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NB Historical Society Newsletter – Fall 2017

N. B. Historical Society News ~ Knowing where you’ve been, helps you see where you’re going

A Periodic Publication of the North Baltimore Ohio Area Historical Society

Editor: Margaret E. Bobb Autumn 2017


All Individual and Patron memberships expire on December 31, 2017. We hope you will consider renewing your membership for 2018. You can find a membership form at the end of this newsletter. New members are always welcomed so spread the word!

The North Baltimore Ohio Area Historical Society’s mission is to discover, collect, preserve, and make accessible material that establishes or illustrates the history of North Baltimore and the surrounding rural Henry Twp. area including Hammansburg and Oil Boom era communities which no longer exist. We provide educational and archival resources for the community and others both now and in the future.


NBHS senior Hunter Wymer portrayed Vernon Wymer at the 14th annual Wood County Living History Day in Bowling Green, on August 27.


North Baltimore Mayor Janet Goldner officiated at the marriage of Christina Kern and Zachary Muzy at the Historical Center on June 30, 2017. Christina is the daughter of Rebecca Lefler-Kern and Gregory Kern. Zachary is the son of Terry Muzy and Peggy Ireland and the stepson of Angela Muzy.

Although several marriage ceremonies were held in the house during the time that it served as the Church of Christ parsonage, this is believed to be the only other marriage performed in the house. If you were married in the parsonage—we’d love to hear from you!


The following officers were recently elected to serve two year terms beginning Fall 2017:

President Margaret Bobb
Vice-President Phyllis Mercer
Secretary Pam Van Mooy
Treasurer Gwenn Mauk
The following article originally appeared in the Friday, February 1, 1889 issue of the Weekly Beacon.



The busy city of North Baltimore and the entire surrounding community were appalled Monday evening, upon learning of the finding of Mr. Freeman Dustman, cold in death, at his residence on the corner of Main and Water streets, lying beside his wife, who was unconscious, and also breathing her last.

The following is the history of the case: Mr. Samuel Poe, who resides near-by, gets water from Mr. Dustman’s well, and noticed, Monday morning, when after a pail of water, that Mr. Dustman was not up as usual. This led him to believe that they were not at home, which statement he made to his wife. In the evening he went after water again, and this time noticed that the fire was burning in the sitting-room stove, which he could see through a sash door; also, that the snow about the house had not been tracked. These things led him to believe that something was wrong inside. After going home and thinking over the matter, he was still more assured that the case should be investigated. Accordingly he went to the barn on the premises, to see if the horse was in his stall. The door was fastened, but the horse could be heard inside. Not wishing to investigate alone, he went to Mr. J. S. Smith’s office, this being about nine o’clock, and related the circumstances to him and Mr. Kunz, and together they proceeded to the Dustman residence. After rapping at the door and getting no response, they tried it and found it unlocked. As soon as the door was open, low groaning could be heard inside. They entered the room without any light, not knowing anything about the cause of the trouble, as through the excitement the condition of the atmosphere was not noticed. The first thought of the investigators was that foul play had been enacted. Mr. Smith entered the bedroom, where he found Mr. Dustman cold and rigid, and his wife yet breathing, though unconscious and very nearly gone.

The Marshal and doctors were notified immediately, and were soon at the scene. Upon examination it was found that no medical aid could do anything for Mr. Dustman, as his body showed signs of having been dead some hours. He had not disrobed, and was lying on top of the bed behind, the bed having been pulled out from the wall, sufficiently to allow one to walk in. He was in shirt sleeves, his boots yet on, and lying on his face, in which position he had lain so long that his nose was mashed to one side, and his face otherwise distorted. One arm was partially under him, and the other was clutched around the bed rail. The dead body was at once removed and attention turned to Mrs. Dustman, who still showed signs of life, though the body was cold and clammy, and no visible pulsation of the heart could be discerned. The physicians went to work with a will and determination, and applied all the restoratives known to medical science, including the electric battery. She seemed to revive somewhat, circulation partially started, and for a time they seemed to regard the case with some degree of hope. She lingered, however, till the next day at about four o’clock when life departed.

After the discovery of the condition of affairs, an examination was made to ascertain the cause of the room being full of noxious and fatal burnt gas. The sitting-room stove is of open front make, expressly for gas, and had a damper in the pipe. This damper was turned in such a way as to almost wholly shut off the draft, and the holes in the mixer were mostly stopped up with corks. This condition of the stove forced the burnt gas out into the room. The kitchen, in which gas was burning, was also examined, and the chimney was found to be entirely stopped up with soot and plastering, being in still worse shape than the other stove. The kitchen, sitting-room and bed-room were all full of gas, the doors connecting them being open. The stove pipe of the kitchen stove was streaked with a sickening smelling substance resembling burnt molasses in appearance. The air appeared to be filled with minute particles of this same substance, and the top of the stove was covered with it in a partially granulated form.

That life could exist only a few hours in such an atmosphere, was the unanimous decision of all present. The cause of his death so much sooner than hers, is most feasibly explained by the fact that he was somewhat troubled with sinking spells, due to heart disease, together with his age, he being 59 years, 6 months. She was a woman only 29 years of age, and reasonably healthy. Mrs. Dustman had been indisposed for some days, and Dr. Henry called to see her at eleven o’clock, Sunday, and left her medicine. He remarked when in the house about the escaping gas and received a reply from Mr. Dustman that it was about as usual. The last that was seen of either of them was in the evening about 5 o’clock, when Mr. Dustman was met in the street by Dr. Reddin. The general supposition is that he returned home, and turned his attention to his wife who evidently retired early, owing to illness. A smoothing iron was found at her feet, which showed that he had undoubtedly placed it there. Becoming drowsy, he most likely lay down on the bed, temporarily, without disrobing, in which condition he was found some 24 hours afterward. That it was early in the evening is proven by the fact that the curtains were all up, no light lit and the doors unlocked.

Nothing was misplaced about the house, and upon examining his pockets, money amounting to $79.11, a note for $1500, New York draft for $500, gold watch, and other papers and receipts were found, all of which were turned over to Joseph Katzenmeyer for safe keeping.

The coroner was notified of the case, came over Tuesday morning, and rendered his decision accordingly, without any particular examination outside of formality.

The funeral was held in the Presbyterian Church, attended by the largest congregation ever assembled in North Baltimore, Rev. Johnson, officiating. The coffins were heavy metallic ones, and were hauled to their final resting place in the City Cemetery by two hearses, and both lowered into one grave.

Mr. Dustman leaves but one heir to his fortune, of probably $25,000—a daughter by his first wife, she being the wife of Jerry Foltz, north of town. Mrs. Dustman leaves a mother, Mrs. Chamberlain and three brothers, all of whom reside near Cygnet, and a brother and sister near Danby, Kansas. Both Mr. Dustman and his wife were kind, upright, honored citizens, and leave hosts of friends. The case is the saddest in the history of Wood county.

Mrs. Dustman was a woman of considerable refinement, fond of reading, and very good with the pen. She has been a reader of the Beacon since its origin, and has often cheered the heart of the editor by liberal contributions and kind words.
Freeman Truman Dustman was born on the 53rd anniversary of the first Independence Day, July 4, 1829. His father, Jacob, served in the militia during the War of 1812 and took part in the building of Fort Meigs in Maumee, Ohio. Freeman married Mary Ann Brobst in Austintown, Ohio in 1852 and they lived on a farm near Austintown not far from Youngstown. Their first child, Alice Lucretia was born in 1853 and son Frank J. was born in 1855. Alice married Jeremiah Foltz and after his death she married Henry D. Stouffer; both men were prominent residents of N. Baltimore. By 1860 the Dustman family was living in Wood County where Freeman owned a farm east of Hammansburg. The Dustman home in N. Baltimore was located on the northwest corner of S. Main and W. Water streets.

Over the course of his life, Freeman experienced many happy years but also suffered the loss of his wife and only son within two days’ time. Frank Dustman was 18 when he died suddenly on October 18, 1873. His mother died the next day; the cause of death for both was listed as “sick stomach” [probably due to food poisoning]. Freeman married Rosina Chamberlain in 1874; 15 years later Freeman and Rosina died within a day of each other of asphyxiation in their N. Baltimore home. Freeman, Rosina, Alice Foltz-Stouffer, and Frank Dustman are buried in Maplewood Cemetery.

The North Baltimore Ohio Area
Historical Society
229 North Main Street, P.O. Box 174
North Baltimore, Ohio, 45872
(419) 257-2266


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