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Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:53 PM

About 30 years ago an area newspaper (perhaps it was the Reflector) did a series of stories on the towns and villages around Huron County. A critical spokesman in Greenwich commented that the town hadn't changed much through the years and he wouldn't be surprised to see a cowboy come riding down Main Street.

Needless to say, this inflamed some of the village leaders, but they might have thought they really were in a western town during a 1915 incident. Dr. Thurman Ray Laughbaum, of Bucyrus, graduated from the Ohio State University school of medicine and came to Greenwich to practice. Previous to this he had been in Hayesville in Ashland County for a time.

While at Hayesville he had treated Gertrude Obetz, whose husband, Owen, was a businessman there. The Obetzes perceived that Laughbaum had caused her permanent damage, and came to Greenwich on Jan. 18, 1915, to demand justice (and a cash settlement of $1,000).

After arguing with the doctor for a time, he sent for Attorney Charles Miller, who listened to the story and told Mr. Obetz that he had no case against the doctor. Obetz said there was another way to "settle this" and he pulled a revolver from his pocket. Miller stepped between the two men and Laughbaum escaped, grabbing his own revolver on the way out.

Obetz followed the doctor and saw him run onto Townsend Street from East Main, caught up and began firing. The doctor returned fire, with witnesses reporting five or six shots fired. Obetz was hit in the arm and cheek; Laughbaum's thumb was injured. Dr. Robert Reynolds treated Obetz and he returned to Hayesville the following evening.

Both men were arrested by the town marshal, but were immediately released. Eventually Laughbaum appeared in Mayor's Court while Obetz was indicted for assault with intent to wound and for carrying a concealed weapon. By the time his case came to trial in June of 1915, Laughbaum had left town and couldn't be located as a witness. The shooting charge was dismissed and a fine was levied for carrying a concealed weapon.

Mr. and Mrs. Obetz survived this incident for many years after. They are buried in the Hayesville Cemetery. I found Laughbaum living at Lake City, Mich., in 1938. I'm sure that neither of them had any fond memories of their wild and crazy day in Greenwich.

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