This terrific piece of Bremeniana just came up for auction on eBay: a Joseph P Leitch Company cigar box from about 1900. It features a fantastic photo of one of the Bremen bands of the time, and the back is designed to look like a book and tuck discreetly into your bookshelf where small (or teenage) hands wouldn’t find your cigars.

The History Center has two similar boxes in its collection.

Click an image to start a slide show.

The Joseph and Margaret [Hanlon] Leitch family came to Bremen from Noble county near Fort Wayne in 1897. They manufactured cigars right downtown at 151 E Plymouth Street between Valentine Fisher’s harness shop and Fink & Kinzie’s meat market. These buildings were eventually demolished and replaced by Koontz Hardware, now Yoder Hardware. (At center on the map below, “Rest.” is Hoople’s.)

Click the image to enlarge it.

Bremen 1898
Plymouth (vertical) & Center (horizontal) in 1898. North is to the left.


In 1901, Joe Leitch was successful enough to build a new brick building which was occupied and later sold to Moe Lowenstine, whose clothing store was a staple in Bremen for many years afterward. Mr. Leitch traveled to Cuba from time to time, where he had land holdings, and came back with many interesting stories.

Click an image to start a slide show.

The Leitches left Bremen about 1907 for Blackstone, Virginia, where Joe made a good deal for a new cigar factory but ultimately resettled in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The building Joe Leitch built and sold to Moe Lowenstine remains today the central section of the south side of the 100 block of E Plymouth.