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Greene-Dreher Historical Society


Our Collections include artifacts, photos, documents and books that all relate to the local area and our hard working residents of the past. We are constantly looking for items and information that will help us tell their stories. If you have any items which you would like to donate to the historical society please contact us.

From our collections room

The "Moses Wright Spinning Wheel" 


Marian Phillips standing next to the Spinning Wheel

Known by wool spinners as a Walking Wheel”, “Great Wheel” or a “Canadian Wheel”.  This wheel is measures 45” in diameter.   Mounted on a 47” bench it is 60” in total height and has M. Wright marked on the side of the bench. 

In 2007, Marian Phillips, placed the spinning wheel on loan to the Society.  Marian received the wheel from Mrs. Charles Stevens, who recalled that it had been given to the Stevens Family from a Canadian man and that he had stayed and worked at their farm in Newfoundland in the early 1900’s.

Research on spinning wheel manufacturing in the local area may indicate the origin of this spinning wheel.  Society members Scot and Carol Brown have a near identical spinning wheel to the one on loan to GDHS. The Brown’s spinning wheel was found in the attic of the Gabriel and Margaret Brown farmhouse on Rt.196 in Sterling Township, Pa.   It is inscribed with the maker’s name,  “M. WRIGHT”.  The 1863 estate inventory for Gabriel Brown lists “1 Spining Wheel and Real”, valued at $4.00.

In comparing the Brown and Phillips’ spinning wheels, there are many similarities.  The name “M. WRIGHT” is imprinted on both benches in the same location.  Above the name, the wood is fluted and the wheels are identical in size and design.

Alfred Matthews’  “History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties”, tells us that Moses Wright was “an ingenious man and made spinning-wheels and reels and various other articles needed by the settlers.”  Moses was born on May 31, 1788.  His father, Nathan S. Wright, came to Pennsylvania from Litchfield, Connecticut with his brother-in-law, William Dayton, in about 1796.  In 1803, Nathan moved to a place a mile south of Salem Corners, (now Hamlin).

Phineas Goodrich cited in his “History of Wayne County”, that   “He (Nathan S. Wright) came to this area by encouragement of Major Theodore Woodbridge, who, knowing him to be a good blacksmith, said the settlers must have a blacksmith, and could not do without one, as in those days, the plowshares were all made of wrought iron and steel.”  (Major Woodbridge was the grandfather of Aurelia Woodbridge who later married George Brown, son of Gabriel and Margaret.)

Moses Wright married Polly Peet and settled near his father’s place on the North/South Rd. (now Rt. 196).   Moses is on the US Census, Pennsylvania, Wayne County, Salem Township in 1810, 1830 and 1840.  He had no children and died on Apr 23, 1849 at age 60 years, 10 months and 23 days. He is buried  in the Hamlin Cemetery, Wayne County, Pennsylvania.

(Thanks to Marian Phillips, Scot and Carol Brown, and Bernadine Lennon who contributed to the research of the Spinning Wheel and Moses M. Wright, Spinning Wheel Maker).


Julia Grapatin’s Wheel Chair

 Donated to GDHS by Frank and Diane Razny of Greene Township in 2007. This well-preserved wooden wheel chair has a caned back and is 51” high with an 18“x20” seat and 26” diameter wire wheels.  The wheel chair was used by Mrs. Julia Grapatin, who with her husband Gustave, were the former owners of the Razny’s house.

Frank Razny, Edythe Gilpin, Art Frey

Gustave and Julianna Grapatin were born in Germany.  Gustave immigrated to America in 1896 and Julia in 1898.  They met in Scranton where they married in 1901.  Gustave worked on the railroads and work took him and his family to Ohio where he was a foreman of freight car inspectors.  Gustave wanted to return to Pennsylvania to farm so Julia returned to Pennsylvania to select a farm which they purchased in 1917 on Pine Grove Road.  The Grapatins probably selected this area of Pennsylvania because they had cousins (the Letz’s) living on Beaver Dam Road in Greentown.

Over the years, Julia developed a condition that caused her difficulty in walking.  The doctor referred to the condition as Haley’s Ascending Paralysis.  Initially, Julia used crutches but eventually Lydia and Charles Frey (her daughter and son-in-law) purchased the wheel chair for her.

Following Julia’s death, Gustave sold the house.  In 1949, Leonard and Anne Razny and their sons (Leonard, Jr and Frank) purchased it and discovered the wheel chair in the attic.




In this photograph, taken in September 1939, are Julia Grapatin and

 her grandchildren Art Frey (seated left) and his brother Edwin (seated right).

The wheel chair’s caning was torn in several places and society member Clint Roach volunteered to re-cane the chair. 

The wheel chair was manufactured by the Gendron Wheel Company of Toledo, Ohio, between 1928 and 1938.  Peter Gendron came to Toledo at the age of twenty-one and found employment as a pattern maker in the Toledo Novelty Works.  In 1871, he went to Detroit as a pattern maker for the Detroit Safe Company.  As a boy he had worked in his father’s wagon shop and while in Detroit, he conceived the idea of a wire wheel.  In 1875, he returned to Toledo, perfected his invention, first using the wire wheel on children’s carriages.  Beginning in 1877, he and three associates began the manufacture of wheels and established a market for them.  Over the years the company expanded its products to include bicycles, invalid chairs, go-cars, baby carriages, doll carriages, coaster wagons, toy wheelbarrows, etc.

In 1941, with the advent of World War II, children’s vehicles were discontinued to concentrate on hospital equipment including wheel chairs and wheeled stretchers.  Today, the company develops, designs and manufactures patient care products for acute care, long term care, home care and rehabilitation care.  Products include wheel chairs, stretchers, lifts and beds.  The company is located in Archbold, Ohio.


Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio, 1623-1923 by John M. Killits, (Chicago, 1923), p. 425

Excerpt from “Gendron 1872-1997” (Gendron Inc.: Archbold, Ohio, 1997)

Fred Strobel - fstrobel@adelphia.net re: history of Gendron wheel