By Bruce Stambaugh
It’s funny how much consternation a name can cause.
Take the name of the township in which I live and serve. Saltcreek Township, Holmes County, Ohio, United States of America.
It’s a simple, earthy enough name. Just why would such a straightforward title create confusion? That’s easy. It’s because of the way the township name is spelled, Saltcreek, not Salt Creek.
How do I know that it is one word and not two? Because, like my mother used to say, “I said so.” I should know. I am one of three duly elected trustees in Saltcreek Township.
The sign over the door to our office says Saltcreek Township. That is the official name we use.
Now, I know what you are thinking. Salt describes Creek. Two words. And you would be correct. Furthermore, there is precedence for spelling it that way. Southeast of us in our rural county is Walnut Creek Township.
Yet, go further east and you run into Sugarcreek in Sugarcreek Township, Tuscarawas County. Given these inconsistencies, we choose to use Saltcreek, as in a compound word like “something” instead of “some thing.”
Doubters might think “something” is fishy in Saltcreek if it is one word. But really, the intentional singular spelling is uncompromisingly pragmatic.
The insistence on Saltcreek may sound more rigid than practical. But it’s not intended to be. Nor are we trying to be obstinate or cute in the use of the Saltcreek moniker.
It just so happens that the entire northern boundary line of Saltcreek Township, Holmes County abuts the entire southern boundary line of Salt Creek Township, Wayne County. Can you see the conflict coming?
The common boundary is no coincidence. The two townships were actually one until Wayne County was downsized and Holmes County was born in the early part of the 19th century. For whatever reasons the deep thinkers used way back then, the adjoining townships kept the same name.
Paint Township, Wayne County, also was halved then, and the people in charge must have loved that name as well. The adjoining township in Holmes County was labeled Paint Township.
That all probably seemed perfectly clear to our forefathers. But in today’s complicated world, having a pair of identically named townships with shared boundary lines can be problematic.
Witness the fact that Saltcreek Township, Holmes County occasionally gets correspondence intended for Salt Creek Township, Wayne County. And vice versa.
So, to help differentiate the two governmental agencies, Saltcreek Township, Holmes County has chosen historically to be referred to as Saltcreek. In other words, Saltcreek is Saltcreek and Salt Creek is Salt Creek. That should clear up everything.
Of course, it doesn’t. Confusion still exists. Road signs ordered “Saltcreek” come labeled “Salt Creek.” We use them anyhow.
In fact, there isn’t even any uniformity among the various Holmes County governmental offices as to how to spell the township’s name. The recorder might use Salt Creek, while the board of elections prints Saltcreek.
Even the county engineer, the official we deal with the most, shows it both ways. It just depends which record is being used.
Clearly, then, we try to be as sensible as we are principled. We respond to and sign documents with the township’s name spelled either way.
So there you have it. We prefer Saltcreek, but if you insist on Salt Creek, we’ll still answer the call, unless it’s our neighboring namesake you really want.
Nov. 16, 2006
Do you have a story, memory, or photo you’d like to share that relates to Holmes County, Ohio history? If you do, we’d love to help you get it out there! We’re looking for people who want to write about people, events, or places from the region, whether it’s a profile on your great, great, great, great, great uncle Joe, an essay about the time you took your little brother sledding on your grandma’s farm, or a research piece on a local building or event, we’d like to share it with the world. Don’t worry about grammar and spelling; you can leave the editing to us. Just write, write, write, and we’ll get it all spiffed up and ready to post.
This guest post is from Vera Marie Badertscher and comes from her website Ancestors in Aprons. Thank you, Vera, for this wonderful post and the memories it evoked for Killbuck, Ohio folks!
That big picture across the head of this website? That’s my grandfather Guy Anderson at the family restaurant.
My grandparents created a restaurant where they served up home-cooked food in grandma’s ancestral home in Killbuck, Ohio. Here is a more complete image so you can see some of the signs and paraphernalia. That’s the kitchen viewed dimly through the door on the left.
That’s my grandfather Guy Anderson, my grandmother Vera Anderson, and their two helpers, Mrs. Lanham and Miss Leckrone at the family restaurant.
The picture was taken around 1940, but I don’t know exactly when the family restaurant started. I do know that it had closed down by about 1944, because my grandfather, whom I called Daddy Guy, had heart trouble and could not work any more. He died in the summer of 1944 when he was 65 years old of an ailment that could probably have been fixed with a bypass or medication today.
It took me a while to figure out how that restaurant was laid out in the big old house that had been built by Vera’s father, Dr. William Stout, in the 1880s. But my cousin, Herbert Anderson, comes to the rescue when I have questions. Herb is only a few years older than I, so he was young and doesn’t remember a whole lot, but he did straighten me out about the layout of the restaurant within the big old house. I’ll relate some of his other stories later.
I do know that more than ten years after the family restaurant closed, people would sometimes stop at my grandmother’s home. She lived in one side of the downstairs (the kitchen– see above through the doorway– had become her bedroom), and she rented out the other side and the top floor.
A few times when I was growing up, my family lived in one of those apartments for a short time. People driving through Killbuck, Ohio, before State Route 62 bypassed the community would knock on the door and ask what happened to the family restaurant that used to be there.
“Too bad,” they’d say when informed the restaurant no longer existed. “We always looked forward to stopping here when we were on the road.” Now that sounds like a GOOD FOOD restaurant.
I wish I had the sign from out front, or even a picture of the front of the house when it was a restaurant. Maybe there was no sign. Maybe there was no name (FLASH! Because the Facebook page Our Town: A Holmes County History Project published several Killbuck High School yearbooks, I learned that Anderson’s Restaurant did have a name (That’s it–Anderson’s Restaurant). And we now know at least that it was in business in 1937). And since Grandma was never one to keep old things around, I also have no menus, Coca-Cola signs, salt shakers, ice cream chairs, or any of the other fascinating things they used in the restaurant. I vaguely remember seeing some wire-backed ice cream chairs down in the basement of her house, but heaven knows what happened to them.
Grandma is not wearing an apron in the picture, not because she didn’t cook. She definitely was a fantastic cook and probably made all the Blue Plate Special lunches like roast beef, or ham steak, or pork chops with cooked apples (the last dish she prepared for us before she made her last trip to the hospital with heart trouble of her own).
Grandpa, on the other hand, made the biscuits and the pies. Grandma was fastidious about her appearance always. So I can imagine that when the traveling photographer came around to take pictures of the family restaurant, she did not want to be seen in an apron like one of the hired help.
Wearing Grandma Vera’s apron while baking her cookie recipe.
Grandma definitely did wear aprons when she cooked–many she made herself from flour sacks, and at least one I still have in my kitchen drawer. Hundreds of washings have worn the material as soft as the flour that coats it during baking. My youngest granddaughter wears my Grandma Vera’s aprons when she comes over to bake cookies with me.
See more memories about the restaurant here from Herb Anderson.
Pork Chops and Apples
Grandma’s Pork Chops with Cooked Apples (from memory)
- Six loin pork chops
- Fat for frying, add extra butter for the apples.
- Salt and pepper
- Two or three apples, peeled and sliced about 1/4 ” thick
Melt a spoonful of fat in an iron skillet and brown the pork chops. Salt and pepper the chops. Remove the pork chops and keep warm, while you brown the apples long enough to soften (Add butter if you need to). Sprinkle the apples with sugar and cinnamon to taste and serve on top of chops. Note: Don’t come to Vera’s kitchen looking for health-food recipes. Grandma liked plenty of butter, salt, and sugar.
Did you know that flour used to come in cloth bags covered with pretty prints, and that our frugal ancestors made those bags into dresses, blouses, pillow covers and aprons? Do you have a flour-sack something in your house?
By Denice Rovira Hazlett
Unidentified flying objects. Strange land structures. Intriguing underground tunnels. Things that go bump in the night. These and other things will be topics of public discussion at the Holmes County Historical Society’s Mysterious and Unusual Places in Holmes County.
Have you ever encountered a UFO? Ever stumbled upon a Sasquatch? Or maybe there’s an unusual building or land feature on your farm that you’ve always wanted to tell someone about, but you weren’t sure who. Then you’re the perfect candidate to attend the Holmes County Historical Society’s (HCHS) free program, Mysterious and Unusual Places in Holmes County, on Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7 pm in the meeting room of the Holmes County District Public Library in Millersburg.
Mark Boley, director of the HCHS, says he’s excited about the event and hopes people will come not only to listen to mysterious tales, but also to tell a few of their own.
“When the program committee met to plan things for the year, we tried to come up with ideas for programs that are not only informative, but create curiosity for people, because history can be boring if it’s not done right.”
Boley said the HCHS has investigated some unusual sites in the area, like the 2,500 year-old Adena Indian mound on the apex of Oak Hill Cemetery, the spooky legends of Panther’s Hollow, the glacial gold of the Doughty Creek, the ancient trees of Troyer’s Hollow, and the mysteries of the Murray Tunnel and Stony Crest, but he’s sure there are other things they don’t know about–and should.
“In the past, we’ve had reports of UFO and Bigfoot sightings, so we decided to throw it all together for one event,” Boley said.
The evening is also intended to elicit audience participation, giving opportunities for guests to share odd events, sites or sightings, beginning with a panel discussion highlighting things like Stony Crest, an unusual series of underground tunnels near Holmesville reported in the 1925 Holmes County Farmer-Hub.
“In our research, we’ve discovered there was once an Indian mound on top of that area, but it was removed in the 20’s,” Boley said. As far as the rock-lined tunnels and caverns, though, no one knows why they exist. “There are a lot of legends about it, and there are a lot of unusual features around the area. In fact, we have a letter from a woman who was in her 90’s at the time it was written who said she used to walk through the tunnels to school when it was raining.”
The reason the site is so unusual, Boley said, is that the mound builders–the Adena and Hopewell Indians–weren’t tunnel-diggers. So if there was a mound atop the tunnels, which came first? And why? The answers might never be found, since now, most of Stony Crest is no longer intact, largely damaged by those trying to investigate it.
The Murray Tunnel is another mystery, a man-made underground structure in southwest Holmes County extending 40 feet into a large, arch-ceilinged chamber. The fascinating part of the Murray Tunnel, Boley says, is the stones used to create it, so huge and perfectly placed. What methods could have put them there without the use of large machinery. Archaeologists and historical groups visiting the site not only disagree on the structure’s purpose, but it’s age, too. Some estimate it at 500 years old, while others have pegged it at nearly 5,000. Some contend it was a religious site, and others believe it was a storage facility for a whole colony, though Boley believes it’s much too elaborate for that. Like Stony Crest, there are other features in the area, including cairns–large surface-structures that can be seen by satellite–and underground cavities and caverns that could have all been part of a bigger picture.
But structures won’t be the only topics at the HCHS event. Unusual sightings will also be discussed. Take, for example, the possible UFO incident about fifteen years ago that left a 1/2″ deep, 7″ wide, 45′ diameter depression in a Monroe Township’s family’s front yard, though not a sound was heard except the unusual barking of the resident dogs. Others have seen objects with bright lights, flashing lights, and no lights at all. In fact, Boley himself has a tale to tell about his own close encounter, a silently hovering triangular object blocking out a building-sized area of bright stars on a moonless night south of Millersburg.
Boley anticipates that this event will spark enough interest to create an ongoing series. After all, he says, this land and its history go a long, long way back.
“A lot of time, the focus in Holmes County is on Amish and Mennonite history, but what’s more fascinating to me is what happened before that.”
For more information on the event, contact the Holmes County Historical Society at 330-674-0022.
These articles are from the vertical files in the Local History and Genealogy Room of the Holmes County District Public Library:
(This piece doesn’t include a date, but Jane and Sandy’s Variety Store no longer exists)
By Lee Hunter
Special thanks to the Farmer-Hub.
Over the years, Holmes Countians have been able to amuse themselves in various ways. People could go bowling or roller skating in the building that Jane and Sandy’s Variety Store is now in. The Opera House was the most popular place in town, which was located just west of where the professional building now stands.
The Opera House was built just before the turn of the century. It was the city building but soon after construction the Opera House moved in. The building seated around 250-300 moviegoers, fitting them into a main seating section and a balcony. The theater specialized in first-run movies with the top-notch stars of the day. Occasionally, they ran plays.
The building shared quarters with a few offices and the Millersburg Fire House. the Fire House was on the west end of the building; it had sandstone pillars, wooden floors, and two large doors that provided access to Jackson Street.
In 1925, Hoy Russell, Holmes County Probate Judge, bought the Opera House and continue to show many fine movies while he owned it.
The Millersburg Council approved funds to redecorate the Opera House in 1928 with the “Fashionable and acceptable colors of 1928.”
The Opera House showed movies every day of the week. On Wednesdays, the merchants of Millersburg sponsored the movie and the doors of the theater were open so that moviegoers could watch a movie free of charge. Soon, inflation caught up with the merchants and the citizens had to pay six cents; then it increased to a dime.
The Opera House started out all of their shows with a cartoon, sometimes a short-short of Laurel and Hardy. It was later torn down in 1954.
February 10, 1955
Holmes County Farmer Hub
Council Plans to Raze City Building
May buy old ford garage for new municipal office; make old site into parking lot
Plans for razing the Millersburg City Hall were discussed at the Monday evening meeting of the village council.
Councilman Richard Kagey, Jr., announced to council members that the building committee has investigated repairs needed to make the roof of the building safe and found the building in such bad condition it would be impractical to try to repair it.
Mr Kagey said that the committee had contacted the Holmes Rural Electric owners of the old Ford garage building on West Jackson St. about the possibility of the village purchasing that location for the village offices, should the present city hall be abandoned and found it could be purchased.
The present city building was condemned by the state fire marshall years ago and the opera house sec ion of the building has remained unused since that time. A bond issue for $125,000 for remodeling the building was voted down several years ago, and only a few essential repairs to the clerks office, council chambers and fire and street department sections of the building have been made, as needed.
Tearing down the old building will probably involve bonded indebtedness for the village Solicitor Raymond Miller pointed out as there is no surplus in the general fund for the purpose. The village will also have a large bond issue on its books when the sewage disposal plant is installed int eh near future he added. At present the village has no bonded indebtedness, however it has had to transfer funds from the parking meter fund to the general fund to meet current operating expenses in recent (?)
The councilmen also discussed plans for making over the city hall site into a municipal parking lot, should the building be torn down and the village offices moved to a new location permanently. It was estimated that 36 cars could be parked in the lot and relieve the parking problems of the village. Parking meters would be installed and add to the village income as well as assist business in the community through customer parking space.
No definite plans were made at the meeting. The building committee is to look further into purchasing the new building and Councilman David Stoner was to check with firms for estimates on razing the building.
Tearing the building down will be the loss of a land mark to some, the councilmen considered, however, they pointed out that they have little alternative, since the building has become a safety hazard and a financial burden.
Little else was discussed at the meeting. Payment of bills amounting to $2,582.81 was approved by the councilman and Clerk William Pyers reported that the Mayor’s January report totaled $253 received by the village, including $13 in permits, $140 in local fines and costs and $100 from State Highway Patrol Costs.
Holmes County Farmer-Hub
City Building is Condemned
Village Given Ninety Days to Raze Building
An order from Charles R. Scott, state fire marshall, condemning the present city building and fire station as unsafe and ordering that it be torn down in ninety days was received by Mayor Oscar Miller Wednesday morning by registered mail.
An inspection of the building was made by Fire Inspector Ralph W. Andregg on March 9, the order stated and his report listed:
“The following conditions to exist:
“This large old opera house building is in very poor repair; the roof poor and the leaking has caused the beams to rot away the ceiling to sag; wiring very poor; outside walls cracked and in bad condition; brick loose in the chimney and mortor out; the foundation bad in places
“Therefore by reason of the premised and pursuant to the authority vested in my by virtue of my office…you are hereby ordered within ninety (90) days from the date of service of this order, the above mentioned building shall be torn down and all rubbish and debris removed from the premises.”
Mayor Miller pointed out that the village council could protest the order and the protest would be investigated by the state fire marshall. However, it is not likely that a protest would avail a change in the order, since the recent investigating of the building brought an order for tearing the building down and not repairs.
Should the village fail to comply with the order, the fire marshall may have it done at the expense of the village with a 25 percent penalty should the village not pay the cost. Revised Ohio Code also provides for a penalty of from $10 to $50 for each day’s neglect of the order.
There’s more information about the Millersburg Opera House, including a full timeline of its history, in the vertical files of the Holmes County District Public Library’s Local History and Genealogy room.
The Holmes County Local History Blog is currently under construction. Please return soon to see the new site.