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Highland County auction companies of the 1960s: Dannie Hess & Associates

Lead Summary
Steve Roush-
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been tooling around Hillsboro in the ol’ Studebaker hitting local eateries, and I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of full.

Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll get hungry again soon and hit more local 1960s restaurants, but I’d like to drive around and hit a few local auctions and see if we can score a few deals.

Now, there’s a reason I’d like to see an auction or two in the days of yore. Just this past weekend, an estate auction was held at the Roush homestead as the Hess Auction Co. auctioned off thousands of items that belonged to my father, the late Wesley Kenneth “Ken” Roush.

It was a bittersweet day to say the least, but I’m truly thankful the rain that was forecasted to fall pretty much all day held off until well into the afternoon, and I’d sincerely like to thank Hess Auction Co., Glenn Hess, Brad and Kim Hess, John Grover and the rest of their crew for the fabulous, professional job they did, not only on the day of the sale but over the past weeks and months.

While I’m handing out kudos, I’d like to thank my brother, Grant Roush, my uncle, Dr. Glenn Roush, the rest of my siblings – Eric Roush, Sheila Pancallo, Kristen Timmerman – and their families, the Stroud family, Adam Beverly and a host of others who helped prepare for auction day. God only knows how many hours went into preparing for a day that saw more than 500 buyer numbers issued from various states.

What a crowd, what a day.

On that note, let’s go back to the 1960s, pick up a newspaper and look for auctions.

OK, here’s a 1961 auction in Lynchburg conducted by the Hunter-Wilson-Mayhugh Co., and here’s an auction one mile north of Fairview at the edge of Russell Station conducted by Dannie Hess of Buford, Ohio.

Wait just a minute, of course! At the top of the Hess website, it says 67 years of service – 1954-2021. Dannie Hess is the father of Glenn Hess, grandfather of Brad Hess, and Dannie Hess & Associates is now Hess Auction Co. LLC.

The 1961 Russell Station auction consisted of a John Deere model B tractor on steel; a plow and cultivator; Black Hawk corn picker; John Deere disc; Oliver mower; corn planter; 3-point hitch; heavy duty wagon with a good flat top; and a cyclone seeder. Approximately 300 bushels of corn was sold, along with 67 hogs, household goods and antiques and miscellaneous items.

Sounds like an interesting auction.

Dannie Hess, who was born in 1928, farmed all of his life with his father, John Hess, and in 1954, he decided he wanted to become an auctioneer.

He attended the Reppert School of Auctioneering in Decatur, Ind. that summer and started a business that is still going strong today and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

The Dannie Hess statement always was, “Do you want a good brain surgeon or a cheap one to perform your surgery?” He told people to think about that when they select their auction company.

As we drive through the ’60s in our Studebaker looking for Hess auctions, we see auctioneer Dannie Hess and his wife, Lela Mae Hess, who served as company cashier, take on an apprentice auctioneer, son Glenn Hess.

James Spargur was also an auctioneer during that time for Dannie Hess & Associates. (Years later, Dannie Franklin Hess would be inducted into the Ohio Auctioneers Hall of Fame in 2008. He passed away in 2010 at the age of 81.)

Back in 1969, here’s a good Hess auction near Mowrystown with multiple Oliver tractors, an Oliver 70, 66 and 60, along with an Oliver combine, cattle and sheep, corn, hay and chickens, plus some household goods. Lunch will be served, so our bellies will be full again.

As we point the Studebaker due south toward Mowrystown, let’s pause for now, and we’ll continue next time.

Steve Roush is vice chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees, a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at

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