John Strock Seltzer 1875-1962

John Strock Seltzer

John Strock Seltzer was an adventurer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, whose legacy included one of the most recognized products in Shelby history – the Shelby bicycle.

John was the son of Joseph and Mary Seltzer, graduating from Shelby High School in 1893, the only male in a class of five. His style of composition and delivery during his oration on “Common Sense” was said to have taken “the house by storm,” according to the Shelby Times. John was active in the alumni association for a number of years.

After graduation, he followed in his father’s footsteps as a successful businessman at Seltzer and Steele hardware store, already a successful 20-year enterprise; the name was changed to Seltzer & Sons.

Virginia, John and Dudley Seltzer in front of home in Canada.

In 1910, John, wife Pearl and two children, Dudley, 7, and Virginia, 5, left Shelby for Saskatchewan Valley, Canada. John and his father bought 650 acres of land, which John would farm and eventually develop. They lived there 10 years.

When John returned to Shelby, he purchased half interest in the J.C. Morris Elevator with a high school friend, and the name was changed to Morris and Seltzer Coal and Grain. He also opened an automotive paint shop and 75-bay automobile storage in a renovated horse barn on Wall Street, as homes did not have garages in those days.

In 1924, John began working at the Shelby Cycle Co. Father Joe had infused the struggling cycle company with additional capital, and was president. When Joe died in 1929, John became president. Already 54, he was president of the Shelby Cycle Co. for 16 years, more than half the company’s existence, during the most prosperous years of operation, retiring in 1945. The company kept hundreds of men and women employed through the Great Depression.

John was as much a philanthropist as his father. He was president of the Shelby Advertising Club, and raised money for the Shelby Hospital, Shelby Country Club, and a YMCA youth group. While Joe funded the building of Seltzer Park and pool, John added amenities such as a comfort station and gazebo in 1938. He organized many events in town, from auto shows to 4th of July Parades and Halloween parties.

John spent his retirement years helping son Dudley in sales with Seltzer Electric Company, and working in his wood shop creating wonderful projects, including Whippet figure wind vanes for Skiles Field. John died in 1962.

Submitted by Christina Yetzer Drain. Photos courtesy Patricia Seltzer Moehring.

Henry Wentz, Jr.

In 1834, Henry Wentz Sr. brought his family to Cass Township, Ohio from Perry Co., PA where Henry Jr. was born on Dec. 9, 1839. Henry worked on the family farm until age 18 when he began to learn the carpentry trade. At age 21, he moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana where he worked in the railroad car assembly shops.

At the start of the Civil War, on July 11, 1861, Henry enlisted as a private in Co. E., 11th Ind. Vol. Inf. and he served throughout the war in various capacities in campaigns including – Vicksburg, Winchester, Fisher Hill and finally Cedar Creek on Oct. 19, 1864.

After the war Henry returned to Crestline, Ohio. On June 8, 1865, Henry married Abraham Bushey’s oldest daughter Sarah and entered the lumber business. After a year, he sold the business and began a hardware store that he ran until about
1875. In 1875 he began an interest in the fire insurance business which he followed until 1880 when he became the secretary the Underwriter’s Mutual Fire Insurance Company, which would become the Shelby Mutual Insurance Company. Also during the mid 1880s, Henry served as the clerk for the Sharon Township Trustees and was a member of the Crestline city council.

Henry and Sarah were the parents of two sons and a daughter.

Submitted by Lisa Wentz-Steiner