The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Hattie Faye Obermyer: The Most Talented Person on Earth 2009.07.08

Written by David Green.


The details appear right at the top of the sheet of music: poet, author, inventor and song-writer. Hattie Faye Overmyer Wilder  added that information with a typewriter at the top of her compositions.

She must be one of Morenci’s most famous residents if you believe the words that were painted on the side of the trailer she pulled through town: “The Most Talented Person on Earth.”

Lorene Whitehouse doesn’t recall much about Faye, other than the fact that she was a little on the strange side.

“She was an odd one,” Marilyn Rorick added. “A different kind of person.”

Bob Green confirms that opinion, but he remembers her as a character who gave people something to talk about.

Bob was just a teen-ager when Faye was in her prime as an entertainer, but he recalls that she befriended his father, Russell, who was editor of the newspaper.

Details are fuzzy—and maybe they’re no more than small-town legend—but Bob recalls hearing that Faye arrived in Morenci under strange circumstances.

There was something about an injury—falling out of a buggy, perhaps—and she was taken inside the house of Erastus Wilder who lived west of Morenci on Wabash Road.

After an earlier marriage, Erastus was now a widower, but he took a liking to Faye. Perhaps she never left the Wilder estate. On June 4, 1900, Erastus married the Albany, Ind., native.

His obituary from 1930 mentions Faye as “the daughter of an old time circuit rider preacher.” There’s also mention of her having “the distinction of being a poet, author, inventor and song writer,” but you already know that.

Bob recalls his father coming home from work with the story of Faye’s worry about gangsters from Chicago coming after her.

If Russell saw them in town, he was to call Faye and say, “George is in Wauseon!” If Faye saw the gangsters out her way, she would call the Observer office and say, “George is not in Wauseon!”

Wilma Fink has a few distant memories of Faye Wilder, including her mobile home trailer.

“She used to come to town and swish around,” Wilma recalls.

She was known for her dancing, as well as her musical productions, and Bob remembers her version of the Black Bottom.

The Black Bottom became popular in the 1920s and is said to be based on these instructions, according to a Wikipedia entry:

• Hop down front then Doodle back,

• Mooch to your left then Mooch to the right,

• Hands on your hips and do the Mess Around,

• Break a Leg until you’re near the ground

• Now that’s the Old Black Bottom Dance.

Faye had her own variation that she called the Pink Bottom, something she performed by standing on her head.

Faye Wilder came to mind recently when Bob was going through some basement items and came across “H. Faye Wilder’s Song Book,” a collection of a dozen or so songs written by Faye and probably left at the Observer office.

The pages measure 10 and a half by 14 inches and each is filled with hand-written musical notations, with lyrics added using a typewriter.

Many of her compositions include notes at the top. The song “My Earth, My Sea, My Sky” is described as a waltz ballad and the instructions say to “sing it and dance it as you go.”

Her tribute to the town, “Morenci, Michigan,” is another waltz said to be “appropriate for the dance, and to be sung at Grange and on other occasions.” In large hand-written type is the addition: “ESPECIALLY SATURDAY NIGHT.”

“My Joanna from Indiana” was written out three times in the song book. The first time it appears, a notation states, “This is a silly little song but it’s a good waltz.”

Another “silly song” but one with “a good moral” is titled “Just Nuts or Don’t-Say-It-With-Ink.”

The song tells the tale of a woman who found a letter her husband wrote to a female admirer. Faye’s lyrics warn, “Say it with flowers, say it with sweets, say it with kisses, say it with eats. Say it with jewels, say it with drink. But always be careful not to say it with ink.”

Some songs were written by Hattie Faye Wilder, others by H. Faye Wilder, and sometimes by Mrs. Hattie Faye Overmyer Wilder. No matter what name she used, each was composed at “Wilder Place, near Morenci, Mich.”

There’s ample evidence of editing. In many instances, the typewritten words were erased and new ones penciled in.

She took the old favorite “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and created the “Mary Had a Little Lamb and Chorus March.” It’s a musical comedy in five acts.

“America the Beautiful” was given some new words, music and arranging by Faye.

For Morenci’s 1938 Harvest Festival, Faye wrote a special song lauding the community and poking some fun at herself and the special guest, Paul Spor, a well-know figure in Toledo entertainment for decades.

The last time “My Joanna from Indiana” appears in the book, Faye added this note at the bottom: “This copy is out on trial. Perfection is our aim. Criticism is welcomed by its author and owner, Faye Wilder, Wilder Place, Morenci, Mich.”

As one of the “town characters” of her day, Faye probably had no shortage of criticism.

And about that word “inventor” in her title. Faye Wilder claimed to be the inventor of dual wheels for trucks. She said the Dodge company stole her idea.

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