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This and That-Students on strike PDF Print E-mail
Monday, August 15, 2011 6:18 AM

Some of the old newspapers contain a lot of interesting information.  The Local History and Genealogy Room of the Putnam County Library has several newspapers on micro-film.

While I was searching on the Putnam County Sentinel film, my friend, Janice was searching the Continental News Review. Janice does research of birth, death and marriages for the library. These are then put on the computer for alphabetical indexes (in book form) to make it easier for patrons to find their information on relatives. 

Janice came across a short little item in the May, 1937 edition of the Continental paper.
“This week Putnam County witnessed its first sit-down strike. Tuesday, over 50 Ottoville students from the freshman, sophomore and junior classes walked out of school in protest of the discharge of three teachers. A sit-down strike was staged in the class rooms before the walk out. Wednesday, the strikers paraded the streets with large banners favoring the re-employment of the discharged instructors. The senior class failed to join the demonstration. Wednesday morning, the students returned to their studies after the three discharged instructors were rehired for another year by the Ottoville School Board.”

Rita Turnwald included this story in her “History of Ottoville & Vicinity 1845 – 200l.” She mentioned that approximately 50 students of the Ottoville High School refused to return to class after the noon recess Monday (24 May 1937) in protest the action taken by the Board of Education in failing to rehire three teachers for the 1937- 38 school term.

The three teachers were F. W. Koenig of Tiffin, Susan Mulaney of Toledo and Jeanette Wagner, of Hamilton. Koenig taught commercial subjects, Wagner taught  music to elementary and high school students and Mulaney was an elementary teacher.

Talk of a strike started shortly after the publication of the board’s action. Not all students were participating. All participants were from the freshmen, sophomore and junior classes.

The students paraded the streets of Ottoville and the vicinity of the school, bearing large signs, giving the cause of their protest.  No violence was reported.

An attempt was being made to have a student spokesman meet with the school officials.

On May 25 the Delphos Herald carried more info on the strike. “The students of Ottoville High School continued to strike Tuesday.”
Members of the school board were:  Joseph Hoersten, William Dickman, Anthony Koester, George Rieger and Walter Wannemacher. F. J. Ulrich was the school superintendent. A special meeting of the board was held Monday evening but results of the session were not known.

The item made the news for the third day in the Delphos Herald. “According to word from school authorities of the Ottoville School, the ‘strike’ is settled. The students were back in school Wednesday after a day and a half of parading the streets of Ottoville.”  The school authorities would not elaborate on their statement.

A mass meeting was held in the village Tuesday night and school officials decided to hold a hearing on the teachers’ dismissal.
On the 27th of May, The Continental News Review stated that the three instructors were rehired.

Does any “young” man or woman remember this incident? Did your big brother of sister go on strike?

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:25 PM

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