Council traces history, looks ahead
By DON ALLISON, Bryan Times Senior Editor
The Stryker Area Heritage Council hosted its annual membership meeting Tuesday, November 13, 2012, taking a look back at the group’s accomplishments this year, and electing trustees to help lead the group in 2013.
Too, the passion of genealogy was shared by keynote speaker Pam Lash, president of the Williams County Genealogical Society.
Lash, shown in the photo on the left, noted that she became hooked on genealogy as a young girl, when her grandmother gave her a box full on family keepsakes.
She noted that “Genealogy is you,” and can explain a person’s physical makeup, medical history, and even morals.
“Genealogy begins as an interest, then becomes a hobby, then an avocation, then an obsession, and in its later stages, a disease,” she said, smiling.
“Your family history always starts with you,” she said. “You start with yourself, and work backwards.”
Those interested in researching their family tree should gather everything they already have, and then ask relatives what they have to share. Libraries, records centers and online research are the next steps, she said. And, she said, “join a genealogical society.”
Lash noted the Williams County Genealogical Society can offer guidance, and has a wealth of publications and other information to help with the search.
For local research, she recommends “the trifecta” of the county recorders office, the county records center, “and of course, the Williams County Public Library’s wonderful genealogical and history center.”
The Williams County Genealogical Society can be reached at PO Box 293, Bryan, or online at www.wcgs-ogs.com.
At the opening of the meeting, Stryker Mayor Dan Hughes offered a welcome to the group. “The Stryker Area Heritage Council is very important to the community,” he said, noting that Stryker has a rich history. “It’s groups like this that will keep that history alive,” the mayor said.
Heritage Council President Terry Perkins reviewed highlights of the year, including a Feb. 18 presentation by Sterling King on the Toledo and Indiana electric railway, conducted in conjunction with the Stryker American Legion breakfast,
“There was a very large turnout for this event,” Perkins noted. “We had DVDs for sale of Mr. King talking about the T&I and showing many pictures of the railroad system and buildings.”
Perkins also reviewed the Heritage Council’s April 14 William Knight celebration day at the Legion Hall and Heritage Center.
The day commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s Great Locomotive Chase, in which a group of Union soldiers, among them Williams J. Knight of Stryker, traveled behind Confederate lines and commandeered a southern locomotive.
“Several Knight family members were in attendance, from Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina and Fort Wayne, Ind.,” Perkins said. “Many Knight artifacts were on display at the Legion Hall and the depot, including items that some of the family members donated to the SAHC for ongoing display.” Reenactors of the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, the unit in which Knight served, also took part in the day’s events.
On April 21 the SAHC hosted the Region 1 meeting of the Ohio Local History Alliance, with attendees from across Northwest Ohio. And in June, Perkins noted, the Heritage Council again was in charge of the parade for the Stryker Summerfest and opened the Stryker Area Heritage Center museum at the railroad depot for visitors.
The depot was opened various times for special requests from families and for the Stryker High School Class of 1958 after their reunion dinner, Perkins said. “We plan on having the depot open on both Saturday Nov. 17 and Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” he said.
Other highlights of the year included:
• Sale of a wooden replica of the railroad depot.
• Providing donated Stryker High School yearbooks to the Stryker Branch Library, with just a few annuals still needed to complete their collection, along with purchasing the 2011 and 2012 annuals for the library. In addition, 31 yearbooks were donated to the Williams County Public Library Local History Centers.
• Donating pictures of William Knight, James Bradley and Aquilla Coonrod, Stryker military heroes, to the Stryker American Legion.
• Providing photographs and historical information for the Stryker village website.
• Continuing to receive donation and loans of Stryker-related items for display at the depot, and continuing to scan photos for display and to maintain as a permanent record.
• Began re-publication of the quarterly Bean Creek Chronicle.
Three trustees were elected for three-year terms. Shown in the photo above, they are from left to right: Don Allison, Sue Buehrer, and Fred Grisier.
The Stryker Area Heritage Council continues to meet monthly on the second Thursday at the depot, beginning at 7 p.m., and members are welcome to attend.
The story and photos are from the Bryan Times and used with their permission