Stark County, Ohio
MRS. ROYER TELLS OF OLD DAYS
Changes In Massillon Since She Became a Resident.
HER HOME ON POST OFFICE SITE
She Came to the United States From Belgium in 1852 – It Took Forty-Seven Days to Cross the Atlantic – Came Down From Cleveland by Canal Boat
Mrs. Mary Royer, now 74 years of age, whose property, with that of Charles Oberlin, is the site of the proposed new postoffice building, on the corner of Erie and Plum streets, tells of the improvements made in Massillon since she became a resident here in 1859.
“I came to the United States ,” began Mrs. Royer, “in 1852, with my parents, from De La Bunard, a small village in Belgium , to New York , and between Buffalo and Massillon we changed boats once. We were forty-seven days in crossing the Atlantic , as we came by sailboat, and we were all sick most of the way over, although the weather was not rough.
“We came down from Cleveland in a short time by canal boat, and stopped at the landing between Main and Tremont streets. We ate dinner in a hotel run by Adam Sibila, where a five and ten cent store in now located, at the corner of Charles and Erie street . After we had finished dinner, we went aboard, and went as far as Navarre, where my folks bought a home.
“I met Mr. Royer in Navarre , and in 1854 we were married by Father Yochime in the old St. Mary’s Catholic church, on March 15. He used to tell me how he pushed a wheelbarrow when he was 12 years old, when he helped build the Ohio canal. All the schooling he ever got was before he was 12. We moved from Massillon to a place called Larr, in Franklin county, Indiana, where my husband bought a blacksmith shop in the year of the great frost. We went up from Cincinnati to our new home on a canal boat. He worked at this blacksmith shop and learned his trade, and after we were there for five years, we came back to Massillon , and Mr. Royer bought out Fred Penoval, who owned a blacksmith shop on Plum street, in the same building now used by the Wornet Brothers as a tin shop.
He bought the shop and the small red house now used by Conrad as a warehouse (which at that time stood against the blacksmith shop on the north side of the street) for $2,000. After living in this little red house for fifteen years, we bought the large house on the corner, which was built by John McLain. When we bought the house we made it two stories high from one and a half, the improvement coating $1,4000, which at that time was a great deal more money than the same amount is today. Before we moved into the house it was occupied by Robert Folger, a family by the name of Russell, and a family by the name of Rank, some of whom are living in Canton . The mill across the street on Erie street was built by a man named Rawson, who sold the place shortly after it was built and moved to Cleveland . The Morganthaler mill was already built when I came here, and the buildings in West Main street extended as far as the Bee Hive, and from there to the west nothing but dwelling houses were to be seen, and they were few and far between.
“One night a big warehouse was partly burned where the Warwick block now stands, and a short time after the city built a frame addition to be used as a postoffice, and when the government found that the postoffice was in a frame building they removed the office, and, as the building was of no further use, it was torn down and the Warwick block built in 1885.
“From Plum to Main street on Erie there was a string of one story shacks which were burned in a fire which destroyed the entire block. The building on the southeast corner of Plum and Erie streets was one of the first built over one story high in the town.
“Before Mr. Royer went to Indiana the first time, he helped carry bundles out of the building which was burned, where the opera house block now stands in South Erie street , and he told me that just as soon as he got out of the building, the ceiling came down. I found a gold watch on the sidewalk and instead of hunting for the owner, I took it inside and laid it on a shelf, where it was destroyed by the fire.
I think it was in 1855 that the opera house block was erected. John Killinger, Sr., had a marble shop in one of the shacks on the east side of Erie street , before it burned. He lived in the brick house on the corner of Hill and Plum streets at that time.
“Mr. John McLain also built that large house now occupied by C. L. McLain on the corner of Hill and Plum streets, one and a half stories high, but after his death, it was made into a two story building.
“Mr. Royer once owned the property now owned by Oberlin, but as a large stone building, which once was once used as a woolen mill, occupied the property, and could not be rented, he decided to sell, and he disposed of it to a party who in turn sold it to Mr. Oberlin.
When the civil war broke out, I saw one thousand soldiers in Main street at one time. They had camped on the west side the night before.
“I also saw the first railroad train pull into the city over the Pennsylvania railroad, with the great smokestack on the wood fired engine.”
Mrs. Royer showed a rosary, which was brought from the exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. It was made of wood and was marked with peculiar engravings.
About the same time the Pennsylvania railroad was built through the city a sham battle was fought near the station on a large hill, between South street and the railroad, in which one man was killed. This was about the same time the cholera broke out in Navarre when six persons died within a few days of the dreaded disease. [Evening Independent ( Massillon , Ohio ) July 5, 1909]
Stanwood's Oberlins served as Washington's bodyguards
The community of Stanwood is located about 12 miles southwest of Massillon and has a population of approximately 30 persons.
Originally known as Stands, the community apparently took its name from settlers of that name. When a post office was located there in the early 1900's, the name Stanwood was given to the community. The name was suggested by Edward Stanton Miller, father of Monford O. and Paul R. Miller who still lives there and Paul R. Miller who lives in Mount Vernon.
The Post Office was located in a general store owned and operated by Ottoman Oberlin. Rural mail routes later established in the community closed the post office. Oberlin moved to Beach City and sold the store to Albert A. Shilling. It was later purchased by Mrs. Vashti Stanford who operated it only a few years before it was closed about 25 years ago. The store is now a residence.
Early settlers were coal miners employed by the Massillon Coal Mining Co. whose operations extended into Tuscarawas Township and Wayne County.
A cider press was operated for many years east of the general store by Henry Baird. It was later taken over by Miller (who named the community) and moved by Miller to the family residence which is now occupied by Monford Miller and family.
The elder Miller manufactured wheelbarrows, auto trailers and had a saw mill. He also had a sorghum press which provided area residents with a substitute for sugar. It was especially appreciated during World War II when sugar was limited.
A grain elevator also was located in the community. Area farmers brought their grain to the elevator for grinding into flour and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad had a switch into a coal mine there "doubled" in service with the hauling of grain and coal.
Some residents of the community recall having heard about a Hotel Brogan being located there but nothing further could be learned about it.
The name Oberlin is prominent among the early settlers. Family history records state Frederick Oberlin came from Wurtemberg, Germany to Pennsylvania with his six sons, one of whom is buried in the Stanwood Cemetery.
According to the Congressional Record Library at Washington, D. C., the Pennsylvania Record of Soldiers of the Revolution of Lancaster, Pa., Militia, the names of Michael, Adam, Jacob, John, Christpher and Anthony Oberlin are recorded, indicating that all of them served in the Revolutionary War. It further states that Michael started as a private and became a captain, Adam was a sergeant and Jacob a corporal.
Apparently because of their size - each was said to be at least six feet tall - they are reported to have been bodyguards of General George Washington.
Another source of information states that Adam, who is buried in the Stanwood Cemetery, was a sergeant on the roll of Capt. Gear's Company of the Ninth Battalion of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It further states that he married Eve Ensminger and lived in Cumberland, Pa. They came to Ohio with their family, including some married sons in 1811. His wife is thought to be buried in the Stanwood Cemetery.
Adam Oberlin and, perhaps some of his brothers, came to Stanwood after the war and received land grants from the U. S. government.
Adam is said to have been born in 1745. A huge boulder, apparently from the fields of Stanwood, marks his grave and a smaller stone on which a plaque has been placed gives his name and the year of his death as 1812. The stone bearing the plaque was erected and dedicated by the Massillon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in the late 1950's, in memory of his service in the Revolutionary War.
The Stanwood Community Church, as it is known today, has a membership of about 150 from the area and is served by the Rev. Peter Mathewson. The Stanwood Evangelical and Reformed Church as it was known then, was organized in 1823. Worship services were conducted in a frame building which was bricked and an extension constructed to the original structure when it was moved across the street in 1954.
The former Stanwood School in the community now serves as a Community Hall for various events. Students attend the Tuslaw Local School District since consolidation in 1957.
[Evening Independent (Massillon, Ohio) July 3, 1976 - submitted by Ida Maack Recu]
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