The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Feb. 26, 2024

Book author to speak at historical society

VW independent staff/submitted information

PAULDING — The John Paulding Historical Society will host a general meeting and special program/guest speaker at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 26.

The speaker for the evening will be Jerett Godeke, who will discuss his first book, “The Reservoir War: A History of Ohio’s Forgotten Riot in America’s Gilded Age, 1874-1888.” The book was released last month.

Local historian Jerett Godeke will speak about his new book on Paulding County’s Reservoir War on September 26 at John Paulding Historical Society in Paulding. Photo submitted

Godeke, a local historian, spent a couple of years researching and writing this comprehensive account of Paulding County’s infamous struggle to drain an abandoned canal reservoir near Antwerp. A book signing will be held after his talk. The museum has copies of the book available for purchase.

The Antwerp native received a master’s degree in history last year from Bowling Green State University. He actively volunteered at the museum from 2013 to 2015 before attending college, then completed an internship there as part of his graduate studies. He currently is a director of the historical society. Godeke also is a member of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society and a director of the Canal Society of Indiana.

The book’s cover provides a synopsis for readers: “No Compromise! The Reservoir Must Go! After peaceful appeals to the state legislature failed, the fiercest discontent in the history of Paulding County, Ohio, finally reached its climax on the night of April 25, 1887. The destruction was complete after a series of explosions again lit up the darkened towpath of the Wabash & Erie Canal.”

“To quell what it considered a lawless mob, the State of Ohio deployed three infantry companies and one light battery of the Ohio National Guard from Toledo, Ohio. With a Gatling gun in tow, the first troops arrived in Paulding County the following evening.”

“Weaving together an abundance of primary and secondary sources, Jerett W. Godeke uncovers the history of this largely forgotten event. The Reservoir War is the most exhaustive history of this remarkable riot to date and is an essential read for those seeking to know more about this fascinating chapter in the history of Paulding County.”

The book, available in paperback and hardcover, can be purchased at the museum or online at booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.

Admission is free, refreshments will be served and the meeting is open to all at 600 Fairground Drive in Paulding, across from the fairgrounds.

POSTED: 09/18/23 at 3:40 am. FILED UNDER: News