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March 14, 1985




(Author's Note: This is another article which will reveal the life and characteristics of Fostorians from years ago. The article about Sammy Croft, the first of such articles, was so popular it dictated the publications of others periodically.)

Today's article is about two brothers...John and Frank Twining...opposites in characteristics and accomplishments, as the records show.

John, the oldest, was born in West Independence in 1858, coming here at an early age with his parents, and a Fostoria resident for 73 years.

For 30 years, John was a telegrapher for the LE&W railroad, an employee of the P.H. Jones Co. for 15 years, and also spent six years with Electric Auto- Lite. He served the city of Fostoria faithfully. In addition to being a city councilman and service director, he was also superintendent of the city water works.

According to one reporter who knew him and covered city meetings, he was a serious, straight-faced person who was not apt to be jovial. He was "all business."


John and his wife Margaret (Hickernell) had one daughter, Ethel, who married Harry Harley, a local postman, to whom was born Robert, written up in a re- cent "Potluck" column.

In summary, John Twinning will be remembered by some readers for the close scrutiny he practiced, watching over financial matters for the city of Fos- toria. During the 26 years he served as a councilman and service director, he earned the title "Watchdog of the City Treasury."

John Twining died Nov. 24, 1941, at age 83, and was buried in Fountain Ceme- tery. He was a member of the Brotherhood of the First Methodist Church.

The Twinings lived at 546 Maple St.


Frank, the youngest of the brothers by two years, was also born in West Inde- pendence, in 1860. He was eight when his parents came to Fostoria.

His early schooling here was in a building which stood where Governor's Manor is now located at Main and High Streets.

At age 12 he went to work as an apprentice for the Fostoria Stave Company, and stayed there eight years.

In March 1880, he started to learn telegraphy and in October of that year be- came operator at the Kansas telegraph office, later that year being trans- ferred to Arcadia.

Frank remained in Arcadia until 1880, when he returned to Fostoria as a clerk in the Lake Erie & Western freight office. A year later he became chief clerk there. Later he became chief clerk for the Nickel Plate Railroad, and after four years became cashier and ticket agent for that railroad here.


In 1905, he entered the grocery business with Edger Lease on North Main Street selling that business to A.C. Ash in 1911.

In 1912, he accepted a position with Henry Adams, Reo automobile distributor for northwestern Ohio, remaining in that job for 18 years until the business was sold to Phelps Motor Company.

Frank then accepted a position as a field representative for the Black Swamp Production Credit Association, where he remained until his retirement.


He died May 20, 1953, at his home 631 N. Main St., after a six month period of poor health, starting with a fall and broken arm.

But, that's not the end of the story about Frank Twining. How Blake Myers, 1116 N. Union St., remembers Twining is a story of his generosity to the Myers family, when they lived on his 150-acre farm, located on Vanlue Road, (county road 330) in Biglick and Washington townships, in Hancock County. The Myers family rented the farm and worked it on shares.

Hobart Myers, Blake's father, died in 1921, when Blake was 18 years old, and still in high school at Arcadia.


According to Blake, Twining visited the Myers' home to talk to the family about their plans after the father's death. The family had already talked about their plans, and they told Twining they would like to stay on the farm and work the land. And so the agreement was made. Blake and a brother, Carl, believed they could carry on the farming, with some advice from Twining.

Blake made arrangements at school to keep up with him class by studying at home, and then going to school one day a week to take tests on his studies. By that method he graduated with his class in 1923. It was Twining who urged Blake to continue his schooling.


"Frank Twining was like a father to me," is Blake's testimony about the man who helped the Myers family in those difficult years. Mr. Twining advised about the rotation of crops, and other matters, to help Blake and Carl carry on like their father.

The Myers family was so successful in carrying on the farming that they were able to buy a smaller farm, next to the Twinings.


Blake remembers a skunk he captured as a boy on the farm, and how he tamed it to become a pet. The two Adams boys, Henry and John, both deceased, wanted the skunk. Blake let them have it, and they tried to keep it at their house on West Tiffin Street, where Jim Guernsey now has his law office. "The skunk would never make up with the Adams boys, and they had to turn it loose in the country," Blake said.

Blake Myers, now 81 years old, still looks back more than 60 years and says, "Frank Twining was like a father to me."

(Author's Note: I need to explain the source of data and photos for today's article. Several years ago, Mrs. A.R. (Nina) Keiser, at that time residing at 310 S. Union St., gave me two scrapbooks which she had kept through many years. They are filled with obituaries, weddings, fires, events, etc. Some of the data for the Twining brothers, also the photo of Frank was extracted from one of the scrapbooks. The photo of John Twining was furnished by Bob Harley, former Fostorian, and grandson of John, now residing in St. Clair Shores, Mich.)

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