First car in Plain City, August 20, 1900


I have quickly discovered in trying to create a regular column based on weekly events in our town’s history that some weeks are relatively barren ground and some, like this one, bring an embarrassment of riches.

Plain City citizens were not behind the times when it came to keeping up with the many new inventions that were making life easier and more exciting in the latter years of the 19th and early years of the 20th centuries. The first train arrived in 1853, telephone service (to Marysville and Columbus) began in 1883, gas street lamps were installed in 1894 and the electric power plant opened in 1904.

The Kahler brothers, Joe, John and Henry, were well-known entrepreneurs in town. Henry, the only one who married, had two children, Frank and Ada. Ada married Will Justice, who partnered with Frank in the Kahler & Justice Clothing Store on the north side of West Main Street in the building now occupied by 42 Grub House.

In August of 1900 Joe Kahler, Frank’s uncle, and Will Justice traveled to Chicago to purchase a Locomobile. It took them a week to return to Plain City, where they arrived on Aug. 20.

Tragically, Joe Kahler was at the wheel of an auto on June 4, 1912, when 3-year-old Francis Kimbrough ran out from behind a buggy directly into the path of the car. He died on June 8, just 11 days before his fourth birthday. The newspaper article on the tragedy noted: “While Mr. Kahler is not blamed for the accident, it is a fact that every automobile owner violates the speed law. The speed limit in the corporation is 10 miles per hour and the officers should see that the law is obeyed.”

On a much happier note, Aug. 23 marks the 200th birthday of Samuel Taylor, the “Uncle Sammy” who in 1902 donated our now iconic clock to the town.

Samuel was a son of Richard Taylor, who with his brothers John and Daniel were among the earliest settlers in the area. Richard purchased land on the east side of Big Darby Creek from Lucas Sullivant in 1809, and became a well-known and respected farmer. His son Samuel was also a farmer and was noted for his interest in Clydesdale draft horses at a time when they were a rarity in the United States.

In 1902, Morris Barto and Wayne Keiser purchased the land on the southeast corner of Main and Chillicothe where the old National Hotel (originally Isaac Bigelow’s “Travelers’ Inn”) had stood for over 80 years. The hotel had featured a large bell which had been rung to announce meal times and had become an unofficial timekeeper for the town and the surrounding area.

“Uncle Sammy,” then 84, had been contemplating giving a gift to the town. His daughter Rachel was Wayne Keiser’s wife, so one can imagine the family dinner table conversations that led to the decision to install a clock on the northwest corner of the new Barto & Keiser hardware store.

The dedication of the clock took place on Nov. 15, 1902, and Uncle Sammy pressed a button which released the pendulum of the four-faced Seth Thomas clock. When Samuel Taylor died in April of 1904, the clock was draped in mourning and stopped at 5:00, the hour of his death.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
}
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
}
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
}
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;
}

This photograph was taken in front of the clothing store, very likely by Henry Wenzel, the local photographer, whose studio was on the second floor of the building. Joe Kahler, the man with the mustache, is on the left. Will Justice is seated beside him.
http://www.plaincity-advocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2017/08/web1_FirstCarpiccol.jpegThis photograph was taken in front of the clothing store, very likely by Henry Wenzel, the local photographer, whose studio was on the second floor of the building. Joe Kahler, the man with the mustache, is on the left. Will Justice is seated beside him. Contributed photo

Samuel Taylor, “Uncle Sammy,” donated the clock on Nov. 15, 1902 at the clock dedication.
http://www.plaincity-advocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2017/08/web1_ClockDedicationpiccol.jpegSamuel Taylor, “Uncle Sammy,” donated the clock on Nov. 15, 1902 at the clock dedication. Contributed photo

http://www.plaincity-advocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2017/08/web1_PlainCityHistoricalSocietylogobw.jpegContributed photo
Birth of “Uncle Sammy” Taylor, Aug. 23, 1817

By Rosemary Anderson

Plain City Times

Rosemary Anderson is the vice president of the Plain City Historical Society.