When I first opened this book, I thought it was going to be a children’s book. I mean, Cock-a-doodle-doo and Bow-wow-wow – what would you think?

But it’s a catalog.

Catalog, Announcement and Price List of Dr F B Van Nuys, Originator and Breeder of the “Good-All-Around” Strain of Barred Plymouth Rocks…Breeder of Scotch Collie Dogs, unequaled as Herders, Drivers, Children’s Playmates, and Guard Dogs, Breeder of Pea Fowls, with Perfect Tail Colorings, Dealer in General Poultry, Farm and Kennel Supplies of All Kinds, MAKER OF THE “VAN N” EGG TESTER, etc etc, whose office, residence, poultry yards, kennels and supply store rooms were located at 143 Main Street, Tiffin Ohio.

Holy cow! Who is this guy? I’ve never heard of any Van Nuys in Tiffin, but I’m not an expert, so I turned to google, of course, and learned all sorts of things about Van Nuys, California, because this Dr only used his initials. It wasn’t till I trudged to the library and located him in city directories that I learned his first name was Franklin, and then things got easier.

Although confusing. I am left with more questions than answers. Here’s what I was able to gather:

From Ancestry: Franklin Bache Van Nuys was born 6 May 1866 (another source says 1865) in Falmouth, Rush Co, Indiana to David Henry Van Nuys and Catherine Custer. He married Elizabeth (or Della H) Wesner ca 1894. She was born in 1871 in Illinois.

He graduated from somewhere in 1886, I know this because he’s in the 1908 Sigma Chi Manual and Directory, listed as living in Tiffin. He’s also in the 1917 Directory, living in Tiffin, but I think his address wasn’t updated. He graduated in 1888 from the Medical College of Ohio.

According to city directories, he lived in various places in Tiffin with his wife Elizabeth, in 1899 through 1903, listed as a physician. He’s not in the 1897/98 directory, or earlier.

In the American Chess Magazine, Volume 3 (1899): “C H Dale, Superintendent of the Hartford City Paper Mills and one of the best chess players in Indiana, is now engaged in 2 correspondence games with the Tiffin, Ohio, Chess Club. F B Van Nuys, one of the best players in Ohio, is handling one of the games. About twenty moves have been made and at the present time Mr Dale has slightly the better of the contest…”

According to the 7 October 1900 Times of Philadelphia, page 14, Dr F B Van Nuys of Tiffin, Ohio was President of the Ohio State Chess Association.

The American Kennel Club Stud Book Register (vol 22) lists The Duquense (90-274) owned by William Miller of Tiffin, Breeder Dr F B Van Nuys, Tiffin, Ohio. Whelped July 22, 1902, white, black and sable. By Parody (59-373, Volume XVIII) out of Susie by Brandae Rightaway (51.287, Volume XVI) out of Bonne Lass, b Breadalbane Lad, out of Bonnie Rosy.

In a 1903 Dog Fancier, Van Nuys had an ad, which announced that Parody’s stud fee was $10 – to approved matrons.

And then he disappears. Ohio Chess Club president, prominent (well, maybe he’s not prominent) dog breeder, inventor of the what’s it called? The “Van N” egg tester, producer of an 80 page catalog. Just gone.

In 1920, his residence might have been Rockland, Otonagon, Michigan.

A 1928 Brownsville Texas Herald (Oct 26) has a Dr Van Nuys of Chicago recommending something – my notes are awful! And I tried to look it up again, but can’t find it. Anyhow, I wasn’t able to find any clue that FB was in Chicago.

According to an obituary on Find a Grave, Franklin Bache Van Nuys died 18 January 1936 in Springport, Jackson, Michigan. Elizabeth died in 1932.

No signs of him ever playing chess again. No ads for dog breeding and poultry inventions. What the heck happened to him???

Our local library has microfilm (or fiche, I don’t know) of Tiffin papers, and an index of obituaries, which doesn’t help me any. I was really curious, but I couldn’t justify spending anymore time on him. I didn’t look at census records, and I didn’t pore through local papers.

My imagination, of course, has been quite active. I’m not even going to share some of the scenarios I’ve come up with. And I’d love to see a photo of him! But alas, it’s not to be….


I’m putting this away before it gets more beat up!
I would love a dog like this!!!