Ill Fated Real Estate
By Bonnie Huelga
Enter “Millersburg Glass” on any internet search engine and a long list of websites will appear with information on the glass. Articles can be found about patterns, values, conventions, collecting, sales, and often a history of the manufacturing of the carnival and crystal pieces. However, little if anything is written about the history of the real estate where the glass factory stood. A search of Holmes County records reveals a sometimes troubled past for the factory site and the industries it housed.
1) John French, by multiple deeds circa 1863, owned much of the land designated as Township 9N, Range 7W, First Quarter, Lot 42 of the U.S. Military Lands.
2) Elizabeth French, a widow (signed with an X – her mark), and Sue Hall McCrimmon, (married to Roy McCrimmon), granddaughter and only remaining heir of John French deeded 59 acres (61.5 acres with exceptions of railroad land) being all the land of which John French died seized to Daniel M. Miller and Samuel B. Fair by deed volume 68, page 329 signed Jan.27, 1905.
3) Daniel M. Miller and Susanna Miller (his wife) quit-claimed 51.48 acres (61.5 acres with exceptions) to Samuel B. Fair by deed volume 63, page 438 signed Mar.5, 1906.
4) S.B. Fair and Della Fair (his wife) deeded 26.08 acres at a price of $2608.00 to J.W. Fenton of Wood County, West Virginia by deed volume 77, page 67 signed Sep.30, 1908.
5) John W. Fenton and Quindara Fenton (his wife) deeded 26.08 acres (and other parcels) at a price of $100.00 to The Millersburg Glass Company, an Ohio corporation, by deed volume 76, page 453 signed May.14, 1909 in Washington County, Ohio.
In the meantime, a petition to annex contiguous territory to the incorporated Village of Millersburg was presented at the regular meeting of the Millersburg Village Council on Apr.5, 1909. An ordinance accepting the annexation and a plat showing the same (being all of Township 9N, Range 7W, First Quarter, Lot 42 lying east of the railroad) was recorded in Plat volume 1, pages 353 through 356 and dated Oct.14, 1909. These proceedings were recorded in the Holmes County Commissioners Journal 11, pages 226 and 240 with a file date of Aug.9, 1909. The ordinance was passed and the annexation was in full force and effect on Oct.11, 1909.
Following this annexation of real estate, The Glass Plant’s Pleasant View Addition to the Village of Millersburg, Holmes County, Ohio was platted by the Millersburg Glass Company, John W. Fenton, president. The 203 lot subdivision, with streets and alleys, was recorded in Plat volume 1, pages 357 through 362 and dated Nov.9, 1909. Block 17, Lot 1 of the subdivision was noted on the plat as being the “Factory Site” with access by means of Jones St.
John Fenton and the Millersburg Glass Plant would become the first of many businesses that would fall victim to the ill-fated factory as it began a slump that would last decades.
6) The Millersburg Glass Company, a corporation of Ohio, was duly adjudged bankrupt on Jun.24, 1911 and W.A. Miller was elected trustee of the company. The property was appraised at $32,500.00 and was thusly sold at public auction on Sep.23, 1911 for $13,120 to Samuel B. Fair by deed volume 79, page 231 signed Sep.27, 1911. Transferred was Block 17, Lot 1 (the real estate) as well as all machinery, presses, trucks and moulds and known as Millersburg Glass Company Plant complete.
7) Samuel B. Fair and Della Fair (his wife) deeded Block 17, Lot 1 and also all machinery, presses, trucks and moulds and known as the Millersburg Glass Company Plant complete to The Radium Glass Company of Millersburg, Ohio an Ohio corporation, by deed volume 80, page 198 signed Oct.17, 1911.
8) The Radium Glass Company, an Ohio corporation with its principal office in Millersburg, by decision at a Board of Directors meeting adopted a resolution to sell the premises and all stock for $30,000.00 to Frank D. Sinclair of the City of Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio. The sale price was broken down as $12,200.00 cash and the assumption of a $17,800.00 mortgage in deed volume 82, page 70 signed Oct.1, 1913.
8A) The Radium Glass Company, an Ohio corporation, deeded Block 17, Lot 1 together with all machinery, presses, trucks and moulds and now known as the Radium Glass Company Plant complete to Frank D. Sinclair by deed volume 82, page 72 signed Sep.30, 1913. This deed was signed by S.B. Fair, president and C.J. Fisher, secretary of the company.
9) Frank D. Sinclair, a single man, of Jefferson County, Ohio deeded Block 17, Lot 1 together with all machinery, presses, trucks and moulds and now known as the Radium Glass Company Plant complete and all the equipment and personal property of any kind and description belonging to the grantor (Frank D. Sinclair) to The Jefferson Glass Company, a West Virginia corporation, by deed volume 82, page 72 signed Aug.1, 1914.
10) The Jefferson Glass Company, a West Virginia corporation, deeded Block 17, Lot 1 including all buildings and the furnace stack and being known as the Radium Glass Company Plant property to Henry Forster of Cleveland, Ohio and Wilson E. Davis of Barberton, Ohio. However, the grantor (Jefferson Glass Company) reserves and retains the three producers, lears, engine, generator, fans, motors, gas pipes and all other Glass Factory equipment and agrees to remove the same within a reasonable time. This deed was signed by C.H. Blumenauer, president of the company and recorded in deed volume 86, page 594 signed Mar.11, 1919.
11) Henry Forster and Wilson E. Davis deeded Block 17, Lot 1 including all buildings and the furnace stack and being known as the Radium Glass Company Plant property to The Forster Tire and Rubber Company by deed volume 88, page 281 signed Jan.6, 1920.
12) J.S. Kohn was appointed as receiver of The Forster Tire and Rubber Company by the Common Pleas Court of Cuyahoga County. F.J. Forster was listed as plaintiff and The Forster Tire and Rubber Company was listed as defendant on the document that allowed J.S. Kohn to sell the company’s assets. The land, buildings, equipment, machinery, office fixtures, and being known as the Radium Glass Company Plant property was sold to The McKone Tire and Rubber Co. in deed volume 91, page 439 signed Oct.27, 1922.
13) The Ohio Merchants Trust Company was listed as plaintiff and The McKone Tire and Rubber Co. was listed as defendant on a document whereby James V. Gray, Sheriff was ordered to sell the property for non-payment of mortgage. The land and all machinery, furnaces, boilers, engines, fixtures, appurtenances, and appliances now owned by the defendant (The McKone Tire and Rubber Co.) was sold to Charles R. Brown in deed volume 98, page 233 signed Oct.16, 1928.
14) Charles R. Brown and Epha Brown (his wife) of the City of Chicago, County of Cook, and State of Illinois sold the land and all machinery, furnaces, boilers, engines, fixtures, appurtenances, and appliances now owned by the grantor to The Madison Tire and Rubber Company in deed volume 99, page 177 signed Jan.28, 1930.
15) Paul R. Beardsley of the City of Muskegon, County of Muskegon, State of Michigan as agent of The Madison Tire and Rubber Company, was appointed to sell the land and all machinery, furnaces, boilers, engines, fixtures, appliances, and appurtenances owned by the grantor (The Madison Tire and Rubber Company) to Paul R. Beardsley as owner of all its capital stock upon dissolution of said corporation in deed volume 100, page 593 signed May.18, 1934.
16) Paul R. Beardsley sold all buildings and structures, all machinery, fixtures, and appliances owned by the grantor (himself) to The General Implement Co. of America, Inc., an Ohio corporation with its principal office in Cleveland, Ohio, in deed volume 107, page 104 signed Oct.26, 1937. The General Implement Co. of America, Inc. of Liberty, Indiana was the manufacturer of “Soilfitter” farm implements. They made corn pickers, manure spreaders, and tillage equipment.
17) The General Implement Co. of America, Inc. was declared bankrupt in the District Court of the United States of America for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division. They were listed as Chapter X bankrupt. The property, here listed only as the lot with no mention of the buildings or machinery, was sold to Paul R. Beardsley in deed volume 110, page 371 signed Mar.10, 1941.
18) Paul R. Beardsley and Grace Beardsley (his wife) deed Block 17, Lot 1 to The Flxible Co., with its principal place of business in Loudonville, Ohio in deed volume 111, page 45 signed Jul.21, 1941. The Flxible Company was a manufacturer of buses and bus parts.
19) The Flxible Co., an Ohio corporation, subsidiary of Rohr Industries, Inc., of the City of Delaware, County of Delaware, State of Ohio, transferred the parcel to Grumman Allied Industries, Inc., a New York Corporation, in deed volume 201, page 130 signed Feb.15, 1978. Grumman Allied Industries, Inc. was a leading producer of military and civilian aircraft. They used the Flxible Co. to build and assemble transit buses.
The following is taken from www.fundinguniverse.com /Grumman Corporation History. “In 1978, Grumman acquired the curiously named Flxible bus division from Rohr Industries. Many of the buses developed cracked undercarriage components, prompting some customers (such as the City of New York) to pull all of their Flxible buses out of service. Grumman filed a $500 million suit against Rohr, alleging that details of design flaws were not revealed prior to the sale. The suit was dismissed in court. Grumman’s losses in the venture approach $200 million before the entire division was sold to General Automotive in 1983 for $41 million.”
20) Grumman Allied Industries, Inc., a New York corporation of Garden City, Nassau County, State of New York, sold the parcel to GTR Land Company, an Ohio Partnership, in deed volume 206, page 152 signed Jun.12, 1979.
21) The partners of GTR Land Company (Gerald R. Hipp, Randall E. Hummel, and Thomas K. Bird, all local residents of Holmes County, Ohio) transferred the parcel to Thomas K. Bird and Cheryl L. Bird dba Bird Properties in deed volume 238, pages 433 and 435 signed Mar.15, 1988.
22) Thomas K. Bird and Cheryl L. Bird dba Bird Properties transferred the parcel to their trust, Thomas K. Bird and Cheryl L. Bird, co-trustees in official record volume 2, page 169 signed Jan.23, 1997.
23) Thomas K. Bird and Cheryl L. Bird, co-trustees redefined their trust and deeded the property to themselves as Thomas K. Bird, trustee and Cheryl L. Bird, trustee in official record volume 66, pages 22 and 43 signed Jan.19, 2001.
While the Birds owned the original factory site located at 420 W Jones Street, it housed International Packaging & Specialties (IPS). IPS began in 1987 to provide a solution to a packaging situation that occurred during a pet food manufacturer’s production. The company evolved to designing and providing packaging solutions and services for industries that generally specialized in food and consumer products. IPS had a menu of services that included blister packaging, shrink wrapping, labeling, repackaging, warehousing, and delivery to final destination just to name a few.
The furnace stacks are gone, the parking lot is paved, and the adjacent railroad tracks have been replaced by a recreational trail but, if you look closely, you can still see the outline of the building where the beautiful and collectible Millersburg Glass was made.
Since writing this article, the land has changed hands twice, and the building is again standing empty. We often walk past the old factory and have seen contractors and plumbing/heating providers’ vehicles parked at the front door in recent days. Hopefully the factory will get another chance at productivity.