“The Life of C.A. Bissell” and other stories – Stan Jordan

C.A. Bissell 1857 – 1943

By: Stan Jordan

I hope you enjoy the following story about Charlie Bissell, he was one of Antwerp’s last pioneers. I knew him and respected him and so did everyone else. This story is all true from my own experience and the rest is from Mr. Ehrhart’s book “A Century of Progress 1841-1941.

Mr. Bissell came from New York with his mother and two brothers in 1859 by canal boat and landed at Hutchins Lock. His father was waiting for them with an ox cart. He had been here for a while and had erected a two room cabin for them along the Maumee River.

Charlie married Rosella Tyron in 1880 and moved to Antwerp. He taught school for a while and was a book keeper for Antwerp Stave Co. until 1885. Then he entered into the elevator business with Bruce Ely until 1900, then he sold out and went into the insurance business.

He served five terms as Antwerp mayor and also was city clerk for a while and had various other city jobs.

The following is taken from Mr. Ehrhart’s book verbatim, some of it was written by Dale Ehrhart:

January 1, 1940 witnessed the beginning of the longest number of consecutive terms ever served by any mayor in the history of Antwerp. Mayor Bissell was perhaps one of the most highly qualified men ever to serve as mayor of the village, having started his municipal activities when elected to the council in April 1887 and serving at alternate periods thereafter in that capacity and for two terms as clerk of the corporation.

This period in the history of the village was devoted to routine municipal affairs which were wisely and skillfully administered as a great deal of work and legislation was necessary to complete the details which followed in the wake of the huge public improvement programs of the nineteen twenties and for the maintenance thereof.

In 1931 the Washington Street sewer was built, another step in municipal sanitation and health.

On November 10, 1933 the council purchased a Dodge fire truck, which is still in service and is the newest piece of fire equipment in the village.

On July 16, 1934, the council passed a resolution providing for construction and extension of the village sewers from their present outlets in an open ditch running along the east side of town to the river.

This was still another step in municipal sanitation as it embodied the underground extension of every large sewer in the village.

On February 7, 1936, the village acquired the addition to Riverside Park known as the island. This purchased acquired a splendid north entrance to the park and also a large tract of land lying along the Maumee River. This purchase constituted the only addition to Riverside Park since the original purchase back in 1888.

The balance of the term of Mayor Bissell was spent in the management of village affairs which were growing more and more technical as time went on.

When in the summer of 1939, Mayor Bissell announced his intentions of retiring from office upon expiration of his fifth consecutive term, all who had served with him in the various village offices experienced a profound feeling of regret that the village was to lose his services, the knowledge, and the wisdom gained through his years of experience in the service of the municipality.

See ya!

The team and the school buses

By: Stan Jordan

Tim Copsey came into the West Bend News office the other day and he wanted to know about the old time school buses and how our baseball and football teams got to the away games.

Well, I’m going to switch back in time to the 1930’s and into 1941.

Well, girls will tell you that in the 1920’s and 1930’s, school buses were hideous monsters. No springs, no cushioning, no heat, no shock absorbers, but that was still better than a horse and buggy.

I think in the 1930’s, Antwerp had six or seven school buses and none of them had a heater so to speak. If I remember right, they were pretty well dilapidated.

One man, who owned his own bus, installed a little stove with a stove pipe out the roof. I guess it did help some. Later on in the 1930’s and 40 and 41 the buses did get more comfortable, like a heater, shocks, good brakes, some cushions on seats and back of the seat and a lot of the draft through the cracks was eliminated.

But Antwerp only had enough buses to run the bus route, no extra buses. So, the baseball team and the football team had to ride in private automobiles. Such as,  Superintendent  Deemer  had a 1937 Pontiac and his son Paul drove it and carried five players. Mr. Bell had a 1929 Model A Ford and he drove it and carried 4 players. Charlie Shuherk had a 1937 Ford and his son Manuel drove it and carried four players. I think Dick Crosby drove his dad’s car and Mr. Horney drove Pat Harris’ car.

Now that worked out well, but later on the insurance company would not allow that type of transportation.

Also we tracked mud into some really nice cars. There were no showers to be had, but that was the same in all towns. A lot of older people didn’t care for athletics or extra curricular activities. If you needed physical training go to the farm and work, dollars were hard to come by.

I had lunch today with some people who rode the bus in the 1950’s and the heaters still were not much good.

School buses now are highly regulated on brakes, shocks and safety devices, not all states make seat belts mandatory. It looks to me like all the accidents we have with school buses, and of late there are a few, I think most of the trouble is driver error.

In talking with some older Antwerp Archer baseball players, they said that they rode private cars as late as 1968, but I think these last few years, there has been an older school bus to take the baseball team to away games.

See Ya!

Goings on in Washington D.C.

By: Stan Jordan

Our forefathers said, “Walk softly and carry a big stick”

Our soon to be leader done leaped over that advice and it seems he has started his own atomic arms race with the powers that be, and he is not the president yet.

We have co-existed with communist countries for years and I don’t like the idea of another arms race. The atomic bomb that we dropped on Japan over 70 years ago is like a firecracker compared to what all these countries have built.

An atomic war will be suicide with the big rockets these countries have built, no nation will be safe, if the explosion didn’t melt you down, the atomic fallout will get you. That ash will travel with the winds and will sooner or later kill everyone. Think not? Read the true story of the Russian Chernobyl.

The idea of rattling our sack of atomic weapons against any in the world is very dumb. An atomic war won’t settle anything but it would destroy the world.

I wish Trump would soft pedal a little bit. He isn’t bothering Putin a bit. To my way of thinking, he is just causing a little more unrest. He sure has deviated from our former foreign policy and I don’t think that is good.

See ya!

Sam Rivers, Indian Agent Chapter 14: We Have Help in the Garden

By: Stan Jordan

I guess maybe the Indians have been here about two weeks. They help us in the garden and any other job, but we spend the hot afternoons in the shade. That’s when Callie does her school classes and those natives are learning our languages and ways.

Little Beaver, the son of Limping Buffalo the Shaman, is learning very fast, he can write his name already, he wants to study and be a Shaman.

Boy, oh boy, a lot has happened since I wrote last. I guess the Indians had all gone back to their village except two, who had stayed to garden and help Carrie—Half Moon, the Indian gardener and his woman. On that afternoon we could see dust rising in the south. We watched and waited and after a while we could see three wagons coming from Ft. Kearney. We all wondered what could be in three wagons. So we just waited to see and there was also a horse and rider.

Well, the lone rider was Moe, the runner, on his own horse. Then we found out that two of the wagons carried the Indians’ blankets and supplies. The third wagon had an officer and a squad of eight soldiers, and a lot of lumber and tools and supplies for building a walk bridge across Rattlesnake Creek.

I guess one of the former workers at the agency told the General that when the natives came to the store they had to wade the creek. So, the General sent a squad of engineers to build a bridge over the creek.

The Mess Sergeant came along this time and his gear was in one of the wagons and he got out and started supper right away. Moe had already stoked up the fire because he was back home. About all four of the old helpers: Moe, the farmer, the hunter and Slim. This makes their third time to the agency. We like all of them boys and are glad to see them.

All the drivers took care of their teams, fed and watered and stood out for the night. All three soldiers used their mess kits and we had our bowls.

We had Army Stew, hot bread and sheet-type apple pie. I think the Mess Sergeant wanted to show off a little. But then he hasn’t been out in this field for years. We sure enjoyed the meal and everyone told him so.

We all sat around and talked. We were entertained, each and every one. Half Moon, the Indian Head Gardener and the Farmer had a lot to talk about and they walked down to the garden area.

Half Moon’s woman wanted to help clean up but the Mess Sergeant said he had some boys to do that.

I asked the officer if we could just leave the supplies in the wagon and go over to the camp. The Lieutenant said that was alright with him because he was going to stay here and start building the bridge.

At 5:00 a.m. the Mess Sergeant awoke the whole camp by beating on the bottom of a dish pan. He had fried mush and hot pancakes. We had 17 people for breakfast and Moe made all the coffee. The Mess Sergeant had a ball with all the people patting him on the back.

We got started to the Indian village fairly early. Callie, the farmer, and I were in the first wagon and the hunter and Slim were in the second wagon.

The Mess Sergeant wanted to go along and make the trip, but he had to stay back and cook for the other 10 soldiers. He even wanted to take horse but Moe wouldn’t stand for that. This was one time a Private could say no to a sergeant.

As we forded the stream we could see that the engineers had dropped a couple of trees already for the new bridge over Rattle Snake Creek. By golly, that would be a lot nicer for the natives to make the trip to the agency, as most of them walk. This way they won’t get their feet and moccasins wet.

See ya!