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.
  • Front.sculpt
    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.
  • Front.homecoming Court
  • Cheer
  • Front.park.lights
  • Front.pull
  • Front.ropes
  • Front.sculpt
  • Front.tar.wide
  • Front.toss
  • Front.walk Across

Old city ledger reads like a history book 2010.05.12

Written by David Green.


Morenci’s city supervisor Barney Vanderpool was digging through old records last week attempting to locate an old sewer record.old_ledger.jpg

He found what he was looking for back in the 1940s, but he also came across something older that could almost be considered a history book.

The imprint on the spine reads “Record Book” and “Morenci.” Inside are the city’s financial records from 1917 to early 1926, and it’s an interesting tale they tell.

In 1917, a man named Ed Miller was employed as the town marshal, earning $50 every three months. He had a couple additional sources of income. He was paid $1 for every stray dog killed (nine of them in one month that year) and he served as the town’s night watchman earning $1.50 a night.

Throughout the ledger, payments for street work took a lot of money from the village account. Shannon Turbett appears in the record book in April 1917 for street work with a team of horses ($25). Addie Rice earned $29 that month for street work and another $25 for hauling gravel.

In July, the Toledo & Western Railroad was charged $2.50 after 10 firefighters responded to a boxcar fire. George Wilson earned $10.50 for mowing the park and F.A. Keefer was paid $7.50 for three cords of wood.

Homer Wilson is listed for 63 loads of cinders—did he bring them in for street maintenance or haul them away from a furnace?

Two train car loads of stone came in via the New York Central ($46.15) and two more arrived on the Toledo & Western ($37.57).

Most expenses seem minor compared to the monthly cost of street lights and lighting at the village hall. The bill came in at more than $200 a month in 1917 and grew to more than $300 in 1921. When the record book closed up in 1926, the monthly charge exceeded $400.

G.W. Gust was paid $4 for half a ton of coal in January 1918 and another five dogs were killed. Sherman Greiss was paid $3 for shoveling cinders and Milton Morningstar earned $3.70 for “repairing fountain on corner.”

A train car of stone arrived from the France Stone Company and later a carload of slag came from the France Co. Slag was $12 cheaper.

F.W. Granger earned $1.75 for blacksmith work, coal for the village hall cost $4.64 and the council room was plastered and papered for $36.07.

The cost of water was nearly as expensive as street lighting. The Ohio Dairy Company  pumped water for the city and the quarterly cost in 1919 ranged from $600 to $800. The company changed its name to the National Dairy Company that year.

For some reason, Vern Gleason was hired to clean Mary Deline’s toilet ($4) and a bronze whistle valve was purchased for the dairy ($14.96).

Printing needs were filled by the Morenci Observer and Bradley’s Printing, and occasionally items were bought from Porter Lumber Company.

In 1921, three $10 tax exemption refunds were paid to soldier’s widows. The Lee & Warner store sold turpentine and lead to the village ($8) and glass and glazing came from LaRowe hardware ($2.70).

Gasoline made an appearance in the ledger in 1921 (always spelled “gass”) and curbing forms were mentioned that year.

In past years, several entries listed the purchase of Tarvia—an asphalt-based road surfacing material—but it wasn’t until the summer of 1921 that a major paving project was mentioned. Dozens of entries are listed when East Street was paved and curbed. The next summer featured sewer work on Gorham Street and the paving of East Main.

Cement came in by the train car load via the NYC line for $358 and labor was paid to many local workers and to those with teams of horses.

Glen Wirick sold cinders for street work in the summer of 1922 ($4.50) and gasoline was purchased for just under 10 cents a gallon.

Firemen responded to a fire at the Blair Hotel ($37.50 paid to chief Roy Sebring) and later to a blaze at the Temple Theatre.

A traffic sign was purchased in 1923 ($2.55), the year that Summit Street was paved. A gravel screening plant was built for $700 to help with the massive project.

In January 1925, Cline & Awkerman sold a padlock and key for the town jail ($4) and J.B. Green furnished the chassis for the Dodge fire truck ($1,360).

Sheepskin coats were purchased for the fire department for $25, but no quantity is listed. A charge of $89 appears for fire department runs to the country.

William Duryea was paid $2 a night for traffic work and the marshal was now earning $75 a quarter.

More than a dozen people were involved in the construction of a new village restroom in the summer of 1925 and the total cost exceeded $4,400.

There are plenty of familiar names appearing among the records—Cottrell, Farquhar, Dwyer, Kutzley, Metcalf, Valentine, Sampson and more—and several old family names can still be seen in area road signs, such as Baker, Baldwin, Camburn, Fay, Mowry, Spencer, Whaley, Whitney and Wilson.

But the names that are no longer here—perhaps only as tombstones in the cemetery—tell a story of constant change in a growing town.

What happened to Ashley, Aldrich, Anders and Benedict? Where did Chislom, Chapman, Clapp and Crabbs go? Dailey, Delair and Donley; Hyslop, Haynes and Heckman; Poucher, Squires, Tuggle and Zahm—so many families were part of the community but their names have disappeared over the decades.

The old city Record Book only raises the questions, but offers no answers.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2015