|The following surnames are being researched:
Paal, Barth, Richter, Veinrich, and Bohm - The region includes Transylvania, Romania; in particular, the towns of Biertan, Mediasch, Peschendorf, and Hermannstadt. Any connections to Johann Paal who emigrated to America around 1902 from the Transylvania region of Hungary (before it became part of Romania in 1918).
Brown - Looking for any Brown connections in the Champaign County, Ohio town of St. Paris. In particular, any descendants of John and Nancy Brown, my 3rd great-grandfather and his wife. Collateral families include Furrow, Kiser, Miller, Swimley, Riker, Rush.
Rush - Looking for all ancestors and descendants of Benjamin Rush, the DOI Signer from Philadelphia. In particular, any leads to a Thomas Rush (1700-1770?, Albemarle County, VA.) who had 2 sons - John and Peter Rush - both migrating to Pendleton County, KY in the late 1790's. Collateral families include Fee, Maupin, Ballard, Thrasher.
Note: The Report Section on Sir Thomas Russhe of England is a constantly changing file that could contain conflicting information due to the records that exist in England and our ability to access them. The information contained in this file is as "research accurate" as I know it to be, but is always subject to change as new information is discovered.
"Why all the photographs" you ask? There's nothing quite like putting faces to names, dates, and events. St. Paris, Ohio is a place I wish everyone could visit once in their life. My mother was born and raised there. For all that town was and still is, this is for Mom.
Special thanks are in order to the following individuals who have made helpful contributions to the information contained in the reports listed below: James Moule, Barbara Jenkins, Luther Olson, Michelle Hayes, Craig Scott, Monika Ferrier, Bob & Jeanne Brown, Roberta Vetters, Darlene Brown Hoyt, Sharon Ware, Phyllis Folsum, Denise K. Moore, Stacey Byrne, Allan & Linda Ross, Rick Burnside, Virginia Jordan, Veda Bell, Carole Wise, Roberta Iiames, Bob Dann, William Riker, Jr., Doug Dowty, and the town of St. Paris, Ohio. Thanks to all of you for your time and the help you have provided.
- Frederick Richter Family - c. 1905 (42 KB)
My great-grandfather Frederick Wilhelm Richter, right; wife Charlotte Barth Richter, left; Louis Richter, center (brother of Frederick); and my grandmother Charlotte Richter, front. Taken about 1905, location could have been Pittsburgh, PA. where Charlotte was born in 1904.
- Three Generations Of Rikers - October 1906 (61 KB)
This photograph, taken in October 1906 by Jay Dann Riker, shows John Ferris Riker, 78, on left; his son Freeman Elwood Riker, 49, in middle; and his grandson Benjamin Harrison (Ben) Riker, 17, on right. John F. Riker was the first mayor of St. Paris, a Gold Rush participant, and a Civil War veteran. Freeman Riker co-owned the Walborn-Riker Company. Ben Riker wrote "Pony Wagon Town" in 1948. The Riker's were a family institution in St. Paris town history. Freeman's sister, Emma, married into the Brown family in 1889. Her husband, Charles Brown, was my great-granduncle.
- Captain John Ferris Riker - November 20, 1862 (49 KB)
This Civil War photograph was taken in Cumberland, MD., on November 20, 1862. John F. Riker began service as a Captain of Volunteers in Company E-113th, Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
- Aaron D. Riker - July 27, 1865 (43 KB)
This Civil War photograph of Aaron D. Riker was taken in Columbus, OH. It was postmarked July 27, 1865. After the war, Aaron ran a successful lumber business and was postmaster of St. Paris, nominated on July 22, 1889.
- Aaron D. Riker - c. 1890's (29 KB)
This photograph of Aaron D. Riker shows him wearing the GAR medal awarded in the Civil War.
- John F. Riker Family - November 1906 (30 KB)
The family of John F. Riker, taken on November 1906 by his grandson Jay Dann Riker. Left to right: Lucille Frazier, 20, granddaughter; Ruth Brown, 13, granddaughter; Carrie Riker Frazier, 46, daughter; Eliza Lichlider Riker, 74, wife; John F. Riker, 78; Herbert Ferris Brown, 9, grandson.
- St. Paris Opera House Announcement - 1897 (88 KB)
Two announcements from 1897 highliting the performances to be held at the Opera House in St. Paris, OH.
- Eliza Ann Riker - 1890 (33 KB)
This picture of Eliza Ann Lichlider Riker was taken in 1890, at 58 years of age. She was the wife of John F. Riker. She would live to be almost 99. She experienced in her life the pioneer days in Champaign County spent amongst the native Indians, the Gold Rush of '49, President Lincoln's assassination, the advent of baseball, the invention of the airplane, and toward the end of her life...the Depression. Quite a life lived by one of St. Paris' most remarkable citizens.
- LeRoy Brown's First Grade Class Picture - 1887 (44 KB)
My grandfather LeRoy Brown's first grade class picture from 1887. He is marked #7 in the front row. The school's name is unknown at this time.
- St. Paris Walborn-Riker Trading Card - c. 1890's (25 KB)
The institution that made St. Paris, Ohio the "Pony Wagon Town" was the Walborn-Riker Company. This trading card was acquired through an auction. It probably dates to the mid-1890's.
- LeRoy Brown's Hunting Trip #1 - c. 1900's (25 KB)
My grandfather Roy Brown proudly displays the day's hunt with an unidentified companion. Modern meat markets never made it this far.
- St. Paris Walborn-Riker Trading Card II - c.1890's (22 KB)
This is the reverse side of the Walborn-Riker Trading Card already pictured on this site.
- Minnie Brown's School Report Card - December 1877 (44 KB)
Minnie Brown was the daughter of my great-grandfather David E. Brown. This is her primary school monthly report card. She would die from diphtheria nearly 2 years later, just shy of her 8th birthday.
- Peter H. Berry - c. 1890's (10 KB)
Pete Berry was the husband of Rachel Brown. Pete owned and operated "Berry's Dry Goods Store" in St. Paris at the turn of the century.
- Byron H. Rush and Flora C. Rush - c. 1920's (47 KB)
My great-grandparents Byron Hartley Rush and his wife Flora Columbia Warner Rush. Taken in Springfield, OH in the early 1920's. They were the parents of Lena Alice Rush.
- John Paal, Sr. and John Paal, Jr. - 1920's (43 KB)
My great-grandfather and grandfather together in Cleveland, OH. Both men were carpenters by profession.
- Four Generation Paal Family Photo - 1985 (42 KB)
My father Robert Paal, myself, grandfather John Paal, Jr., and daughter Andrea Paal. Taken in Warsaw, IN. The only four generation picture known to exist in our family, it will span a 100 year period in 2003.
- Biertan, Transylvania Postcard #1 - 1906 (71 KB)
This postcard picture was dated 1906. It depicts Biertan, Transylvania, the birthplace of my grandmother Charlotte Paal's parents.
- Biertan, Transylvania Postcard #2 - 1906 (49 KB)
This postcard picture was dated 1906. It depicts the Biertan "church castle" that served as the backdrop of the town my great-grandparents were born in.
- Rachel A. Brown - c. 1880 (11 KB)
Rachel Brown was the daughter of Levi & Mariah Brown. She was my great-grandaunt being the sister of David E. Brown, my great-grandfather. Rachel was married to Peter Berry. She ran a millinery store in St. Paris, Ohio.
- Charles B. Brown - c. 1880 (10 KB)
"Charley" Brown, as he was known, was the son of Levi & Mariah Brown. He was my great-granduncle. Among other things, he worked in the Walborn-Riker Co. factory in the 1890's as a blacksmith; every wheel and axle passed through his forge. He was married to Mary Emma Riker, the sister of Freeman Riker who was co-owner of the Walborn-Riker company.
- The Daughters Of Levi Brown - Mid 1880's (29 KB)
Family portrait of the six daughters of Levi and Mariah Brown, taken in St. Paris in the mid-1880's. Front row (L to R): Rachel Brown, Susan (Susie) Brown; Middle row: Katherine (Kate) Brown, Laura Brown. Back row: Elizabeth Brown, Amanda Brown. All six of these women were my great-grandaunts. David Brown (my great-grandfather) was their brother.
- Mary "Emma" Riker Brown - c. 1890 (11 KB)
Emma Riker married Charles B. Brown, my great-granduncle, in October 1889. She was the sister of Freeman Riker, the co-owner of the Walborn-Riker Company.
- Catherine "Kate" Brown Marshall - c. Late 1880's (9 KB)
Kate Brown was the daughter of Levi & Mariah Brown. She was my great-grandaunt. She was married to William C. Marshall in September 1876.
- Robert John Paal - 1947 (45 KB)
My father's college photograph from Wittenburg University in Springfield, Ohio.
- Amanda Brown Golden's Family Portrait - c. 1890 (19 KB)
Amanda Brown Golden is pictured here with whom I believe to be her second husband, Albert E. Golden and their family. Amanda was the daughter of Levi & Mariah Brown. She was my great-grandaunt. Her first husband, William Pittman, died prior to January 1881.
- John Ludwig Paal, Jr. - Mid 1920's (28 KB)
My grandfather, John Ludwig Paal, taken in Cleveland, OH in the mid 1920's.
- Charles B. Brown inside Walborn-Riker - c. 1890 (19 KB)
A rare photograph from around 1890 that features my great-granduncle, "Charley" Brown working as a blacksmith in the Walborn-Riker Company. This is one of my all-time favorite photos of the Brown family. Ben Riker wrote in his book, "Pony Wagon Town," published in 1948, that "every wheel and axle first passed through Charley Brown's forge" before it became a finished pony wagon cart. These carts were sold all over the world and single-handedly put St. Paris, Ohio on the map back in the late 1800's.
- Biertan, Transylvania Photo - 1996 (189 KB)
This picture taken from a 1996 calendar shows a 16th-century built, 3-tiered wall fortified castle in Biertan, Transylvania. This town of Biertan is where my great-grandparents Frederick Richter and Charlotte Barth Richter were born. They came to America in 1903. The Paal line originated from Mediasch, Transylvania, just a few miles west of Biertan. Transylvania became part of present day Romania on December 24, 1918. During the time of my ancestors, it was considered part of Hungary from 1867-1918.
- John Ludwig Paal & Charlotte Richter Wedding Photo (35 KB)
My grandparents wedding portrait from June 11, 1927, taken in Cleveland, OH.
- Rachel Brown Berry & Ruth Brown - c. 1896 (11 KB)
Another favorite portrait of mine: Rachel Berry with her niece Ruth Brown in 1896 or 1897. Ruth was actually named Rachael Ruth by her father Charles B. Brown. Charles Brown & Rachel Berry were siblings together along with my great-grandfather, David E. Brown, growing up in St. Paris, Ohio.
- John Brown's Barn Restoration Photo #1 - 1974 (37 KB)
The restoration begins on the 1836 barn of John Brown in St. Paris, OH. 138 years had passed before this process was begun by Robert Brown, the great-grandson of John Brown.
- Charlotte Richter - 1921 (28 KB)
My grandmother Charlotte Richter, taken in Cleveland, OH in 1921.
- David E. Brown - c. Early 1870's (9 KB)
My great-grandfather David E. Brown, pictured in his early 20's when he still had the Wyatt Earp moustache and the full head of hair.
- John Brown's Barn Restoration Photo #2 - 1974 (39 KB)
Inside the completed renovation.
- Frederick Wilhelm Richter - 1914 (27 KB)
My great-grandfather, Fred Richter, taken in America in 1914. He was the father of Charlotte Richter Paal.
- LeRoy Brown - 1905 (10 KB)
My grandfather LeRoy Brown when he was 25 yrs old. He served as Postmaster of St. Paris, Ohio from 1935-1953.
- John Brown's Barn Restoration Photo #3 - 1974 (47 KB)
Inside the completed renovation.
- Charlotte Barth - 1902 (37 KB)
My great-grandmother, Charlotte Barth, taken in Biertan, Transylvania in 1902, 1 year before wedding. She was married to Frederick Wilhelm Richter.
- Virginia Lee Brown - 1949 (11 KB)
My mother Virginia Brown during her Nurses Training at Springfield City Hospital in 1949.
- John Brown's Barn Restoration Photo #4 - 1974 (37 KB)
Inside the completed renovation.
- Frederick Richter & Charlotte Barth Wedding Photo (35 KB)
My great-grandparents, Fred Richter and Charlotte Barth, taken at their wedding in 1903 here in America. The were the parents of Charlotte Richter.
- LeRoy Brown's Hunting Trip #2 - c. 1900's (40 KB)
They just don't get any better than this. The typical "rugged outdoorsmen" were different back in the day, they took names! My grandfather Roy Brown is on the far left.
- Wilhelm Richter & Louise Veinrich Richter - c.1880 (38 KB)
My great great-grandparents, Wilhelm Richter and Louise Veinrich Richter. Taken probably in 1880's in Mediasch, Transylvania. They were the grandparents of Charlotte Richter. They never came to America. Charlotte saw them only once.
- The Mandolin Club - c. 1890's-1900's (23 KB)
The Mandolin Club featured my grandfather Roy Brown on slide trombone (left), Eugene Brown on mandolin (top center), Otto Brown on piano (bottom center), and Frank Brown on guitar (bottom right). Roy and Otto were brothers. Gene and Frank were brothers. They were first cousins to each other. Rumour had it these boys could play.
- St. Paris Opera House Announcement - 1898 (49 KB)
Another announcement of the evening's entertainment at the Opera House.
- St. Paris Musical Convention - 1878 (50 KB)
St. Paris played host to a rare Musical Convention in December 1878. This was the handbill that advertised it.
- Carrie Riker Frazier & Family - c. Early 1890's (15 KB)
Carrie Bell Riker Frazier, the sister of Freeman Riker & Emma Riker Brown, is pictured with daughter Lucille Frazier and husband Frank Frazier.
- St. Paris Walborn-Riker Postcard - c. Early 1900's (25 KB)
A postcard advertisement from the Walborn-Riker Company, St. Paris, Ohio. An unusual postcard from the turn of the 20th century.
- Wilhelm Barth - c. 1880's (32 KB)
My great great-grandfather, Wilhelm Barth. Taken in Biertan, Transylvania probably in the 1880's. He was the mayor of Biertan. He was also the father of Charlotte Barth.
- Levi Brown - c. 1860 Tintype Restoration (20 KB)
This image was made from a negative derived from the original tintype. Levi Brown was my great-great grandfather from St. Paris, Ohio.
- Ben Riker - 1948 Standing Beside A Pony Wagon Cart (30 KB)
Ben Riker, standing next to a pony wagon cart from the Walborn-Riker Company in St. Paris. This newspaper photograph appeared in the Indianapolis Star the day of the publication release of "Pony Wagon Town" in 1948. The article "Readin,' Writin' Riker" appeared below the photograph.
- John Ludwig Paal, Sr. Family Portrait - 1904 (35 KB)
My great-grandfather, John Ludwig Paal, Sr. and his wife Louise Elges Paal. Their children John Ludwig, Jr. and Louise Paal. Taken in 1904 in Cleveland, OH.
- Walborn-Riker Co. Bookmark - c.1890's (47 KB)
This souvenir bookmark was a promotional advertisement for the Walborn-Riker Company in St. Paris, Ohio. It folded in half.
- The Children Of Levi Brown - Mid 1890's (61 KB)
These are the children of Levi and Mariah Brown, taken in the 1890's in St. Paris, OH. The man in the back row in spectacles is my great-grandfather David Brown. Charles Brown sits in front between Rachel and Susan Brown. Elizabeth and John Brown are in the middle row. Samuel, Laura, David, Katherine (Kate), and Amanda Brown are in the back row.
- Walborn-Riker Co. Postcard II - c.1890's (55 KB)
Another promotional postcard from the Walborn-Riker Co., St. Paris, Ohio advertising their catalog of pony wagons and carts to the public.
- David E. Brown - 1892 (37 KB)
My great-grandfather David Brown, taken in St. Paris, OH in 1892.
- Ben Riker - 1948 At His Book Signing (37 KB)
Ben Riker signing copies of "Pony Wagon Town" from the library in St. Paris, Ohio in 1948. This was at least the fifth publisher's autograph party he did in 1948, sponsored by Bobbs-Merrill Publishing in Indianapolis. The others were in Detroit, Dayton, Columbus, and Indianapolis. Surprisingly, Ben Riker was uncomfortable doing these sessions, he told reporters later.
- Elnora Virginia "Jennie" Swimley Brown - 1900 (29 KB)
My great-grandmother Jennie Brown, taken in Urbana, OH in 1900. She is the mother of my grandfather, Emanuel LeRoy Brown.
- John Paal, Jr., Louise Paal, Louise Elges Paal (16 KB)
My grandfather John Paal, Jr., his sister Louise, and their mother Louise Elges Paal. Taken in 1920's in Cleveland, OH.
- David L. Paal Family - December 2003 (22 KB)
Daughter Andrea, my wife Tammy, myself, and son Jeffrey. Taken in December 2003.
- Emanuel LeRoy Brown - c. 1900's (39 KB)
My grandfather Roy Brown, taken in St. Paris, OH about 1900. He was the father of my mother Virginia Lee Brown.
- Virginia Brown's Childhood Home - St. Paris, Ohio (24 KB)
This house on 317 W. Main St. (Hwy 36) in St. Paris, Ohio, was the childhood home my mother, Virginia Brown, grew up in. David Brown, her grandfather, lived here through 1927 when he died. The home was then purchased by LeRoy Brown from his brothers and in 1938, the garage was built - and still stands today. Virginia Brown sold the home in 1958. It was 98 years old when it was sold. The porch is no longer attached to the home if you drive by it today.
- Lena Alice Rush - c. 1920's (25 KB)
My grandmother Lena Alice Rush before her marriage to Emanuel LeRoy Brown. She was the mother of Virginia Lee Brown.
- Charlotte Richter Paal - 1907 (81 KB)
My grandmother in a 1907 photgraph as a 3 year old. Taken possibly in Pittsburgh, PA where she was born.
- McMorran's Hall Announcement - Jan. 1, 1873 (60 KB)
New Year's Night in 1873 was a special evening of entertainment held at McMorran Hall in St. Paris, OH. This is the flyer announcing it.
- 1947 Johnson-St. Paris HS Graduating Class (51 KB)
My mother Virginia Brown's high school class graduation picture from 1947.
- David E. Brown's Store & Blacksmith Shop - c. 1890 (38 KB)
My great-grandfather David E. Brown standing in front of his store and blacksmith shop on W. Main St. in St. Paris. He was a blacksmith and grocer at this particular time, working out of the same building.
- The Arion Quartet - c.1920's from St. Paris (32 KB)
The singing "Arion Quartet" from St. Paris was one of central Ohio's finest during the early 1920's. Left: L. E. "Gene" Brown; Top: F. E. "Fred" McKee; Right: Glenn "Tuck" Runkle; Bottom: Herbert F. Brown.
- Ben Riker's Book "Pony Wagon Town" (39 KB)
The front cover dust jacket of Ben Riker's "Pony Wagon Town," published by Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, in 1948. The definitive work depicting the Glory Days of St. Paris during the height of the 1890's pony wagon era. A must read for any St. Paris, OH or Riker family researcher. Two-thumbs up.
- Andrew Jackson Brown - c. 1860's (9 KB)
The brother of my great-great-grandfather, Levi Brown. Probably taken in St. Paris, OH in the mid 1860's. Andrew Brown is my 2nd great-uncle.
- Minnie Dann Riker - c. Mid 1880's (71 KB)
Mary Jane (Minnie) Dann, daughter of Jonathan Dann, was born in New Haven, CT on August 30, 1859. She married Freeman Riker on October 8, 1882. Benjamin Riker said of his mother Minnie, "she attended Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where she was studying with her brother William and sister Harriet in 1880. She came to St. Paris to teach in the high school, and within a year she and Freeman were married. She was the only woman of her generation in St. Paris who possessed a college degree. Denison University was founded by the Baptists, and the Rikers were Baptists. Mary allowed no work on Sunday, and Freeman always arranged to be home from business trips before 11:32 (midnight by sun time) on Saturday." This photo appears courtesy of Robert T. Dann, Harrison, Maine.
- Nancy Gotshall Brown & Rebecca Brown - c. 1860's (40 KB)
My great-great-great grandmother Nancy Gotshall Brown, with daughter Rebecca Brown. Nancy was the wife of John Brown of Lancaster County, PA and the mother of Levi Brown, Andrew Brown, Elizabeth "Betsy" Brown, and Rebecca Brown on this photo web site. Probably taken in Champaign County, OH in mid 1860's before Nancy's death in 1867.
- Aaron D. Riker - early undated phototograph (19 KB)
This photo of Aaron D. Riker comes courtesy the University of California-Berkeley; the Bancroftiana Newsletter, Volume 124, Spring 2004. This photograph accompanied Aaron's original handwritten Gold Rush Diary manuscript. This is the earliest known photograph of Aaron Riker known to exist; in all likelihood he is in his late teens.
- Elizabeth "Betsy" Brown Poorman - c. 1860's (31 KB)
The sister of my great-great grandfather Levi Brown, Elizabeth was the daughter of John and Nancy Brown. Probably taken in Champaign County, OH in mid 1860's.
- St. Paris School Exhibition - June 24, 1870 (100 KB)
This document announced the "event" to take place in (probably) the St. Paris Opera House. This handbill is extremely rare.
- St. Paris Town Fire - November 28, 1883 (42 KB)
This was the aftermath of the worst fire in St. Paris' history, looking towards Springfield St. A dozen businesses suffered heavy losses.
- LeRoy Brown's Baseball Team Picture - c. 1900's (30 KB)
My grandfather LeRoy Brown played on this local baseball team (top left). No other details are known.
- Pete Berry's Dry Goods Store - c. 1890's (65 KB)
My grandfather LeRoy Brown, right, worked in Pete's store as a delivery boy. Pete Berry is pictured on the left.
- The Sons Of David E. Brown - February 1888 (35 KB)
My grandfather LeRoy Brown is on the far right. His two brothers are Otto and Joseph. Taken in St. Paris, OH on February 1888.
- St. Paris Fire Department Marching Band - c.1900's (80 KB)
My grandfather LeRoy Brown is pictured by the arrow in front. The old steamer is visible in the right rear of the photo.
- David E. Brown Marriage Certificate - October 1870 (58 KB)
My great-grandfather's marriage certificate from October 20, 1870. He married Elnora Virginia Swimley in St. Paris, OH.
- Inside The St. Paris News-Dispatch - c. 1910's (68 KB)
The St. Paris News-Dispatch newspaper print room when it was owned by Walter Wiant (at the linotype) and Gene Brown (rear left) in 1909. Frank Glick is standing in rear right.
- John Brown's Land Deed - September 5, 1836 (186 KB)
My 3rd great-grandfather John Brown purchased 30 acres in Champaign Co., OH on September 5, 1836. This is the main page from that transaction.
- 1950 Springfield Nursing School Graduating Class (48 KB)
My mother Virginia Brown's Nursing School graduation class photo from 1950.
- The Paris Palace Jazz Band Ensemble - c. 1900's (93 KB)
This 8 member jazz ensemble played in St. Paris in the 1900's. My grandfather LeRoy Brown, second in from right, played the saxophone.
- Downtown St. Paris, Ohio - 1890's (47 KB)
This was the way St. Paris looked before the turn of the 20th century. Pictured is Springfield Street, looking south, from Main Street.
- The Great Flood in St. Paris - March 25, 1913 (54 KB)
This photograph was from West Main Street during the flood of the Spring of 1913. The town never saw this much water...ever. The Dayton, Ohio area received nearly a foot of rain in this same storm.
- Byron H. Rush Marriage Certificate - Sept. 5, 1888 (35 KB)
The marriage certificate of my great-grandparents Byron Hartley Rush and Flora Columbia Warner, from September 5, 1888 in Brown County, Ohio.
- The Sons of Wilhelm Richter, Sr. - c. 1892-1894 (46 KB)
My great-grandfather Frederick Wilhelm Richter, far left, in military uniform; brothers Wilhelm, Jr. and Louis Richter, middle and right. These were the sons of Wilhelm Richter, Sr. and wife Louise Veinrich Richter. Taken in Hermannstadt, Transylvania, just south of Biertan between 1892-1894.