Window to the Past

Black History in Delphos and Area


Colored Woman Forgot to Take Baby With Her

Tuesday night, two colored women got off the midnight interurban car and after asking some directions went to the home of a colored family by the name of Gains in South Delphos, where they made arrangements to spend the night. Parties who saw the women are of the belief that they were mother and daughter. They got up early Wednesday morning and took the 6:21 car east. They left a small baby, only a few days old, in the room they occupied at the Gaines home, and promised to return for the child Sunday. They left a five dollar bill to pay for the care of the child. The attention of the police has been called to the matter.

Parties who saw the women get off the car Tuesday night declare that they did not have a baby with them, and if they did, it was carried in a grip.

Delphos Herald, Aug. 14, 1918

Scared To Death

Alfred Thompson, an aged negro, a resident of South Delphos on Skinner street, died at 12 o’clock Saturday night, the result of spasms caused by intense fright, the result of a plunge into the cold water of the canal.

With David Way, John Simmons, Peter Thompson and John Davis, Thompson entered a flat bottom boat in the canal from the east bank, south of the Weger Hoop Factory, Friday evening to cross to the other side. The boat being overloaded, started to sink. Some of the men jumped, endeavoring to reach shallow water, and all of the others, save Thompson scrambled out as quickly as possible. Thompson was so badly frightened that he was unable to move, and went down with the boat, with almost his entire body submerged. Another boat was nearby, which was shoved out to Thompson and he grasped it and waded to the shore, after having been in the water for four or five minutes.

He seemed completed dazed and acted like a man in a trance. He walked to his home and instead of going into the house and getting on some dry clothes, he went to the woodpile and commenced chopping wood. Friday night he was taken ill about 12 o’clock with spasms, which continued all day Saturday and at 12 that night he died. The spasms were brought on by the fright he received and the sudden shock into the icy water, hence he was virtually scared to death.

As to his age, it cannot be exactly stated, but it is known that he was a slave in the South prior to the Civil War, but there is not much known of his past history. Thompson never talked much about himself and while he had the appearance of being about 50 years old, he was probably nearer 70. He had lived in South Delphos for some 20 years and eked out a livelihood as a hod carrier or at any other kind of work he could do. He was a strong man, even in his advanced years.

He was twice married and leaves a daughter, Mrs. John Davis of South Delphos, from his first marriage. His second wife survives him. The funeral was held this afternoon at 2 o’clock, the remains being interred in the West Side Cemetery.

Delphos Herald, Dec. 14, 1901

At Least Three Ex-Slaves Buried Here

Alfred Thompson buried West Side, Dec. 14, 1901.

John Stephens buried Feb. 18, 1901, West Side Cemetery.

Danial Johnson died Feb. 4, 1877, St. John’s Cemetery.


Alfred Thompson

At one time there was a one-horse power cane press, located at the home of "Mr. and Mrs. Covington," near the Minzing Tile Mill on South Bredeick street. They were nice negroes and with them lived another, a Mr. Alfred Thompson, nicknamed Pompy.

Delphos Herald, Apr. 9, 1940

Fillden Pompey

A dispatch from Ottawa announces the death of Fillden Pompey, a colored man, at the age of 114 years. He was born in Virginia and had lived in Ohio 60 years. He had never been sick a day in his life and his eyesight and hearing remained good up to the time of his death. Pompey had been married three times and was the father of 11 children. His first child was born in 1824. His third wife, age 60, survives him.

Delphos Herald, May 6, 1901

African Methodist Episcopal Church Organized

The African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in Delphos by John T. Brown, and wife, Alfred Thompson, J.W. Clark, Simon Pleasant, P.O. Banks and Mrs. Jane Ringer. The church was located on Moening street between 5th and 6th street.

Delphos Herald, Apr. 29, 1879

Mrs. Amelia Pleasant Dead

Mrs. Amelia Pleasant, an aged and well-known colored lady, of Clime street in South Delphos, passed away Tuesday morning at her home after an illness from stomach and liver trouble.

The deceased’s maiden name was Amelia Dickerson, and she was born near Dayton, in December, 1844.

She was united in marriage to Simon Pleasant in Ross County, near Chillicothe. Eight children were  born to them, five of whom preceded her in death. Two daughters and one son survive. They are Mrs. Maria Young of Paulding, Mrs. B. Brancain and Wm. Pleasant of Ft. Wayne.

Many years ago Mrs. Pleasant went to Paulding to reside, and from there to Ft. Wayne and about eighteen years ago, she came to Delphos. During her residence here she was very industrious and well-known and respected.

Delphos Herald, Jan. 13, 1914

John T. Brown Resigns

John T. Brown, who for the past twenty-two years has hauled the mail between the railroad station and the Delphos post office, has tendered his resignation to take effect on Feb. 4. Mr. Brown has been in failing health for some time and was forced to give up his work. He is quite ill at his home on East Jackson street. Roy Brown, a son, has been attending to the work for the past week, but has gone to Youngstown to take a position there.

The work consists of transporting the mail from the Pennsylvania, Clover Leaf and C.H. & D. railroad stations to the post office. The mail from the L.E. & W. station is looked after by that railroad company.

Delphos Herald, Jan. 6, 1914

De Cake Walk

The crowd in attendance at the cake walk at City Hall Friday night got their money’s worth. There were prize walkers present from Lima and Van Wert, and Jim Ringer, the local gladiator, was in his element. Jim is no shovel when it comes to a hoe-down or fancy cake walking, and won the second prize Friday night, assisted by Susie Findlay of Van Wert. Clarence Thomas of Lima and Kate Johnson of Van Wert got first decision. The main prize of $5 was divided between the two couples and Charley Underwood retained the cake. A dance terminated the affair.

Delphos Herald, Feb. 16, 1901

In Training For A Prize Fight

Jim Ringer, the husky colored cab driver for the Bismark Hotel, is in training for a prize fight with a Frankfort pugilist, "Shine" Elliott, at that place on May 2nd.

Delphos Herald, Apr. 23, 1901

John Clark

John Clark, the veteran colored drayman, who lives on South Washington street, fell from his dray, Friday  and injured one of his limbs quite severely.

Delphos Herald, Aug. 17, 1901

Drew the Color Line

Jerry Delaney, a Van Wert man, has filed suit for $300 damages, against A.L. Klopfenstein, proprietor of a billiard hall. Delaney alleges that Klopfenstein refused him the privileges of the place on account of his color.

Delphos Herald, Apr. 5, 1901

The Fifteenth Amendment

The colored people of Delphos, with representatives from Van Wert, Paulding, Lima and Wapakoneta, honored the Fifteenth Amendment, at Commercial Hall, Tuesday, with a grand dance.

Delphos Herald, Apr. 16, 1874

From the Delphos Herald, March 31, 1992

James Cross, a lifelong Delphos resident, got his start in bricklaying when he was about 19 years old. He said he was taught how to be a bricklayer by William Pepsico. "He was a real nice colored guy," Cross said. This man, Cross said, "taught me the proper way to lay bricks."

Son of Former Slaves, Born Near Van Wert

Arthur Lang, who may have been the oldest person in the United States has died. The former boxer and businessman was believed to be 115 years old.

Lang’s birthdate was not authenticated, but his family said he was born May 4, 1877, on a farm near Van Wert, Ohio. If so  he would have been several months older than the oldest living person whose birthdate can be authenticated.

Lang was born to former slaves and came to Chicago in 1910. In 1935, he started Lang’s Bar-B-Que restaurant beneath  his South Side home. He worked until he was nearly 100 and his daughter and son-in-law, Modella and Andrew Cotton, then operated the restaurant until it closed two years ago.

Delphos Herald, Aug. 12, 1992

A Van Wert County Ex-Slave

Among the early settlers, a  young colored man, William White, came to Willshire, Van Wert County. He had been a slave and because of his wonderful physical development, his master decided to have him train as a prize fighter so as to make money on him in the prize ring. He entered upon it with his usual energy and soon became a scientific boxer, so quick of eye and motion that soon his best trainer could not stand up before him. His master found an antagonist who was considered the champion of the South.

They entered the ring with the betting largely in favor of White’s antagonist, but the contest was short. White, with his wonderful strength and quickness, forced his right hand past his adversary’s guard and hitting him on the shoulder, broke it so completely that he had to be carried from the ring. White then told his master that he would never fight another prize fight, that he might send him South to the cotton fields, or do anything else with him, but match him in the ring. His master soon gave him his freedom and he came to Willshire. White, as a young man, used to come to Van Wert to see Nancy Young, who afterward became his wife. He was over six feet tall and weighed about 250 pounds, and not a pound of needless flesh.

At one time, White had hauled five barrels of coal oil from Van Wert to (Casto and Eyler) and drove into the alley back of the ware-room, there were posts set so he could not drive nearer then ten or twelve feet of the ware-room. Eyler was getting a plank to roll them, when White said, "You do not need that," taking out the end gate, he took the first barrel, walked with it to the ware-room, set it down and turning around said, "Roll out the next." This continued until the five were safely deposited in the ware-room, apparently without any effort.

He would not use a common axe but had one made to order weighing six pounds, and would swing it all day with apparent ease. He would put up his six cords of wood with as much ease as other choppers would two or three.

At one time, he and some of his neighbors had gone to the Grand Reservoir to enjoy some fishing. A party from Auglaize County was there, and hearing White’s name, called one of them saying, "Are you the White they say is best man in Van Wert County?" "Oh, no" said White, "There are plenty of better men in the county." "Well," said the man, "I have whipped the best man in Allen County, Auglaize County and Mercer County and now I am going to whip you and I will be the champion of four counties." White told him he would not fight him. The man said, "Take off your coat; you will have to fight." White only laughed and replied that he guessed not. The man said, "Prepare yourself," and struck at White, who dodged and caught the man’s arm and threw him about 15 feet into the reservoir. His friends had to jump in and help him out and the man carried his head to one side for several weeks, the jar had so nearly dislocated it.

At one time during the War of the Rebellion, White came to town and two toughs that were the terror of the community determined that they were going to fight him. White could have picked  them up and cracked their heads together but instead stayed in Swineford’s grocery until they were tired of watching for him. Some of the citizens urged him to go on the street and if attacked to give them a good thrashing, but he said it would not be right as that would be inviting the trouble and while they deserved a thrashing, if he avoided it, it was better.

He lived to a good age and was never known to do an act that could not be endorsed by his neighbors. He was a good neighbor and respected by everyone.

From History of Van Wert County by Gilliland

Ft. Jennings Loses to Colored Giants

A three-run rally in the ninth inning gave the Fort Wayne Colored Giants a victory over Fort Jennings Sunday afternoon. The game was played at Ft. Jennings. Going into the last inning, the Fort Jennings team was leading 6 to 5, but three singles and a triple were good for three runs and the ball game.

L. Mack pitched for Fort Jennings and was nicked for 17 hits, but aided by spectacular fielding, breezed along nicely until the last inning. Boggs, the Giants pitcher released but nine hits.

The Giants proved to be the best team  to play at Fort Jennings this year. MacIntyre, who last year played in the National Colored League, was the star of the game, getting five hits in five trips to the plate, including a double and a homerun.

Players for the Fort Jennings team were Felkey, Meekings, Westrich, Schuerman, Swick, Reynolds, Miehls, Geckle and L.  Mack.

Delphos Herald, July 16, 1935

Her Engagement

The bride, upon her engagement, went to her mother and said, "I’ve found a man just like father!"  Her mother replied, "So what do you want from me, sympathy?"

From the Internet

Compiled by Robert Holdgreve
Delphos Historical Society

February 16, 2008 Delphos Herald Newspaper

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