Myths, Lies ---- and History #4
The Legend of Smedlap Effinglass
This Don Buckhout story is more tongue-in-cheek and amusing that the previous story reported in this space. The story was printed on the menu of his Smedlap’s Smithy restaurant in Waterville to justify the name of the establishment. The story relates how a distant ancestor of Mr. Buckhout named Smedlap Effinglass was chased out of the state of Georgia by an “angry mob,” made his way to the vicinity of the mouth of the Maumee River, set up a still and was supplying “Hooch” to the Indians and even to General Anthony Wayne after the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. The story relates that Smedap made a lot of money and in 1836 built a commercial building in Maumee which many years later housed the Old Plantation Inn (Don’s original restaurant.) Our hero Smedlap, on April 1, 1849, encountered a lovely young lady aboard a canal boat bound for Waterville so he stowed away among a flock of sheep aboard. (Is it lost on anyone, dear reader, that April 1 is April Fool’s Day.) The object of his affection was one Quindora Metzberger, daughter of Waterville’s only blacksmith Throck Metzberger. It seems that she was hurrying home because old Throck had abandoned his family to pursue a dancer from the local dance hall. So it was that Quindora and Smedlap came together, Smedlap became the blacksmith and soon a son named Quincy was born. Much later then Mr. Buckhout decided to follow the steps of his great, great, granduncle from Maumee to Waterville and set up a new restaurant in the old blacksmith shop and of course named it Smedlap’s Smithy.
I really like this story. It is clever, humorous and brings in some area history including being Indian Territory, the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the city of Maumee, the canal connecting to Waterville and beyond, plus the fact that the building was indeed originally a blacksmith shop. Watervillians must remember, however, that the history of this building is fairly well documented and there is no one named Metzberger or Effinglass among the known blacksmiths using this building. We generally remember the last blacksmith owner from around 1888, Charles Graf. The shop morphed into wagon makers shop, then auto service and repair as the automobile replaced horses. A thoughtful person might even question the timeline of the Smedlap Effinglass story. See our past article titled “The Saga of Peddlers’ Alley” for more about this building and the blacksmiths that were there. Still, Smedlap’s Smithy has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?
Note: If you can’t find an old menu or copy of The Smedlap story, visit us at the Wakeman Archives.