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Monday, May 16, 2011 3:58 AM

Peter and Eva (Rastadter) Metzger’s first farm home in America was in Allen County, not too far from what is now the Lincoln Highway. They later moved to a house in the Putnam County section of their farm, northeast of Delphos.

When the family first arrived in Delphos, they lived in a hotel until the farm was vacated. Peter bought the farm from the daughter of James Hillyard and her husband, Pemrose Herring in 1876. Peter and Eva sold the farm to their son, John, in 1922 and then John sold the farm to his son, Carl, in 1979. The farm remains in the Metzger family and is the home of the Metzger Popcorn Company on Road U-20, near Delphos. Peter and Eva raised eight children. They had three children who died in infancy. Their six older children were born in their native Hungary. John and Catherine were born in Ohio.
Peter first came to America in the spring of 1896. After purchasing the 80 acre farm for $300.00, he returned to Hungary for his wife and family. He sent their two oldest sons over ahead of the rest of the family to get the farm ready.
The eight Metzger children were: Mathias, who married Josephine Osting; Anna, who married William Stauterman; Veronica, who married Anthony Hilvers; Emma, who married John F. Osting; Martin, who died at a young age in 1925; Peter, who married Anna C. Hageman; Catherine “Katy”, who married Leo Allemeier and John Mathias, who married Eugenia Kinast.
Mathias was the father of Frank, Albinus, Tony and several girls; Anna and William Stauterman were ancestors of Thelma Trentman Noonan. The Hilvers family settled near Ottoville and the Ostings have hundreds of descendents in this area. Martin died at the age of 38 and Peter moved to California. Catherine and Leo Allemeier operated the Delphos Mushroom Company. They had five daughters and one son, Hilary, who was killed in the Korean War.

John and his wife, Eugenia, made their home on the original farm. Eugenia was born in Vienna, Austria 28 January 1900. Her parents were: Josef Kinast (8 April 1875), son of Josef Kinast and Rosalie Tremmel; and Augusta Pompe (12 November 1870), daughter of Martin Pompe and Ursula Uresak.

Eugenia had a younger sister, Olga, who became a nun. Their mother died when they were quite young. Her father took Olga to a babysitter until he found his little girl tied to the bedpost with a bottle of flour water. That was the end of the babysitter… so he found a wife.
Eugenia was not happy after her father remarried. Eugenia had worked in a bank and lost a lot of money in 1918, during the war. She decided to come to America by herself. She came to Delphos because she knew a family by the name of Plescher, who lived here. They were friends of Peter and Eva Metzger. Kelly Fields wrote in her Metzger Family History: “They would bring Eugenia with them when they would visit. Eugenia had a visitors visa, which was about to expire. She either had to get married or go back home. Peter had wanted John to marry a German girl. Peter liked Eugenia and wanted John to marry her. Eugenia said she had her choice of men and picked John. She said, “I had to get married, but not the way you are thinking! ’So they got married. John got the farm from his mom. He had to pay each sibling for him to have the farm. He also drove a truck to help pay for it. After John drove a truck, during WW II in l941, he and Eugenia worked at Westinghouse in Lima. After that he started to farm. John and Syl Osting started Metzger Popcorn Company in 1943. Syl is John’s nephew.”

John and Eugenia “Jenny” were married 9 November 1921 in Delphos St. John’s Catholic Church. Their children were: Carl Metzger, 1923, who married Mildred Schneider, b 1924; Sylvia, 1926, who married Merlin Will, b 1925;  Helen Marie, 1925, who married Robert Moening and Carol, 1935, who married Thomas O’Neill

Carl lived on the farm with his parents and siblings until WW II broke out and changed the lives of everyone in America and in a major part of the World.

When Carl was growing up his dad would put him on one of the work horses, as they worked the ground. He also rode the horse to the woods about a half-mile away to get the cows. His dog was always with him. Carl grew up without radio or TV. They got their first radio when he was about 16. He spent a lot of time reading and his mother would read to the children about the mountains and rivers of her homeland. Carl spent a lot of time at the Auglaize River, swimming and fishing. His route to the river, about 1 ½ miles east, was the A C & Y Railroad tracks. Carl said the dirty river wasn’t dirty in those days and you could see fish swim in it when you were under the water. It was clean to him. Sometimes there would be 50 to 100 kids and adults at the old swimming hole.

Carl graduated from Fort Jennings High School in 1941. He started high school in the old, old school. While the “new” school was being built in 1938, they went to the Memorial Hall to school. He finished his Junior and Senior years in what was the new school in the 1940’s.
Carl played baseball and basketball in high school. He had the privilege of being a member of the first basketball team at FJHS.
He also took part in many other school activities. While in grade school most of the boys wore bib overalls or denim pants to school but his mother made him dress up in cotton pants on the warmer days and corduroy in the winter.

Following high school graduation, Carl went to Ohio State University in Columbus for one year. WW II broke out and he signed up for the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy, which is one of the service Academies. He had some schooling in Merchant ships and navigation and then went to sea. Kelly wrote in her family history: “During WW II he crossed the Atlantic five times and the Pacific once. They carried supplies to the Armed Forces ... the ship was subjected to attack by subs any time it left the U. S. coast. His convoys were hit many times, but his ship was never hit by enemy fire. The only time he remembers being hit was in South Hampton, England and that was from our anti-aircraft barrage that expended from the sky.” After VE (Victory Europe) Day and before VJ (Victory Japan) Day, he married  Mildred “Milly” Schneider on 12 June 1945.

After returning from service, he took up farming with his father. John and his nephew, Syl Osting were also in the popcorn business. Carl was the “tomato king” in 1951. He raised 22.3 tons per acre on 23.3 acres. Soon the popcorn business took over from the farm work.
Carl Metzger was inducted into the Popcorn Institute “Hall of Fame” in 1989 for “making a powerful impact in the association, furthering the role and business interests of the small and medium sized popcorn processor.” Orville Redenbacher was also inducted at this time. In 1989 the family grew about 1,000 to 1,500 acres of popcorn per year.  Their Mello-Crisp popcorn is distributed to most states east of the Mississippi River. Carl & Milly’s sons, Rick and Bob later took over the business. Metzger Popcorn is now operated by Bob Metzger and his family.

A special mention should be made about Carl receiving a special award in 1993 from the Russian Government. He was awarded the Commemorative Medal “The 40th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic Was (WW II)”. The award was a token of recognition of outstanding courage and personal contribution to the Allied support ... which fought for freedom against Nazi Germany. It was awarded by Boris Yeltsin and presented by Vladimir P. Lukin.

Carl Metzger passed away in 2010. His wife Milly, lives in Fort Jennings. Most of their children live in Ohio.
John Metzger passed away 20 April 1979 and Eugenia died 28 September 1976. Peter Metzger died 3 September 1951 and his wife, Eva, died 16 November 1941.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:22 PM
 

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