Since this week is the annual observance of Defiance Days in
Sheridan, I thought it would be fitting to use some material appropriate
for the occasion.
The reproduction which we have to work with isn't of very good quality, so making another reproduction from that is going to be quite difficult.
The picture is of the first business house in Sheridan. It was moved from Defiance in 1887. The upper story served as the I.O.O.F. hall.
The building was razed in 1902 and a two story brick building replaced it.
Some time ago I prevailed on John Bainum to write a history of defiance. It too some bit of persuasion but it was worth the effort. It would be an injustice for me to use his material as if it were my own so I am using his material in its entirety.
By John Bainum
The story of Defiance begins with the man Jacob Winemiller.
He was born in York County, Pennsylvania, on March 27, 1816.
He was the son of John and Catherine (Zellar) Winemiller. In
1823 the family migrated to Belmont County, Ohio and shortly thereafter
to Monroe County, Ohio.
Jacob Winemiller received his education in Monroe County and there he married Elitha Carpenter, the daughter of Joseph and Nancy Carpenter, in 1836. Three children were born to this union.
Elitha Winemiller died in 1849 and in the following year, 1850, Jacob married Clarinda Tuttle. Jacob Winemiller and his second wife continued to live in Monroe county, Ohio until the year 1858 when Mr. Winemiller moved his family to Queen City, in Adams County, Iowa.
In the winter of 1864 Winemiller journeyed south to the newly formed county of Worth in Missouri and purchased some land from Warren and Martha Judd. This parcel of land was in township 66, range 33, section14. The following year, 1865, Jacob Winemiller brought his wife, seven children and a nephew of his first wife, John W. Bainum, to his new home on the Platte River.
John Bainum and Jacob Winemiller had married sisters in Ohio. Bainum and his wife had migrated to southern Kansas and here a son had been born. Bainum's wife died in 1859 and shortly thereafter he took his son to Adams County, Iowa to live with the Winemiller family.
Jacob Winemiller first started a sawmill and lumber business. Shortly, in 1868, John Weaver began operation the first store in what was to first be known as Winemiller's Mill. In 1869 Winemiller built a grist mill along the east bank of the Platte River using water to power the mill.
The mill wheel was an under shot type because there was not enough elevation to put the water over the top of the wheel. Occasionally a mud turtle would get into the water wheel and it would stop the wheel until it was removed. Several times, to avoid releasing the water, Winemiller would dive down, remove the turtle and then start up the mill.
The census of 1870 listed five flouring mills in Worth County, two of them being Brown's Mill at Isadora and Winemiller's, in Union Township.
John weaver operated his store for about two years and sold to Nathaniel DeWitt in 1870, who in turn sold to Alonzo Stone in 1872. Other businesses began and the name was changed to Riverside.
In 1872 the town was laid out and platted and a post office was established and the town officially became Defiance.
Mr. Winemiller sold the mill to Charles Freemyer in 1876. Freemyer operated the mill until 1878 when it was sold to George Orr & Son. Jacob Winemiller was the first postmaster.
The first blacksmith was P. Fletchall. Dr. C.O. Skinner was the pioneer physician.
The GENTRY AND WORTH COUNTY HISTORY, 1882, lists the following business directory for Defiance.
Stiles Mitchell, blacksmith drugs
J.R. Stanley & Co., dry goods
Richard Warren, blacksmith
Joseph Warren, blacksmith
Joseph Cox, carpenter
Defiance Lodge, I.O.O.F., was organized July 26, 1876, with A.M. Brooks, W.L. Stone, Joseph Engle, C.O. Harris and Dr. J.D. Horn as members.
Defiance Lodge, A.F. & A.M. was chartered October 17, 1878. The charter members were: Joseph Engle, Jacob Winemiller, W.L. Stone, Eli Bradford, J.C. Bohart, R.J. Engle, W.H. Worth, J.K. Jones and C.O. Harris.
In 1882, Frank Cooper was the doctor.
In 1887 the Chicago, St. Paul and Kansas City Railroad built the grade and laid the steel down the scenic Platte River Valley, missing Defiance by one-half mile to the west. The town of Sheridan was platted June 17, 1887 and on July 5, 1887 a load of lumber was unloaded to begin the first house in the new town. Gradually the businesses moved west to the new town and Defiance ceased to be a business center.
At Defiance the school house stood west of the present (1982) site of the Vilas Hibbs home and on the north side of the road. Some of the children who went to this early day school were Bill Rickabaugh's children, the children of Bill Mitchell along with the children of Jacob Winemiller. In 1882-83, Rheube Wyatt was the teacher and Georgie Thompson taught in 1884.
John Bainum, the author of the material above is a grandson
of the youngster John W. Bainum, who was brought to Defiance by
Jacob Winemiller in 1965.