From The Sunbury News, March 24, 2016:

Because You Asked . . . .

Sunbury of 1846

By Polly Horn, Curator of the Myers Inn Museum

Letter to the Editor by Amos Shangle, published in Sunbury’s Delaware County News Item in 1906. 

The article was written as one paragraph. There are errors due to memory but it is neat to look

at a town through a teenager's eyes.

EDITOR NEWS ITEM: By the favor of a lady friend I have the pleasure of reading a paper published at Sunbury Ohio. I became acquainted with that village and its people sixty years ago. It could boast at that of about thirty residences an about on hundred and fifty citizens. In scanning the pages of your paper I find but few names that were familiar to me at that early day. The buildings at that time, mostly small one story structures were unevenly scattered around a public square public square about two acres in extent, the crowning glory was a large elm tree growing near the middle of the south side. The square had never been fenced, and the traveled highway crossed it diagonally in two directions, the business enterprise of the town consisted of a blacksmith shop, a shoe shop, a tannery, two asheries, two store and three hotels. The business men were Stephen R. Bennet, capitlist, John C. Winans, merchant, Josiah Ives, shoemaker, E

–Elias Kimball and Henry B. Myers merchants, Elisha Doty, tanner, Ben Peck, Sam B. Peck and Gustavus A. Hopkins ashers, Charles C. Carpenter and Norman Patrick hotel keepers, the latter was the patriarch of the village-his hostelry stood on the east corner of the north side. It was a familiar sight to see the gray haired veteran sitting in the shade of his house on a summer afternoon, his faithful old brown watch dog "Gud", sleeping at his feet, and gazing down across he barren waste called the square; pondering doubtless upon the future prosperity of the place; a condition that he, poor man was destined to never witness.

There were two churches in the place, the M.E. on the hill north of town, and the Baptist east of the square, the basement of which was used for school purposes, two rooms were occupied and two teachers employed. During the winter of 1846-7 the higher grades were taught by Mr. Frank Hilltar. He was duly sensible of the importance of his high calling. He was short in stature, head small and round, with an abundant crop of course black hair standing straight up every hair of which proclaimed undying hostility to mankind in general and unruly schoolboys in particular. His nose which was sharp and long started straight from between his eyes with a seeming determination to keep on forever in that direction but at the very point changed its mind and took an abrupt and sudden turn to the left, this eccentricity of his nasal organ proclaimed him a philosopher. He wore a tall silk hat and a dress coat the tails of which extended to his calves, this, with a certain independence of carriage which he affected told as plain as day that he was a bachelor.

Well, the school was large that winter, and the boys and girls were large, most of them larger than the teacher. He, not withstanding his belligerent appearance, proved to good natured, benevolent, kindhearted and sweet, and the scholars were happy and the school prospered. This cheerful condition would doubtless continued to the end, but for an untoward circumstance which occurred at the middle of the term. I have ever entertained a healthy remembrance of this little episode, and begging your pardon, I will tell it.

One fine morning the school was electrified by the appearance of one of the Directors, Hosea Chamberlain, I think it was. Now Mr. Chamberlain was a gentleman of fine address and courtly bearing; of course the pupils were somewhat overawed by his presence and put on their best Sunday-go-to-meeting behavior, true, there might have been a little exuberance of feeling manifested on the sly, but nothing occurred worthy of notice. Well the director took a seat and gazed over the room for a space of half an hour or so, and then rose to go, he was wearing "a smile that was childlike and bland" and we were congratulating ourselves upon the good impression we had made upon the visitor, when some evil genius put it into the head of the teacher to invite him to address the school, which he did. He began in a desultory manner - he was pleased with the general appearance of the school; thought the pupils seemed eager in the pursuit of knowledge; felt sure they were progressing in the direction they were tending; felt diffident about offering advice, but if permitted to make a single suggestion in that line it would be to advise immediate and vigorous application of the "birch". And then with politeness of a French Dancing Master he bowed himself out.

The girls pretended to feel good; not that their behavior had been more exemplary than that of the boys. They took refuge behind the impregnable breastworks of sex, so said Charley Patrick the Wag of the school. With the boys it was different, they were surprised and disconcerted, for myself I felt sure there was mischief hidden under his suave exterior. In fact I thought I could detect a merry devil, dancing a jig in the eyes of the speaker that boded evil. With the remark that the teacher accepted the advice, I draw the curtain. A. L. SHANGLE. Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Born in New Jersey in 1831Amos Shangle would have been 14-15 in 1846-7. He was probably sent to Sunbury School to finish his high school education. As a 19 year old Amos lived in Liberty, Knox Co., Ohio, where his father William was a farmer He had two sisters Sarah and Eliza and two brothers William and John. In 1856 the family lived on a farm in Iowa. Four year later Amos and his wife Mary owned a farm in Oskaloosa, Iowa, where they raised their family, and eventually retired. Mr. Chamberlain married two of William Myers daughters which we discussed last week.

                                      . . . . And Now You Know



. . . . And Now You Know

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