Fulton County Historical Museum

In northwest Ohio, we are fortunate in that most counties have a county museum dedicated to preserving something of the history of the region. For the next few posts, I'd like to highlight some of these local treasures and while my primary interest is the Civil War, many of these museums offer a host of insightful and intriguing exhibits covering all phases of 19th and 20th century history.

The first museum I would like to highlight is the Fulton County Historical Museum located in Wauseon, the county seat of Fulton County located about 30 miles west of Toledo. As an avid railfan and particularly a buff of the old New York Central, my sons and I have been visiting Wauseon for many years as the rail depot is one of the finest example of NYC station architecture left on the old main line to Chicago.

Wauseon has done a nice job also paying tribute to the sacrifices of its areas soldiers who served in the Civil War. Fulton County in 1860 was a raw rural county just a few years removed from the
1921 Soldiers and Sailors Monument is
located in front of the Fulton County Courthouse
wilderness and was relatively lightly populated. However, Fulton Countians flocked to the colors in 1861, forming parts of Company H, 3rd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, Company H, 14th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (3 months), Companies I and K, 38th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company I, 47th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, men in multiple companies of the 67th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (one of my favorite regiments), Company E, 68th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company G, 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Companies F and H, 86th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (6 months), Companies E and H, 100th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company K, 111th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Companies D and H, 130th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Companies B and K, 182nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company D, 189th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and a company that served with the 44th Illinois Infantry. With such a rich heritage of service, Wauseon has two fine war memorials; the soldiers and sailors monument dedicated in 1921 is located in front of the historic Fulton County Courthouse (worth a visit indoors if you happen to stop by during the week); an older monument is located across from the county museum and this monument dates to 1867.

The county museum is currently located at 229 Monroe St. but by the time you read this, the museum will be closed for the balance of the year and will be relocating to new quarters at the Fulton County Fairgrounds along state route 108 near I-80. The staff was quite excited about their new facility and with the expanded space, will be able to put more of the museum collection on permanent display. Check out their websites for more updates: http://www.fultoncountyhs.org/
Artifacts that belonged to Colonel Edwin L. Hayes, including his rank insignia, presentation sword, and pistol.

The museum had several exhibits of interest: a military history room with a nice collection of Civil War artifacts, including items that belonged to Edwin L. Hayes who started the war of a captain in the 44th Illinois (his pistol is included in the museum gun collection) and ended the war as the colonel of the 100th Ohio Infantry. One of the more intriguing items was a walking stick that was brought back to Fulton County from Limestone Station, Tennessee- the 100th Ohio suffered heavy losses in this relatively unknown battle fought in September 1863. Years ago, my friend Tony Valentine worked to have a marker erected at Limestone to commemorate the battle; click here to learn more: http://tngenweb.org/washington/records-data/washington-county-military-index/miscellaneous-military-records/battle-of-limestone-station/

The gun collection included many Civil War era long arms but not being an expert at identifying weapons, I'll just encourage you to check it out. As I understand it, the collection came from the G.A.R. hall in Fayette, Ohio. Adjacent to the Civil War artifacts is a good sized room dedicated to Native American artifacts from the tribes to once inhabited Fulton County.

As much as I enjoyed the Civil War stuff, the museum's display devoted to World War II was absolutely superb- I'll let the pictures tell the story. There was a nice mix of homefront and battle items, including a large Japanese map of the Pacific Ocean areas that was captured by a local soldier during the invasion of the Philippines. The 1940s kitchen was also a highlight, along with the period music playing through an old radio, another soft spot of mine (I love old tube radios and have a 1940 model Philco with a skyscraper cabinet in my media room). My five year old son summed it most succinctly by telling the my that "the World War II room was the bestest." I quite agree with him.

The World War II exhibit was top notch.

The 1940s kitchen- the calendar on the wall dated 1944.
1867 monument to the Civil War soldiers of Fulton County

This Japanese map of the world was captured by Arie Jones of the 5th Cavalry Regt. on Luzon. The map was made by the Japanese Navy in 1942.



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