By Thomas Palmer

It’s Saturday, which brings another opportunity to share either stories from Galion history or to update readers on history happenings in the Galion area. Today we’re looking back at an incident that occurred very close to the center of town.

One of our city’s most colorful historic characters was the dynamo named Henry David Lee.

Lee, who went on to found the Lee Jeans Company, found his start in the business world right here in Galion. His meteoric rise to riches and fame, as well as his remarkable contributions to the community, were the focus of a multi-part series I wrote in 2022.

Here is a short insight into the life of Henry Lee, a tale published in a now defunct local newspaper that shows that despite later illnesses Henry was a pretty spry fellow at age 29.

The newspaper account from May, 1878 shared the following:

“Last Tuesday H.D. Lee had occasion to go home early in the afternoon.

As he entered the house he noticed a tramp passing out by another door and walking hastily away. His suspicions being aroused he called to Mrs. Lee and upon ascertaining that she was not aware of the vagabond’s intrusion, he went to the stable, mounted his horse and started in pursuit.

The tramp was overtaken on the creek bottom near the railroad bridge, after a chase on foot across the fields and meadows.

When within a few paces the fugitive halted, and with menacing oaths threatened to shoot, but Mr. Lee, also having a revolver, anticipated the rascal’s movements, which so discomfited him that he begged for his life, and plunging into the creek waist deep, fled to the woods beyond.

Nothing was missed from the house but a cap, which was not recovered. When in the middle of the stream the thief threw something into the water, which sank to the bottom before Mr. Lee could see what it was.”

To give you an idea where this saga began, the Lees were already residents in their newly expanded house — which still exists on the northeast corner of East Church and North Market Streets. A view of the same house taken on Friday evening is above and below.

Certainly suggests that Galion was a bit more of “rough and tumble place” 145 years ago.

Each Saturday, we share a post about local history. We call this series “Galion History Corner,” and we will be sharing not only stories about our shared heritage but also updates on history news here in southeast Crawford County.

This series is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Bernard M. Mansfield, whose “Your Historical Galion” was a fixture in weekend editions of the Galion Inquirer. Dr. Mansfield was a friend and family physician, and he inspired the current generation of Galion historians to continue his work.