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Published: Monday, 8/30/2004

The present gives past a voice

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Craig Householder portrays his father, the late Dr. Floyd Frederick Householder, whose image is projected on the screen behind him, during the Oak Grove Living History Day. Craig Householder portrays his father, the late Dr. Floyd Frederick Householder, whose image is projected on the screen behind him, during the Oak Grove Living History Day.
ZAPOTOSKY Enlarge

BOWLING GREEN - Some of Bowling Green's most prominent citizens emerged from the past yesterday to offer grave details of their lives.

"Being mayor wasn't much of a job those days," quipped John Wooster, elected Bowling Green's first mayor in 1856 when it was a village of 200 residents. Mr. Wooster, portrayed by current Mayor John Quinn, added with a smile: "They say it still isn't."

Mr. Wooster won his only term as mayor with 55 votes - his opponent got one - in an election held at Mr. Wooster's home. He recounted the story yesterday for about 125 people in the Wood County Public Library.

Mr. Wooster's life story was one of 10 portrayals presented at Oak Grove Living History Day, organized by the Wood County Genealogical Society.

Organizers had hoped to present those stories by the graves of the deceased in Oak Grove Cemetery, which is surrounded by Bowling Green State University. But rain moved the costumed re-enactors into the library.

So it was between the paperback fiction section and the magazine racks that Edwin Lincoln Moseley, a biologist and naturalist at Bowling Green State University in the early 20th century, admitted that he had been quite frugal.

"Some would say a miserly lifestyle," the longtime professor said in a portrayal by Leo Schifferli, a former Bowling Green bookstore owner.

How cheap was he? Mr. Moseley would order a cup of hot water, which was free at the local soda fountain or student union, and pull a tea bag from his pocket or use the eatery's ketchup to make a weak tomato soup.

When he died in 1948, the bachelor professor left about $75,000 to the university for a scholarship fund. The fund's principal has grown to almost $572,000 and the interest will provide five scholarships, each worth $3,000, to be awarded this year.

Several presenters portrayed their own ancestors.

Suzi Saunders, a junior at Bowling Green High School, portrayed her great-great-grandmother who was 16 - the same age Suzi is - when she married a man who was 27.

Pearl Disel June, who lived from 1895 to 1961, married in 1911 and bore her first child the next year. A lifelong housewife, she lived by the rules her mother taught her, such as: "Put on a clean, ironed apron every time the man of the house comes home."

Bruce Pratt IV portrayed his great-grandfather, Bruce C. Pratt, who as Wood County sheriff helped hunt notorious criminal Pretty Boy Floyd in the early 1930s. His two terms as sheriff fell during the Great Depression, and he was faced with numerous cases of people stealing chickens to feed their families.

Mr. Pratt's terms were not without humor, though. He once slipped a dead fish into the pocket of the coroner's raincoat, his great-grandson said.

Contact Jane Schmucker at: jschmucker@theblade.com or 419-724-6102.



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