again.
_____________________________________________________________________________of hay. Had sugar cane south of ditch east of lane (about 4 acres). Geo. Gorbin had west side of clearing in corn. Nick & Farry Jenot had the middle third of field. King the east 3rd. Raised large crop of solid corn. About 45 acres. South east prairie field idle this year. 30A
Again draws glad Thanksgiving near, the richest feast of all the year. Now get your turkey young and fat, and stuff it full of this and that. Of fruit and berries sauces make, To match the world with pies and cakes. Ask kith and kin from every where, to come your kingly feast to share. Lay by your cares and for a day, Let thankful friendliness hold sway. While old and young his love recall, Whose tender bounty keeps us all.
_____________________________________________________________________________At Nick & Farry & Pete & Mrs. Jenot. Dec. 7, 1900. Corbin had west side of clearing in corn. Nick & Farry middle. King West side. Sorghum along lane. 100 tons of hay off East meadow.
1901 Aug. Breitigan west side clearing. Nick & Chris middle. Wall Breitigan clear to South timber. Ora Corbin the portion in corn south of home, but some hay, but not as much East of _____.
1902. Tom Jenot worked for me nearly all year, had field in corn, near me cut but 40 acres. Had lambs in corn field and turned cattle in field in winter. Think I had field South of _____ in crop.
1901. Robert L. King
Father of Edwin, Hamlin & Jessie.
Wall Breitigan East side of clearing. Same piece King had in 1900, extending South to timber. Nick Jenot, Chris Hooky the middle piece, the same Nick & Farry had in corn in 1900 with the addition to the South end reaching nearly to the timber. South east prairie field in.
Ora Corbin had field south of house, on both sides of ditch #8 in corn, raised good crop.
1902. Robert L. King
(Father of Edwin, Hamlin & Jessie)
Put whole of clearing into corn with the help of Tom Jenot (70 acres). Raised fine crop. But about 40 stocks on East head land, when it began to rain and water backing up from Bright ditch #38 overflowed corn field and stayed backed up, that I was unable to cut any more of this corn crop. Took Tom and tryed (sic) to save the corn by husking direct into wagon box off of the corn stocks. A great deal of the corn fell down in the mud before we could get it husked and spoiled. We succeeded in getting over half the field, but saved only about 1/3 of the whole crop, and did this only by wading in mud uned water to our ankles and pulling the teams and wagons in the same at an expense equal to or exceeding the value of the corn husked. I believe I lost 5,000 bushels of corn this one year. I had bought, in Sept. of this year, a bunch of steeres (sic) this corn crop to, losing my crop, I had to buy corn to feed them which put me to a great deal of labor, trouble and expense. Had prairie field east of Vanlue Road and South East of #38 ditch in rape for cattle and lamb feed. Water stood in rape and ruined nearly all of it. South East field in prairie idle, excepting three cornered fence along the side where we made a few loads of hay.
Robert L. King
Took pictures of fields covered with water. Planted no corn this year, made a little hay, hay meadow nearly ruined with water. Bought a gang of 4 lister plows and hired an engineer & his tracktion (sic) engine in an effort to get out a corn crop. Began to rain that night causing #38 ditch to back up and over flow fields, keeping the fields too wet to plow until corn planting time was past. This wet year finished the meadows, never made but a few loads of hay after this year, and that was hardly eaten by the stock. Prairie fields idle this year. 75A.
Took pictures of water, had no crops, trued to plow with gang of listire and engine, too wet. Had to give it up.
1904 Built house on South side of road in fall. Water works trench dry this year. had peice of corn in the clearing. nothing in other fields. Sowed two acres of Wheat in fall. Gethird all corn. Having took (sic) pictures in Sept.
1905 Elenwod worked for me this year. Put out thirty acres listed corn, half of it drowned out. rest from storgh. Pike 4 acres onions, Allen Cole.
1906 Hazard worked from me. we raised a good crop of corn.
Father of Edwin, Hamlin
& Jessie Robert L. King
Had 12 acres of corn on highest and dryest (sic) part of field. Hired no help this year. Ground so wet did not get field planted till late. Built tenant house in fall. Findlay water works dug through the timber and clearing this fall where water line dug up clearing. Tom Jenot scraped out 5 ditches in the field South of the house (prairie field), prairie fields laid idle this year. 45a.
Robert L. King
(Edwin, Hamlin & Jessie
Planted 30 acres of listed corn, ground too wet to prepare right. Half of it drowned out by water backing up from #38 ditch. Rest of crop poor too wet caused by ground being too wet.
King 2 acres of onions good stand nearly ruined by water.
Pike 4 acres of onions good stand nearly ruined by water.
Cole 6 acres of onions good stand nearly all ruined by water.
Alle 7 acres of onions nearly all ruined by water, cause by damed condition of #38 ditch
Thus, 17 acres of onions ought have produced 500 bus. to the acre, valued at 50cents a bus. or 47.50.00. The labor to produce such results was expended in these acres of onions but owing to #38 ditch being stopped up the onions were over flowed several times, especially in June and July, when the hot sun scalded them and they failed to bottom well.
Also raised two acres of sugar beets.
Planted 80 acres of corn by hiring 8 teams and one engine with gang of ____ and drivers to help plow, drag, harrow and plant. Did not decide to plow and plant until late, being fearful the water. My own force of teams having dwindled down to about one team and a half. My neighbors did not like to help me until their own corn was planted causing my corn to be planted somewhat late. And putting me to a good deal of expense. This corn was estimated at 70 bus. to the acre. Allen & Harris, two men that rented 10 acres each to grow corn on, raised 70 bus. to the acre, making over 6300 bus for my share and 700 bus. for 7000 bus. raised on the farm on land drained by Bright ditch #39 the first year after the ditch was cleaned out. Also 5 ½ acres of Sugar beets were raised by me this year that sold at the factory for ______ after deducting $202 for freight and labor netted ________.Dan Harris raised 100 bus. on onions.
Allen by the sickness and death of his wife and child was unable to care for his crops properly and raised very little of anything but corn.
King planted 6 acres of onions, but owing to the dry weather, high winds and frost, only raised 400 bus. of onions Ewing and others of my neighbors had.
There is still a stone in the front yard of Grasslands farm that bears the name "RL King", which I hope will attach, along with a photo of that church from the Grandmother's photo album date taken unknown).
(the e-mail address with Rootsweb is no longer good), but I can't figure out how to change it.