The Ohio Local History Alliance, a division of the Ohio Historical Society has awarded the History Outreach Award to the Fort Jennings Bicentennial Book Committee for their recent publication, “Bicentennial History of Fort Jennings 1812 – 2012.” The certificate was presented to Deborah Birkmeier and Judy Wieging as representatives of all the members of the committee, which also included Shirley Berelsman, Harold Birkmeier, Jim Dickman, Karen Dickman, Janice Freund, John Freund, Janet Hoersten,
Helen Kaverman, Patricia Klir, Wes Klir, Roger Luersman, Judy Schroeder and Connie Weber.
The book began as a dream of Birkmeier while she was recovering from back surgery. She began collecting data on families of the Fort Jennings community, similar to that of parish directories popular in the area. It grew and grew to include people living (or having lived) in Jennings Township, part of Jackson and Sugar Creek townships and the Jennings Local School District.
The group behind the “Bicentennial History of Fort Jennings 1812 – 2012” are, front, Janet Hoersten; row two, Pat Klir, Jennifer Klir, Wes Klir, Helen Kaverman, Connie Weber, Harold Birkmeier and Deb Birkmeier; and back, Bud Wieging, Judy Wieging, Walt Hoersten, Art Weber and Roger Hoersten. Absent are: Jim and Karen Dickman, John and Janice Freund, Shirley Berelsman and Judy Schroeder.
Someone suggested publishing the book for sale and including the history of the area to be done to commemorate 200 hundred years of the community, founded as a supply fort during the War of 1812.
A committee was formed in 2010 and met frequently in the Birkmeier home. The history begins with the Black Swamp, the War of 1812, Indian activity, early pioneers, maps, railroads, businesses (old and new), farmers, the county fair, history of St. John the Evangelist history, St. Joseph Catholic Church History, birth and death records of both churches, cemeteries, schools, graduates, organizations, veterans of all wars, Memorial Hall, Rushmore, reminiscences, chronological events, the community park, sports, family histories and loads of pictures.
Old residents were sometimes found through Facebook. The committee tried not to miss anyone or anything. The family history section includes anyone who wished to be included.
The book was published in both hard cover and soft cover. More than 700 copies have been sold, with soft cover editions still available at the Commercial Tax Office at 120 W. Second St. in Fort Jennings. The phone number is 419-286-2599. lso available for sale is a DVD entitled “Fort Jennings, A Celebration of History and Heritage.” It can be purchased at Dickman’s Insurance, 10790 Elida Road, Delphos. Call 419-692-2236 or email