Many of our country roads are named after residents who settled in the area and who owned land along the road carrying their name.
Among such road names in Richland Township include Augsburger, Bentley, Bixel, Grismore, Huber, Lugabill, Phillips, Shifferly, Snider and Zurflugh.
This column’s focus is on Thomas Fett, and his wife, Catherine Hilti. Tom Fett Road carries Mr. Fett's name.
Thomas Fett was born on July 31, 1932, in Canada. His father was German and his mother Irish. No additional information was found on his parents.
In 1836, when Thomas was about 4 years old, the family moved to this community. Thomas married Catherine Hilti in 1857. They lived in a house made of bark. Catherine was the daughter of Christian and Anna C. Sollberger Hilti.
Thomas and Catherine had 12 children, each born in Richland Township. An 1880 plat record, shows that Thomas owned 187.50 acres in Section 14.
His farm was along the Dixie Highway (old U.S. 25) and the Norfolk Southern Railroad. Some of this land was taken for Interstate 75. Just east of the Fett farm lived Thomas Jefferson Bentley and his land is along Bentley Road.
Thomas and Catherine were active in the Reformed Mennonite Church and are buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, Bluffton.
Of the 12 Fett children, their fifth child, John, was probably one of the best known in the Bluffton community. In the mid-1890s he started in the hardware and implement business. Other activities included the Bluffton Slaw cutter Co. and Bluffton Stone Co., John’s two sons, Clair and Gilbert, also became active in the business with Gilbert taking over the business in 1915 where he continued for 40 years.
Gilbert’s son, Maurice, became the third generation to continue the business. Today, the Bluffton Senior Citizens Center is in that former hardware location.
Maurice was born March 2, 1923, in Bluffton to Gilbert and Inez (Triplehorn) Fett. On May 1, 1949, he married Eula Locher. She died Sept. 16, 1991. Maurice died Oct. 14, 2009.
Maurice and Eula's children are Dave (Mary), Bob (Sue) and Ed (Denise), each living in Bluffton, and a daughter, Carole (Larry) Hechler who lives in Indiana.
Born: July 31, 1832, Canada
Died: Jan. 13, 1916, Bluffton
Buried: Maple Grove Cemetery, Bluffton
Married July 6, 1851, Allen County
Born: June 28, 1833
Died: April 1, 1903
Buried: Maple Grove Cemetery, Bluffton
Catherine’s father: Christian Hilty (1787-1869
Catherine’s mother: Anna C. Sollberger (1786-1835)
Thomas and Catherine Hilti Fett’s children:
Born: November 1854, Richland Township
Died: Sept. 1, 1936, Parlier, California
Spouse: Kitty ?
The couple had two children
Born: March 17, 1857, Richland Township
Died: Year not known
Spouse: Thomas Charles
The couple lived in Findlay
Born: Dec. 13, 1858, Richland Township
Died: July 27, 1892, Richland Township
Born: Oct. 9, 1860, Richland Township
Died: June 5, 1939, Richland Township
Spouse: Mary Hochstettler, died at age 33, 7 years after Amelia was born
The couple had one daughter, Amelia
Spouse: Malinda Hochstettler
Born: Feb. 20, 1862, Richland Township
Died: May 14, 1926, Bluffton
Spouse: Elizabeth Stratton
Elizabeth’s father: Asa Stratton
Elizabeth’s mother: Frances Cornwall Stratton
The couple had four children: Mabel, Ellen, Clair and Gilbert
Born: March 11, 1864, Richland Township
Died: June 13, 1938, Bluffton
Spouse: Henry Stauffer
Born: May 16, 1866, Richland Township
Died: 1900, Bluffton
Spouse: John J. Badertscher
The couple had one daughter, Carrie
Born: Feb. 29, 1868, Richland Township
Died: Nov. 20, 1960, near Beaverdam, Ohio
Spouse: Louise Conrad
Spouse: Ida Conrad
Born: Jan. 20, 1879, Richland Township
Died: Date not known, lived in Billings, Montana
Spouse: Mack McCoy
Born: March 20, 1873, Richland Township
Died: Oct. 21, 1958, Ada Nursing Home, Ada, Ohio
Spouse: Charles G. Fenton
The couple had three children
Samuel L. Fett
Born: Jan. 10, 1875, Richland Township
Died: June 17, 1938, Bluffton Community Hospital
Spouse: Cora A. Cozeman
The couple had one son, LeRoy
Born: Jan. 31, 1877, Richland Township
Died: Date not known; lived in Michigan
Spouse: Sallie Harlow
Tom Fett Road in Richland Township