Moreland Historical Society to celebrate bicentennial

Moreland Historical Society to celebrate bicentennial
Dave Mast

The inside of the Gilmor cabin has been rebuilt to show its original homestead appeal, with the stone fireplace and a darker, richer wood stain to help bring out the beauty of the cabin’s interior.


In 2020 the members of the Moreland Community Historical Society were eager to present the Franklin Township Bicentennial, to tell the story of the significant work they had done over the past many years and to showcase the new structures they had recently been working on, those being the 1882 Church of God, the 1816 Hughes/Gilmor log cabin and the 1897 Franklin Township House Museum.

Then came the pandemic, and those plans were wiped away.

Fast-forward to 2022 and the MCHS members are once again anticipating a major celebration, that being the Franklin Township Bicentennial, plus two.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for us to gather together and celebrate our bicentennial with friends and family and take a look back at our history,” MCHS member Dave Bricker said. “We would have preferred to be able to celebrate this on the bicentennial, but the pandemic pushed it back, and here we are. It’s still going to be a terrific celebration.”

One positive of the delay was the MCHS was able to complete the church building and most of the log cabin. The museum was already mostly finished in 2020.

This will allow the society to showcase all its hard work.

“We have been blessed by a community that has supported our efforts,” Bricker said. “We would not be where we are without the kind of support and encouragement we have received, which is why it is so important to celebrate all we’ve been able to accomplish as an organization with those around us.”

The event will include an evening meal the night before that is invitation only, but the Saturday, Aug. 13 festivities will include plenty of food options, highlighted by Buckeye Deli’s smoker, which will include a full meal of pulled pork and sides from Buckeye Deli catering. In addition, there will be popcorn, homemade ice cream and other food available.

The day also will include tours of all three of the buildings. The museum has been open for two years, and the recently completed church features much of the original building, with the meeting area boasting some intricate paintings from local artist Claude Ruston Baker. The downstairs area features a mural depicting many of the historical buildings, events and people from throughout the area.

The newly completed log cabin has been rescued from a life of wear and tear and is restored to its natural beauty, with the society trying to maintain the original look and appeal including a loft made and a stone chimney that gives the cabin an old-time feel.

The MCHS members are excited to showcase their newest addition to the Moreland historical campus.

“We are passionate about creating something here that will be a valuable tool for our community and our county,” Bricker said. “Our hope is that people will attend this event and experience a slice of our history.”

In addition, the event will feature several area historians who will present memorabilia. Fred Donley will display his extensive number of rifles and guns including several Wayne County-made, muzzle-loading rifles, and his knowledge of local lore and especially guns is well known.

“Fred has an amazing collection of guns, and when gun collectors see his name, they know it is going to be a quality, worthwhile show,” MCHS member Gail Miller said. “People will come from far away to talk to Fred.”

Local historian Paul Locher will be on hand with a collection of old farm tools, and he will be available to discuss both Franklin Township and Wayne County lore.

Steve Kitchen is a local historian who excels in flint knapping. Jerry Payn of Wooster also will be on hand to present the life of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

“There’s nobody I know of who looks more like Lincoln than Jerry Payn,” Miller said.

A primitive hooking demonstration, the Edgington family from Milk & Honey Acres presenting a spinning wheel demonstration, Friends of Ohio Barns representatives Pam Gray and Caleb Miller, and an antique farm equipment display from Rob Grosjean will round out the historical aspect of the event. Society volunteers also will be on hand to answer questions and guide the public through each of the historical buildings. That will include a time line of the MCHS’s work through the past 12 years.

“Touring the buildings will be a big part of the excitement,” Miller said.

In addition, there will be plenty of musical talent in the new township house. Included in the lineup will be the Cedar Valley Cloggers, Gnat Boxers square dancing, and Raylene Hlavaty will portray Fanny Crosby in first person and in costume. Crosby is known as the queen of the gospel hymn and the blind poetess. She is the author of the well-known hymns, “Blessed Assurance,” “Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior” and “To God Be the Glory.” She will perform at 5 p.m. Local favorite and former Moreland resident John Schmid will take the stage at 6:15 p.m.

Tractor shuttles will be available to transport patrons from the parking areas to the various functions. Anyone with questions can call the historical society at 330-231-8901.

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