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The following program was produced by the University of Michigan broadcasting service fornational educational radio under a grant from the National Home Library Foundation.That was the old values to call it printedyears ago old blue or in the field with the arsis.You know we could use a bell when I was a tractor you can hear it.The history of the place is the sum of many memories therecollections differ. Sometimes conflict. But as people give voice to theirmemories history take shape the past comes alive.
Napoleon Ohio population 60 700 lives some 40miles south and west of Toledo in an area once known as the great black swamp.It is part of the land which was wrested from the Indians by General Anthony Wayne. It is not farfrom where the famed and bloody battle of fallen timbers was fought in 1790 forNapoleon. As a county seat is the center of a rich farming district which was largelysettled by German immigrants as the horses have gone in the sounds oftractors are heard on the farms. So a new sound is heard in the downtown area.Hundreds upon hundreds of trucks rumble through Napoleon each day carry muchof the produce that was once transported by rail. The tracks of the Detroit Toledoand I wanted cross those of the north western in Napoleon.But for earlier then trucks or trains the Polian was one of many towns on
the Great Miami and Erie Canal course the early settlershere there were no roads and mostly woods and they had no way of getting their farm products tomarket.The river was navigable. Sothat's what brought it to the canal as well as many other canals.And.It. Was open for use in the 1840s.Oh Mr. Wolf and the county that early 20s thatused to tell me about when he worked on it but told me that.He thought there was almost one dead man for every length of the wheelbarrow that build it andthey both will be.There if there are fights or disease or something.The first time I seen that I was bought.Seven or eight years old father Drew we haven't forgot it on a farm and youknow a lot of wheat which in that time is stacked up
and you put it in and put it surely it will run the canal boat for a wrecklike this to certain there were going downstream and one going upstream that's first time I everseen the can now. That's ironic 80 years ago.See I mediate that Canelo run from Toledo to Cincinnati.It went up beyond defiance to Antwerp and her man at work I paddled acanoe from Portland to Cincinnati on a cousin and I'm from Toledo and thenthere was a branch run from bad work then clear upto Delphi Indiana. It's almost the Illinoisborder.They carried any line of freight any line of a grain lots or they carried lots ofgrain they had with the dock right up there but there will be mill Matt Becker'sblacksmith shop is in the hole in the canal and then it was ill little mail above thereshipped a lot of stuff out of there and they put a whole lot of grain. Then your
packets. That was a smaller boat that carried the mail and theythey went a lot faster a lot of passengers used most of the big boats didn'tcarry many passengers with do but the packets the mailboatcarried the mayo on the expressway. They were smaller and they carried andthey traveled a lot faster in the old canal boat. They generally had a horse in atow rope two horses new and the old canal boats generally used threemeals and then they'd have an extra three that they carried along on the boat afterso many miles why then they'd take them off andput the tired ones back on the boat and put the fresh ones on the people on the gofor the bridges non-work 20th or the intersection of 24 years where that was the canalthat 24 goes down through there was they all come out of it and there was a big ole ironbridge up over that. Yes I can remember some of theold photos there was old cap Sampson kept Morehead kept
broad Nicks.Dave Hancock Dave Hancock was toll collectorfor the kind where you are going to have your talentssections ever here next Yellowcard is kind of addiction you know butit was too bad I was sad to see the canal go it was kind of areminiscence of what was once you know. Oh yes it was the very best that weused to be stores that have that at the courthouse thereKAV stores.Well only come here Bury St be with cobblestone across the riverstill in our field you know eventually course we got that better and.But done top out there off someone signed for a mill on the opposite sidestreet. They all run a water wheel it's like a water worksso mill womyn book is male and then there's this old mill set
non-rigid right now around the water.Water wheels for the canal when leave Goodall house in1888.I hoarded lumber Gondor defines to have it dressed you know putdifferent things and we did to free him from thegutter had a big load of like little D on a rackand I'd always leave there when they'd close so I could take the loan back homeand I was going to succeed in that.Mind you were just a kid.I heard my grandfather tell I wouldn't go back to the peers and thepokies they run a distillery just east of town on24. There are barns down there is a junk yarddown there now that old barn was a distillery.They made whiskey there and they also had a stone wheel inthere where they were at they could grind grain and I heard grandfather to
tell he could carry a bushel of wheat from way out there pared down to fill your meal.Rock because you couldn't there was no roads come downone day and have that ground. And they owe that only ground they ground thehall and everything in it and when they want to use it they had to sift it down one day andstay overnight and walk back home the next day.There were very few roads at that time. There were a fewpaths but people quite frequently walked as the crow fliesand that took them across the fields and it was not atall unusual by simply looking down to pick up anarrowhead and sometimes if a person was lucky topick up a nice piece like a tommy hawk all of this was of courseevidence that the Indians had been there before us.There are going to find out more and back over the history we had several Indian
camps that they come here. I don't know in the spring or far when itwas in camp. A lot of those rowso up West the town here a couple a mile on a high knoll because I knowI found 40 40 some arrowheads in one spot up there after the1913 flood.Then at least in the port in here down by the Damascus bridge they said at one that there wasand I remember there were no orchard and it was no it was no cemetery therewas a few will tombstones it was just weather. Well the lettering waspacked all wore off and they claimed the Indians camp there and I we found lovebroken pottery but no friend Inside I found some of these big beartomahawks in that stuff on their own they say that was a Met there onceyears a playground and then down there used on this side just beyondCampbell Soup. Here the Tamils who owns a property there was a girl it went back up
there and they said that was an old Indian burying ground.We found a lot of back up in that old gully up there or shall we say inthe little I've seen it's been a terrific contrast specially and in the changein farming. You might say it's gone for a month.From Horses and plows to push buttons since just in the short time thatI've been here.And the farmers used to work for mine.Sun up to sundown almost the mountain now in threemonths. They've got their work done. They spend their winters in Florida Holy Weekwe see a lot of bad habits stretching out that really there'sbeen a greater change in the past 50 years than there has since.Our forefathers landed on Plymouth Rock because for years and years we went along andwe had they all played on the hara and we played it many times by hand. I don't rememberthis of course but now it's all mechanized and
as far as the farmer himself was concerned.It's a. Lot less hard work now. I think the tensions andthe strains of Agriculture today are just like any other business. It'stougher it's harder. You know you who you don't make many mistakes andstay in the agricultural business nowadays because you can just.Fool yourself right out of business. And we've got a lot of farmers that are doing that.Small farmers a small acreages who have over equip themselves with expensiveequipment to pass out of the picture.Yeah but why just why would a fella buy just that bigequipment you can get by with smaller stuff. But it's that trend you know and noware the manufacture to the enormous that it's the trend to get bigger and they claimthey manufactured bigger where if it wouldn't be the trend they would have to keep it smaller.That's who I look at and for me I think it be better. Around here
there are just too big. Yet they're mostly like mysize or maybe hundred sixty and things like that butthen there are some that have maybe 160 acres and they ran another 80 andtry to get a little bigger.So actually rings are the that was a social event almost as well as getting the work done.You got to meet your neighbors. And you worked with them when you got the job doneand it was. A lot of hard hard work there is no question about that. And everybody worked hard thatit was a it was. A real neighborhood affair because farmersgot you aid in the other person's home. And women that.Work back and forth cooking the threshing the you and. We hada real sociable time out of it as well as getting the work done and of course there was many adispute settled at the Thracian ringgits during Thracian and especially ifsomebody stole somebody else's girl they got this settled who I can remember one
quite quite rough affair that got settled. And.After it was all settled the two guys decided that they'd be friends again andit worked out all right. But then this is this is the way it was.Oh yes we used to have fun with a trash can. Have all the men comeover and get together and each one helped. And.Then we used to make. A big meal. Trashing. Dinner.That was fun. All the men came in. I'll bedirty in on them they'd have to wash up on the outside the big tubs and all sitaround have some beer. Talk can have a lotof fun.And I always had in my room Bush. Everything that goes above theground to plant in a new moon. And everything that goesbelow to ground you plant in a full moon like potatoes orspecial and and anything above the ground that we're
going to plant in the New Moon I still tell my Our mantra God.I said then you'll get a planet that's one idea. If you make upyour mind you're going to get a planet in that moon youll get a planetit don't take but even that you just get careless. That's one of the objects.And that's true. And I no doubt the moon has got some to dowith this with this stuff. For instance you Few seesome roof shingles or come. Come up. Othersreally real flat.And you and I know fences by gosh it was ontop of the ground even a blocks one set in the ground not one inch.He'd stay right above the ground. Others again did sink right into the ground bygosh one area after the other and it was put in a wrong time.
That's part of my idea and I believe that school had alot to do with the with the Guta andweather and whatnot.I think I believe in not just your regular meets the earth.The song the group's like I never believe insigns. I can remember when I lived out southhere there was an old man he believed in all these signs and one day hecame along and I was planning potatoes and he said you you just do thewrong thing he said. Everything is against you today and I said well there's one thingthat I never believed in I said I just plant when I get ready. Andhe had his patches crossed it all from me in Nashville he had hisand the signs because he lived and believed in him and then in form we dug potatoes he had ahickory nuts and I had real big potatoes nice ones. So I think it
proves that signs don't mean it might might mean something believe in there but I didn'tand I don't want to show up here after. This.Tell her though that nothing in the water started off oh you mean part of that that was your jealousy to get25 like I'll. Like it I'll have to quote it.Going up to back up this quarter crop failuresoccurred not only with a cable is that sometimes we were almost like hickory nutsbut that could happen almost with any kind of a craft. I color in the endwe down and it all looks so real during times of draw for deuce.Absolutely nothing. On occasion. And so many a farmer was literallyback to the wall and my life was like farmingsimply had to be forgotten as a way of life and you had tofind other employment and just quite frequently it happened that
many fine farms went like it was the auctioneer'shammer.Oh like here when we raise talks we always did I remember trying on the farm.And fry down the sausage and cured the hams. But now that we don'teven Raynes Park it we don't use much what we do about the grocery store.This this is something that. Has changed tremendously farming hasbecome specialized or as there used to be when I was a youngman on the phone the farmer everybody had some Horrigan some chickens.This was almost a must in a dairy cow and dairy cows. An hourand as far as Potter is concerned I think there are just as many other more eggs producedin the county than there were at that time but you can count orperhaps in 10 or 12 areas.All of these are produced and they're produced in large part of houses where they will be up tofive to eight thousand hands in a house or in a laying house.
This is specializationstricture theold they were hatched yesterdayand they would normally go out to the farm on feed todaywe get the eggs from the what we callflock owners raise the breeding stock for us. Readyfor fresh hatching baby chicks. Wehave control of the flock. By we do the selection for thebreeding males and females. Whichegg we take and put in our incubator andlet After a three week period comes out.Yet since we only have one thing the fellow naturallyan egg. Which is the food food product.
We have to throw all our energies toward producing that egg and producing itcheaply as possible. We take this baby kickand in some instances there are still some salesas bagels but the majority of the sales are at 20 weeksof age.So we take this veil put it out with one of ourgrowers who grows to kick to a 20 week period forus and then we call it.And that's what it's called One week rather. Maybe X dollars. Wesell that into one of our producing unitsand the producing unit does nothing but produce the egg.After this all at once comes into production at about twenty six point four weeksand then that egg is taken from there. Reducing
to our plant andcart and shipped on to the various supermarketyears ago you said Stella baby and that and itdon't sell a baby. We sell it really to ourselves because we put it out. Somebodygirl we feed it our own feed from our own feed. Nowwe run the egg after it's laid through our own processing andwe do our own marketing in the supermarkets and cities in the east.So in reality all we've really got is an egg years ago andwe held only once the business the hatching andI surely still baby.And that with our end product that really hitthese when they come into production and
after they have laid for a year. Termed as oldhands who else by the time that a year is egg Productions hastaken place. The bird is about ready for market. However we keepthe Dharma late for a bus or scenes months is a good auctions and thenmarketing hands to a processing plants.It's where exactly scientifically it's sold out in thesewers.Chickenrice.Chicken noodle operation. That's. A crock right.100 average trying to. Recruit and.Train. Many of our great. Mockery. A
contractor. Out of about. 7000 acres in an area. Riding on. AnMRI. And a half. Hoursto hear. Her hand on her.Speeding up only to 1948 when we purchased from East cedar France. For free.Ever see a cocktail vegetable juice tests about this new plant1957 XFL. Sandra Levy about 70million dollars a year in this area. Consequently we have provided an economic growthcity and say have six come back from. Fighting otherLabor Liberal leaders.Six. Thousand ninehundred twenty one my father body and.Together with several other than what in the hell around our company. Theirprimary Mary.Item of manufacture in those days was the windmill the baker windmill.Which was known widely throughout this section of the country. Every farm
had a windmill on it to pump.Water. I first came down and I started towork in the summers as I say and I. Saw my first workersgoing out and erecting. The e-mails on thefarm or splitting up the towers burning up the windmill. Adams after towers.And then when I wasn't doing that have come back in the plant and I moved from one.Department of the plant to another to learn the business. And.My purpose was to learn the business from the ground up.Today we still sell a roughly 10 percent of. We used tosell this country but is still still an active business.And many. People still employ them for use on the waterprimarily for farm pond.For so many farm ponds to see and sell windmills areas where.The electricity. The farm pawn the horses away from the House and
the lace and the like. Current and is the reason they employ it with.Less of fact at the Windmill the first cost as your last there will actually beat windmills in the wreckage.Forty five or fifty years when they're still in active service and willwear out too. Would you like them once a year later.Service when I came here in 1921 there were 26 when themanufacturers of that state. Today there are three of us lastnow and say that I am one of the largest left Selham most whenI used to be you know here whichmade hooks for barrels and barrels or he was right Les andI know Neymar.And. We used to have a brewery there Mrteach ins. Pat's work connected with that the Jinns brewery.
The business of the owners of business of course and nearly all are trained. Eventually I'llbe gone of course. There's. Very few of the old ownersthe. There's one blacksmith's shop left in town and that's one of the few an awesomerestaurant.This man came over from Germany and. I believe he's in these 80s you knowand he passes along there won't be any.There new. I landed three quite a yak. Examiner doctors doingall kinds of repair work shopping plow sure. Megan Hart who really madea mob a hand you know in the November time want to join you even when I got diedabout two twenty five hundred or three thousand. But I had alot of heart you know what I hope my words here on the road I make them hope.If you already marshes years ago. You know who race shorter Areyou sure who I'm going through right now but I'm going to announce what I give
unto or to read in order to get out of writing.Paul in Ohio. Is located right along the mommyriver. In fact. The river actuallyruns right through the town and there is a bridge thatcrosses and it always intrigue us I remember as children. It's.A county seat county seat of Henry County Ohio.And not only Napoleon but the surroundinglittle towns like Okolona and Hamer DesslerRidgeville. They were all part of the largerarea. And the section was called Hanoversettlement because all the people that that had moved inthere from abroad were fromGermany and they had all immigrated from the problems of
Hanover. And since they were all from the samesection this whole area was known as an over settlement.Well this was just a crossroads and the county had been named HenryCounty for Patrick Henry. And when they got toquite a cluster of houses some people thought. It ought to have a name like atown. So part of them wanted to name it Henry. Justlike the county but some of the first families here wereFrench and they wanted to name it Napoleon.So they had an election andAndrew would have run only they some onone way I guess and wouldn't vote. Didn't have enough and they'vescrapped over that name for 10 years but after 10 yearsenough had I guess
they voted on it. It was named Napoleon.Listen there was a good many old timers back at that timewas very prominent citizens here there was.The Tylers the Hellersand the Harrisons the gross nurseMartin ups shoemakerssome of their ancestors here yetbut they were all another Vokey the old time Baucisand the pit and the peerage they were all prominent citizenshere and years gone and I was just shy of color in the van they all beenSting's they were all people of ill will and the poet in which thecolor was back of the first light and power plant are rarer ever put in the Poet and
This record is featured in “National Association of Educational Broadcasters Programs.”
The American town: A self-portrait
Napoleon, Ohio, part 1
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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This program, the first of two parts, focuses on the town of Napoleon, Ohio. Topics covered inlcude the Miami and Erie Canal; farming methods; hatchery businesses; windmill manufacturing; and the women's suffrage movement. Includes an interview with a 102-year-old woman.
Historical documentary series drawn from the recollections of senior citizens in a variety of American towns.
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Host: Sears, Ralph
Producer: Johnson, Ralph
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-9-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:44
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Chicago: “The American town: A self-portrait; Napoleon, Ohio, part 1,” 1967-01-26, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 20, 2019,
MLA: “The American town: A self-portrait; Napoleon, Ohio, part 1.” 1967-01-26. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 20, 2019. <>.
APA: The American town: A self-portrait; Napoleon, Ohio, part 1. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from