Friday, May 4, 2012

Chapel car secrets Pt 2

Part 1 was published on February 27 and described a business card for H. J. Geisler's tasting room that was discovered hidden in the roof structure of chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace.  The car was built at Dayton, Ohio's Barney and Smith Car Company in 1898.  So who was H.J. Giesler?  Thanks to some clever research by volunteer Doris A., his identity is much clearer.

H.J. Geisler was Henry J. Geisler of Dayton, Ohio.  He was born in Ohio in August, 1869.  In 1893 he married Clara and by 1894 appeared in the Dayton, Ohio city directory as the proprietor of "choice wines, Liquors and Cigars." In 1895 his business was identified as the "Sample Room," which continued to share his home address.  Business must have been good because he was able to afford cutting-edge technology - by 1899 he listed a telephone number!

The Henry J. Geisler Family was listed in the 1900 US Census, which revealed a daughter, Florence, born September 1894.  Henry's occupation was listed as "Saloon Keeper."

Henry J. Geisler continued to appear in the city directory until 1905.  Sadly, in 1906, the city directory listed Mrs. Henry J. Geisler as the Sample Room proprietor.  The 1910 US Census confirmed that Clara was a widow and head of household with daughter Florence, 15 years of age, not in school.

So a small business card found in the roof of chapel car Messenger of Peace reveals a few secrets from Dayton, Ohio at the turn of the 20th Century.

1 comment:

David said...

Spike, I just love stumbling across those little historical tidbits...and tracking them down. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave