Conrad Zimmerman owned at one time the greater portion of the land on which the town of Forest sits. The first marriage license was issued in 1834 to Charles Bouyon and Lucretia Liles. George Stevens was the first Mayor of the incorporated village of Forest. John Howey was the first Justice of the Peace of Jackson township, but only held the office four months, and resigned. Joseph Barnes succeeded him. Cyrus Dilley was the foreman of the first Grand Jury that was convened in Hardin county, on September 10, 1833. Father DeWitt killed four hundred deer in the neighborhood of Forest. At one time Garret street, between Zimmerman and Huston streets, and on the north side of Huston street, between Fasig and Garret streets, and on the west side of Fasig street, and on the north side of Lima street, between Warner and Mary streets had wooden sidewalks which were constructed of 12' boards, 6" width and 1-1/2" thick.
A small portion of Forest's history has been written, yet it did not date as far back, as my memory goes hence the former writer will readily excuse all that an old resident wishes to say. It has been 22 years since our exit in Forest, there was but four private dwellings in the place at that time. Mr. L. Cregg then owned the Tuttle house, Mr. Howe the Cook house, Mr. Smith the Gemmill house, and Dr. Atwood one that has since been used in another building. We had three hotels, two dry goods stores, one grocery, one school room, and no church ediface. Rev. Holliday of the Presbyterian School, was the first minister in Forest. Rev. Deleal the first Methodist minister, of this place. These respective preeachers held forth in our school house, to larger audience than Forest can now boast of having. Simply because sectarianism was unknown, or uncared for at that time. Messrs. Sapp & Whitney were proprietors of the Scott House, better known as the Senate House, under their management. Dr. Atwood was the first dry good merchant, assisted by Mr. J. Campbell. Smith & Howe, came next in that line of business. Strange as it may seem ...
Change is the order of the day in our village. We hae a new editor, new postmaster, new preacher, new jeweler, new store, and in fact, much that pertains to Forest is rapidly becoming new. We appreciate the new believing they will follow the example of their presecessors in enhancing the interests of our town. We will all success in their future fields of labor, and their successors whole supplying the various places entrusted to their keeping. As citizen, we should try to make our much-abused Forest pleasant for the starngers who have already becom citizens.
The area of the Forest-Area Historical Society spans parts of three counties; Hardin, Hancock, and Wyandot which include or surround Forest. Hancock resides to the north and Wyandot to the east.
The Communities around Forest were:
- Armorsville - was platted in 1836 in Liberty township.
- Blanchard - established in 1892, was named for an early French settler.
- Blocktown - was located south of Dola and named for Charles Block who owned nearly the whole town.
- Foraker - originally established as Oakland, later changed to honor Ohio Governor Joseph Benson Foraker.
- Geneva - was originally planned about one-half mile south of Dunkirk.
- Grant - established during U.S. Grant's presidential term.
- Grassy Point - located in Hale township, was said to be the site of Chief Logan's Indian Village.
- Hepburn - was laid out as a summer resort.
- Holden - was located northwest of Roundhead on the Auglaize county line.
- Hudsonville - became a station stop on the Mad River and Lake Erie railroad in 1846, later became Silver Creek.
- Huntersville - was named for Jabez Hunter, first settler in Marion Township.
- Jumbo - was named for P. T. Barnum's elephant that died in 1885.
- Jump - gained its name for being a jumping-off place on the underground railroad, situated in Scioto Marsh.
- McGoldrick's Town - exact location unknown, most likely in Cessna township, platted in 1833.
- McVitty - was established by the Big 4 railroad as a shipping station for the Herzog Stone Quarry.
- Maysville - located on the Allen county line, was for a time the home of Jacob Parrott, the first Medal of Honor winner.
- Patterson - known as Petersburg and Sylvia, was named for Robert Patterson, secretary-treasurer of the Mad River & Lake Erie railroad.
- Peru - was platted in 1836 in Cessna Township.
- Pfeiffer Station - was named for former postmaster John Pfeiffer.
- St. Michael's - was platted in 1836 in Goshen Township.
- Yelverton - was named in 1858 to honor John Yelverton, a large stockholder in the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad.
Yes, 75 years is a long time ago. Takes you back to November 12, 1874. U.S. Grant was President. Whether you believe it or not, we used to have Republican Presidents.
Burt was born in Kansas, but came to Forest in 1883 when he was nine years old.
Forest was not old then. The old Mad River R.R. had been built through herre from Tiffin to Springfield in 1846. The total R.R. mileage in Ohio before it was stated south from Sandusky was 39 miles.
In 1855, the Pena. R.R. was put through and the engineers saw there would be a town here and bought some farms. An old copy of the Review, dated July 16, 1885, has uch interesting news and ads. Harvey Horn was the editor.
Mose Herckowitza had a dry goods store on Gormley street. J.L. Shields had a livery. John Campbell started here in 1858. The doctors were Gemmill and Mundy.
W.W. makenson, who was located in Hale's new block, and Dr. L.A. Perce. W.M. Waltermire was in real estate. C.S. Wilson had a grocery on Gormley street. C.R. Warwick was a tailor. J.Q.A. McClurg had a grocery in the Odd Fellows block. Ed Sipes ran the "Eagle."
Among some of the young men about town in Burt's time, who were guilty of many prianks, were: Frank Stansell, horn tooter; "Hog" Stoddard; John Spahr; "Bob" Shaffer, hotel man; Joe and Louie Studer; Len Crum; and many others.
Burt joined the Masons here in 1901. Will Robinson was then master and the late Will Heffernan, secretary.
Burt started in the Review office at 15, under the ownership of Z.T. Gilbert. He also worked for J.A. Waltz. He later published a peper in the office of C.E. Young claled the "Hay Jorunal" and later, while working for Ed Gilson, the shoe man, started a publication called the "Eye Opener."
Burt and R.D. Smith purchased the Review at the close of the Spanish-American War. In 1901 they sold it and Smith went ot Ft. Wayne and Burt to Los Angeles. Next year they were back as partners again and bought the Henry county Review at Holgate. Here he met Lolo Witzel. He bought out Smith and published the paper till 1913, when he went to Grand Ledge, Mich., where he published a paper till 1922, when he sold out and went to Findlay, where he worked on the Findlay republican for two years. About that time the Review suspended for several months and Burt was asked to come to Forest and revive it.
This was in 1924 and he has been at the helm ever since.
On Feb. 3, 1946, the old Opera House or K. of P. block burned and everything was lost but the subscription list. It was next printed at Arlington and now at Belle Center. The Review is 79 years old and still going strong.
A lot of water goes over the dam in that time. A lot of changes,too. Prices have changed. The Review in 1885 was $1.50 a year, now only $2.00. Other things are about three times as much now.
Many have been the births, marriages, and deaths recorded in that tiem. News of all kinds, some good, some bad. Old "Wide Aswake" has crossed the Great Divide. Hotels have burned and also the Opera House. New schoolhouses have been built, and 64 classes graduated from high school.
New churches also. It is a good town and yours is a good newspaper. May you have many more years of usefulness and enjoyment is the wish of the man you and Lolo journeyed 20 miles to see, from the south side of Chicago to the Marine hospital on the north side.