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March 19, 1981


PIX #1 - Seneca Motor Car Co. stock certificate still in possession of 'Pot- luck' reader.


The article last week, about The Fostoria Light Car Co., turned up memorabilia in the possession of local readers.

The one accompanying photo shows a check, which may not show up too well to readers, but the story behind it seemed to warrant its use anyway as 'proof.'

Back in about 1966, Garry Lannes, known to many readers, was helping his father, Eugene, when they were doing some work around the property at the cor- ner of North Union Street and Jones Road, which was owned by Eugene. The property was originally owned by Gideon Jones.

In the process of digging in the yard they found the check, wrapped in an oil- saturated cloth. It had been preserved in the wrapping, and appeared the same as it is today.

Why was the old check so carefully wrapped and buried? The answer to the question will never be known. Such items of memorabilia are usually preserved in many other ways, sometimes in libraries or museums, or in scrapbooks.

The check was signed by R.J. Ridgeway, the General Manager at Fostoria Light Car Co., at that time, and countersigned by Chas. Ash, secretary-treasurer. The check was to Ehrehard Mfg. Co. for $25.31.

When the check was discovered by Lannes, he took it to the Commercial Bank for viewing. Later it found its way to the home of Earl Ash, Amsden, and there was unintentionally 'buried' until Earl's wife, Ethel, uncovered it when she looked for the photo of Chas. Ash, used with last week's article.

It took some sleuthing to locate Lannes, now residing in Arcadia, and an in- teresting telephone conversation followed about the check...also the old Jones property. The old check will now be returned to Lannes.

Lannes said the Jones house had a stone foundation so thick and so hard that it was impossible to drill through it for a new gas line. He also said the house was built very ruggedly and beautifully.

Another item called to my attention by a reader who wishes to remain anony- mous, was a Fostoria Light Car stock certificate, shown by another photo. That reader wondered why I had not illustrated that article with the complete line of cars and trucks made by the company. There wasn't space.

In addition to those models shown, there were also two a closed model, and another an open type with side curtains which could be rolled up or down in bad weather.

There was also a Speedster model, referred to as "the traveling salesman's friends, or utility car." It was completely roof...two seater. The type the younger crowd would like today.

About the stock indicates total Common Stock of 2,500 shares at $100 each, and Preferred Stock for 2,500 shares at $100 each.


Sadie Mottram, former Fostorian, telephoned from Ft. Wayne to say she had read the articles in The Review Times 125th anniversary at the local church.

She wanted me and readers to know that she and her sister, Mrs. Otto (Ethel) Huth were still living in Ft. Wayne.

Surprised she was, when I told her that I remembered her and her family, the Lords, also her husband Bill Mottram, who worked at Gray Printing, as did Sadie and her sister's husband.

Mrs. Mottram's parents were Presbyterians, as was she and her sister. Her father and one brother, Bill, ran the Fostoria Waterworks for many years. Her other brother, Bill, was a well-known plumber and heating contractor in Fos- toria.

Mrs. Mottram is the mother of Charles, killed in action in World War II, and after whom Lake Mottram was of Fostoria's reservoirs.

Another son, William, lives near Mrs. Mottram and looks after her and Mrs. Huth. Her address is 2120 Carterton Drive, Ft. Wayne, Ind. 46816. She would like to hear from old friends and to be remembered by the church members of her era.


Mrs. Rhoad, not a Presbyterian, telephoned to provide some information, as a result of the Presbyterian articles, which will interest older Presbyterians.

The Rhoads moved from this area to Dixon, Ill. a few years ago. One of their neighbors there informed them that a magistrate judge in that city was a for- mer Fostorian. It turned out he was Maurie Pires, son of Rev. E.C. Pires, who was pastor of the local Presbyterian Church from 1914-1918. Later, the Rhoads met Maurie Pires, who has since died. Their conversation did not disclose where the Pires family went after leaving Fostoria, or thereafter.


A humorous, yet disappointing story was told by Lester Cadwallader many years ago, which further illustrates the problems Seneca Motor Car Co. had.

During the early days a car dealer by the name of Tway, from Atlanta, Ga., wanted to sell The Fostoria Light Car autos, and made a visit to the factory. He made an impression by saying he could sell their entire production. He thought the company should sell stock and enlarge the plant.

The man's credit was investigated and found to be good, so they shipped 16 cars, about $8,000 value. However, he did not pay for them, saying they were defective and he had to take them back. Atlanta was quite a distance then, and after an unsuccessful effort to collect, the account became dormant.

Sometime later, after Todd had joined the company as accountant, he came across the transaction. He wrote to a lawyer he knew in Atlanta and learned that Tway was a fairly wealthy and prominent citizen. The lawyer was engaged to start suit, and soon a trial date was set. Todd had not informed Cadwall- ader about his activity, and when it was learned, the company's officials were angry. But, there was nothing to do but go through with it.

Cadwallader and Charles Ash went to Atlanta. Their impression of the old law- yer was disappointing that they felt he couldn't win the case. He advised them to collect evidence for the trial. They went through bill-of-sale re- cords at the courthouse and discovered all of the names of those who had pur- chased the cars, and then were able to locate 15 of the buyers. It turned out that the buyers were satisfied with the cars and had payed for them.

To make a long story short...the day of the trial the old lawyer displayed such oratorical ability, and in light of the existing evidence, won the case, and Seneca Motor Car Co. was awarded the entire sum of the debt.

Cadwallader and Ash were elated, and Todd was off the least tempor- arily. However, the old lawyer surprised them again...he charged them half of what they were awarded at the trial.

They won...but they lost.

Todd was given a dinner for his astute ability in digging up the account and bringing it to trial...however, when the lawyers bill arrived later, smiles turned to scowls.

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