Stories of settlers shared PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 09:34
Carlos Calderon portrays his grandfather, Francisco Chavez Hernandez, during the tenth annual Wood County Living History Day at the Oak Grove Cemetery. (Photos: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
Oak Grove Cemetery came alive Sunday as local residents of yesteryear were recalled and remembered during the 10th-annual Wood County Living History Day.
The event was presented by the Wood County Historical Society.
"I'm interested in cemeteries and family history," said Paula Miklovic, Maumee, who attended the event with two friends from Perrysburg.
The first honoree was Francisco Chavez Hernandez, who was born in 1905 and was buried in 1968 in the Jerry City Cemetery. He was portrayed by his grandson, Carlos Calderon. 
Originally from Mexico, Hernandez worked as a baker at the age of 12 and immigrated to the United States at 16. He first settled in San Antonio, Texas, then in Michigan, before coming to Jerry City in 1948. From 1952 to 1953, he worked as a cook at the Wood County Infirmary - now the site of the Wood County Historical Center and Museum on County Home Road.
During his portrayal, Calderon noted that Hernandez had 11 children, and delighted in family baseball games. He also recounted a story in which his grandfather gave a loaf of bread to a man who promised to pay him back.
"I can always make more bread," he said. "You just make sure you take care of that family of yours. Because family is the most important thing."
Actors wait for their turn to portray a historical person.
Hernandez's daughter, Victoria Melendrez, Jerry City, noted before the event that her father sought to make a life for his family in America, and succeeded, and pointed to the importance of the event for "the history of your family that you didn't know before."
Dale David portrayed Dr. Adam Eddmon, a Tontogany mayor, druggist and physician, who is perhaps best known for a scandal involving a woman murdered in 1895.
Eddmon himself was born in the United States to German immigrants, but returned with his family to Europe at a young age and was educated in Germany. After sojourns in South America, San Francisco and Chicago, he came to Tontogany in 1879.
"Most people associate me with something I did not do - the murder of Olive Penney," said David in his portrayal of Eddmon.
Penney's body was found - dead from a gunshot and on fire due to the proximity of the gun's muzzle flash - a short distance from Eddmon's home. Originally Penney's husband was arrested for the crime, but later Eddmon and his wife were charged with murder, the theory of the crime being that Eddmon was having an affair with Penney.
Reynaldo Cortez holds up family photos as he portrays his father Gaudalupe Cortez.
He was later acquitted, and the charges against his wife were dropped before ever going to trial.
"You know how rumors never die, especially in a small town," said David as Eddmon, later saying "Who killed Olive Penney? Well, that mystery is also never solved, forever buried."
Ironically, he said, Eddmon and his wife are buried in Tontogany Cemetery just 50 feet from Penney.
Kraig Hanneman portrayed his great-grandfather, J.F. Deck, who founded Deck Funeral Home, while Hanneman's wife, Kay, portrayed Deck's daughter, Hildreth, who was instrumental in the business.
Deck, originally a furniture maker who later turned to evangelism, was born in 1861 and did not take up the trade of embalming until 1911, when he was 50 years old, after attending the Cincinnati College of Embalming. He moved his family to Bowling Green and established the business in 1912, with his daughter taking an early and active interest in the work.
She later attended embalming school in Columbus with her then-husband, graduating in 1923, and became among the first women to be a licensed embalmer and funeral director.
Dale David portrays Dr. Adam Eddmon during the tenth annual Wood County Living History Day at the Oak Grove Cemetery.
They later started the Deck Ambulance Service, which lasted until 1967. The funeral home, now called Deck-Hanneman, operates on West Wooster Street.
Other portrayals included:
• Guadalupe Cortez Sr. (1926-2010), who worked at the Smith Foundry in North Baltimore for 50 years. He is buried in Maplewood Cemetery. He was portrayed by his son, Reynaldo Cortez.
• Samuel DeWese (1793-1876), a War of 1812 veteran who served under Gen. William Henry Harrison. He is buried in Weston Cemetery and was portrayed by Dan Billings.
• Peggy Hurst, Ph.D. (1925-1998), a chemistry professor at BGSU who was the subject of a number of erroneous student rumors, including one stating that she invented Teflon. She is buried in Abington Friends Cemetery, Abington, Penn. She was portrayed by Dana Nemeth.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 09:35

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