25 people who made Allen County a better place


From The Lima News Archives



William Davenport, photographed in 1968.

William Davenport, photographed in 1968.


The Lima News archives

Dr. J.C. Bradfield

Dr. J.C. Bradfield


The Lima News archives

T.K. Jacobs Sr.


Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society

Henry Wemmer


Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society

S.A. Baxter Jr.


Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society

Dr. J.C. Bradfield


Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society

William Davenport, photographed in 1975.


Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society

Henry Deisel


Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society

Easter Straker, photographed talking with Eleanor Roosevelt.


Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society

Easter Straker


Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society

Benjamin C. Faurot


Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society

John Galvin


Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society

George W. Jameson, photographed in his Ada law office.


Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society

Alberta Shurelds


Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society

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Read more about the 200th anniversary of Allen County at LimaOhio.com/tag/200.

Many, many people made an impact on the growth of this county. Here is a quick look at some of them.

• Dr. Samuel A. Baxter studied under Dr. William H. Harper of Lima and Dr. J. Dawson of Columbus. He graduated from college in Cincinnati and served in the Civil War. Following the war, Dr. Baxter returned to Lima and practiced medicine five years. He then became president of First National Bank. He lived at Charles and West Market streets, which was a grand place with sweeping grounds on which he held various public concerts and gatherings — a tradition that was begun by previous homeowner George Jameson. He was involved in the building of Memorial Hall. His father, also called Samuel A. Baxter, was born in Maryland of English descent and owned a hat store in Lima. Later, he studied law at Cincinnati and dealt largely in real estate.

• David Berger, raised in Mansfield, arrived in Lima to lead the Rehab Project in the 1970s. The nonprofit focused on renovating neighborhoods. He is largely credited with leading the movement to save the Lima Refinery when it faced almost certain closure in 1998. Later, he would play a key role in efforts to lobby Congress to keep the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center — also known as the tank plant — viable. Berger has been Lima’s mayor since 1989, the longest-serving in the city’s history.

• Dr. J.C. Bradfield came to Lima in 1911 and quickly earned a reputation as a well-respected physician. He was born in Mount Vernon, Ohio, attended Starling Medical College in Columbus and graduated from Ohio State Medical School in 1911. He died in 1936. Bradfield Center is named in his honor.

• Virginia Galvin Crouse was a daughter of John E. Galvin, born in 1919 in Lima. She married John L. “Jack” Crouse in 1943, and after his death from cancer, she pursued philanthropy with passion. She was central to the creation of Veterans Memorial Civic Center in downtown Lima, with its main performance hall named in her honor.

• William K. Davenport was Lima’s first Black police chief. He was born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Lima’s Central High School. He joined the police department in 1942 and rose to the chief position in 1968, leading through the Civil Rights era. He died in 1999. The police station in downtown Lima is named the Chief William K. Davenport Hall of Justice in his honor.

• Henry H. Deisel was a cigarmaker in business with Henry G. Wemmer. Both were German. Deisel was also president of German American Bank. Deisel served as choir director for a decade at First Evangelical and Reform Church, worshipping and singing in German, and he and Wemmer both stood against anti-German sentiment that rose. They personally marched in a parade held to fundraise for World War I efforts. Deisel’s home — which was in the MacDonell family since 1920 and was purchased by the Nelsons in 2005 — still stands today at South Cole and West Elm streets.

• Martha Farmer was born in Toledo in 1926. After she married Robert “Bob” Farmer, she worked at Lima Lumber and continued working on her doctorate at Bowling Green State University. She was a professor of theater at the Ohio State University at Lima from 1970 to 1985, a department that she established. She funded theater scholarships — for students and professors — at the school. The theater space in Reed Hall is named the Martha W. Farmer Theatre for the Performing Arts. Farmer supported the city’s arts organizations, including the Lima Symphony Orchestra and ArtSpace/Lima. She died in 2011 at age 84.

• Benjamin Carl Faurot was born in 1829 in New York state. His father moved the family to the Kenton area when Faurot was a child. He moved to Lima and worked for a railroad and later ran a livery stable. It’s said he did well financially with that stable, supplying stock for the Army during the Civil War. He began Lima Paper Mills, electrified the streetcar system, worked to bring the repair shops to what became the Nickel Plate Road, started Lima’s National Bank, built a block that housed the Faurot Opera House — and drilled for natural gas at the paper mill and struck oil in 1885. Lima would never be the same. Railroad speculation in his later years was his downfall, and he died a pauper in 1904. On July 4, 1907, Lima named the city park Faurot Park in his honor.

• John E. Galvin was co-founder of the Ohio Steel Foundry and the driving force behind other Lima industries in the first half of the 20th century. He gave the city the land for Robb Park. He gave $250,000 toward buying land for The Ohio State University at Lima, and the college named Galvin Hall in his honor in 1966.

• Monsignor Edward C. Herr was born in 1911 in Huron. He was assigned to Delphos St. John’s in 1938, where he would serve for principal/athletic director for 14 years. He oversaw the consolidation of Lima’s three Catholic high schools and ushered in Lima Central Catholic. A benefit was held in 1986 at Veterans Memorial Civic Center, partly to celebrate his 75th birthday and 50th anniversary of his ordination, and money was raised for the Father Herr Scholarship Fund to help disadvantaged youth get an education at LCC. He died in 1986.

• Thomas K. Jacobs was born in 1812 in Pennsylvania and learned the tailor’s trade. He came to the Richland County, Ohio, area and then to Lima to engage in land speculation and farm. He served 10 years as county treasurer and was elected to the state legislature, after which he returned to Lima. He died in 1884. History says he often cared for widows and orphans and at times provided a home for them, helped cover funeral expenses for others and once even covered costs for a failed bank.

• George W. Jameson was born in Wayne County in 1838 and came to Lima in 1867 as a young newlywed to open a law office. He built a fine house on West Market Street and Jameson Avenue that would be known as the Baxter house — for its next resident — in 1876. He started a tradition of opening that property for various civic causes. The east edge of the property was Charles Street, named for his only child. He platted the western sections of Lima and joined with Benjamin C. Faurot to form the first streetcar line.

• Vince Koza had a career on TV and radio for 40 years, covering sports in the region, and became a beloved local legend who often served as emcee and helped with fundraisers for various organizations. He died in 2020 after a three-month battle with cancer.

• Mike Lackey is a Dayton native and Earlham College graduate who worked for The Lima News for 36 years before retiring in 2008. He was a longtime reporter, editor and columnist. He won or shared 10 writing awards from the Associated Press. His “Looking for Limas” series involved driving with photographer Craig J. Orosz some 16,000 miles to visit every Lima in the United States. Lackey lives in Lima.

• Alexander D. “Sandy” MacDonell Jr. and Martha “Martie” MacDonell were quite the power couple. Sandy’s father, A.D. MacDonell Sr., was co-owner of the Metropolitan Bank, and he became president. Sandy was raised to value community service. His quiet demeanor meant people listened when he spoke. He pitched in toward Veterans Memorial Civic Center, the Salvation Army, St. Rita’s Medical Center, the Rotary Club, Shawnee Country Club and the YMCA, among other civic projects. Martie grew up in Youngstown. She met Lima native Sandy at Denison University and made Lima their home. She was involved in several arts groups in Lima, the Council for the Arts of Greater Lima, American House and Common Threads, and she was known for pushing Lima into conversations spurred by art.

• Malcolm McCoy was born in Columbus and pursued an education career. He earned a bachelor of science in education from Central State in 1960 and in 1970 a master of arts degree. He taught in Columbus for several years and came to Lima in 1974. He was principal at Garfield school and served on boards of several social services groups as well as the United Way.

• Dr. Earl A. McGovern was born in Cleveland in 1928. He was superintendent of Lima schools from 1965 to 1985 and again in 2000. He served on many boards, including the Lima Public Library and Lima Memorial Health System. He steered the district through racial tensions and desegregation. He helped bring a generation of Black teachers into the district. He died in 2009 at age 80. His mantra was “Go forth and gladly teach.” His dog, Betsy, was part of an urban legend that determined the fate of schoolchildren on snowy days — but he denied it.

• John Porter Mitchell opened Lima’s first tavern on the Public Square in 1832. When he brought his family here they moved into the half-finished cabin abandoned by John Mark, who had gone east to gather his family, while he built a cabin of his own — which also housed the tavern. Much of the land buying business was done there, and he gained a reputation as a reliable man. Later, he operated one of the first hotels. His son was Thornton Taylor Mitchell, who bought out the Baxter banking interests and formed City Bank.

• Walter C. Potts was born in West Virginia and came to Lima in 1931 with his mother after his father died. He was a South High School graduate and after that he enrolled in the Tuskegee Institute for electrical engineering, furthering his education there while in the Navy. In 1950, he started an electrical business and took night classes at Ohio Northern University, earning an electrical engineering degree in 1966. He was a project engineer at the refinery. He served the Bradfield Center, Allen Metropolitan Housing Authority Board and the Lima Civil Service Board. He died in 2015. His name now graces the Walter C. Potts Entrepreneur and Technology Business Incubator of Northwest Ohio.

• Alberta Shurelds was born in 1932 in Belzoni, Mississippi. Her stepfather took a job at Lima’s Ohio Steel and brought the family out of the Jim Crow South. She studied education at Mississippi Valley State University and taught in that area before returning to Lima and teaching. She and her sister Annie Mae Banks (who led the Mizpah Child Care Center) were among the early teachers in the Head Start program when it was started in 1965 in Lima. Shurelds was active in the NAACP, the minority caucus of the Democratic Party, her church and served on boards of various groups. Shurelds died in 2011, and Banks died in 2015.

• Harrison “Harry” Shutt has led Kewpee restaurants, a Lima institution, since 1979. The hamburger chain began in 1918 in Flint, Michigan, and Hoyt F. “Stub” and Julia M. “June” Wilson built the first Kewpee in Lima in 1928. It was little more than a stand. The downtown location was built in 1939, fondly remembered for having a turntable in the parking lot to allow cars to come and go with carhop service. Kewpee West opened in 1960, and Kewpee East opened in 1981. Stub Wilson died in 1970, and Shutt began managing the chain with an eye to growth while preserving the simple menu Lima has come to love. When a fish sandwich was added to the menu, it made the news. Son Scott Shutt is now involved in managing the business. Harry and Myrna Shutt have underwritten Ohio Northern University’s Holiday Spectacular for more than 20 years.

• Elizabeth “Liesl” Sondheimer fled Nazi Germany with her husband, Dr. Martin Sondheimer, and their children in 1938. They came to Lima soon after and became American citizens in 1943. They began decades of service to the community. When her husband died in 1982, Liesl felt compelled to tell her Holocaust story and began speaking to civic organizations and school groups. When she died in 2009 at age 101, her funeral was held at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.

• Dr. David L. Steiner practiced medicine with his uncles Frank and Oliver. David Steiner was a family physician, retiring in 1980. He was involved in Lima Memorial Hospital and the Northwest Ohio Medical Society as well as serving on boards for the First Federal Savings and Loan Association, the Lima Visiting Nurses Association and the Lima Convalescent Home. He also served on the fair board and was known for breeding and racing Standardbred horses. He was the last physician to have practiced in the old Lima City Hospital, according to his 1996 obituary.

• Easter Straker was a local broadcast personality remembered for her “Birthday Chair,” a rite of passage for many area children. She began her career in 1948 on WIMA radio and later television. Easter’s Parade was sponsored by Gregg’s and Pangles. She often pitched in to help with community fundraisers for many types of social services. She was joined by sidekick Clif “One F” Willis. The Lima native died in 1992.

• Furl P. Williams was a Paulding native. He was employed at the Ohio Steel Foundry and president of Local 975 UAW-CIO for several years. The city councilman served in multiple boards around the area, from social services groups to Allen County Democrats to Philippian Missionary Baptist Church. His name is now associated with an apartment complex and a reservoir.

William Davenport, photographed in 1968.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_william-davenport-1968.jpgWilliam Davenport, photographed in 1968. The Lima News archives
Dr. J.C. Bradfield
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_dr-bradfield.jpgDr. J.C. Bradfield The Lima News archives
T.K. Jacobs Sr.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_T-K-Jacobs-Sr.jpgT.K. Jacobs Sr. Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society
Henry Wemmer
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_Wemmer-Henry.jpgHenry Wemmer Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society
S.A. Baxter Jr.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_BaxterS.A.-Jr..jpgS.A. Baxter Jr. Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society
Dr. J.C. Bradfield
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_Bradfield-Jos.abt1930s.jpgDr. J.C. Bradfield Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society
William Davenport, photographed in 1975.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_Davenport-Wm-K-1975.jpgWilliam Davenport, photographed in 1975. Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society
Henry Deisel
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_Deisel-Henry.jpgHenry Deisel Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society
Easter Straker, photographed talking with Eleanor Roosevelt.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_Easter-Straker-Eleanor.jpgEaster Straker, photographed talking with Eleanor Roosevelt. Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society
Easter Straker
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_Easter-Straker-WIMA.jpgEaster Straker Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society
Benjamin C. Faurot
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_FaurotBen.jpgBenjamin C. Faurot Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society
John Galvin
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_Galvin-John.jpgJohn Galvin Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society
George W. Jameson, photographed in his Ada law office.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_Jameson-in-Ada-law-office.jpgGeorge W. Jameson, photographed in his Ada law office. Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society
The Baxter house.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_S.-A.-Baxter2-hse.jpgThe Baxter house. Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society
Alberta Shurelds
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/09/web1_ShureldsAlberta.jpgAlberta Shurelds Courtesy of Allen County Historical Society

From The Lima News Archives

ONLY ON LIMAOHIO.COM

Read more about the 200th anniversary of Allen County at LimaOhio.com/tag/200.

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