By Thomas Palmer

The fall 2023 edition of the Galion Tiger Football team enjoyed a successful season.

The high degree of talent and sportsmanship carried forward a tradition that has been going strong for almost 130 years, and was born during a break between classes.

In June 1894 the Galion Daily Leader reported that young Galion men were organizing a football team, although no mention was made of it being tied to the high school. In fact, the ages of those involved ranged from 17 to 20. The paper referred to the sport as a “…savage and brutal game.” By August, the fledgling team was giving an exhibition of its plays at the Methodist Church Sunday School picnic at “Hosford’s Grove.” 

In September 1894, the Galion Inquirer reported, “The boys of the high school are daily indulging in a lively game of foot-ball during the time between the first and second bells in the afternoon. It seems the boys call it a great sport, but it is a little dangerous.”

On September 28, it was announced that a “foot-ball eleven” had been formed by the boys of Galion High School, comprising the following positions and players:

  • Right End – Karl James
  • Left End – Bert Crumb
  • Right Tackle – Will Goshorn
  • Left Tackle – Curtis Laughbaum
  • Right Guard – Clarence Winans
  • Left Guard – George Kochenderfer
  • Center Rush – Robert Kunkel
  • Quarter Back – John Wisterman
  • Right Half Back – Mert M. Bland
  • Left Half Back – James G. Monnette
  • Full Back – Victor Persons

John Guy Wisterman, the “quarter back” of the team, was the son of dry goods merchant F.S. Wisterman. He would go on to take over the family business, and to build a home at 645 Harding Way West. 

1894 saw the GHS team take on Shelby for the first time. The game was played on a bitterly cold Thanksgiving Day in Shelby, and the two teams battled to a 0-0 tie. Galion also played Crestline twice that year.

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.

Photo: Public Domain