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June 6, 1985


PIX #1 - Mr. and Mrs. Merrit Metzger photographed in front of their home on Hancock County Road 330, west of West Independence.

PIX #2 - Merrit Metzger's emigrant family first lived in a log cabin in Biglick Township, followed by the house shown above. It was just south of a later-built house where Merrit lived, and where their youngest son Mark now lives.

PIX #3 - This is the 1907 Buick which Merrit's father bought at the Nestlerode Garage on North Main Street in Fostoria.

"Cabin Fever" suffered by a Potluck reader last winter, caused today's article to be written...a little late. The delay inabled me to make it a better article than to rush it into print then.

In January I received a letter from Merrit B. Metzger, 7564 Hancock CR 330, Alvada. "Am writing to tell you that we really enjoy articles which you write for The Review Times, and since I fear I am coming down with a severe case of cabin fever I though I would drop you a few lines", the letter said.

Metzger's "few lines" turned out to be a two-page letter, full of reminiscing about his family, area history, including names and business loactions and owners in Fostoria years ago.

A keen memory at age 87, even Metzger's rural neighbors will possibly learn something about him and his family. A recent visit to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Metzger was rewarding to me and resulted in this article.

Metzger's father Jesse was the third generation of a family who emigrated to America from Germany in 1832, first settling in Coluiana County for three years. He moved to a farm in Biglick Township, Hancock County, in 1836.

"We still own, and our youngest son Mark, lives on the same 80 acres which his great-great-grandfather entered from the U.S. government when Andrew Jackson was President", he wrote.

Merrit Metzger was born June 15, 1898, the second son of Jesse and Augusta (Bowers) Metzger.

Merrit Metzger's ancestors' first house when they settled in Biglick Township was a log cabin. That cabin served them until the home shown in one of the accompanying photos replaced it. It wasn't so many years ago that the house pictured was razed.

Across the road from the Metzger's modern, ranchstyle home, there is a two story frame house where he lived for many years, and that's where his son Mark now lives and farms.


Twenty-five years ago, Merrit Metzger published a history of the family that dates back to John Michael Metzger, a native of Germany. His son John Adam Metzger was born in Witenberg, Dec. 4, 1805, and died Feb. 19, 1880, and is buried in the Union Cemetery, west of West Independence, along U.S. 224.

The history lists all of the descendents of John Adam and Elizabeth (Zimmer) Metzger, and provides interesting data about the family.

Metzger has added to that first compiled data and hopes to have it completed in the near future.

It is believed that John Adam Metzger left brothers and sisters in Germany. Harlan Hoy, grandson of Merrit, who is in the U.S. military, will be transferred to Germany in the near future and will be stationed in the vicinity where the Metzger clan originally lived. He hopes to be able to discover more information about the family to add to the history.

Since the Metzgers, both in Germany and America, were originally farmers, they plan to exchange a small sample of soil from the two countries when the contacts are made.


Metzger revealed that "aunt" Saloma (Bowers) Sheller, a sister of his grandfather, Jacob Bowers, was born near West Independence. After her marriage to Henry Sheller, the moved to Fostoria, where they raised their family, including son Ervin.

"Others to move into Fostoria from the West Independence area", Metzger recalls, were "the Hazens, the Shumakers, the Green family and the William Gibson family".

The Hazen family included Clair, a musician and school band director, who competed and once won over Jack Wainwright's FHS band. Gibson, according to Metzger, had a filling station in Fostoria back then.

Cecil Leedy, another native of the West Independence area, Metzger recalls came to Fostoria and worked at Gray Printing Co. for 50 years until his retirement.

Metzger said the Clifton Hale family also moved to Fostoria, and their daughter, Myrtle married Earl Green, the candymaker. Older Fostorians will recall that Green made candy for George Hayden when he had his ice cream and confectionary store, where part of the Preis store is now. Later Green had his own candy making business on Culbertson Street, and later he made candy for a retail business in California.

Clifton Hale lived at 120 E. Culbertson St., and Earl Green had his residence and candy making establishment at 114 on that street.


"How many in Fostoria, today can remember when the Nestlerode Bros. ran a garage on North Main Street in Fostoria? Metzger said. I recall that it was in the brick building which later housed the furniture store owned by Sterkle Kuhlman. Later, it was the location for another garage, Pontiac sales, run by Don Dillon. That same building in later years also housed a movie house and later a church. Today it is the home of The Lincoln Club, Postell Browning, proprietor.

Metzger recalls that his father bought his first car from the Nestlerodes. "It was a two-cylinder Buick, known as model F. It was a righthand drive, without a windshield, with a rubber bulb horn, and two gears, low and high".

"I sent to the Buick factory in Flint, Michigan, several years ago for a picture of that car and they sent a beautiful glossy picture of it, which I prize highly. That car was built in 1907", he said.

Here are some specs for that car: Price $1,250, F.O.B. weight 1,850 pounts. Engine two cylinders, rear anxle-chain drive, two speeds, forward, one reverse, wheels wood spole, ties 30 by 4, three oil lamps, gas headlights, top $90 extra. Production 3,781.

About the Sheller side of the Metzgers, who moved to Fostoria, there's more to tell than space allows today, so that story with pictures willbe the subject of next week's article.


Mike Smith, son of E.E. Smith, manager, of the old TF&F is probably the only liveing employee of that interurban line. He wrote a long letter after reading the article of May. 6.

His letter is too long to get in today, and too interesting to edit out any of it, but it will appear soon, Watch for it!


Stan Moyer, Toledo, brother-in-law of Jimmy Richards, who was a member of the Richards band, and who contributed so much in helping me to present the series, telephoned to offer his congratulations and appreciation for the series.

Mrs. Harold (Helene Wade) Thomas, sister of Jimmy wrote: "Wanted you to know how wonderful your articles about Jimmy were. A lot of the information I didn't even know. I bet when Betty got the paper she had a good cry".

Helene and I were schoolmated...both attending Whittier School, and then graduating from FHS in 1923.

Other old friends of Helene in Fostoria will be sorry to know that earlier this year she was confined to the hospital with a blood clot in her leg.

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