Canal Facts & Excursion | N.B. & the Miami-Erie Canal | Thompson House

“Fun on the Old Canal” – Ralph May | Bicentennial Canal Marker - 2003

Lock One Restorations & Village Seal




(from The Evening Leader - 2/28, 4/20, 4/29/1968)

A resolution was passed at the January 1968 meeting of the New Bremen Village Council and Mayor Frank Dicke giving permission to the Lions Club to "institute a park and recreational development project" on the Komminsk tract shortly after the land was donated to the village by Mr. & Mrs. Lewis Komminsk.  The two buildings on this land were the lock tender's house (nearest the canal lock), which also served as a hotel for the boatmen, and the livery stable (located northwest of the house) which was originally used for the mules that pulled the canal boats. 

The livery stable ("Thompson" horse barn), was torn down by members of the Lions Club and other volunteer help including Lendor Schneider, Jim Schnell, John Gilberg, and Lee Kuck in February 1968.  The "lean-to" on the south side and much of the siding and roofing of the large barn were removed on Sunday afternoon, February 25th.  The razing was completed within the next few weeks, and the contents of the building and the good salvaged materials were sold at an auction.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, 1968, crowds of people lined the banks of the Miami-Erie Canal near the area where Lock One was built more than 120 years before to watch the historic lock tender's house burn to the ground as 203 firemen from 33 departments participated in a training session sponsored by the Central Western Firemen's Association.  Permission had been obtained to do this even though some thought the house should be restored and preserved.  A 60-foot hard maple tree in front of the house was saved except for a few end branches.

The "Thompson" house, so called because of the last family who lived there and tended the canal lock,  was 2˝ stories high and had 14 rooms.  The bottom was built of stone and had a kitchen and wine cellar.  The rest of the house was bedrooms and sitting rooms.  It had oak floors and 4 x 4 oak rafters.  There was only one chimney.  From the small windows near the top, the lock-tender could see the canal boats coming around the bend and immediately ring a bell to put in operation the opening and closing of the locks.  Taxes were paid on only half of the house, because it was built on state property shortly after the locks were constructed in 1839.  The last family to live in the house was the Matthews family.  Another family that lived there for some time was the Herb Gross family.

The “Thompson House”






(from the N.B. Sun - 3/29/1907)




H-Thomas B.-1/9/1832-12/21/1907t

W-Mary E. - 12/8/1849-3/11/1905t

1-George L. - 10/26/1870-4/26/1956

Apparently George & Ray were the only

two who married.  George married Anna Brueggeman in 1896 and they had 2 sons:

                    Clinton & Elton.

2-Catherine C. - 1872-5/2/1875

3-Edward C. - 1875-11/20/1907t

4-Ray Thompson - born in 1878

(last to survive-lived in Dayton/1956)

5-Walter Grey-1/27/1881-6/9/1951

6-Frank Wood- 3/17/1884-5/16/1940

(his nickname was "Hook")t

7-Thomas B.J.-12/30/1886-12/5/1903

(he died of diabetes)

8-Harry E. - 1890- 8/6/1891

9-Grover C. - 7/23/1893-10/25/1900

(he drowned)t

   t(see obituaries below)


Thomas B. Thompson was one of the most familiar and best known personages of the community of New Bremen.  Born in Juniatta County, Pennsylvania on January 9, 1832, he came to Ohio at the age of 19.  He came on the packet Ohio to Piqua where he obtained employment with Farrington & Slawson on a boat plying between Cincinnati and Toledo.  Later he boated for a short while for Lawton & Barnet.  On leaving the canal, he secured employment on the Dayton & Michigan Railroad, which was at that time building but in one day discovered that he did not care for railroad work. 

He roamed over the country for a couple  of years,  working  when and wherever he could secure labor, and at the time when Early made his famous raid through the Cumberland Valley, he was employed at Hagerstown, Maryland.

He then came back to Piqua where he was engaged in the saloon business for two years, but gave that up to embark in the bakery and confectionery business.  During those years, he made regular trips with horse and wagon over the country to the outlying towns where he sold his wares to the merchants.  He made frequent trips to New Bremen and often stopped at the then famous hostelries - the American House conducted by Wilhelmi, the Lehmkuhl House, and also the Goll House, where he has now (1907) lived for many years.

After giving up the bakery, he embarked in the lumber business, buying and selling all kinds of timber - railroad ties, hoop-poles, cord wood, and staves - long before there were any stave factories in this part of the country.  Soon, however, he was again attracted to the canal and gave up the lumber business for boating - buying, selling and operating boats - until he owned as many as seventeen boats, all on the Miami-Erie Canal.  He also boated one summer on the Wabash Canal.

On leaving the canal again, he went to Dayton where he conducted a grocery and saloon for 6 months for  one  I. Greer.    He  then  married Mr. Greer's sister, Mary E. List, on June 2, 1868.  After residing in Dayton for 10 months, they boarded a packet and came to New Bremen on April 27, 1869 and he became active in much of the progress made by the village.  He at once rented the house where he now lives from William Meyer, who was then employed and interested in the flour and woolen mills.  Here he conducted a grocery and saloon for two or three years, and then sold the business to Lafe Tecklenburg. 

For almost five years, he conducted a saloon on Washington Street, and then purchased the house at the lock, and for many years conducted a boarding and lodging house.  He also conducted a livery barn a few years, and always had one or more teams busy either at some kind of public work, at his own contracts, or at farming.  Besides his boarding house, he did all kinds of hauling and teaming, always being his own manager in whatever he undertook, at times having more irons in the fire than the average man is able to manage.

Mr. & Mrs. Thompson had 9 children.  (See genealogy chart at left.)





3/  /1898 - T.B. Thompson moved the barn from Henry Schwaberow which stood in the rear of the old William Fahrenhorst lot fronting on Monroe to his grounds in rear of livery barn and will use it for stable.

t10/26/1900 - Grover Cleveland Thompson fell into the canal last night and drowned.  He is the youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. T.B. Thompson, who live near the canal lock.  Grover failed to respond when his father rang the house bell summoning his children home.  A Democratic rally was in full sway and Grover had been tooting his horn along with the Kettlersville Band, who had come in to play at the rally.

After all attempts to locate the missing boy proved futile, permission was given by the town authorities to ring the alarm bells.  The lifeless body of the boy was recovered from the lock at about 1:00 by August Wehrman.  He was buried at Willow Grove Cemetery.



to RALPH MAY (2/21/1969)

So sorry to hear they tore down the Thompson house.  I was thinking one time of buying it.  What a delightful story could be written about the house and the Miami-Erie Canal.  Remember the time little Do-Do Thompson drowned in the lock?  It was during a political torch-light parade.  I was in second grade then and occupied the seat behind him.

2/1/1901 - Ed Thompson sold his livery barn to his father last week.  Ed has been willing for some time to dispose of his business, at which he was quite successful.  His father is a veteran at the livery business and will conduct it at the old stand.

3/15/1901 - Lester Rairdon, of Bloom Centre, Ohio has purchased T.B. Thompson's livery stock, and has taken possession of same.  Mr. Rairdon is a brother of H.W. Rairdon who is also engaged in the livery business here.  Mr. Thompson still owns the livery building, and Mr. Rairdon will conduct the business at the old stand.

4/15/1904 - Woehler property on South Washington Street purchased by T.B. Thompson for $500.

4/22/1904 - Marie Woehler et al to Thomas B. Thompson, lot 389, New Bremen - $500.  (NOTE: Lot 389 is situated at 322 S. Walnut St.)

t3/17/1905 - Mary E. Thompson, nee List, wife of Thomas B. Thompson, died Saturday, 3/11/1905, after long suffering with facial cancer.  She was born near Dayton on 12/8/1849 and married Mr. Thompson on 6/2/1868.  They came to New Bremen on 4/27/1869 and became the parents of 9 children - 8 sons and 1 daughter, of which 3 sons and the daughter preceded her in death.

She is survived by her husband, 3 brothers, 2 sisters, and 5 sons - George, Walter, and Frank of New Bremen; Ed of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Ray of Dayton, Ohio;  also 2 daughters-in-law.  She was buried at Willow Grove Cemetery with Rev. P.G. Kluge of Zions Church officiating.

3/24/1905 - FOR SALE: I will sell at private sale a five-room brick house on South Washington Street, all in good shape.  Also, two teams, wagons, harness and beds of all kinds, farming utensils of all kinds, top wagon, top buggy, and bobsled.  Will sell for cash, or take good notes on six months or one year.  For further information call on or write Thomas Thompson, Box 140, New Bremen.

t11/22/1907 - Edward C. Thompson, of Colorado Springs, Colorado died on Wednesday, November 20th, at the age of 32.  He was forced to seek the Colorado climate several years ago due to ill health.  He was buried in Willow Grove Cemetery with Rev. W.F. Henninger officiating.

t12/27/1907 - T.B. Thompson, born 1/9/1832, died last Friday, 12/21/1907, of old age and constitutional weakness, just 19 days short of his 76th birthday.  Burial took place in Willow Grove Cemetery with Rev. W.F. Henninger officiating.

1/3/1908 - COURT NEWS: Thomas B. Thompson to Walter G. Thompson et al, TR 8 & 9, outlots 5 & 6, New Bremen, by will.

7/2/1909 - Allen Ray Thompson & wife to Walter G. Thompson, undivided 1/3, outlots 5 & 6, New Bremen - $400.

NOTE:  Outlots 5 & 6 consist of the property along the west side of the canal, extending from behind Schulenberg's all the way to Plum St. Schulenberg's is on Outlot 4.


4/3/1914 - The Thompson brothers' two dray horses were electrocuted when a live guy-wire of the W.O. Railway fell upon them from overhead.  Three weeks later, Western Ohio made good with a check in the amount of $500.


t5/16/1940 - Frank Wood Thompson, age 56, died at 2:00 this morning at his home near the canal lock.  Affectionately known as "Hook", he was a son of Thomas B. and Mary Elizabeth Thompson, and spent all his years in New Bremen.  He never married. 

For a number of years, he and his brother, Walter, operated the only dray line in New Bremen, for some years with a team of horses, and in later years with an automobile truck.  This he continued until bodily affliction, added to a physical deformity with which he was handicapped all his life, disabled him to carry on in the hauling business.  After that he occasionally was occupied with odd jobs, but for many months he had been confined to his bed, being cared for by his brother Walter, and near friends.  Two other brothers also survive - George of St. Marys, and Ray of New Lebanon.

Funeral services will be conducted at the Albert Funeral Home on West Monroe Street, with the Rev. N.E. Vitz officiating.  Burial will be in Willow Grove Cemetery.


Dealer in

Sand, Building, Curb & Gutter Stone

Cord Wood, etc.

Two teams are ready at all times, and goods will be delivered anywhere. 

FAlso, proprietor of Boarding House.

Lock 1 New Bremen, OH (5/18/1895)










Canal Facts & Excursion | N.B. & the Miami-Erie Canal | Thompson House

“Fun on the Old Canal” – Ralph May | Bicentennial Canal Marker - 2003

Lock One Restorations & Village Seal