Last week I related a story from the March 20, 1952 edition of the Morrow County Independent about Cardington native Orto Koeppe, his German wife and their 16 year old daughter, Christa Koeppe, who escaped the Russian zone of Germany. The story was learned when Christa visited Morrow County probate court to obtain her father’s birth certificate so she could apply for a record of her father’s birth.

Otto Koeppe was born in Cardington in 1895, the son of Charles and Ida Lisse Koeppe. With his parents and an older brother, Otto, then 8, they left Cardington in 1903, the family going to Germany. Koeppe became a successful miller in Germany but lost his American Citizenship during World War II.

Since World War II, he had continued to operate the business but was allowed only about $5 per day by the Communist for its use. Christa, his daughter, stated in Morrow County probate court that she believed there was little underground activity in her community and that the Communists were making a thorough effort to indoctrinate young Germans with their teachings.

Charles Koeppe operated a distillery and saloon in Cardington for several years prior to 1903 having distilled whiskey under the label of “Koeppe Spring Whiskey.” The distillery was located in the brick building along Whetstone Creek, used in recent years by the Hart Oil Co to house refining equipment used for reprocessing used oil. Water used in the whiskey came from “ripper spring,” the name given to a spring of sulphur water located on the west side of the New York Central railroad embankment.

Said by older residents to have contained certain medicinal properties, the sulphur spring ceased flowing shortly after blasting was done for the concrete railroad bridge constructed nearby in 1926.

After the Koeppe family went to Germany, the distillery was taken over by Koeppe’s brother-in-law, Hugh Lisse, who continued to operate it until 1907 when Cardington voted dry.

To dispose of his stock of “Ripper Spring” whiskey, Lisse purchased a saloon in Galion, moving there in 1907. Later he operated a well known Central Ohio dish store in Galion and now owns a neighborhood grocery on Harding Way West in Galion. Two of Lisse’s sons served with the American Army in World War I, one having been killed in action.

Looking back at earlier Aprils – 1942: Ruhlman and Miller Hardware in Cardington advertised “good seeds for victory gardens.” 1972: Jean Ann Ebert and Marjorie Ann Smith were chosen to represent Cardington Lincoln

High School at Buckeye Girls State in June; Gene Gompf and Melvin Strine, Cardington High School juniors, were selected to attend Buckeye Boys State at Ashland College this summer 1982: Construction began on East

Main Street on the George Sherman and Son Hardware store; An Open House and ribbon cutting marked the completion of the rebuilding of the Stahl Metal Division plant, destroyed in the 1981 tornado.
Fleeing the border, Part 1

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist