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VOLUME NO. LXVI
WITH LIGHTS FOR
Residence and Business Dis
/. tricts Gaily Anticipate Com
Bluffton Stores Show Increased
Business in Holiday Christ
With homes and streets brilliantly
illamninated by vari colored lights,
the business district filled with shop
pers and youngsters keeping a sharp
lookout for Santa, Bluffton prepared
the first of the week to welcome the
Yuletide holiday season.
The first of the week found stores
filled with late holiday shoppers, the
postoffice flooded with an avalanche
of Christmas mail and merchants re
porting that the largest industrial
payrolls in Bluffton’s history were
amply reflected in the greatest volume
of business since the late twenties.
A reminder that this Christmas it
is different is seen in the army uni
forms of service men home on holiday
furlough sprinkled plentifully thruout
the holiday crowds.
It’s Merry Christmas
Notwithstanding the somber shad
ow of war, Bluffton will make merry
this Christmas, resolutely putting
aside for the time those grave prob
lems facing the nation.
Majority of holiday programs will
be presented in Bluffton churches on
(Continued on page 8)
Against an attractive Christmas
altar banked by white candelabra,
took place the wedding of Miss Ed
dythe Badertscher, daughter of Mrs.
Edna Badertscher and Philip Mer
rill, son of Mr. and Mrs. F. A. Mer
rill of Painesville at the bride’s home
on Grove street Saturday night at
The wedding vows were received
by Rev. Paul E. Whitmer, former
pastor of the bride when she at
tended the Grace Mennonite church
of Pandora. The couple was unat
tended and the single ring ceremony
was performed in the presence of the
The bride was attired in a street
length light ofue wool dress with ap
plique rose and brown velvet flowers.
She carried a shower bouquet of
gardenias, Joanna Hill roses, nar
cissus and stenia.
She held a white New Testament
and wore a satinora necklace, a gift
of the bride’s mother.
The living room of her home was
attractively decorated for the cere
mony with white and Christmas col
ors artistically blended.
Although entirely unplanned,
Christmas carols and appropriate re
ligious music were heard throughout
the ceremony from the loudspeaker
mounted on the roof of the nearby
P. W. Stauffer residence.
The couple will leave on the day
after Christmas for a short honey
moon through the southern states
after whiun will make their
home in Burbank where Mr. Merrill
is an instructor and coach in the
high school at that place.
Mrs. Merrill graduated from Bluff
ton High school in the class of 1937
and has been employed at the Trip
lett Electrical Instrument Co., since
that time. Mr. Merrill graduated
from Bluffton college in the class of
1938 and later attended Ohio North
ern university and Ohio State uni
versity. He has been teaching at
Burbank for the past two years.
Finishes Course At
Parks Air College
James Basinger, son of Mr. and
Mrs. Noah Basinger of South Lawn
avenue, has completed the course of
instruction in aircraft maintenance
and design at Parks Air college in
East St. Louis, Ill.
Basinger took his general courses
in mathematics and science at Bluff
ton college and completed his last
two years of specialized work at the
Mr. and Mrs. Basinger will leave
after the holidays at which time he
will take a position with one of the
aircraft factories in this area.
In New Location
Jerry Basinger has moved from
his farm northwest of Bluffton into
the Cherry street property which he
purchased from the Wm. Wallace
estate. The property was vacated
last week by Richard Bixel and fam
ily who moved to Findlay.
Unusual Display in Heavens
Visible at Christmas Only
Once in 200 Years
’lanet Will Reach its Greatest
Brilliance Sunday Arouses
While men are fighting in every
corner of the globe, nature this
Christmas season is presenting her
best Yuletide display in 200 years.
The planet Venus is now approach
ing the sun and will achieve its
greatest brilliance on December 28,
reminiscent of the heavenly display
on the first Christmas.
This event occurs so close to
Christmas only once in two centuries,
according to astronomersat Perkins
observatory, maintained by Ohio
Wesleyan and Ohio State universities
Stab Shown Brightly
Astronomical calculations indicate
that in the year of Christ’s birth the
planet was particularly brilliant at
the time of the first Christmas.
As it appears in Palestine, the
star is more brilliant than the dis
play to be glimpsed here, for Venus
when seen from the United States
never compares with its brilliance
in the latitude in which Galilee lies.
In that country Venus is so bril
liant that a wake is cast on the
water, much the same as that made
by the moon.
The planet will be a brilliant spot
of light in the heavens during the
entire holiday season and its appear
ance has already brought forth much
interest among astronomically mind
er residents here.
FROM FOUR WAR
Pvt. Don Crawfis and Miss
Evelyn Niswander Write
To Parents Here
Radiogram From Java Received
From Mr. and Mrs. Paul
At least four of the score of for
mer Bluffton residents in the Ha
waiian and Pacific danger zones
have been heard from in the past
week. Anxiety was felt here for
their safety following the recent
Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor.
Evelyn Niswander Safe
An airmail letter was received
from Miss Evelyn Niswander on
Monday by her parents Mr. and
Mrs. Noah Neuenschwander of South
Lawn avenue. Following the attack
on Kahului harbor on the island of
Maui recently, concern was felt for
the safety of Miss Niswander who
is teaching at Paia less than 10
miles away from the naval action.
Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Bowers
of Honolulu have been assisting
in the care of evacuees made
homeless by the bombing of
Pearl Harbor, according to a
letter received Monday by his
father John Bowers of Beaver
dam. Mr. Bowers writes that
there were no casualties in the
immediate residential district
in which they lived.
Miss Niswander’s school is located
in the country three miles from
Paia. At the time of the shelling
Miss Niswander did not hear the
guns and was unaware of what had
happened until so informed by the
On many occasions, Miss Nis
wander stated that she visited the
harbor of Kahului to see the
British and American vessels slip in
and out of the harbor.
An air mail letter received this
week by Laurence Burkhalter, Bluff
ton college student, from his par-
ents Mr. and Mrs. Paul Wenger,
missionaries from India, gave as
surance that they were coming
Radiogram From Wengers
The letter was from the Men
nonite mission board which received
a radiogram from Mr. and Mrs.
Wenger in Java who sent a three
word message, “Coming Inform
Java is a Dutch-owned island in
(Continued on page 8)
Venus Brilliant This Christmas
Similar To Star Of Bethlehem
Traditional Christmas Customs Are
Blend Of Religious And Pagan Rites
Ebenezer Mennonite—Wed, 7:30 p. m.
First Mennonite—Thurs., 7:30 p. m.
Emmanuel Reformed—Thurs., 8 p. m.
Missionary—Wednesday, 8 p. m.
Presbyterian—Wednesday, 7:30 p. m.
Christmas programs were present
ed Sunday night at the following
churches: Methodist, St. Johns Re
formed, Lutheran and Church of
$50,000 Bonus To
572 Employes Of
Christmas bonuses aggregating
more than $50,000 were announced
this week by The Triplett Electrical
Instrument Co., with 572 employes
sharing in the benefits.
Each employe with six months or
more service on the Triplett payroll
received a $25 government defense
savings bond. Those who have
worked less than six months for the
company will receive a similar bond
when their continuous employment
reaches the half-year mark, R. L.
Triplett, president of the concern
A five per cent general wage in
crease also was announced, the ad
justment applying to all employes ex
cepting department heads.
In addition employes will be paid
on a time and one-half basis for
Christmas and New Year’s holidays,
altho they will not be asked to work.
Ancient English and Roman
Influence are Seen in
Puritans of New England
Frowned on Merriment
Although Christmas is usually
thot of as a celebration of deep re
ligious significance, this best loved
holiday of Christianity is character
ized by curious blending of religious
and ancient pagan customs.
Holly and mistletoe, linked for
centuries with the observance of the
Yuletide, are survivals of the
ancient worship of the Druids in
Christmas carols, the singing of
which are still popular in Bluffton,
can be linked with the hymns of
the Saturnalia, a pagan Roman holi
day. The Yuletide banquet itself is
reminiscent of the feasts accorded to
ancient gods and goddesses.
When the early Christian church
inaugurated the celebration of
Christ’s birthday, many pagan cus
toms were incorporated to assure
that the observance would become
popular with the laity.
In time these customs became ac
cepted as a part of Christianity’s
most popular festival. The religious
aspect of the season retains all of
its significance in the modern ob
servance, with many of the pagan
customs adding to the attendant
gaiety of the season.
At first the church had a hard
task with the pagan features of the
Christmas celebration. Though it
aimed only to retain the pagan
forms, it found it could not restrain
the pagan spirit. As a consequence
many of the early Christmas cele
brations turned out to be wild revels
in which obscenity, drunkenness,
blasphemy and license ran rampant.
Start in England
Merry old England, however, was
the soil in which Christmas took its
firmest root. In ancient days
Christmas was not confined to a
single day. It had its preliminary
novena which began December 16
and it ended on January 6 or Twelfth
It was a democratic festival with
all classes mixing in its merrymak
ing. Hospitality was universal with
the landowners opening their houses
to the tenants and the neighbors.
The ale was broached, blackjacks,
Cheshire cheese, toast, sugar and
nutmeg going plentifully around.
With the rise of Puritanism
Christmas took on a much more
sombre tone and the very existence
of the institution was threatened.
Even the harmless good cheer of the
(Continued on page 8)
THE BLUFFTON NEWS
A NEWSPAPER DEVOTED TO THE INTERESTS OF BLUFFTON AND VICINITY
BLUFFTON, OHIO, THURSDAY, DEC. 25, 1941
GROUP NAMES 14
Group Prepares to Handle Situ
ations Arising During Pres
Preliminary Plans for Action
Are Worked Out at First
Meeting Held Here
Bluffton’s plans for civilian de
fense took shape this week, with the
organization of 14 committees to
work, toward the prevention of dis
aster and to handle Miff emergencies
which may arise.
Preliminary plans for the broad
program covering every phase of
civilian needs were worked out at
meetings during the last week be
tween Mayor W. A. Howe and the
American Legion executive com
Mayor Howe serves as general
chairman of the Bluffton civilian de
fense organization, and Clair Fett,
(Continued on page 8)
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bartholo
mew of Lansdale, Pa., are parents
of a daughter born last Wednesday.
Mrs. Bartholomew was the former
Miss Wanda Eversole, daughter of
Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Eversole of
Bom to Rev. and Mrs. W. R.
Augsburger of Van Orrin, Ill., a son,
Grayson Terry, last Wednesday.
The following births at the Bluff
Mr. and Mrs. Russell Pierce, Beav
erdam, a girl, Thursday.
Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Trippiehorn,
a boy, Sunday.
Mr. and Mrs. Wade Shook, Detroit,
Mich., a girl, Sunday. Mrs. Shook
was the former Miss Bonita Clark,
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Clark
of Grove street
Stewed prunes, stuffed with
cheese, nuts or celery and arranged
on lettuce leaves, make a suitable
salad to serve with chops or roasts.
Bluffton community friends who
three years ago rallied to the help
of Betty Leeson with a Christmas
donation to assist in her battle
against infantile paralysis, are
pleased to learn this holiday season
that continued improvement is re
ported in her condition.
When she was enrolled in Bluff
ton college, Miss Leeson, stricken
with paralysis while a student at
Beaverdam High school, was unable
to stand upright, and had to be car
ried from classroom to classroom.
What though upon his hoary head
Have fallen many a winter's snow?
His wreath is still as green and red
As 'twas a thousand years ago.
For what has he to do with care!
His wassail-bowl and old arm chair
Are ever standing ready there,
For Christmas comes but once a year.
Miss Catherine Gratz, Former
Bluffton Woman, Located
In West Africa
Concern is Felt for Her Safety
Christmas Cheer Conveyed By Letter
From Bluffton Missionary To Parents
One of the most prized Christmas
greetings received in Bluffton this
Yuletide season was a letter from
Miss Catherine Gratz, former Bluff
ton woman now a missionary in
West Africa, to her parents Mr. and
Mrs. Peter Gratz of South Jackson
The letter sent by airmail and
postmarked on November 19 was re
ceived here Saturday, evidently timed
to arrive here to convey Christmas
cheer. Miss Gratz, a missionary
under the board of the Christian
and Missionary Alliance, is located
in the village of Kankan in French
Guinea in West Africa.
Christmas Finds Former Bluffton Girl
Winning Her Fight Against Paralysis
She left here in 1938 for treat
ment at a Chicago hospital, and the
Due to the fact that the area is
under the strict control of the Vichy
government, whose policy is one of
close collaboration with Nazi Ger
many, concern is felt for the safety
of all American nationals living and
working in the country. No word
has been received from Miss Gratz
since the war.
Since the outbreak of hostilities
ports of French Guinea are not be
ing used and consequently the port
of Freetown in the bordering coun
try of Sierra Leone is used for the
commercial and mailing requirements
of French Guinea.
Miss Gratz has charge of Bible in
struction and Christian training in
the mission station. On one occa
sion in making a trip into the back
woods of the country Miss Gratz was
carried for a considerable part of
the journey by hammocks manned by
native carriers. The party stopped
over night in a Mohammedan village
and the former Bluffton resident was
a witness to a Mohammedan celebra
tion with its fantastic dances and
The tropical climate is one of in
tense heat and often is almost un
(Continued on page 8)
Christmas donation from Bluffton
college friends that year helped
make it possible for her to continue
This Christmas season finds Miss
Leeson able to stand upright, and
walk with the aid of crutches, and
for the last year she has been de
livering many of her father’s ser
mons for him in a Methodist church
at Bethany, near Middletown.
Rev. E. A. Leeson, the father,
formerly of Beaverdam, has been
confined to his home much of the
time because of a serious heart ail
ment for more than a year.
HELD FOR WHITE
XMAS THIS YEAR
Scant Snow Seen in Bluffton
For Christmas During Past
Seventeen White, 13 Green
Christmases here in last
Mild weather, welcomed with de
light by Bluffton area residents so
for this winter, lost all its popular
ity early this week as it began to
to appear Christmas may come and go
without the traditional blanket of
snow that contributes so much to the
December’s unseasonably warm
weather has brought fears that Bluff
ton will have its ninth green Christ
mas in the last 14 years unless condi
tions change decidedly.
With the holiday drawing near the
question was being asked, “Will Bluff
ton have snow for Christmas?” by
children and grownups alike. The
odds favoring a green Yuletide did noi.
seem to be too well relished.
17 White 13 Green Christmases
In the last 30 years Bluffton has
had 17 white and 13 green Christmas
es, the records reveal. But in the last
14-years period, beginning with 1928,
there has been snow for only four
holidays and on two of those oc
casions it was quite scant.
The heaviest snow in the 20-year
period occurred in 1916 when a heavy
blizzard blanketed the ground with 12
inches of snow. In 1935 the Bluffton
district was covered with eight inches
Last year Bluffton experienced the
warmest Christmas Day in nearly a
decade with sunshine and balmy
weather bringing the mercury to 60
degrees just short of the all time rec
ord of 1932 when the thermometer
corded a mark of 62.
Here is the record of ground con
ditions on Christmas for the last 30
30 Year Record
1911, no snow 1912, no snow 1913,
trace of snow 1914, seven inches
1915, three inches 1916, 12 inches
1917, seven inches, 1918, trace of
snow, 1919, one inch 1920, no snow
1921, no snow 1922, trace of snow
1923, no snow 1924, five inches.
1925, one inch 1926, three inches
1927, no snow 1928, one inch 1929,
five inches 1930, no snow 1931, no
snow 1932, no snow 1933, no snow
1934, three inches 1935, eight inches
1936, no snow 1937, no snow, 1938,
no snow 1939, trace of snow 1940,
Sedans in Lead
The four-door sedan is the most
popular type of American automo
bile, accounting for 40 per cent of
all sales. The two-door sedan is
second, the coupe third.
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HEAVY VOLUME OF
XMAS MAIL SETS
NEW RECORD HERE
loliday Business This Christ
mas Season Will Surpass
Last Year’s Mark
Flood of Holiday Mail Taxes
Facilities of Bluffton’s Post
With letter cancellations already
better than 5,000 ahead of last year’s
figure, a new all time record for out
going mail has been established at
the Bluffton post office this Christ
mas season, it was announced the
first of the week by postal officials.
About 12,000 pieces were cancelled
Monday altho not all of this mail
was dispatched, it was stated. On
Thursday, Friday and Saturday of
last week, cancellations reached a
total of better than 7,000 for each
92 Sacks Monday
Incoming mail also has been very
heavy this Yuletide season with the
climax coming on Monday when 92
sacks and pouches of mail literally
swamped the local post office. While
this is not an all record volume of
intake, it was sufficient to necessi
tate extra help and overtime work of
the regular postal employes.
First class mail is received in
sealed pouches while second, third
and fourth class mail comes in sacks,
postal officials stated.
Mail in the business section was
carried by substitute carriers allow
ing the regular carriers, Wilbur
Potee and Ralph Reichenbach, to
work the residential sections.
Saturday afternoon deliveries were
made this year to ease the pressure
for the Monday accumulation. Altho
the entire volume of mail has beeen
(Continued on page 8)
Last Rites Held
For Hiram Locher
Funeral services, largely attended,
were held Monday afternoon at the
First Mennonite church for Hiram
Locher, 72, vice president and di
rector of the Citizens National bank
and for many years a business man
and farmer of this place.
He was found dead ia bad Satur
day morning at 7 o’clock at his home
just north of Bluffton on what is
known as the Locher dairy farm,
where he has been living alone since
his son, Oliver Locher left last fall
for Florida to spend the winter be
cause of ill health.
The body was found by Russel
Schaublin, a tenant, residing across
the road from the Locher home. An
investigation which led to discovery
of the body was begun by Schaublin
when Mr. Locher failed to arrive at
the barn to assist in the morning
milking as was his custom.
Allen County Coroner Harry Lewis
reported that death was due to a
heart ailment. The body when found
had been dead for several hours.
Mr. Locher was born in Riley
township, Putnam county, the son of
Christian and Verena (Lugibihl)
Locher, residing northwest of Bluff
ton. As a young man he taught in
district schools of the Settlement and
was prominent in organization of
former teachers and pupils of the
Stager school who held their second
annual reunion last summer.
He was also interested in the mer
cantile business here for some time
as a member of the firm of Baum
gartner, Locher & Co., Bluffton
His connection with the Citizens
National bank dates from the found
ing of the institution nearly twenty
two years ago since which time he
has been vice president and a mem
ber of the board of directors.
His wife, the former Augusta
Green of this place, preceded him
In denominational affiliations Mr.
Locher was a member of the First
Mennonite church, where he served
at various times as member of
boards and committees and was a
former teacher in the Sunday school.
His pastor, Rev. H. T. Unruh offi
ciated at the funeral service, Mon
day afternoon, following which in
terment was made in Maple Grove
cemetery. Due to ill health his son,
Oliver Locher, spending the winter
at Clearwater, Florida, did not re
turn for1 the funeral.
Surviving in addition to the son
are two daughters, Ruth Locher of
Cleveland and Mrs. Dwain Murray
of Marietta a sister, Mrs. Mary
Diller of Bluffton and three brothers,
Samuel and Chris, northwest of
Bluffton, and Milton Locher of
i Washington, D. C.
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