Chicago, Ft. Wayne, Fostoria, Findlay, Cleveland, Buffalo, New York, Boston and all points East and West reached most quickly and comfortably via the Nickel Plate Road… That is part of an advertisement in the 5 May 1904 edition of the Willshire Herald.
Traveling by rail was a big thing in 1904. It was the best and fastest way to travel any distance back then.
The ad goes on—Three Express Trains every day in the year. Thru Pullman Sleeping Cars to Chicago, New York and Boston. Comfortable high back seat coaches and modern Dining Cars serving meals on Individual Club Plan ranging in prices from 35 cents to $1.00. Also a la Carte service.
Colored Porters in uniform to look to the comfort of first and second class passengers and keep cars scrupulously clean.
Direct Connections with Fast Trains at Chicago and Buffalo.
All Agents Sell Tickets via this Popular Route, Write to C.A. Asterlin, Trav. Pass. Agent, Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Willshire had a Nickel Plate train depot and the train would also stop at Schumm as needed. I figure the Willshire depot was located somewhere near where the grain elevator is today, on one side or the other of route 33 going to Decatur. Maybe someone reading this knows for sure.
Below is a photo of Willshire’s Nickel Plate depot, date unknown:
I found an interesting postcard among some old family papers, a postcard dated 5 September 1907 and addressed to my great-grandfather Jacob Miller, RFD #1, Willshire, Ohio. It was sent from Fort Wayne and it appears that Jacob was to pick up someone at the Willshire depot. Written on the postcard:
Dear Friends, Mamma and papa are coming Saturday. Please get them at Willshire. I don’t know just exactly what time between 2 and 3 o’clock. Come along with them or else come back with me when I come. Emma Keller
I do not know who Emma Keller was or what she meant regarding the details of the meeting. Although it does not specifically mention the train depot, I would imagine that a train was their mode of transportation from Fort Wayne to Willshire. Also the fact that they needed someone to “get them.”
There were quite a few railroad ads in that May 1904 Willshire Herald.
An ad for the Toledo St. Louis & Western “Clover Leaf” Railroad Company:
The Clover Leaf had Special Low Excursion Rates in 1904:
The Erie Lines, Chicago & Erie Railroad:
Cincinnati Northern Railroad Co:
1914 Railroad map, part of Van Wert & Mercer Counties:
Also from this newspaper:
It Is the Right Stand
President Shonts, of the Clover Leaf, has issued strict orders to employees that they must pay their debts. When an employee’s wages are garnished it means dismissal.
What fun it would have been to take a rail excursion! It would be fun to take a train to Chicago, something that is doable to this day.
Now I just need to figure out who the Kellers were…